“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:27-28).
When Adam first opened his eyes on the day of his creation, he awakened to a world of awesome beauty. It was a perfect world that Adam would tread. It was the original temple built by God.
“His fiat laid the cornerstone,
And heaved its pillars, one by one,
He hung its starry roof on high,
The broad, illimitable [expansive] sky;
He spread its pavement, green and light,
And curtained it with morning light.
The mountains in their places stood,
The sea, the sky, and “all was good,
And when its first pure praise rang
The morning stars together sang.”
The angels would not sing for long nor would Adam enjoy the beauties of the earth, for sin soon found its way into Paradise. With sin came a curse upon all creation. Death began to stalk the universe. Thorns appeared, and animals suddenly turned one upon another until nature was blood red in tooth and claw. Paradise was lost. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin” (Rom. 5:12).
Today, modern science is a reluctant witness to the spiritual judgment that came into the world. Science confirms that the universe is dying according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which is the Law of Entropy. This Law states that all things go from order to disorder. The Universe is dying. Unless something happens, the sun will one day cease to shine, and the stars will no longer twinkle. The hour is coming when the moon will refuse to reflect light.
One day the grass will not be able to grow.
One day animals will no longer find food to eat.
One day, life on planet earth will be silent, for the globe will be wrapped in ice and darkness.
Such is the future of the heavens and the earth apart from Divine intervention. But all of these things shall never happen, because God has already revealed that the day will come when He will make a new heaven and a new earth. There will be a time when human history will end, and eternal history will begin.
While we live in this present period, we wait for the age to come wherein dwelleth righteousness. The new age will begin on the day that history ends. The history of mankind is a very interesting chronicle. It is like a great memoir telling about the rise and fall of magnificent and majestic empires. The history of mankind is like a compelling drama full of interesting characters that play their parts on the stage of life. The history of mankind is like an epic poem. There is travel, and intrigue, and much adventure. But when the tale is told, the poem is placed back on the dusty shelf of forgetfulness. The history of mankind is very interesting, but it will one day end.
Many people thought that history would literally end on October 28, 1962. The United States intelligence community had discovered the existence of Soviet supplied missile installations in Cuba. U-2 photo flights confirmed that the silos for offensive weapons had been built, and that the nuclear warheads were on their way from Russia. President Kennedy decided that a navel blockade of the island might prevent the shipments of arms from reaching Cuba. But what would happen if the Russian ships refused to recognize the arbitrary blockade boundaries in international waters? What would happen if the Russians tried to run the blockade, and American ships were fired upon?
The world waited and watched, wondering what Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev would do. College students debated among themselves if they should study for their exams on Monday. There would be no exams on Monday if a nuclear war started between the two great super-powers. There might be no United States. In the end, Khrushchev blinked. He backed down. He agreed to remove the arsenal of mass destruction, and the world breathed a sigh of relief. History would not come to an end in October of 1962. But it will end someday. When shall that day arrive? No one knows, and no one can accurately predict it though many have tried, and are still trying. Despite all of the failed prophecies, and despite all of the false modern-day prophets found in religious circles, the day is coming when Jesus Christ will appear the second time for all who believe. And when Jesus comes, it will be the last day of human history, as we know it. Eternal history will begin.
Now regarding the day of the Lord’s appearance, when the great transaction is made from the temporal to the eternal, there are some details provided in the Bible as to what will happen. The last day of history will begin like all other days. The sun will rise and the birds will begin to sing. People will get up, get dressed, eat breakfast and go off to work, or play, never suspecting that in just a few hours the universe itself will be forever changed. Somewhere, a young woman will awaken expecting to be married before the sun sets. Somewhere, a businessman will dream of concluding a major agreement with a giant corporation. Somewhere, a party will be planned. It is hoped that there will be eating and drinking and much laughter.
The day will progress as normal, until suddenly, the word spreads throughout the world from mouth to mouth, and from ear to ear, “Something supernatural is taking place.” “Look up in the sky!” People will turn their eyes toward the heavens and gasp with alarm. It is a supernatural invasion.
There is a mass movement of something from outer space. It is entering this atmosphere and moving toward earth. Slowly, deliberately, something is coming to earth. “What does it all mean?” Millions will wonder in alarm.
Initially, most of humanity will not know what is taking place on this last day of history, but the Church will know. This is nothing less than the promise of the angels being fulfilled as spoken to a small group of startled men on a hilltop outside the city of Jerusalem two thousand years ago. There, the disciples of Jesus Christ were told that their Lord and Saviour would return to earth in the manner in which He left. The angels had said, “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” (Acts 1:11).
Upon reflection, it may be that the disciples remembered that Jesus had said to them in quiet serenity, “Let not your hearts be troubled. In my Father’s house are many mansion, if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you; that where I am there ye may be also” (John 14:1).
So, Jesus went to heaven following His resurrection, and the angels sang as they welcomed Him home. When Fredrick Handel was writing his great masterpiece The Messiah, he considered the ascension of Christ into heaven. He imagined that the angels sang together the words of Psalm 24:7-10 as they welcomed Jesus back home. There was a shout in the celestial sky as the angels cried,
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates; And be lifted up, ye everlasting doors; And the King of Glory will come in.”
The angels at the gates of heaven, when they heard the other angels singing,
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates,”
“Who is the King of Glory?”
And the angels who were accompanying Jesus replied:
“The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord strong and mighty; The Lord mighty in battle.”
Then the angels who were accompanying Jesus to His Father’s home wished to have the gates wide open to receive Him, and so again they sang out in triumphant challenge,
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates; And be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; And the King of Glory will come in.”
And again, the angels by the gates of heaven sang out with joy and gladness:
“Who is the King of Glory? Who is the King of Glory?”
And again, the angels who were with Jesus replied in an ever increasing swell of assurance,
“The Lord of Hosts, the Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory, He is the King of Glory!”
Then the angels who kept the heavenly entrance opened wide the gates, and Jesus, the King of Glory, passed through them into His Father’s home. To welcome Him, all the hosts of heaven continued to sing a song of praise—the angels that were with Jesus and the angels that were by the gates, and the angels who were around the throne of God all sang praises to Jesus, the Friend and Redeemer of mankind. And the wonderful song they sang declared,
“And He shall reign forever and ever. King of kings and Lord of lords. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”
But Jesus never meant to stay in heaven. It was and is His stated intention to return to earth to gather His Bride unto Himself at the end of time. On the Last Day of history the promise of Christ to return to His Church will be kept. “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the arch-angel, and with the trump of God” (1 Thess. 4:16).
As the Lord descends from heaven with the loud blast of the trumpet and the voice of the archangel, the Bible says that Christians on earth will rise to meet the Lord in the air. The word “meet” is a very important word. In the original it is apantesis [ap-an’-tay-sis] and refers to a friendly encounter. The special idea of the word was the official welcome of a newly arrived dignitary (Moulton, Greek Testament Grammar, Vol. 1. p. 14). This word is used elsewhere in scripture. It is in Matthew 25:1, 6 and in Acts 28:14-16. In both places the concept is that people went out to “meet” someone only to escort that person back to the very place where he was coming to.
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet [greet] the bridegroom: (Matt. 25:1).
“And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet [greet] him” (Matt. 25:6).
“Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome. 15 And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet [greet] us as far as Appii forum, and the three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage. 16 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him” (Acts 28:14-16).
The Christians will one day rise to meet the coming King of kings as He returns the second time for all who believe (Heb. 9:28). Christians will welcome the Lord and escort Him back to earth. As the heavenly host, led by the glorified, resurrected Christ continues to move to Earth, men and women and young people who are not Christians and who are not converted will begin to be afraid. They already know what this Second Coming of Christ means for them. The gospel of the Kingdom will have been preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations (Matt. 24:14). No one will be without excuse as Christ comes looking for faith on the earth. This is the day of final judgment for multitudes and they know it.
This is the day spoken of by Enoch, “the seventh from Adam who prophesied saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of His saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude 1:14-15).
When Jesus Christ returns in the brightness of His glory with the angels of God and the saints of the ages, He will have a specific place that He will visit. While countless cameras record His advent and satellites follow His every movement, the Lord Jesus will make His way toward the ancient City of Peace. Jesus will return to the Holy Land. On that day His feet will touch the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the East. “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south” (Zech. 14:4).
The Lord will yet stand again on the Mount of Olives despite resistance to His coming on that day. One personage who will not want the Lord to reach earth and Palestine is the Man of Sin who is the Son of Perdition. He knows that he will be charged with specific sins by the Savior for it is he, “Who opposeth and exalteth Himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that He as God sitteth in the Temple of God, showing Himself that He is God” (2 Thess. 2:4). Now God in Christ Jesus has returned to expose the “Wicked One, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thess. 2:9-10).
When Jesus comes, He shall, “consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming” the Man of Sin and his followers (2 Thess. 2:8). Those who have ignored the Lord can ignore Him no longer. He has returned. Those who have blasphemed His holy name will cease to curse. He has returned. The blasphemies of the wicked will be turned into prayers, but the prayers will be unreasonable as individuals plead with the mountains saying, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand” (Rev. 6:16-17).
But the mountains will not fall on the ungodly on the Last Day, for the Last Day is also the Day of Judgment in which no one can hide. Even those who are in the grave will not be safe for the hour has come, “in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28-29).
The damnation of the wicked shall be according to Divine justice. On the Last Day the Lord of Righteousness will say to all those who have rejected Him,
“Ye call Me Master and obey Me not,
Ye call Me Light and see Me not,
Ye call Me Way and walk not,
Ye call Me Life and desire Me not,
Ye call Me Wise and follow Me not,
Ye call Me Fair and love Me not,
Ye call Me Rich and ask Me not,
Ye call Me Eternal and seek Me not,
Ye call Me Gracious and trust Me not,
Ye call Me noble and serve Me not,
Ye call Me mighty and honor Me not,
Ye call Me just and fear Me not;
If I condemn you, blame Me not.”
While the wicked fight and cry and tremble, and are carried away like Judas unto their own place, the experience of the Church will be far different. On the Last Day, the Church will be rejoicing. This is the day for which the Church has long prayed, “Even so come quickly, Lord Jesus.”
This is the day of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The Bridegroom has come for his Bride whom He sees as altogether lovely without spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:27). It would make the Bride to blush if some were to hear the words from her Lord that she keeps next to her heart. She has heard His voice already and she longs to hear it again. The Church waits for the Bridegroom to come and whisper once more the things He has already said in the Song of Solomon.
“How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful.”
“Your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.”
“Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens.”
“How delightful is your love…How much more pleasing is your love than wine”. “’You have stolen my heart”.
“The King is held captive” (Song 1:15; 2:14; 2:2; 4:10; 8:4).
The spiritual truth is that the beauty of His Bride enchants the coming King. Did He not die for her? Does He not ever live to intercede for her? Did He not promise that He would return for her? Is love for her not the all-consuming passion of the Messiah’s march to victory? “Listen, O daughter, consider and give your ear: Forget your people and your father’s house. The King is enthralled by your beauty; honor Him, for He is your Lord” (Psalm 45:10).
As the bride looks forward to the day of her marriage, so the Church can look forward to The Last Day; it is the day of her eternal union with Christ in a glorified body. On the Last Day of history, those who have died in Christ will receive a resurrected body as they come with Him; and those on earth who love the Lord will be changed. “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51-52).
Because these things are true according to Scripture, it is wise for all men to prepare for The Last Day of history. Divine preparation is made when Christ is received as Lord and Saviour, and life is lived for His honor and His glory. If tomorrow were The Last Day of human history, would you be numbered with those who would resist His arrival? Oh, let your heart be rejoicing saying,
“Marvelous messages we bring,
Glorious carol we sing,
Wonderful word of the King!
Jesus is coming again!”
The Bible teaches that there is a special crown for all who love the appearance of Christ. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). Do you love the appearance of Christ? Do you long for His Second Coming? As you look toward the heavens, will your heart be able to sing on the Last Day of Human History,
“O the King is coming,
The King is coming!
I just heard the trumpets sounding,
And now His face I see;
O the King is coming,
the King is coming!
Praise God, He’s coming for me!”
Gloria Gaither * Bill Gaither * Charles Millhuff
Come to Christ. Love Him with all of your heart and He will come for you on the Last Day of human history.