Probably the most misunderstood aspect of Jesus’ life and teaching is the subject of His return. Some say He has already returned, others say He isn’t returning, yet others say He is coming back – but only as part of a series of apocalyptic events.
If we confine the source of our information about Jesus’ return to what is revealed in the Bible, it is not too complicated or cryptic.
First, like every other event in Jesus’ life, the Old Testament prophesied He would return after His ascension.
Job did not fully comprehend the meaning of the scheme of redemption, but expected the Redeemer to bring equity after his death: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27). David prophesied the Lord would eternally repay His enemies (Psalm 2:9; 110:1). Isaiah foretold of a time when “every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear” submission to the Lord (Isaiah 45:23). Daniel foresaw a future resurrection and eternal consignment (Dan. 12:2-3). These are all references to Jesus’ second coming.
Second, the second coming of Christ is proclaimed in the New Testament as a major feature of the New Covenant. The message of the Bible can be summarized in three statements: The Old Testament proclaims “Jesus is coming;” the gospel accounts declare “Jesus is here;” and the rest of the New Testament from Acts to Revelation announces “Jesus is coming back again.” Several passages focus on this major end-time event:
John 14:3: “And if I [Jesus] go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
Acts 1:11: “Which [an angel] 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.”
Phil. 3:20-21: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
1 Thess. 1:9-10: “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”
Heb. 9:27-28: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
Rev. 1:7: “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.”
Third, based on these straight-forward teachings, we should prepare for Jesus’ return. Knowing He is returning should compel us to:
- Convert, by turning from our old life and seeking reconciliation through Christ (Acts 17:30-31).
- Correct, and amend our ways before God, knowing we must give an account to Him (II Cor 5:10; II Tim. 4:1; II Peter 3:9-13). And,
- Cope, through every trying circumstance, remembering that Jesus is returning to take His followers to a place of eternal peace and rest (Rom. 8:18-25; I Thess. 4:13-17; Titus 2:11-13).
More info about the second coming of Christ is in our YouTube video: Seven Reasons We Can Know Jesus is Going to Return.