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Image: Jarek Szymanski

What is THE GRAND MESSIANIC QUESTION? Well, this question pertains to the fact of two comings of the Messiah. You see, in the OT, it wasn’t entirely clear that there would be two comings of the same Messiah. There were texts regarding a suffering servant (e.g., Isaiah 53) and there were texts regarding a triumphant Messiah (e.g., Daniel 7:13-14), but how should these prophecies be understood together?

As a result of these differing themes pertaining to the Messiah, some rabbis expected two different Messiahs – one suffering and one triumphant. Once Christ arrived, his disciples immediately came to the conclusion that He must have been a triumphant Messiah, after all he was so wildly popular with the people of Israel. Imagine their shock when Christ was actually crucified and killed.

His disciples, however, never lost the hope that Christ was the triumphant king Messiah that they had hoped for (Acts 1:6). Jesus is that triumphant Messiah, but not in the way that was expected. Not only that, but there weren’t ever going to be two Messiahs as some of the Rabbi’s thought, there will be a second coming of the same Messiah. Jesus will return a second time and will return as a triumphant king.

This reality – of Christ’s two comings – is what I have in mind by The Grand Messianic Question. As you can see from the texts below, not only do the writers of the New Testament expect a second coming, but they gradually come to realize that this second coming may not happen right away – it may take a while.

James 5:7: Must be patient until Christ’s second coming

5:8: It will be soon. (only a season)

I Thessalonians 2:19: I think this refers to His second coming, but it appears as though Paul still thinks that it will happen very soon.

3:13: Paul mentions the second coming again, but says that Christ will be coming with His saints

4:16-18: It is a comfort to know that Christ will come again, the dead will rise, and then we will ascend into the clouds to be with Christ.

5:2: The second coming of Christ will be unexpected

II Thessalonians 2:1-2: The second coming of Christ is not now
I Corinthians 15:24: Christ will come again and will include the resurrection of the dead
II Corinthians 4:14: Christ will raise up the believers from the dead at his second coming. Paul includes himself in the resurrection of the dead. He knows that Christ will not return shortly.

5:18-21: God used the death of His son to reconcile the fallen world to Himself.

Philippians 3:20-21: At Christ’s second coming, He will transform our bodies into the likeness of His resurrected body
I Peter 1:5: Our salvation will be revealed in the last time.

1:7: The proof of our faith will result in the glorification  of Christ at His revelation.

1:13: We need to keep our minds fixed on the grace that will be given us at the revelation of Christ.

2:12: As believers, we need to live out excellence so that non-believers will glorify God at the second coming of Christ.

4:7: The end of all things is near, so live in accordance to Christ.

Titus 2:12-13: We are living in the age before the second coming. We must live godly lives while we wait for Christ’s coming.
Hebrews 9:28: Now that Christ had been resurrected, He will come a second time for the task of salvation without reference to sin.

10:25: The day of Christ’s return is drawing near.

II Peter 3:3-9: In the coming days, the wicked will taunt the godly about the return of Christ. Apparently, Peter had realized that it probably would not be soon, because he says that 1 day is like 1000 years and 1000 years is like 1 day to God.

3:10-17: The day of the Lord may be far off, but it will come like a thief and it will be a great and terrible day. We should respond to these truths by living righteously.

Jude The mindset of Jude seems to be the realization that there won’t be any apostolic leadership when Christ returns. He is concerned about the state of the church for the long run. So he rights this epistle in order to warn false teachers and encourage the church to stay strong in their faith.
I John 3:2: When Christ comes again we will be like him.
Revelation 1:3: The time is near for the things to take place.

19:11-21: When Christ comes back He will come in glory and splendor and will come and make war with Satan and will defeat him.

22:20: Christ is returning quickly.



James 1:1: The Church is almost certainly exclusively comprised of Jews

5:14: First mention of elders of the church

5:16: Confess sins to one another, pray for one another

Galatians 1:1: first Pauline epistle was addressed to a group of established churches
I Thessalonians 1:1: Paul is writing to a single church, not a group, this shows a passion for the health and development of a single body of believers

3:1-3: Paul is very concerned for the health of the church. But no trustworthy leaders have been raised up yet, so he must send Timothy

5:12,13: The leaders of the church should be respected because of all of their work


II Thessalonians 3:6-15: Paul makes a special point to address concerns of his about their conduct. This shows his concern for stability and longevity.
I Corinthians 5:1-13: The church is set apart from the world. The members of the church are to correct those within the church, and let God judge those outside the church.

6:1-6: Believers should judge among themselves and judge righteously.

12:1-31: God gives to each member of the body as the body requires. The church is a body…Christ’s body

14:27-40: Directions for church order

Philippians 1:1: First mention of overseers and deacons. Shows more structure and leadership in the church.
I Timothy 2:1-4: The church is to pray for all men b/c God desires for all me to be saved. Also pray for those in authority so that a tranquil life will be possible.

2:7: Paul is a preacher and an apostle. The two offices are different.

2:9-15: Women are to dress modestly, learn quietly, they are not allowed to teach because of the nature of creation and the order of God.

3:1-7: Elder is another name for overseer. It is good to aspire to be an overseer, but it must be a male who is above reproach. He must not be a new believer, one wife, have a good reputation with those outside the church, and a good parent.

2:8-13: Deacons are to be respectable as well. They are to be tested. They can be men or women, but the men may only have one wife.

3:15: The church is the pillar and support for Truth. Churches should both be structurally sound and should be attractive to outsiders.

4:6-5:16: Directions for Timothy as the itinerant leader of the church at Ephesus. He is to test the doctrine that is being taught to the church. He is to accept and use the spiritual gifts that are in him. He is to pay close attention to the gospel that he teaches. Do not rebuke older men, but honor them, and then instructions for widows.

4:14: Mention of the presbytery. These are the elders.

6:9-11: Godly leaders do not seek after money, but seek after righteousness.

I Peter 5:1: Peter is an elder. He addresses the elders of the Diaspora as fellow elders. They are fellow elders of the universal church.
Titus 1:5: Paul left Titus in Crete in order to choose elders at the churches in every city.

1:4- Standards for the elders. Similar to I Timothy. Perhaps a stricter standard because of the worldliness of Crete.

2-3:11: Paul is extremely concerned with establishing unity and order in the churches on Crete. We must live in a godly manner while we wait for Christ’s second coming. He wants the churches to know what God did for them so that their faith will result in good deeds.

Revelation 1:4: The churches in Asia are firmly established. John is writing to all of them although he didn’t establish them.