The second coming might seem like an odd topic to write about at Christmas, but I actually think it’s pretty appropriate. Throughout these Christmas blogs, I’ve been trying to show how, since the fall in Genesis 3, God has been about making things right, restoring our broken relationship with him, and fixing a broken world. The 1st and 2nd comings of Jesus are the culmination of all that. We live at the end of God’s redemptive story – between the first and second comings of Christ. It is impossible to understand Christmas or Easter apart from the second coming. Christmas is about Christ humbling himself, being born of a virgin, and living a sinless life in the flesh. Easter is about him paying the price for our sins and raising from the dead so that we can have victory over death. The second coming is about his ultimate glorification in all the world and restoring the world to the way it was before the fall.
Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. (Revelation 1:7)
Every person who has ever lived from Adam to this day will see the Lord. Even those who are in the graves will not miss His coming. This is consistent with what we saw in Isaiah 40:5 yesterday. He’s coming, not only to receive His own, but to reveal His glory. The word Revelation means “unveiling.” Jesus came the first time veiled in flesh, but one day that veil is going to be torn away. On that day, “every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). When Christ comes again, every knee will bow to him – Christians, unbelievers, angels, demons, Satan himself.
John, Jesus’ disciple who wrote the fourth gospel, the 3 letters who bear his name, and the book of Revelation, was granted a vision of Jesus’ glorified state:
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. (Revelation 1:12-18)
This is no little baby in a manger. At Christmas, Jesus came so humbly that no one would have recognized him without an angelic birth announcement. But Jesus himself tells us that his identity will be unmistakeable at his return:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:1-8)