The Second Coming is Foundational to the Faith

Often when I am talking to pastors about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, they indicate that the topic of the Second Coming is secondary to the Gospel or even unimportant. This way of thinking may explain why most pastors don’t teach on the Second Coming.

However, Scripture indicates that the Second Coming is a component of the elementary teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Second Coming is part of what the Word of God calls “spiritual milk.” To understand this, let’s first read what is written.

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:1-3).

Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly--mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).

The Holy Spirit has identified six “spiritual milk” subjects. Notice, as you read, that “spiritual milk” is synonymous with “the elementary truths of God’s Word,” “the elementary teachings about Christ” and “the foundation.”

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need [spiritual] milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on [spiritual] milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of [1] repentance from acts that lead to death, and of [2] faith in God,[3] instruction about baptisms, [4] the laying on of hands, [5] the resurrection of the dead, and [6] eternal judgment (Hebrews 5:12-6:2).

So, before moving on, Christians should be well-grounded on these six.

1.      Repentance from acts that lead to death

2.      Faith in God

3.      Instruction about baptisms

4.      The laying on of hands

5.      The resurrection of the dead

6.      Eternal judgment

This passage in Hebrews also contrasts spiritual milk with solid food. Reading carefully, we find that spiritual milk is what we believe (doctrine) and solid food is how we live.  To understand the importance of sound doctrine, let’s read what is written.

"Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers" (1 Timothy 4:16).

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:  Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry (2 Timothy 4:1-5).

He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group (Titus 1:9-10).

You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine (Titus 2:1).

Spiritual milk is the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and essential to the Christian faith. So, what is the relationship between spiritual milk and the Second Coming?

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ will be the most glorious fulfillment of the gospel since Christ’s First Coming and the most cosmic event since creation. Several aspects of God’s plan for His Church will be completed at the Second Coming.

At the Second Coming, three elementary teachings will occur for the Church:

The Baptism with Fire (one of the baptisms)

 He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11).

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day [Day of the Lord] will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward (1 Corinthians 3:11-14).

The Resurrection of the Dead

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

Eternal Judgment

Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages. He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people: "Gather to me my consecrated ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice." And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for God himself is judge (Psalm 50:3-6).

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet,…"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever." … The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great-- and for destroying those who destroy the earth" (Revelation 11:15-18).

Therefore, the topic of the Second Coming is part of the elementary teachings about Christ. Not only is the Second Coming related to these foundational teachings, but Jesus also commanded us to know about His return and watch for it. Not teaching on the Second Coming would be disobedient to the Great Commission.

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:18-20)

We also read that not proclaiming “the whole will of God,” leaves the flock uninformed and vulnerable to death.

Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood (Acts 20:26-28).

The Second Coming is very important, however, it is most important that the flock is thoroughly ground  in the elementary teachings about Christ.  For the church will not able to grow to maturity without understanding the elementary truths of God’s Word.

Perhaps, this is why so many Christians, today, are not salt and light to the world?

Richard H Perry