Taken from the book "Life and Immortality" by the late
Basil Atkinson, PhD.
The NT(New Testament) makes clear the close connection
between the RESURRECTION and the COMING of the Lord (all
capitalization for emphasis is mine - Keith Hunt).The two take
place at the same moment of time. It will therefore be desirable
to look at the more prominent of the passages which predict the
The OT(Old Testament) writers have much to say of then
future Messianic blessing, but it was not generally given to them
to distinguish the INTERVAL BETWEEN the first and second
There are however THREE passages in the later Minor Prophets
and TWO in the Psalms where we can definitely distinguish the
1. Haggi 2:6, where we have the prophecy that it will not be
long before the Lord of hosts shakes the heaven and the earth.
This is quoted by the apostle in Hebrews 12:26 and referred to
the end of the world.
2. Zechariah 9: 14. Here the prophet says the Lord will be
seen over the people. This we may take to refer to the
gathering.....of the saints. His arrow will go forth as
lightning. Here we see His destroying wrath against the wicked.
The Lord will blow the TRUMPET. This is the trumpet that will
summon the blessed dead.
3. Zechariah 14: 5. Here it is a quite definite prediction
of the SECOND COMING:
"And the Lord my God shall COME, and all the SAINTS WITH THEE."
(He is coming WITH the saints not because they were already in
heaven at their death, but because at the moment of His coming
the resurrected saints rose to meet Him in the air, in the
clouds, and so be with Him - 1 Thes.4. The last trumpet sound was
sounded and the resurrection took place - 1 Cor.15. Jesus, with
the saints CONTINUE to come from the clouds of the air to descend
and to touch their feet on the mount of Olives - Zech.14: 1-4,
see my study called "Mantions in the Sky?" - Keith Hunt).
4 and 5. Psalm 96: 13 and 98: 9, "for he cometh to judge the
earth." Here the last judgment appears, which is the other great
event associated with the resurrection and the second coming.
THE SECOND COMING IN THE GOSPELS
In the Gospels we have the wonderful account of the SECOND
COMING given us by the Lord Himself in the great parallel
passages of Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. It comes at the
climax of the apocalyptic prophecies dealing with the seige of
Jerusalem and the subsequent troubles both for the Jews and the
church. (see my study called "Armageddon and the Age to come" -
Keith Hunt). We find:
(1) That it is to take place immediately at the end of the Gospel
age (Matt.24: 29; Mark 13: 24).
(2) It is to be preceded by signs, astronomical or international,
or both (Matt.24: 29; Mark 13: 24; Luke 21: 25,26).
(3) The people of the earth will mourn in despair (Matt. 24: 30).
(4) They will see Christ's coming on the clouds with power and
great glory (Matt.24: 30; Mark 13: 26; Luke 21: 27).
(5) He will send His angels (Matt.24: 31; Mark 13: 27).
(6) With a loud sound of a trumpet (Matt.24:31).
(7) The angels will gather the elect (Matt.24: 31; Mark 13: 27).
We also learn that the DAY and the HOUR of the coming are
UNKNOWN and that the world will NOT EXPECT IT up to the LAST
We find the same picture in Luke 17: 24-37. Here we find the
instantaneous suddenness of the day (verse 24); the continuance
of the world socially and commercially until the day (verses
26-30); the revelation of Christ (verse 30); the urgency of being
ready (verses 31-33); the separation of the righteous and the
wicked (verses 34,35).
In Luke 18: 8 we find a suggestion that when Christ comes He
will not find MANY BELIEVERS on the earth. (The Greek here is,
"When the Son of man comes, shall He find THE faith on the earth"
- Keith Hunt).
In John 14: 3 we have the Lord's lovely promise that He will
come again and receive us unto Himself. He would hardly have said
this if He had been going to receive each one of us unto Himself
at our DEATH. It is His COMING that teaches us to look to,
that glorious coming at the END of the world, which has the
TWOFOLD purpose of RECEIVING His people and JUDGING the world.
(Again, on a full study of John 14:1-4 I refer you to my article
"Mantions in the Sky?" - Keith Hunt).
THE SECOND COMING IN THE ACTS AND THE GENERAL EPISTLES
We find an important reference to the second coming in Acts
1:11. It immediately follows the account of the ascension of
Christ. It consists of the promise given to the disciples by the
two angels that the same Jesus whom they had seen going into
heaven would so come in like manner as they had seen Him go, that
is, that there would be a personal bodily return from heaven.
Thus the Scriptures build up for us a clear picture of the Lord's
In the General Epistles there are twelve references to the
Lord's coming. In James we read, "Be patient therefore, brethren,
unto the coming of the Lord." It is then that the reward will
come and the coming draws nigh (vers 8).
It draws nigh to every believer because it is the very next
thing that he will know after he closes his eyes in death. At the
same time we should notice the apostle does not say, "Be patient
until your 'home-call' at death."
In the same way the apostle Peter tells us to have hope to
the end for the grace that will be brought to us at the
revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13). Again our hope
is directed to the second coming.
In 1 Peter 4:5 we are directed again to the day of judgment,
when the wicked will give account of their lives and in 1 Peter
4:7 the apostle tells us that the end of all things has drawn
nigh. The way in which it is near to all men we have already
seen. In verse 13 of the same chapter the apostle tells us to
rejoice in sharing the sufferings of Christ, that we may rejoice
at the revelation of His glory. He does not speak of rejoicing at
any "home-call" at the time of death.
Again he tells the shepherds that when the Chief Shepherd
appears they will receive the crown of glory that does not fade
away (1 Peter 5:4). We may notice that he does not say that they
will receive it when called into the Lord's presence at the time
of their death. He knows nothing of such a call. It would not be
victory over death but an evasion of it........
There are three references to the coming of the Lord in the
first epistle of John. The first is in 2:28, "And now, little
children, abide in him, that if he appear we may have boldness
and not be ashamed before Him at His coming." The word "if" does
not indicate a condition but is used simply as an argument. He
certainly will appear. His coming is His appearance and
manifestation. It is then that we shall meet Him with confidence
or with shame, but this could not be said if our meeting with Him
was going to be centuries or years beforehand at death.
Again in 1 John 3:2 we read, "Beloved, now are we the sons
of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be. We know that
if He appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He
is." We notice that it is when He appears that we shall see Him
as He is, not as disembodied spirits at death.
Again in 1 John 4:7 the apostle speaks of our having
boldness in the day of judgment. Thus he consistently sets before
us for our expectation the coming of the Lord and the day of
The apostle Jude refers to the same great event as having
been foretold by Enoch the seventh from Adam: "Behold, the Lord
comes with ten thousand of His saints, to execute judgment upon
all" (Jude 14). (He comes with "saints" because the resurrection
of the saints has taken place and He and the saints continue down
from the clouds to the Mount of Olives - Zech.14 - Keith Hunt).
THE COMING OF THE LORD IN THE EPISTLES OF THE APOSTLE PAUL
We have seen that NONE of the apostles who were the authors
of the General Epistles mention any hope or promise of being with
the Lord in a disembodied state at death. All point us to His
coming at the end of the world as the time when we shall see
Him and be with Him.
In the same way in the writings of the apostle Paul
(including Hebrews) there are eighteen references to His second
Thus in Romans 2:15-16 the apostle gives us his prophecy of
the great day of judgment. He calls it the day of wrath and of
the revelation of the righteous judgment of God, in which both
just and unjust will receive their reward. It is the day when God
judges the secrets of men. The judgment of this great day forms
the whole background of his doctrine of justification by faith.
Similarly in Romans 14:10 he says, "We shall all stand
before the judgment seat of Christ," or, as other manuscripts
say, "of God."
The apostle connects the coming of the Lord with the
judgment in 1 Corinthians 4:5, "Judge nothing before the time,
until the Lord come, who will bring to light the hidden
things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the
hearts." All judgment of others is to be left to the Lord.
In Ephesians 4:30 the apostle reminds us that we have been
sealed by the Holy Spirit of God unto the day of redemption. This
is the day of our redemption of our bodies (Rom.8:23). We may
notice that he does not say "unto our home call at death." But
would he not surely have done so, if he had known of such an
event and been looking forward to it?
We have already noticed the apostle's statement of the
resurrection in Philippians 3:21. We may add here that he
connects this immediately with the coming of the Savior
(Phil. 3:20). He says that we look for the coming of the Savior,
thus clearly fixing our hope for the future upon that event and
not upon death.
The apostle directs our attention to the same event in
Colossians 3:4, "When Christ who is our life, shall appear, then
shall you also appear with Him in glory." To appear here means to
be revealed or made manifest. It is when Christ comes that we
shall be made manifest with Him in glory, not at death.
The epistles to the Thessalonians are the most explicit of
all the apostle's writings on the subject of the coming of the
Lord. Thus in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 he tells us that to wait for
God's Son from heaven is one of the two main purposes of
conversion. If we are to wait for His coming, it is clear that we
cannot also be waiting for a "home call" to enter His presence at
In 1 Thes.2:19 the apostle tells us that nay whom we may by
grace have led to Christ will be our joy, crown and glory before
our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming. but if they had been going
to meet us in heaven in a disembodied state between death and the
resurrection, would they not have been so there?
One of the GREAT passages of Scripture relating to the
SECOND coming of the Lord is found in 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17.
We have already dealt with it in connection with the
resurrection. It ranks with Matthew 24: 30,31, on which it is
based, and 1 Corinthians 15: 51,52. In verses 16 and 17 of this
chapter the apostle speaks of a shout and the voice of the
archangel (Matt.24: 30, the Son of man coming); the clouds
(Matt.24: 30, the clouds of heaven); we shall be caught up (Matt.
24: 31, the angels will gather together His elect). We have
already noticed that this is the way we shall be for ever with
the Lord (1 Thes. 4:17).
In 1 Thessalonians 5: 23 we have the apostle's prayer that
our whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto
(R.V. "at" which is better) the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We noticed this text in our first section (the first section of
Atkinson's book on this Website is under the studies "Death, Hell
and Immortality" - Keith Hunt).
There is an important reference to the Lord's coming to judgment
in 2 Thessalonians 1: 7-10. The apostle says that troubled
believers will all have rest together at the revelation of the
Lord Jesus from heaven. This surely, to say the least, suggests
strongly that the apostle never thought of any of them having
rest before that great event. He speaks also a mighty angels;
flames of fire; the punishment of the wicked, which we shall
study in our fourth section (on this Website that section is
under the studies "Reward of the wicked" - Keith hunt); of Christ
being glorified in His saints and admired in all those who
When we turn to the epistle of the Hebrews, we find three
references to the coming of the Lord. 1) Hebrews 9: 28, "To them
that look for Him He shall appear the second time without sin
unto salvation." Our salvation will be completed at the
appearance of the Lord. 2) Hebrews 10: 37, "For yet a little
while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." The
coming of the Lord will not be long delayed. We have seen how
this will be so in the case of every believer. 3) Hebrews 12: 26,
"Whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised
saying, Yet once more I shall shake not the earth only, but also
heaven." The first shaking was at Sinai, the second will be at
We find five references to the coming of the Lord in the
In 1 Timothy 6:14,15 it is called "the appearing of our Lord
Jesus christ, which in His times He shall show, who is the blest
and only Potentate." This tells us that God knows the time of the
appearing and will bring it about when it is due.
In 2 Timothy 1:12 we find the well known confident
expression of the apostle, "I know whom I have believed and am
persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed
unto Him against that day." It is worth noting that the apostle
does not say "against my home call."
In 2 Timothy 4:1 the apostle speaks of the judgment of
Christ Jesus of the living and the dead, His appearance and His
We turn to the apostle's famous words in 2 Timothy 4: 6-8.
He speaks of his approaching departure and looks back over his
victorious life. "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of
righteousness." Now if he excepted this at death here is just the
place to say it - "which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give
me" - when I am called home to be present with Him at my
departure? No - "shall give me AT THAT DAY." Till then the crown
is "laid up" in waiting and it will be given to "all who love His
appearing," the whole number of the people of God together.
Our final passage is in Titus 2: 13. Here the apostle tells
us that we are to live in this world "looking for the blessed
hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior
Christ Jesus." His appearing is the hope of the church. We are to
live looking for it, not looking for glory or blessedness at
THE SECOND COMING IN THE APOCALYPSE
In Revelation 1 :7 we have a great declaration of the coming
of the Lord, which we might say is here set before us as the goal
of history, "Behold, He comes with clouds." This is taken from
Daniel 7: 13 and agrees with the declaration of the angel in Acts
1: 11. "Every eye shall see Him and they also which pierced Him."
This is taken from Zechariah 12: 10. He will be universally
visible. Probably the Jews as a whole are meant by those
who pierced him......"All the tribes of the earth shall wail
because of him." this also is taken from Zechariah 12: 10 and
refers to the despair of the wicked at the last day, though it
may also refer to the mourning of repentance that comes in
greater or less degree to every believer at conversion (at the
coming of the Lord in glory many peoples from many nations will
repent and acknowledge Him, this many prophecies fortetell, as
well as nations wailing their destruction that comes upon them
when He return, see Revelation 18 - Keith Hunt).......
In the last chapter we have the promise, "Behold, I come
quickly" (Rev.22:12). None of us, as we have seen, has long to
wait. Almost at the very end of the Bible the promise is repeated
in Revelation 22: 20, "Yes, I come quickly," and the waiting
church echoes back the prayer, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
Thus throughout the New Testament the coming of the Lord is
prominently emphasised and set before the believer as the one
great hope towards which he is to press........
Twice in the New Testament the world to come is referred to
as Paradise. This is the Greek word borrowed from the Persian
meaning an orchard or fruit garden. It suggests the restoration
of the garden of Eden with the innocence and happiness that
man enjoyed there, and we may be sure that the eternal garden
will be greater and better than the one on earth which adam lost.
The first of the two occurrences of this name is found in
the Lord's words to the dying thief on the cross (Luke 23: 43).
These read in our version, "Verily I say unto you, Today shalt
thou be with me in Paradise." These words might possibly be taken
in the apostle's sense in Philippians 1: 23, but not very
honestly. As they stand they strongly imply, if they do not
require it, the survival both of the Lord Jesus and of the thief
in a disembodied state after their death and their presence
together in Paradise on that day, and in this sense they are very
often taken, with every excuse in the case of those who
do not know the original, although they contradict everything
that the Bible has to say elsewhere on the subject.
When however we look into the original we find that,
although the words can quite well be translated as they are found
in our version, they can be translated even more agreeably to the
Greek, "Verily I say unto you TODAY, thou shalt be with me in
Paradise." The point of saying, "I say unto thee today" is
twofold. First, it is an accustomed phrase in the Hebrew. We
often find Moses saying, "The commandments which I command thee
this day." Secondly, the day on which the Lord spoke to the thief
was the very day which made the thief's entry into paradise
possible by the mighty event of the Lord's suffering and death,
which was taking place upon it. Thus the Lord's answer was an
exact response to the poor thief's request that He would remember
him WHEN HE CAME INTO HIS KINGDOM (verse 42).
That this is the right interpretation of the Greek is made
clear by the second occurrence of the name Paradise, which is in
Revelation 2: 7. Here the overcomer is promised access to the
tree of life, "which is in the Paradise of God"......
(Putting all what the Bible says about death, eternal life,
resurrection, and reward, together, it is clear as Basil Atkinson
says, that we receive life eternal, glory, rewards, our crown of
righteousness, not at our death, but at the second coming of the
Lord Jesus, when He shall come into His kingdom, which is also
the kingdom of perfect paradise for those resurrected into it -
This is the description that we find in John's Gospel of the
glory to come. In John 5: 24 we have the assurance that the
believer has everlasting life and will not come into condemnation
but is passed from death to life.....In John 8: 51 we have the
promise that the one who keeps Christ's word will never see death
(actually the Greek reads as in Berry's Interlinear, "shall not
die forever" - indeed so, because there will be a resurrection
- Keith Hunt). At the end of his life on earth his death is
turned by the fact of the coming resurrection into sleep and he
will never be touched by the second death.
Again, the Lord Jesus promises that He gives to His sheep
everlasting life and they shall never perish (John 10: 28). In
John 14: 2 we find the precious promise that the believer's place
in eternity will be in the Father's home. "In my father's house
are many mansions....I go to prepare a place for you." (I have a
full study on this verse on my Website called "Mansions in the
Sky?" - Keith Hunt).
Again in the great prayer of John 17 the Lord Jesus tells us
the Father's purpose is that the Son should give eternal life to
all the Father has given Him.
Eternal life is the basis of the glory to come. It stands in
CONTRAST to the eternal death of the wicked and to the mortal
condition of the believer and all men on earth.
THE INHERITANCE AND THE CROWN
If we turn to the Epistles of the apostle Peter, we find
four references to the glory to come.
In 1 Peter 1:4 it is called "an inheritance, incorruptible
and undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for
you" and in the following verse it is called "salvation ready to
be revealed in the last time."
This makes it clear that we reach the inheritance by
RESURRECTION at the COMING of the Lord. Had it been ready to be
revealed at death, the apostle must surely have said so. This
wonderful salvation is the inheritance of the people of God.
In 1 Peter 5: 4 the pastors who fed the flock are told that they
will receive the crown of glory that fadeth not away. We should
notice that this crown will be received "when the chief Shepherd
shall appear," not at death.
In 2 Peter 1: 11 the apostle tells us that if we do our
diligence to make our calling and election sure, an abundant
entrance will be ministered to us into the everlasting kingdom of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ........
GLORY, HONOR AND IMMORTALITY
This is the comprehensive description of the eternal state
which the apostle Paul tells us that the righteous seek (Rom.2:
17). He also calls it glory, honor and peace (Rom.2: 10). It
stands in contrast to indignation and wrath, tribulation and
anguish (verses 8 and 9).......
For "well-doing" the Greek says, "a good work." What this
good work is is explained in John 6: 29. It is to believe in
Jesus. It is in contrast to the works (in the plural) both here
and in John 6: 28.
The believer in the world to come will share the glory and
honor of Jesus, will never die and will possess perfect and
We notice that the apostle tells us that the righteous SEEK
FOR immortality (as the Greek says, "incorruptibility").
Thus the apostle confirms our contention that immortality is
not natural to all men but is God's gift to those who believe in
In 1 Corinthians 13: 12 we find the moving description of
the glory to come as the state in which we have perfect vision of
God's face and perfect knowledge of Him.
A reference to eternal glory is found in Ephesians 1: 18,
where the apostle speaks of the hope of His calling and the
riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints...........
END OF QUOTES from Basil Atkinson's book "Life and Immortality."
The last part of Atkinson's book is entitled "The Doom of the
Lord" - which you will find on my Website under "Reward of the
Wicked" - Keith Hunt
Compiled December 2001