Original hymn by Charles Wesley.
Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God appears on earth to reign.
Riding on the Clouds was a sign of divinity in Old Testament times. This verse draws on the descriptions of Jesus Christ’s return found in Daniel 7:13, Matthew 24:30, and Revelation 14:14. Christ is God the Son, the Cloud Rider. He will come again in glory, attended by angels, and greeted by His human saints when they have been raised from the dead. When Christ comes again, He will establish His rule on earth at Mount Zion. He will reign with His saints (Revelation 20:6), and the world will know justice. His human saints love Him, because He was slain for them. He willingly died for us to take away our sin and to bring us to God, granting believers an inheritance with Him in His Messianic kingdom.
Every eye shall now behold Him
Robed in dreadful majesty;
Those who set at naught and sold Him,
Pierced and nailed Him to the tree,
Deeply wailing, deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
Shall the true Messiah see.
There will be no ambiguity when the true Christ comes. In this present age there are imposters – but imposters can (and should) be doubted. Those who deny He is the true Christ will be in deep denial and without excuse. The unrepentant will mourn because they know their doom is at hand. Repenting Israel will mourn when their eyes are opened to who Christ is and they think upon all those years they have waited to see the Kingdom restored. All are guilty of His crucifixion, Gentile and Jew alike: all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23); Romans crucified Him on the urging of the Sanhedrin.
Every island, sea, and mountain,
Heav’n and earth, shall flee away;
All who hate Him must, confounded,
Hear the trump proclaim the day:
Come to judgment! Come to judgment! Come to judgment!
Come to judgment! Come away!
The world will not be the same when Christ returns. Scarred by wars and the judgment of God, there will be a great need for restoration. It will also be a time of reversals: “for the last shall be first, and the first last” (Luke 13:30). Individuals and nations that were honoured in this age may find themselves humbled, and the humble raised up to God’s council. Imagine a world where work is rewarded according to its true value as measured in the Kingdom, and not by the subjective selfish standards of our fallen nature. Those nations and individuals who resist righteousness will be chastised – but if they repent, they will be restored. No one will escape the justice of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Philip Augustine said:
I’ve been reading On The Predestination of Saints where Augustine makes the point that the Incarnation itself is a grace from God. And as such, one cannot be saved by faith alone, he says it right there, because to faith is a work and by being saved by faith it reduces the Incarnation to a reward rather than a gift.
At any rate, when you speak about rewards, I think of an image those who are last who will be first will be the ones who simply extended their empty hands to the Lord both literally and spiritually.
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No one could compel God to undertake the Incarnation – so that was freely chosen by Him and unmerited by us – it is an act and continuing state that comes from love. Glory to Christ.
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For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For some reason catholics just love their “works” religion.