Yes, Jesus has returned!
Matthew 24:3 (ISV), “While Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately and said, ‘Tell us, when will these things take place, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’ ”
The disciples asked a two-part question: 1)What would be the sign of Jesus’s return, and 2) what would be the sign of the end of the age?
In this verse, the word “coming” is translated from the Greek word “Parousia.” “Coming” is a mistranslation. Parousia means presence or arrival. Philippians 2:12 translates it correctly, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence (parousia) only, but now much more in my absence…” Thus in Matthew 24:3, the disciples were not asking about Jesus’s nearness, but signs of his presence, or return.
Why would they ask about signs if they expected to literally see Him? After Jesus’s crucifixion, our Lord was not raised as a man, but as a life-giving spirit. He is therefore no longer flesh and blood. (1 Corinthians 15:45,50) Jesus briefly explained aspects of the spirit body to Nicodemas. “The wind blows where it wants to. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. That’s the way it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
Additionally, Jesus told his disciples in John 14:19, “In a little while the world will no longer see me, …” because He would be a spirit being. Therefore, our Lord can be present and not visible as a spirit being.
Jesus gave the parable of the fig tree (representing Israel as in Jeremiah 24 and 29) as an evidence of His return and of establishing His kingdom. Matthew 24:32-33, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it (Christ’s kingdom) is near–at the doors!”
Historically, Israel lost its independent national existence when Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, took the Jews captive. Ezekiel 21:26-27 (KJV) “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem and take off the crown:… I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.” Christ is the one who has the right to wear the crown and to rule. (See Genesis 49:10.)
One of the first things that Christ would do at his return is to restore Israel. (Acts 1:6; Acts 3:20-21) In 1948 Israel became a nation (put forth leaves). Thus, the King (Christ) is present and has begun His rule (tearing down the present order to establish the new). He will rule until he has put all enemies under his feet, and the last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 25:26)
For a more comprehensive study, please download the free PDF: I Will Come Again