How puzzling it must have been to the prophets and to those who read them concerning the person of the Jewish Messiah. In some texts He is seen as silent and suffering unjustly until death. In others the Messiah is seen as reigning in Jerusalem, destroying armies, splitting mountains and bringing peace to all the world as He gathers Israel to Himself and exalts that nation as the joy of the earth.
So, does He die or does He rule? In the 2nd century there was a teaching that there were two Messiahs, one to die and one to reign. Now you and I from 2000 plus years removed and with the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit can look back and see how the “sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow” (I Peter 1:11) fit neatly together. But what would you do if you were there at that time? You would have said like Peter who when hearing of the cross said to Christ “This shall never happen to you!” Christ was simply multi-dimensional and mere men could not fathom Him.
What a privilege and blessing to be enlightened to God’s word and possess the “mind that hath wisdom” (Rev. 17:9) and to be able to appraise the things of God (I Cor. 2:15). He, who was veiled in flesh, was rejected, died, rose and ascended. He catches away His church and then judges the world and Israel in The Tribulation and then will return to judge the nations and deliver His covenant nation, Israel, and through it to rule the world through Israel’s covenant King, Jesus Christ.
- What will His return look like?
Jesus spoke of “the sign of the Son of Man” that will appear in the sky. What will it look like to see “His mighty angels in flaming fire”? To see the Son of Man in “the glory of His Father with the holy angels”? To see the glorified Church returning with Him on white horses? To see the “spirits of just men made perfect,” which are the Old Testament saints in glory.
- Why will He come?
To save the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation who have been set upon by the world. That nation who shall “look on Him whom they have pierced and mourn for Him as for an only son” (Zech. 12). And also because if He did not appear there would be no life left upon the earth. But also because of a wicked world who has not repented of its immoralities, thefts, and murder and now it is judgment day and men will call upon the rocks to cover them.
- What will He do upon His return?
First, the armies that surround Israel at Armageddon shall be destroyed. The Psalmist says prophetically “He will speak to them in His fury” (Ps. 2:5). Christ will merely say “drop dead” and they shall. Blood shall splatter to the horse’ bridles indeed. Then He shall cast the Anti-Christ and his voice, the false prophet, into the lake of fire and the heads of godless government and false religion shall be consumed. Their followers shall soon follow them. Then Satan shall be cast into the abyss, the bottomless pit – meaning a place of no escape (Rev. 20:1-3). There he will be confined with his demons for the 1000 years of Christ’s kingdom that there might be no opposition to God. Satan is not to be destroyed at that time because God still has a future purpose for him. And then another promised event shall occur, the resurrection of the bodies of the Old Testament saints, and the resurrection of the faithful who died in the Tribulation, even though their souls were in heaven their bodies were yet to be raised. The Rapture is solely for those who comprised the church of the ages. It is seven years later at the beginning of the kingdom that the Old Testament and Tribulation saints are raised.
Then He will “gather His elect,” meaning scattered Israel, to Himself. This is in keeping with the Palestinian Covenant made by God through Moses (Deut. 30:1-10). In that covenant God promises to someday gather the Jews to the land no matter where they are scattered merely because they turned to Him with a whole heart.
And when He does He will then judge them as a nation as to whether they were faithful in looking for His return or whether in unbelief they spared their lives and bore the mark of the Beast.
Jesus spoke of this judgment in His parable of the 10 virgins (Matt. 25:1-13) who were friends of the bride looking for her appearing with her Bridegroom from heaven. Five of the virgins were foolish and had no oil in their lamps. They were not ready to wait as long as needed. Five were. When the Bridegroom appeared they went in to the wedding feast. The five who had to run for oil simply missed out. As Isaiah said “The deliverer will come from Zion. He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” This will occur when Christ judges Israel. Only the faithful of the nation will enter the kingdom.
And then He will “gather the nations” (Matt. 25:31-32) before Him and separate them as “sheep from the goats”, meaning those who followed the Shepherd and those who did not. The way that the Gentiles will be judged is by the evidence of whether during the Tribulation they believed in Christ’s return. “Whatever you did to the least of My brethren, that you did to Me” (Matthew 25:40) and, “whatever you did not do to the least of My brethren you did not do to Me” (Matt. 25:45). “These will go away into eternal punishment but the righteous into eternal life” (25:46). The standard to judge the believing Gentiles is how they treated the “least of Christ’s brethren”, meaning the suffering Jews of the Tribulation.
Unbelieving Jews and Gentiles will be removed before the beginning of the kingdom. Only the righteous will enter in.
At this point, all evil having been placed under His feet, Christ will begin to organize and commence the Kingdom of God. Such will be the appearing in glory of our Incomparable Christ.