Imagine what could be a powerful scene in a science fiction movie. Four men hike up to a secluded hilltop, and once they are there, a startling transformation happens to one of them. He begins to glow, as though pulsating with energy. His three companions are shocked. Suddenly two more energized beings appear next to him. They begin talking, and then things get even more bizarre. They all hear a voice from beyond the planet giving them instructions! It seems as though something dramatic and Earth-shaking is about to occur, but—as quickly as it all began—everything goes back to normal. The man who shortly before had been ablaze with power tells the other three to keep this a secret amongst their group. What else could they do? Who would believe them, anyway?
Christianity teaches us more than how to get along and to worship God. It teaches that Jesus Christ is paying attention to what is going on down here—and that He is going to step in and save us from ourselves.
As it turns out, millions of people have believed that this did indeed happen, because it is a story about Jesus that can be found in the book of Matthew. In the early days of the Christian Church, believers believed that every story in what we now know as the Bible to be literal fact. They also expected Jesus to come to Earth again, a second time. They expected Him to come with the power that He displayed in that vision, and it seems that they expected Him to come within their lifetimes.
That was more than 2,000 years ago. The expected second coming never occurred, and over the years, religious teachers devised a number of explanations why not. Several alternate teachings circulated: The second coming was an allegory; it wouldn’t happen until after the Christian Church established peace throughout the Earth; or why would Jesus return anyway, since good people go to heaven?
In modern churches people accept those ideas—and more—while other Christians still expect and look for Jesus to literally come and establish a global government. The United Church of God teaches that is what will happen, and I believe it. I could make a thorough explanation of why that would fill many pages, but in this short piece, I’m going to give four reasons why you should believe Jesus is going to return.
1. He plainly said that He would
For those who think the Bible is only a collection of folk tales and religious poetry, that doesn’t matter. However, if you believe that it is God’s communication with human beings, and that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, then what He said on the matter is important. The book of John records what Jesus taught His followers on the last night before He was killed. He plainly said, “If I go...I will come again...” (John 14:3). That was something He told them several times in different ways. They did not really understand at first, but it is clear that eventually they got the point. And that is the next reason.
2. Jesus’ disciples taught that He was literally coming back to Earth
The apostle Paul wrote to encourage people mourning loved ones who had died: “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first” (2 Thessalonians 4:16). Some years later, the apostle Peter learned of a theory that Jesus would not come a second time. In response he wrote, “Scoffers will come in the last days...saying, ‘where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as from the beginning of creation’” (2 Peter 3:4). He continued in that writing to explain that God was taking His time, and so when Christ comes, it’ll take many people by surprise. Let’s consider another reason.
3. Many prophecies in the Bible describe Jesus, the Messiah—which is how Christ was said in Hebrew—will come to rule the world
He obviously did not do that the first time. When He first came, He taught people, started a Church, and gave Himself as a sacrifice for sin. He definitely did not take over the world. That is actually the reason religious leaders of His time didn’t believe He really was the Messiah. They read prophecies saying the Christ would be a powerful ruler. They did understand prophecy correctly; they just did not realize that prophecy also predicted the Messiah would die for the sins of other people. They didn’t understand that He planned to come back a second time. (Lots more about that here: Jesus Christ: The Real Story.)
4. We desperately need Him to
Consider the state of the world: If we don’t wipe ourselves out in a nuclear war, human pollution of the environment will probably do it. If not that, then perhaps biological warfare or terrorism—or any one of several other very real, very frightening dangers might end human existence on the planet. We can see this just by catching up on the news, but Jesus Himself predicted this would be the case. He said that unless there was a stop in the way things are going, no life would survive. (Matthew 24:21-22). We really do need a savior!
The good news is that we’re going to have one! Christianity teaches us more than how to get along and to worship God. It teaches that Jesus Christ is paying attention to what is going on down here—and that He is going to step in and save us from ourselves.
The Bible includes a series of annual festivals that each represent an important step in the progress of God’s relationship with human beings. Every autumn (in the Northern Hemisphere) one of those festivals serves as a reminder that Jesus Christ will come to Earth a second time. In modern times based on several biblical references, we call it the Feast of Trumpets. Remember that Paul wrote that the Lord would return at the sound of “the trumpet of God” (1 Corinthians 15:52)? It’s worth knowing about the meaning of the Feast of Trumpets. You can learn more by reading God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind. Jesus is going to come to this Earth—there are good reasons to believe it!