In the early chapters of the book of Ezekiel, the Lord expresses His anger at Israel for not keeping His decrees or laws. The Lord said, “I myself will withdraw my favor” (Ezekiel 5:11). In Ezekiel 10 and 11, the prophet sees the Glory of the Lord departing the Temple. One of the last statements of the Lord before His Glory departed was, “I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered” (Ezekiel 11:17). So the Lord withdrew His favor, but would one day re-establish this favor with Israel. When would that be?
This is apparently a two step process. We find the first step in Luke 4 when Jesus went to Nazareth. On the Sabbath He went to the synagogue. He stood up to read from the scriptures, and read the following:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” - Luke 4:18-19. Obviously, the emphasis is mine.
Jesus stopped, rolled up the scroll and sat down. He was reading from the prophet Isaiah. When we read the text in Luke we do not realize that Jesus stopped in mid-sentence. His purpose was to “proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”. The Messiah had come! When Jesus read from Isaiah, He was reading about Himself.
But the prophet’s words continue, “ . . . and the day of vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 61:2). Jesus was here on earth for a specific purpose. The prophecy was about Him. He was not ready to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God. That will be His purpose at His Second Coming. That coming is described in The Revelation when Jesus returns to end war and destruction and to usher in one thousand years of peace.
There is some confusion between the return of the Lord Jesus to the earth when He ushers in peace to end the Tribulation and the prior event when He comes in the clouds for His Church, or the Rapture. Paul describes the Rapture in First Thessalonians 4:16-17. “For the Lord himself will come down from Heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the Archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” Jesus does not set foot on earth at this event.
His return to earth is described in Zechariah 14:4. “On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem . . .” The prophet continues describing this event in verse five, “Then the Lord my God will come, and all the Holy Ones with Him.” This corresponds to The Revelation 19:11-16 and is the second step as the Lord show us His favor.
Jesus will return and the Lord’s vengeance will be proclaimed. This, of course, is a future event. I am so thankful for His favor and mercy and grace. Praise His Holy Name!