Second Coming of Christ

The Bible says that Jesus is going to come back to earth. Why is the second coming of Christ necessary? What will Jesus do when He comes back?

Jesus promised to come again, and Old Testament and New Testament prophecies point to the second coming of Christ as a pivotal event in God’s plan.

Second coming Bible verses

Here are just a few of the many Bible verses that proclaim the second coming of Christ:

  • “Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives” (Zechariah 14:3-4).
  • “They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).
  • “And I bestow upon you [Christ’s apostles] a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:29-30).
  • “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).
  • “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12).

Second coming: why?

Why must Jesus Christ come back to the earth? It sounds like a question that belongs to church folk only, and one that doesn’t really have any impact on the lives of the nonreligious. Yet, in fact, the answer to this question is critical for the entire human race—believers and nonbelievers, Christian and non-Christian.

Why do we need Christ’s second coming? Simply stated: for human survival. As we will see, Jesus Christ has promised to come to prevent humanity from annihilation.

Let’s stop for a minute and look soberly at the many threats to the survival of humanity. First, let’s examine the subject of modern warfare and the armaments at the disposal of mankind.

The second coming of Christ is needed to save us from nuclear threats

There are presently at least nine nations with nuclear weapons in the world: the United States, Russia, China, France, Great Britain, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

It is also widely believed that Iran is still pursuing nuclear weapons, and analysts assert that if Iran gets the bomb, other Middle Eastern nations such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia will feel obligated to follow suit.

And if North Korea continues to improve its nuclear technology, an arms race could take off in East Asia, with Japan feeling pressure to abandon its long-standing nonnuclear stance.

The prospect of rogue nations having their hands on the bomb is terrifying. But, in reality, the world has lived with the prospect of nuclear war since 1945, the year the United States dropped two atomic bombs (primitive compared to today’s nuclear weapons) on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The immediate effect of those bombs was the deaths of at least 150,000 Japanese citizens.

And consider that today’s nuclear weapons are far more destructive and dangerous than Little Boy and Fat Man, the nicknames given to the two bombs dropped on Japan. It is estimated that between the two major nuclear powers—the United States and Russia—there are now a total of over 3,500 deployed nuclear warheads, and an additional 5,000-plus nondeployed tactical nuclear weapons.

Add to this the estimated 825 weapons of the next three nuclear powers—China, France and the United Kingdom—and you have sufficient nuclear weaponry to kill off all of humanity with power left over.

And the above doesn’t even begin to address the danger that causes national security experts to lose sleep: the possibility of a terrorist group getting its hands on a nuclear dirty bomb or chemical or biological weapons.

“Theft of potential nuclear bomb materials is not just a hypothetical worry; it is an ongoing reality, highlighting the inadequacy of the nuclear security measures in place today: the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has documented some 18 cases of theft or loss of plutonium or HEU [highly enriched uranium] confirmed by the states concerned (and there are more cases that the relevant states have so far been unwilling to confirm, despite the conviction of some of the participants). In virtually all of the known cases, no one had ever noticed the stolen material was missing until it was seized, suggesting that other thefts may have gone undetected” (Matthew Bunn, “Reducing the Greatest Risks of Nuclear Theft and Terrorism”).

“Russian authorities say that [between 2002 and 2005] alone they have broken up hundreds of nuclear-material smuggling deals. In October 2001, shortly after the World Trade Center attacks, a Russian nuclear official reported having foiled two separate incidents over the previous eight months in which terrorists had ‘staked out’ a secret weapons storage site” (“Loose Nukes,” Council on Foreign Relations website).

The second coming of Christ will save us from chemical and biological threats

Terrifying as it is to contemplate the prospect of nuclear mushroom clouds over New York, Moscow, Beijing, Berlin, London and elsewhere, it is arguably even more horrifying to contemplate the use of the chemical and biological weapons now at the disposal of humanity’s aggressive tendencies.

For example, various chemical agents are reported to have been used by Iraq in the 1980s and in the Syrian civil war. Accounts of the effects of these chemical attacks describe death by asphyxiation, burning and vomiting, as well as long-term health problems, such as increased cancers and birth defects.

No, it’s not a pretty picture. And it’s not something we like to think about. Yet with humanity left to its own misguided and militaristic devices, not only could nuclear and chemical warfare happen, but it certainly would.

Almost all the weapons of war ever devised have at some point been used in conflict.

The second coming of Christ is necessary for human survival

Why must Jesus Christ return? To prevent just such an annihilation of humanity! To head off the misery of an atomic, chemical and/or biological doomsday. The Bible indicates that such a fate would indeed await humanity but for divine intervention through the return of Christ: “Unless those days [the days of the end of the age] were shortened, no flesh would be saved” (Matthew 24:22).

This scripture and others speak of the prospect of the obliteration of humankind were it not for the second coming of Jesus Christ the Messiah.

As we analyze the root causes of the conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries, it is striking that most of them have resulted from conflicts among people of different ethnicities and nationalities—Japanese and Chinese, Germans and Jews, Iraqis and Iranians, Israelis and Arabs, Americans and Japanese, Indians and Pakistanis.

Divided as it is by race and national origin, humanity has shown itself incapable of getting beyond such divisions and proceeding to real, lasting peace. It would seem that the inherent variety of the human race, in itself good thing, turns it toward destructive conflict.

“For nation [from the Greek word ethnos, ethnic group] will rise against nation, and kingdom [Greek basileia, governmental entities] against kingdom,” said Jesus (Matthew 24:7). How apt that description has turned out to be! Most of the conflict in our world has been between differing racial groupings and national configurations, as well as wars over religion.

At His second coming, Jesus Christ will have to teach humanity how to rise above ethnic conflict in order to bring true justice. “He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people. They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).

What will happen when Jesus returns?

This world is in desperate need of the second coming of Christ. What will He do? How will He transform this troubled world into a world of peace?

Christ will return to teach the way to peace

Why do we need Jesus Christ’s second coming? We need Him to rule over all nations and teach humanity how to achieve and then administer peace on earth. Without Him it would be impossible.

True peace has always eluded humanity. It has never been accomplished by the multinational organizations designed to do just that. The League of Nations, founded in 1919 at the end of the First World War, failed dismally to bring peace.

Yet the United Nations can scarcely be said to have met with any greater success. Founded in 1945, at the close of the Second World War, it began with 51 member states; and as of 2013, it now has 193. Yet during that 68-year period, it failed to stop many major wars, such as between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iran-Iraq War, as well as genocides in places such as Russia, China, Cambodia and Rwanda.

The organization has peacekeepers stationed in many tense places around the world, yet those peacekeepers have a reputation of accomplishing little or nothing. What’s more, since UN peacekeepers are there at the consent of host governments, they may be ordered out, as occurred in Egypt in 1967, giving way to renewed conflict.

Indeed, “the way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace” (Isaiah 59:8). No, even superhuman efforts will not bring peace. The very survival of mankind demands the second coming of Christ!

Christ will return to give salvation to the saints

When Jesus Christ comes back to earth, He will bring a special reward for those who followed Him and practiced His way of life during their physical existence.

At His second coming, Jesus Christ will bring the gift of eternal life to those who worshipped and served Him through their lives.

“We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet [the moment of His return]. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

This is the destiny of those who lived their lives in a godly way, showing the courage to go against the tide of our culture and its prevailing false values. “Those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14).

There is and will continue to be a group of human beings who will “follow the Lamb [Jesus Christ]” (Revelation 14:4). Jesus will come back to redeem them, and to give them their reward—eternal life in the very family of God. “To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).

Christ will return to offer salvation to the rest of mankind

After rescuing the world from certain self-destruction, revealing the way to peace and granting salvation to faithful saints, Jesus will ultimately provide the way to salvation to the rest of mankind. His second coming ushers in a time during which Satan will be banished and Jesus and the resurrected saints will rule over all the earth (Revelation 20:1-5, 11-12).

Jesus Christ will offer salvation to those who survive the end-time events but are not among the faithful saints and, eventually, He will offer it to all who lived and died not having had the opportunity to follow Him.

Under Jesus’ leadership, humanity will finally experience genuine and prolonged peace, prosperity and purpose and will have the opportunity to join the faithful saints in the eternal Kingdom of God.

For more on these subjects, see “1,000 Years—the Millennium” and “The Last Great Day: The Final Harvest.”

When is God coming to save us?

Jesus said at the end of the last chapter of the Bible, “Surely I am coming quickly” (Revelation 22:20). The apostle John responded, “Amen. Even so come, Lord Jesus!”

All Jesus’ followers eagerly await His appearing and pray fervently “Your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10).

But though Jesus gave signs of His coming, He cautioned, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36). Read more about the signs of the second coming in our article “When Will Jesus Return?

Second coming of Christ summary

Why must Christ return? In short:

  • To sustain life and bring peace.
  • To offer life to this war-torn planet, which by that time will be in real danger of annihilating itself.
  • To put an end to the mushroom clouds of nuclear warfare.
  • To stop the slaughter.
  • To give the reward of eternal life to those who will have patiently waited for His coming.
  • And to offer the gift of salvation to the rest of humanity!

Jesus Christ is coming back. Soon!

To learn more about what God expects of those who will receive eternal life,  study our free booklet Change Your Life!

For assistance in fulfilling Christ’s command to “watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36), subscribe to the Life, Hope & Truth Weekly Newsletter, which contains our World Watch Weekly section. It’s free and comes directly to your email inbox each week.

About the Author

Ralph Levy

Ralph Levy

Ralph Levy is a native of London, England, and now a naturalized citizen of the United States. He works primarily as a professor of theology at Foundation Institute, Center for Biblical Education, in Texas. Foundation Institute is the educational institution of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association.

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