The Coming of the Son of Man
Howard Coles, Coleford, England
THE TITLE OF HIS COMING
The title 'The Son of Man', when used of and by the Lord Jesus, usually has the article. It is first used in connection with His coming in glory to reign over the earth in Daniel 7. 13, 14, 'I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of clays, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed'. In the gospels the Lord applies this title to Himself. The first time in the New Testament is linked with His humble circumstances, 'And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head', Mart. 8. 20. In contrast, the last time He uses it is at His trial before Caiaphas in connection with His power and glory at the second advent, 'Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you. Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven', Matt. 26. 64. The last time it is used of Him in the Bible it is again in connection with the second advent and judgement, Rev. 14. 14, 'And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the 5on of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle'. As The Son of Man He comes to destroy the antichrist and reign in righteousness. Of the eighty-four times the title is used in the New Testament, eighty references are in the gospels and thirty of these are in Matthew. In Matthew 24 alone the Lord uses the title five times in connection with hi is second coming to the earth in glory.
THE TIMING OF HIS COMING
In Daniel 7. 25-27, Daniel prophesies that seventy weeks of years are determined, regarding the nation of Israel. Sixty-nine weeks of years (483 lunar years) were determined, from the command to rebuild Jerusalem to the coming of Messiah at the first advent; It is reckoned that this was fulfilled to the day when the Lord presented Himself to the nation at His first advent; i.e. as recorded in Matt. 21. 8, 9.
The sixty-nine weeks are then followed by another week of years, 'The seventieth week'. This week will not start to run until after the church is removed at the rapture, when once again the prophetic clock will have started, Israel will again be at the centre of God's dealings with this earth. The next event, before which there is no unfulfilled prophecy, is the rapture of believers of the present dispensation. We who are believers today do not look for the coming wrath, which will characterize this fast week, but have been delivered from (lit. 'out of) it. We 'wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come', 1 Thess. 1. 10, (the term 'coming wrath' is to do with God's righteous wrath being poured out upon this world). So at some point after the rapture the seventieth week will begin. The first three-and-a-half years will see the rise and manifestation of the two beasts of Revelation 13. The second half of this week will begin with the man of sin setting himself up as God in the temple, he 'who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God', 2 Thess. 2. 4. It will be a time of unprecedented judgements poured out from the throne of heaven and called 'the Great Tribulation'. These judgements are detailed in the seven seal, trumpet, and vial judgements, Rev. 6-1 6.
At the end of this period the united armies of earth will be gathered together in the locality of Israel and will oppose Christ at His coming, (the location of the battle would appear to be defined by Zechariah 12. 11.) Revelation 19. 19-21 gives the detaiI of the moment of the Lord's return, 'And 1 saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that brought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh'.
Unlike the timing of the first advent, which was defined to the exact day in Daniel 9, the timing of the second advent is not revealed for it depends on the date at which the seventieth week starts; i.e., at some point after the rapture. The Lord Himself confirmed thai no one knows the timing of His second coming to the earth. 'Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh,' Matt. 25. 13.
THE SUDDENNESS OF HIS COMING
In the last days men will mock and say, 'Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation', 2 Pet. 2. 3, 4. This leads inevitably to them behaving as if there was no reckoning day. Today we see the results of this attitude in every part of the world, as 'evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived', 2 Tim. 3. 13.
Even now men are being lulled into a false sense of security as they disregard the accountability and judgement of His coming and commit every kind of crime. They often get away with it, the authorities being unable to bring them to justice. This will intensify through the Tribulation period but will finally end at the unexpected coming of the Son of Man. The suddenness of His return is taken up by the prophets to encourage the faithful of Israel in the day of the Tribulation, The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years. And I will come near to you to judgement; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts. For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed', Mai. 3. 1-6. The ungodly during that last week will continue, seemingly oblivious of His coming and their judgement to follow, but the godly remnant of Israel will encourage themselves in such scriptures knowing that justice will suddenly be exercised in perfect righteousness on their behalf.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF HIS COMING
The consequences of His coming include the gathered armies of the world being destroyed as they turn upon the Lord, 'And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth; and all the fowls were filled with their flesh', Revelation 19. 1 9-21. Satan will be bound in the abyss, 'And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit', Rev. 2Q. 2, 3. Soon after this, the judgement of those still living from the nations will take place, 'When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd clivideth his sheep from the goats', Matt. 25. 31, 32. Then the millennial reign of the Son of man will begin. Those who had been faithful through that last week will reign with Him on the earth', Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world', Matt. 25. 34. Israel will be the centre of the divine administration. The Church, represented as the heavenly Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb, and composed of all the saints from Pentecost to the Rapture, will also be involved in the administration as she descends from heaven. 'And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it . . .' Rev. 21. 24-26.
'Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus'. Rev. 22. 20.