Christ Above All
Robert C. Shannon
(c)opyright 1989, Robert C. Shannon.
Here Comes the Bride

    The last words Christ spoke to anyone on earth He spoke to John on the island of Patmos as recorded in Revelation, 22:  "Surely, I come quickly."  Twice before in that chapter Jesus said, "Behold, I come quickly."  Certainly, the last words Christ ever spoke constitute a significant text.

    The book of Revelation is filled with predictions, but the first and the last are a prediction of the second coming.  It is filled with promises, but the first and the last are a promise of the Lord's return.  It is the only book in the Bible that begins and ends with a prayer - and it is the same prayer:  "Even so, come."

He Will Be Seen

    Revelation 1:7 says, "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him . . ."

    Not everyone saw Him when He came the first time.  Only those fortunate ones who lived at just the right time and just the right place saw Him then.  The next time, however, every eye shall see Him.  His first coming was announced.  His second coming has been announced.  His first coming was believed by some but rejected by many.  The news of His second coming is believed by some, rejected by many.  Then many missed seeing Him; but the next time every eye shall see.  Then many did not acknowledge Him, but in the time to come every tongue shall confess.  Then many did not accept Him; but the next time every knee shall bow.  Think of it!  Every eye!  Every tongue!  Every knee!

    Those alive at the Lord's return will all see Him.  Those who have fallen asleep in Jesus will see Him (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  His enemies will see Him (Revelation 1:7).  He will be seen.

He May Come Soon

    Some would be more definite than that, but Scripture does not justify it.  How shall we explain the word "quickly"?  Peter talked about that problem and reminded us that a day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day.  Jesus just left day before yesterday!  What's your hurry?

    Quickly means suddenly.  The Bible says, "as a thief in the night."  The thief does not ring your doorbell - he bursts into your room.  The Bible says "as lightning."  We predict eclipses of the sun and moon, but no one says, "You may see lightning flash at 10:38 p.m. Saturday."  "In the twinkling of an eye," says the Bible, Christ will come.  It doesn't take long to blink your eye.  That means that from the time Christ leaves Heaven until He arrives on earth will be only an instant.

    He may come tomorrow.  He may delay ten thousand years.  I don't know.  You don't know.  Jesus said the angels didn't know.  Just as the thief gives no sign of his coming, so our Lord will give none.

    You can get a timetable for the train, the plane, or the bus; but there is no timetable for our Lord's return.  Some thought it would be in the lifetime of the apostle John, but they were wrong.  William Miller thought it would be in 1843, but he was wrong.  He then found his mistake and changed the date to 1844, but Christ didn't come then either.

    Piazza Smith studied the Great Pyramid and said He would come in 1881.  He didn't.  Dimbelby said He would come in 1898.  He didn't.  Thousands gathered at Nyack, New York to await His coming in 1908.  He didn't come.  Charles T. Russell was sure it would happen in October, 1914.  It didn't.  His successor moved the date to 1936, but again, nothing happened.  In spite of those two errors, the sect of Jehovah's Witnesses managed to survive.

    The world is filled with waiting rooms.  We wait in hospitals and in doctor's offices, in airports and depots.  All of life is a waiting room.  This whole earth is a waiting room waiting for the return of our Lord.  And no one knows when He is coming.

He Will Come Surely

    That word "surely" is found on the last page of the Bible and on the first.  In Genesis, God said of the forbidden fruit, "In the day ye eat thereof ye shall surely die."  Did it happen?  Are we still living in Paradise?  Can anybody say that this world with its disease, its disasters, its sin, and its death, is the Garden of Eden?  As certainly as that "surely" came to pass, so will this "surely" come to pass.

    He said, "I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go . . . I will come again."  Study that text backward.  If Jesus is not coming, then He has not prepared a place for us.  And the only place for us is here, on this earth, with all its trials and difficulties.  Or look at Revelation 22:12: "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me."  If He is not coming then there is no reward.  Sin must go forever unpunished.  Virtue must go forever unrewarded.  Service must go forever unnoticed.  The books of life must go forever unbalanced.

    Or look at Revelation 1:8:  "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."  As surely as He was, He is to come.  Does anyone doubt He once was here?  It is equally certain He will come again.  He bases it on His own divine nature.  "I am Alpha and Omega."  This is no fringe doctrine on the periphery of our faith.  To strike at the doctrine of the second coming is to strike at Christ himself.  If He is not the end then He is not the beginning.  If He is not the last then He is not the first.

    I hear the voice of God in Eden in that mysterious verse that means, "He's coming!"  I hear prophets, patriarchs, and psalmists all say, "He's coming!"  I hear children shouting as they pad down the dusty lane of a Galilean village,  "He's coming!"  I hear the crowd that looked out from Jerusalem to see His triumphal entry as it wound down the slopes of Olivet.  As they run to join it, I hear them shout, "He's coming!"  I hear the witness of the church from age to age, "He's coming!"  I hear His own witness, "Surely I come quickly."

    The first time He came as a babe.  The next time He comes as a bridegroom.  The first time He came with a song.  The next time He comes with a shout.  The first time He came to save.  The second time He comes to judge.  What preparation are you making for His return?

Come and Dine
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