March 10, 7:00 p.m.
Speaker: John MacArthur
Topic: The Second Coming of Christ
Passage: Zechariah 12–14
Through the years, it has been of particular concern to me to address the major issues that have arisen in the evangelical world. It’s been a joy to do that and to see the impact God’s word has when it is brought to bear against error.
There’s one doctrinal issue that I’d like to address tonight: the doctrine of the second coming of Christ. This doctrine is of constant concern to me.
Strangely, this doctrine is treated with a measure of indifference by the evangelical world. The consummation of God’s redemptive history is frequently passed over. It concerns me that the reformed movement, so precise about sound doctrine, has been so indifferent to the doctrine of the second coming. You cannot believe that God has spoken clearly about everything but the end.
The truth of Christ's second coming is a crucial truth for the redeemed—it is a crucial truth for the entire world. And the Bible is precise, clear, powerful, and hopeful in dealing with this truth.
We cannot truly grasp this doctrine until we have understood the book of Zechariah. Of all the books in the Old Testament, it contains the most complete revelation of the end times. The Lord Jesus is the theme of the book, and He is revealed in literal details—the details of His life, death, and second coming.
The Promise of Messiah
The book of Zechariah reverberates with the promise of Messiah. Zechariah foretold Christ’s humble first coming, His ultimate betrayal, and His death for the sins of His people. Not only that, but Zechariah also prophesies His second coming as the King who will cleanse the world and gather His people to rule and reign with Him forever.
Zechariah reveals Jesus as the true and good Shepherd, in contrast to Israel’s corrupt leaders, the false shepherds. While the false shepherds devour and betray their people, the true Shepherd cares for His own. In His first coming, Zechariah points out, the good Shepherd will rebuke and destroy the false shepherds—the priests, scribes, and religious leaders of Israel. Because Israel rejected the true Shepherd, the nation will one day fall to a false shepherd, who we know later as the antichrist. Messiah will return again to overcome and destroy Him, saving His flock physically and spiritually so that they become beautiful in the land as a testament to His love as the good Shepherd.
Another messianic gem in Zechariah is the introduction of the Priest-King. The Old Testament anticipated the coming of one in the order of Melchizedek who would bring together these two offices into one. He will redeem His people as their Priest and reign over them as their King.
At that time, Messiah will cleanse His people. He will call Israel “my people” and they will respond “Yahweh is my God.”
Salvation Comes to Israel
We learn from Zechariah that in the end, we will see a global confederacy rise against the nation of Israel. By the power of God, Israel will win a stunning victory over those enemies. This will be followed by the glorious appearing of the Messiah and the spiritual transformation of the Jewish people through the Holy Spirit's power. Christ will return, regenerate and rescue His people, punish the wicked, set up His kingdom, and celebrate His triumph.
God’s deliverance is so powerful that it not only crushes the enemy, but also overpowers Israel’s unbelief. God will save Israel. That’s an inescapable truth. From the greatest to the least, Jerusalem will be secured and its inhabitants will be defended.
God will choose to pour out a spirit of grace and supplication on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. He will extend His mercy toward them, and they will respond in repentance. When that day comes, He will work salvation in them. God will pursue and God will pour out His Holy Spirit on them. All of Israel will repent. All of Israel will be saved.
Salvation Comes to the Nations
The salvation of Israel requires sacrifice. In fact, it requires the death of the Shepherd. This is costly for those who struck the Shepherd, and we see that the flock of Israel is scattered after Christ’s death. God dispersed the nation of Israel in judgment for their unbelief, and scattered with them went the remnant. As they scattered, the remnant spread the word throughout the world, and through their suffering, they were purified.
God will recover the remnant of His people who will remain. He will gather the dispersed from the four corners of the earth. Christ gave His life to purify for Himself a people for His own possession and He will come again to purge His creation of the wicked. The summation of that future purging is going to produce the remnant.
The majority of humanity will receive wrath, but the redeemed remnant will be purified and brought into an eternal, reciprocal relationship with God.
The Day for the Lord
There is coming in the future a day for the Lord—not only a day of judgment on His enemies but also of salvation and blessing for His people.
Christ’s arrival will be cataclysmic. The enemies think they’ve triumphed, but then He shows up. In the midst of utter chaos, the Captain of the host of heaven will arrive in majesty and inaugurate the beginning of His reign in heaven. The alteration of the earth will take place as Messiah arrives with His saints.
In that day, creation will be transformed. Out of the darkness will come the blazing glory of the Lord Jesus Christ to establish His kingdom on earth. God will light the world in a new way. His glory will be the constant light, and He will cause a new river of living water to flow throughout His kingdom.
This will be a new Eden. The last Adam will restore paradise. When the Lord Jesus comes, He will fully vanquish His enemies, He will save the remnant of Israel and the nations, and He will establish His kingdom on earth. He will rule from Jerusalem, His saints will rule with Him, and all the world will worship Him.
In that day, there will be one religion—the worship of Yahweh. Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess His glory.
We must understand these truths because we desire to give honor to the Lord now. We must live in light of the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ. We must seek to worship Him the way all of creation will worship Him in the end.