The Second Coming is a Christian, Islamic, Baháʼí and Messianic Jewish belief regarding the return of Jesus after his ascension to heaven about two thousand years ago. The idea is based on messianic prophecies and is part of most Christian eschatologies.
Views about the nature of Jesus's Second Coming vary among Christian denominations and among individual Christians, as well as among Muslims.
TerminologySeveral different terms are used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ:
In the New Testament, the Greek word ἐπιφάνεια is used five times to refer to the return of Christ.
The Greek New Testament uses the Greek term parousia twenty-four times, seventeen of them concerning Christ. However, parousia has the distinct reference to a period of time rather than an instance in time. At parousia is used to clearly describe the period of time that Noah lived. The Greek word eleusis which means "coming" is not interchangeable with parousia. So this parousia or "presence" would be unique and distinct from anything that had occurred before. The word is also used six times referring to individuals and one time referring to the "coming of the lawless one".
Gustav Adolf Deissmann showed that the Greek word parousia occurred as early as the 3rd century BC to describe the visit of a king or dignitary to a city – a visit arranged in order to show the visitor's magnificence to the people.
Last Day counterfeitsSome Christian writings say that there will be a great deception before the Second Coming of Christ. In Matthew 24, Jesus states in the following passage:
Ellen G. White, the early Seventh-day Adventist leader, wrote:
Specific date predictions and claimsViews about the nature of the Second Coming vary among Christian denominations and among individual Christians. A number of specific dates have been predicted for the Second Coming, some now in the distant past, others still in the future.
Christian eschatological viewsMost English versions of the Nicene Creed include the following statements:
Early ChristianityJesus was reported to have told his disciples,
Given that in his next statement Jesus notes that the exact day and hour is unknown even to himself, the simple meaning of his previous statement is that the Second Coming was to be witnessed by people literally living in that same generation. Some, such as Jerome, interpret the phrase "this generation" to mean in the lifetime of the Jewish race; however, other scholars believe that if Jesus meant "race" he would have used genos, not genea.
Victor J. Stenger notes that Jesus is recorded as saying,
He makes similar predictions in five other places in the Gospels;,,,, In Stenger's view, when the coming did not happen within the life-times of his disciples, as Jesus prophesied, Christianity changed its emphasis to the resurrection and promise of eternal life. Some believe that ultimately Jesus' statement proves true in the light of the vision of the return of the Son of Man later given to his disciple, John, on the Isle of Patmos, specifically as found in.
According to historian Charles Freeman, early Christians expected Jesus to return within a generation of his death and the non-occurrence of the second coming surprised the early Christian communities.
PreterismThe position associating the Second Coming with 1st century events such as the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Jewish Temple in AD 70 is known as Preterism.
Some Preterists see this "coming of the Son of Man in glory" primarily fulfilled in Jesus' death on the cross. They believe the apocalyptic signs are already fulfilled including "the sun will be dark", the "powers... will be shaken," and "then they will see". Yet some critics note that many are missing, such as "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.". And "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
Catholic and OrthodoxIt is the traditional view of Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians, preserved from the early Church, that the Second Coming will be a sudden and unmistakable incident, like "a flash of lightning". They hold the general view that Jesus will not spend any time on the earth in ministry or preaching, but come to judge mankind. They also agree that the ministry of the Antichrist will take place right before the Second Coming.
Many Christian denominations consider this second coming of Christ to be the final and eternal judgment by God of the people in every nation resulting in the glorification of some and the punishment of others. The concept is found in all the Canonical gospels, particularly the Gospel of Matthew.
A decisive factor in this Last Judgement during the second coming of Christ will be the question, if the corporal and spiritual works of mercy were practiced or not during lifetime. They rate as important acts of mercy, charity and justice. Therefore, and according to the Biblical sources, the conjunction of the Last Judgement and the works of mercy is very frequent in the pictorial tradition of Christian art.
Orthodox layman Alexander Kalomiros explains the original Church's position regarding the Second Coming in River of Fire and Against False Union, stating that those who contend that Christ will reign on earth for a thousand years "do not wait for Christ, but for the Antichrist." The idea of Jesus returning to this earth as a king is a heretical concept to the Church, equated to "the expectations of the Jews who wanted the Messiah to be an earthly King." The Church instead teaches that which it has taught since the beginning.
According to the Catholic Church, the second coming will bring about the fullness of the reign of God and the consummation of the universe, mankind, and salvation. The Catholic Church believes there are three things that hasten the return of Jesus: the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in the liturgy; living with the mind of Jesus; and praying for the Lord to come, above all in the Eucharist.
ProtestantThe 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 short reference to the second coming is contained in the Nicene Creed: "He shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead; and His kingdom shall have no end." An analogous statement is also in the biblical Pauline Creed.
Some Protestant churches proclaim the Mystery of Faith to be: "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again."Bible. They also teach that The LDS Church and its leaders do not make predictions of the actual date of the Second Coming.
Latter-day Saints have particularly distinct and specific interpretations of what are considered to be signs stated in the Book of Revelation.
According to LDS Church teachings, the restored gospel will be taught in all parts of the world prior to the Second Coming. Church members believe that there will be increasingly severe wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other man-made and natural disasters prior to the Second Coming.
Seventh-day AdventistsFundamental Belief #25 of the Seventh-day Adventist Church states:
Jehovah's Witnessesrarely use the term "second coming", preferring the term "presence" as a translation of parousia. They believe that Jesus' comparison of "the presence of the Son of man" with "the days of Noah" at and suggests a duration rather than a moment of arrival. They also believe that biblical chronology points to 1914 as the start of Christ's "presence", which continues until the final battle of Armageddon. Other biblical expressions they correlate with this period include "the time of the end", "the conclusion of the system of things" and "the last days". Witnesses believe Christ's millennial reign begins after Armageddon.
Christian opinionsA recent survey showed that about 40% of Americans believe that Jesus is likely to return by 2050. This varies from 58% of white evangelical Christians, through 32% of Catholics to 27% of white mainline Protestants.
Belief in the Second Coming was popularised in the US in the late nineteenth century by the evangelist Dwight L. Moody and the premillennial interpretation became one of the core components of Christian fundamentalism in the 1920s.
Esoteric Christian teachingsIn Rosicrucian esoteric Christian teaching, there is a clear distinction between the cosmic Christ, or Christ without, and the Christ within. According to this tradition, the Christ within is regarded as the true Saviour who needs to be born within each individual 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": the New Galilee. The Second Coming or Advent of the Christ is not in a physical body, but in the new soul body of each individual in the etheric plane of the planet where man "shall be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." The "day and hour" of this event is not known. The esoteric Christian tradition teaches that first there will be a preparatory period as the Sun enters Aquarius, an astrological concept, by precession: the coming Age of Aquarius.
Traditional viewIn Islam, Jesus is considered to be a Messenger of God and the Masih who was sent to guide the Israelites with a new scripture, the Injīl. The belief in Jesus is required in Islam, and a requirement of being a Muslim. However, Muslims do not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, as they believe God has no equals, but instead as a prophet. The Quran states that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. Muslims believe that Jesus performed all the miracles in the Gospels, but do not believe that Jesus was crucified.
In the Quran, the second coming of Jesus is heralded in Az-Zukhruf as a sign of the Day of Judgment.
In his famous interpretation of the Quran or Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Azim, Ibn Kathir also uses this verse as proof of Jesus' second coming in the Quran.
There are also hadiths that clearly foretell of Jesus' future return such as: Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43: Kitab-ul-`Ilm, Hâdith Number 656:
According to Islamic tradition, Jesus' descent will be in the midst of wars fought by the Mahdi, known in Islamic eschatology as the redeemer of Islam, against the Masih ad-Dajjal and his followers. Jesus will descend at the point of a white arcade, east of Damascus, dressed in saffron robes—his head anointed. He will then join the Mahdi in his war against the Dajjal. Jesus, considered in Islam as a Muslim and one of God's messengers, will abide by the Islamic teachings. Eventually, Jesus will slay the Antichrist Dajjal, and then everyone from the People of the Book will believe in him. Thus, there will be one community, that of Islam.
After the death of the Mahdi, Jesus will assume leadership. This is a time associated in Islamic narrative with universal peace and justice. Islamic texts also allude to the appearance of Ya'juj and Ma'juj, ancient tribes which will disperse and cause disturbance on earth. God, in response to Jesus's prayers, will kill them by sending a type of worm in the napes of their necks. Jesus's rule is said to be around forty years, after which he will die,. Muslims will then perform the Salat al-Janazah for him and bury him in the city of Medina in a grave left vacant beside Muhammad.
AhmadiyyaThe Ahmadi sect, who identify as Muslims, believe that the promised Mahdi and Messiah arrived in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. This is rejected by many Muslims, who consider the Ahmadiyya not to be Muslims.
The hadith and the Bible indicated that Jesus would return during the latter days. Islamic tradition commonly depicts that Jesus, upon his second coming, would be an Ummati and a follower of Muhammad and that he would revive the truth of Islam rather than fostering a new religion.
The Ahmadiyya movement interpret the Second Coming of Jesus prophesied as being that of a person "similar to Jesus" and not his physical return, in the same way as John the Baptist resembled the character of the biblical prophet Elijah in Christianity. Ahmadis believe that Ghulam Ahmad demonstrated that the prophecy in Muslim and Christian religious texts were traditionally misunderstood to suggest that Jesus of Nazareth himself would return, and hold that Jesus survived the crucifixion and later died a natural death. Ahmadis consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, in both his character and teachings, to be representative of Jesus; and subsequently, he attained the same spiritual rank of Prophethood as Jesus. Thus, Ahmadis believe this prediction was fulfilled and continued by his movement.
Other views and commentaries
Baha'i FaithAccording to the Bahá'í Faith, the Second Coming is based on the concept of an evolving, stepwise, progressive process that coincides with the advancement of human civilization from the beginning of humanity. The Bahá'í Faith explains that the Founders of the major world religions each represent a Return of the Word and Spirit of God as a new, unique personification sent by God upon earth, Who introduces a new set of teachings and laws and revelations, such that all major religions are part of Progressive Revelation with each Coming building upon the major world religions emerging from earlier ages, verifying spiritual truths of a previous Dispensation, and fulfilling its prophesies regarding a future Return or Coming. Thus, the Second Coming of the Christ represents a continuation of God's Will as one continuous faith, albeit having different names due to the Founders of each religion as the voice of God, and as the "Way", the "Light", the "Truth" at different times in history.
Bahá'u'lláh announced that the return of Christ, understood as a reappearance of the Word and Spirit of God, was manifest in His person:
Baha'u'llah wrote to Pope Pius IX,
He goes on to refer to himself as the Ancient of Days and the Pen of Glory. Baha'u'llah also said in this connection:
Baha'u'llah also wrote,
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 Maitreya in Buddhism, and many other religious prophecies, were begun by the Báb in 1844 and then by the events occurring during the days of Bahá'u'lláh. They regard the fulfillment of Christian prophecies by Baha'u'llah in a spiritual sense as the same pattern of Jesus' fulfillment of Jewish prophecies in a spiritual sense, where in both cases people were expecting the literal fulfillment of apocalyptic statements that led to rejections of the Return, instead of accepting fulfillment in symbolic and spiritual ways. Bahá'ís understand that the return of the Christ with a new name was intended by Jesus to be a Return in a spiritual sense, due to Jesus explaining in the Gospels that the return of Elijah in John the Baptist was a return in a spiritual sense.
Furthermore, Baha'is point to instances in the Bible, wherever the term, "The Glory of God" is used in the sense of being an entity, as a reference to Baha'u'llah. In the Arabic language, the name, Baha'u'llah, means the "Glory of God".
Judaismbelieves that Jesus is one of the false Jewish Messiah claimants because he failed to fulfill any Messianic prophecies, which include:
Regarding the Christian idea that these prophecies will be fulfilled during a "second coming," Ohr Samayach states "we find this to be a contrived answer, since there is no mention of a second coming in the Jewish Bible. Second, why couldn't God accomplish His goals the first time round?" Rabbi David Wolpe believes that the Second Coming was "grown out of genuine disappointment. When Jesus died, true believers had to theologically compensate for the disaster."Haile Selassie was regarded as a member of the House of David, is worshipped as God incarnate, and is thought to be the "black Jesus" and "black messiah" – the second coming of Christ. It was claimed that Marcus Garvey preached the coming of the black messiah on the eve of Selassie's coronation. Due to this prophecy, Selassie was the source of inspiration of the poor and uneducated Christian populations of Jamaica, who believed that the Emperor would liberate the black people from the subjugation of European colonists.
- Build the Third Temple.
- Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel.
- Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore."
- Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: "God will be King over all the world ― on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One".
Paramahansa Yogananda's commentaryIn modern times some traditional Indian religious leaders have moved to embrace Jesus as an avatar, or incarnation, of God. In light of this, the Indian guru Paramahansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi, wrote an extensive commentary on the Gospels published in 2004 in the two-volume set The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You. 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. In the introduction of this book, Yogananda wrote that the true Second Coming is the resurrection within you of the Infinite Christ Consciousness. Also stated in the Book of Luke – "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
Daya Mata wrote in the preface of The Second Coming of Christ that the "two-volume scriptural treatise thus represents the inclusive culmination of Paramahansa Yogananda's divine commission to make manifest to the world the essence of original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ." In sharing her memories of when she wrote down his words, she shares – "the great Guru, his face radiantly enraptured, as he records for the world the inspired exposition of the Gospel teachings imparted to him through direct, personal communion with Jesus of Nazareth." Larry Dossey, M.D., wrote that "Paramahansa Yogananda’s The Second Coming of Christ is one of the most important analyses of Jesus’ teachings that exists....Many interpretations of Jesus’ words divide peoples, cultures, and nations; these foster unity and healing, and that is why they are vital for today’s world."
In modern cultureJesus Christ returning to earth has been a theme in several movies and books, for example:
- The Seventh Sign – 1988 film starring Demi Moore about a pregnant lady who discovers the Second Coming of Christ has rented a room from her, in order to begin the countdown that will trigger the Apocalypse.
- Left Behind – Film- and book-franchise built by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins based on the time-period before, during and after the Second Coming of Christ.
- End of Days – 1999 action-adventure film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger about a policeman who must stop Satan before he ends the world.
- Thief In the Night by William Bernard Sears – The popular TV and radio personality plays the role of a detective in writing a book about identifying the clues and symbols from the Biblical prophecies of the return of the Christ that have been overlooked or misunderstood, and settles on a shocking conclusion . Oxford, UK: George Ronald..
- SCARS: Christian Fiction End-Times Thriller by Patience Prence – 2010 novel about a girl named Becky who struggles through the time of the Great Tribulation.
- At the End of All Things by Stony Graves – 2011 novel about the days following the Rapture, and right before the Final War between God and Satan.
- The Second Coming: A Love Story by Scott Pinsker – 2014 novel about two men who claim to be the Second Coming of Christ. Each claims that the other is a liar – but only one is telling the truth.
- Black Jesus - Comedy Central Adult Swim Television Series created by Aaron McGruder and Mike Clattenburg, tells the story of Jesus living in modern-day Compton, California, and his efforts to spread love and kindness on a daily basis. He is supported in his mission by a small-but-loyal group of downtrodden followers, while facing conflicts involving corrupt preachers, ethnic tensions, and the hate spreading activities of the manager of his apartment complex.
- Mr. Robot – USA Network television series, uses visual and verbal references to biblical figures and events based on The Second Coming.