The following sermon were preached by Robert Henry (R.H.) Boll at the Peak & Main Church of Christ in Dallas, TX in 1924. And appeared in Word & Work, September-December 1924.  There are 4 articles based on this sermon.



(Part 1)

(Preached by request in Dallas, June 28, 1924.

The theme on which 1 am to speak tonight is not a late doctrine but is just as old as any other New Testament theme. In fact, it is one of the cardinal doctrines of the New Testament. There is the Incarnation—that is the fact that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” the Passion—that is the fact that the Lord Jesus went to the Cross and carried in His own body our sins there; the Resurrection—that is the fact that He rose again from the dead; the Ascension, and His present Mediatorship and high-priesthood, and His place of sovereignty on the right hand of God; and, ranking with these in importance, the Coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the backbone of the entire Christian doctrine. The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus is one of those cardinal doctrines of Christianity without which the Gospel is not complete.

We believe that there has been an event in the past which shook the world from center to circumference and which has changed the face of the earth, and that was the coming of the Lord Jesus when He was born in Bethlehem, the short life that He lived upon the earth, followed by His death, His resurrection and ascension. If any man would deny that that event of the past has been the most influential event in the world’s history, that man would not be an infidel but an ignoramus. For surely the coming of the Lord Jesus has changed the face of the world and profoundly altered the whole course of human affairs.

But there is another event in the future which is destined to change the whole course of human affairs even more profoundly than that event of the past—the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The first coming has been beyond computation in its power, but the Second Coming will have an even greater, vaster, deeper and wider influence upon the affairs of humanity, of heaven and of earth.

It was the Lord Jesus Himself who raised the hope of His Second Coming in the hearts and minds of His disciples. On that evening of His betrayal, when they were all assembled in the upper room for the last meeting with Him, He said to them, “Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14: 1-3). We have here a plain and definite, clear-cut promise of the Lord’s Second Coming. He said to them, “I go away.” And He said, “If I go”—and that “if” is not a doubtful “if,” but an argumentative “if,” just as though He had said, “since” I go— “I will come again.” Just as certainly, as surely, as literally as He went, just so certainly and literally He will come again. And He said, “I will come again to receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.” That is the promise, and the destiny of His people—that for evermore they shall be with Him, where He is.

.Then came the dark hour of Gethsemane, when His sweat as great drops of blood was rolling to the ground, and the Son of God, prostrate upon His face, plead that the cup might pass from Him. Then came the betrayal. Then came the trial before Caiaphas and the clamor of the mob before Pilate, and the sentence of crucifixion, and the Lord Jesus went forth to die for the world—for you and me—and upon the tree of cursing He bore our debts and took our responsibilities upon Himself. On the day that He died, in the evening, He was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, and on the morning of the first day of the week He had risen and, as we read here in the Book of Acts, for forty days He was seen by his disciples and by many infallible proofs he convinced them that He had come back from the dead and was living again. Luke says: “The former treatise I made, O, Theophilus, concerning all that Jesus began both to do and to teach, until the day in which He was received up, after that He had given commandment through the Holy Spirit unto the apostles whom He had chosen: to whom He showed himself alive after His passion by many proofs, appearing unto them by the space of forty days, and speaking the things concerning the Kingdom of God.”

It was on one of those occasions that the Lord Jesus was with them after His resurrection that they put a very important question to Him. Perhaps you know what the Jews expected the Messiah to do? They believed—and their belief was founded more or less justly upon the Old Testament prophecies—that Christ when He came would break the yoke of the oppressor from Israel’s neck, that He would restore the kingdom they had had in former days and that as a King He would return to them in power and glory such as never before had been known. When they confessed Jesus to be the Christ, that thought was in their minds. They believed that Jesus was the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament. When He died on the Cross, this hope died with Him. They thought He could not be the Messiah because the Messiah was to be a great king who would rule over all the earth; and should not his enemies bow before Him and lick the dust under His feet? So, when they saw Him dead on the tree of shame, they could no longer believe that He was the Messiah. You remember what the two said on the way to Emmaus about the reason of their sadness? They said, “Are you only a stranger in Jerusalem? Have you not heard the great things that have happened?” And He said, “What things?” And they said, “Concerning Jesus, the Nazarene, who was a mighty prophet and who was crucified, and certain women of our company have reported that they found his tomb empty and had a vision of angels saying that he was alive. But we hoped that it was he who should redeem Israel.” You see, their hope was gone. They did not even call Him “the Christ” anymore. They called Him “Jesus the Nazarene, a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,” because they thought the Christ would be great and victorious and break the Gentile yoke and that wonderful days would dawn with His coming. But when Jesus died on the Cross, their hopes were just as dead as that body hanging on the tree, and they had given up in despair.

Yet now He was back from the dead! For forty days they saw Him, heard Him, handled Him with their hands, and by many infallible proofs He made Himself manifest to them. And now they asked Him a very important question. “Lord, Thou didst not do it during Thy natural lifetime. ‘Dost Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’” He did not say yea or nay. He simply said, “It is not for you to know times or seasons, which the Father hath set within His own authority. But ye shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” And as this conversation was going on, they had been walking together and had arrived upon the height of the Mount of Olives, and when the. last word was spoken the Lord Jesus spread out His hands in a final benediction, and, while they were looking on, they beheld Him go up from their midst: now His feet no longer touched the earth; now He was out of their reach, going higher and higher, His face still smiling down upon them, His hands still outstretched in benediction. And while they were looking, a cloud wrapped Him round and hid Him from their view. And they stood still, looking into heaven—naturally, as we should have done if we had been there—when their attention was distracted by two men in white apparel who also said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was received up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye beheld Him going into heaven.” And there again the promise of His Second Coming was renewed.

I am glad that this passage is in the Book. It settles a great many questions. Those disciples understood—and we understand—that “this Jesus”—not some other one—but “this Jesus, who was received up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye beheld Him going into heaven.” I want to say that the doctrine of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ loses its force and value whenever you take the personality of Him who is coming out of it. It is Jesus Himself, this very Jesus whom they had beheld going up from them, who “shall so come in like manner.”

About two hundred years ago—hardly that long—there lived a man named Emmanuel Swedenborg, who was rather a queer genius. He had peculiar dreams and visions. This Swedenborg wrote books which are still being printed. The claim is actually made that these visions and books of Swedenborg are the Second Coming of Christ, and that since these books were written a new order has come in. I am so glad that the Lord forestalled such misconceptions. Jesus Christ is not coming back in the shape of a book, but “this Jesus, who was received up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye beheld Him going into heaven.’’

Again, it is claimed for that strange woman—the author of Christian Science—that she and her work is the Second Coming of Christ. I am glad we have a plain statement in the Word of God that keeps people from thinking that Christ will come again in the form of a new theory. He will not come as a new theory or doctrine or philosophy, or movement, but “this Jesus, who was received up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye beheld Him going into heaven.”

Again, there was a man, but recently dead, whose writings have been scattered all over this nation and have been published in many different tongues, who taught that in 1874 Jesus came back spiritually and has been present spiritually ever since. But I want to tell you that Jesus Christ does not come back spiritually; spiritually He is here all the time. He is not going to come back as a spirit nor as a phantom. He was very particular to assure us of the reality of His resurrection-body. He went to His disciples and said, “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye behold Me having.” By “flesh and bones,” we do not mean corruptible flesh and bones, for we are distinctly told that He rose from the dead no more to return to corruption, immortal and glorified—for who can put any limit to the power of God? But His actual body was there and He said, “Handle Me and see.” See “that it is I Myself.” And when they still doubted, He said, “Have you anything to eat?” And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and He took it and ate before them. Well, when you see a man eat before you, and handle him with your hands, and hear him and see him, you are pretty well convinced that he is alive. Such was the Jesus who was associated with them after His resurrection for forty days, who went up from their midst into heaven, and of whom it was said, “This Jesus shall so come in like manner as ye beheld Him going into heaven.” That is the promise of His coming back—just as actually and palpably, just as visibly and bodily, as He went up.

Then the disciples returned to Jerusalem, to the upper room, to wait for the fulfilment of that promise of the Holy Spirit. They went into the upper room where they were abiding, it says, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James; and there they were with Mary the mother of Jesus, and the women, and with His brethren waiting and praying. If you read further you see that “when the day of Pentecost was come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Then there gathered a great multitude and for the first time in the world’s history the Gospel was preached in its fulness, and the man who had the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven rose up, and it was he who opened the door to the multitudes on that day. He preached “Christ crucified.” He told of His resurrection and ascension and concluded his sermon by saying, “Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.” It goes on to say, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’ And Peter said unto them, ‘Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto Him.’ They then that received his word were baptized: and there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved.”

There you have the beginning of the Church of God. The Gospel remained in Jerusalem for a time and then began to spread, just as the Lord had said, into Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. And wherever that Gospel was preached the old primitive hope in the Second Coming of Christ sprang up, just as it will today. Wherever the Church sprang up, there sprang up the hope of the coming of Christ; for instance, Paul went to Corinth and preached Christ to the Corinthians, and it says: “Many of the Corinthians hearing believed and were baptized.” Now when Paul wrote to them next, he addressed them as “the Church of God which is at Corinth.” Now he says to them: “I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus; that in everything ye were enriched in him, in all utterance and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you; so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the revelation of our Lord. Jesus Christ.” The word waiting there is a very strong word in the Greek; it means earnest, anxious expectation of the revealing of the Lord Jesus Christ. This, therefore, was an apostolic church. The apostolic Church was taught to wait and look for the coming again of the Lord Jesus.

We now turn to the third chapter of the Epistle to the Philippians. The apostle is deploring the life that many of them are living. He says: “For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.” They are the “enemies of the cross of Christ”—whose end is perdition, whose god is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven ; whence also we wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of His glory, according to the working whereby He is able even to subject all things unto Himself.” Now get that. The Apostle says, “Our citizenship is in heaven, whence also we (that is, I, Paul, and you, Philippians) look for a Savior.” He was not expecting a blessed future by some development from below, but a Savior to come from above and that He would “fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of His glory, according to the working whereby He is able even to subject all things unto Himself.” And he says, “Wherefore, my brethren beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my beloved.” So we see that Paul himself and the Church at Philippi, which was brought into existence by his labors, were in an attitude of earnest expectation of the return of Jesus Christ the Lord.

We turn to the ninth chapter of Hebrews. The Hebrews were Jews, the Jewish Christians of Palestine. They were well acquainted with the Old Testament teachings concerning the Temple and Tabernacle. There were two divisions of the Temple ; there was the holy place where the priests ministered every day, and then, behind the veil, was the Holy of Holies where the high priest only went once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people. Now Paul writes to the Hebrews and says Christ “entered not into a holy place made with hands, like in pattern to the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God for us.” As the high priest went into the Holy of Holies behind the veil, so Christ has gone into the presence of God. Just as the high priest came back, so Christ would come back. “And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this cometh judgment, so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for him, unto salvation.” He is coming back a second time, from behind the veil, to them that wait for Him.

The apostolic church was in an attitude of waiting for Jesus. I could continue to multiply passages, but 1 will bring up only two more on this point which I think deserve special notice. It seems that when Paul was preaching to the Thessalonians the doctrine of the Second Coming came to the forefront more than anywhere else. He was there only three weeks, it appears. It was a heathen city where the Gospel had never been preached. What would you think nowadays of a preacher who would go to an absolutely new place to preach the Gospel and take time to tell them and instruct them so particularly that the Lord Jesus is coming again? I am afraid that some would say: “That man has gone cranky,” and he would certainly be considered as an extremist on that point. That is, however, just what Paul did at Thessalonica. When he wrote to them the Apostle said, “Ye turned unto God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, Who delivereth us from the wrath to come.” The preaching of that apostle was of such a nature that they turned to God for two purposes—first, “to serve the living and true God,” and secondly, “to wait for His Son from heaven.” Therein you see the two parts of the Christian religion. The first part is to serve the living and true God and the second part is to wait for His Son from heaven. Not waiting only, nor serving only. I have had people say to me, “Don’t you believe that if a man is faithful and serves God from day to day, he will be all right at the end?” Well, it does not say so. The Thessalonians turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God and also to wait for His Son from heaven. The outlook that you hold is going to affect profoundly all of your Christian life. We shall say more of that presently.

In the second passage Paul is writing to a young preacher, Titus. He says that “the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men”—graciously bringing salvation within the reach of all and “instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world” -—or “age.” “Soberly”—that means with self-control. “Righteously”—that means dealing fairly with our fellowman. “Godly”—that means in the right attitude towards God. While we are doing all that, we must also be “looking for the blessed hope and, appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a people for His own possession, zealous of good works.” And Paul says, “Preach that; tell the people that the grace of God tells us to conduct ourselves soberly, righteously and godly, and to be looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” I want to tell you, my friends, that this is an integral part of the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ. The eyes of the church, by God’s own word and teaching, were rivetted upon that event. It filled the whole horizon of the future for them.

In this passage to Titus there appears a word that calls for a little more consideration—namely, the word “hope.” He speaks of the coming again of Christ as the “blessed hope.” Most men know that hope is a compound thing; it consists of two elements. Just as water consists of two elements, oxygen and hydrogen, combined in chemical proportion, so hope consists of two spiritual elements—one is desire, and the other is expectation. You have to have both of these in order to have hope. If you have a desire for a thing but no reasonable expectation of it, that is not hope. I might ask a man if he would like to have a million dollars? And he would say, “Yes.” “Well, do you hope for a million dollars?” “No,” he would say, “because I have no show on earth of getting that much money.” Or you may expect something that you don’t want. See a little boy going home, looking anxious; he is expecting something, but that is not hope! It takes both elements to make hope. I have made the statement—and I am not unwilling to make it again—that the professing Church has virtually lost its hope of the Second Coming. If I could prove that she has ceased to expect Christ’s coming again, it will be apparent that she has lost this hope. If I could prove that she has ceased from the desire of His coming, I could prove that hope has gone. If I could prove both, I should prove it twice over. Expectation and desire make up the hope of the appearing of our blessed Savior. They were hoping for Him, and they were looking for His return in the days of the apostles. When persecution raged, when the Christians were slain for their belief— were put to death in all kinds of cruel fashions—they kept alive the hope of the coming of the Lord Jesus.

But then there came the fatal day when the Emperor of Rome nominally professed Christianity. It was one of the devil’s schemes; what he could not do by opposition and persecution, he now attempted to do by flattery. The Emperor Constantine made Christianity the state religion. Then Christians came out of the holes and caves, the whole world joined in, and the great leaders of the church were rejoicing. Even Augustine, nearly a hundred years after, said, “Let the heavens be glad, for the Lord reigneth.” He thought the Millennium had come because the Emperors of Rome had acknowledged Christianity; but instead of the Church converting the world, the world was swamping the Church. The hope then died out except for a fanatical flare-up now and then. But when Martin Luther called men back to the Bible and they began to study it again in their own vernacular, the hope of His coming revived. In the 18th Century, however, there came a man named David Whitby. David Whitby had a new theory. He was very modest; he never thought his theory would live for hundreds of years, but it is known yet as the post- millennial theory. He taught that the Gospel would spread and spread until the whole world would be converted, then would follow a thousand years of blessedness and peace would ensue, and then Jesus would come and wind things up. Then the hope of His coming died again everywhere as this doctrine became the standard.

I am afraid it is that doctrine that chiefly controls the Christian world today—the Whitby doctrine of post-millennialism. If I have to wait till the world is converted, and then another thousand years till Christ comes, I might as well stop teaching about His coming. It will be a very remote contingency, because, since the Gospel has been preached, it has never been known that an entire nation has turned to Him. I do not know of any community that ever became wholly Christian, and in the places where the Gospel has been preached most it begins to corrupt like the manna kept overnight. The only way to keep the gospel is to keep it going. There is nothing now but darkness and superstition in those Eastern lands. And in this land, where the Gospel has been preached so long, it is beginning to lose its vitality. In heathen lands more than 100,000 heathens are born to every Christian. At that rate how long will it be till the world is converted? If you have to wait till then, and then a thousand years before Christ comes, of course you will lose your hope. But that is the way a great many people look at it. The thought of His coming has faded out of the minds of men. They are now looking forward, rather, to death. Yet the Bible does not tell us to look forward to death or to get ready to die. You hear this taught in the pulpit constantly. It is not wrong for preachers to point out the fleetingness of human life, but you never get an appeal in the New Testament to turn to the Lord on account of the shortness of human life. You are never told to get ready to die, but often and often you are reminded that you know not the day nor the hour that the Son of Man shall come. In fact, I believe that the whole present-day theology is unfavorable to the doctrine of the coming of Jesus Christ. Most theology has no room for it. They believe that when a man dies he enters into his bliss. That does not leave any essential place for the coming of the Lord Jesus. Take that song we sing sometimes:

“There is a land of pure delight, where saints immortal reign, Infinite day excludes the night, and pleasures banish pain; There everlasting spring abides, and never-withering flowers: Death like a narrow sea divides this heavenly land from ours.” If that is so, what is the use of Christ’s coming again? What essential place is left for it in the scheme of doctrine, if that is so? Now I believe that when a Christian dies he is “with Christ, which is very far better,” but the day which is the real object of our hope will never come till Jesus returns. That is the time of our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body—the day when the servants of God shall be crowned even with that crown which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give to them at that day. . ..“to all who have loved His appearing.”

So much for the expectation of the coming of Christ. As an expectation it has ceased to be a vital factor in our Christianity. Let’s change that. Let’s learn to look for Him again.

Turn to the other element, which is desire. I think if you were to take any average congregation and tell them—if a man could do so earnestly and authoritatively—that Jesus was coming tonight, they would turn pale and begin to tremble. Well, what is the matter with you? If a husband has been away from home and somebody tells the wife that he is coming home and she at once begins to tremble and turn pale, it is reasonable to suppose that something is wrong. You remember what James says: “Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?” Ί tell you that if you had to change your way of living because Jesus was coming tonight, then your way of living is wrong. That is the thing that God wanted us to keep before our eyes all the time. He wanted us to long for Him, to look for Him, to wait and watch for Him, “to love His appearing.” When I get back home, my little children will be waiting and watching to hear the first footfall. I usually go in at the back-alley gate (they call me for that reason “the alligator”). They will listen and look and run to meet me, and they will be so glad to see me coming because they love me. If we love the Lord Jesus, ought not we to be glad at the thought of His coming? If you must say, “I am not glad,” then get right today! And then if He comes, well and good; and if death comes first, well and good. The man who is looking for the coming of Jesus will be all night at the coming of death, but the man who is waiting for death may not be, because there is something procrastinating about the thought of death.

I want to bring out the three attitudes that can be taken towards the coming of Christ. First, there is the attitude of the scoffer. Turn to the third chapter of the second epistle of Peter and find: “In the last days mockers shall come with mockery, walking after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? for from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.’” That is, these are scientific scoffers. They believe in the constancy of natural law. They believe that nothing miraculous is going to happen. They do not believe God or Christ is going to do anything “arbitrary.” A certain preacher said every time a new orphanage or hospital is built, and every time a step in progress and advancement is taken, that is Christ coming again; so Christ will come more and more till the perfect day has come. That does not sound like this Second Coming that we have been reading about. Yet men are teaching that from day to day. The scoffers say, “All this time has passed, and He has not come!” The Apostle said, “Don’t mind that. When you hear that, you may know that the last days are at hand.” “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness; but is long-suffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” He is waiting and biding His time. When He gets ready He will come. Just as once, hundreds of years ago, He came when no one was looking for Him except a few devout persons, so He will come in that day.

The second attitude is that of the unfaithful servant. He does not deny that the Lord Jesus is coming but says in his heart —maybe not out openly and publicly— “My Lord delayeth His coming. He will come but it will be a long time before He does come.” So, he looks for the coming but puts it in the indefinite future. What will he do? Man is not constituted so that he can always be up to the level that God wants him to be unless he has the spur of a constant motive. If I had a farm and left someone in charge of that farm, told him that I wanted everything done in such and such a way—and then said, “Now these are my orders, I am going away, but I am liable to come back any time”— what would the man do? He would keep that place just as I told him—that is, if he were interested in his job. If, however, I were to say to him, “I am going away for ten years,” the man would be hardly human if he didn’t fudge on my orders sometime. “What’s the harm in leaving these implements in the field?” the man might say to himself. “I shall have everything straightened up nicely by the time he gets back.” And in just this way the hope of the Second Coming keeps the Christian alert, keeps his spiritual tone up to the level. It makes him unselfish and unworldly, helps him to realize that he is a pilgrim on the earth and has nothing to expect down here except what the Lord Jesus got. It will help him to endure, because after the suffering, he knows, comes the glory; after we have borne the burden, then comes our reign with Him. For He said, in regard to the Church, “And he that overcometh, and he that keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give authority over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to shivers; as I also have received of my Father: and I will give him the morning star” ; and that we “shall reign with Him a thousand years.” If this is contrary to your theology, yet God said so. The unfaithful servant says in his heart, “The Lord will come sometime but not soon,” and then he begins to get careless, he begins to eat and drink with the drunken, to beat the men and maidservants and to be unkind to his brethren. When the man is not expecting it, that Lord will come— “the Lord of that servant shall come in a day that he expecteth not, and in an hour when he knoweth not, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.” That is the unfaithful servant’s attitude.


And finally, the true servant also has an attitude to the coming of Christ and this is given in the last chapter of the Book of the Revelation of St. John. The Saint was exiled upon the lonely Isle of Patmos amid the waves of the Aegean Sea. In his loneliness he is wrapped in the vision of Heaven. God unfolds the future before him. He sees the dreadful conflict of the last days; sees the vast delusions that sweep the world; sees the blood of the martyrs flowing; glimpses finally the glory of His Coming and His kingdom and at last, the New Jerusalem with her battlements of gold, and hears above all the voice of Jesus saying, “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with Me, to render to each man according as his work is.” To that cry John made his response. Out of the fastness of his soul came the counter-cry, and he said, “Even so come, Lord Jesus!” That is the last prayer in the Bible— “Even so come, Lord Jesus!” This is the cry of the Christian who is bearing the cross and his Lord’s reproach. It is the hope of every redeemed soul— “Even so come, Lord Jesus!” Can you say it tonight?

We had a little sister who loved the Lord Jesus, a sweet, pure, tender, gentle, Christian girl, with large, soulful brown eyes. She was stricken with disease, and we saw her wasting away. I went to see her one day and I said to her, “Do you know you are very sick?” “Yes,” she said. “Do you expect to get well?” She took her head and said, “No.” “Do you expect to die then?” I asked. “Yes,” she said simply. “Don’t do it,” I said, “you may die of course, but again the Lord Jesus might come first. At what hour He will come we do not know. It is the Christian’s privilege to look beyond death and to wait for the coming of the Lord Jesus.” She took that in. It was sometime after that that they thought she was dying, and when I went in, she recognized me and said, “Brother Boll, I am so glad of what you told me. I am not looking for death anymore, but I am looking for the Lord Jesus.” The next night she closed her eyes and “fell asleep in Jesus.” Do you think her looking was to no purpose? “But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that fall asleep; that ye sorrow not, even as the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so, shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thess. 4).

Yes, we can look for the coming of Christ. Then shall all tears be wiped away. The sad past will be forgotten. Then shall be our adoption, the redemption of our body. Then all nature shall rejoice; the hills shall clap their hands; the waves of the sea shall shout aloud for joy. The knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. It will be a glorious day for this earth after the coming of Jesus. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” But to us God hath revealed them by His Spirit.

-R.  H. Boll (1875-1956) was Editor of Word and Work (1916-1956) and preacher at Portland Avenue Church of Christ, Louisville, KY (1904-1956)