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July 29, 2014 | Shawwal 2, 1435
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IslamiCity > Articles > The Return of Jesus
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As we can see, the return of Jesus to the Earth will be a truly magnificent event, surrounded by truly magnificent incidents, so magnificent that one may find it even fantasy-like. Jesus will come at a time when the world is in true need of Divine Help. Indeed this Divine Help will come with Jesus, but some of the trials of those days will be so great that not even he will be able to face it, ...

The Return of Jesus
4/20/2014 - Religious Interfaith - Article Ref: IR1304-5421
Number of comments: 4
Opinion Summary: Agree:1  Disagree:1  Neutral:2
By: Jeremy Boulter
Islam Religion* -

Both Islam and Christianity expect the return of Jesus at the end of times, and both expect trials and tribulations to occur at the time. Many of the themes of these trials are similar, but they are also very different in detail and definition. Both religions expect the nation of believers to be the final victors, but the Christian believes that these are defined as the believers in the Gospel of the New Testament and in Christ as 'the Savior' and 'the Incarnation' of God, whilst the Muslim knows that it refers to those who believe in the pure monotheism entailed in submission to the One and Only True God.

The return of Jesus is preceded in both religions by signs, again similar in general description, but subtly different in detail. Both religions teach that the return of Jesus will be preceded by a great and powerful figure of falsehood and temptation, called the Maseeh ad-Dajjal (The False Messiah) by the Muslims and the Anti-Christ by the Christians. Before this event other signs that agree with each other include a general increase in immorality and fornication, murder and crime, and general lawlessness, debauchery and falling away from religion and true knowledge. Accompanying these signs of civil malaise will be internecine [1] wars, and natural disasters following closely one upon the other. The details and timings of these, however, are substantially different, even within particular faiths. How the Christian faith regards the second coming depends on the doctrinal view held. Four broad views are prominent: Historical and Dispensational Ante-millennialism, and Preterist Post and A-millennialism.[2]

Ante-millennialism [3] has two branches of interpretation. Both postulate that Jesus will come and then, after defeating the Anti-Christ, will rule the earth with the 'elect' for 1000 years before the evil souls are resurrected, and Satan is unbound in the resurrected Anti-Christ [4]. They differ significantly concerning the events around this second coming.

Preterism is the general name for the viewpoint found in both the views that oppose Ante-millennialism. It sees the return of Jesus as having already happened at the time of the destruction of the temple Jerusalem, at least in terms of judgment. That is, they see people as judged when they die. Hence it sees the earth itself as everlasting, and that perfecting our faith and the truth about God is a never ending task set us by God.[5] Among the partial Preterits, the moment of perfection is the second physical coming of Jesus, who will then reign forever over those who have achieved salvation.

Post-millennialism sees the 1000 year reign of Jesus as more figurative than literal, and that it has already begun. Jesus is literally the king of earth right now, judging the dead as they die, and the Christian church is in the process of perfecting belief in him and defeating Satan. Then Jesus will return to vanquish the Anti-Christ, heralding the end of the world, and establish the Church to rule with him.

A-millennialism [6] also sees the 1000 year reign as figurative and already established, but, like ante-millennialism, it envisages Judgment Day as the day of sorting out the good from the bad and eternally consigning them to their respective destinations.

These viewpoints often overlap, so one is not sure where one doctrine leaves off and the other starts. None of them, however, conform to the Islamic view of the reign of Jesus and his role in the second coming.

Islam sees Jesus' return as a completion of his life and work, which he left incomplete.[7] As the true Messiah, he alone has the power granted to him by God to defeat the false Messiah at the end of time. His rule will witness the invasion of the Gog and Magog, whom not even he will be able to defeat. Rather, he will pray to God who will then destroy them Himself. The end of the Gog and Magog will herald the beginning of a world hegemony in which every one will believe, or at least submit to, his reign as God's representative. He will rule by God's Law as taught by Muhammad (i.e. Islam), may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, until he dies at the age of about 70 or 75. In this period of time there will be plenty for all, and peace throughout the world. Then, some time after he dies and is buried, all the Muslims will be caught up by a breeze and wafted into the hereafter. The remaining people on earth will be unbelievers, and they alone will witness the final chapter of earth.

Many of these events described in Islam echo the concept of the Messiah at the end of times conceived of in Judaism, although they believe the Law with which he will reign will be the Law of Moses, rather than Muhammad, may God praise them both. Both Islam and Judaism regard the coming of the Messiah as essentially uniting, gathering believers together from the ends of the earth. Both see his rule as returning to the fundamentals of faith and Law. Both see his role as that of a leader who will fight God's war against the forces of evil, and that this war will be followed by a peaceful hegemony in which God's Law will prevail throughout the world.

Where they differ is in who this end of time figure represents. To the Jews, the Messiah necessarily will be a Jewish leader who re-establishes Israel and the temple and all its rites in Jerusalem. To the Muslim, he represents the championing of pure Islam, sorting hypocrites from true believers.

All three visions of the Messiah at the end of time hold something in common. In this article, however, we will expound the Muslim picture of the future, which is envisioned to be just around the corner. This vision is very clear and subject to little doctrinal variation, unlike both Jewish and Christian viewpoints. It is up to you to draw the parallels that are apparent and reject that which does not reflect the truth represented herein.

Christians believe that Jesus is alive today, and many denominations believe him to be active. They also believe that he has been resurrected already, and that he will never die again. The Muslim position, however, is that he never died, and therefore is still alive. It says in the Quran, that the Jews claim:
"We killed Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, Messenger of God."

However, God denies this, as the verse continues:

"But they killed him not, nor crucified him; It was only a likeness shown to them: Most certainly they killed him not. Rather, God lifted him up to Himself." (Quran 4:157-158) 
This action of lifting is literally an upward movement, physically being taken from the earth into heavens, just as he will be physically brought back on the wings of angels from the heavens to the earth when he returns. Christians estimate his age to be 31-33 years of age at ascension, because the synoptic Gospels are considered to describe approximately 1 year of his life. The Gospel of John purportedly describes 3 years of his life from the moment he began preaching, of which Luke says: 

"And Jesus himself began to be about 30 years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph ...  and (he) was led by the spirit into the wilderness." (Luke 3:23 and 4:1)


Muslim scholars agree. Hasan Basri said, "Jesus was 34, while Sa'eed bin Mussayyib said, "He was 33," when he was lifted up to heaven.[8]
"And there is none of the People of the Book but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Judgment, he will be a witness against them." (Quran 4:159)

God, here, is talking about the 'People of the Book' believing in Jesus before the latter dies well after he was lifted up into the heavens. The implication is that he is not yet dead. In fact, he is securely kept by God until he completes his appointed term. As God says in the Quran:

"It is God Who takes away the souls at the time of their death, and (the souls) of those that die not during their sleep. He keeps those for which He has ordained death and sends the rest for a term appointed." (Quran 39:42)

And:

"It is God Who takes away the souls at night, and has knowledge of all that you have done by day, and raises you up again that a term appointed be fulfilled; then will you be returned unto Him. Then He will inform you of all that you used to do." (Quran 60:60)

'The term appointed' denotes the numbered days of our lives, already known and confirmed by God. The word "to take away" is a promise made by God to Jesus which God will do when His messenger is threatened by disbelief. The Quran informs us that He told Jesus:

"Indeed I will take you (away) and lift you up to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve... " (Quran 3:55)

Thus we have a promise of God fulfilled when he saved Jesus from crucifixion, and another that will be fulfilled when He returns Jesus to earth and he completes his life here - a promise confirmed in the revelation given to Mary at the annunciation: 

"God gives you tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be Jesus Christ, son of Mary, held in honor in the world and in the hereafter, and one of those who are nearest (to God). He shall speak to the people in infancy and when middle-aged [9], and shall be of the righteous." (Quran 3:45-3:46)

Since middle-aged is older than the early thirties, this prophecy concerns his speaking to the people after his return. So this second promise (that everyone will believe in him before he dies) concerns his second mission when he descends to earth again. When he arrives, he will be the same age as he left, and then he will live for another forty years.[10] The Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:

"There is no prophet between me and him (Jesus), and he shall descend. He...  will stay in the world for forty years; then he will die and the Muslims will offer the funeral Prayer for him." (Abu Dawood, Ahmed)

The return of Jesus will be close to the end of time. In fact, his descent will be one of the major signs the final hour is due. The Quran discloses that:
"He (the son of Mary) shall be a known sign of the Hour; so have no doubt concerning it and follow Me." (Quran 43:61)

His appearance will be followed by only two or three other unmistakable portents. Among these are the appearance of the beast [11], the wafting of the believers from the earth [12], leaving only disbelievers behind, and the rising of the sun from the west.[13]

The ten major signs, among which is the second coming of Jesus, are summarized in one hadeeth:[14]

"The Hour will not come until you see ten signs: the smoke; the False Messiah; the Beast; the sun rising from the West; the descent of Jesus son of Mary; the Gog and Magog; and three tremors - one in the East, one in the West, and one in Arabia, at the end of which fire will burst forth from the direction of Aden and drive people to the place of their final assembly." (Ahmed)

May God save us from disbelief and preserve us from being among those who witness the final moments.

Footnotes: 
[1] Of mutual slaughter and destruction
[2] The four views are represented in most of the different denominations of Christianity. However, one can broadly divide the Ante-millennial view into Catholic Dispensationalism v Protestant Historicism, and the Preterist view into Catholic Post-millennialism v Protestant A-millennialism.
[3] The four diagrams are taken from (http://www.blueletterbible.org/faq)
[4] The False Prophet is often envisaged as the resurrected Anti-Christ, possessed or influenced by Satan, but not always. Other interpretations see him as essentially independent; neither possessed nor resurrected nor the Anti-Christ.
[5] THE PAROUSIA: A Careful Look At The New Testament Doctrine Of The Lord's Second Coming , by James Stuart Russell, (1878)
[6] See: AMILLENNIALISM, or The truth of the Return of the Lord Jesus, by Rev. D. H. Kuiper
[7] This does not refer to the mission given to him by God until his ascension. As Jesus did not die, and eventually must, his life is not over, nor is the remainder of the works that constitute the complement of his life undertaken yet. In John 16:12, Jesus may have been alluding to this when he said, "I still have much to tell you, but you cannot bear it now," just prior to the retreat to Gethsemane.
[8] Ibn Kathir: Stories of the Prophets; The Story of Jesus, Elevation or Crucifixion, p 541
[9] The word used in the Quran is Kahl, which means 'middle-aged; elderly; rather old' (Al-Mawrid al Waseet Concise Arabic-English Dictionary). According to Mokhtar Al Sihhah Lexicon, it means above 35 and of grey hair (sha'ib).
[10] Faslu'l-Maqaal fi Raf'i Isa Hayyan wa Nuzoolihi wa 'Qatlihi'd-Dajjal, p. 20 
[11] Prophesied in the Quran, 27.82: "And when the Word is fulfilled against them (the unjust), We shall produce from the earth a Beast to (face) them: it will speak to them."
[12] The Prophet said, 'At that time God will send a pleasant wind which will waft (people) under their armpits. He will take the life of every Muslim and only the wicked will survive, who commit adultery like asses, and the Last Hour would come to them.' (Saheeh Muslim)
[13] The Prophet said, 'The first of the immediate signs (of the Hour) to appear will be the rising of the sun from the west and the appearance of the Beast before the people in the forenoon. Whichever of these events happens first, the other will follow immediately.' (Saheeh Muslim).
[14] The signs in the narration are listed in a different order than they will actually occur.. 

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