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This question is inspired by a question asked in 2013: 'Do all Christian traditions expect a second coming of Christ?' Do all Christian traditions expect a second coming of Christ?

Although it is my understanding that mainstream Christian denominations uphold the Athanasian Creed which declares that "Jesus will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead" there are some Christian denominations who deny that Christ Jesus will return visibly, when he comes with the heavenly hosts to judge the living and the dead. Jehovah's Witnesses are one example of a denomination who deny that Christ Jesus will return visibly.

Revelation 1:7 declares that "every eye will see him" when he comes with the clouds, but some denominations think this is a euphemism for "seeing" with spiritual eyes; of being spiritually enlightened, that the clouds will obscure any literal sight.

What is the biblical basis for Christians to believe that when Christ Jesus returns he will be seen - he will be visible to all the people on earth?

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    Acts 1:11 "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven., Luke 21:27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory., Matthew 24:30 Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory Jan 2 at 18:09
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    Rev 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. Jan 2 at 21:28
  • Isn’t it claimed by some denominations that Jesus will come back twice? The first time for his people and the second time for the whole world, or something like that? Jan 2 at 23:19
  • @Constantthin the rapture is what I think you're referring to. It happens on the "last day" of the world after the dead in Christ rise first (the resurrection). Christ returns with His holy angels to gather His elect. Jan 4 at 1:56
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Here are a few references to Jesus return:

  • Heb 9:28, “Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
  • It will be glorious, visible and unmissable because of great events in the heavens and earth (Matt 24:27, 29-31, 16:27).
  • The Second coming will also be very loud and audible as described by the trumpet call of God (Matt 24:30, 1 Thess 4:16, 17).
  • Jesus will return personally and visibly just as He left (Acts 1:11). Indeed, Rev 1:7 says that every eye will see Him.
  • There is nothing secret about the return of Jesus except the date, 2 Peter 3:10, 1 Thess 5:2, Matt 24:32-41, 42-51, Acts 1:7. The actual event will be seen by all.
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  • "There is nothing secret about the return of Jesus except the date" and with Bible verses to back up your answer.
    – Lesley
    Feb 1 at 13:43
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"There are some Christian denominations who deny that Christ Jesus will return visibly, when he comes with the heavenly hosts to judge the living and the dead. Revelation 1:7 declares that "every eye will see him" when he comes with the clouds, but some denominations think this is a euphemism for "seeing" with spiritual eyes; of being spiritually enlightened, that the clouds will obscure any literal sight.

What is the biblical basis for Christians to believe that when Christ Jesus returns he will be seen - he will be visible to all the people on earth?"

There is very clear and solid Biblical evidence for the literal , physical and visible return of Christ.

First we should look at the basic principles of Hermeneutics - or principles of Biblical Interpretation.

  1. Look at the Historical Context, Grammatical context, cultural context and literary context.

  2. Who was the author, and who was the audience.

  3. What other passages shed light on this, or confirm this. Scripture interprets scripture.

So first we have this verse in Revelation that says "every eye will see him." As you mention, those who deny the literal and visible return of Christ bring up the valid point that this is apocalyptic literature and Revelation is filled with imagery, symbolism and metaphors. If this were the only verse - it would be hard for people to say with certainty that the return is visible.

Fortunately, we have other verses. First we have to look at Matthew 24. The Context of this is very very important. It is the Gospels- so eyewitness accounts. It's part of the well-known teachings called the Olivet Discourse. This context is extremely important; it was Christ speaking to his disciples about the events that would happen at the 2nd Advent [All the events part of End Times - the Great apostasy, the rapture, the tribulation, the Anti-Christ, the Abomination of Desolation, the temple, bowl judgments, and the ultimate return of Christ as Judge and conquering King.

John 14:1-3. Jesus comforts his Disciples. He tells them he is going away, but that he is coming back. Here he uses a specific Hebrew idiom for a wedding which was instantly understood by his Galilean disciples.

According to Avi Ben Mordechai, a Jewish scholar who became a Christian, he says in "Signs in the Heavens - A Jewish Perspective on the Last Days" that the phrase "I go to prepare a place for you" was a common idiom used by the groom to be, for his bride. They would typically add on another room to the father's house where the new couple would live

This is significant because they all understood that the groom would come back for his bride literally and visibly and take her to the new place. Christ used a real, literal event from the culture to describe his return - just like in a Hebrew wedding. It is no accident that Paul and other writers say that the church is the bride of Christ.

Then, the best confirmation of all is in Acts. Again - the context is very important - and here we see that Acts is historical genre - real events in the lives of the early apostles , the birth of the church and rise of Christianity. The context is the Ascension, Christ's last words before leaving earth. Where ? The Mount of Olives. The same place as the famous Olivet discourse where Christ told his disciples about the signs before the rapture and events of the Second Advent.

Acts 1:9-11 9 "And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were watching, and a cloud took Him up, out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, then behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them, 11 and they said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

They watched him ascend literally and physically up from earth into heaven. Also, Christ said that he would return in the same way he left, and he will return to the same place.

Then, we also see this same detail confirmed hundreds of years before Christ's first Advent, by Zechariah the prophet, who prophesies about the second advent, and even specifically names the city of Jerusalem and prophesies that Christ will come down on the Mount of Olives. The fact that he names the real city and real mountain tells us his return is visible.

Zech 14:4 "On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west. Half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south."

Lastly- we see that Paul describes the events of the rapture, to believers in Corinth and also in Thessalonica.

It's not poetry, or apocalyptic literature or symbolic. He comforts them, because some had thought that the Day of the Lord had already happened and the entire theme of I Thessalonians is "Understanding the Day of the Lord" - a literal event.

◄ 1 Thessalonians 4:15 ► "For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words."

Here we see the same pattern repeated again - at the rapture. Paul tells us that Christ will come in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air - literally, physically.

It should be noted that this is the same context, same audience and same passage that Paul tells us under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that the Dead in Christ will be resurrected.

Those who deny the literal and visible rapture or second coming, have no basis to claim that the dead in Christ will literally and physically be raised again.

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    It is interesting to compare Bible verses in Biblehub. The Contemporary English Version and the God’s Word Translation add the word “already” to 1 Thess 4:15. Jan 3 at 1:05
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    @Tennman7 - I appreciate your answer but please note, I am NOT asking about any views regarding a rapture. +1 for saying "Those who deny the literal and visible... second coming, have no basis to claim that the dead in Christ will literally and physically be raised again."
    – Lesley
    Jan 3 at 11:38

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