After the seven last plagues are poured out, and the judgment of the woman is announced, the next chronological event to take place, is the second coming of Christ.
When Jesus was preaching in the Jerusalem temple, for the last time, He delivered a scathing rebuke to the Jewish religious leaders, for their conduct and their spiritual condition (see Matt. 23:1-39). Jesus finished this rebuke with the condemnatory words, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” (Matt. 24:38). The disciples of Jesus were startled by these words of Jesus. They shared the Jewish notion that the temple in Jerusalem would be the future focus of the whole world, when the mission of the Messiah would be accomplished. Therefore, the thought that the temple being left desolate, was a perplexing one for them. They tried to prompt Jesus into sharing their admiration for the temple, by pointing and the grandeur of the construction evidenced by the huge stones. But the words of Jesus, perplexed them even further. Jesus said, “See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matt 24:2). If the disciples were surprised before, now they were astounded – all the hopes and dreams of Israel were bound up in the future status of Jerusalem and the temple. Therefore, on their way to the Mount of Olives they reasoned that, if the temple was to be destroyed, then Jesus must have been referring to the end of the world, because in their minds, the temple could only be destroyed at the end of the world. Consequently, sitting on the Mount of Olives and looking down on the temple with the setting sun lighting up its splendour and beauty, they said to Jesus, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3).
The Signs of the Times
One of the principles of Jesus’ teaching was, that He only told His audience what they were spiritually able to comprehend. On one occasion He said to His disciples, “I have many things to tell you, but you cannot understand them at this point in time” (see Jn. 16:12). Therefore, because His disciples thought, that the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem would occur simultaneously with the end of the world, Jesus answered their query, by blending the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world together. By blending them together, the destruction of Jerusalem serves as a type for/of the antitypical destruction of the world, at the end of time.
After telling His disciple to beware of deception, Jesus proceeded to instruct His disciples about the signs that would occur, to herald the approach of His coming. He told His disciples that His coming would occur suddenly and unexpectantly, at a time when the people of the world would be careless and deceived. Jesus lamented that the prevailing delusions would be so great, “insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matt. 24:24). Therefore, because so many of His people would be enthralled, insouciant and imbibing the wine of her fornication, Jesus Himself, asked a rhetorical question:
Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Matt. 24:45.
The manner in which Jesus poses this question, strongly implies, that the vast majority of people do not/will not, understand the signs of the times. They will not understand the events that are taking place around them, and they will not understand how the signs apply in the great prophetic picture. Nevertheless, the elect, are not deceived – they are the watchers on the walls of Zion.
Watchers on the Walls of Zion
The Bible tells the same stories in different ways. The watchers on the walls of Zion (see Isa. 56:10, 11; 62:6; Jer. 6:17; Eze. 3:17-21; Heb. 13:17), are the elect. They are also the faithful and wise servants (see Dan. 12:3), who serve the ‘meat in due season’ (the right message at the right time). They are also the people called to “prophesy again” (Rev. 10:11). They are not blind and sleeping, behaving like dumb dogs who will not bark (see Isa. 56:10). They are not the Laodiceans, who are increased with goods and in need of nothing. They are the Philadelphians who have the Father’s name written in their foreheads. They are not the tares, they are the wheat. They are not the ten virgins who fall asleep before the second coming of Christ.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
When Jesus finished giving the signs of the times, before His second coming, He told the parable of the ten virgins – He was not finished with the account of the end of the world and His second coming. When He finished the account of the signs, He continued by saying, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins” Matt. 25:1. The word ‘then’ grammatically, is a conjunctive. The purpose of a conjunctive is to join two things together. Therefore, Jesus is saying that, “what I am about to continue telling you, is related to what I have already told you.” In other words, the condition of My people/church, at the time of the end, just before My second coming, is going to resemble ten virgins, waiting for the bridegroom to come to the marriage. Five of the virgins are wise and five are foolish – but they did not stay awake – they all went to sleep – even the wise ones went to sleep. This condition resembles the state of the Laodicean Church, which are the people/church just before the second coming. The Biblical description of the ten virgins and the Laodiceans, is describing the same spiritual state of God’s people in the last days – the Bible tells the same stories in different ways.
The ten virgins are awoken by a ‘cry’ – a loud shout. The cry is, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him” (Matt. 25:6).At this point it becomes evident who are the wheat and who are the tares – who are the sheep and who are the goats – who are the good fish and who are the bad fish – who are the Philadelphians and who are the Laodiceans – who are the wise virgins and who are the foolish virgins. But who is it, that give the ‘cry’ – the loud shout?
The Loud Cry
If the ten virgins are a symbolic representation of the Church in the last days, and if all the virgins go to sleep, before the Bridegroom arrives, who is that is ‘awake’ to give the ‘cry’ – “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh”? The answer is that God will always have His witnesses (see Isa. 43:10; Jn. 15:26, 27; Acts 1:8). Not all of God’s watchmen go to sleep like dumb dogs. God will always have his faithful and wise servants, who give His people the right message at the right time. The Loud Cry, that wakes up the ten virgins will be given at the right time:
I heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth with great power. It had effect. Many had been bound; some wives by their husbands, and some children by their parents. The honest who had been prevented from hearing the truth now eagerly laid hold upon it. All fear of their relatives was gone, and the truth alone was exalted to them. They had been hungering and thirsting for truth; it was dearer and more precious than life. I asked what had made this great change. An angel answered, “It is the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the loud cry of the third angel. Ellen White, Christian Experience and Teachings, p. 177.
I was shown that if God’s people make no efforts on their part, but wait for the refreshing to come upon them and remove their wrongs and correct their errors; if they depend upon that to cleanse them from filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and fit them to engage in the loud cry of the third angel, they will be found wanting. The refreshing or power of God comes only on those who have prepared themselves for it by doing the work which God bids them, namely, cleansing themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Ellen White, Evangelism, p. 118.
I saw angels hurrying to and fro in heaven, descending to the earth, and again ascending to heaven, preparing for the fulfilment of some important event. Then I saw another mighty angel commissioned to descend to the earth, to unite his voice with the third angel, and give power and force to his message. Great power and glory were imparted to the angel, and as he descended, the earth was lightened with his glory. The light which attended this angel penetrated everywhere, as he cried mightily, with a strong voice, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” The message of the fall of Babylon, as given by the second angel, is repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the churches since 1844. The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel’s message as it swells to a loud cry. And the people of God are thus prepared to stand in the hour of temptation, which they are soon to meet. I saw a great light resting upon them, and they united to fearlessly proclaim the third angel’s message. Ellen White, Early Writings, p. 277.
In vision Ellen White was shown God’s people in great distress, because they would not comply with the ‘official narrative’ – they would not comply with the restrictions on religious liberty – they would not drink the wine of her fornication – they would not stop opposing the will of the wicked – they would not comply with any of the wicked world’s demands – in spite of intense religious and political persecution, they stand firm for Jesus. At the end of the sixth seal, (the second coming of Christ), the question is asked, “who shall be able to stand” (Rev. 6:17). The answer is the watchmen and the faithful and wise servants stand. Under great pressure, they give the loud cry, which is the latter rain, poured out to bring the harvest to maturity. It is the swelling of the third angels’ message given with the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus has told us that there is a great promise attached for all the faithful and wise servants who participate in this final message:
Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his goods. Matt. 24:46, 47.
The Bible tells the same stories is different ways. The watchmen on the walls of Zion also have a promise, on the condition that they are also faithful and wise, obedient and courageous in their duty. The promise is eternal life for the watchmen if they faithfully declare the right message at the right time (see Eze. 3:17-21).
The Marriage of the Son
Jesus told a parable, about a king, who gave a wedding feast for the marriage of his son (see Matt. 22:1-14). In the parable, those who are invited to participate in the celebrations, are not invited to the wedding ceremony, they are only invited to the wedding feast. The parable is about what occurs just before and after the second coming. The wedding takes place before the second coming and the wedding feast takes place after the second coming – this is why the guests are not invited to the wedding, because the wedding takes place in heaven and the guests are still on earth – the earthly wedding guests are not present at the wedding – they participate in the wedding by faith. This scenario is made even more explicit in another parable (more likely the same parable, but recorded differently), called ‘the Parable of the Great Supper’ see Lu.14:16-24). In this account it is not a king who gives the invitation, it is a man. And he does not give an invitation to a wedding, but to ‘a great supper.’ Yet again, Jesus taught the same truth even more explicitly, when He said:
Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. Lu. 12:35-37.
These tellings of the same story, are different versions of the parable of the Ten Virgins. In the parable of the ten virgins, the wise virgins go into the ‘wedding’ – but they are participants in the wedding by faith – they are not physically present at the wedding. The wise virgins are like the guests in the other parables, they are invited to the great supper, not the wedding ceremony. The Book of revelation tells the same story. Jesus does not come for His bride, at the second coming, He comes for His wife:
The Bible is telling the same story in different ways. All three parables are pointing forward to the wedding (by faith), just prior to the second coming, and the physical wedding feast (immediately after the second coming). The wedding takes place in heaven, and then Jesus returns to earth to fetch His bride, and take her back to His Father’s house:
And a voice came out of the throne, saying, praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. Rev. 19:5-8.
Prior to coming to this earth Jesus ‘marries’ His bride. His bride is His Kingdom. His Kingdom (His bride) is called the New Jerusalem (see Rev. 21:1,2). The same scenario is taught in Revelation chapter 11. We are told that when the seventh angel sounded his trumpet the mystery of God would be finished (Rev. 10:7). Therefore, we should pay attention to what happens when the seventh angel sounds His trumpet. The event that happens is that there is great rejoicing in heaven, because Jesus is declared the King, and He is about to take possession of His kingdom (see Rev. 11:15-17). Whilst the celebrations in heaven are going on, the nations on earth are angry, because they are having the seven last plagues poured out upon them – the wrath of God (see Rev. 11:18). At the same time, it is stated that it was time to reward the saints, and time to destroy the earth – and the earth is destroyed (see Rev. 11:19). The saints are rewarded by the coming of Jesus, who then takes them to the Father’s house (heaven) to celebrate the great supper of the Lamb:
And he saith unto me, Write, blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, these are the true sayings of God. Rev. 19:9.
All of the above is confirmed and elaborated on by the writings of the pioneers of the Advent movement, including Ellen White and Joseph Waggoner:
In the Revelation the people of God are said to be guests at the marriage supper. Revelation 19:9. If guests, they cannot be represented also as the bride. Christ, as stated by the prophet Daniel, will receive from the Ancient of Days in heaven, “dominion, and glory, and a kingdom,” He will receive the New Jerusalem, the capital of His kingdom, “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Dan. 7:14; Revelation 21:2. Having received the kingdom, He will come in His glory, as King of Kings and Lord of lords, for the redemption of Hid people, who are to “sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob,” at His table in His kingdom (Matt. 8:11, Luke 22:30), to partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb. Ellen White, Christ In His Sanctuary, p. 155.
When the kingdom is given to Christ, he takes possession of his capital, in Heaven, and this is called in a figure the marriage. The saints are the guests who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Revelation 19:6-9. And we have seen that he takes possession of the kingdom in Heaven, before his return to the earth, and he commends the faithful who shall be watching when the Lord returns from the wedding. Glorious blessing that is promised! He will take them to the mansions prepared, and make them sit down to the marriage supper, and he will come forth and serve them. His own hand shall pluck of the fruit of the tree of life, and give them to eat, and bring them water from the river of life. What a feast that will be to those who have suffered in poverty in this world for his name’s sake! See Luke 12:31-37. Joseph Harvey Waggoner, From Eden to Eden, p. 250.
The Investigative Judgment and the Great Supper
When the investigative judgment is finished, several momentous events take place, one following on from the other. The end of the investigative judgment indicates that the door into the marriage festival is closed – the foolish virgins are locked out – the close of probation has occurred – there is no more grace, mercy, forgiveness or salvation – the seven last plagues are about to be poured out. The two kingdoms, of Christ and Satan are now complete, separate and distinctive – the citizens of each kingdom are now determined. At this point, the role of Jesus changes. He takes off His high priestly robes and puts on His kingly robes – Jesus is inaugurated King of the Kingdom. It is at this point that the marriage ceremony takes place. Jesus cannot ‘marry’ His Kingdom until the citizens of the Kingdom are determined. At this point, His ‘wife’ is still on the earth, waiting for the arrival of her bridegroom. After the marriage ceremony, Jesus leaves heaven and comes to the earth to be united with His ‘wife’ – His people. The triumphal wedding party, then proceeds to the Father’s home in heaven, where they all sit down, for the great supper of the Lamb.
The Rider on the White Horse
There are several reasons why the Bible tells the same story in different ways. One reason, is because some topics, are just too big, to contain all the information in one way. This is the case with the second coming of Christ. For example, one story is what happens to the saved at Christ’s coming, another story is what happens to the wicked at Christ’s coming. Therefore, in the account of the second coming in the sixth seal, the main focus is on Jesus coming for the saved. However, in Revelation chapters 19 & 20, the main focus is on what happens to the wicked. In the sixth seal, Jesus is depicted as sitting on the throne of grace, because He is coming for the saved. In Revelation 19, Jesus is depicted as sitting on a white horse because He is coming for the wicked:
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war… And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Rev. 19:11, 14, 15.
In Biblical prophecy a horse represents war (see Job 39:19-25; Ps. 20:7; Prov. 21:31; Isa. 5:28; 43:17; etc.). Therefore, Jesus is depicted as riding on a horse because He is going to make war upon the wicked. The angels are also depicted as riding on horses for the same reason. In Revelation 12, it is prophesied that Jesus will, “rule all nations with a rod of iron” (Rev. 12:5). This is the fulfilment of the promise. Jesus is on a white horse, which is the colour of righteousness. This means that the striking of the nations with the rod of iron, is the administering of a righteous judgment.
The Sharp Sword
Because the coming of Christ, is judgment time on the wicked, there is a sharp sword that proceeds out of the mouth of Jesus. It is with this sharp sword that He smites the nations with a rod of iron. The sharp sword represents the Word of God:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb. 4:12.
We are judged by the Word of God. All mankind is aware of God’s Word. We all read it, or we have it impressed upon by the Holy Spirit (see Gen. 6:3; Rom. 2:13-16). Because of the Word, we all understand the difference between right and wrong. We then choose whether to acknowledge the Word and obey it, or disregard it and rebel against it. We are then judged according to the knowledge we have of the will of God (expressed by His Word):
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matt. 7:21-23.
The Bible tells the same things in different ways. The Bible tells us that at this time Jesus is given three new names/titles. One of these names is ‘the Word of God’ – why is this name given at this time? Answer: because Jesus is administering justice according to the Word of God.
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Jesus has many names and titles. Each name is representative of His character, office, role or event. An event has just occurred in the plan of salvation. Jesus has changed roles and received His Kingdom. He is now King over a Kingdom. Therefore, the event and the change of role is reflected in the new title that He is now given – ‘King of kings and Lord of lords:’
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords. Rev. 19:12, 13, 16.
However, because we do not fully understand the science of salvation, Jesus is given an additional name. A name that we are not privy to and only Jesus knows this name. In all probability, this name will have been given to mark an achievement accomplished by Christ. No doubt it falls into the category of, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now” (Jn. 16:12). In all probability, we will know the significance of this name after we enter heaven.
The Fate of the Wicked
After informing us, that Jesus was coming back for his wife, it only remains to inform us about what happens to the wicked. We already know from the sixth seal, that the wicked cannot abide the glory of His coming and they cry out for the mountains to fall on them. The account in Revelation, repeats and enlarges the destruction of the wicked:
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. Rev. 19:17-21.
There are two great suppers. The supper of the Lamb and the supper of God. If we refuse the invitation to the supper of the Lamb, by default, we become the ‘food’ in the great supper of God. This is consistent with teaching, going all the way back to the Garden of Eden – where mankind had a choice between two trees. Biblically, and spiritually it has always been a two-choice universe. The Bible teaches this lesson, in a myriad and plethora of different ways.
The bulk of the world makes the wrong choice. The beast and the false prophet and their multiples of minions, organise themselves to make war against the Jesus and His people. But the appearance of Christ with the armies of heaven, completely overwhelms them. They cannot even bear the glory that accompanies Him. It is said of God, that He is “a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29). Sin and God cannot co-exist in the same place – God’s glory consumes sin. This is why the wicked cannot stand in His presence. There is no war – only a slaughter.
The Beast and the False Prophet
The reference to the beast and the false prophet, is referring to the two chief components of Babylon – the beast from the sea and the beast from the earth. These are the two powers, as outlined in Revelation chapter 13, who are responsible for the deception of the world and the loss of eternal life for those who are spiritually drunk on ‘the wine of her fornication,’ her ‘sorcery’ and the ‘miracles.’ Therefore, the judgment against these two, is more severe than for others – this is why the lake of fire is mentioned as their final destination.
The beast is the Roman Catholic Church and the false prophet is the United States of America. We know the false prophet is America, because it specifically says that the false prophet “wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image” (Rev. 19:20). The same thing is said about the beast from the earth:
And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. Rev. 19:12-14
Just in case, we cannot see clearly enough, that the false prophet is the United States of America. Comparing Revelation 13 with 19 provides more information confirming that the false prophet must be America. In chapter 13 we are told that it is the land beast (America) that enforces the image of the beast on the world:
And he (America) had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Rev. 13:15-17.
America is the power that compels the world to accept the mark of the beast and the image to the beast, and the worship of the beast, in the last days. The same thing is said about the false prophet. Therefore, the land beast and the false prophet are the same power – America:
And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. Rev. 19:20.
It is reported that scholars have identified 1,845 references throughout the Bible (Old and New Testaments) to the second coming of Christ. It is therefore, one of the most important (if not the most important) theme and/or event documented in the Bible. In all likelihood, the Bible give such emphasis because, the second coming is the realization of all the hopes and aspirations of all mankind from the Garden of Eden to the end of time. Mankind has always been perplexed by the situation he finds himself in. Many a scholar and philosopher has laboured over the solution to man’s perplexity. No solution has ever been found, that excludes Jesus Christ. This is why the second coming of Jesus is so momentous in the history of the world, and indeed to the history of God’s entire universe. The Kingdom of Christ will finally be established and the chaos and misery and death in/of this world will be finished and gone forever.