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The Second Coming and Discipleship

Just as the Sabbath sheds its light of God's creative and power from the distant past, the promise, hope and comfort of the Second Coming casts its brilliance from the immediate future. The Second Coming provides the disciple with powerful motivating factors to help the disciple along the narrow way which leads to the heavenly city. Below are three texts which point to major components of the Second Coming and Discipleship.

The Promise of the Second Coming

Daniel 12:1-4; 13 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people —everyone whose name is found written in the book —will be delivered.

2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. 4 But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge. . . .”

13 “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”

While the Second Coming is greatly stressed in the New Testament, it should not be overlooked that the return of Jesus was also an integral part of the Old Testament.

Daniel, who in many ways prefigures those who will live just before Jesus comes, is given many visions and messages which relate to this culminating event in salvation history.

In the very last section of Daniel's book, the heavenly messenger has brought Daniel down to the very threshold of the heavenly kingdom. He is told that at that time Michael "the great prince" (cf. the Prince, the Anointed One, the Messiah, Daniel 9:25) will stand up to protect and deliver His people. Multitudes who are sleeping in the dust will either be awakened to everlasting life or everlasting contempt.

The heavenly messenger then tells Daniel that since these climactic events are far into the future, He needed to close up the book until the time of the end when the knowledge of the book of Daniel will be increased. Until that time, Daniel is bidden to rest until "the end of the days" when he would "rise to receive" his inheritance.

This inheritance of eternal life was given and sealed with the death and resurrection of Jesus. Daniel, along with his fellow-believers, are told to wait by faith to receive what has been promised by He who is faithful. It is this wonderful promise that encourages the disciple in all of their trials and the testing of their faith. The reward of this grace which is eternal life quickens the steps of the pilgrim unto the more perfect day.

The Hope of the Second Coming

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,

13 while we wait for the blessed hope —the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

The second coming is desribed as "the blessed hope" and helps to influence the life of the disciple away from the evils of this present age and be purified through the redemption of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Thus the hope of the second coming turns our minds away from all the ungodliness the present world has to offer and properly motivates the believer to be "eager to do what is good." Like a young child who is encouraged to do good in light of the coming of a bright Christmas morning, the believer is encouraged to be faithful and to sacrifice in light of the eternal reward which is before us.

From the time of Enoch (the seventh from Adam), the second coming has been proclaimed: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones" (Jude 14). May the hope that burned in the hearts of our spiritual forefathers burn in our hearts today.

The Comfort of the Second Coming

1Thessalonians 4:16-18 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. 17 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. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.

Lastly, in addition to the promise and hope of the Second Coming, the return of Jesus gives comfort to those who are facing a past, present and future filled with certain loss and death. As soon as there was a sin in the Garden of Eden there was a Savior. Even as Adam and Eve were feeling the intense guilt of their actions, the Savior Himself came to bring them comfort and hope.

Although everyone on the planet must suffer loss and eventual death, it is only the disciple who has truly experienced the resurrection power of Jesus in their own personal lives that are enabled to face death with that thought that this is not their final destiny, earth is not their final resting place. Thus the Second Coming provides much needed encouragement until the Savior should come and take us to our forerver home.