Many of you here this morning know the story of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the commander of the American forces in the Philippines when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941 and launched their assault on the Philippine Islands later that day. When all hope of saving the Philippines was lost, President Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to escape to Australia to organize the American war effort in the Pacific Theater. The problem was, MacArthur loved the Filipino people, and he wanted to stay and fight with them, even though it was a lost cause. However, he obeyed his orders and, after sneaking aboard a submarine and sailing through enemy controlled seas, he arrived in Australia on March 17, 1942, at which time he uttered the quote which made headlines around the world and gave great hope to the Philippine resistence movement: “I came through, and I shall return.”
It is said that the people of the Philippines rallied around MacArthur’s promise. They knew that MacArthur loved them. They trusted that he would not abandon them. And when life became nearly impossible under their Japanese conquerors, they whispered to each other: “MacArthur will come back! MacArthur will return.”
And so it was that on Oct 20, 1944, Gen. MacArthur’s forces landed on Philippine soil and began the fight to free the Philippines from the Japanese. MacArthur stood on that beach and, in a moment for the ages, uttered his most famous quote,
“I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil.”
Friends, as glorious an event as that was, it cannot hold a candle to the return of the King. At some point in time, maybe a thousand years from now, maybe ten years from now, maybe tomorrow, maybe today, Jesus is going to return and by the grace of Almighty God will stand again on this earth’s soil. He loves us, and He will never abandon us. By the grace of Almighty God, He will finally and completely vanquish our enemy, the devil. By the grace of Almighty God, He will conclude our present history and usher in eternity. By the grace of Almighty God, He will bring with Him our loved ones who have gone before us. And by the grace of Almighty God, He will give us all a new, spirit-body, and never again will there be death, or mourning, or crying, or pain. By God’s grace He will accomplish all of this. The return of the King is certain, even if the timing of the return is unknown.