There are those who hold to a false view of the return of Christ and His reign upon this earth. They believe that Jesus Christ has already returned and is now ruling and reigning upon this earth. The fact that prior to Christ’s return there will be great upheaval in the cosmos and that all eyes will see Him as He comes in clouds in the glory of His power with His saints and angles doesn’t seem to faze the adherents to this vain speculation in the least. Read what Jesus Christ said about His return in Mark chapter thirteen.
19“For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. 20And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days. 21Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look He is there!’ do not believe it. 22For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand. 24But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27And then He will send his angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven. Mark 13:19-27
Christ warns that there will be false christs and false prophets, an indication that He hasn’t returned yet since the false cannot stand when the True is visibly present. This is reiterated by Paul in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 which he wrote to refute the claim by some that Christ had already come.
Now brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and out gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called god or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
Falsehood and lies have been broadcast about since the early church, but the spread has increased at a frenzied frequency so that it is almost impossible to find any corner of the visible church not tainted and corrupted by devilish doctrines. We are at this time in the midst of the great falling away and we can expect the Antichrist to arise on the scene at any time. Jesus Himself affirmed the appearance of the Antichrist before His return .
So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” Mark 13:14
Except for the increase in damning doctrines of demons, the appearance of the Antichrist and the cosmic upheaval have not happened as foretold to us by Christ and Paul. Therefore Christ has not physically returned to this earth.
God has revealed to us that Christ will physically return to our planet to rule and reign in numerable places throughout the Scriptures.
6Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying “Lord will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7And He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:6-11
When the disciples asked about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel Jesus said they were to be witnesses to Him as they spread abroad the good news of the gospel by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Jesus reassured them they could trust the Father to restore the kingdom by His authority at the times and seasons that He had set. Jesus Christ has called all of us to share in the work of spreading the gospel during this age of grace while we await His bodily return in glory as prophesied by the angels to the disciples.
After Christ returns He will set up His kingdom upon this earth as prophesied in both the Old and New Testament. We can read about Christ’s reign upon this earth in Psalm 2.
Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? 2The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, 3“Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” 4He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. 5Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: 6“Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” 7“I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. 9You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’” 10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed you judges of the earth. 11Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling. 12Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way. When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. Psalm 2:1-12
It is evident that Christ will physically reign upon this earth from these verses. We can also ascertain from the world around us that the attitude of the rulers expressed in this passage nowhere approximates what we know to be the attitude of our present day rulers. They pay Christ, for the most part, a feigned respect, if they consider Him at all! No, the attitude displayed by the rulers in the verses above obviously arises from the presence of the great King upon this earth!
It is important to note that verse 9 from Psalm 2 is repeated in the book of Revelation of Jesus Christ three times. In chapter two of Revelation Jesus Christ gives this promise to those who overcome:
“But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations-‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’-as I also have received from My Father; Revelation 2:25-27.
This is an obvious reference to Psalm 2 which shows Christ on earth physically ruling the nations. This promise is also given to those who overcome in His church, that they too will rule and reign with Christ during His millennial reign. The next reference verse 9 in Psalm 2 is found in Revelation chapter 12.
She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Revelation 12:5
If this verse is then linked with Revelation 19:11-16 the promise of Christ’s physical reign upon this earth is evident.
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:11-16
After the beast and false prophet are cast into the lake of fire, Jesus Christ will rule on this earth for one thousand years.
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Revelation 20:4-5
This is the time when Christ will physically reign upon this earth. Our glorious Savior will defeat His enemies and then establish His kingdom upon this earth!
Christ’s judgment upon the wicked and His rule and reign upon this earth at His second coming is directly linked to the work that He did during His earthly ministry in regards to salvation. Paul states this in Acts 17: 30-31:
“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17: 30-31
Isaiah chapter eleven also directly links His work of salvation with His right to judge and rule on this earth. Just as He came physically to save us so too will He appear physically to judge the world in righteousness and set up His kingdom in Jerusalem.
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. 2The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. 3His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; 4But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. 5Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist. 6“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. 7The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. 9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. 10And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:1-10
Christ first comes as Savior, He then returns to judge and destroy His enemies, and then physically rule and reign here on earth.
Isaiah chapter sixty-five further expands upon the peaceful reign of Jesus Christ upon this earth.
17“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. 18But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, And her people a joy. 19I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, Nor the voice of crying. 20No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; For the child shall die one hundred years old, But the sinner being one hundred years shall be accursed. 21They shall build houses and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22They shall not build and another inhabit; They shall not plant and another eat; For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, and My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23They shall not labor in vain, Nor bring forth children for trouble; For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. 24It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear. 25The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox, And dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” Says the Lord. Isaiah 65:17-25
Is Jerusalem considered a place of rejoicing and her people a joy at this time? No, not really. Jerusalem is a divided city encompassed about by her enemies, with cries for her destruction filling the air. However, with Christ ruling and reigning from Jerusalem, during this glorious time of peace, harmony and longevity, Jerusalem will then be a city of rejoicing and her people a joy. In last part of verse 20 we see Christ ruling with a rod of iron, the sinner will not live long. All will answer to Christ, but His benevolent reign will be marked with great blessings, contentment, knowledge of God, and His intimate involvement in the lives of His beloved. No more sorrow or destruction. True peace and safety from God is described in both Isaiah 11 and 65, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” Says the Lord. There is nothing extant upon this earth that in anyway approximates Christ’s glorious kingdom on earth.
Believers have been awaiting the imminent return of Christ for millennia. This might pose a problem when we look at the opening passages of Revelation chapter 1.
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants-things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. Revelation 1:1-3
This connotation of Christ’s soon return is also expressed by Paul and Peter in their epistles.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an arch angel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17
But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 1 Peter 4:7
However, God led His apostles to teach us about the forthcoming of our Lord’s return. First, the Antichrist, whom Christ will destroy with the brightness of His coming and consume with the breath of His mouth, is being restrained until he is revealed in his own time. (2 Thessalonians 2:6 & 8) There is a specific time for the Antichrist come upon the scene. Once the son of perdition has appeared and declared himself to be God, then and only then will Jesus Christ come to destroy him and all of His enemies. Second, our concept of time is not the same as God’s concept of time.
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9.
God withholds final judgment for the salvation of souls, at this time. So we can see there is no contradiction in the imminence of Christ’s return and the duration between His first and second coming. God’s longsuffering is for our salvation.
Finally as believers we have the promise given us that we will be with Christ when He returns and escape the wrath of God poured out upon this evil world system.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an arch angel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness…For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 4:14-5:5 & 9
For those who twist what is so evident in Scripture be warned by what Peter says about those who scoff at or misrepresent the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Nevertheless, we according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot, blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of the Lord is salvation-as also our beloved broth Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:14-18
Don’t let wicked workers lead you away from the truth of the Scriptures by their mishandling of God’s Word and twisting it to their own destruction. We look for Jesus Christ to return exactly as God has told us in His Word. As we await seeing our glorious Savior may we be mindful to grow to know Him more and more and increasingly rest in His grace until we see Him face to face.