The Second Coming of Christ
by Bobby Bruno

In his book entitled "Theology for Disciples" (pgs. 92-99), Gilbert W. Stafford gives us his interpretation of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In this paper, I will summarize his beliefs on this topic, and then will speak of what I believe about Jesus' second coming.

At the end of time, Jesus will return to usher in His Kingdom and bring it to a final fruition. He will suddenly and physically appear in the heavens for all the eyes of mankind to see. Jesus will not come secretly to rapture His people -- though many of His followers seem to believe He will come secretly to claim His own -- but will allow all of humanity currently alive on the earth to see Him as He is. First, He will bring to Himself all who have died in Him, and then all in Him who are still alive will rise into heaven to be with Him forever.

After Jesus has accomplished this, He will then bring about the "cataclysmic end of the world order as we know it" (pg. 94). This ending will let the entire world population know that Jesus is in fact the Son of God and Lord of all creation.

At the same time, Jesus' second coming will show everyone that Satan has always been a defeated foe. God will prove this by binding Satan and his followers during the Apocalypse and throughout the Millennium. Finally, in the end, God will commit Satan and all who followed him, demons and humans alike, to the fiery pit of Hell, never to be set free again. At that time, God will create a new Heaven and a new Earth and will fully establish His Kingdom among men where He will live with us in peace and glory forever.

Here is what I believe about the Second Coming of Christ. I firmly believe in a "secret" rapture, where Jesus, with a blast from the trumpet and a shout from an angel, takes all believers dead and alive into Heaven, so that we will not have to go through the Tribulation period that the Bible speaks about in many places (the Book of Daniel, for instance). The Bible speaks of all believers being saved from the wrath of God to come (Romans 5:9 "Since Christ's blood has now given us God's approval, we are even more certain that Christ will save us from God's anger"). This anger is the wrath that God will set upon men in the days of the Tribulation, and also upon those who, at the end of time, still refuse to accept Jesus as the Son of God.

Mr. Stafford does not seem to believe in the coming Tribulation, because no where is it mentioned in these pages as being a part of the end times the Bible speaks about. He seems to have skipped over those seven years and placed Jesus' one and only second coming on a timetable of his own choosing. As Mr. Stafford suggests, a secret rapture does not exist, as he believes that the Bible doesn't speak about it in the New or Old Testaments. As he writes on page 94 of his book, "The New Testament knows nothing whatsoever about a secret parousia for the elect; it knows nothing about two comings of the Lord, one for the spiritually ready and the other at the cataclysmic end of the age." My question to Mr. Stafford is this: Why would scripture speak of Jesus causing us to rise up into the clouds to meet Him in one scripture (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 "The Lord will come from heaven with a command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet {call} of God. First, the dead who believed in Christ will come back to life. Then, together with them, we who are still alive will be taken in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. In this way we will always be with the Lord."), and then speak of His coming to earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to defeat the armies of Satan, and that all believers that were raptured will be joining Him in battle, as another scripture suggests (Revelation 19:14-16 "The armies of heaven, wearing pure, white linen, follow him on white horses. A sharp sword comes out of his mouth to defeat the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter and tread the winepress of the fierce anger of God Almighty. On his clothes and his thigh he has a name written: King of kings and Lord of lords.")? Why does Mr. Stafford treat these two instances as one action immediately following another? From what I have read and heard from many other scholars and ministers of the word about the rapture and the Second Coming of Christ, these are two separate and very different situations that can only be reconciled by a secret rapture and a very public defeat of Satan.

An actual one-thousand year Millennium does not seem to be a part of Mr. Stafford's beliefs either. In these pages describing his belief of the end times, he believes that the Millennium is only symbolic of a period of time that will occur before Satan is released for a short time before he is bound in the lake of fire forever. Why is Mr. Stafford refusing to take a literal stand on what the Bible says when most of the population of believers does? I choose to believe in a literal interpretation of Scripture where the literal makes more sense. Symbolizing everything in the Bible is a dangerous way to open one's self to the lies of Satan. I, for one, choose not to go that route.

It makes a very big difference to me in what I believe about Christ's second coming. If you told me that Jesus was not coming back to bring me to Himself, then where is my hope for the future? What would I have to live for in a fallen world that doesn't care if I live or die? Knowing that Jesus cares for me helps me to continue on doing what He has called me to do for Him on this earth. I can live day to day knowing that, whatever I do in them, Jesus is watching me with pleasure and joy, and that gives me confidence that I will make it through each day without having to worry about anything that could distract me from living the kind of life He wants me to enjoy. Knowing that my Savior is coming back for me makes me feel that I am somebody, because if God says you are somebody, then what the world says doesn't matter. Because of this, I am free to be God's child, no longer bound to this decaying world of evil and suffering.


Stafford, Gerald W. (1989, 1996). Theology for disciples: systematic considerations about the life of Christian faith (pgs. 92-99). Warner Press.

Scriptures taken from God's Word 1995, God's Word to the Nations Bible Society. Database 2008, WORDsearch Corp. All Rights Reserved.

Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love.  He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.

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