18. THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS in the Qur’an and the Bible
Many Christians will be surprised to learn that Muslims profess the Second Coming of Jesus. Some time ago Christians in South Africa could hardly trust their eyes when they found a sizable billboard at a major crossroad reading: “Islam says: Jesus is coming back again. Are you ready? – For more information please contact the Islamic office…” Have these Muslims finally understood the unique significance of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour?
Before arriving at some hasty (and quite mistaken) conclusion, Christians need to be aware of the actual beliefs Muslims hold about the return of Jesus. According to Sura 43:61 Jesus will return as “a sign for the coming of the Hour of Judgment” …to prepare “the Straight ‘Way’. Yussuf Ali’s commentary enlightens us that “this is understood to refer to the second coming of Jesus in the Last Day’s just Before the Resurrection, when he will destroy the fake doctrines that pass under his name and prepare the way for the universal acceptance of Islam, the Gospel of Unity and Peace, the Straight Way of the Qur’an.”
The Hadith goes one step further in explaining the purpose for Jesus’ Second Coming, “… the son of Mary will soon descend among you as a just judge. He will break crosses, kill swine and abolish jizya (= the obligatory poll tax for Jews and Christians in a Muslim- dominated state), and the wealth will pour forth to such an extent that no one will accept it.” (Sahih Muslim. Vol. 1, p. 92) Other traditions even predict that Jesus will first slay the al-Dajjal, that is the Anti-Christ, when he returns, then get married, have children and will reign on earth for forty years after which he will die a natural death and be buried in Muhammad’s grave in Medina.
So, there are some very clear differences to the Christian belief about Christ’s return. Christians will ask: “Why should Jesus have gone to be with his Father in heaven for almost 2000 years now, only to return in the end of time to perform a few more mighty deeds before completing an ordinary life and being laid to rest in a grave?” It neither fits any sense of logic, nor does it agree with the many different Scripture verses describing the impact and effect of his return on the whole universe and mankind. Remember this: “But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” (2Peter 3: 10) In view of such a mighty demonstration of God’s power at the return of His Son, Christians “ought to live holy and godly lives” (verse 11), be watchful (Matthew 24: 42.44: 25: 13) and take courage and comfort from the promise that at Christ’s return those who have put their trust in him will be united with Christ, as well as reunited with their loved ones who have died in the Lord (1Thess. 4: 13-17).
Without taking time to look into many other Scripture verses here, one remarkable thing needs to be stated in regard to the Islamic confession about the Second Coming of Jesus: “If there is to be a second coming, there must have been a first coming. Christians have become accustomed to using the expression ‘second coming’ simply because they believe that Jesus came from heaven the first time.” (Gilchrist: The Christian Witness to the Muslim, p. 176) In other words, Muslims indirectly affirm the incarnation and pre- existence of Jesus, the Messiah.
Now, this is indeed a remarkable, and for most Muslims completely surprising admission from their own books. It could be an important stepping stone for the Christian witness to help a Muslim understand the true nature of Jesus Christ and thus bring him to acknowledge and prepare himself for the glorious return of Jesus Christ to this earth to reunite all those with himself who have put their faith and trust in Him.