A Tale of Two Advents

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“Christmas is coming!” Children and adults alike express their excitement at this wonderful time of the year with all of its activities, decorations, goodies, and gifts. Far from the hearts and minds of most people at this time of year is yet another exclamation: “Christ is coming!” Yet, the believers living in those last few centuries before the First Advent of Jesus Christ did look forward and think, “The Messiah (Christ) is coming!”

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord.” (Zechariah 2:10 ESV)

“Behold, I come” literally says, “I am about to come!” A special Hebrew construction (sometimes referred to as the imminent future) expresses that concept..

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming,” says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)

“Behold, I send” and “behold, he is coming” both announce, “I am about to send!” and “He is about to come!” Such statements draw the believer’s mind to the last book of the New Testament in which Jesus says, “Surely I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:20).

How do the two Advents compare? Well, the first thing we see is that the Word of God regards both Advents of Messiah as imminent—at anytime. For each, the people of God did say and now do say, “Christ is coming!” Let’s go a step farther with this comparison by paralleling the description of Christ’s Second Advent in Revelation 19:11–16 with what occurred at His First Advent.

His Heavenly Signs

1st Advent:

And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. (Mark 1:10)

2nd Advent:

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! (Revelation 19:11)

The Nature of His Coming

1st Advent:

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:13–14)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:14, 17)

2nd Advent:

The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. (Revelation 19:11)

His Eyes

1st Advent:

Jesus wept. (John 11:35)

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it (Luke 19:41)

2nd Advent:

His eyes are like a flame of fire (Revelation 19:12)

His Crown

1st Advent:

And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head (John 19:2)

2nd Advent:

and on his head are many diadems (Revelation 19:12)

His Name 

1st Advent:

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

2nd Advent:

and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. (Revelation 19:12)

His Clothing

1st Advent:

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)

2nd Advent:

He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood (Revelation 19:13)

The Word of God Incarnate

1st Advent:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

2nd Advent:

and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. (Revelation 19:13)

His Armies

1st Advent:

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying (Luke 2:13; “host” = “army”)

2nd Advent:

And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. (Revelation 19:14)

His Rule over Nations

1st Advent:

and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” (Matthew 2:4–6)

And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” (Matthew 27:28–29)

2nd Advent:

From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. (Revelation 19:15)

His Wrath

1st Advent:

And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. (Mark 3:4–5)

2nd Advent:

He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. (Revelation 19:15)

His Supreme Sovereignty

1st Advent:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20)

2nd Advent:

On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. (Revelation 19:16)

Concluding Thought

This Christmas, think and declare, “Christ is coming!” May our Christmas prayer be, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20). May all of you experience a Christ-filled First Advent season this year and every year until He returns at His Second Advent.

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