In this closing meditation on the parousia of the Lord Jesus we return to the words of Revelation 1:7 which are quoted from the Revised Version in four suggested sections line by line:
Behold, he cometh with the clouds;
and every eye shall see him, and they which pierced him;
and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn over him.
Even so, Amen.
We remind ourselves that they were written to disciples in the seven churches of God in Asia. John undoubtedly was used by the Holy Spirit to reinforce the hope of the Lord's return in the minds and hearts of those remaining in divine testimony. It is significant that John identifies the voice which spoke with him as of 'One like the Son of Man' (Rev. 1:13 NKJV). Remarkably, there is only one further reference to the title 'Son of man' in the whole of the Revelation, 'I have looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man' (14:14 NKJV). The title 'Son of man' seems to be reserved by the Spirit of God for use in connection with the Lord's coming to the earth, as distinct from His coming to the air.
All three synoptic Gospel writers, when recording the words of the Lord as He sat with His disciples on the mount of Olives, refer to the manner of His coming as Son of man; 'coming on the clouds of heaven' (Mat. 24:30), 'coming in clouds' (Mark 13:26), and 'coming in a cloud' (Luke 21:27). There is no mention of clouds in the account given in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10, but rather 'in flaming fire' which confirms Isaiah's prophecy, 'Behold, the LORD will come with fire... to render... his rebuke with flames of fire' (66:15).
What a magnificent and breath-taking sight it will be as the Lord returns to the mount from which He left. Zechariah's prophecy will be fulfilled, 'His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof... and there shall be a very great valley' (14:4). This cleavage has long been confirmed by geologists who have identified a fault in the topography of the mountain. We cannot deal here with events immediately after the Lord's return, but the fury and intensity with which He will deal with the armies gathered against Jerusalem is clear. 'And so all Israel shall be saved: even as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer' (Rom. 11:26), a quotation from Isaiah 59:20 which says, 'a redeemer shall come to Zion'.
Jude 14 records Enoch's prophecy at the close of the first millennium of human history saying, 'the Lord came with his holy myriads' (RVM). How many tens of thousands of angels is not revealed but Revelation 19:11-16 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7 give us a description of the angels of His power. How formidable as these armies of heaven follow the King of kings and Lord of lords, marching in the greatness of His strength, with power and great glory; One who speaks in righteousness, mighty to save, as Isaiah 63:1 describes Him.
He is to be accompanied not only by myriads of angels but also by a host of saints. 'He shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be marvelled at in all them that believed' (2 Thes. 1:10). It does not say glorified by His saints, but rather that people on earth will gaze upon His companions, His brethren, the sharers of His throne, and they will marvel to see them in the radiant glory of their Lord. And Christ will be glorified, for:
The mighty work was all His own,
Though we shall share His glorious throne.
For what reason do the saints receive such honour? Because they believed, joyfully accepting Him as their Saviour and Lord. And many who have served Him, possibly in much tribulation (Gk. thlipsis, pressure) will reign with Him, for 'if we endure we shall also reign with him' is the faithful saying of 2 Timothy 2:12.
As we draw this series to a conclusion let us consider that supreme moment of triumph when this earth will become totally subject to God under His Son (Heb. 2:8), when 'the kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ: and he shall reign for ever and ever' (Rev. 11:15). As we ponder it our hearts rejoice in anticipation of that glorious time.
Then all the earth shall rise and bring
Peculiar honours to its King;
Angels descend with songs again,
And earth repeat the loud Amen. Isaac Watts
'Yea, I come quickly. Amen: come, Lord Jesus' (Rev. 22:20).
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