Matthew 24:30: “… and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
The most glorious and awe-inspiring day of history is future. It will be the last day, the culmination of all things, the bringing to an end of the purpose of God with this present creation. It will be the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Belgic Confession speaks of Christ coming “with great glory and majesty to declare Himself Judge.” Many passages of Scripture describe that Day, both as a warning for the wicked and as a comfort for the godly. Let us examine some of the aspects of that Day.
First, Christ Himself shall come personally. Christ comes in other senses in Scripture—He comes to the believer at death to take him to Himself; He came at Pentecost in the outpouring of the Spirit—but the Second Coming will be a personal coming. I Thessalonians 4:16 says “the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven.” The Belgic Confession uses the word “corporally” which means bodily. Second, Christ’s coming will be visible—not an invisible “rapture,” not a mystical, spiritual coming, but a coming which all men shall see. “They [that is, all the tribes of the earth] shall see the Son of man coming” (Matt. 24:30). “Every eye shall see Him” (Rev. 1:7). This means that the Lord Jesus Christ—who presently is at God’s Right Hand in heaven and whom no mortal eye can see—will suddenly be revealed for who He is. Heaven will be opened and He shall come forth, and everything which veils Him from our view shall be removed. Christ describes His coming in terms of lightning flashing across the sky. None will be able to miss it or to ignore it. “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matt. 24:27). Third, Christ’s coming will be audible. He will not come sneaking on tiptoe into this world, but with “a shout” (I Thess. 4:16) and “with a great sound of a trumpet” (Matt. 24:31). The Belgic Confession speaks of all men, women and children “being summoned by the voice of the archangel and by the sound of the trumpet of God.” A trumpet makes a long, sharp, loud blast which no one can miss. The trumpet was God’s instrument for gathering His people to attention—Christ’s trumpet will arrest the attention of all mankind. This is the final call of God to all men: stand to attention, my Son is here. Look up, church, and see your salvation; look up, wicked, and behold your doom! Fourth, Christ will come with great glory and with the trappings of deity. “They shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30). Clouds are not fluffy, white clouds on a cool summer’s day. Clouds are thick, dark, awesome, billowing thunderclouds. In the Bible, Jehovah rides on the clouds (Ps. 104:3)—so does Christ!
That awesome day will be the end of the world. “The sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light …” (Matt. 24:29). “The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall also melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Pet. 3:10).
But we who believe in Jesus Christ and who watch for His coming will rejoice in that day. For us it will be the beginning of something unutterably wonderful.
Rev. Martyn McGeown, Missionary Pastor, Limerick Reformed Fellowship.