Revealing Revelation – The Second Coming

07Jan11

One of the most often asked questions I receive while teaching these concepts in a classroom setting is at what point do I see the Second Coming of Christ or is it not represented at all in the book?

Though many preterist, and not just the heretical full preterist, argue that the book of Revelation does not deal with the Second Coming at all I simply do not see it this way. They argue that the context of the timing of the book and it’s demand that the things written within it’s pages were to happen “soon” preclude a discussion of the Second Coming.

But since in this Chapter the author himself describes a long period of time called the Millennium and then goes on to describe what happens at the end of that Millennium, one must follow where the author leads. He chose to take the event descriptions beyond the “soon” context, but does so clearly by telling the reader that these events take place after a long period of time.

So, with this in mind let us consider the passage in question. We will deal first with the events immediately preceding the second Coming and then discuss what is best seen as the actual, physical Second Coming of Christ.

Rev. 20:7-9 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison [8] and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. [9] And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city,

The first thing to note is that this time of victory for the Gospel is concludes with the release of Satan. And just like the description of his binding limited his ability to deceive the nations, his release allows a return to the deceiving work of Satan, though limited in time and expanse.

This army is represented by the Old Testament battle figures of Gog and Magog. Now it should be considered that Gog means “leader” and that Magog was the name of his people. This could simply mean that this army would be the leader and his people or Satan and his minions, simply using a popular Old testament reference to give the reader the sense of the import of these army.

This leads to the very real possibility that this battle is actually a spiritual battle between truth and error (Gospel and deception) as Satan’s last gasp. This is amplified by the target of Satan’s army, the camp of the saints and beloved city. Some mistakenly jump to the idea this is in reference to the physical city of Jerusalem. But as we have seen throughout the rest of the book, the physical city of Jerusalem is not the beloved city, but rather referred to as Egypt, Sodom and Babylon.

The beloved city is most likely the “camp of the saint” or most simply, the Church. This fits with the soon to come description of God’s beloved and holy city, the New Jerusalem that is also called the Church. So, the final days of history will reveal a last ditch effort by Stan to deceive the nations and attack the works of the Church.

On a side note the reader may want to consider the conspicuous absence of Jesus from the discussion. He is simply NOT on earth at this time! The futurist, Premillennial understanding places Jesus in the city of Jerusalem, surrounded by the physical armies of Satan. He is forced to cower at the face of Satan’s great army and must await rescue from on high! This is both unBiblical and insulting to the work and power of the glorified, risen and omnipotent Christ. I dealt with this in a post called The Second Humiliation of Christ which can be found here…

https://low5point.wordpress.com/2008/12/15/dispensational-distortions-the-second-humiliation-of-christ-part-1/

and here…

https://low5point.wordpress.com/2008/12/15/dispensational-distortions-the-second-humiliation-of-christ-part-2/

So, Satan has one last shot at deceiving the nations, but is quickly and swiftly and dealt with.

Rev. 20:9-10 … but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, [10] and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Satan’s last shot of rebellion is quickly squashed as fire from heaven comes and destroys the rebellion and puts an end to the work of the Devil. So, what should the reader do with the picture of this fire that comes from Heaven?

Let’s consider other similar uses and then consider the timing of the fire in relation to the other events that follow. Doing this will really help galvanize these concepts into a coherent system. First, let’s the consider the following passages and the use of fire.

2 Thes. 1:7-8 when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels [8] in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God…

2 Peter 3:10-12 But the day of the Lord will come … heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed… [12] because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!

The image of fire in judgment seems to picture the coming of Christ in final judgment and victory. His Second Coming is pictured as fire coming from heaven and this fire does the work of judgment in the final sense. This also hearkens back to the story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel where God sent fire to destroy the works of the prophets of Baal.

Since the Second Coming and Judgment are so closely related and we see fire coming from heaven at the return of Christ it is best to see this picture in Revelation as the actual, physical Second Coming of Christ. Note how it is a final act, not an act followed by a Millennia or by a physical presence of Christ on earth as stated above.

What does follow is judgment of the eternal order.

Rev. 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. [12] And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.

So, immediately following the fire from heaven is the final judgment. This makes the case that the fire from heaven is the second Coming even stronger as we have seen previously that the final judgment IMMEDIATELY is preceded by the second Coming of Christ. This was dealt with in a concept call The Unity of the Eschatological Complex and was discussed in a post called Wanna Sound Really Smart? which can be found here…

https://low5point.wordpress.com/2009/01/30/wanna-sound-really-smart/

But for review note in the following how the Second Coming is immediately followed by the final judgement…2 Thessalonians 1:7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

2 Tim 4:1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom

1 Cor. 4:5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God

Matt 25:31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats…46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

So, with just the handful of passages above we clearly see that the second Coming and Judgment are simultaneous events and since the Revelation passage states that immediately following the fire from heaven that the white throne of judgment is revealed it is safe to argue that the fire from Heaven is, in fact, a picture of the Second Coming of Christ. And most importantly His coming is “post” millennially! It takes place AFTER the Milennium and at the end of time just like 1 Cor 15, Matt 25, John 5 and 6 and elsewhere argue as well.

Rev. 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. [12] And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. [13] And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. [14] Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. [15] And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

To finish this section I wanted the reader to take note of how both the elect and the damned are judged at the same time. There is no Millennium between their judgments as the Premillennialist argue, but rather they are simultaneous events just as the rest of Scripture dictates (Matt 25; John 5).

So, to sum up the return of Christ is picture here and elsewhere as fire from Heaven, it takes place immediately before the judgment and on the Last Day (John 6) and is an event that takes place AFTER the Millennium.

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4 Responses to “Revealing Revelation – The Second Coming”

  1. 1 joeland7

    You are presenting Truth. Continue to fight the good fight of faith. May God Bless your ministry.
    http://joeland7.wordpress.com/2007/07/11/the-truth-about-the-second-coming-of-christ-and-last-days-events/

  2. 2 Tracey Bonsell

    So,…
    Is the picture of Christ’s 2nd “coming with fire” apocalyptic language or more literal?

    2 Thes. 1:7-8 when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels [8] in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God…

    Can we say that His return is “just as He has ascended” in that context?

    -just askin”…

    ~t~

    • 3 low5point

      I think it’s clearly apocalyptic and maybe will edit the post to make that more clear. The language follows the line of God acting in the Old testament in judgment, but since we have crossed that idea in the past I didn’t want to dwell on it here. He descends in the same way, but the coming results are judgmental and eternal, which is juxtaposed against the temporal judgment against Jerusalem in the first century.

      Great question!

      David

  3. 4 prestonleigh

    These are good points that you have made. Revelation tells of events which are to transpire. I just wanted to share that it also offers daily principles for present day believers to obey.

    Revelation is defined as the uncovering of the truth. It has always been God’s will for those who have an ear to hear to know the truth. Truth is His purpose fulfilled with those in agreement enjoying the blessings of the fulfillment. Those opposed will in truth be a part of the destruction of all which opposes Him. A deeper sensitivity of the spiritual conflict in this world is developed in the one who understands the Revelation of Jesus Christ. We are in a time segment known as the dispensation of grace. This is also known as the church age. From what have we been saved? This is explained in detail in the book of Revelation. What traits of the world may try to subtly plant themselves in our hearts? This too is explained in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

    Why did Jesus command us to keep the prophecy? How do we keep the prophecy? The purpose in keeping the prophecy and the manner in which it is kept is revealed in the book of Revelation. Each of us was created as a progressive step in the fulfillment of the prophecy. Understanding the prophecy allows us to understand ourselves. Scripture commands us to read the book of Revelation and promises a blessing upon those who are obedient. “Blessed is he that reads and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein for the time is at hand.” (Rev 1:3) We are commanded to keep the prophecy written in the book of Revelation. Throughout our study we learn as to how to keep the prophecy. Jesus wants us to keep the prophecy because it was for this purpose that we were created.

    God has given the church His holy word. Through the Holy Ghost we receive the revelation of His word. We come to know God by our applying His word to our experiences. Greater understanding of the prophecy results in a greater application of His word to our lives. We were created in fulfillment of the prophecy and therefore our life experiences are also a fulfillment of the prophecy.
    Wisdom from God is our desired source of guidance in our daily experiences. “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (Eph 5:17) Paul wrote that he finished the course that God had for his life. Seeking the will and wisdom of Jesus was Paul’s habitual work. His plan is for Him, through Him, by Him and for His good pleasure. He abides in us and we abide in Him the essence of our existence is His word. “For by Him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” (Col 1:16-17) The book of Revelation is of and by Jesus Christ and given to John. “Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein for the time is at hand.” (Rev 1:3)

    Question: Do you know exactly the ministry that God ordained for your life? If you do not can you diligently pursue the answer from God?


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