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The Second Coming (sometimes called the Second Advent or the Parousia) is a concept in Christianity regarding a future return of Jesus to Earth after his "first coming" and ascension to heaven about two thousand years ago. The belief is based on messianic prophecies found in the canonical gospels and is part of most Christian eschatologies. Views about the nature of Jesus' Second Coming vary among Christian denominations and among individual Christians.
Most English versions of the Nicene Creed include the following statements: "...he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. ... We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come."
- 1 Terminology
- 2 Christian views
- 3 Last Day counterfeits
- 4 Specific date predictions and claims
- 5 Other views and commentaries
- 6 In modern culture
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Bibliography
- 10 External links
Several different terms are used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ:
The Greek New Testament uses the Greek term parousia (παρουσία, meaning "arrival", "coming", or "presence") twenty-four times, seventeen of them concerning Christ. The word is also used six times referring to individuals (Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus,[1Co.16:17] Titus,[2Co. 7:6-72] and Paul the Apostle [2Co. 10:10][Phil 1:26][2:12]) and one time referring to the "coming of the lawless one".[2Thes 2:9]
...In the N. T. [New Testament] esp. [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.
The Bauer-Danker Lexicon provides the definition:
...of Christ, and nearly always of his Messianic Advent in glory to judge the world at the end of this age.
In the New Testament the second Parousia, or coming of Christ as Judge of the world, is an oft-repeated doctrine. The Saviour Himself not only foretells the event but graphically portrays its circumstances (Matthew 24:27 sqq. [Olivet Discourse]; sqq. [Judgment of the Nations]). The Apostles give a most prominent place to this doctrine in their preaching (Acts 10:42, ) and writings (Romans 2:5-16; ; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:1; 2 Thess 1:5; James 5:7). Besides the name Parusia (parousia), or Advent (1 Cor. 15:23, 2 Thes. 2:1-9), the second coming is also called Epiphany, epiphaneia, or Appearance (2 Thes. 2:8; 1 Tim. 6:14; 2 Tim. 4:1; Titus 2:13) and Apocalypse (apokalypsis), or Revelation (2 Thess. 2:7 1 Pet. 4:13). The time of the second coming is spoken of as "that Day" (2 Tim. 4:8) "the day of the Lord" (1 Thess. 5:2), "the day of Christ" (Phil 1:6), "the day of the Son of Man" (Luke 17:30), and "the last day" (John 6:39-40).
Adolf Deissmann (1908) 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. The Roman advent coins struck by the cities of Corinth and Patras for Nero's visit reveals the correspondence between the Greek "parousia" and the Latin "Adventus" and their relationship to the Greek word "epiphany" that means "appearing".
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.
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.
The 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 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." (2 Peter 3:10) 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." (Matthew 24:30)
Some, such as Jerome, interpret the phrase "this generation" to mean lifetime of the Jewish race; however, other scholars believe that if Jesus meant "race" he would have used genos (race) not genea (generation).
Catholic and Orthodox
Most English versions of the Nicene Creed in current use include the following statements about Jesus: "...he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. ... We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen."
It 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".[Mt 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.
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—Christ will not return to earth, rather the Kingdom of Heaven, the New Jerusalem, will be established through the Resurrection of the dead.
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 short reference to the second coming is contained in the Nicene Creed: "He [Jesus] 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.[1Cor 15:23].
Esoteric Christian teachings
In 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.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Latter-day Saints have particularly distinct and specific interpretations of what are considered to be signs stated in the Book of Revelation. Their scriptures say that Christ will return, as stated in the Bible. The church teaches that "When the Savior comes again, He will come in power and glory to claim the earth as His kingdom. His Second Coming will mark the beginning of the Millennium. The Second Coming will be a fearful, mournful time for the wicked, but it will be a day of peace for the righteous."
Fundamental Belief #25 of the Seventh-day Adventist Church states:
The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel. The Saviour's coming will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide. When He returns, the righteous dead will be resurrected, and together with the righteous living will be glorified and taken to heaven, but the unrighteous will die. The almost complete fulfillment of most lines of prophecy, together with the present condition of the world, indicates that Christ's coming is imminent. The time of that event has not been revealed, and we are therefore exhorted to be ready at all times. (Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:43, 44; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; 2:8; Rev. 14:14-20; 19:11-21; Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 1 Thess. 5:1-6.)
Jehovah's Witnesses rarely 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 Matthew 24:37–39 and Luke 17:26–30 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" (Dan 12:4), "the conclusion of the system of things" (Matt 13:40,49; 24:3) and "the last days" (2 Tim 3:1; 2 Peter 3:3). Witnesses believe Christ's millennial reign begins after Armageddon.
Last Day counterfeits
Some Christians writings say that there will be a great deception before the Second Coming of Christ. In Matthew 24, Jesus states:
If anyone says to you then, 'Look, here is the Messiah!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will arise, and they will perform signs and wonders so great as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect.—Matthew 24:21, 24 (NAB)
Ellen G. White, the early Seventh-day Adventist leader, wrote:
As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will impersonate Christ. The church has long professed to look to the Saviour's advent as the consummation of her hopes. Now the great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come. In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation. (Revelation 1:13-15). The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that mortal eyes have yet beheld. The shout of triumph rings out upon the air: "Christ has come! Christ has come!" The people prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts up his hands and pronounces a blessing upon them, as Christ blessed His disciples when He was upon the earth. His voice is soft and subdued, yet full of melody. In gentle, compassionate tones he presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the Saviour uttered; he heals the diseases of the people, and then, in his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed.
Specific date predictions and claims
A number of specific dates have been predicted for the Second Coming of Christ, some now in the distant past, others still in the future.
Victor J. Stenger notes that Jesus is recorded as saying, " ...there are some standing here, which shall not taste death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom ", Matt 16:28. He makes similar predictions in four other places in the Gospels; Mark 9:1, Mark 13:30, Matt 24:34, Luke 9:27. 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.
Other views and commentaries
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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 Who is the Lord of Lords is come overshadowed with clouds...He, verily, hath again come down from Heaven even as He came down from it the first time. Beware that thou dispute not with Him even as the Pharisees disputed with Him without a clear token or proof." 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: "This is the Father foretold by Isaiah, and the Comforter concerning Whom the Spirit had covenanted with you. Open your eyes, O concourse of bishops, that ye may behold your Lord seated upon the Throne of might and glory." Baha'u'llah also wrote,"Say: We, in truth, have given Ourself as a ransom for your own lives. Alas, when We came once again, We beheld you fleeing from Us, whereat the eye of My loving-kindness wept sore over My people." 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 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. Bahá'ís claim that the return of Christ with a new name parallels the return of Elijah in John the Baptist as stated by Jesus in the Gospels.
In Islam, Jesus (or Isa; Arabic: عيسى ʿĪsā) is considered to be a Messenger of God and the Masih (messiah) who was sent to guide the Israelites (banī isrā'īl) with a new scripture, the Injīl. The belief in Jesus (and all other messengers of God) is required in Islam, and a requirement of being a Muslim. In the Quran, the second coming of Jesus is heralded in surah Az-Zukhruf as a sign of the day of judgement.
And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way. 43:61
In his famous interpretation of the Qur'an or Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Azim, Ibn kathir also uses this verse as proof of Jesus' second coming in the Qur'an. 
The Hour will not be established until the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you as a just ruler, he will break the cross, kill the pigs, and abolish the Jizya tax. Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it (as charitable gifts).
According to Islamic tradition, Jesus' descent will be in the midst of wars fought by the Mahdi (lit. "the rightly guided one"), known in Islamic eschatology as the redeemer of Islam, against the Masih ad-Dajjal (literally "false messiah", synonymous with the Antichrist) and his followers. Jesus will descend at the point of a white arcade, east of Damascus, dressed in yellow robes—his head anointed. He will then join the Mahdi in his war against the Dajjal. Jesus, considered in Islam as a Muslim (one who submits to God) 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 (ahl al-kitāb, referring to Jews and Christians) will believe in him. Thus, there will be one community, that of Islam. Sahih Muslim, 41:7023
Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established until the son of Mary (Mariam) (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you as a just ruler, he will break the cross, kill the pigs, and abolish the Jizya tax. Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it (as charitable gifts)."
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 (known also as Gog and Magog), 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, (according to Islam Jesus did not die on the cross but was taken up to heaven and continues to live until his return in the second coming). Muslims will then perform the Salat al-Janazah (funeral prayer) for him and bury him in the city of Medina in a grave left vacant beside Muhammad.
The Ahmadi sect, who identify as Muslims, believe that the promised Mahdi and Messiah arrived in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908). This is rejected by other Muslims, who consider the Ahmadiyya not to be Muslims.
The hadith (sayings of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad) 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 (Muslim) 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" (mathīl-i ʿIsā) 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 had survived the crucifixion and had died a natural death. Ahmadis consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (the founder of the movement), 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.
- Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
- Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).
- 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." (Isaiah 2:4)
- 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" (Zechariah 14:9).
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" and invented by Christians to theologically compensate for Jesus' death.
Paramahansa Yogananda's commentary
In 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." (Luke 17:21)
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 culture
The theme of Jesus Christ returning to earth has been a popular theme in many movies and books:
- Left Behind - Film and book franchise created by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins based on the time period before, during and after the Second Coming of Christ.
- 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.
- End of Days - 1999 action-adventure film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger about a policeman who must stop Satan before he ends the world.
- 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, and each claims that the other is a liar - but only one is telling the truth.
- Thief In the Night by William Sears (Bahá'í) - 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 (2002) . Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-008-X.
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- 1Cor 15:50, John 18:36
- 2Cor 5:1-3, Greek "politeuma" [commonwealth], "Our commonwealth is in heaven ...": Philippians 3:20-21
- Matthew 24:30, 1Thess 4:17, Acts 1:10-11, 1John 3:2
- Matthew 24:23-27
- The Aquarian Age (cf. 1Cor 2:6-16)
- "Chapter 43: Signs of the Second Coming", Gospel Principles, Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, 2011, pp. 251–256.
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- "There Is a Future for the Dead". The Watchtower: 200. April 1, 1968.
- The Great Controversy chapter, entitled "The Time Of Trouble", Ellen G. White, p. 624-625
- Chapter 2, ' The Folly of Faith ' p54 in " The New Atheism " by Victor J. Stenger, published 2009 by Prometheus Books, ISBN 978-1-59102-751-5
- Baha'u'llah (2002). The Summons of the Lord of Hosts. Bahai World Centre: Bahai World Centre. pp. 54–55. ISBN 978-1-931847-33-9.
- Baha'u'llah (2002). The Summons of the Lord of Hosts. Haifa, Israel: Bahai World Centre. p. 57. ISBN 978-1-931847-33-9.
- Baha'u'llah (2002). The Summons of the Lord of Hosts. Haifa, Israel: Bahai World Centre. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-931847-33-9.
- Buck, Christopher (2004). "The eschatology of Globalization: The multiple-messiahship of Bahā'u'llāh revisited". In Sharon, Moshe. Studies in Modern Religions, Religious Movements and the Bābī-Bahā'ī Faiths. Boston: Brill. pp. 143–178. ISBN 90-04-13904-4.
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- The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, p.158
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- kathir, Ibn. "Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Azim".
- "Isa", Encyclopedia of Islam
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- The Four Questions Answered, by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, AAIIL 1996
- Simmons, Rabbi Shraga, "Why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus". Accessed December 22, 2011.
- "Why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus", Ohr Somayach - Ask the Rabbi. Accessed December 22, 2011.
- Yogananda, Paramahansa. The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You. Self-Realization Fellowship, 2004. ISBN 978-0876125557
- Dossey, Larry. Author of Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine Harper One. ISBN 978-0062502520
- Prence, Patience (July 27, 2010). SCARS: Christian Fiction End-Times Thriller. Spring Harvest. ASIN B003XKNF1K.
- "At the End of All Things". goodreads.com. Retrieved 2011.
- Pinsker, Scott (June 5, 2014). The Second Coming: A Love Story. ASIN B00KT6B3G0. ISBN 1500167215.
- C. S. Lewis. (1960). The World's Last Night and Other Essays. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ISBN 0-15-698360-5
- Max Heindel. How Shall We Know Christ at His Coming?, May 1913 (stenographic report of a lecture, Los Angeles), ISBN 0-911274-64-2
- Markus Mühling. Grundinformation Eschatologie. Systematische Theologie aus der Perspektive der Hoffnung, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-525-03619-8, 221–241
- James Stuart Russell. The Parousia, A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming
- Emanuel Swedenborg. The Consummation of the Age; the Coming of the Lord; and the New Heaven and New Church, Chapter 14 in The True Christian Religion Containing the Universal Theology of The New Church Foretold by the Lord in Daniel 7; 13, 14; and in Revelation 21; 1,2 (Swedenborg Foundation 1952)
- Henry Wansbrough. The New Jerusalem Bible (1990). Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-14264-1
- Paramahansa Yogananda. The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You. Self-Realization Fellowship, 2004. ISBN 978-0876125557
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Second Coming of Jesus Christ.|
- "Lecture XV: On the Clause, And Shall Come in Glory to Judge the Quick and the Dead; Of Whose Kingdom There Shall Be No End.", delivered by Cyril of Jerusalem in the mid-4th century.
- "The Second Coming", a summary article.
- A Critical Summary of "The Second Coming" by W.B Yeats-RiseNotes