*THE TWO PHASES OF CHRIST’S COMING*
We regard the fact of the two phases of Christ’s coming as the key that is necessary to unlock the meaning of many passages of Scripture that otherwise might seem confusing.
Jesus’ first coming has happened about 2000 years ago.
Here we discuss His second coming, in 2 phases:
*I. THE TWO PHASES CONTRASTED*
1. The first phase will be in the air (1Thess4:15-17); the second phase will be to the earth (Zech14:4).
2. The first phase of His coming will be *FOR* His people (Matt25:6-10; Jn.14:2); the second phase will be *WITH* His people (Jude14; Rev17:14).
3. The first phase His coming will be *as a bridegroom* (Matt25:6-10); the second phase will be His coming *as a king* to judge and to reign (Ps96:13;Zech14:9; Matt25:31; Rev19:15;20:4)
4. At the first phase the *righteous will be taken from among the wicked* (Matt25:6-10; 1Thess4:15-17); at the second phase *the wicked will be taken from among the righteous* (Matt13:40-42)
5. At the first phase *the righteous on earth will meet the Lord in the air* to go away into Heaven with Him (1Thess4:17; Jn14:2); at the second phase *they simply enter into the kingdom here on the earth* (Matt13:43; Matt25:34)
6. At the first phase *unbelievers are left on the earth to be punished* during the great tribulation but also as a last call to salvation (Matt25:10-12, 2Thes1:8, Rev.9:20,21); at the second phase *they are destroyed and cast into everlasting fire* (Matt25:41,46)
7. The *first phase is ever imminent* (Mark13:35, 36; Jas5:8; Rev22:12); the *second phase is to be preceded* by certain definite things (Matt24:14-29; 2Thess2:1-8).
*II. THE TWO PHASES SEPARATED AS TO TIME*
The two phases of Christ’s coming cannot occur simultaneously or in close connection. But note these specific evidences that a period of time will intervene between them:
1. Since at the first phase the righteous will be taken from among the wicked and at the second phase the wicked will be taken from among the righteous (see No. 4 above), it is impossible for the two phases occur in close connection. All the righteous will be taken away at the first phase. Hence there must be sufficient time between the first and second phases for some to be saved.
2. Since at the first phase Christ is to receive His disciples into the “many mansions prepared for them in Heaven (Jn14:2) and at the second phase the righteous on earth are to enter into the kingdom on earth (see. No. 5 above), it is again impossible that both phases occur in close connection.
Those who enter into the kingdom at the second phase must be saved after the first phase.
3. Since the first phase may occur at any time (so far as man knows) and the second phase must be preceded by specific events (see No. 8 above), they cannot occur in close connection. One is imminent and the other is not.
4. There must he sufficient time between the two phases for the “Man of Sin” (2Thess2:3) to be revealed and to run his course. He cannot be revealed until the hinderer is taken out of the way (2Thess2:6,7). The hinderer is the Holy Spirit indwelling every saved person (1Cor6:19).
That the Holy Spirit is the hinderer is proved by the personal pronoun that is applied to him and also in two ways by the process of elimination. The only other theory worth considering that has been advanced is that the Roman government was the hinderer. But the Roman government was taken out of
the way some fifteen centuries ago, and the “Man of Sin” has not yet been revealed. Moreover the Roman government could not prevent the revelation of such a being as he is represented as being, but would rather contribute toward his revelation. The taking out of the way of the Holy Spirit will be
accomplished when Christ takes His people out of the earth, which will be at the first phase of His coming. Sufficient time must elapse, therefore, between the first phase and the second for this monster to run his course, for he is to be destroyed at the second phase (2Thess2:8)
5. Also there must be sufficient time between the two Phases for all the events recorded in Rev7:19. This section of Scripture should include chapter six also, no doubt, but we can be sure that it must begin with chapter seven. For in chapter seven we have the sealing of the servants of God on
earth, and only Jews are sealed. This shows that the first phase of Christ’s coming has taken place already; for, otherwise, there would certainly be some Gentile servant’s of God on the earth.
The hundred and forty-four thousand Jews mentioned as being sealed in this chapter are evidently those that will be saved immediately after the appearance of Christ in the air. And then, to confirm this view, immediately following the account of the sealing of these Jews, we have the innumerable multitude in Heaven (Rev7:9). These, manifestly, are those that were lifted from the earth at Christ’s appearance in the air. Then the second phase of Christ’s coming does not appear until we reach the 19th chapter, and there is every evidence of a general chronological order. Thus the events of the intervening chapters are to take place during the interim between the two phases of Christ’s coming.
The New Testament speaks of but one coming of Jesus, but it clearly reveals that this one coming will consist of two phases, separated by a period of time.
*III. THE FIRST PHASE OF CHRIST’S COMING IS IMMINENT*
We have now shown that Christ’s coming is to consist of two phases, and that these phases are to be separated by a period of time. We undertake here to prove that the first phase of His coming is imminent. Note that we are not attempting to prove that Christ’s coming in judgment and to reign is
imminent. So far as we know, all unfulfilled prophecies referring to this age (and there are many), without violence to them or any other Scriptures, may be fulfilled in the interim between the two phases of Christ’s coming. They must be fulfilled before the second phase of Christ’s coming, but we know of no prophecy that must be fulfilled before Christ comes for His bride. Last prophecy that had to be fulfilled before the first phase of Jesus’ second coming is the return of the Jews in their country (1948).
1. Mark13:25,36 “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the Master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at cock crowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.”
The meaning of watch in this and similar passages is “to take heed, lest through remissness and indolence some destructive calamity overtake one.” Can there be any sensible reason for watching for an event, unless, so far as we know, it may take place now?
2. Jas.5:8 “Be ye also patient, stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”
The Greek word for “draws nigh” is in the pluperfect tense, and means “has come nigh, is at hand.” A similar form of the same word is to be used “concerning things imminent and soon to come to pass.” The verb in the above passage is translated “is at hand” nine times in the King James Version. Matt.26:46 furnishes a good example of its use.
3. Rev22:12 “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me to give every man according as his work shall be.”
The word in the passage for quickly does not mean suddenly, as some would
have it; but it means “quickly, speedily, without delay”. Good samples of its use may be found in Matt5:25; 28:7,8; Mark16:8; Jn11:29. In the above passage, the coming of Christ is spoken of as God sees it; and a thousand years is as one day with God (1Pet3:8). And it is so represented that the time of it may be uncertain to believers. So far as they know, it may occur at any moment. Therefore, to them it is ever imminent.
Many passages show the practical value of a belief in the imminent coming of Christ. Prominent among them is James5:8, as given above. This passage shows that a belief in the imminent coming of Christ is an incentive to patience and strength in the midst of suffering and afflictions.
*This is the order of future events:*
1. First phase of Christ’s second coming for his saints (the rapture of the church and resurrection of the dead in Christ and probably also the resurrection of the Old Testament saints, followed by the marriage of the Lamb and the rewards judgment for believers 1Cor3:10-15). Verses: 1Cor15:51-53, Heb11:35, 39-40, 1Thes4:13-18, 2Cor.5:1-4, Job19:25-27, Mat8:11
2. The tribulation period (7 years) Dan9:27
3. Second phase of second coming of Christ with his saints: Jude14
4. Battle of Armaggedon Rev16:16, 19:19
5. 1000 years reign of Christ on the earth starting with the resurrection of the saints that died during tribulation Rev20:4-6, Dan12:1-2; conditions in the 1000 years: Satan and demons bound in hell for 1000 years, earth is blessed, purged by angels Mat13:41, humans that came to faith in Jesus during the 7 years of tribulation will be entering the millennium with physical bodies, will marry and have children and nobody dies of getting old but can die as chastisement from God Is65:20, there will be a temple, Sabbaths, sacrifices, Israel will be reigning over the earth with Jesus in the land promised to Abraham, together with the church (believers having glorified bodies and Israel also the nations having normal physical bodies); see also Is35, 60-62,65; Ezek.40-48; Micah 4; Rev.20-22
6. Great battle at God and Magog – Satan is released for a short moment and is motivating many of those that have unglorified physical bodies to rebel against Jesus Rev20:7,8
7. Destruction of the present heavens (universe) and earth Rev20:11, 2Pet3:7-12, Heb1:10-12
8. Judgment of the unbelievers and they are cast into the lake of fire Rev20:14
9. New heavens and new earth 2Pet3:13, Rev21:1, the eternal state. Amen.