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Here Comes the Son!
From the Writings of Marvin J. Rosenthal
Published in Zion's Fire Magazine in January, 2000

God’s timing, like all that He does, is exquisite and flawless. The One who spoke the universe into existence – who created man from the dust of the earth – who breathed into him the breath of life so that man became a living soul, does not simply respond to unanticipated human circumstances. God never reacts extemporaneously. He has never been caught off guard. The flow of human history moves unerringly along His predetermined path. All time and events are under God’s sovereign control. History is, in truth, His story.

Consequently, it should not be thought surprising that the Apostle Paul wrote to the church of Galatia, "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law" (Gal. 4:4). Much has been written concerning the significance of the phrase "But when the fullness of the time was come." This much is clear. Jesus did not appear on the stage of human history one instant before the divinely-appointed time – nor one instant beyond it. The Son of God was born at the right place (Bethlehem), in the right way (a virgin birth), of the right lineage (the tribe of Judah and the family of David), at precisely the right moment. It was "the fullness of the time." Everything was divinely prepared for the incarnation of the preincarnate Son of God.

While men are born to live, Jesus was uniquely born to die. Concerning His death on Calvary He would say, "for this cause came I into the world" (Jn. 18:37). And with His death, Satan gleefully proclaimed "checkmate," the original meaning of which is your king is dead. Satan’s pronouncement, however, was premature, for death could not hold her foe. On the third day Jesus rose triumphantly from the grave, and after forty days of post resurrection ministry, our great High Priest passed "through the heavens" into the presence of His Father (Heb. 4:14). The deliberate imagery of the writer to the Hebrews should not be overlooked. As the high priest of Israel "passed through the outer court" to enter the Temple and the presence of God, there to apply the blood of the slain lamb on behalf of his nation, so Jesus has passed "through the heavens" to be seated at the right hand of the majesty on high (Eph. 1:20; Heb. 1:3). There, based upon the infinite worth and eternal duration of His shed blood, Jesus functions as advocate and intercessor for all those who have placed their faith in Him. However, the Lord’s present priestly ministry is not His final work on our behalf.

The Son of God is coming to Earth again. His Father has decreed it to be so. His return will occur when the Sovereign of all time and all things says, "Enough! No more!"; when the cup of man’s iniquity is full; and when man’s sinful rebellion against his Creator is complete.

At the first coming. God was incarnate in Jesus, and at His death on Calvary "grace and truth" kissed. As a result, unmerited favor flowed out to humanity like water released from a giant pent-up reservoir.

When the Son appears the second time, God’s holiness and justice will embrace, and a world that has gone "tilt" and rebelled against its Creator will be "put straight" and "made level."

The first coming of Christ was the noon hour of history. Men did not simply hear about God from the prophets – they saw God in the person of Jesus.

When Jesus comes the second time, it will be the dawning of a new day. On that occasion, His glory will be fully displayed (Mt. 25:31; 2 Th. 1:9; 2:8).

Jewish theology has long suggested that history is divided into two major segments – the one, this present age, and the other, the age to follow. In between these two ages, the Jews believed, would be a period of time during which God would judge the world. That period of time is called in the Bible "the day of the LORD" (Isa. 13:6; Joel 2:1; 1 Th. 5:2). The true Church, the Bride of Christ, will be raptured immediately prior to "the day of the Lord," and then His wrath will be directed against the forces of the Antichrist and an unregenerate world. The concept of deliverance immediately before divine judgment is illustrated in two familiar Bible stories.

Abraham’s nephew Lot was told to flee Sodom the very day God’s wrath fell on the godless city (Lk. 17:26-27), and Noah was told to enter the ark the very day the rains descended and the flood began. Concerning these events, the Lord taught "As it was in the days of Noah [and Lot], so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man" (Lk. 17:26-30). The point the Lord was making was clear; the righteous will be separated from the unrighteous immediately prior to the outpouring of God’s wrath in connection with His coming. This brief period of divine wrath associated with Christ’s return will lead into a glorious new "day" – the millennial reign of Christ.

The Apostle Paul spoke of the coming "day of the Lord" and the separation of the just from the unjust this way:

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober (1 Th. 5:2-6).

The differing responses to Christ’s coming are suggested in the familiar anecdote, "The same sun that hardens the clay melts the wax."

Here Comes the Son
He will consummate the redemption of the righteous at His return. Salvation is often presented in three tenses. The moment a person places his faith in the redemptive work of Christ, he is saved from the penalty of sin. The hymn writer put it this way:

Jesus paid it all –
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

As the believer yields to the indwelling Holy Spirit, he is being saved from the power of sin in his life. One day in the future he will be saved from the very presence of sin itself.

The believer was saved from the penalty of sin, is being saved from the power of sin, and will be saved from the presence of sin.

Sometimes these three facets of God’s completed redemption are referred to as salvation, sanctification, and glorification. It is the latter of the three which awaits completion at the second coming of the Son of God. Only then will the believer be glorified; only then will the Lord Jesus Christ be able to present His brethren faultless before the presence of His (the Father’s) glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24).

Here Comes the Son to deliver the Earth from the curse of sin. Unregenerate men do not like to speak of sin. They prefer to call sin anything but what it really is. Sin is often referred to as a white lie, a mistake, a sickness, an indiscretion, or a fault. Sometimes sin is perceived to be the result of uncontrollable stimuli and, therefore, in the minds of some, the sinner is not to be blamed for his action. Disguising sin so that men do not perceive what it really is and the price it has cost them has been Satan’s master program of deception. Tragically, humankind has bought into the Wicked One’s program hook, line, and sinker.

Every broken body, every disturbed mind, and every hurting heart – the collective tears of humanity for six thousand years can trace their ancestry back to the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Before sin there was no death – before sin there was no disease – before sin there was no murder – before sin there was no hatred, lying, famine, pestilence, rust, weed, war, nor a thousand other ills that have plagued man from the beginning of time. These things are all the result of sin – not necessarily personal sins, but sin as an operating principle entering front and center onto the stage of human history. When Jesus returns, the curse of sin will be lifted from the Earth. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews spoke concerning that truth this way:

…and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation [i.e. deliverance] (Heb. 9:28).

Here Comes the Son to destroy the Antichrist. Every informed member of the human race should despise the Antichrist. The ultimate antagonist, he will be responsible for bringing man to the brink of irreversible disaster. The Greek prefix "anti" means against; it also means in place of. These two qualities describe perfectly the activity of this diabolical being. Energized by Satan (Rev. 13:4-7), he will oppose God and be the enemy of the souls of men. John, writing in the first century, said the spirit of the Antichrist was already present (1 Jn. 4:3). Doubtless, John had in mind the Caesars of Rome who were themselves worshipped as gods. John knew well that at the end of time, from within the revived Roman Empire, the counterfeit Christ (Antichrist) will arise.

Those days appear to be rapidly approaching, and the events transpiring in Europe are of considerable prophetic significance. These events go far beyond the immediate implications and excitement now being propagated in the news media. The consolidating of the twelve member nations of the European Economic Community (E.E.C.) is picking up momentum. The year 1992 has been targeted to be the occasion for lowering the borders and duty between the member nations and to make of twelve nations one common market. The first step is designed to be an economical union. Some believe that close behind will inevitably emerge a political union. The latter will become a pragmatic necessity brought about by the swift currents of change.

These common market nations now do business in three primary languages: English, French, and German; English being the preeminent business language. However, national pride is a crucial issue, and none wants to relinquish their native language nor forfeit their unique culture.

The Catholic Church was the catalyst for starting the European Economic Community. (The first meeting of the E.E.C. was called at the invitation of the Roman Catholic Church and held at the Vatican.) In the end of days, the European Economic Community will, it appears, become a revived Roman Empire (Dan. 2:40-44; 7:24).

Out of that empire will arise her most diabolical son, the Antichrist, and as the Hebrew language was raised from the dead to accommodate the resurrected nation of Israel, look for the possible resurrection of Latin to accommodate the emerging Roman Empire. It may be the glue to hold the alliance together.

At the present moment in Eastern Europe, governments are coming unzipped. How far and how fast these events will go and how all the pieces of the puzzle will land when the dust settles can only be speculated upon at the present hour. Of perhaps greatest interest is the "crumbling" of the Berlin wall and movement toward a unified Germany.

During the Second World War, Adolph Hitler declared that the Third Reich (which he understood to be a revived Roman Empire) would last "a thousand years." A united Germany may well be part of that empire. It is significant that the prime minister of Israel recently admitted on American television that he feared a united Germany. More than he knows, he has reason to fear a unified Germany. When the Antichrist does emerge onto the stage of end-time events, he will eventually establish a base of operation on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem and declare himself the world ruler (2 Th. 2:3-4). He will ask that men submit to his mark (the mark of the beast) and bow down and worship him (Rev. 13:15-17).

In that day, believers will have occasion to stand true to their sovereign Lord. Many will be martyred, and others will suffer indescribable hardship. The reign of the Antichrist will be short-lived and unsuccessful. The Apostle John gives a vivid description of the defeat of the Antichrist in connection with the Lord’s return.

And I saw the beast [the Antichrist], and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him [the true Christ] that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone (Rev. 19:19-20).

Here Comes the Son to defeat Satan. Hell is real, terrible, and everlasting. Satan is also real. Hell was made for Satan and his angels. Created as the highest of all angelic beings (the anointed cherub, Ezek. 28:14), Satan rebelled against his Creator. His subsequent career is underscored by various designations in God’s Word. He is called the "dragon" which suggests his cruelty, the "serpent" which underscores his subtlety, the "Devil" which focuses on his being the accuser, and "Satan" which describes his primary role as adversary to all who name the name of Christ (Rev. 12:9).

Satan will be imprisoned at Christ’s return and during His millennial reign. At its end, he will be loosed for "a little season," and finally consigned to everlasting torment in Hell (Rev. 20:1-3).

Here Comes the Son to recapture man’s lost destiny as king of the Earth. What glorious nobility and dignity is associated with humankind. Man was created in the exultant image and likeness of God. He was given a mind with which he could think God’s thoughts after Him; he was given a heart with which he could interact with God emotionally; and he was given a will with which he could do God’s bidding. Man was designed and destined to be king of the Earth. He was commanded to subdue all things, to give names to the animal world, to reign as sovereign on the Earth, subject only to his Creator. But Satan solicited the first couple to disobey God, and they succumbed to his wiles. In that deed they lost the scepter of kingship, and Satan usurped man’s right to rule over this planet. He is "the god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4) and "the prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2).

When Jesus returns, He will rule as King of kings and Lord of lords. The scepter will once again be in the hands of man, the God-Man. In that day, the curse will be lifted, life expectancy will be increased, animals will become docile, the earth will bring forth her full bounty, and righteousness will become a reality in the Earth.

Here Comes the Son
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear [reverent trust] of the LORD (Isa. 11:2).

Here Comes the Son
And he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears. But with righteousness shall he judge the poor,...and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked (Isa. 11:3-4).

Here Comes the Son
And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins [righteousness will be the dominant characteristic of His reign], and faithfulness [dependability] the girdle of his reins (Isa. 11:5).

Here Comes the Son
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 [cobra], and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ [viper’s] den (Isa. 11:6-8).

Here Comes the Son and he has decreed:

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 (Isa. 11:9).

Here Comes the Son
There will be no death.

Here Comes the Son
There will be no war.

Here Comes the Son
There will be no murder nor robbery.

Here Comes the Son
There will be no AIDS and sexual perversion.

Here Comes the Son
There will be no termination of an unwanted pregnancy.

Here Comes the Son
There will be no natural catastrophe like earthquake, hurricane, pestilence, or famine.

Here Comes the Son
There will be no false shepherds to lead the sheep away from the green pastures.

Here Comes the Son
That Christ will return is beyond debate by those who believe God’s Word. More and more Christians are convinced that we are rushing full speed ahead toward the return of Christ and the consummation of this age. Many believe that the cup of iniquity is almost full – that "the day of the Lord" is near, and with that assessment this author concurs.

For the unregenerate world, Christ’s return will be the ultimate horror. In that day, men will not be confronted by "little Jesus meek and mild." The description of "the day of the Lord" is one of unrestrained wrath and is a recurring subject of the ancient prophets.

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand (Joel 2:1).

Put ye in the sickle; for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision (Joel 3:13-14).

Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it? (Amos 5:18-20).

The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteneth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land (Zeph. 1:14-18).

Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible (Isa. 13:6-11).

In marked contrast to the wicked, for the believer, the return of Christ is the "blessed hope" (Ti. 2:13). By "hope" it is meant that Christ’s return is certain, sure, absolute, inevitable, and inviolable. No force in the universe can thwart Christ’s intention to return. It is also "blessed." At His coming. He will consummate the believer’s redemption, deliver the Earth from the curse of sin, destroy the Antichrist, defeat Satan, and recapture man’s lost destiny as king of the Earth.

Jesus is the Bridegroom, and the Church the Bride. At His coming, there will be spiritual union and perfection for evermore. True believers should be as excited at the prospect of Christ’s second coming as a bride rapturously in love, anticipates union with her bridegroom. "That day" is not to overtake the child of God "as a thief" (1 Th. 5:4). He is to live with the thrilling expectation of Christ’s return.

The child of God is repeatedly admonished to be prepared for His coming by living a holy life and manifesting the fruit of the Spirit.

Here Comes the Son!

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Here Comes the Son!
From the Writings of Marvin J. Rosenthal
Published in Zion's Fire Magazine in January, 2000