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Second Coming of Jesus Christ—a Dichotomy


From the earliest days of Christianity, believers have known that Jesus Christ would return to earth for them in the “end time.”  This expectation was more than a mere hope, a wish, a fanciful dream, or a figment of their imagination; it was a firm conviction based on the personal words of Jesus Christ, angelic beings and the apostles.  It was the hope (the specific meaning of the Greek word is confident expectation) of the early Christians, which was a significant influence for them to achieve ever higher levels of sanctification and service.


But what may not have been clear to early Christians, is often perplexing to many Christians of today, which is that there are two aspects (dichotomy) of the “Second Coming of Jesus Christ” that were revealed by Christ and others and are recorded throughout the Bible.  They spoke of an imminent (at any time) coming of Jesus Christ in the earth’s atmosphere to catch-up (rapture) His children (saints) to Him, as well as a subsequent coming of Jesus Christ back to earth when He would establish His earthly kingdom for one thousand years.  Although there are several passages in the Old Testament that refer to these events during the “end time,” only New Testament passages referring to the dichotomic Second Coming of Jesus Christ will be considered in this study.


The intent of this study is not to present a detailed discussion on the various interpretations surrounding the aspects of Christ’s second coming, i.e., their relation to the Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom; but it will mention such events and will give a brief synopsis of biblical history consistent with the author’s position at the end of the study.  This study’s objective is to show that there are two aspects of Christ’s second coming and that they hold great significance for the Christian in his life and service.


The earnest student of God’s Word should first be aware of the many passages that refer to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ; therefore, they will be listed and quoted in full.  Following will be a list of the references divided into two columns, one for the first aspect of His coming (the Rapture) and one for the second aspect of His coming (back to earth to establish His kingdom).  At the end of the commentary of this study, each listed passage will be quoted in full for the readers benefit.


Reference List of New Testament Scriptures of the Second Coming of Christ


First Aspect Second Aspect
Matthew 16:27, 28 Matthew 13:40-43
Matthew 25:10 Matthew 24:3, 15-31
John 14:1-3 Matthew 26:64
Romans 8:19 Mark 13:14-27
1 Corinthians 1:7, 8 Mark 14:62
1 Corinthians 15:22, 23, 51-53 Luke 21:20-28
1 Corinthians 16:22 Acts 1:9-11
Philippians 3:20, 21 Acts 3:19-21
Philippians 4:5 1 Thessalonians 3:12, 13
Colossians 3:4 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10
1 Thessalonians 1:9, 10 2 Thessalonians 2:8
1 Thessalonians 2:19 1 Peter 4:12, 13
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 2 Peter 3:1-13
1 Thessalonians 5:9, 23 Jude 14, 15
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 Revelation 1:7
1 Timothy 6:14 Revelation 3:10, 11
2 Timothy 4:1, 8 Revelation 19:11-20:6
Titus 2:13 Revelation 22:7, 12, 20
Hebrews 9:28
James 5:7-9
1 Peter 1:7, 13; 4:12, 13; 5:4
1 John 2:28; 3:2, 3
Jude 21
Revelation 2:25; 4:1


The Biblical Assurance of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ


The Second coming of Jesus Christ is mentioned approximately eight times more frequently in the Old and New Testaments than His first coming.  In fact, Christ’s second coming is mentioned 318 times in the New Testament alone.  The only doctrine mentioned more than the doctrine of Christ’s second coming is the doctrine of salvation.  All of the nine authors of the New Testament mention Christ’s second coming.


A quick review of the vast number of scriptural passages listed earlier in this study confirms that Jesus Christ, without doubt, is coming back to earth to finish God’s plan and purpose for this earth and its occupants.  A careful study of the New Testament reveals that Christ’s second coming is mentioned or alluded to in 23 of its 27 books.  In fact, Jesus Christ during His discourse to His disciples on the Mount of Olives (“Olivet Discourse”—Matthew 24, 25) personally validated the fact that He would one day return.  And again, in John 14:1-3, He personally promised His disciples that He would return for them.  None of the passages referring to Christ’s second coming can be interpreted as allegorical or symbolic by any stretch of the imagination; unless of course, a person wishes to use such a position in order to deny biblical truth.  It goes without saying that if a person believes the Bible, he will without fail believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.


The Value to the Believer of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ


It is a Purifying Doctrine (Contributes to the Believer’s Sanctification)


In speaking of Christ’s second coming, the apostle John states, “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).  The purification process of children of God is also known as sanctification within the Bible.  The word sanctification as used in the Bible means being set apart (from the world and unto God).


Biblical (doctrine of) sanctification, a triune doctrine comprised of (1) Positional Sanctification, which is the permanent setting apart in Christ of the person who is saved by placing his full and genuine faith in Christ for his personal salvation—he is immediately entered into union with Christ, is partaker of the divine nature and is assured that he will share in all that Christ has and is; (2) Experiential Sanctification, which is the function of the spiritual life after salvation that involves the believer’s spiritual growth, a purification process by the filling (control) of the Holy Spirit involving the confession of sin (1 John 1:9), absorption of Bible doctrine (John 17:17) and the exercise of faith (Colossians 2:16); and (3) Ultimate Sanctification, which is the status quo of every believer in his resurrection body in the eternal state (1 Corinthians 15:35-54; Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:2).


The purification that the apostle John is speaking of in 1 John 3:3 is experiential sanctification, also known as spiritual growth.  John makes it quite clear that every Christian who understands and confidently believes (is assured), which is the meaning of the word “hope” as it is used in the New Testament, that Jesus Christ is coming again will be immensely aided in experiential sanctification—achieving ever-increasing heights of spiritual maturity. 


As a Christian “expects” at any time the return of Christ, he will be more careful to order his life in such a way as to not cause any embarrassment by his involvement in any errant activity when Christ comes imminently down from heaven (1 John 2:28).  Furthermore, a confident expectation of Christ’s soon return helps the believer to counter the materialism of this present age by assisting him in prioritizing his life with regard to spiritual, socialistic and material matters. 


As the child of God keeps his eye trained upon the heavens looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of Jesus Christ, he will be less enamored (captivated, charmed) with the things of this world.  Other scriptures that link spiritual growth to Christ’s Second Coming are 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:8 and James 5:7-9.


It is an Evangelical-Enhancing Doctrine (Encourages the Believer to Witness for Christ)


The most evangelistic periods of church history have been times when believers studied biblical prophecy, approximately one-third of the writings contained in the Bible, of which many refer to the Second Coming of Christ (more even than His first coming).  In fact, according to 1 Thessalonians 2:19, it will be the souls that a Christian brings to Christ that will be his “hope and joy and crown of rejoicing” when Christ comes again.


It is a Christ-Revealing Doctrine (Gives the Believer a More Complete Picture of Christ)


While the gospel records of Christ reveal His humiliation (birth, suffering and death), the prophetic passages of His Second Coming reveal His exaltation when He comes “in power and great glory” as “King of kings and Lord of lords.”  At that coming the Bible declares that “every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him(Revelation 1:7) and then “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10, 11).


While it is always important for the Christian to remember all that Christ has done for him on the cross of Calvary, he should just as often maintain the confident expectation of the imminent (at any time) return of Jesus Christ and be aware that now He serves an exalted Savior who sits at the right hand of God and who will soon judge all men and rule the earth.  This attitude of humble thanksgiving and triumphant joy should always be equally evident in every Christian’s life.


It is a Stabilizing Doctrine (Creates in the Believer Peace and Calm)


The world can be both chaotic and evil from a truly Christian point-of-view.  On every hand Satan and his minions employ numerous events and schemes in attacking the believer who endeavors to live for Christ.  Such activity is meant to be discouraging, frightening, demoralizing and dispiriting to the believer.

But the Christian who absorbs and employs Bible doctrine in his life can insulate himself from such overwhelming evil.  In addition to the doctrines of faith-living (Colossians 2:6) and confession of known sin (1 John 1:9), which restores the filling (control) of the Holy Spirit in his life, the believer may take safe (calm and peaceful) harbor in the confident expectation that Jesus Christ will soon return and rectify all that has gone wrong since man’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. 

As a major part of prophecy in the Bible, the Second Coming of Christ reinforces the believer with a firm confidence (biblical “hope”) toward the future and eliminates his every fear.  And this is why the apostle Paul, after speaking about Christ’s return for the Church, says in 1 Thessalonians 4:18Therefore comfort one another with these words.


It is a Fortifying Doctrine (Encourages the Believer to be Bold in His Life and Witness)


The Christian, who has a proper focus on Bible doctrine and in particular an accurate understanding of the Second Coming of Christ, will be encouraged to be bold and steadfast in his living for and witness of Jesus Christ.  This is why the apostle Paul, after a fairly long discourse on the imminent return of Christ, could say in 1 Corinthians 15:58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”


It is a Clarifying Doctrine (Abolishes Spiritual Ignorance by Revealing God’s Plan)


There is an abundance of revelation in both the Old and the New Testament regarding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, so much so, that to not have a grasp of this most important Bible doctrine is to be ignorant of much of God’s Word and His ultimate plan for His creation.  In fact, as stated previously, the Second Coming of Christ is mentioned eight times more frequently in the Old and the New Testament than His first coming. 


And again it bears repeating that Christ’s second coming is apparently the second-most-important doctrine in the entire New Testament, for the only teaching mentioned more frequently is the subject of salvation.  The Christian who takes the time to seriously study prophecy, and in particular the Second Coming of Christ, will abolish a great deal of spiritual ignorance within his life.  God through the apostle Paul specifically admonishes the believer not to be ignorant regarding this matter (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).


The Dichotomy of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ


As has already been explained, the Second Coming of Christ often becomes confusing to the Bible student who fails to see the two aspects (dichotomy) of His coming in the many passages of Scripture regarding the subject.  Furthermore, this confusion may only be enhanced by the various commentators who intentionally or inadvertently interpret symbolically many of the passages regarding Christ’s second coming.  The following rule for interpreting Scripture (referred to as the “Golden Rule of Interpretation”) is most essential:  “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, but take every word at its primary, literal meaning, unless the facts of the immediate context clearly indicate otherwise.” 


Then there are the various interpretations, often referred to with the following words:  pretribulation, midtribulation, posttribulation, premillennial, postmillennial—all of which are applied to various concepts of the Tribulation and the 1,000 year reign of Christ upon the earth (Millennial Kingdom).  It is not within the scope of this study to present these various interpretations and/or justify one over the other (although this writer will state that his position falls within the pretribulation-premillennial camp), but the purpose of this study, at this point, is to show that there are distinct differences in the two aspects of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.


Even a surface examination of the various scriptures regarding the subject of Christ’s second coming will clearly reveal to the Bible student that there are two aspects of His coming.  In Tim LaHaye’s book, Understanding Bible Prophecy for Yourself, Harvest House Publishers, 2001, the author lists 15 differences between his designations for the two aspects of Christ’s second coming:  (1) In the atmosphere (clouds) for the “rapture” (catching-up) of the Church (“Blessed Hope”) and (2) Christ’s second return to earth to set up His kingdom (“Glorious Appearing”).  These differences follow as they appear in his book:


Rapture/Blessed Hope Glorious Appearing
1. Christ comes in the air for His own 1. Christ comes with His own to earth
2. Rapture of all Christians 2. No one raptured
3. Christians taken to the Father’s house 3. Resurrected saints do not see Father’s house
4. No judgment on earth 4. Christ judges inhabitants of earth
5. Church taken to heaven 5. Christ sets up His kingdom on earth
6. Imminent—could happen any moment 6. Cannot occur for at least seven years
7. No signs 7. Many signs for Christ’s physical coming
8. For believers only 8. Affects all humanity
9. Time of joy 9. Time of mourning
10. Before the “day of wrath” (Tribulation) 10. Immediately after Tribulation (Matthew 24)
11. No mention of Satan 11. Satan bound in abyss for 1,000 years
12. The judgment seat of Christ 12. No time or place for judgment seat
13. Marriage of the Lamb 13. His bride descends with Him
14. Only His own see Him 14. Every eye will see Him
15. Tribulation begins 15. 1,000-year kingdom of Christ begins


The Rapture of the Church


The word rapture does not appear in the English Bible.  It is an English word derived from the Latin word rapere, which appears in the Latin translation of the Bible.  The New Testament was written in Greek and later was translated into Latin and then into English.  The word rapere (and its derivations) means to be caught up, plucked up, or taken by force.  It was the Latin word for the Greek word harpazo, which means “to seize upon with force” or “to snatch away” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.


Succinctly, the New Testament teaches that prior to the seven-year period of the outpouring of the wrath of God upon the earth (also known as the Tribulation), Jesus Christ will appear in the earth’s atmosphere (clouds) and snatch away (rapture) the Church (all believers that compose the Body of Christ).  This rapture will involve the resurrection of the bodies of both dead and alive saints.  Bible references that clearly explain this are John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).


Chronology of the Rapture


Tim LaHaye in his book, Understanding Bible Prophecy for Yourself, Harvest House Publishers, 2001, presents a chronology of the Rapture, as follows:


  1. The Lord Himself will descend from His Father’s house, where He is preparing a place for us (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16).


  1. He will come again to receive us to Himself (John 14:1-3).


  1. He will resurrect those who have fallen asleep in Him (deceased believers whom we will not precede—1 Thessalonians 4:14, 15).


  1. The Lord will shout as He descends (“loud command,” 1 Thessalonians 4:16 NIV).  All this takes place in the “twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52).


  1. We will hear the voice of the archangel (perhaps to lead Israel during the seven years of the Tribulation as he did in the Old Testament—1 Thessalonians 4:16).


  1. We will also hear the trumpet call of God (1 Thessalonians 4:16), the last trumpet for the church.  (Don’t confuse this with the seventh trumpet of judgment upon the world during the Tribulation in Revelation 11:15.)


  1. The dead in Christ will rise first (the corruptible ashes of their dead bodies are incorruptible and joined together with their spirits, which Jesus brings with Him—1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).


  1. Then we who are alive and remain will be changed (or made incorruptible by having our bodies made “immortal”—1 Corinthians 15:51, 53).


  1. We will be caught up (raptured) together (1 Thessalonians 4:17).


  1. We will be caught up in the clouds (where dead and living believers will have a monumental reunion—1 Thessalonians 4:17).


  1. We will meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17).


  1. Christ will receive us to Himself and take us to the Father’s house “that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3).


  1. “And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).


  1. At the call of Christ for believers, He will judge all things.  Christians will stand before the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10), described in detail in 1Corinthians 3:11-15.  This judgment prepares Christians for . . .


  1. The marriage of the Lamb.  Before Christ returns to earth in power and great glory, He will meet His bride, the Church, and the marriage supper will take place.  In the meantime, after the Church is raptured, the world will suffer the unprecedented outpouring of God’s wrath, which our Lord called “the great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21).


The Second Coming to Earth


On the other hand the Bible is replete with passages referring to the Christ’s second coming to earth to set up His kingdom as it relates to God’s chosen people (Israel).  There are far many more passages, both in the Old and New Testaments regarding this event than passages pertaining to the rapture of the Church.  To properly understand this aspect of Christ’s second coming, one needs also to understand the dispensational view of earth’s history (also known as ages), that is, the different administrations of God’s plan regarding human beings from Creation until the end of time.  Again, it is not the purpose of this study to expound on this view, but only to present a concise description of Christ’s second coming to earth.


Succinctly, the Old and New Testaments teach that Jesus Christ will return physically to earth at the end of the Tribulation in order to set up His kingdom and rule His people (Israel) for a period of 1,000 years, after which, He will judge all who have not accepted Him (by faith alone) according to their works (all insufficient) at the Great White Throne Judgment and then cast them all in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15).


IMPORTANT NOTE:  The Bible clearly teaches that salvation for anyone is totally by the grace of God through faith only in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8, 9).  The only way anyone who realizes his sin and lost nature can be saved is to turn in faith—full and genuine confidence or trust—to only Jesus Christ and away from every other confidence (works, religion, etc.)—this is biblical repentance—for his personal salvation.  Once this “decision” (an act of the will) is made, the lost person immediately becomes and is permanently saved, that is, he is given the gift of eternal life—never to be taken away.


An Overview of Biblical History (Countdown to the Second Coming of Christ)


The second aspect of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the one in which He comes in power and great glory back to earth to establish His kingdom, is the one most frequently mentioned in the Scriptures, both in the Old and New Testaments.  To appreciate the historical impact of this doctrinal event, one should review the prophetical countdown toward the “tribulation period,” which precedes it, that is presented in the Old Testament and carried forth through the New.  The following prophetical evaluation is taken from The Rapture, by Hal Lindsey, Bantam Books, 1985.


The prophet Daniel gave the framework for the Tribulation era in Daniel 9:24-27.  He was given a revelation concerning the main course of Israel’s future.  God decreed that seventy weeks of years (Israel reckoned time in weeks of years as well as weeks of days—Leviticus 25:1-7) were allotted to the people of Israel.  (One “week” of years equals seven years, so seventy weeks of years would be 490 years.)  The prophecy is specifically concerned with the future of the Israelites and the city of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:24).


Around 530 B.C. Daniel prophesied that Israel’s allotted time would begin with a decree to restore and rebuild the city of Jerusalem.  This decree was given by Artaxerxes Longimanus of Persia in 444 B.C.  Imagine that God had a great stopwatch with 490 years on it.  He started the watch counting down the allotted time the day Artaxerxes signed the decree.


Daniel predicted that from the giving of this decree until Messiah the Prince appeared would be sixty-nine weeks of years, or 483 Biblical years, each of which are 360 days long.  Scholars (Sir Robert Anderson, The Coming Prince, Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Kregel, 1975) have carefully worked out the chronology from ancient records and found that exactly 173,880 days (that is, 483 × 360 days) later, Jesus of Nazareth allowed Himself, for the first time, to be publicly proclaimed Messiah and heir to the throne of David (Luke 19:29-44).


The prophecy then forecast that two historical events would take place after the 483 years, but before the final seven allotted years.  First, the Messiah would be “cut off” or killed, and have nothing that was due Him as the heir to David’s throne.  Second, the city of Jerusalem and the temple, which was rebuilt by the Jews who had returned from Babylonian exile, would both be destroyed.  Jesus was crucified five days after being publicly presented as Messiah, and Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed some thirty-seven years later by Titus of Rome in A.D. 70.


God obviously stopped “the prophetic stopwatch” after it had ticked off 483 years.  The predicted destruction of Jerusalem happened far outside the predicted bounds of the last remaining week of years, so the clock could not have just continued ticking consecutively.  Because Israel failed to accept her Messiah and instead “cut Him off” by crucifying Him, God stopped the countdown seven years short of completion.  During the ensuing parenthesis in time, God turned His focus to the Gentiles and created the Church.


It is the remaining seven years of this prophecy that shed so much light upon the Tribulation period.  Daniel Chapter 9, Verse 27 tells us the following:


1.      The final seven years, or the Seventieth Week of Daniel as some call it, begins with the signing of a protective treaty between Israel and the Antichrist, who will come from the revived Roman Empire (9:27) composed of ten European nations.


2.      There will apparently be a temple rebuilt shortly before or at this time, because sacrifice and offerings will be resumed.  Jews wishing to return to this type of observance of Mosaic law and worship could do so only in a temple rebuilt on its ancient site in old Jerusalem.


3.      After three and one-half years, the Roman Dictator will betray Israel and set up “The Abomination of Desolation.”  This refers to the desecration of the temple.  The Antichrist will enter the holy of holies and will erect there a statue of himself, and proclaim himself to be God (Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 13:14-15).


4.      Jesus, speaking of this event, warned that it signaled the beginning of the worst tribulation ever seen on earth, which will continue for the remaining three and one-half years (Matthew 24:15-22).


Daniel 9:24-27 illustrates that the final seven years, or the Seventieth Week, specifically pertains to God’s unfinished business with the Israelite people and Jerusalem.  It is a time when God’s special focus is back on the Israelites as a people distinct from the Gentiles and the Church.  It is an allotment of time in which Old Testament covenants to Israel are to be fulfilled and completed.


At the end of the seven years of tribulation, Jesus Christ will come in great power and glory back to earth to cast the beast  and the false prophet into the fiery lake of burning sulfur and then to establish His kingdom (Revelation 19:11—20:6).  His coming will be attended by signs and natural phenomena (Matthew 24:29-31).  He will be seen by everyone on earth and they will be exceedingly sad because of Him (Revelation 1:7).  He will come to execute judgment with His saints (Jude 14, 15; Matthew 25).  He will come and stand on the Mount of Olives, the place from where He left the earth (Acts 1:11), which will split in two from east to west (Zechariah 14:3-5).  He will come with His armies as King of kings and Lord of lords to establish His 1,000 year reign upon the earth (Revelation 19:11-16).


Post-Millennial Kingdom


 At the end of His 1,000 year reign upon earth, Satan will be released from his prison and will deceive the nations of earth.  Satan will gather them to make battle against God and His people, only to go down in complete defeat at God’s hand and then to be cast into the lake of burning sulfur to keep company with the beast and the false prophet forever (Revelation 20:7-10).


Jesus Christ will then judge all who have rejected Him throughout history.  And based on the fact that their names are not found written in the Book of Life (a recording of their faith in Christ), they will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:7-15).


Post Judgment


From that point on comes the new (renovated by fire) heaven and earth and the New Jerusalem where the dwelling of God will be with mankind, and He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away; and there will be no more night, nor will they need artificial light or light from the sun, for the Lord God will give them light.  And man will live and reign with God forever.  But then, that is a study for another time.


(End of Commentary)



New Testament Scriptures Quoted in Full of the Second Coming of Christ


An “*” at the end of any passage reference will designate the passages as one that refers to the first aspect of Christ’s second coming, i.e., the Rapture of the Church (saints).


From Jesus Christ:


Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.  The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:40-43)


For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.  Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. (Matthew 16:27, 28)*


Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when these things will be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”. . . . Therefore when you see the “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.  And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.  But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!  And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.  For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.  Then if anyone says to you, “Look, here is the Christ! or there!” do not believe it.  For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  See, I have told you beforehand.  Therefore if they say to you, “Look, He is in the desert!” do not go out; or “Look, He is in the inner rooms!” do not believe it.  For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:3, 15-31, parallel to Mark 13:14-27/Luke 21:20-28)


And while they went to buy, the Bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with Him to the wedding; and the door was shut. (Matthew 25:10)*


Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." (Matthew 26:64, parallel to Mark 14:62)


Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3)*


From angelic beings:


Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:9-11)


From the apostles:


Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19-21)


So that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:7, 8)*


For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.  But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.

(1 Corinthians 15:22, 23)*


Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)*


If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!

(1 Corinthians 16:22)*


For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:20, 21)*


Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. (Philippians 4:5)*


When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)*


For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:9, 10)*


For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? (1 Thessalonians 2:19)*


And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

(1 Thessalonians 3:12, 13)


But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.   Therefore comfort one another with these words.

(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)*


For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:9)*


Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(1 Thessalonians 5:23)*


Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.

(2 Thessalonians 1:6-10)


Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.  Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.(2 Thessalonians 2:1-4)*


And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. (2 Thessalonians 2:8)


That you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing. (1 Timothy 6:14)*


I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom. (2 Timothy 4:1)*


Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8)*


Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13)*


So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)*


Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.  You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.  Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! (James 5:7-9)*


That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, . . . Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

(1 Peter 1:7, 13)*


Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

(1 Peter 4:12, 13)*


And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. (1 Peter 5:4)*


Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”  For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.  But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.  But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  (2 Peter 3:1-13)


And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. (1 John 2:28)*


Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

(1 John 3:2, 3)*


Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (Jude 14, 15)


Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 21)*


Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)


But hold fast what you have till I come. (Revelation 2:25)*


Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.  Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. (Revelation 3:10, 11)*


After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” (Revelation 4:1)*


Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.  His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.  He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.  Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.  Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”  And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.  Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.  And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.  Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.  He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.   And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.   But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 19:11—20:6)


Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book. . . . And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. . . . He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:7, 12, 20)*