Jesus’ Return

The New Testament presents two aspects of the return of the risen Christ. First, there is the principle of the unity of the believer with the indwelling Christ and, secondly, the concept of a second coming of Christ to rule and to reign with power. The unity of the individual with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is described most clearly in the Upper Room Discourse (John 14-17).In Matthew 18:19-20, Jesus said, “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

The epistle writers also make this point. For example, Paul in chapter 8 of Romans (called the “Victory Chapter “) says, “And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” The apostle John says, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”

Jesus also spoke of his second coming in terms of visual symbolism. He said that after great tribulation “They shall see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angles with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other”(Matt. 24:30-31;Mk. 13:2-27). At the time of Jesus’ ascension, two men in white apparel told the disciples: “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from ye into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Perhaps one of most quoted passages is I Thess. 4:16-5:2: “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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”