destruction from the presence of the
Lord, and from the glory of his power."3:1-4). How anyone can take seriously this passage in Colossians, and advocate en earthly return and reign of Christ, taxes the imagination. Paul said in Colossians 3:1-4, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." In God's plan as revealed in Colossians 3, there is no place for a thousand year reign of Christ on earth after His second coming. Caught in this dilemma some try to make a distinction between the coming of Christ and the appearing of Christ. But this is an artificial distinction which the word of God does not make. There is no difference between the coming of Christ and the appearing of Christ. The appearing of Christ will occur at the time of His second coming and only one final coming is mentioned in scripture. When Christ appears, the dead will be raised from the grave. John 5:28,29 says, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, 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." When Jesus, comes, the earth and the works therein shall be burned up and dissolved (2 Peter 3:10-12). When Jesus appears the final judgment will take place <2 Peter 3:7; Matthew 25:31-<6). At the second coming of Christ, the eternal destinies of people shall be declared by the Son of God. 2 Corinthians 5:10 says, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." At that time God's people shall be given bodies which are fashioned like the glorious body of Christ (Philippians 3:20,21). Since Jesus is not coming back to earth, no wonder He would warn His people to lay up treasure in heaven and not on the earth. Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through a
Those who serve Christ shall one day be with Christ, not for a thousand years on earth, but for en eternity in heaven. The Bible declares this faqt in 2 Peter 3:13, "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new-heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.:; Since Christ has gone to prepare a place for His prepared people, since this earth shall be burned up end dissolved with fervent heat when Jesus comes, it is very important for us to take seriously Paul's admonition to "seek those things which are above," and not to set our minds on things which are upon the earth (Colossians
Have you obeyed the gospel? The gospel is the good news of salvation from sin which is made available by the grace of God. The Lord gives this
salvation only to people who obey Him. Hebrews 5:8,9 says, "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal solvation unto all them that obey him." Hence, the commends of the gospel must be obeyed in order for men to be saved by God's amazing grace. Sincere people who obey from the heart the commands of the gospel are freed from the bondage of sin, cleensed from the guilt of sin, and become servants of Christ. Romans 6:17,18 says, "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." The commands of the gospel, given by Christ, make it necessary for those who believe in Christ to repent of their sins (Acts 17:30,31), publicly confess Jesus as the Son of God (Romans 10:9,10), and then be immersed in water in order to get the benefits of the death of Christ (Romans 6:3,4). Let us by obedience to the gospel and faithful Christian living be preparing ourselves for the inheritance "reserved in heaven" for faithful Christians. (I Peter 1:3-5)
It is a fact of history that God's people misunderstood the first coming of Christ, and God's people today are in grave danger of misunderstanding His second coming. When Jesus came the first time, the Jews were God's chosen people. However, under the Christian religion God's chosen people are Christians, whatever their race may be. The Church of Christ now constitutes God's chosen people end is composed of both Jews end Gentiles. The purpose of the first coming of Christ was so misunderstood that the greater part of the Jewish nation rejected their long promised Messiah. Moreover, the same confusion exists on the purpose of the second coming of Christ with the result that many are rejecting the plain Bible truth on the subject. In the first century, the Jews were looking for a political kingdom end rejected Jesus for disappointing their hopes. While Christ wea on earth, the people tried to take him by force and make him a king. John 6:15 se.ys, "When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone." Jesus did not permit them to make him a king because he did not come to establish a political kingdom on earth among the Jews. Contrariwise, Jesus came for the express purpose to establish a universal religion on earth for all races, and all people who become Christians are called the kingdom of Christ. (Colossians 1:13) Jesus came the first time to establish a spiritual organization, not a political organization, and the Lord declared this fact in John 18:36, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." Jesus did not sey that His kingdom would not exist in the world; He said it was not of the world. His kingdom was to be in the world but not of the world. The meaning is that his kingdom was to be a spiritual, religious organization end not a political kingdom like that of Rome. People who are members of the church which Jesus purchased are Christians and make up the kingdom of Christ on the earth. Christ is now reigning as king of kings and Lord of Lords over his church-kingdom on the earth.
HEN JESUS COMES #3
The second coming of Christ is not for the purpose of establishing a kingdom on earth. When He comes again, He will deliver His church-kingdom to God the Father in heaven (I Corinthians 15:24). The second coming of Christ will not be for the purpose of inaugurating His kingdom. Rather, His second coming will bring an end to the kingdom of Christ which is
presently in existence. The kingdom of Christ will be consumated by delivering it up to the Father in heaven. There are several Biblical reasons why Christ is not coming back to live on the earth.
The first reason why Christ is not coming back to earth is set forth in the Bible in the gospel of John 14:1-3, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Jesus filled us with hope when he stated that he was going away to prepare a place for us to live. Moreover, He promised that He would come again and take us to that place which He shall prepare. Where did He go? Where is this place where the redeemed will spend all eternity? The Bible leaves us in no doubt as to where Jesus went after his death. After Jesus was crucified and slain by wicked hands, God raised Him from the dead on the third day. He showed himself alive after His sufferings for a period of forty days by many infallible proofs. Forty days after His death, Christ ascended back to the glory of heaven which He had surrendered in order to come to earth. His mission on earth having been completed, He ascended to a position of authority by the right hand of God in heaven. This Bible fact is affirmed in Hebrews 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our fcith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Furthermore, it is stated in Hebrews 1:3, "...when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." If Jesus sat down on the right hand of God, He must be in heaven where God dwells. This is affirmed in Hebrews 9:24, "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hand, which are the figures of the true,- but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." When Jesus ascended from earth, He went to heaven where God dwells and this is the very place He promised to go and prepare a plage for his people. The Lord is preparing a place in heaven for his people. The hope of the Christian is to live in heaven, not on the earth. The Lord, said, "In my Father's house are many mansions.....! go to prepare a place for you." Jesus did not say, "I am going to the Father and one day I will come to earth and rule for a thousand years in Jerusalem over a millenial kingdom." What He did say was that He was going to heaven and there prepare us a place, and when He comes again He will take the redeemed to that heavenly place to live forevermore. Jesus distinctly affirmed that one purpose of His second coming was to receive the saved of all ages intq the heavenly place which He has prepared. This is accord with the promise He made, "I v/ill come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Jesus is not coming back to earth because He has gone to heaven to prepare a place for His people and, when He comes again, He will receive His people into that prepared place.
Another reason why Christ is not coming back to earth is stated in God's word in 2 Peter 3:10, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, end the elements shell melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." Christ will not come back to earth to set up an earthly kingdom because the earth is to be burned up. God has no plans for this earth after the second coming of Christ except to destroy it by fire. The end of this ill-fated earth is repeated in 2 Peter 3:5-7, "For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word