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Lesson 13: The Return of Our Lord Jesus *

Introduction: Do you recall being pulled over by the police because you were violating the traffic laws? How did you feel? A car followed me very closely while I was driving to church, even though I was traveling the speed limit. We were going through a residential area and the road was hilly and wide. As I crested a hill, I saw the top of a police car up ahead. Without reducing my speed, I pulled over to the right just enough so that the car behind me could pass, even though passing was illegal. It zoomed around me, crested the hill, and then saw the police car which promptly pulled it over for speeding. How would you feel if you were me? These are the two faces of judgment. We don't want to be judged, but we want law breakers, especially those who are troubling us, to face judgment. Jesus' Second Coming is a time of mixed feelings. Let's explore what the Bible has to say about it!

  1. Facing the Second Coming

    1. Read Isaiah 13:6-9. What emotion overtakes sinners when Jesus returns? (They are terrorized.)

      1. Why? (These verses say that they face death.)

      2. Only once in my life have I thought that I would likely die in the next few minutes. My hands did not go limp and I did not writhe on the floor. Instead, I worked on a way to save the lives of my children. You would do the same, I'm not claiming to be especially brave. If you and I think we would face death calmly, how do you explain the reaction of the wicked? (Christians face death with the promise of eternal life when Jesus comes again. However, I think there is more to this kind of terror. I don't know if this kind of reaction comes from guilt or surprise that God intervenes.)

      3. Notice that the Bible refers to Jesus' Second Coming as a "cruel day." Why would God call this great day "cruel?" (I don't think God enjoys judgment. Perhaps you were a little uncomfortable with the story I told in the introduction.)

    2. Read Matthew 24:30-31. How do the nations react to Jesus' Second Coming? (They mourn.)

    3. Read Isaiah 13:10, Isaiah 34:4 and Matthew 24:29. In Matthew Jesus recites what Isaiah prophesied about His Second Coming. Does this give us another reason for terror among the unsaved? (The universe is collapsing. Assuming that science continues to make great advances in astronomy, humans will have an early warning that something terrible is happening light years away in the universe.)

    4. Read 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10. What motivates God to terrorize and punish the wicked? (God gives relief to His people. He gives "pay back" to those who cause suffering.)

      1. Notice the nature of the punishment. What do you find interesting about it? (The wicked are described as "those who do not know God." However, being shut out of the presence of God and His power is a punishment prominently mentioned. I find it interesting that the wicked are already punishing themselves by separating themselves from God. Everlasting destruction is also mentioned.)

  2. Saved By the Second Coming

    1. Read Revelation 19:11-13. Who is this who makes war based on justice? (Read John 1:1-3 and John 1:14. This is Jesus! He is the Word of God.)

    2. Read Revelation 19:14-16. Why are the armies of heaven, those coming out of the sky, riding horses? Are they flying horses? (Time masks our understanding. Horses were the cutting edge of military technology. A soldier in a chariot pulled by a horse was a fearsome opponent. To properly understand the imagery, imagine that the armies of heaven have the most advanced means of transportation. Think Star Wars!)

      1. Why does a sharp sword come out of Jesus' mouth? (This is another symbol of great power. Genesis 1 tells us that Jesus spoke the universe into existence.)

    3. Read 1 John 2:28. What can our attitude be when Jesus comes again? (Confident and unashamed.)

    4. Read Revelation 5:13-14. What is the later reaction of those who are saved? (They praise God.)

    5. Read Revelation 7:14-17. What is the result for the saved? (They are no longer hungry, thirsty, hot or sad. They clearly are not terrorized.)

    6. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. When we consider Jesus' Second Coming, what attitude is natural for the saved? (They are encouraged by this promise, they are not afraid.)

    7. Read 2 Thessalonians 1:10. What else will the saved do when Jesus comes? (Marvel at our Lord. We will give glory to Him.)

    8. We can see that the Second Coming of Jesus brings two radically different reactions, depending on whether you are saved or unsaved. Which reaction do you want to have?

  3. All Things New

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 15:42-44. How will our bodies change when Jesus comes? (We will be "imperishable," powerful, glorious and spiritual.)

    2. Read Philippians 3:20-21. To what is our new body compared? (Our bodies will become like that of Jesus. We will have a heavenly body.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-54. This text repeats some of the changes to our bodies. What else is changed? (Death is defeated. It has no victory or sting. Instead, it has been "swallowed up" in immortality and victory for those who are saved.)

    4. Read Daniel 2:31-35. What do you think is the rock that strikes the feet of the statue? (Read Daniel 2:44-45. The rock is the Kingdom of God.)

      1. What is left of the old kingdoms? (They are like chaff, they are "swept away without leaving a trace.")

    5. Read Revelation 21:1. What has happened to the first earth? (It has "passed away.")

      1. Randy Alcorn has a book named "Heaven," in which he speculates that the earth made new is similar to the old earth in that it has the same places. It is not exactly the same, it is bigger because of the lack of a sea. I like his suggestion about how we can live in a glorified version of where we grew up. But, the texts we just read make Alcorn's vision of the new earth suspect. What do you think?

    6. Read Revelation 21:2-4. From where does the New Jerusalem come? ("Heaven from God.")

      1. Where does it land? (It lands in the earth made new.)

      2. Where do we live? (We live in the earth made new.)

      3. Where is God headquartered? (God's new dwelling is in the earth made new. He lives with us!)

        1. Why do you think that God comes to the new earth to live? (This is the site of the great battle and victory over the rebellion. God's victory must be central to the rest of eternity.)

    7. Read Revelation 21:5. Did God put this promise in writing? (Yes!)

    8. Friend, you can rely on God's promise. He is coming again! His Second Coming will be terrorizing to the wicked, but a welcome rescue for those who are faithful. Not only will we be rescued, but we will be filled with joy and praise that evil is destroyed. All is made new. God Himself will live with us. Jesus' victory over sin, and our part in that victory will be celebrated forever! Will you choose to be among the righteous? Why not give your heart to Jesus right now?

  4. Next week: We begin a new series of lessons on the Book of Acts.
* Copr. 2018, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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