What Will the Second Coming be Like?

What will the Second Coming be like? Will the Lamb become a Lion? Is Jesus coming in vengeance to destroy and punish?

This is a supporting page for the pages the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and Psychological Projection in the Bible.

Perhaps you have heard people say of Christ’s character:

“He came as a lamb the first time BUT when He comes the second time it will be as a LION.”

That is a common reaction when the concept of a non-violent God is presented to skeptics. It is almost as if they were applying 1 Peter 5:8 to Jesus at the Second Coming like this:

“Be sober, be vigilant; because Jesus, once the Lamb, is now coming as a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Pet 5:8, adapted)

But there is another way to understand it.

What is the wrath of the Lamb? Isn’t it the same as the wrath or anger of God? That is well described in this passage:

“Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods.” (Deut 31:17-18)

That gives the people’s reaction and understanding – “they will say.” It is their understanding that God is not among them. The hiding of God’s face is not so much God actively hiding as it is their inability or unwillingness to look.  God has promised:

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:13)

We are even told that God expresses or displays wrath differently than man:

“For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” (Jam 1:20)

See more about how God’s wrath functions.

But what of some of the terms used in connection with the Second Coming that seem to support a lion-like coming? Terms such as:

  • Fire
  • Wrath
  • Brimstone
  • Torment
  • Vengeance
  • Brightness
  • Glory

The rest of this page will look at each of those terms briefly with links to glossary definition pages which have more detail. The idea of this page is not to examine each term in detail but to show that there are other ways to understand them.

What Will the Second Coming be Like? Fire?

 What about the fire at the Second Coming? Aren’t people going to burn?

“Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.” (Psa 50:3)

“But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (2 Pet 3:7)

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (2 Pet 3:10)

“But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Heb 10:27-29)

This is the only case where the Greek word “esthio” (G2068) is translated as “devour.” Every other occurrence has the meaning of “eating food.” It is never used in the sense of destruction.

Those verses sound like a very fiery Second Coming. But are we understanding the fire correctly? Consider this verse:

“His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.” (Rev 19:12) (Also see Rev 1:14, 2:18)

We sometimes use the expression “You can see it in his eyes.” When we do, the “it” is usually referring to some strong emotion. Here is a passage that links the strong emotion of love with fire:

“Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.” (Song Sol 8:6-7)

That verse is likening love to fire. The Berean Standard Bible points to jealousy being an attribute of love (“its sparks” referring to love) which is really the topic of the passage as shown by verse 7.

“Set me as a seal over your heart, as a seal upon your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as unrelenting as Sheol. Its sparks are fiery flames, the fiercest blaze of all.” (Song Sol 8:6, Berean Standard Bible)

Godly jealousy” is described in the glossary. There are other uses of “fire” that do not involve actual combustion of fuel:

“And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.” (Exo 3:2)

The “fiery indignation” of Hebrews 10:27 could mean “fiery (or very fervent) zeal.” “Fire” is used in scripture to describe the presence of God. It is also used in this way:

“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” (Rom 12:20)

Coals of fire, in that verse, has a meaning something like to stir up the conscience. See the glossary page for more on the meaning of fire. So, fire can have quite a different meaning. Yet God is not trying to kill the lost with guilt; He trying to bring them to repentance. “Fire,” in a sense, refers to the love of God manifest in a burning desire to save everyone that will be saved.

What Will the Second Coming be Like? Wrath?

“For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev 6:17)

“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:” (Rev 14:10)

“And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.” (Rev 14:19-20)

 “Without mixture” means unmixed or undiluted or full strength. But when God’s wrath is understood, undiluted wrath simply means God is giving people up completely to the consequences of their choices. There is no mercy for them, not because God would not give it, but because they chose not to accept or receiving it.

What Will the Second Coming be Like? Brimstone?

While the brimstone of Sodom and Gomorrah was literal (I have a piece of a sulphur ball recovered from there by a friend), in the New Testament it  is from the Greek word “theion” (Strong’s G2303) which comes from the Greek “theios” (Strong’s G2304) translated as “divine” or “godhead.” “Theios,” in turn, comes from “theos” (G2316) translated as “God” 1320 times.

This verse is interesting in regard to that because it actually mentions that the experience will be “in presence of the Lamb:”

“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:” (Rev 14:10)

“Brimstone,” in the New Testament, definitely relates to the presence of God, which, of course, would cause great torment to anyone who has rejected Him. No lost person could ignore his conscience when in the presence of God.

What Will the Second Coming be Like? Torment?

As noted above, the presence of God will cause torment. That will be literal torment although mental rather than physical. Can you imagine being in the presence of God who has done all He could to save you and you have rejected Him and unfitted yourself for eternal life? Could there be any greater sense of loss and regret?

Pages 6-8 of my booklet The Lake of Fire and the Second Death goes into more detail of this experience.

What Will the Second Coming be Like? Vengeance?

“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” (2 Thess 1:7-8)

“To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.” (Deut 32:35)

 Please see the Biblical definition of vengeance, and especially listen to the two-minute audio there that explains it very well.

What Will the Second Coming be Like? Brightness?

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:” (2 Thess 2:8)

Does that mean to kill with bright lights or is there a more symbolic meaning?

“Consume” can mean to overthrow and, since it is done with “the spirit of his mouth” it would seem to mean His words, the truth He is speaking.

“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.” (2 Thess 2:8, NIV)

The original word translated as “destroy” has more of the meaning of to render ineffectual. Satan’s lies will be revealed by the manifestation of the truth of Christ’s character. The brightness could be a reference to the manifestation of His face or character as opposed to the hiding of His face.

Brightness could even refer to the brightness of the angels present at Jesus’ first coming. The light shining from one angel made the shepherds afraid:

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.” (Luke 2:9)

That light could have greatly increased moments later:

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,” (Luke 2:13)

We are told that all the angles will accompany Jesus at His return:

“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,” (2 Thess 1:7)

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:” (Matt 25:31)

What Will the Second Coming be Like? Glory?

“And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.” (Mark 13:26)

Glory has to do with character as explained in the glossary definition for glory. Jesus’ glory is not such that He could do what is attributed to Him at the Second Coming.

“For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;” (Heb 7:26)

This verse points to someone/thing other than God being responsible for the death of the wicked:

“Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.” (Psa 34:21)

The Second Coming Will be Quite Different

The Second Coming may be quite different than most people are expecting. There are a number of terms that are used in connection with the Second Coming that put ideas in our minds of what it will be like because of how we have understood them. We have briefly examined them to show that each can have a different meaning in this context. The problem is that there are so many of them (lion, fire, wrath, brimstone, torment, vengeance, brightness, glory and even more) and the narrative is so ingrained in our minds that it is very difficult to see it differently.

But if we read the Bible through the life of the Messiah as presented in the gospels, as we examine how the Bible itself uses various words, the veil is lifted and even difficult stories in the Old Testament are understandable.

“But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it [their heart] shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.” (2 Cor 3:14-16)

See an explanation of this passage at https://characterofgod.org/hebrews-10-28-notes/

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