- This article refers to the religious usage of the term. For other usages, see Second Coming (disambiguation).
The prophecies of a Second Coming are various and span across many religions and cultures. Most notable is the Christian belief in the return of Jesus. Rastafarians believe that it is ex-Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie who is the returned messiah. Another is Maitreya (Pali: Metteyya), a bodhisattva, prophesied by Gautama Buddha to be the next Buddha who will return to restore Buddhism when it becomes lost or corrupt.
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Across the many denominations of Christianity, the view of Christ's second coming is largely differing. Few dare to claim complete and authoritative interpretation of the typically symbolic and prophetic biblical sources. What is commonly accepted is that:
- Jesus Christ died on the cross.
- He was resurrected to physical life and ascended into heaven.
- He is to return to this earth to judge and to establish his kingdom, ending the era of grace we are currently living in.
- No one is to know the hour of Christ's return.
The Book of Daniel, the Gospel of Matthew and the Book of Revelation are considered to be the most fruitful sources of study, although many parts of the Bible are sprinkled with references to the "last day(s)" and the Second Coming. A short reference to it is also contained in the Nicene Creed: "He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; of His kingdom there shall be no end" (speaking of "one Lord Jesus Christ").
Judaism is awaiting more of a "first coming" than a "second coming." They are awaiting the coming of their Messiah. This Messiah will then usher in the millennium, that Isaiah and other prophets describe.
- Mainstream view: The mainstream Islamic view of the second coming maintains that Jesus was nailed to the cross but lifted up to heaven by God before he died, where he is waiting to descend during the last days when corruption and perversity are rife on earth. He will then wage a battle against the anti-christ and restore religion to its pristine state.
- Minority views: Some minority sects have adopted different and allegedly heretical beliefs according to mainstream Muslims. The view of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is based on an allegorical interpretation of the references to Jesuss second coming in Islamic literature. They believe that Jesus died a natural death and the "second coming" referred to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and his efforts to counter the threats to Islam from other religious groups.
The Rastafarian religion believes that Haile Selassie is the second coming. He both embodied this when he became Emperor of Ethiopia, but is also expected to return a second time to initiate the apocalyptic day of judgement. Haile Selassie, also called Jah rastafari, is considered to be still alive.