Jesus Christ came down from heaven

The reading of Ascension Day said: This Christ, who ascended to heaven, will come again! Few Christians today know that the expectation of the return of Christ (Parousia) is part of the faith of the Church.

The great Creed of the Church says: "I believe in Jesus Christ who will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead." The emphasis is on glory, because the church does not want to spread fear with this idea, as biblical scholar Gunter Fleischer emphasizes: "What the church wants to hold on to is the idea of ​​perfection. He who brought this world into being becomes it in the end through this Jesus himself, whom we can then meet. "

He who brought the world into being will also complete it

On the one hand, perfection then means: It will be the end of the world we know. But it also means that not everything will be over, but something new will come. The thought of the judgment, which resonates in the belief, shows: This new does not simply forget what was, but takes with it what has happened. "That is the crucial thing, that what is, is not simply lost," says Fleischer and adds: "So we do not believe in a nirvana, we do not believe in the dissolution into nothingness. Instead: What shaped this story and the creation is made up, is taken into perfection, but it no longer moves in the only imaginable space of time and place. "

No doomsday scenario

What looks like wild speculation about a doomsday scenario has its roots in the preaching of Jesus himself. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus speaks of the Last Judgment. He is referring to a prediction from the Old Testament book of Daniel, which says: "The Son of Man will come in his glory and he will call all nations together." (cf. Dan 7,13 + 14) And Jesus adds: “Then it will say: Whatever you did for one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me. And what you did not do for one of my brothers, you did not do it to me ”(cf. Mt 25). Jesus himself speaks of an end of the world, which is heralded by his return. For the early Christians, belief in it was so present that they lived in the expectation that Jesus would come again very soon. In anticipation of this imminent return, the early Christians even devised various scenarios of how this end would be announced and even wanted to recognize signs of the imminent coming of Christ in alleged accidents. But the main point of the biblical preaching is to remain in the expectation of the return.

Will you return in your own death or at the end of time?

In the fourth century, the church enshrined faith in the second coming of Christ in the Nicene Creed. This is still valid today. However, the fact that the actual return has not materialized to this day does not stand in the way of this. However, the second coming announced by Jesus is not infrequently interpreted in two ways. Biblical scholar Fleischer differentiates between an individual and a universal return: "There is already the encounter with Jesus in my own death, where I meet the Lord of my life. But since I am part of an entire creation in its entire extension of time, there is once again the universal one Consummation at the end of time. " According to Fleischer, the Christian faith holds both together. "I stand there as an individual and nothing is lost, but I also belong to a larger whole and it's not just about my personal salvation, but ultimately about the salvation of this world. You should think both together and that is what the Christian faith holds so hard."