There has always been much speculation regarding the timing of the Lord’s return. Too often the view is through a negative lens or human filter of tradition instead of actually looking at what is stated in scripture.
Even though there are many more verses than what is provided in this article, we reference these to point to the fact that scripture is more positive than traditional doctrines of men. That fact is that “victory” and “blessing” should be expected before He returns.
Over the last 150 years or so, most western evangelical Christians have been taught that the church is rescued (a secret second coming) from a fallen world, while the devil and his hoard (the Antichrist) take over (one world government or New World Order).
I believe it’s time to Take Another Look at another viewpoint, based on scripture. This is not about speculation on when the Lord returns, but rather what the conditions will be like at His return. This is not about things getting worse, so the Lord has to rescue us in a secret resurrection. This is about the church being successful in its mission and prevailing against the gates of hell, as the Lord commissioned.
Central to one of the traditional beliefs is a secret rapture, a “catching up” of Christians who leave the planet without completing their commission. This also implies there is a resurrection during this time which is counter to what Christ taught… that he would raise us up “the Last Day” as stated several times in John chapter 6.
Let’s be clear, I believe in the resurrection including the “first” resurrection with Christ from the grave, along with all Christians, into new creation life where death has no sting. Apart from the first resurrection which is spiritual, the physical resurrection from the grave is “the last day” of history (see references below).
With the Last Day resurrection established, the Lord returns bringing with Him all the saints gone before (the New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven). The new Heaven and Earth restoration project, merging as one new creation is then made complete.
So what will the world look like when the Lord returns?
Even though we list seven conditions that precede the Lord’s return, there could easily be more with a deeper dive into scripture. I’ve chosen these conditions for another look simply because they are the antithesis of much of today’s evangelical thinking. None of these conditions are time sensitive, but rarely if ever are they listed as “last days” traditional doctrine. However, the following are all based strictly on scripture without speculation or forcing a man-made timeline.
I would encourage the reader to search the scriptures and find even more that establishes or refutes these facts. Remember, if it is before the resurrection, time still exists and Christ’s physical return is still in the future.
What are the seven conditions we can expect before the Lord returns at the resurrection on the last day?
The church will be spotless (without sin) and without wrinkles (no defects or unrighteousness). We will be perfect as He is perfect and victorious in all things, overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the declaration of our testimony. The sanctification of the church and the believer is a progressive process. The fact that the church is not spotless today, does not mean that it will never be spotless. If the church is to complete its mission, it must be ‘set apart’ in purity and unity.
Eph 5:27 …that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
Rev 12:11 – And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
Unity among the body of Christ will be achieved so that the world will know Christ was sent by the Father. Competition and division among the body shall be eliminated. Denominational barriers will become transparent and seamless. There will be no personal kingdoms or selfish agendas. Love among the body of Christ will be the hallmark of her reputation. The world will be amazed. The harvest will be huge. Christ’s prayer in John 17 will be answered before He returns. Please read the whole chapter. It’s a condition that must be fulfilled before His return.
John 17::20 – I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
The Unity of the believers will be so powerfully demonstrated that the most cynical will see that Christianity is for real.
Eph 4:13 – …until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
2 Cor 13:11 – Finally, beloved friends, be cheerful! Repair whatever is broken among you, as your hearts are being knit together in perfect unity.
3. CHRIST’S ENEMIES WILL BE DEFEATED
Christ came to defeat the works of the devil including poverty, sickness and death, and all enemies will be under Christ’s feet, the final one being death on the last day. The most quoted Old Testament verse in the New Testament (Psalm 110:1). Again, Christ remains at the “right hand” of the Father until all enemies are defeated. We, His children, His ecclesia, the sons of God will possess the gates of our enemies, crush the head of the serpent and hell can’t stop us.
Matt 22:44 – ‘The Lord (God the Father) said to my Lord (Christ the Son), “Sit at My right hand, Until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet”
1 Cor 15:25 – For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
Romans 16:20 – The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
Think about it. If Christ’s enemies will be defeated (represented by poverty, sickness and death on the Last Day), that means the world will become a most magnificent place with an environment of peace unlike anything in history BEFORE His return. In fact, we can expect that we will experience changes in the environment, in nature that haven’t been present since creation. This is before the final implementation of the New Creation in all it’s glory with the final merging of heaven and earth.
That the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. Romans 8:21
4. GOD WILL BE UNIVERSALLY KNOWN
The knowledge of God’s glory will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. A glorious, victorious church will proclaim and demonstrate God’s power, love and miraculous signs and wonders that will be known the world over. There will be no excuse on judgment day. God will be universally famous.
Isaiah 11:9 – for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Hab 2:14 – For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Romans 1:20 – For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
5. RESTORATION WILL HAVE BEGUN
Christ must remain in heaven until the final restoration of all things by the Father on earth. At Christ’s resurrection, after legally destroying poverty, sickness and death, He established His new covenant and launched the Kingdom with the progressive blessings of His new creation (Isaiah 65 when there is still birth and death). New creation is finalized when He returns at the resurrection at the “last day”. (Time ends at the resurrection)
Acts 3:21 – For he must remain in heaven until the restoration of all things has taken place, fulfilling everything that God said long ago through his holy prophets. (TPT)
Colossians 1:19 & 20 – For God is satisfied to have all his fullness dwelling in Christ. 20 And by the blood of his cross, everything in heaven and earth is brought back to himself—back to its original intent, restored to innocence again!
6. WORLDWIDE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL AND THE NATIONS MENTORED TO FOLLOW HIS WAYS.
The nations must not only hear the gospel of the kingdom, but also become discipled (trained and mentored) in the Truth and the Way. Every illegally operating system (kingdoms & spheres of influence) in this world, every antichrist ideology will be crushed in rebellion or subdued by surrender to the Lordship and Kingdom of Christ. From the mountain of the Lord, the ecclesia will provide the solutions to the world’s problems.
This is different than the prophetic word that Christ gave in Matthew 24:14, that the Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world to all nations, and then the end will come. The proclamation of the Gospel worldwide signaled the end of the apostate Judaic system in the first century. The Gospel was proclaimed within the first century to all of the known world (Kosmos). (See verses that verify this: Romans 10:18 (“to the ends of the world”), Romans 16:25-26, Colossians 1:5-6, Colossians 1:23) All these verses point to the fact that the Gospel had been preached to the whole known world before Jerusalem fell in A.D. 70.
Isaiah 2:2 – In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. (Mountains in scripture represent world systems and dominions of power.)
The Last Days began at Christ’s first advent when he established His kingdom (in us) to become the dominant mountain of influence in the world.
Matt 28: 19 & 20 – Now wherever you go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 20 And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. And never forget that I am with you every day, even to the completion of this age. (TPT)
Col 1:15-17 – He is the divine portrait, the true likeness of the invisible God, and the firstborn heir of all creation. 16 For in him was created the universe of things, both in the heavenly realm and on the earth, all that is seen and all that is unseen. Every seat of power, realm of government, principality, and authority—it all exists through him and for his purpose! 17 He existed before anything was made, and now everything finds completion in him.
Every realm of power, government and authority will find its purpose and fulfillment in Christ before he returns. Paul said it was happening now in the first century.
Heb 12:26 & 27 – … Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” 27 This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain (the righteous are left behind to inherit the earth…and the wicked are removed).
7. PEACE ON EARTH, FROM SEA TO SEA
With Christ we will inherit the nations, and all the mountains of culture will come to His holy mountain under the ruler-ship of Christ. The blessings of restoration, renewal, and salvation will be so widely experienced, the world will know without a doubt that there is no other name under heaven for salvation and completeness except in Him. His righteousness, peace and joy will reign from sea to sea, and then the kingdom will be handed to the Father, our Co-Mission will be accomplished.
Psalm 72:8 – May he also rule from sea to sea And from the River [Euphrates] to the ends of the earth.
Psalm 72:8 (AMP). He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
Remember, in the New Creation (new heavens and earth) when eternity has already begun, there is no sea, so Christ’s dominion from sea to sea is before eternity.
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Revelation 21:1 NKJ
What can we conclude?
For one thing, the world will be a different place than it is today. Eden-like blessing, righteousness, truth, peace, joy and love will reign over the earth and in the nations all before eternity begins. As more enemies are defeated, the greater the blessings. As the Gospel progresses successfully, sin and its effect will be conquered.
All the evil and conflict we are experiencing in the world in the early 21st Century represents the desperate last gasp of the enemy to remain illegally in control of territory purchased by the blood of Jesus. The devil and his kingdom of darkness have been illegally occupying “the land”, which is everything the Lord has redeemed legally because of the cross and is redeeming progressively throughout history through the ecclesia. We are to occupy (bring under His feet) every square inch of planet earth before He returns in order to complete our mission. Even thoughts and ideologies will be subject to the Lordship of Christ.
It is our destiny to reign with Him on the earth. We are now beginning to realize who we are and the influence and power of the Kingdom age in this third day from His resurrection. As stated in 2nd Peter 3:8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us… Amos 6:2
The kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdom of our Lord. They will surrender and bow their knee to King Jesus. Wickedness will be destroyed.
We can also conclude that we have been lied to.
If it were possible to deceive even the elect, the devil’s doctrine of “his control” of the earth has been the dominate thinking for centuries, leaving us to believe we, as Christ’s ecclesia, are a bunch of powerless losers. We wrongly quote scriptures like “the god of this world (Satan)” (god of the world system), inferring that God is not in charge and Christ is not King with all authority in Heaven and on Earth. We have been deceived long enough. It’s time to wake up and take our rightful place of ruling and reigning with Christ.
A remnant of His people is awakening. The government of God, represented on earth by the ecclesia (or local-regional council in Roman terms – a ‘called out’ select group as Christ called us), shall become the dominate mountain of government in the earth. We are not taking over civil government, but displacing the unrighteousness in government with His righteousness and justice. The church is to be the salt and light of government and in every other mountain of society. And righteousness will reign supreme because we are kings and priests appointed as ambassadors of the Kingdom by our God to rule and reign with Him in the earth. We are to bring his kingdom and everything it represents into all the earth as it is already perfectly functioning in Heaven.
And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. Revelation 5:10
The Kingdom of Christ was established at His first coming. It will be fulfilled and complete at His second coming. It was legally launched at the resurrection of Christ, and will progressively displace the kingdoms of this world and finally become the dominate governmental system by the time He returns to find a glorious, victorious ecclesia.
Further reading and reference material.
Paradise Restored by David Chilton – Free PDF Download Link
The Greatness of the Great Commission by Ken Gentry – Free PDF Download L ink
Victorious Eschatology by Harold R. Eberle and Dr. Martin Trench (Amazon affiliate link)