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Differences and Similarities Between the First and Second Coming of Jesus Christ

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Abstract

The prophecies of Jesus’ First Coming focused on who He was before His human birth, His miraculous birth, a bit about His life, His crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection – all of which was prophesied many hundreds of years before His birth. The second coming of Christ or parousia is the return of Jesus Christ from Heaven to Earth as expected in most Christian eschatologies. The anticipated event is predicted in biblical messianic prophecy in which Jesus Christ will return to earth as King in power and glory to rule for a thousand years.

Those who argue that Jesus was not the Messiah because He did not fulfill all the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah, fail to take into account the Second Coming of Christ, in which He will fulfill all the prophecies about the Messiah. Christ’s first coming was to stand in our place and receive the penalty exacted for sin. His Second Coming will defeat sin for all eternity.

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Perhaps no event in the history of the world has been more anticipated than the Second Coming.

Every generation of believers including believers in the New Testament has strongly believed that Jesus would return in their lifetime. Some are mistakenly frightened that they have missed the Second Coming. Others doubt that if it will ever occur.

A. Introduction

The subject of the First and Second Coming of Jesus originated right from the beginning of creation. After God had created man, He gave man certain laws by which man was to be governed and clearly told the man that disobedience to these laws would bring serious consequences.

As a pure test of obedience, the man was given permission to eat of every tree of the garden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In regard to that tree, he was told: “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17). But man deliberately and defiantly disobeyed that command. Through that disobedience, He inflicted on himself the prescribed penalty for breaking that law and He actually died spiritually.

At this point, God, who had created man in His own image so as to fellowship with him had to devise another way to restore this fellowship. The only way God could do this was to send His only Son to do this work. This brought about the issue of the First and Second Coming of Jesus into the world. “The two great objectives to be accomplished by Jesus in His mission to this world were, first, the removal of the curse under which mankind labored as a result of the disobedience and fall and second, the restoration of men to the image and fellowship of God. Both of these were essential to salvation”[1]

The Old Testament prophets did not seem to fully understand this distinction between the two comings of Jesus (His birth and His Second Coming) as seen in Isaiah 7:14; 9:7 and Zechariah 14:4. As a result of the prophecies seeming to speak of two individuals, many Jewish scholars believed there would be a suffering Messiah and a conquering Messiah. What they failed to understand is that the same Messiah would fulfill both roles. Jesus fulfilled the role of the suffering servant (Isaiah 53) in His First Coming and will fulfill the role of Israel’s Deliverer and King in His Second Coming.

Zechariah 12:10 and Revelation 1:7 in describing the Second Coming, looked back to Jesus being pierced. Christ’s First Coming was to stand in our place and receive the penalty exerted for sin. His Second Coming will defeat sin for all eternity.

B. The First Coming of Jesus

Jesus was incarnated into humanity through the miraculous virgin birth. This special birth was carried out by the Holy Spirit enveloping Mary with His presence and power and implanting Jesus into her womb. The method Jesus chose to arrive upon earth enabled Him to indwell a specially prepared human body that escaped the fallen sin nature inherent in every human being. The sin nature firmly rooted in mankind when our divinely created forefather Adam, disobeyed God, and took of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. ”[2] God informed Adam about the future coming of this special event immediately after his horrible transgression (Gen. 3:14,15). Anybody that is familiar with the basic reproductive system knows that a woman does not have seeds, but eggs.

Thus, God was informing Adam as to how all mankind would one day be redeemed from the effects and curse of his disobedience. That would occur when the Messiah would come into the world when a woman would deliver a child into the world through a supernatural conception that would circumnavigate human males altogether.

The Nature of Jesus’ First Coming

  1. Conceived by the Holy Spirit
  2. Born of a Virgin
  3. Sinless and Perfect
  4. Rejected by the World
  5. Characterized as a lamp to be slaughtered From His birth, Jesus did what no man could.

He lived a completely sinless life and also went about performing miracles that only God could. He ultimately suffered death according to God’s plan to fulfill the requirement to redeem man’s race from Adam’s curse and its eternal effects. “Despite His goodness and evident divine nature, and also the foretelling of His First Coming in the ancient Hebrew scripture, He was largely rejected and despised by the world. Ultimately, He was falsely accused and subsequently tortured and put to death by crucifixion. Yet, He never resisted, and in silence He allowed Himself to be put to death. [3] The Purpose of His First Coming 1. The perfect propitiatory and substitutionary sacrifice 2. Bodily Resurrection Jesus’ death was not merely the result of a miscarriage of justice, nor was it merely the expressed wrath of the religious leaders that were jealous and fearful of Him. Though these emotions were instrumental to His death, they were not the true underlying cause. Even before the foundation of the earth was laid in the first moments of creation, the divine Godhead had already preordained that Jesus would die to do for man what man could not do for himself.

He provided the full payment and satisfaction for man’s rebellion against God to redeem man and restore him to the place of fellowship with God that God had intended from the beginning. That payment was made in the form of a substitutional bloody sacrifice that Jesus offered of His body that had been prepared for that very purpose. Jesus’ full payment for the sin of mankind was complete and satisfied all requirement, thus he overcame the penalty of sin, which was death. Consequently, death could not hold Him and He raised His body from the dead (John 2:18-19). Upon resurrection His body was glorified, that is, transformed from having a bloody nature to having a spiritual nature of light. Yet, His body consisted of a transformed flesh and bone and was physically tangible (Luke 24). ”[4]

C. The Second Coming of Jesus

Jesus is coming again. It will be at an unexpected time; therefore, we must be prepared beforehand. The world was not ready at His First Coming and did not recognize Him. It is of even greater importance to be ready for His Coming again. The Second (glorious) appearing of the Lord is the heart of biblical teaching on the last things. “Jesus Himself sees the climax in these terms: ‘At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory’ (Mk 13:26). Paul’s summary of the Christian hope is similar: ‘we eagerly await a savior from there (Heaven), the Lord Jesus Christ. ’ (Phil. 3:20)”[5] What is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ

The Second Coming of Jesus is the hope of believers that God is in control of all things and is faithful to the promise and prophecies in His word. In His First Coming, Jesus came to earth as a baby in a manger in Bethlehem, just as prophesied. Jesus fulfilled many of the prophecies of the Messiah during His birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection. However, there are some prophecies regarding the Messiah that Jesus has not, as yet, fulfilled. The Second Coming of Christ will be the return of Christ to fulfill these remaining prophecies. After Jesus ascended into Heaven, the angels declared to the apostles, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand to look 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). Zechariah 14:4 identifies the location of the Second Coming as the Mount of Olives. Matthew 24:30 declares, “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. ” Titus 2:13 describes the Second Coming as a “glorious appearing”. Importance of the Second Coming Foremost of all, belief in the Second Coming of Christ is important because it is clear what the Bible teaches. To doubt the reality of the Second Coming is to doubt the reliability and validity of God’s Word.

Second, the Second Coming is important because Jesus Himself promised it. If Jesus was wrong about the Second Coming. How can we trust anything else He taught? The Second Coming of Christ is our hope and confidence that God is in control of all things and is faithful to His Word and His promises. The Second Coming is also important because it will come at the time when the world is most in need of a righteous King. Revelation chapters 6-18 describe the end times prior to the Second Coming of Christ. The world will be devastated, millions of people will perish, and the evilest person in all history will be the ruler of the entire world. The Second Coming of Christ puts all this to an end. Nature of the Second Coming

In order for us to identify the Second Coming of Jesus, we must know a little about nature so as not to be deceived. A full description of the Lord’s return is impossible. In this event, our glorified Lord will manifest Himself in a manner that will be utterly climatic for existence as we know it. It will obviously, therefore, transcend all events in space and time hitherto experienced. Accordingly, any account which claims to tell the whole story down to the minutest detail is self-defeating from the outset.

The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus will:

  1. Be a glorious coming, in ‘power and great glory’ (Mat. 24:30)
  2. Be a decisive coming; ‘Then the end will come’ (1 Cor. 15:24)
  3. Be a sudden coming.

Despite references to signs of the times, the Bible speaks clearly about the unexpectedness of the Lord’s return (Mat. 24:37-44) The Purpose of the Second Coming Jesus came the First time into this world and after He had fulfilled the purpose of His first Coming went back to heaven with a promise that He would come again. Certainly, just like the First Coming, the Second Coming must have a purpose.

The purpose of His Second Coming includes the following:

  1. To complete the work of redemption
  2. To resurrect the dead
  3. To judge all people
  4. To deliver the church The Time of the Second Coming Perhaps no event in the history of the world has been more anticipated than the Second Coming.

Every generation of believers, including believers in the New Testament, has strongly believed that Jesus would return in their lifetime. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 is a nerve-calming letter that Paul wrote about this issue. Some are mistakenly frightened that they have missed the Second Coming. Others doubt that it will ever occur (2 Peter 3:4). So, we must avoid both extremes: (1) believing that the Second Coming has already occurred, and (2) believing that the Second Coming will never occur. Many people have made guesses as to when the Second Coming will occur. They have all been incorrect. The bible declares, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Mat. 24:4-29; 2 Thes 2:1-12; Rev. 6:18).

D. Similarities between the First and Second Coming

Talking about similarities between the First and Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we can say we don’t have many of these. The few similarities between these two comings of Jesus Christ are:

  1. They were both foretold by prophecies
  2. They both originated at the same time and point when Adam disobeyed God.
  3. They both involve the physical appearance of Jesus Christ.
  4. They both have their land of action as the land of Israel.
  5. The majority of the people of the world doubted /doubt the reality of both.

E. Differences between the First and Second Coming

If we look at the differences between the First and Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we will find quite a number, but I will list only a few for the purpose of this write-up.

  1. He came as a Baby in weakness, in meekness and in obscurity. He will come the next time in power and glory to assert His will over all the earth.
  2. Very few bowed before Him at His First coming When He comes again all knees shall bow at His feet in humble worship.
  3. At His First Coming the door of the inn was shut in His face For his Second Coming we read of a door opened in heaven out of which He rides as King of kings and Lords of lords.
  4. His First Coming was shrouded in secrecy. Very few knew of His arrival. But when He returns, everyone will know. Every eye will see Him and recognize Him as the one they pierced and all the people of the earth will mourn because of Him.
  5. He came to suffer for the sins of the world. He was mistreated, humiliated, and rejected. He will return as Judge to pass judgment on all those who rejected Him.
  6. He came in great humility as a servant He will return as the Commander in Chief of a very large army
  7. He came the first time to wear the crown of thorns He is coming the Second time to wear the crown of power and glory.
  8. He came to set up His assembly which includes sheep and goats, the good and bad. At His return, He will separate the sheep from the goats and not allow any that are false to enter His kingdom.
  9. When Jesus came the first time, it was to settle the problem of sin. He did not come to settle the problems of government nor the social dilemmas that harass our world. When He comes again, He will solve all government problems, political and social ills.
  10. He came the first time to make peace between God and man. He will return to make war on those who do not know God
  11. He came the first time to be God’s representative of love and grace. He is returning as God’s representative against a rebellious world
  12. He came as our Saviour He will return as our sovereign Lord.

F. How the First and Second Coming of Jesus affect the way we live today

The Bible teaches that Jesus is not one way among many to have spiritual re-birth, redemption, and salvation, but that is the ONLY WAY. He is the exclusive Saviour of all mankind. The Bible also affirms that Jesus’ exalted position is unique and unshared with anyone or anything else. Having known about the first and Second Coming of Jesus in the way we have through this write-up, this should summon us to commitment and obedience (Deut. 29:29) and also affect the way we live today positively. We can gather the implication of the Bible’s teaching on the First and Second Coming of Jesus in the following way:

  1. Hope – The return of the Lord Jesus is our ‘blessed hope’ (Tit 2:13)
  2. Comfort – The thought of the return of the Lord comforts us whenever we think about death. (1 Thes 4:13-18)
  3. Holiness – the thought of the return of the Lord should spur us to holiness (Heb 12:13).
  4. Action – the thought of the return of the Lord should lead us to be active in the following as we await this return: (a) spread the gospel (b) build the church (c) serve our neighbours
  5. Prayer – if we believe in the lord’s coming and the end of the age, then we would pray for it.
  6. Watchfulness – this should be the attitude of those that believe in the return of the Lord Jesus (Mat. 24:42; 25:13)
  7. Love – if we believe in the return of the Lord and accept Him as our Lord and Saviour, then we shall love as He pours out His spirit of love in our hearts (Rom. 5:5).
  8. Praise – A final experience of our conviction concerning Christ’s Second Coming is joyful praise and worship.

Summary

Many people were waiting for Christ when He First came. Yet His coming was different from what most people expected. They thought He would be a glorious King – a military hero. They wanted Him to lead the armies of Israel into battles of victory and destruction, and establish a new government with Israel in power. Compared to the hurricane they envisioned, however, His coming was like a gentile breath of fresh air.

Many people living at that time did not know that anything important had taken place. The reason people were mistaken about His Coming is that they interpreted the prophecies in a very literal way. Like the First Coming of Christ, the second coming will be in a physical form only that this time He will come as a conquering warrior with power, riding on a white horse, the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

Conclusion

The Second Coming of Jesus is a definite reality as His First Coming was. The question is when He comes the Second time will He come as your Judge or as your King? “It is important to maintain the essential links between the Second and First Coming.

It is not that the First Coming was inadequate and needs the Second to do the job properly. Rather, the work of Christ in His Second Coming is to implement the conquest and victory won decisively in His First Coming (Jhn. 14:3; Rev. 5; 5-14)

References

  1. Bruce Milne, Know the Truth, 2007, Inter-Varsity Press.
  2. Last chance ministries, Jesus Christ, 2008, lastchanceministries. com
  3. Loraine Boettner, Studies in Theology 1989, The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing computer, USA.
  4. Margaret Baxter, Jesus Christ: His Life and His Church, 1993, ISPCK, India
  5. Rich Deem, Prophecies of Jesus Christ as Messiah, 2006, godandscience. org.

Cite this Differences and Similarities Between the First and Second Coming of Jesus Christ

Differences and Similarities Between the First and Second Coming of Jesus Christ. (2019, May 02). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/differences-and-similarities-between-the-first-and-second-coming-of-jesus-christ-2-687/

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