The Coming of the Lord for His Saints

"I JESUS have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and THE BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR. And the Spirit and the bride say, COME . . . He that testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:16-20).

The coming of the Lord WITH His saints to execute the wrath of God upon the wicked and to establish the will of God in the earth had been the subject of the testimony of all the prophets from Enoch to the Baptist, and the apostles of the Lord were commanded by Him to continue this same solemn preaching and testimony. But the coming of the Lord FOR His saints — this was a secret bidden in the heart of the Lord until the heavenly relationships in which they were to stand were revealed, and then it was made known to them to be a treasured hope within their hearts, a hope that the world can neither appreciate nor understand.

Twice only has the Lord spoken definitely as to His coming FOR His saints, and on both occasions it was to comfort them in sorrow. This is both interesting and instructive, for we learn from these instances that the way in which He comforts the disappointed and sorrowing is by presenting to them something infinitely more blessed than their hitherto highest thought; and that which He presents becomes a bright hope before them, dispelling the gloom of their sorrow by its glorious light, and a strong hope within them, lifting them out of the slough of their despondency by its mighty moral power.

The first of these revelations as to His purpose in this regard is in the well-loved passage John 14:1-3, "In My Father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you . . . I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am ye may be also." The disciples were sorrowing greatly because He was to be parted from them, and He comforts their hearts by the assurance that this separation was for a time only. They were keenly disappointed also, for they had looked for the kingdom glory, the throne of David established again, and they to share it with Him, and Israel redeemed. He seizes the opportunity to present to them something better than this, something that, as we have Said, went far beyond their most exalted conception of things. They were to be WITH HIM in the Father's house. Not in the realm of rule, though that would Come also in due course, but in the circle of love — in that home, that secluded place, Where divine affections flow forth without reserve. This will be entered upon when the Lord comes FOR His saints, and no human words can describe what the joy of it will be to the Father, to our Lord, and to us.

The second occasion is in 1 Thessalonians 4, where a direct word was given by the Lord to comfort His saints in their sorrow about their departed friends. They had feared, evidently, that those who had died in Christ would miss the glory of that coining kingdom. This word from the Lord assures them as to this; but it does more, for the Lord again seizes the opportunity to present heavenly hopes before their souls, and reveals to them the manner of His coming, when the dead in Christ shall be raised, and the living saints shaft be changed, to be caught up together, one glorious church, to meet the Lord in the air. And mark well the climax of the passage. He does not say, so shall we reign with Him, but "SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD." This is the new and grand hope, made known and given to the heavenly saints, a hope which, until it was thus revealed, did not enter, nor could have entered, into the heart of man.

It must be noticed that neither glory, power, nor reward come into these passages, it is "MYSELF" and "HIMSELF" No question of responsibility intrudes to produce reserves. The love of Christ to His own, that love that will be satisfied with nothing but the company of the loved ones, floods the words of the Lord with a tender radiance, and stirs up the hearts of His saints to maintain their vigil of love.

The coming of the Lord FOR His saints does not belittle the importance of His appearing WITH them, nor will it weaken in the smallest degree their desire for this of which the Scriptures are so full. They know that nothing in this creation, grown hoary in its sorrow and pain, can be right until He comes into it, when He will with great power establish the rights of God in it And those who look for Him to take them out of it, before He comes into it as sovereign Lord, will continue with increased earnestness to pray to the Father in heaven, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven."