This is how Lucas depicts Jesus’ ascension: “They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.”Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
In John chapter 16 Jesus tells the disciples, “in a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” When Jesus used the phrase “in a little while” He obviously meant a period of days. We know that is a fact regarding His ascension. Since He uses the same phrase about His return He meant that after a period of days they would see Him again.
In the last chapter of his Gospel John writes that Jesus showed Himself three times to the disciples after His resurrection. It wasn’t a ghost they saw but a real person in flesh and blood as witnessed in particular by Thomas when he was offered to put his hand into Jesus’ side.
When the two men in white said that Jesus would come back in the same way as the disciples had seen Him go into heaven they meant that Jesus would return in flesh. He had ascended in the flesh and He would return in the flesh. The Jews are still waiting for their Messiah. They missed His coming, and are thus still waiting. Large parts of Christianity are still waiting for Jesus’ second coming. As the Jews they have missed the event, because Jesus has indeed returned in the flesh after a little while as He promised.
The Jews missed Jesus because they couldn’t fathom that He would be born as a poor unnoticed child in a manger. They thought He would come with flashing lights, great pageantry and ethereal splendor. Christianity has missed Jesus second coming because they cannot fathom that He has returned as you and me who are quite ordinary persons in the flesh. We are that manger where Jesus is born again and again. Paul puts it like this: “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
In the book of revelation John writes: “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him.” In the literature we find a myriad of imaginative attempts at explaining this verse. Notably that all will see Him has puzzled many a commentator. However, if Jesus has returned in a host of born again Christians this passage suddenly makes a lot of sense.
There are passages in the Bible which allude to that there will be an additional second coming beyond the one discussed in this brief article. However, this particular event is hidden from me, so all I can say is: time will show.