He Is Coming with the Clouds
Because there were so many things to talk about yesterday and it seemed odd to me to divide the passage in the middle, I have carved out a few verses embedded in verses four through eight today; namely verses five through seven which speak specifically of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Lord has historically been understood by the Church in his three offices of prophet, priest, and king. When we think of him as “prophet,” we consider his teaching ministry which was even more important to him than his ministry of healing, the latter primarily used to confirm the former (Mark 1:35-39). As “priest,” we think of his death, resurrection, ascension, and session at the Father’s right hand where he intercedes for us having been the atoning sacrifice for our sins. As “king,” we regard his sovereign rule over the world which shall one day be made visible to all in a kingdom of righteousness and justice when he returns to fetch his Bride. We see these three offices referred to in verse five where he is called faithful witness (prophet), firstborn from the dead (priest), and ruler of kings on earth (king).
The passage continues highlighting his priesthood and the priesthood he has given us: “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father….” It seems to me (and I may be wrong) that of the three, it is his priesthood that takes front and center as our Lord’s role in the economy of the Trinity is especially that of Mediator—or at least it is his priesthood that is front and center under the present dispensation where we live between his comings. And not only is he our priest but has made us a “kingdom of priests,” that is, people who are to be priests on earth at the present time—praying, healing, ministering, and testifying to others “proclaim[ing] the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
But we are reminded again of his kingship which though now hidden shall soon be revealed to all—which is the climax of this Book. “To him be glory and dominion forever and ever” because “he is coming on the clouds and every eye will see him,” including those who pierced him (Jew and Gentile alike). And they shall wail (mourn) on account of him (18:9-19). Why? Because the King has come to exact judgment upon the earth, to reward his faithful ones and punish the wicked, to make the first last and the last first (Matthew 20:16). “Even so. Amen.” Can you say those words? You better.