5 THINGS YOU NEED TO BELIEVE ABOUT JESUS’ 2ND COMING by Dennis E. Johnson for Core Christianity
The inauguration of the kingdom in Christ’s death, resurrection, ascension, and the outpouring of the Spirit directed believers’ hopes toward a coming consummation of the kingdom, when the King now enthroned in heaven would return to earth as the rescuer of his people and the judge of all. This is the promise that two “men” in white robes, angelic messengers from God’s heavenly court, announced to the dazed disciples as they stared upward after their departed Master: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
The inauguration of the kingdom, especially in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, secures the kingdom’s future consummation at the end of history. This theme emerges in Peter’s sermon in Solomon’s portico (Acts 3:11-26). Through faith in the name of Jesus, a man born lame had been healed, so that he could not only walk but also leap for joy in the sanctuary of God. This act of power and mercy became the occasion for bold declaration of the gospel, in which Peter announced that Jesus, the Author of Life, had been raised from the dead by God himself (3:15). Peter then called the crowd to repentance, promising “that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets” (3:19-21; emphasis added). Several features of this striking sermon command our attention.
1. Jesus returns as king.
First, the future hope of refreshment and restoration, which should move Peter’s hearers to repentance, is bound up with the return of Jesus the King. Peter’s description of Jesus as “the Christ appointed for you” resumes the point he had made on the day of Pentecost: Jesus’ resurrection constitutes God’s declaration that he is “both Lord and Christ,” the rightful heir to David’s royal throne (2:25-36).
2. Jesus returns to heal the whole world.
Second, God’s ancient prophets had foretold the “times [or seasons] of refreshing” and “the time for restoring all things” for which God’s people were longing. Visions granted to Isaiah and other Israelite seers previewed a complete reversal of the curse that had entered the world and human experience through Adam’s sin. “He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from the earth” (Isa. 25:8). This global healing would be bound up with the return of Jesus the Messiah “whom heaven must receive” until the time appointed by God the Father, at which time the King will appear to consummate his royal reign.