We said in the previous article that the coming of Christ has many different aspects, including His birth, His coming through the gift of the Spirit, through the preaching of the gospel, and through death. All these, we showed, are but different aspects of the one coming of Christ for judgment and for salvation.
That is not to say, however, that we cannot speak in a special sense of Christ's coming at the end of the world and refer to it as His second coming. This final coming will be one of the great events of history, like his birth and crucifixion, because it brings about the end of history and of all things as we now know them.
In several ways this coming is unique and the focus of all our hopes:
(1) Christ's final coming will be personal (Matt. 24:30; I Thess. 4:16). Instead of through His Spirit, or through preachers as His representatives, He will come Himself. Every eye shall see Him (Rev. 1:7). This is important because in Him all the fullness of the Godhead is revealed bodily (Col. 2:9), and it is as the revelation of God Himself that He will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31), and receive His people into eternal glory. It is also the focus of our hope, for it is HIM we long to see.
(2) His final coming will also be visible (Acts 1:11). Indeed, at His final coming every eye shall see Him, even those who pierced Him (Rev. 1:7 - implying that His appearance follows the general resurrection of the dead, both righteous and wicked). Thus, Scripture refers to His final coming as an appearance or revelation of Christ (II Thess. 1:7; I Tim. 6:14; I Pet. 1:7). And this, too, is necessary, for He in our flesh, as the crucified and risen One, must be our visible representative in the judgment and the One who condemns the world which rejected the revelation God in Him by crucifying and slaying Him. In this light Scripture refers to this final coming as Hissecond coming (Heb. 9:28) - not because there are not other aspects to His coming, but because it is only in Bethlehem as a babe and at the end of the world the He comes personally and visibly.
(3) Finally, Christ's coming at the end of all things will be with power and glory (Matt. 24:30; 25:31). In this respect it is different from His first coming, for then He came in the form of a servant and in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3; Phil. 2:7). His power and glory at the end of all things will be the terror of the ungodly (Rev. 1:7; 6:15-17), and the delight and salvation of His own (Rev. 1:12-20).
The day and hour of this coming (and the month and year, also) are unknown to us. Nor would it be good for us to know, for then we would either become careless and worldly or would lose hope. Not knowing, we watch and pray, are sober, and continue in holiness and godliness (Matt. 24:42-51; I Thess. 5:1-8; II Pet. 3:10-12). Yet we believe that He shall come, for He has promised! and we expect that even if He does not come personally and visibly in our lifetimes, yet we shall hear His voice in the gospel and follow Him (Jn. 10:27), and we believe that He will come to us by His Spirit, the Comforter, and that when we die, will come and receive us unto Himself (Jn. 14:3).
- Volume: 7
- Issue: 13
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
Address317 North Park St.
State or ProvinceWA