By Octavius Winslow
"Looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ." -Titus 2:13
A Savior 'to come' has been the hope of the Church of God in every age and dispensation. The Old Testament saints looked for His coming to save; the saints of the New Testament look for His coming to reign--even "The GLORIOUS appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ." There are, in fact, three personal appearances of our Lord mentioned in the Scriptures. His first, when "He APPEARED to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." The second, "Now to APPEAR in the presence of God forever." The third, when "He shall APPEAR the second time without sin (that is, without a sin-offering) unto salvation." In each of these appearances of Jesus, my soul! you have a personal and precious interest. His past appearance was to save you, His present appearance is to intercede for you, His future appearance will be to glorify you.
And so Jesus is the "Alpha and Omega" of your salvation, from the first eternal throb of love towards you--if we may speak of a beginning of that which in reality had no beginning--to the last throb of love to you--if we may speak of the end of that which in reality has no ending. Thus, Christ is all and in all to you, the First and the Last, and, as good Romaine was used to express it, "and all that comes between." Let us consider Jesus in the light of the blessed hope, His glorious appearing, a befitting subject for the close of our daily meditation upon Him.
It will be a PERSONAL appearing. As He went up into heaven so will He return--in person. "This SAME Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven." So says God's Word, and so we believe. As His ascension was personal, so will be His coming again. This is a sweet thought, my soul, for you to dwell on. He will come not by His spirit, or by His angels--thus gathering His saints unto Him by proxy--but He will come for them Himself. It will be a personal appearing of the great God, our Savior.
It will, consequently, be a VISIBLE appearing of Jesus. "Behold, He comes with clouds, and every eye shall see Him." "When He shall appear we shall see Him as He is." Oh the thought of gazing upon His person, of beholding Him robed in majesty divine, and yet looking so human, so like His brethren, of whom He will now appear, more manifest than ever, the Elder Brother!
He will come WITH ALL HIS SAINTS. Those who sleep in Him will be raised, and those who are alive at His coming will be translated. Moses and Elijah, who appeared with Him in His transfiguration, were eminent representatives of these two conditions of the saints at His coming; Moses, representing those who died, and Elijah, those who will then be translated so that they shall not see death. "The DEAD in Christ shall rise first: then we who are ALIVE and remain on the earth shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." Thus, whether living or dying in the Lord, we shall all meet again around the descending Person of Jesus, heart pulsating with heart, hand clasped in hand, one anthem sweetly chiming from every lip. "Worthy is the Lamb, for He was slain for us."
This subject is eminently PRACTICAL. It makes Jesus more precious. How quicker beats the pulse and warmer throbs the heart of the bride anticipating the speedy return of her long absent lord! Blessed Jesus! You are the Bridegroom of Your Church, and the Beloved of my soul, and the thought of soon and forever beholding You makes my soul as the wings of Amminadab--unclasped, uplifted, and ready to fly!
O my soul! let not the coming of the Lord surprise you in a state of unregeneracy, unconverted and unprepared! None can meet Him with joy but those who are BORN AGAIN of the Spirit, washed in His blood, and clothed in His righteousness. Is this your assured condition? Then, happy are you!