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The Return of Christ – Asking the Right Question

Question MarkIn my last post I started a series on the Return of Christ. I reviewed what the disciples had learned from Jesus up to this point.

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call attention to the buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
Matthew 24:1-2

The disciples are just like many of us – impressed by the massive structures man has built. It’s easy to look at the outside of things. We get the impression that the grander the work, the closer to God the ministry is. This is far from the case sometimes.

This is what Jesus was trying to relate to His disciples. They thought that these impressive structures were a sign of God’s favor. That may have been the case at one time.

At this time, because of the nation of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, they were opening themselves up to destructive forces that would someday level these incredible buildings.

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Matthew 24:3

This question shows us incredible insight into the disciples’ thinking process. They liked to get Jesus alone when there were no crowds around to interrupt. That’s when they learned the most. Now, they needed some answers.

Many teachers, when they deal with this verse, explain that the disciples didn’t know what they were saying because they were clearly asking three different questions in one. That statement shows a lack of understanding about what Christ had already taught His disciples. Actually the disciples knew exactly what they were asking.

Throughout Jesus’ ministry He spoke of the end of the age when the righteous would rise to receive their reward. He also talked about the day of His coming, the Day of Christ, when He would reveal Himself to the nations.

The problem the disciples had was that the Lord never related these two events to each other. Were they two different events, or do they happen simultaneously?

To top it all off, now Jesus is talking about the temple being destroyed – something He had never mentioned before – and they wanted to know how it all fit together. They knew exactly what they were asking.

“Lord, You’ve told us about the resurrection. You’ve told us about Your coming, and now You’re telling us about the destruction of Jerusalem. Please, Lord, tie it all together for us. How will we know when these things are about to happen?”

One thing’s for sure – I’m glad they asked. After studying Christ’s teachings, I had the exact same question. I’m even more grateful that Jesus answered the question – in detail.

It’s the Lord’s answers that I will be posting about in this series.

Question: What would you have asked Jesus concerning His return?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

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Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Ministry, Return of Christ

 

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The Return of Christ – His Perspective

Cloud2As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Matthew 24:3

Periodically, I like to post about the Return of Christ. This is a subject that many people are interested in. Unfortunately, few look at the big picture. Instead, they have their own favorite sections of Scripture.

One of these is the portion of Jesus’ ministry that’s recorded in Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13. This is where most people who study the Second Coming of Christ like to start. It’s where Jesus gives His most comprehensive end-time teaching.

The problem is that if you start here, you have none of the foundational knowledge already laid down by Christ as He taught His disciples. At this point, Jesus had already been teaching the disciples for about three years on the subject. Of course, they had many unanswered questions and a couple of loose ends, but the Lord didn’t start them from scratch with this teaching.

I’ve gone through all of Christ’s teaching on the subject in my posts over the past couple of years. To review them you can read my old posts listed under the Return of Christ category heading or click on the links below.

Let’s review what the disciples knew up to this point. They had learned that there was a time period called this age that started with Christ planting His kingdom on earth. On the last day of this age, the resurrection and reward of the righteous will take place.

However, for an unknown period of time before the resurrection a separation would take place causing a visible distinction between God’s kingdom and Satan’s. Click here to see my series on this teaching of Christ.

Jesus’ followers also knew that there was going to be a special day, called the Day of Christ. It would be a day when Jesus was going to be revealed to the nations as the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

The agenda for this day is as follows: First, the righteous are taken to a place of safety. Then salvation would be closed. At that point, calamity such as the world has never known will fall on the inhabitants of the earth. By the end of the day, the unrighteous will have been swept away, leaving the saints to rule and reign in the kingdom of the Messiah. Click here to read my series on this subject.

It was with this background that the Lord gave the disciples His most detailed teaching on His return. In my next post I’ll start talking about what Christ taught in this section of Scripture. Prepare to receive it. This teaching is life changing!

Question: Why is the Second Coming of Christ such a popular topic among believers?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in Return of Christ

 

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The Day of Christ #returnofChrist

Cloud2I’ve been posting about how Christ will reveal Himself at His return.  We’ve talked about Jesus’ teaching in Luke, chapter 17, on the days of Noah and Lot.

Remember that He already said in verse 24 that when He’s revealed on that day, every eye will see Him.  It will not be a private return.  He’s coming in all of His glory.

“On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them.  Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything.  Remember Lot’s wife!  Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.  I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.”
Luke 17:31-36

Many interpret this verse to mean that the one taken is taken into heaven and the one left is the one that’s going to be judged.  How can this be?  In both of His examples, the stories of Noah and Lot, the Lord clearly states that the unrighteous are taken in judgment and the righteous ones are left.

The disciples wanted Jesus to clarify what He was teaching them.  They asked the obvious question: Where was it that they were taken to?

“Where, Lord?” they asked.
He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”
Luke 17:37

Jesus makes it clear that those taken are dead bodies.  The Greek word for carcass is what the NIV translates as dead body.  Also, the word Jesus used for vulture is a generic term that could be used for any carrion bird that feeds on dead bodies.

So in answer to the question “Where are they taken?” Jesus said, “Do you want to know where the carcasses are taken?  Then look for the vultures.”  Personally, I don’t want to be taken like that.  I want to be one of the ones who are left.

What, then, have we learned in this portion of Scripture?  First of all, I see a time of warning leading up to the time when Christ is revealed.  We then come to a day – a literal, twenty-four hour day – during which He will reveal Himself.

Christ uses two examples, Noah and Lot, to explain His point.  In both cases the day starts out with some saints.  They are then somehow supernaturally protected during the events of that day.  In Noah’s case he was put in the ark and in Lot’s case he was taken out of the city.

On the day that they were protected, salvation was then closed and judgment fell.  After judgment had fallen, at the end of the day, the saints were left.  That’s the way I read it and that’s the way I believe Christ meant it to be read.

Questions: Are you prepared for that day?  How have you prepared?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in Return of Christ

 

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