It seems that every generation is fascinated with stories of the end of the world. In our day, there is no shortage of fiction about what may usher us into the end of the world – destructive wars, devastating plagues, natural disasters, or even terrifying zombies!
Christians have a lot to say on the subject, too, but often our ideas seem confusing or just as strange as fiction! As a result, many Christians just ignore the subject all together. But often biblical teaching seems strange only because the thinking of the world is so far removed from the truth of God. If Christian beliefs are confusing, the root of that confusion usually results from allowing theological controversies and personal speculation to crowd God’s clear teaching in his Word. So, in an effort to find some clarity, perspective, hope, and practical direction, consider these ten biblical truths about the return of our Savior.
- God created all things, sustains all of creation, and will one day dissolve this creation, and recreate a new heaven and new earth. (Genesis 1-2; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 33:6-9; Isaiah 65:17, 66:22; Acts 17:24; Hebrews 11:3)
- At his first coming, Jesus declared that he would one day return to earth in power and glory to judge humanity and reign as King – he was executed for this claim and rose from the dead, verifying this claim. (Matthew 24:30, 26:63-66, 28:1-10)
- Jesus secured salvation through his sacrificial death and victorious resurrection, so now the Gospel goes out to the world and all people are called to repent and place faith in Christ as Savior before his return. (Matthew 25:1-13; Romans 3:21-26, 10:8-17)
- Jesus will come to earth again in bodily form, at an unknown time, preceded by a time of increased tribulation, in a way that will be evident to all the world. (Matthew 24; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3; Revelation 1:7)
- At his second coming (in Greek parousia), the revelation (in Greek apocalypse) of Jesus Christ, he will bring to completion God’s eternal plan of redemption secured at his first coming. (Ephesians 1:3-6; Titus 2:11-14: Hebrews 9:27-28, 10:12-14; 1 Peter 1:17-21)
- At his return, Jesus will judge all created beings – humans and angels, living and dead – believers will receive reward according to their work and unbelievers will face punishment according to their work. (Matthew 12:36, 25:31-42; John 5:25-29; Acts 10:42, 17:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1, 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6)
- All humanity will have an eternal existence – those who persist in sinful rebellion against their Creator will be cast out of God’s Kingdom and face eternal punishment. (Mark 9:47-48; Luke 12:4-5; John 5:25-29; Acts 24:15; Romans 2:5-8; Revelation 20:11-15)
- Followers of Jesus Christ, those born again and justified by faith, will be raised to eternal life with a glorified body in God’s Kingdom. (Job 19:25-26; Isaiah 26:19; John 6:39-40, 11:23-25, 14:3; Romans 8:18-23; 1 Corinthians 15; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
- At the end, this heaven and earth will pass away and be transformed into a new heaven and new earth – a glorious, eternal existence in the presence of God. (Isaiah 65:17, 66:2; Romans 8:18-23; 2 Peter 3:1-13; Revelation 21)
- Christians are to eagerly wait – alert, prepared, and ready – for the return of Christ by walking in purity, living responsibly, and spreading the hope of the Gospel. (Matthew 24-25; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; James 5:7-11)
It’s easy to be bogged down, confused, or even discouraged about Jesus’s second coming because there are so many unknown details. But we can rest assured in these truths and be energized to share the Gospel while we wait for our Savior’s return!
Below is a great Tim Keller article that dovetails with the conversation about Christ’s return by expanding upon the biblical truth of Hell. Keller explores the concept in an intelligent way that may help effectively engage a nonbeliever. It was written in 2008 but Pastor David Pinkney recently re-posted it.