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Is Jesus returning?

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

When the Old Testament prophets spoke of God coming, they meant in judgment on Israel for their idolatry. God sent Assyria and Babylon to destroy Israel for hundreds of years of disobedience.  But their prophecies also hinted at a future event.

When Jesus spoke about his own coming, he referred to God’s judgment on Israel, once again for their stubbornness by rejecting his message of salvation and for crucifying Jesus on the cross.  That judgment occurred on Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

But there is a final coming that has not occurred yet—when Jesus will arrive in bodily form to judge the earth and begin the process of creating a new heaven and a new earth.

The apostle Paul spoke of this future, literal coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians.  It says:
  •          Some will be alive when Jesus comes
  •          The Lord himself will come down from heaven
  •          The dead will rise, resurrected, as Jesus was resurrected
  •          Those alive will be transformed into a resurrected body and join the dead
  •          We will all meet in a heavenly place
  •          This will be the way our bodies will be forever 

John in Revelation 20 also spoke of this final judgment that follows Jesus’ return.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15

Yes, Jesus will return in bodily form to end the world at some future time unknown by man and usher us into his presence to live with Him forever.