The Three Comings of Christ
Be Strong, Be Well — Sunday, August 30
After Jesus ascended into heaven, the disciples, “...looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who 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 1:10-11). This event ended the first visible appearance of Jesus Christ on earth.
The New Testament states many times that He “will appear a second time” (Hebrews 9:28). This will be when the Lord returns in the clouds and every eye shall see Him (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 1:7). At that time He will raise the dead (John 5:25-29), and judge the world (2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 25:31-46).
There is a second appearance of Christ. This one was invisible—not seen with physical eyes. It was when Christ came “in his kingdom.” While He was on the earth He told His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matthew 16:28).
Just a few verses earlier, Jesus promised to build His church and give the disciples the keys of the kingdom (Matthew 16:18, 19). While Jesus was personally in heaven, He was present invisibly in Jerusalem when His kingdom was established. This was the day of His coronation.
On that day of Pentecost in A.D. 33, Peter said, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). Paul recorded, “But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions" (Hebrews 1:8-9; quoted from Psalm 45:6-7).
When Paul wrote to Timothy in the mid 60’s A.D. he said, “which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15). Jesus Christ became King in the first century, not on earth, but in heaven. This is not a future event as some may teach.
The disciples used the keys given to them on Pentecost to open the doors of the kingdom to all who believe in Christ as the Son of God, repent of their sins, and who are baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:36-38, 41, 42).
When these steps are accomplished these obedient ones become subjects in the kingdom of God, the church Jesus built (Acts 2:47; Ephesians 1:22, 23; Hebrews 12:28).
With great joy, Christians today look back through scripture and read about the first visible coming of our Savior. Then we look back with grateful appreciation to His invisible coming as King in His kingdom, His church, knowing we are so privileged to be a part of it (Colossians 1:13, 14).
Then at His second visible coming (His third coming), when He delivers the kingdom to God (1 Corinthians 15:24), we’ll see Him for the first time with our own eyes. We’ll see Him as He is, because we’ll be like Him in the resurrection (1 John 3:2). We will “...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 4:17).
Never again will He be out of our sight! —Chris