The Certainty of His Second Coming

     Let me begin by highlighting some interesting facts:

  • Christ’s second coming is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments eight times more often than His first coming.
  • Only the doctrine of salvation is mentioned more often than the doctrine of His second coming, making the doctrine of the second coming of vital importance.
  • Christ’s return is mentioned over three hundred times in the New Testament alone.
  • Every single New Testament writer mentions it.
  • Twenty three of the twenty-seven New Testament books either clearly mention the second coming or allude to it.

     These facts are important because they serve as overwhelming evidence in establishing the certainty of His return. It would be enough for us to believe in His second coming if the Bible mentioned it just once, but the fact that so much of what the New Testament writers wrote is devoted to this doctrine should serve as proof that it is of great importance, and that God wants His people to study and understand it. In fact, this doctrine is necessary since most other doctrines are depend on it.

The Testimony of Jesus

     In John 14:3 Jesus said,

If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also.

     His promise to us is that as soon as His work of preparation is completed, He will return to receive us unto Himself.

The Testimony of Angels

     As the disciples were witnessing the Lord’s ascension, two angels appear to the disciples and say to them,

They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen him going into heaven.” (Acts 1:11).

The Testimony of Peter

     Central to the apostolic preaching was the doctrine of His second coming. As Peter healed the cripple beggar at the temple gate, a multitude of astonished people surrounded Peter and John, when Peter noticed the multitude, he said to them,

Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send Jesus, who has been appointed for you as the Messiah. Heaven must receive him until the time of the restoration of all things, which God spoke about through his holy prophets from the beginning (Acts 3:19-21).

     In challenging the elders to be obedient to God as they served the flock of a persecuted church, Peter stated,

And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4).

The Testimony of Paul

     As Paul was instructing the Colossian’s regarding rules for holy living, he said,

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:4).

     In his first epistle to the Thessalonians, as he was teaching them concerning the second coming of the Lord, Paul stated,

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

     In telling Titus what it was that he should teach the various groups of people, Paul said to Titus,

while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).

     Indeed, all Christians should be characterized by this confident attitude of expectation. Instead of looking inward, or even outward, as believers, we are to look upward with anticipation, knowing that Jesus may appear at any moment.

 The Testimony of Hebrews

     In speaking about the superiority of Christ’s sacrifice which instituted a better covenant over the animal offerings made under the dispensation of law, the author of Hebrews makes the following statement,

So also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him (Hebrews 9:28).

The Testimony of James

     In this short epistle that calls Christians to prove the genuineness of their faith by their works, James culminates with a strong appeal relative to the coming of Christ by exhorting believers,

You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near (James 5:8).

The Testimony of John

     As John warns Christians not only of the coming antichrist but also of the antichrists who are already in our midst, he challenges us to holy living on the basis of Jesus’ second advent when he says,

So now, little children, remain in him so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming (1 John 2:28).

     This is just a sampling of the many passages in the New Testament which clearly serve as evidence for the certainty of His return. In fact, the second coming is the cornerstone of prophecy and is one of the most important doctrines in Scripture.

One Event, Two Stages

     It is important to understand that the second coming of Christ is one event which will occur in two stages:

     The first stage will occur when Christ returns for believers. According to 1 Thessalonians 4:17, during this stage, the rapture of the saints will occur. Christians living on earth during this time will be snatched away to meet their Savior in the air.

     The second stage will occur when Christ returns with believers to earth to punish the nations and to establish His one-thousand-year rule on earth (Zechariah 14:1-4; Revelation 19:11-16). According to Scripture, His children will be with Him (cf. Colossians 3:4; Revelation 19:14).

     The time between His coming for believers and His coming with believers will be seven years. During those seven years, those left behind on planet earth will be experiencing the great tribulation, while God’s children will be taking part in two major events: the judgment seat of Christ and the marriage supper of the Lamb. 

The Effects of the Lord’s Return

     When the Lord Jesus Christ returns, it will spell triumph and comfort for some and for others tragedy.

Comfort and Triumph

Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

     On this side of glory, we may and will experience sorrow, suffering, pain, hardship, persecution, disease, and separation. But one day soon—as surely as the promises of the Lord are certain of being fulfilled—as His redeemed children we will behold His grandeur, and majesty, and splendor, and glorious face. Comfort one another with the grand vision and certainty of His return, which will most certainly revive and renew peace and joy to our souls and bring us assurance.

     Regardless of the circumstances we might face here and now, take heart, stand firm, carry on, and be faithful. Be reminded of the words of a saint of old who endured so much,

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul

It is well
With my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul1

Tragedy and Distress

     When the Lord returns to receive the church unto Himself, unbelievers will be left on earth where they will experience much tragedy and distress.

The great day of the Lord is near, near and rapidly approaching. Listen, the day of the Lord—then the warrior’s cry is bitter. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of destruction and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and total darkness, a day of ram’s horn and battle cry against the fortified cities, and against the high corner towers. I will bring distress on mankind, and they will walk like the blind because they have sinned against the Lord. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their flesh like dung. Their silver and their gold will be unable to rescue them on the day of the Lord’s wrath. The whole earth will be consumed by the fire of his jealousy, for he will make a complete, yes, a horrifying end of all the inhabitants of the earth (Zephaniah 1:14-18).

     What will the Lord’s return mean to you?

1 Philip Paul Bliss and Horatio Stafford, It Is Well With My Soul (First published in Gospel Songs No. 2 by Ira Sankey and Bliss, 1876).

Copyright © 2006–2021 by Miguel J. Gonzalez Th.D.

Dr. Miguel J. Gonzalez is the Founder and President of Reasons for Faith International Ministries. He served as a pastor for ten years in Charlotte, NC and has taught in churches and conferences throughout the United States. He currently hosts the Time in the Word and Truth To Live By podcasts and writes at

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

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