The great prevailing prophetic theme of the word of God centers around the comings of the Lord Jesus. A tremendous amount of joy from Biblical learning will come to those who pursue the truth of our Lord’s coming as a baby and His life here on earth. However, we must go further and look into His promised coming again. We must never forget He said in John 14:3:
“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.”
There isn’t much difficulty in distinguishing between the “first coming of Christ” and the “second coming of Christ.” However, we should be careful in using the terms “first” and “second.” It is true that in Hebrews 9:28 we are told:
“…and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
In other words, His second coming to earth will be in a different manner and for a different purpose than His birth in Bethlehem. He came to live among men and to “humble Himself and become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). His next coming to earth will be to execute judgment upon the anti-Christ and an unbelieving world (Revelation 19:11-21). The first time He died for the sin of all mankind (I Corinthians 15:3-4). The “second” time He will not be crucified by wicked hands, but will “smite the nations, and rule them with a rod of iron.” This, no doubt, is what the Apostle John was looking for when he said:
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
When we study in the last book of the Bible, Revelation, we note that several times the Lord said, “I come quickly.” This expression is found in Revelation 2:16 and 3:11, and three times in the last chapter, 22:7, 12, 20.
Of course, the major prophetic theme and the numerous pronouncements tell us that He is coming again, and when He does come back to earth, He will set up His kingdom and then there will be:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)
There is another aspect of our Lord’s coming that is of even greater importance to all members of God’s Church or outcalling today. Israel, God’s chosen nation through whom Christ the Messiah would come, still is looking for His coming. They, Israel, rejected and crucified their promised Messiah (Acts 2:22-24). In the meantime, while blindness in part has happened to Israel, God is saving sinners and adding them to the Church, the Body of Christ. This includes individuals from all peoples that inhabit the earth. That is why He can say “Whosoever will, let him come.” Also, He can clearly announce:
“For by one spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” (I Corinthians 12:13)
In view of what God is doing in this “dispensation of the grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2), we can understand that, as members of His Church, we have a different hope concerning the appearing of our Lord. Although we should certainly rejoice that He came some 2000 years ago and died for our sins on Calvary, and that He will surely come to earth again, we especially look for His coming for us. It is taught in the epistles of Paul for the Church today, that He is coming for His Church and that we 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” (I Thess. 4:17). The coming of the Lord for His Church is imminent, that is, all things are ready, nothing needs to be fulfilled; therefore we can say with John:
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
God is ready to come, but the question is, are we ready? We cannot just decide to make ourselves ready or prepared for His coming. The matter of sin must be dealt with. When we see, “that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), we really see why He came the first time—to die for our sins. Yet as individual sinners each person must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)