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The Second Coming

One of the central beliefs of Christianity is that of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Referenced in the Bible and attributed to prophecies made in the Old Testament, as well as those attributed to statements made by Jesus himself, the second coming in Christianity represents the establishment of God’s righteousness on earth and the triumph of God over sin and death.

The term the Second Coming refers to the Christian belief that Jesus will return to earth so as to fulfill the Messianic prophecy. The Messianic prophecy is comprised of three components: the raising of the dead, the Last Judgment and the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. The term Second Coming is derived from the fact that Jesus of Nazareth’s life on earth is deemed the First Coming. The First Coming represents Jesus’ sacrifice in which he died for sin while the Second Coming will be characterized by Jesus’ eternal triumph over sin.

In addition to the Second Coming, the return of Jesus to the earth has also been described as the Second Advent, from the Latin adventus, which means “coming.” The original Greek of the New Testament refers to this event as Parousia, meaning the “appearance and subsequent presence with”, which was derived from descriptions of royal visits in the ancient world. The specific phrase Second Coming is not itself found in the Bible.

Jesus’ return to the earth will mark his reign as a king and it is believed that he will reign for a thousand years (Revelation 20: 1-6). In the New Testament, Jesus promises his followers that he will return: "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30). The Second Coming is the time when Christians believe that the Last Judgment will occur, when individuals will be judged and when salvation will be granted only to those who submit to Jesus.

The Second Coming is linked to the Ascension of Jesus; in Acts 1:11, individuals who witnessed the Ascension after the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus hear the angels proclaim: "Men of Galilee…why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

References to the return of Jesus to the earth are featured in the Apostle’s Creed (“He will come again to judge the living and the dead”) and more prominently in the Nicene Creed (“He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; of His kingdom there shall be no end”), the latter of which is the most widespread reference to the Second Coming.

In addition, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is linked to a time in history when the world is in a period of great strife, marked by devastation, death and malicious rulers. The establishment of the Kingdom of God will honor the righteous, as recorded in the Book of Revelations: “[O]n such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelations 20:6).

According to Christians, the founding of the Kingdom of God will mark the beginning of the Messianic Age, which will be characterized by peace, fraternity and plenty as opposed to crime, war and poverty.

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