<< >> Up Title Contents


     The insufficiency and failure of the various hopes of the world reviewed above, serve only to furnish a background upon which, by way of contrast, may shine forth more prominently and gloriously the certainty and sufficiency of our hope. Every hope of man which originates in his own mind and heart is doomed to end in disappointment. If men refuse the light which is furnished by Divine revelation then they must expect to remain in darkness, and, as our Lord said, "If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness how great is that darkness!" (Matt. 6:23). The value of a hope lies in the authorization of it, what then are the grounds for our hope?
     What warrant have we for expecting the Return of the Redeemer? After all that has been said in the previous pages and in view of the various Scriptures therein cited, a lengthy reply to this question is not necessary. In brief, it may be said, the inspired and infallible Word of Him who cannot lie is our warrant and authorization for looking for that Blessed Hope. But, briefly, to particularize.

1. We have the Promise of the Lord Jesus Himself.

     We have already quoted from John 14 in other connections but we now refer to it again. On the eve of His crucifixion our Saviour turned to His disciples and said, "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 14:2,3). Here is an assertion about which there is no ambiguity whatever. Here is a promise that is positive and unequivocal. Here is a word of comfort from the lips of Truth incarnate. The Lord who has gone away from this earth to prepare a place for His people is coming back again for them, coming back in person, coming to receive them to Himself that they may be with Him for evermore.

2. We have the word of Gods messengers at the time of His Sons Ascension.

     These words are recorded in the first chapter of the Acts which presents a scene of unusual interest and importance. Our Lord's sojourn upon earth was now to terminate. The time of His departure was at hand. The great purpose of the Divine incarnation had been accomplished. The cross and the empty sepulcher lay behind, and now the Saviour of sinners was to be exalted to the right hand of the Majesty on high. Together with a few of His disciples He went as far as Bethany, and lifting up His hands He blessed them, and while in the act of blessing them He was "parted from them, and went up into heaven" (Luke 24:50,51). And a cloud received Him out of their sight, and then we are told, "While they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, two men stood by them in white apparel: which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:10, 11). Here again is a statement that is clear and simple. Here again is a promise that is plain and positive. The Lord Jesus has gone up into heaven, but He is not to remain there for ever. The "same Jesus" which ascended is to descend: the "same Jesus" which was seen returning to this earth. The absent One is coming back, coming back in person in "like manner" as He went away.

3. We have the inspired testimony of the apostles.

     We have already shown in a previous chapter that each of the apostles bore witness to the Second Coming of Christ. Their testimony is clear, full, and uniform. At this point we shall select but a single passage, a familiar one, from the epistles of the apostle Paul. In 1 Thess. 4:13-18 we read, "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (i.e., "go before"0 them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
     The above passage is the most comprehensive statement upon the Redeemer's Return which is to be found in the apostolic writings. The importance of the communication contained therein is intimated by the prefatory clause - "This we say unto you by the word of the Lord," an expression which is always reserved for those passages of Divine revelation which are of peculiar importance or solemnity. Here again we learn that Christ is going to return in person - "The Lord Himself." Here again we have a positive promise - "The Lord Himself shall descend." And here again, the Second Coming of Christ is presented as the "blessed hope" of the Church - "comfort one another with these words." We reserve further comment upon this passage for a later chapter.

4. Finally, we have the Promise of the Lord given from the Throne.

We have previously pointed out that, some fifty or sixty years after His ascension to the right hand of God, Christ sent His angel to the beloved John on the Isle of Patmos saying, "Surely I come quickly" Rev. 22:20). This was our Lord's last promise to His people, as though to intimate that He would have them continually occupied with His imminent Return. Perhaps this will be the best place to meet an objection that is frequently made by those who seek to find flaws in the Word of God. It is said that the Lord Jesus here made a mistake. He declared that He was coming quickly and more than eighteen centuries have passed since then and yet He has not returned!
     The explanation of this supposed difficulty is very simple. When the Lord Jesus said, "Surely I come quickly," He spoke from Heaven, and Heaven's measurement of time is very different from earth's. Never once while He was here upon earth did the Saviour say or even hint that He would return "quickly." On the contrary He gave plain intimation that after His departure a lengthy interval would have to pass ere He came back again. In the Parable of the Nobleman He spoke of Himself as One taking a journey into "a far country" (Luke 19:12). On another occasion He represented an evil servant saying, during the time of His absence, "My Lord delayeth His coming" (Matt. 24:28). While in the Parable of the Talents He openly declared that "After a long time the Lord of those servants cometh and reckoneth with them" (Matt. 25:19). What we would here press upon the attention of our readers is, that, each of these utterances were made by our Lord during the time when He was still upon earth and therefore they must be considered from earth's viewpoint; but when the Lord Jesus said "Surely I come quickly" He spoke from Heaven and concerning Heaven's measurement of time we need to bear in mind that word "Beloved, 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" (2 Pet. 3:8). In the light of the last quoted Scripture it is easy to understand Rev. 22:20 - if our Lord returns before the present century terminates He will have been away but two days!
     "Surely I come quickly." These are the words of our ascended Lord. This is His promise, sent from the very Throne of Heaven. This is His final word to His people before they hear his "shout" calling them to be with Himself. This, then, is the warrant, the ground, the authorization of our Hope. Let us now consider -

<< >> Up Title Contents