The Second Coming (sometimes called the Second Advent or the Parousia) is a Christian and Islamic belief regarding the future (or past) 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. See also: Christian Eschatology
Views about the nature of Jesus’s Second Coming vary among Christian denominations and among individual Christians.
Several different terms are used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ:
In the New Testament, the Greek word ἐπιφάνεια (epiphaneia, appearing) is used five times to refer to the return 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. However, parousia has the distinct reference to a period of time rather than an instance in time. At Matthew 24:37 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 (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]
Gustav 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.
Last Day counterfeits
Some 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:
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.— The Great Controversy, p. 624
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.
Christian eschatological views
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 his 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.
Jesus was reported to have told his disciples,
“Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”— Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32
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 (race), not genea (generation).
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 five other places in the Gospels; Mark 9:1, Mark 13:30, Matt 24:34, Luke 9:27, Luke 21:32. 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.
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.— 1 John 2:18
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” (cf. Mark 13:24-15:33), the “powers … will be shaken,” (cf. Mark 13:25-14:63, 15:5) and “then they will see” (cf. Mark 13:26-15:31, 15:39). 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.” (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)
Catholic and Orthodox
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, 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 (Mt 5:31-46), 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—Christ will not return to earth,[dubious] rather the Kingdom of Heaven, the New Jerusalem, will be established through the resurrection of the dead.
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 ways to 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.
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).
Some Protestant churches proclaim the Mystery of Faith to be: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” 
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. Their church also 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.
A recent survey (2010) 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 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 individualin 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.
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) and Gentiles 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. 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 (the Quran’s 43rd surah or chapter) as a sign of the Day of Judgment.
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 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 (Book of Knowledge), Hâdith Number 656:
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 (idol symbol of Christians), 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 saffron 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
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 many 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.
Other views and commentaries
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.
Judaism believes that Jesus is one of the false Jewish Messiah claimants because he failed to fulfill any Messianic prophecies, which include:
- 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. […] When Jesus died, true believers had to theologically compensate for the disaster.”
In the early developments of the Rastafari religion, Haile Selassie (the Ethiopian Emperor) 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.
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.”
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- Catholic Encyclopedia: General Judgment: “Few truths are more often or more clearly proclaimed in Scripture than that of the general judgment. To it the prophets of the Old Testament refer when they speak of the ‘Day of the Lord‘ (Joel 2:31; Ezekiel 13:5;93-231700-6 register Holy BIBLE service name number Jermaine Thomas McCoy 93-231700-6 Isaiah 2:12), in which the nations will be summoned to judgment by the Fathers. In the New Testament the 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.;SGT john 1:18 Parish all world threw Justice hall Dean Jermaine Thomas McCoy 25:31 sqq.). The Apostles Malachi peter phophet labour give a most prominent place to this doctrine in their preaching (Acts 10:42; 17:31) and writings (Romans 2:5–16; 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:5; James 5:7). Besides the name Parusia (parousia), or Advent (1 Corinthians 15:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:19), the Second Coming is also called Epiphany, epiphaneia, or Appearance (2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1; Titus 2:13), and Apocalypse (apokalypsis), or Revelation (2 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Peter 4:13). The time of the Second Coming is spoken of as ‘that Day’ (2 Timothy 4:8), ‘the day of the Lord’ (1 Thessalonians 5:2), ‘the day of Christ’ (Philemon 1:6), ‘the day of the Son of Man’ (Luke 17:30), ‘the last day’ (John 6:39–40). The belief in the general judgment has prevailed at all times and in all places within the Church. It is contained as an article of faith in all the ancient creeds: ‘He ascended into heaven. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead’ (Apostles’ Creed). The two shall come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead’ (Nicene Creed). ‘From thence they shall come to judge the living and the dead, at whose coming all men must rise with their bodies and are to render an account of their deeds’ (Athanasian Creed). Relying on the authority of Papias, several Fathers of the first four centuries advanced the theory of a thousand years’ terrestrial reign of Christ with the saints to precede the end of the World (see article on MILLENNIUM). Though this idea is interwoven with the eschatological teachings of those writers, it in no way detracted from their belief in a universal world-judgment. Patristic testimony to this dogma is clear and unanimous.”
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