What Will Happen When Jesus Returns?

From Issue: Discovery 5/1/2005

Shortly after He entered the world, only His family, a few shepherds, and some wise men were there to see the glorious baby Jesus. Likewise, after His death and resurrection—when our Lord was ready to leave this world—only His faithful disciples were there watching as He ascended into heaven. But when Jesus returns, the Bible tells us that everybodywill see Him. His return will come suddenly, like a “thief in the night,” Peter said. With a great noise the heavens will pass away, and the Earth will melt with an incredible heat (2 Peter 3:10). It will be a spectacular display of God’s power, which will affect everybody. So, the idea that only the few righteous people will be taken by God is wrong.

At the beginning of Jesus’ life, in Matthew 2, when the wise men traveled to see the newborn Jesus, they rejoiced. The Scriptures say that when they saw Him, they “fell down and worshipped Him” (vs. 11). Likewise, when His friends watched Jesus ascend into heaven, they worshipped Him and “returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:52). And ultimately, when Jesus comes again, everybody will worship Him and confess that He is Lord (Philip-pians 2:10-11), but not everyone will rejoice.

The Second Coming of Christ will be a serious time. God knows our hearts, and every secret thing that we have done will be laid open like a book before Him. As the apostle Paul told the Christians at Rome, each person will have to give an account of his or her actions before God (14:12). For the sinner who has not confessed Christ to others, Christ will not plead before God for his entrance into heaven. But for the righteous, who have obeyed God’s commandments and confessed Christ before others, it will be the most exciting moment imaginable, when Christ makes an appeal before God that heaven should be our home.

In the book of John, Jesus promised His disciples that He would return again to them(John 14:1-6). In Matthew 25:31, Jesus declared that when He returns, He will gather all the nations before Him. This includes not only those throughout the world who are living atthat time, but also everyone who has ever lived. “Do not marvel at this…all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth” (John 5:28-29). It most definitely will be an amazing sight to behold—Jesus, with the angels of heaven, and all the souls of the Earth (both living and in the grave) gathering together to meet God.


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