The Second Coming of Christ as seen in the Scriptures by Jack Kettler
The “Second Coming” of Christ as seen in the Old Testament:
The Old Testament Scriptures do not directly mention the “Second Coming” of Christ as such.
Regarding Christ’s “First Coming,” you have prophetic examples like:
“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1)
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” (Malachi 4:5)
The following limited survey of Old Testament texts deals with the final consolation of Israel at the end of redemptive history followed by the eternal peace of God’s rule. These Old Testament Scriptures, while not meaning the “Second Coming,” per se find their fulfillment in the Messianic hope realized at the “Second Coming.”
“That the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you.” (Deuteronomy 30:3) (High lightning emphasis mine)
“And King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD forever.” (1Kings 2:45)
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” (Job 19:25)
“Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Psalm 2:1-12
“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations.” (Psalm 22:27-28)
“The LORD shall reign forever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalm 146:10)
“He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction!” (Hosea 13:14)
“And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Haggai 2:7)
“And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.” (Micah 4:8)
“And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea and from the river even to the ends of the earth.” (Zechariah 9:10)
“For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place, incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11)
“But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap.” (Malachi 3:2)
As seen, the nature of the Old Testament portrayals of the “Second Coming” is somewhat different from the New Testament descriptions. As previously noted, the words “Second” or “First” coming do not appear in the Old Testament. Instead, the Old Testament depicts the “Second Coming” as the final hope of Israel’s restoration with God’s rule being undisputed and continuing forever. In addition, in the above Scriptures, the “First” and “Second” coming of Christ is pictured eschatologically as one event wherein the Messianic hope is inaugurated.
The “Second Coming” of Christ as seen in the New Testament:
The following New Testament Scriptures take for granted the fact of the “First Coming” of Christ. Believers in the New Testament are reminded to be watchful and look forward to the event of the “Second Coming.”
“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” (Matthew 16:27)
“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matthew 24:42)
“And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:33)
“Jesus saith unto him, if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.” (John 21:22)
“And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10-11)
“But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” (1Corinthians 15:23)
“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” (1Thessalonians 2:19)
“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8)
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:28)
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” (James 5:7)
“And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” (1John 2:28)
Like the Old Testament, the New Testament does not use the exact wording of the “Second Coming” of Christ. The closest wording to that is “he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).
Importantly, Luke notes, in his gospel, chapter 1:33, “And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom, there shall be no end,” in which the unification of the Church and believing Israel in Christ happens. See Romans 11:11-31.
Most certainly, Luke in 1:33 is making identification with Jeremiah 23:5:
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” (Jeremiah 23:5)
For additional Old Testament cross references to Luke 1:33, see also; 2 Samuel 7:13; 2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 89:4; Psalm 89:36; Psalm 89:37; Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 16:5; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 6:26; Daniel 7:14.
As Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible explains Luke 1:33: “And he shall reign over the house of Jacob … Not over the Jews, the posterity of Jacob, in a literal sense; but over the whole Israel of God, consisting of Jews and Gentiles. For as his father David reigned over the Idumeans, Syrians, and others, as well as over the house of Judah and Israel, so this his son shall reign over both Jews and Gentiles: his kingdom shall be from one end of the earth to the other, even over all the elect of God; who in successive generations call themselves by the name of Jacob, and surname themselves by the name of Israel, of whatsoever nation they be; and this reign of his shall be
for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end; referring to Isaiah 9:7 see also Daniel 2:44 Daniel 7:14 he shall reign in the hearts of his people here unto the end of the world; and with his saints a thousand years in the new heavens and new earth; and with them to all eternity, in the ultimate glory.” (1)
To maintain Biblical Orthodoxy, one must not abandon the physical literal “Second Coming” of Christ. Mockers or those that have abandoned Orthodoxy say:
“And saying, where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2Peter 3:4)
Matthew Poole’s Commentary explains Peter well:
And saying, Where is the promise? Questioning or denying the great truths of the gospel, thereby to encourage themselves in walking after their own lusts.
Of his coming; viz. Christ’s, mentioned 2 Peter 3:2. Possibly these scoffers might drop the name of Christ by way of contempt, not vouchsafing to mention it, as the Jews did, John 9:29; q.d. [from the Latin quasi diat: as if one should say] Where is the promise of his coming whom you expect?
His coming, to judge the world; q.d. His promised coming doth not appear, the promise of it is not fulfilled.
For since the fathers, who died in the faith of Christ’s coming, and had the promise of it,
fell asleep; i.e. died; the usual phrase of Scripture, which these scoffers seem to speak in derision; q.d. It is so long since the fathers fell asleep, (as you call it), that it were more than time for them to be awakened, whereas we see the contrary.
All things continue as they were from the beginning of the
creation; i.e. the world continues to be the same it was, and hath the same parts it had; we see nothing changed, nothing abolished, but still nature keeps its old course. Thus they argue, that because there had been no such great change, therefore there should be none; because Christ was not yet come to judgment, therefore he should not come at all; not considering the power of God, who is as able to destroy the world as to make it, nor the will of God revealed in his word concerning the end of it.” (2)
What do we find in the confessions and catechisms that are necessary to maintain Biblical Orthodoxy?
Westminster Larger Catechism Question 56:
Q. 56. How is Christ to be exalted in his coming again to judge the world?
A. Christ is to be exalted in his coming again to judge the world, in that he, who was unjustly judged and condemned by wicked men, shall come again at the last day in great power, and in the full manifestation of his own glory, and of his Father’s, with all his holy angels, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, to judge the world in righteousness.
Belgic Confession Article 37:
“Our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, corporally and visibly, as He ascended, with great glory and majesty.”
Free Reformed Churches of North America:
19. CHRIST’S SECOND COMING
“The Bible directs us to expect our Lord Jesus Christ to come again (Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). He will come with the clouds of heaven. He will come as the One risen and ascended and exalted in majesty. Jesus’ Second Coming will be in marked contrast to His first coming, which was in humiliation. The majesty of His divinity will no longer be laid aside. We shall see Him as He is, majestic, glorious and adorable.
Christ’s Second Coming is to be followed directly by the final judgment. For many the Day of the Lord will be darkness and not light (Amos 5:18). Only those who by a true faith have become righteous in Christ can and may face the great white throne without terror.
The sacrifice of Christ is the object of our faith. The Second Coming of Christ is the object of our longing. We look back in faith to the crucified Saviour; we look upwards in love to the living Saviour; we look forward in hope to the glorious Redeemer.
This looking forward in hope is not of minor importance. Without this expectation we are not believers. We are saved by hope (Romans 8:24). In looking forward we look not only to the Second Coming itself, but also to the events associated with it – the resurrection of the dead, the general judgment and the acquittal and acknowledgment of the believers. Above all, we look forward to the day when “at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow … and … every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (see Philippians 2:10, 11). “Maranatha” (1 Corinthians 16:22).”
The Old Testament depicts the “Second Coming” as the final hope of Israel’s restoration with God’s rule being undisputed and continuing forever.
Two additional Old Testament references pertinent to the “Second Coming:”
“The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the Lord said unto me, They have well-spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15-18)
“And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. And, Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.” (Numbers 24:15-19)
The New Testament because of additional revelation in redemptive history, and with specificity that is more precise looks to Christ’s “Second Coming” as the full inauguration of Messianic rule that was hoped for in the Old Testament. At this time, Israel will “hearken” to the Messiah, and His full “dominion” will be implemented among the nations for eternity.
“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)
1. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Luke, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 33.
2. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, 2Peter, Vol. 3, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985), p. 925-925. Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com