The Rapture and The Last Days

Lesson 2Christ’s Second Coming

In response to some questions that arose in class last week, we prayed for peace in the Middle East. This lesson represents a quick look at end-time prophecy, and the second coming of Christ.


Lately, all of us have seen the headlines and heard news of the terrible struggles currently underway between the Israelis and the Palestinians. As a result, I have heard lots of questions around this matter: Is this a sign that Christ’s return is imminent? What actually constitutes the "Promise Land"? How big is it? Where is it? If peace comes to Middle East this year, does that mean this is the beginning of the Tribulation Period?

While I recognize that we cannot in a single lesson really study end-time prophecy like we did in a separate study, I think that we can at least look at some of the major issues surrounding the second coming of Christ. Additionally, as Christians we need to know what the Bible says about such major events, and we also need to know what we should be doing as we see the day drawing closer.

So for this lesson, let’s look at the Promise Land, the Jews, the Church, and the Second Coming of Christ in light of recent headlines.

  1. Read Matthew 24:3. What question did the disciples ask Christ just before he was to be crucified?
  2. As we can see from the previous question, the disciples were as interested as we are regarding when the Second Coming would be. We also know that one of the many things promised when Christ returns is that Israel will occupy all of the "Promise Land". This area is defined for us in the book of Numbers, and then again in Ezekiel where Ezekiel writes about the Millennial (1,000-year) Reign of Christ when he sets up his earthly kingdom. Read Ezekiel Chapters 47 and 48. It will tell you a great deal about what will happen in Israel and the Middle East when Christ returns. Look at Ezekiel 47:13-23 and find a map. See if you can find some of the places mentioned and make an estimation of the boundaries of the Promise Land. Comment on its size and boundaries, compared to the State of Israel today.
  3. What does Ezekiel 47:1-12 tell us will happen to Jerusalem, Israel, and the Middle East that is different from the conditions that are present today?
  4. In Chapter 48 of Ezekiel we see God’s plan for how the Promise Land will be divided among the Jews after Christ’s return. What else do we see described?
  5. Look at Ezekiel 48 again, and now read Revelation 21:10-27. Can you see some similarities? Are there also some differences? List the similarities and differences that you can find.
  6. Just as it was for the disciples, we ask the "when" question as well. When will this happen? What is Christ’s answer? (Matthew 24:30-35 and Matthew 24:36-44) Christ reveals much to us in these verses. Note below the different responses present in these two passages (30-35 and 36-44).
  7. Within the Bible, the fig tree is often used to symbolize a nation. Can you tell from this lesson’s study which nation that the fig tree represents?
  8. What does Christ mean when he talks about the fig tree in Matt. 24:30-35? Is the figurative fig tree doing these things today?
  9. In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Paul tells the Church much about Christ’s second coming and what the times will be like. Have the events described in verses 3 and 4 occurred yet?
  10. What is it that "holds it back" right now, which Paul refers to in 2 Thess. 2:7?
  11. If the Holy Spirit is what restrains today, and if the Holy Spirit is symbolized in scripture as oil for lamps (which it is), then reading Matthew 25:1-13 and Matthew 24:42-44 will tell us what Christ expects us to do as we see this time quickly approaching. What is it?
  12. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11. Again Paul addresses the "when" question and what we are to do as that day draws ever closer. What does he tell us about ourselves? How are we to act and think, and what are we to do?
  13. What other signs does Paul tell us to watch for that indicates that Christ’s return is imminent? (See 1 Tim. 4:1-3)
  14. The Bible says that in those days everyone (including the Jews) will be living in peace and safety. Do you suppose that we are close to that today in Israel?
  15. The Bible also talks of loose morals, crooked judges, corrupt courts, fraudulent business practices, homosexuality, communicating with the dead, fortune telling, and all manner of evil. Furthermore,"the love of many will grow cold". As we read all of Chapters 24 and 25 in Matthew, an awesome and terrible picture is painted of society at the time of Christ’s return. Do we see that around us today? Could we find the signs of Christ’s coming in previous history? Weren’t these things also going on then? Do you suppose that people thought Christ would soon return as thousands were butchered by the evil Roman Empire, or Hitler? How about the thousands who died in Pompeii, or other horrific calamities? How about the bubonic plague, and other times of great diseases, famines, horrible wars, etc.? What makes us think that now is any different? What is the one thing in Bible prophecy that has never happened before, which is in fact happening today? So, do believe that Christ’s return is imminent? If so, what should we be doing about it?

I always welcome your email questions on this subject. As we await the certain return of Christ, let’s do so with joy and excitement, and with a deep sense of purpose. Untold millions will die without hearing the gospel. Spread the word: Christ is the real Messiah and he WILL be returning. Whenever that is, and until He does, let’s remain faithful, and let’s ensure that we are found working in the Kingdom when He returns.

Have a great week everyone!

Yours in Christ