1. BEHOLD, HE IS COMING!
a. According to the Bible, what will Jesus’ coming be like? Acts 1:11.
“The most precious fact to the disciples in the ascension of Jesus was that He went from them into heaven in the tangible form of their divine Teacher. The very same Jesus, who had walked, and talked, and prayed with them . . . had ascended to heaven in the form of humanity. And the heavenly messengers had assured them that the very same Jesus whom they had seen go up into heaven, should come again in like manner as He had ascended. This assurance has ever been, and will be till the close of time, the hope and joy of all true lovers of Christ.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 254.
b. To whom will Jesus’ appearing be visible? Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:30.
“Those who mocked and smote Him will be there. The priests and rulers will behold again the scene in the judgment hall. Every circumstance will appear before them, as if written in letters of fire. Then those who prayed, ‘His blood be on us, and on our children,’ will receive the answer to their prayer. Then the whole world will know and understand.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 739, 740.
2. AN AMAZING HOPE
a. What is the purpose of Jesus’ coming, and how should our confidence in this awesome, unsurpassed event be affecting us? John 14:1–3.
“Those who really love the Saviour cannot but hail with joy a message founded upon the word of God, the He in whom their hopes of eternal life are centered is coming again, not to be insulted, despised, and rejected, as at His first advent, but in power and glory, to redeem His people. The proclamation of Christ’s coming should now be, as when made by the angels to the shepherds of Bethlehem, good tidings of great joy. There can be no more conclusive evidence that the churches have departed from God than the irritation and animosity excited by this Heaven-sent message.
“It is those who do not love the Saviour that desire Him to remain away, and such eagerly receive the testimony borne by unfaithful servants, ‘My Lord delayeth his coming’ (Matthew 24:48). While they refuse to search the Scriptures to learn if these things are so, they grasp every fable which will put off the coming of Christ into the distant future, or make it spiritual, fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem, or taking place at death.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, pp. 216, 217.
b. Describe the sweetness of this hope, and with what is it to be closely connected? Philippians 3:20, 21.
“The truths of prophecy are bound up together, and as we study them, they form a beautiful cluster of practical Christian truth. All the discourses that we give are plainly to reveal that we are waiting, working, and praying for the coming of the Son of God. His coming is our hope. This hope is to be bound up with all our words and works, with all our associations and relationships.”—Evangelism, p. 220.
“Those who have loved Him and waited for Him, He will crown with glory and honor and immortality. The righteous dead will come forth from their graves, and those who are alive will be caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air. They will hear the voice of Jesus, sweeter than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, saying to them, Your warfare is accomplished.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 34.
3. A GLORY BEYOND DESCRIPTION
a. What sign in the heavens will indicate Jesus’ coming? Mark 13:26.
“Soon our eyes were drawn to the east, for a small black cloud had appeared about half as large as a man’s hand, which we all knew was the sign of the Son of man. We all in solemn silence gazed on the cloud as it drew nearer, and became lighter, glorious, and still more glorious, till it was a great white cloud. The bottom appeared like fire; a rainbow was over it.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, p. 32.
b. Explain the threefold glory at Christ’s return—noticing where He will meet His redeemed ones. Will His feet touch the ground at His second coming? Luke 9:26 (last part); 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.
“On [the cloud] sat the Son of man, on His head were crowns, His hair was white and curly and lay on His shoulders. His feet had the appearance of fire, in His right hand was a sharp sickle, in His left a silver trumpet. His eyes were as a flame of fire, which searched His children through and through. Then all faces gathered paleness, and those that God had rejected gathered blackness. Then we all cried out, Who shall be able to stand? Is my robe spotless? Then the angels ceased to sing, and there was some time of awful silence, when Jesus spoke, Those who have clean hands and a pure heart shall be able to stand; My grace is sufficient for you. At this, our faces lighted up, and joy filled every heart. And the angels struck a note higher and sung again while the cloud drew still nearer the earth. Then Jesus’ silver trumpet sounded, as He descended on the cloud, wrapped in flames of fire. He gazed on the graves of the sleeping saints, then raised His eyes and hands to heaven and cried, Awake! Awake! Awake! ye that sleep in the dust, and arise. Then there was a mighty earthquake. The graves opened, and the dead came up clothed with immortality. The 144,000 shouted, Hallelujah! as they recognized their friends who had been torn from them by death, and in the same moment we were changed and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. We all entered the cloud together.”—Ibid., pp. 32, 33.
c. What is different about Christ’s third coming after 1,000 years, in contrast to His second coming? Zechariah 14:4. (See also Early Writings, pp. 17, 18.)
4. WITH POWER AND AUTHORITY
a. What will happen in nature at Jesus’ second coming, and why? Revelation 6:14; Isaiah 24:1–6.
“God would have His people clearly understand that they will be visited according to their obedience or transgression. Wickedness and disease have increased with every successive generation. The land has labored under the curse which man has brought upon it because of continued disobedience.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, p. 123.
“The King of kings descends upon the cloud, wrapped in flaming fire. The heavens are rolled together as a scroll, the earth trembles before Him, and every mountain and island is moved out of its place.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 641, 642.
b. How does prophecy depict the divine judgments that are soon to fall upon the world at His coming? Isaiah 24:17–23.
“The wicked look with terror and amazement upon the scene, while the righteous behold with solemn joy the tokens of their deliverance. Everything in nature seems turned out of its course. The streams cease to flow. Dark, heavy clouds come up and clash against each other. In the midst of the angry heavens is one clear space of indescribable glory, whence comes the voice of God like the sound of many waters, saying: ‘It is done’ (Revelation 16:17).
“That voice shakes the heavens and the earth. There is a mighty earthquake, ‘such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great’ (Verse 18). The firmament appears to open and shut. The glory from the throne of God seems flashing through. The mountains shake like a reed in the wind, and ragged rocks are scattered on every side. There is a roar as of a coming tempest. The sea is lashed into fury. There is heard the shriek of a hurricane like the voice of demons upon a mission of destruction. The whole earth heaves and swells like the waves of the sea. Its surface is breaking up. Its very foundations seem to be giving way. Mountain chains are sinking. Inhabited islands disappear. The seaports that have become like Sodom for wickedness are swallowed up by the angry waters.”—Ibid., pp. 636, 637.
5. THE FULFILLMENT OF LONG-HELD HOPES
a. Describe the joy of the holy angels with Jesus at His return. Jude 14.
“With anthems of celestial melody the holy angels, a vast, unnumbered throng, attend [Jesus] on His way. The firmament seems filled with radiant forms—‘ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands’ (Revelation 5:11). No human pen can portray the scene; no mortal mind is adequate to conceive its splendor.”—The Great Controversy, p. 641.
b. What task are the holy angels to perform (based on the investigative judgment which will already be over), and what will the earth’s inhabitants ultimately realize? Matthew 13:41, 49; 25:32; Romans 7:12.
“The trumpet of the Archangel will soon startle the living and wake the dead. At that day the wicked will be separated from the just, as the shepherd divides the goats from the sheep.”—Child Guidance, p. 561.
“Christ would have all understand the events of His second appearing. The judgment scene will take place in the presence of all the worlds; for in this judgment the government of God will be vindicated, and His law will stand forth as ‘holy, and just, and good’ (Romans 7:12). Then every case will be decided, and sentence will be passed upon all. Sin will not then appear attractive but will be seen in all its hideous magnitude. All will see the relation in which they stand to God and to one another.”—The Review and Herald, September 20, 1898.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Explain what groups of people will witness the second coming of Christ.
2. Why is Jesus returning, and what should this event make us consider?
3. Why should we know whether or not Christ’s feet will touch the ground?
4. How will the huge upheaval in creation relate to the moral law of God?
5. With this joyful yet solemn hour ahead, what should we deeply consider?