Once I began a sermon by asking the congregation to shout out the first thing that came to mind when they thought of the Second Coming.
One guy yelled, “It won’t be a secret rapture.”
I like to think the goal in preaching the Second Coming shouldn’t be to merely prove what it’s not but rather to paint a picture of what it is.
At Jesus’ first coming, John the Baptist called Jesus “the bridegroom,” who seeks His earthly beloved (John 3:29). Not only did Jesus come to save us from sin, but also to save us into His love. Our redemption has a purpose. We’re delivered out of a really bad situation into a really good one. God doesn’t merely pity us, He wants us with the passion of a pursuing lover. With this context, notice how Jesus portrayed the Second Coming:
…we like to be with those we love. That’s who we are to Jesus.
“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 to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3). Jesus is using Israel’s marriage customs to depict His departure and return. First, there was the wooing phase. If a man loved a woman, he would try to draw her to himself. Then the couple would enter into courtship, getting to know one another. Then the man would propose. If she accepted, he departed to prepare a place for her and promised to return for her. So, then, Jesus didn’t merely promise to return, He promised to return for His bride.
Think of someone whose presence you desire and enjoy—your spouse, your mom or dad, your best friend. The point is simple: we like to be with those we love. That’s who we are to Jesus. He longs for our presence, friendship, and love. Revelation’s description of the Second Coming isn’t surprising then:
“Let us be glad and rejoice… for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7).
Jesus is returning to receive the church as His eternal bride.
That’s the beautiful truth of the Second Coming.