Who Will Be Left Behind?


When Jesus comes again to this earth, who will He take with Him and who will He leave behind?

Will all those left behind have a second chance to choose to follow Jesus so they can also go to Heaven?

Let’s refer to Jesus next coming as His second coming since His first coming was when He came as a baby.

The Bible says, “All who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth - those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” John 5:28, 29 (NKJV)

From this passage we can see that there are two types of people, those who followed Jesus (the righteous) and those who did not follow Jesus (the wicked). There are two resurrections, one for the righteous and one for the wicked.

At Jesus’ second coming there will be four groups of people. There will be the   

  1. 1)the righteous who are dead,

  2. 2)the righteous who are alive,              

  3. 3)the wicked who are dead and           

  4. 4)the wicked who are alive.                              

The Bible tells us what will happen to each of these four groups of people.

Looking again at I Thessalonians 4:16, 17, “For the Lord Himself will come down from Heaven... and those believing in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive will be gathered up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with the Lord forever.”

Only the righteous, who are dead, will be raised to life at Jesus’ second coming.

What happens to the wicked, who are dead, at Jesus’ second coming?

“Then I saw people...They had not worshiped the beast...They came back to life and ruled with Christ...(The others that were dead did not live again until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first raising of the dead. Happy and holy are those who share in this first raising of the dead.” Revelation 20:4-6.

“The others that were dead” are the wicked because we know there are only two types of people and the righteous are raised at Jesus’ second coming. The wicked dead will not be raised to life until a thousand years after Jesus’ second coming.

I Thessalonians 4:17 tells us that the righteous, who are alive, will be caught up in the clouds to meet Jesus and be with Him forever.

What happens to the wicked who are alive at the second coming of Jesus?

The wicked hide in caves and tell the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us. Hide us from the face of the One who sits on the throne and from the anger of the Lamb!” Revelation 6:16.

“...when the Lord Jesus appears with burning fire from Heaven with His powerful angels.Then He will punish those who do not know God and who do not obey the Good News about our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:7,8.

“As wax melts before a fire, let the wicked be destroyed before God.” Psalm 68:2

“With the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.” Isaiah 11:4 (NKJV)

From these verses we can see that the wicked, who are alive at Jesus’ second coming, will be killed. Then all the wicked will be raised to life again after a thousand years.

To answer our first question, at Jesus’ second coming He will take the righteous with Him and leave the wicked behind. They will either be dead already or will die at His coming. The wicked are the ones who are left behind.

Will those left behind have a second chance to choose to follow Jesus during the thousand years?

“At that time those killed by the Lord will reach from one end of the earth to the other. No one will cry for them or gather up their bodies and bury them.” Jeremiah 25:33.

No one will cry for them or bury them because everyone is dead.

Will the wicked have a chance to choose God at the end of the thousand years?

John saw, “...an angel coming down from Heaven...The angel grabbed...Satan, and tied him up for a thousand years...The angel did this so he could not trick the people of the earth anymore until the thousand years were ended. After a thousand years he must be set free for a short time.” Revelation 20:1-3

From this passage we see that Satan is not allowed to tempt anyone for a thousand years but at the end of that time he will be set free for a short time. While the righteous are in Heaven for a thousand years Satan is bound to this earth with no one to tempt because all the wicked are dead.

At the end of the thousand years, the wicked will be raised to life and Satan will tempt them to fight Jesus.

“And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God...” Revelation 21:2

“When the thousand years are over, Satan will be set free from his prison. then he will go out to trick the nations in all the earth... to gather them for battle. There are so many people they will be like sand on the seashore. And Satan’s army marched across the earth and gathered around the camp of God’s people and the city God loves.” Revelation 20:7-9.

“Then I saw a great white throne and the One who was sitting on it... And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. Then books were opened, and the book of life was opened. The dead were judged by what they had done, which was written in the books... The lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Revelation 20:11-15.

“But fire came down from Heaven and burned them up. And Satan, who tricked them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur...”

Revelation 20:9,10.

The people left behind, the wicked, do not have another chance to choose God. They are thrown in the lake of fire. Everyone who goes to Heaven will have chosen to follow Jesus before His second coming.


Will those left behind have a second chance to choose to follow Jesus?

All Bible verses are from the New Century version of the Bible unless noted otherwise.