What is the second coming?
This is the belief that the messiah will return to Earth and is an important idea for most Christians. This is viewed as him fulfilling a biblical prophecy and it will signify the end of the world as we know it. The exact details of what will happen around the time of this return are much disputed, and there are many interpretations; a minority of Christians believe that it has already occurred. Interestingly enough, the words “second coming” are not mentioned anywhere in the bible, but there is plenty of material that infers such an event.
What will happen during this time?
There is no agreement about this among the different Christian denominations. It is generally believed though that there will be some type of showdown between Jesus and Satin; this is usually referred to as Armageddon. Most followers of Christianity believe that the outcome of this battle has already been decided and Jesus will be the winner of the encounter. There is also general belief that there will be some type of judgement day when people left on Earth will be either saved or lost; some groups claim that the dead will be woken up for this day of judgement.
Many of the evangelical groups in the United States have views about what will happen around the time of the second coming. There is much talk about the tribulation and rapture and these are two words that cause a lot of debate. Those who believe in the rapture are convinced that at some stage Jesus will come to collect saved-Christians; the rapture refers to this process. There is a belief that a period called the tribulation will last for seven years before Armageddon. During this time life on Earth will become really uncomfortable and some Christian groups feel certain that Jesus will rapture them off somewhere to avoid this suffering.
The evidence of the second coming
Those who have faith are completely convinced about the reality of the second coming and will see plenty of evidence for their beliefs in the bible. Critics of this would point out that even if the bible is correct there is no clear mention of any of the predictions about the return of the messiah. Some would argue that the fact that there are so many different interpretations only bolsters the critic’s arguments. On the other hand those who do believe in the imminent return of the messiah see this as being beyond doubt. It is not possible to say who is right and who is wrong.
The exact date of the return of the messiah is another area of much controversy. Hardly a decade has gone past without at least one group claiming that the end was imminent. These claims have completely convinced some people to the extent that there have been mass suicides as followers decided to speed their rapture along. It is likely that there will always be some group who is predicting that the end time is about to arrive.
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