End Times, Part 2- When Jesus Comes Again (Sn1:Ep12)

Peace to Live By: End Times, Part 2- When Jesus Comes Again (Sn1:Ep12) - Daniel Litton
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[Transcripts may not match broadcasted sermon word for word, and may contain extra material that was cut from the broadcast due to time constraints]

       It was December 1777 when General George Washington and his army of 12,000 Continental soldiers settled at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to camp for the winter. The Revolutionary War had not been going all so well thus far. Some battles had been won, and some loss. Washington and his army had no idea the winter that was awaiting them. Short on food, clothing, and supplies, it would be a very long winter indeed. The soldiers waited, waited, and then waited some more. It would often snow, and many were sick. Food became so scarce that some turned to eating their boots and ammunition for food. When would this winter and its accompanying suffering end? When would there be brighter days? Washington and his army were waiting so they could fight the war.

       The waiting for the end of the 1777-78 winter did come to an end eventually, and while some 2,500 soldiers didn't make it, most of them did. There was a brighter future on the horizon for the fighting of the Revolutionary War. And just like this waiting period ended for the Continental army, the much, much longer waiting will conclude for the Jewish people. Indeed, in the same way, God's chosen people, the Israelites, have been waiting a long time for God to establish his kingdom for them here on the earth. Back in 2 Samuel 7 in the Old Testament, God promised that he would indeed give his people an everlasting kingdom on the earth. But this kingdom hasn't come, and God has not fulfilled what he said he would do, at least, not yet anyway.

       But before this kingdom can be established, there has to be one final war fought in the world, and this is the Battle of Armageddon. This war will involve all the kingdoms, the governments, of the earth. God will establish his kingdom here on the earth. He will fulfill his promises laid out in both the Old and New Testaments.

       So, there are two particular end times events that I want to focus on today. The first event that I am going to discuss is The Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Now, this is not the Rapture of the Church, but rather the second time that Jesus fully descends to the earth like he did the first time, when he came in human flesh as an infant. The second topic that I want to discuss is The Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ. This is the time at which God completely fulfills his promises from the Old Testament to the Nation of Israel. What God said to Abraham becomes fulfilled. Jesus Christ will rule and reign on the earth for 1,000 years.

       I also want to discuss today the eternal future is for Christians, that is, those who know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. I think that often times we as Christians wonder what will come after our lives, and some of us indeed looking forward to that time, as we all should be. But what exactly is the eternal future for Christians. The Bible does not give us a lot of information on this subject, but it does give us some significant facts.

       First, let’s look at The Second Coming of Jesus Christ to the earth. So, Jesus Christ returns at the Battle of Armageddon. This battle is led by the Lord Himself, and he destroys all of his enemies instantaneously. These enemies are the nations of the earth, all of which by this time in human history have forsaken and betrayed any form of a Christian foundation. And we that there really is no battle at all. Since God is all-powerful, the people of the earth are no match for his power. Nevertheless, Christ comes with His angels. And then He sets up The Millennial Kingdom. Now one might ask, “why would the nations of the earth try to battle against Jesus?” But one must remember the times we are talking about. This is a different time here on the earth from the time we are in now, and this times is much more lawless for humans. In fact, we read in 2 Thessalonians 2 the following. I will pick up at verse 7:

“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.” (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8, ESV)

Now “the lawless one” in this passage is the antichrist, who is the one world leader. And this antichrist, though he had assembled all the armies of the nations of the world to fight against Jesus, will be no match for Jesus and his angels when he descends from Heaven. As a matter of fact, Jesus himself, not including the angels, will be the One who takes them all out.

       Jesus Himself also discussed when he would come back to the earth the second time. If we go to Matthew 24, we get a pretty good summery of the event that is going to take place:

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31, ESV)

Here, Jesus discusses what His Second Coming is going to look like. Jesus talks about the changes that occur with the celestial bodies, including the stars ceasing to exist. This is epic, and a dramatic display of God's power. God has the ability to put outer space, everything that is in it, to drag it to the trash can and hit ‘delete.’ God has that power because he is so much bigger than our minds can even imagine. We think, as humans, that we are so incredibly smart, but in reality we really don’t know anything at all when comparing ourselves to God. So, there will be a sign of Jesus' coming, as the text stated, and everyone on the earth will be sickened by the sight because they do not want Him to come, or want to believe He is even real. Jesus will come on the clouds in the sky with great power and glory. Then he will send out His angels, who had come with Him, to gather his elect all around the earth. Jesus will not forget those living on the earth at this time who are believing in Him.

       The Apostle Paul also touches on the subject of The Second Coming, though, he calls it The Day of the Lord. In his first letter to the church at Thessalonica (chapter 5:1-3). It is interesting how Paul describes The Second Coming. He notes that the people on the earth will be suddenly stricken with destruction from above, when the Lord Jesus Christ returns in his glory with his holy angels. He uses the illustration of a woman about to give birth to a child. When this happens, the birth is imminent, and cannot be avoided. We know that birth pains strike a woman usually out of nowhere, which, or course, are then followed by a birth. In the same way, Christ's Second Coming with strike out of nowhere and will but sudden and sure. No one will be able to escape, just like the mother cannot escape the birth.

       To end with in discussing the Second Coming, I want to look at what the Book of Revelation says on the subject. We read in Revelation 19 the following:

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.” (Revelation 19:11-21, ESV)

So, we see here a much more detailed view of The Second Coming of Jesus Christ, among other things. Now in this passage, the beast, obviously, is the antichrist and the nations of the earth have gathered against the Lord Jesus Christ. But the beast and his false prophet are captured, and everyone else who has gathered with them to fight Jesus is killed instantaneously.

       Without a doubt, God still has a plan to fulfill His promises in the Old Testament to the Jews, which still have yet to be fulfilled. God always does what He says He will do. Let’s think about what is said in Acts 1:6 by the Lord Jesus Christ:

“So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” (ESV)

In the future, God will reestablish his kingdom here on the earth for the Jewish people. Now before that happens though, before the Second Coming and the Millennial Reign, the Jewish people in Israel will believe that the coming antichrist is indeed God. A kingdom will be established under his rule. The system of sacrifices from the Old Testament will again be practiced. Also, the temple mount will be back in Jewish ownership and control.

       Again, in the Old Testament, God has outlined promises to Israel, which he still has yet to fulfill. Let’s take a look at a couple of these promises so we can obtain an idea of what I am talking about. We read in Genesis 12 the following:

“Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3, ESV).

Here, we see that God promised Abraham that he would make of his ancestors a great nation. To be more specific, let’s look at 2 Samuel 7, which states the following:

“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.” (2 Samuel 7:12-17, ESV)

So, we see that in the future God will establish his kingdom here on earth, thereby fulfilling his promise to the Nation of Israel. Today, God is working toward this very purpose. Since Israel become a state in 1948, it can easily be seen that God is gathering his people back into this land. Israel has become extremely prosperous over the last 50 years or so, and has grown greatly as an independent nation. The church will benefit from some of these blessings of the Millennial Kingdom and be included in some of these promises, like the 1,000-year reign of Christ, but the focus is for the Jewish people.

       God will setup a reign from the Jewish people, the Nation of Israel, for 1,000 years, which is called the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ. This dispensational premillennialism view means that the Nation of Israel is a separate group of people from the current church itself. Now Christ reigns as king for this kingdom. If we read Revelation 20: 1-6, we read this:

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:1-6, ESV)

So, in this text we get a pretty good idea of the events surrounding the Millennial Reign of Jesus. In talking about Jewish people, note that this kingdom starts with only Jews who are saved. Included in this kingdom will be believers in resurrected bodies that help Christ rule. According to Jeremiah 30:9 and Ezekiel 37:24-25, David will be a part of the Millennial Kingdom as prince under Christ. Other believers may also be responsible for governing, as possibly suggested in The Parable of the Minas, found in Luke 19:11-27. Nevertheless, these believers will be have resurrected bodies, while the typical inhabitants of the kingdom will have normal, earthly bodies. Granted, during this time, there will be some humans born who do not accept Christ as king. They will incur judgment just like anyone nowadays who does not accept Jesus in his or her lifetime.

       It is good to consider the words of Jesus when talking about the Millennial Kingdom. Let’s look at Matthew 6, when He told his disciples, “Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10, ESV, from the Lord’s Prayer or the Disciples’ Prayer). From the very beginning, the disciples of Jesus Christ have been praying for and are supposed to be praying for the Millennial Reign of Jesus. God wants to fulfill His promises to the Nation of Israel, and establish His kingdom on the earth.

       Now let’s change subjects here and finish today, talking about our eternal future as Christians, the period after The Millennial Reign (even though we will be involved in the Millennial Reign as I just mentioned). I want to state that our eternal future is undoubtedly about relationships. First, our chief relationship is with Jesus Christ, and we who are born again will forever be with him. Eternity stretches forward forever and it is not bound by time. Rather, time is encompassed with eternity. There never has been a beginning to God, and there will be no end. In fact, God became a man and dwelled among humans, in order to experience the same environment that they experience and yet was blameless. We will also, as Christians, have fellowship with each other. These relationships will be perfect and free from any types of hinderances or problems. Interesting to think about is that we will be able to have fellowship with anyone who has ever lived during earth history who has been saved. Whether it be people from the Bible or even famous people from American history (like George Washington), we will have the opportunity to get to know these people.

       The whole chapter of Revelation 21 describes the new heaven and the new earth, as well as The New Jerusalem, which is the eternal future. I think it is important to note that parts of the description have the negative tense in the use of language. It is reasonable to consider that a problem here is that it is difficult to describe to regular humans, like us, that which is so perfect and heavenly, created by God. It would be like one of us today trying to describe a smartphone to a native of a far-distant jungle in which there is not technology at all. Or, how would one describe an electric stove to an ant who obtains his food naturally? Go ahead and turn in your Bibles, or tap in your Bible apps, to Revelation 21. Let's specifically note Revelation 21:1-4 states the following:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”” (Revelation 21:1-4, ESV).

Let’s note a few things from this text, though, you could note much. Note, first, that God dwells among men. We actually host God, and it’s not God hosting us. It can also be noted that when God wipes every tear away from our eyes, it may be that there are certain people we wanted to be with us who are not, who didn’t accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. In the end, we, as Christians, will end up siding with God that he is in fact right for keeping out those people, who are not Christians, of God’s eternal future for us. This is really a hard thing to understand. Another we can note is that we will all be perfect and not have any sicknesses, deformities, or aliments of any kind, but our bodies will be whole and complete. And there will be no disabilities for anyone who is part of God’s future.

       So, with the new heaven and new earth, Jesus makes all things new. Everyone will be safe and happy, and unbelievers will be shut out of this eternal future. In Revelation 21, the New Jerusalem is also described. It is noted that it actually comes down out of heaven from God, as if it is being built right now. Remember what Jesus said about preparing a place for us, as Christians? He said, "In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also" (John 14:2-3, ESV). So, the place Jesus is preparing for us could very well indeed by in the New Jerusalem.

       Of the text that talks about the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21, let's specially note verses 22 through 27. They read:

“And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life." (ESV)

There are a few things I would like to note from of this passage of the many things. It is interesting to note the cosmic changes that will take place. God is the One who gives the light in the New Jerusalem, “and its lamp is the Lamb.”, that is, Jesus. We can also note that this eternal state will have kings of the earth. And there will be nations, for the kings are kings of nations. Also, again, God notes that there will not be any unbelievers or evil things there.

       In closing today, you know, maybe you’ve been thinking about the things I’ve been discussing about The Second Coming of Jesus Christ, or the Millennial Reign, or the eternal future for Christians. Maybe you have believed what I have been discussing. Perhaps you believe that God really will do what He says He will do. God wants everyone to come to know Him through faith in Jesus Christ. God wants everyone to saved, and have eternal life, true life, fulfilling life, with him throughout all eternity. John 3:16 so beautifully states, ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (ESV).

       If eternal life is something you would like, if a relationship with the eternal God is something you desire to have, then your at the right place today. God not only guarantees a personal relationship with Him through faith in Jesus, but He also freely gives His eternal life to whoever will believe. That means you can escape any of God’s wrath to come. Indeed, the day is coming when God will reveal His wrath, his anger, against all people who do not believe in Him and who do not obey His truth. Paul notes in Galatians 6, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (6:7-8, ESV). God wants anyone and everyone to come to know Him, but He does not force anyone to come to know Him.

       If you would like to live in freedom from the dominant pull of sin and believe in Jesus, all you need to do is pray a simple prayer. God will save you and transform your life so that you are like Jesus, if you will let Him. Just follow my lead and pray this simple prayer:

God, you are the true God. You are holy. I am a sinner. I have sinned from the beginning of my life. I have not doing the things you have wanted me to do, but I have been doing the things I have wanted to do. Today, I accept your free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, Lord of all. I believe that Jesus came to the earth as a human man and died on the cross for the sins of the whole world. I accept his work on the cross as payment for my sins. I believe Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his death, and that today He dwells at your right hand in Heaven. I believe that Jesus truly is Lord of everyone and everything. I surrender my life to you. Please change my life, and me like Jesus. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

-Daniel Litton