The Holy Spirit And Christ’s Return
By A. B. Simpson
“…The Spirit and the bride say, Come…” (Rev. 22:17).
It is very striking and beautiful that the last word of the Holy Ghost in this great Apocalypse, which is devoted to the unfolding of the Lord’s Return, should be a cry of prayer to Him to come. The great business of the Holy Ghost since Christ’s ascension has been to prepare for His Return. The two last messages of our departing Master, recorded in the first ten verses of the Acts of the Apostles, are the promise of the Holy Ghost and the promise of His Second Coming. Between these two promises lies the whole Christian age, and the object of the first is to fulfill the last.
The Spirit and the Prophetic Word
The Holy Ghost has given us the predictions of Christ’s Second Coming. It was He who taught the early church this blessed hope, as the comfort of her sorrows and the inspiration of her labors. It was He who gave to the first apostolic council at Jerusalem its clear outline plan of the Christian age, and revealed to Paul the great apostasy, and the glorious messages of the advent in the Epistles to the Corinthians and Thessalonians. And now to the last of the apostles, He has unfolded with a clearness far surpassing all former visions the glorious truth of the Lord’s Return, and as He sums it all up He turns heavenward in one last prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.” Every incident and detail of the Lord’s Return has been unfolded. The Holy Ghost has made the testimony clear and plain.
The Holy Ghost has also interpreted and illuminated the prophetic Scriptures. It is not enough to have the prophetic word; we need someone to enable us to understand it. Daniel uttered advent visions, but he dimly comprehended them, and was told to seal them up until the time of the end. But he was also told that, as the end drew near, the wise should understand, and this is just what is happening today.
The most remarkable sign that we are in the last days and that the mystery of the ages is about to be finished, is the wondrous light which the Holy Ghost has shed on the interpretation of prophecy in our time. Mistakes there have doubtless been; obscurities still there are; much yet remains to be made plain, but the great landmarks of the future are clear and plain, and the church of Christ knows enough to be able to be true to her trust and ready for the Coming of her Lord.
Awakening Desire and Expectation
The Holy Ghost is preparing for the Lord’s Coming by awakening the desire and expectation of Christ’s Return in the hearts of His disciples.
When the Lord Jesus was about to come to earth for the first time, His faithful people were waiting for redemption and for the consolation of Israel, and at the proper time, they were there to welcome Him. It needed no special note of invitation to bring Simeon and Anna to the temple when the infant Jesus was to be presented there; but, through the simple and unfailing guidance of the Holy Ghost, they were both on time, and Simeon took the holy Babe in his arms and blessed Him, and Anna went forth from that joyful scene to tell of His Coming “to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).
And so will it be at the last. Christ’s Simeons and Annas will be waiting too. And already they have caught the first rays of dawn, the first intuitions of the Bridegroom’s drawing near. As the hour draws near this will become more uniform and universal among the little flock, and when He appears His bride will not be left “in darkness, that that day should overtake [her] as a thief” (1 Thes. 5:4), but she will be found ready and waiting to go forth to meet Him.
This blessed hope, which is taking possession of so many of our hearts, is one of the signs of our time. Although worldly wisdom may scoff, and human ambition may plan for the coming generations, and the self-centered world roll on around its little axis, yet our eyes are upon the east, and our hearts tell us with an intuition that we know is true that the Coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
It is the blessed Holy Ghost. Let us listen to His whisper; let us catch His full meaning; let us, as the Day draws near, be found “bending ourselves back,” and “lifting up our heads” and, like the bird upon the branch, with fluttering wings and uplifted eye waiting for the signal of its mate, let us be ready at His earliest call to rise to meet Him in the air.
Enrobing God’s Children
The Holy Ghost is preparing for Christ’s Return by the spiritual enrobing of His children. The call is going forth. “…The marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white [bright], the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints” (Rev. 19:7-8).
The Holy Ghost is preparing a people today for the Coming of Christ. There is a marked movement in all sections of the Christian world for an entire consecration to Christ, that we may receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost and be transformed and conformed to Christ.
This is the very time that the Bridegroom is near at hand. When the bride is found robed and ready, her Lord will not be long behind. This is one of the special religious movements of our time. Call it by what name you please, sanctification, the second blessing, the higher Christian life, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, entire consecration – it is the call of God today to His own people, and it is the precursor of the Master’s Coming.
Have we received the wedding robe? Have we made sure of the oil in our vessels with our lamps? Are we arrayed in raiment not only “clean” but also “bright,” not only without the stain of sin, but with all the beauty and glory of the priestly garments? There is an inner and an outer robe. The inner robe must be spotless, the outer must be glorious. This is why the Holy Ghost is leading us through the discipline of life.
The word for “white” here means bright, and it is the same word used about the transfiguration garments of our Lord. Beloved, let us put on the white robe and the beautiful garments, and, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, be robed and ready for His Coming.
Providential Working in Nations
The Holy Ghost is working in the providence of God among the nations, to prepare for the Coming of Christ. The same Holy Ghost that of old touched the hearts of heathen kings and made them God’s instruments in accomplishing His purpose, is calling out today the various providential agencies which are but part of God’s plan for the approaching end of the age. Surely, the extraordinary events that are so rapidly happening around us in every quarter of the globe are full of portentous meaning.
Evangelizing the World
The Holy Ghost is enabling and sending forth the disciples of Christ to fulfill their great trust in witnessing for Christ and evangelizing the world. This is His greatest work of preparation for the Coming of Christ. In direct connection with the promise of the Spirit is the Great Commission, “…Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me…unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
So today we witness the mighty workings of the Holy Ghost in sending out the message of the Gospel to those at home and abroad. The Holy Spirit is more than a delightful sentiment in the believer’s heart. He is a mighty influence of practical, missionary zeal and world-wide evangelization, and the heart in which He is saying, “Come Lord Jesus, come quickly,” will always be heard crying “…Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).
If we are truly filled with the Holy Ghost and longing for the Coming of Christ, we shall be active witnesses and workers in preparing for Him. We shall be found faithful to our trust wherever God has placed us. We will be soul-winners at home, and if we cannot go abroad we will help others to go and give the Gospel quickly to all the world.
How much of our religious life is comfortable sentimentalism, taking the pleasant part, enjoying the selfish luxury, doing as much Christian work as is agreeable, and yet knowing little or nothing of the ceaseless self-sacrificing and intense devotion of the Lord Jesus Christ to finish His work and bring this revolted world back to His Father!
Are we wholly in earnest? Are we going forth “as much as lieth in us” to give the Gospel of the kingdom to all nations that the end may speedily come?
Perhaps as you read these lines, God may be calling you to go forth and call home the lost disciple who shall complete the number of the bride and then bring back our adorable Redeemer. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20). Come quickly.