Does the Bible Argue Against a Literal Second Coming?
Question: Does the Bible contradict itself or argue against a literal second coming? How would it be possible for "all eyes to see him" all over the world at the same time?
Answer: Scoffers are multiplying in these last days, as prophesied by Peter in 2 Peter 3. One of their arguments is that a literal second coming is impossible. They claim it is also contradicted by reason and Scripture.
They argue that if Jesus is going to come to the earth literally, then the literal requirements of time and space must be met. He must return at a certain time and at a certain place that can be identified on the map by GPS coordinates. Now, if that is so, those on the opposite side of the earth will not be able to see His coming. How then, they argue, is it possible to believe that Revelation 1:7 is literal? How is it possible that “every eye shall see him”?
Is Jesus really coming back to a specific location? The answer is an emphatic “Yes!” The place is the Mount of Olives, and the location can be found on a map. Tourists to Israel can even visit the site. I’ve been there, and maybe you have, too.
Acts 1:11-12 tells us that Jesus went up and an angel said:
This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner AS YE HAVE SEEN HIM GO INTO HEAVEN.
The passage also tells us that this occurred on the Mount of Olives. Zechariah 14 leaves no doubt. Verse 4 states: “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives.”
But what about the people on the other side of the earth? How will they be able to see Him? This is not the problem that it might seem to be. It is certainly no reason for allegorizing prophecy, or for denying prophecy. And it is certainly no reason to become a “scoffer.”
How can every eye see Jesus? May I suggest CNN or the nightly news? I live in rural Oklahoma, but through the marvels of communication technology I can view events in Beijing, New York, Washington, D.C., Paris, or Gotebo, Oklahoma. Revelation 11 is similar. It tells us, “And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half.” Now how can that happen? May I once again suggest CNN or the nightly news?
There are many questions like this that have perfectly good answers. Such questions are often asked with an honest heart; others are asked by scoffers who ridicule the Bible. Questions such as, “How did Noah get all those animals in his boat?” and “How can a virgin have a baby?” are good questions and they have good answers. How will every eye see Jesus? That’s also a good question and there’s a good answer.
The Bible is very specific about the return of Jesus Christ. It will occur—whether people are ready for it or not. In John 14:1-3 Jesus said:
Let not your heart be troubled: ye 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 unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also.
Those who want to spiritualize, or deny, prophecy are trying to rob the church of the blessed hope—and we don’t like it!