The Return of

The of all ages has looked with joyous anticipation to the promised future return of Christ. As His first secured our redemption, so His second is the blessed hope of the for the full consummation of His .

The term most often used to point to Christ’s return is the . The Parousia refers to the “appearing,” “manifestation,” or “coming” of in at the end of the age. It refers to the church’s expectation of the promised Second Coming or Second Advent of Christ.

The teaches that Jesus’ coming will be both personal and visible. Though His coming will be with power, it will include more than a visitation of His power. It will include His very person. His coming will be neither secret nor invisible. His appearance will be accompanied by clouds of glory in like manner to His departure at the . There will be a heavenly fanfare of audible shouting, accompanied by the voice of an .

At the , the church will experience a rapture—being taken up in the air to meet Christ as He comes. The rapture will not be secret but open and manifest. Its purpose will not be to whisk the elect away from the earth for a while until Christ returns for a “second” Second Coming. The purpose of the rapture is to allow the saints to meet Jesus in the air as He returns and be included in His entourage during His from heaven. His coming in this manner will be attended by the general , the final , and the end of the world.

of every generation are called to be vigilant in their watch for the Parousia in order that His coming will not be a surprise to us, like an unexpected thief in the night. We are also urged to remind ourselves of this marvelous future manifestation as an encouragement in our present labors.

No one knows the day or hour of Christ’s return. Many have tried to calculate the time, only to be embarrassed by the failure of their specific predictions to come true. The call of Scripture is to vigilance. We need to keep watch for the signs of His nearness. Though Christ has tarried for centuries, causing the hopes of some to wane, each day that passes brings us closer to His awaited return.

Summary

  1. The church has the assurance of the promised return of Christ.
  2. Christ’s parousia will be personal and visible.
  3. Christ will return as He departed in His ascension—with clouds of glory.
  4. The church will meet Christ to accompany Him in His triumphal reentry to earth.
  5. The church must be vigilant in its watch for Christ’s return, yet careful to avoid the folly of dogmatic predictions of the day and hour of His coming.

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