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Jesus Teaches About His Return

In my last post, I talked about the Day of the Lord.  That’s the day that when Christ appears to rule over the earth.  Every eye will see Him as He establishes His millennial kingdom.  The Lord explained to His disciples exactly when this would take place.

“But in those days, following that distress, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
“At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.  And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.”
Mark 13:24-27

Here’s one of the verses that many Bible teachers seem to ignore.  This is the statement that Christ uses to bring all His other teachings into perspective.  Are you going to ignore it, or are you going to believe what Christ Himself taught?

This day may be called many things: “The Day of the Lord”, “The Day of the Son of Man”, or “The Day of Christ”.  Whatever you want to call it, it’s the day Christ returns to the earth to claim His rightful throne.

He makes it perfectly clear.  Mankind will see this return.  This is the day He comes to establish His kingdom.  His teachings to the disciples referred to it as His day, the day Christ comes to reign on the earth.  But wait!  What else happens on this same day?

The Lord makes that clear as well.  He sends out His angels to gather His elect – the church.  The angels will then gather us from the four winds, meaning those of us who are living on the earth at the time of His appearing.  It also says that they will gather us from the heavens. That means those believers who have already died before this day.

That makes this the Resurrection Day as well – the last day of the age.  According to Christ Himself, the Day of the Lord and the Resurrection Day are one and the same.  Look at how the Gospel of Matthew records it.

“At that 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 on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.  And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
Matthew 24:30-31

All nations will mourn.  They – all nations – will see Him.  There will be a trumpet call.  The Scripture makes it very clear that the elect, those committed to Christ, will be gathered up on that day. This is the same day that Christ appears to all nations to take His rightful place as the Ruler of the earth.

How does that sit with what you’ve been taught?  Jesus teaches that the Resurrection Day and the Day of the Lord are the very same day.  Now the choice is up to you.  Who are you going to believe?  A man who comes saying that there’s a seven-year wait between the two or the Living Word of God Himself?  As for me, I chose to believe what Christ teaches.

Question: Why is the belief in the seven-year wait so popular?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on July 9, 2018 in Return of Christ

 

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The Hope of Resurrection

I’m continuing with my look at First Thessalonians. As I’ve said before, Paul had sent Timothy to that Church to see how they were doing. Timothy returned with a good report of their growth. He also brought some questions that the church had asked during his visit. Now we’re going to see Paul’s answers.

One of the questions they asked was this: When Christians die, does that mean they’re going to miss out on the Second Coming of Christ? That’s a good question. Let’s see the apostle’s answer.

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
I Thessalonians 4:13

Please realize that the term ignorant was not being used in a bad sense. Paul means that he didn’t want them to be without knowledge. He didn’t want them to be lacking in their teaching on the Lord.

He also uses the term fall asleep. The early church used this to signify that someone was dead. They realized that when a believer dies, they don’t cease to exist but rather enter the presence of the Lord. Their body, however, looks like it’s sleeping.

His first instruction to them is that they’re not to grieve as the world does. We’re not to act as people who don’t have any hope. We have an eternal hope.

We know about the resurrection of the dead on the Last Day. Because of this knowledge, funerals don’t hold the same fear over us that the rest of the world has. We shouldn’t act like we’re never going to see the departed Christian again.

Yes, I realize that there’s a parting process. You’re not going to see that person for a long time – so there’s going to be that kind of grief. But don’t grieve as if you’ve lost them forever. Don’t mourn like somebody who has no hope.

We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
I Thessalonians 4:14

Because of the foundation of the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself, we know that Paul is talking about the day when Jesus returns. He’s speaking here about the Last Day, the Day of the Lord.

We remember how Jesus taught that on that day, when He returns, every eye shall see Him. This passage reminds us that on this day, He’s going to bring with Him those who have died in the Lord. All the saints that Jesus referred to as being gathered from one end of heaven to the other will be there.

According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
I Thessalonians 4:15-18

In other words, those who have already died in Christ have a better place in the resurrection than we do because they’re the first to be called. The Scripture says here that we’re not going to precede those who’ve died in the Lord. There’s a divine order to the resurrection.

Obviously, it’s going to take place in an instant. It’s not like we’re going to have to wait around for an hour. But in that instant, when we’re resurrected, the dead in Christ are going to be resurrected first.

Paul is calming their fears that those brothers and sisters who have passed on before us will not be missing out on anything.   They have a good place in the resurrection.

This should be an encouragement to each of us. What we see of the material world is not all that there is. We have a hope that goes beyond the natural. We should be looking through an eternal perspective.

Question: How should our future hope affect our present way of living?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

NOTE – If you want a more detailed look at the Second Coming of Christ, then click here to read about my new book.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2017 in Encouragement, Faith, Return of Christ

 

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Jesus Christ – Our Living Hope

Cloud2For a couple of posts we’ve looked at the first time Jesus mentioned the Last days in His teaching (John chapter 5). It’s the basis for constructing our picture of the future return of the Lord.

As I said before, we’ll build “line upon line, precept upon precept” as we go along. In future posts, we’ll be making the picture more complete.

“For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
John 5:26-30

The cross is our starting point. We come along about 2000 years later. The physical resurrection of the dead that Jesus talked about hasn’t happened yet. But, we know for a certainty that someday the dead are going to rise and there’s going to be a time of judgment with the result being either eternal life or eternal condemnation.

We don’t know when it’s coming, but there will be a resurrection day. In Jesus’ teaching, that we looked at in my last post, the disciples hadn’t heard anything that was new to them. Jesus didn’t start with some new doctrine that they’d never heard before.

You can find teaching on the resurrection throughout the Old Testament, too. Job looked forward to it in the book of Job chapter 19. It’s a Scripture that’s probably familiar to most of you. It was Job’s statement of faith that one day he was going to see the Lord.

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”
Job 19:25-27

Even in the Old Testament, believers knew that there was going to be a resurrection. They understood that God was not going to leave His people in the grave. It’s in a few other places in the Old Testament as well. Not a lot, but enough to let us know that it was a recognized concept.

The Old Testament saints knew about it. Even the Pharisees, as a group, believed and taught that one day God would bring about the resurrection of the dead.

This is where Jesus starts out. It’s a very simple concept, but He begins where His disciples were familiar – the fact of the resurrection.

The only shocker in His teaching was that it will be the voice of Christ that causes the dead to rise. I’m sure that the Pharisees had some choice thoughts on that subject. We, however, are given a foundation upon which to build the rest of the teaching on the return of Christ.

It’s the Lord Himself who is our resurrection. It’s His voice who will call us from our graves to a place of victory. This is a day we can all look forward to as believers. Knowing this, we now have a proper foundation upon which to build the rest of our end-time teaching.

Question: How does the hope of the resurrection comfort you, especially in uncertain times?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2016 in Power of God, Return of Christ

 

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The Return of Christ – Who do You Believe?

Cloud2In my last post I talked about the Day of the Lord. That’s the day that when Christ appears to rule over the earth. Every eye will see Him as He establishes His millennial kingdom. The Lord explained to His disciples exactly when this would take place.

“At that 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 on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
Matthew 24:30-31

Here’s the verse many Bible teachers love to ignore. This is the statement that Christ uses to bring all His other teachings into perspective. Are you going to ignore it, or are you going to believe what Christ Himself taught?

This day may be called many things: “The Day of the Lord”, “The Day of the Son of Man”, or “The Day of Christ”. Whatever you want to call it, it’s the day Christ returns to the earth to claim His rightful throne.

He makes it perfectly clear. All nations will mourn. They – all nations – will see Him. This is the day He comes to establish His kingdom. In His teachings to the disciples He has referred to it as His day, the day Christ comes to reign on the earth. But wait! What else happens on this same day?

The Lord makes that clear as well. He sends out His angels to gather His elect – the church. There will be a trumpet call. The angels will then gather us from the four winds, meaning those of us who are living on the earth at the time of His appearing. It also says that they will gather us from one end of heaven to the other. That means those believers who have already died before this day.

That makes this the resurrection day as well – the last day of the age. According to Christ Himself, the Day of the Lord and the Resurrection Day are one and the same. Look at how the Gospel of Mark records it.

“But in those days, following that distress, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
“At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.”
Mark 13:24-27

The Scripture makes it very clear that the elect, those committed to Christ, will be gathered up upon that day. This is the same day that Christ appears to all nations to take His rightful place as the Ruler of the earth.

How does that sit with what you’ve been taught? Jesus teaches that the Resurrection Day and the Day of the Lord are the very same day. Now the choice is up to you. Who are you going to believe? A man who comes saying there’s a seven-year wait between the two, or the Living Word of God Himself? As for me, I chose to believe Christ.

Question: Why is the belief in the seven year wait so popular?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2014 in Return of Christ, The Church

 

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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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Advancement in the Kingdom

Jet Plane to NowhereAs the disciples listened to Jesus’ teaching, they began to learn a great deal about the day of resurrection.  At one point they started to put two and two together and were making their plans accordingly.  They knew that they would be dead before the Days of the Son of Man, but because of the resurrection, they would see the kingdom.

Now it so happens that two of the disciples, James and John, who were also brothers, set a plan into motion.

“Mama, come here, we have to ask you to do something for us.”

“What is it, my children?”

“We want you to ask Jesus something.”

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
“What is it you want?” he asked.
She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
Matthew 20:20-21

They had it all thought out.   They knew that they wouldn’t see the days coming up to it, but they would be there for the kingdom.  If they played their cards right, they could get in on the ground floor.  Jesus had said previously that if any two agreed, they could ask what they wanted, and it would be done for them (Matthew 18:19).

But just to make sure, they asked their mom to make the request that one of them be on the right and the other on the left.  Because, of course, their mom had more pull then they did.

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them.  “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
“We can,” they answered.
Matthew 20:22

They had no idea at all what they were saying.  Jesus was talking about the cup of death.  He was looking at their ability to be martyred for the faith.

Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant.  These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
Matthew 20:23

Jesus’ reply contains some interesting concepts.  We need to remember that our places in the kingdom are not going to be decided on by us.  We miss the fact that it’s not up to us to say, “I want to be a prophet so I’m going to Bible College and learn all about the Bible.  Then, I’m going to go to prophet school and learn how to be a prophet.  Then, I’m going to do this and do that, and then, finally, I’ll be a prophet.”

I’m sorry.  That might be how it works in the world, but not in the Kingdom of God.  In the Church, we are to be led by the Holy Spirit.  It’s up to Him to show us the plan for our lives.

Question: What are you called to do for God’s kingdom?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2014 in Ministry, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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The Last Days – Two Kingdoms Side by Side

agricultureI believe that we’re in the Last Days before the return of Christ.  Did you know about the weeding that is going to take place in the Last Days?  Christ taught about it during His earthly ministry.  Very few people talk about it because it doesn’t fit into their view of the end times.

I want to take a few posts to examine this important concept.  I think that it’s important for every believer to know what to expect on the road ahead.

The following is based upon the events and teachings found in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 13 and verses 24-41.  I encourage you to read that passage first, before continuing this post.  You will have a greater understanding of what I’m saying.

This is actually the second teaching given by Jesus concerning the last days.  He gave it to the disciples in parable form.

At this point the disciples already knew that there would be a day of resurrection sometime in the future.  They knew that on that day the graves would be opened.  Someday all believers will rise with a new resurrected body.  In this teaching, Jesus builds upon that knowledge.

In the parable, the Lord teaches about a farmer who sowed good seed in the ground.  Secretly, an enemy sowed bad seed during the night.  When asked what he would do about it, the farmer said that he would let both plants grow together until the harvest.  That way he could tell the difference between the weeds and the wheat.

The disciples had no idea what Jesus was talking about.  Later on in the day, the disciples found themselves alone with the Lord.  They took that opportunity to ask Him about it.  It’s Jesus’ explanation that I want to talk about.

According to the Lord, sons of the kingdom (that’s us), were sown into the world.  But the devil also sowed his sons into the world.  According to the parable there are two kingdoms, on earth, growing side by side.  I believe that’s where all the spiritual tension comes from that we are presently experiencing.

The kingdom of God and the world are both headed in opposite directions.  They have two different kings and vastly different goals.  As we approach the end, both kingdoms are going to start developing to the point where they’re bearing fruit.  The closer we get to the return of the Lord, the clearer we will see both the church of Jesus Christ and the world for what they truly are.

It is the overlap of the world and the church that causes the problems.  This parable addresses what God intends to do about it in the Last Days.  This is a very important subject.  If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to this blog for email delivery, so you won’t miss any of the posts.

Question: How have you experienced the tension between the kingdom of God and the world?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2013 in Return of Christ

 

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