Too many professing Christians have a misunderstanding of what the return of Jesus Christ will be like due to movie depictions, fictional books, and unbiblical teachings. When trying to understand biblical concepts, it is important to know what your Bible says about the topic. Personal Bible study time is essential. You should not solely rely on any other person to teach what is in your Bible.
In this installment of Guidance for the End Times, we will look at what the book of Acts says about the return of Jesus.
Read Acts 1:9-11
“Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
This should be easy to understand, yet many refuse to accept its plain meaning. In verses 9 and 10, we see Jesus ascending into heaven and a cloud obscuring the disciples’ sight of Him. Immediately, two angels appear to explain something Jesus already told them. They explained that Jesus will return in a similar manner as He left.
“And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.” (Mark 13:26)
Be sure to read Luke 21:27 and Matt. 24:30. Jesus explains that He will return to earth through the clouds with great power and glory. This is one of the most important details of Jesus’ return to this earth. Remember, God the Father is the only one who knows the day and the hour of this tremendous event. Despite this fact, Jesus gave us signs to look for. He even told us that He would come in the clouds. The angels reminded the apostles of the same detail.
We must lay this detail of prophecy in our hearts because Jesus warned us of a great deception pertaining to this matter. Read Mark 13:21-23 and Matt. 24:23-26. If you read these verses carefully, then you will see that these events are to happen during the Great Tribulation. Jesus also mentions that this deception will begin before the tribulation (see Luke 21:8, Mark 13:5-6, and Matt. 24:4-5).
In the end time, there will be two deceptions about Jesus perpetuated by men under the inspiration of satan. One is before the tribulation and pertains to who Christ is. And the second is during the tribulation and pertains to the appearance of false christs and false prophets. This deception will be so great that Jesus says, ”for false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.” (Mark 13:22)
Sidenote: It is important to stop and reflect on why Jesus would give such a warning, especially if He taught that He would return to rapture His church out of the world. The truth is that Jesus never taught His disciples to expect a rapture prior or during the tribulation. Instead, He taught that His disciples should beware of a great deception that would promote that He was here or there. This is why Jesus and the angels told the disciples that He would return in the clouds. Also, Jesus does not give specific details of the signs and wonders performed by these deceivers. The specifics are less important than the fact they will try to point people away from the real return of Jesus. Additionally, the Scriptures teaches that the beast of revelation 13 will make war on the saints. How can this be if the saints are pulled out of the world? Do not let books and movies drive your thinking about end times prophecies. Let the prophecies drive your thinking!!! Even Revelation 12 shows the church (the woman) fleeing to the wilderness rather than being pulled to heaven.
What Does the Return of Jesus Look Like?
It is at this point we need to discuss what the return of Jesus actually looks like. Dismiss all the movie and book depictions!!! Read for yourself what the word of God says about this matter. The text that follows is only a beginner’s guide. It is your duty to personally investigate the Scriptures for yourself.
“But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matt. 24: 20-21)
The Great Tribulation will be a very dark time for the world. The followers of Jesus Christ will be in flight mode, that is fleeing for their lives because of persecution. If you study the era known as the Dark Ages, then you will see that real Christians had to flee for their lives for over 1000 years. Real Christians were considered as heretics to the established religious system which also claimed to be Christian. During this time, there were great wars between nations that called themselves Christian. Real Christians had to hide in the mountains to avoid persecution from these fighting factions. People were burned, hung, drowned, and tortured all over “Christendom.” Despite this fact, Jesus says the time before His return will be worse than any other time in history.
During this time of persecution and distress, false christs and false prophets will arise to deceive fleeing Christians (Matt. 24:23-24). Please understand that everyone who suffered at the hands of the persecutors of the Dark Ages were not Christians. The established religions persecuted anyone who did not submit to their authority. The sad truth is many persecuted groups became persecutors as they became the majority in a region. This lasted until the establishment of the United States of America under its current constitution. Recall that many religious groups fled to America for religious freedom. It is not my intention to question the sincerity of anyone’s beliefs; however, Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” (John 8:31). Claiming the title Christian does not make anyone a follower of Him. What makes someone a Christian is his continuation in the instructions of Jesus Christ!!!
During the Great Tribulation, many will suffer at the hands of a system that will not tolerate dissent. The casualties will include Christians, supposed Christians, and anyone who will not willingly bow to the beast (Rev. 13:15-17). The world system to come will not tolerate dissent no matter religious affiliation. At the same time, there will be a tremendous campaign of deception led by false christs and false prophets. This is the context of Jesus’ return. Read Mark 13:14-23 and Luke 21:20-24 for confirmation.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 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.” (Matt 24:29-30)
According to Jesus, all the tribes of the earth will see Him coming in the clouds after tremendous heavenly signs. Also read verse 27 which show His coming as lightening shining from east to west. Simply think about how visible this event will be. There will be no mistaking what’s happening. The lights in the heavens will stop shining!!! Let me repeat: the lights of the heavens will stop shining and all will see the return of Jesus, who’s face shines like the sun in its full strength!!! (Rev. 1:13-16).
Have you truly contemplated the scenes described in your Bible about the return of Jesus Christ?
“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, Amen.” (Rev. 1:7)
Read I Thes. 4:13-18. Really reflect on these verses. Note that verse 16 shows that Jesus will descend from heaven which is consistent with what the angels told the apostles in the book of Acts. Verse 17 shows that the saints (both dead and alive) will be gathered together in the clouds. If you read this carefully, you can see that this is happening as Jesus is descending in the clouds. Then Jesus and His saints meet in the air as opposed to meeting in heaven like many teach. From what we have read so far, we can see this event will be visible to the whole world. This is an unmistakable fact!!!
Look at what Jesus said to the priest who questioned whether He was Christ.
“And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:62)
This sign of the coming of Jesus is repeated too often to ignore. No saint should be deceived by the appearance of false christs, signs, and wonders!!! The return of the Lord Jesus Christ will be an awesome sight to behold. This is why Jesus told the disciples that all the world will see Him and mourn. Those faithful unto God will no longer mourn when they see the wonderous appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds!!!
Keep your mind on the signs that Jesus gave to describe His coming. The Great Tribulation will be filled with deception, but you can know the real signs if you study the word of God faithfully!!!
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