March 21, 2024

Prophecies of the Second Coming - Morning Devotion on Mar. 20, 2024

Prophecies of the Second Coming

"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. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other".
Matthew 24:30-31

"However; when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
Luke 18:8

What will Jesus do when he comes? Will he come to wipe out the world? The word "judgment" is frequently misunderstood to mean that God will wipe out everything in anger. That is not the purpose of the Messiah's coming a second time. The whole purpose is to fulfill the mission that was left undone 2,000 years ago, to work for individual, family, social, national, and world perfection. Judgment is the constructive work of God to see the fulfillment of the kingdom of God here on earth.

Because the work of God is realistic and physical, the Messiah's coming on literal clouds in the sky does not make sense. By interpreting the Bible literally many Christians anticipate Jesus appearance in the sky, but that could not be so. People perceive God as being supernatural, someone who could perform even the miracle of bringing Jesus on the clouds. In that case, why would Christianity be necessary? Why would faith be necessary? Why didn't God use supernatural power to build up the kingdom of God in the first place? Why has he waited for 6,000 years to accomplish it?

Gods Will and Christmas
December 25, 1976

Another reason why Jesus was not believed was that the people expected the Messiah to arrive on the clouds of heaven. Daniel 7:13 reads, "I saw in the night visions, and behold, on the clouds of heaven...the son of man." In other words, Daniel is saying that the coming of Jesus, the Son of God, will take place on the clouds of heaven. The people expected his arrival on the clouds of heaven; so when Jesus appeared in the flesh, it was very difficult to accept him. So at that time, there were arguments among Jesus' disciples and the faithful of Israel: "Well, if your master, Jesus, is the Son of God, how could he appear as a man, in the flesh? Impossible! How could he be the Son of God? We know him. He is the son of Joseph, the son of Mary; the Son of God is supposed to come on the clouds of heaven."

Two thousand years ago, the situation was such that the people expected Elijah first; but Elijah did not come. They expected Elijah to come from the blue sky, but he did not appear in that manner. Again they expected the Son of God to come on the clouds of heaven; this also was not fulfilled. So how could they accept Jesus? On what grounds? Those who believed the letter of the Old Testament, not the spirit, missed the whole thing. They said, "He is a heretic," and to this day the Jewish faith hasn't recognized Christianity. Today, we need to know the truth, and the truth will make us free.

Then how will the Lord reappear in the Last Days? We are in a situation exactly parallel to that of the time of Jesus Christ. If we become slaves to the letter of the New Testament, instead of living by the spirit of the New Testament, we could commit the same transgression that the elders, scribes, and Pharisees committed 2,000 years ago. Two thousand years ago, God promised Elijah but God did not send him in a miraculous way. He sent him as John the Baptist. Two thousand years ago, God promised the Messiah but the Messiah did not come on the clouds of heaven. Today Christians are expecting the Second Advent to appear on the clouds of heaven. If we are slaves to the letter of the New Testament, we will be in a position to commit the same transgression as the Israelites.

Christmas in Heart
December 25, 1973

Contrary to the expectations of many faithful Jews who believed on biblical grounds that the Messiah would come on the clouds with signs and portents in the heavens, Jesus was born on the earth as a child in a lowly family. Hence, we should reexamine the Bible from the perspective that the Second Advent of Christ may not take place in a miraculous way. It may, in fact, take place in the same manner as the First Advent.

Jesus made a number of predictions foretelling what would happen to the Lord at his return. He said, "But first he must suffer many things and he rejected by this generation." (Luke 17:25) If Jesus were to return literally on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory and with the trumpets of angels, would he not readily be accepted and honored, even by this sin-ridden world? Returning in such a manner, there is no way he would ever suffer persecution or rejection...

Jesus said, "I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?" (Luke 18:8) As the world enters the Last Days, increasing numbers of Christians are striving to develop stronger faith. How can they all fall into faithlessness at the Second Advent of the Lord if he literally comes on the clouds of heaven amidst the sounds of angels' trumpets and the glory of God? This prophecy also cannot be fulfilled if Christ returns in a supernatural manner...

What do the clouds actually symbolize? Clouds are formed by the evaporation of impure water from the earth. In the Bible, water often symbolizes fallen people. (Rev. 17:15; Ps. 144:7) We may deduce that clouds symbolize devout Christians whose hearts dwell in heaven and not on the earth because they have been reborn and raised from their fallen state. The Bible and other sacred scriptures also use the symbolism of clouds to indicate the multitudes. (Heb. 12:1)... We can conclude that Jesus' coming on the clouds signifies that he will emerge from among a group of reborn believers to become the leader of Christians, the Second Israel. Recall that when Jesus was asked about the place of his return, he replied, "Where the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together." (Luke 17:37) Jesus meant by this that he will return to the place where faithful believers have gathered, which basically signifies the same thing as the biblical prophecy that Christ will return on the clouds.

When we interpret the clouds metaphorically in this way, it is evident that at his First Coming Jesus himself symbolically came down from heaven on the clouds. It is written, "The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven" (1 Cor. 15:47), and "No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man." (John 3:13) Even though Jesus was born on the earth, from the standpoint of the providence and with regard to his true value, he indeed came from heaven. This is also the true meaning of the prophecy in Daniel 7:13 which foretold that Jesus would come on the clouds.

Exposition of the Divine Principle
Second Advent 2

Elijah: A Very Active Spirit in Several Bodies 

To this day, at Passover, Jews put a cup of wine out on the dinner table for Elijah. They call this “The Cup of Elijah.” 

There are Elijah’s cups for sale on the Internet this very day for Jews to use at Passover!

After the Passover meal, Jews open the door for Elijah to come in.  

Jews believe that, at this moment, Elijah the prophet enters their home in spirit.  

They also believe that Elijah attends every circumcision ceremony of Jewish male children.

Jews believe that Elijah attends these ceremonies to go testify to God that the Jewish people are being observant of the tradition of circumcision. 

So, clearly, there is a sense of Elijah as an active, spiritual presence.  

Elijah was an active, spiritual presence in the Old Testament. 

During his life, Elijah was the prophet of monotheism—only one God.

His name means “Yahweh is my God.” 

He fought idol worship of other gods.  

In 1 Kings 19:16, God instructed Elijah to anoint Elisha, another prophet, as his successor. 

Both men performed many miracles and signs to warn the people to honor God. 

One day, when Elijah was walking and talking with Elisha, “a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind” (2 Kings 2:11). 

Just a short time previously, Elijah had rolled up his cloak and struck the waters of the River Jordan. The waters had parted. 

Now, Elisha picked up Elijah’s cloak and did the same thing (2 Kings 2:13).

The waters parted again.

There were some other prophets nearby, and when they saw what Elisha had done, they said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” 

In fact, they were so overwhelmed, they bowed to the ground before Elisha (2 Kings 2:15).

The spirit of Elijah rested on Elisha. 

The spirit of Elijah also rested on John the Baptist, heralding the advent of the Messiah, but even John did not realize this or recognize it. 

In Malachi 4:5, the return of Elijah was promised as a herald of the coming of the Messiah. 

Jesus said John the Baptist was Elijah. 

In other words, the spirit of Elijah rested upon John the Baptist (Matthew 11: 13 – 14). 

Yet John 1:21 notes that when he was asked, John the Baptist said, “No, I am not Elijah.” 

“They asked him, ‘Then who are you? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not’” (John 1:21). 

Elijah was with John the Baptist in spirit, not in body, similar to the way Elijah was with Elisha. 

Ellijah used these men’s bodies to continue to proclaim God. 

We cannot always discern things spiritually. 

Even a great prophet like John the Baptist was not aware of the spiritual presence of Elijah, who was trying to fulfill his mission to herald the Messiah through John.

John was not aware that he, in essence, was the second coming of Elijah.

Second Comings rest upon physical people who take up the mantel and the mission--the office and the responsibility--of the original anointed person but in their own subsequent eras and in their own physical bodies.

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