Issue #2 - January 1993
Come Quickly, Lord Jesus
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you." (John 16:7)
It was necessary for Jesus to depart from his New Testament followers. As long as the Master was physically in their midst, they would follow him. Jesus understood that it was requisite with their role as messengers to the nations, that they might consult the record of heaven, even the Holy Ghost which He would give them. Through this avenue, they might discover Him within themselves, becoming possessors of the testimony of Jesus, the primary gift of the spirit.
When we consider the second coming we are often waiting for events to transpire. Wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, blood fire and vapors of smoke; as well as the sun refusing to shine, the moon being turned to blood and the stars being hurled from their courses. Like Jesus' New Testament disciples, we have failed to apprehend that the second coming of Christ is not something which will primarily happen to us or even around us, but rather something which must first transpire within us. If ever Jesus is to return in all His pristine wonder and glory, He first must appear in the hearts and lives of His people, His saints, even Latter-day Israel. This is the real meaning of the scripture: "Wherefore may the kingdom of God go forth, that the kingdom of heaven may come." (Doc. & Cov. 65:1f).
The second coming of Jesus is primarily a work of faith; "and these things must be spoken of with care and constraint of the spirit, and in this there is no condemnation" (Doc. & Cov. 63:16a). The imminent return of our Lord is so vital, we must get a focus on this most significant event. In addition, our preaching and pastoral ministry should address this eschatological event more vigorously than it has hitherto done. Every field of human endeavor, from. family life, to the arts, the sciences, sports, literature, economics as well as history, find their true measure of worth in the return of the Lord Jesus who is the commonwealth of the value of all things good.
As the New Testament apostles responded after Pentacost to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, they discovered the key to their ministry just as we must. They now had discerned the word of God within them. That word became their inward life, and in it they exercised themselves, and out of it, they spoke "as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21), enabling the Lord to "add to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47). Similarly, the early saints of the Restoration and of the Reorganization, who were instrumental in building this church and later preserving it in these last days, knew their scriptures. They knew, moreover, what these scriptures meant and as their work testifies in us, they were stable and steadfast, " rooted and builded up in Him" (Col. 2:7). This is why we have been admonished again and again to "study to shew thyself approved "(Timothy 2:15).
If, as we have suggested, that the second coming of Christ is primarily a work of faith, then this fruit of the spirit (Gal, 5:22) and gift of the spirit (I Cor. 12:9) as well as this principle of the Doctrine of Christ (Heb.6:1) must undergird all our endeavors. Joseph, the Palmyra Seer, declared faith to be the first principle in revealed religion and the foundation of all righteousness (Lectures on Faith, Lecture 1:1). The spirit of revelation or prophecy is the testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of the Restoration. Our faith is, as was theirs, directly linked to our ability to rely upon the record of heaven, which is within us (inasmuch as we have obeyed the everlasting gospel and received by the laying on of hands this promise, or earnest of salvation). This faith, which was once delivered to the saints, must be captured again, thus allowing sinful men and women to be courageous enough to put no price on our own wills, but to come down in the debts of humility and determine, under God, to make whatever adjustments the revelation of Christ shall demand. Our ultimate longings and fellowship with Him are predicated upon such a faith and will stimulate us to righteousness, thus enabling Jesus to return.
Jesus will come, and he will first come to His church, as depicted in the parable of Zenos (Jacob 3:140) to those who have given their portion of meat in due season (Luke 12), setting Himself a second time to recover his people (2Nephi 5:36). This is the next great event of the Restoration; we shall do well in these troublesome times to find our anchor in the acknowledged word of God that will keep and steady us, give us poise and culture in the midst of confusion and decay.
"Surely I come quickly; Amen. Even so come Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20).
Patrick McKay Sr.