The Coming of the Lord

Foreshadowed in the Pentateuch

Adam, the Scripture says, "is the figure of Him that was to come" (Rom. 5:14). In this passage those who are derived from Adam are seen as partaking of his sin and the judgment and death that come with it as God's righteous sentence. Christ, the last Adam, is the Head of a new race, and all under His headship receive "abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness". Adam was also a figure of Christ as Head over all the creation, though this was limited in Adam to all that was on earth. Psalm viii, which contemplates the place that man has in creation, relates all to what was put under the first man, but goes on to speak of "The Son of Man", under whom, the New Testament shows, will be brought all things in heaven as well as all on earth.

The relationship of Eve to Adam also prefigured the place the church would have in relationship with Christ. Even as Adam shared all that God had given him with Eve, so shall the church share all with Christ, for He is made "Head over all things to the church, which is His body". Christ's coming to be Head over all was foreshadowed in Adam before sin entered into the world, as was also the relationship of the church to Christ. When Adam fell into his deep sleep that Eve might be formed from a rib taken out of his side, the Spirit of God was indicating that the church would owe its origin to Christ's going into death.

Christ's coming was also announced when God said to the serpent, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Gen. 3:15). At the cross, where Christ suffered, there was the fulfilment of this Scripture, the announcement of what would happen to Christ, the woman's Seed. There also was there the partial fulfilment of what He would do to Satan, for "through death" He annulled "him that had the power of death, that is, the devil". When the Lord casts the devil into the lake of fire, there will be the complete fulfilment of the crushing of the serpent's head.

If Adam is the type of Christ as the Head over all things, and as the Head of the Church, Noah, entering onto a renewed earth, is the type of the Lord Jesus as the Governor of the world to come. To Noah the Lord said, "The fear of you . . . shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered" (Gen. 9:2). This is very similar to what God says of man in Psalm viii, which shows that Noah, as well as Adam, prefigured the coming Son of Man with all put under Him.

It is clear from Hebrews 7:3, where it is written of Melchisedec, "having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God", that he is a type of the coming of the Lord Jesus. This is evident also from the titles of Melchisedec, "King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace". As king and priest, the patriarch pointed to the place the Lord Jesus would occupy at His coming; but not His first coming. True, the present priesthood of Christ is after the order of Melchisedec, in contrast to the order of the Aaronic priesthood, but Christ will be manifested as the King-Priest when "He shall be a Priest upon His throne" (Zech. 6:13) in the millennium.

In Isaac the death of Christ is foreshadowed. The father willingly gives his son in sacrifice to God as a burnt offering. What a wonderful figure this is of the Father giving the darling of His bosom, His Only begotten Son; and of the Son walking in communion with His Father to the place where, in loving obedience and perfect submission to His will, He lays down His life to secure His purpose.

If, in Genesis 22, Isaac is a type of Him who freely gave Himself, he is also a type of the Risen Christ, for Isaac is given back to his father. Then in Genesis 24 we see Isaac having a bride, the father sending his servant to bring her to him, surely foretelling of the Father sending His Spirit to bring the bride of Christ through the desert of this world, that He might have the object of His heart for ever with Him, in the scene where all that the Father has belongs to Him.

Jacob, also, in labouring for the objects of his affections, directs our thoughts to the coming of the Lord, and to His entering into all His toil and suffering that the church, and Israel, might be His.

Joseph portrays many of the features of the coming Saviour. He was the beloved one of his father, the coat of many colours telling of his special place of favour; but he was also hated of his brethren. When God's beloved Son came to earth, the One upon whom the Father opened the heavens to declare His pleasure in Him, He was hated of Israel, for the Lord had to say, "Now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father". The beauty of Joseph's character but brought into relief the wickedness of his brethren, as did the perfections of Jesus manifest the awfulness of man's sin against God. The ill-treatment of Joseph, both by his brethren and by the great of this world, foretold what the Lord would be subject to at His coming. The pit into which Joseph was cast and the dungeon into which Potiphar put him show us what was in store for the Righteous One.

Coming out of the prison, Joseph becomes the saviour of Egypt and the saviour of his brethren. At Sychar, where the Lord Jesus, the great Revealer of Secrets, told the poor sinner of the Father, and showed what she was in herself, the men of her city could say of Him, "We have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world" (John iv). Faith recognised the Lord in this character, as He truly is now, but He shall yet be the Saviour of the world when He comes to remove all evil and set up His kingdom. He is our Saviour now, the Saviour not only of His people Israel, but also of all who believe in Him, for salvation is offered to all men in Him who died and rose again.

When Joseph made himself known to his brethren, they looked upon the one whom they had wrongfully opposed and sold for twenty pieces of silver, and who now was the greatest man in Egypt. What a revelation is in store for Israel when they shall see their glorious Messiah and shall look upon Him whom they sold, pierced and slew. They meant it for evil, but God meant it for good, taking the occasion of man's enmity and sin to work out, on the cross, the great work of redemption, through which salvation could be offered to all in Jesus, the Saviour of the world.

Moses, in Exodus, is a type of the Lord Jesus as the Deliverer of His people from the bondage and service of Satan. In Egypt, the passover lamb, with its sheltering blood, had spoken of how God would redeem His own by the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot; but it was when Israel had crossed the Red Sea that they could sing of God's triumph, of His having destroyed their enemies, and of His purposes concerning them.

Having brought Israel to Jehovah at Sinai, Moses was the mediator, who represented God before the people, and the apostle of the divine system inaugurated in relation to the tabernacle, and in this he pointed forward to the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the Apostle who established the new, divine system in Christianity. In Deuteronomy, Jehovah said to Moses, "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him" (18:18). Moses was thus also a type of the Lord Jesus as Jehovah's Prophet to Israel; and this Scripture was evidently in the minds of those who said to John Baptist, "Art thou that prophet?" (John 1:21).

Every offering commanded by Jehovah spoke of Christ, and the blood of every sacrifice sprinkled on or poured at the bottom of the altars of Israel pointed forward to Him who would shed His precious blood to procure the glory of God in relation to sin and to enable Him to bless His people. The blood shed and sprinkled in the holiest on the great day of atonement, and that made atonement for the holy sanctuary, the tabernacle of the congregation, the altar, the priests and the people, pointed forward to the great work that would bring into being a universe of bliss, and that would make men fit to live on earth and in heaven.

Aaron foreshadowed the priesthood of Christ, his garments bringing out the details of the glories of God's High Priest, and his ministry showing something of the present character of Christ's ministry. Aaron's service at the table of showbread, at the altar of incense, and in lighting, trimming and arranging the lamps upon the golden lampstand, all speak of the present ministry of Christ, the Minister of the Sanctuary, within the veil of heaven.

The beautiful veil of the holiest speaks of Christ's "flesh", His Manhood; and the ark, made of shittim wood and overlaid with pure gold, speaks of the imperishable Manhood of Christ and His divine glory. All the journeys of the ark tell of Christ and where He has been and what He has done for His people. The contents of the ark also bring the coming of Christ to our notice: the tables of the law could only be kept by that Holy One; He is the true Manna, laid up in heaven for the pleasure of God and His own; and His is the priesthood that is set forth in the power of indissoluble life.

In the Book of Numbers, the brazen serpent, as the Lord told Nicodemus, spoke of Him. Life for a dying people was only to be found in the Son of Man lifted up in death. This same book gives the prophecy of Balaam, a false prophet, who was compelled by the Spirit of God to speak His words, words that pointed to the coming of Israel's Messiah. He said, "There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth" (Num. 24:17). The Spirit of God pointed forward to the Lord Jesus, the bright and morning Star for the church, and the Sceptre, whose kingdom shall bring peace and blessing to His earthly people.

From each of the five books of Moses there are very clear indications of the coming of the Lord, some of which we have looked at, but many more have not been noticed. The Spirit of God delights to present Christ to us in the pages of the Old Testament and in the New; and the risen Son of God said to His disciples, "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me" (Luke 24:44). Much that was written in the Pentateuch has already been fulfilled by the first coming of the Lord, but what remains will be fulfilled when He comes again to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.

The Coming of the Lord

foretold in the Psalms

It must have been a wonderful experience for the two disciples of Jesus, on the way to Emmaus, when their risen Lord expounded to them from Moses and all the prophets "the things concerning Himself." No wonder their hearts burned within them while He opened to them the Scriptures. Later, when speaking to His disciples, the Lord included the Psalms in the Scriptures that spoke of Him, saying, "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me" (Luke 24:44).

There are a number of psalms quoted from in the New Testament, including those to which the Lord referred, which speak of His coming. When confronted by His enemies, the Lord quoted from Psalms 118 and 110, the former foretelling His rejection by the leaders of Israel, the latter bringing out His divine glory. On the cross, He cried the words that opened the twenty-second Psalm, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

Besides those quoted in the New Testament, there are other Psalms that tell of the coming of the Lord, and of His sufferings and glories. Psalm 69 brings much before us of the coming suffering Messiah, and the Spirit of Christ enters into the sufferings of the remnant of His people in Psalm 88. The coming glories of the Lord and the Lord coming in His glory are found in such well-known Psalms as 24, 72 and 89.

Psalm 2.

This psalm was evidently well known to the godly among Israel, and it would seem that it was in Nathanael's mind when he said to Jesus, "Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel" (John 1:49); and was also before Martha when she said, "Lord: I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world" (John 11:27). After the Lord had risen from the dead, and the disciples testified to the leaders of Israel, calling their attention to Psalm 118:22, where Messiah is shown to be the stone rejected by the builders of Israel, they "lifted up their voice to God with one accord", praising Him, and quoting from the Second Psalm (Acts 4:25, 26), the Spirit of God through them showing how it had been partially fulfilled in Herod, Pilate and the leaders of Israel being united in the rejection of the Christ.

In this Psalm the birth of the Lord is foretold, where the Holy Spirit says, "I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten Thee" (verse 7). This is quoted in Hebrews 1:5, where the glory of the Son of God is brought before God's ancient people. If the leaders of Israel and the kings of the earth reject God's Son, Jehovah will set Him as King on His holy hill of Zion, and He shall have the heathen for His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession. From these verses it is plain that both the first and the second coming of the Lord are before the mind of the Spirit in this prophetic Psalm. When the Lord returns to reign in glory, He will assuredly break the opposers with a "rod of iron" (verse 9), just as the seer tells us in Revelation 12:5. See also Paul's quotation in Acts 13:33.

Psalm 8.

When Nathanael confessed the Lord as Son of God, King of Israel, the Lord said to him, "Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." Jesus was not only the King of Israel, but the Son of Man, the One Who would fulfil all spoken of the Son of Man in this Psalm and in Psalm 80:17 and Daniel 7:13, 14. While on earth, the Lord Jesus constantly used this Name when speaking of Himself. He was Man, a real and perfect Man, not like the first man spoken of in verse 4 of this Psalm, but the Second Man out of heaven. Indeed, He can speak of Himself as "the Son of Man which is in heaven" in John 3:13, for such was the place that was His in right and title because of Who He was in His Person.

As Son of Man, He would become "a little lower than the angels", for man is so in rank and station, and the purpose of this is made clear in Hebrews ii, where the Spirit of God says, "We see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death" (verse 9). Jesus became Man so that He might in death lay the basis in redemption for the accomplishment of all God's will. As the Lord said in John 3, "The Son of Man must be lifted up."

Having been lifted up in death, to give effect to God's purposes of love, and to make eternal life available for those who believe in Him, Jesus, as Son of Man, is crowned "with glory and honour". Already God has "put all things . . . in subjection under Him"; this is not yet in evidence, but soon will be, when Jesus comes forth in glory to be the Head over all things to the church, which is His body. Personally the Son of Man will be supreme in authority over all in heaven and on earth, and then the Name of Jehovah will be excellent in all the earth, as foreseen by the writer of Psalm 8.

Psalm 16.

Only Jesus could answer to the details of this precious Psalm, for none but He could say, "I have set the Lord always before me" (Ps. 16:8). Others have been able to say, I have set the Lord before me; but He alone always, in every moment of His holy and perfect life, sought the will of His Father. We have Him portrayed as the dependent Man, having the glory of God and the blessing of His own ever before Him, content with the portion He had in His Father, and seeking guidance constantly from Him. Amidst all the trials of His lowly path of meek submission to His Father's will, He is sustained by God at His right hand; and even with death to be faced, He can say, "Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope" (Ps. 16:9).

We are not left to our own judgment regarding Who is before the Holy Spirit in this lovely Psalm, for the Spirit of God showed in the words of Peter and Paul to whom it referred. Peter, in Acts 2:25-28, quoted the closing verses of the Psalm, and remarked, "the patriarch David . . . spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, neither His flesh did see corruption." Paul also, in Acts 13, when addressing the Jews in the synagogue of Antioch in Pisidia, quoted verse 10 of the Psalm, then said, "For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep . . . and saw corruption: but He, Whom God raised again, saw no corruption" (Acts 13:35-37).

Psalm 22.

It was the Spirit of Christ in David that caused him to utter words that his soul could not enter into, for the depths of suffering and anguish into which God's dear Son went were unfathomable. The details of Christ's sufferings are remarkable. We can learn from whom the sufferings came; sufferings from the hand of God when He was the holy Sin Offering, and sufferings from the leaders of Israel, from the Gentile dogs, and from the enemy that brought all his power in death against Him. But we can never enter into what Jesus bore upon the cross when made sin for us. Saints of God have suffered martyr trials, but none can in these enter into the infinite depths that were His because of Who He was, having an infinite capacity for suffering, and having feelings of intense sensibility because of the perfect purity and holiness of His nature.

When the fulness of death's power had broken upon His holy head, and could do no more, He is able to say, "Thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns." Coming out from death's fastness a mighty victor, He takes His place in the midst of the assembly that was so dear to His heart, and declares to them the Father's Name. Surely we have the fulfilment of this in John 20, when He gives Mary the message for His brethren about the new relationship with the Father into which His death had brought them. This is also brought to our notice in Hebrews ii, where the Son of God is seen leading the praises in the midst of the assembly. This is the present place of the Son of God as regards His own; but He is on the throne at the Father's right hand in heaven.

The Psalm also shows the place the Lord will soon have "in the great congregation", when Israel will be brought back to the land and blessed under Christ through the blood of the new covenant. The blessing procured by His death on the cross will go still further, for, "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee." What a remarkable change will come over the face of the earth when the heathen will be turned from their idolatry, and when they are found as worshippers of the true God. This great result of Christ's coming is God's answer to that which His Son received from men when He was put upon a malefactor's cross.

Psalm 45.

This is one of the beautiful Messianic Psalms, which bring Christ as King before us. In Psalm 24 He is viewed as "the King of glory", in Psalm ii as "My King", God's King, and in Psalms 45 and 72 as "The King". In Psalm 72 the King has a Name that endures for ever, and "all kings" fall down before Him, and because of Him the whole earth is filled with God's glory; and this is the full answer to the prayers of David the son of Jesse.

Psalm 45 presents the coming King as the true David and the true Solomon. His moral features are first described; He is fairer than the children of men, for which He is for ever blessed of God, and the words of grace He speaks are from the inward springs of His being. These beautiful features were displayed in Manhood here, but Israel had no eye to discern them. When He returns as the Warrior King, His enemies will be destroyed, and all nations will be brought under His sway.

The glory of His Person is then introduced, for He is none other than the God of Israel, Whose throne in heaven is eternal, but Who, as Messiah, will take the kingdoms of this world and reign in righteousness for God's glory and the blessing of mankind. Though the God of heaven and earth, the Son of God would become Man, perfect Man, loving righteousness and hating lawlessness; and this heavenly One will have associated with Him companions in whom He finds delight, but His is the place of supreme joy as they surround Him.

As the true Solomon, His glories and excellencies will be displayed publicly, Jerusalem and the cities of Israel having the chief place among the cities of the earth, for His earthly centre will be amidst His redeemed people Israel. The glory of the King will be reflected by His queen, who appears in the garments of beauty that He will provide for her. The earthly Jerusalem, the city of the great King, will then display what Christ is in relation to His place as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It is the earthly glory of Christ that is in view here, but this surely points us to the greater heavenly glories that are His, and that shall be reflected by the church as the heavenly Jerusalem.

Psalm 102.

This Psalm, as well as the one just considered, is quoted in Hebrews 1 to bring forth the divine glory of the Son of God, but in this chapter the sufferings of Christ are omitted, for the divine object in Hebrews 1 is the establishment of the glory of Jesus as Son of God. Psalm 102:23 is the Spirit of Christ foretelling what is before Him, "He weakened my strength in the way; He shortened my days." How accurately the path and sufferings that belonged to Jesus are given in the prophetic word. How deeply He felt being cut off in the midst of His days, feelings proper to man, therefore felt by Him, the perfect Man, as no other could feel them.

In answer to His cry comes the divine answer, "Of old hast Thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shall be changed" (Ps. 102:25, 26). Jesus, come in grace as Man below, is none other than the originator of the creation; and He shall change the old, when they have served His purpose, changing them into a new heavens and a new earth, to serve God's eternal purpose. This is the glory of the Coming One, the eternal God, the unchanging One.

Psalm 110.

The whole of this Psalm speaks of the Son of God, and the Lord uses it to confound His foes, who would have refused Him His divine glory (See Matt. 22:44). This incident is found in each of the three Synoptic Gospels; and the first verse is also referred to in Hebrews 1:13 and Hebrews 10:13. Following His rejection at His first coming, David's Lord is invited to take His place on high at God's right hand till His enemies are put under His feet.

Christ's coming priesthood is found in verse 4, and is frequently referred to in Hebrews. Aaron's priesthood foreshadowed the character of Christ's priesthood on high, but His priesthood is not after the Aaronic order where son succeeded father, for Christ has no successor, being a Priest continually, and after the power of an endless life. As the true Melchizedek, Christ will sustain His loved ones of Israel coming from the conflicts of the last days of this dispensation, even as Melchizedek sustained Abraham coming from the slaughter of the nations.

Crucified in weakness at His first coming, the rod of His strength will come out of Zion; He shall rule in the midst of His foes, and Israel, who rejected Him, will be willing to receive Him in the day of His power. The day of His power will bring rich blessing to His people, but a dreadful judgment on His enemies. While waiting for the day of His power, He is refreshed in drinking by the brook provided in the praises of His heavenly people, among whom there is found a remnant of Israel, according to the grace of God.

It will be seen from the consideration of these Psalms that Christ's coming is very clearly foretold. There are the presentations of His perfections as Man; His divine and creatorial glories, His sufferings, His resurrection and the results of His death are all to be seen; His mediatorial and eternal kingdoms are brought out by the Spirit of God; and He is portrayed in His royal and priestly glories, the Son of Man and the Son of God.

The Coming of the Lord

foretold in Isaiah

Among the prophets of the Old Testament there is none that tells us more of the coming Messiah than Isaiah. He writes of the Person of the Son, telling of His divine glories and of the sufferings that would be His before entering into the glories of His kingdom as the Anointed of Jehovah. While specially occupied with Messiah's relationship to Israel, the prophet also shows Him to be "a light to the Gentiles" and God's salvation to the ends of the earth. The Lord is foreseen in all the meekness and gentleness that marked Him when He came as Man to earth in grace; but He is also shown to be the executor of the consuming judgment of God upon the apostate nation of Israel and upon those that are the enemies of God.

The Branch of the Lord

In the opening chapters of this book, the prophet looks forward to the time when divine judgment will fall upon the rebellious nation, only a remnant escaping to enter Messiah's earthly kingdom. The blessings of the kingdom will be introduced by "the BRANCH of the LORD" (Isa. 4:2) who, to Jehovah is "beautiful and glorious", and Jehovah's thoughts of His Christ will be shared by the remnant of Israel, for "the fruit of the earth" that hangs upon the Branch of the Lord will be "excellent and comely" for them.

When the Lord came the first time He was rejected by the nation, as foreseen by the prophet in Isaiah 53. God's tender plant, the root out of the dry ground, had no attractiveness for those to whom He came, even as Isaiah wrote, "and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him" (Isa. 53:2). It will be altogether different when the Lord returns in His glory to save the godly remnant from the dreadful conflicts of the last days: they shall indeed see the excellency and beauty of Him who was once rejected and crucified by the leaders and nation of Israel.

"The BRANCH" is also seen in Isaiah 11 as "a rod" coming forth out of the stem of Jesse, confirming the prophecies of David that Messiah would come from the royal line. As in Isaiah 4, so in chapter 11, the blessings of the Millennium are viewed as the fruit of the coming of the Branch of the Lord. On earth, at His first coming, there was constant fruit for the Father from the Son, the true Vine, the One upon whom the heavens were opened, and the Father's voice heard to declare Him as His beloved Son in whom all His pleasure was found. (Jeremiah writes of the coming Messiah as the "righteous BRANCH" [Jer. 23:5; Jer. 33:15]; Zechariah also writes of Him as the BRANCH [Zech. 3:8; Zech. 6:12]: these are Scriptures that have particular reference to the second coming of the Lord to Israel.)

Immanuel

The coming of the Lord was long expected by the godly in Israel, for many were the prophecies in the Old Testament Scriptures concerning Him. In Isaiah 7 the very manner of His coming is predicted, for Jehovah Himself gave a sign to king Ahaz that is quoted in the opening chapter of Matthew's Gospel, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His Name Immanuel". The interpretation of the Name is given by the Spirit of God in Matthew, "God with us". It was impossible naturally for a virgin to be with child, but the holy mystery is explained in both Matthew and Luke.

Messiah would therefore be from David's lineage, but also a holy Babe born of a virgin. Added to these revelations is this that He would be none other than God Himself in Manhood's form, and a Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, yet the Anointed of God reigning in glory. It is not difficult to apprehend that the prophets and the disciples of the Lord were perplexed with these enigmas. In the light of the New Testament, and having the Holy Spirit to teach us, the outline of the whole picture is plain: Messiah is both God and Man, and His first coming was to make God known and to accomplish redemption, and His second coming to fulfil all that remained of the prophecies of old.

How brightly the divine glory shines again in chapter 9, where the prophet writes, "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon

His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (verse 6). What a range of glories! We might well wonder how this prophetic testimony to Messiah could fail to impress the leaders of Israel, and especially when it was attested to by the wonderful works performed by Jesus before all.

His Name was rightly Wonderful, the One whom no man knew but the Father, for this, with all else, tells what He is in His Person. The words of the Son of God declared Him to be the Counsellor spoken of by Isaiah, and His works of divine power proclaimed Him to be the mighty God. Faith was required to discern in Him the Father of Eternity, and He shall yet be displayed as Prince of Peace.

The Lord's Anointed

When Messiah as the Branch from the stem of Jesse should come, He would be the vessel of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit in a seven-fold character would rest upon Him. This took place when the Lord was baptised at the Jordan; but the prophecy of Isaiah 11 is chiefly in relation to the coming day when He shall reign in righteousness. First, there shall be the judgment of God, when He smites the earth with "the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked" (Isa. 11:4). After this work is done, the conditions long looked for shall be introduced with His kingdom, His rest being glorious and the Gentiles seeking His presence.

As the Servant of Jehovah, the Lord is also seen as having God's Spirit, for it is written in Isaiah 42:1, 2, "l have put My Spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street . . . " Matthew tells us that Jesus "charged them that they should not make Him known" that this Scripture "might be fulfilled".

A third passage in Isaiah that definitely speaks of the Lord as anointed of the Spirit is that of chapter 61, which the Lord quoted in the synagogue at Nazareth, then said, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears" (Luke 4:18-21). It has long since been noticed that when the Lord read the passage He stopped at "To preach the acceptable year of the Lord". What He had read gave the character of His ministry while upon earth, attested to by the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth; but what followed, in Isaiah 61, "the day of vengeance of our God", awaits His coming again.

The Lord's Servant

It is plainly seen in this book that Israel is first of all viewed as the servant of Jehovah (See Isa. 41:8, 9; Isa. 44:21 26; Isa. 45:4), but He then introduces Messiah as His Servant, saying in Isa. 42:1, "Behold My Servant, whom I uphold". This, as we have seen from Matthew 12, speaks of Christ, for He is the One in whom God finds His delight. Where Israel had failed as God's servant, Messiah manifested His perfections in obedience, and in carrying out all His will.

Israel as the vine had brought forth wild grapes (v. 4), but Christ as the true Vine brought glory and pleasure to God. As Son, as Servant, and as the Vine, Christ takes up afresh for God the place and history of Israel, glorifying Him where Israel had dishonoured His holy Name. We see this again in Isa. 49:3, where the Spirit of Christ says, Jehovah "said unto me, Thou art My Servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified". How blessed it is to see all God's thoughts of Israel perfectly fulfilled in Christ.

At His first coming, the mission of the Lord seemed to fail, for the tribes of Jacob were not restored, nor were the preserved of Israel brought back to blessing. Yet was He conscious that if failure appeared to mark His work, He was "glorious in the eyes of the Lord", as having completed the work He gave Him to do. Israel will indeed be regathered when the Lord comes back again; meanwhile there is a yet greater work, for God says to Him, "I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth". How much is contained in these few precious words for those who were sinners of the Gentiles, but who have been brought into the richest of heavenly blessings through the work of the Servant of the Lord upon the cross.

Something more of the Servant of God is brought out in Isa. 52 and Isa. 53. He would deal prudently, be exalted and extolled, and be very high. If men dishonoured Him, God would exalt Him, and give Him a place on high. In Isa. 53:11 we read that God's righteous Servant would instruct many in righteousness, probably referring to His dealings with the remnant of Israel in the coming day, and He would bear their iniquities. The work of the cross, so blessedly set forth in this chapter, was for the taking away of the sins of God's people Israel; and how great the grace that brings the Gentiles into this, as shown in Isa. 49.

The Arm of the Lord

In Isaiah 51 Jehovah speaks to the righteous among His people, reminding them of how He had blessed Abraham, and promising them His salvation and blessing. The prophet then calls upon the Arm of the Lord to awake and put on its strength, the strength made known in the overthrow of Egypt and the opening up of the Red Sea for Israel to pass over. Jehovah then shows that after having passed through the time of judgment, Jerusalem and her captive children would be brought into blessing, being redeemed without money. Their Redeemer would be Jehovah, and His mighty Arm would bring them salvation.

Looking forward to this day, the prophet writes in chapter 52, "The Lord hath comforted His people, He hath redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord hath made bare His holy Arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God" (Isa. 52:9, 10). There will be joy and gladness for Israel when the Lord Jesus returns as the Arm of the Lord to save them from their enemies and bring in the long promised blessings of the new covenant. Yet, even now, there has been an answer to this prophecy. The Arm of the Lord has brought salvation for the world, and this has been made known to the ends of the earth. Even when the Lord was on earth, the men of Sychar could say, "We have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world" (John 4:42).

John, in chapter 12 of his Gospel, connects the Arm of the Lord with the many miracles wrought by the Lord on earth, writing, "But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him: that the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the Arm of the Lord been revealed?" (John 12:37, 38; Isa. 53:1). As the Arm of the Lord, the Son of God wrought the wondrous works of power recorded by John, and very many more; but He also by the same power entered into death, overcoming all His foes and procuring salvation that is announced to the ends of the earth.

Sufferings and Glory

Peter tells us that it was the Spirit of Christ in the prophets that testified "beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow" (1 Peter 1:11), and this is very plainly seen in Isaiah 52 and 53. In these chapters, where He is viewed as the Arm of the Lord and Jehovah's Servant, Messiah's sufferings and glory are clearly indicated, but so closely interwoven that we can readily understand the perplexity of the prophets when searching their own writings, and the necessary revelation to them that what they wrote was for a coming generation.

Isaiah 52:13 shows Messiah as God's Servant, "exalted and extolled" and very high, yet the next verse presents Him with His "visage . . . so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men". The exaltation of Jesus after His work on earth and on the cross gives the key to the enigma. Then we have the glory of His second coming in verse 15, where the silent kings of the earth marvel that the King of glory is the once rejected Man of sorrows.

Chapter 53 is the most wonderful story of the sorrows and atoning sufferings of the coming Christ of God, giving the details covering His appearances before the great of this world, His death under the judgment of God, His suffering for our sins as the true sin offering, His intercession on the cross, His resurrection, and the glory of the coming day that He shall share with those whose sins He bore. Even the grave in which He would lie is noticed, and the malefactors who would die on either side.

The Day of the Lord

From the first chapter of Isaiah the day of the Lord is in view, for it is of that day that Jehovah speaks when He says, "I will turn My hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross . . . afterward thou shat be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness" (Isa. 1:25-27). The day will bring judgment for the wicked under antichrist, for the Lord added, "And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed" (Isa. 1:28).

The term "The day of the Lord" is introduced in Isaiah 2:12, and "that day" is frequently referred to by the prophet. That day begins with the Lord coming in judgment for the salvation of His people, and will bring in the blessings the remnant have waited for down the ages. It will be the Lord's "day of vengeance" on the wicked, but the day of salvation for the righteous. Peter shows that the day of the Lord will bring, at its close, the passing away of the present heavens and earth, to make way for the new heavens and the new earth to introduce "the day of God" (2 Peter 3:10-12).

From Isaiah we have therefore seen that the coming of the Lord was promised. He would be the BRANCH, bearing fruit for God and men; in His Person, He is Immanuel, God with us, the mighty God, yet born of a virgin and the Prince of Peace. He would come as the anointed One to preach the Gospel, and to be the Servant of Jehovah and Arm of the Lord, suffering before entering into His glory and coming forth to bring in the day of the Lord.

The Coming of the Lord

in Prophecies from Jeremiah to Haggai

Jeremiah, who spoke so much regarding the righteous judgment that Israel merited because of their sins, was also enabled to look forward to the blessing of God's people, writing, "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous BRANCH, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth" (Jer. 23:5). There would be fruit for God and man in Messiah as the righteous Branch, and He would reign as King, in a time of prosperity on earth, where all would be in keeping with the mind of God. This is again prophesied of "the BRANCH of righteousness" in Jeremiah 33:15, while Jeremiah 31:31-34 shows that this would be when the new covenant was brought in with rich blessings for God's people. From the Lord's words in the New Testament we learn that this would be based on His atoning work, "the blood of the new covenant".

Ezekiel, in chapter 1, shows the glory of the Lord, which was about to leave the temple and Jerusalem, "above the firmament", and in the midst of it was "as the appearance of a man" (Ezek. 1:26, 27). When the glory returns, at the coming of the Lord to reign, it shall enter "the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east" (Ezek. 43:4), and the Lord said to the prophet, "This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut" (Ezek. 44:2). The coming of the Lord in His glory will be a day of blessing for Israel; and "the name of the city from that day shall be Jehovah Shammah (the Lord is there)" (Ezek. 48:35). If the Spirit of Christ in Jeremiah is occupied with the sorrows of Israel, into which the Lord on earth entered, the Spirit of God in Ezekiel looks forward to the glory that shall fill the temple of the Lord when He comes again.

Daniel, when interpreting the dream of king Nebuchadnezzar, looks forward to Christ's kingdom "which shall never be destroyed, and . . . shall stand for ever" (Dan. 2:34, 44). In Daniel 3:25 Daniel tells us that Nebuchadnezzar saw One "like the Son of God" walking with His three faithful servants amidst the king's raging furnace; and in Daniel 7:13, 14, Daniel, in vision, saw One "like the Son of Man" coming "with the clouds of heaven . . . and there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed".

The One, whom we have seen as Son of God in chapter iii and Son of Man in chapter 7, is none other than the coming "Messiah the Prince", who would be "cut off' before returning "to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness" (Dan. 9:24-26).

Hosea, gives the Scripture quoted by the Holy Spirit in Matthew 2:15, "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt". (Hosea 11:1) This Scripture, while looking back to Israel being called out of Egypt, also looked forward to the coming of God's Son, in whom the history of Israel was taken up afresh before God. Israel had grievously failed as their history shows, but all that God had desired in Israel was found perfectly in the Son of God.

Joel, Amos and Obadiah all write of the "day of the Lord", though not prophesying of Messiah personally; but that day will make known that Messiah is the Jehovah of Israel and also the lowly Jesus who was rejected by the nation when He came to save them and to bring to them the promised blessings of God.

Jonah, as the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 12:40, signified in his time in the whale's belly the time that He would lie in death, and the words of the prophet, in Jonah 2:5, 6, express something of the feelings of the Son of God in His entering the depths that no man can fathom when made sin for us upon the cross.

Micah, in the opening verses of Micah 4, tells of the nations coming up to Jerusalem, when the Lord "shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off", and when He shall make wars to cease and bring to the earth the long promised peace that He along can bring.

In Micah 5 there is the Scripture to which Herod was referred by the chief priests and scribes when he enquired of them where Christ should be born. This prophecy tells of the exact place of Christ's birth, but also of the glory of His Person, for the part the leaders of Israel did not quote reads, "Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2). Had the knowledge of this entered into the heart or mind of Herod, he might have realised his folly in seeking to destroy the holy Babe. What glory shines in these verses that speak of the "Ruler in Israel" in His divine and eternal greatness.

The coming Ruler of Israel "shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the Name of the Lord His God" and He shall "be great unto the ends of the earth" (Micah 5:4). These words surely have a bearing on both the first and second comings of the Lord Jesus. What follows has to do with His second coming, "This Man shall be the Peace when the Assyrian shall come into our land", for He will deal with the Assyrian, the rod of His anger, judging them for their sins before bringing them into blessing along with Israel and Egypt (Isaiah 19:25).

Nahum, in Nahum 1:15, writes, "Behold upon the mountains the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!", words that speak of the character of the mission of the Lord Jesus while upon earth, and that also tell of Him who "came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh" (Eph. 2:17). He will also announce peace to Israel when He comes again.

Habakkuk looks forward to the time when "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Hab. 2:14), God's answer in Christ to all the evil that was found among His people Israel. Before the divine glory is seen in Christ's righteous reign, Zephaniah forewarns that "the day of the Lord is at hand", when "the mighty man shall cry there bitterly", for it is "a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm" (Zeph. 1:7-16). There will be great blessing for men on earth, but there must first be the removal of evil in judgment.

Haggai, speaking to the returned remnant of Israel, and especially to Zerubbabel the governor of Judah and Joshua the high priest, points forward to Messiah's coming, saying, "For thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of Hosts . . . the glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former . . . and in this place will I give peace" (Haggai 2:6-9).

Messiah was spoken of by Daniel as "the desire of women" (Dan. 11:37), for every woman in Israel coveted the privilege that fell to the virgin Mary of being the mother of God's Christ; but Haggai writes of Him as "the desire of all nations". Once rejected by this world, the Lord Jesus shall come, and the desire of the nations will be satisfied in Him, the Prince of Peace, who shall bring peace to this troubled world, filling God's House with His glory, as also filling the earth with the knowledge of that glory, as foretold by Habakkuk.

Great upheavals need to take place before the divine glory can rest on earth. The kingdoms of this world have to be shaken, and the spheres of heavenly rule greatly disturbed, even as quoted in Hebrews 12:26-29, before the Lord takes over His kingdom, a kingdom that cannot be moved. To apprehend the force of the prophecy concerning the Lord's coming which is given here, we must understand the meaning of Hebrews xii and of much in the Book of the Revelation.

As is taught in Colossians 1:20, the Lord Jesus "made peace through the blood of His cross", so that all things in the heavens and on the earth might be reconciled to God. Having laid the basis in atonement, the Lord Jesus, when He comes back again, will dispossess all who are in authority and are at enmity with God. When He takes possession of every sphere of rule and government in heaven and on earth, all will be pleasurable to the fulness of the Godhead. It was to this Haggai pointed forward when he wrote of the Lord shaking all things.

The Coming of the Lord

Zechariah and Malachi

Jehovah had dwelt in Jerusalem in the house that Solomon had built for Him according to the instructions given to David, but the glory had departed because of the iniquities of God's people.

In His mercy God had brought back a remnant of Israel under Zerubbabel with Joshua as high priest. This remnant was for the reception of the promised Messiah, and to build the house that had been broken down by Nebuchadnezzar when he had led the remnant of Judah captive to Babylon.

"I Am Returned to Jerusalem"

Ezekiel had seen the glory depart from Jerusalem, but it was not God's will that it should be forsaken for ever. Babylon had been destroyed by God, nevermore to rise from its ashes, but God had other thoughts for Jerusalem, and in the first chapter of Zechariah He says, "I am returned to Jerusalem, with mercies: My house shall be built in it . . . My cities shall yet be spread abroad; and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem" (Zech. 1:16, 17).

Evidently the Lord is looking forward to a day not yet come, when prosperity shall come to Israel, though there may be some evidence of a temporary prosperity even now with the return of Israel to the land under the protection of the larger nations. In the days of Zechariah the Lord's mercy had come to them in their restoration, and in anticipation of the coming Of Messiah He is able to say, "I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies". How blessedly does this describe the mission of the Lord Jesus, for He was indeed the Jehovah of Israel, His Name Jesus meaning Jehovah the Saviour, and rich mercy was present for the blessing of Israel, most richly manifested in His death upon the cross.

"Lo, I Come"

In chapter 2 the blessing of Israel at the second coming of the Lord is foretold, when "Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: for I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her" (Zech. 2:4, 5). Then it will not simply be, as in the first temple, the presence of the glory, but the Lord Himself with them in Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

When the Lord came the first time He was rejected, and leaving this world, He returned to the Father; but, at His second coming, He will dwell in the midst of His people Israel, and because of this He says, "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee . . . and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent Me unto thee" (Zech. 2:10, 11). Israel will then know the Lord as dwelling among them, and also that He was the Sent One of the Father.

"My Servant the Branch"

Israel's defiled priesthood will be cleansed when the Lord returns to this earth, as seen in Joshua the high priest, for he and his fellows in chapter 3 were "men of portent" (N.Tn.). They indicated what the Lord would do for His people when He removed their iniquity, and brought them near to Himself. All this would depend on One, Who is named "My Servant the Branch", the same One Who had been spoken of under this Name by Isaiah and Jeremiah. He would come forth, the answer to the stone set before Joshua, One in Whom there was the perfection of wisdom and discernment, as seen in the seven eyes, and in Whom all the will and purpose of God would be found, even as was said, "I will engrave the graving thereof" (Zech. 3:8, 9).

Even as the Lord brought back a remnant in the days of Zechariah, so will He bring back a remnant in the last days, of whom the men named in Zechariah 6:10 are a picture. These men were to give up the silver and gold which they had brought back to the land, and the prophet was to make crowns to set upon the head of Joshua the high priest, the type of Him Who was to come, the Branch, the One with fruit for God and His people, Who will "build the temple of Jehovah . . . and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both" (Zech 6:12, 13). The true Melchisedec is found in Jesus, King and Priest upon His throne in the coming day, with peace established on earth because of the counsel of God and the work of Christ on the cross.

The Two Olive Trees

In chapter 4 there is the vision of Christ in His coming kingdom, the true "Candlestick" or Lampstand "all of gold". When on earth He was "the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9), making the knowledge of God available to every man. At His second advent He will bring light to the world through His kingdom, when He reigns from the river to the ends of the earth, and when He will be manifested as the true King and the true Priest.

The double character of Christ's service to God as King and Priest is seen in the two olive trees, or "the two anointed ones" (Zech. 4:11-14), for He is truly God's Anointed, both as King and Priest. On earth the Lord attributed His work to the Holy Spirit, saying, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me" (Luke 4:18); so, also, the Holy Spirit is viewed as supplying the golden oil for God's display of light in the days of Christ's kingdom of glory.

"Behold Thy King Cometh"

At the beginning of chapter 8 the Lord again promises, "I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth . . . and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness" (Zech. 8:1-8). In view of that day, the call comes, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion: shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass" (Zech. 9:9).

There was the partial fulfilment of these words when the Lord entered into Jerusalem (John 12:12-15), but within a few days the cry "Hosanna" was changed to that of "Away with Him". Between these two cries there was the fulfilment of the words of chapter 11, "So they weighed for My price thirty pieces of silver . . . And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord" (Zech. 11:12, 13). How very solemn the rejection of Messiah by Israel, and the betrayal by one who had been so close to Him and who so often had benefited by His bounty.

"They Shall Look Upon Me Whom They Have Pierced"

In chapter 12 the prophet looks on to the solemn events of the last days when the armies of the nations will be around Jerusalem, and when the Lord will come for the salvation of the godly remnant of His people. Having dealt with the invaders, He "will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn" (Zech. 12:10).

That will be a day of great mourning and repentance for the nation that crucified and slew their own Messiah, and who now realise the enormity of their guilt. Each individual will have his own part in that great mourning, repenting the slaying of the One Who had come to save them, and through Whose death the blessing of God will indeed be theirs. Of old, Nathan had pointed the accusing finger to David, saying, "Thou art the man", for he was guilty of the death of Uriah; but now the house of Nathan is as guilty as the house of David. Levi and Simeon, who had justified themselves in slaying Shechem and his kindred (Genesis 34:31), have no excuse for being implicated in the death of Messiah, the Son of God, and so have their own part in the mourning of that great day.

In that day they "shall say unto Him, What are these wounds in Thy hands? Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends" (Zech. 13:6). The sword fell upon God's Shepherd in the day of His wounding, and the sheep were scattered. But in His resurrection the Great Shepherd gathered the sheep again, and the wounds from Jehovah (Isaiah 53:5) brought healing and richest eternal blessing to them.

"His Feet . . . upon the Mount of Olives"

The closing chapter of Zechariah brings us to the day of the Lord, when the nations are gathered against Jerusalem, and the city is taken (Zech. 14:1, 2). Having allowed the nations to go thus far, the Lord intervenes personally for the salvation of the remnant of His people. His feet come to the place where He left this world (Luke 24:50, 51). Now the sword is in His hand for the salvation of His own and the destruction of their enemies. Having subdued all the nations, "The Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and His Name one" (Zech. 14:9).

Those who escape the judgments must acknowledge the authority of the Lord. for "every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles" (verse 16). Those who are careless regarding His commandments will come under His discipline, as foretold in the closing verses of this book.

"The Lord Shall Suddenly Come"

In Malachi's day the returned remnant had reached a very low moral condition, being indifferent to the glory and worship of the Lord, and wearying Him with their words. It was to this remnant that God sent His word by the prophet to tell them of the coming of Messiah and of His messenger, John the Baptist (Mal. 3:1). When He did come to His temple there were a few of the godly waiting for Him (Luke 2), amongst whom were Simeon and Anna. Simeon saw in Him God's Salvation, and Anna spoke of Him to those who looked for redemption.

Immediately the Spirit of God turns to the second coming of the Lord, saying, "But who may abide the day of His coming?" It will be a day of sifting among the inhabitants of the land, a day of judgment for those who have followed the antichrist (Mal. 3:2, 3; Mal. 4:1). In Malachi's day there was a faithful remnant that feared the Lord and thought upon His Name (Mal. 3:16); so will there be when the Lord returns as "the Sun of righteousness" with healing in His wings for His people.

John the Baptist, coming in the spirit of Elias, is again promised (Mal. 4:5), seeking to "turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers", and so bringing to light the remnant who would receive the coming Messiah. Alas! the testimony of John was rejected by the nation, as was also the One to Whom he witnessed before them, and this rejection brought upon the guilty nation the righteous judgment of God.

The Second Coming of the Lord

Matthew's Gospel

In the Old Testament the coming of the Lord Jesus is very clearly predicted in many of the prophetic writings. Often "the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow" are found closely entwined, so that it is not to be wondered at that the prophets could not understand the things that they had written concerning the promised Messiah (1 Peter 1:10-12). How very different it is now, for the Lord Jesus has come, and so much of what was written concerning Him has been fulfilled, so that we can understand the writings of the Old Testament, being able, by the Spirit of God, to distinguish between what has been fulfilled, and what remains to be fulfilled at the second coming of the Lord Jesus. Moreover, we also have the plain teaching of the Lord regarding what will take place when He comes again, and it is this that we can consider in Matthew's Gospel.

The Preaching of the Kingdom

Having given His disciples power over unclean spirits, and to heal all manner of sickness and disease, the Lord "commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 10:1-6). Preaching and healing marked their testimony to Him Who sent them, while they were to expect tribulation and persecution, being hated of all men for the sake of Christ their Master.

Although the testimony of the disciples began immediately, it was one which was to continue, even if it might be interrupted for a season, for the Lord said to them, "Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come" (Matt. 10:23). While this testimony is given to the cities of Israel in the last days, there will be a testimony to the Gentiles also at the same time, even as the Lord said in Matthew 24:14, "And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come". These two Scriptures clearly show the preaching in the land of Israel and the preaching to all nations, distinguished, yet going on at the same time, just before the Lord Jesus comes to take the kingdom.

The Son of Man in His Kingdom

The transfiguration recorded in the opening verses of Matthew 17 are interpreted for us in the words of the Lord in the last verse of the previous chapter, "There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom". The supreme and personal glory of Jesus, the Son of Man, was seen by the disciples when "His face did shine as the sun", and the glory of His kingdom was in evidence in His raiment "white as the light". In His humiliation, "His visage was so marred more than any man", but, in the day of His kingdom, His visage will be resplendent in a glory that displays Him as the Supreme One.

With the Son of Man were Moses and Elias, for in the coming day there will be heavenly saints with Christ, sharing His kingdom. Some, like Moses, who tasted death, will be raised from the dead, having their part in the first resurrection in order to be with the Lord in His glory. Others, like Elias, will not taste of death, but will be raptured to heaven, not being "unclothed, but clothed upon" (2 Cor. 5:4), not falling asleep, but changed (1 Cor. 15:51) and "caught up together" with those who have been raised (1 Thess. 4:15-17), so that we might all together be "in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming" (1 Thess. 2:19).

The three disciples who were taken up the mount by the Lord represent the saints on earth who will have their part with Christ in the day of His glory. They will know in that day that Jesus is the King of Israel, the One Who was rejected by the nation, but they will also know Him as Son of Man and Son of God, even as the Father declared from heaven, "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased". The glory of Messiah, as found in Psalms 2 and 8, will be known to the nation of Israel in the day of His kingdom.

The Throne of His Glory

When the rich young man, who had asked the Lord, "Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?", went away sorrowful, preferring his earthly treasure to treasure in heaven, and having no taste for following a rejected Christ, Peter said to the Lord, "Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore?" (Matt. 19:16-27). The answer of Jesus was, "Ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel".

Having completed the great work of redemption, the Son of God is sitting upon His Father's throne, as was predicted in Psalm 110, and as shown in Hebrews 1:3, but when the Lord leaves His Father's throne, He will sit upon His own throne of glory, and then those who have shared His rejection will share His glory, the twelve apostles having their own peculiar place, as promised by the Lord in Matthew 19, and as shown by the Spirit of God through the seer in Revelation 21:14.

Christ's Coming and the End of the Age

At the close of Matthew 23 the Lord Jesus grieves over Jerusalem, saying, "Ye shall not see Me, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord" (verses 37-39). When the Lord spoke of the impending destruction of the temple, the disciples asked Him, "When shall these things be? and what is the sign of Thy coming, and the completion of the age?" (Matt. 24:3). In reply the Lord tells us of the events that will take place at the close of the present age, and of His coming to usher in the age to come. These instructions are especially for the remnant of God's earthly people, who will have to pass through the tribulation of those awful times of wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes, with antichrist ruling in the land of Israel and idolatry defiling God's temple.

Some of the godly will be slain for Christ's sake, others will pass through times of persecution and hatred, but when the climax is reached, the "sign of the Son of Man" will appear in heaven, and He will come for the deliverance of His own. Having brought salvation to His elect in the land, He "shall send His angels" to gather His elect from the four quarters of the earth. He will at that time fulfil what was prophesied in Isaiah 49:6, raising up the tribes of Jacob and restoring the preserved of Israel.

The coming of the Lord will be as in the days of Noah (Matt. 24:37-39), some being removed in judgment, others being left to enter the renewed earth under the reign of Messiah. Though given especially for the remnant of a coming day, the divine light is also for the saints of this day. We too are looking for the coming of the Lord as Saviour, though the church will be raptured to heaven before the events of Matthew 24, and the heavenly saints will be with the Lord at His coming (1 Thess. 2:19).

The Wise and Foolish Virgins

This parable speaks of the Christian profession during the time of Christ's absence. All the virgins had the lamps of testimony to indicate that they had light from God, but there were those who were mere professors, not having the oil that sustained the light. Without the possession of the Holy Spirit, testimony for God cannot be sustained. What appeared to be a real light is proved to be without divine life or power, for the lamp of profession not only deceives those around, but proves to be worthless to the one who carries it.

It may be difficult in such a day as this to be absolutely sure as to whether certain professors are real or not, but the Lord knows them that are His, and the coming of the Lord will find the mere professor unprepared. Like those who went in to the marriage, those outside could say, "Lord, Lord", but there was no real link with Him; they had not the life of Christ by the Holy Spirit, which was the only real power for testimony for Him. The wise virgins may have been asleep, so that outwardly they could not be distinguished from the foolish, but when the cry came, "Behold the Bridegroom", the oil in their lamps made manifest that they truly belonged to Him.

The Parable of the Talents

While the Lord is absent from the world, His saints are to be marked by waiting and watching, as in the case of the wise virgins, but they are also to be occupied in serving Him. Every professing Christian takes the place of being a servant of Christ, and will be treated as such in the day of reckoning, for the Lord is surely coming, even if it be "after a long time" (Matt. 25:19). In our service for the Lord, we should ever have before us His coming again, valuing His reward, and the joy of His presence and blessing.

Reward is not the motive for our service, but it is set before us as an encouragement. The true servant knows his Master, and serves to give Him pleasure, diligently seeking to do His will in devotion to Him. The mere professor has wrong thoughts of Christ, not knowing His character or His heart. Perfect love has cast out fear from the heart of the one who knows divine love, but the wicked servant is afraid, or pretends to be afraid, for there is certainly no true reverential fear in him. What he says of his master is slanderous, but he is judged out of the words he utters, and condemned as a "wicked and slothful servant". The servants who are faithful in a few things receive a large reward in Christ's kingdom, and enter into the joy of their Lord.

The Sheep and the Goats

In Matthew 24 the godly remnant are forewarned of what they will have to face before Christ returns to save them from the hand of their foes; and towards the end of this chapter the servants of the Lord are exhorted to watch for His coming (verses 42, 44, 46 and 50). This latter theme is continued in Matthew 25 where, after giving the parable of the virgins, the Lord says, "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh".

The third section of chapter 25, beginning at verse 31, links with verse 30 of the previous chapter, where the Lord spoke of "the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matt. 25:31). Now we have, "When the Son of Man shall come in His glory . . . before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats". This is the judgment of the nations living upon the earth, when the Lord sits upon "the throne of His glory". The judgment of the dead is an entirely different matter, and will not take place till after the Lord's millennial reign is over.

Evidently the sheep are those who have received the servants of the Lord, the messengers who have made known the Gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 24:14), and whom the King is pleased to own as "My brethren" (Matt. 25:40). In receiving His servants, they have received Him; and those who did not receive them, did not receive Him. The sheep, the righteous, enter into eternal life to inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. This is earthly blessing for a people who will have their part in the peace and rest of the millennial reign of Christ, though no doubt it will also bring to them the eternal blessings of the new earth after the present earth has passed away. Those who refuse the messengers of Christ are at once sentenced to "everlasting punishment", before the dead receive their sentence at the great white throne.

"My Father's Kingdom"

In teaching His disciples to pray the Lord Jesus had instructed them to say, "Our Father . . . Thy kingdom come" (Matt. 6:9, 10). At the institution of His memorial supper, He said to them, "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (Matt. 26:29). He had been speaking to them of their part with Him in His kingdom, and now He speaks of their being with Him, to share His joy, in His Father's kingdom.

Very soon He would be taken from them, but there was held out to them in the Lord's words a bright promise. The Father's kingdom, the heavenly kingdom with all its eternal joys, would be opened to them through His death upon the cross, and there He would have His joy in the company of His own. Needless to say, this portion is not for the twelve alone, but is the blessed hope of all who shall be with Christ eternally in heaven. It is the hope "which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the Gospel" (Col. 1:5).

"Coming in the Clouds of Heaven"

Not until He heard the voice of adjuration did the Lord answer the high priest of Israel, and then He confessed Who He was, "the Christ, the Son of God" (Matt. 26:63). Then the Lord added, "Nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven". It was His final word to the leaders of Israel and left them without the slightest excuse for their wilful sin.

The wide range of His glories as the Christ, the Son of God and Son of Man were presented to them, but they persisted in their rejection of Him, using His own confession as the excuse for His condemnation. How awful for these men to know now that He is sitting on the right hand of power; and what a day for them when "He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him" (Rev. 1:7). It will be a day of mourning for the remnant of Israel, so graphically described in Zechariah 12:10-14, but a day of vengeance for those who, like the leaders of Israel, refused Him His rights.

The Second Coming of the Lord

Paul's Epistles, No. 1

Although the Lord's coming again is not specially mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans, it is involved in different passages, as in Romans 1:18, where it is written, "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven . . . ." This will be when the Lord Jesus comes out of heaven in judgment. The glory of God for which we hope (Rom. 5:2), and our having part in the reign of life (Rom. 5:17), are when Christ comes again. "The manifestation of the sons of God" (Rom. 8:19), and the deliverance of the creation from the bondage of corruption, will also be when the Lord Jesus comes out of heaven, and His saints with Him. This is "the day" that is at hand, the day of Christ (Rom. 13:12), so often spoken of by the prophets of the Old Testament.

First Corinthians

The day of which we have just spoken is brought before the saints at Corinth, where the apostle says, "Ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 1:7, 8). Christ's testimony among the saints at Corinth had been confirmed in the many gifts bestowed on them for their encouragement and growth in the things of God. What the ascended Head of the church has given to His saints, whether local gift or gift for the whole church, has the day of Christ in view. We are being formed in the truth of God, and prepared for the time when we shall come out with Christ in display. What is ministered of Christ is to be wrought into the soul by the Spirit of God Who dwells in us.

Every saint, and every servant of the Lord, is to "judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God" (1 Cor. 4:5). We are to judge actions, but never motives, for God alone can judge perfectly the motive of our every word and action. If we are judged harshly by others, we can safely leave all with God, for the coming of the Lord will put everything right. We are not to seek the praise of men in this day, but to wait for the praise of God in Christ's day.

While waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus, we have many individual and collective privileges as saints of God, and none that can surpass the remembrance of the Lord. Having spoken of this, the apostle says, "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come" (1 Cor. 11:26). It is blessed for the saints to have communion together in relation to the death of Christ, and an immense privilege to have part in continuing this announcement of His death until the Lord comes for His church. No amount of failure in the church can deprive the saints of this precious privilege, nor is it laid down that we must keep to any specific period for the commemoration — the word is "as often".

Resurrection is the subject of 1 Corinthians 15, and verse 23 shows that those who belong to Christ will be raised from the dead "at His coming". Then verse 51 discloses that "we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." This wondrous event will take place in a moment, "in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump". This Scripture does not show the rapture of the saints to heaven with Christ, but tells of the events that take place when Christ comes out of heaven to raise the dead saints and change the living saints, just before all are together raptured to heaven to be for ever with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4.).

The final announcement of the Lord's coming again in this epistle is in 1 Cor. 16:22: "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha," that is, accursed at the coming of the Lord. This is a solemn word for all to hear. How right it is that all should love the Lord Jesus

Who gave Himself a ransom for all, that they might have the blessing of God freely offered to them in the gospel; and how righteous the judgment of God upon all who reject or refuse His great salvation.

Second Corinthians is occupied with the gospel of the glory of Christ and with the exercises of the apostle regarding the saints; and though certain passages, such as the obtaining of our heavenly house in chapter five, are dependent on the coming of the Lord, the subject as such does not form part of the epistle. Galatians, which is the defence of the gospel, does not directly deal with Christ's coming again. Ephesians shows the saints to be already in Christ in heavenly places, so that while the hope of the calling and other passages involve the coming of the Lord, the subject is not directly brought before us.

Philippians

The "day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6) will be ushered in by the coming of the Lord, and the work of God in every believer has that day in view. God will bring His Son into display before the vast universe in the day of His glory. Christ will be personally displayed in His own glory as Son of Man, in His Father's glory, and in the glory of the holy angels (Luke 9:26), but He will also be displayed in the saints; the new creation work of God in them, which is all of Christ, will be seen by all when they come forth with Him.

In that day, the fruits of righteousness which have been produced in the saints in this day will also be displayed. All our trials and exercises are in view of "the day of Christ" (Phil. 1:10), and are being used of Christ to bring pleasure to His God and Father now, as they also will in that day of display. How very encouraging it is for the saints of God to know that our whole life down here is in view of the coming day, when the Lord Jesus shall return and bring us out of heaven with Him for His own pleasure and joy, and also for the glory of His Father.

Knowing that Christ is coming has a very separating effect on the saints of God, even as we read in Phil. 3:20, "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ." The One Who has already saved us from the consequences of our sins by His death upon the cross, Who has saved us from the power of Satan and from the fear of death, is soon coming to save us out of this world through which we are passing. We are in the world, but are not of it, for we belong to heaven where our Lord is, and from whence He is soon coming to take us to be for ever with Himself. Our whole manner of life should be heavenly, and in separation from the world which crucified our Lord and Master and still refuses His claims.

When the Lord comes, He "shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself" (Phil. 3:21). To enter heaven we must have our bodies changed, for flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, and this the Lord will do when He returns. The mighty power that will bring the whole universe into subjection to Him in the day of His glory is able to fashion our bodies like His. That which is mortal will be swallowed up of life, and that which is corruptible will put on incorruptibility.

Colossians

As risen with Christ, the saints of God are to set their minds on things above, not on things on the earth, for we are dead in relation to the things in which the man of this world has his life. Our life, as Christians, is a hidden life, of which the man who lives in this world knows nothing. It is a divine life, and heavenly, and is enjoyed in communion with Christ above. Indeed, Christ is our life, for we have nothing that God has given to us outside of Him, and all its features are to be found in Him.

Soon the life that is hidden will come into manifestation, for "when Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory" (Col. 3:4). We shall live with Christ in the enjoyment of the communion we have known while passing through this world as a risen, heavenly people. The conditions of life will be altogether different, for we shall have glorified bodies, and we shall live in another world, but the life will be the same, the life that has its source and communion in Christ.

Timothy

Timothy had been left at Ephesus by Paul when he went into Macedonia to "charge some that they teach no other doctrine," and the apostle added, "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned" (1 Timothy 1:3-5). The First Epistle has much for Timothy personally, and much for him to pass on to the saints of God. In the last chapter, having exhorted his son in the faith to flee the love of money and such things, the apostle writes, "I give thee charge in the sight of God, Who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus . . . that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Tim. 6:10-14).

This commandment no doubt embraced all that the apostle in this epistle gave in charge to Timothy, all concerning behaviour in the house of God, all that was to be avoided and all that was to be pursued. Nothing was to be surrendered; the commandment was not to be spotted by human tradition, by compromises or by the introduction of anything proceeding from the heart or mind of man. The allowance of human thought or will in the things pertaining to the house of God called for stem rebuke. Nothing in the way of change was to be countenanced, but all held firmly until the day of Christ's appearing, the day in which faithfulness to his absent Master would have its bright reward.

Paul ever had the day of Christ's appearing in view; it governed his whole life and service, for he could say, "I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day" (2 Timothy 1:12). As a servant of the Lord he was passing through suffering, but he was not ashamed, for he could perceive by faith the glories of the coming day of Christ, when he would have his happiness and bright reward in His own company.

As in the First Epistle, the apostle gives Timothy a charge, saying, "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; preach the word . . . " (2 Timothy 4:1, 2). Timothy was to look to the coming day, as the apostle himself did, the day when the living would be judged, and the time when the dead would be judged. Every man's life will come up for review before God at the judgment seat of Christ, and it was for the servant of the Lord to be faithful in all things in view of that day.

"That day" is again before the mind of the apostle in 2 Timothy 4:8. He knew that he would receive a crown of righteousness from the Lord, the righteous Judge, but he also knew the crown was not for himself only, "but also to all who love His appearing." We may well ask ourselves, Do we love His appearing? Are we looking forward with joy to the time when Christ shall have His rights in this world, when He shall be seen by all as the righteous Judge, and as the King of kings and Lord of lords? And are we living apart from the present course of things in this world, viewing it as crucified in Christ's cross, and content to wait for our part with Christ in His kingdom and glory?

Titus

The hope of eternal life, of which Paul wrote to Titus in the second verse of his epistle to him, refers to our blessing in the coming day, to the life we shall enjoy with Christ in the day of His glory, and in the Father's house for all eternity. Already we have the eternal life in the Son of God (1 John 5:11), a present possession of all believers in Him, but soon we shall enter into the full enjoyment of the eternal life in the company of the Son, when He gives us our bodies of glory. This blessed hope is mentioned also in Titus 2:13 and 3 Titus: 7.

Coupled with the truth of eternal life in Titus 2:13 is "the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." The grace of God with divine salvation has already reached us through God's Son, and grace teaches us how to live for God's pleasure down here, but while living for God we are to be looking for the appearing of the Lord Jesus. Everything will be put right in that day, so we are to live for God in view of that day. How wonderful it is that those who believe in the Lord Jesus can look forward with confidence and joy to the appearing of the Lord, knowing that He Who is hidden from the sight of men today, but Whom we see by faith on the throne, will soon appear in His glory to put everything right.