10 Things You Should Know about the Second Coming of Christ

We must first remind ourselves that the second coming of Jesus is our sure and certain, rock-solid and immovable hope.

Careful reflection on Christ’s return, sustained meditation on what it will mean in that moment and for all eternity, has a purifying effect on the soul. It turns sin sour in our mouths and serves to conform us ever more to the image of Jesus himself. After all, who can truly set their sights on seeing Jesus face to face and then remain in unrepentant and defiant sin against him?

 

There is in the New Testament a plethora of information and detail regarding the second coming of Christ. I couldn’t begin to cover it all in one short blog post. So, in this article I will only draw your attention to what we are told in Revelation 19:11-21, one of the more graphic portrayals of who Jesus is and what the second coming will mean for unbelievers in particular.

(1) We must first remind ourselves that the second coming of Jesus is our sure and certain, rock-solid and immovable hope. Paul speaks of this in Romans 8:22-25 where he describes us as groaning inwardly “as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” For it “in this hope we were saved.” He also speaks of our hope for the return of Christ in the midst of grief in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. And in Titus 2:13-14 he calls the second coming “our blessed hope.” Peter exhorts us to set our “hope fully on the grace that will be brought” to us “at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).

The practical effects of setting our hope on seeing Jesus is stated by John in his first epistle. There he writes

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3).

Careful reflection on Christ’s return, sustained meditation on what it will mean in that moment and for all eternity, has a purifying effect on the soul. It turns sin sour in our mouths and serves to conform us ever more to the image of Jesus himself. After all, who can truly set their sights on seeing Jesus face to face and then remain in unrepentant and defiant sin against him?

(2) In Revelation 19 Jesus is portrayed at his second coming as riding on a white horse (v. 11). Yet elsewhere we discover that when he returns it will be in the clouds of heaven. So which is it: on a horse or in the clouds or perhaps on a horse that is in the clouds? Probably none of the above. We must never lose sight of the fact that his is apocalyptic language. It is highly symbolic. His appearance here on a white horse is designed to alert us to the fact that he comes to conquer and to rule. He is portrayed as a general leading his troops into victory. I don’t think we are supposed to press for a literal or physiological interpretation of this text.

(3) He is called “Faithful and True” and “in righteousness he judges and wages war” (v. 11). Both verbs are present tense, perhaps pointing to timeless or customary actions of the rider. This judgment and waging of war is not merely against unbelievers but also on behalf of his people. It is in “righteousness” that he judges. Unlike tyrants and rulers throughout history who took bribes and extorted from others, Jesus wields the sword of judgment in perfect harmony with what is right. Unlike generals and armies that waged unrighteous wars for financial or territorial gain, Jesus wages war against all such unrighteousness.

(4) His “eyes are a flame of fire” and on his head are “many diadems” (v. 12). This is to be contrasted with the dragon who has but seven diadems and the beast who has ten. “The undefined multiplicity of diadems shows Christ is the only true cosmic king, on a grander scale than the dragon and the beast, whose small number of crowns implies a kingship limited in time. Christ should wear more crowns than any earthly king or kings, since he is ‘King of kings and Lord of lords’ (19:16)” (Beale, 952). The crowns point to his authority. It was the great Dutch theologian and statesman, Abraham Kuyper, who rightly declared of Jesus: “There is not a square inch in all the universe over which he does not say: Mine!”

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