Tony Evans — The Second Coming of Christ
Jesus ascended up to heaven. He looked at his disciples and said, "I'll be back". Two angels in Acts chapter 1, said to them, "Why stand ye gazing up into the heavens? This same Jesus, who has been removed from you, will return". And so, today in our pilgrimage and prophecy, I want to talk to you about the second coming of Jesus Christ. The most epic, the most dramatic, the most awe-inspiring event in human history will be the second coming of Jesus Christ, and the event that will set the stage for the return of Christ is an event you've heard about, talked about, seen on television and in movies, and it is called the "battle of Armageddon," or to put it in everyday language, "World War III".
Jesus doesn't come to earth at the rapture. He comes to pick up the saints in the air, the Scripture says. Then there will be seven years of tribulation known as the "70th week of Daniel," Daniel chapter 9, verses 24-27, and it will begin with a agreement. The Antichrist will make a covenant with Israel and will appear to bring about the answer to the Middle East crisis. He will come on the scene as a peacemaker to begin the seven-year tribulation. This man, the Antichrist, will come out of Europe because it says in Daniel 4 and Daniel 7, he will be over the ten toes, that is, the Roman Empire, split up, which is Europe... and today you have that European Union... and he will arise out of Europe and become the answer to the Middle East crisis and seize power.
I'm going to try to lay it out as clearly as I can so you can get a feel for what's going to happen. The Antichrist comes on the scene, and he appears to be the peacemaker. The king of the north sees that this guy is after the whole world and does not accept that. The king of the north is Russia and the Communist bloc. They will come against the Antichrist, so it should not surprise you now that Russia has entered Syria. This nation that looked like it had fallen apart, broken apart due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, has overnight risen to become a dominant world force in the Middle East.
It says the king of the north is going to join the king of the south. The south is Egypt and the Islamic nations. Egypt, the Arab and Islamic nations, not wanting the Antichrist to rule over them either because the Antichrist, remember, is gonna position himself to be god, so they don't want that either, so the king of the north and the king of the south, Daniel 11, says, are going to come up against him. The Antichrist is going to come over to the beautiful land, Israel. He's going to position himself in Israel, which will be the centerpiece of all of this — and I'll explain why in a moment — as they come against him. He is going to defeat the king of the north and the king of the south.
The king of the east — that's the Orient; that's China — when he sees that the Antichrist has defeated the king of the north and the king of the south — and he does not want to be defeated too — will invade the Antichrist too. So now you've got — the Bible says there will be 200 million fighters — gives a number — in this three-and-a-half-year period of time that will descend to defeat the Antichrist. So you've got the king of the north, the king of the south; you've got the armies of the east, all coming against the Antichrist.
What happens? Revelation chapter 16, here's what we read, beginning in verse 13: "And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon," Satan, "and out of the mouth of the beast," the Antichrist, "and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs, for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. 'Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.'
And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon". But somethin' else is goin' on Zechariah chapter 14. In Zechariah chapter 14, we find out that there is another player in this episode, Armageddon. Verse 2, says, "For I will gather all the nations," God is speaking, "against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished, and half the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fights on the day of battle".
Oh, oh-oh. We got the nations comin' against the Antichrist. We got Satan drawing the nations to the Antichrist, and we got God bringing the nations to confront the Antichrist. So you got all this happening at one time, so the devil is being allowed to be as evil as he is in order to fulfill what God wants done. So when the devil, just by way of application, is messing with you, understand that's why the Scripture says that "Greater is he that's in you than he that's in the world" 'cause even when the devil is being devilish, it's an opportunity for God to show you how he can use the devil to fulfill his will in your life.
Now, you got all these nations that are converging on the Middle East, Israel, with the centerpiece being Jerusalem, so you have in chapter 12 of Revelation this strategy of destroying Israel, verse 13: "And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to earth, he persecuted the woman," the woman is Israel, "who gave birth to the male child," Jesus Christ. Verse 15, "And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman," Israel, "so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood".
So he's trying to destroy Israel. That's why you hear or you keep hearin' these people who do not want Israel to exist. They want to drive Israel into the Mediterranean because Satan has so inspired these nations to get rid of Israel to nullify the promises of God. That's the theological reason for the Middle East crisis. Let me just give you one other feature. Satan, the Antichrist, in the middle of the tribulation, Daniel 9:27, says, will break covenant with Israel. The "abomination of desolation," he's going to set himself up in Israel's temple, which the Jews are waiting to rebuild their temple right now where there's a Muslim mosque on the site. All they have left is the Western Wall, which is where you see them praying all the time, so they want that temple back.
They're gonna get that temple back, and when they get that temple back, in the middle of the tribulation, the Antichrist is going to set his image there, supported by the false prophet, as God, which is holy hell for Israel to set yourself up in God's temple and proclaim you as God, but he will be doing these miracles in order to fool the people and to trick them that he is, in fact, God. He's gonna break covenant with Israel, and he will now have world domination 'cause he defeated the kingdom of the north, he's defeated the kingdom of the south, and now the kingdom of the east is coming at him, but he will set himself up as world dominate.
Now, when that happens and the whole world is focused on the Middle East, it's showtime. In Matthew 24, verse 39, "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And he will send forth his angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together his elect from the four winds and from one end of the sky to the other".
Okay, watch this now. Everything's gonna start gettin' dark 'cause it's showtime. The nations have gathered in the Middle East. And then it says, "And then the Son of Man will appear and every eye will see him," Revelation chapter 1, verse 7, says. So Jesus may loop around the sun in a 24-hour cycle so that no eye misses him, or perhaps technology is so advanced at that point that everybody through a phone, through an iPad, through the computer, through some mechanism — but the Bible says, "every eye" nobody will miss this one because it will be a worldwide event as God displays his Son, and it says that they will come with his angels and with somebody else.
Revelation 19, we read it in your hearing, when he comes, verse 11, "And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse". So when the Bible says that when Jesus returns on a white horse, it's a declaration of victory. The Bible says that, when he comes, "He, who is Faithful and True, his eye have fire. On his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows. He is clothed with a robe dripped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God".
Okay, this is not sweet little Jesus boy. You know, this is not "Goochie-goochie-goo Jesus". This is not humble Jesus. You and I get to relate to Jesus in one of two ways: We can relate to him by means of the cross, where he becomes your Savior, or you can relate to him by means of the throne, where he becomes your Judge. Trust me, you don't want the judge side, not in his second coming. You want the cross side, where he weeps over you, but this is the judge side. But, notice, when he comes back, he comes back, it says, "And the armies," verse 14, "which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following him on white horses". You get a horse.
Let's review: There's the rapture of the church during the tribulation on earth. You and I are at the judgment seat of Christ, where God hands out rewards. Then he comes for the second coming, which is not the rapture. That's seven years later when he comes to earth, not just in the air. He comes to the earth, and the armies of the saints who have now been dressed with their new bodies, dressed with their new life, and that you and I come with him to rule with him, which is his millennial reign. We come with him with our assignments. Yeah, you come back in victory because you did belong to him, and so he comes back with his army.
Now, this fight between Jesus and the nations that are left is short. Once he comes back, this is like a knockout in the first 15 seconds of the first round because the Bible says, "He will slay them with the word from his mouth," and everybody with the mark of the beast, worldwide, will be slain by the word of his mouth and be dinner for the eagles and for the crows and for every manner of bird. They will be overwhelmed because they refused to repent. This the throne, the Judge now. You can think this is a joke if you want to. You can think this is Sci-Fi if you want to. You can think that this is just something made up, but the question is "Did Jesus rise from the dead"? Because if Jesus rose from the dead, ya better not play with him on this one.
And Jesus Christ, according to Zechariah chapter 14, verses 3 and 4, will descend to the Mount of Olives, which was the place he left from, and the Bible says, and when he steps on the Mount of Olives, in the center of Jerusalem, the mountain will split down the middle, all the way to the Dead Sea, and Jesus Christ will set himself up as King of kings and Lord of lords. In other words, he will come and rule, and he will bring about the one thing history has been waiting for, and that is a righteous dictator, for it says, "He will rule with a rod of iron". It will be a worldwide caliphate, only headed by Jesus Christ, so he will judge all mankind who has accepted the mark of the beast, and they will die because they refused to repent.
Everybody who accepted the mark of the beast will be judged, and you see what he says in verses 20 and 21. He says that "The beast was seized," the Antichrist, "with him the false prophet who performed all the signs, and they were put into the lake of fire, and the rest were killed with the sword from him who, from his mouth, who sat on the horse, and the birds were filled with their flesh". This will be carnage like you've never seen before. Chapter 14, verse 20, says that "The blood of that day will reach to the bridle of the horse and the horse's mouth". It will splatter that high. During this day of man, this age of grace, this cross age, God is offering people salvation, and he is saying, "During this day, I want to be your Savior. I do not want to be your Judge". But in that day, the Day of the Lord, it's a different ball game.
Now, what I've just given you is a summary. There's so much stuff I've left out, Ezekiel 38 and 39, which goes into the rise of Russia. The book of Revelation, there's so much stuff, and Daniel 4 and Daniel 7 and Daniel 11 and Ezekiel 38 and Ezekiel 39, and it's got all these pieces, and I only got 45 and 50 minutes. "God, there's too many pieces". God said, "Just tell 'em the time". All I know is Russia has reasserted itself into the Middle East. What I know is that Iran, the Bible says in Ezekiel 38, is gon' be part of the end time. All I know is Iraq is supposed to be the center of the end times, and all I know is Europe has come up with a common currency, and they've knitted them together in a commonwealth.
I can't give you all the elements. I can tell ya what time it is, and based on my prophetic watch, based on the Word of God, the time is late. The Bible says, at that time, "They will look on him whom they pierced". Zechariah 12:10, the Jews will look at him after they've been gathered and after they'd see his return. They will look upon him who they killed. Romans 11, verse 36, says, "And all Israel will be saved". So on that day, when Israel repents and comes back to Jesus Christ, God's promises will be fulfilled. Israel will believe so that Jesus can come. So God will use the activity of Satan to answer his requirement for Israel in order to fulfill his promise related to the return of Jesus Christ. They will look on him and who they have pierced.
When you and I see Jesus, he will be unmistakable, not only because of his glory, but also because he will be the only scarred person in heaven. You will have no scars on you. You're gonna get a new glorified body, and you will be perfect in every physical and spiritual detail. Jesus, in his glorified body, came up to Thomas and showed him his hands, showed him his side. He said, "Thomas, touch these hands. Touch this side". So when you and I are in heaven, Jesus will be unmistakable because, through the millennial kingdom and for all eternity, he will carry the scars in his hand of the nail prints, the scar on his side of the sword, the scars in his feet of the nails, so there will be eternal reminder he is your Savior, he is your Redeemer, and I don't know about you, but I know my Redeemer lives.
I know my Redeemer has risen from the dead. I know my Redeemer is coming back again, and I have placed my eternal destiny into his hands, and if you've done that, you're on the way to glory, so you ought to be living for him in history. If you know that, you're on your way to heaven, so you shouldn't be ashamed of him on earth. If you know that, you're on your way to glory, so you ought to glorify him. You shouldn't need a worship leader to glorify him. You shouldn't need a preacher to glorify him. You should glorify him because of the nail prints in his hand and the scar on his side.