There are more than two comings of Christ. However, only two are literal. Many comings of Christ are figurative in nature. This article will explore some the differences between some of the figurative comings and the two literal comings of Christ.
As explained in “the Church and the King” article I wrote (donnyweimar.wordpress.com), the arrival of the Church Kingdom in Acts 1:8; 2:1-4 was one that came with power. We learn in Matthew 16:28 Jesus came with His kingdom on Pentecost. The Lord said, “Verily I say unto you, there are some of them that stand here, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:28 (ASV) Clearly this was not a literal coming because the disciples had just watched him literally ascending through the clouds into heaven in Acts 1:9. Thus, the coming of Christ with His kingdom was a figurative coming while the establishment of God’s kingdom was literal. We will return to Acts chapter one again in a moment.
We see another figurative coming of Christ where Jesus answered Judas Iscariot concerning His manifestation. “If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” John 14:23 As history bears out; Judas did not love Jesus but betrayed Him instead. Nevertheless, the point in this statement concerning Jesus and the Father coming to the believer who loves God is not necessarily a literal, eye catching coming. It is figurative.
Often in the Bible, God is spoken of as coming in judgment against a race, nation, tribe or person. Jesus warned the church at Ephesus, “Remember therefore whence thou art fallen and repent and do the first works; or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent.” Revelation 2:5 (ASV) That is only one instance where the Lord is said to come in judgment, in the Bible. Here as well as many other passages it is not intended to be a literal coming, but only a coming in the sense of condemnation upon wicked actions of persons.
Jesus foretold of judgment against Jerusalem, which historically occurred in 70 A.D. While some hold that this was a literal coming of Christ, it cannot be. The Lord say, “But when they persecute you in this city, flee into the next: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone through the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” Matthew 10:23 (ASV) This was a symbolic coming. The resurrection has not yet come, therefore the second coming of Christ has not arrived. (See 1 Corinthians 15:23.) The first literal coming of Christ was the incarnation of the Son of God. The Holy Spirit impregnated the virgin, Mary, and she bore a son, Jesus called the Christ. (Matthew 1, 2; Luke 1; John 1) The second Coming of Christ will be a literal coming of the Son of God in judgment. There are some good promises for the faithful believers upon the Lords’ arrival. Before leaving the disciples He gave His word:
Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3 (ASV)
When Jesus comes in the literal second coming, the prepared people will enter the prepared place of an eternal abode. While there were signs of Jesus figurative coming in judgment upon Israel in Matthew 24:1-34, there are NO signs given for the second coming. Jesus said in Matthew 24:34-35,
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.
When Jesus returns, the material world will be destroyed. 2 Peter 3:10 states, “ But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10 (ASV) This is not figurative language.
Just as Moses was told to build a rescue Ark so too is the second coming of Christ. Go back to Matthew 24 and read verses 38-29; “For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall be the coming of the Son of man.” Matthew 24:38-39 (ASV) Since the flood was literal, the coming of the Son is literal. Very clear is this final statement for today. It is the only one that uses the word “second” and the only verse required to settle forever the promise of the second and final coming of the Lord.
“So Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for him, unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:28 (ASV)