And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And he that heareth, let him say, Come. He who testifieth these things saith, Yea: I come quickly, Amen: come, Lord Jesus. Revelation 22:17a, 20
The Old Testament believers prayed constantly for the coming of the Messiah. This was natural. All the promises given them were related to the coming of the Messiah. He alone would be able to rescue Israel. But it seems to be much more difficult to pray for Christ’s second coming. The second coming will be preceded by great difficulties! When we pray for Christ’s return are we then not also praying for him to loose the powers of evil?
We have a very clear answer to the question whether or not we should pray for the return of our Lord in the last chapter of the Bible. In the visions recorded in the book of Revelation John has seen aU the evils which come upon the church in the last days. Yet, he counsels the believers to pray for the coming of Christ. Rather, he counsels them to pray thus because of these evils. When the difficulties come which are included in the signs of the times, the believers will become very anxious for the return of Christ. As long as they are unmolested the danger exists that they will feel themselves quite at home in the world. When persecutions arise, it will become very clear to them that this world is not their home.
When the revelation has been completed wherein the victory of the Christ has been pictured, the Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Grievous things are shown the Apostle in the book of Revelation. He sees all the forces of evil loosed against Christ and his people. Yet, the Christ is the ultimate Victor. Though the afflictions to come upon believers are pictured more vividly here than in any other part of Scripture, the Christ is also revealed here more gloriously than anywhere else. One glimpse of the glorious Christ is enough to cause the Apostle to fall down as one dead. One glimpse is also enough to cause him to pray ceaselessly, Come, Lord Jesus! The Spirit dwells within the church, the bride. The Spirit prays for and in the church. Though the church may be so sorely afflicted that she is scarcely able to pray, the Spirit will still pray for her. That Spirit always prays for the return of Christ. The true bride also prays for this. She must be united to her Groom. So only can she be the bride. So the true church prays. So must also each individual believer pray.
This prayer will be answered. The church will have to wait for her Lord. When will he come? No one knows. However, he comforts her with the words that he is coming quickly. Of course, one day is with him as a thousand years and a thousand years are as one day. But, his coming will not be delayed. No one will be able to stop or delay his coming. Believers may become weary as they wait for the promises of God to be fulfilled, but the Lord is not slack concerning his promise (2 Peter 3:9). He who has promised it will also do it.
John expresses his own longing for the return of Christ: “Come, Lord Jesus.” That is the expression of the believing heart—the expression of him who has seen the Lord. With his coming redemption will be complete. Sin will be done away. Beholding the Christ eternally is the blessing that awaits us. Grievous times will come, but these are not worthy to be compared to the glory which awaits us.
The New Testament church has seen what Christ has done when he came the first time. He who has tasted of the salvation which the Lord came to bring can scarcely wait until he returns.
1. Does the present day church long sufficiently for the return of Christ? If not, why not? During which times has this longing been the greatest?
2. Is there also a danger in emphasizing the return of Christ too much? Why? Are there groups which do this?
3. Should the fulfillment of the signs of the times make us rejoice? Explain.