"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming ...” (John 5:28-29)

"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” (John 5:28-29)
This statement by Jesus has often been used to promote erroneous concepts of "purgatory," the "second coming" and "judgment day" by ecclesiastical sectarian organizations and their teachers.

While there is certainly a judgment day, and a type of second coming, the teachings of the second coming and judgment day misconstrue reality.

What happens when the body dies?

When the physical body dies, the body begins to immediately decompose. Within years, the flesh decomposes, and within decades, the bones complete their decomposition in most cases. In normal soil, the physical body has disappeared and become soil within 25-50 years.

In other words, no one is physically waiting in their graves. When the physical body dies, the spiritual individual (soul) who has been operating that body leaves. Each body maintains a spiritual individual who operates that physical body much as a person operates an automobile. And just as a person steps out of the car after it stops running, the spiritual individual will leave the body once it dies.

When Jesus talks about "all who are in their graves," he is speaking allegorically, just as he talked about people being dead in earlier verses:

"I tell you the truth, 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)
“Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matt. 8:22)
In both of these verses, Jesus is not speaking of those who are physically dead. How can a physically dead person bury a dead body? And how can a physically dead person hear? Jesus is speaking allegorically as he refers to being "dead." He is talking about those who are living lives without love of God, which he considers life.

How can a physical body that has decomposed (including the ears) hear a voice?

To "come out"

This also goes for "come out." Jesus is not supposing that decomposed dead bodies will be physically coming out of their graves. Those decomposed bodies will be dirt by then. What will be rising? A shovel-full of dirt?

Again, Jesus is speaking allegorically, of the soul or spirit-person leaving the body. This is because spiritual matters are often difficult to portray without analogy or allegory. The spiritual world is on a different plane. It is a different dimension.

Likewise, many sectarian teachers preach that everyone will be hanging out some sort of "purgatory" state, waiting for some day in the future when Jesus returns and brings all these "sheep" back to heaven.

This is simply a fantasy. This whole concept of the end of the world and a physical second coming of Jesus has become a tool for charlatans over the centuries to proclaim that the end of the world is upon us and Jesus is coming soon - to provoke fear in their followers. This has forged one of the largest deceptions in the history of humanity.

Consider only a small list of those so-called Christian teachers and organizations that have inaccurately predicted the arrival of the end of the world and the second coming over the centuries:
  • Hilary of Poitiers: 365 AD (the date predicted)
  • Saint Martin of Tours: 375 to 400 AD
  • Sextus Julius Africanus: 500 AD
  • Gerard of Poehlde: 1147 AD
  • John of Toledo: 1179 AD
  • Joachim of Fiore: 1205 AD
  • Pope Innocent III: 1284 AD
  • Melchior Hoffman: 1533 AD
  • Benjamin Keach (Baptist): 1689 AD
  • William Whitson: 1736 AD
  • The Shakers (Ann Lee): 1792 AD
  • Charles Wesley (Methodist): 1794 AD
  • Margaret McDonald: 1830 AD
  • Joseph Smith (Mormon): 1832 and 1891 AD
  • William Miller (Millerites): 1843 and 1844 AD
  • Ellen White (Seven Day Adventists): 1850, 1856 and "early 1900s" AD
  • Mother Shipton: 1881 AD
  • Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses): 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, 1994 and others more recent.
Yes, all of these teachers and their organizations have lied to their followers and tricked them into joining their cult out of fear that they may be left behind when Jesus comes again and "judgment day" is upon us. This is quite simply a crime against humanity. Innocent people were fooled at the hands of unscrupulous people whose objectives were to self-promote themselves and/or their organization.

Jesus calls out the charlatans

Jesus himself described his feeling towards the charlatans listed above, who have falsely predicted the end of the world, and thus falsely interpreted Jesus' teachings:
“Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will come to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matt. 7:21-23)
Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?" This is very clear that those who use Jesus' name to spread all kinds of predictions (prophecy) about the future, and make up fictional events such as the end of the world and physical second coming are, as Jesus puts it, simply "evildoers."

And what is "evil?" Evil is acting selfishly. Evil is acting on one's own behalf, rather than on God's behalf. Evil means ignoring the existence of the Supreme Being and seeing ourselves as the supreme being. It means feeling that doing our will is the most important.

Jesus wants us to do God's will, not our own will. This and only this will help us grow spiritually and make us happy, and alive.

What is judgment day?

How a person lived their physical life - how much spiritual growth we made - is judged upon the death of the body. This has been explained by many verses in scripture. This is the real "judgment day," and the moment that Jesus speaks of here. When our physical body dies, we leave it. We are then faced with God and/or His servants, who replay for us the major events of our physical lives.

Once our lives are flashed back, we then have to reckon with the consequences of the decisions and actions of our physical lifetime, and how much we grew spiritually. This determines where we go after this point.

This process is not only scripturally supported, but it is supported scientifically by clinical death and near death experiences. Over and over, people have described, once their bodies were resuscitated from being clinically dead, this experience of having their lives flashed back and being judged by God and/or one of His servants. Those who have followed Jesus' teachings will often describe facing Jesus.

Meaning of the 'second coming'

As for the concept of the "second coming," this also can occur at death, for those who have actually followed the teachings of Jesus, and used their lives in the service of God.

This is mirrored by the concept of being born again. Being born again is the same as having a change of heart. This means putting God in the center of our lives. Whether we are in a physical body or out of it, being born again is a second coming because we are connected with the Supreme Being: We are born again into our spiritual lives.

As described above, those who have sincerely followed Jesus (and not simply exploited his teachings for their own purposes), and have devoted their lives to the service of God ("those who have done good"), will meet up with Jesus at the time of death. This is the result of being born again.

Such a meeting is the "second coming" according to Jesus' teachings. Here Jesus, God's representative, will help guide them back to the spiritual world, where they will "hear His voice" and resume their original relationship (of loving service) with God.