The words Second Advent ought to stir in us the noblest of sentiments. Here is the vision of the consummation of the world . It ought to fill us with joy and gladness. Certainly the subject should provoke interest. In celebration of the resurrection, an event that marks the central theme in Godís word, we view salvation by the cross. Our destiny is changed from futility and frustration to the prospect of immortality in a sinless world. The thought of salvation through Christ crucified has been drummed into the collective mind of the religion called Christianity. All Christendom celebrates. But there is more. A secondary, companion theme to that of the cross, lies in the future when Christ returns to the earth. After his resurrection Paul records what took place after his ascension: |
Ye man of Galilee, why stand ye
gazing up into heaven?
This same Jesus which is taken up from you
shall so come in like manner
as ye have seen him go. (Acts 1. 11 - 12).
The death of Christ provided a way to salvation, the second coming tells how it is to be effected.
When the son of man shall come in his glory,
and all the holy angels with him,
then he shall sit on the throne of his glory
and before him shall be gathered all nations. . .
Then shall he say to them on his right hand
come, ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom
prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Mat 25. 31 - 34).
This Easter season, at the commemoration of the crucifixion two weeks ago, the air was full of sacrifice. Today the pulpits are strangely silent. Reading through the paper this morning not one mention was made of the resurrection of Christ. I know we canít judge by one day, but this Sunday the world is unusually silent concerning the most spectacular event in history. Why so? I sense as you may a certain uneasiness at the mention of the subject of the second coming. Here in America it conjures up visions of tents, and sawdustĖchained serpents with forked tailsĖthe elaborate charts and graphs of fanatics. Mountain ascensions at dawn. In all a carnival air unsuited to religion. One clergyman was known to have said that adventism springs forth in an environment of poverty. Is there something wrong with the religion of the poor? Thereís a certain uneasiness, a mental squirming that produces two thoughts-- you like to know youíve been saved but you hate to think of it coming in so ignominious a fashion. This manifestation of pride results from a doctrine which states that man is basically good.
Iím not going to talk about the nature of man this morning, but only one aspect of that nature-- pride as manifested at least recently from the belief in the innate goodness of man. The idea of equality and freedom preached by Voltaire and the French Revolutionists, and soon after in this country by Jefferson and others , gave rise to the idea. But let there be no misunderstanding. This concept is at odds with Godís word. Manís dignity will come only by association with God and His grace. In the face of pride-- our enemy dressed in a fancy nameĖwe can in no way explain the logical completion of Godís plan which reaches itís climax in the second advent. The Bible holds forth the promise to re-establish Godís kingdom in Israel where, in fulfillment of numerous prophecies, Christ is king. The restored kingdom appointed to me by my father (Luke 22. 29) will last forever.
To put oneís faith in the innate dignity of man is dangerous. For one thing, there is no need for a second advent. This belief allows one to substitute the word of God with the word of man. God from the beginning pronounced man sinful, a dying creature before and after Christís death. It is only by Godís grace we are saved. The second advent is not an imaginary figment, nor the ruse of charlatans, but it will be the vindication of God. Itís impossible to quarrel with the fact that Christ will return to the earth; too many scriptures support the idea. Christís second advent will be the ultimate triumph over sin and deathĖin a literal wayĖGodís way of salvation for sojourners in the earth. Thanks be to God that we have a glimmer of truth. If one wants to learn of dignity, let him learn of the dignity of God manifested in the second coming of His son.
They that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
and they shall walk and not faint. (Is 40. 31)