The First and Second Comings of Christ
Roy E. Cogdill
The mission of Christ into the world was fully accomplished. He will not be reincarnated to dwell on Earth. He will come a second time to award salvation to them that wait for Him.
For four thousand years the world looked forward to the Coming of Christ. It was heralded by all the prophets as the hope of the race. Every event in Old Testament history was made to converge into the design of His Coming. It was the event of supreme importance. Any doctrine, the consequences of which make the Lord's first coming a failure, is pernicious, and cannot be ignored as some are wont to do.
We want in this article to contrast the Lord's first coming in both manner and purpose with what the Bible has to say concerning His second coming. The text suggesting the basis for such a contrast is Hebrews 9:2728: "And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this cometh judgment; so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart f-om sin, to them that wait for Him unto Salvation."
The First Advent
Our text declares that Christ "was once offered to bear the sins of many." This is the foundation of the Gospel of Christ. Paul preached that Christ died for our sins, "According to the Scriptures." God's law had been violated. Death was required as a penalty. Christ died in our stead. That is the doctrine of atonement.
The scriptures declare that Jesus came into the world to destroy the works of Satan. "To this end was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the Devil" (1 John 3:8). The destruction of the works of the Devil was the very purpose of Christ's first coming. Premillennialism teaches that Christ will come again to accomplish that purpose. A mighty carnal war will be waged by him at the time of His second appearance, in their scheme, for the purpose of accomplishing what he came the first time to do, viz., put down Satan, destroy his works, and establish His Kingdom. That means that he failed to accomplish this at the time of His first advent; that instead of conquering he was conquered, and instead of being exalted and crowned in His ascension to the Father, He went home in defeat and humiliation. What other conclusion can such a doctrine have?
That is not all. Christ came into this world and was made flesh and blood in order "To bring to naught him that had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb. 2:14). Premillennialism teaches that He will triumph over Satan and bring him to naught, at His second coming; again proving that they regard the first advent of the Lord a failure. Such consequences cannot be overlooked, nor excused with any regard for truth.
The Bible not only declares that Christ came into the world to "destroy the works of the devil" and to "bring Satan to naught" but, according to the Scriptures, he succeeded in accomplishing this. Paul declares in Col. 2:15 that He "despoiled the principalities and the powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it," and in Eph. 4:8 he said "when He ascended on high, He. led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men."
Jesus said: "But no one can enter the house of the strong man, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man." Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan (1 John 3:8). This he could not do without binding Satan (Mark 3:27). He accomplished his purpose (Col. 2:15). Therefore Satan, the strong man, was bound. Satan has only the power and privilege that is yielded to him. "Each man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed" (James 1:14). "Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). We have indeed been delivered from Satan's power and bondage to sin.
The Second Advent
The second coming of Christ will be "to them that wait for him unto salvation" (Heb. 9:27). His promise is, "I will come again to receive you unto myself, that where I am ye may be also" (John 14:3). When He comes again, "even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him. . . . then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thess. 4:14-17).
We shall not know Christ after the flesh again for "though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more" (2 Cor. 5:16). He will not, therefore, return to dwell in the flesh. Concerning His first coming, Paul says, "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." But in sharp contrast, of his second coming he declares that Christ "shall appear a second time, apart from sin." Those words can have no meaning if Christ comes back in the flesh to dwell on earth (The Gospel Guardian, February, 1936).
Truth Magazine, XX:15, p. 9