Many people believe that Jesus Christ will return to earth. In a 2004 Newsweek poll, just over half of those Americans polled expressed belief that He will come again. Fifteen percent said they thought that event would take place soon, in their lifetime.
But while many believe Jesus will return, things get considerably fuzzier on why He will return or what He will do when He returns.
For the record, Scripture states clearly that Christ will come again. It's a constant thread of Bible prophecy from Genesis to Revelation.
But while some aspects of that return are clear, others are not so clear.
For example, what exactly will He do when He returns? Is there a time sequence, an order to His actions? What will those actions be? What is their intent, the goal He has in mind? Who will be affected, and how and why?
Although they're unknown to most people, the Holy Days or festivals of the Bible help provide us with many of the answers. Though few realize it, they actually reveal, in step-by-step sequence, Jesus Christ's role in God's plan for humankind.
Sometimes those connections are so obvious we wonder how we could have missed them! Consider Jesus Christ's crucifixion on the day of Passover when, as the true Passover Lamb of God, He died to take away our sins (John 1:29 John 1:29The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
American King James Version×; 1 Corinthians 5:7 1 Corinthians 5:7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
American King James Version×). Or how He started His Church, composed of the firstfruits of God, on the Feast of Firstfruits, also called Pentecost (Acts 2:1-41 Acts 2:1-41  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.  Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.  And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?  And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?  Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,  Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,  Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.  And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What means this?  Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said to them, You men of Judaea, and all you that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known to you, and listen to my words:  For these are not drunken, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.  But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;  And it shall come to pass in the last days, said God, I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:  And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke:  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:  And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the middle of you, as you yourselves also know:  Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:  Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be held of it.  For David speaks concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:  Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:  Because you will not leave my soul in hell, neither will you suffer your Holy One to see corruption.  You have made known to me the ways of life; you shall make me full of joy with your countenance.  Men and brothers, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us to this day.  Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;  He seeing this before spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.  This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.  Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he has shed forth this, which you now see and hear.  For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he said himself, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit you on my right hand,  Until I make your foes your footstool.  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made the same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?  Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.
American King James Version×; Romans 8:23 Romans 8:23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
American King James Version×; Revelation 14:4 Revelation 14:4These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb.
American King James Version×).
Sometimes those connections are not as obvious, and we have to put together a number of scriptures to connect the dots. That's what we're trying to help you do in this issue—connect the dots about why Jesus Christ will return, and what He'll do when He does.
A key purpose of Jesus Christ's return will be to literally save us from ourselves—to save the human race from extinction. In a major prophecy shortly before His death, Jesus described the condition of the world to which He would return:
"It will be a time of great distress, such as there has never been before since the beginning of the world, and will never be again. If that time of troubles were not cut short, no living thing could survive; but for the sake of God's chosen it will be cut short" (Matthew 24:21-22 Matthew 24:21-22  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
American King James Version×, Revised English Bible, emphasis added).
Considering the dangerous times in which we live, with international tensions on the rise seemingly everywhere and with weapons of mass destruction spreading to terrorists who see suicide attacks as a sure path to paradise, we should sit up and take notice of Christ's words. Only in recent decades has humanity had the capacity, with modern weapons, to exterminate human life.
Another key purpose for Christ's return is to establish the Kingdom of God, a key theme of His teaching (Mark 1:14-15 Mark 1:14-15  Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
American King James Version×). This Kingdom will govern the entire world (Daniel 7:13-14 Daniel 7:13-14  I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
American King James Version×; Matthew 19:28 Matthew 19:28And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, That you which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, you also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
American King James Version×; Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
American King James Version×). In the Lord's prayer, Jesus urges His followers to pray, "Your kingdom come"—focusing their minds on this coming time of world peace when that Kingdom will be a reality.
These are only the beginning of the story. You'll discover much more about God's plan and what Christ's reign will be like in this issue. It spells out a fascinating future—a future in which He wants you to play a major part! GN