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The King Returns To Conquer – Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
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February 20, 2024 1:00 am

The King Returns To Conquer – Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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February 20, 2024 1:00 am

The return of Jesus in glory will demand the attention of every eye on earth. History will culminate in one spectacular appearance. In this message from Zechariah 14, Pastor Lutzer shows the results of Christ’s bodily return. What will be happening on earth when Jesus appears?

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. The return of Jesus in glory will rivet the attention of every eye on earth. History will culminate in one spectacular appearance that ends millennia of wrongs and ushers in a thousand years of peace after all the enemies of Christ have been vanquished.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, the Bible does say that every eye will see him when he returns. That must mean an extraordinary sight in the skies above the whole earth. You know, Dave, even as you ask your question, the image that comes to my mind is that of a play where the curtain is closed and then suddenly the curtain opens. And there you have the manifestation of how things are going to end. You're right. Every eye shall see him.

How can that be? Well, we don't know exactly, but certainly it's not difficult to visualize it. If the coming of Jesus Christ begins slowly as a sign in the heavens, moving toward the earth, as the rotation of the earth takes place, every eye will be able to see him. And when you go to Revelation chapter 19, you realize that we are going to be with him. What a future for those who know Christ as savior. Well, I've written a book entitled The King is Coming, and the subtitle is 10 Events That Will Change Our Future Forever. For a gift of any amount, we're making this resource available to you to help you in your spiritual journey. Here's what you do.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. My dear friends, let us remember the King is Coming. Today I have the privilege of speaking to you about the most dramatic, spectacular event in all of history that is still to take place.

It is not only spectacular from the standpoint of earth, but nothing like it has ever happened in the universe before, and nothing else like it will ever happen again. I'm speaking to you about the glorious return of Jesus Christ. And it's an event that we can all look forward to, but also, may I say, it is going to involve us. As a matter of fact, the return of Jesus, this return of Jesus, will eventually affect all the people on the whole earth who have ever lived, either directly or indirectly.

And for those who are alive, the billions that are alive, what an event it is going to be. I need to warn you in advance that parts of this are going to be shocking, because we usually don't think of Jesus in the way that I'm going to preach him today. But if we accept that Jesus, the loving Jesus, we need to understand that with that love, there is also meticulous justice.

So I invite you to open your mind, your heart, to God and to his word. Now, when we think of the return of Jesus, as I've mentioned, it is best for us to understand it in two phases. In earlier messages, we talked about the rapture of the church when we are taken up. And if you look at 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, you'll notice that it is quite a different event than the passages we're going to return to today, because that is the glorious appearing of Jesus that takes place. And today, we're speaking about the glorious visible appearing of Jesus on planet Earth, and what an event that will be. Just hang on to your seats, because you wouldn't believe it unless it were in God's word. Now, let me say also that the reason for this is, first of all, to judge the Earth.

You will be surprised at the unstoppable tsunami of justice that is hurled upon the planet, almost affecting our sensibilities. But also, another reason is so that the Jewish people who are alive at that period of time will believe on Jesus. Remember, it says, Paul says, and so all Israel shall be saved. There are going to be a remnant of Jewish people who, when Jesus appears, will recognize him as Messiah, and they will be saved, and they will go into what we call the Millennial Kingdom. You say, well, what's the Millennial Kingdom all about? I'm so glad that you asked.

You're a little bit ahead of me, but I'm always glad when you're thinking. And the answer is, the next message in this series is on the Millennial Kingdom, and I hope to answer at least a few of your questions at that time. Another reason is to show the absolute superiority of Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Now before we open the Bible, I have to ask this question. What will be going on on Earth when Jesus appears? Antichrist will be in full bloom. The mark of the beast will be given to people. And if you don't accept the mark, you will be put to death.

We talked about that during the last three and one half years. He has awesome power, and all that dwell upon the Earth worship him, except those whose names were written in the Lamb's Book of Life, as we covered in the last message. But Antichrist, Satan, who governs him, he reads books on prophecy. He knows what the Bible teaches.

He knows exactly what it teaches. He probably understands prophecy a lot more than we do. And he knows that soon Jesus is going to appear, and what he wants to do is to initiate one more solemn, massive assault on Jesus. And that's why in the 16th chapter of Revelation, you can read this on your own, but in verse 16, that's the only reference to what we call Armageddon. Armageddon, of course, referencing the plane of Megiddo about 60 miles north of Jerusalem. And so the Battle of Armageddon is in full swing.

What is the Battle of Armageddon? It says in the previous verses in Revelation 16 that the dragon, you remember the unholy trinity I explained last time, the dragon who is Satan, the beast who is Antichrist, and then the false prophet who is representing the Holy Spirit in this godless satanic trinity, they open their mouths, and from their mouths evil spirits come. And these spirits are sent throughout the whole earth to gather people together in Jerusalem.

Now the reason that they give for the gathering might be varied. Maybe they're going to say we're going to take on Antichrist. But Antichrist knows exactly why they are gathering. It says in the Bible in Revelation, to be there for the great war of God in the day of God Almighty. Final showdown, final massive showdown between Satan and Jesus. And that's the situation into which Jesus comes. Now for every verse of scripture in the Bible that talks about the first coming of Jesus, there are eight that refer to his second coming. So I have many options. And I'm going to ask you, though, I've chosen three of the most prominent.

And we're going to look at all of those. And I hope that you have your Bible with you so that you can turn with me to three passages of scripture, all describing the same event, but helping us to understand it from a different point of view. The first one is Zechariah chapter 14. Zechariah 14. Take your Bible and turn with me to Zechariah. If you find it hard to find Zechariah, remember, go to the division between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Go back four or five pages, because after Zechariah, there comes Malachi. So you're almost near the end of the Old Testament. I'm going to pick it up in chapter 14, verse 1. Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered. There's going to be actually warfare house to house in Jerusalem when all the nations are gathered there. And then you'll notice it says in verse 3, then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as when he fights on the day of battle.

Now, catch this. On that day, his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the mount shall move northward and the other half southward. Wow, Jesus is going to come back to the Mount of Olives.

How appropriate that his feet shall stand there. In the days of Ezekiel the prophet, we learn that the Shekinah glory left the temple area, Ezekiel said. And then it went through the Kidron Valley and it disappeared over the Mount of Olives. How appropriate that the Shekinah glory, which disappeared over the Mount of Olives, that that glory should now return in the person of Jesus, triumphant, the one who embodies the very glory of God. Furthermore, it is appropriate because Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives. And you remember how the disciples, as they were looking up and Jesus disappeared behind the clouds. And by the way, he's going to come back with the clouds as we shall see. But when Jesus disappeared, you remember two men were there, two angels actually who said, why do you keep gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who has gone up from you into heaven will likewise come back from heaven. And this is that event right there in the Mount of Olives. And that's why I always say to people that if you haven't had an opportunity to go to Jerusalem in this life and you won't have that opportunity, if you hang on to this message, I'll show you that if you're a believer, you're going to be there. And it's going to be the best tour group that you've ever seen in your life. And Jesus is going to be your leader.

I mean, it is just unbelievable. You read this and you say, Lord, why not today? But I have to finish this message first. Now, Jerusalem, the Bible says is going to be the capital of the world. And if you read the rest of the 14th chapter, it's got all kinds of symbolism. It's talking about living water coming from Jerusalem.

It's talking about the name of God on horses, bridles, symbolic of the fact that God is going to be everywhere. And this is the millennial kingdom that I'm going to speak about next time. But there's something else that is going to happen. And that is I told you earlier that a Jewish remnant is going to believe on Jesus. You say, well, were you getting that? That's a good question.

Whenever you hear somebody speak, you should always say, now, where is he getting that from? So let me tell you, you have your Bible open to Zechariah 14. Go back a chapter or two to chapter 12. You'll notice it says in verse 10, I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and please for mercy so that when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only child.

And we bitterly over him. They are going to deeply regret that they misread the signals that they didn't understand that Jesus was the Messiah. Look at what it says in chapter 13, verse 1. On that day, there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness. Verse 9, and I will put this third into the fire. Two thirds of the people are going to be killed, by the way. That's what it says in verse 8 during the Great Tribulation.

Horrendous things happening. But notice verse 9, I will put this third into the fire and refine them as one refined silver and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name and I will answer them. I will say they are my people and they will say the Lord is my God. Just as Paul wrote in the book of Romans. And so all Israel, a generation of Jewish people that are alive when Jesus Christ comes are going to believe on Christ, be cleansed from their sins, and will enter into the Millennial Kingdom. Because after all, God even has some promises that he made to Abraham and to his descendants that haven't been fulfilled yet, as we shall see next time.

And of course, it's not only Jewish people, there will also be Gentiles who will be there in the Millennial Kingdom, those who trusted Christ during those difficult days during the Tribulation period. So that's the story from Zechariah. Jesus comes to the Mount of Olives.

It is a spectacular return. But it's also worldwide. For this we have to turn to the book of Matthew. And you remember in a previous message I spoke on Matthew 24 when we were talking about the Great Tribulation.

But now I pick it up in Matthew 24 at verse 27. Jesus is saying that, you know, if somebody says the Christ is over here, he said don't believe him. Don't even go see the guy, somebody who says I'm the Christ. Don't even go see the imam or the man for whom some Muslims are waiting because they believe that he is the Messiah.

When he speaks, you don't even have to listen to him. Because if it were the real Messiah, it says in verse 27, for as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

That'll become clear in a few moments. Immediately after the Tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light. The stars will fall from the heaven, the powers of the heaven will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call and they will gather his elect from the four winds from one end of heaven to the other.

Talk about a worldwide event. The Bible says that every eye shall see him. Now how can that be possible? People have said, well, you know, if Jesus ascends to the Mount of Olives or descends to the Mount of Olives, every eye can't see him. Well, maybe television cameras would pick that up. I'm sure they might.

But maybe the infrastructure has been broken and maybe we are without electricity. I can't prove this scripturally, but I would like to think that when Jesus begins to come out of heaven, and this will become clear in another passage, I think that the sign of the Son of Man is going to appear. And of course, as the world turns on its axis over a period of days, they continue to see Jesus in all of his splendor and in all of his glory appearing and coming to earth. So in that sense, if it happens over a period of time, every eye will see him, as the Bible says. Notice that when he comes, there are going to be all of these convulsions of nature. The sun is going to be darkened.

Of course, the moon will not be giving its light because the moon does nothing but reflect the light of the sun. The stars of the heaven are going to fall. I mean, you talk about a cataclysmic event and you have it here. And then the scripture says that the tribes of the earth will mourn. And some will mourn because they recognize Jesus as the Messiah, as we read in the book of Zechariah moments ago. Other people are going to mourn possibly because they're going to mourn over their sin, yes, and believe on Christ. Others are going to mourn in agony and reject Jesus.

But all the tribes of the earth will be aware that Jesus has arrived bodily on planet earth and that he has descended to the Mount of Olives, which is next to Jerusalem. Now you'll notice it says he sends his angels to gather his elect. And these angels, which are asked by God to gather the elect, some of the Christians, of course, have been hiding in caves.

Some of them have been all over. Some of the Jewish people who have believed and now many are believing in Christ. The angels are sent to be God's gatherers to gather the elect. Now all of that seems strange to us.

It seems so foreign to our sensibilities. But think about this for a moment. When Lazarus died, Luke 16, it says that angels carried him into Abraham's bosom. It says that the angels accompanied him.

I suspect that when a Christian dies, it is entirely possible that they see angels who take them to wherever Jesus designates they be, and that is to paradise. So the angels are sent to gather his elect from all over the world. The second coming, the glorious appearing of Jesus is spectacular. But let me say that the glorious appearing of Jesus not only is spectacular, but it is world wide. As the lightning comes from one side of the sky and goes to another, so will be the sign of the Son of Man, which I interpret to be Jesus Christ's coming itself. Well, now we get to a passage in which you and I are intimately involved. If you want to know what will we be doing if you believe in the pre-tribulational rapture, we'll be in heaven during the tribulation.

But imagine this. You, my friend, as a believer are going to be part of this glorious appearing. Of all the passages in the Bible that I love the most, will give you also some chills, is the 19th chapter of the book of Revelation where we have a more detailed description of this same event, the return of Jesus, and we learn that it is a very victorious event. Revelation 19, you have to see this now with your own eyes. Revelation 19, and we're invited to use our imaginations.

I will comment on the text in a moment after I have read it. Verse 11, Revelation 19. Then I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse. The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

His eyes are like a flame of fire. On his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is the word of God.

And the armies of heaven arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, no doubt as to who that is who returns to the earth.

Oh, my friend, after listening to that, I scarcely know what to say or what to add except this. Where will you be when that event takes place? You know, as you read the text, you realize that it is believers who are coming back with Jesus Christ to this earth, to the Mount of Olives.

Will you be there, or will you be somewhere else? The urgency of people to believe on Christ and to live for Christ has never been more important than it is today in our nation. For a gift of any amount, we're making a book available to you entitled The King is Coming, 10 Events That Will Change Our Future Forever. And of course, I wrote this book not because I think we know all the details of the future, but because the Bible so clearly teaches that in light of the fact that these things are going to be destroyed and eternity is coming, what manner of people we ought to be in all conversation, in all of the investments that we make and the lives that we live. That's why I believe so deeply that this book will be of help to you.

Once again, The King is Coming, 10 Events That Will Change Our Future Forever. Here's what you do. Hope that you have a pen or pencil handy. Go to That's Or pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-218-9337. Because this is so urgent and because I believe that the coming of Jesus Christ could be nearer than we realize, I'm going to be giving you this contact info again. Thanks in advance for helping us get the gospel of Christ around the world. Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Thanks in advance for being a part of this ministry.

We're deeply grateful. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. When history culminates in the return of Jesus, democracy will have run its course. Descending from heaven, Christ will slay his enemies with a sharp sword and set up a world government in Jerusalem. He will rule with a rod of iron, radiating absolute authority. Next time on Running to Win, more on the conquering king's return. Thanks for listening to our series on the return of Christ. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-20 02:14:58 / 2024-02-20 02:23:45 / 9

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