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My background is mostly in Evangelicalism and premillenialism. I am aware of other "Churches" (Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, cults, etc.) and other eschatological frameworks (amillenial, postmillenial, etc.), but I don't know much about them.

Here I am just wondering if a second coming of Christ is one of the points that is agreed upon by all of the major Christian traditions, or if there are specific traditions which do not anticipate His return.

I am only looking for a "yes" or "no" with some evidence from the major relevant traditions.

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  • The rapture is of disembodied saved souls. (Rev 6:9-11). Culminating with the rapture of the group of saved who still happen to be alive when the Great Tribulation starts. (1 Thess 4:15; Rev 7:13,14). In a way, the rapture is an ongoing event that started already with Abel. (Mat 23:35) When Jesus comes back in power he will do so with all his saints who now has been given new bodies. They will all put their feet on the Mount of Olives, and will rule the earth for 1000 years. (Rev 20:4). Jan 3 at 5:42
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Yes. Every significant Christian tradition affirms the return of Jesus.

The Nicene Creed, adopted by the Universal manifestation of the assembled church in 325AD and accepted by just about every mainline Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox church with which the average Westerner will most readily identify affirms:

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.

This is about as direct a reference as one can get- and it is pretty explicit.

Of the non-Nicene denominations (Mormons, Jehovah's Witness, Christadelphians, etc...) all of the major ones also see Jesus' return as a given. It is clear in Scripture, and thus the only denominations that are even on the fence about it are those which do not believe the Bible to be a relevant source of theology.

This would include Unitarians and that bugaboo of this site, Christian Atheists. (If you haven't heard of the latter, don't worry, Id never heard of them either)

In practice, some liberal theologians, like John Dominac Crossan and Bishop John Shelby Spong do not believe in a literal return of Christ (they are 100% amilennial), but then again, they don't believe in a literal resurrection either.

Finally, it should be noted that without an actual return of Jesus, salvation itself becomes a past tense thing- and could (should?) be viewed as reneging on a promise. When Jesus says he goes to prepare a place for us, then if he doesn't ever come back for us, it's a rather hollow promise.

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    Wow, 3 minutes. I feel honored! Apr 11 '13 at 6:17
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    I know it's been a while, but the Copts are Nicene, they're not Chalcedonian.
    – Wtrmute
    Mar 15 '17 at 16:09
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On the whole, yes, virtually all traditions expect his return. The only exceptions I know of are theological liberals, who don't regard the Bible or its foretellings (even on the lips of Jesus) to be reliable, and some few preterists (viz., sometimes called full preterists or hyper-preterists, in distinction from partial preterists, who do expect a final return). Full preterists claim that even the resurrection of the dead (spiritualized) has already happened. This seems an odd view, but Paul met it and condemned it in his day too (2 Tim 2:16-18).

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Many Christians in multiple denominations lump the second coming of Christ in with the rapture as being the same, and thus there is a lot of confusion, when scripture is very clear.

The answer to your question is categorically no.

It really depends on whether you mean the rapture or the actual return of Christ to earth, and while some say they believe it, they believe it's symbolic - not a literal return. In scripture the rapture and the second coming are totally separate and distinctly events at two different times with two very different goals and purposes, for two totally different groups of people.

First is the rapture:

  • This is Christ coming FOR his Bride - the Church,
  • This is a joyous event- a celebration.
  • Christians are raptured up into the clouds. [Word is from latin Rapturo and means to be caught up quickly by force.]
  • Day of Christ - Term used only by Paul in the NT,
  • Resurrection of the dead in Christ first, and then all those living Christians are caught up w Christ, just as the Bride in a Hebrew wedding is literally caught up and carried away for 7 days in the wedding chamber.
  • This happens at The Last Trumpet - a widely-known Hebrew idiom for the 100th blast at Feast of Trumpets or Yom Teruah.

Totally separate time, place, goal and group of people is Second Coming:

  • This is when Christ comes WITH his Bride
  • At the Second Coming, Christ comes to earth and specifically touches his feet on the Mt of Olives, - same place and manner in which he ascended, and said he would come again in "Like Manner".
  • This is the "Day of the Lord", and is used by Paul, Joel and Amos, Isaiah and in Acts, and always linked with terror, calamity and judgement. Sun turns black and the moon turns to blood.
  • Joel 2:31, Acts 2:20 Isaiah 2:12,, Amos 5:18-20.
  • Judgment and wrath is poured out on those who rejected and disobeyed God.
  • Described as Terrible and day of woe/ destruction.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Day_of_the_Lord#:~:text=%22The%20Day%20of%20the%20Lord,in%20Acts%202%3A20).

"The Day of the Lord" is a biblical term and theme used in both the Hebrew Bible (יֹום יְהוָה) and the New Testament (ἡμέρα κυρίου), as in "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come" (Joel 2:31, cited in Acts 2:20).

In the Hebrew Bible, the meaning of the phrases refers to temporal events such as the invasion of a foreign army, the capture of a city and the suffering that befalls the inhabitants. This appears much in the second chapter of Isaiah.

In the New Testament, the "day of the Lord" may also refer to the writer's own times, or it may refer to predicted events in a later age of earth's history including the final judgment and the World to Come. It is used first by Isaiah and subsequently incorporated into prophetic and apocalyptic texts of the Bible. It relies on military images to describe the Lord as a "divine warrior" who will conquer his enemies.

Other prophets use the imagery as a warning to Israel or its leaders and for them, the day of the Lord will mean destruction for the biblical nations of Israel and/or Judah. This concept develops throughout Jewish and Christian Scripture into a day of divine, apocalyptic judgment at the end of the world."

I know as a fact that many reformed/ Calvinists disregard or symbolize the End Times events. One specific example is an Evangelical Free Church of America - of which each congregation is autonomous, and self-led [no higher synod, or council] The pastor himself is Ammillennial.

In another EFCA, in which the leaders are also predominately Calvinist, they do not believe in the literal rapture, but they believe that Christ will return to earth - so the second coming. In another example, a branch of 7th day Adventists believe in the second coming, and some events of the tribulation, such as the Anti-Christ, but no literal physical rapture.

While it is true that most denominations believe that Christ will return, there are many that do not believe in the literal rapture, and also reject many events of Revelation as purely symbolic/apocalyptic.

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  • While it is true that most denominations believe that Christ will return, there are many that do not believe in the literal rapture, and also reject many events of Revelation as purely symbolic/apocalyptic. Can you please give some examples? Pax.
    – Ken Graham
    Jan 2 at 16:22
  • Hello Ken, I did give several examples in my answer above. Multiple congregations within the EFCA, do not believe in rapture, and are Amillennialist. Also, many Calvinists, as well as Calvinist /reformed churches. Also some branches of 7th day Adventists - don't believe events in Tribulation, such as literal 3rd temple and rapture.
    – Tennman7
    Jan 2 at 16:30
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No, I don't believe in a second coming and there are churches that don't. I not believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible and that the natural needs to be considered to understand the spiritual. The Bible should be interpreted spiritually or allegorical. The Bible is understood in a Natural and Spiritual way and Spiritual interpretation is preferred. The stories in the Bible are not historical events, but are lessons that have to be interpreted in the same way as the parables in the Gospels.

I belong to the Old Apostolic Church but some of there views I disagree with

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    Welcome! To correct a common misconception, this isn't a discussion forum – it's a Q&A site with a specific format, which means that answers need to focus on addressing the question asked. This post doesn't do that, so it's susceptible to deletion – can you focus your answer on naming (with sources) the traditions that don't expect a second coming of Christ? Thanks. Jun 23 '19 at 18:20
  • OAC Is that Old Apostolic Church? Do you know if they have a statement about their belief in a second coming or lack thereof?
    – Bit Chaser
    Jun 25 '19 at 4:12
  • Yes it is Old Apostolic Church. There is no statement on this from the church unfortunately.
    – Garfield
    Jun 26 '19 at 8:24

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