HIS FIRST ADVENT
It is obvious from the Word of God, that Jesus Christ's first appearance as the Anointed of God (Messiah) occurred approximately two thousand years ago in Bethlehem, also known as the City of David (Mic. 5:2; Matt. 2:1; Lk. 2:4). Israel had long awaited the promised King who would finally liberate them (Matt. 2:1-6; Acts 1:6). The first appearance of Christ resulted in His rejection by Israel, and He was crucified (Jn. 1:11). His Resurrection (Matt. 28:6; Mk. 16:6; Lk. 24:7; Jn. 20:16) and Ascension to heaven (Acts 1:9), bring us up to date; today, He is seated at the right hand of God, the Father (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 12:2).
HIS THIRD ADVENT
The third advent of Christ is commonly known as His Second Coming. His first was to offer Himself as the "Lamb of God" to take away the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29, 36; 18:37; 1 Cor. 5:7). What believers call His Second Coming, will occur at the end of the seven year Tribulation, when He returns to destroy the armies of the antichrist, and establish His one thousand year kingdom, also known as the Millennium (Rev. 19:11-20:6). Based upon the Scriptures, His Second Coming is probably not His last, in that there will be a time when heaven and earth will be purified by fire (2 Pet. 3:7), followed by His ruling over the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1). Instead of coming as the Lamb of God, at what most people call His Second Coming, He will be known as the "Lion of the tribe of Judah" (Rev. 5:5).
HIS SECOND ADVENT
The second time Christ will come, He will not come as the "Lamb of God," or as the "Lion of the tribe of Judah." This time, He will come as the "Bridegroom" (Matt. 25:1-13; Rev. 19:7-9). No man knows the day nor the hour of His return for His bride; He will come with stealth, as a thief in the night (Matt. 24:36-46; 1 Thes. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10). At His third advent (the Second Coming), He will actually come to reign on the earth (Isa. 24:23; 27:13), and His feet will split Mount Zion in half (Zech. 14:4). At His second advent, commonly called the Rapture, born-again believers, living and dead, will meet Him in the air (1 Thes. 4:13-18). At the Second Coming, every eye will see Him, but at the Rapture, only those who are caught up to meet Him in the air will see Him (Rev. 1:7; 1 Jn. 3:2). The Word says that the Rapture will happen "in the twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor. 15:52).
To the Christian, all three advents are important: His first offered us salvation Jn. 1:12; 3:16), His second will change us into His likeness (Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:53; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; 1 Jn. 3:2), and at His third, we will begin to rule and reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 20:6). So as we celebrate His birth this year, just remember, for the born-again Christian, it is just the beginning! Things just keep getting better and better! Merry CHRISTmas!!!