Bible Study Outlines

Volume 3, Lesson 18
by C.I. Scofield

Theories on the Second Coming of Christ

Part II

[This lesson continues consideration of several false theories about the meaning of Christ's second coming.
These false theories are being addressed in the negative.]
 
2. The conversion of a sinner is not the coming of the Lord
According to Scripture, conversion is the coming of a sinner to Christ, not the coming of Christ to a sinner. None of the events, predicted to occur when the Lord returns, occur when a sinner is converted [see the last point of previous lesson].
 
3. The death of a Christian is not the coming of Christ
  • Philippians 1:23 - "Having a desire to depart, and to be with the Lord"
  • 2Timothy 4:6 - "I am ready to be offered... my departure is at hand"
  • 2Corinthians 5:8 - "Absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord"
  • Acts 7:55,56 - "Jesus standing on the right hand of God." Dying, Stephen saw the heavens opended, and the Son of man standing, not coming.
The inspired writers always refer to a believer's death as his departure. In not one instance is the coming of the Lord connected with a Christian's death. None of the events, predicted to occur when the Lord returns, accompany the death of a Christian.
 
4. The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans [in 70 A.D.] was not the second coming of Christ
Read Matthew 24 and Luke 21. In these two passages, three events are foretold: the destruction of the temple, the coming of the Lord, and the end of the world (age). It was the needless confusion of these perfectly distinct things which gave rise to the notion that the fulfillment of one was the fulfillment of all.
The Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation after the destruction of Jerusalem, but still speaks of the coming as a future event. The last promise of the Bible is, "Surely I come quickly," and the last prayer is, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20). None of the events, predicted to occur when the Lord returns, occurred when Jerusalem was destroyed.
 
5. The spread of Christianity is not the second coming of Christ
  • Matthew 24:27 - "Lightning... so shall also the coming of the Son of man be"
  • 2Peter 3:10 - "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night"
  • Revelation 3:3 - "Thou shalt not know what hour"
The spread of Christianity has been gradual through the years, but the Scriptures refer to the return of the Lord as sudden and unexpected. The spreading of Christianity is a process, but the Scripture invariably speaks of the return of the Lord as an event. Christianity brings salvation to the wicked, whereas the coming of Christ is said to bring, not salvation, but "sudden destruction" (see 2Thessalonians 1:7-10; Matthew 25:31-46).
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