The Comfort of Jesus’ Return
Many in the present age would like to deny the Christian doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ. The Old Testament is filled with hundreds of verses that predicted Christ’s birth. He would be born to a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). He would be born of the House of David (Isaiah 16:5). His coming was prophesied hundreds of years in advance in great detail.
The Bible also predicts in great detail the second coming of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul mentions the Second Coming fifty times in his writings. James and John spend a good deal of time writing of it. The angels taught it (Acts 1:10-11). Jesus himself taught that he would one day return. He clearly stated that “I will come back” (John 14:1-4).
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” – 1 John 3:2
This doctrine of his second coming has been the hope of the saints, it has been the delight of men, the glory of the ages, it has been the last word on many dying lips.
Jesus prayed his precious prayer in John chapter 17: “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me” (John 17:24). Was Jesus not saying to his Father; “I know it will be hard for them to watch the whip open my back but I want them to see me clothed in the purple robe of royalty. I know it will be hard for them to watch as they crushed a crown of thorns on my head, drive the spikes in my hands and drive the spear in my side but Father, I want them to see me as more than the humble lamb taken to the slaughter….I want them to behold my glory, the glory you have given me.”
“And for that reason, I go to prepare a place for them. I love them. I have kept them. They are mine and I will cherish them throughout all of eternity. I will surely come again to receive them unto myself” (John 14:1-3).
Jesus taught this concept of his Second Coming with clarity and conviction. He instructs us to “occupy until he comes” (Luke 19:13) and to always be on the alert and ready for his unexpected return (Matthew 25:7).
Paul instructed the Thessalonians to encourage one another with words about the return of Christ. (1 Thessalonians 4:18). We as Christians living in the latter days should take his admonition to heart. We should be constantly encouraging each other with thoughts of Christ’s soon return.
How many of the desperate have been comforted by the fact that Jesus has not forgotten them? That man whose poverty has caused him to seek the cover of a bridge. That mother who grieves the loss of her children and feels the pain and weight of a hopeless heart. The millions who look daily upon the world in which they live and they sense the despair, they sense the aimlessness and they wonder what in the world is going to happen…are they not comforted by the knowledge that we are never forsaken. He has promised to come again that “where I am you may be also” (John 17:21).
To the elderly whose body is now racked by weakness and pain, he has promised to come for you and take you to a place where there is no longer any sickness, no pain, no suffering…a place where there is no longer any shedding of tears (Revelation 21:4).
To that older person whose loved ones and family members have already gone on to glory and they now find themselves lonely on this earth. You have not yet been taken because your mansion is not yet finished. He has gone to prepare a place for you and when he is ready, and when you are ready, he will come to take you to a place where solitude and loneliness have been banished forever and ever. You will be met on that other shore by loved ones with whom you will celebrate a family reunion that will last for all of eternity.
The crippled body will be made perfect. Those who have been born with infirmities and have struggled through unknown valleys that the rest of us have never experienced will be made whole and they will finally be freed from the shackles of their earthly existence.
This second coming of Jesus has been the blessed hope of the ages. It is the inspiration that keeps many moving forward.
Isaiah Martin wrote a song in 1905:
I will meet you in the morning,
Just inside the Eastern Gate.
Then be ready, faithful pilgrim,
Lest with you it be too late.
Keep your lamps all trimmed and burning;
For the Bridegroom watch and wait.
He’ll be with us at the meeting
Just inside the Eastern Gate.
O the joys of that glad meeting
With the saints who for us wait!
What a blessed, happy meeting
Just inside the Eastern Gate!
If you hasten off to glory,
Linger near the Eastern Gate,
For I’m coming in the morning;
So you’ll not have long to wait.
We will meet those who endured the sword of persecution, we will meet those who refused to betray Christ and it cost them their lives. We will meet those whose path to glory has been so much more difficult than ours and we will ask ourselves, “How in God’s name do I deserve to gather at this gate with these great saints of God?”
There are two graves in an old country cemetery in a village called Geneva in northwestern Pennsylvania. Lying there, side by side, are my mother and my father. We laid my father there nearly 30 years ago and my mother just a few years ago. My breast is filled with a blessed hope that one day I will see them again because the “dead in Christ shall rise first” and we will meet them in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16). I will see my mother and father again, I’ll see grandparents, I’ll see siblings and aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews I’ve never seen before.
I’ve seen some happy days this year. On February 3rd by oldest son Matt and his wife, Becky, had a baby (Jacob) and I became a grandfather for the first time. On June 15th I celebrated ten years of marriage to a most wonderful woman, Shannon. On July 1st my son, Justin, and his wife, Denise, brought my first granddaughter (Mia) into our family. This year has been chocked full of happy days.
But there is coming a day that will overwhelm all these days in its brightness and glory:
There is coming a day,
When no heart aches shall come,
No more clouds in the sky,
No more tears to dim the eye,
All is peace forever more,
On that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be
There’ll be no sorrow there,
No more burdens to bear,
No more sickness, no pain,
No more parting over there;
And forever I will be,
With the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be.
Who is waiting for you inside the eastern gate? Let us remind each other often of the hope and joy we have in Christ’s return.