"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VI No.X Pg.12-13
May 1944

"The Second Coming"

T. B. Wilkinson

There is nothing better established, or more universally believed than the fact that Christ is coming again in person. This coming is mentioned by about every book, and almost every chapter, in the New Testament, but only Paul, as I remember, calls it a second coming. Of course, since He had been here once, when He comes again that will be his second coming, and there would be little need for the writers to so inform us.

But no writer has ever mentioned a third coming, or return of the Lord to this earth, and we conclude therefore with Paul that when He comes the second time that will be the end for this world.

But we are told that he is coming to reign upon the earth during the millennium. Is it assumed that he cannot reign upon the earth without being upon it in person? He can reign upon the earth much better from His throne in heaven than from a throne on some part of this earth. He could not be present in all parts of the earth at the same time. When He would be in Palestine he would not be present in New York, or in London, nor as close to either as He would be from His throne in heaven. Both Jesus and the Father have been transacting business on the earth for six thousand years without being here in person, and I see no possible reason why they could not so continue through a millennium. To argue that Jesus cannot reign upon earth unless He is present upon it in person is to limit His power.

Rev. 20:1-5 does not mention a personal return of Jesus to the earth, nor a personal residence in Palestine. He will reign upon the earth, but He is reigning upon the earth now, and is not here in person. For almost two thousand years He has reigned on the earth, as well as over beings in heaven, and He has not been here in person. Angels, authorities, principalities, and powers, were made subject to Him when He ascended on high, and He told the apostles that all authority in heaven and on earth was given into His hands. Paul even includes things under the earth, and said they were made subject to Him.

There is nothing in Rev. 20:1-5 which limits the reign of the Lord to a thousand years, the limit is on the part of the saints. They will reign with Him a thousand years, but that does not limit His reign. When men speak of the thousand years reign of Christ on the earth they speak without Bible authority. His reign is an everlasting reign, and His kingdom that which shall have no end. The end belongs to this world, and to man, the Lord is not limited.

There is nothing in the passage that indicates a material change in the saints when rightly understood. The change was a spiritual one, and it was in the soul, and not in the body. Neither does the prophet say that any individual saint lived a thousand years, and reigned that long. The English people have lived and reigned a thousand years in the British Isles, but no individual Englishman has lived all of that time, or reigned a thousand years. It was the souls of the saints which John saw, and souls are resurrected by the gospel. Souls die spiritually because of sin, and they are made alive by the gospel in conversion.

John did not say he saw a resurrection at the beginning of the millennium, that idea has to be read into the passage. What he did say is that he saw souls during the millennium, and they lived and reigned with Christ, and this is the first resurrection. He does not say they had received a first resurrection, he said, This is the first resurrection. That is, the saints lived and reigned with Christ, and this is the first resurrection. And they lived and reigned just like the English people live and reign in the British Isles, by succession.

This is a joint reign that John saw, cooperative reign, we might call it, Christ and His saints reigning in the world through the gospel, which the saints preach, and live before the world. The Lord gave the gospel to the church and through the gospel the saints exercise all the powers which belongs to them as saints. If they exercise worldly dominion they do as citizens of some worldly government. The Lord ordained civil governments for man's good.

"I saw thrones and they sat upon them and judgment was given unto them." What kind of thrones did John see? Material thrones? It is possible, and if they were, then material men sat upon them and ruled. Such thrones belong to man in civil governments. He did not say the saints were upon the thrones. They may have been, but if so they were civil rulers and ruled as men, citizens in the civil government under which they lived.

"They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." This is the first resurrection. Then this must have been a spiritual resurrection, not a literal one that John saw. The same prophet tells about the literal resurrection in the same chapter, just six verses below this. "I saw the dead small and great stand for God And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell delivering up the dead which were in them, and they were judged every man according to his works." Here the prophet describes a literal resurrection which he saw and it differs very much to that spiritual resurrection he told about in the other passage.

In that one he saw only the souls live and reign, but in this he saw the bodies because these dead came from the sea. In this resurrection, the first one, he saw no judgment, they just lived and reigned; but in the last one he saw the judgment, and the books were opened. Also, in this last resurrection he saw the great white throne and Him that sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away; but in the first one he saw thrones, and those who sat upon them, a thing that is not hard to find in this world, even now. An imaginary theory can make a man see much more than John saw, and that is the trouble with these brethren, they must make what John said he saw correspond with the theory.

When Jesus comes the second time it will not be to inaugurate a reign upon the earth, but to end one. He began his reign on the day of Pentecost. Paul tells us about that time and says: He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet. Then cometh the end when He shall have put down all rule and authority, and shall have delivered the kingdom up to God even the Father. That will be when He comes the second time, the dead will then be raised and judged, and that is the end so far as any reign of Jesus in this world is concerned.

That will be His second coming, and also His last coming, the only one our Bible knows anything about. It will be for the judgment, and the dead will be raised and brought forth to the judgment, and a final separation made at that time, all New Testament writers are clear on that point. He is not coming to set up a kingdom, but to surrender one back to the Father. (1 Cor. 15-24-28).

There can be no place for a third coming of Jesus in the Bible accounts of the final judgment. When he comes the second time He will make a clean sweep, and finish His work in this world. There will be nothing left for Him to come back to, or for Him to do at some future date. If He should come at the beginning of the millennium that would be His second coming. Then if He came again at the close of the millennium for the judgment that would be a third coming, one more than any Bible writer has ever mentioned. The conclusion then is that He will not come the second time until he comes for the judgment. Therefore, He will not be here in person during the time called the millennium. He will reign from His throne in heaven where He is head over all things both in heaven and on earth, and on the same throne from which He has already reigned for almost two thousand years.


We are told that Paul, in at least two passages, bears out the idea of a first and second resurrection, in both of which righteous people will have a part. There is nothing in either passage cited that indicates such an idea. It is also said that one of these resurrections comes at the beginning of the millennium, and the other at the close, and there will also be wicked people in the last resurrection.

Those who thus argue already had the idea in their mind, and must make a vivid use of the imagination to find the least particle of support for it in the passages. Even the great Doctor Brents seems to have fallen for this error, and devotes an entire page in his valuable book to bolster it. Doctor Brents was a great writer, and a great thinker, but his arguments on this point are weak.

I Thes. 4-16-17 is the first passage. "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, and the voice of an arch angel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall be raised first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air."

"The dead in Christ shall rise first." They have to cut the passage off at this point, and ignore the rest of it, to get their idea of a first resurrection, and that is childish and puny. Paul did not cut it off there. What is he talking about? First of what? First of the two classes. The apostle is writing about the dead in Christ, and we who are alive and remain. The dead will be raised before the living are changed, then the two will rise up together to meet the Lord in the air, and so to ever be with the Lord. "We which are alive and remain shall not prevent or go before, those who are dead, or asleep. The dead in Christ will be raised first, then the living will be changed, and the two classes will arise to meet the Lord at one and the same time.

I am surprised that any man who can read simple English can read this passage and hold that it implies two resurrections. It is inexcusable, and no man will do it who is not blinded by a theory. There are no thousand years intervening between the two events. The dead will be raised and the living will be changed, but they go up to meet the Lord at the same moment. Let Paul explain it himself, if some further explanation is needed. "Behold I show you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at, the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed". (1 Cor 15:51-52) This is the same trump, the same resurrection, and the same change of living saints, and it is at the last trump. Two events take place, the dead are raised, the living are changed. And the dead were raised first, and this is the plain teaching from both passages.

But they make a worse blunder on the next passage 1Cor. 15:23. "But every man in his own order, Christ the first fruits, afterwards they that are Christs at His coming". Who are the first fruits? They answer that it must be the saints raised at the beginning of the millennium. Then who are the ones who will be Christ's at his coming? And will he not come before the millennium? Yes, they say the Lord will come before the millennium, and since the ones who have part in the last resurrection will be his at his coming they will be his when he comes for the millennium.

Yes, they say he will be here all through the millennium, therefore, he comes before it, and these last saints will be given him at that time. Then you must have the first fruits raised too quick, before he comes, and before the millennium. Where did we learn about that? If he came at the time the first fruits were raised, and then came back for those who are his at his coming, a thousand years later, or at the end of the millennium, that makes too many comings. The Bible only mentions one return of the Lord to this earth, a second coming. This third coming is not mentioned by any of the inspired writers, and must be a bad guess.

But why speculate when Paul tells us that Christ himself was the first fruits of them that slept, that is of the dead. (See verse 20). If Christ is the first fruits, and Paul said He was, then where do these brethren get these millions of saints they assume will be raised at the beginning of the millennium, and a thousand years before he comes the second time?

Christ was the first fruits of them that sleep, and the saints will be given to Him at His coming. What coming? His second coming, the only personal coming the New Testament mentions and in the two passages the apostle tells us just how it will come about. The dead will be raised first, then the living will be changed, and together they will rise up to meet the Lord in the air.

The saints obtain a first resurrection of a spiritual nature and they are a kind of first fruits to the Lord when they are converted. "Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures" (Jas. 1:18). The saints are first fruits now, not that they obtained a literal resurrection, but are partakers of His resurrection when they are raised with Him from the baptismal grave.

It has always been a strange thing to me why brethren will split hairs, and speculate over obscure passages of Scripture when there are so many passages on the very subject that are not obscure. "The hour is coming in which all that are in the their graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth, they that have gone good to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation." There is nothing obscure in that passage, nothing a speculator can twist, or wrest, and there are numbers of passages of the same report. In fact, every passages that speaks of the judgment has both the good and the bad before the Lord in the same day, and at the same hour, and it is called the last day, and the last hour, in terms we cannot misunderstand.