That the great divines (Bible Scholars) of the past have noted that one in twenty five verses in the New Testament have some engagement with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and associated themes, and therefore it should come as no surprise to anyone that this subject (Eschatology) would create some controversy.
This has interested me over my 39 years in ministry, and when all the various theories of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ have been assessed, there are three essential ingredients to the discussion that should be considered foremost.
First, The Scriptures are replete with a clear understanding that Jesus Christ will return. There will be a Second Coming of Jesus Christ. He rose from the dead and He is coming again. Moreover, it should come as no surprise, that this is recognised only by the followers of Christ. In other words, the vast majority of the world's population is simply unaware that the Scriptures speak of this.
Second, not all followers of Christ are as conversant with the Scriptures as others. There has been a limited number of Bible lovers over the centuries who have carefully studied the 'like' passages of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and have tried to bring some resolution to the subject.
Thirdly, as these passionate 'Second Coming of Jesus Christ' Bible lovers have put their energies into this quest over the centuries, there have emerged two very broad schools of thought, and like most things of this nature, there are variations in each broad school.
One of these two broad schools demonstrate a theology of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ that says, there will be a decisive time when history as we know will come to and end. It is instantaneously precipitated by the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
The other school
The other broad school on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ demonstrates a theology that witnesses the end of the Church Age which leads into a final time period taking into account Scriptures that speak of 'one taken, another left', of such 'tribulation' the world has never thought possible, an 'Armageddon', armies of 'two hundred million', blood up to the 'horses bridle', and much more besides.
In other words, the first group takes a view that the Bible's descriptiveness of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ necessarily needs to be apocalyptic in order to even begin to fathom the unfathomable.
The second group take a view that the Bible wasn't written so no one could understand it, rather the very basis of the Reformation was that ordinary men and women could read and understand it. Moreover as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ takes such centre stage in the New Testament, any obscurity on such matters seems ludicrous.
So, can there be a case for 'agreeing to disagree' on the theological outworking on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ or is there something more, some other ingredient, that might be taken into consideration in this matter?
A central focus of Jesus' teaching was the Kingdom of God. The central focus of the Apostle Paul's and the Epistles teaching was the theology of the Cross, which helps us understand why we need to receive Christ as our Lord and becomes His followers.
In other words, evangelism is a central focus. The great divines had no trouble in picking up this theme, and in my own life time, that where a descriptive expression of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is lucid and passionate, what follows for many individuals is an unmistakable desire to repent and become a follower of Jesus.
In other words, when the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is preached in such manner, the Holy Spirit strangely prompts the hearts of the hearers.
I have been a witness to this over my 64 years, as have innumerable others. When the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is preached in a clear and descriptive manner, so the Holy Spirit somehow is able to minister within many of the lives of the hearers. To this, I am a testimony and an eye witness.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html