The Second Coming of Christ
One of the main beliefs of the early Christians was that Jesus taught that he would return to the earth again. Why is it that most reject the idea today?
One distinguished churchman says this: "When the expected second coming of Christ did not take place within the lifetime of his earliest disciples the church had to settle down into a routine pattern of life. There were some who resented this: they tried to revive the early spirit; they continued to look for the second coming, usually in the form of the setting up of a visible kingdom of Christ." [The Churches' Search for Unity: Barry Till: Pelican Books.]
This theologian unfortunately goes on to denounce those who cling to this belief as heretics, but should we ignore the clear scriptural teaching on the subject?
The angel told the disciples at Christ's ascension from the Mount of Olives, "This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw him go into heaven." [Acts 1:11 NKJV]
Was the angel mistaken, or was he only repeating what Jesus told his disciples? "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels" [Matthew 16:27 NKJV]
So we find these same disciples later preaching about Christ's Second Coming with great fervour in the temple in Jerusalem. "And that he may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, of which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." [Acts 3:20,21 NKJV]
Here we see that not only did they believe it, but that it was rooted in the Old Testament scriptures!
The apostle Paul had been educated in those Scriptures, did he teach anything different?
His letters to the early believers set out his convictions very clearly. "Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time" [Hebrews 9:28 AV]
In another letter he wrote, "Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom." [2 Timothy 4:1 NKJV]
Again he reminded the early believers that "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first" [1Thessalonians 4:16 AV]
The importance of the Second Coming for all the world was emphasised by Paul when he told the Athenians, "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has appointed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained (Jesus). He has given assurance of this to all, by raising him from the dead" [Acts 17:30,31.NKJV]
Jesus at his Second Coming will rule from Jerusalem, he was promised the throne of King David. "And the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever." (Israel) [Luke 1:32,33 NKJV]
The Bible has many prophecies about this rule of Jesus from Jerusalem over the earth. "Yet I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion (Jerusalem). You are my Son, today I have begotten you... I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession." [Psalm 2:6-8 NKJV]
Could anything be clearer? This Second Coming of Jesus should be the hope of all Christians, as it was the early followers of Christ.