In Revelation 1:7 we read:

‘Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him.
So shall it be.’

These words reaffirm what Jesus himself taught would happen on the last day [Matthew 24:30]. They also reaffirm Jesus’ answer to the high priest when he asked ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of God?’ [Matthew 26:63,64]

For the redeemed, the expectation of Christ’s return in obvious and divine power and glory is a cause of joy.

For the redeemed, the coming of Christ is a coming for them – a time when Christ comes back, according to his promise, and takes them to be with him [John 14:3].

For the redeemed, the coming of Christ is a validation of all they have believed about him – that he is the Son of God, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, and that he did indeed rise from the dead having achieved their just acquittal by his death.

For the redeemed, the coming of Christ means that those who are dead in Christ rise, and those who are alive ‘will be caught up together with them in the air’ [1Thessalonians 4:16,17]. Beyond this coming the redeemed ‘will be with the Lord forever’, with changed bodies that are imperishable and immortal [1Corinthians 15:53].

For the redeemed, this confidence in Jesus Christ, this sure and certain knowledge, enables the patience and endurance which Revelation repeatedly expects and demands of them [1:9; 2:2,3,19; 3:10; 13:10; 14:12]. This sure and certain hope of the return of Christ, grounded in the words of Christ himself and affirmed by the apostles, is the ground of perseverance in the faith. Because of this certain expectation the Scripture says:

‘Therefore, my dear friends, stand firm. Let nothing move you’ [1Corinthians 15:58].
‘Therefore encourage each other with these words’ [1Thessalonians 4:18].

For those who are not redeemed, the concept of Christ’s return is, at present, nothing more than a religious belief, a Christian myth. But when Christ does come, the obvious and indisputable reality of both Christ and his divine glory will be a rude awakening, bringing too late the devastating realisation that the Christian hope was, after all, true: ‘every eye will see him’. But it will not be with joy – ‘all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him’.

The seemingly weak and powerless man they ‘pierced’, they now see coming in indescribable power.

The one they judged and condemned a blasphemer, they now see coming with all the glory of God, the Judge of all the earth.

The one they despised and rejected, they now realize is the most important one of all.

And those they scorned and harassed and persecuted because of allegiance to the name of Christ they now see caught up with him in his glory. Their faith vindicated. Their sure and certain hope validated.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2015