Behold He Comes

Behold He comes
riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun
at the trumpet call
Lift your voice
it’s the year of Jubilee
Out of Zion’s hill
salvation comes!

I want this. Like for serious. I want badass Jesus to blast that trumpet and come down and Thor it up and blast the bad guys. This song doesn’t imply that Jesus will come down and kick butt, but I think we all want Jesus to show up riding on the clouds and shining like the sun so that everybody will know that we were right all along.

But every time I hear that song it reminds me of this passage from Zechariah (that is quoted later regarding Jesus).

Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
    Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
    triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
    and the war-horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
    and he shall command peace to the nations;
his dominion shall be from sea to sea,
    and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Remember that kings ride in on warhorses. They arrive in chariots and armored Cadillac limousines. But this king is different. This is Barack Obama driving into town in 1987 Plymouth Reliant station wagon. This is the pope driving a 1984 Renault 4.

This is one of my favorite passages in the whole Bible.

That is all.

David M Schell About David M Schell
I am a doubter and a believer. I have a Master's in Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, but because faith grows and changes, I don't necessarily stand by everything I've ever written, so if you see something troubling further back, please ask! Read More.

Author: David M Schell

I am a doubter and a believer. I have a Master's in Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, but because faith grows and changes, I don't necessarily stand by everything I've ever written, so if you see something troubling further back, please ask! Read More.

24 thoughts on “Behold He Comes”

  1. Well that would be great, but it was prophesying the first advent of Christ, when He came as a servant to die for the sins of the world. If you would like to gain a more accurate perspective on the future second coming of Christ, I would suggest reading Revelation.

    1. This is what comes of making Revelation our functional gospel because we don’t like Jesus in the gospels and think he needs a more American (violent) makeover.

      1. Though that may be true, I don’t see that’s Mr. Parker’s problem.

        I don’t see how there is a hard either-or in the matter of humble or glorious. God’s humility is glorious, because God is glorious and humility is knowing what you are in relation to everyone else.

        Keep in mind, now, Christ is king, so for him act like a king if he is the absolute king would still be his humility. The second coming of Christ really does seem to be the revelation of all that is and all that was and all that meant to be. Keeping in mind the revelatory nature of the second coming and what humbleness means, the glorious “like-a-flash-of-lightning” interp is at least plausible on the face of it.

  2. I would somewhat agree with The Ubiquitous. To Dave I would contend that my interpretation of Revelation comes not from an American lust for violence but a literal reading of what the Apostle John was inspired to write. A reading of this book clearly shows that in the future Jesus will return as a conquering king (note John’s description of Him in chapter one) and will in fact punish those who are rebellious towards Him and ultimately usher in His coming kingdom. It would be completely in line with The Ubiquitous’ statement that Christ can be king and act as such while still upholding His humility to say that Christ can still be loving and kind while punishing those who have sinned, as ultimately separation from God is what we have chosen. The Bible is clear that the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and since we have all sinned (Romans 3:23), God would not be just if He did not give us the wages for the actions we have chosen. Also, how loving would God be if He forced His love on us while we were not willing to receive it?

  3. In this, I do clearly disagree with Mr. Parker, because I do disagree with a kind of literalism regarding the last book of the Bible, which uses symbolic language exstensively. Revelation — the Apocalypse, lit. the “unveiling” — is, like Genesis, to some degree an “always story.” We don’t really know what form the second coming will take, only that it will come suddenly and reveal all things.

    To suggest that Christ in the end would usher in something like good government, as certain end times theories, seems to miss the point of divine revelation, and the distinctively aworldly mission of salvation. It seems to be the same mistake made by the Jews who chose Barabbas over Jesus, a secular messiah over the supernatural messiah.

  4. Before I say anything, just let me say that I really don’t believe in arguing about theology. I don’t think that the Savior who commanded us to love everyone would have us put others down, or spend our time bad-mouthing those who do not line up perfectly with our point of view. That being said, I do enjoy friendly discussion, and just wanted to be clear that I hope that is how I come across. If any of this seems argumentative I sincerely apologize. That being said, where in the book of Revelation does it say that it needs to be allegorized? I have had many a discussion about eschatology with those who believe that Revelation is not literal, and personally do not see why I need to allegorize Revelation while reading the rest of the Bible literally.

    1. Preface: When I say argument, I contrast it with quarrel, and I do not like quarrels at all. I think we’re going to get along just fine. That said, I do believe in arguing about theology where there exists mutual contradiction, because God is truth and the knowledge of truth is very important throughout the Christian life. This is reconcilable with the love of neighbor in an objective sense — love means to desire the good of another — but it is also reconcilable with not sowing rancor, or engaging in mindless disputes about genealogies, &c.

      I wrote a rather longish reply at first, but I’d like to make sure I understand where you’re coming from. What do you mean by “literal?” Is the dragon a winged thing with scales which will appear that way in history? Or is it merely allegory? Or can it be more?

  5. By literal I would say taking the Scriptures at face value and believing what they say without searching for a deeper meaning. I believe that God has given us a Bible that does not need to be allegorized or taken as a myth. I believe that John wrote exactly what he saw under the inspiration of God. As far as the specific example of a dragon, if the Bible says that there is a dragon then I believe that there is a dragon. To be completely clear, while I would not consider myself a “fundie”, i.e. hitting people over the head with the Bible if they do not believe exactly as they do, I am a fundamentalist. I believe in a literal hermaneutic as the most reliable way to exegete Scripture. Hopefully that explains a little more clearly where I am coming from. Finally, I definitely agree with you that it is possible and quite beneficial to have discussions, or arguments depending on your choice of words, about Theology.

    1. 1. Do we agree that the Bible is written in a variety of styles?

      2. Should we take those styles into account when considering the “face value” of selections in scripture? (Is there a place for form criticism?)

      3. What is the form of allegory? (How can we recognize aliteral styles of writing?)

      4. Does Revelation fall into this style or something like it?

  6. 1. I would agree that the Bible was written in a variety of styles, reflecting the various writing styles of the men that God inspired to pen His Scriptures. However, I believe that while these styles are retained, God used inspiration to compose a document that is coherent and consistent.

    2. I do not see where in Scripture we are told that we are to interpret some passages differently than others. To use an example, it is a commonly held belief in liberal Christianity, and even in mainstream evangelicism, that Genesis 1-11 should be interpreted as an allegory. However, in other places in Scripture Genesis 1-11 is referred to as being reliable, i.e. in Exodus 20 where Moses says, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that in them is…”. While there are passages in Scripture that are written using different styles, I believe that all Scripture is to be taken literally at face value.

    3. I think that my answer to question two should explain this sufficiently to illustrate my beliefs, however I will reiterate that I believe that all Scripture should be taken literally.

    4. I believe that the events of the book of Revelation are literal, and that God will return for His church after which will follow a period of tribulation when God will judge the earth. Following this Jesus will return and battle the followers of Satan at the battle of Armageddon. Jesus will defeat Satan and his followers, and bind Satan for 1,000 years. After this He will rule on earth for a period of 1,000 years, during which the Adamic curse will be lifted, but people will still sin and choose to follow Satan. At the conclusion of the Millennium Satan will be loosed and will once again gather followers for one more climactic battle with Jesus. Satan will be defeated, the wicked will be judged, and God will destroy the present world and create a new heaven and earth, where the saved will live with Him for eternity. The wicked will suffer and be separated from the presence of God for eternity. That pretty much sums up my view on the book of Revelation. This view of eschatology, known as Premillennialism, is held by most fundamentalists.

  7. ,blockquote>I believe that all Scripture is to be taken literally at face value.

    How do you support this contention, and what do you mean by “literally” and “face value”?

    Keep in mind, I’m looking for principles. Provide both your principles and how they take into account:

    1. Idiom: Does God have a long nose?
    2. Poetry.
    3. Hyperbole.
    4. Parable.

    Also, to say that every word must be taken absolutely literalistically creates problems considering:
    a. Job. Does God bargain with the Devil?
    b. Song of Songs. What’s this doing in the Bible? Unless you interpret it at some level other than literally and impose upon it some framework, you can’t make sense of it.
    c. Chronicles vs. Kings. While we’re at it, how many Goliaths were killed?
    d. In the Gospels, how many trips to Jerusalem?

    1. Did you seriously just link to Tentmaker? 😀 😀 😀

      And sorry about the long moderation time. It usually doesn’t ask me to moderate your comments. Usually it automatically approves after I approve one comment. Must be because of the number of links or something. I’ll try to fix that.

    1. Well, ya never know. I once came across a guy who seriously believed that the Catholics and the Muslims were going to merge into the one-world religion and install a one-world government and … well, you never know on the Internet.

      Which comment: This one.

      1. Oh that Catholic + Muslim one-world religion / government thing totally happening. This homeless guy I picked up one time told me that the catholic church was in league with the Irish mafia. He was on his way to Denver to get the demons cast out of him by some televangelist who does that sort of thing and… Pretty sure there was mental illness involved. For clarity’s sake I’m going to say this whole paragraph is nuts, because my usual sarcasm doesn’t translate well online and my wife isn’t here to tell you that I’m being ironic.

        You can’t take the Bible literally / at face value because it disagrees with itself if you hold it to that standard. It’s like complaining that a dog is broken because it doesn’t fly. That isn’t what it’s meant to do.

        I haven’t carefully considered my interpretive principles lately and it’s a bit late at night to think about them at the moment. However, I’m familiar with the idea of biblical genres and it makes sense to me. I learned it in a class in college.

        I can’t be a literalist mostly because God commands genocide in the old testament and I’m really not cool with that. Also because of disagreements when you take everything as though it is true (what does that even mean?) when those who say that they do don’t but only think that they do.

        But mostly I am not a literalist because I don’t need to be. I can still believe in the elements of the creed, which I do on a good day. I don’t need six literal twenty-four hour days to believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, or any other manner of literalism to believe in Jesus Christ his only begotten son our Lord etc.

        …Does that answer go where you were hoping to go? Or are you still curious? While we’re at it, what’s your interpretive principle? I’m in the market for one that neatly explains how I do Biblical Interpretation.

      2. You have the advantage on me in regards to going to college for this stuff. I have an unrelated degree, and I’ve just been picking stuff up here and there. For what it’s worth:

        The Bible is not a book. It is a library, with a variety of styles. (Full talk elsewhere.)
        What the human authors intended to communicate is always true.
        Authorial intent can be partially understood by looking at the form they used, or by comparison between superficially contradictory sources.
        Keep in mind their purpose — Acts, for example, is an apologetic work defending Paul by comparing him directly to Peter.

        The phrase used in that talk is this: Don’t ask just what it means. Also ask how it means.

        There are other principles. For example, if you see kingdom in the OT, it’s a prefigurement of the kingdom in the NT. Moreover, the Kingdom is the Church. (Luke 9:6 shows the gospel is not about the crucifixion, as it precedes the crucifixion. Yet somehow they preach the good news — what is the good news? That Jesus is here to establish his Kingdom, which is his community, and that means Church.)

        So far as genocides and that sort of difficulty, I learned a lot by listening to YouTube videos. Yeah, laugh … I know, I know. Still, Violence in the Bible is an attractive view. However, because genocides very well might have been a means of sanctification for those involved — “put the fear of God into them” — even the “literal” view is sustainable. With something like this, form criticism has some answers.

      3. Looking deeper, the same oral culture which preserved scriptures diligently with a minimum of copyist error and a scrupulous attention to detail was a living culture. Later generations — certainly within the first hundred years after the apostles — would be basically correct even by merely human means, (and more if God decides to have a vested interest in the matter.)

        Read the Christian scriptures in line with the generations of Christians who followed the authorship of these scriptures. It’s easier to draw a bead on the truth when connecting two points.
        Extend this principle through history. The Apostolic Fathers and the Church Fathers are pre-eminent among interpreters. Though they can be wrong, they are less likely to be, and this is merely by admitting the principles which allow scripture to be considered transmitted faithfully.
        Extending it further, this community of Christians has bishops in unbroken succession back to the Apostles, and so listen to them.

  8. I don’t actually have a degree, though I wish I did; I just took a few (required) Bible classes at my school (Huntington University). And an elective or two. I wish I could have taken more.

    I like Origen’s perspective (regarding ipso facto misreading) in Father Barron’s video. I also like that he looks at it realistically and acknowledges it as a real problem – but I love his explication of Origen’s view. I ultimately disagree with Origen’s perspective that recommends interpreting it as metaphorical and aim for a more nuanced approach, though I think there is definitely something that could be gained via Origen’s approach.

    My angle is more that scripture was written by humans, but has something of the divine in it. I agree with the notion that if you get out of it that God is mean and violent and vindictive then you’re reading it wrong. People wrote it, but there’s something more to scripture than to other books, even other books that we might consider “inspired.”

    I would add the theory of progressive revelation as an option, though it doesn’t sit right with me that God would do things like that in order to bring about recognition of him. There may be other schools of thought that do not require violence. As Eugene Peterson rightly puts it (more or less), God is concerned not only with the end, but with the means.

    For my part, I’m not really sure how those parts got in there. The human side, perhaps. Maybe in the sense that Jesus was both God and man. God does not hunger, but Jesus did. God does not die, but Jesus did. It’s a theory.

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