Will Jesus Come Again? If So, When and How?

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Image by Sonja Langford. Adapted for Redemption of Humanity. Used under licence.

Last edited on 17/Jan/2021

The Bible’s Answer

Introduction

The Bible answers this in the affirmative: Jesus Christ will come again to the earth one day. When it happens, everyone on earth will know about it, and it will be the last day of the world (Luke 21:35; John 6:40). On that day, Jesus will judge the living and the dead (1 Timothy 4:1), according to our thoughts (Romans 2:16), words (Matthew 12:36-37), and deeds (Revelation 22:12). He will send those who are righteous to eternal life, but those who are unrighteous to eternal punishment (Matthew 25:31-34, 41, 46).

Those Who Believe in Jesus Will Be Saved on Judgement Day

Under normal circumstances, because we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:10-12, 231 John 1:8, 10), everyone would be judged as unrighteous, and would end up in hell. However, since Jesus lived a sinless life on our behalf, and paid our punishment on the cross (1 Peter 2:22-24), anyone who believes in him as their Lord and Saviour who rose again from the dead will be judged according to his works, not their own, and so will be judged as righteous, and will end up in heaven (John 5:24Philippians 3:8-9). On the other hand, since those who don’t believe in Jesus will be judged according to their own works, they will be condemned to hell (John 3:17-18; Revelation 20:11-15).

While non-believers will receive different degrees of punishment in hell in concordance with the sins they have committed in life (Matthew 10:14-15; Luke 12:47-48), Jesus will give Christians different degrees of rewards in heaven based upon the good they have done in their lives (1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10Revelation 11:18). After Jesus has finished judging the world, heaven (as in the sky) and earth will be destroyed, and God will create new heavens and a new earth, where everything will be perfect, and in which we will live and reign with him forever (Luke 21:332 Peter 3:7, 10, 13; Revelation 21:3-4).

This event is also known as “the day of judgement” (2 Peter 3:7), “the day of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 2:2), “the coming of the Lord” (James 5:8), and “the last day” (John 6:40). Among Christians today, it can also be known just as “the second coming”.

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James 5:7-8

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.” – Jesus Christ (Revelation 22:12)

When Will Jesus Come Again?

So, when will Jesus return? Despite the importance of this day, nobody knows when it will happen. Jesus made this clear when he answered his disciples who asked him this very question:

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.” (Mark 13:32-33) *

“Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. … Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:42-44)

In other words, Jesus could come in 100 years, next month, or even today. The fact that we do not know when Christ’s second coming will occur gives us both a sense of urgency and vigilance. It gives us a sense of urgency, because by the time Jesus comes, it will be too late to change our minds and believe in him. If we disbelieve, then we will be swept away by the Lord’s judgement, in the same way that the unrighteous people who were not in Noah’s ark were swept away by the flood:

“For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:37-39)

It gives us a sense of vigilance, in that if we decide that the Lord is taking too long, and let the cares or pleasures of life overcome us, or live a sinful lifestyle of wilful disobedience against him in the meantime, that day will come upon us like a trap, and we will be thrown with the hypocrites.

“But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed’, 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:48-51)

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” (Luke 21:34)

But even spite of Jesus’ clear teachings, many false prophets and cults have arisen that have made predictions about when Christ’s second coming would happen, all of which, of course, have failed. Jesus prophesied that this would happen, and warns us to avoid such individuals and groups (Matthew 24:11; Luke 21:8).

What Will Jesus’ Second Coming Be Like?

The day of judgement will be a day of joy or terror, depending on whether or not we believe in Jesus. The Bible speaks of Christ’s second coming as something we as Christians can eagerly look forward to and love. It will be the day when we are awarded the crown of righteousness, and are taken up in the clouds with Jesus and all the saints who have died, to be with him in heaven forever.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgement, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:27-28)

However, the Bible speaks of Christ’s second coming as something non-Christians will dread when it happens. Jesus will come down from heaven in flaming fire, with a host of angels at his command, and inflict vengeance on all who disbelieve, devoting them to complete destruction; he will destroy every sinful rule, authority, and power; and he will convict all unbelievers of their sins, and execute judgement on them.

“… when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marvelled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10)

“Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-26)

“It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgement on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 14-15)

Jesus will sit on his throne of judgement in glory, with all his angels, and separate the believers, who will be sent to his kingdom, from the non-believers, who will be sent to eternal punishment (Matthew 25:31-33, 46). Jesus will also raise all who have died, those who believed in him to the resurrection of life, and those who disbelieved to the resurrection of judgement (John 5:28-29).

Conclusion

The second coming of Jesus will happen at a day and an hour we neither know, nor will expect. It will be the last day of the world, when Jesus will appear with his mighty angels to judge the living and the dead. For those who believe in him, Jesus will send them to eternal life, but for those who disbelieve, he will send them to eternal punishment. As Christians, we need to remain vigilant in following the will of God, and not grow lukewarm or faithless, since we don’t know when our Lord will return. If, however, you are a non-Christian, now is the time to repent of your sins, and believe in Jesus as Lord and Saviour, since he could return at any moment to judge the world.

Notes

* Jesus did not know the day or hour at that moment because while he was on the earth he had to cope with the limitations of being a man. This, however, was no longer the case after his resurrection, since all his limitations were gone (See Philippians 2:5-8 with Matthew 28:18 and John 21:17).

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