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I've heard Christians claim that at the Second Coming Christ will return with a physical human body, what is the Bible basis for this belief?

It is clear that he has a physical flesh body once:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us

John 1:14

I'm interested in an answer from any mainstream Christian belief that believes Christ will have a physical body at the Second Coming.

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5 Answers 5

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Question: Will Christ at the second coming be made of flesh?

Answer: Yes. This is what the Bible says:

It is true that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The Word gave up the glory he had in heaven and became a little lower than the angels in order to do the will of his Father in heaven.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone (Hebrews 2:9).

This is Jesus, who lived, died and then was resurrected with a body of flesh and bones. The resurrected Jesus told his disciples he was not some sort of spirit creature:

A spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have (Luke 24:39).

Acts 1:9-11 tells us that just as his disciples saw him ascend into heaven, so he will return in the same way:

After He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were watching, and a cloud took Him up, out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, then behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them, 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.

Jesus was resurrected with a glorified body of flesh, an incorruptible body, fit for eternity in heaven. His followers, who look to a heavenly citizenship, await the return of the Lord Jesus Christ who is empowered to

transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21).

His glorious body is an incorruptible body, one that will never die. In this way, Jesus' resurrected body is different from his pre-resurrection body. Nonetheless, when he returns, in glory and accompanied by all the heavenly hosts, it will not be as a spirit creature, but as the resurrected Christ - and every eye will see him.

As a response to the comment left by @user47592: Jesus own words prove that the resurrected Jesus was not a spirit creature but had a body of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Acts 1:11 informs us that Jesus will return “in the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” It was not a spirit creature that ascended into heaven. It was the glorified, resurrected body of Christ Jesus that his disciples saw.

There is nothing invisible about the return of Jesus:

Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen (Revelation 1:7).

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Christ Jesus will return as a spirit creature.

If you disagree, feel free to down-vote my answer but it would be more honest to post your own answer to the OP’s question and explain to everybody why you disagree with Ken Graham and myself.

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  • "Yes. This is what the Bible says" Can you show any verse that states this? (You have only drawn conclusions from the verses shown, not given any evidence.)
    – steveowen
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 10:57
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    I am not disagreeing. I'm pointing out that there is no evidence for either answer. If the bible doesn't express a truth clearly, why submit an answer based on conjecture only? "Jesus will return in the same way" has nothing to do with his body.
    – steveowen
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 12:11
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    It is difficult to read Ezekiel 37 (for example) and not understand a resurrection of the flesh. Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 12:15
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    Totally agree. Up-voted +1. This has been the consensus view of the Church Fathers, the Reformers, the early Brethren movement, the Presbyterian denominations, the Baptist denomination and the early Methodists. Thoroughly 'orthodox' in the best meaning of that word.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 13:32
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Will Christ at the second coming be made of flesh?

According to most Christian denominations the answer is yes.

I assume that you are questioning whether Christ will appear at the Second Coming according to the flesh?

To start of with, at the resurrection of Jesus, he rose from the dead, in body and soul!

On one occasion, St. Thomas actually put his finger into the wounds of his Crucifixion in order to prove he was for real (flesh and blood) and not a ghost! He even ate food before the Apostles. A spiritual being or ghost has no need to eat something to remain alive!

At the Ascension of Our Lord, we see the risen Saviour taken into heaven in bodily form. The Angels make the following pronouncement:

4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 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.” - Acts 1:4-10

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  • Apart from the 'yes' this does not answer the Q. 'Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way', speaks nothing of his bodily form - flesh or otherwise.
    – steveowen
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 22:58
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    @user47952...I think English being my first language gives me unique insight into Ken Grahams answer. In English, when someone says, "put you your finger in my side" in response to the disciples fear he was a ghost, and then angels immediately after the ascension say "this same Jesus", My years at university tell me without any shadow of a doubt, he will come exactly as he left...very much the person who eats in the flesh! For your own study, might I suggest you research why Jesus calls himself (even for the future) the Son of Man and the significance of this title with regard to His humanity.
    – Adam
    Commented Mar 18, 2021 at 20:39
  • @Adam - might I suggest you research why Jesus calls himself (...) the Son of Man and the significance of this title with regard to His humanity - Scholars have long debated on the meaning of Jesus' (self-)reference as Son of Man. There is a wide range of answers, from the trivial (Aramaic) barnash (something akin to the English "yours truly") [continues] Commented Jul 5, 2021 at 14:13
  • [continuation] to the highly theological (Aramaic) בַ֥ר אֱנָ֖שׁ (bar-enosh) of Daniel 7:13 which is the title that Jesus attributes to himself in Matthew 26:64 Commented Jul 5, 2021 at 14:13
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    @user47952 Actually, I did give a biblical reference to support that yes statement in my response. ”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.” - Acts 1:10
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jul 5, 2021 at 16:16
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There is no biblical basis that supports a bodily return of Christ Jesus.

Most denominations however believe that this basis exists, based on their own inconsistent interpretations of visions and parables.

These misguided denominations confuse the "Second Coming" with the "Day of the Lord".

I am not a mainstream believer, but will answer your question based on Acts 1:11 and the word translated as "likewise".

Ac 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so (3779) come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

The word translated as "likewise" is the Strong's Greek concordance word numbered 3779.

Jesus himself used this word to indicate that He would be treated the same way as John the Baptist was in Matt 17:12.

It is clear that Jesus did not die in the exact same way as John the Baptist.

Jesus was crucified and John was beheaded.

Mt 17:12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise (3779) shall also the Son of man suffer of them.

Jesus' use of the Greek word #3779 in Matt 17:12 shows that a "broader" interpretation of His return (mentioned by the Angels in Acts 1:11) is relevant as opposed to an "exact" interpretation of the word "likewise".

The "broader" interpretation is that "Jesus went to heaven and will return from heaven".

Any inference that He must return a certain way beyond the "broader" use mentioned above is speculation based on visions and parables.

When the Apostle Paul referred to a Spiritual body in scripture he was not referring to our body after physical death, because He told us that He understood that we did not have a physical body after death in 2 Cor 5:6.

2Co 5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

As is plain from scripture, Jesus was crucified and died and was then resurrected on earth in a physical body. He then went back to the condition that he had with the Father before God "prepared" a body for Him (Heb 10:5).

Heb 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: {hast...: or, thou hast fitted me} (KJV)

Jesus now fills "all things" in every way, and His followers now seem to represent His "body or temple", Eph 1:22-23.

Ephesians 1:22-23 NIV And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

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The flesh is the mortal body that dies. The celestial body is the alien body. The heavenly body is the resurrected body that has physical immortality. The dead (flesh/she'll/mortal/corruptible) body (that is judged) either receives Spiritual/heavenly/immortal/incorruptible body which is put back into the dead body from Holy Spirit and lifts up the body to receive the Promise Land.

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    – Lesley
    Commented Jul 5, 2021 at 11:04
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The problem with all of the previous answers is that the Ancient Near Eastern and 1st century meaning of 'heaven,' 'earth,' 'body,' 'coming in the clouds,' or 'clouds,' 'sky,' and 'world' is not our own current 21st century meaning, yet millions of people interpret these terms scientifically. They were not interpreted this way in the 1st century. The terms, 'heaven and earth,' and 'world,' are NEVER referring to the planet, just as 'coming in the clouds' is NOT talking about meteorology. Just as the term 'body' when referring to a king is NOT just referring to the physical human body...there are 2 bodies to a king. When you start to study ANE and Eastern Ph'D's interpretation of these terms it NEVER aligns with theologians 'Western' terminology's or ideologies. The Bible is an Ancient Near EASTERN text. Please start researching the definitions, meanings and interpretations of these terms from the ANE and 1st century meaning to understand the Biblical text correctly.

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 1:25
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    The question asks for a biblical basis with regard to a specific theological issue that pertains to Christianity. Your personal opinion does not answer the question.
    – Lesley
    Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 7:06
  • This is well below the standard expected on Stack Exchange generally and on SE-Christianity in particular. Sheer conjecture and apparently with no reference to holy scripture at all.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 13:54

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