6 awesome things that will happen when Christ returns

Judging by the number of books written on the subject, we ought to be able to predict Christ’s return down to the minute, but the fact is nobody knows the hour or day. Jesus could return before the end of the year, or he might return after you have died of ripe old age. Only God knows.

From time to time a wave of paranoia sweeps over social media regarding the imminent end of the world and the physical return of King Jesus. Y2K. Mayan calendars. Planets aligning and blood moons. Pandemics and Presidential elections. The market for bad predictions is lucrative, but every misguided prophecy regarding the Lord’s return – and there have been thousands – has proven false. Every. Single. One.

You should not be troubled by these random outbreaks of hysteria, for the Bible declares that the when of Christ’s return is a mystery. You don’t know when, you don’t need to know when, you just need to be ready for when.

But while the Bible is silent about when, it says a lot about what. Here are six awesome things that will happen when Christ returns:

1. Jesus will arrive with a shout

Jesus’ first arrival was a largely unheralded birth in a stable in a one-horse town. In contrast, his return will be a glorious and loud procession that is visible to all.

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God (1 Thess. 4:16a)

If history is a play, then the final scene is where the Author and Hero of the story steps onto the stage to vanquish his foes. Jesus’ return is the climax of history. It will be beyond spectacular!

2. The dead will rise

And the dead in Christ will rise first. (1 Thess. 4:16b)

Paul wrote these words to people who were sad. “Do not grieve,” he said, “For those who sleep in death will rise to new life.”

Was Paul preaching a literal resurrection? Some say that Jesus returned in AD70 and therefore there is no resurrection. It’s metaphorical or symbolic. Paul would disagree. “How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Cor. 15:12).

On the day the Lord returns, I expect to see my father and grandfather who both died when I was young. Parents will meet their miscarried children. It will be a day of joyful reunions.

3. We will be transformed

Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Cor. 15:50-52)

Not all of us will die – some of us will be alive when the Lord returns – but we shall all be changed. Just as we have worn the earthly image of Adam, we shall bear the heavenly image of Christ. The older I get, the more I look forward to my new resurrection body, a body not subject to death, decay, and dentist’s visits.

4. We will meet the Lord in the air

Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:17)

In the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, the virgins go out to meet the groom and then return with him. That’s a picture of the second or final coming when we who are still alive are caught up to meet the Lord.

Recall what the disciples heard as they watched Jesus ascending into heaven:

Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched him go into heaven. (Acts 1:11)

On that occasion Jesus went up; on his return he’ll come down. When he ascended to heaven resurrected saints ascended with him (Matt. 27:52-53). So picture Jesus ascending with a crowd of people. “It’ll be like that, but in reverse,” said the angels, meaning Jesus will come return with a crowd of people.

And we’re part of the crowd.

5. God will judge the living and the dead

Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:28-29, NIV)

Those who have done good are those who “hear and believe,” for those who hearken to the good words of Jesus will live (John 5:24-25). In contrast, those who have done evil jam their fingers in their ears and refuse to hear the good things God says.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27, KJV)

The word for judgment means decision or verdict. Every one of us makes a decision about Jesus, and in the end every one of us gets exactly what we want. Those who desire life shall have it and in abundance, for Jesus is the Giver of Life. And those who prefer to have nothing to do with him shall get their wish too.

6. We shall be with the Lord forever

I used to think that the earth was a bus station and that my permanent home was in heaven. I now realize that the earth is God’s gift to humanity (Ps. 115:16) and God’s gifts are good.

Our home is broken and marred by sin, but just as God has not given up on us, he has not given up on our home. He’s not moving us out; he’s moving in. He’s not sending us to heaven; he’s bringing heaven to earth.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and he will dwell among them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be among them, and he will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:3-4)

First Adam cursed the earth with his disobedience, but Last Adam blessed the earth with his obedience. Now he sits enthroned until his enemies are put under his feet.

A good day

Satan, although defeated and disarmed, still “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Happily, his time is limited and his end is coming. When Jesus returns, Satan goes, and that will be a good day.

Jesus healed the sick, but many still suffer. His enemies of cancer, heart disease, depression, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s are still with us. But when he returns they will go, and that will be a good day.

Many of us have buried children, parents, or spouses. Families have been torn apart by death. But when Christ returns death itself will be defeated, and that will be a good day!

And so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thess. 4:17)

Now there’s a promise to shade all others. We shall be with him, not just in spiritual union, but physically with him. It staggers the mind.

The Second or Final Coming of the Great King is not something to fear but something to long for. All our lives up until then will seem like a waking dream compared to the life we will share with him in eternity.

Comfort and encourage one another with these words. (1 Thess. 4:18)

The King is coming! Are you comforted? Are you encouraged?

Extracted and adapted from AD70 and the End of the World.

21 Comments on 6 awesome things that will happen when Christ returns

  1. creativegirl7 // September 24, 2020 at 3:18 am // Reply

    Great article, Paul! Thank you for the encouragement! Sandy

  2. Paul, read Matt. 27:52-53 again. It says nothing about these saints going to heaven but into the city.

  3. Marjorie Keenan // September 24, 2020 at 3:27 am // Reply

    I think we have totally misunderstood the concept that Jesus is returning. When Jesus ascended into heaven He promised to return and He did. He brought heaven down to earth and the kingdom of heaven dwells within all. God has made man His home on earth and everything we will ever need dwells within us. We are ONE with God forever and reign with Him on earth. There is no need for Him to return. The fullness of the Godhead dwells within for eternity.

    • There is a great need for Christ to return in physical form. Covid, for instance. Here are the 90+ scriptures that discuss his return.

      • Marjorie Keenan // September 24, 2020 at 2:43 pm //

        I believe all of those scriptures referred to Jesus’time on earth. Christ fulfilled everything we will ever need from the foundation of the world. Sickness is already taken care of. We can’t expect God to do again, what has already been done.

        It is up to us to take dominion over this earth. Covid is just another sickness that was healed already and we have to start talking it gone and quit giving it power. There is only one power and that is God’s power and it lives in us. The earth is groaning for the manifestation of the Sons and Daughters of God. Jesus has no reason to return. He is already here living in mankind. Heaven dwells within in us. That is what John the Baptist meant when he said that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

      • Most of those scriptures were written after Jesus’ time on earth and they are forward-looking. When Paul spoke of the Lord descending from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God, he was anticipating a future event.

        I would not say Jesus is living in mankind; his church definitely, but not in those who remain captive to unbelief and darkness. The kingdom has come and grows larger every day, like a tiny mustard seed growing into a tree. But the dead will not be raised and we will not be clothed with incorruptible bodies until the Lord returns in physical form.

  4. Great article but being an ex JW for over 40 years I am learning new thoughts. I would appreciate some help with what you said “2. The dead will rise And the dead in Christ will rise first. (1 Thess. 4:16b)”. does this mean those “dead in Christ” are not in heaven? I totally confused about death and what happens after one has died and whether they go to heaven. Then there is talk about the resurrection. As many will know, the JW teachings are completely different from what the bible actually says. Thanks.

    • Who knows how time operates in eternity. The Bible is silent on this subject. I have written about 1 Thess 4:16-17 elsewhere.

    • Paul, those Saints praying under the Altar… Are they not with the Creator-Father? They’re dead & in the Messias & yet, they pray – ‘Come Jesus & stop this’ And he come. And in the attribute of His Justice, He acts to make a way for the Saints who endured to the end of this Age.

  5. Thank you for this encouraging reminder of how great Christ’s return will be!

    I do have a question about “those who sleep in death.” Does that mean when we die, we “sleep” until Christ’s return (i.e. our next moment of consciousness is with Christ at His return)? Or does our spirit go to heaven when we die? What is your understanding of this? Thanks!

    • The Bible provides very little information about what happens to our spirits after death other than discussing destinations. We who are subject to the laws of physics and the natural world, know next to nothing about the laws of the spiritual world that define eternity. My father died at a young age and I have always imagined he is with Jesus now. But whether my now and his now are the same, I have no idea.

    • skolvikings, How are the Saints who are dead in the Messias sleeping [the word is not synonymous with sleep in this realm]? When they who are under the Altar in the Presence of Creator-Father; they are praying, ‘Father, avenge us…’.

  6. Thank you so much Bro. Paul for this great article. It seems absolutely clear that our wonderful Savior will return for us and we are so thankful! I appreciate how you carefully pointed these out for us to revel in. Also for us to keep our eyes out for that blessed hope! It makes life down here even sweeter right in the midst of heart break to know He is with us spiritually NOW and will be Physically One Day! God bless you.

  7. Jesus rose the third day. Will never die again. Those that part for reconciliation is done. All are forgiven, whether sin agin or not. Jh 19:30 it I finished so new life can be given. But it can not be given to those that refuse t believe. Col.1:21-23 Stand therefore in trust to God Father of risen Son. Say thank you, I trust you to teach me new And guilt the act of Knew As I am have been guilty of in thought of I know and knew. The New life given IS NEW! not I knew or Know. Be careful how anyone builds? Thanks for alll your shares on Truth

  8. Positive and Bible-based write-ups on the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ, like this one, are making me and my family excited for His return! 🙂

  9. Like many on this thread, I have more questions than answers about Christ return and what happens next, but I’m not sure it matters, or that I care very much about what I don’t know, because the little I do know (the pictures the 6 points this article describes for example) is so ‘mind bending’ that these promises alone are a supply of endless food on which to chew and be excited, expectant and awe-struck!

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