The First “Last Thing”: The Second Coming of Christ (Rev. 19:11-16) -- By: David J. MacLeod

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 156:622 (Apr 1999)
Article: The First “Last Thing”: The Second Coming of Christ (Rev. 19:11-16)
Author: David J. MacLeod


The First “Last Thing”:
The Second Coming of Christ
(Rev. 19:11-16) *

David J. MacLeod

In the city of Milan, Italy, stands a magnificent cathedral, one of the most beautiful religious buildings in the world. The fifty-two marble columns that hold up its lofty dome, and the 4,440 turrets and pinnacles, and the statues of angels and saints produce an incomparable combination of grace and grandeur, beauty and vastness. Behind the high altar is one of the largest stained-glass windows in the world. Its subject matter is arresting. It depicts no scene from the Old Testament and no Old Testament person. Nor does it depict scenes from the Gospels such as the birth of Christ, His temptation, transfiguration, crucifixion, or resurrection. Nor are there scenes from the Acts of the Apostles and the early spread of the gospel. No, the artist’s subject is the tremendous imagery of the Book of the Revelation: the sounding trumpets, the outpoured bowls, Michael and his angels in battle with the dragon and his angels, the woman with the sun and moon under her feet, Satan bound with a chain and cast into the abyss, and-most impressive of all-the rider on the white horse going forth to war with the armies of heaven following behind.1

The artist of this great masterpiece was undoubtedly convinced that his subject, the second coming of Christ, was of great importance-and it is. Yet it is a subject that is puzzling to many people. Perhaps the only individuals most people know who have any interest in the subject are cultists or religious cranks-like the Jehovah’s Witnesses who predicted the Lord’s return in 1975,

* This is article two in an eight-part series, “Expositional Studies of the Seven ‘Last Things’ in the Book of Revelation.”

David J. MacLeod is a member of the faculty of Emmaus Bible College in Dubuque, Iowa, and is associate editor of The Emmaus Journal.

the radio preacher who predicted the return of Christ in 1988, and the preacher who predicted that Jesus would return in 1994.2 As a result this great subject has fallen into disrepute in some quarters, and it has been long neglected in others. In most major denominations this fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith is only lightly touched on, if it is mentioned at all.3

Andrew Bonar (1810–1892), a great Scottish minister, told of a man in his parish whom he often used to visit. He was a simple and poor man, but he had found Christ and had great joy in the thought that Jesus will someday return to earth. On o...

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