The Lord’s Return
Expectation of Messiah
Dr. Charles Fineberg, a
noted Jewish-Christian scholar, says that in the course of
After 14 years of studying the Bible, William Miller (1782-1849)--a U.S. revivalist who predicted the second coming and earned a large but temporary following of 50,000-100,000--became convinced that Christ would return in 1843. When Miller announced April 3 as the day, some disciples went to mountaintops, hoping for a head start to heaven. Others were in graveyards, planning to ascend in reunion with their departed loved ones. Philadelphia society ladies clustered together outside town to avoid entering God's kingdom amid the common herd. When April 4 dawned as usual the Millerites were disillusioned, but they took heart. Their leader had predicted a range of dates for Christ's return. They still had until March 21, 1844. The devout continued to make ready, but again they were disappointed. A third date--October 22, 1844--was set, but it also passed.
Today in the Word, MBI, December 20, 1991.
After church, where she had been taught about the Second Coming, a little girl was quizzing her mother. "Mommy, do you believe Jesus will come back?" "Yes." "Today?" "Yes." "In a few minutes?" "Yes, dear." "Mommy, would you comb my hair?"
In Warren Wiersbe's Meet Yourself in the Psalms, he tells about a frontier town where a horse bolted and ran away with a wagon carrying a little boy. Seeing the child in danger, a young man risked his life to catch the horse and stop the wagon. The child who was saved grew up to become a lawless man, and one day he stood before a judge to be sentenced for a serious crime. The prisoner recognized the judge as the man who, years before had saved his life; so he pled for mercy on the basis of that experience. But the words from the bench silenced his plea: "Young man, then I was your savior; today I am your judge, and I must sentence you to be hanged." One day Jesus Christ will say to rebellious sinners, "During that long day of grace, I was the Savior, and I would have forgiven you. But today I am your Judge. Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire!"
Doug Van Essen.
After 14 years of studying the Bible, William Miller became convinced that Christ would return in 1843. When Miller
announced April 3 as the day, some disciples went to mountaintops, hoping for a head start to heaven. Others were in graveyards, planning to ascend in reunion with their departed loved ones. Philadelphia society ladies clustered together outside town to avoid entering God's kingdom amid the common herd. When April 4 dawned as usual the Millerites were disillusioned, but they took heart. Their leader had predicted a range of dates for Christ's return. They still had until March 21, 1844. The devout continued to make ready, but again they were disappointed. A third date--October 22, 1844--was set, but it also passed.
Today in the Word, December 20, 1991.
During his 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy often closed his speeches with the story of Colonel Davenport, the Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives: On May 19th, 1780 the sky of Hartford darkened ominously, and some of the representatives, glancing out the windows, feared the end was at hand. Quelling a clamor for immediate adjournment, Davenport rose and said, "The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. Therefore, I wish that candles be brought." Rather than fearing what is to come, we are to be faithful till Christ returns. Instead of fearing the dark, we're to be lights as we watch and wait.
Biblical prophecy provides some of the greatest encouragement and hope available to us today. Just as the Old Testament is saturated with prophecies concerning Christ's first advent, so both testaments are filled with references to the second coming of Christ. One scholar has estimated that there are 1,845 references to Christ's second coming in the Old Testament, where 17 books give it prominence. In the 260 chapters of the New Testament, there are 318 references to the second advent of Christ--an amazing 1 out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event. For every prophecy in the Bible concerning Christ's first advent, there are 8 which look forward to His second!
Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 27.
The belief that Jesus Christ will return to earth someday is held by 62 percent of all Americans.
George Gallup, "Religion in America," Leadership, Fall, 1987.
ALPHABET ON THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
There are many ways by which we may arrive at the importance of any given subject. The person who is an authority as a specialist makes his utterance of value when he speaks upon a topic; the issues that are involved, give weight and interest to a discussion; the probable results will influence to a certain course of action; and the frequency with which a truth is brought before us in Holy Writ, will make itself felt to the prayerful student of the Word of God. All the above pleas may be applied to the blessed hope of Christ’s second coming. He who says “I come again” is the Son of God—God the Son—therefore His word is valid. The issues at stake are of pressing importance. The overthrow of evil, the binding of Satan, universal peace, righteousness exalted, and God glorified, are issues that are involved as the truth of Christ’s return is pondered in its wider aspect. The results of the apprehended fact of Christ’s, near approach will make the believer holy in life; and the blessings attendant upon Christ’s arrival, to the Church, and the world, are beyond our telling and ken. The frequency with which reference is made to a truth must have the effect of awakening our interest and riveting our attention. This is remarkably true in relation to the topic before us, viz., the return of our Lord. As illustrating the repeated utterance of the Holy Spirit in speaking of this subject, and the results produced, and the commands incumbent upon us in looking for our Lord Jesus, we shall give the following alphabetical outline;---
A. Abiding in Christ is the position that He should find us in when He comes. “ And now, little children, abide in Him; that when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1.John 2:28).
B. Blamelessness of life is the normal condition in which we should seek to be when Christ arrives. “ He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1.Thess.3:13). “Your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1.Thess.5:23; 1.Cor.1:8; 11.Peter 3:14; Jude 24, R.V.).
C. Comfort in bereavement is found in the truth of Christ’s return. “ But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not Prevent them which are asleep. 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1.Thess.4:13-18).
D. Deliverance to the groaning creation from the bondage of corruption will be given at Christ’s arrival. “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” “ Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom,8:19,21).
E. Encouragement to endure amid persecution is one of the supports that Christ’s coming gives. “So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure ; which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that troubteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you: and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess.1:4-8).
F. Faithfulness in Christian service is one of the marks of belief in Christ’s return. “ Moreover it is requited in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not my own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but He that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge not my own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but He that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every man have praise of God: (1.Cor,4:2-5).
G. Gladness of spirit is a result now and hereafter, as we are looking for the approach of Christ. “ Inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of His glory also ye may rejoice; that at the revelation of His glory also ye may rejoice with exceeding joy” (1.Peter 4:13).
H. Holiness of life is the outcome of living in the expectancy of Christ. “ The God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire at the coming of our Lord fesus Christ” (1.Thess.5:23,R.V.).
I. Immortality and incorruptibility are assured blessings when our Lord comes back. “ Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall is written, death is swallowed up in victory” (1.Cor.15:50-54).
J. Justly shall we act in all our dealings if we are looking for Christ’s return. “ The grace of God which bringeth salvation …teaching us, that…we should live soberly, righteously” ( same word translated “justly” in 1. Thess.2:10), “and godly, in this present world, looking for that blessed hope,” ＆c.(Titus 2:11-13).
K. Keeping to the confession of the Lord’s coming should characterize all who believe in Him. “Hold fast” (the same word is rendered “keep” in Luke 8:15) “the confession of your hope that it waver not” (Heb.10:23,R.V.).
L. Likeness to Christ is produced as we are looking for Him. “Every man that hath this hope set on Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure” (1. John 2: R.V.).
M. Manifestation in glory with Christ is brought before us as we think of His return. “ When Christ, who is our Life, shall be manifested, then shall we be manifested with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4,R.V.).
N. Nearness of the believer’s completed salvation is proclaimed as we think of Christ’s coming. “ Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Rom. 13:11).
O. Occupation for Christ in trading with the pound of the Gospel is our work till He returns. “ Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13).
P. Patience is a grace that is to be exercised till our Lord arrives. “ Ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of god, ye might receive the promise” (Heb.10:36,37). “Be patient…brethren, unto the coming of the Lord” (James 5:7).
Q. Quietude of heart is ministered to us we think of our returning Lord; for He shall adjust all things when He arrives (1. Thess.5:1-11). “Let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation” (1. Thess.5:8).
R. Redemption of the body will take place when our Lord comes; for this we are waiting. “ Waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom.8.23).
S. Stimulus to Christian service is imparted as we keep in memory our Lord’s return. “ I charge thee in the sight of God, and of Christ Jesus, Who shall judge the quick and the dead, and by His appearing (R.V.)and kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season,” ＆c.(2 Tim.4:1,2).
T. Threefold work of Christ will be complete when He appears. See the threefold appearing mentioned in Heb.9:24-28.
U. Untilness of Scripture will be fulfilled when Christ comes back. See the seven “Untils” in Luke 19:13, Acts 3:21(R.V.), Rom. 11:25, 1.Cor.4:5. Phil.1:6, and Rev.2:25.
V. Vigilance is commanded by Christ till He comes. “ Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch, Watch ye therefore; for ye know not when the Master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (Mark 13:33-37).
W. Waiting for Christ is to be our attitude. “Whit for His Son” (1.Thess.1:10). “ We wait for the Saviour” (Phil.3:20). “ To them that wait for Him” (Heb,9:28,R.V.).
X. ’Xcellent glory is that into which we shall enter at the coming of Christ. “ We made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ…excellent glory” (2 Peter 1:16,17).
Y. Yieldingness is a grace that is begotten by the apprehended face of Christ’s coming.” Let your moderation” (yieldingness) “Be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand” (Phil.4:5).
Z. Zeal is inspired as we are expecting Christ. “Looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:12,R.V.).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》