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“He comes not an infant in Bethlehem born,
He comes not to lie in a manger;
He comes not a shelterless stranger;
To weep and sweat blood in the garden;
Oh, no; glory, bright glory,
The Lord would have His children understand that this One who comes in power and glory is the same Saviour of men who once walked by blue Galilee. As the disciples were watching their Saviour, and ours, ascending bodily into heaven from Olivet, until "a cloud received Him out of their sight," suddenly two angels stood by them, who said:
“Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9, 11.
“This same Jesus”! It was the loving Friend and Elder Brother, Son of man as well as Son of God, who was passing from their sight. He will come back the "same Jesus," though in glory indescribabie, having "all the holy angels with Him."
The prophet Habakkuk thus described Christ's glorious appearing, as it was represented to him in vision:
“His glory covered the heavens,
Hab. 3:3, 4, A. R. V.
Surely it is the "same Jesus," and the mark of the cruel nails is the shining badge of His power to save.
“I shall know Him
By the print of the nails in His hands." As the redeemed see Him who was crucified for them coming in glory, they will cry, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." Isa. 25: 9.
But that day will be a day of darkness as well as of light. The unready, the unrepentant, will realize too late that in rejecting Christ's pardon and love and sacrifice, they have rejected the only means by which they might have been prepared to meet the coming King, before whose face no sin can endure. “Every eye shall see Him,” the apostle says, and he describes the terror of that day to the unprepared:
“The kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and
, in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Rev. 6: 15-17.
The scenes of that great day are so beyond human comprehension that it is difficult to realize that such a time is actually before us.
“Then, O my Lord, prepare
The Purpose of His Coming The Scriptures make very clear the purpose of Christ's second coming and the events of that great day. It has been the hope of the children of God through all the ages. The apostle Paul calls it the “blessed hope.”
“The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:11-13.
The saints of God have fallen asleep in death with their faith reaching forward to Christ's glorious appearing. So the veteran apostle fell, with eyes upon “that day.”
“I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." 2 Tim. 4: 6-8.
Christ's second coming is the grand climax of the plan of salvation. Not till then are the children of God ushered into the eternal kingdom. Then the crowns of life are bestowed, and the saved all go together through the gates into the city - patriarch and prophet, apostle and reformer, and the child of God of this last generation. Of the ancient worthies it is written:
“These all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” Heb. 11:39, 40.
What a glorious day it will be when the ransomed of all the ages, march in together through the gates into the city!
It is to take His children to their eternal home that Christ comes the second time. This was His promise to the disciples:
"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.” John 14:2, 3.
Not in detail, but in their general order, let us follow the events of that great day.