Behold, He is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see Him. (Revelation 1:7)
While we were in Israel, my fellow pilgrims and I saw many of the places and things referred to in the Bible. We saw the hometown of Jesus Christ, and the place where He was born. We saw the Sea of Galilee. We saw the Jordan River. We saw the desert where Christ was tempted by the devil. We saw the pathway on which He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. We saw the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Temple Mount and Mount Calvary. We saw the tomb where Christ’s body lay.
There is more. We saw the evidence of 2,000 years of Christian devotion. We saw the stones laid by our ancient forefathers to keep memorials at the holy places. We saw the tombs of knights who came to the Holy Land and gave their lives so that Christian pilgrims could visit.
Of course we saw other pilgrims, and we heard their many languages. At the holy sites of Christ’s life, we saw Christians from every continent, of every color of skin, praying together.
All in all, we saw too many beautiful and wonderful things to recount. It was a feast for the eyes in more ways than one.
One thing, however, we did not see. We did not see the Lord Jesus in the flesh.
We were in the places where He lived, walked, worked, taught, healed, and did miracles. We saw the places where He suffered, died, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. But, Him we did not see.
–Lord, we came all the way to your hometown, all the way to your favorite places, to the capital of your native land. We came to visit you; we caught the whiff of Your presence – but we couldn’t see You!
“My kingdom does not belong to this world,” says the Lord. “My kingdom is not here” (John 18:36).
The real students of Scripture know that, during the Old Covenant, there was a veil between the court of the Temple and the Holy of Holies. When you were in the Temple, you couldn’t see into the innermost sanctuary. Only the High Priest could enter behind the veil.
The Temple is gone now. The only part that remains is the famous Western Wall or Wailing Wall. I prayed for all the intentions people gave me at the holy places of Christ’s life. Then I took the slips of paper and stuck them in a crevice in the Temple Wall. The rabbis collect all the little papers every day and keep them in a huge archive of prayer.
So the Temple is gone. But there is still a veil. The veil in the ancient Temple was a symbol, a symbol of the veil that separates the earth from heaven. The King of the universe is on the other side of the veil.
After He finished His work on earth, the Lord Jesus ascended into the Temple in heaven. He sits not in Israel, but at the right hand of the Father, above every principality and power, bearing the name which is above every other name, the Holy Name of Jesus.
For now there is only one way through the veil between heaven and earth: faith. Faith penetrates the veil; faith reaches up to God. As the Lord Jesus said to St. Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” St. Paul wrote, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” And St. Peter: “Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
The Lord has laid out the fulfillment of the His plan through distinct eras of history. After the fall of Adam and Eve, there was a long era of darkness, when human knowledge of God was shadowy and full of errors. Then there was the age of anticipation for the coming of the Messiah, as the light began to dawn on earth. Then God Himself was here for 33 years. He did everything necessary for us to get to heaven. Then He took His human body and soul, and the body and soul of His mother Mary, to heaven–beyond our sight.
Now we live in the age of faith in the Christ. We do not see Him, but we love Him. We serve the One we do not see. Our whole lives are based on this: Jesus Christ is the King. He is in charge. He provides. He demands obedience. He loves His humble, faithful people.
Someday everyone will see Christ the King. Someday He will come in glory on the clouds. On that day, the people who have believed in Him and served Him will be delighted. Meanwhile, the people who have lived in fleeting shadows and falsehoods will be terrified. When the final day comes, there will be no doubt about Christ’s Majesty and power.
We do not know the day or the hour when our King will come again, and every eye will see Him. Let’s be ready.