“Boys, don’t make me come up there!”
It happened very seldom, but that’s how my father would warn us when my brother and I were making too much bedtime noise. It was all in good fun: giggling, harmless pillow fights, no bloody noses or anything—things kids will do on a sleepless night.
Neither were we very frightened, for Dad never made the threatened trip upstairs.
Of course, our Father in heaven comes down, not up! He came down to visit Sodom. He fairly bristled, “I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to me…” (Gen. 18:21). No mere giggling or late-night pillow fights here, but evil worthy of sudden and fiery death.
Earlier God had come down and seen that ‘the thoughts of men’s hearts were only evil continually.’ So evil, in fact, that He was determined to destroy the human race and start over.
But Noah found grace in God’s eyes and was commissioned to build an ark. That huge barge became Noah’s sandwich-board sign to his generation: ‘The End Is Near!’ But the antediluvian world paid no attention, carrying on with the normal, unrepentant behavior right up until the time the ark floated. The great, universal destruction followed.
Someone once postulated that God comes down in times of ‘epochal crisis.’ Surely He came down to Eden (before the Flood), to Babel, against Sodom and Egypt. Surely these were times when men wished He hadn’t come down.
But there were other times when God came down to instruct and promise. He came down and conversed with Abraham by the terebinth trees; He came down to Moses out of the burning bush, to Elijah in a still small voice at Horeb, and to Job out of a whirlwind. The Father also came down to the Mount of Transfiguration and commanded regarding His Son Jesus: “Hear Him.”
When God comes down, things happen–gracious, amazing things. In their crisis of sin and rebellion, Adam and Eve were given the gospel promise from God of a Head-crusher, as well as tunics of skin to cover their nakedness. At least one animal (a lamb?) lost its life and its blood to cover them, which gave notice of the promised redemption.
That was achieved centuries later when God’s Son came down and assumed human flesh. At that time Jesus came not as Judge but as Savior, paying for men’s sins with His own life’s blood, thus reconciling mankind to God.
To date, that has been the greatest ‘come down’ in world history!
One Last Time!
In these last days–our end times–things are bad and will be getting worse again. “Perilous times shall come,” Paul wrote to Timothy. At those times men will exhibit every kind of immoral and devilish behavior. False christs and false prophets will arise and abound, deceiving many. The great Antichrist will be exposed. More and more men will become lovers—lovers not of God and His Word but of self, of money, of pleasure.
Forgetting what happened in the days of Noah, when warned of the end, most of the world will scoff and carry on just as did the antediluvian world.
Jesus Himself gave a list of things to watch for in these end times. One thing is especially noteworthy: “the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Mt. 24:14). Since no human can ever know the date, this sign should not be used to try and determine the Day of our Lord’s coming.
Rather, it provokes a sense of urgency on the part of the Church—that it busy itself with fulfilling the Great Commission to preach the gospel to every creature.
One sign will be unmistakable–not more rain bringing judgment but the Son of Man coming down on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory! St. John wrote: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, and they also who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him” (Rev. 1: 7).
When God comes down again, many will find themselves in terror and anguish. The pagan, the atheist, the hedonist, the spiritist, the agnostic, the procrastinator, the mocker and the unconcerned have always hated God and His Christ from afar. They will see the victorious Jesus in person and wail before the judgment.
But those who have His forgiveness and are righteous by faith will be glad. For God’s coming down this time–the last great event in world history–will mean the end to all persecution and suffering. It will mean questions answered, mortality cast off, the curse banished, glory revealed, and eternal happiness begun.
What saint does not want God to come down again—and quickly?!
Hence, let us be prepared always. Let us proclaim the gospel zealously and broadly. Let us do our part to prepare the world for our King and Savior, Jesus Christ, coming down one last time.