20 Studies in Bible Prophecy
Study 15 - The Return of Jesus Christ in Person to this Planet
The rapture will be aerial, the King's appearing will be earthly. Failure to comprehend this two-phase aspect of the advent results in confusion, and it is necessary to differentiate between Christ's coming for and with His saints. If we look closely at Old Testament predictions relative to the coming of the Lord, there is "no effort to synthesize the prophecies; and the effort to decide which prophecies apply to the church age, which apply to the millennial era, and which apply to the age to come, ignored the basic fact of the prophetic perspective." (So writes Dr. Eldon Ladd in THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM).
Old Testament prophecy pictures things to come without disclosing the varied stages in the fulfilment of God's purpose. The long-distance view of the prophets did not disclose the details, and perhaps this fact is clarified in the words of (1 Pet. 1:12), "not unto themselves, but unto us did they minister." It is only when we study the New Testament that we see the advent presented in two stages, and it is essential to acknowledge the difference. If we examine the announcement of (Matt. 25:6), concerning the coming of the Bridegroom, and (Rev. 19:11, 15) where the figure used is highly military, a two-phase appearing is the only answer. The Rev. lan MacPherson observes, "To try to make a composite photograph of these two portraits and force them to apply to a single historic occurrence is logically impossible. In the former Christ comes to make love: in the latter to make war. The first analogy is marital, the second military. The one is nuptial, the other martial." So in thinking of the return of the Lord this distinction is necessary and avers Prof. G. G. Findlay, "Christ is pledged to a definite and visible return to this earth in language than which none can be found more expressive and positive."