AN AMAZING FACT: The ancient Aztec empire had a prophecy about a feathered god-king with light skin and a beard who would return in the clouds from across the sea. In 1519, Spanish conquistadors, led by Hernando Cortez, arrived on the scene. When the Aztecs saw the Spanish ships, they thought the billowing sails looked like clouds. Cortez was able to use the prophecy to his advantage, assuming the mantle of deity before the Aztec capital. By the time the people realized that Cortez was not the savior they were expecting, it was too late.
The conquistadors proceeded to plunder, enslave, and kill the Aztec people. A once-powerful nation was deceived and destroyed, in part because the prophecies of their god’s return were so ambiguous that almost anyone could have served as a counterfeit. The same will happen to God’s people if they are not careful to accept the Bible’s teaching, which leaves no doubt about the manner of His return.
Believers cannot afford to make the same mistake. Yet in keeping with the mistakes of God’s people throughout history, deception has made its way into many interpretations of Bible prophecy, including the preeminently popular but utterly false “secret rapture” theory.
In the near future, Satan will attempt to impersonate Jesus and counterfeit His return to earth. But God’s people need not be deceived. When the disciples asked Jesus for the signs of His coming and the end of the world, the very first thing He told them was to be on guard against impostors. “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4, 5).
Christ then proceeded to give His followers a wealth of information about His second coming so there would be no doubt as to how He would return. Jesus not only wants us to know that He is coming and that He’s coming soon, He wants us to understand the manner of His coming.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. Acts 1:11-12 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Matthew 24:27