Starting with His birth as baby Jesus, born to Mary and Joseph, there are three biblical references to Jesus coming to earth – “in the name of Jesus” (as Christ, the Messiah). We believe there were other appearances, where God walked the earth, in the Old Testament, what are called “theophanies”, but those were never “in the name of Jesus“.
Theophanies, in the Old Testament, we believe were episodes where Jesus made “in-person” appearances, “incarnations”, or “Christophanies” – often as “The Angel of the Lord”.
To me these “incarnations” show our God as intimately involved in His creation. He most certainly did not big bang us into existence and flit away to other imaginings of His. No. He meticulously planned it all, ingeniously created us with great care — and is personally engaged. He went as far as to die on our behalf.
With these Old Testament appearances on earth, however, God did not appear in the name of Jesus. Big difference. FOR MORE:
- See, Theophanies in the Old Testament, by Tim Chaffey; on AnswersInGenesis.org.
- Also, at Crosswalk: 10 Times Jesus Showed Up in the Old Testament and What They Reveal, by Jennifer Slattery. See her blog: JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com
The Bible records that the first time Jesus came to earth – in the name of “Jesus” – was when He was born as a baby, Jesus of Nazareth. And there are two other days, coming soon, when Jesus will return — again.
1. FIRST Return of Christ: to Rapture us into the air.
2 Thessalonians 2;verse 2: “…the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to meet Him”
2. SECOND Return of Christ: He comes in His glory and power with all His angels as The Judge
The Chronological View is another perspective. There are only three instances of being here “in the name of Jesus the Messiah”, starting with His miraculous birth as baby Jesus, in a manger, in poverty. We can look at this as 3 times Jesus comes to earth:
- First: When He came into the world as Baby Jesus – He died and rose again for the forgiveness of our sins: Luke 2; John 3:16; Luke 23; Luke 24.
- Second: When He comes to Rapture us in the air – so we escape His wrath in the Great Tribulation: 2 Thessalonians 2;verse 2: “…the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to meet Him.”
- Third: When He Comes in all His glory with all His angels to Judge the world – after the Great Tribulation: Matthew 25:verses 31-46.
Let’s recap: Jesus comes to earth three times
First: Baby Jesus. Jesus already came “down” to earth as Baby Jesus. He lived for 33 years here, and accomplished His mission. Totally verifiable historical evidences verify this first appearance on earth. His mission: He died and rose again for the forgiveness of our sins: Luke 2; John 3:16; Luke 23; Luke 24.
Second: Rapture. He will come in the air to Rapture us up, along with His saints who died previously throughout all of history. He will not actually set foot on the earth (this time), but He technically does “come back” in person.
Apparently His plan for this Rapture is to have us escape His wrath against evil. He takes us away before His great wrath is poured out on the earth in the Great Tribulation: 2 Thessalonians 2;verse 2: “…the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to meet Him.”
If you are born again – there is no need to go out anywhere looking for Him to rapture you. Life is very uncertain, but if life does go on, then, without warning, we will be suddenly taken-up into the sky for this amazing event – “our gathering together to meet Him” in the air. Keep doing good. Be ready for His appearing.
Third: Judgement. He will come in all His glory with all His angels to Judge the world – after the Great Tribulation. Many call this “the Second Coming”.
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. – Matthew 25:31-33
Two Groups – All Peoples.
After the Great Tribulation, Christ will separate all peoples into just two groups. See Matthew 25:34-41…
On His right, “You who are blessed” These inherit the kingdom of God.
34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom”
On His left, “accursed ones” These go to hell with the devil and his angels.
41 “…Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels”
Jesus said this about us in these two groups that He separates:
“46 These will go away into eternal punishment,
but the righteous into eternal life.”
The world is being ripened, so to speak. God controls the times. And the times of the end are near, ready for God’s plan to come into fruition. The signs of His return are plain to see. They are happening to warn us, harbingers of imminent events on our horizon.
4 I have told you these things [now],
so that when their time comes,
you will remember that
I told you about them….
– John 16:4
In which group will you be on That Day? You sure? We’re talkin’ eternal here. This earth time is all the time we get – to decide our fate.
“I am the [only] Way [to God]
and the [real] Truth
and the [real] Life;
no one comes to the Father
but through Me.