"While they (the apostles) looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 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" (Acts 1:10, 11).
If Christ is to come "in like manner as the apostles saw him go", he will come personally, visibly, and literally, for it was in a literal, personal, visible manner that the disciples saw him ascend.
"For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and then shall he reward every man according to his works" (Matt. 16:27).
In a parable in which Jesus pictured himself as "a certain nobleman", Jesus said:
"A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return ... And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him . . . " (Luke 19:12-15).
The actual nature of Christ's going away shows us the actual nature of his coming back. It cannot mean the spread of his doctrine, for he asks, "When the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith in the earth?" And it cannot mean the coming of death to his people, for Paul speaks of those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord (1 Thess. 4:15), and says of such that they will not sleep (1 Cor. 15:5 1).
Peter said: "He (God) shall send Jesus Christ, who before was preached unto you: whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets" (Acts 3 :20).
Paul wrote: "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels ... when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe ... Remember ye not that when I was yet with you, I told you these things?" (2 Thess. 1:7, 10; 2:5).
If the Apostles preached the coming of Christ, ought not that coming to be part of the preaching of the present day? This age owes any truth it may have about Christ to the teaching of the Apostles in the first century.
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of ... our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). "To them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Heb. 9:28). "A crown of righteousness ... to all them that love his appearing" (2 Tim. 4:8). "He shall judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom" (2 Tim. 4:1). "Hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13).
"All the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days" (Acts 3:24). ("These days" refer to the "times of restitution" when God shall "send Jesus", as well as to the days when he came among men as the Prophet like Moses — compare v. 20). "I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven" (Dan. 7:13). "The Lord will come with fire and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire" (Isa. 66:15).
Some say they have a figurative meaning. Such an idea is forbidden by the literal nature of Christ's first appearing, which was also the subject of prophecy before it happened. Turn up all the prophecies that foretell Christ's first appearing; study the facts of his first appearing in the light of these predictions, and you will see it is impossible consistently to give any other than a literal interpretation to the prophecies of his second appearing. And consider how very important it is that you should have Scriptural views on the subject, in view of the fact testified above, that the individual benefits of his coming are for "them that look for him", and for "them that love his appearing".