The Lord Himself Shall Descend: Part 1

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Part 1
The coming of the Lord, beloved brethren, is the subject of which I wish to speak to you a little.
Till the Lord came into the world there was very little about heaven in the Scriptures. But when He came to earth, immediately there was a testimony from heaven to the shepherds, that now there was glory to God in heaven, and on earth good-will to men. And the first word of testimony to Him was from heaven—God’s voice saying,
“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Then we find Him, in John 17, conversing with His Father in heaven about His heavenly people, and pouring out His heart about them; and afterward, when He had gone up again into heaven to sit at the right hand of His Father, the glory could shine down out of heaven, because God wanted the glory of His beloved Son to be seen. This glory it was which come out literally when Stephen was martyred; he saw the Son of Man occupied with himself, and got into conversation with Him.
And in the Epistle to the Hebrews we get wonderful things, because this Man is in heaven. All the different things in that epistle are put out by the Holy Ghost to feed our souls with heavenly things. If my citizenship is in heaven, what would you expect? That there would be more of the things of this earth in my mind—more of the things of this earth in my heart; or, more of the things of heaven in my mind—more of the things of heaven in my heart? O! surely more of the things of heaven in my mind, and more of the things of heaven in my heart!
And I have, so to say, the best of my portion now. You and I have not come to the Father’s house yet, but we have the Father’s heart. And which is it best for us to have—the Father’s house, or the Father’s heart? Surely the Father’s heart! It will eventuate in our getting into the Father’s house, and then we shall surely know the Father’s heart better; but it will be the same subject, the same song, then as now.
But now as to this coming of the Lord.
I would take the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, which shows out this truth. There is there, so to say, a lamp shining down, putting all circumstances in the light of it, throwing its light on all things down here.
There are two verses I would refer to in the first chapter, and, on entering on it, I would just say that the first epistle is the coming of the Lord for His own people; the second is His coming to the world.
“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.”
Those three words—faith, love, and hope, and those other words, intensified by what is with them, work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope, tell us pretty plainly where these Thessalonians were, and what characterizes the place where you and I ought to be.
It is the “work of faith.” Knowing “the substance” that there is before God, our faith can work down here. When we get home it will be rest, but down here it must be work.
Then again it is “labor of love.” Here, in the Thessalonians, there was labor connected with their love. They had much to go through. Times were hard. But then, again, there was hope connected with it, and “patience of hope” too. It could not be worn out. It had to endure, and it did endure.
But there is another thing that you and I will do well to take notice of, and that is, that all this was “in the sight of God and our Father.” I have not only faith and hope and love, but I am wearing them before God. He looks down not only to see what is shining from me, but looks to see that these three things are shining out in His presence. The poor Ephesians lost their first love (Rev. 2). There was plenty of labor, but when God looked in upon their hearts, there was no love in them. This work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope, must be all in the sight of God and our Father.
And then he says,
“We need not to speak anything, for they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”
Their faith bore witness to what Paul’s work among them had been, and thus bearing witness, they were waiting for God’s Son from heaven. If the heart does not get the assurance that He who is coming is the Deliverer from the wrath to come, that coming could not be borne. But you know we are “kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time,” and, being thus kept by God for a certain salvation, we can patiently await it, and not only await it, but await a certain Person, even “Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come.”
And that, beloved brethren, is the brightness of the hope to me. As to myself, I may not have everything as right as I could wish in my desires; I may not have everything set to rights in my house. Ay, but there is another set of thoughts altogether! He says,
“Surely I come quickly!”
And He must come! He is the one whose coming is the plan of God. The purpose of God is that He should come down, and that, so coming, He should put all God’s enemies under His feet, and bring in a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, and He will be true to His God and Father. He will accomplish all that God has given Him to do.
No wonder, if we look at our walk in the light of His coming, that we should judge it unworthy of Him, and I would not wish it otherwise. But I wish the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, rising up from the Father’s right hand, were always before our minds. I believe it would soon make our walk consistent. I believe it would set both affections, heart, and thoughts in order.
But is it not a bright hope? He will come forth; and in His coming forth He will claim the church, as He says in John 14, “In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
He has not fulfilled this promise to Peter yet. Peter is with the Lord, but he has not yet been taken to the Father’s house, and will not be until we all go to be with Him there. Now is there nothing lovely in that? Nothing in this thought of going to be in that Father’s house? Nothing wonderful about the heart of that Son, who, though He has been sitting nineteen hundred years at the right hand of God, is still thinking of coming for His people here? Is there nothing emphatically lovely in it?
He will come upon the cloud of glory. He will come to take His people home. There is Himself to see. We have never seen Him yet. We cannot do without Him, and He will not do without us! We shall see Him for ourselves! We shall hear Him for ourselves! In all things we shall be like Him in the glory.
(To be continued)