After the death and resurrection of Jesus (peace be upon him) as believed by Christians, nothing is closer to their heart or more central to their belief than his long-awaited Second Coming. Biblical prophecies about the Second Coming have been debated by Christian scholars for centuries. When Jesus failed to reappear at the dawn of the first millennium (AD 1000), a general consensus began to form that Jesus would return sometime in the mid-to-late 19th century. Numerous messianic and rapture movements started in fervent expectation of the return of Jesus in the 1800s. What if I were to tell you that those prophecies did indeed come true? Unbelievable, you say? Don’t you know me by now?
For all those devout, God-loving Christians who strive to be Christ-like and live their lives by his teachings and example and who await his Second Coming as he himself defined it -- through someone else who would come, not physically, but in his power and spirit -- the good news is, that Jesus Christ has already come!
He came as he said he would -- “like a thief in the night” -- born in India in 1835 and receiving his appointment by God as the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi (the Guided One) in the last quarter of the 19th century. His name was Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (1835-1908).
Jesus said in Matt.23:39 that people would not see him again (i.e., recognize him in his Second Advent) until they said “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” And so most Christians did not and do not “see” or “recognize” Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the Second Coming of Jesus because they are not members of the religion that requires pronouncing blessings upon “he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Only Muslims say “Peace and blessings of God be upon him” whenever they hear or say the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). And it was Muhammad who received, memorized and recited for his followers the 114 chapters of the Holy Quran -- all but one of which starts with the words: “In the name of God (the Lord), Most Gracious, Ever Merciful.”
All Muslims believe in Jesus as the true messiah for the Israelites. All Muslims also believe in the Second Coming of Jesus (pbuh). The difference between Ahmadi Muslims and all other Muslims is that non-Ahmadi Muslims believe (as do most Christians) that Jesus was taken up bodily alive into heaven 2,000 years ago, and that he will bodily descend back down to Earth in the latter days. In both non-Ahmadi Muslim and Christian camps, mass slaughter is promised for those who do not submit to Jesus -- see Luke 19:27 where Jesus says: “Bring all those who will not have me reign over them as their king and slay them at my feet.”
Only Ahmadi Muslims believe the Second Coming of Jesus will not be a blood-soaked killing spree, resulting in the deaths of billions of “disbelievers.” And only Ahmadi Muslims take Jesus at his word when he explained in Matt.17:12-13 that the prophet Elijah was not going to come again in his same physical body, but that Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, came “in the power and spirit of Elijah” to herald the appearance of the messiah. Jesus clearly defines the real nature and form of Second Advents -- including, by logical inference, his own. And yet, virtually all Christians and Muslims await the literal Second Coming of Christ from 2,000 years ago. True, the world needs the messiah now, but the messiah Jesus from the 1st century AD is not coming back himself.
There is also the matter of the death of Jesus on the cross… Christians require it to fulfill their “death-as-atonement” salvation theology. Jews and Muslims, however, both view it as the clear sign of a false claimant to be the Israelite messiah. All Jews who have not accepted Jesus as their messiah and savior generally believe that Jesus did, in fact, die on the cross, thus proving (via Deut.21:23) that he was a false prophet and a false messiah.
Non-Ahmadi Muslims are usually taught (and thus believe) that because he was a true prophet from God and the messiah for the Israelites, there is no way God would have allowed him to die an accursed death on the cross. The majority of Muslims believe Jesus was taken up alive to heaven before he was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane. These Muslims believe someone else (usually Judas) was made to look like Jesus and this impostor was arrested instead and later put to death on the cross.
Ahmadi Muslims believe Jesus was indeed put on the cross, but -- as a fulfillment of the “Sign of Jonah” which he gave to his enemies -- he survived the life-threatening ordeal of crucifixion, just as Jonah survived his life-threatening ordeal of being swallowed alive by a whale by coming out of it alive, not resurrected from the dead.
Since the dawn of Islam, Christians have been accepting Islam. This will only continue as more and more Christians study the Bible and dare to question what they are taught in church. If, by seeking answers elsewhere, they investigate Ahmadiyya Islam (at Alislam.org), they will find the answers to their questions in the Quran and in the life of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and in the advent of the Promised Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
Some Christians at the time of Muhammad (pbuh), when they first heard the recitation of the Quran, recognized the truth of Islam and the fulfillment of the promised advent of a Law-bearing prophet like Moses (pbuh) as mentioned in Deut.18:18-20 and Deut.33:2. Here are three verses from the Quran (ch.5, vv.83-85) specifically about Christians:
. . .And thou shalt assuredly find those who say, “We are Christians,” to be the nearest of them in love to the believers [the Muslims]. That is because among them are savants [learned scholars] and monks and because they are humble. And when they hear what has been revealed [from the Quran] to this Messenger [Prophet Muhammad], thou see their eyes overflow with tears because of the truth which they have recognized. They say, “Our Lord, we believe, so write us down among those who bear witness…” (Holy Quran, ch.5, “Al-Maidah,” verses 83-85)
Ahmadi Muslims are the only Muslims in the world who have accepted the First Coming of Jesus (pbuh) in the first century AD, as well as the Second Coming of Jesus (pbuh) in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in the 19th century. To learn more, I humbly invite you to investigate the truth about the First and Second Advents of Jesus at the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino, California (909-627-2252 or 909-525-5299) or at our nearest mosque to you (call 1-800-WHY-ISLAM) or go online to: Alislam.org
In closing, if the Feb. 22nd religion column headline “Resurrection proves Jesus is God” is true, then it also proves Lazarus was God, along with anyone else Jesus or any of his followers resurrected.
Concerning the Mar. 15th religion column, which listed Trinitarian definitions of the Hebrew words “Eloh-im” and “echad,” it is noteworthy that no Jewish scholars of Hebrew translate them in support of a triune God. In fact, Hebrew derives its source meanings from Arabic -- “Eloh-im” comes from the Arabic “Allah,” while “echad” comes from the Arabic “ahad” -- and Judaism and Islam both share the exact same definition of the pure “Oneness” of God as having no partners or “persons” in a triune entity. Some Christian scholars will admit this and some Bible websites (BlueLetterBible.org for example) will show it in their language lexicons. They won’t translate the Arabic of course, but I will be glad to furnish the translation in English.
In response to the Mar. 22nd religion column which again presented the idea that Jesus died as a sinless atonement for our sins, I present the “aspirin argument.” If you have a headache and I take the aspirin, will your headache go away? The same logic applies to the problem of sin.
In the end, though, the debaters on any issue rarely (if ever) change their positions. That choice is meant for those in the audience who may be questioning their beliefs or the reasoning they are given for them. It is these truth seekers I invite for further inquiry. -- Jonathan M.A.Ghaffar
[ Appeared online at AhmadiyyaTimes.com March 22nd, 2014 at this link: http://ahmadiyyatimes.blogspot.com/2014/03/perspective-second-coming-of-jesus.html and an abridged version of this ran in the Daily Bulletin religion section's "From the Pulpit" on Sat., April 26th, 2014 under the title "Second Coming of Jesus" at this link: http://www.dailybulletin.com/social-affairs/20140425/second-coming-of-jesus ]