Why Jesus Isn’t Coming Again
by Mike McClellan
The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ spoke to His disciples 2000 years ago, telling them that he would return, that he was “coming again”. His promise remains one of the most central themes in the myriad of Christian belief systems. Except for a very small minority, Christians still believe he is coming again, the Parousia, the rapture. Is His promise still valid? Has He yet to return? Or did He make the promise only to break it in the lifetime of those to whom He spoke?
The following is taken from the Bible. All verses are from the King James version unless otherwise noted. The Bible references are hyperlinks and will take the reader to the New International Version quotation if so desired.
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death*, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Matthew 16: 27-28
The language is clear. Jesus told his disciples that some of them would not taste of death – would not die – before he returned, until he came into his kingdom.
If you’ve been mistakenly taught that the verses above refer to Christ’s Transfiguration, read Revelation 20:12 which coincides with Matthew 16:27 in describing a Judgment Day scenario:
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Christ was, again, clearly referring to his second coming before that present generation passed.
Again, Jesus tells his disciples:
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass*, till all these things be fulfilled.
Again, Christ describes certain events and warns those who are listening to him that “This generation shall not pass*, till all these things be fulfilled”. He is speaking about their present generation.
Although the above scriptures clearly convey that Christ was talking about his present generation, there are many other references in the New Testament indicating that the writers of the Gospels and Epistles as well as the followers of Christ firmly believed that Jesus was speaking of their present generation and not some future time hundreds or thousands of years down the road.
Jesus spoke to his followers again about his coming according to the book of Matthew:
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
The cities of Israel were not so numerous that it would have taken a fleeing man 2000 years to go over or through them. No man could live that long. Christ said before a fleeing man could go through all the cities, he would come. Again, Christ was speaking of his return in that generation. He left no doubt as to his meaning in this passage.
What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short*. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
(1 Corinthians 7:29-31 – NIV)
Paul tells the Corinthians that time is short and that the world in its present form is passing away. His words have a strong sense of urgency, rather than being a mere suggestion. Paul believes the world is presently passing away. He is not speaking of some event which could take place 2000 years in the future.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep*, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality
1 Corinthians 15:50-53
In this passage, Paul tells the Corinthians We shall not all sleep. Again, Paul is convinced and is convincing the Corinthians that the second coming of Christ is imminent in that generation and not all who hear his words will “sleep” or die prior to Christ’s coming.
We Which Are Alive And Shall Remain
In the following portion of the letter which Paul writes to the Thessalonians he discusses those who remain alive in the present tense.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain* unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain* shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
More Scripture Indicating Immediate Urgency
The New Testament is abundantly filled with references to the immediacy of Christ’s return.
But the end of all things is at hand:* be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
1 Peter 4:7
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days* spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things…
In 1 John, the false prophets foretold by Jesus who existed in that time period to give notice of the end times are discussed.
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God…
1 John 4:1-3
According to the Bible, Jesus Christ said he would return in the generation in which he lived. He said the sign of the Son of Man would appear in heaven. He said all the tribes of Israel would mourn. He said the tribes would see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. He said he would send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet. The angels were to gather the “elect” from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. All of these things were to have happened in his generation. They didn’t happen.
Jesus did not return as he said he would. He did not return as his disciples believed and preached that he would. Jesus didn’t come in the disciples generation. He didn’t come in any generation. The disciples all died. Jesus’ promise was broken. The disciples believed and lived a false hope.
Jesus didn’t come then and he isn’t coming in the future. Those who cling to the broken promise and false hope of his return will be just as disappointed as the disciples who died looking in vain for the second coming of their Christ.
He isn’t coming again.