Are We Foolish to Look for the Second Coming of Christ?
by Pastor Lee Roberson, D.D. (1909-2007)
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." —HEBREWS 9:27, 28
Since our church and Tennessee Temple Schools believe so fully and completely in the premillennial second coming of Christ, it is easy for me to suppose that all of our people know the fundamental facts regarding His coming.
But they do not. This is proved by the fact that many of our members, if they leave this church, will readily and apparently without question join a church that does not believe in the premillennial coming. Some of our people endorse speakers who are definitely opposed to His coming. Still again, we observe some of our folks who speak and pray as postmillennialists or amillennialists.
This church believes the whole Bible. We believe every word has been fulfilled or will be fulfilled. The Bible teaches that Jesus is coming again. It tells us that He is coming in personal and bodily form. Since He is not here now in this form, we, therefore, do look for His coming.
We believe that Christ is coming, and will first receive His own. Then He will come down to this earth to reign. "And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
Somebody placed in my hands a little book with this title, "God Cannot Lie; There Cannot Be an Earthly Millennium". I will agree with the first part of the statement -- God cannot lie. I cannot receive the last part of it because the Bible very definitely teaches that there will be a thousand-year reign of Christ upon earth. Furthermore, the Bible tells many things which are going to take place during this thousand years.
There are many pictures given of that wonderful time when the Lord Jesus will reign upon the earth. Isaiah, as well as many of the prophets, sets them forth in different places. In Isaiah 2 we have a prophecy of the coming of Christ back to Jerusalem to establish His kingdom, and to rule the world from there. Listen to these words:
"And it shall come to pass that in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." -- Isaiah 2:2-4
This glorious day shall come to pass after the Devil has been chained, and Christ rules in righteousness.
In Isaiah there is a prophecy about the coming kingdom of our Saviour. It points to the time when righteousness shall cover the earth, and when justice will be given to all men, and when even the instincts of wild animals will be changed.
In Revelation 20 the phrase, "a thousand years," is given six times. There are those who argue that since this is the only passage that mentions a thousand years, that it cannot be accepted literally. My dear friend, as far as I am concerned, if it were mentioned only one time, it would be sufficient, but when the Spirit gives emphasis by repeating the number of years six times, there is surely some important meaning attached.
This little booklet mentioned previously, seeking to deny the millennium, is just another of the Devil's attempts to discredit the coming of Jesus and to tear down portions of the Word of God.
It is not hard to get a job on the wrecking crew. Any person can tear down, but let us join with those who are seeking to build up God's people in the faith.
Here is a poem to help you to settle where you stand:
I stood on the streets of a busy town,
Watching men tearing a building down:
With a "Ho, heave ho," and a lusty yell,
They swung a beam and a sidewall fell.
I asked the foreman of the crew,
"Are those men as skilled as those you'd hire if you wanted to build?"
"Ah, no," he said, "no indeed,
Just common labor is all I need:
I can tear down as much in a day or two,
As would take skilled men a year to do."
And then I thought as I went on my way,
Just which of these two roles am I trying to play?
Have I walked life's road with care,
Measuring each deed with rule and square?
Or am I one of those who roam the town,
Content with the labor of tearing it down?
Friends, we are looking for His coming and we are looking for His kingdom.
Turn to the matter of His coming. Are we foolish to look for Him? Is it a waste of time? Are we doomed to disappointment?
I. IF CHRIST COMES NOT -- THE BIBLE IS NOT TRUE
How wonderful is this Word of God! We read it and rest our hopes upon it. But if Jesus is not coming again, then the Bible is false. In every book of the Bible, save perhaps two, there is mention of His coming. There are those who have tried to say that the Bible is a lie. For example, Charles Smith, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism, had printed across his headquarters, in big, bold letters, "The Bible is a Lie!" Now, if the Lord does not come again, then we must admit that such men and others of their kind are pretty much in the right, and we are without a Bible of any worth altogether. The Bible is true! Christ is coming!
II. IF CHRIST DOES NOT COME AGAIN, THEN THE SAVIOUR HIMSELF WAS FALSE
Jesus said, "I will come again."
If He does not come, then we must agree that all Jesus said and did was false, and that His entire ministry and sacrifice on the cross were nothing. Here is an awful thing to contemplate, but if we are to be fair, we must face it. If Jesus does not return, then we are trusting in a false Christ. We cannot even say that Jesus was a good man, for a good man would not lie and deceive others.
Yes, Jesus is coming again. His Word is true, and we can will assurance look for Him. The Saviour has never disappointed anyone who has trusted in Him. We do not need to try to force ourselves to believe in His coming, but simply to receive His Word, for His Word is true.
III. IF CHRIST COMES NOT AGAIN, THE FONDEST HOPES OF MEN ARE CRUSHED
Men have long dreamed of a world of peace. The Bible leads us to look for such a day, a day when the implements of war will be formed into implements of peace. All efforts of man to bring about peace have failed; therefore, if Jesus comes not again, then man will be forever and eternally disappointed, for there will be no peace.
Man dreams of a world of justice and equality. This will never be realized apart from the coming of Jesus. Man dreams of a world where sin will be no more. This is impossible unless Jesus comes and Satan is cast down and the Lord reigns upon His throne. Man dreams of a time when pain and suffering and death will be no more. Such a day is promised unto us in God's Word. In the day of the coming of Jesus, the dead in Christ shall be raised first, and the living shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and together we shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. These bodies will not be changed if the Lord comes not, for the coming of Christ and the resurrection and the translation of the saints are all bound together in God's Word.
Let us lift up our eyes, for the coming of Jesus draweth nigh. God's purpose for this world is not going to fail, for "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
SOURCE: Chapter 1 from the excellent book, Some Golden Daybreak, by Dr. Lee Roberson, D.D. (copyright 1957)
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