When Jesus ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives, near Bethany, his disciples stood watching as he disappeared behind the clouds. An angel spoke to them and promised that he would return again (Acts 1:11). The end of the world will come when Jesus returns as he promised. And when he returns he will appear in a highly visible way.

We can be certain that he will appear again. The Bible predicted the first coming of Jesus with absolute accuracy, so we can expect all prophecies of the second coming to be fulfilled with the same degree of accuracy. We can be certain that the promise of the angel will be fulfilled. Jesus will return and appear just as the angel said.

Jesus also promised that he would return again. After telling the disciples that he was going to prepare a place for them, he said,

If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may be where I am (John 14:3).

Jesus would never break his word. We can be certain that he will return to receive his own at the right time.

The most detailed description of the second coming is found in 1 Thessalonians 4,5, where Paul begins by encouraging Christians not to be sad about those of their brothers and sisters who have died. Jesus died and rose again so that we might have hope beyond death. The Christian hope reaches its climax in the second coming. This great day will begin with a command from heaven. As always God is in control. The archangel in heaven will sound his trumpet, announcing the end of the age and a time of restitution (c.f. Lev 25:8-13). The Lord Jesus will appear and those who have trusted him will be united with him in his glory. His promise will be fulfilled.


The Short Season will be cut short when Jesus re-appears on the stage. This event is often referred to as the “second coming”, but this phrase is not used in the scriptures, so I try to avoid it. The Greek word “parousia” means “appearance” or “arrival”. It is a much stronger word than “erchomai,” the usual Greek word for “come”. The epochal event that marks the end of history is the Appearance of Jesus (Parousia).

The Bible says that his appearance will light up the sky from one end to the other. Those who believe in him will be share in his glory. The first half of Matthew 24 refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, but Jesus inserted a brief description of his Appearance by way of contrast.

For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the appearance (parousia) of the Son of Man (Matt 24:27).
No one will miss this event. Jesus will be visible to everyone on earth, like a great flash of lightning. A good analogy would be a rock star waiting in the wings while the atmosphere builds. The entrance onto the stage in a climax of sound and light would be called an “appearance”.

Spiritual Interjection

The Appearance of Jesus is a massive interjection of the spiritual dimension into our physical world. It is difficult to describe in human words, so we should be careful when interpreting the bible passages that describe it. The popular teaching that Jesus will come down like a bungee jumper on a skyhook is misleading. The common idea that a crowd of Christian skyrockets will shoot into the sky fails to understand the reality that we live in.

We tend to think of heaven and earth as two different places, with heaven up there and earth down here, and a huge gap in between. This gap is real, but the assumption that these two worlds are far apart is misleading. We live in a multi-dimensional universe in which the spiritual dimensions exist in parallel to the three-dimensional physical world. Angels can move between the spiritual and physical dimensions, but humans only see the physical side of existence.

At the ascension, Jesus appeared to go up into the air and behind a cloud. He was not an interstellar rocket man shooting for a far distant planet, but was moving back into the spiritual realms from which he had come. Because the eyes of the disciples were calibrated to see the physical world, he seemed to go into the sky and disappear. If they could have seen with spiritual eyes, they would have realised that he had simply moved across the divide into the spiritual realms.

In the same way, Jesus appears again when our seeing changes. The spiritual realms are currently hidden from the people on earth, but they will be opened up for everyone to see. Paul wrote of the "manifestation of Jesus' appearance" (2 Thes 2:8). He was explaining that the spiritual dimensions will be blown open and be visible to everyone on earth.

The limits of our human seeing make the physical world appear bright and real. The spiritual dimension seems distant and dim to us, as it must be perceived by faith. When our seeing is changed, the physical world will fade into obscurity. As the spiritual world comes into clearer focus, we will be stunned by its glory. Jesus does not come back to earth. He appears when the spiritual world is opened and joined with the physical world for everyone to see.

When our spiritual eyes are opened to see clearly, the spiritual dimensions of life will suddenly be real. When the curtain is pulled back, the indescribable glory of Jesus will be revealed. Once they can see reality clearly, everyone on earth will see Jesus seated on the throne at the right hand of the Father. He has always been there, but from a human perspective, he will seem to have appeared.

Great Gaze

When Jesus ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives, near Bethany, his disciples stood watching as he disappeared behind the clouds. An angel spoke to them and said,

Why do ye stand gazing into the heaven? This Jesus who was received from you into heaven, shall so come in the same way as you gazed on him going into heaven (Acts 1:11).
We assume that the angel was saying that Jesus would return in the same way that he departed; by coming down from behind a cloud. This is not quite correct. The angel said that the "gazing" would be the same. The disciples were gazing into the spiritual world, but seeing nothing. The angel was promising that Jesus would appear when people are able to gaze into the spiritual realms and see. The Appearance of Jesus occurs when people are changed so that they can see correctly into both the physical and spiritual worlds.

We assume that Jesus must return to earth to appear, but this is not correct. When the veil that prevents us from seeing the spiritual dimension of life is removed, he will suddenly appear to everyone. He will not have moved, but will seem to have returned to earth again.

Although we were already seated in heaven with Jesus, those who believe will feel like they have been taken up to be with him. Those who do not believe in Jesus will see him in all his glory. As he appears in glory for the first time, it will seem like he has come right down to earth.

Second Resurrection

Human eyes will be opened to see into the spiritual world at the second resurrection. There are two resurrections. John distinguished between these two events in his gospel. The first resurrection is for those who believe.

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live (John 5:24-25).
The first resurrection is not a future event. It occurs when we are born again to new life by faith in Jesus. Those who are baptised into Christ, have not just died with him, they are raised with him (Rom 6:1-10).
Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God... God made you alive with Christ (Col 2:12-13).
This verse is past tense. Christians are united with Jesus in his death and resurrection. Those who believe have died with him and are raised to new life in him.

John also described the first resurrection in his vision.

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge... They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years... This is the first resurrection (Rev 20:4-5).
In the spiritual dimension, all Christians have been raised to life in Jesus and rule with him. We do not get this, but John did. He called it the first resurrection. It is a spiritual resurrection that only affects those who believe in Jesus.

The first resurrection gives new spiritual life to believers, while those outside Christ continue to be spiritually dead. The second resurrection is a general resurrection of everyone that occurs at the end of the age before the last judgment. John described this event in his gospel

Do not be amazed at this, for 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).
John described the same event in his final vision.
The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended (Rev 20:5).
The second resurrection leads to the final judgment.
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened… The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them... (Rev 20:12-13).
The first resurrection enabled Christians to see by faith. The second resurrection enables everyone to see into the spiritual world in the same way that we now see the physical world. It does not change the universe, but dramatically changes the way that people see it.

When the last trumpet sounds, everyone will be able to see as John could see during his vision. After the second resurrection. all people be able to see what John saw.

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne (Rev 5:6).
Jesus has been on this throne since his ascension. At the general resurrection, everyone will see him there.

Earth and Sky Changed

The appearance of the earth and sky will be totally changed by the appearance of Jesus. With the physical and spiritual dimensions merged, earth will seem much less grand. We look at the stars in the sky and are filled with wonder. Pictures of the earth taken from space make the earth seem amazing. However, once we see the glory of the spiritual realms, the physical world will shrivel into insignificance.

Earth and sky will seem to collapse and disappear. Physical things will not have changed, but we will be seeing them in correct perspective for the first time. We think that space is immense, but when we see the spiritual realms, it will suddenly seem small. As we see the glory of the spiritual realms for the first time, earth and space will shrink away.


Everyone on earth will be surprised by Jesus' Appearance.

The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly (1 Thes 5:2-3).
Just as there is no advance warning when a thief strikes, so there will be no warning of Jesus’ appearance.

Many Christians claim to know the timing of Jesus' Appearance. He warned that there would be no preliminary signs.

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Matt 24:36).
There is no point in trying to second-guess Jesus. Christians should be ready at all times, so we will not be embarrassed when he appears.
Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come... So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him (Matt 24:42,44).
Those who do Jesus will, will be ready whenever he appears.

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