“Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” – Revelation 20:6
Believers in Jesus around the world are looking forward to the day we will reign with Him with great anticipation. But how can we be sure we have the right answer to getting there? Well, let’s do the math.
His Low-Key Arrival
When Jesus came the first time how did it come about? We all know the story of His miraculous birth, but who knew at the time what really happened? It was only the relatively small number of people who knew God was about to do something very special. Obviously Mary and Joseph knew what was happening, as an angel of the Lord (Matthew 1:20-24) and the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:26-38) had told them what was going to happen.
His birth was also announced to the shepherds and they went to witness His arrival (Luke 2:8-20). The Maji (wise men from the East) had obviously been watching for His coming, resulting in them being led by the star from their distant land (Matthew 2:1-2). At the temple in Jerusalem, Simeon had been told by the Holy Spirit he would see the Lord’s Messiah, and Anna, a prophetess also in the temple, confirmed Jesus as the coming Redeemer (Luke 2:25-38). Other than this small group of people, the arrival of Jesus into the world would not become well known for about 30 uneventful and relatively peaceful years. We could say this first “stage” of His first coming only involved those who were watching and waiting for Him.
His Unexpected Appearance
That was not the case for the second “stage”. After His public baptism and the start of His ministry with His 12 disciples, followers of Jesus grew to great numbers as we see in the feeding of the multitudes on at least two occasions along with many other events during His ministry. This continued for almost three years, and was leading to the most important event in history. When Christians celebrate Palm Sunday, we are remembering the day Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem when He received the praises of the multitudes who recognized Him as the Messiah shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” (John 12:13). There were so many people who were believing in Jesus as the Messiah, the religious leaders felt threatened and were determined to remove this unexpected threat.
Less than a week later, they had coerced the crowds and the shouts of praises turned to demands of execution, and their rejected King, the Lord of Glory was sacrificed for our sins just as the Scriptures foretold. “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:2-4). Jesus rose from the dead, just as He had said (see John 2:19-22), and 40 days later ascended back to heaven (see Acts 1:3-9), back to the Father.
But that’s only half the equation, for Jesus promised He would “come again”!
His Remarkable Promise
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” – John 14:2-3
Here Jesus tells us that He was going away, but that He would “come again” to bring us to WHERE HE WAS! This promise by Jesus begins the two stage process of His return, and it will be profoundly different from His first coming. This promise from our Lord was confirmed, in greater detail, by Paul when he wrote to the believers in Thessalonica.
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18
This future event is known as the Rapture, or catching away, of the Church. Here Jesus returns, as He promised, FOR His own: those who have believed in Him, and His finished work on the cross, as the one and only sacrifice for their sins. When this happens the only people it will affect will be those who have been watching and waiting for this moment to come for almost 2,000 years, “born again” believers in Jesus Christ (see John 3:3-7). This is the first “stage” of His second coming, just like when Jesus came to us in Bethlehem unexpected by the world. Yes, I’m pretty sure it won’t go unnoticed by many people in the world. But fabricating some fantastic explanation for what has happened won’t be hard, given the ease with which people seem to believe false news in our world today.
His Glorious Intervention
This will then usher in a time that will be far worse than can be imagined, for evil will have free range in the world. It will be so bad the Lord even said He will have to stop it before it destroys the whole world.
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” – Matthew 24:21-22
And He will do just that! At the end of this time of tribulation, Jesus will accomplish the second “stage” and return to the earth WITH those who He came for at the Rapture. But unlike His being rejected as the King the first time, this time will be VERY different!
“For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” – Matthew 24:27
“At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” – Mark 13:26
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” – Revelation 1:7
“He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” – Revelation 19:13-16
His Ultimate Fulfillment
And when this happens, Jesus will have fulfilled every prophecy of His 2 stage First Coming, AND His 2 stage Second Coming! He will then will reign as King over the whole earth for 1,000 years in His glorious Kingdom.
2 X 2 = 1,000! I love Kingdom Math! How about you?
That brings me back to our opening passage: “Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” – Revelation 20:6
I will get right to the point. Will YOU be reigning with Him during that time? If you have not believed in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, this equation is not a favorable one for you. But you can change that right now.
His Invitation To The Kingdom
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:9
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:8-10
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12
“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” – Revelation 22:17
If this adds up to you, please call out to Him now. Ask Him to save you. He will hear you. He will save you. You can trust in Him.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
We pray you would share this with others who need to hear the Good News. God bless you all!
We wish to thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ without whom this ministry would not be possible.
U.N.C.L.E. Ministry is affiliated ONLY with Jesus Christ to build up the body of believers who comprise His church…for His glory!