Scripture Text – Matthew 24:3-14
The Two Phases of Christ’s Coming Again
There are two phases of His coming again. The one is before the Tribulation, when Christ comes for His Church, to take her out of the earth so that she will escape the awful blood bath of the day of the Lord. This first aspect is part of Christ’s second coming called the “blessed hope” in Titus. It is with this part that we shall deal particularly.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. – Titus 2:11-13 (emphasis mine).
It is the blessed hope for the believer, the hope of deliverance from the increase of iniquity in the world, the spreading specter of universal war and hatred, and the coming crash of civilization, but more even than that, it is the blessed hope of being forever with the Lord. The Church will witness this fearful time of tribulation from heaven but will have no part in it on the earth. In Luke 21 we have a detailed description of that awful day of tribulation. After that description the Lord says, in Luke 21:36:
“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
There will be some who will “escape all these things … and to stand before the Son of man.” These are they who “watch and pray”—the Church which He purchased with His own blood.
In Revelation, John, writing to the church of Philadelphia (the true portion of the apostate Church of the last days), says:
“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” – Revelation 3:10.
Enoch and Lot
Jesus, in speaking of the last days, uses two figures from history: the Flood and the destruction of Sodom. Of the first He says, “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” – Matthew 24:37. Of the second He says, “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot . . . even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” – Luke 17:28, 30. Both were times of terrible judgment. These are the two greatest catastrophes in history. Jesus uses them as figures of the coming greater judgment of the Tribulation. However, in each case someone was taken out before the judgment came. Enoch was translated before the Flood. Lot was taken out before Sodom was destroyed. Enoch was a godly man who walked with God. Lot was a carnal man, and yet, according to Peter’s writing, Lot was a righteous man.
And delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment. – 2 Peter 2:7–9.
Enoch, a spiritual man, was translated to bliss and a reward. Lot, the carnal man, was delivered but to be disgraced. He lost his reward and was judged by losing his all.
There are two kinds of believers. Some are spiritual. Others are carnal or worldly. When the Lord comes all believers shall be taken out before the judgment falls. Some, like Enoch, shall be given an abundant entrance and “will receive a reward” (1 Corinthians 3:14); others, like Lot, shall be saved, “yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15). Some, like Enoch, will “have confidence” at His appearing, and others, like Lot, will be “ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28). Some, like Enoch, shall receive a “full reward,” and others, like Lot, will lose their reward (2 John 8). Some, like Enoch, shall be given dominion over ten or five cities, whereas others, like Lot, shall be rebuked when the King returns (Luke 19:11-27).
To Be Continued