Jesus’ Second Coming: 15 Facts You Must Know!

By Dr. Bob Martin III
Published 2 years ago

Jesus’ Second Coming is one of Christianity’s essential doctrines (i.e., fundamentals). But even though it is the most exciting future event for every Christian, there is a lot of confusion regarding Jesus’ return.

What about you? Are you confused about what will happen at the end of time?

If so, you are not alone. The study of end-time events or eschatology is challenging for several reasons, including:

  • Unfamiliar and easily confused terms
  • Disagreement among Christians over many features of eschatology
  • Debate among Christians over the timing of events

 

This article seeks to clarify important issues and unravel tangled jargon about Jesus’ Second Coming.

 

 

 

Jesus Second Coming Overview Evidence of Second Coming Events at Jesus’ Second Coming Jesus will return physically Events before Jesus’ Second Coming Christian behavior while waiting Events associated with Second Coming Different Millennial views

 

I.   Fact 1: Jesus’ Second Coming & Why it is Important

 

Jesus Second Coming Events v2 Jesus Second Coming Ushers in: Satan's ultimate defeat End of time as we know it Final judgment eternally separating believers from unbelievers New Heaven & New Earth

 

 

Jesus’ death and resurrection officially liberated us from Satan’s bondage (Col. 2:14; Heb. 2:14). But we remain under the devil’s influence.

Have you ever thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if Satan would be defeated once and for all, and I could live without all this sin and suffering?

Guess what?

We will! But we must wait for Jesus’ Second Coming.

At Jesus’ Second Coming, he will finally and permanently defeat Satan. Christ will eternally send the devil and his angels to the lake of fire (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).

Let me back up and give you some context for what you just read.

Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus ascended back to heaven (Luke 24:51-53; Acts 1:9-11). And he now:

  • Sits at the right hand of the power of God (Luke 22:9; Acts 2:33)
  • Acts as our mediator before God the Father (1 Tim 2:5)

 

And someday in the future, Jesus will return to earth.

Jesus’ Second Coming marks the last stages of our earthly sanctification. Sanctification means overcoming sin’s present power and becoming more like Jesus.

Jesus’ Second Coming also signals the:

  • End of time as we know it
  • And the final judgment (Great White Throne Judgment) that eternally separates believers from unbelievers (Rev 20:11-15)

 

 

II.   Fact 2: The Evidence for Jesus’ Second Coming

 

 

Daniel (Dn 7:13-14) Jesus (Mt 14: 62; 16:27) The 2 angels at Jesus' ascension (Ac 1:11) Matthew (Mt 24:30) Mark (Mk 13:26) Luke (Lk 21:27; Ac 1:11) John (Jn 14:3; 1 Jn 2:28) Paul (1 Th 4:15-16) The writer to the Hebrews (Hb. 9:28) Peter (1 Pt 1:7; 13; 2 Pt 1:16; 3:4, 12) James (Js 5:7-8)

 

The evidence for Jesus’ Second Coming is overwhelming. Multiple reliable sources attest to his return, including:

  • Daniel (Dan. 7:13-14) prophesized Jesus’ Second Coming
  • Jesus promised his disciples (Matt 16:27) and the High Priest at his trial (Mark 14:62) that he would return
  • The two angels who appeared to the disciples when Jesus physically ascended back to heaven promised he would return (Acts 1:11)
  • Several of the New Testament writers confirmed Christ’s Second Coming, including:
    • Matthew (Matt. 24:30),
    • Mark (Mark 13:26),
    • Luke (Luke 21:27; Acts 1:11)
    • John (John 14:3; 1 John 2:28)
    • Paul (1 Thess. 4:15-16)
    • The writer to the Hebrews (Heb. 9:28)
    • Peter (1 Pet. 1:7, 13; 2 Pet. 1:16; 3:4, 12)
    • Christ’s half-brother, James (Jas. 5:7-8)

 

III.   Fact 3. Jesus Will Return Physically

The evidence that Jesus will return physically at his Second Coming is indisputable. To understand how we know this, we need to start with his resurrection body

Firstly, Jesus proved his resurrection body was the same physical body in which He died (Luke 24:36–39). For instance, Jesus:

  • Showed his disciples his crucifixion scars (Luke 24:40; John 20:20)
  • Was physically touched (Matt. 28:9)
  • Consumed physical food (Luke 24:42–43)
  • In sum, he exhausted ways to prove his resurrection body was physical

 

Secondly, Christ ascended back to heaven 40 days after his resurrection. And it was in the same resurrected physical body (Acts 1:11).

Thirdly, the two angels appeared at Jesus’ ascension. And they promised that he would return in the same physical way (Zech. 14:4; Acts 1:10-11).

 

IV.   Fact 4. We Do Not Know When Jesus is Returning

Jesus told his disciples that only God the Father knew the time and date of his Second Coming (Matt. 24:36). But that doesn’t mean we are entirely in the dark about when it is about to occur.

 

V.   Fact 5. Events that Precede Jesus’ Second Coming

 

Events Preceding Jesus' Second Coming Universal preaching of the Gospel Persecution of Christians Widespread godlessness The Antichrist False Christs & prophets working signs & wonders Wars & rumors of wars Famines & earthquakes Cosmic changes Israel's salvation of Israel

 

Scripture has given us certain events that will precede Jesus’ return, including:

  • Universal preaching of the Gospel (Matt. 24:14)
  • Persecution of Christians (Matt. 24:9)
  • Widespread abandonment of Christianity (i.e., apostasy), nominal religion, and godlessness (1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 2 Pet. 3:3-5)
  • The rise of the Antichrist (Rev. 13:1-10)
  • The appearance of false Christs and false prophets working signs and wonders (Matt. 24:24)
  • Wars and rumors of wars (Matt. 24:6-7)
  • Famines and earthquakes (Matt. 24:7-8)
  • Cosmic changes (Matt. 24:29)
  • The salvation of Israel (Rom. 11:12, 25-26)

 

VI.   Fact 6. How to Prepare for Jesus’ Second Coming

 

Preparing for Jesus’ Second Coming Be watchful & ready Wait patiently Faithfully manage what the Lord has given us Pursue holiness Evangelize Enduring trials

 

Jesus’ Second Coming is a glorious event for Christians. And we should eagerly want and expect his return (Tit. 2;13). There is no need to be fearful or anxious.

But it raises the issue of how we should live while we wait for his return. For example, Christians should be:

 

VII.   Fact 7. What Happens at Jesus’ Second Coming?

 

Jesus Second Coming Every person on earth will see Him Jesus will descend in the clouds accompanied with: His mighty angels His glorified saints The sound of a trumpet

 

Jesus’ Second Coming to earth will be very different than when he came the first time.

You may be wondering, “In what way?”

The first time Jesus appeared on earth, he came as a baby. He was born to Mary and Joseph in a manger in Bethlehem in the first century A.D. His life was marked by serving others (Matt. 20:28; John 13:14).

But his Second Coming will be dramatically different. And his return will be unmistakable and sudden (Mark 13:26-27, 35–36), like lightning (Matt. 24:27).

Jesus will descend in the clouds (Matt. 24:30; 26:64), accompanied with:

  • His mighty angels (2 Thess. 1:7)
  • His glorified saints (Phil. 3:21)
  • The sound of a trumpet (1 Cor. 15:521 Thess. 4:16)
  • At Jesus’ Second Coming, every person on earth will see Him (Rev. 1:7) and mourn (Matt. 24:30), while Christians will marvel (2 Thess. 1:10).
  • It will signal the beginning of the sequence of events for the end of time

 

All Christians Agree On these Facts Jesus' return is physical & marks the end of sin’s dominion Both saved & unsaved will be resurrected The saved are transformed into glorious bodies There is eternal separation of believers from unbelievers

 

Christians disagree on the order of end-time events (eschatology). But there are some things all Christians agree on when it comes to Jesus’ Second Coming:

  • Jesus will literally and physically return to earth in the same physical body he resurrected and ascended back to heaven in
  • His return signals the beginning of the end of sin’s dominion and ushers in righteousness and peace
  • Both the saved and unsaved will be resurrected. The saved will be transformed into a state of perfect and permanent righteousness.
  • All humans will be separated into two groups forever
    • Believers will enjoy conscious eternal life in heaven
    • Unbelievers are condemned to suffer conscious everlasting doom in the lake of fire prepared for Satan and his angels

 

VIII.   Fact 8. Other End-time Events Related to Jesus’ Second Coming

 

Events Associated with Jesus' second coming Church age Millennium & 3 views rapture Tribulation Satan's defeat new heaven & new Earth

 

Christians hold various beliefs about the end-time events surrounding Jesus’ Second Coming. And distinguishing between them can be challenging.

In order to help you understand the various views, I have created a glossary that lists and defines key terms, including:

  • Church Age
  • Rapture
  • Tribulation
  • Millennium and three millennial views (Rev. 20:2-7)
    • Premillennialism
    • Postmillennialism
    • Amillennialism
  • Various end-time judgments include:
    • The Judgment (Bema) Seat of Christ
    • Judgment of the sheep and goats
    • Great White Throne Judgement
  • Satan’s ultimate defeat
  • New Heaven and New Earth

 

IX. Fact 9 Church Age

The church age extends from the beginning of the New Testament church at Pentecost, 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 2), until Jesus’ Second Coming.

 

X.   Fact 10 Millennium

Revelation 20:1-7 introduces the millennium or Jesus’1000-year reign. There are three main views distinguished:

  • Whether the millennium is a literal thousand-year reign on earth or allegorical for a long time (cf. Rev. 20)
  • The occurrence of the millennium with Jesus’ Second Coming (Matt. 24:30; 26:64)
  • The timing of the rapture to the tribulation
  • The number and timing of resurrections
  • The number and timing of judgments

 

XI.   Fact 11. Three Millennial Views

1.   Premillennialism

Most premillennialists interpret the millennium in Revelation 20:1-6 literally as an actual 1000-year earthly reign of Christ with his saints (1Thess. 4:13-18).

 In addition, they believe:

  • Jesus returns before the millennium
  • There is a rapture of believers (see fact 12 below)
  • The seven-year tribulation (Rev. ch. 6-19) follows the rapture and is before Jesus’ Second Coming (Matt. 24:29-30) (see fact 13 below)

 

a.   Three forms of premillennialism

Premillennialists are divided into either:

  1. Historical premillennialists (post-tribulation): Christians will live through the tribulation with the rapture occurring with Jesus’ Second Coming.
  1. Dispensational premillennialism (pre- or mid- tribulation): Christians are raptured either before or midway through the seven-year tribulation

 

3 Premillennial views blog image

 

b.   Two separate resurrections

Premillennialists believe in two separate resurrections.

  1. The first is for believers at the rapture before the millennium.
  2. The second resurrection is for unbelievers who will stand for the Final or Great White Throne Judgment. This resurrection occurs after the millennium at the end of time.

 

c.   Three separate judgments

Premillennialists also believe in three separate judgments.

1.   Judgment of the Nations (Judgment of Sheep and Goats) (Matt. 25:31-46)

  • It occurs at the time of the rapture and before the millennium
  • Jesus judges the righteous from the wicked
  • The righteous (sheep) enter the Millennial Kingdom, ultimately destined for heaven
  • The unsaved (goats) are cast into hell, awaiting their final destination, the lake of fire

 

2.   Judgment (Bema) Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10)

  • The Judgement (Bema) Seat of Christ probably occurs after the rapture with Jesus’ Second Coming (1 Cor. 4:5; cf.; Rev. 19:7,8).
  • This judgment does not determine salvation (i.e., whether we go to heaven or hell) because everyone judged at the Bema Seat is a raptured Christian
  • This judgment determines heavenly rewards gained or lost for believers (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10) based on their faithfulness to Jesus while on earth (1 Cor. 3:11–15; 2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 22:12)
  • Our heavenly rewards are called crowns (Rom. 8:18; 1 Cor. 9:24-25; 2 Cor. 4:17; Jas. 1:12; 1 John 2:25)

 

3.   Great White (Final) Throne (Rev. 20:11-15)

After the millennium, there will be a third and final judgment for those who rejected God (Rev. 20:11-15; cf. Rom. 2:5-6). These unbelievers will:

  • Be separated eternally from the righteous (Matt. 25:31-32) and sent to the “lake of fire” (Rev. 20:6, 11-15)
  • Suffer conscious and everlasting doom with the devil and his angels (Matt. 13:50; 25:41)

 

Premillennialists emphasize the Great White Judgement for unbelievers. However, there will be some postmillennial Christians that will also be judged, including:

  • Millennial Christian converts
  • Children born to mortal parents during the millennium who became Christians

 

2.   Postmillennialism

Postmillennialists believe Jesus returns after the millennium. For them:

  • The world gets progressively better because the Church Christianizes it through evangelism and the work of the Holy Spirit
  • The millennium is not 1000 years but a lengthy symbolic time of spiritual prosperity that precedes Jesus’ Second Coming
  • There will be worldwide righteousness, justice, and peace
  • There is one resurrection and final (Great White Throne) judgment of all humans, marking the end of history and the beginning of eternal life
  • The righteous are separated from the wicked and sent to heaven
  • Unbelievers sent to the lake of fire

 

Postmillennialism graphic

 

3.   Amillennialism

Amillennialists believe there is no millennium per se.

  • The millennium is symbolic of a long time.
  • The present church age corresponds to Christ’s rule in the Church
  • There is one resurrection and judgment of all humans marking the end of history and the beginning of eternal life
  • The righteous are separated from the wicked and sent to heaven
  • Unbelievers sent to the lake of fire

 

Amillennialism graphic

 

XII.   Fact 12. Rapture

In premillennialism, the rapture involves the resurrection of dead believers and the transformation of living believers. The rapture will occur either (a) before, (b) during, or (c) after the tribulation (1 Cor. 15:51-58; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; cf. Job 19:25-27; Isa. 26:19; John 11:25-26; 14:1-3; Rev. 20:4).

  • (a) Pretribulationists and (b) midtribulationists believe Jesus will secretly return and rapture believers. They will be raptured and meet Jesus in the air either before or halfway through the tribulation (1 Thess. 4:17). Then, after the tribulation, they will return with Jesus at his Second Coming. These are dispensational premillennialism views
  • (c) Posttribulationists believe the rapture coincides with Jesus’ Second Coming. This point of view is the historical premillennialism

Raptured saints are given new bodies. These glorified, physical, incorruptible, and immortal bodies will be:

  • Perfect and permanently righteousness (Phil. 3:21)
  • Wholly united with Jesus (Rom. 6:5)
  • Able to see God face-to-face (Matt. 5:8; Rev. 22:4)!

 

XIII.   Fact 13.   Tribulation

Postmillennialism does not believe that the tribulation is a singular seven-year event. Instead, it symbolizes all the trials, challenges, and persecution believers have endured throughout history.

Amillennialism believes the tribulation is the persecution faced by Asian Christians of John’s time, symbolic of trials throughout history.

Premillennialism believes the tribulation is seven years of intense suffering preceding Jesus’ millennial reign. And the last half is particularly miserable and called the “Great Tribulation” (Rev. ch. 6-18; cf. Dan. 9:244-27; Matt. 24:21-22, 29; 25:31–46; Rev. 19:11–16).

1.   Premillennial Tribulation

Premillennialists believe Revelation 6–19 literally describes the events of the tribulation. The tribulation is necessary to:

  • Discipline of the nation Israel ( 9:21-27)
  • Judge the unbelieving humans who reject God ( 25:30–32; 2 Thes. 2:12; Rev. 6-18).

The tribulation is unique in

  • Scope: the three sets of judgments are worldwide
  • Severity: Jesus described the Great Tribulation as a time of trouble unique in history (Matt. 24:15-22; cf. Dan 12:1; 2:22; 7:14)
  • People knowing the end is near and would rather die than live

Overall, there are three parts to the tribulation:

 

a.   The first three and one-half years

  • The Antichrist signs a seven-year treaty with Israel (Dan. 9:27)
  • Israel rebuilds the temple and reinstates sacrifices
  • Seven seal judgments (Rev. 6:1-17; 8:1; cf. Matt. 24:4-11, 29)
  • Two witnesses (Rev. 11:3-11:14) and 144,000 Jews (Rev. 7:1-7) are protected by God to evangelize
  • An innumerable number of tribulation Christians are martyred ( 6:9–11; cf. Matt. 24:9–11)
  • Gog of Magog wages war against Israel, but God supernaturally intervenes (Rev. 20:7-9; cf. Ezek. 38-39)

 

b.   Midway point

Satan is thrown out of heaven (Rev. 12:7-9)

The Antichrist

  • Breaks his treaty with Israel.
  • Sets up the abomination that causes desecration in the temple (Dan. 9:17; Matt. 24: 15-16)
  • Demands to be worshipped
  • Receives a mortal wound. He is then either (1) incarnated by Satan or (2) reanimated by a Satanic miracle of the False Prophet ( 13:1-15)

 

c.   The last three and one-half years (Great Tribulation)

  • Trumpet and Bowl judgments
  • The battle of Armageddon

The tribulation ends in Christ’s triumphant return at the Battle of Armageddon.

 

XIV.   Fact 14. Satan’s Ultimate Defeat

Even though Jesus defeated Satan on the cross (Col. 1:3), the evil one is still actively involved in the world today. He constantly influences humans and attacks believers (1 Pet. 5:8; 1 John 3:8).

But Jesus’ Second Coming guarantees Satan’s ultimate and permanent defeat (Rom. 16:20; Rev. 17:14)!

  • After the millennium, Satan is briefly released
  • During this time, he deceives nations, leading to one last battle
  • The rebellion is quickly defeated with consuming fire (Rev. 20:7-10)
  • After his defeat, Satan is thrown into the lake of fire (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10)

 

XV.   Fact 15. New Heaven and New Earth

Finally, God replaces the old sin-cursed heaven and earth (2 Pet. 3:10) with a new heaven and new earth (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1-50)

  • God will dwell with his saints
  • It will be the permanent home for believers
  • There will be no sin, suffering, sorrow, or death
  • There will be a new order and redeemed earth

 

XVI.   What will be Your Next Step?

If you are not a Christian, I hope this article has caused you to consider your eternal future.

It may sound cliché, but God loves you infinitely and wants you to spend eternity with him.

No one knows when Jesus is returning.

  • Please don’t ignore his gracious offer of eternal life and refuse to accept Jesus as your Savior
  • Today would be an excellent time to invite Jesus to rescue you and become your Lord and Savior.

 

Christians eagerly await Christ’s return. Because it ushers in the final stage of salvation called “glorification.” Glorification delivers us eternally from the very presence of sin.

Also, since Jesus could return at any time, you should be motivated

 

Why?

No one is exempt from Jesus’ judgment.

  • Jesus will judge Christians. And we will be rewarded based on what we have done with the gifts and opportunities he has given us
  • Non-Christians are sent to a place of eternal torment. It is called the lake of fire prepared for Satan and his angels.

 

Living with eternity in view is the best way to:

  • Not hold onto things of this world too tightly
  • Endure suffering.
  • Remember, this world is not our home.

 

And in the light of eternity, our lives are brief and likened to a vapor.

 

Call to Action

If you are a Christian, let me finish by asking you:

  1. How’s your engagement with God daily? Is it something Jesus would reward?
  2. How are you doing at sharing the gospel with others and praying for them? Is this something Jesus would reward?
  3. Do people who know you or work with you know you are a Christian or is your faith hidden under a basket?
  4. Do you endure suffering and persecution in a way that brings glory to God?
  • The Book of Revelation talks about the end of time and pointedly tells us to endure until then.
  • Remember, Jesus will return. His victory over Satan is assured. And you can endure every suffering because of your hope in Him.

 

References

  1. “Revelation, Book Of.” In Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, edited by C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen, & T. C. Butler. Holman Bible Publishers, 2003.
  2. Geisler, N. L. Systematic theology, volume four: church, last things. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2005
  3. Geisler, Norman, and Ron Rhodes: Conviction without Compromise. Eugene OR: Harvest House, 2008
  4. Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. Eschatology. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988.
  5. Erickson, M. J. Christian Theology (3rd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013
  6. Grudem, W. A. Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004.
  7. Johnson, Dennis E. (2008). Revelation. In ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008
  8. Manser, M. H. Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. Martin Manser, 2009

Resources

Binmin Podcast Ep. 19: Second Coming | Putting the Fun In…

Binmin Podcast Ep. 12: End | What Questions Should I Ask About My Faith?

2 Responses

  1. I loved you even more than you’ll say here. The picture is nice and your writing is stylish, but you read it quickly. I think you should give it another chance soon. I’ll likely do that again and again if you keep this walk safe.

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