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What Will the Second Coming Be Like?

February 7, 2021 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:

Topic: 2nd Coming Verse: Luke 17:22–17:37

Theme: Jesus will come again to prevent sinners from entering the kingdom of God.

I. It Will Be Unmistakable – 17:22-25

A. The Painful Delay – v. 22

  • Having addressed the obsession of the Pharisees with the restoration of justice that will be accomplished by the coming of the Messiah and the restoration of Israel to preeminence and autonomy, Jesus now turns to His disciples to provide the incentive to live for the kingdom of heaven right now.
  • Luke states: “And He said to the disciples, ‘The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.’” 
  • The phrase “one of the days of the Son of Man” references the age of Christ’s Second Coming – a period that comes at the conclusion of the Tribulation Period and begins the Millennial Kingdom.
  • “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days” describes the experience of Tribulation saints – cp. Revelation 6:10.
  • Although in the context it describes the desire of the Tribulation saints, it is applicable to believers today who are vexed by the encroaching wickedness and the yearning for the preeminence of Christ Jesus and His glory to be seen by all.
  • It would be helpful to demonstrate some of the distinctions between the Rapture of the Church and the 2nd Coming of Christ:

 

The Rapture

The Second Coming

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; John 14:1-3

Joel 3:12-16; Revelation 19:11-21; Zechariah 14:1-5; Matthew 24:29-31

Saints meet Christ in the Air

Lord descends to Mt. Of Olives

Lord comes to bless His people without any reference to judgment

Emphasis on the judgment that falls on unbelievers of this world

No references in context to Millennium

Emphasis on the establishment of the Millennium

Both living & dead saints receive glorified bodies

No reference made to glorification of bodies

Rapture occurs before the wrath of God is poured out

Second Coming occurs after the wrath of God is poured out

Imminent

Signs & events must take place

The Lord returns to heaven with His saints

The Lord descends and remains on earth

All believers are removed from the earth leaving only unbelievers 

All unbelievers are removed from the earth leaving only the righteous

 

B. The Powerful Display – vv. 23-25

  • Because of the eagerness, the Tribulation saints will be vulnerable to the spurious reports from the notorious “reliable sources” that Jesus has returned – “They will say to you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go away, and do not run after them.” – cp. Matthew 24:22-25.
  • As we discussed in the previous section, the reason they will not need to run to investigate every claim that the Lord has returned is that the return of Christ will be so glorious, so unmistakable, unmissable, and worldwide, no one will miss it – “For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day.” 
  • The 2nd Coming will not be a small, quiet regional event – it will be worldwide and those in the world will be wild-eyed!
  • What will contribute to the dramatic display of the glory of Christ will be the divine act of turning out the light just before it – cp. Matthew 24:29-30.
  • But Jesus draws their attention to the matter of first importance – the consummation of the purposes for the first advent – “But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.”
  • Essentially, Jesus here states: “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves in our exuberance for the Kingdom – first things first.”

Application:

  1. What is the foremost reason that believers yearn for the coming of Christ? 
  2. How can you personally apply the phrase: “Before the crown comes the cross?”

II. It Will Be Unexpected – 17:26-30

A. The Indifference to Wickedness – v. 26

  • Jesus returns to the situation that will exist prior to His 2nd Coming by using two notable judgments by God – the cataclysm of the worldwide flood and the vehement destruction of Sodom – “And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.”
  • The level of wickedness that existed throughout the world was so great that the Scripture tell us that God “regretted” making man – cp. Genesis 6:5-6.
  • The second illustration was as bad – “It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building, but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.”
  • The level of wickedness that characterized Sodom was so abominable, the sin of homosexuality has historically been inseparably associated with it – Sodomy – cp. Genesis 18:20-22; 19:12-13.
  • Both judgments fell upon people who were completely indifferent to the offenses of sin against God – they were living as fools – completely darkened and spiritually dead.
  • Jesus states: “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.”
  •  Hence, before Jesus’ 2nd Coming, the restraining influences of the Spirit indwelled Church will be removed giving liberty to the Man of Lawlessness to be revealed and exert his satanic agenda on this world – cp 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 6-7.

B. The Inconceivability of Warnings – v. 21a

  • Another feature in the cause for the 2nd Coming to be unexpected is the inconceivability of the warnings that are provided.
  • The prevailing attitude among the wicked is that the threats of judgment are craziness – cp. 2 Peter 3:3-9.
  • Yet, this is the same as “in the days of Noah” and “in the days of Lot” – 
  1. Noah preached the Gospel during the 120 years before the flood – but it had never even rained before – sinners thought it preposterous – cp. 2 Peter 2:5.
  2. Lot was constantly vexed and when the angels came to judge, he gave warnings that were dismissed as ridiculous – cp. Genesis 19:14.
  • Despite the judgments of God, the ministry of the 144,000, and the ministry of the 2 Witnesses described in Revelation, “those who dwell upon the earth” refused to repent – cp. Revelation 9:20-21.

Application:

  1. How does indifference toward sin cause a shock toward judgment?
  2. How can one avoid being indifferent toward sin? 

III. It Will Be Unforgiving – 17:31-37

A. The Reaction of Worldliness – vv. 31-32

  • On “the day that the Son of Man is revealed,” the spiritual “situation” of every soul will be set.
  • That is, there will be no further opportunity to determine to repent, follow Christ, or in any other way alter one’s standing before God.
  • We are told that “on that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back.”
  • The issue at hand is that there is one concern for those who know Christ at His appearing – that they might see Christ.
  • Those whose affections are on the earth will be distracted by what is more important to them – what possessions they might be losing.
  • Hence, the condition of one’s heart will be disclosed by the Lord’s return – cp. 1 John 2:15-17.
  • This is why Jesus calls to remembrance the example of a woman who was on the verge of salvation but demonstrated her longing for her worldly valued and was judged – “Remember Lot’s wife.” – Genesis 19:17, 26. 

B. The Removal of the Wicked – v. 33-36

  • Those whose affections truly do not belong to the Lord and who genuinely love His appearing will suffer great loss – “Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”
  • Those who define their lives by means of worldliness will lose the ability to define their lives by the righteousness of Christ Jesus.
  • The consequence is that at the Second Coming, such worldly people – regardless of how pagan they might be, or religious – the will suffer loss – “I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be life. There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.”
  • All over the world – there will be people for whom it will be night (those in bed), and others who will be actively engaged in their day – and they will be removed.
  • Even as in the days of Noah and Lot – those who were taken were the wicked and those remaining were the righteous.
  • Again, in the Rapture it is the opposite – the righteous will be taken and the ungodly left, essentially causing the great apostasy that must precede the Day of the Lord.
  • They will be swept away into judgment.

C. The Realization of the Wrath – v. 37

  • The conclusion of the matter is horrific – “And answering they said to Him, ‘Where, Lord?’”
  • They wanted to know “where” this was going to take place.
  • Jesus answer was essentially “everywhere!” – “And He said to them, ‘Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered.’”
  • Throughout the entire world, the bodies of those judged will lie to be devoured by the scavenging birds or “vultures.”
  • He comes to avenge Himself against the wicked and He does so with fury, competence, and a complete vindication of His holiness.

Application:

  1. Why should we keep the things of this world with a loose grip? 
  2. Ponder the severity of God’s wrath – why is the vengeance of God against sin so “terrible?” 

So What?

Like the society in which we live, believers can easily lapse into neglect and fail in our watchfulness for the Lord.

We must not allow ourselves to become weary in doing good and following Christ – knowing the end of the wicked.

How do these truths cause you to evaluate your own position before God – are you ready to stand before Him?

No one committed to lawlessness has hope as Jesus is committed to barring all such from His Kingdom.

When a sinner turns to God for forgiveness, his outlook turns from the dread of God to the delight in God – looking forward to being with Him in righteousness.

 

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Clarifying God’s Judgment of Israel