11 - The Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah

The first coming of Jesus Christ changed the world. His second coming will change the universe. The timing of His appearance is explicit in many Bible passages. He will come again to earth at the end of the battle of Armageddon. He will destroy the armies of the world, judge the inhabitants of the earth, and then set up His Messianic Kingdom.

Jesus promised to His disciples when He walked on the earth two thousand years ago that He would come again:

"Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe

also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it

were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place

for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will

come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am,

there you may be also."

- John 14:1-3

The writer of the Book of Hebrews also spoke of His second coming:

"So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and

unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second

time without sin unto salvation."

- Hebrews 9:28

There is no doubt in the minds of the New Testament writers that Jesus Christ is literally coming to earth again.

Nevertheless, since it has been two thousand years since Jesus made His promise to return, many people have rejected this concept. The Book of Second Peter talks about this attitude of unbelief concerning His second coming:

"This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both

which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

That you may be mindful of the words which were spoken

before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us

the apostles of the Lord and Savior: Knowing this first, that

there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after

their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His

coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things

continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of

God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of

the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then

was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the

heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word

are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of

judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be

not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord

as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The

Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men

count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not

willing that any should perish, but that all should come to

repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in

the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a

great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,

the earth also and the works that are therein shall be

burned up."1

The apostle Peter states that scoffers and mockers of those who believe that Jesus Christ is coming to earth a second time will increase in the last days. He also says that what seems like a long time to humans is but one day to God. Peter gives the reason for this delay when he says that God is not willing for anyone to perish. Therefore, God is giving humanity time to come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. This correlates with what Jesus said about the preaching of the gospel occurring throughout the entire world before the end comes.

Peter mentions that the earth will burn up and the heavens pass away. He might be referring to the cosmic changes that take place in the latter part of the Tribulation Period. He also could be speaking of the renovation of the earth that occurs at the start of Jesus' Millennial Kingdom.

Every Eye Will See

There have been misguided individuals in history who have proclaimed that they were Jesus Christ come again.2 Also, there is a religious sect that believes Jesus came secretly in the early part of the Twentieth Century.3 Both of these concepts are not only biblically erroneous but they are also heretical.

The Bible makes it clear that when Jesus Christ comes again to set up His earthly kingdom, the whole world will witness it:

"Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see

Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of

the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen. I am

Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the

Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the


This means that anyone claiming to be Jesus Christ, including the Antichrist, must come in the clouds with the whole world witnessing it. Otherwise, they are deceivers and manipulators and are worthy of denunciation and opposition.

In this passage there is also an allusion to the prophecy in Zechariah concerning the coming of the Messiah:

"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 upon Me whom they

have pierced."5 

The world will see Jesus, Whom they pierced at His crucifixion, when He comes during the final battle of the nations at Armageddon.

Jesus also spoke concerning His second coming and the universality of it:

"For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shines even

unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man


The Bible is unyielding in teaching that all humanity will indeed witness the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. When that event occurs it will not happen in secret or in some mysterious fashion. The world will know that Jesus has returned as He said He would.

How will it be possible for everyone on earth to see this event since some will be living on the other side of the world? I do not believe this will occur through the medium of television or some other modern means of electronic transmissions, although that is possible. Rather, they will see His second coming with their naked eyes.

You may remember that the fifth bowl judgment results in darkness coming on the earth as Armageddon is occurring. When Jesus comes again the Bible declares that there will be a heavenly illumination accompanying this event:  

"And then shall that Wicked [i.e., the Antichrist] be revealed,

whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth,

and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming."7 

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the

sun be darkened, and the moon shall 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 earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming

in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And

He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet,

and they shall gather together His elect from the four

winds, from one end of heaven to the other."8 

The brightness of Jesus' coming will overwhelm the darkened earth and illuminate the entire heavens so that the whole world will see it. The sound of a trumpet will accompany His appearance and a shaking of the heavenly realm occurs. In this second passage we once more see a reference to the mourning that will take place when Jesus comes again. The cause of this grief is the recognition by humanity that it had been responsible for the death of the Son of God because of their sinfulness.

The Second Coming

As mentioned in some of the passages above, the time of Jesus' second coming will occur during the battle of Armageddon. We read that the events leading up to this final battle encompass the Tribulation Period during which God punishes the world for its rebellion against Him and His Son.

The Book of Revelation offers the clearest description of His second coming:

"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and

He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in

righteousness He does judge and make war. His eyes were

as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and

He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself.

And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and

His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which

were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in

fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goes a

sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and

He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treads the

winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

And He has on His vesture and on His thigh a name


saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud

voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven,

Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of

the great God; That you may eat the flesh of kings, and the

flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh

of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all

men, both free and bond, both 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 on the

horse, and against His army. And the beast was taken, and

with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before

him, with which he deceived them that had received the

mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image.

These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with

brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of

Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of

His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh."9

John gives quite a graphic account of the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. Though we cannot know how many, if any, of the descriptive terms he uses are symbolic, it is clear that he saw Jesus' second coming as a visible, literal event.

John mentions that an army accompanies Jesus at His return. This army's uniforms are made of clean, white linen. Earlier, in this chapter from Revelation, John sees this "army" receive these linen robes. This occurred at the "marriage feast" that took place between Jesus and His bride, the Church:

"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the

marriage of the Lamb is come and His wife has made

herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be

arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is

the righteousness of saints. And he says unto me, Write,

Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage

supper of the Lamb."10

The term "wife" in this passage refers to Christians who had either died or been raptured. Just as God unites a married couple through matrimony, so too Christians will be united with Jesus Christ forever. The word "saints" in this passage also refers to the same Christians who have believed and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Their righteousness is actually the righteousness of Jesus Christ that God imputes to those who believe in Him. Therefore, the believers who died and those whom Jesus raptured will fill out the ranks of His army. Post-Tribulationists believe that the Rapture occurs around this point in time. The intriguing little Book of Jude also mentions this army of believers:

"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of

these, saying, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands

of His saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to

convince all that are ungodly among them of all their

ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of

all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken

against Him."11

According to Jude, Enoch declared the culmination of the world's history at the beginning of its history. The Lord would come with those who accepted Him to exact punishment upon those who rejected Him. I get the sense that Jesus will actually do the fighting at Armageddon. His army of saints will only be a witness to it. This "fighting" against the nations of the world seems to consist of Jesus speaking destruction to their armies. His awesome appearance may also play a part in their obliteration. John sees a "sharp sword" proceeding from Jesus' mouth with which He smites the nations. The apostle Paul stated something similar:

"And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord

shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall

destroy with the brightness of His coming: Even him,

whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power

and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness

of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they

received not the love of the truth, that they might be


Paul says that the "spirit" of Jesus' mouth and His "brightness" will destroy the Antichrist and his followers. Whatever the means are that Jesus uses to accomplish this victory, the results from it are overwhelmingly gruesome.

The fowls of the air will devour the bodies of those who made war with Jesus at His coming. John mentions that Jesus treads the winepress of God's wrath. As we read in the last chapter, this press refers to the squeezing out of the blood from the dead so that it rises to the height of a horse's bridle. This will be a horrific scene indeed.

However, it seems the first action Jesus takes will be the casting of the Antichrist and his False Prophet into the lake of fire. I will be discussing Hell and its inhabitants, including the Devil, in a later chapter. For now though, this is a just punishment for those two deceivers of the human race who helped bring such devastation to the earth and its inhabitants.

The Final Destination

The Bible reveals the precise location where Jesus' second coming to earth will occur. Though we know that the final battle of Armageddon takes place around Jerusalem, the scriptures are even more detailed as to where Jesus will culminate His return.

In the Book of Acts when the disciples saw Jesus ascend to heaven from the Mount of Olives an angel said to them:

"Which also said, You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing

up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from

you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have

seen Him go into heaven. Then returned they unto

Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from

Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey"13

Two things are significant in this passage. The first is that the angel declares that as Jesus ascended into heaven, so too He will again descend to earth. This is another confirmation that the early Christians believed in a visible, literal second coming of Jesus. The second thing to note is that Jesus ascended from the Mount of Olives on the east side of Jerusalem. The angel states that just as the disciples saw Him depart from there, so too would His followers see Him return to there in the future.

The Old Testament confirms that the Mount of Olives will be Jesus' destination when He returns:

"For I will gather all 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 residue of the people shall not be cut off

from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight

against 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 on the east, and the

mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the

east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great

valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the

north, and half of it toward the south."14

Again, the Bible references the battle of Armageddon in accordance with Jesus' second coming. Notice that when He does set His foot upon the Mount of Olives the renovation of the earth begins to take place.

At the conclusion of Armageddon Jesus sets up a kind of tribunal at which He will judge the surviving inhabitants of the earth.

Second Coming and the Jewish Feasts

At this time, I want to mention the timing at which Jesus' second coming may occur. If Pre-Tribulationists are correct in their belief, then the Rapture might take place before the Tribulation Period on the first or second day of Tishri. This would allow Jesus to fulfill the aforementioned Feast of Trumpets. This means that Jesus could then fulfill the sixth Jewish feast, the Day of Atonement, with His second coming. If so, then Jesus will return to earth on the 10th day of Tishri. Again, however, we still do not know the year of His second coming and therefore would not know the exact day of its occurrence.

Jesus' return on the Day of Atonement would coincide with God's purpose for ordaining the Jews to observe this holy day. On that day and that day only, the high priest went into the Temple and entered the innermost sanctum, the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant resided.  The priest then sprinkled the blood of a sacrificed animal on the mercy seat that covered the Ark. This blood was to atone for the nation's sins from the previous year.15 This act reconciled the Jews as a nation to God for the coming year.

The Book of Hebrews calls Jesus the true high priest, "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus...Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, Who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man."16

At Jesus' second coming God will do a mighty work among the Jewish people by reconciling them to Himself. This work will consummate one of the original purposes Jesus gave for coming the first time: Saving the "lost sheep of the house of Israel".17

As mentioned earlier, the prophet Zechariah prophesied concerning the salvation of the Jews at the second coming of the Lord, "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 upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."18  God will pour out His saving grace on the Jews when they finally recognize Jesus as the Messiah and true High Priest. They will then have obtained the "everlasting righteousness" that Daniel spoke of as a consummation of the "seventy weeks" that God determined to come upon the Jews.

God spoke of this salvation of the Jews to His prophet Ezekiel:

"And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I

will take the children of Israel from among the nations,

where they be gone, and will gather them on every side,

and bring them into their own land: And I will make them

one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and

one King shall be King to them all: and they shall be no

more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two

kingdoms any more at all. Neither shall they defile

themselves any more with their idols, nor with their

detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but

I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein

they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be

My people, and I will be their God. And David My Servant

shall be King over them; and they all shall have one

Shepherd: they shall also walk in My judgments, and

observe My statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in

the land that I have given unto Jacob My servant, wherein

your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even

they, and their children, and their children's children for

ever: and My servant David shall be their Prince for ever.

Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it

shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will

place them, and multiply them, and will set My Sanctuary

in the midst of them for evermore. My Tabernacle also

shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall

be My people."19

Jesus said that when He came again He would gather His elect, the Jews, from the four corners of the earth. Here, God says the same thing when He speaks of taking the Jews from all the nations of the world and bringing them back to Israel. There they will serve the Messiah, Jesus Christ (God uses the name of Israel's greatest king, David, as a metaphor for the Messiah). God's Temple will once again reside in Jerusalem and Jesus will reign from there. The Jews will be God's people and He will be their God.

Thus, it would be fitting indeed for Jesus to return on the Day of Atonement and thereby fulfill the true meaning of that feast. The Jews will be reconciled to God through their Messiah, Jesus. This leaves one ordained Jewish feast left to fulfill which I will discuss in the next chapter.

The belief of Post-Tribulationists that the Rapture and the second coming of Jesus Christ occur simultaneously also allows Jesus to fulfill the final three feasts of the Jews. As we read above, at His return a trumpet will sound. This could refer to the same trumpet that Paul spoke about in I Thessalonians concerning the Rapture. There Paul stated that Jesus would "descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." 20 If so then Jesus' second coming would occur on the first or second day of Tishri, which is the Feast of Trumpets. That would leave the final two ordained Jewish feasts for Him to fulfill.

The Sheep and the Goats

Jesus said that when He comes again He will judge the inhabitants of the earth:

"When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the

holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of

His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations:

and He shall separate them one from another, as a

shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: And He shall set

the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then

shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, you

blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you

from the foundation of the world: For I was hungry, you

gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink: I was

a stranger, and you took Me in: Naked, and you clothed

Me: I was sick, and you visited Me: I was in prison, and

you came unto Me. Then shall the righteous answer Him,

saying, Lord, when saw we You hungry, and fed You? Or

thirsty, and gave You drink? When saw we You a stranger,

and took You in? or naked, and clothed You? Or when saw

we You sick, or in prison, and came unto You? And the

King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto

you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of

these My brethren, you have done it unto Me. Then shall

He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me,

you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and

his angels: For I was hungry, and you gave Me no meat: I

was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink: I was a stranger,

and you took Me not in: naked, and you clothed Me not:

sick, and in prison, and you visited Me not. Then shall they

also answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we You hungry,

or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison,

and did not minister unto You? Then shall He answer them,

saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you did it not to

one of the least of these, you did it not to Me. And these

shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the

righteous into life eternal."21

There has been much debate concerning several of the issues surrounding this passage. The position one holds in this dispute centers around whether you believe the Rapture takes place before the Tribulation Period or after it.

The subject of the next chapter is the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ. However, I need to mention it now because it has some bearing on the answers to these issues.

Soon after Jesus destroys the armies of the world at Armageddon He is going to set up His kingdom on earth. His reign will last for a thousand years after which God brings down the curtain on human history and eternity begins. Therefore, the judgment listed above takes place after Armageddon yet before eternity begins.

When precisely does this judgment by Jesus Christ take place? Pre-Tribulationists believe that it occurs after the Battle of Armageddon but before Jesus sets up His Millennial Kingdom in Jerusalem. Post-Tribulationists have a variety of beliefs as to when this judgment takes place. One is that it occurs after Jesus has been crowned King over the earth at the beginning of His millennial reign. Another belief is that this judgment is the same as the Great White Throne Judgment that takes place after the end of the Millennium. However, I believe the Book of Daniel can shed some light as to the precise timing of the "sheep and goats" judgment.

Daniel's 1260, 1290, 1335 Days

In Chapter 5, I illustrated how the "seventy weeks" prophecy of Daniel referred to seventy sevens of years. Each of these years consisted of 360 days according to the lunar calendar that the Jews used. In Chapter 9, I discussed how the final seven years of this prophecy encompassed the seven-year Tribulation Period. This means that the Tribulation Period lasts a total of 2520 days. At the midpoint of this period or 1260 days from its beginning, we saw that the Antichrist is going to enter the third Jewish Temple and declare himself God. The final 1260 days will consist of the "Great Tribulation" when God's pours out His full wrath upon the earth. Daniel, in speaking of the second half of the Tribulation Period, introduces some new numbers that indicate when the events in question might take place:

"And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the

waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his

left hand unto heaven, and swore by Him that lives for ever

that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when He

shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy

people, all these things shall be finished. And I heard, but I

understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the

end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for

the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the

wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall

understand; but the wise shall understand. And from the

time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the

abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be a

thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that

waits, and comes to the thousand three hundred and five

and thirty days. But go you your way till the end be: for

you shall rest, and stand in your lot at the end of the


     Daniel states that from the time the "abomination of desolation" abolishes the Temple sacrifice, 1290 days will pass before "all these things shall be finished". In Chapter 9, we saw that the abomination of desolation refers to the Antichrist entering the Temple and declaring Himself God. When he performs this blasphemous act there will be 1260 days left during which the Great Tribulation takes place. At the end of the Tribulation Period Jesus Christ comes down to earth. Therefore, Daniel is saying that something occurs during the 30 days after the second coming of Jesus. Though he does not specify what this occurrence is I believe that it is possible that the "sheep and goats" judgment takes place during that time. My reasoning for this is that Daniel associates the extra 30 days with the Tribulation Period. Since this is a judgment of the inhabitants of the earth who survived the Tribulation Period this would be a reasonable speculation. I will discuss below and in the next chapter the "1335 days" prophecy mentioned in this passage.

Where and How will this judgment take place?

Pre-Tribulationists believe that Jesus is going to judge the "sheep and the goats" outside the walls of Jerusalem. They base this belief upon a prophecy that the prophet Joel spoke:

"For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall

bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will

also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the

valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for

My people and for My heritage Israel, whom they have

scattered among the nations, and parted My land."23

Scholars do not know whether the valley of Jehoshaphat is a geographical location or a metaphor for the judgment of God. The word Jehoshaphat in Hebrew means "Yahweh judges". Since Jesus returns to the Mount of Olives on the east side of Jerusalem it is possible that He will set His throne there to judge the people.

Post-Tribulationists believe that Jesus will already be sitting in the Temple to perform His judgment of the nations. Jesus said, "When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats."24 Since we know that Jesus will rule the earth from the Temple in Jerusalem it is possible that this judgment does takes place when He is sitting upon His Temple throne. Yet, I will submit another possibility.

I believe that Jesus is going to judge the nations from His throne, which will be set up on the Mount of Olives. However, according the prophet Zechariah, the topography in that area will change when Jesus sets His foot upon the Mount of Olives. The mount splits in two and this creates a new valley that runs east and west. It is possible that this valley will be the "valley of Jehoshaphat or judgment" that Joel mentions. Of course, after the judging takes place Jesus' throne would need to be moved to the Temple from where He will rule the earth. This could be a part of some type of coronation procession. As we will see in the next chapter, Jesus will participate in a "new" triumphal entry into Jerusalem after His second coming. He will enter Jerusalem through the Eastern or Golden Gate and go into the newly rebuilt fourth Jewish Temple.

It is interesting that when you face Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, the valley of Kidron runs below you and to the right around the city. The valley of Hinnom runs to left around the city. The valley of Hinnom was the place where the ancient Jerusalemites constantly burned their refuse. Jesus used the name of the Hinnom valley, which in Greek is the word "gehenna", as a metaphor for the eternal flames of Hell. During the judgment of the "sheep and the goats", Jesus sends the blessed "sheep" or humans to the right and the condemned "goats" or humans to the left.  To enter the Eastern or Golden Gate that leads to the Temple, you would have to go down and to the right across the Kidron Valley. To go away from the holy city you would go to the left toward the Hinnom Valley. Thus, it is possible that the separation of the sheep and goats judgment does take place on the Mount of Olives.

There is one other reason I have for believing that Jesus will not enter the Temple until some time after this judgment takes place. In the above passage from Daniel, he mentioned that those people who survive until the 1335th day after the Antichrist enters the Temple would be blessed. If Jesus' return to earth takes place on the 10th of Tishri, the Day of Atonement, then that would be the 1260th day of the second half of the Tribulation Period. That means 75 days later or the 1335th day since the Antichrist entered the Temple would occur on the 25th of the Jewish month Kislev. That is a very significant day in Jewish history.

In 167 B.C., Antiochus Epiphanes IV, one of the Greek successors to the empire of Alexander the Great, conquered Jerusalem. He proceeded to desecrate the Jewish Temple by sacrificing a pig to Zeus on the Temple altar. Many scholars consider Antiochus Epiphanes to be a type of the Antichrist who also will desecrate the Temple at the middle of the Tribulation Period. Three years later the Jewish leader Judah Maccabee and his forces defeated Antiochus and regained control of Jerusalem and its Temple. The Jews had to cleanse and rededicate the Temple so that they could use it again for their religious observances. This cleansing started on the 25th of Kislev. Every year since then, Jews celebrate the festival of Chanukah on the 25th of Kislev in commemoration of the rededicated Temple. Even though Chanukah is not one of the seven Jewish feasts ordained by God, Jesus did celebrate it when He was on the earth the first time. His disciple John wrote in his Gospel:

"And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it

was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's

porch. Then came the Jews round about Him, and said

unto Him, How long do You make us to doubt? If You be

the Messiah, tell us plainly."25 

Therefore, I believe that Jesus Christ will enter the newly rebuilt Temple on the 25th of Kislev, 1335 days after the Antichrist entered the previous Temple and show the world "plainly" that He is the Messiah. Whether Jesus builds the Temple (as the prophets say the Messiah is to do) in the preceding days or whether He just supernaturally builds it in one moment is not clear. But just as He fulfilled the Jewish spring feasts to the exact day with His first coming and may fulfill the autumn feasts with His second coming, so too it is possible that He will fulfill the winter feast of Chanukah with His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the 25th of Kislev.

Who are the sheep and the goats?

The people whom Jesus judges at His second coming will be those persons who survive the Tribulation Period. Pre-Tribulationists believe that these "sheep" will consist of both Jews and Gentiles who accept Jesus as their Savior during the Tribulation Period. Jesus said that those who treat His brethren, the Jews, with kindness during that time would enter the Millennial Kingdom to repopulate the earth. The Jews who receive Jesus as their Messiah at His second coming will also enter into His earthly kingdom. Those who receive the mark of the beast during the Tribulation will be the "goats" that He casts into everlasting fire.

Post-Tribulationists have a more difficult time explaining who these people will be. If the Rapture occurs at the second coming then that means Jesus takes all the saved people off the earth at that time. This leaves only the Jews who receive salvation at His appearing and possibly the "sealed" 144,000 Jewish evangelists to repopulate the earth during the Millennium. However, Post-Tribulationists counter this by saying it is the "nations" and not individuals whom Jesus judges as the sheep and goats. Therefore, God allows some unsaved persons to enter the Millennial Kingdom on earth. The problem with this belief is that in the passage under discussion, Jesus uses personal relationships as the measure of His judgment. Nations do not visit individuals in prison as one of the charges read. The giving of water, food, and clothing to people in this context also connotes personal interaction between individuals. Post-Tribulationists also say there will be millions of children of those who received the beast's mark who are alive at that time. Consequently, God will not punish those who are under the age of accountability and will allow them to enter His kingdom on earth also.

There is one other point that Post-Tribulationists make to support the idea that unsaved persons enter into the Millennial Kingdom. Several Old Testament passages state that "heathen" or unsaved people will inhabit the earth at that time. They say that this proves that unsaved persons will survive the Tribulation and live in Jesus' earthly kingdom. However, saved persons can have offspring who reject Jesus as their Savior. The same will be true for the Gentile "sheep" who enter the Millennial Kingdom and produce many children. Some of their children could rebel and therefore make up the "heathen" alluded to in the Old Testament. As we will see in the next chapter though, Jesus will rule with a "rod of iron" and will quash any overt rebellion against God.

The Quick and the Dead

There is one final aspect to the second coming of Jesus that I need to address. Up to this point, I have only dealt with those persons who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The Rapture of the saints by Jesus Christ speaks to the fact that God will resurrect and glorify those who had previously accepted His Son as their Messiah. The second coming of Jesus addresses the issue of allowing the rest of humanity to enter His earthly kingdom. What about the Old Testament saints such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? What happens to the prophets such as Isaiah, Daniel, Zechariah or others who believed in God who did not have a chance to accept Jesus as their Savior? The Bible does speak to their fates also.

The apostle Paul uses an interesting phrase in a letter he wrote to Timothy, one of the Christians that he was mentoring in the Lord:

"I charge you therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus

Christ, Who shall judge the quick and the dead at His

appearing and His kingdom. Preach the word; be instant in

season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long

suffering and doctrine."26

We have seen how Jesus will judge the "living" at His second coming with His judgment of the "sheep and the goats". Who are the "dead" that Paul refers to here? I believe He is speaking of two distinct groups of people in this verse.

The first will consist of those believers who died during the Tribulation Period. John describes this event in the Book of Revelation as he witnessed it:

"And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the

key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And

he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the

Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And

cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a

seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more,

till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he

must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they

sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I

saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of

Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not

worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had

received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands;

and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand

years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed

and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on

such the second death has no power, but they shall be

priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a

thousand years."27

I will discuss the binding of Satan and the reigning of the saints in the next chapter. I only include them here for the sake of context. John sees those persons martyred during the Tribulation Period. These individuals refused to receive the mark of the Antichrist or to worship him. They also suffered death for preaching the gospel to the unsaved during that time. However, John sees that God has resurrected them. Sequentially, this resurrection takes place immediately after the second coming, which is described in chapter 19 of Revelation. John states that this is the "first resurrection". The term "first" here cannot refer to a numerical sequence since Jesus experienced the first and truly permanent resurrection that took place in the First Century A.D.  There were a few persons resurrected in the Old Testament and some in the New Testament. However, each of them died again and is now waiting for a final resurrection. Therefore, God will resurrect the Tribulation saints around the time following the second coming of Jesus.

Some believe that God will resurrect the Old Testament saints at the Rapture.28 However, the Old Testament seems to indicate that God will raise these pre-Christian era saints at the end of the Tribulation Period. Returning to the Book of Daniel we read:

"And at that time shall Michael [the archangel] stand up, the

great prince which stands for the children of your people: and

there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there

was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your

people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written

in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the

earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame

and everlasting contempt."29

The phrase "time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time" is an obvious reference to the Tribulation Period. As we have already seen the Jews must experience the "time of Jacob's trouble" or the Tribulation Period. Therefore, the resurrection of Daniel's people, the Old Testament Jews, takes place after this time. This resurrection will also include those non-Jews such as Noah and others. Thus, it seems that God will resurrect all the Old Testament saints at the same time He resurrects the Tribulation saints. They, along with all the other glorified saints, will rule with Jesus during the Millennial Kingdom.

As for the unsaved dead, God will resurrect them at a final judgment after the thousand-year reign of Jesus. The prophet Isaiah speaks of the delay in the final judgment of the non-believers when he prophesied concerning the end of the Tribulation Period:

"Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty, and makes it

waste, and turns it upside down, and scatters abroad the

inhabitants thereof...The land shall be utterly emptied, and

utterly spoiled: for the LORD has spoken this word. The

earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and

fades away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.

The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof;

because they have transgressed the laws, changed the

ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore has

the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein

are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are

burned, and few men left...Fear, and the pit, and the snare,

are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come

to pass, that he who flees from the noise of the fear shall

fall into the pit; and he that comes up out of the midst of

the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on

high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.

The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean

dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall

reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a

cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon

it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to

pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the

high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon

the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners

are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison,

and after many days shall they be visited."30

First, Isaiah gives the reason for the punishment of the inhabitants of the earth. The people have arrogantly rebelled against the truths of God and His laws. The Lord will judge them through the Tribulation Period and only a "few men are left". Of course, this few is in relation to the billions who entered into the Tribulation.

Next, Isaiah talks about the terror that grips the inhabitants of the earth. God will cast them into the pit and then ensnare the Devil "that comes up out of the midst of the pit". He then shakes the foundations of the earth, which causes so much damage to the world that God will have to renovate it.

Lastly, Isaiah declares that God will keep the rebellious unsaved persons in the prison of the pit. After many days, one thousand years to be exact, they "will be visited" at which time God will judge them.  I will talk about this horrific judgment in Chapter 13.


With the return of Jesus Christ to the earth, God will usher in a new era in human history. Christians call this era the Millennium. It is to that subject that we now turn our attention to.


1    II Peter 3:1-10

2    Persons such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, Sun Myung Moon and others

     have either implied that they were Jesus Christ or some being greater than


3    The Jehovah Witnesses state that Jesus returned in 1914 to set up an

      invisible kingdom. As you read through this chapter you will see that this

      is the exact opposite of what the Bible definitively states concerning the

      second coming of Jesus Christ.

4    Revelation 1:7-8

5    Zechariah 12:9-10

6    Matthew 24:27

7    II Thessalonians 2:8

8    Matthew 24:29-31

9    Revelation 19:11-21

10  Revelation 19-7-9

11  Jude 14-15

12  II Thessalonians 2:8-10

13  Acts 1:11-12

14  Zechariah 14:2-4

15  Leviticus 16:1-34

16  Hebrews 3:1; 8:1-2

17  Matthew 15:24

18  Zechariah 12:10

19  Ezekiel 37:21-27

20  I Thessalonians 4:16-17

21  Matthew 25:31-46

22  Daniel 12:7-13

23  Joel 3:1-2

24  Matthew 25:31-32

25  John 10:22-24

26  II Timothy 4:1-2

27  Revelation 20:1-6

28  The pre-Tribulation Bible scholar, Cyrus Ingerson Scofield, writes in his

     Bible that Jesus will include the Old Testament saints when He raptures His

     followers. ["The Scofield Study Bible", C.I. Scofield, p. 1269, footnote 1

    (Oxford University Press 1909, 1917)]

29  Daniel 12:1-2

30  Isaiah 24:1,3-6,17-22

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