“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30)
The Apocalypse is simply the revealing of Jesus Christ. In common use, it often is used to describe the end of the world. The Second Coming of Jesus won’t be the end of the world, but it WILL mark the end of life as we currently know it.
An apocalypse (Ancient Greek: ἀποκάλυψις apokálypsis, from ἀπό and καλύπτω, literally meaning “an uncovering”) is a disclosure of knowledge or revelation. In religious contexts it is usually a disclosure of something hidden, “a vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities”. (wikipedia)
There is much confusion over the second coming of Jesus, but it needn’t be so. Bible prophecy can be described as “mountain peaks”. The prophets see the peaks, but the valleys are invisible to them. This is by design, so that God can reveal and conceal at the same time according to His plan and purposes. A visual for this is as follows:
Just as there was an unforseen time gap between Jesus’ first and second comings, there is a gap between Jesus being revealed and Jesus coming down to earth for His Millennial Kingdom:
- The sky is rolled back as a scroll to REVEAL Jesus appearing as the Lamb in the clouds of heaven, beside God’s throne, to receive the saints (rapture). This is a revelation (apocalypse), but not the “Second Coming”. Jesus does not come down to the earth at this time, but He does possibly descend partway to meet us in the air.
- Jesus touches down on the Mount of Olives, which is split into two parts.
- Jesus is REVEALED on the clouds of heaven, mounted on a white horse, as a warrior-King ready for battle with his armies behind him. This is the true “Second Coming”. Jesus descends into the Battle of Armageddon at this time and comes down to the earth.
Understanding the different appearances of Jesus is the key to these revelations and how they fit in the end times timeline. Let’s examine the scriptures for each (bolding mine):
REVELATION as a LAMB:
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne… I watched as he opened the sixth seal… Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?” Revelation 5:6-7, 6:12,15-17
The sky rolls back as a scroll to reveal the Third Heaven – the supernatural one where God resides. It appears that everyone on earth can see the face of Him who is seated on the throne, and the Lamb beside Him. They correctly identify that the events transpiring indicate that God’s wrath has come. The Lamb is not flanked by armies, nor is there a description of power or glory. The vision of God on His throne is more than terrifying enough to inspire all of humanity to collectively hide in terror.
At this revealing of Jesus Christ, He appears as a Lamb – the slain Lamb at the right hand of God that has taken the scroll and is worthy to open its’ seals. The reason He appears this way, is because He is actively opening the seals at this time!!! If you are wondering at this point why BELIEVERS would cower and hide in fear when the Lamb is revealed, you are doing well. The answer is, we don’t! When these signs begin, we will lift up our heads because we recognize that our redemption draws nigh (Luke 21:28)! Jesus will just call us up from there, with the trumpet voice of God. This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world! The unbelievers ask “who can stand?” and the answer is those who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ can stand! (Rev 7)
Just as man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment, so also Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await Him. (Hebrews 9:28)
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14)
When Jesus appears this time, it is to bring salvation to those who are eagerly awaiting Him. This is our blessed hope, that we are to encourage one another with:
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)
Although He appears (parousia), He doesn’t come down onto the earth. Instead, He meets us in the air and we go up into heaven together to be hidden from the time of wrath on earth (Isaiah 26).
All earth dwellers respond in FEAR. They are taken by surprise.
MOUNT of OLIVES decent:
“On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light.” Zechariah 14:3-7
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls. Joel 2:32
On the day when the elect remnant of Israel flees, Jesus will touch down on the Mount of Olives. Whether this descent is physical (observable) or not is undetermined, as it is not described in Scripture elsewhere. This event is perhaps what Jesus alludes to when He declares “Behold, I am coming like a thief!” between the judgments of Bowl 6&7. The Mount of Olives splitting will be a literal event. The valley formed allows believers one last chance to flee before the destruction of Jerusalem (Mystery Babylon). This explains the command Jesus issues – “Come out of her, my people!” (Rev 18:4). The command to flee must be authentic, with a true possibility of obeying it and being physically saved. After this event at some point, Jesus will come with His holy ones, which is described by His next appearance.
Believers respond by FLEEING. Unbelievers won’t be aware of the significance of this event.
REVELATION as WARRIOR-KING:
Before Jesus is revealed to the world again, I want to point out that we saw in Revelation 16 (Bowl 6 Judgment) that the nations of the world have gathered in and around Jerusalem specifically to fight Jesus. Three deceiving spirits will be sent forth from the “unholy trinity” of the dragon, beast, and false prophet to bring the nations together in rebellion against God. They are EXPECTING Jesus to show up, and they are preparing to do battle against Him.
“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.“ (Matthew 24:30)
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Revelation 19:11-16)
Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. (Zechariah 12:10-11)
Jesus will appear at this time in power and great glory, flanked by the armies of heaven (His holy ones, including the previously resurrected/raptured/rewarded Bride of Christ). Those who have been deceived by the antichrist, particularly those of the house of Israel, will weep bitterly as the realization that they rejected their true Messiah drives into their heart like a knife. The truth will be painfully obvious to all at this time.
While the peoples of the earth had been collected in rebellion to FIGHT Jesus, when He shows up they will MOURN instead. The fact that they have been deceived will now be painfully obvious.
Jesus will descend and defeat those gathered against Him at the Battle of Armageddon. He will remain on the earth and set up His Messianic Kingdom. This completes the “Second Coming” of Jesus. The Great Tribulation (both Daniel’s 70th week and the Day of the Lord) comes to an end with Jesus appearing in power and glory, mounted on a white horse in the clouds of heaven.
It appears that the overall sequence that surrounds the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would be something like this:
- The antichrist, false prophet, and deceiving spirits collect armies assembled for battle against Jesus Christ. (Bowl 6)
- The Mount of Olives will be split in two, from East to West. A large valley will form. All who believe Jesus (the believing elect in Jerusalem) are to flee at this time – this is the command given right before the destruction of Mystery Babylon – “Come out of her, my people!”
- Mystery Babylon is destroyed by the antichrist, false prophet, and their entourage.
- A unique day of darkness arrives, with no cold or light.
- In the evening, there shall be light – the sign of the Son of Man. This is likely Jesus appearing on His white horse in the clouds of heaven, followed by his holy ones.
- Jesus destroys the armies gathered at Armageddon.
- The antichrist and false prophet are cast into the Lake of Fire (eternal).
- satan and the demons are cast into the Abyss (temporarily chained, 1000 years).
- Living humans are collected and judged in the Sheep and Goats Judgment.
- “Tribulation Saints” are resurrected to rule with Christ in His Millennial Kingdom.
- The Millennial Temple is established and dedicated.
- The Millennial Kingdom Begins.
The Bible is infallible. I am not. Be a Berean – examine the scriptures for yourself to see if these things are so!