“... a time is coming and has now come ..." (John 5:25)

“Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (John 5:25) 

Who is the 'dead' according to Jesus?

The word "dead" is translated from the Greek word νεκρός (nekros) - which can mean "without life" but its metaphorical meaning according to the Greek lexicon is "spiritually dead."

Jesus' use of the word "dead" is a metaphor for a person who has abandoned their relationship with the Supreme Being. This is confirmed by this statement made by Jesus:
“Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matt. 8:22)
This statement (Matt. 8:22) by Jesus isn't saying those who are burying their dead are physically dead. How else could they bury a dead body? Jesus is using the same metaphor. The type of "dead" that Jesus alludes to here is someone who is ignoring their relationship with God.

This is also confirmed as Jesus says here that those who hear and understand his teachings will become enlightened: "those who hear will live.” Here again, Jesus uses"live" metaphorically.  The word "live" is describing someone who has become spiritually enlightened, and spiritually fulfilled as a result.

Is Jesus predicting his second coming?

Some teachers interpret Jesus' statement as foretelling some time in the future when Jesus will come again at the end of the world and save all those who have followed him.

How far in the future? More than 2,000 years? Was he aware that over the past 2,000 years many teachers have predicted this "end of the world" for a certain date and it didn't happen?

This is a frequent mistake by many that Jesus is somehow telling about a doomsday scenario. This is despite the fact that the end of the world did not come for those Jesus was preaching to. And neither has it come when predicted by so many others over the centuries.

They want us to believe that the end of the world is coming soon - and they are right but those before them were not.

What if the end of the world was tomorrow?

If the end of the world was tomorrow, there will be billions of people who have followed Jesus in one respect or another in the past 2,000 years. What happens to them? Are these billions of people waiting somewhere for the end of the world?

Where are they waiting? Are they waiting in their graves? Even if their bodies have decomposed?

Prior to the custom of burying people's dead bodies in boxes, bodies would decompose in caves and the bones put into boxes. Where are they waiting?

Indeed, many bodies have been tossed into the sea or buried in the ground without a box, their bodies left to decompose into the soil.

Where are they waiting once their bodies have decomposed?

Some teachers preach that when Jesus comes again at the end of the world, those who are members of their sectarian institution will rise up out of their graves and dance on their graves as Jesus pulls them up. 

Such a teaching defies practical reality. Within a few years, their bodies would be decomposed into the soil. That is if they were even buried in a grave. How would they dance on their graves if their bodies decomposed? And what if they weren't buried in a grave. Upon what would they dance?

What about purgatory?

Other teachers have preached that there is a purgatory state where people who die go, as they await Jesus' second coming.

Where is such a purgatory state located? Has anyone ever seen this? If so, why has no one ever found it?

Rather, purgatory is simply an imaginative theory put together to attempt to explain an end-of-the-world theory that doesn't make sense.

What does 'a time is coming' mean then?

Jesus is stating here that not only is a time coming, but such a time has already come ("and has now come").

This means that the time Jesus is referring to had already occurred when he said this.

So when is that "time is coming" Jesus is referring to that could have already come? This might be considered some sort of impossible statement.

This phrase, "and has now come" - comes from the original Greek phrase, καὶ νῦν ἐστιν. This indicates that people could hear and understand Jesus' teachings at the time he was speaking. 

And "a time is coming" indicates that others will come to understand his teachings as he teaches to more people and his teachings are spread by his followers.

The bottom line is that Jesus often used analogies because spiritual topics are beyond the physical realm. Yet Jesus' teachings were very practical, as he strived to reach the broadest audience.

Jesus was speaking to those who were hearing him speak. As he spoke about the subject matters regarding our relationship with God, he enlightened people. As those teachings were heard and understood, people became fulfilled.

How so? Because without our relationship with God we are empty. We are spiritually dead

Such a state results from self-centeredness. When we live for ourselves, we feel empty. But when we live for the Supreme Being - our Best Friend and Constant Well-wisher - we become fulfilled. We become "born again." We become "saved."

This is because our natural position is to love and serve the Supreme Being. Each of us has the choice to love and serve the Supreme Being because love requires freedom of choice.