© 1999 James A. Fowler

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I. Representative Biblical references to second coming.

    Although there is no direct reference to "second coming" (cf. Heb. 9:28), there is abundant
       reference to Christ's coming again. Justin Martyr in second century is first known usage of
       "second coming."

    A. Greek word parousia - "coming, presence, arrival"
         I Cor. 15:23 - "those who are Christ's at His coming"
         I Thess. 4:15; 5:23 - "the coming of the Lord" cf. 2:19; 3:13
         II Thess. 2:1 - "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" cf. 2:8
         James 4:7,8 - "the coming of the Lord"
         II Pet. 3:12 - "looking for the coming of the Day of God" cf. 1:16; 3:4
         I Jn. 2:28 - "at His coming"
    B. Greek word apokalypsis - "revealing, unveiling, disclosure"
         I Cor. 1:7 - "awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ"
         II Thess. 1:7 - "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven"
         I Pet. 1:7 - "the revelation of Jesus Christ" cf. 1:13; 4:13; 5:1
    C. Greek word epiphaneia - "appearing, manifestation"
         I Tim. 6:14 - "the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ"
         II Tim. 4:1 - "His appearing and His kingdom" cf. 4:8
         Titus 2:13 - "the appearing of our God and Savior, Christ Jesus"
    D. Greek word phaneroo - "make visible, appear"
         I Pet. 5:4 - "when the Chief Shepherd appears"
         I Jn. 2:28 - "when He appears...at His coming"
         I Jn. 3:2 - "when He appears we shall be like Him"
    E. Greek word erchomai - "to come"
         I Cor. 11:26 - "you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes"
         Heb. 10:37 - "He who is coming will come and will not delay"
         Rev. 1:7 - "He is coming with the clouds"
         Rev. 22:7,12,20 - "I am coming quickly"
    F. Greek word heko - "to come"
         II Pet. 3:10 - "the day of the Lord will come like a thief"
         Rev. 2:25 - "hold fast until I come" cf. 3:3
    G. Greek word hemera - "day"
         I Cor. 1:8 - "the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" cf. I Cor. 5:5; Phil. 1:6,10;2:16
         I Thess 5:2 - "the day of the Lord" cf. II Thess. 2:2; II Pet. 3:10
         II Thess. 1:10 - "on that day" cf. II Tim. 1:18
         II Pet. 3:12 - "the day of God"
    H. Greek word elpis - "hope"
         Titus 2:13 - "looking for the blessed hope"

II. Expectation of second coming

    A. Overwhelming Biblical evidence of expected second coming
         1. Referred to in every New Testament book except Galatians and three "postcard epistles" of               Philemon, II John and III John
         2. Jesus and every apostolic author refers to second coming
    B. Denial of the expected second coming
         1. Predicted - II Pet 3:3,4 - "mockers will say 'Where is the promise of His coming?'"
         2. Theological liberalism denies expected second coming by claiming it was the invention of               the early church.
         3. Eschatological preterists deny expected second coming interpreting the second coming as               spiritually fulfilled at Pentecost, or 70 A.D.
    C. Questions pertaining to the expected second coming
         1. Did Jesus teach that He would return in the lifetime of His hearers?
              cf. Matt. 10:23; Mk. 9:1
         2. Did Paul expect Jesus' return in his lifetime? cf. I Thess. 4:17
         3. Did the early Christians expect Jesus' second coming imminently in their lifetime? Were
              they mistaken? Were they embarrassed by the delay? Did they progressively abandon the
              idea of such expectation?
         4. Was the delay of the second coming explained by the apostles as a necessary interim, with               the necessity of godly living in the enigma of the interim? cf. I Thess. 4:1-12; II Thess.               2:1,2; 3:6-12; I Pet. 1:5,6,13-16; 2:11,12; 4:7,8; Rev. 2:10,25; 3:3,10,21

III. Manner or form of second coming

    A. In similar manner as ascended
         Acts 1:11 - "Jesus will come in same way as He went into heaven"
         1. Personally
         2. Visibly
         3. Physically - God once again presents Himself in human form
         4. In the clouds - cf. Lk. 21:27; Rev. 1:7 (God's presence?)
         5. Descend - I Thess. 4:16
    B. Public, for everyone to see. cf. Lk. 17:24; 21:35
         1. Not secret or invisible
         2. Not localized, as was ascension
    C. Announced with loud fanfare. cf. I Thess. 4:16;
         1. Not silent

IV. Timing and sequence of second coming

    A. Timing and dates of second coming are not known to man
         Mk. 13:32 - "of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,
              but the Father alone"
         Acts 1:7 - "It is not for you to knows times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own               authority"
         I Thess. 5:1 - "as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be               written to you"
         1. Timing of second coming is incalculable, unpredictable
         2. Is the second coming imminent or impending?
              a. imminent - soon, at any moment. cf. Rev. 22:7,12,20
              b. impending - expected; could be at any time
         3. Second coming to be sudden, unannounced
              a. like a thief in the night - I Thess. 5:2,4; II Pet. 3:10
              b. like birth pangs on woman - I Thess. 5:3
         4. Christians are to be prepared for second coming at any time
              a. eagerly awaiting - I Cor. 1:7; Phil. 3:20
              b. looking for, anticipating - II Pet. 3:12; Titus 2:13
              c. alert and sober - I Thess. 5:6,8; I Pet. 1:13
         5. Are there to be prior signs of second coming?
              a. gospel to be preached to all nations? - Mk. 13:10
              b. tribulation? - Mk. 13:19; Rev. 7:14
              c. wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famine? Mk. 13:7,8
              d. abomination of desolation? Mk. 13:14
              e. false Christs and prophets? Mk. 13:6,22
              f. signs in heavens? Mk. 13:24,25
              g. apostasy - II Thess. 2:3; II Tim. 3:1-9
              h. man of lawlessness - II Thess. 2:4; antichrist?
              i. powers, signs, false wonders - II Thess. 2:9
    B. Sequence of conjunctive events associated with second coming
         1. Diversity of opinion among Christian interpreters; much debate
         2. Relation of second coming to
              a. Rapture - I Thess 4:17 (cf. outline on "Rapture")
              b. Tribulation - Rev. 7:14?
              c. Millennium - Rev. 20:2-7 (cf. outline on "Millennium")
              d. Kingdom - I Cor. 15:24,50; II Tim. 4:1,18 (cf. outline on "Kingdom")
              e. End of the world - I Cor. 15:24; II Pet. 3:10-12
         3. Some premillennialists posit a dual, divided, segmented two-phase second coming.
              a. Coming "for" the saints - rapture - I Thess. 4:17
              b. Coming "with" the saints - revelation

V. Purpose of second coming

    A. Final, decisive intervention of God among men
    B. Culmination and consummation of the work of Christ inaugurated at the first coming.
         1. Completion, consummation of...
              a. redemption - Lk. 21:28; Rom. 8:23; Eph. 4:30
              b. salvation - I Cor. 5:5; Heb. 9:28; I Pet. 1:5
              c. sanctification - I Thess. 3:13; 5:23
         2. Dead will be resurrected - Jn. 5:29; 6:40; I Cor. 15:23; I Thess. 4:16
         3. Judgment - Acts 10:42; 17:31; Rom. 2:16; II Cor. 5:10; II Thess. 2:12; II Tim. 4:1;
              Heb. 10:30; 12:23; I Pet. 4:5; II Pet. 2:4-9; 3:7; Jude 6; Rev. 20:12
              a. heaven - Col. 1:5 (cf. outline on "Heaven")
              b. hell - Matt. 10:28 (cf. outline on "Hell")
         4. Unhindered kingdom of Christ - I Cor. 15:24
         5. Victory of Christ will become unmistakably apparent - I Cor. 15:57; Rev. 17:14
    C. Complete overthrow of evil
         1. World/order of evil will be brought to an end -
         2. Satan will be banished - Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10
    D. New created order
         1. Present universe ceases to exist - II Pet. 3:7-10,12
         2. New heaven and new earth - II Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1
    E. Christ will reign forever and ever - Rev. 11:15

VI. Christian attitudes toward second coming.

    A. Extremes to be avoided
         1. Inordinate preoccupation with second coming
              a. calculating timing
              b. evaluating events - "signs of the times"
         2. Denial of expected second coming of Christ
         3. Undue fear or excitement about second coming
    B. Differing orientations
         1. Judaic hope was futuristic - waiting for first coming of Christ
         2. Christian hope is optimistic - reckons on all that we have in Christ Jesus - I Tim. 1:1
    C. Preparation for the second coming of Christ is based on our participation in all that was made           available in Christ at His first coming.



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