It is a sad fact that we have become accustomed to crime, pain, and suffering. In short, we have become accustomed to sin. So when the Bible talks about a time when sin will be no more, it is a difficult concept to imagine. Think about it: a time is coming when life will be completely different. A time when what is seen as everyday occurrences—violence, theft, and deception—will be a thing of the past. It is hard to believe, but please, do not take my word for it. Nahum 1:9 tells us, “What do you conspire against the LORD? He will make an utter end of it. Affliction will not rise up a second time.”1 The Bible also describes what we can expect after the second coming of Jesus: “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
While more could be said about what we can expect in our heavenly home, let’s focus on the greatest event in the history of humanity: the second coming of Jesus. Close to the end of His ministry, Jesus told His disciples that it was time for Him to leave. Jesus knew that the news troubled His disciples, so He encouraged them with a promise in John 14:1–3: “Let not your heart 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.”
The coming of Jesus should be a source of encouragement to everyone because it reminds us that this world is not all there is. Jesus went to prepare a place for us, and when He is finished, He will come to take us with Him to that place. Yes, Jesus is coming again! Throughout history, this has been the hope of all those who have placed their faith in Him.
So how will Jesus come? What will it look like? The Bible provides clues that will help us recognize the coming of Jesus and avoid being deceived. The first clue is given in Acts 1:9–11: “Now when He had spoken these things, 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 apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven’ ” (emphasis added).
The angels informed Jesus’ disciples that they were not to expect a spirit, a ghost, or an ambassador at the Second Coming; no, they were to expect Jesus Himself. This was not a symbolic return as some may think; it is the physical return of Jesus Christ. Thus, the first clue about the manner of the Christ’s coming is that it will be a physical event.
The second clue is provided in the same passage “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (verse 11; emphasis added). When it came time for Jesus to go back home, His disciples saw Jesus ascending on the clouds until He disappeared from their sight. The angels told them that Jesus would return in the same way as they saw Him leave; that is, Jesus went back to heaven ascending into the sky, and He will return from the sky (see also Matthew 24:27, 30; Matthew 26:64; Luke 17:22–24; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 1:7).
This leads us to the third clue about the manner of the coming of Jesus: it will be a visible event. Notice Revelation 1:7. “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen” (emphasis added). Jesus also noted this when He spoke about things that will happen after the tribulation: “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory” (Mark 13:26; emphasis added). The “they” refers to all the inhabitants of the earth. “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30; emphasis added).
Not only will the coming of Jesus be a visible event, but it will also be an audible event; this is the fourth clue. Once again, the Bible says, “For 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” (1 Thessalonians 4:16; emphasis added). I remember when I first started learning to play the trumpet. At the time, I lived in Philadelphia with my family, and since the trumpet was loud, I would practice in the basement. Unfortunately, that did not help because my wife, Lucy, would always complain, saying, “That trumpet is so loud that it wakes up the dead!” She did not come up with that analogy herself; she was referencing Scripture because that is exactly what the trumpet of God will accomplish. Jesus also emphasized this in Matthew 24:31: “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (emphasis added). The psalms describe the audible nature of Christ’s return, prophesying “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous all around Him” (Psalm 50:3; emphasis added).
Notice that the psalm also says that when Jesus returns, it will be very tempestuous; this is the fifth clue about the manner of Jesus’ return. In 2 Peter 3:10, the Bible says: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (emphasis added). Speaking of the Second Coming, the Bible also says, “Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place” (Revelation 6:14; emphasis added).
The sixth clue about the second coming of Jesus is that it will be a climactic event. Yes, it will be thrilling and exciting because there will be a great family reunion as the righteous dead are reunited with the righteous living. “For 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. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). Jesus also said, “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28, 29). What a scene it will be when graves open and those who have died in Christ are resurrected with transformed bodies: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’ ” (1 Corinthians 15:51–54).
Jesus, as God, is the author of life; only He can bring back to life those who died with the hope of the resurrection. Thus, since Satan is a created being, he will not be able to counterfeit the resurrection of the dead.
Finally, the seventh clue is that the second coming of Jesus will be a glorious event. “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works” (Matthew 16:27; emphasis added). Later, Jesus said, “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30; emphasis added).
In recent years, I have watched people desperately search for solutions to society’s problems. Unfortunately, the answers they cling to are usually man-made. They need to know that the second coming of Jesus is the greatest event in human history and remains the only solution to the problems of this world. Thankfully, Jesus has promised that He will return and rescue His people from this sinful world. In unmistakable terms, He has detailed the manner of His coming, providing a divine safeguard against the deceptions that are sure to come (see Matthew 24:4, 5, 23, 25).
1. Bible quotations in this article are from the New King James Version.
Nelson Mercado serves as a pastor in Nashville, Tennessee.