The Lord’s Return

“Behold, He comes!” These words still await their fulfilment. When on earth, Jesus said, “I will come again!” And from heaven He has said, “Surely I come quickly!” and these are His last words to us in the inspired Book. “By the word of the Lord,” Paul said, “the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout!” and in Philippians 3:20, “We look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,” from heaven!

Some of us have waited for His return for many years; and He has meanwhile taught us lessons of grace, which are valuable beyond estimation. We have proved the true joy which the divinely granted assurance of the Lord’s return gives, and the purifying effect, also, of the bright and blessed hope which we have in the Son of God. This hope has lifted faith’s gaze to Himself, and given to our hearts stability and holy gladness in what lies beyond this present, passing world. We rejoice in the word, “He that shall come will come, and will not tarry!”

It may therefore be asked, “Will He come soon then?” Most certainly He will! This has often been rightly said in the past, and it may be said with increased emphasis now, for obviously the Lord’s return must be nearer than ever it was.

Speaking in the ordinary language of men, it might be said, to come soon means in a few days, or a few weeks at the longest; but the language of the Spirit of God speaks thus, “Be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness.” Nay, for since His first coming the Lord has been away only two days according to the divine reckoning! A complete period of days is seven! and it has been said by some, The seventh day will probably be the day of the earth’s rest and blessing—the millennium—the thousand years of Christ’s public reign, the time so often spoken of in the Scriptures. It is a fact that we are at the close of the first six days—the first six thousand years of man’s history on earth—and the seventh therefore must be nigh. We may not speak with absolute certainty as to this, but is it not more than possible that the glorious reign of Christ will fill up the seventh millennium of man’s history?

This, however is quite certain. A great deal must quickly happen before that reign begins! When speaking of the preparatory judgments, and of His dealings with Israel in view of that time, Jesus said, “Watch ye therefore; for ye know not when the Master of the house comes, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly He finds you sleeping … And what I say unto you, I SAY UNTO ALL, WATCH.”

At that time He also said, “Learn a parable of the fig tree; when her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near.” That distinctly refers to national life reviving in Israel; for Israel is the fig tree in Scripture. A national home in the land of promise through the foretold means of a maritime nation has become a fact and is being taken advantage of by numbers of Jews; and though serious interruptions will take place, as is clearly indicated in Scripture, nevertheless the present movement will doubtless go on, indicating that the Lord’s return must be near; that is, His return to establish Israel again in national eminence in their own land. That being so, how much nearer must be the moment of His coming to take out of the earth those who are saved by grace! His church, the out-called from the nations for His name now, will be the up-called from the earth to be with Himself then! We are told that our Lord Jesus Christ died for us; that whether we be watching or sleeping in the grave, when He returns, we may live in the glory together with Him!

Many of Israel’s scholars and teachers, after long centuries of contumely, are now speaking in terms of high esteem concerning Jesus, whom they designate, “One of Israel’s sons”; and some anxiety is observable among them as to their treatment of Him. What a blessed day it will be when, as Zechariah 12:10 says, “They shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” All Israel shall then be saved; and the other nations, as well as the peoples of the earth, shall be blessed through and in association with them, for the Lord Himself said, “Salvation is of the Jews.” But those who are already saved by grace must be glorified on high with Christ before Israel can be nationally blessed on earth. Christ Jesus is our Hope—the Son of the Father’s love! Christ Jesus is Israel’s Hope as the Son of David! Christ Jesus is the Hope of the whole world, for He is also the Son of Man! Glory, glory, glory to His holy name!

In 1 John 4:14 we read, “The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world”; and He will surely bring that world-wide salvation to pass. Long ago the prophet said, “All flesh shall see the salvation of God.” By His atoning death, our Lord Jesus Christ has laid the righteous foundation for this to be brought about. He died for us truly, but He also “tasted death for every thing,” and, being now glorified upon the throne of God, He will presently shine forth and FILL THE EARTH WITH HIS GLORY. The sweet singer of Israel sang:
  “His name shall endure for ever, His name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in Him: all nations shall call Him blessed.”

And David’s desires reached their climax when he concluded:
  “Blessed be His glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen, and Amen. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended” (Ps. 72:20).

David’s thoughts rose to the height of earthly blessing. Great David’s greater Son, exalted on high, has opened for us the heavenly heights of glory above. Therefore, the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven has awakened in our hearts desires accordingly; and all over the world now, among true believers on the Son of God, there are deep longings for His coming again, to translate them from earth to heaven, to be for ever with Himself. The mighty reality of this hope has a practical effect; and at any moment they expect that word to be fulfilled, “The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,” and we shall be caught up together “TO MEET THE LORD!

Yes, it is for our all-powerful, all-loving Saviour from the heavens we look! the One to whom we owe all! the One who saved us! the One who brought us into divine favour and acceptance! the One who suffered first for our sins and is coming to claim His redeemed! the One whose death we show until He comes! the One to whom we righteously belong for time and eternity, both by creation and redemption! the One in whom all things in heaven as well as upon earth are to be centred! Therefore we deeply desire His coming again, that the riches of grace and glory may fill all things with redemption splendour, to the praise of the glory of God.

The feeblest member of the assembly, the body of Christ, is necessary for that day of heavenly rejoicing. Whether perplexed or prospered now, weak or well, persecuted or praised, distressed or happy, dishonoured or favoured, whatever our present earthly lot may be, we belong to Christ; He gave Himself for the assembly; and He will present all to Himself in glory and love, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, for His own joy and satisfaction.

Yes, “Behold He comes!” He will come! He cannot deny Himself! He must come! Jesus is David’s Son, and the throne awaits His return! He is the Son of Man, and universal glory awaits His outshining! He is the Son of God, our divine Saviour and Love!, the bright morning Star, and we know His own promise to come again cannot fail! Moreover, His feet are yet to stand again “upon the Mount of Olives”; and “the Lord shall be King over all the earth” (Zech. 14:4, 9); but before that swiftly approaching day dawns, as we have said, we shall be caught up to meet Him! Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly! Meanwhile, may divine grace keep our lamps burning brightly for Thy praise!

 “Watching and ready may we be,
  As those that wait their Lord to see.”