fFor yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.—Hebrews 10:37
After the darkest night in world history will come the brightest dawn of His glorious morn. One of these days Jesus is going to stop the world and all His people are going to get off, away from all the suffering, evil, and confusion and into the peace and beauty and love and wonder of His kingdom come!The rule and reign of the Antichrist is going to look like the final triumph of man without God. God will look like He’s been defeated, and the church will look like it’s been destroyed. But what the Antichrist and his forces are not counting on is the omnipotent power of God! God is going to get His greatest victory out of the seeming greatest of all defeats. Just at the hour when the Antichrist thinks he has everything under control, at last he’s worshipped by the whole world and he “sitteth in the temple of God, as God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4), suddenly like a bolt from the blue, Jesus comes and snatches all of His children out of this world—all believers who refused the Mark of the Beast in either their forehead or their hand and refused to worship him, but preferred to love and live and even die for Jesus. Just after that darkest hour in world history will be the brightest dawn. Jesus is going to come back and rescue His own, His church, His people, everyone who loves Him and knows Him, who believe He is the Son of God, the Messiah. He’s going to say, “Stop the world! I want them to get off!” And “they that are alive and remain are going to be caught up together with Him in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17) . Jesus’ Second Coming is the major prophetic endtime event for Christians, as it will signify the end of this world as we now know it, as well as our place in it in these present physical bodies. Following His coming will be our complete translation and rapture as we’re caught up together with Him in the air and taken off into heavenly places. His coming is the pivotal point, the end of this present life and work on earth, when “time shall be no more” for us, and we will enter the great eternal now (Revelation 10:6–7).
The times and seasons of the Second ComingGod has a set time and schedule for the return of His Son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to rescue His people. Jesus is going to fulfill His Word. You can rest assured that He is not going to change plans and come contrary to all the things that He Himself taught and the prophets and the apostles wrote. He is not going to misfire, but His return is going to fulfill the specific, detailed prophecies of His Word regarding endtime events which must come to pass before He returns. The final countdown to Christ’s Second Coming will start after the Antichrist has been revealed as the great world leader who “confirms the covenant with many for seven years” regarding Jerusalem and Jewish temple worship (Daniel 9:27). It’ll be exactly 1,260 days until he breaks it and abolishes it and begins the Great Tribulation period by setting himself and his image up in the holy place to be worshipped, and commanding that everybody receive his mark in their forehead or hand. Jesus Himself said, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, then shall be Great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:15,21). When that image of the Antichrist is set up in the temple at Jerusalem in the midst of that seven-year covenant period, then will begin the Great Tribulation period for which His Word gives us the exact three-and-a-half-year length over and over again in so many different ways that you cannot possibly misunderstand it.—Three and a half years, 42 months, and 1,260 days (Daniel 7:25; 9:27; 12:7; Revelation 11:2-3, 12:6, 14, 13:5). Jesus warned us not to expect His return any sooner than has been predicted. He tells us, “When I come, you’ll know it.” The sky will light up like permanent lightning from one end to the other, and there will be such a sign in the heavens that you couldn’t possibly mistake the fact that Jesus is coming. “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:27). He says there’s going to be light shining from the east to the west like lightning. The whole sky is going to light up and stay lit when Jesus comes, while we’re gathered to meet Him in the air, and the whole world is going to watch it. “For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together” (Matthew 24:28). He’s speaking in cryptic, very puzzling language, saying, “Wherever the body is, there will be gathered those that feed on Christ.”—A rather unsavory comparison that we, like vultures, feed upon the body of Christ. But He said, “Except you eat of My flesh and drink of My blood, you’re not going to have any part in Me” (John 6:53–58). So here He’s speaking of our gathering together or rapture to Him. Wherever His followers are, they’re going to be drawn like a magnet, like the eagles to the carcass, like vultures to the body, who have to eat and feed upon Christ to live spiritually. Wherever the carcass is, there will all of us little eagles be gathered together. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all of the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:29–31). What could be more cataclysmic, dramatic, and obvious than the coming of the Lord as described here by Jesus himself? The whole sky will be lit up like lightning, the saved of all ages will be literally “gathered together” in the air, the sun and the moon will be darkened and meteors will be falling, and Jesus Himself will appear in the atmospheric heavens, causing the unsaved to mourn and weep as they see His coming in the clouds “with power and great glory.” “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:1–3). It will be like sudden destruction, suddenly, without warning. Because their false prophets have been telling them, “Everything’s peaceful now, and you don’t have to worry about anything. We have our world government, we have our Antichrist, we have our Messiah, we have our superman to run the world now, and everything’s going to be okay. Peace and safety.” And then sudden destruction hits them! Jesus returns, rescues His Bride, and God begins pouring out His final wrath and judgments on the Antichrist’s world empire.
“But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day (of Christ’s Second Coming) should overtake you as a thief” (1 Thessalonians 5:4). Christians who know His Word and have “discerned the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3) are not going to be surprised. You may not know the precise day or hour, but you’ll certainly know when approximately three and a half years from the placing of the abomination of desolation has passed, and will be looking for and anxiously awaiting Jesus’ return. “Ye are all the children of light and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:5–8).In Revelation it says, “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him” (Revelation 1:7). What greater witness could there be than the resurrection and the rapture? That’s the final witness. Nobody’s going to be left behind that loves Jesus. Nobody’s going to be left behind that has received Jesus as his Savior. No one is going to be left behind who is saved. Not a single, genuine, Bible-believing, Christ-trusting, Jesus-loving Christian is going to be left behind, not one. For “we shall all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51), and we will all be raised. He’ll send His angels out to gather His children from everywhere, from all around the whole earth, and He won’t leave one behind.