Even though Jesus wasn’t born on December 25, His first coming is celebrated around the globe with songs like “Away In A Manger,” “What Child Is This?” and “Silent Night.” He was here once, but will He return? If we believe the Bible, the answer is, yes! Yet unlike His first appearance as the Babe of Bethlehem, His Second Coming won’t happen on a Silent Night.
John 14:1-3: A few days before His death, Jesus told His small band of bewildered disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3). Thus the clear answer from the Lord is, “I will come again.”
Acts 1:9-11: But how will He come? Will it be in some invisible or symbolic way? Let’s find out. 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus led His disciples to the top of a small mountain – the Mt. of Olives – just east of Jerusalem. Suddenly, “…while they watched, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white clothing; which also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why are standing there gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven'” (Acts 1:9-11). It’s obvious Jesus ascended literally, bodily, in full view of His watching, awestruck followers. As they watched Him go up, two angels appeared and said He would come back “in like manner” as He went up. Thus Christ’s Second Coming will be literal, bodily, and visible to normal human eyes.
Titus 2:13: This visible return of Jesus is the true hope of the Church. Paul told the early believers to keep “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). Thus our hope is the visible revelation of Jesus Christ at the end of the world.
Matthew 24:26, 27: There will be nothing secretive about His return. In words of warning and clarification, Jesus Christ said, “Where if they say to you, ‘Behold, he is in the desert,’ go not forth; or ‘Behold, he is in the secret chambers,’ believe it not; for as the lightning comes out of the east and shines even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:26, 27). Language could not be plainer. False teachers may talk of a “secret” coming, but don’t believe it. Christ’s coming will be like highly visible, electrically charged bolts of lightning flashing across a stormy sky.
Matthew 24:30, 31: When Jesus finally returns, this event will not only be witnessed by believers, but by all nations. And He’s not coming alone. Jesus clarified, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of the trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30, 31). Thus Christ’s return will be loud and visible to the eyes of “all the tribes of the earth.” When God’s heavenly trumpet sounds and billions of shiny angels burst into Earth’s atmosphere, no one will wake up the next day wondering what happened.
2 Thessalonians 1:7-9: Christ’s return will bring happiness to the saved, yet it will result in destruction to those who are lost. Paul wrote about the great day when “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who know not God and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18: The return of Jesus will be an incredibly loud, noisy event that will wake up the dead: “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, the meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). When Jesus Christ comes, all God’s children – those who are resurrected and those living at that time – will bid goodbye to the sins of earth. We shall be “caught up,” literally, just like Jesus was “taken up” at His ascension, and we shall forever “be with the Lord” who died for us.