"I Am Coming"

By James H. Brookes

Chapter 10



There are three things which grace does for the believer. It saves, it teaches, and it holds out “a sure and certain hope” to animate the redeemed and instructed pilgrim on his way to meet the Lord in the air. ‘The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” “These things speak,” adds the apostle, including, among the things the faithful minister is to speak, “that blessed hope,” Titus ii. 11-15.

A glance at the Scripture will be sufficient to show why it is called that blessed hope, and why Christians are represented as looking or waiting for it with eager expectation. Grace shines in our salvation, but there will be a forthshining of glory at the second coming of Christ, while between the first and the last step we are kept by the power of God, fulfilling the promise of the Word, ‘The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory,” Psalm lxxxiv. 11. If the return of our Saviour from the heavens could be seen as a happy hope, not as a terrible trial, no doubt many who now shrink from all mention of the subject would speak of it with exultant hearts and longing desire.

First, consider the bearing of the second advent upon the creation around us. “The earnest expectation of the creature [or creation] waiteth [to watch with the head stretched out] for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope; because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body,” Romans viii. 19-23.

Prof. Beet says: “The Creation is especially distinguished from the children of God, and therefore does not include them. The words ‘subject’ and ‘groan’ exclude the happy spirits of other worlds. The coming liberation excludes bad angels, and those who finally reject the gospel. For to the latter the coming of Christ will bring wrath, i. 8, and we cannot conceive it to bring liberty to the former. ĢIt remains therefore that the word denotes the entire world around us, living and without life, man alone excepted. It is what we call nature, but reminds us that nature is the work of God.” Dr. Charles Hodge takes the same view, and tells us, “The manifestation of the sons of God is a definite Scriptural event, just as much as the second advent of Christ,” and “the time of the resurrection of the body or the manifestation of the sons of God, is the time of the second advent of Jesus Christ.” With this all expositors of all schools cordially agree,

It follows, therefore, that creation or nature can not cease from its groans and travailing throes until the second advent of Jesus Christ. Then, however, “the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose,” Isaiah xxxv. 1. Then “the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands,” Isaiah lv. 12. There are many similar statements in the Scriptures that lose all their significance and beauty for multitudes because they are dismissed from the mind with the flippant remark that they are figurative and poetical. Suppose they are figurative and poetical; they are not lies, for the Word of God contains no lie, and hence a glorious change awaits the now suffering creation at the second advent of Christ. If the figure or poetry is so enchanting, what must be the reality?

Second, consider the bearing of the second advent upon the lower animals. ‘The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf, and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. -And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the cockatrice den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea,” Isaiah xi. 6-9. The same truth is set forth, among other places, in Isaiah lxv. 25; Ezek. xxxiv. 25; Hosea ii. 18, That this lovely scene cannot be witnessed before the personal return of the Lord, is shown by the fact that it is introduced with the statement, “He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of. His lips shall He slay the wicked one,” precisely the phraseology that describes His visible coming in 2 Thess. ii. 8.

Here again we are met with the objection that the language is figurative and poetical, and cannot mean what it says, the scientific ones among the brethren arguing that a lion’s teeth are not adapted to grass eating. ‘True, nor is a man’s and yet “the same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar, and he was driven from men and did eat grass as oxen,” Daniel iv. 33. He who made the teeth can adapt the teeth to any purpose He pleases, and He who said to fallen Adam, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake,” Gen. iii. 17, can remove the curse, as He will do at the second coming of Christ, when the poor dumb beasts, so long the helpless victims of inhuman brutality and ruthless murder, will have the cruel yoke broken from their necks, and cease to fight with their tyrant and with one another.

Third, consider the bearing of the second advent upon civil governments. ‘He shall judge among the nations,. and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more,” Isaiah ii. 4. This testimony is so important that it is reproduced by the Holy Ghost in another prophet, Micah iv. 3; and a pious Roman Catholic, who wrote over the signature of Ben Ezra, in a remarkable work called the ‘ Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty,” translated from the Spanish by Edward Irving, well says, “In the first place I sincerely agree with all the doctors, both Christian and Jewish, that the times of Messiah are manifestly the times spoken of in this prophecy. ‘It shall come to pass in the last days,’ that is, in the time of Messiah, or of Christ. Therefore the prophecy, and many others like it, which have not been verified, nor could possibly have been in the first advent of the Messiah, may very well and must needs be verified in the second, which time is not less of divine faith than the first. . . . When then the second advent, which we all religiously believe and expect, is arrived, there shall be, among other things, primary or principal, the elevation of Mount Zion above all the mountains and hills, a manifestly figurative expression, yet admirably proper to explain the dignity, honour and glory to which the city of David shall then be lifted up; after that the throne or tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; shall have been set up and re-established therein, ‘as in the days of old;’ . . . in which time consequently shall the nations and peoples flow toward the top of Mount Zion. What nation and peoples? Without doubt those who shall be left after the coming of the Lord.”

Fourth, consider the bearing of the second advent upon scattered Israel. To the daughter of Zion and to the. daughter of Jerusalem it is said, ‘The King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee; thou shalt not see evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not; and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love; He will joy over thee with singing. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee; and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time [at the time when the King of Israel even the Lord, is seen in the midst of the Jews], will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you, for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord,” Zeph. iii, 15-20.

Fifth, consider the bearing of the second advent upon sickness. ‘The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick,” Isaiah xxxiii. 24; and the context shows that this shall be a time when “thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty; they shall behold a far stretching land,” as the Revised has it. ‘There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old, shall be accursed. And they shall build houses and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands,” Isaiah lxv. 20-22. This is an earthly, not a heavenly scene, for death is not wholly extinct, but it is exceptional, appearing only as a judicial infliction. Man will then fill his days, which he never yet has done, not even Methusaleh before the deluge. But then the righteous will live upon the earth for a thousand years, when the Lord reigns for a thousand years, and so long will be human life that one dying a hundred years old will be but a child, dying too, under some special curse.

Sixth, consider the bearing of the second advent upon the state of our dead. “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others that have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not precede them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words,” 1 Thess. iv. 13-18. Where else shall we find comfort when our hearts are bursting over the graves of our darlings, whom we shall see no more in the body “till He come?” Oh, it is then and there a new meaning is given to the precious promise, “Surely I come quickly. Amen.” And the sorrowing soul calls back with irrepressible longing, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

Seventh, consider the bearing of the second advent upon the conversion of the world. It is when Israel are back in their own land, and know that the Messiah Lord is in the midst of them, and they shall never be ashamed, the promise is fulfilled, ‘It shall come to pass AFTERWARD, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,” Joel ii. 28. It is when He returns, and builds again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down, the residue of men seek after the Lord, “and all the Gentiles,” Acts xv. 14-17. It is after the sealing of the hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel, the apostle beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, came out of the tribulation, the great one under Antichrist, having washed their robes and made them white in the blood of. the Lamb, Rev. vii. They are not the Church, for Christ has already come to call the real Church to heaven as His bride, and she shall descend with Him. “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world,” 1 Cor. vi. 2.

It is not strange, therefore, that the glorious epiphany of the great God, our Saviour Jesus Christ, is called “that blessed hope.” But it is strange and sad beyond expression that every true Christian does not cry out for His coming with continual desire, when we find that such a flood-tide of honour and glory and praise shall flash before His throne at His advent, that such heights of blessedness shall then be attained by ourselves, and that we are so hopeless without it.

“The Church has waited long
Her absent Lord to see;
And still in loneliness she waits;
A friendless stranger she.
Age after age has gone,
Sun after sun has set,
And still in weeds of widowhood
She weeps a mourner yet.
     Come, then, Lord Jesus, come.

Saint after saint on earth
Has lived, and loved, and died;
And as they left us one by one,
We laid them side by side;
We laid them down to sleep,
But not in hope forlorn;
We laid them but to ripen there,
Till the last glorious morn.
     Come, then, Lord Jesus, come.

We long to hear Thy voice,
To see Thee face to face,
To share Thy crown and glory then,
As now we share Thy grace.
Should not the loving bride
The absent bridegroom mourn?
Should she not wear the weeds of grief
Until the Lord return?
     Come, then, Lord Jesus, come.

The whole creation groans,
And waits to hear that voice,
That shall restore her comeliness,
And make her wastes rejoice.
Come, Lord, and wipe away
The curse, the sin, the stain,
And make this blighted world of ours
Thine own fair world again.
     Come, then, Lord, Jesus come.”