It is common to hear debates about the Second Coming of Christ, but not many people identify His other comings.
It reminds me of those charismatics who speak about the ‘second blessing’ as something to be sought after. If they have had only two blessings, I encourage them to seek some more. Similarly, there are those who can identify only two comings of Christ.
There is not much dispute about the First Advent of Christ, but there are many different views about His Second Advent, spoken about in Act 1:11 and mentioned in every chapter of 1Thessalonians. Paul wrote his second epistle to the Thessalonians to correct their misunderstanding of what he had written in his first epistle. Some of the Thessalonians thought that he had suggested that Christ was coming ‘soon’, and this misunderstanding continues among academia to the present hour and among a particular brand of Christian. Paul corrects this in 2Th 2:2 by telling them that he had not said that Christ would come soon but suddenly. A flash of lightning comes suddenly but one might not see such for a long time. Paul expands his correction of this mistaken thinking by saying that before Christ’s coming the man of sin must be revealed first 2Th 2:3-10, so that they should not be troubled by this mistaken opinion that Christ will come soon 2Th 2:2.
Besides this correction of their thinking, Paul also foretold the widespread conversion of the Jews Rom 11:15, which had not happened in his lifetime and the Christian church is still waiting for it. So Paul did not awaken each day with the thought that today might be the Day of Judgment when Christ would return. Further, Paul died before the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and Jesus had predicted its destruction before His return. If first century Christians were not to expect the Second Advent of Christ soon, then why should we misinterpret Paul’s writings as if he said so, especially when Christ Himself said that we should not be troubled by wars, rumours of war, famines, diseases and earthquakes Mat 24:6-8?
Does this mean that we should be complacent, as some people wrongly accuse post-millennialists? Not at all, because Christ can come at any minute. How so?
Jesus said: ‘If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also’ Jn 14:3.
Christ can come and does come at any minute by death, not by the Second Advent. He comes for His people at death and thus He tells us to watch, pray and be ready.
‘Therefore be ready: because the Son of man is coming to that hour of which you are not thinking’ Mat 24:44 and Lk 12:40. Do you know what hour you expect to die?
The Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne asked a group of people when they thought that Christ would come. Each gave their answer and then he quoted ‘at a time when ye think not’.
Someone asked a minister for advice. He told him to repent the day before he died. He replied that he did not know when he would die. So the minister said: “Well, you had better begin now.”
Augustine suggested that God did not tell us the exact day of our death so that we will live every day as if it is the last.
Christ’s Second Advent is at the general resurrection 1Th 4:16-18, and that resurrection is on ‘the last day’ Jn 6:39-40,44,54, Jn 11:24 and Jn 12:48. Christ’s physical return is at the end of Earth time, not during it.
However, there are other comings of Christ, which are spiritual, by His Holy Spirit. Indeed, the destruction of Jerusalem’s temple Mat 24:1-2 in 70AD is described as Christ’s coming in judgment Mat 24:3,15-20,34, which was evidently not His physical bodily coming but His coming by His Spirit. Not least is His coming Rev 19:15 to judge the nations. This pre-millennial judgment Rev 19 is prior to the lengthy Millennium mentioned in every verse of Rev 20:2-7, when Satan’s influence on Earth will be bound by the faithful preaching of the Gospel in every nation of the world.
This pre-millennial judgment is part of Christ’s Millennial Advent, described in the Old Testament prophecies and explained by Christ in His New Testament discourses.
Christ’s Millennial Advent is the completion of His First Advent, His victory over the devil and his kingdom. Then the seventh angel will sound his trumpet and the saints in heaven will triumphantly declare the Lord’s victory: ‘the kingdoms of the world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ’ Rev 11:15. This is the beginning of the biblical Millennium on Earth, when all kings and nations will serve Christ Ps 72:11,17.
During this very lengthy period of Christ’s reign of Earth from heaven, with His saints in heaven Mat 5:5 and Rev 20:4, the majority of mankind will be saved. The Millennium will come to an end by a final and short apostasy Rev 20:3,8-9, which will lead to Christ’s Second Advent and the final judgment Rev 20:10-15.
There are more comings of Christ, which will need another blogpost.
I have dealt with some of Christ’s comings in reply to the comments below.