Captain Scott O’Grady was shot down over Bosnia on June 2, 1995. He pulled the ejection lever and parachuted into enemy territory. For six days, he hid under bushes, ate bugs and drank rainwater. To make himself less visible, he covered his face with mud. Sometimes enemy soldiers passed within a few centimetres of his hiding place, but they never found him.
What O’Grady didn’t know was that from the moment his ordeal began, intense preparations were being made to rescue him. He was wondering, Do they know I’m alive? Are they going to come for me? Do they care? And all the while the United States military was mobilising to come and get him. They had 40 aeroplanes looking for him. They were using satellites. They were getting help from other nations. And O’Grady was wondering, Will they come for me?
Believe it or not, in a sense, we’re in O’Grady’s shoes right now. Our planet has been kidnapped. You and I are living in enemy territory. Some people wonder whether God has forgotten us. Don’t you believe it! God’s army is making preparations even now to rescue you and me. He’s coming. He’s coming soon!
Certain questions about Christ’s return keep coming up from interested and concerned Christians. I could share with you many facts about Christ’s second coming, but they won’t all fit in this one short article. So I’ll respond to nine of the more common questions. Pay special attention to the italicised words in each Bible text (all italics in Bible quotations have been added).
1. What is the primary reason Jesus is coming the second time?
Shortly before He left this earth, Jesus said to His disciples, “In my Father’s house are many rooms,” and “I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). This is the language the ancient Hebrews used to describe a wedding. In Bible times, it was customary for the man to build a honeymoon chamber at his father’s house before he claimed his bride. So, in essence, Jesus said to His disciples, “In my Father’s house are many honeymoon chambers.”
Do you think that after all this work, Jesus will forget His bride, His people? Of course not! That’s why He said, “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (verse 3).
A bridegroom comes to get his bride because he wants to be with her. Jesus is coming back because He wants to be with you and me, and He wants us to be with Him. There’s no better reason for His second coming than that!
2. Will Jesus come back alone?
No. Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory” (Matthew 25:31). Do you know how many angels there are? The apostle John said that there are “thousands upon thousands of angels” and “ten thousand times ten thousand” (Revelation 5:11; Daniel 7:10). That isn’t a mathematical formula, but it suggests that there are billions of angels in heaven. And they will all accompany Jesus when He returns!
3. Will there be people alive on the earth when Jesus comes?
Absolutely! Jesus said, “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn.” And John the revelator said, “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him” (Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7).
4. What will happen to the wicked when Jesus comes?
When Jesus rose from the dead, an angel rolled away the stone. The Bible says that the glory of this one angel made 100 of Rome’s bravest soldiers fall down in shock like dead men (Matthew 28:2–4). Now think of the billions of angels who’ll return with Jesus! The apostle Paul said that the wicked will be destroyed “by the splendour of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
5. What will happen to the dead people at the second coming of Jesus?
Jesus said that “a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:28, 29). So there will be two resurrections. Revelation says, “Blessed and holy are those who have part in thefirst resurrection.” That’s obviously the resurrection of those “who have done good.” And “the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.” So those who have done evil won’t be resurrected until the end of the 1000 years (Revelation 20:6, 5).
6. What will happen to those “who have done good” when Jesus comes?
Speaking of that day, the apostle Paul said that “we will all be changed.” And he explained how: “For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51, 53). In this life every human being who ever lived is doomed to die. But when Jesus comes, He will give His people immortality so they will never die!
In another place Paul said that at Christ’s coming, He will “transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). Jesus had a real physical body after His resurrection (Luke 24:39–42; John 20:27), and so will we.
7. What happens after they’ve been changed?
The apostle Paul said that they will be “caught up together . . . in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so [they] will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
Jesus told His disciples that He was going away to prepare a place for them, and then He promised that He would “come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3). Where is Jesus today? In heaven, as our High Priest (Hebrews 8:1–5). And He’ll take us to be with Him in those heavenly dwelling places He has gone to prepare.
8. Can we know anything about the time of Jesus’ return?
Yes and No. Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour” (Matthew 24:36). I’ve heard about people who’ve tried to pinpoint the time of Christ’s return, but so far every one of them has failed.
Nevertheless, Jesus did say we can know when His return is near : “When you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door” (verse 33).
9. How can I prepare for the second coming of Jesus?
When Jesus comes again, He’ll say to one group of people, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:23). So the key to being ready when Jesus comes is to know Him as a Friend. And in order to know Him then, we must become acquainted with Him now. We must read about Him in His Word and talk to Him each day in prayer. We need to repent of our sins and ask Him to forgive them. I also suggest spending time with other Christians in church each week. These are some of the ways we can prepare now to meet Jesus when He comes!