Over two thousand years ago Christ incarnated on the earth in a physical human body. He died and then re-appeared to His friends after His death in His resurrection body, in what was at first for them an unfamiliar body of light. For 40 days He accompanied them in visible and audible form and continued to teach them. Then, at the event called His Ascension, He developed yet another form, another body. His being expanded across the whole of the earth; He made the earth itself into His body and united His life with its biosphere. The event described in the New Testament by the writer Luke in Acts 1 says: “…he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight.” (Acts 1: 9)
Like the air, He becomes both invisible and at the same time, as life-bestowing clouds, visible. At this Ascension event two men in white (angels) promise that, “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.” (Acts 1:11)
This promise has come to be called the Second Coming.
Especially through Paul and the traditional church’s Nicene Creed, this promise has been seen as being connected with the events of the end-times and with the “last judgment”. Yet, the gospel writer Matthew seems to describe Christ’s return in less definitive terms: “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the arrival [Greek parousia, or presence] of the Son of Man be….Then, the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. And He will send His messengers [angels] with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:27, 30 and 31)
In the esoteric Christian tradition, Christ will begin to reappear again “in the realm of the clouds”, in the biosphere, to those whose powers of perception have matured sufficiently to perceive Him there. This does not signal the final end of the earth, but rather the end of an aeon, the completion of a cycle of time and a new beginning. What if “the chosen ones” who are gathered are those whose perceptive powers have matured? In that case, the Second Coming, the reappearance of Christ in the realm of life, could begin to happen at any time, even now. There are certainly many reports of those who have seen visions of Christ or had encounters with someone whom they later recognized as Him. He often seems to come to those who are in crisis.
In any case, He has never left the earth, but rather He expanded His being to include both heaven and earth. Like a rainbow, He is the bridge between the two realms; He spans heaven and earth. When we approach Him, He shows us the path which is Himself, the Way to where heaven and earth are joined, the path of His second coming, His reappearance out of the clouds, into the realm of Life.