Revelation 1:7
Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him--even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen.
Behold, He ComethW. Hay Aitken, M. A.Revelation 1:7
Christ Coming with CloudsC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 1:7
Despair of Sinners in JudgmentC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 1:7
The Coming of ChristJames Young.Revelation 1:7
The Final Coming of Christ to JudgmentJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 1:7
The Mourning At the Coming of the LordS. Conway Revelation 1:7
The Revelation of the MysteryCanon Knox Little.Revelation 1:7
The Second AdventJ. E. Beaumont, M. D.Revelation 1:7
The Second Advent of ChristW. Nisbet.Revelation 1:7
The Apostolic SalutationR. Green Revelation 1:4-7
A Glorified ChristJ. R. Miller, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
A Ministerial Salutation and a Sublime DoxologyJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 1:4-9
A Threefold Description of ChristT. Horton, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Christ and the SoulDavid Thomas, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Christ as MediatorHomilistRevelation 1:4-9
Christ for EverF. Ferguson, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Christians a Royal PriesthoodW. Nixon.Revelation 1:4-9
Christians are KingsRevelation 1:4-9
Christ's Eternal SacrificeE. Mason, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Christ's Love to Us in Washing Us from Our SinsT. Horton, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Christ's Measureless LoveJohn Adam, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Christ's Present Love, and its Great OutcomeA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
GraceB. Hoffmann.Revelation 1:4-9
How Wonderful that Christ Should Love UsH. W. Beecher.Revelation 1:4-9
Jesus His Own WitnessA. C. Dixon.Revelation 1:4-9
John's First DoxologyC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 1:4-9
John's Song of Praise to ChristJ. J. Brown.Revelation 1:4-9
Kings and PriestsA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Living LoveJohn Robertson.Revelation 1:4-9
Loved and LavedC. H. Spurgeon.Revelation 1:4-9
Omnipotence, Omniscience, OmnipresenceJames Young.Revelation 1:4-9
Praise to ChristR. Watson.Revelation 1:4-9
ThanksgivingJ. R. Miller, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
The Believer's Acknowledgment of Christ's LoveW. Cunningham, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
The DedicationG. Rogers.Revelation 1:4-9
The Filthy Can be Made CleanSilas Jones.Revelation 1:4-9
The Gifts of Christ as Witness, Risen and CrownedA. Maclaren, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
The Humility and Dignity of the Christian LifeJ. S. Exell, M. A.Revelation 1:4-9
The Love of ChristT. McCrie, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
The Love of ChristJames Buchanan.Revelation 1:4-9
The Love of Christ in RedemptionJ. Witherspoon, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
The Measureless Love of ChristW. Hannay, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
The Proper Object of All Religious Worship is the Living and True GodJames Young.Revelation 1:4-9
The Redeemed Ascribing Glory to ChristG. Campbell.Revelation 1:4-9
The Resources of ChristianityWayland Hoyt, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
The Responsibility of ExaltationT. de Witt Talmage.Revelation 1:4-9
The Risen Christ the Only Revealer of ImmortalityE. L. Hull, B. A.Revelation 1:4-9
The Trustworthiness of Jesus ChristW. Hay Aitken, M. A.Revelation 1:4-9
The Work of WorksDavid Thomas, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Views of ChristDavid Thomas, D. D.Revelation 1:4-9
Christ and the SoulD. Thomas Revelation 1:5-7
Behold, he cometh with clouds, etc. For the parallels and explanations of this mourning, we must turn to Zechariah 12:10, and to our Lord's words in Matthew 24:30. These show that the mourning will be of very varied kind. There will be that contrasted sorrow of which St. Paul tells when he speaks of the "godly sorrow" and "the sorrow of the world." The former, that which will be the result of the outpouring of "the Spirit of grace and supplication" of which Zechariah tells; and the latter, that which has no element of hope or goodness in it, but tendeth only to death. Let each one of us ask - Which shall mine be? Consider -

I. THE COMING OF THE LORD. "Behold, he cometh with clouds." This tells:

1. Of the manner of his coming. In majesty (cf. the cloud of glory at Transfiguration). See the frequent gorgeous magnificence of the clouds; fit and apt symbol are they of the august majesty of the Lord. Mystery. "Clouds and darkness are round about him." "Who by searching can find out God?" How incomprehensible by us are his movements and ways! Might. How the clouds rush along! with what speed, volume, force! They blot out the radiance of sun, moon, and stars; they darken the face of the earth. So will he come with great power. Mercy. The clouds herald "the times of refreshing" (cf. Acts 2). So will he come to all them that love his appearing. Hence the Church's cry, "Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus: come quickly."

2. This coming is to be understood literally. If the words of Scripture have any meaning, they affirm this. Why should it not be? So was it at Sinai; so, in forecast, at the Transfiguration. Announcing it a short time previously (Matthew 16:28), our Lord spoke of it as "the Son of man coming in his kingdom." It is evident that the apostles and first followers of Christ understood his coming in a literal sense, and it is difficult to see how they could have understood it otherwise. True, their wish was father to their thought when they spoke of it, as they so often did, as close at hand, as likely to happen in their own lifetime. But they were not taught by Christ to affirm this; rather the reverse. For he said, "It is not for you to know the times," etc. (Acts 1.). But they were right in believing the nearness of Christ's spiritual advents. For:

3. Christ's coming is to be understood in a spiritual sense as well as literally. All advents of Christ, though he be personally unseen, to judgment are real comings of the Lord. What else were the destruction of Jerusalem, the downfall of pagan Rome, the Reformation, the French Revolution, and yet other such events? And to every man at death (cf. Hebrews 9:27). "After death, judgment." Therefore it is ever true that he comes quickly. The Lord is at hand. He shall suddenly come; in an hour when ye look not for him; as a thief in the night. And in the sudden and marked manifestations of the Lord's displeasure which come now and again upon ungodly men; and as the direct consequences of their sin; - in these also should be seen the coming of the Lord. This truth, therefore, of Christ's coming should not be relegated to the region of speculative, mysterious, and unpractical truths, but should be, as God grant it may be by us all, held fast as of most momentous present and practical import to bear upon and influence all our daily life and thought and conduct. But St. John, in our text, has undoubtedly in view the literal coming of the Lord, and he tells of -

II. THE MOURNING THAT SHALL ATTEND IT. "All ... shall mourn because of him." So then:

1. None will be indifferent. Many are so now. Try we ever so much to arouse them to religious thought and action, we cannot do so. The world and its concerns baffle all our efforts. But at the Lord's coming, the one thought of all will be concerning their relation to him. In the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25.) we are told that "all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps." The foolish had been careless about this hitherto, but now all were aroused and eager, though for them it was all too late. And so at our Lord's coming, "every eye shall see him," and all "shall mourn because of him." But:

2. The mourning will be of different kinds.

(1) There will be that which belongs to hatred - the mourning of vexation, rage, terror. Thus will it be with those who shall be found impenitent at the last - the hardened, the reprobate, who persist in saying, "We will not have this Man to reign over us." Such is the deceitfulness of sin, that no truth, though none be more sure, is more commonly disbelieved. Ministers of Christ know too well, by experience gained at many death beds, that "there shall be mourning at the last." What frantic efforts to hurry up the work of salvation that has been neglected all the life long! what vain looking to outside help there is when none such can avail! The writer has scenes of this sad kind vividly in remembrance, when the dying ones, do what he would, would in their fear persist in looking to him to, help them. Such facts force one to believe that there will be mourning of this hopeless sort at the coming of the Lord. Yes, it is "a fearful thing" for an unforgiven man "to fall into the hands of the living God."

(2) But there will be other mourning than this - the mourning of love. Love that grieves for good left undone or but imperfectly done, and for evil done. Of such mourning not a little will be found in those spoken of or suggested in our text, as:

(a) Mankind generally. "Every eye shall see him," etc. And this looking upon Christ shall be the look of faith and love. Zechariah, in the parallel passage, teaches this - even of those who have "pierced him." James, the unbelieving brother of the Lord, seems to have been converted by the Lord's appearing to him. Saul the persecutor became Paul the apostle by the same means. And so, doubtless, not a few amidst the masses of mankind, who have known and felt how little their heathenism and varied misbeliefs could do for them, will, when they behold the Lord, exclaim, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him." And they will mourn their long estrangement, and the darkening of their hearts that their own sin has caused.

(b) Israel. Special mention is made of them here and in Zechariah 12. It was they "who pierced him." But it is told how they shall bitterly mourn when they see him, as if they mourned "for an only son." And it shall be a godly sorrow, though, as it should be, it will be heartfelt and deep. How could it be otherwise when they remembered how they ought to have received Jesus as the Christ! "He came to his own - and they were his own" - "and," etc. They rejected him, rejected him cruelly, persistently, generation after generation, age after age, and yet the Lord bore with them all this time; and now they see him - him, coming to help and save them. Yes; though they pierced him, hung him up and crucified him, yet, behold, he cometh, and not to destroy, but to save; and the sight of that breaks them down, as well it may. Ah! what tears of penitence will flow then! Yes; Israel shall mourn.

(c) The spiritual Israel - the Church. The ancient prophet plainly has them in view as well as the literal Israel. And will not the Church of God mourn at her Lord's coming when she thinks what she might have done, and should have done, but did not do? It is the one sorrow that we shall take into the presence of the Lord, that we so ill served him who did all for us. Then the Church will see, as now oftentimes she is slow to see, that she is but an unprofitable servant, even when she has done her all. How will the Church think then of her apathy and indifference in regard to the masses of the ungodly outside her borders; of the half-hearted service she too commonly renders, her members spending more on their own luxury and ease than they surrender for Christ during a whole lifetime; of the strange things that have been done in the name of Christianity, and of the dishonour many so-called Christians have brought upon the holy name they bear? The Church, when she beholds her Lord, will mourn for these things. Would it not be well if she mourned more now, and so set herself to alter and amend her ways?

(d) Families are spoken of as sharing in this mourning - those whom St. John speaks of as "all the tribes of the earth," and Zechariah tells of as "all the families of the land." And he specially dwells on this family, household, mourning, naming a number of these families as representative of all the rest. How suggestive this is to us all! For whatever else we may not be, we are all members of some family or other. And this divinely appointed institution of the family, how immensely powerful it ever has been and must always be for good or ill. What the families are the nation will be. And amid the families there will be mourning when the Lord comes. Godly parents, cannot you understand this? Do you not now, or would it not be much better if you did, mourn over your many failures in duty as regards the position God has placed you in? How intent you are on your children's secular good! and so you ought to be; but how little solicitude you display that their young hearts may be yielded up to the Lord! And how much more was thought of what the world and society would say, than of what would please Christ, in regard to the business, social, or marriage relationships into which you allowed or caused your children to enter! And if they have lost their love for Christ and his blessed service, whose fault is it? Oh, how will these things look in the presence of your Lord? Then let them be so to you now, and so is there less likelihood of your being "ashamed before him" at his coming.

(e) Individuals are not omitted in this enumeration. "Every eye" means every individual person. There will be matter for the mourning of each one, one by one, separate and apart. Yes; that we were so late and laggard in coming to him; that when we did come, too often, for all the service we rendered him, we might almost as well have stayed away; that our conversion is so imperfect; that sin lurks and lingers in us, and often breaks out and overpowers us even now. The language of many a heart will be then -

"Oh, how I fear thee, living God,
With deepest, tenderest fears,
And worship thee with humble hope,
And penitential tears!" Well will it be for us often to review our own personal lives in the light of the coming of the Lord. For it will send us swiftly to that "fountain opened for all sin and uncleanness," which Zechariah tells of in connection with this mourning - that most precious fountain of the Saviour's blood. And it will lead us to pray with greater fervour and frequency, "Search me, O Lord, and know my heart; prove me," etc. (Psalm 139:23). - S.C.

Behold, He cometh with clouds.
The second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is set before us as the supreme hope of the Church, that great and glorious event towards which all is leading up, or for which all is preparing. This being so, our feelings in regard of it will serve us as a test by which to gauge ourselves with respect to our present condition before God. If things are as they should be with us, we shall be able to say from our heart, "Even so, Amen." Have any of us failed before this simple test? Have we come to the conclusion that, though we hope we love the Lord, we do not love His appearing? What are the causes that render it possible for any true child of God to shrink from the thought of his Master's return? Conspicuous amongst these is that secret worldliness of heart, against which the Master so solemnly warned us: "Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your heart be overcharged with... the cares of this life." Have we to confess that we have been living and labouring to win wealth, or fame, or social distinction, or to better our position, and to gain the honour that cometh from man? Ah! no wonder then that we love not His appearing, for has not our worldly self become within us a little Antichrist, whom the Lord must needs destroy by the brightness of His coming? Or peradventure we are entangled by worldly associations. Instead of so loving the world as Christ loved it, and going into it to save its perishing children, we have gone there in search of social pleasure, and have found a social snare; and instead of going outside the camp bearing Christ's reproach, we have become conformed to the world's image, and accept its maxims and wear its uniform. Ah! how can we desire the Lord's appearing if we have been false to our colours? Or again, is it not only too obvious that many are prevented from uttering this prayer from the heart because they know that they have been leading an indolent and useless life? Have you an inward conviction that the Lord Jesus Christ must, as a matter of simple truth, say of your service, were He now to appear, "Thou wicked and slothful servant... take the talent from him, and give it unto him that hath ten talents"? Or, once again, how many a Christian is robbed of his Advent hope by some secret sin, known perhaps only to God and himself, extenuated and even defended by a perverted understanding, but already condemned by the inward witness of the Holy Ghost in his hearty It may be some crooked, or at any rate questionable, practice in business; it may be some impurity of thought, or even of action; it may be some habit of levity and frivolousness, or loose and giddy speech; or it may be a custom of exaggeration and untruthfulness which you have familiarised yourself with until you scarcely are aware of it when you fall into the fault. Or perhaps it may not be secret sin which stands between us and our hope, but rather an open and obvious inconsistency apparent to all around as well as to ourselves. Many real Christians, I am persuaded, are unable to love the Lord's appearing because they are walking rather after the flesh than after the Spirit. Now, if for any of these reasons you feel yourselves unable to love and pray for the Lord's appearing, consider, I pray you, whence you have fallen, how your highest glory is being turned into your deepest shame. Oh, cast away all that robs thee of thy Advent hope and of the joys of anticipation, and make a fresh and full surrender of thyself. But if the thought of this glorious event prove so very heart-searching to us, who have already come under the influence of God's grace, how very powerfully should it weigh with those who have not yet taken the very first step in the Christian life! It is surely high time for such to listen to the Advent cry, "Behold, He cometh with clouds." "Behold, He cometh." Oh that men would respond to that call for here indeed is something worth looking at. Man may say "Behold!" about many things of small import, but when God says "Behold! "rest assured there is something worth looking at before us. A voice from heaven is pleading for our attention, and it seems to say, "Stop and think, the foredoomed hour draws nigh, return and come!" "And every eye shall see Him." It will not be a matter of choice or preference then, as it is now; a stern necessity will compel every human being that God has made, whether he will or no, to behold the approaching King. Drawn as by an irresistible force, all shall be brought into His presence, and find themselves arraigned before the bar of the Judge. Who are they to whom this revelation of Jesus Christ will cause such unspeakable despair? They are described here. And let us be honest with ourselves, and face the question candidly: "Do I belong to the classes that are mentioned here as being plunged into such dire distress? First we hear of those who pierced Him. Have any of us pierced Him? True, we were not present at Calvary, we had no part in driving in the iron nails into His quivering palms, or in thrusting the spear into His side. But have we never pierced Him? Yes, not once only, but over and over again, in the long, dark ages of man's history, Jesus Christ has been pierced, and He is being pierced still. How do men pierce Him? Surely by undisguised hostility and contemptuous scorn. It is wonderful to what length men will still go in their hatred of Christ. Still He has to complain, "They hated Me without a cause." The bitter things that men of the world say about Christians, what is it but a determined attempt to wound the Master through the servants? Others, again, pierce Jesus by cold indifference and heartless ingratitude. You can be kind and tender in every other relationship of life; you are a generous husband and a considerate and sympathising father; and you are a gentle and devoted wife and a tender-hearted mother and friend; there is only one Person whom you habitually slight and treat with ingratitude and neglect, as though it were a matter of indifference to you whether you pleased or pained Him, and that Person is Divine. Him you have treated with contempt, His love you have rejected, and His mercy you have despised. Ah, how will you face Him when every eye shall see Him, and you shall know at last how your callous indifference, your black ingratitude, has pierced the sensitive heart of the Son of Man, who lived and died for you? How will you endure the wrath of the Lamb? Some of you again have pierced Jesus by deliberately choosing something which He hates in preference to Himself. Ah, how often this is done! It may be that your preference falls on some evil habit that is destroying you, body and soul; it may be some accursed sin that is poisoning your whole being, and yet you prefer it to Christ. But our text speaks of others besides these. It tells us how "all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him." To which of the two kindreds do you belong? Are you of the earth, earthy, or are you citizens of Mount Zion? for to one or other of these two classes we all belong. Judge yourselves, lest that day come upon you as a thief in the night, revealing to you your true character and position when the revelation comes too late. Again, we ask, Who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? Those surely have nothing to fear from the Lord's appearing who can say, "Unto Him that has loved us," etc. Judgment has no terrors and eternity no alarms for those who are living in the conscious enjoyment of the benefits of redeeming love.

(W. Hay Aitken, M. A.)

St. John is speaking in the language of ancient prophecy. Christ is coming. "Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him." This is a truth of the faith, and St. John corroborates Daniel, not because he imitates the prophetic spirit by echoing prophetic phrase, but because each prophet stands on a mountain peak of Revelation, and surveys an unalterable fact. For the mind to grow into the force of that fact is one of the most necessary methods of advance in the Spirit and will of God.

I. ST. JOHN IS SPEAKING IN THE LANGUAGE OF A SEER, WHICH IS THE REAL LANGUAGE OF MAN'S IMMORTAL LIFE. His words are a cry of relieved tension of feeling, of suddenly fulfilled expectation; like the watcher from Athens catching sight of the corn-ships as they doubled Sunium; like the anxious gazer descrying in the distance the British flag which announced approaching relief to the beleaguered sufferers in Lucknow; like the dying man straining the ear through the silent night for the first footfall of one he loves, and longs to see before he dies.

1. Man expresses his sense of relation to objects and persons external to himself by two names — Time and Eternity. These names of course represent real ideas. These ideas are dim and vague enough. Surely he has to learn that Time is "a phantom of succession"; that he himself, not Time, is moving on; that now his life is partially developed; surely he has to realise that Eternity can include no sense of succession, but represents life as fully possessed. We must learn in the things of the soul to weigh and measure by the scales, by the standard of Eternity, for we are immortal. Speaking, then, as we should speak, with a sense of our full, our endless life, the close of the great conflict is not far off.

2. To each one of us there shall be a full consciousness of the coming and the presence of the Lord. "Every eye shall see Him." The eye is the watch-tower of the human spirit, whither it ascends to view God's universe. The eye is the instrument by which impressions from the objects of an outer world, impressions of colour and harmony and form, are conveyed to the lonely soul. The eye can alone convey the message, the power to use it is in the soul itself. My friends, it would seem that the human soul has a strong likeness to the poor frail human body. Living, though sick with sin, it is conscious, in a dreamlike consciousness, of the presence and claims of God; if life is failing in it, if the disease of sin is settling into spiritual death, it loses that consciousness. But one thing is certain: the hour is coming when each of us — with a consciousness of soul as clear as the sight of the eye of the body — when each of us shall see the fairest, the most awful vision, the coming Christ. Here we see but dimly; there will be the full revelation.


1. St. John's account of the pageant of Christ's appearing is an appeal to an instinct of humanity face to face with nature. Of all natural objects that awaken the sense none can rival for power mountains, clouds, and sea. But clouds combine, in a measure, the resources of sea and mountains; smoothed out at dawn or sunset, twisted into strange contortions by the storm, they rival the solemnity of mountains in their vast proportions, and imitate in their changeful movements the beating of the waves. Everywhere they give the sense of thinly veiled depths of mystery yet to be revealed, and of the wrath and power of God against human sin. When Christ comes, then, this is certain, He will come revealing "hidden things of darkness," ay! and hidden things of light. It will be a time of unveiling. But more: He will come in the fully manifested display of God's irreconcilable antagonism to human sin. It will be a moment of startling and complete revelation.

2. But there is a further feature, the most striking of all. It is an unexpected touch in the picture which follows — "they also that pierced Him" — a sudden allusion to the Passion. Doubtless there is a warning in such words, that those who deride, reject, or seek to destroy the highest goodness now shall one day see the magnitude of their madness. But this is not all. Face to face with human sin in its closing crisis, the great Representative of the race displays before assembled worlds the extent of its malignity in wounding God. Even those who have hated it most shall then for the first time vividly realise its actual dreadfulness. And in these wounds of the Passion are exhibited the stores of the experience of human life, He is in direct relation to all, for all have pierced Him, and He has learned by experience the sorrow and sin of that humanity which is common to all. And then we are reminded that the judgment to follow takes its force and derives its necessity from the necessities of His nature. With the knowledge of God He comes, and with the feelings and experiences of man.

3. The great wail of the human family recorded in the close of the verse is its outspoken sign of recognition of the truth. In some — His persecuting enemies — the cry of fear and fury at the certainty of the triumph of goodness; to some undeveloped soul the anguish of fuller recognition of that marvellous majesty, which on earth it only recognised by stray sigh of penitence or a passing thought of desire: to some who through no fault of their own, by a specialite of circumstances, or mystery of mental build, or owing to a fog of prejudice, or an involuntarily blinded mind, have never known Him — the purifying sorrow of awakening at last to the unveiled beauty; to some who have known and loved Him, the fuller sense — for love is the real illumination — of how unworthy they have been, how their best has been bad, their self-sacrifices pitiful, face to face with the unshrouded loveliness of that supernatural sorrow.

III. WHAT, THEN, IS THE RELATION OF THAT FINAL VISION WITH THE MYSTERY OF THE PASSION? This: in that supreme crisis of humanity it is a mystery no more; or rather the souls of those who are passing from the limitations of time are themselves in a sphere of mystery; they see, they understand such visions with the quickened senses of eternity. Life here is in deepest shadow, but nothing since the beginning of creation has been so wrapped in shadow as the fact and the consequences of Calvary; if that be clear, all must be plain. And clear it will be. Christ is the Great Revealer, in Him we shall see all. What shall we see? This. The real meaning of humility. The strange and now interpreted story of the humiliation of the Cross. What shall we see? The perfected sympathy of God in Christ with all that is truly human, all that would permit that sympathy by a surrendered will. What shall we see? The evident and now intelligible splendour of the ideal of humanity. But, oh! the surprise of the souls of the blessed when first they see unveiled in awe and majesty the ideal of Divine, of human beauty — the Fairest of the fair! What shall we see? The meaning of suffering. It seemed awful, almost cruel, when borne in the darkness of probation, but here is the end. In the light of the Crucified now in unshrouded beauty, the full splendour of that suffering once borne with difficulty, but borne in patience, will reveal what, in the "valley of the shadow," lay concealed within it — some inconceivable secret of the love and the loveliness of God. What shall we see? We shall see in its overwhelming glory the mystery of power. It could only speak on earth in the mystic but eloquent symbol of the Cross. Here it is plain in the clear Revelation. Power elevating, perfecting the uncreated beauty. The power that could deal with the ruin of the creature, the redeemed the work of the Redeemer, the forces of redemption — God in Christ.

(Canon Knox Little.)

I. THE JUDGE. "Behold, He cometh." Who? Christ Jesus. Were He only a man, He could not be qualified for this high office, for no man, however acute his discernment, can know "the thoughts and intents of the heart"; but, being God as well as man, He is omniscient. His justice is equal to His knowledge, for "justice and judgment are the habitation of His throne, while a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of His kingdom." There is no quality more important in a judge than this.

II. THE CERTAINTY OF HIS APPROACH. "Behold, He cometh," exclaims the apostle, as if he had actually seen Him on His way.

III. THE MANNER OF HIS COMING. "Behold, He cometh with clouds." This agrees with the exhibition that was given at the promulgation of the law from Sinai, when clouds and thick darkness, from which there proceeded flashes of lightning and peals of thunder, enveloped the mountain. And further, since clouds are always spoken of as the symbols of Divinity, and since few things are more sublime in their appearance and motion, could any representation be more descriptive of the God-like manner of His operations, or better calculated to convince us that the mighty agent in this grand movement is God?

IV. THE UNIVERSAL PUBLICITY OF HIS APPEARANCE. "Every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him." Men of all creeds, in short, of all colours, of all grades of talent, and of all conditions of society, will be there.

V. THE WAY IN WHICH THESE TWO DIFFERENT CLASSES WILL BE AFFECTED BY THE SIGHT OF THEIR JUDGE. Not one of them, we may well conceive, will behold Him with indifference. Still, however, there will be a vast difference between the feelings of the wicked and the feelings of the righteous.

(W. Nisbet.)


1. The announcement of prophecy: Enoch, Job. Christ and His disciples were frequent in their reference to fits final advent. They made it a motive for diligence, an incentive to watchfulness, and the occasion of other solemn instruction.

2. The statement of Scripture. "Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh." "He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained."

3. The conviction of reason.

4. The dread expectation of conscience.


1. The clouds are indicative of mystery. Clouds hide many things from mortal vision. So the coming of Christ will be associated with great mystery. There will be the mystery connected with a judge possessed of a nature at once human and Divine. There will be the mystery associated with the life and attendance of angelic spirits. There will be the mystery consequent upon the resurrection and trial of humanity.

2. The clouds are indicative of beauty. We have all seen and admired them. So the great coming of Christ will be associated with everything that constitutes moral grandeur. The scene will be one of supreme rectitude, of infinite purity, and, therefore, unrivalled glory.

3. The clouds are indicative of power. With what force do the clouds rush along the heavens; who, or what could resist them in their rapid march? So the final coming of Christ to judgment will be irresistible.


1. He will be seen by the devout Christian. By men who have consecrated their lives to His service. These will be in sympathy with His coming.

2. He will be seen by the impious sceptic. Hobbs and Hume will see Him. These will behold His coming with surprise.

3. He will be seen by the morally impenitent. Herod, Judas, Pilate; sinner, you will see Him. These will see Him with dismay. Hypocrite and backslider, you will see Him. You will see Him with despair.


1. They approve, not because they desire the final overthrow of the wicked. The good man's desire is, that the whole world should be saved.

2. They approve, because it is the legitimate termination of mortal affairs.

3. They approve, because it will lead them into a bright and more durable vision of the eternal.Lessons: —

1. The world will one day see Christ.

2. Will you "wail because of Him," or say, "Even so, Amen"?

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the great ordinance of Jehovah for bringing all things to that state and bearing which He has assigned them in His eternal mind. The whole of this dispensation of God to man is called the mystery of God, and the whole of this mystery has its accomplishment in three comings of Christ; His coming in the flesh, His coming in the Spirit, and His coming in the clouds. It is to the last of these comings that John refers our attention in the text. "Behold He cometh." The coming of Christ in the clouds is yet, perhaps, at some distance, but faith anticipates it, realises it.

1. Now, that the coming of our Lord in the clouds is an event worthy of all your attention and wonder, I think will appear, if we consider —(1) The place from which He comes — from heaven. Angelic voices sound from that far country whither He has gone to receive a kingdom, into the royalties and glories of which He has entered as the reward of His suffering. From that country He shall come back.

2. The coming of Christ with clouds is worthy of all our attention and wonder because of the place to which He comes. To this earth once more — to this earth where His delights were with the sons of men — to this earth in which He was born — to this earth, again, where He lived, like a common Jewish peasant, three and thirty years — to this earth again, from which He was hissed away by a scandalised death.

3. The coming of Christ in the clouds is worthy of your attention and regard, because of the circumstances of glory in which it will take place. "Behold, He cometh with clouds." Why, He came with clouds before, but they were clouds of poverty, clouds of obscurity, clouds of shame; but now He comes in clouds of glory, of brightness.

4. This coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds is an event worthy of your attention and wonder also, because of the time of it. He says, "Behold, I come quickly." He will not delay His coming beyond the time assigned for it.

5. The coming of our Lord in the clouds, is further worthy of all your attention and wonder, because of the solemn preparations which shall usher it in. There will be signs in the air, signs in the sea, signs in the sun, signs in the stars, "men's hearts failing them for fear, the sea and the waves roaring," mighty events treading on the heels of one another.

6. The coming of Christ in the clouds is an event worthy of your attention and wonder, because of the solemn work He then comes to perform. He says, "Behold I come; My reward is with Me."

(J. E. Beaumont, M. D.)

John, who once heard the voice, "Behold the Lamb of God!" now utters the voice, "Behold, He cometh!"


1. This fact is worthy of a note of admiration — "Behold!"

2. It should be vividly realised till we cry, "Behold, He cometh!"

3. It should be zealously proclaimed. We should use the herald's cry, "Behold!"

4. It is to be unquestioningly asserted as true. Assuredly He cometh.

(1)It has been long foretold. Enoch (Jude 1:14).

(2)He has Himself warned us of it. "Behold, I come quickly!"

5. It is to be viewed with immediate interest.

(1)"Behold!" for this is the grandest of all events.

(2)"He cometh," the event is at the door.

(3)"He," who is your Lord and Bridegroom, comes.

(4)He is coming even now, for He is preparing all things for His advent, and thus may be said to be on the road.

6. It is to be attended with a peculiar sign — "with clouds."

(1)The emblems of His majesty.

(2)The ensigns of His power.

(3)The warnings of His judgment. Charged with darkness and tempest are these gathered clouds.


1. It will be a literal appearance. Not merely every mind shall think of Him, but "every eye shall see Him."

2. It will be beheld by all sorts and kinds of living men.

3. It will be seen by those long dead.

4. It will be seen by His actual murderers, and others like them.

5. It will be manifest to those who desire not to see the Lord.

6. It will be a sight in which you will have a share. Since you must see Him, why not at once look to Him and live?

III. HIS COMING WILL CAUSE SORROW. "All kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him."

1. The sorrow will be very general. "All kindreds of the earth."

2. The sorrow will be very bitter. "Wail."

3. The sorrow proves that men will not be universally converted.

4. The sorrow also shows that men will not expect from Christ's coming a great deliverance.

5. The sorrow will in a measure arise out of His glory, seeing they rejected and resisted Him. That glory will be against them.

6. The sorrow will be justified by the dread result.Their fears of punishment will be well grounded. Their horror at the sight of the great Judge will be no idle fright.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)


II. THE EVIDENCE OF HIS COMING. This appears from the character of God, from His holiness and righteousness, His faithfulness and truth, from His holy covenant, counsels and promises, His infinite glory, and Divine government. The truth of this appears from the character of Christ — from His human nature, His atoning death, His resurrection from the dead, His ascension to heaven, and Divine administration. The evidence further appears from the work of the Spirit, who convinces the world of judgment to come — from the law of God, which is perfect, pure, and spiritual, holy, just, and good. The truth of this appears from the types of Holy Writ (Numbers 6:24-26; Matthew 25:34). Again, the evidence appears from the prophecy of Enoch (Jude 1:14, 15); from the character of God as the Judge of all the earth; from the faith of Job in the living Redeemer (Job 19:25, 27); from many of the Psalms; from the vision of Daniel (Daniel 7:10-14); from Christ's parables, the testimony of the angels when Jesus ascended, and from the doctrines and promises of the prophets and apostles. The truth of this will be rendered obvious from the works of Providence, and the unequal distribution of Divine dispensations. Verily there is a reward for the righteous; verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth. The evidence of this appears from reason, the light of nature, the power of conscience, and the inseparable connection between the Creator and the creature.


1. We have in these words the solemnity of His coming. This great event is ushered in with a "Behold!"

2. We have in these words the reality of His coming. He will come personally: "The Lord Himself will descend from heaven."

3. The certainty of His coming.

4. The nearness of His coming.

5. The suddenness of His coming. His first coming was slow and progressive.

IV. THE MAJESTY OF HIS COMING. "Behold He cometh with clouds." Clouds are the symbols of Divine majesty. He shall come in the Father's glory, invested with all His essential perfections, with all His authority, excellence, and majesty. He shall come in His own glory, the glory of His Deity, His person, and His offices as mediator. He shall come in the glory of the Holy Spirit, resting upon Him as the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel, and of might, of knowledge, and the fear of the Lord. He shall be glorious in His throne — the great white throne. He shall be glorious in His apparel — robes of light; and also in His power — travelling in the greatness of His strength, mighty to save. He shall be glorious in His chariot — the clouds of heaven, the wings of the wind. He shall be glorious in His attendants — the holy angels, the beings of light. He shall be glorious in His Church, who shall bear His blessed image, reflect His moral glory, and exhibit the transcendent excellence of the last, the finishing touch, of His glorious, skilful, wonder-working hand. He will be glorified in His saints, and admired in all them that believe. He shall be glorious in His last great work of judgment and mercy, now finished for ever, and He shall contemplate the whole scene with Divine delight, and pronounce it to be good.

V. THE EFFECTS OF HIS COMING. The first effect is the misery of the wicked: "All the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him." There is here an allusion to the book of Zechariah (Zechariah 10:12). The second effect is the triumph of the righteous: "Even so, Amen." The first word is Greek, the last word is Hebrew. The expression is doubled, to strengthen the assertion. It expresses the apostle's acquiescence in the promise: even so, thus let it be; it is just and right that it should be so. It expresses the soul's approbation of the promise; of all the counsels and arrangements of heaven. It expresses faith in the promise: "Lord, I believe that Thou wilt come." It implies hope in the promise: "Looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God our Saviour."

VI. THE USES OF HIS COMING. Hence see the glorious consummation of the whole plan of mercy. All the perfections of God shall be displayed, His character shall be glorified, His law shall be honoured, and His government vindicated; all His counsels shall be fully unfolded, and all the predictions of His Word shall be verified; and God shall then be all in all, in His ineffable resplendent glory. Hence see the necessity of constant preparation for the coming of Christ. We cannot die in safety unless we enjoy peace with God.

(James Young.)

Wail. —
I cannot put into English the full meaning of that most expressive word. Sound it at length, and it conveys its own meaning. It is as when men wring their hands and burst out into a loud cry; or as when eastern women, in their anguish, rend their garments, and lift up their voices with the most mournful notes. All the kindreds of the earth shall wail: wail as a mother laments over her dead child; wail as a man might wail who found himself hopelessly imprisoned and doomed to die. Such will be the hopeless grief of all the kindreds of the earth at the sight of Christ in the clouds: if they remain impenitent, they shall not be able to be silent; they shall not be able to repress or conceal their anguish, but they shall wail, or openly give vent to their horror. What a sound that will be which wilt go up before high heaven when Jesus sits upon the cloud, and in the fulness of His power summons them to judgment! Then "they shall wail because of Him." Will your voice be heard in that wailing? Will your heart be breaking in that general dismay? How will you escape? If you are one of the kindreds of the earth, and remain impenitent, you will wail with the rest of them.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

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