Jesus Is Our Coming King
April 14th, 1995 @ 12:00 PM
JESUS IS OUR COMING KING
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Corinthians 10:32
4-14-95 12:00 p.m.
Each noonday this week has concerned the great events in the life of our Lord: His birth, The Incarnation of God; His death, The Sacrifice of Our Lord for Sin; His resurrection, The Triumph of God Through Christ Over the Grave; His ascension, His Intercession for Us In Heaven; and today, His Coming Again.
Repeated over and over, our Lord spoke of His return to this earth. "If I go away," John 14, "I will come again" [John 14:3]. "This same Jesus shall come as you have seen Him go," Acts 1:11. And the closing benediction in Holy Scripture, "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely, surely I come quickly" [Revelation 22:20]. And this noonday hour, we are going to speak of the coming of our Lord as it relates to the Jew, to the Gentile, and to the church. That is the three divisions into which the apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, divides all mankind. All humanity, Paul says, falls into those three categories, the Jew, the Gentile, and the church [1 Corinthians 10:32]. So we shall speak of our Lord’s return as it affects each one of those categories.
First: the Jew; Jesus says, he will be here until the generations pass away. In the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, speaking of the Jew, He says, "Verily, verily I say unto you, This kind, this people, shall not pass away until all of these things be fulfilled" [Matthew 24:34]. I never saw anybody who ever heard of anyone who knew a Hittite or an Amorite or a Jebusite or a Moabite or any of the other of those – "ites" we read of in the Bible. But, Jesus says, the Jew will be here when I come. And, I’ve never been in any part of this earth that I did not see him, including this morning’s hour, as that Jew sits there listening to me preach. God says, "He will be here until I come."
A second avowal: God says, the land of Palestine belongs to Him. I read from the one hundred fifth Psalm:
He remembers His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations,
The covenant which he made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac,
And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel as an everlasting covenant.
Saying, "To you I give the land of Palestine,
As the allotment of your inheritance."
As long as God lives, and as long as a covenant of the Lord shall obtain, that land of Palestine belongs to Israel. It is amazing to me how any Jew in this earth has an indescribably deep affection for the land of Israel. I so poignantly remember, in a trip around the world, I stopped in Panama City to buy some silks for Mrs. C. There was a beautiful store there selling silks. So, as I talked to the owner of the beautiful store, I looked at him and said, "You’re a Jew, aren’t you?"
And, he said, "Yes."
Well, I said, "I have just been in Palestine. And I’m on my way home."
"Oh," he said, "You’ve been in Israel."
I said, "Have you ever been there?"
He said, "No, I never have."
"Well," I said, "you ought to go."
He said, "I so want to. Tell me," he said, "how it is."
And you wouldn’t believe this. As I described for that Jewish merchant in Panama City, the things I had seen and experienced in Israel, unashamed, the tears fell off of his face, down on the floor. That’s a Jew. The land is his, and, by covenant, it is his eternal home.
Again, God’s Book says, in Ezekiel and in Zechariah that he will return in unbelief. If you want to know what time it is on God’s clock, look at the Jew. He will return in unbelief [Ezekiel 36:24-28; Zechariah 13:1-6]. And, that is no less an amazing miracle to me, the secularism of the Jew in Palestine, in Israel. I’d say ninety-five percent of them are atheists, these people that belong to God.
The Hebrew University has a motto: "The earth shall be filled with knowledge." Do you know the sentence in God’s Book: "The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" [Isaiah 11:9]. But, they write it: "The earth shall be filled with knowledge," leaving off God.
He will rebuild His temple [Ezekiel 40-48]. Time and again, as with our sweet pastor, have I stood there and looked at the Mosque of Omar, one of the inexplicables of life to me. After Mecca, Medina, that is the heart of the Muslim world. And as I look at that, Ezekiel chapters 40 through 48, the end of the great prophecy, concerns the temple in Jerusalem. When you read the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel, it concerns the temple in Jerusalem [Daniel 9]. And, when you read the Revelation, several times it speaks of the Temple in Jerusalem.
But there’s a mosque there. And as I stand and look at it, again and again I think how in the earth will that mosque be destroyed? But, it will be taken away. God will do it. It may be by a bomb in a war. It may be by a revolutionary strife, and fire consumes it. But that mosque will be gone, and God’s temple will be rebuilt there.
And he will be converted. That’s one of the amazing passages in the Bible. Ezekiel describes the conversion of the nation of Israel [Ezekiel 36:24-28]. Zechariah minutely describes the conversion of Israel [Zechariah 13:1-6]. And listen to what is spoken of in the name of the Lord:
I would not have you without knowledge, my brethren, concerning this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness, the plērōma, of the Gentiles be come in.
And so all Israel will be saved; as it is written:
"The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And he will turn away ungodliness, unbelief, from Israel;
And after this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins."
Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election, the covenant of God, the choice of God, they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.
Jesus is going to appear to the nation of Israel. He is going to do it. And, they’re going to be saved. They’re going to be converted [Romans 11:25].
When I think of that, I think, well, that’s not unusual. When our Lord was raised from the dead, He appeared personally to James [1 Corinthians 15:7]. When our Lord was raised from the dead, He appeared personally to Jude. When our Lord was raised from the dead, He appeared personally to His brethren. And after our Lord was ascended into heaven, He appeared personally to Saul of Tarsus; who described it as saying, "It was as though I were an ektroma, an abortion, one born before the time" [1 Corinthians 15:8]. Jesus is coming again [Acts 1:11]. And a part of that glorious appearing will involve the nation of Israel.
Number two: our Lord is coming again at the great climax of the history of the world. We speak of the Lord and the Gentiles. It’s an amazing thing to me, as I pore over these Scriptures, the denouement of the age of humanity is always violent! It is always in war! Over and over again, the Scriptures will lead us to what the Bible calls the battle of Armageddon, and it is in that great conflict of Armageddon that Jesus comes [Revelation 19:11-16].
And you know, as I have prayed over, thought through that tragic, violent end of human history, the war of Armageddon, there are three things about it that I used to think, "Dear God, how could it be?"
Number one: how is it that the nations of the world are there in Israel? Then I looked in the sixteenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation. There was an evil spirit out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, and those three evil spirits went to the leadership of the nations of the world and brought them to Armageddon [Genesis 16:13-16]. That’s why they are there. Satan has deceived them. And the result of that deception is the great gathering of the Gentiles in Palestine.
Number two, the question I stumbled over. How in the earth could such a confrontation be in Harmegedo, the mountain of Megiddo? There it is. Stand and look at it. I’d say it’s six miles this way. I’d say it’s eight miles that way. How in the earth could all those nations be there? There’s an army from the east coming that numbers two hundred million men, just that one army [Revelation 9:16]. And yet, look at that little place as I’d stand and measure it in my mind.
Then, I read the sixty-third chapter of Isaiah. The prophet sees Jehovah God coming from Bozrah, down there south of Edom. And He is covered in blood, the war of Armageddon [Isaiah 63:1-3]. And from Bozrah, south there, beyond Edom, to the north, up there in Galilee, is two hundred fifty miles. And we misname it when we call it the battle of Armageddon. It is the war of Armageddon, the denouement of history in blood.
Then my third question: how such carnage, dear God in heaven? The blood is up to the bridles of the horses, it says [Revelation 14:20]. How could such carnage ever be a part of the description of a human battle, a human war? Well, I well remember World War I. I well remember it. It was fought in trenches, and there were a few thousand men who were slain. Then, of course, I was in the prime of my ministry in World War II. And for those beginning years, the same thing obtained. Relatively, there were a few people killed. Then I remember when the atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, in Hiroshima, and immediately, World War II came to a close.
I walked around after that in Hiroshima, and looked at it. I even visited some of the people who survived. I even visited them in the hospital. I so well remember walking around in the center of Hiroshima. There is remains of the city hall, down, but standing enough that it was left there as a remembrance. And the beatenest thing I ever looked at in my life. Right there on that side of the big, big stone entrance was the shadow of a man, distinct. And when that terrible bomb fell, he, of course, was, in a moment, obliterated. But the shadow of his presence was marked against that stone entrance to the city hall.
And sweet people, that is the way that war is going to be fought. And that is how it is, that the great carnage, unspeakable, two hundred fifty miles of it, concludes human history. And it is in the midst of that awful war that Jesus comes again [Revelation 19:11-16].
You don’t mind my taking time to finish this, do you? Oh, if you have to leave, now, you just do so. Don’t you think you bother me. You’re just free to leave. But I have one more: Jesus and the Jew, Jesus and the Gentile, and Jesus and the church. Did you notice in this passage that I read?
I do not want you to be without knowledge of this mustērion – a secret God keeps in His heart until He reveals it to His holy people – that blindness has happened to Israel until the – and it is translated here – until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
[from Romans 11:25]
Until the plērōma, plērōma, translated, here in my Bible, the fullness. Plērōma is the word for number, until the full number of those that are going to be saved and in the church, until the full number of them has come in.
Sweet people, God’s Book says that there is a certain number in the Lamb’s Book of Life. And when that last name has come down this aisle and been saved, Jesus will come. That’s what God’s Book says. He is coming when the last saint who is going to be saved has joined the church, been baptized, given his heart to Jesus. And He is coming under a twofold simile. The Bible says He is coming as a thief in the night [2 Peter 3:10]. And the Bible says He is coming as lightning across the bosom of the sky [Matthew 24:27]. He is coming as a thief in the night to steal away his jewels, his pearls of price [Matthew 13:44-46]. He is coming with un-sandaled feet, softly, clandestinely, secretly, furtively. He is coming without announcement, without heralding [1 Thessalonians 5:2]. He is coming to steal His people away. And they are two.
First: God’s Book says, in 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4, first are those who are buried. These will see Him first. When He comes secretly, unannouncedly, these who are fallen asleep in Jesus, as the Bible will call it, are going to see Him first. They’re going to be raised. There will be not a saint left in the dust of the earth. There will be not a saint left for Satan to gloat over, not a bone for him to be proud of. All of these that have fallen asleep in Jesus, they’re going to see Him first, before you do. You see, he will see Him first [1 Thessalonians 4:16].
Then second: "We who are alive and remain shall be caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord" [1 Thessalonians 4:17]. Just like Enoch, just suddenly, he was gone [Genesis 5:24]. Just like Elijah, just suddenly he was raptured [2 Kings 2:11]. "Two shall be sleeping in a bed; one shall be taken and the other left. Two will be working in the field; one shall be taken, the other left. Two will be grinding at a mill; one shall be taken and the other left" [Luke 17:34-36]. He is coming furtively, secretly, as a thief in the night, to take away His people.
Then He is coming openly, like the livid lightning splits the bosom of the sky. He is coming where the whole world can see Him. Isn’t that the beginning of the Revelation, "Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they who pierced Him: and the tribes of the earth will wail because of Him?" [Revelation 1:7] He is coming openly.
As Jude says, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints" [Jude 14]. Our Lord is coming in the glory of the Father, as the Son of God and God the Son. He is coming in the glory of the angels as their chief Prince and great Redeemer. He is coming in glory for the church, the Bridegroom with the bride. He is coming in His own glory, as the Son of God and God the Son, as the virgin-born Man, as the crucified Man, as the risen Man, as the ascended Man, as the eternal Man, God’s Man, and Man as God. And He is coming to be the King of Israel. And He is coming to be the King of Kings. And He is coming to be the King of the nations of the earth. And He is coming as Lord God Pantokratōr, as the Lord God Almighty. He is coming to be the King of all mankind and all history. And He is coming as the re-creator and regenerator of the whole universe, the earth and all that’s in it.
We live in a fallen world. These dead stars and these empty planets, when He comes, the whole creation will be remade. O God, what a glorious day with a new heaven and a new earth! [Revelation 21:1-5]. Then will be brought to pass those glorious prophecies.
They will beat their swords in the plowshares,
Their spears into the pruning hooks;
Nations shall not lift up sword against nation.
Neither shall they learn war anymore.
The wolf shall lie down with the lamb.
And the leopard lie down with the kid. . .
And a little child shall lead them.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all God’s holy mountain.
For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord,
As the waters cover the sea.
It may be at midday. It may be at twilight.
It may be, perchance, that the blackness of midnight
Will burst into light in the blaze of His glory
When Jesus comes for his own.
O joy, O delight, Should we go without dying
No sadness, no sickness, No dread and no crying
Caught up to our Lord in the clouds of glory
When Jesus comes for His own.
O Lord Jesus, how long, how long?
Ere we shout the glad song
Christ returneth. Christ returneth.
["Christ Returneth," by H. L. Turner]
Bless us as we prepare for that triumphant day!
JESUS IS OUR COMING KING
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Corinthians 10:32
I. The Jew
A. He will be here when Jesus comes(Matthew 24:34)
B. The land of Palestine is his(Psalm 105:8-11)
1. The silk merchant in Panama
C. He will return in unbelief(Ezekiel 36:24-25, Zechariah 12:10-11)
1. If you want to know what time it is on God’s clock, look at the Jew
D. He will rebuild the temple(Ezekiel 40-48, Daniel 9, Revelation 11:1-2)
1. The Mosque of Omar
E. He will be converted(Romans 11:23-29)
1. Jesus Messiah will deal with them personally (1 Corinthians 15:8)
II. The Gentiles
A. Denouement of the age of humanity violent, in war – Armageddon
B. How is it the nations of the world are in Israel?(Revelation 16:13-16)
C. How could such a confrontation be in such a small space? (Isaiah 63:1-6)
D. How so great a carnage?
E. During that time, Jesus comes
III. The church
A. Raptured when the full number is saved(Romans 11:25)
B. Jesus is coming under a two-fold simile
1. As a thief in the night, to steal away His people(2 Peter 3:10)
a. The dead(1 Thessalonians 4:16)
b. The raptured living(1 Thessalonians 4:17, Luke 17:34-36)
2. As lightning splits the sky(Matthew 24:27, Revelation 1:7, Jude 14)
a. Coming in the glory of the Father
b. Coming in His own glory as the Son of God
c. Coming as the King of Israel, of the nations, the King of Kings
d. Coming as the Restorer of the world(Isaiah 2:4, 11:6, 9)