The world is going somewhere. Life as we know it now will not continue forever. This age will draw to a close and God will bring about events he has planned for millennia.

Sincere Christians do not always agree on every point dealing with the study of eschatology, or in other words, the end times. Although the Bible gives us a remarkable number of details about the second coming of Christ and the bodily resurrection of the dead, yet we don’t have as many details as we would like to fill all the gaps in understanding or answer all our questions.

Article 19 of “The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church 2022” simply indicates that Wesleyans believe in “the personal and imminent return of Christ.” Christ could return at any time and will do so personally; he will not send an angel on his behalf or simply give us a vision. He personally will appear in bodily form.

“The Discipline” further states our belief motivates us to live holy lives and zealously evangelize the world. It declares when Christ returns, “He will fulfill all prophecies made concerning His final and complete triumph over evil,” but does not go into details regarding those prophecies.

Wesleyans officially are not very specific beyond those basic ideas about the second coming. We have wisely refrained from setting dates as to when Christ’s coming will occur. That makes sense, actually, because Jesus declared the time of his coming was known only to the Father (Matthew 24:36-42; Mark 13:32-33).

The Bible does teach when Christ returns, “every eye will see him” (Revelation 1:7). His coming will be preceded by a shout — probably by an archangel — and the sound of a trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Believers will ascend to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17). Some Wesleyans believe his second coming will occur in two phases: the first being called the rapture, when he will take the believers out of the world; the other at the end of the tribulation to begin the millennium (1,000-year reign of Christ on earth). Other Wesleyans believe only one coming is predicted in the Scriptures.

The Bible gives us various purposes for his second coming. In Matthew 24, John 14 and 1 Thessalonians 4, we read that he will come to receive his saints. In 2 Thessalonians 2, we learn Christ will come to destroy the antichrist. Matthew 25 tells us he will judge the world and 2 Timothy 4 indicates he will establish his eternal kingdom.

Before all of this happens, the gospel will spread throughout the earth (Matthew 24:14).  Nevertheless, the Scriptures predict a great falling away of believers will occur and false Christs and false prophets will precede his coming (2 Thessalonians 2:3; Matt. 24:11-12). Such things as famines and earthquakes will also arise along with wars and rumors of wars.

Continuing the study of the end times, Wesleyans believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead. In Jesus’ day, the Sadducees rejected the idea of a physical resurrection, while the Pharisees embraced the resurrection of the just only. However, we believe all people will be raised bodily as Jesus taught — the just to life and the unjust to damnation (John 5:25, 28-29). Our doctrine, which is spelled out in Article 20, states although our new bodies will be spiritual bodies, we will be whole and recognizable. The apostle Paul taught that Jesus’ resurrection was a firstfruits and our resurrection will follow in time (1 Corinthians 15:20). Christ’s resurrection is the clue to what our resurrected state will be like. In fact, Jesus told his disciples, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19).

There is a great deal of scriptural support for the resurrection. Daniel believed in the resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. He declared, “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).

Paul testified, “We eagerly await a Savior … the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:20-21).

Wesleyans believe both Jesus and Paul taught that our resurrected bodies will never perish (Luke 20:36; 1 Corinthians 15:42). They will also be powerful, spiritual and like the glorified body of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:43-44, 1 John 3:2).

So as Christians and Wesleyans, look forward to a brighter day because the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and Christ’s final triumph over all evil are in our future.

Ron McClung is a retired Wesleyan minister who lives in Owosso, Michigan. Prior to retirement, his career spanned more than 50 years, during which he served as a pastor, district superintendent and assistant general secretary.


Questions for reflection and conversation

  • In what ways should our beliefs motivate us to live holy lives that demonstrate God’s love to those who do not yet know him?
  • The Bible gives us various purposes for Jesus’ second coming. The first purpose is found in Matthew 24, John 14 and 1 Thessalonians 4. The second is found in 2 Thessalonians 2 and the third is in Matthew 25. According to these scripture passages, what are the three purposes of Jesus’ second coming?
  • Scripture predicts a great falling away of believers that will occur. We are also warned of false Christs and prophets who will precede Jesus’ coming. Such things as famines and earthquakes, wars and rumors of wars will arise. Can you identify any of these indicators in the world today? What are they?
  • The apostle Paul taught that Jesus’ resurrection was a first fruit and our resurrection will follow in time. In what ways is Christ’s resurrection a clue to what our resurrection state will be like?


All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

“The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church 2022,” used by the permission of Wesleyan Publishing House: Fishers, Indiana.