The Coming in Glory, Part 1
I was asked to elaborate on the coming of Christ.
The first point I would like to make is that when the Jews were awaiting the first coming of the Messiah they made the same mistake that the religious world makes today. They were expecting him to show up in great glory, probably in the clouds of heaven, and destroy all their enemies and establish the kingdom of God through the use of great fear and force. This Messiah would be so powerful that all would quake in their boots and none would dream of going against him.
Does not this view of a Messiah sound a lot like John’s description of the Beast:
Rev 13:2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. 13:4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast:
Rev and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
Rev 13:7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
Rev 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Rev 13:9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.
Rev 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
This description of the Beast fits very well with the religious world’s current belief of how Jesus will impact the world when he comes in glory.
Here is what the believers expect in Jesus that fits John’s description of the antichrist.
(1) He will have great power and authority
(2) He will be so powerful that none can make war with him
(3) People will worship him
(4) Power will be given him over all nations
(5) He will do great wonders and make fire to come down – a possible description of a fiery appearance in glory
This antichrist messiah was the illusion that the Jews looked for 2000 years ago and now the world awaits again for the appearance of one with great power and authority to destroy the wicked and save the righteous. Of course, the righteous are always those who believe the same way as true believers.
Instead of a booming destructive Messiah what was given to the Jews?
The answer: A kind gentle man who taught: “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” Luke 9:56
If he came the first time to not destroy, but to save, do you think his mission statement will be that much different this time? I don’t think so.
Let me repeat a prophecy concerning his first coming from a source you accept:
“And I beheld that he went forth ministering unto the PEOPLE IN POWER AND GREAT GLORY.” I Nephi 11:28
Now some early seekers could have read that and envisioned Jesus going forth upon the land in a blazing chariot dazzling everyone with the brightness of his presence.
But instead, how was this prophecy fulfilled?
Jesus went forth as one of the people and the only ones who saw the “great glory” were those who “had eyes to see.”
The Jewish leaders saw no great glory at all, but a great disturbance.
Also consider this. How many do you suppose there were who were expecting the Messiah to come as he did?
I would guess it would have been a very small handful. If John the Baptist had not prepared the minds of his little group perhaps the number would have been close to zero.
That said let’s review the scriptures concerning the clouds of heaven
Here is a popular one:
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain 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 4:15-17
The religious world is waiting for this scripture to come to pass, but many will be astounded to learn that it has already been fulfilled.
Notice the wording – Paul says: “WE WHICH ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN unto the coming of the Lord…” Then WE WHICH ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN 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.”
Paul was not speaking of a coming which would happen thousands of years hence, but of one which would come in his lifetime. Jesus told the church “I come quickly…” Surely 2000 years is not quickly.
These early Saints expected Jesus to come and save them from the great persecutions which were forthcoming and because the time was short, and the message of Christ had to be spread abroad before he appeared, the early leaders thought it best that the saints should not marry, but totally dedicate themselves to spreading the word. The injunction to not marry was a temporary one due to the circumstances of the time.
This teaching of the early leaders was not without foundation for Jesus told his disciples: “Verily I say unto you, There be some (more than one) standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his Kingdom.” Matt 16:28
These early saints believed that the 144,000 would be a group of Christians who would be taken by the Lord.
Actually, there is some historical evidence that such a saving event did happen and it was recorded by none other than the respected historian, Josephus. He recorded a second coming of Christ on May 30, 73 AD:
“Besides these, a few days after the feast, on the one and twentieth day of the month -Artemisius, a certain marvelous and incredible phenomenon appeared. I suppose what I am going to tell would seem a fable, were it not related by those who saw it, and were not the sad events that followed it deserving of such signs. Before sunset chariots were seen in the air, and troops of soldiers in their armour running about among the clouds. Moreover, at the feast which is called Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner temple, as was their custom, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that first they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a multitude saying, Let us remove hence.” The Jewish War, Book 6, page 106, Chapter 5, section 3.
This sounds like an early UFO sighting, but we also have a “multitude” that was removed. Was this Christ appearing with his hierarchy, or Kingdom, as he promised? After all, the saints were told: “Ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, and the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. To the general assembly and the church of the firstborn which are written in heaven…” Heb 12:22-23
Did members of the church on the earth join with the “church of the firstborn” in heaven? Or is it possible that they were merely transported to a different area for safety? Or did they join Christ and his hierarchy for a period of time?
Whatever the case we can see that a fairly literal interpretation was applied to Rev 14:4 in that age.
Copyright by J J Dewey
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