“For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man …
“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (verses 27, 30-31)
Jesus’ second coming will be unmistakable. There will be no way to miss it.
I think there is something in Jesus’ words here that would have resonated deeply with those living under the dominance of imperial Rome. They would have known the reality of military might invading, then conquering, then ruling. To see a Roman legion advancing, marching in lock step, the imperial banner unfurled in front, floating high above the marching soldiers, as the military trumpet sounded, would have been a continual declaration of the overwhelming power and glory of Rome, striking fear into the hearts of those watching. Banner and trumpet, sight and sound, would be unavoidable.
Jesus says that’s what his second coming will be like. His royal banner will unfurl gloriously in the sky. The loud trumpet call will sound. It will be unmistakable.
“All you people of the world, you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds, you will hear it” (Isaiah 18:3).
The reality of his coming, while seen by all, will produce different responses in different people. “The nations of the earth will mourn” – in other words, those from every corner of the world who have not responded to the Son of Man during their lifetime will be distressed at his coming, seeing it like the awesome, threatening advance of a Roman legion, with banner unfurled and trumpet sounding.
But those who are “his elect” – those who have responded to Christ’s call on their lives through faith – will be gathered to him, seeing that banner and hearing that trumpet as the announcement of their long-awaited Deliverer. It will be great good news for those from all nations, both Jew and Gentile, who have placed faith in Jesus.
“In that day the Root of Jesse (Jesus) will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious … He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth” (Isaiah 11:10, 12).
His coming will be clear. “The sign of the Son of Man will appear.” The “loud trumpet call” will sound. “Every eye will see him”(Revelation 1:7) and those who know him will rejoice.
Even so, come Lord Jesus. Establish your kingdom. Gather your people. To your power and glory. Amen.
Reflect: The sure coming of Jesus Christ is meant to impact our lives right now – this very day. How will you live differently today in light of his coming? How will it affect your time, your perspectives, your actions?
Photo by David Bumgardner on Unsplash