The 2nd Coming of Jesus – Introduction
One of the major beliefs of historic, biblical Christianity is the physical return of Jesus to this Earth to set up His kingdom that will endure for all eternity. For 2,000 years people have wondered about the specifics of His return. This study will not resolve the disagreements between the various ways He could return. It will just represent them so you’ll have a better understanding of them. While real Christians don’t doubt this belief, questions remain like…
– will Jesus reign physically for 1,000 years before eternity sets in?
– will Christians go thru all or part of the 7 year tribulation period prior to His 2nd coming?
– will Christians be “raptured” out before or during this tribulation period?
– will Jesus just return and set up eternity?
– what does the nation of Israel have to do with the end times?
Before we get into the different views of the end times, we need to define some words and phrases first.
1…Eschatology…a study of the bible’s teachings about the events leading up to the 2nd coming. From the Greek words ‘eschatos’ meaning final + ‘logos’ meaning word = a word about the final things.
2…Church age…the time period from the beginning of the church, about 30 A.D., until Jesus returns as promised in John 14.
3…1st coming of Christ…the earthly life and ministry of Jesus, from about 4 B.C. to 32 A.D.
4…Rapture…some Christians believe that the rapture and the 2nd coming are two separate events. The rapture will come 1st, when Jesus removes all the living believers from the earth. It is in 1st Thessalonians 4:15-17.
5…Tribulation…a period when disasters happen and believers suffer great persecution. Some Christians believe this will last 7 years with the last 3.5 years being called the Great Tribulation. Its talked about in several spots, like Matthew 24: 3-13, 21 & Revelation 7:14.
6…the 2nd coming of Christ…the physical return of Jesus to earth to reign and rule as King.
7…Millennium…the 1,000 year reign of Jesus on earth as described in Revelation 20: 4-6. From the Latin word ‘mille’ meaning thousand. There are 3 different types of millennialists.
8…Preterism…a viewpoint that suggests that some bible prophecies about the end times really refer to specific events that happened in the first century, like the tribulation referring to the Jewish-Roman war of 66-73 A.D. and the anti-Christ referring to the Roman Emperor Nero. Preterism is a form of post-millenniumialism.
9…Apocalyptic literature…a Jewish genre of writing that communicates truth thru symbols. The book of Revelation is apocalyptic literature. From the Greek word ‘apokalypsis’ meaning to reveal.
10…Anti-Christ…anyone who denies what the apostles taught about Jesus Christ (1 John 2:18-22. He is also a man who pretends to be Jesus Christ in the end times (2nd Thessalonians 2:3-12).
11…Mark of the Beast…most Christians believe that this is a mark on the right hand or forehead that shows a person’s allegiance to the anti-Christ Whether it will be a physical mark or an electronic implantation, it will allow a person to buy things like food during the tribulation period (Revelation 13:16,17)
12…the number 666…the number of the Beast, the anti-Christ (Revelation 13:18). Some Christians have said the number 7 is the number of completion. So the number 6 is less than complete. The number 666 is a satanic trinity and it represents the anti-Christ, the false prophet and Satan.
13…the 144,000…during the tribulation, there will be 12,000 Jewish believers from each of the 12 Jewish tribes who proclaim that Jesus is the promised Messiah (Revelation 7:14).
14…Armageddon…the Israelite Valley of Megiddo (between the Plain of Jezreel and the western coast of Israel) where the final battle of mankind against Jesus will take place. From the Hebrew, Har-Megiddon, meaning Mount Megiddo).