Three Comings of Jesus

by Roger Barrier

Dear Roger,

I love the story of Jesus’ birth. But how does Jesus’ first coming differ from the Rapture or His Second Coming?



Dear Andrea,

Jesus will come to us three times. He came to us HUMBLY. He will return SECRETLY (in the air) at the Rapture to gather His saints. King Jesus will then come VICTORIOUSLY as King and Judge.

Why did a glorious, all-powerful, all-knowing God take on human form at His first coming? Paul the apostle gives us the answer:

“Though Jesus was God, He did not demand and cling to his rights as God, but laid aside His mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men.  And He humbled himself even further, going so far as actually to die a criminal’s death on a cross.

Yet it was because of this that God raised Him up to the heights of heaven and gave Him a name which is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2: 6-11 ESV

HOW did Jesus humble Himself? We know that He became a helpless baby born in a barn.

The angels lauded Him, the Star shone brightly, the Kings brought gifts and the Shepherds worshipped. But Jesus required a diaper change. The barn was smelly. He needed Mary to nurse Him.

The New Testament is filled with examples of Jesus’ laying aside His divine power and glory while He lived among us. Jesus laid aside His omnipotence. Jesus was tempted. When facing Satan in Luke 4:1-14, He didn’t turn the stones into bread even though He was starving. He didn’t jump off the Temple roof even though doing so would show the Jews His Divine power. He didn’t take the chance to rule the world at Satan’s bidding.

He had to ask the Samaritan woman for water (John 4:7). He didn’t have a place to sleep. “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58)

He wrapped a towel around His waist and washed His disciples’ dirty feet. (John 13:14)

Jesus healed many, but not every person everywhere. He raised the widow of Nain’s son (Luke 7:11), Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:52-56) and Lazarus. Jesus, speaking to Martha, proclaimed Himself to be the resurrection and the life. (John 11: 25). Various saints in Jerusalem came out of the graves when Jesus arose (Matthew 27:50–53).

But Christ left multitudes in the grave. They will only be raised at the Rapture.

He calmed the storm, but only for a night. (Luke 8:22-24). He needed rest and time away from crowds, and He was so exhausted that even the battering of the boat did not awaken Him (Matthew 8:24). These truths should help us realize that Jesus was genuinely human with the same basic needs we all have. Christ’s humanity is part of what qualifies Him to be our merciful intercessor between us and God the Father (Hebrews 2:17).

He proclaimed that only the Father knew when He would return for the Rapture of the Saints. Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36; cf. Mark 13:32). The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is God (John 1:114), and we know that God is omniscient, but He chose to lay aside His omniscience.

He died alone. He didn’t even carry His cross alone. Simon of Cyrene had to help Him walk to Golgotha (Luke 23:26).  Women had to bury His mangled corpse. (Mark 16:1).

Jesus, at last, was resurrected in glory, defeating death and bringing each of us forgiveness and a forever home. But not all received Christ’s free gift. Many chose to turn away and ignore Him.

Jesus’ second coming will be SECRET.

No one knows when to expect Him. He will return in the air and “catch away His Saints, both living and dead.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17: “…we will meet the Lord in the air.” Christ will come like a thief in the night. (I Thess. 5:2). The Rapture is a time of blessing and hope (Titus 2:13). Believers will join Jesus in heaven, replete with new, resurrected bodies.

Jesus’ third coming will be VICTORIOUS.

Everyone shall see Him (Revelation 1:7). He will split the Mount of Olives and He will arrive WITH His saints. King Jesus will bring a sharp sword to punish and to judge (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). The Jews will look upon the King they crucified and will mourn. (Zechariah 12:10).

Pastor Skip Heitzig writes:

“I have a friend in the ministry who some years ago went and visited a mental institution for children. He said as he was walking down the corridors, he noticed these tiny little handprints on all of the windows. And he asked the director to explain those handprints. And the director said, well, the children here love Jesus. And they are so eager for Him to return they lean against the windows as they look up to the sky.

We sing about His first coming. “Away in a manger, no crib for His bed. The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.”

“Joy to the World declares His return and reign. “Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive Her King.”

As you study these passages, meditate on Jesus’ humility in laying aside His glory for us. Pray about how you will prepare for His return. And finally, sing songs rejoicing in His love and His victory.

Hallelujah Chorus, “And He shall reign forever and ever! Hallelujah.

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