Q. The Bible says that when Jesus comes again, He will come on the clouds with “glory.” So I don’t understand the fact that He has to come in humble human likeness.
A. The Bible prophesies that Jesus will come a second time, and that God’s great glory will be revealed at that time (Mt 24:30). Then, does the “glory” that Jesus mentioned mean a physical glory which emits a brilliant light?
The glory which Christ possesses is not a physical glory that people imagine. Nonetheless, today people of the world have made their own conclusion, missing the whole point of Jesus’ words, by interpreting the words about the spiritual glory and blessing from a physical perspective.
The prophecy of Jesus’ coming with glory and His real appearance
When you understand the prophecy concerning Jesus’ first coming and its fulfillment correctly, you can also understand the true meaning of the prophecy about His second coming. The prophecy that Jesus comes with power and great glory is the same. Concerning the first coming of Jesus, the Bible prophesied that God’s glory would be revealed, and that He would come with power.
Isa 40:3-5 A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God . . . And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
Isa 40:9-10 You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.
If you interpret these words from a physical point of view, when God comes to the earth, He must come with a stunningly great glory so that all the people are able to see Him. However, God did not come that way. As all the Christians know, the prophecies above were fulfilled by John the Baptist and Jesus (Mt 3:1-3). John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord, Jesus, as the voice of one calling in the desert. And Jesus was born as a humble carpenter’s son instead of in a royal or noble family or in a priest’s family. Contrary to the prophecy that He would come with glory and power, Jesus was placed in a manger in a stable for cows and horses instead of a home for people when He was born (Lk 2:4-7). He was brought up in Nazareth of Galilee, a remote region which the Jews looked down on, and He had no beauty or majesty to attract people to Him like a root out of dry ground. (Mt 13:55; Jn 7:52; Isa 53:2).
Likewise, Jesus did not come with a visible glory which people had expected. Then, why did the Bible prophesy, “the glory of the LORD will be revealed,” and “He will come with power,” about His preaching the gospel? From the physical point of view, we can never find the answer for it because the glory of Christ which the Bible prophesies about is not the physical glory that the people of the world expect.
God’s glory is seen only to those who believe
The glory which Christ would bring was invisible in people’s physical eyes. It was a spiritual glory which was seen only to the people who accepted the Christ through the prophecies and realized the value of the truth which Christ gave them. The apostles, who realized the glory of the truth, not an outwardly visible physical glory, testified in one voice that they saw the great glory of Jesus, and that God made His light shine in their hearts to give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
Jn 1:1-14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
2 Co 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
The prophecy, “Christ will come with glory,” was fulfilled without fail, but the glory was not seen to the eyes of the Jews who judged Christ with their physical perspective without believing the prophecies of the Bible. It was seen only to the eyes of the apostles who accepted Christ.
Since the true meaning of the prophecy, “God will come with glory,” was like that, the glory that Jesus brings at His second coming will be the same.
Jesus comes a second time in the flesh before the Last Judgment
Most people believe that when Jesus comes again, He will come as the Judge to bring execution, and that it is His coming with glory. This is because they do not know the prophecies of the Bible correctly.
Lk 18:8 “. . . However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
The Bible prophesies that Jesus will not find true faith toward God on the earth when He comes again. Without faith, no one can be saved. If God judges the world in this situation, no one will be saved.
That’s why Jesus comes a second time in the flesh to bring salvation to those who are chosen by God before the Last Judgment day (Heb 9:28). That’s why it is written, “Your redemption is drawing near,” not, “It is the redemption day.”
Lk 21:27-28 “At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
There are two purposes of Jesus’ coming a second time in the flesh before the Last Judgment. The first purpose is to give salvation to His people by restoring the truth of life.
Then what is the situation like just before Jesus comes a second time? The truth of life, which Jesus established 2,000 years ago, has been ruined by the devil and all mankind do not have faith that leads to eternal life [salvation] (Da 7:25; Rev 13:6-7). Therefore, Jesus has to come again before the Last Judgment and carry out the mission of a shepherd to restore the truth of the new covenant (Jn 10:16). Not everybody can restore the lost truth of the new covenant. The truth can be restored only when Jesus, the Root of David, comes again. Then the people of God can be saved.
Rev 5:1-7 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” . . .
The second purpose of Jesus’ coming a second time is to testify to the truth of life with the words in person before the Last Judgment so that evil ones cannot make excuses for their sins. This is the same work when He came 2,000 years ago in the flesh; He exposed the sins of the Jews who claimed to be God’s people, and then destroyed unlawful Israel through the Roman army in 70 A.D. In the last days too, Jesus Himself comes in the flesh and testifies about the truth to the wicked who persecute the truth and practice lawlessness, claiming to be God’s people, so that the wicked cannot make excuses for their sins.
Jn 15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.
Christ comes in secret
Jesus is to come to the earth in secret in order to accomplish these two purposes. In the age of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea, a secret royal inspector hid his identity to find out how people were living so that he could purge tyrannical and corrupt officials who harassed people. With the same purpose, Jesus appears with an ordinary physical appearance, hiding the glory of God.
If Jesus reveals Himself to the world with the actually visible glory, who would dare reject Him? Even the people who do not sincerely fear God would hide their reality and act as if they follow Jesus. That was why 2,000 years ago Jesus came in the humble flesh without any beauty to attract people, and told His disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Christ.
Mt 16:20 Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
It is the same in the last age. Jesus has come a second time in secret, wearing the flesh, to expose the reality of false religious people who honor God only with their mouths and to save the true people who love the truth and believe the prophecies of the Bible. He has appeared with spiritual glory which can be recognized only by God’s people who accept the Second Coming Jesus, not with a visible physical glory. The glory of God is visible only to the people who believe the prophecies of the Bible and love to keep the truth, that is, the commands of God instead of the rules of men.
Therefore, we must not judge Jesus’ words from a physical viewpoint, but recognize correctly the glory of the Root of David, namely, the Second Coming Christ who restores all the truth, through the prophecies of the Bible. Like the apostles who acknowledged the true glory of Christ who gave the truth of eternal life, we must recognize the Second Coming Jesus through the truth and receive Him. el