(Audio transcript—created 8/14/2015)
Greetings and welcome to you friends & brethren, around the world—wherever you may be!
Welcome to this Bible study, looking into various Scriptural passages that reveal inspired written details of Christ’s return, which is the title. Christ himself made some revealing statements in various places about His return and what would take place, but today the vast majority of mankind fail to study out and believe this Biblical truth, therefore believing in falsehoods. I am speaking to you today with the firm belief that Scripture cannot be broken, as recorded in John 10:35, so no other Scripture written could contradict Christ’s own words, nor render them less truthful than what they were first presented to be. This is something we need to fix solidly in our minds, if we are true believers, in order to maintain the authority of the Bible and the Faith required for salvation.
Do we believe what our Bible clearly says and place faith in it? Are we allowed to inject a few other ideas or perhaps believe our own ideas or those of other men, not clearly supported by most Scripture? If so, then we should all be Catholics and just listen to them. If any ideas are in clear conflict with Scripture, then we must reject them as heresy, once studied out and this is proven. (See article titled Heresy for more on that subject)
Let us fix it into our minds that coming to understand and believe the Bible is one of the surest ways of working out our own salvation and developing the faith of Christ within us. (remember Heb.11:6) Those who are truly a part of the COG, which is a spiritual organism and scattered today, quickly learn to develop a believing faith and trust in the word of God and that we do not have to interpret it to understand it. In John 16:13 Christ states to His disciples that the Holy Spirit within us “will guide you into all truth”, and that can only happen when you & I study the Bible with a desire to follow where the Spirit leads, with belief of the clear Scriptures. True Christians let the clear scriptures help in understanding the unclear and vague ones. Many today however, are allowing their own ideas about Scripture to over-ride the clear word of God on some subjects. Ps 119:160 says; “The entirety of Your word is truth,”—which cannot really be true if one Scripture is allowed to be used to cast doubt on another. That is Scripture being broken, which would also contradict John 10:35—so I hope you are getting the meaning and intent of that verse.
The clear sign of a true Christian is one who believes God, by study and proving His truth found in various Scriptural accounts that are in harmony with one another. Prov. 30:5-6 says; “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. V.6 Do not add to His words, (That is with our own ideas and assumptions) Lest He reprove (or rebuke) you, and you be found a liar.” Many people do this without realization, simply by determining for themselves what some Scriptures mean; and even when their interpretation creates a contradiction, they cannot seem to see it as an attempt to Loosen or break the truthfulness of other passages. (I will be using the NKJ unless otherwise noted, for this study, but I hope you will follow with your own Bible. Let us examine some Scriptural content dealing with the return of Jesus Christ and what our bibles reveal.)
As most religiously inclined people realize, there is a great amount of diversity in the teachings or doctrines of various religious organizations claiming Christianity. However a true Christian, according to Biblical definition of the word “Christians” found in Acts11:26, is a follower of Christ. Christ said we are to live by every word of God, (Matt.4:4 & Luke 4:4) as He did. Let us consider this for a moment, in dealing with Christ’s return; in John14:3, He says; “I will come again” clearly meaning back to this earth, where He then was. We find in Matt 16:27 it says; “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”.
Many in these various protestant organizations ignore this and believe in heaven as a reward and some kind of rapture which the Bible does not teach. Christ returning to gather the saints to go back to heaven, with various versions of that theory—cannot be found. That idea is a rapturing of them away, into the heavenly realm, only to return openly later. Think about these things and ask yourself how many of them are really supported by the clear words of the Bible? Men have always had the tendency to mix their own ideas with truth and call it all truth. Satan the devil started this in the Garden of Eden and still influences the carnal mind into twisting the Scriptures with a mixture of truth and error. Is this still going on today? Yes, and Peter warned of this. Cutting into the context of 2Pet.3, he brings out that people twist Paul’s writings as well as other Scriptures to deceive. Note this from part of V.16; Peter says “which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.” That says a lot, when you begin to think about it. However, many who are considered the elect do not expect to see that happening within the COG and about Christ’s return, so they are caught off guard. We cannot be negligent in studying deeply into that particular subject and paying attention to the clear Scriptures. If the words of men contradict the Bible, we should reject those words and if a pattern of it continues—the organization itself comes under suspicion.
When a COG organization starts a new teaching that has Christ entering earth’s atmosphere to get the saints, then taking them back to the 3rd heaven for the marriage; very similar to parts of the rapture theory, this should cause a thorough study into this. That alone would cause there to HAVE TO BE a third coming on the part of Christ. This teaching has actually happened and there are many fallacies in this theory, and the obvious one is that Christ would then have a 3rd coming to establish the kingdom on earth and then begin to rule with the saints. The majority who buy into this do not think about how this idea casts doubt on other Scriptures, when compared to what the Bible actually says in many places. In fact, as we will see later, the very organization that has brought forth this “new doctrine” has also contradicted it several times since this was introduced.
Again, what do you want to believe—men or your Bible. So let us notice and consider these words of Christ in John 14:18 "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” Again in V.28 "You have heard Me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you.' (simple words but very clear.) We do not read Christ saying; “I am coming back to get you”—He is coming “back to you”—the disciples/COG here on earth who place their faith in that being the truth. Scriptural teaching from several passages says He will set up the kingdom of God on this earth, which is what the Gospel is all about. Many other Scriptures talk about Christ returning to this earth. Daniel was inspired to say; "the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these (earthly) kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (Dan 2:44)
Bible students know that Old Testament prophets wrote of the 1st & 2nd coming of Christ. Here is an example from Isa.35: the last part of V.2 says; “They (mankind) shall see the glory of the LORD, the excellency of our God.”
Rev 11:15 “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" This happens at the sounding of the seventh Trumpet. How much do we really think about these things in comparison to the ideas of men? We have this warning in Heb. 13:9 “Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines.” The truly converted Body of Christ are also admonished in Eph. 4:14; “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,”. Christ Himself said of those who come up with their own doctrines; “in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." (Matt 15:9) Is that still happening today? Jude V:3 says; “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, (that deals with the first resurrection at Christ’s second coming for the COG) I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
Obviously what they placed faith in and taught, by word or written epistles about Christ’s return and the plan of God, was already given to them. The truth of the matter is revealed in these passage, if we believe what they say. Isa 46:9-10 reading from the ASV; 9 “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; (I am) God, and there is none like me” note this now, this God who became Christ says; 10 declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not (yet) done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure;” We cannot forget that Christ WAS the Word God (John1:1) and knew the entire plan before man was even created, because He was actually part of it. He was the God of the OT. (See article with that title for more) So we need to ponder these things, being very careful what we embrace is truth and ask a few questions before jumping into believing heresy.
Is Christ coming into earth’s atmosphere, going back out and then coming again a few days later? If so, where is that revealed in Scripture and why did Christ say nothing of this “third coming”? Is this where the assumed “secret rapture” comes from, because it is not revealed in the bible? Could that coming and going back and coming again all be considered just a second coming, as some are now alluding to? Once you really begin to examine this, it casts doubt on the truthfulness of many passages and even Christ’s own words as not being entirely truthful or knowledgeable of the event, yet He gave many details, and the early Church put faith in those descriptions of His return.
1Cor.14:33 tells us God is not the author of confusion, so that confusion comes from another spirit. 1John 4:1 tells us to test the spirits to determine if they are of God or not, and we should know what spirit would contradict the very word of God in so many places. So that is the main point we should consider. Christ coming from God into earth’s atmosphere and leaving again would constitute an obvious third time which is never mentioned in Scripture anywhere. It contradicts the truthfulness of what we do see, yet common sense tells us that if Christ comes to “get” the saints; leaves after being seen and gathering them together—He would have to come again to begin to rule on earth and establish the Kingdom.
So let us consider this; some who buy into this heresy have manufactured the idea that because Christ has not yet set foot on soil, when He meets the saints in the clouds and air, this does not constitute a coming. But what about Him being seen by those on earth? So let us notice more of what Christ Himself said about His return; Matt 25:31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.” So here we see Christ returning in Glory having all the Holy angels with Him and sitting on His own throne. Will people see this “coming” or is it secretive and not seen? Let us continue on for those answers from Scripture. Luke 21:27 says; "Then they (people on earth) will see the Son of Man coming (there is that word “coming” again) in a cloud with power and great glory.” Okay so He is seen coming in a cloud. Matt 24:30-31 "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, (appear is to be seen) and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming (there it is again) on the clouds of heaven (So here it is obvious He is within earth’s atmosphere where clouds are and He is seen by those on earth) “with power and great glory”. All these would not be fully truthful if this is not considered His coming, contradicting the very words used, which anyone should be able to grasp. The word means exactly what it says—but the theory mentioned earlier would contradict these words or at least add in another element not mentioned here, which would be a third coming.
What else happens then? 31 "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, (another detail –no secret) and they (the angels) will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (see also Mark 13:26 & 27.) Rev.1:7 says “behold, He is coming in the clouds and every eye will see Him.” Other passages say that He comes in the clouds & the air; (Matt.26:64 & Mark 14:62) Bible students should also be familiar with 1Thes 4:16-17. “For the Lord Himself will descend (come down) from heaven with a shout, (Not secretly) with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them (that is when the angels gather the saints from all around the earth, as we just read.) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. (That is where we meet Him, within earth’s atmosphere) And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” So this has to be His second coming when we are joined with Christ. Now we also saw the sign of Him would “appear” in heaven. Paul says in his letter to Timothy that there is a crown laid up for him, to be given him and “not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Tim 4:8) We find this recorded in Titus 2:13; “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,”. These are all talking about the same event, what is well known as His 2nd coming. Even word definitions agree; APPEARING is #2015 (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers) it says; “(a) the advent of the Savior when the Word became flesh; (b) the coming of the Lord Jesus into the air to the meeting with His saints”. These are singular accounts of the first and second comings. The Greek-Hebrew Dictionary, NT: for #2015 gives the word epiphaneia (ep-if-an'-i-ah); meaning; a manifestation, i.e. the advent of Christ:” A singular event.
So with all of the Scriptural evidence plus this, we must confront this new doctrine with it as being false; contrary to Scriptural truth we have seen. We have seen Christ will have returned in the clouds and been seen doing so, at the great sound of a trumpet blast, which is also not secretive —we have seen that the saints are resurrected, rise into the clouds and the air where they are then gathered together by angels from all around the earth and joined with Christ. No secret rapture, or any recorded indication of Christ turning around and going back to the Father is seen in any of these passages.
The quotes I am about to give are both from articles on the subject of Christ’s return and both from the same organization that began promoting this false doctrine a few years ago. If you pay close attention, you will notice the mixture of truth and error, quoted word for word, which contradicts the vast array of Scripture we have already seen.
“anticipating our destiny of being born into God’s Family as first-fruits, upon the resurrection of the dead, we look forward to meeting Christ in the air at the seventh trumpet (true according to Scripture, up to this point;) “and then going to God’s throne, ready for our marriage to the Lamb. Then we will see our Father in heaven, and we will be one with Him and the Lamb.” First the truth followed by the error. There is no Scripture that says this last part that would of necessity create a third coming. There is even confusion within this article, which later presents Christ only comes to earth’s atmosphere, not into it. Here is that quote-- “Christ will come to planet Earth’s atmosphere for the saints, who will follow Him to God’s throne.”----- indicating He is coming to “get them” & again, there is no Scriptural passage for that. There are actually a few other things here that conflict with Scripture & Christ’s own words, when you begin to examine it closely, but let us move on to the second quote from a more recent article. This one seems to be talking about the flaws in the rapture theory, but note the direct contradiction to their own teaching. Cutting into the context again, this writer is explaining the chain of events as Christ returns; “then the glorious return of Jesus Christ at the “great sound of a trumpet” (he gives Matt.24.31 which we have read) “as the resurrected saints are gathered to Christ, their Bridegroom, and who then join Him in descending to the Mount of Olives. “Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives” (Zechariah 14:3–4).” So which is it, does Christ come on down, as this says, or does He turn around and go back as the other one said?
It appears that these leaders are divided on this by their words, but do not seem to know it. Their new doctrine is forcing into Scripture the idea and interpretation of a marriage ceremony in the third heaven, which is by speculation only. We have seen enough about this in Scripture to figure out something is missing if Christ is going to take the saints back to the 3rd heaven. There is no mention of it or a 3rd coming, no description of those events found anywhere, given by Christ during His ministry or during the early Church doctrines written later. Paul says that Christ will present the bride to Himself—was he mistaken about that? Note this in Eph. 5:27, cutting into the context; “that He (Christ) might present her (Church) to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Saying the Father presents her to Christ in the 3rd heaven is a contradiction to this passage. Christ presents her to himself and we have seen how He intends to do that. He sends His angels out to gather them together and bring them to Him, as He enters into the clouds and the air. According to Paul, the COG is already betrothed to Christ now, and preparing herself. She is called His wife in Rev.19:7, saying “She has made herself ready”. 1Thes 4:17 says “thus we (meaning the COG Bride) shall always be with the Lord” –so it appears the union will have been made in this earth’s atmosphere; right there when the angels bring her (the saints/church) to Christ, while appearing to the earth below in His glory.
Christ told Phillip (John 14:9) that by seeing Christ he had seen the Father and went on to say He (Christ) and the Father are one. Knowing Christ, then is knowing the Father and being known by Him—so they do not have to go to the 3rd heaven for that.
Let us examine a few more Scriptures of Christ’s return, before we conclude.
Rev 11:15 we mentioned earlier; Christ comes at the seventh angel sounding his trumpet: when "The kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" Christ will come in great Glory and power, having His own throne to reign on earth. 1Cor.15:52 “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 (those alive) shall be changed.”
Everything is focused on a second coming, recorded in so many places, which is what the true COG has always understood and taught. Notice this passage in Acts 1:9-11. Christ instructs the disciples to remain in Jerusalem to receive the Holy Spirit, then; V.9 “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, (so they literally saw Him ascending in a cloud) behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, (obviously angels) 11 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."
Coming in the clouds to be seen, then going back to heaven for a few days then coming back to establish the Kingdom would not be in “like manner”— nor is it what all these other Scriptures reveal, in harmony with one another. So that new teaching directly contradicts yet another passage that is very clear. Now let us look at Heb.9:28 “so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear (singular –as other Scriptures support) a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” This passage is also directly contradicted, in its wording, but agrees with teachings of Christ. Do we find any indication in the Bible of a third return after a wedding in the third heaven? None what-so-ever! Why do we rise to meet Christ in the air, instead of going directly to Jerusalem, is another question some have? Some have obviously never understood this is too fulfill prophecy already given. Rev 17:14 is a nearly 2 thousand year old prophecy which says “those with him are called and chosen and faithful"— we have to rise and meet Him if we are to come down with Him, which has been prophesied. This event fulfills other prophecy already given, such as Jude:14-15 which says; "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, "to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them”. Notice this OT prophecy from Ps 149:5-9; it says—V.5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: -- 6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; 7 To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; 8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; 9 To execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.” KJV. That is the same prophesied time when Christ will set Himself to do battle and the saints are with Him, as Rev.17:14 reveals. These Scriptures are all in harmony. However, there is one other reason they rise and meet Him in the air. It is to fulfill another prophecy. Christ was the fulfilment of the wave sheaf offering. It was “lifted up”, symbolizing Christ rising. Likewise, the first fruits offering, the two wave loaves were lifted up, symbolizing the saint’s rise to meet Christ in the air.
So let us summarize as we conclude; Christ returns at the last trumpet to take over the kingdoms of this earth and set up the kingdom of God. He returns to earth in the clouds as He went up, just as we have seen; He is seen by those on earth and the dead in Christ rise first then those alive join them, they are raised incorruptible— made Spirit, gathered together and now joined with Christ, meeting Him in the clouds and the air within planet earth’s atmosphere. We have seen there also is the sound of a trumpet blast, so there is nothing secret about this. What we have not seen in any of these passages is anything about Christ gathering the saints to go back to heaven, nor have we seen anything in Scripture telling us that the Father will officiate at the wedding in the third heaven. Those things are assumed only and read into Scripture. No evidence of Christ’s return back to the 3rd heaven with His bride before the marriage and no triumphant return from there with his bride after that marriage. These are totally missing from Scripture and only manufactured ideas of men designed to deceive the elect, if possible.
Allowing wrong ideas to settle into the mind will take root, growing into other erroneous ideas. That will cause a person to drift further away from solid truths, or begin to simply reason around them, while believing these manufactured ideas are truth. This is a subtle move by Satan the devil to deceive the elect. Heb.2:1 says; “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, (The solid teachings of clear Scripture) lest we drift away.” Those things to earnestly heed, on this subject are the Scriptures we have reviewed. True Christians hold fast what is solidly proven as truth from clear Scripture, zealous to not allow themselves to be pulled off track with unproven “winds of doctrine”. True doctrines are verified and supported by other clear Scriptures and the Holy Spirit will guide us into that truth. We must hold fast to truth clearly seen and verified by all of these Scriptures that deal with Christ and His return. A true Christian is to hold onto Biblical truth so that no one will take their crown. Thanks for joining in this study of these Scriptural details of Christ’s return.