In my study of the second coming of Jesus Christ to this earth—that is, the second phase of His coming (the first phase being the rapture of the church)—I have come up with the following 21 points. The scripture passages are mainly from Matthew 24, Revelation 19:11 through 20:6, and Zechariah 14.
We will begin with four preludes to His coming, or four events that warn us that His coming is imminent.
1. The first prelude: the events of the seventh bowl of wrath (Rev. 16:17-21). As the demonized world armies arrive at Armageddon to do battle, God causes a great earthquake to shake the entire earth. Jerusalem will be split into three parts; all other cities of the world will fall into heaps of rubble; every island will disappear; all the mountains will be leveled; and huge hail will fall, each weighing about 75 pounds.
The voice from heaven saying, “It is done!” (v. 17) indicates that this bowl of wrath will complete God’s wrath and will mark the end of the seven year Tribulation. So I suppose that the next three preludes are not meant to bring wrath, but to signal His coming. And these events may happen simultaneously or overlap each other.
2. The second prelude: many vultures will gather over Armageddon. At the point of this gathering many aren’t dead yet, however, it will be a clear sign of His coming and of the judgment that He will bring to unbelievers (Matt. 24:28; Rev. 19:17-18).
3. The third prelude: the sun and moon will be darkened (Matt. 24:29).
4. The fourth prelude: the stars will fall and the powers of the heavens will be shaken (Matt. 24:29). Luke’s gospel (Lu. 21:25) also includes the roaring of the sea and the waves—which is an indication of something happening in the heavens.
These four events (above) are meant to warn us of His coming or to introduce His coming. We don’t know how long these preludes will last—but I don’t think they will last more than a few days. What is clear is that after the sky gets dark and the heavens shake, Jesus will appear in the sky (pt. five).
5. Jesus Christ will come out of heaven riding on a white horse (Matt. 24:30; Rev. 19:11). The white horse is symbolic of victory; hence, when He comes He will come as a victorious conqueror, who will defeat the Antichrist and Satan and all unbelievers who have rejected Him.
6. All eyes will see Him (Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Rev. 1:7). When He come every person on the earth will be looking toward heaven; and they will see the heavens open. I suppose they will first see Him in heaven on His throne (Matt. 26:64), and then they will see Him riding on a white horse with clouds of glory.
7. All will mourn because of Him (Matt. 24:30). All those who are elected for salvation will mourn in repentance because of their rejection of Him (Israel in particular, Zech. 12:10-11). But most, I think, will mourn without repentance; He will cause them to realize their guilt, but they will continue to reject Him.
8. His appearance: His coming will be with power and great glory (Matt. 24:30). Christ’s great white horse, the way He controls it, and the way the clouds will part and move out of the way when He comes, will all display His power and glory.
9. His appearance: as one who is faithful and true (Rev. 19:11). He will come as He promised He would, thus He will appear as faithful and true.
10. His appearance: His eyes will be like a flame of fire, for He will come in righteousness to judge and make war (Rev. 19:11-12).
11. His appearance: He comes as king over all nations (Rev. 19:12, 16). On His head will be many crowns—symbolizing that He is king over all nations (v. 2), and He will have written on His robe and thigh the name KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (v. 16).
12. His appearance: He comes as a battle scared warrior (Rev. 19:13). His robe will be bloody, representing the blood of His (and our) enemies, which He has been fighting on our behalf down through the ages. The blood is also His own, for He has paid the price of His own blood to redeem us.
13. His appearance: He comes with great power and authority, for He is God (Rev. 19:13). His name is called the Word of God, which means that He is the image of the invisible God and the full revelation of God (Jn. 1:1, 14; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:1, 2).
14. He will gather together His elect from the four winds (Matt. 24:31). The first thing Jesus will do when He comes is to send His angels to gather His elect—those believers who have gone to heaven (after death or raptured alive). They will consist of the church (Rev. 19:7-8), the Tribulation saints (Rev. 7:9-17), and the Old Testament saints (Dan. 12:2).
15. Armies from heaven will follow Him riding on white horses (Rev. 19:14). I don’t think we can be absolutely sure who these “army” individuals will be; but it seems to me that since they are clothed in “white linen,” they will be the church (Rev. 19:7-8). And it is quite possible that the Tribulation saints and the Old Testament saints will be included too—the same group that will be gathered by the angels.
Most scholars also believe that the angels will be in this group too. So it seems that as soon as the elect are gathered by the angels, they all, with the angels, will then be given white horses, and they will all follow Jesus on His white horse. What a scene that will be!
Now some will say that the riding of the white horses is merely symbolic; and they may reject the literal nature of it all together. But I don’t see it that way. I do see the white horses as symbolic of our victory in Jesus, but I see no reason to believe that it is not also literal. I think we will be given white horses that fly! Why not? Well, we will see. Maybe each of us will be given our own horse to ride on for eternity.
16. He will stand on the Mount of Olive and will cause it to split in two, from east to west (Zech. 14:4-5). As Christ goes forth to fight against all the armies that have gathered at Armageddon, He first stops and sets His feet down on the Mount of Olives and causes it to split apart from east to west, making a very large ravine. This canyon will allow all living believers (Jews and Gentiles) to flee to safety from the Antichrist and from his armies; it will also keep them away from His terrible wrath on all unbelievers.
17. The execution, part 1. Before the Lord intervenes personally in the battle, it appears (from Zech. 14:2, 12-15) that He will allow the armies to fight each other. And a plague will be upon them so that their flesh will dissolve (v. 12). This sound to me like chemical warfare or nuclear warfare. Also, The Lord will bring a great panic upon them, so that they will start fighting each other. It sounds like what happened a few times in the Old Testament. (1 Sam. 14:15, 20; Judg. 7:22; 2 Chron. 20:23).
Some scholars believe that during this time of panic and confusion is when Jesus will split the Mount of Olives in two, thus allowing believers to escape.
18. The execution, part 2. It is very possible that the first part of the execution (part 1) will take place before Jesus comes, intervening only through His Spirit and the angels; but then after He comes in glory and sets down on the Mount of Olives, He will intervene personally. First, He will take hold of the beast and the false prophet, and will throw them alive into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20). Next, he will kill all the rest of the unbelievers (who have come to Armageddon) with a sword which comes from His mouth. This language seems to be symbolic, meaning that He will execute them merely by speaking.
19. Satan is bound for 1000 years (Rev. 20:1-3). An angel from heaven will overcome Satan, and will throw him into the abyss (a bottomless pit), where he will be held there for 1000 years, so that he will not deceive anyone on earth until the thousand years are completed.
20. The sheep and goats judgment (Matt. 25:31-46). After Satan is locked up in the Abyss, this, I think, is when all the remaining living humans on the earth, believers and unbelievers, will be gathered before Christ on His throne. Here Christ will separate believers (the sheep) from the unbelievers (the goats). All unbelievers will go into eternal punishment, but all righteous believers will enter the kingdom and will be greatly blessed by the Lord for 1000 years.
21. The saints will reign with Christ for 1000 years (Rev. 20:4-6). All the glorified saints, the same group that was gathered by the angels and who rode on white horses, will reign with Christ for 1000 years. All those believers who lived during the Tribulation will also, in mortal bodies, have a blessed part in His kingdom.