THE INTRODUCTION . Most writers agree that the first three chapters are introductory. They may be thus subdivided:
Revelation 1:1-3 , the superscription;
Revelation 1:4-8 , the address and greeting;
Revelation 1:9-20 , the introductory vision;
The earliest systematic commentator on the Apocalypse in the Greek Church, Andreas of Caesarea, in Cappadocia (A.D). 450-500), divides it into twenty-four λόγοι , or narratives, to correspond with the twenty-four elders; and each of these into three κεφάλαια , or chapters, to correspond with body, soul, and spirit, making seventy-two chapters in all.
The address and greeting. Of this section only Revelation 1:4-6 are, strictly speaking, the salutation; Revelation 1:7 , Revelation 1:8 constitute a kind of summary, or prelude— Revelation 1:7 being more closely connected with what precedes, Revelation 1:8 with what follows. The salutation proper ( Revelation 1:4-6 ) should be compared with the salutations in St. Paul's Epistles.
It is difficult to determine the exact connexion of these verses with one another, and with what precedes and follows. It seems best to make Revelation 1:7 a kind of appendix to the salutation, and Revelation 1:8 a kind of prelude to the whole book. They each give us one of the fundamental thoughts of the Apocalypse; Revelation 1:7 , Christ's certain return to judgment; Revelation 1:8 , his perfect Divinity.
He cometh . He who loveth us and cleansed us and made us to be a kingdom will assuredly come. While interpreting the verse of the second advent, we need not exclude the coming to "those who pierced him" in the destruction of Jerusalem, and to "the tribes of the earth" in the breakup of the Roman empire. With the clouds. This probably refers to Mark 14:62 , "Ye shall see the Son of man … coming with the clouds of heaven" (comp. Daniel 7:13 , "Behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven"). Aquinas and other writers make the clouds symbolize the saints, "who rain by preaching, glisten by working miracles, are lifted up by refusing earthly things, fly by lofty contemplation." And they also; better, and all they who ( οἵτινες ) pierced him. This is strong evidence of common authorship between the Fourth Gospel and the Apocalypse.
The outlook: the second coming of our Lord.
There are one or two more introductory themes presented to us, before we are fairly launched on the exposition of the visions and scenery of this book. In this verse we have a summing up of its specific outlook. The apostolic seer beholds the Son of man enthroned in heaven, and unfolds, in symbol, the movements on earth till the Lord returns again. Hence the view which bounds the scene is this—"he cometh." We propose in this homily to set forth the place which the New Testament assigns to the second coming of Christ, in its relation to the Divine dispensations, to the faith and life of the Church, and to the outlook of the world. We hope, in doing so, to avoid some evils which have given us much concern, and which seriously impede the preparation of the Church for her Lord's return. We must not, in thinking of our Saviour's coming again, be led to think of him as now absent from his Church in such sense as to leave her lonely, helpless, and forlorn. He is not only near his Church, but in it—the Holy Ghost is her Comforter. She is not desolate—the real presence is in the heart of every believer, in the assemblies of the saints, and at the feast of the Holy Communion. Nor must we let our attention be taken off from the responsibilities our Lord has entrusted to us, by any of the interminable and profitless disputes as to the day or the hour of his appearing. It may be questioned whether the evil one ever used a more powerful engine for perplexing and injuring the Church, than by dragging her into disputes of days and years, and so far taking off her attention from the words, "Be ye ready." Nor will it accord with the demands of our Lord on our fidelity if we allow ourselves to drift into the notion that the world is getting worse and worse, that the gospel is meant to be a failure, that the great work of winning the globe for Christ will never be done by any missionary effort, but will be brought about by the reappearing of our Lord. We have no scriptural warrant for any such conclusion, and we regard it as a most lamentably successful temptation of the devil to lure the Church of God away from throwing all her energy to the task of preaching the gospel to every creature. We may not think of the coming of Christ as if it were to effect the new creation of God's grace, or to build the temple of the Lord. That is being done now. Christ will come because the harvest of earth is ripe, and when it is ripe. His work will be that of judgment. He will come, not to assume his sovereignty, but to reveal it to an unbelieving world and to an exultant and victorious Church. There are nine views which we may take of the reappearing of our Lord.
I. THE SECOND COMING IS THE NEXT GREAT EVENT IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE DIVINE DISPENSATIONS . There are three points on which Old and New Testament prophecy bids us fix our gaze, all gathering round the word "coming:" the Redeemer is "the Coming One"—"coming in weakness to suffer;" "coming in the energy of his Spirit to create and build up and consummate the Church;" "coming in sublime manifestation to judge the world." All is, however, in the scriptural view, an unbroken unity—the working out of a Divine plan, not an evolution of blind force. Our Lord, in the discourse to his disciples recorded in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, speaks of two events then in view—one, the destruction of Jerusalem; another, the end of the world. Of the former he says, "This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled." Of the latter, "Of that day and hour knoweth no man," etc. And the latter is "the end of the age." When Peter spake on the Day of Pentecost, he declared that the outpouring of the Holy Ghost began on that day, as spoken of by Joel, ushering in, as it were, a period which was bounded in the far distance by "the day of the Lord." And so throughout the Epistles, "the day of Christ," "that day," "the day of the Lord," is uniformly the far point beyond which none can peer, and for which all things are waiting (cf. Acts 1:11 ; Philippians 1:10 ; 2 Timothy 1:12 )—"looking for," "hasting unto," "waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God."
II. IT IS AN EVENT WHICH IS EVEN NOW ON THE WAY . He is coming ( ἔρχεται ). He is, as it were, moving towards us every moment. Not as if nothing were being done now, nor as if there were even a pause for a while. Not as if it were indifferent to us until certain signs meet our eye which tell that the end is close upon us. Not so—not so is the meaning of the text. He is coming. He is actually on the way. The train of events which will bring him to us has long ago begun to move; and only, only as we recognize this do we understand the meaning of the dispensation under which we live. Of old, whether men knew it or not, every event was made subservient to the first appearing; and now every event is being so guided and controlled as to prepare the way for the second. Not a moment is being lost.
III. THOUGH CERTAIN AS TO FACT , IT IS UNKNOWN AS TO TIME — AND UNKNOWABLE . "Of that day and hour knoweth no man;" "It is not for you to know the times and the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power." Ever since the beginning of the Christian age there have been ever and anon men who have professed, by calculations of prophetic time, to assign dates for this or that; but again and again have their systems failed. When even such a one as Dr. Cumming £ was obliged to own that if he could tell when the twelve hundred and sixty years began, he could tell when they would end, but that he must confess that the former was a mere conjecture, who does not see the futility of thus wasting time in the attempt to reveal what our Lord meant to conceal? There are manifestly high and holy ends to be served in this concealment. Did we know the precise moment when all things are to come to a stand, such knowledge would bring them to confusion. Besides, the texts in Mark 13:35 and Matthew 24:36-44 are decisive on this point.
IV. THERE WILL BE SIGNS WHICH WILL PRECEDE THE COMING OF THE LORD . From those convulsions of nations, etc., of which many make so much, we gather no light, since they are to mark the entire duration of this dispensation, and hence neither of them can be taken as a sign of its immediate close. Nor will there be any change in the daily movements of men, any more than there was in the days of Noah, "until the flood came, and took them all away." True, "the heavens and the earth which are now, are reserved unto fire," etc.; but that fire will be one of the accompaniments of the second coming, not a sign to precede it. The sign which will indicate the approaching end will be the ripening alike of tares and wheat—bad and good. The bad will get worse, and the good will get better. Both will ripen. Then the end. The angel will thrust in the sickle because the harvest is ripe.
V. WHEN THE LORD COMES , HE WILL APPEAR IN HIS GLORY . ( Matthew 25:31 ; 1 John 3:1-3 ; Colossians 3:4 , "As he is;" cf. also Hebrews 9:28 , "Without sin.") Not as a "weary man and full of woes," but in majesty and might, "with great power and glory."
VI. THE SECOND COMING WILL CLOSE THE PROBATION OF THE RACE . £ This present time is "the day of salvation" ( Isaiah 49:8 ; 2 Corinthians 6:2 ), during which "whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved" ( Acts 2:21 ). Ere it closes, we cannot doubt that, in some state of being or other, every soul will have been brought into direct contact with the Saviour for acceptance or rejection, so that when the Saviour comes men will give account to One who has all things in readiness for judging the living and the dead ( 1 Peter 4:5 , 1 Peter 4:6 ). And as has been the soul's attitude towards Christ, according thereto will be the sentence from him. How can it be otherwise (cf. Matthew 7:1-29 .)?
VII. THE SECOND COMING WILL BE FOR JUDGMENT . This word "judgment" means very much: and the judgment period may be as long as "the day of salvation;" and we have long thought that in these two positions is the clue to the solution of the difficulties of the millenarian controversy. For the righteous it will mean manifestation, vindication, glorification. For the wicked it will mean manifestation, condemnation, shame. Both are included in Paul's description in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 . Hence the earth will "wail because of him."
VIII. THE SECOND COMING IS CONSEQUENTLY THE " BLESSED HOPE " OF THE CHURCH , AND THE DREAD OF THE GUILTY . ( Titus 2:13 .) This is emphatically "the hope" which is so repeatedly referred to in the New Testament; it is the distinctive feature of the Christian's faith ( 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 ). But guilt dreads it.
IX. THE SECOND COMING OF OUR LORD FOR AWARD OR PUNISHMENT casts a hue all its own on the meaning and outlook of our daily life ( Matthew 25:1-30 ; 1 John 2:28 ; 2 Peter 3:14 ; 2 Corinthians 5:10 ; Romans 14:9-12 ; Matthew 7:21-27 ; 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 ). This—this is the intensely practical end which the disclosures of our Lord's reappearing are intended to serve. Not that we may dispute with one another who has the most exact calculation as to the day, the hour, the how; but that our only rivalry may be, who shall be most faithful in doing the work of the day in the day, and thereby best prove himself to be ready, ever ready, let the Lord come whenever he may! Of little worth will it be to any to know the moment, unless at the moment they are ready to go in unto the King. Only as we are ready can we say from the heart, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"
The mourning at the coming of the Lord.
"Behold, he cometh with clouds," etc. For the parallels and explanations of this mourning, we must turn to Zechariah 12:10 , and to our Lord's words in Matthew 24:30 . These show that the mourning will be of very varied kind. There will be that contrasted sorrow of which St. Paul tells when he speaks of the "godly sorrow" and "the sorrow of the world." The former, that which will be the result of the outpouring of "the Spirit of grace and supplication" of which Zechariah tells; and the latter, that which has no element of hope or goodness in it, but tendeth only to death. Let each one of us ask—Which shall mine be? Consider—
I. THE COMING OF THE LORD . "Behold, he cometh with clouds." This tells:
1 . Of the manner of his coming. In majesty (cf. the cloud of glory at Transfiguration). See the frequent gorgeous magnificence of the clouds; fit and apt symbol are they of the august majesty of the Lord. Mystery. "Clouds and darkness are round about him." "Who by searching can find out God?" How incomprehensible by us are his movements and ways! Might. How the clouds rush along! with what speed, volume, force! They blot out the radiance of sun, moon, and stars; they darken the face of the earth. So will he come with great power. Mercy. The clouds herald "the times of refreshing" (cf. Acts 2:1-47 ). So will he come to all them that love his appearing. Hence the Church's cry, "Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus: come quickly."
2 . This coming is to be understood literally. If the words of Scripture have any meaning, they affirm this. Why should it not be? So was it at Sinai; so, in forecast, at the Transfiguration. Announcing it a short time previously ( Matthew 16:28 ), our Lord spoke of it as "the Son of man coming in his kingdom." It is evident that the apostles and first followers of Christ understood his coming in a literal sense, and it is difficult to see how they could have understood it otherwise. True, their wish was father to their thought when they spoke of it, as they so often did, as close at hand, as likely to happen in their own lifetime. But they were not taught by Christ to affirm this; rather the reverse. For he said, "It is not for you to know the times," etc. ( Acts 1:1-26 .). But they were right in believing the nearness of Christ's spiritual advents. For:
3 . Christ's coming is to be understood in a spiritual sense as well as literally. All advents of Christ, though he be personally unseen, to judgment are real comings of the Lord. What else were the destruction of Jerusalem, the downfall of pagan Rome, the Reformation, the French Revolution, and yet other such events? And to every man at death (cf. Hebrews 9:27 ). "After death, judgment." Therefore it is ever true that he comes quickly. The Lord is at hand. He shall suddenly come; in an hour when ye look not for him; as a thief in the night. And in the sudden and marked manifestations of the Lord's displeasure which come now and again upon ungodly men; and as the direct consequences of their sin;—in these also should be seen the coming of the Lord. This truth, therefore, of Christ's coming should not be relegated to the region of speculative, mysterious, and unpractical truths, but should be, as God grant it may be by us all, held fast as of most momentous present and practical import to bear upon and influence all our daily life and thought and conduct. But St. John, in our text, has undoubtedly in view the literal coming of the Lord, and he tells of—
II. THE MOURNING THAT SHALL ATTEND IT . "All … shall mourn because of him." So then:
1 . None will be indifferent. Many are so now. Try we ever so much to arouse them to religious thought and action, we cannot do so. The world and its concerns baffle all our efforts. But at the Lord's coming, the one thought of all will be concerning their relation to him. In the parable of the ten virgins ( Matthew 25:1-46 .) we are told that "all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps." The foolish had been careless about this hitherto, but now all were aroused and eager, though for them it was all too late. And so at our Lord's coming, "every eye shall see him," and all "shall mourn because of him." But:
2 . The mourning will be of different kinds.
(a) Mankind generally. "Every eye shall see him," etc. And this looking upon Christ shall be the look of faith and love. Zechariah, in the parallel passage, teaches this—even of those who have "pierced him." James, the unbelieving brother of the Lord, seems to have been converted by the Lord's appearing to him. Saul the persecutor became Paul the apostle by the same means. And so, doubtless, not a few amidst the masses of mankind, who have known and felt how little their heathenism and varied misbeliefs could do for them, will, when they behold the Lord, exclaim, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him." And they will mourn their long estrangement, and the darkening of their hearts that their own sin has caused.
(b) Israel. Special mention is made of them here and in Zechariah 12:1-14 . It was they "who pierced him." But it is told how they shall bitterly mourn when they see him, as if they mourned "for an only son." And it shall be a godly sorrow, though, as it should be, it will be heartfelt and deep. How could it be otherwise when they remembered how they ought to have received Jesus as the Christ! "He came to his own "—and they were "his own"—"and," etc. They rejected him, rejected him cruelly, persistently, generation after generation, age after age, and yet the Lord bore with them all this time; and now they see him— him, coming to help and save them. Yes; though they pierced him, hung him up and crucified him, yet, behold, he cometh, and not to destroy, but to save; and the sight of that breaks them down, as well it may. Ah! what tears of penitence will flow then! Yes; Israel shall mourn.
(c) The spiritual Israel —the Church. The ancient prophet plainly has them in view as well as the literal Israel. And will not the Church of God mourn at her Lord's coming when she thinks what she might have done, and should have done, but did not do? It is the one sorrow that we shall take into the presence of the Lord, that we so ill served him who did all for us. Then the Church will see, as now oftentimes she is slow to see, that she is but an unprofitable servant, even when she has done her all. How will the Church think then of her apathy and indifference in regard to the masses of the ungodly outside her borders; of the half-hearted service she too commonly renders, her members spending more on their own luxury and ease than they surrender for Christ during a whole lifetime; of the strange things that have been done in the name of Christianity, and of the dishonour many so-called Christians have brought upon the holy name they bear? The Church, when she beholds her Lord, will mourn for these things. Would it not be well if she mourned more now, and so set herself to alter and amend her ways?
(d) Families are spoken of as sharing in this mourning—those whom St. John speaks of as "all the tribes of the earth," and Zechariah tells of as "all the families of the land." And he specially dwells on this family, household, mourning, naming a number of these families as representative of all the rest. How suggestive this is to us all! For whatever else we may not be, we are all members of some family or other. And this divinely appointed institution of the family, how immensely powerful it ever has been and must always be for good or ill. What the families are the nation will be. And amid the families there will be mourning when the Lord comes. Godly parents, cannot you understand this? Do you not now, or would it not be much better if you did, mourn over your many failures in duty as regards the position God has placed you in? How intent you are on your children's secular good! and so you ought to be; but how little solicitude you display that their young hearts may be yielded up to the Lord! And how much more was thought of what the world and society would say, than of what would please Christ, in regard to the business, social, or marriage relationships into which you allowed or caused your children to enter! And if they have lost their love for Christ and his blessed service, whose fault is it? Oh, how will these things look in the presence of your Lord? Then let them be so to you now, and so is there less likelihood of your being "ashamed before him" at his coming.
(e) Individuals are not omitted in this enumeration. "Every eye" means every individual person. There will be matter for the mourning of each one, one by one, separate and apart. Yes; that we were so late and laggard in coming to him; that when we did come, too often, for all the service we rendered him, we might almost as well have stayed away; that our conversion is so imperfect; that sin lurks and lingers in us, and often breaks out and overpowers us even now. The language of many a heart will be then—
"Oh, how I fear thee, living God,
With deepest, tenderest fears,
And worship thee with humble hope,
And penitential tears!"
Well will it be for us often to review our own personal lives in the light of the coming of the Lord. For it will send us swiftly to that "fountain opened for all sin and uncleanness," which Zechariah tells of in connection with this mourning—that most precious fountain of the Saviour's blood. And it will lead us to pray with greater fervour and frequency, "Search me, O Lord, and know my heart; prove me," etc. ( Psalms 139:23 ).—S.C.
The apostolic salutation.
The servant John, by no other name known, in fulfilment of his duty as the one by whom the great revelation was "sent and signified," hurries to pronounce his salutation to "the seven Churches which are in Asia"—typical examples of the one Church in its sevenfold, universal experience.
I. The salutation INVOKES BLESSINGS :
1 . Of the highest character: "grace and peace." The entire revelation is, for the Church, a revelation of "grace and peace." It begins in grace; it terminates in peace. These the alpha and omega of gospel blessings, the origin and end. All is of God's grace; all tends to peace in man—to peace universal.
2 . From the Source of all good, the Triune Source of all blessing. From the Eternal—" him which is, and which was, and which is to come"—the I AM — Jehovah; from the sevenfold Spirit; and from Jesus Christ, "the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, the Ruler of the kings of the earth." These ascriptions have special reference to the condition and necessities of the Church, whose living Head is "all in all." Christ, the Revelation of the Father, becomes prominent.
II. The salutation, therefore, ASCRIBES GLORY AND UNENDING DOMINION unto him; declaring
—a kingdom of which he is the supreme Sovereign; a kingdom of priests, to offer up spiritual sacrifice continually, acceptable unto God.
III. The salutation further PROCLAIMS THE SECOND COMING of that Lord Jesus Christ who is the central theme of all the following revelation.
1 . The fact of it.
2 . Accompanying circumstances of it: "with the clouds."
3 . In view of all: "Every eye shall see him."
4 . Special reference to offenders: "And they which pierced him."
5 . Consequence—universal mourning: "All the tribes of the earth shall mourn over him."
Our hearts echo the cry, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen."—R.G.
Christ and the soul
"Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory," etc. These words suggest a few thoughts concerning Christ and the soul.
I. CHRIST IS THE LOVER OF THE SOUL . "Unto him that loved us" ( Revelation 1:5 ). Other beings may love the human soul—angels may, saints may—but no one has loved it as Christ has.
1 . He loved it with an absolutely disinterested love. Alas! we know but little of disinterested affection. With all our love for each other, there is generally a mixture of selfishness. But Christ had nothing to gain from the human spirit; its damnation would not diminish his blessedness; its salvation would not add to his ineffable bliss. He loved the soul for its own sake, as the offspring of God, endowed with wonderful capabilities, possessing in itself a fountain of influence that would spread indefinitely through all time and space.
2 . He loved it with a practically self-sacrificing love. It was not a love that existed merely as an emotion, or that even wrought occasional services; it was a love that led to the sacrifice of himself. "He loved us, and gave himself for us. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life."
3 . He loved it with an earnestly forgiving love. "When we were enemies Christ died for the ungodly." He loved those who were not only out of sympathy with him, but who were in malignant hostility to him; and his love was not only such as to incline him to listen to petitions for pardon, but as inspired him with an intense longing to forgive his enemies. "Herein is love." Who ever loved like this? Here is a love whose height, depth, length, breadth, passeth all knowledge.
II. CHRIST IS THE CLEANSER OF THE SOUL . "And washed ['loosed'] us from our sins in his own blood" ( Revelation 1:5 ). The moral restoration of the soul to the knowledge, image, and enjoyment of God is represented in a variety of figures in the Bible, which is a highly figurative book. When the lost state of the soul is represented as a state of condemnation, then its restoration is represented as forgiveness or justification; when its lost state is represented as enmity to God, then its restoration is set forth under the metaphor of reconciliation; when its lest state is represented as a state of death or sleep, then its restoration is set forth as a quickening and awakening; when its lost state is represented as a bondage, then its restoration is set forth as an enfranchisement; when its lost state is represented as a state of pollution or uncleanness, then its restoration is represented as a washing or a cleansing. All these figurative expressions represent one thing—the moral restoration of the soul; and this is spoken of in the text as wrought by Christ. "Washed us from our sins in his own blood." To be washed in blood is an expression that sounds incongruous and somewhat offensive; but it does not mean material blood, as the vulgar and the sensuous understand, but the spiritual blood, which is his moral life, his self-sacrificing love. The cleansing influence which is here applied to the blood is elsewhere applied to the "Name of Christ." Now "ye are clean through the word I have spoken;" again, "Sanctified through thy truth." Then to the "water of the Word," "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word." The "Name," the "Word," the "Spirit," the "Truth," which are represented in such passages as cleansing the soul, must of course be regarded as meaning essentially the same thing as "blood" here, which stands for the moral spirit of Christ, which is the same thing as Christ himself. He it is who cleanseth the soul—cleanseth it by his life. The figurative language here is purely Judaic, taken from the old temple ceremonies; for "almost all things were purified by the Law through blood." The grand mission and work of Christ are to put away sin from the soul. Sin is the guilt, sin is the curse, sin is the ruin of human nature. Sin is not so engrained, so wrought into the texture of the human soul that it cannot be removed; it can be washed out, it is separable from it, it can be detached.
III. CHRIST IS THE ENNOBLER OF THE SOUL . "Hath made us kings and priests unto God" ( Revelation 1:6 ).
1 . Christ makes souls " kings ." "I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me." Souls in their unregenerate state are paupers, prisoners, slaves; they are the mere creatures of internal passions and external circumstances. Christ enthrones the soul, gives it the sceptre of self control, and enables it to make all things subservient to its own moral advancement.
2 . Christ makes souls "priests." True priests are in some respects greater than kings. Kings have to do with creatures, priests with God. Christ, then, is the Ennobler of souls. Worldly sovereigns may and do bestow titles of greatness on men. The wonder is that they should have the audacity to attempt to ennoble by bestowing titles. They cannot bestow greatness itself. Christ bestows true greatness—greatness of thought, heart, sympathy, aim, nature. He alone is great whom Christ makes great; all others are in the bonds of corruption.
IV. CHRIST IS THE DEITY OF THE SOUL . "To him be glory and dominion forever and ever." The souls whom Christ has loved, cleansed, and ennobled feel that he is their God, and render to him the willing and everlasting homage of their nature. "Unto him that loved us, and washed [loosed] us from our sins in [by] his own blood." God in Christ is the grand object of human worship, and those whom Christ has thus restored cannot but worship him. Worship with them is not a service, but a spirit; is not obedience to a law, but the irrepressible instinct of a life.
V. CHRIST IS THE HOPE OF THE SOUL . "Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him" ( Revelation 1:7 ). The high probability is that this is a prophetic description of Christ as he came in his providence to the destruction of Jerusalem. Between his final advent and this there are so many striking resemblances that the description of the one is remarkably applicable to the other. Applying the words to the final advent, we have four facts concerning it.
1. Christ will come. Reason and conscience, as well as the Bible, teach this. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of it; Job knew that he would stand again upon the earth. Christ and his apostles frequently and unequivocally taught it ( Luke 9:26 ).
2 . His coming will be terribly grand. "On the clouds of heaven." The grandest objects to mortal eyes are the heavens that encircle us. Their vast expanse and immeasurable height, all radiant with rolling orbs in boundless variety, seem to bear us into the awful depths of infinitude. Anything strange on the face of those heavens has always a power to strike terror on human souls. Christ is represented as coming on the clouds. Daniel, in a vision, beheld him thus ( Daniel 7:13 ). Christ himself declared that thus he would come (Mark 24:30; 26:64). Angels have declared the same ( Acts 1:11 ). John beheld him on a "great white throne," so effulgent that the material universe melted away before it. How unlike the despised Galilaean!
3 . His coming will be universally observed. "Every eye shall see him" (verse 7). It is an event in which all are interested. Men in all ages and lands, from Adam "to the last of woman born." Men of all social grades and mental types are all vitally concerned in this stupendous event. Hence all shall see him.
4 . His coming will be differently regarded.