With all the calamity, violence, war and distress going on in the world, many Christians are wondering if these are signs of the end times. We know from Scripture that the end times bring a lot of misery in pain. It is the darkest point in the earth’s history, where evil, sorrow and unrighteous surface. Darkness will rule the world completely. But then we have the hope – Jesus will return to the earth with armies of heaven to save it from the holds of the beast and the Antichrist.
The Second Coming of Jesus to the earth is one of the most momentous events that will ever happen. The Second Coming of Jesus regards the future return of Jesus to Earth, following His ascension, when He will defeat the Enemy, destroy evil and establish His millennial kingdom. While the earth will be filled with darkness, Jesus will return as a light that overcomes the darkness. The Second Coming of Jesus marks a momentous turning point from the days of Satan’s influence right from the days of Adam and Eve.
There’s a lot of confusion around the Second Coming of Christ and what will really take place during this period. In order to better understand Jesus’ return and all that it entails, the best place to turn to is Scripture, particularly Zechariah 14 and Revelation 19.
Zechariah 14 predicts, “On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split into two from the east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the Mount moving north and half moving south.” “That day” is a reference to the Day of the Lord, and the One who stands on the mountain is the Lord Himself. This passage predicts the Second Coming of Christ.
The opening of Zechariah 14 speaks of the future day when Jerusalem will be plundered by its enemies. Verse 2 prophesies that all nations will gather against Jerusalem and capture and ransack the city. Half of the citizens of Jerusalem will flee the devastation, but the other half will remain. This will be one half of the one third of the Jewish population still alive in Jerusalem after the Tribulation (Zechariah 13:8). Then, Zechariah says, the Lord Himself will go forth and engage these opponents in battle (Zechariah 14:3). Verse 4 speaks of the Messiah standing on the Mount of Olives, a hill near Jerusalem on the east. The mountain will split, creating an enormous valley. Since none of this has taken place yet, the prophecy points to a future time.
The Second Coming is described in Revelation 19:11-21: “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself. 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 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 the name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
Revelation 16:18-21 predicts horrible events at the end of the Tribulation when the seventh bowls is poured out. The Bible tells us, “Then there came flashes of lightening, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed…Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible."
The earthquake in Revelation could very well speak to the event described in Zechariah when the Mount of Olives splits in two. Jesus the Messiah will cause an earthquake at His Second Coming that will serve as part of the destruction of God’s enemies.
People often confuse the Second Coming with the Rapture. It’s important to know that they are not the same events. The rapture is when Jesus returns to remove the church from the earth. The church in this context refers to all believers in Christ. It is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50:54. At this time, believers who have died and believers who are still alive will be raised together, and meet the Lord in the sky as an act of deliverance. The Second Coming speaks of the return of Jesus to triumph over evil where he will establish his millennial kingdom. While it is not always easy to differentiate the two when reading Scripture, distinguishes between the two is important.Both include the return of Jesus and both are end-time events. In short, the rapture involves removing all believers from the earth before God’s wrath. The Second Coming marks the return of Christ to bring an end to tribulation by defeating the Enemy. Many things must occur before Jesus’ Second Coming.
As Christians, we believe Jesus will return to earth in fulfillment of His promises and the prophecies also made about Him. Matthew 24:30 talks of this promise “At the time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming from the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.” While we don’t know every detail of Jesus’ return, The Word gives us key information about His Second Coming, a promise Jesus has made to us.