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THE SECOND ADVENT

 

All Bible references are to the New International Version, UK edition, unless indicated otherwise

 

THE objectives, manner, and signs of the Second Advent are often misunderstood. We’ll look at these briefly.

 

1. Objectives: One of the most important is the gathering and delivering of His Bride, the Little Flock, the Church. But the main objective is to bless the entire human family (both the living and the dead) with the opportunity to gain restitution. This is alluded to in Acts 3: 20, 21, King James Version (KJV): ‘And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.’ Restitution signifies a return to a previous state; for mankind this means an opportunity to revert to the original, unfallen condition that the human family occupied in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1: 26, 27, 31). [See the Q&A on Restitution.]

 

2. Manner: The Bible uses both literal and figurative statements, and a failure to distinguish between the two has led to a misunderstanding of the evidences that mark the Second Advent. A classic verse on this point is Acts 1: 11 (KJV): ‘. . . Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.’ We infer from this that as Christ's departure was attended by relatively few – the faithful – and in secret, so will be His return. Mankind in general will not discern the evidences.

 

3. Signs: One of the signs also fixes the event in time, that is, a period of sustained strife, culminating in a worldwide unmanageable crisis, and expressed in Scripture in emphatic figures of speech (Luke 21: 25-27, NIV): ‘There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.’ During this period, Jesus indicates, will occur a singular increase in irreligiousness and consequent degrading of private and public morality. This is described in Matthew 24: 12 (NIV): ‘Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.’

 

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