The Future for the Lord Jesus
As part of a series of studies on “The Future” this article looks at the future for the Lord Jesus. It is linked with the other studies in the series.
The Coming of the Lord
Let’s look at the scriptures that speak of the Coming of the Lord. The list below is not exhaustive but it should be enough to demonstrate that the Lord is coming to publically judge the nations and that He will reign over a kingdom for a thousand years on the earth.
The Lord is coming to judge the nations
In the Old Testament God had not revealed the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is Jehovah, the Almighty God who was made known to Israel through His covenant with them that is mentioned. God will uphold His covenant with Abraham and bless Israel although first God has said that He will purge Israel and leave a faithful remnant which will be blessed by Him (see Isaiah 1:24-28). In Romans we are told “Not however as though the word of God had failed; for not all are Israel which are of Israel” (Romans 9:6) meaning that the Israel of faithful Jews is the true Israel not simply all those who are born as a Jew.
When the Lord Jesus came He made clear who would judge. Jesus said “For neither does the Father judge any one, but has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). The judge of the nations and the judge of everyone will be the Lord. We find this in Isaiah 33:22 “For Jehovah is our judge” and then in 2 Timothy 4:1 “I testify before God and Christ Jesus, who is about to judge living and dead”. The Jehovah who will judge the nations in the Old Testament is the same as the Jesus in the New Testament. They are both the same God regardless of how He has revealed Himself.
Keeping this in mind let’s see a few scriptures about the coming of the Lord:
"Behold, the day cometh for Jehovah, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. And I will assemble all the nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity; and the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. And Jehovah will go forth and fight with those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem toward the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west,—a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee by the valley of my mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: ye shall even flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. And Jehovah my God shall come, and all the holy ones with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day, that there shall not be light; the shining shall be obscured. And it shall be one day which is known to Jehovah, not day, and not night; and it shall come to pass, at eventide it shall be light. And it shall come to pass in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the eastern sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And Jehovah shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Jehovah, and his name one” (Zechariah 14v1-9).
The Lord will come with the holy ones and stand on the Mount of Olives. He will save the remnant of Israel who will flee through a valley He makes. He will fight the nations who have come to attack Jerusalem and destroy them. This will begin a time of great blessing as He reigns over the whole earth with Jerusalem as His capital city.
“For as the lightning goes forth from the east and shines to the west, so shall be the coming of the Son of man. For wherever the carcase is, there will be gathered the eagles. But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the land lament, and they shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24v27-30). The Son of Man (one of the titles the Lord uses for Himself –coming from the book of Daniel) will come and all the world shall see the glory of His coming. All the tribes of Israel will lament and weep when they realise that they crucified their Messiah. This is also seen in Zechariah’s prophecy: “In that day will Jehovah defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that stumbleth among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David as God, as the Angel of Jehovah before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look on me whom they pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for an only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:8-10). The remnant of Israel will be saved from the attacks of the nations and will see the one they pierced (i.e. the Lord Jesus who is God manifest in flesh). He will greatly bless the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
“Behold, he comes with the clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they which have pierced him, and all the tribes of the land shall wail because of him. Yea. Amen” (Revelation 1:7).
“So that do not judge anything before the time, until the Lord shall come, who shall also both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and shall make manifest the counsels of hearts; and then shall each have his praise from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5). The Lord will expose the hidden things of hearts and will judge in truth.
“And Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied also as to these, saying, Behold, the Lord has come amidst his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all; and to convict all the ungodly of them of all their works of ungodliness, which they have wrought ungodlily, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude v14-15).
"And I saw the heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and one sitting on it, called Faithful and True, and he judges and makes war in righteousness. And his eyes are a flame of fire, and upon his head many diadems, having a name written which no one knows but himself; and he is clothed with a garment dipped in blood; and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in the heaven followed him upon white horses, clad in white, pure, fine linen. And out of his mouth goes a sharp two-edged sword, that with it he might smite the nations; and he shall shepherd them with an iron rod; and he treads the wine-press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. And he has upon his garment, and upon his thigh, a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in mid-heaven, Come, gather yourselves to the great supper of God, that ye may eat flesh of kings, and flesh of chiliarchs, and flesh of strong men, and flesh of horses and of those that sit upon them, and flesh of all, both free and bond, and small and great. And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against him that sat upon the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and the false prophet that was with him, who wrought the signs before him by which he deceived them that received the mark of the beast, and those that worship his image. Alive were both cast into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone; and the rest were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which goes out of his mouth; and all the birds were filled with their flesh” (Revelation 19v11-21).
The Lord, who is King of kings and Lord of lords will come. The beast (a political leader) will have gathered huge armies to Jerusalem to attack it and then fight the Lord but the armies will be destroyed by the word of His mouth.
There are many references to the ‘Day of the Lord’ in the Old Testament. This ‘Day’ is not necessarily one 24-hour day though it does sometimes refer to that. It is used in the sense that we might say that the 19th century was the day of Britain’s glory or the last 2000 years have made up the day of God’s mercy and grace to mankind. The description of this day of the display of God’s righteousness in judging the nations that have opposed Him for so long is graphic. No illusion of leniency is given and therefore the urgency of the need of mankind to make peace with God in this day of grace.
“Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, from before the terror of Jehovah, and from the glory of his majesty. The lofty eyes of man shall be brought low, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and Jehovah alone shall be exalted in that day. For there shall be a day of Jehovah of hosts upon everything proud and lofty, and upon everything lifted up, and it shall be brought low” (Isaiah 2v10-22).
“For behold, Jehovah cometh out of his place to visit the iniquity of the inhabitants of the earth upon them; and the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. In that day Jehovah, with his sore and great and strong sword, will visit leviathan the fleeing serpent, and leviathan the crooked serpent; and he will slay the monster that is in the sea” (Isaiah 26v21-27v1). The Lord comes to punish the nations and the dragon (i.e. Satan: see Genesis 3 and Revelation 12:9 & 20:2). The sea in prophecy is often used as a picture of the constant shifting and churning of the nations.
“And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men that are settled on their lees, that say in their heart, Jehovah will not do good, neither will he do evil. And their wealth shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation; and they shall build houses, and not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and not drink the wine thereof. The great day of Jehovah is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly. The voice of the day of Jehovah: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of ruin and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and gross darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm, against the fenced cities and against the high battlements. And I will bring distress upon men, and they shall walk like blind men; for they have sinned against Jehovah; and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as dung: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them, in the day of Jehovah's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for a full end, yea, a sudden [end], shall he make of all them that dwell in the land” (Zephaniah 1v12-18). The Jews will face great suffering and tribulation as God purges them of the unfaithful and proud when He will judge the idolatrous nations.
All these scriptures show that the coming of the Lord in His glory will be for the judgement of the nations and for the blessing of the faithful and repentant remnant of Israel. It will be the beginning of a kingdom which is unrivalled in peace, prosperity and duration.
The Lord will reign as a king on earth
The prophet Daniel was given the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel chapter 2. In his dream Nebuchadnezzar saw a great statue or image made of different materials. Each of these materials represented the glory of a world empire. First, the Babylonian Empire which Nebuchadnezzar had founded, then the Medo-persian Empire, then the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire and finally the period of many nations, both strong and weak, mixed together. Lastly there was a stone which was cut out without hands. This is a picture of the Lord Jesus who was born as a man but was not descended from Adam’s race of men but rather was a “holy thing”, the son of God who was born as a result of the Holy Spirit and not the action of a man. “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and power of the Highest overshadow thee, wherefore the holy thing also which shall be born shall be called Son of God” (Luke 1:35). This ‘stone’ grew to become a great mountain that filled the whole earth. The kingdom of Christ will rule over all the earth as long as it continues to exist.
Some other scriptures that show that the Lord will reign as king are shown below:
“And the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed; for Jehovah of hosts shall reign on mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients in glory” (Isaiah 24:23).
“I testify before God and Christ Jesus, who is about to judge living and dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom” (2 Timothy 4v1). The Lord will judge the living and the dead. He will also appear to the world and have a kingdom.
“Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment” (Isaiah 32:1).
“Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, when I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, who shall reign as king, and act wisely, and shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land” (Jeremiah 23:7). This is a reference to the fact that the Lord Jesus was born as being of David’s line, both legally through Joseph and possibly also by birth through Mary’s line.
“And the seventh angel sounded his trumpet: and there were great voices in the heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world of our Lord and of his Christ is come, and he shall reign to the ages of ages” (Revelation 11:15).
“And I saw thrones; and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them; and the souls of those beheaded on account of the testimony of Jesus, and on account of the word of God; and those who had not done homage to the beast nor to his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and hand; and they lived and reigned with the Christ a thousand years: the rest of the dead did not live till the thousand years had been completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy he who has part in the first resurrection: over these the second death has no power; but they shall be priests of God and of the Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6). The kingdom will last for a thousand years after which this present creation will be removed to make way for the final judgement before the Great White Throne (see Revelation 21).
“In that day, saith Jehovah, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; and I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation; and Jehovah shall reign over them in mount Zion, from henceforth even for ever. And thou, O tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, yea, the first dominion shall come,—the kingdom to the daughter of Jerusalem” (Micah 4:6-8). The kingdom will be established in Jerusalem resulting in great blessing for Israel.
“He shall be great, and shall be called Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for the ages, and of his kingdom there shall not be an end” (Luke 1:32-33).
This appearing in glory will be sudden. The nations of the world will not be expecting it. However, we are told that Christians are not in darkness. “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that ye should be written to, for ye know perfectly well yourselves, that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief by night. When they may say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon her that is with child; and they shall in no wise escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you as a thief: for all ye are sons of light and sons of day; we are not of night nor of darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5). We know what is coming though we have not been given the exact day. Therefore, the Lord’s coming in glory (i.e. the ‘day of the Lord’) is not unexpected to the Christian but rather it is something we are looking forward to. “Henceforth the crown of righteousness is laid up for me, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will render to me in that day; but not only to me, but also to all who love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
A final event ...
There is one final thing we are told about the Lord’s future.
“Then the end, when he gives up the kingdom to him who is God and Father; when he shall have annulled all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign until he put all enemies under his feet” (1 Corinthians 15:24-25).
Once everything is subject to Him and all judgement is completed, including the removal of death, the Lord gives everything up to His Father so that God will be “all in all”.