Jesus Christ “will appear a second time,” but “not to deal with sin.”
Analysis of Hebrews 9:28
A hammer that breaks to pieces all the doctrines of:
“A silent Second Coming of Christ, a secret Rapture,
Left Behind, the Millennium after the Second Coming,
a Third Coming of Christ,” etc.
“Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer
that breaks a rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:29
These words of Jeremiah are cited because, while the statement in Hebrews 9:28
is so simple and might not seem outstanding to not a few, when explored and
applied it lays bare the fallacies of some of the most popular religious
doctrines, worldwide, of the 20th and 21st centuries. It also highlights
some of the beautiful teachings of the true gospel that, when
followed, bring salvation, hope, and joy to the appreciative soul.
The Rapturites and the Holy Spirit
I use “Rapturite” as an apt name to precisely and concisely identify the person who believes:
In “the silent secret Second Coming of Christ as a thief in the night.”
In “the secret rapture of the disciples of Christ who believe in the secret rapture and are, as they judge, prepared for it.”
That “those who are not prepared for the secret rapture will be left behind alive on earth.”
That “the secret rapture is imminent.”
That “the church will not experience the great tribulation.”
That “the Antichrist rises up after the secret rapture.”
That “three and a half years of peace come after the secret rapture followed by three and half years of war, which culminate in Armageddon.”
That “Christ then comes down to earth to literally reign over the nations on earth with an iron rod.”
That “the Millennium transpires after the Second Coming of Christ.”
That “there will be a Second Phase to the Second Coming, or a Third Coming, even a Fourth Coming,” etc.
Since there of so many of these doctrines, with differing variations and combinations, the term “Rapturite” seems to me appropriate for the concise identification of the hundreds of millions throughout the world who believe at least a major part of them.
Do these men and women, plus a great multitude like them, really have the true, biblical knowledge and understanding necessary to preach and teach accurately on the doctrines of the Millennium, the Second Coming of Christ, the saints
“caught up in the clouds,” the “great ordeal” or “great tribulation,” the “new heavens and a new earth,” the timeline of events during the “little time,” the sequence of events on “the day of the Lord” that “will come like a thief in the night,” and other related subjects? Oh, they claim
Renowned Rapturites of the 20th and 21st centuries
“divine inspiration,” but are not renowned as really assiduous, dedicated students of the Scriptures. We shall see that their “divinely inspired pronouncements, prophecies, and writings” disagree with plain teachings revealed by the Holy Spirit in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament.
The Holy Spirit inspired Hebrews 9:27-28. Meditating on its teachings, I conclude they lay bare the falseness of the so-called “inspired prophecies, visions, dreams, and theological-doctrinal projections” of the Rapturites. Esteemed student of the Sacred Scriptures, I cordially invite you to objectively evaluate the following exposition.
Hebrews 9:27-28 and Revelation 19:11-14
“And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:27-28
Revelation 19:11-14 is a powerful, rhetorical word picture of what is first seen in the “heaven opened” when Christ appears “a second time.”
“Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.” Revelation 19:11-14
Analysis of Hebrews 9:27-28
A. Christ “…will appear a second time…” the text says, not mentioning nor even intimating “a third time to initiate the Millennium,” nor “a fourth time to put an end to all things material and physical that have been created.”
R. Michael Hands, Th.D., the self-appointed “Prophet of the Last Days,” teaches “Four Comings of Christ,” in his article “Any Minute, Second Coming Error” available on the Internet. He also teaches that only fully prepared Pentecostals will be saved and that the members of other churches and religions will be lost.
B. The appearance of Christ “a second time” is synonymous with his Second Coming on “the day of the Lord” that “will come like a thief in the night”. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1-11. Let us keep in mind the adverbial phrase “a second time” during the entire course of this study, especially the adjective “second.” The Scriptures never speak of a “third time” or a “fourth time,” not by implication or any other way.
C. The text says very explicitly that this Second Time-Second Coming will not be “to deal with sin.”
1. Now then, Jesus Christ, in his First Coming, did indeed “deal with sin,” fully and victoriously, in a most personal way through the temptations, hardships, sicknesses, persecutions, and death by crucifixion he suffered, thus becoming a propitiation for the sins of all human beings who confess faith in him, repent of their sins, obey his command to be baptized “for the forgiveness of sins,” and rise up from the waters “to walk in newness of life.” John 3:1-7; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-47; Romans 6:3-7
a) He became “sin” to save, potentially, all human beings. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21. Very definitely, Christ dealt with sin during his earthly ministry!
b) He became a “Savior” to rescue us from sin and the danger of eternal condemnation. “And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.” 1 John 4:14
c) During the Common Era (Christian Age for Christians), Jesus Christ is the “great high priest” of the church he himself built. Hebrews 4:8; Matthew 16:18. He has been “in every respect… tested as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15. Having “learned obedience through what he suffered" (Hebrews 5:8), Christ has “been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 5:10. As such, he is able “to sympathize with our weaknesses.” Hebrews 4:15
In his function as the “great high priest” of the church on earth, obviously, Christ deals with sin. This reality is highlighted in Hebrews 9:11-12.
“But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) [spiritual tabernacle], he entered once for all into the Holy Place [church, kingdom], not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.”
d) During the Common Era, Christ serves his people as an “advocate.” “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1. In his role as “advocate,” the Lord Jesus deals with sin. If any Christian “does sin,” when he repents and asks to be pardoned, Christ, his “advocate,” intercedes for him/her before God the Father.
e) During the Common Era, Christ is the only “mediator” between God and men. “There is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human.” 1 Timothy 2:5. He occupies this position because he “gave himself a ransom for all.” 1 Timothy 2:6. When Christ acts as “mediator”, he necessarily deals with the sins committed by his followers on earth, for it is in his name, there being “no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved,” (Acts 4:12) that the repentant Christian petitions for his infractions “of the law” to be forgiven. 1 John 3:4
The blows of the biblical hammer are dealt!
2. So then, during his earthly ministry, Jesus Christ dealt in various ways with sin. Conversely, the very opposite takes place when Christ appears “a second time” for he will thus appear “…not to deal with sin.” Reiterating: …not to deal with sin.” Therefore, from the day of his Second Coming forward, Jesus Christ will definitely not be dealing with sin! This fact means that from the day of his Second Coming forward…
a) Christ will no longer be “sin” so that human beings “might become the righteousness of God.”
b) He will no longer be acting as “Savior.” “…not to deal with sin” means this very thing: That he will no longer be saving from sin. He will not “appear a second time” to sacrifice himself again, nor to continue offering salvation to those who are surprised still loaded down with sin when the “day of the Lord” comes “like a thief in the night.” When he appears “a second time,” the time of grace and salvation will have concluded for once and all time. Christ simply and plainly does not come “a second time” to “deal with sin.”
(1) The last words of Hebrews 9:28 read: “…but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” Christ "will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”
However, there is no contradiction whatsoever between “not to deal with sin” and the clause “to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” Let us consider some relevant parameters.
Those “who are eagerly waiting for him” do so because they have believed his gospel, having “purified” their “souls by” their “obedience to the truth…” 1 Peter 1:22. Consequently, they had already been saved from their sins, for “he who believes and is baptized will be saved.” Mark 16:16. When, then, Christ appears “a second time”, they receive “the outcome of” their “faith, the salvation of” their “souls” (1 Peter
1:9), that is, “eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:9) or “eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:12
This “eternal salvation” is bestowed upon “those who have done Good,” for they “will come out” of the tombs “to the resurrection of life” (John 5:28-29) when Christ appears in his Second Coming. First, the dead in Christ are resurrected, and then the just alive on earth on the day of his Second Appearance will be transformed, each one receiving a new spiritual, glorified body. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
The entire process of coming to the point of receiving “eternal salvation,” immortality, and “entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ… richly provided” (2 Peter 1:11) is not completed until each just one is clothed, by means of the resurrection, with his new imperishable, glorious, powerful “spiritual body.” 1 Corinthians 15:42-44
(2) Therefore, it is surely evident that the expression “to save those who eagerly waiting for him” does in no way contradict the clause “not to deal with sin.” Those “who eagerly” wait for the Lord have made “every effort to support their faith” and have been “eager to confirm” their “call and election,” not forgetting “the cleansing of past sins,” nor being “ineffective and unfruitful,” but rather striving to acquire and perfect divine virtues and powers. 2 Peter 1:5-11
When Christ appears “a second time” they do not need to be pardoned and saved again. Now, they will be awarded “the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day” writes the apostle Paul, adding: “and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8
Does not the unmistakable, perfect harmony of all the teaching of these New Testament texts shine forth marvelously? Surely another solid reason for believing in their divine inspiration. How could any mortal, or group of mortals, write on such far reaching, profound subjects encompassing material, physical, and spiritual realms, consistently agreeing with each other? Please think about it soberly.
c) When Christ appears “a second time, not to deal with sin,” his function as “great high priest” will no longer be the same because he will no longer be dealing “with sin.” He will come “a second time” to be “glorified by his saints and to be marvelled at on that day among all who have believed…” 2 Thessalonians 1:10. Since both the “saints” who have died in the Lord and those who are transformed without experiencing physical death on the day Christ appears “a second time” are themselves glorified and their eternal salvation is absolutely assured, they will no longer have any “weaknesses” whatsoever for which Christ, as high priest, might “sympathize.” The “second death” will not have power over them. They will never sin again!
d) Since “his saints” are thus glorified, sin will no longer have any rule over them. Repeating: They will never sin again! Consequently, it will not be necessary for Christ to continue his role as “advocate.” As a matter of fact, after his Second Coming, the Lord will have laid aside is robe of “advocate” and put on that of “Righteous Judge!”
e) Neither will he need to continue as “mediator,” the reasons being the same as those stated in c) and d).
D. However, according to the doctrines of the Rapturites, Jesus Christ would have to continue dealing “with sin” after his appearing “a second time” because they teach…
1. That “people who are not prepared for the rapture as they interpret it” will be “left behind to continue living on the earth, and not only dwelling on planet Earth but also continuing to commit sin.”
2. That “the Antichrist arises on earth after the Second Coming of Christ, first imposing peace for three and a half years, then provoking wars for three and a half years.
3. That “Christ will then set foot on planet Earth, confronting the Antichrist together with all his followers and forcing the nations to submit to his will, reigning over them with an iron rod.”
4. That “after the Millennium, Christ will come a third time, according to some, and even a fourth time, say others, to put an end to sin once and for all.”
5. Thus, as per the doctrines of the Rapturites, Christ would most certainly be dealing “with sin,” and a lot of it, after his Second Coming. Clearly, the Rapturites are openly and gravely in conflict with the teachings of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, and God the Father.
After the Second Coming of Christ
“not to deal with sin,” WHAT?
E. Given that Christ will “appear a second time, not to deal with sin,” I categorically affirm that after his Second Coming….
1. There will not be “seven years, divided in equal parts of three and a half years, first of peace, then of war.” They base their interpretation on the “seventy weeks” prophecy revealed by the angel Gabriel to Daniel (Daniel 9:20-27), particularly that of the “one week” mentioned in verse 27.
Commenting briefly on this text, that prophecy was given to the earthly people of Israel. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the prophecies on the Second Coming of Christ. “Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city: to finish the transgression…” Daniel 9:24. For what people and what city? For the earthly people of Israel and for the earthly city of Jerusalem!
Now then, Israel according to the flesh ceased to be the elect people of God when Christ died on the cross. “Through the cross,” both Israelites and Gentiles are reconciled “to God in one body,” that is, in the church established by Christ. Ephesians 2:14-16; Matthew 16:18. Given this mighty and glorious truth, why should great numbers of Pentecostals and Evangelicals be obsessed with the present-day, earthly nation of Israel and the supposed “restoration of the Jewish temple in the present-day city of earthly Jerusalem?” To me, their focus is completely distorted and unbiblical. In metaphorical terms, the church faithful to the Lord is the true “Israel of God” during the entire Common Era. Galatians 6:16
2. There will not be a “Millennium” on the earth after the Second Appearance of the Lord, which is “not to deal with sin.” The biblical “thousand years,” popularly known today as the “Millennium,” transpires before the “little while” identified in Revelation 20:3 and before the Second Coming of Christ. All during the biblical Millennium people are free to sin. The one huge difference is that, generally speaking, the rulers of nations are not deceived by the Devil to the degree of persecuting the true church. They legislate freedom of religion, not torturing nor killing Christians for their beliefs and practices.
3. Every doctrine, modern prophecy or interpretation of biblical prophecies that does not harmonize with these simple, elemental truths should be classified, so I firmly believe, as erroneous teaching, deceiving, and dangerous to souls, and their propagators should be held as “conceited, understanding nothing… bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.” 1 Timothy 5:3-5
Did Jesus Christ appear “a Second Time”
in the year 70 CE?
F. “…not to deal with sin” and the theory of the Second Coming of Christ in the year 70 of the first century EC.
The correct understanding of the expression “will appear a second time, not to deal with sin” also completely disproves, so I reason, the doctrine that says: “Christ appeared a second time in the year 70 of the first century EC, fulfilling all the prophecies of the New Testament on the Second Coming. He punished Israel, destroying their great
temple and the city of Jerusalem, thus opening the way for the full establishment of the spiritual Kingdom of God.”
Supposing that the Lord did thus come “a second time” in the year 70 CE, how can “not to deal with sin” be harmonized with a Second Coming precisely to castigate a specific people, namely the Israelites, for their obstinate incredulity, but also to leave the survivors alive on earth to continue sinning, plus all the Gentiles to do the same, from there on to the end of the universe and time?
It is up to the Year Seventy proponents to explain that dilemma. Could it conceivably be that Christ came in the year 70 “not to deal with sin,” then, once Israel was duly punished, take up dealing “with sin” again?
And how would we interpret what happened to Israel in the years 132 to 135 EC when that people suffered an even greater punishment, in terms of deaths, starvation, and expulsion from their city and land for long centuries afterwards? Did Christ come “a third time” then?
While it might be said that “the Lord came providentially against Israel both in 70 EC and in 135 EC, he will appear literally (personally) only one more time! “...a second time.” LITERALLY and PERSONALLY; this is the key term. “…will appear,” literally, “a second time, not to deal with sin.” He will not again so appear on any other occasion. Is that not exactly what the Holy Spirit teaches about the Second coming of Christ? Only one literal, personal Second Coming!
This truth is not changed at all by the fact that God and Christ may “come,” “appear,” or “manifest themselves” by means of governments, armed forces, particular groups, or nations of people to accomplish their purposes among human beings. This kind of “coming” is spoken of in many texts of the Old Testament. Isaiah 13:6; 26:21; 31:4; 35:4; Malachi 3:5
They do not even know the conditions
for pardon established by Jesus Christ
in the Great Commission!
G. Listening to or reading and analyzing the typical messages of the Rapturites, we quickly see that they do not even correctly teach the conditions for pardon of sins set forth in the Great Commission of the Lord. He said: “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news
to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:15-16
Notwithstanding such clear doctrine, the Rapturites eliminate baptism “for the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 2:38; 22:16) from the Great Commission, alleging that pardon of sins is granted by God the Father and Christ the Son in the instant a person “makes a profession of faith” or “prays the prayer of the sinner for pardon.” No verse in the Bible supports these doctrines. They contradict every relevant commandment and example in the New Testament.
Well then, if they have not learned or refuse to accept the fundamental purpose God has legislated for baptism, with what reason would we expect them to teach divine truth on more advanced subjects such as the Millennium, the Second Coming of Christ “not to deal with sin,” “the day of the Lord that will come like a thief in the night,” the “white throne” judgment, the “little time” of Revelation 20 and similar subjects?
In this our 21st century, as we and all the world draw closer and closer to the culmination of God´s plan for the universe and mankind, it is high time that human beings who are seriously, diligently searching for God learn to objectively and carefully “test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4.1. Indeed, into all our world of the 21st century!
Time to not allow themselves to be cajoled and flimflammed anymore by charismatics who pontificate stridently, insistently, and incessantly on a “secret rapture,” “left behind,” “silent Second Coming of Christ as a thief in the night,” “the antichrist and the seven years,” “no tribulation for the church,” “Millennium after the appearance of Christ “a second time, not to deal with sin,” etc. Tripped up and tied up by their own baseless interpretations, they assiduously hunt with large nets great multitudes of incautious, gullible souls who, once captured, are used to enrich their smart, covetous captors. Ezequiel 13, Jeremiah 23
If you, beloved reader, agree with this analysis of “will appear, a second time” but “not to deal with sin,” however, find yourself in a church or movement that teaches the opposite, may I respectfully encourage you to take the necessary steps to make the pertinent change in your spiritual life and journey. Not to please or follow me, nor any other person, but to join souls obedient to God’s truth who will be saved eternally because they have prepared themselves biblically for the “new heavens and the new earth.”
May the Lord enlighten your heart for salvation, as well as my own and that of all who “love the truth.”
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12