We are continuing our thoughts on the topic of what it will be like when the Lord Jesus comes in His glory in the Second Coming. After the snatching up of God's people (The Rapture—1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), the anger of our God will be displayed toward those who do not know God. We don't like to think of an angry Lord Jesus, but that is the truth that Paul the apostle wrote about, as well as other prophetic writers:
This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
When God first began dealing with me as to my eternal destiny, i.e., where I would go when I die, I had a picture of the coming of the Lord Jesus in my mind; perhaps, it could be thought of as a vision. It was of Jesus coming in the sky and on a white horse with the angels and with me cowering in fear on the Earth and seeking for somewhere to hide. I was terrified that I may be found to be on the wrong side when He comes to judge.
Zephaniah the prophet also tells us about that fiery event. To those who have spurned Messiah's offer of the free gift of a complete pardon, the Lord will gather the nations and pour out His fierce anger:
“Therefore wait for me,” declares the LORD, "for the day I will stand up to testify. I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them—all my fierce anger. The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger” (Zephaniah 3:8).
Jesus will appear in blazing fire with His powerful angels (Isaiah 66:15), dishing out vengeance against those who do not know God. My perception of Jesus changed after coming across those words. The Lord gave me a fear of Him that moved me to seek His salvation before judgment would find me. After I became a Christian and thought about the truth of the Word of God, I realized He had been working in my life for several years, but I had not been listening. Rather than my finding Him, He was the One Who had found me. It took me several years to wake up to the fact that “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44). You who are reading these words, is it a coincidence that you have come across these meditations, or is it because God has been drawing you to Himself? There are no coincidences with God.
His coming will be preceded by the catching up of all those who have called upon Him for salvation. Jesus is clear that these two events will happen the same day, i.e., the catching up of the saints and the fire of judgment on the same day (Luke 17:26-29). Zephaniah the prophet continues by telling us that His delight will be upon those who have called upon the Lord. The Lord will sing over His bride:
The LORD your God is with you; he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).
When Jesus comes in the fire of His jealousy, there will be a separation between sheep and goats (God’s people and the unsaved) as mentioned in Matthew 25:31-46. He is longing for the time when His people will see His face and the City of the New Jerusalem will be as Eden with God walking with man in the cool of the evening: “They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads” (Revelation 22:4). What a day that will be! Keith Thomas