Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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by George C. Clark, Sr. and John D. Clark, Sr.
“Don’t let your heart be troubled. You believe in God, and you believe in me. In my Father’s home are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I’m going away to prepare a place for you. And if I go prepare a place for you, I’m coming again, and then, I will take you along with me, that where I am, you may be also.”
Jesus is coming again! That “the coming of the Lord is drawing near” is being borne witness as never before. Even unconverted people on the street feel that something momentous is taking shape. The people of God know what that something is: the end of man’s rule on earth and the return of the Lord Jesus. Sincere children of God everywhere are putting on “the whole armor of God” that they “may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil,” for they know what lies ahead.
Jesus told his disciples that his saints would suffer great tribulation in the last days and that “In those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars shall fall out of the sky, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then they shall see the Son of man, coming on clouds with great power and glory. And then he’ll send his angels, and he’ll gather together his elect from the four winds, from the extremity of earth to the extremity of heaven” (Mk. 13:24–27).
The saints of God everywhere are waiting, watching, and praying for the time when they see Jesus, “who shall transform our lowly body into the likeness of his glorious body” (Phip. 3:21). “But of that day or hour, no one knows except the Father, not even the angels who are in heaven, or the Son. Take heed; stay alert and pray, for you don’t know when the time is. The kingdom of God is like a man away on a journey, who left his home and gave his servants authority, and to each his work, and he commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch, then, for you don’t know when the Master of the house is coming, whether at evening, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning, lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’ ” (Mk. 13:32–37).
Those who believe in a visible, personal coming of Jesus are not following “cunningly fabricated myths”, for our Lord repeatedly promised to return for his “bride”; that is, for those who are faithful to him, and this he will do at the close of this age.
The writer of Hebrews tells us, “Just as it is appointed to men once to die, and after that the Judgment, so also, Christ, having been offered once for all to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time to those who wait for him, not to atone for sin, but to bring salvation” (Heb. 9:27–28). Just before he faced death, that old warrior, the apostle Paul, joyfully exclaimed, “there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will grant me on that day; and not only to me but also to all those who love his appearing” (2Tim. 4:8). How those thrilling words have echoed in the souls of godly men through the centuries, and that echo has revived hope and encouraged the hearts of all who are seeking to be counted worthy of God’s eternal rest. From Paul’s words, we see that the faithful saints’ expectation of the personal return of Jesus may grow beyond a mere longing, to the point of “loving” his appearing. Reader, such a love is demonstrated by obedience to Jesus’ commandments, including his charge to “take heed, stay alert and pray.”
The hope of our Lord’s return vibrates through and touches the tenderest chord in the heart of each child of God. The thought of his coming sets on fire the passions of praise and gives hope and faith to all who are watching and praying. The bride cherishes the thought of the bridegroom’s coming, anxious to see the one she loves. Beloved, “it is already the hour for us to awake from sleep, for our salvation is nearer now than it was when we believed.” Indeed, as Paul further entreats, “The night is far spent and the day is at hand; therefore, let us lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:11–12), for our king is coming to punish the wicked and to reward the righteous.
Paul tells us, “The Day of the Lord is coming like a thief in the night . . . But as for you, brothers, you are not in darkness that that day should overtake you like a thief . . . So then, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep, sleep in the night, and those who get drunk, get drunk in the night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not appointed us to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Thess. 5:2–9).
The angels confirmed Jesus’ promise to return by saying to his followers, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here, staring at the sky? This same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven will come again, the same way you watched him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). This is worded to meet the requirements of the most exacting legalist. “The same way” means “exactly as” or “in like manner”.
We are told that “a cloud received him out of their sight,” and Jesus declared in Mark 14:62, “You’ll see the Son of man . . . coming with the clouds of heaven.” Angels were present when he went away, and of his second coming, we read in Mark 8:38 that Jesus will come “in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Our Lord ascended from the Mount of Olives, and Zechariah (14:4), speaking of our Lord’s return, tells us, “His feet will stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives.” The most technical scholar could not ask for a more precise wording concerning the promise of our Redeemer’s return to earth.
Listen to a few biblical testimonies concerning the second coming of Jesus:
Now, we say this to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and who remain until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who sleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and then, the dead in Christ will rise first. Next, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them among the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so, we will ever be with the Lord. Therefore, encourage one another with these words.
Repent, then, and be converted, that your sins might be blotted out, so that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and so that He might send the one chosen before to be your Messiah: Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for the restoration of all things, of which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets from time immemorial.
So then, be patient, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waits for the precious fruit of the earth, patiently waiting for it while it receives the early and the latter rain. You be patient, too. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not murmur against one another, brothers, lest you be condemned. Behold, the judge has been standing at the doors.
Oh, what great love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! This is why the world does not know you, because it did not know Him. Beloved, we are now children of God, but what we shall be is not yet made manifest. But we know that when it is made manifest, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as he is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
So, if they say to you, ‘Behold! He is in the wilderness!’, do not go out there; or ‘Behold! He is in the secret chambers!’, do not believe it. As lightning comes out of the east and flashes to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of man be.
The scoffers’ testimony is in the form of a question: “Where is the promise of his coming?” When they fail to dissuade the children of God from looking for the return of the Savior, scoffers spiritualize his return, making it a mere metaphor. Child of God, watch and pray, for Satan would tell you, through misguided people, that the baptism of the Spirit, or some other spiritual experience, is the second coming of Jesus. This is wrong. Christ was here in spirit before his birth in Bethlehem (1Pet. 1:10–11); yet, it was his personal, visible appearance that we call his first advent. It will also be his personal, visible appearance (in a glorified body) that will fulfill the prophecy of his second advent. He came first and sowed the seed of his kingdom. He will come the second time to gather the harvest.
The second coming of Jesus will not be a secret. The whole world will witness his return, not merely the righteous who are expecting him. In Matthew 24:30, we read, “And then the sign of the Son of man shall appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming upon clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” John agrees that Jesus’ return will be witnessed by all men when he says, “Watch! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye shall see him; they also who pierced him, and all the tribes of the earth, shall mourn bitterly because of him. Yes, Amen!” (Rev. 1:7).
My friend, what will you do “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire meting out punishment to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus”? Are you ready to join in the song of the redeemed at his coming? Is your heart burning with loyalty? Are you living in such an attitude toward his coming that you will receive, with Paul, a crown of righteousness that is laid up for all who love his appearing? Are you ready for that joyful benediction, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Come into the joy of your Lord!”? Child of God, you should be thrilled to know that you will soon be meeting with the saints of all ages, keeping company with angels, and singing and shouting around the throne of God!
“Behold, your King is coming!” This time, in the clouds of heaven, in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. “Watch, then, for you don’t know in what hour your Master is coming. But this thing you know, that if the steward of the house had known in which watch the thief was coming, he would have watched, and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. Then, you also be ready, for at an hour you don’t expect, the Son of man is coming” (Mt. 24:42–44).