Looking for The Blessed Hope
(The Coming of the Lord Jesus For His Church)
for The Blessed Hope
(The Coming of the Lord
For His Church)
John 14:2 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. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you
unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
The first mention of the Lord’s
Second Coming is found in John 14. This caught His disciples by surprise as He
just told them He was going away. He assured them of His return, or as it is
now known as His Second Coming. Since the Lord rose from the dead, His coming
for the church and believers being with Him for eternity has been the hope of
The hope of the
Lord’s return is not just mere hope, but the Bible calls it the Blessed Hope.
It is a special hope that energizes believers and helps them through this life.
Living without the Blessed Hope, a believer can grow cold and worldly. Living
with the Blessed Hope keeps believers focused on the Lord and spiritually vibrant:
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and
our Saviour Jesus Christ;
The Two Comings of the Lord in the Old Testament
Studying the Old Testament, with
an understanding of the New Testament, one can clearly see the two comings of
the Messiah. The Old Testament does not implicitly say that the Messiah is coming twice, nor does it say how long the gap between
His First and Second Comings is. Because the Old Testament does not say there
are two advents that does not mean there cannot be two
since the New Testament clearly proves there are. It takes spiritual
discernment to understand the two comings, and sometimes it even requires dividing
a verse to understand the two comings.
The Lord Jesus
was preaching in a synagogue at
when He quoted from Isaiah 61:1,2. This is recorded in
Luke 4:18,19. He quoted part of the verse and then sat
down. He then told the people, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” When
comparing Luke with Isaiah, the section that the Lord left out is clear. He
ended with “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord,” while Isaiah continues
with “and the day of vengeance of our God.” The reason the Lord stopped when He
did is that the rest of the verse pertains to His Second Coming. His First and
Second Comings were both contained in Isaiah 61: 1,2,
and the Lord showed this divide when He preached. Luke 4:18,19 and Isaiah 61:1,2 follow:
Luke 4:18 The
Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel
to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance
to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them
that are bruised, (19) To preach the
acceptable year of the Lord.
Isaiah 61:1 The
spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach
good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to
proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that
are bound; (2) To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
This concept of the two comings is
found in the Old Testament, and yet not specifically stating there were two
comings, carries over into the New Testament and the Second Coming of the Lord
Jesus. The New Testament teaches that the Lord’s Second Coming is in two
phases. With the first, He returns for His church. With the second, He returns with His church to defend
at the battle of Armageddon.
In the first phase,
He meets His church in the air.
Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in
Christ shall rise first: (17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so
shall we ever be with the Lord.
This event takes place in the
moment the Bible calls the “last trump”. This phase is limited to the believers
in the Lord Jesus.
15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the
last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised
incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
In the second phase, He returns
and destroy the armies of the world gathered at the battle of Armageddon. The
unbelievers will be in terror when the Lord returns to judge the nations.
6:15-17 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and
the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man,
hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the
mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth
on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath
is come; and who shall be able to stand?
During the second phase, the Lord
returns with His church. This event takes place after the church is in heaven
with the Lord Jesus at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. At the end of the
Marriage Supper, He leaves heaven to judge the earth, and His church returns
with Him being described as the armies of heaven:
19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him
upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
The First Phase of the Second Coming
The Book of Revelation precisely
lays out the events showing both phases of the Lord’s Second Coming. The key to
understanding the Book of Revelation is found in chapter 1, verse 19. This
verse divides the book into three sections: what John has seen, the things
which are, and the things which shall be hereafter:
1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the
things which shall be hereafter;
The things which John has seen
are found in chapter one, and it is the vision of the Lord Jesus. The things
which are can be found in chapters two and three. These are the letters to the
seven churches. There is no doubt that the church is “the things which are”
because at the end of each letter the Bible states:
3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
After the seven letters to the
churches, the scene moves to heaven and this is where “the things which shall
be hereafter” takes place. All reference to the church in the “which shall be
hereafter” are now portrayed in heaven and not on the earth.
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first
voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said,
Come up hither, and I will show thee things
which must be hereafter. (2) And immediately I was
in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the
The very first thing that John
heard pertaining to the “hereafter” was a voice like a trumpet calling him to
heaven. The book of Revelation tells us that the voice of the Lord Jesus is
just like a trumpet:
1:10,11 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great
voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last …
The Bible associates the coming
of the Lord Jesus for His church with a trumpet sound. This is what John heard
when he was called to heaven, as the voice of the Lord Jesus is just like a
trumpet. In times past, the trumpet was used during a battle to give signals to
the army. It was also used to announce the presence of royalty. The trumpet
blast connected with the rapture of the church comes from the Lord Jesus and
not an angel.
At the last
trumpet sound for the church, the Lord Jesus is going to descend from heaven
with a shout, the trumpet of God. This is a trumpet sound by the Lord Himself
and not an angel to call His church to heaven, and this call is not for
judgment. When studying the Book of Revelation, it is important to understand
the trumpet sound to call the church is made by the Lord and not an angel. There
are angels blowing trumpets, but it is for judgment.
trumpet sound connected with the Lord Jesus is found in Revelation 4:1. It is
very possible from this verse that the trumpet command He will use to call His
church to heaven is “Come up hither”. He will call His church just like He
called John to heaven:
1 Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the
twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:
for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we
shall be changed.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the
archangel, and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
When John was called to heaven, immediately
he was in the spirit and before the throne of God. This is the same language
found in 1 Corinthians 15:52, that believers are changed in the “twinkling of
Revelation 4:2 And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a
throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
Revelation chapters four and five
are about the throne of God and events surrounding the throne. The fifth
chapter is very important in understanding the conclusion of the first phase of
the Lord’s coming. In this chapter, the church is before the throne of God. Their
location before the throne is extremely important. It is the raptured believers
who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus and not angels:
Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to
take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast
redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people,
This concept of the church being
before the throne is reinforced in Revelation 7:
Revelation 7:9,10 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which
no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the
Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud
voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the
(14) … These
are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and
made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Revelation 7 is a very
interesting chapter. At first reading, it is easy to think it is part of the
seven seal judgments but it is not. It is like a parenthesis between seals six
and seven. This chapter refers back to the time before the judgments began. The previous chapter describes awesome
judgments on the earth and ends with the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus
Christ. This chapter begins before there are judgments on the earth!
Revelation 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on
the four corners of the earth, (3) Saying,
Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the
servants of our God in their foreheads.
Chapter seven is directly
connected to chapter 5 as they both show the church before the throne and not
on earth. This chapter offers another view of the church in heaven. Being a
“parenthesis,” it is showing that while all the horrible events are taking
place on earth, the church is in heaven with the Savior. Remember, the key to
this chapter is that it takes place before any of the seals are broken. The
great multitude of this chapter were not killed by the
seal judgments because it takes place before the judgments began.
The believers before
the throne are witnessing the events leading up to God’s judgments on the
earth. They are in heaven with the Lord Jesus before even one judgment is
loosed on the earth. This is the most important concept that the church is in
heaven with the Jesus before one judgment begins. Obviously, the Lord Jesus
came for His church before He begins the judgments upon the earth.
chapter five, God the Father is on the throne with the book that is sealed with
the seven seals of judgment. This is the book that contains all the judgments. He
gives this book to Jesus Christ who then opens the seals and the judgments
And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within
and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. (7) And he came and took the book
out of the right hand of him that sat upon the
The entire church is before the
throne witnessing these events. The believers are with the Lord Jesus before
any of the judgments begin, and no verse in Revelation indicates that during
the judgments people are added to those before the throne. The church is
complete in Revelation chapter five. The first phase of the Lord’s Second
Coming is nearly complete. The church is in heaven with Him.
chapter six, the seals are opened and the judgments begin. When the fifth seal
is opened John sees a group of people under the altar. These people are
distinct from those before the throne. These are the people who died after the
church was called to heaven, and they are not placed with the church before the
throne, but under the altar.
They are dying
in huge numbers because they did not submit the antichrist and His forces on
earth. These people are given white robes and told to rest until events are
Revelation 6:9,10 And when he had opened the
fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony
which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord,
holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on
(11) And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said
unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their
fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were,
should be fulfilled
The completion of the fifth seal
takes place in Revelation 20. The people who were placed under the altar will
be resurrected after the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and even after the Lord returned with His church to defeat the antichrist.
states that these people were killed because they would not worship the
antichrist and his image. Their resurrection is called the “first resurrection”.
In contrast, the second resurrection takes place after the Lord’s 1000 year
reign on the earth. This second resurrection is for the wicked and eternal
Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment
was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the
witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the
beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads,
or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
(5) But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years
were finished. This is the first resurrection.
A close examination of Revelation 20:4 reveals the two
distinct groups in heaven. The church that was before the throne and the fifth
seal saints that were under the altar. This verse
mentions thrones and then the plural “they” and “them” who sat on the thrones.
The verse adds that judgment was given to these people on their thrones.
This verse shows that it is not the Lord Jesus who judges, but He has turned
the judgment over to another group of people. The verse then continues with the
resurrection of the saints of the fifth seal judgment. It is the people sitting
on the thrones who judge this resurrected group and not Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus promised the believers who overcame the
Laodicean church that He would grant them to sit with Him on His throne! This
is truly an amazing verse that the Lord would share His authority with His
Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit
with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father
in his throne.
This sharing of authority then can be seen in Revelation
20:4, when He turns judgment over to His bride the church! It is the church
that judges the saints that were placed under the altar. It is amazing to see
the trust that the Lord has in His bride.
In review, there are two separate and distinct groups of
believers in the Lord Jesus in heaven. The first is the church, which is before
the throne of God prior to any of the judgments beginning on earth. The
second group is formed after the judgments begin. They are listed under the
fifth seal judgment and are found under the altar. These people arrive in
heaven because they were slain and so are told to be patient until events are
details the circumstances of how the people found under the altar are going to
die. The Bible details how the beast/antichrist is going to be given power over
all nations. Then the Bible warns, “If any man have an
ear, let him hear.”
13:9 If any man have an ear, let him hear. (10) He
that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the
sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the
What is so telling about this particular
warning is that it is NOT given to the church. In
Revelation 2 and 3, on seven occasions the Lord specifically warned the
churches. The reason the church is not warned in Revelation 13 is that it is
before the throne and complete. This specific warning is for those who, when
they die, are found under the altar since they are not considered part of the
In the gospels
on several occasions, the Lord also used a phrase about having ears and
hearing. On these occasions, He did not say “unto the churches”. He did this
because the church was not yet in existence at this time. So, both before the
church and after the church age, the Lord did not use the phrase “unto the
churches”. The verses showing this follow:
Before the church:
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
The church age:
3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what
the Spirit saith unto the churches.
After the church age:
13:9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.
The fact that Revelation 13:9
leaves out “what the Spirit saith unto the churches” is strong evidence that
the entire church is with the Lord Jesus in heaven and before the throne. It is
not on earth.
continues to document the judgments and then comes to the final one which is the
This is the world’s religious, political and economic system. After all this
destruction, the Bible once more focuses on the church in heaven. In chapter
19, the church is referred to as “the bride”. This is the third time in Revelation
the entire church is recorded to be in heaven. It is found in chapters 5, 7,
and now 19.
multitude of believers are rejoicing in heaven because the Marriage Supper of
the Lamb is about to take place. Blessed are all they which are called to the
marriage supper. The bride, which is the church, is dressed in clean and white
Revelation 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude,
and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings,
saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God
(7) Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage
of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself
(8) And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen,
clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
(9) And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto
the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
The end of the Marriage Supper
completes the first phase of the Lord’s coming, and now events quickly shift
into the second phase. This is the Lord Jesus returning with this bride/church
at the battle of Armageddon.
The Second Phase of Christ’s Second Coming
Immediately after the Marriage
Supper, the Lord Jesus prepares for war. He is going to leave heaven and return
destroy the beast, the antichrist, along with their armies at the battle of
Armageddon. The Lord’s church follows Him and is referred to as the “armies of
heaven”. His army is dressed white linen.
19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon
him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make
war. (14) And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses,
clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
The battle does not last long as
the Lord destroys the antichrist and his armies that are gathered around
Revelation 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a
sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them
with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath
of Almighty God.
(19) And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies,
gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against
The Old Testament also concurs
that the Lord Jesus is returning with His church to defend
Revelation 19 and Zechariah 14 are both reporting on the same incident. John
reports that the Lord is returning with His church called the armies of heaven
while Zechariah sees the Lord returning with all His saints.
describes the Lord Jesus standing in
Mount of Olives
. At His presence, there
is a tremendous earthquake, which shakes the entire world:
14:1-4 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh… (2) For I will gather all nations
to battle… (3) Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations,
as when he fought in the day of battle. (4) And his feet shall stand in that
day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the
mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof…
As reported in Revelation 19, the
Lord Jesus then destroys the forces of evil gathered around
14:12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people
that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they
stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and
their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
Zechariah also sees the Lord
returning with His church. He refers to the church as “all the saints.” At this
time, the Lord is not returning to
for His church, but He is returning with His church. Both the Old and New
Testament are clear about this.
… and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
The Clouds of Heaven
The Bible also describes a
massive number of believers returning with the Lord Jesus Christ. The usual
phrase describing this throng is the “Clouds of Heaven.” The New Testament uses
the phrase "The Clouds of Heaven" several times, but it actually
originated in the Old Testament.
Daniel first uses this phrase, and he identifies what exactly are the Clouds of
Heaven. Daniel gives a rare glimpse of heaven in the Old Testament. The prophet
actually sees events taking place before the very throne of God. He refers to
the Holy God of Israel as the Ancient of Days. The prophet sees God on His
throne, and the prophet uses fire to describe everything about God and
surrounding His throne.
something else around the throne and that was a countless number of believers. The
prophet recorded the number of believers as thousand times thousands and ten
thousand times ten thousand. This huge number is beyond calculation.
The Clouds of
Heaven then are the innumerable number of believers who are in heaven with the
Lord Jesus and return with Him. These are the saints that Zechariah stated are
coming with Jesus Christ. The following verses show God’s throne and this huge
number of believers. Remember, Revelation shows that it is the church before
Daniel 7:9 ...the
Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his
head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. (10) A fiery stream issued and came forth from
before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten
thousand stood before him…
The Clouds of Heaven then are
this enormous number of believers who surround the throne of God. It appears
the Bible uses the term “Clouds of Heaven” because this huge throng of
believers from a distance appears as a massive cloud. From other Scriptures, the Bible reveals that
the believers are dressed in pure white.
The Lord leads
this massive white cloud, the Clouds of Heaven. They return with Him and are
present when He establishes His kingdom on earth. The following verses from
Daniel 7 show the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus, returning with the Clouds of
Heaven to set up His kingdom on earth:
Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of
man came with the Clouds of Heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they
brought him near before him.”
(14) And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that
all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an
everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which
shall not be destroyed.
Just prior to His crucifixion,
the Lord Jesus was questioned by the high priest about being the Son of God, He
answered by joining two Scriptures together which were Daniel 7:13 and Psalm
110:1. He then related them to His Second Coming. The Lord stated He was returning with the
Clouds of Heaven. The high priest fully understood Jesus was quoting the
prophet Daniel and the meaning of this verse. He used this statement to condemn
Jesus to death for blasphemy, because this phrase was related to the coming of
Matthew 26:64 Jesus
saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the Clouds of Heaven.
Thus the “Clouds of Heaven” obviously
becomes a very important term because the prophet Daniel used it regarding the
coming of the Messiah, and the Lord Jesus quoted it to the high priest.
The Coming of Jesus Christ
With The Clouds of Heaven
With this foundation, let’s now
look at the New Testament and the coming of the Lord Jesus with the Clouds of
Heaven. When Jesus’ disciples asked what the sign of His coming was, He listed
several events. These events include
both awesome wars and natural disasters. Then, when all was fulfilled, the
people of earth would see Him coming with power and great glory. And, when He
returns to earth in great glory, the Clouds of Heaven are with Him. Jesus directly linked His Second Coming with
the Clouds of Heaven.
All the gospel
writers link the Second Coming with the Clouds of Heaven. The verses from the gospels follow:
Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of
the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all 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.
Mark 13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and
Luke 21:27 And then shall they see the Son of
man coming in a cloud with power and
The Apostle John also makes this
link between the Second Coming and the Lord returning with the Clouds of
Heaven. John, in the Book of Revelation,
sees the Lord’s return with the clouds, and all the people of the earth
Behold, he cometh with
clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and
all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so,
When studying Matthew 24 and the
Lord’s return to
the two advents come into focus. In this chapter, the Bible describes horrible
events coming upon the earth with huge numbers of people dying. These are the
people who will be placed under the altar when they die believing in the Lord
Jesus. To those that make it through, without being martyred and still having
never taken the mark of the beast, they will be saved at the Second Coming of Jesus
Matthew 24:13 But
he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
This message is not directed at
the church, because the church is in heaven with the Lord Jesus, and it returns
with Him as the Clouds of Heaven. To those that endure to the end, they shall
see the “Clouds of Heaven” coming with Jesus Christ:
Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven:
and then shall all 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.
When the Lord Jesus returns, His
feet are going to stand on the
Mount of Olives
. He then destroys the armies surrounding
as the prophet
Zechariah stated. Jesus’ return in Revelation 19, and His feet standing on the
Mount of Olives
in Zechariah 14 tie directly
together. The Old Testament clearly maps
this out, and the events of Revelation directly tie in.
John sees more
than just the Lord Jesus returning. He sees the Church returning with Him. He refers to the Church not as the Clouds of
Heaven, but “the armies in heaven.” This
army returns with Him clothed in pure white linen. This “army in heaven” that John writes about
are the Clouds of Heaven which Daniel saw in his vision. This is the Clouds of Heaven which the Lord
Jesus told the high priest He was returning with. He is coming back with His
bride, the Church.
The Clouds of
Heaven is the glorious Church returning with the Savior. The Church was in
heaven and then returned with the Lord Jesus to defend
. What a sight to witness, the Son of God returning in His power and glory
with the Clouds of Heaven.
19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him
upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
God is setting an awesome
backdrop to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Either through natural events or manmade actions, the sky is totally
darkened. It is so dark that even the sun’s light is blocked. There is total
darkness. With this background, suddenly there is an explosion of light as the
glory of Jesus Christ lights the sky. Directly behind Him are the Clouds of
Heaven dressed in pure white!
on earth and seeing this happening. The entire sky filled from one end to the
other with this massive white cloud, and at the head is the Lord Jesus in
flaming fire, manifesting His glory! What Daniel actually witnessed was the
Church returning with King Messiah, the Lord Jesus! The verses to show this
30 Immediately after the tribulation of those days
shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light… (30)…And then
shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven…and they shall see the Son of
man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
The idea of the Lord’s coming for
the Church is so powerful that the Bible tells us to comfort one another with
this hope in a time of sorrow when experiencing the loss of a loved one. The loss is only temporary as there will be a
uniting when the Lord comes for the believers. This is the blessed hope, the coming of the Lord for the Church and
being with Him forever:
Titus 2:13 Looking
for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our
Saviour Jesus Christ.
Looking for the coming of the
Lord is the blessed hope. It is not just
a hope, but it is a blessed hope. Following the Church's gathering with the
Lord is the marriage supper of the Lamb. And, it is a blessing to be called to
the marriage supper of the Lamb.
There is a
double blessing for those who are waiting for the Lord’s return. There is the blessed hope and then the
blessing of anticipating the marriage supper of the Lamb. All believers should be living with the blessed
hope, and the excitement of the marriage supper.
If these two
hopes are not motivating a believer, there is something radically wrong with
that person’s faith. Living with the blessed hope is one of the true signs of a
believer. Jesus is only returning for those
that are looking for Him:
Hebrews 9:28 So
Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for
him shall he appear the Second time without sin unto salvation.
The Second Coming is not just a
doctrine, but it is to be a living reality in a believer’s life. If this reality is not in a person’s heart,
it is a sign something is radically wrong. Sin and the love of the world kill the blessed hope. Wrong doctrine
about the blessed hope also deadens the reality of the Lord’s coming for the
Church and the subsequent marriage supper of the Lamb.
The Coming of the Lord Draweth Nigh
“And every man
that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” 1 John 3:3.
The reality of the blessed hope
has an awesome effect on the believer. It is not just the doctrine of the
blessed hope, but it is the living reality that affects lives. This reality causes tremendous spiritual
In the letter
to Titus, the Bible lists eight effects the blessed hope has on a believer’s
heart. When a person lives with the anticipation of the Second Coming, the
results include: victory over ungodliness and worldly lusts; sober mindedness;
righteousness; godly living; victory over iniquity; purifying; a purifying
process; and a zealousness for good works. Maybe the weakness of many
Christians is because they lack the blessed hope in their heart. The Bibles
verses to show the effects of the blessed hope follow:
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth
salvation hath appeared to all men, (12) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness
and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this
(13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the
great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
(14) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity,
and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
The blessed hope is spiritual
life to a believer, and without it, worldliness sets in and chokes the word of
God in a person’s life. Notice in Titus 2:11-14 the blessed hope is in the very
middle of this admonition to live godly. This verse was placed there to show
how important the blessed hope is to our spiritual life. False doctrines that
do not teach the reality of the blessed hope rob spiritual power from
believers. These types of teachings create weak believers because of the false
teaching about the Lord’s Second Coming.
The Bible tells
us what to do about waiting for the return of the Lord Jesus. We are to wait with patience for His return. Just
as a farmer plants his crops and patiently waits until the crops mature, so we
are to wait for the coming of the Lord.
The Bible also
tells us to establish our hearts about His coming. When a person establishes
the blessed hope in his heart, holiness naturally flows. The Bible leaves no
doubt that we are to focus on the blessed hope and live every day as the Lord
could return for His Church. We are to live with patience looking for His
Second Coming. The Scriptures to show this follow:
James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto
the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit
of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and
latter rain. (8) Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of
the Lord draweth nigh.
1 Thessalonians 3:13 To the end he may stablish
your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming
of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
The blessed hope is an anchor for
our soul. This is the hope which God has set before us. He requires that we keep the blessed hope
with full assurance until He returns or we pass away. This hope steadies us
during the storms of life. We are to lay hold of this hope and let no one or
anything take it away from us. The Bible verses to show this follow:
Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that every one of
you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
(18) That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to
lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold
upon the hope set before us:
(19) Which hope we have as an
anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within
The Bible places nothing in the
way deterring the Lord’s coming for His Church. There is no event which is
required to take place before He descends from heaven with a shout for His
bride. We are to be aware of world events in light of Bible prophecy, but our
anticipation should be for the blessed hope. Focusing on world events rather than the blessed hope can hinder one’s
faith and often create fear. No matter
what happens in the world, we are to stay focused on the Lord Jesus’ Second
Coming. This is the anchor for your soul in the time of trouble.
Not Appointed to Wrath
1 Thessalonians chapters 4 and 5
give a very nice picture of the phases of the Lord’s Second Coming. In 1 Thessalonians
4, Paul deals with the first phase. He explains how the Lord is going to return
with all who died in Christ, and then they which are alive at this time will be
instantly resurrected. The entire church will meet in the air and will then be
taken before God’s throne in heaven:
1 Thess 4:16,17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a
shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead
in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught
up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall
we ever be with the Lord.
This is the Blessed Hope, the
Lord Jesus returning for His church. The following verse explains that
believers should comfort one another with the Blessed Hope:
1 Thess 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
After finishing the first phase
with an encouragement, Paul then turns to chapter 5 for the second phase of the
Lord’s coming. He addresses the Day of the LORD. During the Day of the LORD,
Jesus Christ is returning with His church to
together the expression “times and the seasons” which is the restoration of the
with the Day of the LORD. This is most
important as the context of the 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 is the Day of the LORD.
After the Lord
Jesus returns, during the Day of the Lord, He will restore the kingdom to
reigning as King:
Acts 1:6 … Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to
? (7) And
he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the
Father hath put in his own power.
1 Thessalonians 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have
no need that I write unto you.
(2) For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as
a thief in the night.
Paul warns that the Day of the
LORD is going to come suddenly upon the world with great travail. The Day will
overtake the world and none shall escape it:
(3) 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.
He then states that believers
were not in darkness but were children of the light. The Day would not overtake
the believers, and they should not sleep but watch and be sober. Believers are
called children of the day meaning they can see, while unbelievers are called
of the night. The use of “day” in verses 4 through 6 is not to be confused with
the Day of the LORD:
(4) But ye,
brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (5)
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of
the night, nor of darkness. (6) Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but
let us watch and be sober.
Because believers are of the
light, they are to walk in faith, love and hope. The hope is the “hope of
salvation which is the coming of the Lord Jesus for His church:
(8) 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.
Paul then states what is the “hope of salvation”. It is obtaining salvation by the
Lord Jesus Christ who will deliver the church from the wrath that is to be
poured out during the Day of the LORD. The church is not appointed to this wrath.
Day of the LORD is the context of 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; therefore, the Bible
clearly states that the church is not appointed to God’s wrath which is poured
out during that Day:
(9) For God
hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus
The Lord Jesus comes for His
church before God’s wrath is poured out on the world. The church is in heaven,
before the throne, with the Lord Jesus and then experiences the Marriage Supper
of the Lamb. The church is not appointed to God’s wrath.
Is it possible
that God wants His church to watch for the coming Day of the LORD because just
prior to it, the Lord Jesus returns for His church? I believe when chapter 4
and 5 are read together that this is the message.
This section of
scriptures concludes with a reference back to chapter 4 and the coming of the
Lord for the church. It states whether we wake or sleep we should live together
with Him, and then adds that believers should comfort and edify one another.
This is how chapter 4 ends!
(10) Who died
for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. (11)
Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye
Our focus now is to live with the Blessed Hope, the coming
of the Lord Jesus for His church who delivered us from the wrath to come. We
are to wait for Him:
Thessalonians 1:10 And to wait for his Son from
heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the
wrath to come.
By John McTernan
Defend and Proclaim the Faith
Blog: John McTernans Insights at www.johnmcternan.name