The Second Coming
There are two verses in the Qur’an which Muslims believe indicate the second coming of Isa:
And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before is death; and on the Day of Judgement he will be a witness against them; (Surah 4:159).
And (Isa) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgement): Therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: This is a Straight Way (Surah 43:61):
According to the first verse, all the Ahl-e-Kitab (Jews and Followers of Isa), will believe in Isa before his death. Muslim commentators state that the Arabic leuaminanna (must believe) refers to an event in the future. This they believe could only be possible should Isa come again and live in this world till he dies. The second verse shows that Isa is the sign of the Last Hour. So it is argued, ‘How can he be a sign for Doomsday if he doesn’t appear sometimes before it?’
Those who do believe Isa will come again, see him in a subordinate role to that of the Prophet of Islam. Isa will be under a Muslim Amir, leader, showing his complete adherence to Islam. Some Ahadith indicate that on his arrival Isa will kill an impostor Messiah (i.e. the antichrist). He will live for forty years during which he will marry, have children, and perform Hajj (pilgrimage). After his death, he will be buried beside the grave of Rasul ‘ulLah (SAW) (Wali ad-Din, Miskat Al-Masabih, (tr. James Robson), Vol.II, p.1159; Sahih Muslim, Vol.1, p.92).
Most Muslims believe that Isa descent from heaven will be accomplished by resting his hands on the wings of two angels. He will descend onto the white minaret, situated in the eastern part of Damascus. He will invite the whole world to be Muslim including Followers of Isa and Jews. The one eyed antichrist, accompanied by seventy thousand Jews, will be killed by Isa, at the place called Lod. The Jews will be badly defeated. Isa will break the cross, annihilate swine and will end all wars and jizya (poll tax). His position will be like that of a judge. During this period there will be an abundance of all sorts of goods. Muslims will dominate the world and there will be an end of all religions except Islam (Mawdudi, A.A, Finality of Prophethood, pp. 58-61).
Some groups like the Ahmadiyya and the Bahai believe that their founders were the second coming of Isa. Other groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Isa came back at the turn of this century and took the elect with him. However, the Bible reveals that his second coming will not be in secret. When the apostles saw Isa ascending into heaven, the angels told them: “This same Isa, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
Muslim friends have various ideas about the physical descent of Isa. Some say he will land on the Ka’ba, others claim he will land on the minaret of the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, yet others think he will descend in Darusalem. Whether coming to Darusalem, Damascus or Mecca, one has to think carefully where he is coming from. If he is coming from heaven, then this coming will not be an ordinary one, with an ordinary body like ours. The Bible declares that he is coming in heavenly splendour. He will come in all his glory and power (2 Thessalonians 1:7). Isa said: “as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west”, so will be his coming (Matthew 24:27). In simple words, his coming will be visible to everyone. His first coming took place in obscurity, but his second coming will be universally visible. His coming will be so dramatic, no-one will fail to recognise him. (Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:9,11).
Followers of Isa are fortunate to find a major part of the New Testament directly concerned with Isa’s second coming. Isa and his return as Judge is one of he major themes. Nevertheless, there is no mention of him coming as an ordinary being, nor is there the least suggestion that he will marry, die, and be buried. The Scriptures indicate that when he comes, his people both living and the dead will be raised or changed and meet him in the air and the earth will be destroyed (1 Thessalonians 4 :15 – 17; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 2 Peter 3:10).
On many occasions Isa said that he came down from heaven and that he would come again (John 3:13; 8:23; 14:2-3,18-19; 16:28; Matthew 25:31-32; 26:64). This second coming is to be different from the first , his coming will be as the Mighty Judge and conquering King (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10). The reassuring news and the final reminder is found in the last chapter of Revelation, the last book of the Bible: “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:12).
At his first coming Isa became like us in every respect, to deliver us from the power of Satan (John 1:18; Hebrews 2:14-17). He came to conquer sin and rise from the dead to gain victory and triumph. At his second coming, we are going to see him as he really is (1John 3:2).
The mission that Isa had left to his Ummah to perform and proclaim his Injil to the world will terminate at his second coming. He will uproot evil and enthrone righteousness for ever. He will establish eternal peace. Although it is right to campaign for social justice and peace to improve society, the Bible makes it clear that we will never be able to perfect it. Only Isa at his second coming will fulfil it.
The Bible speaks clearly about the unexpectedness of his return. About the day of his return, Isa advised us all not to speculate because no one knows the date but Allah (Mark 13:32). All that we have to do is to be ready and prepared for his return – at any time. Isa said that he would come when people did not expect him. Critics consider the idea of Isa’ second coming as naive: “Where is this coming he promised? Ever since our fathers died everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4).
Isa has already answered such ridicule. He said his coming would be as unexpected as the flood in the time of Noah (Matthew 24:37-41). People were told about it but they did not believe it. Then it arrived and it was too late. Today everyone has the opportunity to believe in Isa now and act as he has commanded (2 Peter 3:9; Acts 2:37-38). At his arrival this chance will have been withdrawn; it will be too late.