The Better Coming Of Christ

The Better Coming Of Christ… I Mean… The 2nd Coming of Christ

I’m often amazed by the way some people view the 2nd coming of Christ.

Many are effectively communicating that they aren’t very happy with the first Jesus and would like a second Jesus more tailored to their liking.

The Pharisee’s expectation

The Pharisees were the most qualified to recognise the messiah as they waited for Him. They had studied the scriptures their whole lives to ensure they were ready. What’s odd, is that when He showed up, they completely missed Him.

Perhaps it was because, in-spite of their study of the scriptures, this is what they were expecting…

1) A messiah who would reward them for doing all the right things.

2) A messiah who would punish everyone else for not doing the right things.

3) A messiah who would remove them from the dangers and evils of the world and establish a perfect, safe kingdom in which they could stay away from the wicked forever.

Wait a minute

Did I just describe the Pharisees expectation, or did I describe the church’s expectation of the 2nd coming?

Who actually came?

You see when Jesus came he did not bring law, he did not reward the good and punish the bad… in fact He didn’t judge anyone aside from those who were peddling self-righteousness as the way to God! He basically told the disciples in the gospel of John, “I’ve been given all judgement and I choose not to judge”

Not only that but Jesus didn’t take the disciples out of this worldly system but rather changed the disciples, filled them with His Spirit and then put them right in the thick of sin, darkness and evil, and said “I’m equipping you to change it, go forth in the power of my Spirit.”

What was our response?

Well, we basically hated it. That’s why much of the church today has rejected that Jesus and has gone back to living based on what’s right and wrong and hoping for a messiah who will come back to reward the right (us), punish the wrong (them) and take us away from the world to a safe-haven (rapture to Heaven).

We are basically saying “we didn’t like the first Jesus, can we have another?”

Jesus is not coming back a different guy.

And everything you need today (and forever) was done on His first trip at the cross.

If His work on the cross wasn’t enough for you and you are waiting for His 2nd coming to fix your situation then I hate to break it to you but you are going to be sorely disappointed!

Now don’t get me wrong.

I fully believe in a second coming and I’m very excited about it, but I do not place my hope in it. My hope is in His first coming. Paul told us where our hope was to be found… “Christ in you, the hope of glory”. Christ in us was the result of the first coming, not a result we are waiting to be fulfilled at a future coming.

My purpose in writing this article wasn’t to ruin your end times theology (ok, maybe a little) but rather it was to get you thinking.

Which coming of Jesus is more important to you? What one are you living in and walking in? And which one are you placing your hope in?

Because, while there is going to be a second coming, if you don’t fully embrace the first one it’s not going to be half the party you think it will be!

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  1. What we need to remember, is that the understanding most western christian holds about the rapture, the tribulation, the mark of the beast, antichrist etc, is a relatively young interpretation of the coming of Jesus.
    Until a few hundred years ago, this understanding of the coming of Jesus, was not heard of

    • Absolutely Wiggo, I’ve found regarding theend times both Jonathan Welton’s book “raptureless” and Sean Edwards’s book “the end of days” to be very helpful

      • AMEN! I have a friend who is overly focused on the ” end times”, etc. And asked me what I had to look forward to!!! I have read J. Whelton.s book “Raptureless”. So refreshing! Thanks for your words!

        • It’s an incredible book! I love it. We have today to look forward to… not the end of the world but enjoying the world, just as it is today and the fact that by our being here it will be even better tomorrow!

  2. “That’s why much of the church today has rejected that Jesus and has gone back to living based on what’s right and wrong and hoping for a messiah who will come back to reward the right (us), punish the wrong (them) and take us away from the world to a safe-haven (rapture to Heaven).”

    This couldn’t be more true!! See it everyday. And what is with all these end times books? I know some people who have scads of these….are they that afraid of God they need to be “prepared”? Really? I want to shout, “trust in the finished work of the cross!” God loves them, don’t they know this? I guess not. That’s why it is our job to tell them! Thanks for doing just that Phil. You are awesome.

    • Yes Lorilee, you are so many end times books. But I have so much grace for these people, why? Because I was one of them. I had no idea of the fullness of what Christ had done for me and spent my entire time fascinated with the Christ who was to come. So thankful that people are waking up to all the Christ is and all He has done, and that people are starting to have the right perspective that brings transformation in their day-to-day lives. Thanks for being a part of that so many people around you Lorilee!

  3. So true and well said, Phil. When I got saved back in the 80’s, Hal Lindsey was nearly omnipresent. Everyone I met in church was talking “end times” and “Rapture”. It took a long time and a lot of study to realize this eschatology was something less than Biblical fact. And you’re right. The implication of the fixation with Jesus’ return is dissatisfaction with His first coming. Never saw that. Thanks!

    • Thanks Mark, thankfully as a baby of the 80s I didn’t get caught up to much in all the Hal Lindsey stuff – however I definitely got dragged into it by third parties. I spent so many years reading the left behind series and so on, totally fixated on Jesus coming back and giving me a pat on the back for trying hard. I’m so thankful that those years are over and I can actually start enjoying myself! Thanks for sharing my friend!

  4. Nice article!

    I think when we claim to have all of this knowledge about the “end-times,” the way things will happen, what will be happening at that time, etc… we rob ourselves of the joy in living. It would be like watching the ending of a suspens/mystery movie first and then starting it at the beginning. It ruins the story.

    • That’s a great point. I totally agree, we get so caught up in trying to predict the end that we miss today, thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Deliciously good!
    Thanks for sharing with us.
    Like Mark Dyar said, I had not thought of it before but I do think that is a great point; if we focus our energy and our hope on the 2nd coming instead of the first coming, it really ends up becoming an ungrateful dissatisfaction with the job Jesus did. We end up being unimpressed with His work. “It is finished”? Let us not allow ourselves to feel like Jesus has yet to start the important work which we care about.

    • Thanks Carl, you are so right in never want to be guilty of belittling the great work Jesus has done for me and mankind as a whole! Appreciate you my friend.

    • I’ve yet to see a movement in history that can prove otherwise :)

      I’m not saying we ignore the end time – I myself am very passionate about it and teach on the topic frequently – for more of my beliefs I would encourage you to see the books I referenced in above comments.

      What I am saying is I rarely see people who focus on the end times who have any real grasp of the Christ to come… In fact this is usually why they are so infatuated with the second coming.

      Hope that helps clear up what I’m saying.

  6. A lot of what you say is true regarding issues relating to the end time.
    I think your 3 scenarios at the beginning are somewhat over the top.
    Nearly every reference to hope in the NT refers to our hope of His return. Check it out.

    1Co_15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
    Were to die to ourselves. Look at the lives & deaths of ALL the apostles. I wouldn’t want any of them by choice.

  7. Focusing on the end times is not necessarily bad. It’s good to study it in so far as it’s in the Bible.
    Focusing on the end is GOOD very good, it gives us motivation to live for Christ now.
    See 1Cor5:19

    • I absolutely agree Ian – it’s great to study these things out and be eagerly expectant of his second coming – my concern is that many from that desire go on to make it what the day to day Christian life is about. They postpone eternal life to after they die rather than from when they accept Christ and don’t get to enjoy the fullness they have access to today.

      Thanks for sharing! Great points you’ve made!

  8. Hay Phil,

    I think its important that the focus is like you say on what Christ has already done for us. You really have to look at the driving force behind most end times stuff and its fear driven.

    Can cause people to live in a state of building temporary rather then for longevity. And it paralyzes people from living to build for future generations.

    O finding it so refreshing to be living under the grace and love of God and not by works or performance based Christianity.

    And boy o boy is it rewiring the way I think and see not only my self but others.

  9. I am confused. Heb. 9:28, “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.” Isn’t our reception of Him into our hearts and minds as His Holy Spirit the coming or parousia? Parousia – Greek for coming is also defined as presence. His presence in us, Christ in us, we have the mind of Christ, all the verses Paul spoke about us and how we have in us the Spirit of His son – isn’t that the coming of Christ? It was finished at the cross! And the end of the world/age was the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The book of Revelation written by John was fulfilled and now we live in heaven in earth- Christ in us! He is the head -mind of Christ- and we – the Church – His bride- have been given all we need to be His ambassadors. Our job is to overcome evil with good, help the sick and suffering, and all of the other instructions to live and share the good news! Those instructions are found in the first self-help book ever on the market. I used to say I wasn’t given a manual at the hospital where I had my sons but now I realize I had one all of my life. How to Live, Love and Be Joyful is another name for my Bible. So, where do you stand on the second coming and end of the world questions? I am enjoying your blogs and emails and the comments!!

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