LOOKING FOR HIS APPEARING
Both secular and sacred history agree that about two millenniums ago there was born in Bethlehem a babe, who was named Jesus; that He grew to manhood's estate; that He was a great teacher; that He was crucified on a Roman cross, and died; and that the church systems of Christendom profess to be based upon the teachings of this great Teacher, Jesus of Nazareth.
The Bible record reveals that Jesus of Nazareth, at the age of thirty years, was baptized in the river Jordan, at which time a voice from heaven declared Him to be the Son of God; that He selected twelve disciples, who were His special pupils during the three and one-half years of ministry that followed; that He preached the Kingdom of God and performed mighty signs and wonders and miracles among the people; that His crucifixion had been foretold by the prophets in the Old Testament; that on the third day after His death He was resurrected from the dead; that forty days thereafter He ascended into heaven and ten days later the Holy Spirit was given to His faithful disciples, who were waiting at Jerusalem as directed by Him; and that these disciples confidently expected the return of Jesus Christ, and that later, in their epistles to the church, they spoke of His coming again. These facts are conceded by all who believe the Bible. Therefore, if the scriptures conclusively establish the fact of His coming again, then we should expect to find therein evidence as to the manner of His coming, the time of His coming, and the purpose of His coming.
Throughout the past several years the Holy Spirit has progressively been teaching me some wonderful and revolutionary things regarding the return of our Lord. It is not new to us to have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, tear away many of our former cherished beliefs; this He has been doing since the move of His Spirit many years ago whereby he began to draw us out of the religious systems of man in order to reveal Himself and unfold this glorious One that we call the Lord Jesus Christ. As we were separated from the static systems of Mystery Babylon we began to be taught by the Spirit of Truth, the One sent by God to teach us all things, and to guide us into all truth. The realization soon broke in awesome solemnity upon our quickened minds that most of what we believed, had been taught, and cherished, was not the truth at all, but just the thoughts and reasonings of the natural mind, the interpretation of the scriptures through the instrumentality of the intellect of man, and not by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation from God.
The first prerequisite to being taught by the Spirit of Truth is a readiness to lay down any, and all, preconcieved ideas of what the scriptures teach, with a holy disposition to accept what the Spirit teaches. It is an obvious fact that all Christians believe many doctrines simply because they have been handed down from generation to generation. Our forefathers, our church, and our brethren believed them for generations, and we believe them because they did. Much of what we believe, we believe because people for many years and long centuries have believed thus, but not one precious child of God in a thousand ever takes the time or expends the energy or spiritual initiative to discover the origin of his beliefs, and whether they are truly scriptural. We just blindly follow on in the traditional path because father and mother and friends believe that way. But because our fathers, or the majority of Christians, have believed a thing is no guarantee that it pertains to the realm of truth! We made this startling discovery when the streams of light began to flow from the realms above and the blessed Spirit of Truth began to dig down deep beneath the surface of the scriptures, the letter of the Word, opening to our astonished understanding the deeper things of God. We soon found out, however, that when the Spirit begins to bring to light, and uncover the hidden mysteries of the Kingdom of God, that many immediately commence to fight against it. When one tears away time-honored tradition he must be prepared to be branded as a heretic; and he may be sure that his statements will be misrepresented, his teachings misstated, and he himself regarded as unspiritual and dangerous.
The things the Spirit reveals are always different from what men have previously believed, and how often they are staggered! The Truth is light, and the light reveals the great darkness in the carnal and childish concepts conceived by the natural mind by interpreting through the intellect the dead letter of the Word; and because the truth is so contrary to the ideas treasured and nourished for so long, many are incited to fight against it. Because they are not seeking truth, and not contending for truth, they set themselves to defend to the death their old established doctrines, never taking the time to search out whether they are right or wrong. Oh, how subtle, how deceitful and foolish the heart of man! "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9). Only the Lord knows what is in the heart of man, and He says, "I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins." We can be fully convinced in our heart that we are standing for the truth, when the opposite is true. How we need to have our hearts circumcised and broken before God, and our eyes opened, and our ears unstopped, so we can see and hear what the Spirit has to say to the churches!
Most of what is taught in the earth contains some element of truth. Most Christian church doctrine has some truth in it, enough to make it acceptable to some people, but I do not hesitate to tell you that there is so much mixed with it that is not truth at all, and this is what has created all the divisions between the children of God. It isn't the truth that divides, it is all that is false that is mixed in with the truth that separates. Truth mixed with falsehood ceases to be truth. Since the coming of Christ is a major theme of the New Testament, and linked to man's complete redemption, why is it so variously taught and conceived? Who is responsible for distorting the truth, and what gain is made by doing so? Perhaps Paul furnishes an answer in this scripture: "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Cor. 2:14).
Let me reiterate here one of the salient points from our previous study on this subject. I am sure it surprises many of my readers to learn that the Bible nowhere speaks of the "second coming" of Christ. Interesting, isn't it - how many of the major and most commonly accepted doctrines of professing Christianity cannot be found in the Bible? Even without the vast and conclusive testimony of scripture, even without the illuminating effect of the Holy Spirit of Truth, we would be inclined to suspect the "orthodox" teachings of the churches on the so-called "second coming of Christ" simply because all of the preachers and teachers and professors of Mystery Babylon are so united in dogmatically proclaiming it! Some will shudder at the very thought of questioning so sacred and orthodox a doctrine. Let them transfer their reverence from such empty shells of human supposition to the living, imperishable Word of God, and their feelings will revolt at that which they now revere. We have long enough covered up the truth with Babylonian babblings. Let us clear them aside so that we may look upon the face of God's holy Word.
The term - "the second coming of Christ" - is not scriptural and cannot be found anywhere in the Bible; yet it has influenced the thinking and teaching of most Christians to accept and believe concepts that simply are not true. We have been so confused in our thinking that everything in the scriptures pertaining to the coming of the Lord, His appearing, His manifestation have to fit into His coming as a man two thousand years ago, or to His so-called "second coming" when every eye shall see Him. This is wrong. Many texts speak of the coming of Christ, the coming of the Son of man, the coming of the Lord or similar phrases. The word "second" never occurs with a word that can be translated "coming". The "second coming" is not a biblical expression and first occurred among Christians as late as the middle of the second century after Christ. I cannot emphasize too strongly that the word "second" is NEVER used in Holy Writ with the word "coming". That is the simple and plain and incontrovertible truth, and this fact is elementary and basic to a correct understanding of the coming of the Lord.
A great deal of faulty reasoning is apparent among Christians when the subject of the coming of the Lord is under discussion. We have been led to think in terms of the first coming and the second coming, whereas the Bible speaks in terms of the progressive revelation of Jesus Christ. Our God does not talk about the "first coming" and the "second coming" - He talks about the progressive revelation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We dare not lose sight of the fact that our Lord has already had many comings, many appearings and shall continue to have many more. We have limited the comings of Jesus strictly to two because of our unscriptural terms "first coming" and "second coming," but the truth is that He came; He continued to come; He comes; He continues to come; He will come; and He will continue to come! There are numerous "comings" and "appearings" of the Lord in the New Testament. BUT THEY DO NOT ALL REFER TO THE SAME EVENT. The word "coming" is very often used in the scriptures of a visitation or manifestation of the Lord to judge or bless or accomplish some aspect of His plan and purpose among His people or in the earth. One would think, listening to the preachers rant and rave about "THE second coming of Christ," that every time the Lord says, "I will come," He is speaking of one, specific, particular, singular event sometime out in the dim and misty future. I would be remiss if I failed to tell you that this is a great error.
We have seen that on the day of Pentecost Christ came again as the Comforter. In the scriptures Christ is presented coming with clouds; coming as lightning; coming as a thief; coming with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, with the trump of God; coming as Bridegroom; coming as King; coming as the morning star; coming as the sun of righteousness; coming in resurrection power; coming as Judge; coming in flaming fire of judgment; coming as Saviour; coming as Christ; coming as Lord; coming as refiner's fire and fuller's soap; coming to His temple; coming on the Mount of Olives; coming in the air; coming on a white horse; coming as the Chief; Shepherd; coming in His Kingdom; coming as seasons of refreshing; coming in glory; coming on His throne; coming with His angels; coming with His saints; coming to His saints; coming in His saints; etc.; etc.
It should be evident to every spiritual mind that Truth is greatly suffering when all the above "comings" of the Lord are crammed into just ONE "second coming" of Christ. Like the sound of many waters the testimony of the Word of God resounds with abundant and stunning and inescapable evidence that the coming of the Christ is not a single event, but includes many different manifestations, past, present and future. His coming to us is a many-sided experience. The confusion on this subject reminds me of one of the six blind men of Hindustan, that many who read these lines had in their readers when they went to school. It went something like this:
There were six blind men of Hindustan, to learning much inclined, Who went to see an elephant, though all of them were blind, That each by observation might satisfy his mind. The first approached the elephant, and happening to fall Against his broad and sturdy side, at once began to bawl, This mystery of an elephant is very like a wall. The second, feeling of the tusk, cried, "Ho, what have we here, So very round and smooth and sharp? To me 'tis mighty clear, This wonder of an elephant is very like a spear." The third approached the elephant, and happening to take The squirming trunk within his hands, thus boldly up and, spake, "I see," quoth he, "the elephant is very like a snake." The fourth reached out an eager hand, and felt above the knee, "What most this wondrous! beast is likei, is very plain" said he, "'Tis clear enough the elephant is very like a tree. "The fifth who chanced to touch the ear, said, "Even the blindest man Can tell what this resembles most; deny the fact who can; This marvel of an elephant is very like a fan." The sixth no sooner had begun about the beast to grope, Than seizing on the swinging tail that fell within his scope; "I see," said he, "the elephant is very like a rope." So these blind men of Hindustan disputed loud and long, Each in his own opinion exceeding stiff and strong; Though each was partly in the right, they all were in the wrong!
How like the doctrines of Christendom today! Each one seeing only part of the picture; having little or no understanding of the overall plan and purpose of God. Just seeing a fraction and not the total picture; and yet like these blind men of Hindustan, disputing loud and long, each in his own opinion exceeding stiff and strong. Each one thinking he is right, and contending for the faith once delivered to the saints. You see, each man was closed-minded. And what made him closed-minded? Not that he held an untruth, but that he held a TRUTH! It was true that an elephant is like a rope. However, where the blind man thought that it was the whole truth it was really only a PARTIAL truth. It never occurred to him, nor to his fellows, that ALL of them might be telling the truth and that if they put their pieces of truth together they would come up with "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." Only as they put each man's description with all the others could they possibly hope to know what the WHOLE ELEPHANT really looked like. And until they could learn to do that, they would ever be quarreling among themselves about what an elephant is really like, no one ever knowing what an elephant is really like, because each one was blinded by the IN-PART truth that he held.
As we come up through the various stages of spiritual growth, we get hold of a truth. And, like each of those blind men, we jump to the conclusion that what we hold to is THE WHOLE TRUTH when, in reality, it is only a part. It never occurs to us that there might be another side that is equally valid, equally important, and equally essential to ourunderstanding. We cling stubbornly to the elephant's tail, thinking it is the whole elephant, and then wonder why circumstances contradict our great and wonderful truth. Certainly, part of the elephant was like a spear, part of him like a rope, part of him like a tree trunk, but the total animal was something far more than any of these, and though each of these blind men was right about the little part that he understood, they were all entirely wrong about the whole!
The coming of the Lord is not the simplistic event that many have made it. This explains why so very few Christians have really scriptural thoughts about the coming of the Lord. They are looking into prophecy for the church's hope - they confound "the Sun of Righteousness" with "the Morning Star" - they mix up the coming of Christ "IN His saints," and His coming "WITH the saints" - they have not the faintest idea what is the difference in time or manifestation between His coming as Rain or His coming as Fire; His coming as Christ and His coming as Lord; His coming as Lightning or His coming with Clouds; His coming as Bridegroom or His coming as King. Not very many know when or how the Lord comes in any of His manifestations, therefore, they cannot know how to MEET HIM! Almost all of Christendom teaches that the return of the Lord is one single, future event. How much more reasonable and understandable is the glorious truth! Christ came, He comes, He continues to come, He will come and will continue to come. Nothing - absolutely nothing in the scriptures limits Christ's coming to one singular future event. The doctrine of the second coming of Christ as an event that has never occurred (in recent times) is as fictitious as Henry Kissinger being the antichrist, the immaculate conception of the virgin Mary, the infallability of the Pope, or the pre-tribulation rapture! Former misconceptions and crude theories concerning this great event should not be permitted to hinder us from ascertaining the simplicity of the truth concerning it, as set forth in God's blessed Book and revealed unto His elect saints now by the Spirit. Whenever I long for the Lord to move by His Spirit and make Himself real by His presence, or manifest the greatness of His power in some place or circumstance, my heart cries out, "Come, Lord Jesus!" It is a marvel of church history that practically every great move of the Spirit of God has been accompanied by the proclamation of the soon coming of the Lord. In times of spiritual revival there is always a childlike readiness to look and long for Christ. It has been a remarkable feature of the vast majority of spiritual visitations that eitherby preaching, prophetic utterance, tongues and interpretation, visions, dreams, or other spiritual phenomena the Lord has declared in the midst of His people, "I am coming soon!" It was noted by many, in the early centuries of the church, and during the revivals of the past few centuries, that it seemed to be a necessary companion to the quickening which God was then effecting, that they looked for the coming of the Lord, that they were filled with the expectation of His presence, that it was not merely a mighty blessing that had reached their souls - as indeed it was; but along with this, and above this, there was the fixing of the heart on the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. They yearned to behold Him and know Him in deeper measures.
During a mighty move of the Spirit in Scotland in the early 1800's the following testimony was recorded: "On Saturday Mr. C came over, and my mouth was again opened (to speak in tongues). He said, 'It is written, Pray that ye may interpret;' he accordingly prayed. I was then made to speak in short sentences which George interpreted one by one. The first word of interpretation was, 'Behold He cometh - Jesus cometh."' In a letter dated April 19, 1830, R. B. Lusk of Greenock writes: "I afterwards saw Miss M. and Mrs. J. They both appeared to be in a state of strong excitement. I have never seen anything at all like Mrs. J's appearance - I cannot describe it. But were it not that her words were words of truth, and that I had previously heard what I have now mentioned, I would have supposed her mad. The words she spoke were words of great power, and she seemed in an agony for utterance. I have omitted to mention that the burden of all they say is - that the Lord is near, near at hand." A portion of a letter written on May 18, 1830, is as follows: "Last Saturday night after James had spoken in tongues for a while, he prayed for interpretation, and ... it is very striking that almost all that has been interpreted has been on the coming of Christ."
A great many who read these lines can bear living witness to the fact that in the great Pentecostal outpouring at the turn of this century, the overriding message spoken by divine utterance was just this: "Jesus is coming soon!" The question follows, In all these moves of the Spirit of God through the centuries, where the soon-coming of Jesus Christ was proclaimed, DID HE COME? Did those who prophesied lie, or did "soon" mean two thousand years later, eighteen hundred years later, two hundred years afterwards, or a century thence? The Holy Spirit does not lie, neither does He create illusions, nor does He tantalize us with something which we have no hope of seeing within our lifetime. Most assuredly HE CAME! Ah - He came not in the way people expected; He came not in the manner that the saints were looking for Him; but His word was certain, and I can assure you that every time He said He was coming SOON -- HE C-A-M-E!
All through the 1800's, in revival after revival, throughout various parts of the earth, the Spirit of God thundered out the message, "Jesus is coming soon!" Then Jesus came. In Pentecostal power, at the turn of the century, He came! But the sad fact is that the complacent and lukewarm Christians and ministers in the historic churches of that day missed His coming altogether. They were unprepared for such a coming. They were no more aware that the Christ was present among His people in a new and fresh manifestation of His person, than the Jews were aware two millenniums ago that their prophesied and long awaited Messiah walked among them. It happened as the scripture declares of His coming of old: "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not" (Jn. 1:10,11). In the days of the Pentecostal move some eighty-five years ago Christ came in mighty power, but the nominal Christians remained untouched and unmoved by His presence. In fact, like the Jews, they rejected Him. He came in manifest glory, but the church world never beheld His glory. He came with a mighty voice, but none of the religionists had ears to hear. He came and they knew Him not.
Again the Spirit sounded forth the message: "Get ready - Jesus is coming soon!" And all the Pentecostals thought they knew what that meant. Midway through the twentieth century, again there was to be a mighty cry unto God for a fresh and deeper manifestation of His glory. Bands of saints across the land and around the world prayed and interceded for more of God. When God responded this time the glory erupted in a Bible School in Canada and within a matter of months swept across America and around the world. God did a new thing that for a time was destined to shake the church all over America. Christ came as The Prophet in the mouths of His holy prophets, and the prophetic word of the Lord flowed like great Niagara's of Living Water. Christ came as the Song of the Lord in the mouths of vast multitudes as the praises of God echoed down the corridors of the soul and the music of celestial choirs on earth went sweeping up the sky steeps. He came in healing, delivering, and miracle working power and great beyond the telling were the signs and wonders wrought by His name. But the leaders in the old established Pentecostal denominational churches had not prepared their hearts for this coming of the Lord. They perceived not that it was HE. They were too busy building their own petty kingdoms and gazing heavenward, expecting to be snatched away from the earth by rapture. They knew not the hour of their visitation, and all who joyfully drank at the ever flowing fountain of life were rejected and promptly excommunicated from their ranks, pronounced fanatics and branded as heretics. He came to His own, and His own received Him not!
A man was traveling, and issued from a range of hills on to an extensive plain. He crossed a stream that ran off to his right over a long stretch of sand; after an hour or so a thread of water gushed toward him from the right, falling over a cascade of white marble to his left; soon another stream was approaching him from behind, flowing over gravel through pure red soil, and going off into the woods nearby. With the appearance of water again after an hour's riding, the question arose: How many rivers had he crossed one or several? The contours of the region were not decisive against several; the traveler was a stranger in the neighborhood; to find out from an inhabitant of the country was difficult; but he had adopted a method that gave him a definite and accurate conclusion: he had observed that the water at every crossing, in every direction, and over every succeeding bed of sand, of rock, of gravel, of marble, carried always, not only a particular substance of solution, but also a peculiar kind of grass floating on the surface; he drew the conclusion, with such certainty as the Method of Agreement in Inductive Logic could afford him, that the several streams were one: one stream in extremely varied surroundings. He had crossed the same stream several times!
Now in the history of God's dealings there is a stream of the manifestation, appearing, revelation, and unveiling of Himself to men that meets us everywhere - from the heaven blest Garden of God in Eden to the closing verses of the final chapter of the book of Revelation wherein John the beloved cries out with the anguish of love, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" "They have seen Thy goings, O God, even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary" (Ps. 68:24). Now, the idea of "goings" has to do with the onward marching of God as King - it touches the coming of the King, and His kingly rule among the children of men. It passes through the most varied country as the King appears to Adam, to Noah, to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to Moses, to the children of Israel, to Samuel, to David, to Solomon, to Isaiah, to Ezekiel, to the Jews, to the Church, to Paul, to vast numbers of saints, the apprehended ones in every age. This is what history is all about, the progressive revelation of Jesus Christ from age to age, from dealing to dealing, from one stage of His purpose to another, the marching forward of God and the unveiling of His glory in our individual lives, in the corporate body, and in the affairs of men and nations. Christ has come and come and come; He came in the Old Testament, He came in Bethlehem, He came in the resurrection, He came on the day of Pentecost, He came on the Damascus road, He has come to His people again and again in seasons of refreshing, in quickening, in judgment, and all these comings will be finally consummated when at last the Christ has conquered every enemy, filled all things with Himself, and God becomes All-in-all. The many comings will then be seen to be but the ONE COMING of the Lord in extremely varied circumstances, stages, and unfoldments.
It has been asserted that other than the epistle to the Galatians, Paul used a secretary or scribe to write all his letters. Paul dictated a long letter to the saints in Corinth and at last comes to the end. He takes the manuscript away from Sosthenes or Achaicus (whoever it was that was writing) and with his own hand writes the salutation. Then he adds this startling statement: "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha" (I Cor. 16:22). These are strange words, indeed, but without doubt Paul knew by the Spirit that all of the problems that existed in the Corinthian church, which were manifold, would not be solved by anything other than a sincere and intimate and intense love of Jesus Christ in the hearts of the believers.
The word ANATHEMA means devoted to the wrath of God; it means to be lifted up to the wrath of God; it means to be accursed. It is the word found so often in the Old Testament of the accursed thing - that which had been devoted to the curse of God. If anyone love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be devoted to the wrath of God; offered up unto the withering curse of the Almighty, to be duly processed by His judgments. The result of a lack of love for Christ is the ANATHEMA, the curse of God. It begins right here in this life with the withering of the soul, with the withering of its capacity to love those things which are good and true and beautiful and noble.
Paul concludes with a second strange word: MARANATHA! In the King James version that is part of the same sentence. It makes little sense that way, however. Linguistic scholars have concluded that it is properly a separate sentence; that Paul stopped after the word ANATHEMA (accursed), and lifted his pen only to place it down again to write a new sentence composed of two words in the Aramaic language, that form of Hebrew which was the lingua franca of Palestine at that time: Maran-atha. The words mean "the Lord is at hand." The Jews of that time frequently had upon their lips the word "mara" which means "Lord." It was a plea, a prayer, "Lord, come." They looked for the Messiah. But those who rejected the Messiah that came continued to cry out, "Maran! Maran!" looking for the Lord to come, having rejected Him who had already come. And so the Christians took upon their lips the words "maranatha." It can have several shades of meaning. It can mean "the Lord hath come."
We cannot love one who is simply a myth or a legend and so we are called to love One that lived a life of flesh and blood, One who suffered on our behalf, One who endured the agony of the cross for us, One who rose from the dead, One who ascended into heaven, One who came again on the day of Pentecost in mighty Spirit power, One who now dwells in our hearts by faith, the One who has already come. We are not called to love merely a promise, but a present Christ who has lived and died and rose again for us. Furthermore, it means that the Lord is at hand; even now He is with us, always accessible to us. He is present. We cannot love simply a memory, but a living Christ. He is here to work mightily within us in the present. "THE LORD IS AT HAND. MARANATHA." Finally, it calls us to a remembrance that Christ will come again, and even that is at hand. The Lord is on His way. His coming is imminent. He has come and continues to come. He comes and He shall come and shall continue to come. He will come in as many and varied ways and manners as there are needs in your life and mine, dear one, and in the whole world of men and movements and nations. MARANATHA! JESUS IS COMING! THE LORD IS AT HAND!
I would draw your attention to the book of Revelation, the unveiling of Jesus Christ. This marvelous book contains deep and rich teaching for the elect saints concerning the coming of Christ; symbolic, mysterious, wonderful, but always to be approached reverently, humbly, with head bowed low and shoes removed from off our feet, as people standing on holy ground. Nineteen hundred years ago the beloved disciple on the lonely isle of Patmos saw unfolding before him the enthralling drama of the coming of his Lord. As the awesome sight began to unfold he cried out in astonished wonder and surprised joy, "Behold! He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him" (Rev. 1:7). The coming of the Lord as revealed in the book of Revelation is complex and progressive, extending through a variety of diverse scenes, stages, events, and manifestations, until He has come in such measure of fullness that we know Him finally in that dimension where HE IS the glorious fulfillment of all that our heart has yearned for, and desired so earnestly. All the lacks swallowed up into completeness, all the voids filled with His fullness, and we know the bliss of HIMSELF as our All-in-all.
BEHOLD! This is the word with which John begins his description of what he saw. Someone has said that the word "behold" in the scriptures is the "Stop, Look, and Listen" sign of the Bible. It always calls for special attention and directs our focus to a truth of unusual importance. The word comes from the Greek IDOU, a demonstrative participle. There are four things we should understand about this word. First, it bids the reader or hearer to give attention to what is being said, as if we were to say, "Now listen!" Second, it is used when an event is specified which seems impossible, yet occurs. Third, it is an exclamation of one pointing out something and calling attention to it. Fourth, it means to observe what is about to be said and consider it thoroughly.
Now let us look at the two words that follow: HE COMETH. "Behold! He cometh." This phrase is from the Greek word ERCHOMAI. It is the third person singular, present indicative. Any reader who knows the conjugation of verbs knows what that means. First, it means HE COMES as a present tense reality. The verb is present indicative. He comes. He is in the act of coming. Behold! He is (now) coming! In other words, He has been coming, He is still in the act of coming, and He continues to come. This is extremely important. More than once the coming of the Lord is spoken of in this tense throughout the book of Revelation. It's not a future thing, not something that shall happen somewhere down the course of history, but it is something that IS. Oh! that God with flames of His holy fire would burn this truth indelibly upon the hearts of all who read these lines.
The church world is either looking back to an historical Christ, or forward to a futuristic coming of Christ, and they miss this word ERCHOMAI which means "Behold, H-E C-O-M-E-S, He is coming, He continues to come, He will continue to come." It is something that can happen right now. It means that He comes from one place to another. He comes out of the realm of spirit to be manifested in flesh, expressed and revealed in a visible, tangible way to the material creation. ERCHOMAI means to come, to make one's appearance come before the public. It means that He comes and appears before the view of the people round about. And this coming, has already happened, it is now happening, and it shall continue to happen. This is the revelation that so captivated the apostle John that he could only stand and in amazement exclaim, "Behold! He comes!"
The coming of the Son of God did not begin with the lowly birth at Bethlehem; it began when time began; it is still going on. The Christ was in the world ages before Jesus was laid in the manger beneath the lowly cattle-shed; He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. And the Christ never went away to stay; He always leaves in one form in order to come in another. He is in the world today, known and loved and trusted by multitudes of those who through Him have received the spirit of adoption as sons. Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Christ is born anew every morning, and as many as receive Him to them gives He power to become the sons of God. "The dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace" (Lk. 1:78-79).
That glorious Name by which God is known in the Old Testament, "Jehovah," is a name which indicates a Coming God. This is neither the time or place to enter into a lengthy technical and linguistical study, but the word Jehovah, the greatest rabbis will tell you, means the Coming One. For many years I have read various interpretations of the name Jehovah. Some say it signifies, "I am." Others say, "The Coming One." Other scholarship seems to consider "The Eternal" as the most satisfactory. Another definition has been given as "The Self-existent One." Actually there is merit in all of these interpretations. God is eternal just BECAUSE He is Self-existent and therefore not dependent on any outside help or support. He is the One who in Himself embodies essential life, permanent existence, derived from no source outside Himself, and absolutely dependent upon no other person, thing, or circumstance for its continuance. And because He is Self-existent and eternal He is the One who always has been, who now is, and who always will be. Therefore, He is the One who is always coming, always at hand.
How graphically this grand truth is expressed in the introduction to the book of Revelation with these words, "Him Who is, and Who was, and Who is coming" (Rev. 1:4). And again, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who WAS, and Who NOW BEING, and Who is the COMING ONE" (Rev. 4:8). The trilogy of holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, refers to the threefold time, past, present and future. The holy One Who was from eternity, the holy One NOW BEING, and the ever COMING ONE. The Lord God Almighty is not someone to come sometime in the distant future. He is the One Who WAS coming, Who IS coming, and Who shall CONTINUE to come, manifesting Himself to His people in blessing and judgment and redemption until every eye has beheld Him and every heart has acknowledged Him, Lord of all.
In the Hebrew scriptures salvation is of Jehovah. No other name is given which His own people could invoke for help. Even when the Messiah came in flesh in order to be the Saviour there was no real change, because in Hebrew HE IS JEHOVAH-SAVIOUR, which is the meaning of the name Jesus. Peter could assure the Jews that "there is salvation in no other: for there is NONE OTHER NAME under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Does this deny that there is salvation in Jehovah? Quite the opposite! It insists that Jesus IS the Jehovah in Whom salvation is. So that, as a matter of fact, the name Jehovah occurs every time that we find the personal name of our Lord. Salvation is united with the Name in a compound. It is no longer Jehovah, but Jehovah-Saviour Jesus.
How few realize the fullness which is in our Lord's redemptive name! Suppose we spread it out before us and unfold its meaning. Then "Jesus" is the SAVIOUR WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS COMING. How wonderfully this fits into His history! Most of those who saw Him in the flesh saw only the One who is. Of His past glory with the Father they knew nothing. Of His future exaltation they did not dream. They saw little more than His present humiliation. Anyone who really knew His Name realized what He had been, and what He would be, as well as what He was. He is a Saviour who plans and performs and perfects, in the past, in the present, and in the future. Ah, sons of God, the one who has come to you and has begun a good work in you is the same One who will come and come in your today and in all of your tomorrows to perfect that good work, bringing it to completion, and present you faultless in the image of God. It is an on-going process, an ever-unfolding salvation.
Jehovah is the ever-coming One. The Coming One is my Lord and my God. Various Jehovah combinations or compound names are used in the scriptures, each indicating how He comes to us:
Vast multitudes of Christians leave heard of these wonderful covenant names of God and thrill to the things they hear, but their hearts cannot comprehend nor understand the vital truth and reality of the message. They "listen to the music, but never hear the song." How often through the years I have encountered this lack of comprehension among the Lord's people! They have eyes but they do not see. They examine the outer shell, but never taste the kernel within. They say they understand, but their spirit has not grasped the truth. They will talk long and loud about "Christ IN YOU the hope of glory," "the Kingdom of God is WITHIN you," "Ye are the BODY of Christ," and then turn around and with the next breath say that the "coming" of the Lord is still a distant, singular, future event. When men profess that they have seen this truth of the ever-coming Christ and confess that the Christ is their Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer, Baptizer, Provider, etc., and then wistfully add, "and my soon-coming King," I know they have not seen it.
They have seen nothing. Do they not make Him their COMING King because they are not sure whether they want this Man to rule over them? Most folk do not mind Him ruling over Castro and the devil and the millenium, but they feel they are free moral agents and have little desire to own Him as King of their present domain. That is why so many have kept Him COMING. The Lord wants to be King NOW. He wants to come to you today and invade the foundations of your heart and life and reign gloriously within the temple of your being. Ah, my brother, my sister, Christ is coming to me constantly. I feel Him near. I sense His presence and behold His glory from realm to realm. He manifests Himself to my consciousness in close and glad communion. He transforms my mind and heart and life and flows from my innermost being so that deep calls unto deep. I am not saying that He is not yet to come, even to me. Certainly He has not come to me, or to you, in all the fullness of Himself! But His coming in God's great tomorrow is not a single, once for all, event - it will be but the consummation of that glory in which He is appearing to us, in us, and through us in our today.
So many people wonder, Will Jesus come in my lifetime? Will I live to see the return of the Lord? Well, start living and allow Jesus to come again in your lifetime! How many lifetimes do you have? You have only this one lifetime - let Jesus come in your lifetime! As someone has said, Let Jesus come in your lifetime and begin to have the TIME OF YOUR LIFE! Then you can cease gazing up into the skies wondering when Jesus is going to come, and you can step into the NOW of God and begin your progression back into God where He is all-in-all in your life. NOW is always the best time to live. TODAY is always the best time to walk with God. THE PRESENT is always the best time to see and know the Lord. I have this peculiar trait of enjoying life NOW. You can dream of tomorrow and you can look back into the past, but all you have or will ever have is RIGHT NOW. It is always NOW. God is NOW. Get into TODAY, into God's NOW and begin living - JESUS HAS COME!
My heart earnestly cries that the day may speedily come when all of God's elect will know assuredly and understand thoroughly that Christ is always coming again, and each new quickening of the eternal Word, and each fresh inworking of His grace brings Christ throbbing upon earth. Christ always comes to hearts that are opened to receive Him. A soldier of World War I told how on the battlefield and in the trenches some saw a white Christ coming to them in their hour of need and they were strengthened by that vision. In our hour of need, if we trust in Him, the Presence is always near. Lift up your heads to the hills, the high places of God in the Spirit. Can you see the Christ there? Isn't it your weakness and carnal-mindedness if you cannot see the Blessed One?
Christ also comes in judgment against our carnal and traitor lives. What a mess we make of the testimony of our Holy Lord, even if we finally never succeed with our carelessness! Christ comes as the Convicting Spirit that calls the soul on the block of judgment and asks why the failure! Christ does come every day to judge, to bless, to transform. Have you not felt that Presence? Been aware of it? Experienced it? "No!" Then, God pity your soul. Some day, you, too, in your far country will come to yourself. Then you will see the Christ and find He was dogging your footstep as you went down and tried to escape Him. Christ is the "Hound of Heaven," and, though we flee Him down the nights and down the arches of the years and through the procession of the ages, He never gives up. Our fears cannot keep us moving fast enough to escape Him and our speed can never outdistance His movement of love. He will pursue us to the lowest hell and there demand our heart's surrender.
God has purposed to reveal every aspect of His purpose through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. So we are living this very day in a progression. God is marching on! He wants to reveal Himself and unfold this glorious One that we call the Lord Jesus Christ. He is standing at the door knocking. Open the door and invite Him and He will come in to you and will sup with you on a plane where you have never before known Him. God is preparing a people at this very time who are waiting for a further revelation of God. These apprehended ones are not saying, "Oh, if I could just tell you about those good old days when God moved in mighty power ... if only we could have continued to move in those days of glory." This people God is preparing today is not lamenting or trying to recapture or perpetuate the glory of the past. It is a true and wonderful fact that for every day there is fresh manna, there is that fresh unveiling of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not a time for God's sons to try to recapture the past, or try to warm over the glories of yesterday. There is something brand new for you and me today in the economy of God! The elect of God are now in a time of patient waiting as they are being prepared for the hour when the younger sons of God shall come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of the firstborn Son. This is not a time for those who treasure the beautiful hope of sonship to get excited about doing exploits for God in the waning anointing of yesterday or by the threadbare methods of the past. The glory that fills our expectant souls today is born of the knowledge that the hour of His manifestation is at hand - the hour when the Christ shall come in fullness to be revealed IN HIS SAINTS, and they shall reign over the earth.
I am prophesying a new and fresh revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. The night is falling on the present order. Already we are seeing evidence of the dawning of a newday breaking forth upon us and many thousands of the Lord's elect are even now arising to behold the first rays of the dawn and to drink in the intoxicating freshness of the morn. There is a mighty cry in our hearts for the Lord to move in a fresh and altogether new way in our lives and in the earth. Many things are happening in the Pentecostal and Charismatic realms today, but I do not hesitate to tell you that all of these things are but stale "left overs" from previous.visitations. We are due for a fresh move and a new work of God in the earth today! So the night is coming, bringing an end to particular forms of the movings and operations of the Spirit of God. Though all the manifestations of the past have been precious and needful, yet our God in this hour is moving on. A new manifestation and revelation of the Christ is coming in the midst of us, and I hear and see the signs that He is beginning to come. We are living in the early dawn of another APPEARING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. This appearing will be through the long-awaited manifestation of the sons of God. This truth is burning within my bones, pulsating within my bosom. I am being quickened by these things. My one desire is to be available to be a part of this appearing of the Lord that is preparing the sons of God for the wind-up of this age and the inauguration of a far greater age of glory.
Every time there is a change in the working of God we are thrown into a crisis situation. There is something about us that is never quite prepared for change. There is always that shock of seeing a cherished order vanish away, while wondering what the next order will be. But this is how it is. The Lord God reveals His glory and it accomplishes a purpose. Then the end of that day comes. The night steals in upon that era. God is ready for a new order, a new day, another phase of His workings. Again, even as I pen these lines, there is a fresh working of God in the earth. Again there is a "going forth" of Jesus Christ, released in another form through a many-membered body of sons of God. God moves on and a new glory is ready to be revealed. It will not be revealed upon those unspiritual souls who sit by saying, "My God delayeth His coming; He has not come and is not now coming; He will come bye and bye and take us up to heaven." Ah, those who for two thousand years have kept Him coming in a singular event away out there in the future some where fulfill exactly the words of Jesus these are the "evil servant" who says in his heart, "My Lord delayeth His coming!"
I must speak very plainly, my friends. This next move of God, the manifestation of the sons of God, will not come through those who are waiting for a rapture to whisk them away to the skies. It will come through a people who are crying out from the depths of their spirits, "Oh God, visit us afresh. Do a new thing! We need YOU! Creation groans for deliverance! Come! Lord Jesus, and meet us on a higher order, in a higher dimension. Come to your temple in fullness. Come! with the power necessary to purge and cleanse us and transform us into your image. Come! that we might behold your glory and be changed from glory to glory. Come! that the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened, that we may see Thee today in present revelation. The whole earth is waiting with bated breath for the glory of the Lord to be manifested. Come! and cause righteousness and praise and deliverance to spring forth before all the nations. Even so, Come! Lord Jesus!
It is the beautiful time of waiting and watching for His appearing. It is the time to listen for the glad heralds of the morning.
"It may be morn, it may be night or noon; We know HE'S COMING SOON!"