Words of Hope…
The promise of Christ’s second coming to complete the great work of redemption is the main theme of the Sacred Scriptures.
Since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, the children of faith
have waited for the coming of the Promised One to bring them to
the lost Paradise again.
Enoch, the seventh generation from those who lived in Eden, who walked with God for three centuries, declared, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all” (Jude 14, 15). In the night of his suffering Job exclaimed, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; … in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another” (Job 19:25-27). The poets and prophets of the Bible have written about the coming of Christ in words glowing with fire. “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad … before the Lord. For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth” (Psalm 96:11-13).
Isaiah said: “It will be said in that day: ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation’” (Isaiah 25:9).
The Savior comforted His disciples with the assurance that He would come again: “In My Father’s house are many mansions…. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go, … I will come again and receive you to Myself.” “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations shall be gathered before Him.” (John 14:2, 3; Matthew 25:31, 32.)
Angels repeated to the disciples the promise of His return: “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). And Paul testified: “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). John, the prophet of Patmos, said: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7).
Then the age-long rule of evil will be broken: “The kingdoms of this world” will become “the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15). “The Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations” (Isaiah 61:11).
Then the peaceful kingdom of the Messiah will be established: “The Lord will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord” (Isaiah 51:3).
In all ages the coming of the Lord has been the hope of His true followers. In their suffering and persecution, the “appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” was the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). Paul pointed to the resurrection that will happen at the Savior’s advent, when the dead in Christ will rise and be caught up together with the living to meet the Lord in the air. “And thus,” he said, “we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:17, 18).
On Patmos John, the beloved disciple, heard the promise, “Surely I am coming quickly,” and his response is the prayer of the church, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).
From the dungeon, the stake, the scaffold, where faithful believers and martyrs witnessed for the truth, comes down through the centuries the expression of their faith and hope. Being “assured of His personal resurrection, and consequently of their own resurrection at His coming, for this reason,” says one of these Christians, “they despised death, and were found to be above it.”1 The Waldenses cherished the same faith. Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Ridley, and Baxter* looked in faith for the Lord’s coming. This was the hope of the church in the apostles’ time, of the “church in the wilderness,” and of the Reformers.
Prophecy not only foretells the manner and purpose of Christ’s second coming, but tells us how we may know when that day is near. “There will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars” (Luke 21:25). “The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory” (Mark 13:24-26). This is how John the Revelator describes the first of the signs that come before the second advent: “There was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood” (Revelation 6:12).
The Savior predicted the low spiritual condition of believers that would exist just before His second advent. Christ’s counsel to those living at this time is: “Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.” “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34, 36.)
← Read Previous: Faith and Courage
→ Read Next: The Call to Prepare
Source: Ellen G. White, The Great Hope, pp. 64-66.
1 See Daniel T. Taylor, The Reign of Christ on Earth: Or, The Voice of the Church in All Ages, p. 33.
*In the complete book, The Great Controversy, readers will find the story of the Waldenses and of these and other Protestant Reformers.