The Bible’s answer
“When the Son of man [Jesus Christ] comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.”
This time of judgment will be part of a “great tribulation” unlike anything in human history. That tribulation will culminate in the war of Armageddon. (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 16:16) Christ’s enemies, described in his illustration as goats, “will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction.” (2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 19:11, 15) In contrast, his faithful servants, the sheep, will have the prospect of “everlasting life.”—Matthew 25:46.
When will Christ come?
Jesus said: “Concerning that day and hour nobody knows.” (Matthew 24:36, 42; 25:13) However, he did describe a visible, composite “sign” that would identify the period leading up to his coming.—Matthew 24:3, 7-14; Luke 21:10, 11.
Does Christ come in a body of spirit or of flesh?
Jesus was resurrected with a spirit body, so he comes as a spirit creature, not in the flesh. (1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Peter 3:18) For this reason, Jesus could tell his apostles on the day before his death: “In a little while the world will see me no more.”—John 14:19.
Common misconceptions about Christ’s coming
Misconception: The words of 2 John 7 show that Jesus will come in the flesh.
Fact: That Bible verse states: “Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those not acknowledging Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.”
In the apostle John’s day, some denied that Jesus had come to earth in the flesh as a man. They were called Gnostics. Second John 7 was written to refute their false claim.
a Although many people use the terms “second coming” or “second advent” to refer to Christ’s coming, those terms do not appear in the Bible.
b See The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (1981), pages 451 and 470.