There are many theories about the end of the world. Only the Bible tells us the truth about how the world will end – with Jesus’ second coming and the events associated with it. Christians disagree about the details of His return, but the Bible tells us about it plainly. What it says about the second coming is based upon three simple facts:
Fact #1: It is certain
Jesus tells His disciples that He will come again after Jerusalem is destroyed. He emphasizes the certainty of His return: “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man…All the nations of the earth will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:27, 30). Jerusalem was destroyed by Roman armies in A.D. 70. Therefore, nothing stands in the way of the second coming.
So…why hasn’t Jesus returned yet? Didn’t He tell the church at the end of the first century, “Behold, I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:7, 12, 20)? And hasn’t it been nearly 2,000 years since Jerusalem was destroyed?
Peter speaks of this delay in Jesus’ return. In spite of those who scoff at the second coming, he reminds us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise…He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus will not come again until all whom God has chosen are saved. But no matter how long it takes, His coming is certain.
Fact #2: It is unexpected
Unlike the destruction of Jerusalem, no signs will indicate that the second coming is near. Jesus compares it to the coming of a thief and says, “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matthew 24:44). Paul says, “The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3).
Attempts to predict the date of the second coming are foolish and arrogant. Jesus Himself says, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36). The Bible reveals how the world will end, not when it will end.
Fact #3: It is final
The second coming will trigger many other end-times events. Those who interpret Bible prophecy incorrectly divide Jesus’ return into multiple comings and put a complex calendar of events between them. However, the Bible is clear that He will only return once. Anything else that happens at the end of the world will take place on the same day. The Bible often refers to this as “the day of the Lord.”
Resurrection of the dead. When Jesus returns, the dead will be raised to life. Daniel is told, “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake” (Daniel 12:2). Jesus says, “A time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear my voice and come out” (John 5:28-29). Paul comforts, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven…and the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
Judgment. When Jesus returns, all peoples will be gathered before Him for judgment. He will reward the righteous and condemn the wicked. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory…all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another…then the wicked will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Matthew 25:31-46).
New creation. When Jesus returns, the universe will be destroyed and remade. Peter says, “That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:12-13). God will dwell with His people for eternity upon this new earth (Revelation 21:1-4).
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