Second Coming

Second Coming

In Christianity, the Second Coming is the anticipated return of Jesus Christ from heaven to earth, an event that will fulfill aspects of Messianic prophecy, such as the general resurrection of the dead, the last judgment of the dead and the living and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth (also called the "Reign of God"), including the Messianic Age. Views about the nature of this return vary among Christian denominations. The original Greek of the New Testament uses the term Parousia (παρουσία), the "appearance and subsequent presence with" (in the ancient world referring to official visits by royalty). The Second Coming is also referred to as the "Second Advent", from the Latin term "adventus", for "coming". Teachings about the last days comprise Christian eschatology.


Christians use a range of names for this concept of Jesus Christ's "second coming" or return, drawing on a range of Biblical images. According to the [ Catholic Encyclopedia article on General Judgment] :

The phrase Second Coming is not used in the Bible. It comes from the life or incarnation of Jesus of Nazareth as being his first coming to earth. Some Christians refer to the "Second Coming" as the "last coming" because of scripture referring to him as being the "First and the Last", "The Beginning and End", "The Alpha to Omega". ["We have come to know the threefold coming of the Lord. His first coming was in the flesh and in weakness, this intermediary coming is in the spirit and in power, and the last coming will be in glory and majesty".—St Bernard of Clairvaux Sermon 5 on Advent 1] and others do not define it by number, highlighting Christ's "coming" as an "ongoing process".

The Parousia is the term used in the Bible, see [ Strong's G3952] for details, which includes the Thayer's Lexicon definition: "In the N.T. especially of "the advent", i.e., the future, visible, "return" from heaven of Jesus, the Messiah, to raise the dead, hold the last judgment, and set up formally and gloriously the kingdom of God." According to the Bauer lexicon: "of Christ, and nearly always of his Messianic Advent in glory to judge the world at the end of this age."

Jesus Christ, the Son of Man

In the Bible, the synoptic Gospels contain several examples of Jesus referring to himself as the Son of Man or talking about the climactic role of the "Son of Man" coming (often in "glory" or in "his kingdom") and Jesus' own impending suffering and execution, and similar persecution of his disciples: , , ). Most scholars interpret Jesus' use of the title "Son of Man" as self referential – applying to himself a significant messianic image from the apocalyptic sections of the book of Daniel. [Hurtado, Larry W. Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. (Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005) 293, see section on Son of Man] ] and "these things" – including the "Son of Man's" coming in his kingdom - occurring with immediacy to his listeners.

Both Matthew and Luke also include the statement,

The Bauer lexicon (since updated by Arndt and Gingrich) of Koine Greek states that γενεά(genea) means “the sum total of those born at the same time, expanded to include all those living at a given time. Generation, contemporaries.” [Arndt and Gingrich (1952), 153] Robinson's Greek & English Lexicon states that γενεά(genea) means: "The interval of time between father & son... from thirty to forty years those living in any one period; this present generation."

According to Dr. William L. Lane, author of the 2 volume "Hebrews commentary in the Word Biblical series" and the "Mark commentary in the New International Commentary series"

The significance of the temporal reference has been debated, but in Mark ‘this generation’ clearly designates the contemporaries of Jesus (see on ), such as the transfiguration witnessed by three of Jesus' disciples, which follows directly after the "there are some standing here..." verse in all three synoptic Gospels, or John of Patmos's heavenly visions described in the book of Revelation.

Others say they are unable to explain this verse in the light of what they see as a delay. C. S. Lewis called this "the most embarrassing verse in the Bible" [C.S. Lewis "The World’s Last Night and Other Essays"] .

According to historian Charles Freeman, Early Christians expected Jesus to return within a generation of his death. When the "second coming" did not occur, the early Christian communities were thrown into turmoil [Freeman, Charles. The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and Fall of Reason, p. 133. Vintage. 2002.]

Other Biblical images

In Bibleref2|Acts|1:6-12 Jesus' Ascension is linked to him coming again:

: So when the apostles had come together, they asked Jesus, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’: He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.: While he was going and they were gazing up towards the sky, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken away from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go to heaven.’: Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away.

The apocalyptic book of Revelation includes images of the last judgment and the victory of the Kingdom of God, including the Messianic Age, and ends with the prayer: "Come, Lord Jesus" Bibleref2|Revelation|22:20. See also Maranatha.

Unrealized eschatology

To other Christians these verses highlight aspects of the Eschaton that have not yet happened or not yet been fully realized. Drawing on the images from Acts, these Christians expect Jesus' coming to fulfill some or all of these criteria:

# occur specifically at the Mount of Olives;
# on a cloud; descending through the sky - or, conversely, while being "lifted up" while disciples are looking up to the sky.

They may also expect Jesus to come only as or after some or all of these aspects have been realised:

# Jesus' disciples learn to stop confusing the Kingdom of God with a nationalistic campaign to "restore the kingdom to Israel";
# Jesus' disciples stop trying to define God's Kingdom by chronologies of "times and periods";
# "the Holy Spirit has come upon" Jesus' disciples and they "receive power"; and
# people have witnessed Jesus "in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth".

Catholic and Orthodox View

It is the traditional view of Catholics and Orthodox Christians that the second coming will be a sudden and unmistakable incident, like "a flash of lightning" (Matthew 24:27). They hold the general view that Jesus will not spend any time on the earth in ministry or preaching. [] [] They also agree that the ministry of the antichrist will take place right before the second coming. []

Mainstream Protestantism

The many denominations of Protestantism have differing views on the exact details of Christ's second coming. Only a handful of Christian Organizations claim complete and authoritative interpretation of the typically symbolic and prophetic biblical sources. A common thread is the belief that Jesus will return to judge the world and to establish the Kingdom of God (fulfilling the rest of Messianic prophecy). A short reference to the Second Coming is contained in the Nicene Creed, a widespread Christian statement of faith: "He [Jesus] shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead; of His kingdom shall have no end". An analogous statement is also in the earlier Pauline Creed, bibleverse|1|Cor|15:23. The Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican and United Methodist liturgy proclaims the Mystery of Faith to be: "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again". Generally, mainstream Christianity does not offer predictions on the date of the Second Coming, though some mainstream Christians may also form their own ideas of how and where it will happen. Such information, however is not considered essential to receiving "salvation".

Restorationist Christianity

Notably, many Christian churches, especially those of the Latter Day Saint movement have particularly distinct and specific interpretations as to various signs presented in the Book of Revelation. Much of this gives them direction and a distinct confidence in their role in helping prepare the world for the second coming of Jesus. See Second Coming (LDS Church).

Non-Orthodox Esoteric or Gnostic tradition

In the Esoteric Christian tradition, claimed by its adherents to originate with the Essenes and later among the Rosicrucians, there is a distinction to be made between Jesus the man, and the Christ or true nature [Heindel, Max, "The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception (Part III, Chapter XV: [ Christ and His Mission] )", November 1909, ISBN 0-911274-34-0] . Jesus is considered a high Initiate of the human life wave (which evolves under the cycle of rebirth) and of a singularly pure type of mind, vastly superior to the great majority of the present humanity. He was educated during his youth among the Essenes and thus prepared himself for the greatest honor ever bestowed upon a human being: to deliver his pure, passionless, highly evolved physical body and vital body (already attuned to the high vibrations of the 'life spirit'), in the moment of the Baptism, to the Christ being for His ministry in the physical world. Christ is described as the highest Spiritual Being of the life wave called Archangels, and has completed His union ("the Son") with the second aspect of God.

In this western tradition, there is a clear distinction between the Cosmic Christ, or Christ without, and the Christ Within: the Cosmic Christ, the 'Regent of the Earth' [The Rosicrucian Fellowship, " [ Eastern and Western Spiritual Alternatives] "] , aids each individual in the formation of the Christ Within, the Golden "Wedding Garment" (Bibleref2|Matthew|22:2-11 KJV), also called "Soul body", the correct translation of Paul of Tarsus "soma psuchicon" (Greek "soma" [body] and "psuchicon" [psu(y)che – soul] , "It is sown a soul body; it is raised a spiritual body ...": Bibleref2|1Cor|15:44; distinction of "spirit and soul and body": Bibleref2|1Thess|5:23).

According to this tradition, the Christ Within is regarded as the true Saviour who needs to be born within each individual (Bibleref2|Galatians|4:19) in order to evolve toward the future Sixth Epoch in the Earth's etheric plane, that is, toward the "new heavens and a new earth" (Bibleref2|2Pet|3:13, Bibleref2|2Pet|3:7): the "New Galilee" [Heindel, Max, " [ How Shall We Know Christ at His Coming?] ", May 1913 (stenographic report of a lecture, Los Angeles), ISBN 0-911274-64-2] . The Second Coming or Advent of the Christ is not in a physical body (Bibleref2|1Cor|15:50, Bibleref2|John|18:36), but in the new "soul body" of each individual in the etheric region of the planet (Bibleref2|2Cor|5:1-3, Greek "politeuma" [commonwealth] , "Our commonwealth is in heaven ...": Bibleref2|Phil|3:20-21) where man "shall be caught up IN THE CLOUDS to meet the Lord IN THE AIR" (Bibleref2|Matthew|24:30, Bibleref2|1Thess|4:17, Bibleref2|Acts|1:10-11, Bibleref2|1John|3:2). The "day and hour" when this event shall be, as described in the Bible, is not in the human knowledge domain ( [ Matthew 24:36] , Bibleref2|Matthew|24:23-27). The esoteric Christian tradition teaches that first there will be a preparatory period as the Sun enters Aquarius by precession: the coming Age of Aquarius.


Though Judaism has no single official view of Jesus, it generally rejects Jesus' status as Jewish Messiah and, therefore, the idea of his Second Coming. Most Jews believe that Jesus failed to fulfill specific Messianic prophecies, see also Rejection of Jesus. They often claim that, among other things, Jesus' death and failure to redeem the world after his first coming are proof that he could not be the Messiah. Rabbi David Wolpe believes that the Second Coming was "grown out of genuine disappointment" and invented by Christians to theologically compensate for Jesus' death and failure to redeem the world. [] Jews are awaiting the first coming of their messiah.


The mainstream Islamic view of the second coming maintains Jesus did not die (see Islamic view of Jesus' death) and was lifted up to Heaven by God, where he is waiting to descend ["Islamic View of the Coming/Return of Jesus", by Dr. Ahmad Shafaat, 2003, Islamic Perspectives, [] ] during the “last days” when corruption and perversity are rife on Earth. Jesus will return to wage a battle against the false Messiah (Dajjal, or Anti-Christ), break the cross, kill swine and call all humanity to Islam, as originally called upon by all the prophets including himself. Jesus shall be accompanied by an army of the righteous, they shall be very few in number—only 313—compared to the followers of the anti-Christ, however they shall win for they shall be fighting against darkness. Three plus one plus three equals seven, a holy number in all Abrahamic religions. The Dajjal will wage war with his army of corrupt followers and mischief-makers and those have fallen under his deception.


Hare Krishna movement has embraced Jesus Christ as an avatar or incarnation of God. [ [ Krishna and Jesus Christ] ] Paramahansa Yogananda, the author of Autobiography of a Yogi, made an extensive commentary on the Christian Gospels published in a two-volume set as "The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You." As the title implies, the book offers a mystical interpretation of the Second Coming in which it is understood to be an inner experience, something that takes place within the individual heart.



* Emanuel Swedenborg and those in the New Church believe Jesus is making his second coming by revealing Himself in the spiritual meaning of the Bible. They believe that the Last Judgment was commenced in the beginning of the year 1757, and was fully accomplished at the end of that year. This Judgement on the Christian church, which took place in the spiritual world, marked the beginning of Christ's second coming. [ "Last Judgment" passage number 45]

* Bahá'u'lláh claimed to be the Return of Christ. Followers of the Bahá'í Faith believe that the fulfillment of the prophecies of the second coming of Jesus, as well as the prophecies of the 5th Buddha Maitreya and many other religious prophecies, were begun by the Báb in 1844 and then by Bahá'u'lláh. They commonly compare the fulfillment of Christian prophecies to Jesus' fulfillment of Jewish prophecies, where in both cases people were expecting the literal fulfillment of apocalyptic statements. [] [] .

* Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, A 19th century Islamic figure from India, who claimed to be the second coming of and likeness of Jesus, the promised Messiah at the end of time, as well as being the promised Mahdi, being the only person in Islamic history to have claimed to be both. He preached the supremacy of Islam and promoted the spread of Islam through peaceful means, writing over eighty books. He gathered thousands of followers within his lifetime and founded the Ahmadiyya religious movement.

Contemporary American politics

The rise of fundamentalist Christianity as a political force in the United States, has allegedly had an influence upon political decisions on the global stage. The majority of fundamentalist Christians in America subscribe to dispensationalist theology and biblical literalism, which predicts that at the second coming Jesus Christ will commence his reign over a re-established Jewish nation in the Middle East. The belief that the Jews must be returned to the Biblical lands of Judaea and Samaria before the world can end has, according to some, driven up American support for an aggressive Israeli approach to its neighbours in the Holy Land. [ [] The Times (of London) 30 March 2007] These views have been propagated by Christian Zionist preachers such as Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins, Pat Robertson, John Hagee, and Hal Lindsey. However, the majority of the Christian world both within and outside of America, including the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican and most Presbyterian churches, rejects dispensationalism as a valid belief system. Fact|date=August 2008

See also

* Avatar
* Apocalypse
* Christian eschatology
* Kalki
* Saoshyant
* Last judgment
* Maitreya
* Messiah
* Millennialism
* Moshiach
* Preterism
* Rapture
* Second Coming (LDS Church)
* Summary of Christian eschatological differences
* Sun Myung Moon
* Unfulfilled historical predictions by Christians
* List of people who have claimed to be Jesus
* New World Order (conspiracy)
* Christianity and Islam
* The Second Coming, a poem by William Butler Yeats
* Christianese
* The Gospel of the Second Coming, a book by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy



* Explanatory text in "The New Jerusalem Bible" (1990). Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-14264-1
* Lewis, C.S. (1960). "The World's Last Night and Other Essays". Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ISBN 0-15-698360-5
* Heindel, Max, "How Shall We Know Christ at His Coming?", May 1913 (stenographic report of a lecture, Los Angeles), ISBN 0-911274-64-2 [ www]
* James Stuart Russell. "The Parousia, A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming"

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