The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

Acts 1:4-11 (NKJV)

4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 

5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 

6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 

7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 

8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 

10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 

11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.

The Second Coming of Jesus

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

John 13:3 KJV

Few topics excite followers of Christ like the topic of his second coming. Throughout his ministry Jesus had told his disciples he was going to leave them and return again.

The promise of Christ’s return to earth is repeated many times in scripture. On the day Christ ascended to heaven, two angels appeared to the disciples and explained that Christ would return just the same way in which he left: through a cloud of glory in the sky. Jesus also described different signs that would precede his coming to his disciples.

Christians eagerly await Christ’s return, because we know that when he returns he will bring peace and harmony to the entire world.  When Christ returns, it will be so that we can spend all eternity with him. Suffering and pain will end. Our longings for that day fill the songs we sing in our churches. All is peace forevermore, on that happy golden shore.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

1 Thessalonians 4:15 KJV

The Hope of Christ’s Return

In scripture, we see that the hope of Christ returning in our lifetime is a hope every believer has a right to.

In multiple of his epistles, Paul communicated his expectation that he and his readers would live to the return of Christ. (1 Thes 4:15, 1 Cor 15:51)

The Apostle John, in his old age, similarly continued to hold to the hope that he would live to see Christ’s return. (1 John 3:2-3) The Apostles James and Peter both shared their hope for the soon return of Christ. (James 5:8, 1 Peter 4:7)

As demonstrated by the Apostolic writers, looking and hoping for the soon return of Christ is a source of strength and comfort to believers, and something we all have a right to hope for. In fact, Jesus had commanded the disciples to be watchful and prayerful, ever expectant of his soon return. (Matthew 26:41)

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 KJV

Signs of His Coming

While Paul was hopeful and vocal about his hope to live to see Christ’s return, he was careful to caution his readers that Christ’s return could only happen after the fulfillment of signs which Christ himself had foretold. (2 Thessalonians 2: 3)

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 NKJV

Paul cautioned his readers not to be deceived into believing the return of Christ would happen before the signs foretold by Christ have manifested. He specifically cautioned them to beware of men who employed tactics to scare them that they were missing the second coming of Christ.

In Paul’s day, certain men were circulating ideas that the return of Christ had happened, and others had missed it. False teachers were making the same claims Jesus had warned his disciples about by using fear to manipulate and deceive. Jesus had clearly warned his disciples not to be deceived by false signs of his return and cautioned us to beware of men who point to such false signs. (Matthew 24:4-6)

To the Thessalonians, Paul reiterated the same warning as Jesus. Do not let any man deceive you by pointing to false signs of the return of Christ.

When Is The Lord Returning?

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

Matthew 24:36

When is the Lord going to return and setup his kingdom? This is a question Jesus was asked many times during his ministry. His response was always the same: It is not for you to know when, but there is a job to do in the meantime.

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 1:6-7

When Jesus left his disciples and ascended into heaven, they had no idea how long they would have to wait for his return. Some may have expected him to return in a few days.

How long they would have to wait until he returned was a question on their mind as he was telling them farewell. They asked him again about the timing of his return one final time. Once again, Jesus directed them back to the mission he charged them with.

Jesus told the disciples several times that his return would only come after the gospel had been taken to all nations, kindreds, and tongues. (Matthew 24:14) This is a mission that is still being carried out by the church today. Each of us have a part to play in fulfilling that mission which must be accomplished before Christ will return.

Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

Matthew 24:46

Sharing the gospel message is what Christ expects to find us doing when he returns. Deceivers who become obsessively focused on the return Christ tend to completely neglect the gospel as they fixate on doomsday topics to hold the attention and command of their listeners.

Why Has Jesus Waited So Long To Come Back?

Nearly two thousand years and dozens of generations have passed since Jesus ascended to heaven. It can be natural to wonder why he hasn’t returned yet or when he finally will. The Apostle Peter offered an answer to that question in one of his epistles.

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

1 Peter 3:8 KJV

God is concerned with the salvation of mankind, and it is not his will for anyone to be lost and perish. Had Christ returned one thousand years ago, where would that place you and I? We yet unborn, but foreknown to God. There may yet be an unborn generation who are foreknown and loved by God who will one day welcome them into his family. As wonderful as it would have been for Peter to Paul to have Christ return in their day, God knew it was going to take 2000 years for you and I to become part of his kingdom.

To mankind, thousands of years can seem like a vast space of time, but to God it is only as a couple days. The promise of his return is just as good today as it was on the day he gave it, and you have the same right as the early disciples to hope and look for his return in your day.

What Will Happen To Us When Christ Returns?

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52

When Christ returns for his disciples, they will be changed in an instant. Their bodies will become perfect and glorified, just like Christ’s own body. (1 John 3:2) This change is unlike anything we can fully comprehend, but in that instant, we will understand. Though many things about us may change, one thing will remain the same: the love of God in our hearts. (1 Cor 13:10-13)

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Jesus has not yet descended from heaven with a shout. But when he does, we are going to be changed, and we will rise to meet Jesus Christ in the air. Paul described this as being “caught up”.

Jesus described the same event to his disciples when speaking of his coming. He explained that two would be working in the mill, one would be taken and the other left. Two would be working in the field, one take and the other left. Two would be sleeping in a bed, one taken and the other left. (Matthew 24:40-42)

Always Be Ready

Because we never know when we will go to be with the Lord, we must strive always to be ready. Our time on earth is not guaranteed. Even if Christ does not return tomorrow, he may call you home. The requirement to be resurrected is the same as what is required to be raptured. God is faithful to all generations, and he has not shortchanged any. We all have had the same opportunity to take part in the blessed hope of the resurrection and rapture. (Psalms 119:90)

Whether by rapture or whether by resurrection, Jesus has promised to come for us. The way to our father’s house has not changed. It was, and always will be, through Jesus Christ. He alone is the way, the life, and the truth. (John 14:1-6)

To be saved and ready for that day, we must be found abiding in Christ, with a steadfast trust in his saving work, ever growing to become more like him. (1 John 3:2-3, John 15:4-9)

If you have not started on your journey with Christ, now is the perfect day. What must we do to be saved? Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)

Living By Prayer: A Prayer of the Puritans 

O God with an open ear,

Teach me to live by prayer as well as by providence,

For myself, soul, body, children, family church;

Give me a heart frameable to thy will;

so I might live in prayer,

and honor thee,

being kept from evil, known and unknown.

Help me know that the work of prayer is to bring my will to thine,

and that without this it is folly to prayer;

When I try to bring thy will to mine it is

to command Christ,

to be above him, and wiser than he:

this is my sin and pride.

I can only succeed when I prayer

according to thy precept and promise,

and to be done with as it pleases thee,

according to thy sovereign will.

When thou commandest me to pray

for pardon, peace brokenness,

it is because thou wilt me the thing promised,

for thy glory,

as well as for my good.

Help me not only to desire small things

but with holy boldness to desire great things

for thy people, for myself

that they and I might live to show they glory.

Teach me

that it is wisdom for to pray for all I have,

that I may come to thee at any time.

In Jesus name, I ask it 


The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers Edited by Arthur Bennet, 1975 

Study Questions

  1. When did Jesus say he was coming back?
  2. What is going to happen to the believers who are still living on earth when Christ returns?
  3. What do you need to do to be ready for the rapture?