Summary: Revelation 19 tells us how Jesus will fulfill His promise: "I am coming soon." But there is more to this passage than meets the eye.
OPEN: At the beginning of WWII, the Philippines were about to fall to the Japanese, and General Douglas MacArthur was ordered by President Roosevelt to evacuate his staff immediately. Before he left, MacArthur made a promise to the Philippine people:
“I shall return!”
Because of the complexity of the war, he was unable to make good on that promise for another 3 years. But all during that long period, Short Wave Radios broadcast support to those carrying on the battle behind the lines, and they repeatedly carried MacArthur’s promise –
“I shall return!”.
Eventually, on October 22nd 1944, General MacArthur waded ashore and declared
“I have returned!”
It was a promise that shaped MacArthur’s entire strategy for all those years. He’d made a promise, and he intended to fulfill it no matter what the obstacle.
APPLY Jesus, made a similar promise nearly 2000 years ago– “I am coming soon!” It’s a promise that’s been repeated again and again in every church across the nation... and it’s a promise that shapes Jesus’ engire strategy for all eternity. He’s made a promise and He intends to fulfill it at the end of time.
I. Revelation 19 tells us what it’s going to be like when Jesus does come back.
God describes an event of great excitement. And He uses the imagery of one of the most festive activities known to man.
Read with me from Revelation 19:7-9
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’”
ILLUS: In those days, a wedding ceremony was an elaborate affair, usually beginning in the evening as the groom and his friends made their way thru the city to the bride’s home where she and her family were waiting. There, at the Bride’s home, their union was blessed.
Then the entire party noisily led the bride and groom back to the groom’s own home - in a procession lit by torches and lamps. What followed was a great feast that sometimes lasted as long as a week.
By contrast, our weddings today seem pale in comparison. But no matter what culture you might visit, marriage ceremonies are times of anticipation and excitement. And that is the message that God wanted to communicate to us: Because of our salvation in Christ, we are now the bride of our Savior and we await the excitement and festivities of His coming to claim His bride.
Even today, the relationship between marriage and our salvation is hard to miss.
ILLUS: SE Christian Church in Louisville is a huge congregation of nearly 16,000 worshippers. One of the staff in the wedding department was privileged one day to baptize a new convert into Christ. But apparently he’d had a busy week and his mind was a bit distracted. So, on Sunday morning - in front of the entire congregation he took the man’s confession and then declared:
“I now pronounce you….”
And then stopped as he realized what he’d said.
After a momentary pause, he finished his statement by saying: “I now pronounce you… baptized!”
When Jesus comes again, it will be as a husband coming for His bride… It will be a time of excitement and rejoicing such as you’ve never known or experienced, because Jesus will be coming, just as He promised.
II. But, for some, Jesus’ words “I am coming soon,” are not so much a promise… as they are a warning.
ILLUS: A small country church was holding a Revival and the building was packed. It was so crowded that night that they had to put up chairs everywhere, even up by the pulpit. The Evangelist was preaching about the 2nd coming of Christ that night and he had really warmed to his subject. He was one of those fire and brimstone speakers that literally marched up and down the pulpit. And at one point of his sermon he leaned over toward the audience and shouted out Jesus’ promise: “I am coming soon!”
He marched up and down the stage some more and then leaned out again over the edge of the stage and cried out “I am coming soon!”
Several minutes went by and again he shouted out “I am coming soon!” BUT this time, he got tangled up in the microphone cord and lost his balance.
Tumbling off the stage, he landed on the lap of a couple sitting in the front row of chairs.
The husband looked at his wife and said: “Well, I guess we shouldn’t be upset. He warned us 3 times!”