1. A LITERAL RETURN
a. Name the most blessed promise in Scripture. John 14:1–3; 2 Timothy 4:8.
“The coming of the Lord has been in all ages the hope of His true followers. The Saviour’s parting promise upon Olivet, that He would come again, lighted up the future for His disciples, filling their hearts with joy and hope that sorrow could not quench nor trials dim. Amid suffering and persecution, the ‘appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ’ was the ‘blessed hope.’ When the Thessalonian Christians were filled with grief as they buried their loved ones, who had hoped to live to witness the coming of the Lord, Paul, their teacher, pointed them to the resurrection, to take place at the Saviour’s advent.”—The Great Controversy, p. 302.
b. Why are the details in the prophecies of Christ’s return so important? Matthew 24:30, 31; Hebrews 9:28.
“The doctrine of the world’s conversion and the spiritual reign of Christ was not held by the apostolic church. It was not generally accepted by Christians until about the beginning of the eighteenth century. Like every other error, its results were evil. . . . It induced a feeling of confidence and security that was not well founded and led many to neglect the preparation necessary in order to meet their Lord.”—Ibid., pp. 321, 322.
2. LITERAL AND VISIBLE
a. In what manner will Jesus come again? Acts 1:9–11.
“The promise of Christ’s second coming was ever to be kept fresh in the minds of His disciples. The same Jesus whom they had seen ascending into heaven, would come again, to take to Himself those who here below give themselves to His service. The same voice that had said to them, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end,’ would bid them welcome to His presence in the heavenly kingdom.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 33.
“Precious, indeed, was this promise to those sorrowing disciples, that they should again see Jesus, who was greatly beloved by them all. Precious also is this promise to every true follower of Christ. None who truly love Jesus will be sorry that He is coming again. . . .
“Jesus is coming as He ascended into heaven, only with additional splendor. He is coming with the glory of His Father, and all the holy angels with Him, to escort Him on His way. Instead of the cruel crown of thorns to pierce His holy temples, a crown of dazzling glory will deck His sacred brow. . . . He will not wear a plain seamless coat, but a garment whiter than snow—of dazzling brightness. Jesus is coming! But not to reign as a temporal prince. He will raise the righteous dead, change the living saints to a glorious immortality, and, with the saints, take the kingdom under the whole heaven.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 351.
b. Does this mean that Jesus resurrected in His actual body? John 2:19–21.
“After the resurrection the priests and rulers circulated the report that Christ did not die upon the cross, that He merely fainted, and was afterward revived. Another report affirmed that it was not a real body of flesh and bone, but the likeness of a body, that was laid in the tomb. The action of the Roman soldiers disproves these falsehoods. They broke not His legs, because He was already dead. To satisfy the priests, they pierced His side. Had not life been already extinct, this wound would have caused instant death.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 772.
“After His resurrection He tarried on earth for a season, that His disciples might become familiar with Him in His risen and glorified body. Now He was ready for the leave-taking. He had authenticated the fact that He was a living Saviour. His disciples need no longer associate Him with the tomb. They could think of Him as glorified before the heavenly universe.”—Ibid., p. 829.
3. HIS GLORIOUS APPEARING
a. Describe the literal return of Jesus Christ from Heaven. Matthew 25:31.
“No language can describe the glory of the scene. The living cloud of majesty and unsurpassed glory came still nearer, and we could clearly behold the lovely person of Jesus. He did not wear a crown of thorns, but a crown of glory rested upon His holy brow. Upon His vesture and thigh was a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords. His countenance was as bright as the noonday sun, His eyes were as a flame of fire, and His feet had the appearance of fine brass. His voice sounded like many musical instruments. The earth trembled before Him, the heavens departed as a scroll when it is rolled together, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”—Early Writings, pp. 286, 287.
b. How many of the living inhabitants of earth will not be able to recognize such a coming? Matthew 24:24–27; Revelation 1:7; 6:16, 17.
“Terribly will that prayer be fulfilled in the great judgment day. When Christ shall come to the earth again, not as a prisoner surrounded by a rabble will men see Him. They will see Him then as heaven’s King. Christ will come in His own glory, in the glory of His Father, and the glory of the holy angels. Ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of angels, the beautiful and triumphant sons of God, possessing surpassing loveliness and glory, will escort Him on His way. Then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory, and before Him shall be gathered all nations. Then every eye shall see Him, and they also that pierced Him. In the place of a crown of thorns, He will wear a crown of glory—a crown within a crown. In place of that old purple kingly robe, He will be clothed in raiment of whitest white, ‘so as no fuller on earth can white them.’ Mark 9:3. And on His vesture and on His thigh a name will be written, ‘King of kings, and Lord of lords.’ Revelation 19:16. 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. They will realize who and what they, poor, feeble, finite beings, have been warring against. In awful agony and horror they will cry to the mountains and rocks, [Revelation 6:16, 17 quoted].”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 739, 740.
4. THE PURPOSE OF HIS COMING
a. What is the main purpose of Jesus coming again? Matthew 16:27.
“In His divine arrangement, through His unmerited favor, the Lord has ordained that good works shall be rewarded. We are accepted through Christ’s merit alone; and the acts of mercy, the deeds of charity, which we perform, are the fruits of faith; and they become a blessing to us; for men are to be rewarded according to their works. It is the fragrance of the merit of Christ that makes our good works acceptable to God, and it is grace that enables us to do the works for which He rewards us. Our works in and of themselves have no merit. When we have done all that it is possible for us to do, we are to count ourselves as unprofitable servants. We deserve no thanks from God. We have only done what it was our duty to do, and our works could not have been performed in the strength of our own sinful natures.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 5, p. 1122.
b. What about those who have died in the hope of seeing Jesus return? 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18.
“As Paul’s epistle was opened and read, great joy and consolation was brought to the church by the words revealing the true state of the dead. Paul showed that those living when Christ should come would not go to meet their Lord in advance of those who had fallen asleep in Jesus. The voice of the Archangel and the trump of God would reach the sleeping ones, and the dead in Christ should rise first, before the touch of immortality should be given to the living.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 258.
c. What happens to the unrepentant? Mark 8:38; Revelation 6:14–17.
“In the lives of all who reject truth there are moments when conscience awakens, when memory presents the torturing recollection of a life of hypocrisy and the soul is harassed with vain regrets. But what are these compared with the remorse of that day when ‘fear cometh as desolation,’ when ‘destruction cometh as a whirlwind’! Proverbs 1:27. Those who would have destroyed Christ and His faithful people now witness the glory which rests upon them.”—The Great Controversy, p. 644
a. In order to be prepared to witness these final events in a state of readiness, what type of character is necessary? 1 John 2:28; 3:1–9.
“Righteousness has its root in godliness. No human being is righteous any longer than he has faith in God and maintains a vital connection with Him. As a flower of the field has its root in the soil; as it must receive air, dew, showers, and sunshine, so must we receive from God that which ministers to the life of the soul. It is only through becoming partakers of His nature that we receive power to obey His commandments. No man, high or low, experienced or inexperienced, can steadily maintain before his fellowmen a pure, forceful life unless his life is hid with Christ in God. The greater the activity among men, the closer should be the communion of the heart with God.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 194.
b. What are all who are waiting for Christ’s return to be doing? Mark 13:35–37; James 5:7, 8; 1 Thessalonians 5:1–6.
“Because time is short, we should work with diligence and double energy. . . .
“ ‘Watch and pray,’ is an injunction often repeated in the Scriptures. In the lives of those who obey this injunction there will be an undercurrent of happiness that will bless all with whom they are brought in contact. Those who are sour and cross in disposition will become sweet and gentle; those who are proud will become meek and lowly.”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 293.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What has been the continuous hope of all believers since the time our first parents were expelled from the Garden of Eden?
2. How do we know that Christ’s coming is literal?
3. Of those living on earth, who will actually be able to see His return?
4. Why is Jesus coming again?
5. How are you getting ready to see Jesus?