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Bible Correspondence Course

19. The Second Coming of Isa al-Masih

Muslims and Christians share the belief that the same Isa al-Masih (his peace be upon us), who lived on this earth and was raised alive into heaven, will return to this world at the end of the age.

1) The Return of Isa al-Masih in Islam

Popular Muslim traditions say that when Sayyidna Isa al-Masih comes back, He will convert the world to Islam, destroy the Antichrist, marry and have children and later die and be buried next to the grave of the Prophet of Islam, in Medina. To support this belief, Muslims refer to the following verse in the Qur'an:

"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" (Sura 43:61).

The majority of Muslim commentators take the above verse to be a prophecy about the second coming of Sayyidna Isa al-Masih. This is known as the "nuzuli Isa" and also as the "nuzuli Masih", the 'descent' of Isa.

One of the Muslim traditions states:

"Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: By Him in Whose hand is my life, the son of Mary (may peace be upon him) will soon descend among you as a just judge. He will break crosses, kill swine and abolish jizya (tax), and the wealth will pour forth to such an extent that no one will accept it."[1]

Such are the references to the return of Isa bin Maryam in Islam; however, there are major differences in the Bible and Qur’an regarding this.

2) The Return of Isa al-Masih in the Bible

Sayyidna Isa al-Masih’s return is one of the great themes of the Bible. However there is no suggestion that on His return Sayyidna Isa will live as an ordinary human being, let alone that He will die and be buried.

When Christians speak of Sayyidna Isa al-Masih’s second coming from heaven, they obviously already believe in His first coming from heaven. Both beliefs go together and cannot be separated from each other. On numerous occasions Sayyidna Isa said that He had come down from heaven and that He would come again.[2] This second coming is to be different from the first. He will come as Mighty Judge and Conquering King.

Sayyidna Isa al-Masih made it clear that His second coming would be a public event; as lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so will be His coming.[3] He even mentioned that there would be false prophets and false Messiahs, claiming to be Christ, or Al-Masih. However, it will be easy for everyone to recognise His coming, because it will be witnessed throughout the whole world.

3) The Events of His Return

Sayyidna Isa al-Masih will send His angels to gather up all those who believe in Him, and will take them to heaven.[4] There will also be a resurrection of all those who have died. As Sayyidna said, "For a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned."[5]

Thus Sayyidna taught that His return is to be a mighty decisive event. He will judge the living and the dead, rewarding those who love and obey Him with eternal life and casting the rest into darkness, away from His presence, to remain there forever.

We praise God for the great gift of salvation; but for those who have never entered God's kingdom in this life there will be eternal condemnation. Sayyidna Isa al-Masih taught that He alone was the revelation from God in which ever-lasting life and freedom from judgement can be found. “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the God’s one and only Son” (John 3:18).

4) When will it happen?

Sayyidna Isa said that He will return when people do not expect Him. For example, He said that His coming will be like a thief in the night. "If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”[6]

Sayyidna Isa Kalimatu'llah also said that His coming will be like the flood which came in the time of Hazrat Nuh (Noah). People were eating and drinking and were carrying on their normal daily life right up to the hour that Hazrat Nuh entered the ark and the flood came.[7]

The Bible teaches that God loves His creation, and He does not want anyone to perish. In His mercy and compassion, God is patient and wants everyone to repent and be saved.[8] But you can be sure, He is keeping His promise. One day, at His own appointed time Isa al-Masih will be here. As each day passes by, we get nearer to His coming. Time, in fact, is running out and there may be no chance tomorrow.

5) Coming to Raise the Dead

Sayyidna Isa Ruh-u'llah alone has conquered death. He is the “beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”[9] He alone dwells in heavenly glory and He alone will return, shining in all His heavenly majesty, to award the crown of life to all who love Him and have remained faithful to Him.

"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”[10]

6) To Judge All Humankind

"See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him."[11]

7) To Reward the Righteous and the Unrighteous

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. ... Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'"[12]

8) To Deliver the Kingdom to the Father

"Since death came through a man (Hazrat Adam), the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. ... When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all."[13]

References:

  1. [1] Sahih Muslim, Vol.1, p.92
  2. [2] John 3:13, 8:23, 16:28, Matthew 25:31-32, 26:64
  3. [3] Matthew 24:27
  4. [4] Matthew 24:31
  5. [5] John 5:28,29
  6. [6] Matthew 24:43-44
  7. [7] Matthew 37:39
  8. [8] 2 Peter 3:9
  9. [9] Colossians 1:18
  10. [10] John 5:28-29
  11. [11] Jude 14-15
  12. [12] Matthew 25:31-34, 41
  13. [13] 1 Corinthians 15:21-26, 28

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