Lesson 12

The Climax of Apocalyptic Expectation: The Blessed Hope

(Acts 1, Matthew 24, Revelation 19-21)
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Introduction: After all of these lessons on prophecy, you may be groaning and say, "Remind me, again, of the reason for this study?" The reason is to give us confidence as we see the events that lead up to the Second Coming of Jesus. This week we finally get to the ultimate object of these prophecies -- the Second Coming. Let's dive in!

  1. This Time Around

    1. Read Acts 1:9-11. Have you ever seen "Star Trek" where people get "beamed" up or down? Is this how Jesus left the earth? (No, He did not just disappear in an instant. The report sounds like a balloon drifting up until it gets lost in the clouds.)

      1. I seriously doubt that Jesus kept "drifting" all the way to heaven. Why not just "dematerialize" like in Star Trek? (If Jesus just disappeared, the disciples would wonder whether and where He had gone. Jesus wanted His disciples to know that He went to heaven. By actually seeing Him disappear in a cloud, that idea was reinforced.)

      2. So, the disciples are all standing there, their heads cranked back staring into the sky. They get interrupted by angels. What do you think about the question the angels asked in verse 11?

        1. Did the angels just happen to be in the neighborhood, stumble across this group staring up, and really want to know?

          1. What point were the angels making? (The angels did not want to know why the disciples were looking upward. They wanted to know why they KEPT looking up - as if they might catch another glimpse of Jesus or He might float lower. The angels wanted the disciples to know Jesus was going to heaven. He would return - just not right now. No need to keep staring.)

          2. Is there a lesson in this for us? (Yes. Staring is not what we are called upon to do. We are supposed to be preparing for the Second Coming.)

      3. Why did the angels say(v.11), "This same Jesus" is coming again? (This was further reinforcement that Jesus was God. Their friend would be the One coming again.)

  2. Next Time Around - The Attitude

    1. Read Matthew 24:30-31. We just read in Acts 1:11 that Jesus will come back in the same way He left. Does this seem consistent with Matthew 24? (It is the same way, but a much larger event.)

    2. Read Revelation 1:7. The disciples were probably mourning when Jesus left. Who is mourning now? (Both Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 refer to the "nations" and "peoples" of the earth mourning.)

    3. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18. What does Paul believe will be the reaction of the saints? (He thinks it is an event that encourages the saints!)

    4. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12. What is the reason for the different reactions to Jesus' Second Coming? Why are the unrighteous mourning and the righteous glad? (The righteous are looking for Jesus to save them from the wicked. The wicked enjoy what they do and do not want Jesus to bring evil to an end.)

    5. Read Isaiah 35:4-6. What other reasons do the righteous have for being glad when Jesus comes back? (The effects of sin will be gone. Those sick and disabled will be perfect again.)

  3. Next Time Around - Action

    1. Read Revelation 19:11-13. Who is the Rider? (Jesus. Compare John 1.)

      1. What do we learn about Jesus' activities? Are they set out in order? (This sets out the sequence of Jesus first judging and then making war. His Second Coming involves this addition factor: war.)

    2. Read Revelation 19:14-16. What else is different between Jesus' ascension to heaven and His return? (He has an army with Him on the return.)

    3. Read Revelation 19:19. We learned before that the wicked will mourn at Jesus' Second Coming. What else are they doing, other than being depressed? (They are gathering for war.)

      1. Who is leading the opposition? (The beast. This would be the "Sea Beast" we have discussed in the last few lessons. We know that because we learned the "Earth Beast" is also known as the "False Prophet." It appears from the capture scene (v.20) that they are still working together.)

      2. In texts such as Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 we have a picture of Jesus staying in the air while His angels gather the righteous to meet Jesus in the air. The whole feeling of this is that Jesus comes and we are whisked away with Him almost immediately. How do you reconcile that picture of the Second Coming with the picture in Revelation 19:19 of Jesus being here long enough for the opposition to organize an army against Him to attack?

      3. Read Revelation 19:20-21. How long a battle does this suggest?

        1. What do you think is meant by a sword that comes of out Jesus' mouth? (If you recall the account of creation in Genesis 1, you know that Jesus created the world by speaking. The sword coming out of Jesus' mouth probably means that He simply speaks the destruction of the wicked. This accords with 2 Thessalonians 2:8. This means that the battle is over with very quickly.)

        2. Read again Matthew 24:30. What is the "sign" of Jesus' Second Coming? (This suggests that the wicked may have advance warning of the Second Coming and this may explain how they are organized to oppose Jesus. This seems to be the logical answer to this organization unless Jesus is here a little longer than we think.)

      1. I have heard people stress the fact that Jesus will be in the air and that His FEET will not touch the earth. That, they assure me, is the true way to tell the true Second Coming from the false. I've often wondered what happens if the exact position of Jesus' feet is not visible. Based on these texts we have studied, is there a more obvious way to tell the true from the false without keeping track of feet? (It is so obvious. The world hates the Lord and tries to attack when He comes. Any false Christ would be welcomed by the world. You don't need to see feet, you need to check if a battle is underway!)

    1. How many battles over Jesus' coming are there? (When Jesus comes to get the saints we have the battle that we just studied. However, when Jesus brings the saints back with Him from heaven along with the New Jerusalem, we have another (and final) battle that is described in Revelation 20:1-10. Let's turn to the positive side of that event next.)

  1. The Third Return

    1. Read Revelation 21:1-2. Where do the righteous ultimately live? (In the earth made new!)

    2. Read Revelation 21:3. What is the significance of God leaving heaven and coming to earth to live? (We become the "center of the universe.")

      1. Why does God do this? (I think it symbolizes His (our) victory over sin. The site of God's royal city is now in the former battlefield between good and evil.)

    3. Read Revelation 21:4. What will life be like for us in the earth made new?

      1. Does this sound like the Ten Commandments - a bunch of negative statements - no pain, no tears, no death, no mourning?

        1. If so, why? (This is because of our limited understanding of what God has in store for us. We know the negative things of life. God says those negative things will be gone. He cannot begin to tell us all the positive things that will be in heaven because we would not understand.)

    1. Read Revelation 20:7-9. What city does Satan and his allies surround? (This is the New Jerusalem. After the 1,000 years in heaven, the New Jerusalem comes down to earth where the earth is made new. Jesus and the saints return with the New Jerusalem, the wicked dead are raised (Rev. 20:4-6), and Satan rallies the troops for one last attempt to overcome God and the saints.)

      1. What is the outcome of this final battle? (Verse 9 tells us the wicked are burned up.)

    2. Friend, Jesus is coming again! There will be a resolution to the sin problem, and God will reign with His people here in the earth made new. Would you like to spend eternity with God? An eternity that will be so great we cannot grasp it now? If so, I invite you today to repent and ask Jesus to save you.

  1. Next Week: Preparing for the Apocalyptic Consummation.

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