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The Return of Isa Al-Masih

Islam and Christianity share the belief that Isa bin-Maryam lived on this earth and was taken into heaven alive. One day that very same Isa will return to this earth. Among Muslims this event is known as “Nuzul-i-Isa” – the descent of Jesus. However, popular Muslim traditions assert that when He comes back, He will convert the world to Islam, destroy the Antichrist, marry and have children. Later He will die and be buried in a grave next to Muhammad in Medina.

Though there are many narrations of Jesus’ return in the traditions of Islam. The Qur’an, the first hand authority for Muslims, has only one verse to this effect: “And (Jesus) 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).

The Biblical narrative

Christians are fortunate to find a major part of the New Testament directly concerned with Christ’s Second Coming. Isa al-Masih and His return as Judge is one of the 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 the living and the dead, will be raised and changed, and then will meet Him in the air, after which the earth will be destroyed (1 Thessalonians 4: 15-17; 1 Corinthians 15: 50-54; 2 Peter 3:10).

On many occasions, Isa al-Masih 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 time Hazoor came as a baby. His coming will be as the Mighty Judge and conquering King (2 Thessalonians 1: 6-10). This 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).

His identity on his Return

Some groups, like the Ahmadiyya and the Bah’ai, believe that the lives of their founders were the Second Coming of Christ. Other groups, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, believe that Jesus 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 a secret one. Nor will it be like His first coming. When the apostles saw Hazoor ascending into heaven, the angels told them, “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven (Acts1: 11).

Muslim friends have various ideas about the physical descent of Jesus. Some say He will land on the Ka’aba, others claim that He will land on the minaret of the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, yet others think He will descend in Jerusalem. Whether He is coming to Jerusalem, 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, and He will have a heavenly body, not 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). Jesus said, “as lightning that comes from the East is visible even in the West”, so will be His coming. In simple words, His coming will be visible to everyone (Matthew 24:27). His first coming took place in obscurity, but His Second Coming will be universally visible. His coming will be so dramatic that no one will fail to recognise him (Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:9-11).

The Purpose of His coming

At His first coming, Jesus 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, in majesty and power (1 John 3:2).

The mission that Isa al-Masih had left to His Church to perform and proclaim His Gospel to the world will terminate at His Second Coming. He will uproot evil and enthrone righteousness forever. 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 Christ at His Second Coming will fulfil it.

The Time of His coming

The Bible speaks clearly about the unexpectedness of His return. About the day of His return, Jesus advised us all not to speculate, because no one knows the date but God (Mark 13:32). All that we have to do is to be ready and prepared for his return. Hazoor said that He would come when people did not expect Him. So often critics consider the idea of Jesus’ Second Coming as naïve: “They will say, “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). Jesus has answers to such ridicule. He will come unexpectedly. 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 al-Masih now and act as He has commanded (2 Peter 3: 9; Acts 2: 37-38). When He comes back it will be too late.

Steven Masood

All Biblical quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Published in Great Britain by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.

Qur’anic reference is taken from The Holy Qur’an, English translation of the meanings and Commentary. Revised & edited by the Presidency of Islamic Researches, IFTA. King Fahad Holy Qur’an Printing Complex, Al-Madinah, Saudi Arabia, ed. 1990.

And (Jesus) 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 (Az-Zukhruf) 43:61

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