Second Coming / Return

No idea has gripped the human imagination more firmly, saturated the Church more completely, or been proclaimed as the hope of the world more frequently than the idea and doctrine of a “Second Coming/Return” of Jesus Christ. Its influence on the thinking of most Christians and non-church people alike has been a driving force in the world. And yet this belief has been both the bane and chief blind spot of Christianity as its persistent nonoccurrence throughout Church history has embarrassed and discredited the faith.

Theological Problem

The Bible says nothing about a “second coming” or a “return” of Jesus Christ. Nor do the historic creeds of the Church. Nothing! Why not? Because it’s inappropriate terminology.

Also, be assured that we simply cannot afford to be misinformed or confused about such an important element of our biblical faith. Unfortunately, “second coming” and “return” terminology implies only two comings of Jesus, one in the past and the other supposedly in the future. But this limitation does not fit with the testimony of Scripture. The idea of limiting the comings of Jesus to only two and calling the later one the “Second Coming” or “Return,” or limiting his comings in any way—past, present, or future—is simply a human notion, man-made terminology, and a post-biblical doctrine kept alive by tradition.

What Scripture Says

Make no mistake. Jesus’ timely coming in judgment, “on the clouds,” circa A.D. 70, and in destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple was a biggie! It was his real, personal, and bodily coming and ending of the Old Covenant age. But it was not his so-called “return” or “second coming,” nor will any of his comings in the future so be. The late-great theologian, George Eldon Ladd, in his highly acclaimed book, The Blessed Hope, acknowledged this most significant fact this way:

  • . . . the words ‘return’ and ‘second coming’ are not properly speaking Biblical words in that the two words do not represent any equivalent Greek words. (George Eldon Ladd, The Blessed Hope (Grand Rapids, MI.: Eerdmans, 1956), 69).

Ladd’s admission here is huge and leads to major implications. Fact is, we Christians have been hamstrung for centuries with these two non-scriptural expressions and unscriptural concepts. Biblically, the idea that Jesus is off somewhere waiting to come back at some future time, as well as the idea of limiting the comings of Jesus to only two or three times, or to any at all, is man’s idea and not God’s.

Elaborations

  • He never left.
  • What is a coming of Jesus?
  • The many comings of Jesus.
  • Freeing yourself from religious bondage.
  • The deception of the elect.

Sources

  1. The Perfect Ending for the World by John Noe
  2. The Greater Jesus by John Noe
  3. The Last Days According to Jesus by R.C. Sproul
  4. Last Days Madness by Gary DeMar