Jesus came back in 1990 in Russia. A former traffic cop in Russia says that in 1990 it was revealed to him that he was Jesus reincarnated. He calls himself “Vissarion” which means “he who gives new life”. For the last 30 years Vissarion has led “the Church of the Last Testament” and lives with 4,000 of his disciples in a remote Siberian location they call “Abode of Dawn”. Vissarion’s appeal spans widely and people from all across the social and educational spectrum went out to become his follower. You are just as likely to find lawyers, astrophysicists and engineers as you are tradesmen, factory workers, and builders.
Vissarion teaches that he is the word of God but not God. Actually, Vissarion teaches there are 2 gods: one that created and abandoned the world letting everything get ruined and then the other god who came into being later and tries to help the world. Vissarion says he is the 2nd Coming of Christ and there will not be a 3rd. When the Apocalypse happens only his disciples there at the Abode of Dawn will survive. No doubt that may be delayed now as Vissarion was arrested several months ago making his future a bit – ironically – uncertain.
Some words come to mind: “If anyone tells you ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christ’s and false prophets will appear…”
Is this what the 2nd Coming of Jesus looks like? Quietly living in Siberia while the world goes on completely unaware he’s back? And how can Jesus be reincarnated? He was resurrected and has had a glorified body for 2,000 years. How come we have to go seek Him out in Siberia to see Him at His 2nd Coming when He said 2,000 years ago that He will be globally visible? “And every eye will behold Him and all the nations of the world will mourn because of Him at His coming.” If you have to be told Jesus has come back – He hasn’t come back (see Mark 13:21)
Today’s sermon is going to address the 2nd Coming of Jesus. It’s still to come. Beware of anyone who says it has already happened.
The Signs in the Sky (v24-25)
Up until verse 23 Jesus described to His disciples the events to look for in the 7 year Tribulation. He called this a time of unequaled distress. After that distress, or you could say at the conclusion of that distress, He said there will be signs in the sky. Read verses 24-5, “….”
In verse 24 Jesus quotes Isaiah 13:10….lets read verse 10-13.
In verse 25 Jesus quotes Isaiah again, 34:4, lets read verses 1-4
Luke describes the same moment this way in Luke 21:25-26, “….”
There will be a lot of terrifying phenomena in the sky during the Tribulation. At one point a massive mountain on fire will be hurled to the earth out of the heavens. Then a bright star, which is actually the angel wormwood, will be seen descending from the sky. Then a “third of the sun, a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck so that a third of them turned dark. And a third of the day and a third of the night too.” (Rev. 8:12). Eagles and angels will fly through the air preaching and making announcements (Rev. 8:13; 14:6-11); the two witnesses of God will be able to close the sky so it won’t rain (Rev. 11:6); then there is the sun’s temperature being turned up under the 4th bowl judgment and burning people (Rev. 16:8-9); and the 100lbs hailstones hurled on men from heaven (Rev. 16:21).
Why will these things happen immediately before Jesus appears from heaven? I think several reasons:
First, Creation is “fainting” in fear at the appearing of Jesus. Lights go dark, things in the sky start falling to the earth and so on. It’s almost like creation itself is terrified at the sound of Jesus at the door. Creation knows its Judgment time.
Second, it signals that something supernatural from heaven is about to happen.
Illustration: When driving we’ve all seen those trucks or cars with blinking yellow lights and a big yellow sign that says “Oversize Load”. Behind them is one of those long trailers with some enormous object – a modular home, a large piece of machinery, a huge piece of a frame for a building or bridge or something. The front vehicle is meant to get your attention because something very large is right behind it.
That is what the signs in the sky do: they let you know something very large, something big is about to happen. God wants everyone’s attention to be upward because Jesus is about to break onto the earth from heaven.
Third, it overwhelms everyone on earth. It will heighten the anticipation of something dreadful about to happen so that when it comes man utterly melts with terror.
Fourth, it prepares the world for judgment. The physical chaos will correspond with the moral and spiritual chaos. Our physical world will literally be coming undone as it trembles beneath the anger of God.
THE COMING OF CHRIST (v26)
The coming of Christ finally arrives. Read verse 26, “…”
Matthew says: “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.” (Mt. 24:30)
Luke says, “At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Lk 21:27-8)
These are the very words that Jesus said that crucified Him when He was on trial. He only said one thing the whole time they cross-examined Him. Turn to Mark 14:61-62 with me and see what Jesus said….
This is the great theme of the Scriptures: the coming of the Christ. Paul calls it “the blessed hope” and the “glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). Revelation 1:7 says,
“Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him.”
Daniel 7 says,
“I looked and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of eerie language worshiped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
We can learn several things about the coming of Jesus:
The coming of Christ means four things: retribution, reward, regathering, and rule.
First, retribution. Isaiah 26:21says, “See the LORD is coming out of His dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins.” Proverbs 11:21 says, ‘Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished…” When Jesus comes so does Judgment. Those who have done evil will be repaid for their evil and receive their condemnation. God has judged people throughout history. But His judgment at the end of time will be the judgment to end all judgment.
The Day, the Day, the Earth’s distress,
Jacob’s Trouble ending glorious
Sun, moon, stars all fallen, shook and dark,
Tearing sounds overhead as sky comes apart
Lights, clouds, power, glory burst through
A white-horsed Champion strides into view
With blood-soaked robe for martyrs’ sake
Their Avenger’s scarred hands grip the reigns
Where thorns pierced now golden crowns
Crucify! Crucify! Echoes and resounds
King of kings, Lord of lords now named
Armed and mounted, hosts ‘round Him arrayed
With shout earth’s Terror avenging downward
Beneath His shadow earth’s mighty cower
“Oh rocks please – please!” they pray to escape
But Judgment from Christ no more waits
- Isaiah 11:4, “He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth and with the breath of his lips He will slay the wicked.”
- Isaiah 34:1-2 says, “Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it! The LORD is angry with all nations; His wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, He will give them over to the slaughter.”
- Revelation 19 pictures Jesus on a white charger and it says, “with justice he judges and makes war” and “he strikes down the nations” and “He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3, “For you know brothers very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying “Peace & Safety”, destruction will come on them suddenly…and they will not escape.”
One of the aspects of God’s judgment is that it will be just. Lex talionis is a legal concept that says a punishment must match the crime. I remember several years back when Evan was about The type of punishment and the degree of punishment must match the type of crime and its degree.
- Lex talionis is the underlying idea of “eye for an eye and tooth for tooth” in Lev. 24:17-22
- King Adoni-Bezek’s big toes and thumbs cut off because he did that to others, Jdg 1:6-7;
- Agag killed because he killed, 1 Sam 15:33;
- God told Noah after the flood, “Whoever sheds the blood of man by man shall his blood be shed.”
- Jesus told Peter, “Whoever lives by the sword dies by the sword”
- Revelation 16:6 says “for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink, as they deserve.”
- “God is just” 2 Thessalonians 1:6 says, “He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you”.
- Perhaps most famously the idea of lex talionis is seen is in the hanging of Haman. In Esther Haman built a hanging platform to hang all the Jews. But God turned the tide against Haman and he was hung on the platform He built.
The point is that when Jesus comes back He will give back to every evildoer what they deserve – meaning what they did to others will be done to them. Don’t think Karma – that is blasphemy because it says justice will be done without a Judge. It’s like evolution, which tries to explain creation without a Creator. Karma wants the justice of God but not the God of justice. The way they treated God’s saints is how God will treat them. Blood for blood, tear for tear, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, soul for soul.
This will include you if you do not receive Jesus as your Savior. If you do not come to Him now as your Savior He will come to you later as your Judge.
Illustration: I saw an ad the other day on the internet from Colgate. They have a product called an overnight tooth-whitening pen that can whiten your teeth in as little as 2 weeks. It has 15x more whitening power than just brushing alone. Simply apply it at night and brush in the morning and soon your teeth will whiten 2 full shades.
Jesus is like Colgate. You’re stained bad with your sins. You can brush and brush all you want but the stain remains. You can do all you can do but you won’t remove your sin stains. You need to apply Jesus. No religious works necessary. No grand promises of how you’re going to be a better person. All you have to do is put your faith in Him. See Him as your Savior who died for you on the cross. If you do that, it won’t take 2 weeks to whiten you up. It will happen instantly. Your sin stains will be removed and you’ll be white as new. “Come on now”, God said through Isaiah, “let us reason together. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Are you still stained by your sins? You can’t clean them, but Jesus can. He wants to. All you have to do is want Him to. All you have to do is ask Him.
Second, reward. When Jesus comes it will be time for rewards. “Behold I am coming soon!” Jesus says at the end of Revelation, “My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done”. Revelation began with the formulation for the 7 churches: “To him who ______, I will __________.” Jesus is going to reward those who were faithful to Him. They will receive prizes and honor.
Paul went to his death with this hope,
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for methe crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
Do not let suffering for Christ turn you away from Him. Peter said, “these [trials] have come so that your faith…may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
Turn to 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 and follow along with me.
You can earn reward today by your faithfulness as a Christian and yet lose it tomorrow. “Watch out”, 2 John 8 says, “that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.” Don’t lose tomorrow what you gain today.
Third, regathering. Mark 13:27 says, “….” This is not new with Jesus, but, its been God’s plan the whole time. Isaiah 49:22says, “See, I will beckon to the Gentiles, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carr you your daughters on their shoulders.” Every Jew should hold Zephaniah 3:19-20 close to their heart:
At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you; I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they were put to shame. At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when i restore your fortunes before your very eyes,’ says the LORD.
All the Jews who were scattered around the world will be brought back into the land of Israel. From then on they will possess the land forever, never being divorced from it again. God declared through the prophet Amos,
I will plant Israel in their own land, never tagaint to be uprooted from the land I have given them (9:15)
Fourth, rule. Jesus will begin to rule on the earth. Turn with me to Revelation 11:15-18. Then turn with me to Revelation 20:4-6. When Jesus comes back He will setup His 1,000 year kingdom.
How should you respond to all this? Jesus tells you. Read 28-37.
Jesus says you don’t know when He will come. So you must watch. Your eyes must be open, and they must be looking up. Don’t get caught asleep. I remember a friend of mine who went into the Army and joined the Special Forces. One training phase was 4 or 5 weeks long. The final 2 weeks required him to stay out in the woods on mock missions with his team. They were up against their instructors who were trying to sneak up on them. They had to be on the look out so they posted guards. One night the instructors broke through because a guard was sleeping. Since this was a team training the whole team failed and had to start the 5 week training all over again. When they repeated that two weeks in the woods my buddy said he caught someone sleeping again and proceeded to “correct” the soldier in a way that would have made General Patton blush.
Don’t be asleep when Jesus comes back. Watch and wait. Don’t be neck deep in the world when He comes back. Watch and wait. Don’t let the pressure of this world make you turn away from Christ. Watch and wait. Don’t lose hope when you see the world coming apart. Watch and wait. Don’t be caught in your sins. Walk to the cross today and receive forgiveness from Jesus Christ. Watch and wait.