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THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
"UNTO them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Heb. 9:28.
Too often the second coming of Christ is looked upon simply as a doctrine. It is, however, more than a doctrine merely to be believed; it is an impending event, something that is to take place on earth, and the most stupendous, alltranscendent event for the world since Christ came the first time to die on Calvary for the sins of men.
This second coming of Christ, like His first coming, has been the theme of divine prophecy from the beginning. This was emphasized by the apostle Peter in his second recorded sermon. He pressed upon the people of Jerusalem the fact that the things "which God before had showed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer" (Acts 3:18), had been fulfilled to the letter before their eyes. Not a word had failed. Just so, he said, all that the prophets had spoken of His second coming would be fulfilled:
"He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of
restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3: 20, 21. The Promise of His Coming
As iniquity began to abound, God sent a message to the antediluvian world, declaring that Christ's coming in glory would end the reign of sin:
"Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all." Jude 14, 15.
The promise of Christ's coming was the "blessed hope" in the patriarchal age. In Job's dark hour of trial his heart clung to the promise, and he was kept from despair:
"I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: . . . whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another." Job 19:25-27.
The psalmist sang of it:
"Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him." Ps. 50:3.
And the prophets of later times were unceasingly moved upon to talk of the glory of that coming, of events preceding it, and of the preparation for it.
"I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence." "Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him." Isa. 62: 6, 11.
The message of His coming is to be heralded to the ends of the earth; for it is "good tidings of great joy" to every one who will receive it.
On that last night with His disciples before the crucifixion, when His heart was sorrowful even unto death, as the bur
den of all our iniquities was about to be laid upon Him, Christ's love for His own made precious to Him the thought of His second coming to gather them home at last, safe from all sin and trouble; and He said:
"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." John 14:1-3.
In that assurance the heart finds rest. O the preciousness of the promise, "I will come again"! "I am coming for you," is the cheering message. "Yes, Lord," we reply, "we will wait, and watch, and be ready, by Thy grace."
The Manner of His Coming
Christ's second coming is to be visible to all the world. There is to be nothing secret or mystical about it. The revelator says:
"Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him." Rev. 1:7.
Christ Himself described the scene to His disciples as it will appear to the eyes of all:
"As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Matt. 24:27. "Then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory." Mark 13:26.
The day of the Lord the close of probation, the initial outpouring of the judgments of God will come "as a thief in the night," but Christ's personal appearing will be visible to all. The heavens will open, the earth quake, the trump of God resound, and such glory as mortal eye has never seen will burst upon the world when He comes as King of kings and Lord of lords.
"He comes not an infant in Bethlehem born,
"This Same Jesus"
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 indescribable, 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,
And the earth was full of His praise.
Hab. 3:3, 4, A. R. V.