The Second Coming of Jesus: Metaphor or Literal?

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By Steven Bancarz| In the New Age movement, the second coming of Jesus is believed to be a metaphor for the arrival of “Christ Consciousness” within millions of people around the world as they begin to awaken to their higher nature.

Christ will incarnate, in a sense, within humanity as a divine state of consciousness.  As Eckhart Tolle says:

“The ‘second coming’ of Christ is a transformation of human consciousness, a shift from time to presence, from thinking to pure consciousness, not the arrival of some man or woman. If “Christ” were to return tomorrow in some externalized form, what could he or she say to you other than this:

“I am the Truth. I am divine presence. I am eternal life. I am within you. I am here. I am now.”  – Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (Novato, California: New World Library, 1999): 105.

Deepak Chopra also affirms this when he says:

“the Second Coming will be a shift in consciousness that renews human nature by raising it to the level of the divine” (Deepak Chopra. Third Jesus, 40).  

Is it possible that the second coming really was meant to be taken metaphorically as an awakening of humanity to a higher state of consciousness? To put it lightly, no.

How we know this is a false theory

1. This version of the second coming doesn’t meet a single description of what Jesus says his second coming will be like.

Jesus describes his second coming as being a physical and apocalyptic event.  For example where Jesus says “Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” – Matthew 24:30-31 (ESV).

We know from scripture that the second coming is described in the following terms:

  1. He will descend from Heaven. (1 Thes 4:16-17)
  2. He will come with great glory. (Mat 24:30-31, Mk 8:38)
  3. He will come with his angels. (Mat 24:30-31,Mk 8:38)
  4. We will see him in the clouds/sky. (Matthew 24:30-31, 1 Thes 4:16-17, Rev. 1:7)
  5. That ALL the nations of the earth will mourn and wail when they see him. (Mat 24:30-31, Rev 1:7)

These are clear indications that Jesus and the apostles intended to mean the second coming was a literal return of Jesus himself.

2. 100% of the 60-70 verses in the New Testament speak of the second coming as being the literal return of Jesus himself.

Not only do the descriptions of the second coming require us to believe it is a literal return of Jesus, every single verse about the second coming in the New Testament speaks of it as being of Jesus specifically.  For example where it says: and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels” 2 Thessalonians 1:7 (ESV).

Every verse in the Bible speaks about the second coming of Jesus as being just that; of Jesus by name.  There is no talk of the second coming of a state of consciousness, a state of awakening, and no mention of the second coming as being anything other than Jesus as a person.

3. Jesus says nobody knows, not even himself, the time of the second coming. So if Jesus doesn’t know when, neither does Eckhart Tolle.

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32 (also Matt. 24:36).  Jesus didn’t even know the time and day of his second coming.  If Jesus didn’t know, how can anybody else claim to know?

To say the second coming is a metaphor for of awakening that happens in people all over the world right now is to say we know the date of the second coming.  Namely, the time at which a person transcends their sense of personal identity and ego. This is to attribute a time to the second coming, when even Jesus himself didn’t do this.

This should suggest to us that the second coming is a future event that has a fixed moment in time, not an ongoing process that has been happening for the last 2000 years.

4. This theory requires us to believe first in the concept of “Christ Consciousness”, a philosophy Jesus warned of in Matthew 24.

“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” – Matthew 24: 3-5

To believe that you can be Christ or that you ARE Christ, is to fall under the warning Jesus gave about deception that will take place in the final days. “I am Christ” is what many shall say to deceive people in the final days, according to Jesus.  

Christ can’t be something within you if Jesus further warns against those who try to tell us where Christ is:

“Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” – Matthew 24:23-24 (KJV)

As we can see, the second coming is described by Jesus as being a physical descent from heaven accompanied by angels, an experience that will cause people to literally caught up in the air with him and will cause intense grief and mourning to those who rejected him. It is the end of human history as we know it.

What can we do about this?

The most important thing said I think is that it says “all the nations of the earth will mourn” and “wail” and people will be cut to the heart in grief at the second coming.  This is because when we all see him coming back, It’s all over.

Our philosophies, our opinions, our life will all be confronted with the supernatural presence of Jesus. People will mourn because they will be hit with the awareness of their eternal separation from God. And that’s a terrifying realization.

And all we had to do was seek God and believe on the Lord as our saviour.

Forgiveness and reconciliation is a free gift of mercy that is available to everyone and all we have to do is surrender, believe, and receive the work he did for us the cross for us.  We have a window of grace before the time comes when Jesus himself makes his supernatural return that he promised he would.

And if we want to know the truth about the second coming of Jesus, we don’t have to look any further than Jesus himself who promised that he will be coming back physical, with power, and to reign.

In this video we look more deeply at the idea of the metaphorical second coming and how it compares to the words of Jesus himself:

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