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Words: Mabel Johnston Camp (b. Nov. 25, 1871; d. May 25, 1937)
Music: Mabel Johnston Camp
Note: Mabel Johnson Camp, a gifted pianist and soloist, wrote many hymns, often supplying both words and music.This gospel song was published in 1913.
Sometimes, why we do a thing is as important as what we do. Maybe more so. It’s possible, for example, that what seems to be a good deed may in fact have a selfish or malicious motive. A piece of candy offered to a child could be a kindness, or it might be a lure preparing the way for a hideous crime.
When we turn to the Bible, it’s illuminating to review not only the things God does, or has promised to do, but also the motivation behind them. One instance of this is an event the Word of God mentions often: the second coming of Christ, a dramatic event that could occur any day now. Writes Mrs. Camp:
CH-1) Lift up your heads, pilgrims aweary,
See day’s approach now crimson the sky;
Night shadows flee, and your Belovèd,
Awaited with longing, at last draweth nigh.
The Lord Jesus Himself promised, “I will come again” (Jn. 14:3). The Saviour’s return was also announced, after His resurrection, at the time of His ascension. “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). For the church, His return is called “the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:13).
The fact of it is clear enough. But why? Why is the second coming of the Lord a part of God’s program? One reason is simply because He said it would be. A righteous God, a God of truth, must keep His word. Because God cannot lie, He must fulfil His promise (cf. Tit. 1:2).
In the present hymn, Mrs. Camp reminds us that Jesus must come back to claim His rightful place. At His first coming He was rejected and crucified. But Christ declared that one day the world “will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30). The One who wore a crown of thorns will wear a diadem of glory, and be recognized as “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16). As the refrain puts it:
He is coming again, He is coming again,
The very same Jesus, rejected of men;
With power and great glory, He is coming again!
Another reason for Christ’s return is that it will be the time when He will judge an unbelieving world. And “who can endure the day of His coming? For He is like a refiner’s fire” (Mal. 3:2). Many millennia ago, Enoch, in only the seventh generation after creation, prophesied it. “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly” (Jude 1:14-15). His righteous rule will bring the dark night of sin to an end.
CH-2) Dark was the night, sin warred against us;
Heavy the load of sorrow we bore;
But now we see signs of His coming;
Our hearts glow within us, joy’s cup runneth o’er!
Finally, the return of Christ is necessary to deliver the saints from the effects and environs of sin, and reward their faithfulness. Since the fall, there has been a curse upon creation, that has brought trouble and weary toil upon the human family (Gen. 3:17-19). But, through Christ, “the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21). The Lord promised, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Rev. 22:12).
With the return of Christ, comes the glorious dawning of eternity for the redeemed. In the words of Mabel Camp:
CH-3) O blessèd hope! O blissful promise!
Filling our hearts with rapture divine;
O day of days! Hail Thy appearing!
Thy transcendent glory forever shall shine.
CH-4) Even so, come, precious Lord Jesus;
Creation waits redemption to see;
Caught up in clouds, soon we shall meet Thee;
O blessèd assurance, forever with Thee!
1) Can you think of other reasons why it is necessary or important that Christ come again?
2) Does your church faithfully preach about the second coming of Christ?