The coming of the Lord is in three ways: He will come to His saints; He will come with His saints; and He will come in His saints. In proper sequence one supports the other, one leads to the other, one prepares for successive comings of the Lord. There can be no coming with us unless first He has come to us, and He must come to us before He can come in us.
Coming ‘to’ His saints
He will come to us and bring His grace, the fullness of our salvation.
“If a man loves Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and wewill come to him,and make our abode with him” (Jn.).
By His Spirit He comes, in ways and dimensions far beyond our present comprehension.
There is a coming of the Lord “TO” His church through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Jn. 14:15-18 “If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, neither knows Him: but you know Him; for He dwells with you (as Jesus), and shall be in you (as the Spirit). I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
He is the One “whom the heavens must receive (retain) until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts).3:20″look or await” is from the Greek APEKDECHOMAI meaning to receive out from, He does not forever remain in the invisible sphere but we receive out from the heavens the manifestation of Himself. Out of the invisible comes a visible manifestation. There is what happened on the day of Pentecost when suddenly
“there came from heaven a sound as of a rushing mighty wind and it filled all the house where they were sitting. There appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:2-4).
Out of the heavens, out of the invisible came the visible manifestation of His presence. He came, as He had promised, “TO” them.
God had spoken through the prophet Malachi concerning His coming TO His people in these words: “Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me; and the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come TO His temple” (Mal. 3:1).
In the New Testament and during all the Christian centuries Christ has come in special ways at special times, sometimes quite unexpectedly, both to those who seek Him and those who do not.
His self-revelation to Saul of Tarsus, on the road to Damascus, “suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven,” and he fell to the earth for a revolutionary experience.. Paul was convinced, and all his personal history confirmed this, that it was Christ he met that day. “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” “Who are you, Lord?” “I am Jesus, whom you persecute.” The Voice that spoke to him was not identified just as “Christ,” but the Voice declared, “I am JESUS.” Three years the new convert spent in silence and seclusion before he began to teach the faith he once denied. Who gave him his message? He says he conferred not with flesh and blood; no man taught him what to say.
“I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, nor was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ ” (Gal.-12).
No follower of Christ has ever given more emphatic testimony of his assurance of the immediacy of his relationship to his Lord. Jesus Christ cametohim, to him alone, as though there was no other with whom to dwell, so that in time to come he could, when recounting his experience before king Agrippa, repeat the words the Lord Jesus had spoken to him on that eventful day ,
“But rise, and stand upon your feet: for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of these things which you have seen,andof those things in the which I will appear to you” (Acts 26:16).
The appearing of the Lord in Paul’s life was an on-going reality from glory to glory? He was taught by the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Only one who had encountered the Lord in a personal and real way could write:
“For I have received of the Lord that which I delivered to you…” (I Cor. 11:23).
The Lord appeared TO Paul and continued to appear TO him throughout his ministry, imparting the transforming truths he proclaimed.
There can be no creative spiritual experience without an immediate personal knowledge of Christ as Lord, Saviour, Healer, Baptizer, Shepherd, Friend………. This is often so strong, so real, so all-subduing, that it seems as though Christ had singled a person out for special favor. The very day and hour of the experience may stand out vividly from all the rest of life; in some it is not until long afterwards that the full significance of the spiritual visitation illuminates the consciousness. In either event one says: “It was Jesus who cametome and my whole world has been new ever since.”
Jesus Christ is always coming, coming in ways which the world cannot recognize; coming in sorrow, coming in joy; coming in tumult, coming in peace; coming in judgment, coming in quickening; coming in strange and mysterious visitations, coming in silence and in power and glory.
“Looking for His appearing” does not mean gazing into the skies for Jesus to flash down from heaven on a cloud. There are many modes and forms of the appearing of the Lord Jesus.
EACH MANIFESTATION IS ON THE LEVEL OF CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE PERSON TO WHOM HE APPEARS, AND EACH IS DESIGNED TO MEET A NEED.
Every man and woman of the earth, regardless of spiritual stature needs to look for Christ appearing to humankind. He will appear where they are and on a level of manifestation they are capable of receiving. He appears to all in greater and greater glory as one walks on in Him.
Coming ‘with’ His saints
Jude, the brother of Jesus, who wrote the small book of Jude in the New Testament, wrote
(v. 14:) “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord comes WITH ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all.” This is in harmony with II Thes. 1:7-8: “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty messengers, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Another passage shows Jesus coming WITH His saints: (I Thes.) “To the end He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ WITH all His saints.”
And: “They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign WITH Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).
Christ will come “to be glorified IN His saints, and to be admired IN all them that believe” (II Thes.). But it is equally true that we shall be glorified together “with” Jesus.
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be alsoglorified together” (Rom. 8:17).
Jesus is son of God and we are also sons and we glorified together. This is not the “in” glory of the Christ, but the “with” glorification. This experience of being glorified together is a reference to our union with Christ as members of His body.The entire company of the sons of God, in union with Christ the Head, will be immersed into the life of Christ. They will be joined to Christ to share with Him in the experience of being fully transformed into the body of His likeness. Joined to Christ the Head as the completed body of Christ prepared to execute judgment upon all.
When Christ comes with His people, “every eye shall see Him.” “Behold,He comes with clouds(of His saints); and every eye shall see Him” (Rev. 1:7).
When He is manifested His people are manifested also. (with Him)
“When Christ our life shall appear (or be manifested) , then shall you also appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4). “For He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are WITH him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Rev. 17:14).
The coming of Christ “in” the saints is “Christ in you, the “hope” of glory,”
Christ coming “with” the saints is(the manifestation of glory)5:17
No longer is he of the earth earthy, but one spirit with the Lord from heaven. In this the prayer of Jesus is fulfilled,
‘I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one’ (Jn.).
God’s anointed Christ is a man of many members just as the human body is one body with many members. Each and every member in that body is an individual person, a son/daughter of God. The head is the man Jesus of Nazareth. The arms, the fingers, the toes, the heart, the nerves, the blood vessels – every member of Him that fills all in all is an individual person and every person is a son/daughter of God and an image of Jesus Christ, the Head, the first begotten Son of God.
So it is that He cannot come except we come WITH Him and He WITH us. It is a divine union between God and man, between Jesus Christ and His body.
Coming “in” His saints.
“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty messengers, when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired IN all them that believe in that day” (II Thes. 1:7,10).
The moment any man identifies himself with the indwelling Christ of God he enters into an entirely new realm. He has passed from the limited knowledge of a distant Christ to Christ as his life. He has heard the message of the Lord,
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any men (the individual) hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and I will sup with him and he with Me (Rev. 3:20).
He is outside the temples of carnal zeal and fleshly prosperity. He comes not to a vast multitude gathered within the Laodicean church systems of this dark age, but to the “little flock” of followers who have been set aside for the most intimate and personal visitation.
Multitudes of sincere believers today are gazing into the sky, yearning and watching with eager anticipation for Christ to return, riding upon a white charger, appearing in the clouds of the atmosphere, leading the armies of heaven in vengence upon an ungodly world.
How many have turned aside and heard the penetrating voice of the Son of God crying, “If any man will open the door, I will come in to him”?
“But it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen… and they glorified God in me” (Gal. 1:15-16,24).
He did not say, “It pleased God to reveal His Son “to” me but “in” me. The light he saw was an outer vision. The appearing of His Lord was a vision to his outer eye. It was not the eye that saw the real radiance but the responsive spirit bearing witness with His Spirit.
To see the Christ we look at our brethren for there He is forming Himself and manifesting Himself and glorifying Himself. The body of Christ is not something apart from Christ, not just something the Christ has formed as a separate entity. The Ecclesia of the Lord Jesus Christ on this earth is Christ in the earth. When this knowledge becomes sweet to our soul we begin to look at one another and behold Him. We are looking for HIS APPEARING in His temple and we are that temple.
“And to them that look for Him shall HE APPEAR…” (Heb. 9:28).
When you see your brother and sister in Christ, are you looking for Him? Or do you see only their flesh? Are you looking at the outward weaknesses, errors, shortcomings; are you looking at an unfinished product and judging it in its present state or are you looking for Him. When we say, “Well, I’ve looked for Him in my brothers and sisters and I’ve been so disappointed,” we didn’t look deep enough. The truth is certain – to them that look for Him HE will appear. Do you see Christ in your fellow believers? Are you looking for HIM to appear? As we look at our brethren we are not to look for the faults, the failures, the mistakes and the imperfections – we are to look for Him. We will see exactly what we look for. If we do not see Him in our brethren, we need to speak a word, to encourage, to impart something of the Christ to them, serve them. Then look for Him to appear for our vision will change and the eye become single to the glory of the Lord in His people.
The Christ that we preach is nigh at hand. “He is not far from every one of us,” the apostle Paul says.
“Say not in your heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.) But what says it? The Word (Christ) is near you even in your mouth and in your heart.” ( 10:6-8).
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and for ever.” Not one pang or joy of earth Has He forgotten; not one purpose of His life or death or resurrection or ascension has He abandoned. “This same Jesus” who toiled and prayed and wept and suffered is living today as surely as when He trod the earth. Unless we are sure that He is unchanged and unchangeable, that He is right here WITHIN US in every turn of life as really as He was in the body of Jesus of Nazareth, unless we live daily in the power of this, our life will never be pure, we will never see His works, we will never be sure that He cares for us, that He wishes to perfect us, that He is guiding our lives and bringing us to the Father. Therefore, why strain your eyes to pierce the clouds? The cloud that hides Christ from us is in ourselves, in our love of self, in our blind adherence to traditions, in our devotion to the world. Let us ask God to send the wind of His Spirit, that blows where it listeth, to sweep the negative life, and then we will see Christ AS OUR LIFE at every step of the journey. Why stand gazing up into heaven for a Christ who lives in our own hearts?