The second coming

Eschatology is the study of biblical prophecy that relates to the end times: the events that will take place at a point in time Jesus referred to as 'the end of the age'.

It's a controversial subject that is open to interpretation, but Christians should familiarize themselves with the scriptures that describe these important future events. Who knows, we may well be living in the generation in which they start to come to pass.

Jesus is coming back

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.' (Act 1:10–11)

Our Lord is now in heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father (Mar 16:19), but he will come back to earth again in the same way his disciples saw him go into heaven. Jesus is coming back. And he will come back in bodily form—with the same resurrection body he had when he went into heaven.

His resurrection body

Let's look at some of the facts about our Lord's resurrection body.

But why should our Lord's resurrection body be of interest to us? Because the Bible says that when he returns we'll each be given a body just like his (1Co 15:49–53).

The return

Luk 24:50–51 tells us that Jesus ascended into heaven from the vicinity of Bethany, a village on the eastern shoulder of the Mount of Olives, about a mile east of Jerusalem. But where will he return to? I believe he will return to the exact spot he ascended from.

Zec 14:1–5 tells us that Jesus will return to earth at a time when the city of Jerusalem is being attacked by armies. When his feet touch the Mount of Olives it will split in two. Half of the mountain will move north and half will move south, forming a valley that will run from east to west.

The people of Jerusalem will flee to safety through that valley as the Israelites fled to safety from Pharaoh when the Red Sea parted (Exo 14:21–22). So our Lord's return will be a dramatic event.

Zec 14:9 says that on that day the Lord will be king over the whole earth. Jesus is coming back, physically, to reign on earth for a thousand years (Rev 20:1–6). All the present governments and kings of the earth have but a limited time to rule, and then the King of kings will start to reign.

An important subject

That is my interpretation of these scriptures, but I would encourage every Christian to read them for themselves and form their own opinion (Act 17:11).

This subject involves detective work: searching the Bible for relevant verses and clues and then piecing them together, in chronological order, to form a picture of what is going to happen at the end of the age.

A Christian might say: 'Well that's the future, it won't affect me.' But the events that precede our Lord's return could begin at any time. Jesus said that we must keep watch because we do not know on what day he will come (Mat 24:42).

Apart from anything else, all these events are centred around our Lord. If we really love him, we will want to know everything the Bible teaches about him—that the one who was cruelly tortured and died a criminal's death will one day return in triumph to rule the whole world. Isn't that something to look forward to?

Jesus spoke about his return and said that his Church must be ready for his return (Mat 24:44). In response to that, his Church has been waiting for his return for two thousand years.

I can't think of a better way to end this study than to quote the words of Rev 22:20–21:

He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming soon.'

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen.

Those are the last words of the Bible; the final words of God's message to mankind. Jesus says he is coming soon; his return to earth is a very important subject.

Michael Graham
February 2004

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ®. NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.

guide | home | next