under a special agreement with
presents "New Life in Christ" Course 3
under a special agreement with
Jesus is coming again! How do we know? Because He said so. He said,
"I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN…" John 14:2-3
When the Bible speaks of the coming of the Lord, it is not speaking of death, nor is it speaking of the coming of the Holy Spirit. It is speaking of the personal, visible coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the time of Christ's ascension, while the disciples stood watching Him go up into Heaven, two angels appeared to them and said,
"Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus…will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." Acts 1:11
How will Jesus come? He will come in the same manner in which He ascended into Heaven. The disciples saw Jesus go back into Heaven, and those who are living when He comes again will see Him then.
When is Jesus coming? What will happen when He comes? What will happen to the unbelievers and to the Christians when the Lord comes again? These are important questions, and we will find the answers to them in this lesson.
When is Jesus Coming?
Does any man know the exact time of the Lord's coming? No. The Lord Jesus said, "But of that day and hour knows no man." Since we do not know exactly when the Lord is coming, we should be ready for His coming at all times. The proper attitude of a Christian is to be always looking for the coming of the Lord Jesus.
What are the Signs of Jesus' Coming?
Though we cannot know the exact time when Jesus will come, we do know that He is coming soon. How do we know this? By the signs which the Bible gives concerning the time of His coming. Let us see how these are being fulfilled.
There have always been wars, but Jesus said that the end times would be marked by a great increase in the number of wars. He said, "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom." Since World War II there have been more than 45 wars, 12 of them major in scope.
Famines, pestilences, earthquakes
The Lord Jesus said "…there will be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in various places." Never before in history have the scientists recorded so many earthquakes as they have in the last 20 years.
Six hundred years before the time of Christ, Israel ceased to exist as a nation. The Jews were scattered to the ends of the earth. But the Bible prophesied that God would bring His people back into their land in the last days, and that the desert which had lain barren for so long would "blossom as a rose." This has been fulfilled.
The Lord Jesus gave an even more specific sign of the end times. This sign concerns the city of Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus said,
"Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." Luke 21:24
Jerusalem has been controlled by the Gentiles—those who were not Jews—for about 1900 years. But in 1967, the Israelis captured the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is now controlled by the Jews. This is another sign that the coming of the Lord Jesus is near.
The Bible says that, in the last days, there will be a confederation of ten nations out of what was the old Roman Empire. The European Common Market could possibly be this confederation.
Another sign of the last days is the great increase in peace conferences. But peace efforts have failed and will continue to fail until Jesus comes. He is the Prince of Peace, and there will be no peace in the world until He is reigning. The Bible says,
"The ambassadors of peace will weep bitterly." Isaiah 33:7
Travel and knowledge
The Bible says that at the time of the end,
"many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Daniel 12:4
The world is not getting better; instead, it is getting much worse. This is a fulfillment of the words of the Lord Jesus,
"As it was in the days of Noah so it will be also in the days of the Son of man." Luke 17:26
What was it like in the days of Noah? It was a time of great wickedness on the earth. The Bible says,
"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Genesis 6:5
The current interest in horoscopes, fortune-tellers, witchcraft, and spiritism is another sign that we are living in the last days. The Bible says,
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons." 1 Timothy 4:1
The Bible tells us that the last days just before Jesus comes will be marked by great apostasy. The word "apostasy" means "a falling away from the truth." This prophecy has been fulfilled.
In many of the seminaries and Bible schools, the teachers and professors no longer believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. These men make light of the miracles, deny the virgin birth of Christ, deny that Jesus Christ is God, and destroy the faith of those they teach.
WARNING: Do not study under the teaching of those who deny the great truths of the Bible. The Bible says,
"Stop listening to teaching that contradicts what you know is right." Proverbs 19:27 (TLB)
There is great apostasy in many churches also. Many ministers who claim to be servants of Christ no longer preach the gospel. They no longer preach that men are lost sinners and need to be saved through faith in the blood of Christ. Instead, these men deny the necessity of the new birth and preach that God is the Father of all men and that all men are brothers. The Bible says, "From such turn away."
What do these signs tell us? They tell us that JESUS IS COMING SOON! He could come today! The Lord Jesus said,
"When you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near." Luke 21:31
What Will Happen When Jesus Comes?
First, the Lord Jesus will come secretly to take His church out of the world. In a moment, "in the twinkling of an eye," every believer will be caught up to meet the Lord.
What will the world be like when all the Christians are gone? It will be a world without decency and restraint. Evil and wickedness will abound as never before.
At this time, an extraordinary man will appear on the earth. He will possess great leadership ability and marvellous powers. He will even be able to call down fire from heaven. But his power will not come from God; his power will come from Satan.
The Bible calls this man "the Antichrist." The word "anti" means against. He is against God and against Christ.
Through deceit and his miraculous powers, Satan's Antichrist will gain control of the whole world. No one will be able to buy or sell without his mark. He will set up a great image and require people to worship him and his image. Those who refuse to do so will be killed.
The Great Tribulation
The first part of the Antichrist's reign will be a time of great prosperity on the earth. This will last about three and a half years. Then will come a time of great trouble and distress as God pours out His wrath on a wicked, Christ-rejecting world. This terrible time is called "The Great Tribulation."
The Bible says that, at this time, there will be disturbances in the heavens. The sun will turn black; the moon will turn blood red. On earth, there will be plagues, diseases, earthquakes, and famines. One third of the inhabitants of the world will be killed.
One might think that those who had heard and rejected the gospel before would surely repent of their sins and turn to Christ during the Great Tribulation, but they will not.
The Bible says,
"…because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved…God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12.
Read also Revelation 9:20-21. It is indeed a serious thing to reject the gospel!
Following the terrible events of the Great Tribulation, the Lord Jesus will return to earth in great power and glory. He will destroy His enemies and set up His kingdom here on earth. The Bible says,
"…the Lord Jesus shall be 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." 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8
Jesus Is Coming Soon!
From what we have seen in this lesson, we know that the Lord Jesus is coming again…SOON!
For the unbelievers, the coming of the Lord Jesus will be a time of terror and judgment. But, for the Christians, the coming of the Lord is associated with the word "hope."
It is a blessed hope.
When Jesus comes, He will change our bodies to be like His glorious resurrection body. This will take place in an instant. Then we shall be forever with our Lord. The Bible says,
"Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Titus 2:13
It is a comforting hope.
The unbelieving people bury their dead with no hope of ever seeing them again. But not so with the Christians. When Jesus comes, our loved ones who died trusting Him will be raised from the dead, and we shall be reunited with them forever.
It is a purifying hope.
The Christian who truly believes that the coming of the Lord is near "purifies himself,"—that is, he gets himself ready for the Lord's coming. Why? Because he knows that he will soon stand before the Lord Jesus to give an account of his life. The Bible says,
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." 2 Corinthians 5:10
At the judgment seat of Christ, we will be judged for what we have done after we were saved. This will be a solemn occasion for all believers.
What are some of the things the Lord will judge us by in that day? He will judge us by how much of His Word we have learned and obeyed. He will judge us by our obedience or lack of obedience to the Great Commission. He will call us before Him and say, "I committed the gospel to you. What did you do that others might be saved?" He will judge us by how we have used our time, our abilities, and our money.
Some believers will be found to be faithful servants and will receive great rewards from the Lord. Others will be found to be unfaithful servants and will be dealt with as such. Perhaps some of us will wish that we could live our lives over again, but we have only one life. What we do for the Lord, we must do now.
Will You Be Ready?
What can I do for my Saviour before He comes? How can I glorify Him? How should my time, my money, and my abilities be used for Him? These are questions that should concern every serious-minded Christian.
If you truly believe that Jesus is coming soon, here are some things that you should do:
Do the job at hand. God has a job for you now. Do it well. When God has something different for you to do, He will show it to you.
Grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus. You do this by prayer and Bible study and by serving the Lord.
Prepare yourself to serve God. Learn God's Word. Memorize Scripture. Keep your daily Quiet Time.
Win others to the Lord Jesus.
Deny yourself and live for the Lord Jesus and for others. This is the secret of a fruitful life. The Lord Jesus said,
"unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain." John 12:24
Maintain Christian fellowship with other believers. You should belong to and faithfully support a local, Bible-believing church.
In the early days of the church, the Christians had a word for greeting and departing. It was the word "Maranatha." The word "Maranatha" means, "Our Lord is coming!" We can think of no better way to end this course.