Study 12 THE CERTAINTY OF HIS RETURN
THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST
by Francis Dixon
Scripture Portion: Matthew 24:1-44
No study of the Person and Work of our Lord Jesus Christ would be complete without the great truth of His personal return. We shall be reminded in this study that this important doctrine is repeated over and over again throughout the Bible. In spite of this fact, however, there are many who do not believe in the truth of our Lord’s second coming. There are at least five types of people who represent five different attitudes towards the Lord’s return.
- (1) The scoffers – look up 2 Peter 3:3.
- (2) The prejudiced, and those who have been turned away from this truth by unwise teachers, date-fixers etc. – look up Matthew 24:42 and Acts 1:7.
- (3) Those who are ignorant of this truth – look up Matthew 22:29.
- (4) Those who accept false views of the second advent.
- (5) Those who believe that He is coming again!
Yes, there are many Christians who believe that the same Lord Jesus, who was born at Bethlehem, who lived and died, rose again and ascended, and who is now exalted in Heaven, will come again the second time – literally, personally, bodily, visibly and triumphantly; and among the reasons for believing in the second coming of our Saviour the following are most satisfying.
1. The Scriptures give constant testimony that our Lord Jesus Christ will come again
If you take your Bible and read through from the beginning you will be amazed at the emphasis on the second coming. By the time you get to Genesis 3:15 you will be face to face with the first wonderful Bible promise of a Saviour who would come to earth twice – first to suffer and die, and then to reign and triumph for ever. If we were to take out of our Bible every reference to the second coming of the Lord, we would have a terribly mutilated Book. This is no ‘pet theory’ accepted by a ‘few cranks’; it is a major doctrine of the Word of God. It has been said by scholars that the second coming of Christ is mentioned no less than 1200 times in the Old Testament and 300 times in the New Testament. If we read our Bible and believe it, we cannot do other than be certain that our Saviour is coming again. The fact of His return is clearly and emphatically stated in prediction, in type, in parable and in promise.
2. In the Old Testament the prophecies relating to the Lord Jesus Christ link together His two comings
In the Old Testament we find a double prophetic picture of Christ – as the Suffering One and as the Kingly One. For instance, in Psalms 22 and 69 and in Isaiah 53, He is revealed as the Suffering One; but in Psalms 2, 45 and 72 and in Isaiah 11, He is revealed as the Kingly One. It is impossible to harmonise these two prophetic pictures by trying to make them both refer to His first advent, for they do not both refer to His first coming. Only the first aspect of these prophecies has thus far been fulfilled, and the prophecies which speak of Him as Lord of lords and King of kings await fulfilment. Scripture knows no first coming without a second coming. The two comings are inseparable in the prophetic Word. Notice that both advents are proclaimed in the following scriptures: Genesis 3:15; Psalms 22 and 24; Isaiah 61:1-2; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 and Hebrews 9:24-28.
3. The Lord Jesus clearly stated that He would come again
The best loved verses in the whole Bible are in John 14:1-3, where we find our Lord’s promise that He will come again for His blood-bought ones. Turn to 1 John 5:9 – we receive the witness of men, but here we have the witness of the Lord Himself, and He cannot lie! Here also are His own words – look up Matthew 16:27; Matthew 24:37; Mark 13:26 and Luke 12:40. Read the parables of our Lord and see how full they are of His second coming. We believe He is coming again because He said He would.
4. At His Ascension the angels said that He would come a second time
Read Acts 1:9-11, and you will agree that these words are so clear that they cannot permit any other interpretation being given to them. The testimony of the angels is of great value, for the angelic testimonies concerning His birth and His resurrection were literally fulfilled – look up Luke 1:26 and Luke 24:4.
5. The Apostolic testimony in the New Testament letters is emphatic that the Lord will come again
Twenty-two out of the twenty-seven New Testament books speak of the second coming. Paul constantly teaches this great doctrine (1 and 2 Thessalonians); so does James (James 5:7-8); so does Peter (2 Peter 3:3-4); so does John (1 John 3:2 and Revelation 1:7); and so does Jude (Jude 14). Now look up 2 Timothy 3:16 and compare 2 Peter 1:21.
6. Since the closing of the canon of Scripture there has been continuous testimony to the second coming of Christ
For over 2000 years God has had His witnesses to this truth. The writings of the Early Fathers (Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Ignatius of Antioch, Justyn Martyn etc.) reveal their belief that Christ would return. The Reformers (John Wycliffe, John Calvin and Martin Luther) also believed and preached the second coming. Also all of the great evangelists and preachers whom God has signally used have believed in and proclaimed our Lord’s second coming. It is also deeply significant that all the well-known Protestant ‘Statements of Belief’ include the second coming as an important doctrine.
7. The Second Advent of Christ is a dispensational and a logical necessity
God is working to a plan, and His ultimate act will be the enthronement of His Son as King of kings and Lord of lords – look up Philippians 2:5-11. Before this final victory can be accomplished, Christ Himself must come back again to this earth.