Christ Will Come
One of the most important and precious truths of Scripture is that of the Lord’s return.
Before His crucifixion Christ said to His disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Certainly, if this great fact were more impressed upon our hearts, it would serve as a constant reminder of Eternity, a reproof to our worldliness, a stimulus to wider service in the Gospel, a comfort to all sufferers, and an admonition to every sinner.
The careful reader of the New Testament will find within it three very solemn and important facts. First, that Christ the Son of God has come into this world, has died, and has gone away. Second, that the Holy Spirit has come down into the world, and is still here. Third, that the Lord Jesus is coming again.
The First Advent of Christ
Let us consider briefly the fact that the Son of God has been here. There is nothing in history more clearly established than this. Think of those wonderful words found in the third chapter of John: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
He came in perfect love, the very expression of the heart, mind, and character of God. He was the brightness of God’s glory, the express image of His person; yet, He was lowly, humble, and gracious. He went about from day to day ministering in kindness and gentleness to all. He dried the widows’ tears, soothed the stricken and the sorrowful heart. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, cleansed the leper, and met every form of human need and misery. He was truly the unwearied Servant of man’s necessities. He never thought of Himself, but was ever mindful of His creatures. From His loving heart flowed streams of blessing to all who felt the pressure of this sin-stricken and sorrowful world. You will agree it is marvelous that this earth should have been visited by that blessed One to whom we have referred, the Son of God.
This One who is also the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe became the lowly, self-emptied, loving, and gracious Son of Man. What became of this Person? How did the world treat Him? It cast Him out. It rejected Him, and preferred a murderer and a robber to Him. The world was given its choice. Jesus and Barabbas were placed before the throng in Pilate’s judgment hall. He, the governor, put the question before them, “Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you?” The answer came, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” The religious leaders and guides of the people, the men who ought to have led them in the right way, persuaded the poor ignorant crowd to reject the Son of God and accept a robber instead. In spite of the fact that Pilate found no fault in Christ, he condemned Him to the death of the cross.
In connection with the crucifixion of Christ we must carefully distinguish between two things: first, the death of Christ viewed as the act of man involves wrath and judgment; second, the death of Christ viewed as the act permitted by God involves everlasting blessing to all who believe. The facts are that Christ came from Heaven to Earth by means of the Virgin Birth at Bethlehem, lived a sinless, spotless, holy life before God and men, died a vicarious death upon the cross, was buried, and on the third day was raised triumphantly by the power of God. Finally, He was exalted to God’s right hand as a “Prince and a Saviour.”
The Descent of the Holy Spirit
Space does not permit a lengthy discussion of the second doctrine mentioned, that of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, this should be stated. It is now over nineteen centuries since this Belssed Person descended from Heaven. His work here is twofold: to convict the world of sin and to comfort the Church in her pilgrimage.
The Second Advent of Christ
We now have come to the main subject of our paper, the second coming of Christ. What a blessed hope to the child of God! The Scriptures declare that our Lord Jesus will come again, that personally He will, some day, perhaps very soon, leave the place which He now occupies on His Father’s throne, and will come to the air to receive His people to Himself.
It is well to remember that there are two aspects to our Lord’s coming.
The Rapture: Christ will come to the air for His saints as we read in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” This passage deals with the “Rapture,” the first stage of Christ’s return, and comprises the resurrection of the dead in Christ and the translation of the living saints.
The Revelation: This will transpire when Christ finally returns to earth as the Son of Man to take vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess. 1:7-8).
“The Revelation” will be as sudden and as unexpected as “The Rapture.” The sun will rise on that day strong and clear. Gentle breezes will waft themselves over the earth. The people as usual will buy and sell, build and plant, eat and drink, marry and be given in marriage. Statesmen will be evolving new plans for the betterment of the world. The pleasure loving will be seeking new sources of amusement, and the unbelieving will be proving to their own satisfaction that there is no God, no hell, no judgment. Suddenly, there will be a change. All peoples of the earth shall mourn for they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven in power and great glory. “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen” (Rev. 1:7).
The last sight the world had of Jesus was as He hung on the cross, The next sight they will see of Him is when He comes with lightning flash to execute judgment upon this guilty world.
As we conclude this paper, let it be clearly understood that the grand and glorious hope of every Christian is the coming of Christ for His people. This hope may be realized even today. There is nothing to wait for! No events must transpire! God be praised, Christ may come for His own today!