The “coming” of Jesus will mark the end of the present order and the commencement of the “age to come,” nothing less than the New Creation.
The New Testament promises that Jesus will return to the earth at the “end” of the present age, and with great power and glory. And his “arrival” will result in the judgment of the ungodly, the resurrection and vindication of the righteous, the arrival of the New Creation, and the termination of death –Thus, it will be an event of great finality.
For example, in the parable of the Wheat and the Tares, when Jesus arrives humanity is divided before him into two groups – The just and the unjust. The “wheat” is gathered into the “barn,” while the “tares” are tied into bundles and burned. The wheat represents the “sons of the kingdom,” and the tares symbolize the “sons of the evil one” who sowed the “tares,” and the “harvest” is at the “end of the age” – (Matthew 13:24-30).
Likewise, the parable of the Sheep and Goats pictured all nations gathered before Jesus for judgment, “then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” The “sheep” will inherit the “kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” but the “goats” will be cast off into “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” The first group receives everlasting life, the second, “everlasting punishment” – (Matthew 25:31-46).
In his ‘Olivet Discourse,’ Jesus taught that when the “Son of Man comes” he will be accompanied by his angels. All nations will mourn at his arrival, and he will send his angels to “gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” – (Matthew 24:29-31).
In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul stated that at the “arrival” of Jesus from heaven, dead Christians will be resurrected, and together, all the saints will “meet him in the air” as he descends. His presence will be heralded by “the voice of an archangel and the trumpet of God,” and from that point. believers will be with him “forevermore.” Instead of “wrath,” God appointed believers to attain salvation through Jesus. In contrast, the “Day of the Lord will arrive with sudden destruction” upon the unprepared, and “they shall in no way escape.” That same day will bring salvation to the faithful but destruction to unbelievers – (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:1-7).
In his second letter, the Apostle wrote that the righteous will be vindicated when Jesus is “revealed from heaven with his angels,” but their persecutors and all “who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” will pay the ultimate penalty – “Everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.” On that day, Jesus will be “glorified in his saints.” Once again, at his return, the righteous are vindicated and the wicked condemned – (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10).
Paul labeled that event the “arrival” or parousia of Jesus, as well as the “Day of the Lord” and the “revelation of Jesus from heaven.” Regardless of which term was applied, on that day Jesus would gather his saints and judge their persecutors, including the “man of lawlessness” – (2 Thessalonians 2:1-9).
To the Corinthians, Paul wrote that at the “arrival” of Jesus the righteous dead would be resurrected, the kingdom of God consummated, and the “last enemy, death” terminated. All this he categorized under the term “end” (“then comes the end”). Furthermore, on that day, the saints inherit the kingdom and receive “immortality” – (1 Corinthians 15:20-57).
Peter links the judgment of the wicked, the dissolution of the existing creation, and the arrival of the New Creation to the “arrival” of Jesus, all events that will occur on the “Day of God” – (2 Peter 3:3-13).
The book of Revelation also connects the judgment of the wicked to the coming of Jesus. On that day, “every eye will see him” and “all the tribes of the earth will wail because of him.” The “Day of the Lord” will be the day of His “wrath” against the wicked. It will be characterized by great celestial and terrestrial upheaval, and the victory of the “Lamb” will culminate in the New Heavens and New Earth – (Revelation 1:7, 6:12-17, 11:15-19, 16:12-21, 19:17-21).
The New Testament tells a consistent story. The “arrival” of Jesus means the final judgment, the resurrection of the dead, terrestrial and celestial upheaval, the consummation of God’s kingdom, the cessation of death, the final overthrow of all God’s enemies, and the New Creation where righteousness prevails forevermore. And thus, that day will end on a grand note of finality.