Note from the moderator: This is the second installment of a 3-part series. Chapters 1 through 2 were sent out last time. If you don’t want to wait until the 3rd installment (chapters 5-6) is sent out, you can read it in its entirety on our website at: As always, your thoughts, comments, questions, and/or rebuttals are always encouraged. Afterall, Sharing the Way is intended to be an open discussion online forum.

By Eric Wheeler

“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit
searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (I Cor. 2:10)


Many people would say that Jesus will come in the same manner as He left — He will come in the clouds, just as He left in the clouds.  This is true.  Acts 1:9-11 says that while the disciples were looking at Jesus, He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  And as they looked up, two angels announced to them that this same Jesus would also come again in like manner as they had seen Him go.  Matthew also confirms this by saying, “And they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30).  But many people don’t realize that by the time that Jesus comes in the fullness of His glory, it will be too late for the Church.  Let me explain.

When Jesus returns to the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, in the fullness of His glory, the nations of the earth will see it and mourn and tremble (Matt. 24:30; Psalm 114:7).  The whole world will see it.  Jesus said that it will be as visible as the sunshine rising in the east is visible even unto the west (Matt. 24:27).  This is how the whole world will see His coming!  However, He describes His coming to the Church as a “thief in the night” (II Peter 3:10).  He warns His own people to watch, and to be vigilant, because we don’t know in what hour (or how) the Master will be coming to us (Matt. 24:42, 44).  He warns us, “But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you” (Rev. 3:3).

Notice in the Scriptures that He came unto His own people in ways that they didn’t recognize Him or expect Him to come.  Instead of coming as a “conquering Messiah”, He came to His people as a helpless baby in a manger born in a stable unto a virgin (Luke 2:7-16).  He appeared to His friend, Mary Magdalene, after He was resurrected, but she did not recognize Him (John 20:14).  He spoke to two of his followers on the road to Emmaus, but they didn’t realize that it was Him (Luke 24:16).  He appeared unto his own disciples a number of times after His resurrection, and yet, even they didn’t recognize Him at first in the form in which He chose to reveal Himself (John 21:1-4; Luke 24:36-39).

Consider the Parable of the Ten Virgins that Jesus gave.  The ten virgins collectively picture the Church – the people of God.  Notice that it says in Matthew 25:10 that only the wise virgins who were ready went in with Him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut.  The remaining five virgins who were foolish and not ready to meet Him got left out.  In other words, they missed their opportunity to be with the Bridegroom, that is, Christ.  Now notice something else.  It says that at midnight (in the middle of the night or in the midst of darkness) the cry went out – “the Bridegroom is coming!  Go you out to meet Him!” (Matt. 25:6).  Notice that it doesn’t say that Jesus was coming in the clouds as the whole world was witnessing it and the Church then made herself ready to join Him!  It says that those “five wise virgins” (representing half of the Church) who were spiritually ready went out to meet Him as He was coming.

Remember in Matthew 24:27-30-, it says that when Jesus actually returns to the earth in the greatness of His glory, His coming will actually be visible in the skies from the east even unto the west.  And that all of the nations and the peoples of the earth are going to mourn in anguish as they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  Notice that the wise virgins are already with Jesus when He comes because it says, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints” (Jude 14).  And in another place, it says that those saints who are prepared and still alive at His coming will be caught up together with those saints who have previously died, and together they will meet the Lord in the clouds of the air as He returns to the earth (I Thes. 4:14-18).  Some Christians erroneously think that they are going to be able to wait until they actually see Jesus coming in the clouds before they get themselves spiritually ready to meet Him.  But God says that they are foolish and are sadly mistaken.  Their opportunity to have been with Christ would have long passed by the time that the world actually sees His physical coming.  The Scriptures are clear!  The Bride must make herself ready to meet the Bridegroom now, or else she is going to miss her opportunity to be with Him forever.


As was mentioned earlier, after His resurrection and ascension, Jesus appeared to His followers in many ways and forms that they weren’t expecting.  Many of the parables and messages recorded in the Bible seem to indicate that Jesus intends to come again to His people in the same manner.  Notice what He warns His people in the Church in the last days: “I know your deeds.  You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.  Wake up!  Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.  Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard.  Obey it, and repent.  But if you do not wake up [spiritually], I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you” (Rev. 3:1-3).  If God’s people are not spiritually vigilant and living in a deep abiding relationship with Him, then He is going to come upon them in a way and at a time in which they don’t expect.  Let me explain. First of all, Jesus said to be careful how we treat people because it could be Him that we are really mistreating (see Matt. 25:31-46).  He also said that “whoever receives someone that I send, receives Me” (John 13:20).  In another place, Jesus said that whoever welcomes even a little child that comes in His name, welcomes Him (Luke 9:48).  The point is that Jesus can come to us in any form that He chooses.  Sometimes, He may come to us in the form of a beggar, sometimes as a prisoner, sometimes as a stranger, and other times as a little child (Matt. 25:34-46).  But the question is, are we humble and spiritual enough, and in a close enough relationship with Him, to recognize Him when He comes to us in the Spirit – that is, when He comes to us in another form that we are not expecting?  Notice when the Apostle Paul was persecuting the Christians and having them arrested before his conversion, that the Lord Jesus appeared unto him and said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  Saul (Paul) answered, “Who are you, Lord?”  And the Lord answered, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting!” (Acts 9:4-5).  Notice that Saul (Paul) didn’t recognize Jesus.  And furthermore, notice how Jesus said that Saul was actually persecuting Him, by persecuting His followers and servants!

We have to remember that Jesus’ servants and followers have His Holy Spirit in them.  That is, they have the Spirit of Christ living in them!  For it is written, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).  And again, “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts…” (Gal. 4:6).  And again, it says, “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.  And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness” (Rom. 8:9-10).  It is clear then from the Scriptures, that those who persecute Jesus’ followers persecute Him!  And those who reject His servants reject Him (Exod. 16:2-8; I Sam. 8:7; Jer. 35:15).

Jesus told the religious leaders of His day, “Behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers.  Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues [churches] and pursue from town to town” (Matt. 23:34).  He then went on to tell the religious leaders that they will indeed see Him no more, until they would say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23:39).  This is a very interesting statement for Jesus to make here.  It is made right smack dab in the middle of His chastening of them for rejecting and murdering His servants the prophets which He had been sending to them since the days of Abel at Creation (Matt. 23:29-39).  He said that they had the same self-righteous murderous attitude as their forefathers.  And that they were indeed the very spiritual sons of them who murdered the prophets, and yet, all the while trying to appear righteous unto men.

Jesus then, as God, laments the fact that even though it was His long-time desire to hold Jerusalem in His arms and gather them together as His people under His wings, His people were not willing.  Therefore, He said to them, “You shall see Me no more until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23:39).  In other words, His rebellious people will not see Him anymore until they humble themselves, and stop self-righteously rejecting those that He sends to them.  He is not the one who is “coming in the name of the Lord”.  For He is the Lord!  He is referring here to His messengers that He sends – those that “come in His name”.  But just as their spiritual forefathers did before them, His people still today (collectively being referred to as “Jerusalem”) are not spiritually discerning the fact that when they reject those who “come in His name”, they are in actuality, really rejecting Him!

[to be continued…]


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