There are three STAGES to the second coming of the Messiah.

(1) His arrival in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory: This arrival will be in the sky ONLY. Then from his position in the clouds or ON THE CLOUD (Rev. 14:14) He will pour out the judgments from God’s wrath through the trumpets and bowls recorded in the book of the Revelation.  There four phases to it.
    (A) The SIGNS phase. Joel 2:30-31; Mat. 24:29-31; Rev. 6:12-14; Isaiah 13:10, 13;
    (B) The arrival phase. Mat. 24:30; 16:27; Rev. 6:15-16; Isaiah 30:27-30; 60:1-2; Ps. 96:13; Rev. 19:1-16.
    (C) The rapture phase. Matthew 24:31-44; John 14:1-3; 1Thes.  4:14-17; 1Cor. 15:51-52
    (D) The judgment phase. Rev. 6:15-17; 1Thes. 5:1-2.

(2) The second stage is His physical descent ONTO the earth at which time He will personally confront the armies of the world that are gathered into Palestine to loot and destroy the people of Israel (Zech. 14:3-5a). Through His physical descent to the earth He will rescue the Jews and prepare for His earthly kingdom.
There are four phases to it.
    (A) The Edom phase. Isaiah 34:6; 63:1-6; Hab. 3:3
    (B) The Jerusalem phase. Isaiah 63:1; Zech. 14:4; Joel 3:16.
    (C) The Megiddo/Armageddon phase. Joel 3:9-16; Rv. 19:17-21
    (D) The separation phase: when all unbelievers will be removed
          from the earth and only believers will be left alive to dwell
          on the earth in Christ’s kingdom.
          Ezek. 34:17-22; Mat. 25:31-46.

(3) The KINGDOM stage when Jesus sets up His 1000 year earthly reign. There are four phases to it.
    (A) The cleansing phase: Ezek 39:9-16.
    (B) The building phase: Isaiah 60:4-11; 61:4; Ezek. 43:10-18;
          Dan. 8:15-26.
    (C) The reigning phase: Isaiah 9:7; Jer. 23:5-6;
          Ezek. 37:24-28; Dan. 7:13-14.
    (D) The completion phase: 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 20:7-10.

The Old Testament prophets viewed the second coming and the arrival of the DAY OF THE LORD as having one starting point. They
 did not make a distinction between the Messiah’s initial arrival IN THE CLOUDS and His subsequent PHYSICAL descent onto the earth. They viewed the second coming primarily as a visible arrival to the earth that would begin the Day of the Lord.

Sometimes the prophets focused on the inception of the day of the Lord; sometimes on some aspect of the judgment that will happen DURING the day; and sometimes on the kingdom blessing that follows the judgment.

The reader/interpreter needs to be very diligent to recognize the context in each of the passages.

But it is not until the New Testament teaching by Jesus and the apostles that we learn that Jesus will FIRST arrive in the clouds of the sky.

The first stage of the second coming will be when Jesus arrives in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. Matthew 24:29-30; Rev. 19:11-16. At that time He will begin to carry out His KINGDOM agenda which includes both blessing and judgment.

This also constitutes the arrival of the Day of the Lord, and will be “announced” by several phenomenal things.
(1) The darkness of the sun, moon and stars. Basically, “the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25a; Joel 2:30-31; Rev. 6:12b-14a
(2) ON the earth, there will be great earthquakes and turmoil in the oceans. Luke 21:25b; Rev. 6:12a, 14b;
(3) The specific sign of the Son of Man. Luke 21:25b; Mathew 24:30a
(4) Then his VISIBLE arrival will be seen by all mankind. Luke 21:27; Matthew 24:30b; Revelation 1:7; 6:16-17.

This is taught by Jesus at Matthew 24:29-31

“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, from one of the sky to the other.”
(Mark 13:27, "FROM the farthest end of earth TO the farthest end of the sky/heaven," ouranos.")

The MOURNING of all the tribes of the earth will BEGIN as soon as these awesome signs are seen, so that as Jesus said, “and THEN all the tribes of the earth will mourn.
But WHILE they are mourning in anticipation of the things that are happening, as Luke records, “men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world” (Luke 21:26), THEN they will actually see Jesus “coming in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.” At this time the mourning will continue and of course, increase.

Thus at Revelation 1:7, additional “mourning” will occur AFTER “every eye will see Him.”

This is also portrayed symbolically at the 6th seal of Revelation 6:12-17.
Even though there is not specific mention of the arrival of Jesus in this passage, it is clear that the many peoples who are mentioned there HAVE SEEN HIM.

After seeing the heavenly and earthly signs, and the sign of the Son of man, the people of the earth will try to hide from the FACE (presence) of the Father and of Jesus (the Lamb). Jesus taught that it is AFTER they see the “sign of the Son of Man” that “all the tribes of the earth will mourn.”

Here at Revelation 6, it should be obvious that their reaction indicates they have indeed SEEN Him come in the clouds. After the initial “mourning” they will then take action to try to hide from Him, for they will be well aware that “the great day of their wrath has come and who is able to stand?” Revelation 6:17.

Thus, the return of the Lord will occur right after verse 14, but before v. 15. It is summarized in a later vision at Rev. 19:11-16.

The arrival of the Lord is also envisioned by Joel as the arrival of THE DAY OF THE LORD.

Joel saw the signs as occurring BEFORE the Day of the Lord arrives. Joel 2:30-31.
”And I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth,
Blood, fire, and columns of smoke.
The sun will be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.”

From the apostles we learn that that “the day of the Lord” will BEGIN at the very moment of Christ’s arrival in the clouds, and upon His gathering of the saints at the rapture.

1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2; 2 Peter 3:10.

Jesus will NOT step foot ONTO the earth at this time, but will remain in the clouds, or rather, ON THE CLOUD to administer God’s wrath through the trumpet judgments of Revelation 8-11 and the first 6 bowl judgments. Revelation 14:14-16.

1. The first thing that will happen when Jesus arrives in the clouds of the sky, will be the gathering out of the believers through the rapture.   Matthew 24:31; John 14:1-3; 1 Thes. 4:14-17

This was not taught by the Old Testament prophets.

In fact, the Old Testament prophets did not see the arrival in the clouds as distinct from His physical descent to the earth. The main things they focused on were -
(A)  The coming of the Messiah
(B)  Physical deliverance for Israel
(C)  And judgment on all the spiritual rebels of the world.
(D)  And the Messiah’s earthly reign over Israel.

It is not until we look to New Testament revelation that we are able to see the distinction between these two STAGES of the second coming. The New Testament focuses on the arrival in the clouds, the rapture, and the judgment of the earth-dwellers that will occur after the rapture. But it is not until Revelation 14:17-20; 16:17-21 and 19:17-21 that we are shown indication of His physical decent ONTO the earth.

2. After the rapture of the saints, God will return to using Israel as the evangelistic agent for proclaiming the Messianic promise to the world.
    A. Israel’s evangelistic commission:
        Exodus 19:5-6; Deut. 4:5-6;
Rom. 9:4-5;
        Isaiah 41:8-9; 43:7; 49:3; 7:6; 28:9-10; Psalm 118:1-4


    C. This is through the conversion of the 144,000 Jewish bond servants.  Revelation 7:1-814:1-8

3. After that He will begin to pour out His judgments on the world as portrayed by the first six trumpets. Rev. 6:12-17; 8-9.
4. Those six judgments will conclude at the end of the 70th week. Rev. 10:7; 11:1-17.
5. Then will come the FINAL expression of divine wrath. This is portrayed by the 7th trumpet and the bowl judgments, and will occur during the next 30 days after the end of the 70th week.  Dan. 12:11; Rev. 11:14, 18-19; 15-16; 19.

For details see The Physical descent.

THE SECOND STAGE of the second coming is when Jesus will descend physically to the earth to confront the worlds armies assembled in Palestine. The last two bowl judgments portray this physical descent of the Messiah to the earth. Revelation 16:12-21.

Zechariah 14:3-5a.
The second stage is usually called the Armageddon stage, and has four phases.

As portrayed in the last two bowl judgments Jesus will descend PHYSICALLY to the earth toward the end of the 30 day-period that follows the end of Daniel’s 70th week (Dan. 12:11). At that time, He will come down from His cloud (Rev. 14:14), from where He has been administrating the trumpet and bowl judgments after the rapture (6th seal).

The physical descent of Jesus has four phases.

(1) The descent to Edom.
(2) The descent to Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives.
(3) The descent to the Valley of Megiddo for the battle of Armageddon.
(4) The Cleansing phase, when all unbelievers will be removed from the earth. Ezekiel 34:17-22; Mat. 25:31-46.

Quite often the Old Testament prophets viewed the Messiah's arrival simply as the FACT of His arrival, and then revealed some event involved with the day of the Lord. Other times they would reveal some event involved with the day of the Lord, and then backtrack to show the arrival as the basis for the event in view.

Many times these details will have a LOCALIZED focus and only the people in those specific areas will see His coming. The arrival in the clouds of the sky, however, which will precede the physical descent by several months, will have a UNIVERSAL focus and “every eye will see Him.” Revelation 1:7 with Matthew 24:30.

John's vision at Revelation 19:11-16 does the same thing. It states the arrival of the Messiah in glory, that was anticipated at Rev. 1:7 and indicated at the 6th seal of Rev. 6:12-17.
This is not the so-called "second coming" in contrast to the rapture. This is in fact THE one and only second coming.
“And I saw the sky/heaven (ouranos) opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it {is} called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war.
And His eyes {are} a flame of fire, and upon His head {are} many diadems; and He has a name written {upon Him} which no one knows except Himself.
And {He is} clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God.
And the armies (angels) which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white {and} clean (Rev. 15:6), were following Him on white horses.
The armies are all the holy ones; the angels who come with Him.
Mat. 16:27; Mat. 24:30-31; 25:31; Mark 8:38; 2Thes. 1:7, 10; Jude 14.

And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.”

Then the vision skips over the events of the trumpet and bowl judgments, and shows a vision of the final battle at Armageddon at Rev. 19:17-21.

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great feast of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, both free and slaves, and small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse, and against His army. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire, which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.



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