Introduction

The Second Coming: Our Blessed Hope

The doctrine of the Second Coming—the message Jesus declared regarding His glorious appearance as the blessed and only Potentate—is one of the most abused and distorted of the Bible. Among its friends, it has been held out of proportion to other truths and has suffered many wounds. Within the organized church, some reject it altogether, while others are ignorant of it or indifferent to it, claiming, "I know nothing about it. Neither does anyone else!"

Fortunately, the number of those who are striving to understand the great and glorious truth of the Redeemer's return is growing. While they cannot grasp all that is involved in unfulfilled prophecies, they feel that the human race is moving toward the most stupendous events in the world's history and that international and national events and crises are heavy with prophetic significance.

To handle the Word of truth aright, we must preserve the distinction between Christ's return for His church and His descent to earth to reign. While there is only one advent, there are two events forming it, namely His coming for His saints and then His coming with His saints. The two focal points are rapture and reign.

When our Lord comes down from heaven, He is to tarry in midair, as 1 Thessalonians 4:17 teaches. This will constitute the manifestation of Himself to His church. Then He will descend to the earth as the Prince of the kings of the earth. This aspect corresponds to Zechariah's prophecy about His feet standing on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). Thus He comes for His saints and then with His saints, since His church is to assist Him in His governmental control of the earth.

What does the Bible teach about the coming of Christ for His church—this powerful, practical, purifying doctrine that God's people are studying as never before?

The Fact of His Coming

Jude exhorts us earnestly to contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. The question is: Can the rapture and the Second Coming be called a part of this faith? Jude evidently thought it could and therefore emphasizes various aspects of such a truth. Yet we are sometimes labeled "faddists" if we reiterate what the New Testament so clearly teaches. Let us, then, read what the Bible has to say about Christ's coming, taking every reference at its face value. If such a doctrine is not a vital part of the Bible, we have no right to spend any time over it. But if it is the pivotal truth of the future, then are we not guilty of a sinful silence by withholding our vocal testimony?

In seeking to outline the fact of Christ's return, we will confine ourselves to the teaching of the New Testament. To be sure, the Old Testament is as divinely inspired as the New Testament and has as much proof for the second advent of our Lord as for His first advent. But the New Testament gives us the full revelation of this theme. The church is not the subject of a divine revelation in the Old Testament. Christ's mystical body is the mystery hid from the ages and unfolded for us in Paul's writings. It is logical to conclude therefore that those New Testament writers who disclose the truth of the church should likewise dwell upon her rapture.

The New Testament contains over three hundred direct references to our Lord's return—more space than is devoted to any other theme. Let us, then, go through the New Testament books and gather out the various announcements and aspects of this theme, discovering each writer's particular viewpoint.

Solomon once declared that a threefold cord is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). We have such a threefold cord of evidence in the testimony of Christ, the testimony of heaven, and the testimony of the Holy Spirit through the church. Here is the trinity in unity.

The testimony of Christ—declaration: In his memorable message on "the Father's house," Jesus declares that He will return for His own: "I will come back and take you to be with me" (John 14:3). Having given such a promise, He will realize it to the full, for Christ said what He meant and meant what He said. Yet, some affirm that when Christ said "I," He was referring to the Holy Spirit. But if Christ had had the Spirit in mind, He would have said so. Further, such language has no significance if our blessed Lord is not coming to take us home to be with Himself forever.

The testimony of heaven—confirmation: In Acts 1:10–11, two men come from heaven to tell earth what heaven believes about the return of Christ. There is no mistaking their message; it is heaven brought and heaven inspired. "This same Jesus . . . will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

Here on earth we have varied interpretations of truth. In heaven, however, all truths are viewed from the divine standpoint. These two men, then, coming directly from heaven, bring a message of consolation to the men of Galilee who are so perplexed over the sudden disappearance of Christ. The One who has left them is to return as suddenly as He went away.

The testimony of the Holy Spirit through the church—revelation: The bulk of the revelation about the advent truth is in the twenty-three books from Acts to Revelation. The classic passage is 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 where, under divine inspiration, Paul gives us details to be found nowhere else in the New Testament. With the establishment and extension of the church, strong emphasis was given to Christ's coming. John's "Apocalypse" has the Holy Spirit and the church uniting in a plea for Christ to return. "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come' " (22:17). It is common to use this part of the verse as the basis of a gospel invitation, but direct interpretation of the phrase is related to a joint appeal for Christ to come. The Spirit through the church, and the church through the Spirit, are calling to Jesus, "Come!" Three times over in the chapter Christ is found saying, "I am coming soon." And back goes the cry of the Spirit and the church, "Come, come Lord Jesus!"

The last word Jesus utters from the glory concerns His coming. Before the heavens close and divine revelation is completed, Christ reaffirms the message of His appearing. "Yes, I am coming soon" (22:20). Then we have the prayer of John, re-echoed by the church down the ages, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" And the sacred volume closes with a benediction.

The Time of His Coming

To predict dates is to contradict the Word of God and falsify our position. Christ declares, "You do not know when that time will come" (Mark 13:33). How dare anyone journey beyond the limits of this explicit declaration? There is enough of certainty to feed the lamp of our faith and enough of uncertainty to make us careful lest when the Bridegroom comes, our lamps are out.

The day of Christ's coming is unknown. It has been marked off on God's calendar, and there we rest. He tells me that He's coming, and that's quite enough.

In studying the time element, we have three distinct groups of passages. The first group suggests uncertainty (Matthew 24:36–44; Acts 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:1–2); the second group indicates speed or imminence (Revelation 3:11); the third implies delay (Matthew 24:48; 25:19; Luke 19:11).

The fact is certain, and such is sufficient for our comfort and inspiration. The time is uncertain, and such is sufficient for our separation and dedication. Of this we are confident, that Christ is soon to leave the secret place of His glory and return to earth. And ours will be the delight of the old Scottish peasant who said, "I dinna ken when He is coming, but I'll be gey glad to see Him when He comes."

Christ is coming! The Scriptures declare it. Saints believe it. Redeemed souls in glory are awaiting it. Satan accepts it. Sadly, multitudes in the church are ignorant of it! May we be found among the number who, with garments washed and white, are ready to hail Christ's arrival!

The Manner of His Coming

Prophecy is often brought into disrepute through the unwise and unwarranted pronouncements of those who are called not as prophets but as interpreters of God's program for the ages. If prophecy is to win more lives, we must have saner interpreters of the prophetic Word. Surely no other realm of the Bible demands more attention to the Pauline injunction about rightly dividing the Word of Truth than that of prophecy. To strain certain parts of the Holy Writ and find in it prophecies of automobiles, airplanes, clothes rationing, modern engines of warfare, and present-day personages is evidently one way to wrongly divide the Word of Truth.

In the description Paul gives of the return of the Lord in the air, we have a triad of accompaniments: the loud command of the Lord, the voice of the archangel, the trumpet call of God (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Perhaps these three blasts are related to those participating in the rapture. The "loud command" may call the dead in Christ. Just as Lazarus came forth from his grave, so the saved dead will respond en masse to Christ's authoritative voice as the resurrection and the life. The "voice of the archangel" may be connected with those who are alive and remain; the "trumpet call of God" may summon the dead who are raised and the living who are changed to meet the Savior. This recalls the blowing of silver trumpets in Numbers 10. Three blasts guided the journeyings of the Israelites: the first and second gathered the tribes; the third commanded them to march forward.

The Resurrection of the Dead

Only some of the dead will rise: "the dead in Christ will rise first" (1 Thessalonians 4:16). The rest of the dead, the wicked dead, will remain in their graves until the time of the great white throne, when all must be raised for the ratification of the condemnation (Revelation 20:12). Here, then, is a comforting hope: our holy, happy dead are to rise again. Death will not keep its prey. According to the late Dr. A. T. Robertson, the word for "loud command," or "shout," is "an old word meaning to order, command (military command). Christ will come as a conqueror." And, as the Victor over the grave, Christ will command the graves to yield the dust of those who belonged to Him while on earth.

We believe in the resurrection of the body. He who brought the body to dust because of sin will raise the dust in the resurrection of glory. Jesus declares that God is able to raise up children out of stones, and what are stones but solidified dust? If God was able to create the body of Adam out of the dust of the earth, surely He is able to fashion the glorified body of believers out of their buried dust or ashes.

The Transformation of the Living

Next in order comes the transformation of all the living saints. "We who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds" (1 Thessalonians 4:17). "We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:51). So there are millions who may never die. What a wonderful experience it would be to lay aside the mortal for immortality! As a Christian, I do not shrink from death. If I have to go home by the way of a grave, God will grant me dying grace. But what a thrill it would be to be found preaching the gospel, urging sinners to repent, when Christ appears! And because we may go without dying, it is imperative so to live that if our transformation should come the very next moment, all will be well between our hearts and the Savior.

Seeing Him, we are to be changed into His likeness. "When he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2 RSV). Like Him! What is He like? Well, what was He like when He ascended on high? How old was He? Only thirty-three years of age. He did not come to the end of His earthly sojourn an old decrepit man.

    "Not one gold hair was gray
    Upon His crucifixion day."

In His resurrected form, Jesus retains His youthfulness. "We shall be like him" means we will possess His perennial youthfulness. Ours is to be a body knowing no decay because of age. Now, the bodily infirmities of advancing years often hamper our Christian activities. But with a glorified body like Christ's, we will be able to serve Him unceasingly, day and night, forever.

Continuing his dramatic unfolding of Christ's return, Paul declares that we are to be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. The phrase "caught up" has the thought of being snatched away out of danger—before tribulation overtakes a guilty world, the Lord removes His own. He removes His church from the hour of temptation that comes upon all the world to try those who dwell upon the earth.

The word "together" is worthy of note. First, it suggests the blissful reunion that our lonely hearts anticipate. Now we are not together. Loved ones have been called home; half of our heart is in heaven. But Christ is coming, and when He appears we will be reunited immediately to those whom we have loved and lost. Caught up together! On the way up to meet Jesus we are to have the joy of meeting our dear ones and then, arm in arm, rise to hail the blessed Lord unitedly.

The word "together" also helps slay the "partial rapture" theory, which implies that not all the saved are to be taken and that those who are not sufficiently holy must be left behind when Christ comes. Such an interpretation is entirely foreign to the concept of the church as a body. Further, our translation does not depend upon our sanctification; it is a vital part of our salvation. If we are not sufficiently holy when Christ comes, we shall suffer in respect to reward, but this is a different matter altogether. All who are Christ's at His coming are to share in the rapture. He will leave no one behind in the Egypt of this world.

Again, if our translation depends upon human merit, how are we to know when we have attained the degree of holiness that guarantees our being taken? Or who is to tell us when we have reached the necessary standard for joyful participation in the coming of Christ? Finally, when is Christ to come for the unholy saved ones left behind? Are there to be several raptures? If so, His descents will have to be numerous, which is, of course, unthinkable. We affirm that every born-again person will rise to meet Christ in the air and that the question of fitness will be dealt with at the "bema" or "judgment seat" (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

The word "together" also refers to the perfect unity of the people of God. Now they are not together; theological and denominational barriers keep them apart. Unhappy divisions, bitter estrangements prevent that unity promised to the world by the gospel. In their separate churches it is still the custom to sing, "We are not divided, all one body we," but this is only one more lie many religious people are guilty of singing. When Christ arrives in the air, all saints, irrespective of denominational label, will be caught up simply as sinners saved by grace. Our little systems and sects will end; as one complete body the church will gather around her adorable Lord.

The Meeting in the Air

These days, attention is focused on the air. And with all this air activity, we cannot get away from the fact that the devil is the prince of the power of the air. But his present abode is to become Christ's reception court, since He is to receive us unto Himself.

Those who reject the premillennial interpretation of the rapture affirm that this is the only place where the Bible connects the "air" with the coming and reject building a theory on only one reference. But since every part of the Bible is divinely inspired, one verse is sufficient to confirm our belief that Christ is to tarry in midair and that the saints will rise to meet Him just as the filings leap to the magnet.

The Judgment Seat of Christ

After meeting the Lord in the air, the saints have to meet Him in judgment before they are qualified to serve Him in any judicial or administrative capacity. Because no truth can revolutionize the life and labor of a believer like the judgment seat of Christ, let us attend to the judgment so forcibly emphasized by Paul: "If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward" (1 Corinthians 3:14); "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10); "You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat" (Romans 14:10).

Keep in mind that this judgment is for believers only; the judgment for unbelievers is the great white throne of Revelation 20. Thus, if we are at the first judgment, we shall not be at the second. If we are missing at the first, we must be at the second. And it is our relationship to Christ here on earth that determines the judgment we are to face.

The function of the bema, the judgment seat (2 Corinthians 5:10), varies according to differences among believers. First, it will bring about that rectification so imperative for united, eternal service. Think of it in this light: here are two believers who are not on speaking terms; once bosom friends, they had a falling out and have been estranged for years. Belonging to the same church, they often pass each other but with never a nod of recognition. Because each is truly saved, both will be caught up to meet the Lord. But they cannot be divided forever. There must be a place where all differences are ironed out and we are made to see eye to eye. Since the judgment seat of Christ is not a criminal court but a court of inquiry, we may assume that the Lord and His own are to be alone as disputes are settled and relationships harmonized.

Still, if we are at odds with a brother or a sister in the Lord, it is better to patch things up now than to have the shame of adjusting them in the light of His presence. We may sing about knowing each other better when the "mists have rolled away," but we should strive to become better acquainted with each other as we tarry amid the mists. This is not a time for strained relationships. If we have apologies to seek or give, let us act as Christians inspired by God's forgiving grace.

Further, the judgment seat will determine our place and position in coming glory. "Fire will test the quality of each man's work" (1 Corinthians 3:13), and this test reveals our fitness for cooperation with Christ in His governmental control of earth. While we cannot work for heaven, we can certainly work like slaves for our responsibilities to heaven. Faithfulness to the Lord and His Word is the basis of reward, as the parable of the talents makes clear. We will not all be on the same level in glory. Many will stand before the Judge with a saved soul but a lost life. There will be no souls to their credit, no stars in their crown.

The great majority of Christians lose sight of the fact that they are presently developing themselves for future positions in Christ's kingdom. To reign with Him depends upon the loyalty and faithfulness of life and service here. If we are to have an abundant entrance into His presence, we must experience the more abundant life as we continue serving Him on earth. May God grant to each of us grace to reach for the best! If we want the Master's benediction and promotion to higher service, we must determine to be "good and faithful" until the glorious day breaks.

The Marriage Supper

The marriage supper of the Lamb, as mentioned by John in Revelation 19:7–9, describes the culmination of the fellowship between Christ as the Bridegroom and the church as the bride. With C. I. Scofield, we believe that "the bride, the wife of Lamb" (21:9) is the church identified with the "heavenly Jerusalem" (Hebrews 12:22) and to be distinguished from the adulterous and repudiated "wife" of Jehovah yet to be restored (Isaiah 54:1–10; Hosea 2:1–17), who is identified with the earth (Hosea 2:23). A forgiven and restored wife could not be called either a "virgin" (2 Corinthians 11:2–3) or a "bride."

The emphasis here is in the phrase "his bride has made herself ready" (19:7). What readiness is this? Not the readiness of salvation, which was made possible on earth, but the readiness of participation. Now there is harmony and union so the bride can go forward with the Bridegroom. Everything has been put right among believers, and between believers and their Lord, hence the nuptial ceremony. And what glorious years and experiences we are to have together! Holy intimacy, perfect love, heavenly harmony, and unclouded fellowship are to characterize the Lord and His own forever!

Seven Principles of Prophetic Study

Prophecy is not a subject we can study at will, as a person might pursue a hobby. We are commanded to study prophecy as an aspect of divine revelation. "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, . . . who correctly handles the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). Unless we give our ourselves to an understanding of eschatology, we do not correctly handle the Scriptures.

The study of prophecy, it will be found, both gladdens and saddens. As we contemplate the glorious future of both the church and the Jews, we are thrilled. Truly, the best is yet to be! On the other hand, as we meditate upon the certain and terrible judgment awaiting the godless, sorrow fills our heart.

Prophecy, however, demands the recognition of seven principles, and because of quickened interest in the doctrine of last things, we need to consider these principles for our particular study.

First Principle: It is essential to have had an experience of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit

The natural man, says the Apostle Paul, cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God—and prophecy is among these things. This unrenewed, unsaved man, even although he is cultured and religious, cannot comprehend the deep things of God, since they can be discerned only by the Spirit. We must therefore be born of and indwelt by the Spirit if we would understand the times (1 Corinthians 2:14). "The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them" (Psalm 25:14).

The world's history is made up of covenants, but they can be revealed only to those who are spiritually fit. Except a man be born again, he cannot see anything fascinating in prophetic truths; they are foolishness to him. But to one truly born again, how different such things of God are.

Second Principle: One must believe the Bible to be the prophetic Word

Peter says, "We have the word of the prophets made more certain, . . . as to a light shining in a dark place" (2 Peter 1:19). The Scriptures are the only safe prophetic guide. They alone contain God's blueprint of the future. What a difference it would make to those who are planning programs for a weary world if they recognized this truth! Sadly, however, most of our diplomats and rulers are totally ignorant of what God has recorded about the present and future condition of the world.

Accepting as we do the "harmony of the prophetic Word" (to use Dr. A. C. Gaebelein's phrase), we must remember that only about one-fourth of the Bible is taken up with prophecy. We must preserve the same balance in our presentation of God's full-ordered Word. We must not be guilty of overemphasizing any part but must strive for equal emphasis of each part.

Third Principle: There must be complete reliance upon the Holy Spirit, whose prerogative it is to show us things to come (John 16:13)

As the Author of the sacred Scriptures, the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God concerning past, present, or future matters and can draw aside the veil accordingly. Any phase of truth is revelation. Therefore, prayerfully dependent upon the Spirit, we petition Him, "Teach me what I cannot see" (Job 34:32).

Is this not what accounts for the gifts of clear exposition that many who are ordinary folk manifest regarding the inner significance of the divine program of the ages? What is hid from those who, in their own estimation, are wise and prudent is revealed to all who have childlike trust. "When he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13).

Fourth Principle: Grasp the broad prophetic outline

We must never be dogmatic in the interpretation of details. In essential things—unity. In doubtful things—liberty. In all things—charity. As to the texture of prophetic tapestry, it will greatly help to remember that as we distinguish the dispensations, the Scriptures harmonize. Briefly stated, future events are grouped around the return of Christ for His church and her judgment at the bema, the marriage supper, and her share in the governmental control of the earth. Upon the earth, following the rapture will come the completing of the prophetic picture: the Great Tribulation period with its emergence of the antichrist and the false prophet, the grouping of world forces, the persecution of the Jews, the descent of Christ, the dealing with godless powers as He ushers in His reign of one thousand years, the little season, the great white throne, and the new heavens and new earth.

Fifth Principle: When studying prophecy, guard against extremes in interpretations and applications

We only drag the truth into disrepute when we treat the Bible as a prophetic curiosity shop. Prophecy does not consist in choosing dates, forecasting future events, and interpreting signs—seeing airplanes in the flying birds of Isaiah 31:5 and world leaders in the latter part of Daniel 11. In all phases of Bible study we must first discover the interpretation of a text and then make our application. It is against all the rules of Bible interpretation to confine ourselves to application or, as is often the case, to allow the imagination full play when it comes to application.

Stressing a prayerful dependence upon the Holy Spirit as we seek enlightenment, we will, at the same time, follow the guidance of sane and spiritual teachers. The diligent and independent study of prophecy need not preclude appropriating the fruit of minds deeply taught in the Word. Truth comes to us through others, so that we in turn may teach still others. "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 Timothy 2:2).

Sixth Principle: We must keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus around whom all prophecy moves

"For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 19:10). That Christ is the Key of all Scripture is evident from the fact that in any Scripture He opened He expounded the things concerning Himself. Sadly, we can be taken up with the dispensations and details of prophecy but miss the One who is coming. Surely the study of prophecy misses its objective if it obscures the face of Him to whom all the prophets gave witness. We may disagree on minor matters, but of this we are confident, Jesus Himself is coming again. The study before us is far more fascinating and sanctifying when we keep on looking for Christ, who is the central Figure in the prophetic puzzle. We will find that the sacred writers of Scripture never journey far from Him, who is coming to fulfill all predictions of His future glory.

Seventh Principle: We can secure the utmost spiritual good from the study of prophecy only if we associate it with practical aims

There must be the constant application of the truth to the problems of life. The apostles were not visionaries when they wrote of the future. Christ's coming was always related to some aspect of duty. Without love the gift of prophecy is profitless. "If I have the gift of prophecy . . . but have not love, I am nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:2). Accepting the blessed hope as a part of our faith, we must be strangers to all ungodliness. With the hope of the Second Coming burning within our heart, we must be pure. "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure" (1 John 3:2–3).

    With such a blessed hope in view
    We would more holy be;
    More like our risen, glorious Lord,
    Whose face we soon shall see.

The Order of Events

The book of Revelation is a unified whole that provides a prophetic outline of the course of church history from the apostolic period to its translation at Christ's return and of the subsequent judgments to overtake a godless, guilty world. The style of Revelation is apocalyptic; its great drama unfolds on a scale of peerless grandeur as the earth staggers under the shock of battle and the strokes of judgment. Exposed to view are the unending horrors of the Abyss and the eternal joys of heaven.

The order of events is as follows:

    1. The present age will culminate in apostasy and a period of unprecedented trial. The "man of sin" will be fully manifested, will assume political supremacy, and will claim religious homage.

    2. The true church of Christ will be raptured to heaven, and the man of sin will establish a covenant with the Jews. But he will violate his agreement with the Jews, gather forces against them from other nations, and seek to destroy God's ancient people.

    3. Christ will appear in great glory and will destroy the man of sin and the false prophet. He will cast the devil, who inspired them, into the bottomless pit for a thousand years.

    4. The millennial period will then be inaugurated. Sin will be suppressed but not exterminated. Christ will rule with a rod of iron, and universal peace and blessing will be enjoyed.

    5. The loosing of Satan will result in the deception of the nations who follow him in earth's last revolt. This will be met by disastrous punishment for the rebels and their leader.

    6. The last judgment will be set up, and Christ as the supreme Judge will preside at the condemnation of the ungodly.

    7. The eternal age, with its permanent destinies, will begin after Jesus delivers up the kingdom to the Father. Then God will be all in all.

The Sign of the Cross

The book of Revelation is marked with the sign of the cross, the conflict that centers on the person of Christ as the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. Revelation highlights suffering faith and enduring hope. The grim struggle between light and darkness is depicted in vivid colors. Little mention is made of love, but much of wrath. Whatever changing events mark the progress of the conflict, the ultimate outcome is never in doubt.

The rivalry between the powers of light and darkness is illustrated in a series of contrasts:

    * The servants of God are sealed; the antichrist seals his followers.

    * The church is seen as a woman clothed with the sun; the antichrist's apostate church is seen as a woman decked with jewels.

    * The Lamb, once slain, is alive again; the beast with a deadly head wound lives again.

    * Jehovah is worshiped; the antichrist claims worship.
    Christ has His true prophets; the antichrist has his false prophet.

Because the book is a revelation of Christ, we expect it to be full of Him—and it is! Christ's Person and work dominate its pages. G. Campbell Morgan rightly observes that "any study of Revelation which does not concentrate upon Christ, and does not view all else in relation to Him, must bring the reader into an inextricable labyrinth." Consider the following two points.

1. The entire book revolves around Christ as the Lamb:

    * chapter 1: the vision of the Lamb

    * chapters 2 and 3: the message of the Lamb

    * chapters 4 and 5: the adoration of the Lamb

    * chapters 6 to 19: the wrath of the Lamb

    * chapter 19:7–10: the marriage of the Lamb
    chapter 19:11–22: the reign of the Lamb

2. Christ is the strong golden thread, uniting the epistle through His kingly names, His strong attributes, and the victories of His First Coming and His Second Coming.

    * His names include: Jesus Christ (1:1); Jesus (22:26; etc.); Lord Jesus (22:20; etc.); Lord Jesus Christ (22:21; etc.); the Christ (20:4, 6); the Christ of God (11:15; 12:10); the Lamb (over 20 times); the King of Kings (19:16; etc.); Faithful and True (19:11); the Word of God (19:13); the Unknown Name (19:12); the Root and Offspring of David (22:16); the Bright and Morning Star (22:16).

    * His attributes include: He is both divine and human, the possessor of two natures (5:15; 22:16); He is the First and the Last, and everything in between (1:17; 2:8); He is the Living Word of God (19:13); He is the Searcher of Hearts (2:23); He is the Ancient of Days (1:14); He is the object of worship and praise (5:8–14; 7:12).

    *His victories include: He is faithful in His witness to God and His Word (1:5; 3:14); He is the Conqueror of Satan (3:21; 5:5; 20:10); He is the Crucified One (5:6, 12; 7:14; 13:8); He is the Atoning One (1:5; 7:14; 22:14); He is the Risen One (1:18; 2:8; 3:21; 22:1–2); He is the Exalted King (1:5; 3:7; 17:14); He is the Coming One (1:7; 19:11, 19; 22:20).
     

 

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