Revelation 19 presents the glorious picture of the return of Jesus Christ to earth. Heaven opens and the Lord appears on a white horse, accompanied by heaven’s armies. He wears many crowns, His eyes are like a flame of fire, and from His mouth comes a sharp sword. Imagine that.
Several names are attributed to Him: “Faithful and True,” “The Word of God,” and even a secret name known only to Himself. Perhaps the most arresting name is the name that is written on His robe and on His thigh: “King of kings and Lord of lords.” King Jesus comes again! This is indeed the return of the King!
This is the second coming of King Jesus. The first time He came was some 2000 years ago. God had given many prophetic promises that He would come, reaching all the way back to the Garden of Eden when God said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). Someone would be born of woman who would defeat that serpent, Satan, who would “bruise his head.” Later through Moses God said, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him” (Deuteronomy 18:18).
These divine predictions became more specific as time went by. Through Isaiah the prophet God said, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). And again through Isaiah, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). That prophecy has clear overtones of royalty—One with “the government on His shoulder.”
The royal status of this Coming One was made quite clear through the prophet Micah: “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:2). “Ruler in Israel.” God’s King was coming!
But, oh, how long the people of God waited! The King didn’t come until some 1400 years after the promise was made through Moses in Deuteronomy 18:18. His coming came roughly 700 years after Isaiah’s and Micah’s prophecies. The nation of Israel waited century after century, the last four of which had not one prophetic word from God—the 400 “silent years.”
Then, at the right time, He came. But when He came, it was not at all what the people expected. They expected a royal champion on a battle stallion charging forth to deliver His people from all their enemies. Instead, a baby was born in obscurity—albeit, in Bethlehem just as Micah had prophesied—to a peasant girl. He grew up in the ordinary way, learned the carpenter’s trade, and when He reached the age of 30 became an itinerant teacher, a traveling rabbi. Three years into this work He was betrayed to His enemies by a close friend and was brutally executed.
And this was “the King”?? Yes, praise be to God, yes! He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. God raised His King from the dead, caused Him to be seen by witnesses over 40 days, and then took Him back to heaven, exalting Him to the highest place.
And now we wait. And while we wait, we proclaim the good news that the King has come to provide forgiveness of sins and will come again to rule and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords!
A well-known Christmas carol finds its title in its opening line: “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.” That spirit of expectancy, of eager, confident waiting should mark us as we celebrate the first coming of King Jesus and look toward His second coming. We want to fan the flames of that expectancy this Christmas season as we look at the first two chapters of the Gospel of Matthew over the next four Sundays under the theme of “A Royal Christmas.”
Come, King Jesus! Come to our hearts anew this Christmastime and come again to this world. Come!