Global Beliefs Regarding the Second Coming of Jesus

How do you feel about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ? Do you believe He will return soon? Since the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, many people have wondered if Jesus’ Second Coming will occur soon? The Bible tells us many things about Christ’s return. Revelation 22:12, KJV states: And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. Matthew 24:23, KJV states: But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. Let us explore some research findings on how Adventist church members worldwide feel about Christ’s return.

Blog October 27, 2021

From its conception, the Second Coming of Jesus has been at the very core of the Adventist Church. In fact, one of the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Adventist Church focuses entirely on His Coming. This belief states:

The Second Coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel. The Savior’s coming will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide. When He returns, the righteous dead will be resurrected, and together with the righteous living will be glorified and taken to heaven, but the unrighteous will die. The almost complete fulfillment of most lines of prophecy, together with the present condition of the world, indicates that Christ’s coming is near. The time of that event has not been revealed, and we are therefore exhorted to be ready at all times.[1]

Research Project Information

The 2017–18 Global Church Member Survey (2017–18 GCMS), conducted on behalf of the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, evaluated different aspects of church life and member adherence to Adventist beliefs on a worldwide scale. A total of 63,756 surveys were collected from all 13 global Divisions. Approximately 51% of the survey respondents were female, and 49% were male. Members from every age group were represented, with young adults making up the largest cohort (30%).

The Second Coming is Near!

One portion of the 25th Fundamental Belief states that “Christ’s coming is near.” Therefore, survey respondents were asked if they believed that Jesus’s Second Coming is near. (It is important to note that the wording “near” does not necessarily indicate His coming will occur in their lifetime; the Adventist Church maintains that “the time of the event has not yet been revealed”[2]). Overall, a majority (93%) of church members believed to one degree or another that Jesus’s Second Coming is near, just as the Fundamental Belief states, and many of them (71%) strongly believed in it! How exciting it is to share this good news and anticipation with other believers!

However, members were less certain that Jesus’s return would occur during their lifetime. Overall, slightly more than half (56%) shared that they believed the Second Coming would occur before their death, but over a third (35%) admitted they were unsure. Interestingly, respondents from the southern hemisphere Divisions were most likely to believe that the Second Coming would occur in their lifetime: about 48% of the members in the South Pacific, 45% in the Southern Asia-Pacific, and 43% in the South American Divisions strongly agreed that Jesus would come in their lifetime. However, the majority in the Euro-Asia, Trans-European, and North American Divisions were not sure that the Second Coming would be in their lifetime: 71% of the Euro-Asia Division and 61% of Trans-European Division respondents were unsure that Jesus would return in their lifetime, followed by the North American Division (55%). Interestingly, older adults (56 years or older) were highly represented in the samples of these Divisions, especially in the North American Division. This can be one of possible explanations.

Belief in End-time Prophecies

Survey respondents were also asked about their belief in the Adventist Church’s interpretation of the end-time prophecies. Two thirds (66%) of respondents shared that they wholeheartedly accepted the Church’s teachings on this subject, while another 21% admitted they accepted this interpretation because the Church teaches it. Overall, this shows that globally, Adventists are embracing and believing in the Adventist beliefs regarding the Second Coming of Jesus.

The Second Coming of Jesus is an event that we all should be awaiting eagerly—something that most Adventists are doing! This hope is even reflected in the official name of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. As we wait, we should be living our lives in a way that impacts others positively and brings others into the glorious anticipation of His coming, especially now, when so many people struggle with hope! The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted people’s lives in many ways: it has brought loss of work, loss of loved ones, sickness, social isolation, and depression, and let us not forget the anger and frustration due to injustice and other social issues. These are just some of the problems that people are currently facing. The pandemic reminded us again how fragile we are and that we need to live our lives in such a way that we are ready to meet Jesus any day He comes. While we live, let us be the helping hand, the light in the darkness that connects people to Jesus who alone can give us peace, a future, and hope.

To learn more, view the 2017–18 GCMS Global Meta-Analysis Report here.

Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry

Published by ASTR on 10-27-2021

[1] Belief 25, Seventh-day Adventist Church, n.d. What Adventists believe about the Second Coming.

[2] Belief 25, Seventh-day Adventist Church, n.d. What Adventists believe about the Second Coming.