|The Second Coming of Jesus Christ|
"'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven'" (Acts 1:11).
That Jesus Christ will return someday is an essential doctrine of historic Christianity.
The Old Testament seems to present two Messiahs -- one often referred to by students of Scripture as the suffering Messiah, and the other as the conquering Messiah. As Christians, we view these two figures as one and the same person -- the Lord Jesus Christ. The first time He came was as the suffering Messiah, to fulfill prophecies such as are found in Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22. When He comes again it will be as the conquering Messiah. Zachariah 12:10 is a graphic prophecy of the crucified Christ's return: "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on Me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child." The Christ that was pierced for our transgressions will still be bearing those marks when He returns.
One in every twenty five New Testament verses deals with Christ's return. Jesus spoke of it prior to His resurrection: "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens" (Mark 13:26-27). Following His resurrection Jesus spoke of His return. Decades later He appeared to John on the island of Patmos: "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (Revelation 22:12).
Many cultists teach that Christ has already returned, only "invisibly." Others claim that they themselves are the "Christ," or possess the "Christ-spirit" which is supposedly available to anyone who comes to recognize his or her own "divinity." Our Lord warned us that, prior to His return, these false teachers and false Christs would come: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am Christ,' and will deceive many" (Matthew 24:4-5). When the true Christ returns it will be in power and judgment. He will bear the marks that he received at His first coming. That is how we will know Him.
"Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day -- and not only to me, but also to all those who have longed for His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8).
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