The time came for Christ to ascend to His Father’s throne. As a divine conqueror He was about to return with the trophies of victory to the heavenly courts. As the place of His ascension, He chose the spot so often hallowed by His presence while He dwelt among men. On reaching the Mount of Olives, Jesus led the way across the summit to the vicinity of Bethany. Here He paused, and the disciples gathered about Him. Then with hands outstretched in blessing, He slowly ascended from among them. And as the cloudy chariot of angels received Him out of their sight, the words came down to them, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).
It is “this same Jesus” that is coming again, the One who, when He was on earth, “went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil” (Acts 10:38). The voice of the mighty Healer penetrated the deaf ear. A word, a touch of His hand, opened blind eyes. He rebuked disease and banished fever. His voice reached the ears of the dying, and they arose in health and vigor. In whole villages there was not a moan of sickness in any house; for He had passed through them, and healed all their sick. And while He healed their diseases He taught the people the way of life. …
This same Jesus, compassionate, tender, is coming again. On the Mount of Olives He told His disciples the signs that will precede His coming. But the day and the hour of His coming He has not revealed. The exact time of the second coming of the Son of man is God’s mystery. The whole world is full of rioting, full of godless pleasure, is asleep, asleep in carnal security. Men are putting far off the coming of the Lord. They laugh at warnings. The proud boast is made, “All things continue as they were from the beginning” (2 Peter 3:4). “Tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant” (Isaiah 56:12, last part). We will go deeper into pleasure-loving.
But Christ says, “Behold, I come as a thief” (Revelation 16:15). At the very time when the world is asking in scorn, “Where is the promise of His coming” (2 Peter 3:4)? the signs are fulfilling. While they cry, “Peace and safety” (1 Thessalonians 5:3), sudden destruction is coming. When the scorner, the rejecter of truth, has become presumptuous; when the routine of work in the various money-making lines is carried on without regard to principle; when the student is eagerly seeking knowledge of everything but his Bible, Christ comes as a thief.
The crisis is stealing gradually upon us. The sun shines in the heavens, passing over its usual round, and the heavens still declare the glory of God. Men are still eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage. Merchants are still buying and selling. Men are jostling one against another, contending for the highest place. Pleasure-lovers are still crowding to theatres, horse-races, gambling hells. The highest excitement prevails, yet probation’s hour is fast closing, and every case is about to be eternally decided. Satan sees that his time is short. He has set all his agencies at work that men may be deceived, deluded, occupied, and entranced until the day of probation shall be ended, and the door of mercy forever shut.
Christ is coming with clouds and great glory. A multitude of shining angels will attend Him. He will come to raise the dead, and to change the living saints from glory to glory. He will come to honor those who have loved Him, and kept His commandments and to take them to Himself. He has not forgotten them nor His promise. There will be a re-linking of the family chain. When we look upon our dead, we may think of the morning when the trump of God shall sound, when “the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52). A little longer and we shall see the King in His beauty, and He will present us “faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). Wherefore, when He gave the signs of His coming, He said, “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh (Luke 21:28).” The Watchman, October 3, 1905.