Does Jesus Come In Peace For His Second Coming? + How Does God Bring His People To Repentance? #367
Happy Monday, friends – the last Monday of the year. Just three episodes left after today! A hearty ‘welcome aboard,’ to new listeners from South Africa, Gujarat, India, Columbus, Ohio, Columbia, South Carolina, Cincinnati, Ohio, Augusta, Georgia and, Nairobi, Kenya a lovely city that I have had the privilege of visiting, and which has the best tasting fruit in the world.
Today we read 2nd Chronicles 33, Malachi 1, John 18 and Revelation 19. We will split our focus between Revelation 19 – one of my favorite passages in the Bible – and 2nd Chronicles 33. Let’s begin with our Chronicles passage. Today we learn about King Hezekiah’s son Manasseh, who was a terrible person and a terrible king for almost his whole life. One of the great mysteries of life is when Godly people have children that rebel strongly against God, and when Godless people have kids that embrace God wholeheartedly. One thing it shows is that we are not saved by our genetics, nor by our parents, but by grace through faith.
Manasseh seems to have made it his life’s goal to worship as many gods as possible – rebuilding shrines and altars torn down by his father, desecrating the Lord’s temple with the worship of other beings, and even sacrificing his children to other Gods. Vs. 6 sums his life up quite well:
6 He passed his sons through the fire in Ben Hinnom Valley. He practiced witchcraft, divination, and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did a huge amount of evil in the Lord’s sight, angering him.
2nd Chronicles 33:6
But then, something terrible happened to Manasseh, which ended up working out for his own good – let’s read the chapter and find out all about it.
So Manasseh starts out excelling in evil, but then the Lord brings great discipline to him, and things begin to change. I don’t know exactly what it means that he was ‘captured with hooks,’ but it sounds pretty awful. Being defeated, and captured and brought to a foreign nation humbled Manasseh, and he apparently repented wholeheartedly. How did Manasseh’s heart change? By the terrifying discipline of the Lord. We learn in Romans 2:4 that it is God’s kindness that brings us to repentance, and it is well for us if we listen to the call of the Word and the Holy Spirit to quickly turn from our sin before He turns up the volume…but it is always God’s kindness that brings repentance – even in this situation with Manasseh. You might think hooks and captivity doesn’t sound very kind, but considering the result of this discipline, it was incredibly kind, and likely spared Manasseh from eternal consequences for his idolatry.
We can learn an awful lot from Manasseh about how to anger the Lord and be a terrible king…but we can also learn a lesson from him about repenting, because of all the bad things Manasseh did with his life, he actually gives us an excellent demonstration of how to repent:
12 When he was in distress, he sought the favor of the Lord his God and earnestly humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. 13 He prayed to him, and the Lord was receptive to his prayer. He granted his request and brought him back to Jerusalem, to his kingdom. So Manasseh came to know that the Lord is God.
2nd Chronicles 33:12-13
Next passage, Revelation 19 – one of my favorites, and one of the best physical descriptions of the resurrected and glorified Jesus in the Bible. When Jesus first comes to the earth, He is born in humble circumstances – meek and lowly, laid in a manger, and riding into the city that would crucify Him on a lowly and unimpressive donkey. However, things are going to be mightily different for the second coming of Jesus. Let’s read Revelation 19 and see how!
Upon Jesus’ return, He will not be riding a donkey, but a warhorse. His power will not be restrained, but on full display:
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and with justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a fiery flame, and many crowns were on his head. He had a name written that no one knows except himself. 13 He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God. 14 The armies that were in heaven followed him on white horses, wearing pure white linen. 15 A sharp sword came from his mouth, so that he might strike the nations with it. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty. 16 And he has a name written on his robe and on his thigh: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Jesus comes on a warhorse, armed with a terrifying sword, and leading the armies of Heaven. The kingdoms of the earth will muster a great army to stand against the returning Jesus, but that will NOT go well for them:, because they will be, “killed with the sword that came from the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds ate their fill of their flesh.”
This is obviously quite different from the first arrival of Jesus. What does it mean that Jesus will trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God? Well, you need to know that we aren’t talking about real grapes here, but – gulp – people. We know this from Isaiah 63, which looks forward to Jesus’ return:
Who is this coming from Edom
in crimson-stained garments from Bozrah—
this one who is splendid in his apparel,
striding in his formidable might?
It is I, proclaiming vindication,
powerful to save.
2 Why are your clothes red,
and your garments like one who treads a winepress?
3 I trampled the winepress alone,
and no one from the nations was with me.
I trampled them in my anger
and ground them underfoot in my fury;
their blood spattered my garments,
and all my clothes were stained.
4 For I planned the day of vengeance,
and the year of my redemption came. 5 I looked, but there was no one to help, and I was amazed that no one assisted; so my arm accomplished victory for me, and my wrath assisted me. 6 I crushed nations in my anger; I made them drunk with my wrath and poured out their blood on the ground.
Pretty terrifying, right? This is not the way that most people picture the Return of Jesus, but this IS the way that the Bible describes the Second Coming. Seeing this also helps us understand 2nd Peter 3:9 far more:
9 The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
The desire of the Lord is that all should repent, and He is so patient with humanity so that this will happen…but – when Jesus returns, the time will be up, and He will return as the King of Kings – a warrior ready for battle.