The Second Coming of Christ will be a glorious, worldwide event like nothing we’ve ever seen before. It’s the culmination of what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross.
In the context of eschatology, it’s important to remember that the Second Coming isn’t necessarily the end of everything. It marks a transition from who humanity was, and who we can become if we choose Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Given the magnitude and significance of this event, it’s no surprise that many questions surround it.
What leads up to this? How can we tell when it will happen? Will we be able to see it? Who can be saved? What happens to those who have already died? What about Satan and His angels?
Like any heavy topic, it’s best if we take it in piece by piece:
- Do we know for sure Jesus will return?
- What will the Second Coming be like?
- When does this all happen?
- What are the signs the Second Coming is near?
- What is the significance for us today?
Do we know for sure Jesus will return?
We know there will be a Second Coming of Christ because it was told to us in the Bible as His “first coming”—when He came to the earth as a baby, lived a sinless life, ministered to those around Him, and died for the penalty of sins so we could have a chance to be redeemed.
When His earthly ministry was finished, He had to depart from them and be carried up into heaven (Luke 24:51). His disciples watched as He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight (Acts 1:9).
“…While they [the disciples of Jesus] looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven’” (Acts 1: 10, 11, ESV).
Jesus is coming again. He said it Himself.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).
Just as the disciples, “through the Holy Spirit, would receive power to be witnesses for Him to the ends of the earth“ (Acts 1:8), so are we called, to not only look forward to His return, but to hasten the coming of the day of God by spreading this wonderful message (2 Peter 3:12).
The promise is sure and recorded. He will return!
What will the Second Coming be like?
Christ’s return will be a truly global event. Like nothing the world has ever seen.
While the world has experienced events that affect every part of the globe, this will be an event the entire world population will experience together.
His Second Coming will be literal, global, and glorious. A joyous occasion as Jesus comes back for us.
And we can know that this signals the end of an age of a sin-riddled world. As described in the book of Titus, this is “the blessed hope…”
“It will be said on that day,
‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for Him;
let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation’” (Isaiah 25:9, ESV).
A literal, physical event
The Second Coming will be an actual event everyone will experience. No one will be able to miss Him “coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him” (Revelation 1:7, ESV).
Matthew 24:27 describes it as similar to how “lighting comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (CSB).
This isn’t a metaphorical event to represent a spiritual achievement or awakening. And it isn’t a phenomenon that happens secretly, or on some different plane of reality. This is Jesus physically doing what He promised He’d do when He ascended back to heaven after His earthly ministry.
What we will hear
1 Corinthians 15:52 tells us that “the trumpet will sound.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16 describes Jesus descending from heaven “with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God.”
We may hear shouts of praise, wonder and adoration, as the Apostle Paul quotes Isaiah when talking about the Day of the Lord, “every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God” (Romans 14:11, CSB).
What we will see
It will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. And like the verse we just read in Revelation 1:7, “every eye will see Him” as He will appear “in the clouds with great power and glory” (Mark 13:26, CSB, see also Matthew 24:30).
All around us, the “dead in Christ” will be resurrected as “God brings with Him those who have fallen asleep [those who died as believers]” (1 Thessalonians 4:14-16, CSB).
And Jesus will stay visibly “in the air” (1 Thessalonians 17) as He calls us to come with Him to heaven. His feet will not touch the earth at this time.
What we will experience
It will be sudden. It will be the most pleasant surprise we ever experience!
We are told in several verses of the Bible that Jesus will simply “appear” (1 John 2:28; 3:2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 1 Peter 5:4). He will come “like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4), and right up until that time, people will be going about their daily lives without a clue (Matthew 24:37-39).
(That’s why it’s so important not to get caught up in the rat race of the world and keep our eyes fixed upon God and His ultimate plan that transcends anything playing out here on this sin-corrupted earth [1 Thessalonians 5:6-8]).
1 Corinthians 15 also tells us that we will be “changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (verse 51, 52) when we are given new bodies that are “incorruptible” and “clothed with immortality” that can only come from God (verses 52-54, CSB).
This will all be happening as we are drawn up into the air to meet Him (1 Thessalonians 4:17)!
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When will the Second Coming happen?
Aside from what this grand event will be like to experience, the next thing we naturally want to know is when it will happen. After all, we want to be ready!
But the Bible is very clear—“no one knows” the “day and hour” of Christ’s Second Coming. Not even the angels in heaven! Only God the Father knows (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32).
What the Bible does tell us is to always be ready. And being “ready” means preparing our hearts by accepting Jesus as our Savior, and pursuing a growing relationship with Him through prayer and Bible study.
“Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is” (Mark 13:33, NKJV).
Why would God want to keep this timing a secret, even from the angels?
The simplest answer is that when this happens is not as important as what happens and why it will happen. In the meantime, the Bible emphasizes our calling as one of loving others, serving others, and leading others to Him.
If God chooses not to reveal something in the Bible, that means it is not needed in the accomplishment of God’s plan in our lives. Knowing that detail would not strengthen our spiritual growth.
The Bible also tells us that Jesus is coming “soon” (Revelation 22:12, CSB). This “soon” is not to mean immediacy, but imminence. Urgency. It could be any time—whenever God sees fit.
This could be to make sure everyone truly gets a chance to truly choose if they will accept Jesus as Christ or not (2 Peter 3:9). We cannot know, for we don’t see things in their entirety as God does.
What we do know is that this event is eternally important, and that’s why we must always be ready, and always be willing to share this wonderful truth with others.
“This is why you are also to be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44, CSB).
Signs the Second Coming is near
Though no one knows the exact date and time of the Second Coming, God doesn’t keep us in the dark about the way the world is progressing. The Bible tells us of certain signs that signal the nearness of Christ’s return.
In Matthew 24, the disciples ask Jesus, “when will these things happen, and what is the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (verse 3).
False prophets and imposter messiahs
“Many will come in my name, saying ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many” (verse 5).
“Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (verse 11).
“If anyone tells you then, ‘See, here is the Messiah!’ or ‘Over here!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (verse 24).
An increase in worldwide conflict
“You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars” (verse 6). “Nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom and kingdom” (verse 7).
An increase in natural disasters and situations of suffering
“There will be famines and earthquakes in various places” (verse 7).
“Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold” (verse 12).
We’re also told that the “sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken (verse 29).
But the signs aren’t all troubling.
“This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (verse 14).
Even while telling His disciples all about these signs, He assured them that this isn’t something to fear. He tells them not to be alarmed (verse 6). These things must come to pass, but then we will see Jesus.
The heart of Jesus overflows with love for all His creation. He is longing for you to not only come to the knowledge of these truths, but to the knowledge of Him as the Source of Truth. But there is more…
How is the Second Coming significant to us even today? How should this affect our daily lives?
There’s a common saying, “Live each day like it was your last.”
Why do you think that quote is so popular and often used for inspiration?
It’s undeniable that there are no guarantees in this life. Anything can happen at any time. The direction of anyone’s life can change in an instant. And we don’t know when our last living moments will be. A quote like this is to motivate people to think about where they are in their lives, and what kind of impressions they’ve left in the world around them.
The same applies to the Second Coming, and to our relationship with the very One who is coming back for us. It’s not about when He’s coming back, but that He is at all! Because whether we’re alive or dead at the time He does, our eternal destiny is the same if we claim Him as our Savior.
He is coming because He promised He would (John 14:1-3).
He is coming again to complete the plan of salvation, which includes our resurrection, our presence in the sight of God, and life with Him eternally in the earth made new (John 5:25-29).
He is coming again to bring His reward with Him (Revelation 22:12).
The reward for those who have obeyed will be life eternal (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17), while those who have chosen against Him will cease to exist. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3; Luke 17:26-30; Revelation 6:15-17).
You are the reason He is coming again!
The Day of the Lord is near
When reading about all the awful things that come to pass before Jesus returns, it’s hard not to think about how a lot of that is already happening.
The intensity and frequency of things like war, disease, disasters and moral decline will increase as we get closer to Christ’s arrival.
The Bible compares this progression to pregnancy and labor. When a woman is in the early stages of pregnancy, you can barely tell. But soon the baby grows inside her and it’s no secret she’s about to give birth.
Then the “labor pains” begin (Matthew 24:8). And the frequency and intensity increases the closer it comes to the actual birth event.
We know what will happen ultimately. Until then we can study and grow in Christ. And as we continue to study the Bible and recognize the signs, our faith in our Ultimate Victor will grow.
Even though the world will be going through a “time of trouble” (Daniel 12:1) right before the Second Coming, God has promised us through His Son Jesus: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (NKJV).
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