BEHOLD HE COMETH Friday, June 23, 2017
BEHOLD HE COMETH: (KJV)
By James L. Thornton
“What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,” the hymnist wrote many years ago, “when I look upon his face, the one who saved me by his grace.” John began to write the Revelation of Jesus Christ after seeing all the visions of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and one of the first things he declared was the surety of the coming of the Lord Jesus.
~~~~~~~~~ Contents ~~~~~~~~~~
1. An introduction
2. An Apostolic confirmation
3. The coming of the Lord
4. Behold He cometh
5. With clouds
6. All shall see Him
7. They which pierced Him
8. All the earth shall mourn
1. AN INTRODUCTION:
Revelation 1:7. 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.
After he had seen all the visions of the things that were to come to pass, and the sights and sounds of what was taking place in heaven, it so enraptured John that he began his book by declaring the surety of the coming of the Lord Jesus. He was also so anxious for his coming that he closed this revelation of Jesus Christ by praying, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20b)."
2. AN APOSTOLIC CONFIRMATION:
I would like to take the last phrase of Revelation 1:7 into consideration first, "Even so, Amen."
I take this as the seal and ratification of the solemn truths which have just been uttered. And if this be the true meaning, what great stress should be laid upon these things—how sure to come to pass—how unmistakably certain!
There are 1,845 references to our Lord’s return— no fewer than 17 books give prominent place to the promise of his coming--just in the Old Testament.
In the 216 chapters of the New Testament you will find 318 references to His return. That’s 1 out of every 30 verses.
Reference to the Lord’s return is in 23 of the 27 books of the New Testament, and all but 1 of the 4 in which it’ not found are single chapter letters written to individuals, and in the 4th book it’s powerfully implied.
When I look at the number of scriptures on this subject it seems that even the best of us are not half awake. May God rouse us by His Spirit, and not permit us to sleep till the thunders and terrors of that great day be upon us!
Threaded through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, the promise of Christ’s return is there. John tells us (1 John 1:3), "And every man that hath this hope, purifieth himself, even as he is pure." God help us to have this hope.
As I have already stated, John’s confirmation in all that the great day is to bring, and his prayer, as repeated at the end of the book, was that the Lord would hasten his coming. Terrible as it will be to the wicked, and the unprepared, and those who refuse the warnings which we give them, it is a precious day to the saints, a day to be coveted, and to be prayed for with all earnestness of desire.
The poor and faint hearted Christianity of our times can hardly think about it without fear and trembling. Many who profess and call themselves Christians would rather not hear about it, and would prefer, if they had their choice, that Christ never come at all.
It was not so in the days of the early Church. Then the anxious inquiry of the disciples was, "Tells us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world" (Matthew 24 :3b)? And, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel"? (Acts 1:6)
Then Christians wrote to each other in joyous congratulation, that their citizenship was in heaven from whence they looked for the coming of the Saviour; and comforted one another in the assurance that "The Lord himself is to descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Arch-angel, and with the trump of God" (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Then Christians lifted up their heads, and looked up with joyful hope at every turn of events thinking with expectation of its fulfillment.
Then the prayer, "Thy kingdom come," had a depth of meaning and lively anticipation which now has well nigh been lost. Then the appearing of Jesus Christ had a power over the soul which made it "Rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory;" and the most earnest and constant call of Apostles and their followers was, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Even so. Amen."
Nor can the Church be her true self, or enter into the true spirit of her faith, or rise to the sublimity of her hope, where this is not the highest object of her deepest desire. For how, indeed, can we regard ourselves as rightly planted in the apostolic foundation, if we cannot join with heart and soul in this apostolic prayer?
3. THE COMING OF THE LORD:
Revelation 1:7a. Behold, he cometh with clouds; …
As John picked up his pen to write it seems his soul was on fire with sublime contemplation, thirsting for the fulfillment of the great day, and running over with interest in the message he was about to communicate. The loving Apostle seems to have felt as if the grand ecclesiastical climacteric of time had come.
John was present when the one he looked for left the earth. In his last moments before leaving, Jesus had blessed his disciples. John had heard the angels say, "Ye men of Galilee, 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 1:11)
John had seen how, "a cloud received him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9b). In all the long years he had carried in his memory what the words of the angels warranted him to regard as a picture of something in the future to which he ever looked with profound interest.
And all the stupendous visions of the apocalypse did not for one moment disturb that picture, or divert his mind from it. However much he may have been moved, as scene followed scene in the great unveiling of the divine purpose, the keynote to which he ever returned was the coming and the kingdom of his ascended Lord. Even in all the long course of unending ages, that upon which his thoughts most firmly fastened was, the coming again of the Lord Jesus. With this he begins; with this he continues; and with this he ends.
But let us separate his words a little, and look at their several implications individually.
4. BEHOLD HE COMETH:
Here the great fact is unequivocally stated. Jesus has not gone into the heavens to stay. He has gone for His church’s benefit; and for His church’s benefit he will return again; not in spirit only; not in care and control only, not in the mere removal of men by death, but in his own proper person, as "Son of Man."
Few believe this, and still fewer lay it to heart. Many sneer at the very idea, and even laugh down the people who are so simple as to put their faith in it. But it is nevertheless the immutable truth of God. Predicted by His prophets, promised by Christ himself, confirmed by the testimony of angels, proclaimed by all the Apostles, believed by all the early Christians, acknowledged in all the church creeds, sung of in all the church hymn books, prayed about in all in all the church sacraments, and entered so essentially into the very life and substance of Christianity, that without it there is no Christianity, except a few maimed and mutilated relics too powerless to be worth saving.
Any religion which does not look for a returning Saviour, or locate its highest hopes and triumphs in the judgment scenes for which the Son of Man must appear, is not the religion of this Book, and is without authority to promise salvation to it’s followers. Furthermore any religion which has no "Behold He Cometh," is not of "Him who holds the key to death and hell," and should be turned from before it’s too late.
Murmur at it, dispute it, despise it, mock it, put it aside, hate it, and hide from it, as men may, but it is a great fundamental article of the Gospel, that the same blessed Lord, who ascended from Mount Olivet, and now at the right hand of the Father, shall come from thence, to judge the quick and the dead. This is true, as Christ himself is true; and "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear." Amen.
5. WITH CLOUDS:
Revelation 1:7a. “Behold, he cometh with clouds, …”
When Jesus ascended into heaven "A cloud received him out of their sight."
(Acts 1:9b.) While the Apostles were gazing up into heaven two angels appeared and told them that same Jesus, "Shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11b.)
Here is the great characteristic in the manner of his coming. "With clouds," that is in majesty and glory, with all the magnificent display of splendor of Him "Who maketh the clouds His chariot; who walketh upon the wings of the wind." (Psalms 104:3)
6. ALL SHALL SEE HIM:
Revelation 1:7b. "And every eye shall see Him, …"
His coming will be the most public event in the history of the world. Somewhere, in some manner, every eye shall see Him. There never has been, and never will be, that human being who shall not see Him. To every one that has lived, and to every one who shall live, He shall show Himself, and compel every eye to meet his eye.
The dead shall be brought to life again, and shall see Him, and the living shall see Him. Blind eyes shall be opened to look upon Him, the good shall see Him, and the wicked shall see Him.
Some shall see Him and shout; "Lo, this is our God, we have waited for Him, and He shall save us, this is the Lord; we have waited for Him. We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation."
And others shall see Him and cry to "The rocks and the mountains; fall on as, 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?" (Revelation 6:16-17)
7. THEY WHICH PIERCED HIM:
Revelation 1:7c. "And they also which pierced him: .."
Though His manifestation shall be absolutely universal, it has an awful distinction with reference to some. Of all beings who shall then wish to be saved from that sight will be those who murdered Him. But they shall not escape it. They must each and all some day confront Him, and meet His all-penetrating gaze.
From the wretched man who sold Him, to the priest who bought Him, the crowd who cried against Him, the king who clothed Him in purple, the ones who beat Him with many stripes, the judge who sentenced Him, and all who made common cause with them in wronging, persecuting, wounding and insulting that meek Lamb of God, and especially the soldier who pierced Him, shall be compelled to face His judgment seat, and to look upon Him whom they murdered.
The roles will be reversed on that day. Jesus will not look the part of a mistreated criminal, clothed in common garb, blood splattered, and with spittle dripping from his face. No it will not be the meek and mild Saviour standing with bound arms. But He will be arrayed in unimaginable splendor and crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And "Every knee shall bow before Him, and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord." (Philippians 2:10-11)
8. ALL THE EARTH SHALL MOURN:
Revelation 1:7d. "and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him."
There are some who feel that this has a special significance to the Jews who were the ones who rejected Him and crucified Him, but I feel it has a universal significance. I do not wonder that worldly-minded and half-Christians have no love for the doctrine of the hasty coming of the Lord Jesus. It is the deathblow of their lightheartedness and pleasures. It will be the turning of their songs of merriment to shrieks of horror and despair.
There is a day coming when there shall be "Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; men’s hearts failing them for fear…" (Luke 21:25-26) when "All the tribes of the earth shall mourn…" (Matthew 24:30)
From the same field, the same shop, the same bed, one shall be taken and the others left. And on those remaining ones, who had not watched, neither kept their garments, nor made themselves ready, shall the terrors of judgment fall, and not a family or tribe of all that live shall escape.
Revelation 22:20. He which testifieth these things saith, surely I come quickly, Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
When we consider where John was when he saw these visions, and the awful conditions he was subjected to on Patmos, is it any wonder that he prayed for the coming of his Lord. Even though lifted in the spirit into a glorious realm, he nevertheless had to come back to the harsh realities of life. And he longed to return permanently to the heavenly scenes.
I’m concerned that the plush living conditions many of us live in has robbed us of thoughts of the glory realm. Many have it so good that we think heaven cannot be any better. I remember the days of the great depression in America when meat was a rarity and the gravy was thin, so to speak, and people didn’t have it so easy.
Today’s labor saving devices (thank God for them), have taken the toil and drudgery out of the daily toils. Air-condition, ease of travel, abundant food supply, and etc., have all created a heavenly environment in many countries.
No longer do the saints look up with longing and tears in their eyes when we sing “when we all get to heaven.” It is a proven fact that when times get hard people pray more, seek God more, and sing songs of deliverance.
Let us take heed lest our abundance causes us to loose sight of what John told us about in his revelation of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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By James L . Thornton