The Hope of The Return of Christ: Part 2: The Two Phases

Part II: The Two Phases

Jesus Christ returns
FOR the church of the body of Christ.
[those born again since the day of Pentecost]

Jesus Christ returns
WITH the church of the body of Christ.
This includes two resurrections:
Resurrection of the Just
Resurrection of the Unjust

II Thessalonians 2:1
Now we beseech you, brethren,
by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and by our gathering together unto him

The gathering together is the first stage of the return of Christ, when he returns for his church of the body. This includes the believers alive today, as well as all of those born again since the day of Pentecost. The order of events when Christ returns to gather together the church of the body is set forth in:

I Thessalonians 4:13-18
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren,
concerning them which are asleep ['koimao' - Those who have died],
that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus dies and rose again,
even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord,
that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord
shall not prevent ['phthano'- precede; come before] them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain
shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,
to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Further detail is added in the following verses:

I Corinthians 15:51-54
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep
[Some believers will be alive when Christ returns],
but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump:
for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption,
and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption,
and this mortal shall have put on immortality,
then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written,
Death is swallowed up in victory.

II Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ;
that every one may receive the things done in his body,
according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

At some point after the gathering together, the second stage of the return will begin. After Jesus Christ returns for the church of the body of Christ, meeting them in the air, he will return with the church of the body, to the earth, and there will be a resurrection of the just. All believers, exclusive of the church of the body, will be made alive at that time.

Acts 14:15
And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow,
that there shall be a resurrection of the dead,
both of the just and of the unjust.

John 5:28,29
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming,
in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good,
unto the resurrection of life;
and they that have done evil,
unto the resurrection of the damnation.

Revelations 20:4-6
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them,
and judgment was given unto them:
and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus,
and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast,
neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads,
or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ
a thousand years
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again
until the thousand years were finished.
This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection:
on such the second death hath no power,
but they shall be priest of God and of Christ,
and shall reign with him a thousand years.

II Peter 3:10
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt away with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

II Peter 3:13
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

I Corinthians 15:26
…the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Whether we have fallen asleep [died] before Christ returns or we are still alive, we are going to be a part of the gathering together and can look forward to a new heaven and earth. Knowing death has no power over us and we will not experience the tribulation period, is a tremendous comfort. Knowing this, we can carry out the exhortation given us.

I Thessalonians 4:18
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

And that brings Rest to my Soul!

Links for Additional Teachings
The Hope of the Return of Christ: Part 1
Resurrection of the Body by EW Bullinger
Sermons on the Second Advent by EW Bullinger
The Apocalypse: Day of the Lord by EW Bullinger
The Resurrection by EW Bullinger

Photo & Graphic Credits
All graphics made by Angela Garcia-Salas using the KJV Bible.
See sharing information at the bottom of the page.