Tom: I’d like to take a moment to prepare those who may be very touched by this program as my buddy Dave speaks about his desire to be called up, Raptured, before he died. We can so relate, as this world grows darker, to be united with the Lord.
You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. Thanks for joining us as we begin a new series of discussions with Dave Hunt about his book When Will Jesus Come? So, Dave, I could just start right off and say what’s the book about, and why did you write it? But I have to let our listeners in on a little insight into production here. Dave, what’s the criteria for this program? All you do is walk through the door and sit down, right?
Dave: That’s right.
Tom: So most of the time you have no idea what we’re going to do.
Tom: Right. So if I said to you, “So, Dave, what’s the book about?” You write so many books, you would say, “Tom, I can’t remember what this book is about,” and so on. But it’s a little better than that, right? We did take a little preview of it, you know, as you came in here earlier.
Dave: Well, the title kind of tips you off.
Tom: It does. And you, especially as the author, it tips you off as to what you wrote about.
Dave: When Will Jesus Come? Compelling Evidence for the Soon Return of Christ. So apparently, the author thinks it’s going to be soon. And I think the first chapter is titled, “I Will Come Again,” is that right?
Tom: That’s right, and let me, just to lay some groundwork here, let me read the verse that you begin with. This is the gospel of John 14, and I’m going to read verses 1-3:“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Dave: That’s a terrific statement by our Lord. This was at the Last Supper.
Tom: Dave, we get thrilled just reading this verse, but the disciples—I don’t think they understood it, did they?
Dave: No, they clearly didn’t, and there must have been a reason why He said, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” He was going to be, in a few hours, taken by a mob of soldiers and Judas, the betrayer. They would bind His hands behind His back and they would lead him off to be judged by the Rabbis, and then taken to Pilate to be crucified. And they could not understand this. They had seen Him still the wind and waves with a word; they had seen Him raise the dead—I mean, they thought they had! Was He some kind of a master magician, that He’d been tricking them? They’d seen Him feed 5,000 people with a few loaves and fishes. You know, all the miracles that He had done, opening the eyes of the blind, multitudes of sick people with every description of disease healed instantly, and suddenly He’s powerless! Now, He knew that that was coming, they didn’t, and so He said, “Don’t be troubled.” And then He tells them something else that would surely trouble them: “I’m going to go away.”
“Well, Lord, where are You going to go? We thought You were setting up Your throne. You’re going to take the throne of David, aren’t You? I mean, isn’t that why You are here?”
Tom: Isn’t that what the Messiah is all about?
Dave: Yeah, and this is what the Scripture said. And so He’s preparing them for the confusion and disillusionment, disappointment. You know, the two on the road to Emmaus, after His resurrection, they are saying, “Well, we thought He was the Messiah, but obviously He couldn’t have been, because they crucified Him. I mean, Messiah wasn’t going to get crucified, was He?”
And that’s when Jesus said: “You fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?”
So the first thing that I guess we talk about in the book, Tom, is that—what do we mean when we say, “Jesus is coming”? When will Jesus come? To do what, for whom, when, you know? And later in the book we get into the fact that there are two distinct comings, but the disciples did not understand that. And even John the Baptist—he’s an amazing character—it says he was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb. And God said to him, “The one upon whom you see the Spirit of God descending like a dove and abiding upon him, that’s the one! And he saw that when he baptized Jesus. John the Baptist proclaimed to the world, “Behold the Lamb of God that bears away the sin of the world!” But apparently, he didn’t know what that meant, because when he was in prison in Luke 7, he sent two of his disciples, asking, “Art thou he that should come, or look we for another?” Now, he worded the question very well: “…he that should come.” Well, apparently somebody was coming! Well, how would you know who He was when He came? Well, the prophets would tell you; they would identify Him.
Tom: Dave, is that troubling for us? Because, you know, in a sense, here you have John the Baptist filled with the Holy Spirit while he’s in the womb of his mother. He says not much before this, “The Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world.” Now, he is the cousin of Jesus, okay? He still had difficulty with this. Why? Because of the situation: there he is in prison. He doesn’t know that he’s going to have his head cut off. But still, the situation, circumstances don’t seem to be playing out the way he thought they should.
Dave: Well, you would think that he would think he ought to, at least, be prime minister or something under the King.
Tom: But he did say that Jesus must increase and he must decrease.
Dave: Oh, he understood that, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be in His kingdom, you know. And he thought that Jesus would take the throne right then.
Tom: I guess what I was saying is it’s hard for us to fathom, because we know so much. I mean, we know more just having the word of God than, certainly, John the Baptist did.
Dave: But John the Baptist certainly knew a lot, and I want to get back to what you said about being filled with the Holy Spirit and yet not understanding. But when Jesus came to him to be baptized, John the Baptist said, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and you come to me?” He knew that He had lived a perfect sinless life. I mean, he knew He was the Messiah. He called Him the “Lamb of God,” although he didn’t understand what that meant. And yet he doubts, because, being filled with the Holy Spirit—the Holy Spirit can inspire and did inspire His prophets to speak certain words, but Peter tells us that they didn’t understand what they were saying, okay? And you’re not perfect; you don’t have full understanding just because you’re filled with the Holy Spirit. Being filled with the Holy Spirit means that you can be used of God as He will guide and direct, and so forth.
Okay, so here we have…the disciples don’t understand, John didn’t understand. Why is that significant? Well, because there are a lot of people today who don’t understand. Now, as Christians, I think every Christian believes, at least, in two comings of Christ. Is it too early to get into that?
Tom: No, because you talk about it being the mystery of two kinds. I mean, it is a mystery.
Dave: Right. Yeah. Every Christian, no matter whether they’re Pre-Trib, Post-Trib, Mid-Trib, Amillennial, whatever they are—those terms might not be familiar to some people, but we’ll explain them later—every Christian believes in two comings. We certainly believe Christ came once, and we certainly believe what He said: “I will come again.” Now, the question lies with the Second Coming. What do we mean by that? And there are many people who think that simply means that He is going to come at the end of the great Tribulation and set up His millennial kingdom. And there are others who even think He is not going to come until the end of the Millennium, that we are going to establish this kingdom. And then when we have finally established it, and we have rules, some people who say—Tom, you’ve talked to some of these people who say, “Well, we’re in the Millennium now…”
Tom: They are called Preterists, Dave—unbelievable, I think!
Dave: Yeah. Well, Preterists, meaning they believe it all happened in the past, they would call us Futurists.
Tom: All of the prophesies that we find in Scripture—and again, there are degrees of Preterism, okay—but for the most part they would say up till about chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation, all of the prophesies previous to that have all taken place—unbelievable!
Dave: So we’re in the Millennium, and Satan is bound…
Tom: Things are getting better and better!
Dave: Yeah, we’re taking over, and then when we have finally taken over the world—this is amillennialism. Well, the amillennianist doesn’t even believe in a Millennium. I was talking about Post-Millennialism. Now it becomes confusing! But the amillennialist says there is no such thing as a Millennium, and certainly it isn’t a thousand years, although we have that term repeated in the Scriptures. Okay?
So what do we mean when we say Christ will come again? Now, we understand there is a little bit of a mystery involved here, and what did Christ mean? Well, He said here in John 14, “I will come again and receive you unto myself.” So apparently the coming He’s talking about, He’s going to come for His own. He’s not just talking to the disciples, but that would be all believers. And that would be what Paul referred to in 1 Thessalonians 4, beginning at verse 13, when He says: “I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep [that is, they’ve died; the body is asleep. They are not asleep] that you sorrow not even as others who have no hope.”
In our next newsletter coming out, I think—when is it?—in April, I have the quotable, you have the article. And I quote—well, he was my best friend, Ed McCully, martyred by the Auca Indians—and I give a quote from Ed. He’s talking about standing in a hut in the jungle watching an eight-year-old boy—you know, native—cough blood and breathe his last. And then he talks about the two days of weeping and wailing and beating themselves, and he says, in the quote we give, it reminded him—I mean, he understood for the first time what Paul was saying when he said, “I am writing this so that you won’t sorrow like those who have no hope.” These people had no hope.
So then Paul goes on and he says, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also who sleep in Jesus…” That is, their bodies are sleeping. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5 [that] when we die, it’s “absent from the body, present with the Lord.” So the soul and spirit is present with the Lord. He tells us in Philippians 1, he says, “I am just at a crossroads here. I don’t know which to choose. I really want to stay and be with you folks to help you, but I also want to be with Christ, and that’s far better.” Now, you know what he’s talking about, and he tells Timothy, “The time of my departure is at hand.” He knew he would be martyred, and so Paul is saying, “No matter how horrible my martyrdom will be, however they do me in, I just long for that, because I would be with Christ.”
Tom: “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” How could he say that except having this wonderful hope?
Dave: That’s right. So it could hardly mean that he is going to go into some sleep. There are a lot of people who teach soul sleep. Okay, so…
Tom: Or annihilation: that’s just when you’re dead, you’re dead.
Dave: Well, there are others that teach that, right. So those who sleep in Jesus, that is, their bodies are sleeping, and they are with him—absent from the body, present with the Lord, which Paul said, as you just quoted, is far better than being here in this life. Hardly true if you were in a long sleep and didn’t know anything or were unconscious, much less annihilated. Those who sleep in Jesus—that is, the souls and the spirits—will God bring with Him. “For this I say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord…” So some will be alive. I would hope to be one of them. But my father—I probably mentioned it several times—my father used to say, “I’m looking for the Upper-taker, not the undertaker.” But the undertaker got him. The undertaker may get me. I’d rather go with the “Upper-taker.” Okay?
But anyway, those of us who are alive and remain will not prevent—that is, we won’t perceive; we’re not going to interfere with this process. Those who sleep—the dead in Christ will rise first. Someone facetiously says, “They’ve got six feet farther to go, so they get a head start.” Not quite true. But anyway, they will rise first, and then we, together with them, “will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Now, Tom, it sounds like when Christ comes at that point, He doesn’t come to this earth. Now we read of another coming, Zechariah 14: His feet will stand upon the Mount of Olives, and that mount will split, and so forth. This is when He returns to rescue Israel in the midst of Armageddon. But there it very clearly says, “He brings all the saints from heaven with him.” And Jude even—he says, “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied saying, ‘Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.’” Well, it means millions and millions. So there is a coming when Christ returns to this earth, His feet touch the Mount of Olives, remember?
I love to go through the Bible, because it just all fits together, you couldn’t do this with a computer. You’ve got different men writing this centuries apart, thousands of years apart, some of them. And you remember the two angels in Acts 1, standing there when the disciples who are just looking up longingly. Jesus is taken away from them. The angels say, “You men of Galilee, why stand you here gazing into the sky?”
“Well, the Christ consciousness, you know, that’s just leaving is going to come back and it will be a new age, and Christ consciousness in everyone.” No, not what it says at all; not talking about reincarnation. The angels say, “This same Jesus shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go.” Okay? So there’s a time when His feet touch the Mount of Olives and He brings all the saints from heaven with Him!
Now, Tom, you don’t have to be very brilliant, very intelligent at all to realize if He brings the saints from heaven with Him, He must have taken them up there. I don’t think they went up in UFOs or rocket ships or anything like that. That’s the Rapture! The Rapture, He comes for His saints; the Second Coming, He comes with His saints. So Jesus said at this point in that first verse there, John 14, “I’m going to go away and prepare a place for you, and if I go away, I will come again. You can count on it, guys! Don’t be troubled, don’t let your heart be troubled. I am going to go away, and you can be certain if I go away, I’m going for a purpose. I’m going to prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” Now, that doesn’t sound like the Second Coming when He comes to rescue Israel. He doesn’t catch anybody up. “I’m going to take you to my Father’s house of many mansions.” Tom, I don’t know why people argue about this; it’s pretty clear what Jesus said.
Tom: Well, Dave, one of the problems, and you point it out in this chapter 1, “I Will Come Again,” that it’s truth by implication. In other words, you have to be familiar with the Bible, at least, and then begin to see how these elements all fit together. We’re talking about the Rapture here, but even going back to the first coming of Christ, that was a mystery because it was by implication. Could you just kind of elaborate on that?
Dave: Yeah. I often say, “Well, how would those people back in those days, or how would anyone reading the Old Testament…” Let’s say Jewish people today: how would they know—and they don’t even believe that Jesus is the Messiah; they don’t believe He has already come—how would a Rabbi, for example, reading the Old Testament in Hebrew, how would he understand what was said? Isaiah 53…now of course the Rabbis deny that that’s about the Messiah, okay?
Tom: It’s an amazing denial, Dave. It’s clear as it can be! But again, it’s by implication.
Dave: Well, they deny that because it says the Messiah will be killed, you see? How could it be the Messiah? Isaiah 53 says, “He will see his seed, he will prolong his days. The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” But Isaiah 53 also says, “He is cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people is he stricken.”
Now, if you went to Isaiah:9:6-7, it says: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders [so you know he’s the Messiah], and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God…” Whoops! Now the Rabbis have more trouble. The Messiah is God? And it goes on and it says: “the Everlasting Father…” the Father of eternity? Okay, and it goes on and it says in verse 7, “Of his kingdom and peace there will be no end.” Well, it’s got to be the Messiah, but this is really confusing. He’s God, too? But then if you try to go back to Isaiah 53, and fit it in there: “Of his kingdom and peace there will be no end.”
But wait a minute! It says, “He’s wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace is upon him…with his stripes we are healed…he is cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people is he stricken.” Now, how can you get killed for the sins of your people and at the same time establish a kingdom that has no end? Now we’ve got a problem.
What you are driving at, Tom, by implication, is the only way you could understand that would be there must be two comings! And the first time, the Bible says He comes as the Lamb. The second time He comes as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. First time He comes to die for our sins, to be mocked and crucified, hated, despised, rejected by His own people. John writes, “He came unto his own and his own received him not.”
And Isaiah 53 says, “Yes, he is despised and rejected of men…a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. We hid our faces from him….” Okay? Well, when He comes again, and He brings His saints with Him, Revelation 19 says it’s the armies of heaven, and He comes to execute judgment, to destroy the Antichrist, to destroy the wicked. And, Tom, there is no way you could get around it.
Now the same thing is true in the New Testament. You cannot explain, you cannot understand what the Bible, what the New Testament says about what people call the Second Coming of Christ without realizing there must be two events. Because, on the one hand, He comes at a time of peace. No, He comes at a time of war. On one hand He comes when no one would expect Him. You’ve got that right in Matthew 24. Verse  says, “At such an hour as you think not the Son of man cometh.” But if you went back to, like, verse 33 or 34, somewhere around in there, it says, “When all these signs are fulfilled, then you will know he is coming.” Even Antichrist knows He’s coming. How can He come at a time when nobody knows He’s coming, but any idiot would know He’s coming? There must be two different events involved in the Second Coming. I don’t think you can possibly escape it.