Editorial: The Appearing of Jesus Christ

Editorial: The Appearing of Jesus Christ

“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” (1 Peter 1:6, 7)

Peter points the weary strangers to what he calls ‘the appearing’ – or has some translate it – ‘the revelation of Jesus Christ’ This is not the mystery of the rapture that Paul speaks about, when the church shall be taken to be with Christ. Peter points to the second coming of Christ at the close of the tribulation period when Christ shall visibly return to the earth to establish His kingdom.

The Certainty of His Coming

He really is coming again. The Old Testament prophets said He would come. There are scores of references but consider this one from Zechariah 14:4, 5, “and His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem….And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.” Or consider these famous words of Daniel found in chapter 7 and verses 13 and 14, “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

The New Testament apostles said He would come. Paul spoke of His second coming in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10, ”…when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe…” Peter spoke of His second coming in the verse quoted above (1 Peter 1:6, 7). John spoke of His second coming in the book of Revelation. Consider Revelation 1:7, “Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also who pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”

The Lord Himself said He would come. Of the many references here is one from Matthew 27:30, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall 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.”

Both Old and New Testaments are unmistakably clear that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming again.

The Clarity of His Coming

When our Lord left this earth most did not know Him.  Among those who did opinions were divided. Even after the miraculous witness of the early apostles many rejected the testimony about Him. Today men and women know little of Christ. Through the enemy’s efforts of confusion many are unclear who He really is. Our role as believers to give witness to Him and shine as lights in this world.  But on that day, there will be no doubt who He really is. He will shine in power and great glory. The vision of Isaiah 6 witnessed by the prophet saw the whole earth filled with His glory. This will be seen the day of His return. There will be no doubt who He is. Every knee will bow to Him.  What a privilege is ours to bow the knee to Him now!

The Compensation of His Coming

Peter has more to tell us. He links the ‘trial of your faith’ with His second coming. He tells us that our tried faith will be ‘found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ’ This echoes Paul’s words of 2 Corinthians 5:17, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,”  Do you wonder why you pass through times of trial and difficulty?  Why do God’s people suffer? Is this normal Christian experience? Yes. We will meet our trials again, except we will hardly recognize them. They will be found to give us glory and honour. A glory and honour we could not obtain any other way than by the way the Lord led us through life. Its storms and its sorrows. Its tears and its trials. In all of these He will compensate us at that future day.

Yes, He is coming. The church looks for the rapture when we will be taken away. But we look too for His second coming when He will be seen in glory, a glory that we too shall share.

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