1 Thessalonians 5 | Matthew 24 | Revelation 22:7
After taking a humorous look at Former US Secretary of State for Defence famous quote on “known unknowns”, the talk goes on to discuss the 2nd coming of Jesus in the 3 categories of things we definitely know, things we are certain we don’t know, and things where Christians disagree as to what Bible passages mean.
The focus is to affirm what we definitely do know, rather than to wade into the controversies of the areas where different Christian groups take a different view, though we look at 3 issues to do with how Bible passages are interpreted which give rise to most of the differences of opinion.
In terms of how Jesus will come, we note that throughout the Old Testament, clouds are normally associated with the glory and presence of God. Whenever God appears, or moves, there is a cloud. When Jesus said he would come with the clouds he meant he would come in glory. This is quite different to how he came the first time, as a human baby, with only a few people knowing – and even them not really understanding what was going on. By contrast, at his 2nd coming, every eye will see him. every knee will bow. There will be no doubt as to his coming.
The issue of where Jesus will return first is also hotly debated and indeed gives rise to political tension in the Middle East. But the talk concludes that Jesus will come, and indeed is coming, firstly to his Church. The first place for his kingdom to be established is in our hearts. Events in the world will get worse and worse, but we children of light are not to be discouraged or give in to fear or panic. Whilst things are getting worse and worse the Church will simultaneously get stronger and stronger as it increasingly reflects the glory and radiance of Christ, and rises up to fulfil its apostolic mission of establishing Christian followers living and demonstrating the kingdom of God in every people group on earth. “The gospel will go out to all the nations – and then the end will come”.