During the course of His public ministry our Lord made frequent reference to His Second Coming. When we consider how few of His discourses have been transmitted to us and how brief is the inspired record of His teachings as found in the New Testament Scriptures, we are deeply impressed with the importance of our present inquiry as we note how much there is in the Gospel narratives which relates to our Redeemer's Return. Not only do we find many incidental references, but most of His "parables" treat of those things which have to do with His Second Advent, and, furthermore, several whole chapters in the Gospels are devoted to a fuller setting forth of the same great event. Unto our Lord's own teaching, then, upon His Second Coming we turn our attention. We cannot now review all that He said upon the subject, but must content ourselves with singling out two or three of His utterances thereon.
In Matt. 24 and 25 we have two whole chapters occupied with this theme, and in them we find that again and again our Lord made mention of His Return - "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (24:27), which means that our Lord's Return to this earth will be visible, public, and attended with awe-inspiring glory. The same ideas are presented in the 30th verse of the same chapter - "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." Further down in the chapter, our Lord bids His people make preparation for His appearing because He may return at any moment. "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh" (vs. 44). In the next chapter, in the Parable of the Virgins, the subject of the Bridegroom's Coming is again brought before us, while the closing verses furnish us with a detailed description of His judgment of the living nations which introduces the setting up of His Millennial Kingdom - "When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats" (Matt. 25:31, 32).
In the nineteenth of Luke we have the Parable of the Nobleman which is very plain and pointed: "He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And He called His ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated Him, and sent a message after Him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when He was returned, having received the kingdom, then He commanded these servants to be called unto Him, to whom He had given the money, that He might know how much every man had gained by trading" (Luke 19:12-15). The "Nobleman" is the Lord Jesus. The "journey into the far country" was His Ascension to heaven. The "Kingdom" which He went to "receive" is His Millennial Kingdom for which He taught His disciples to pray. The "return" is His Second Advent to this earth. The "servants" are believers. The "money" (marg. "silver," which in Scripture symbolizes redemption) seems to typify the Gospel, which has been committed into our hands to proclaim to a lost world. The "occupying till He comes" is the faithful giving out of the Gospel and the daily witnessing for Him during the time of His absence. The "message" sent by "His citizens" refers to the continued rejection of Christ and His Gospel by the Jews during the days of the apostles and particularly under the ministry of Stephen. The rewarding of the servants at the time of His Return, is the allotting to them of places of honor in His Millennial Kingdom. That to which we would specially call attention is the fact that our Lord here expressly declares He will "return," come back again to this earth.
Perhaps the most explicit of all the statements which the Lord Jesus made upon our present theme is that recorded in the opening verses of John 14. Our Lord was alone with His disciples. He was about to be separated from them. For three years they had companied with Him, but now the cross with all its suffering and shame lay athwart His path. The realization of His approaching death had filled His followers with fear and anguish. Their hearts were heavy and sad. Turning to them in their grief, the Master speaks words of solace and cheer - "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:1-3). These words of our Lord can have only one possible meaning: He was going away, but He would return again, return in person to receive His own unto Himself. Such was His positive and unconditional promise. Thus we see that the fulfillment of His promises, the keeping of His Word, necessitates the personal Return of our blessed Redeemer.
The testimony of our Lord given while He was here upon earth was confirmed, and rendered even more unequivocal, if that were possible, by His post-ascension utterances. Fifty years after He had returned to heaven the Lord Jesus sent His angel to the beloved John on the Isle of Patmos to give unto him "The Revelation" and in it we hear our Lord saying, no less than six times, "Behold, I come quickly." This is His last promise, His final word to His people now on earth. He is coming back again. He Himself has said so. He said so repeatedly during the days of His earthly ministry. He said so in language about which there was no ambiguity whatsoever. He said so both to His friends and to His enemies. He said so again fifty years after His ascension to heaven. And He cannot lie. He is Himself the "Truth" - the Truth incarnate. He is "The Faithful and True Witness," therefore He must keep His Word, fulfill His promises, and Return in person.