By: William Jackson
We have all heard the phrase “Christ’s second coming”. This is when Jesus will be returning to earth to fulfill the promises foretold in the Tanakh (Old Testament). The Messiah, as predicted in God’s Word, will come in during the “end days” to usher in a world of peace. However, the Tanakh never talks of the Messiah coming twice. We will determine through God’s Word the validity of a Messiah’s second coming and consequently Jesus.
Although the Tanakh is silent about a second coming of the Messiah, over half of the books of the New Testament (16 out of 27) talk about a second coming. Many of these books even have multiple verses in support of this concept. It is spoken about at least forty-four times: Acts 1:11,3:19-21, 17:31, 1 Corinthians 1:7, 4:5, 11:26, 15:23-24, Philippians 1:10, 3:20, Colossians 3:4, 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, 2:19-20, 3:13, 4:15-5, 5:23, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7, 2:1-2, 2: 8, 1 Timothy 6:1, 2 Timothy 4:1-2, 8, Titus 2:12-14, Hebrews 9:28, 10:25, 37, James 5:7-9, 1 Peter 1:3-5, :13, 2:12, 4:13, 5:4, 2 Peter 1:16, 3:3, 8-10, 1 John 2:28, 3:2-3, Jude 1:14-15, 21, Revelation 1:4, 7-8, 3:11, 16:15, 22:12-13,20-21. Yet, the Christian gospels never speak of it. The book of Acts is the first writing in the Christian bible that tells of Jesus’ second coming. To put it into perspective, it’s like how movies prepare us for a sequel. You see, the book of Acts segues us from the gospels into the big cliffhanger. In Acts 1:11 two alleged angels say to the apostles “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.” Now we have our excuse why Jesus did not meet the Messianic prophecies, he will do it on his return trip. If this was a movie we could call it “Jesus Part Two, The Return of Christ”.
The foundational Christian defense for two comings of Christ is because they say he is portrayed as having dual natures1 in the Tanakh. You see, the first Jesus is a suffering servant. In His second coming, Jesus will be the conquering King. The conquering kings is easy to defend, it’s prophesized throughout the Tanakh, Joel 2:1-10, Psalm 72:11, 110. This imagery is later bolstered in the New Testament (Matthew 25:31-34, Revelation 19:11-21). But, what about the suffering servant, his first coming, Jesus as we know him. This was taken from Isaiah 53 which on the surface does paint a vivid picture of how Christianity perceives Christ. Yet, when we do a deep study, it is undoubtedly Israel as a nation2.
Without the “suffering servant” leg to stand on all we have is the Messiah who is a conquering King. Christians plead that we will see this side of their messiah when he returns. Conversely, the Tanakh says that when the Messiah arrives, initially, we will witness this conquering King. Ask yourself have you seen these prophecies performed by Jesus?
- Reestablishment of the Temple: Isaiah 2:2, Jeremiah 33:18, Micah 4:1, Malachi 3:1, Zechariah 8:3. Jesus of Nazareth did not do this, he actually talked about the opposite, its destruction; Matthew 24:1-25:46, Mark 13, Luke 21:5-36.
- Establishment of a government in Israel that will be the center of all world government, both for Jews and gentiles (Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:10; 42:1). Conversely, Jesus states he did not come to bring peace but a sword and division (Matthew 10:34, Luke 12:49-53).
- The Messiah will restore the religious court system of Israel and establish Jewish law as the law of the land (Jeremiah 33:15). Jesus broke the commandments (Matthew 12:1-8) and added to them (Matthew 5:21-42).
- He will bring about the political and spiritual redemption of the Jewish people by bringing us back to Israel and restoring Jerusalem (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 23:8; 30:3; Hosea 3:4-5). These things obviously have not happened yet. The Temple was destroyed shortly after Jesus’ time in 70 AD, also there has been a polarization of religions ever since his arrival.
The answer is not only “no” but in many cases he countered these events. However, many people focus on the prophecies to confirm Christ’s pedigree. We need to understand that that is only half of the story. If he was the Messiah, he would have accomplished the above tasks. Since he did not, the Christian writers engineered the second coming as a solution. Without prophetic accomplishments one should reevaluate his resume (365 messianic prophecies).
Conclusion: Imagine a politician who gets voted into office because he promise to balance the budget, decrease taxes and increase jobs. After his term, he does none of this. When he runs for a second term, the people confront him by asking “why did you not fulfill these promises?” The politician’s response is “I was going to do these things during my second term”. Would you believe him; then why do we believe in the second coming? The Christian messiah did not fulfill the future prophesies of the Tanakh, so the second coming is really Christianity’s need for a “do-over”.
- Motyer, Alec. “The Suffering Servant and Conquering King by Alec Motyer.” Ligonier Ministries. Accessed May 21, 2016. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/suffering-servant-and-conquering-king/.
- Roth, Marshall. “Isaiah 53: The Suffering Servant.” Aishcom. Accessed May 21, 2016. http://www.aish.com/sp/ph/Isaiah_53_The_Suffering_Servant.html.