What Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending Teaches Us about the Return of Christ
For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 (ESV)
I will leave more thorough explanations of the return of Christ to experts, like Ligonier Ministries. (Click to read a short teaching on their website.)
In summary, believers should be eagerly longing for the Lord’s return to come at any time. We do not know exactly when, but his bodily return will be sudden and visible.
Some of the signs preceding Jesus’ return are:
- The Gospel preached to all nations (Mark 13:10)
- The Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:15-22)
- False prophets performing signs and wonders (Mark 13:22)
- Powerful signs in the heavens (Luke 21:25-27)
- The appearing of the man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:1-10)
- The salvation of Israel (Romans 11:25-26)
Christians may disagree on events leading up to His return, but they all agree that Christ will come to judge unbelievers and reward His own.
Are you prepared to meet Christ when He returns?
Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending
I was pleased to find this post’s video of Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending. This hymn is new to me and I’m so blessed to discover it. I think you will be, too. The third verse in the video did not appear in the original lyrics as far as I can tell. These additional words are beautiful and stirring:
The dear tokens of His passion
still His dazzling body bears;
cause of endless exultation
to His ransomed worshipers;
with what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture,
gaze we on those glorious scars!
Lyrics of Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending by Charles Wesley (from Hymnary.org)
Lo! He comes, with clouds descending,
once for our salvation slain;
thousand thousand saints attending
swell the triumph of His train.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
God appears on earth to reign.
Ev’ry eye shall now behold Him,
robed in dreadful majesty;
those who set at naught and sold Him,
pierced, and nailed Him to the tree,
deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
shall the true Messiah see.
Every island, sea, and mountain,
heav’n and earth, shall flee away;
all who hate Him must, confounded,
hear the trump proclaim the day:
Come to judgment! Come to judgment!
Come to judgment, come away!
Now redemption, long expected,
see in solemn pomp appear!
And His saints, by men rejected,
coming with Him in the air.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
See the day of God appear!
Yea, amen! Let all adore Thee,
high on Thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the pow’r and glory,
claim the kingdom for Thine own:
O come quickly, O come quickly,
Alleluia! Come, Lord, come!
A Few of the Lyrics from Lo! He Cometh, Countless Trumpets written by Wesley’s friend, John Cennick (from Hymnary.com; also see NOTES)
Lo! He cometh! countless trumpets
Blow before his bloody sign,
Midst ten thousand saints and angels,
See the crucified shine.
Welcome, welcome bleeding Lamb!
Saints, who love him, view his glory,
Shining in his bruised face:
See him seated on the rainbow,
Now his people’s head shall raise:
Now on clouds he comes! he comes!
Knowing God through Hymns
Starting in 2017, join me once per month in praising God for who He is. For this series, I’m using each of the hymns at the ends of all the 57 chapters of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. Want to find more hymns from this Sunday hymn series? Click the hymn tag.
- The words from this hymn come from two authors. Charles Wesley (1707 – 1788) revised a hymn, “Lo! He Cometh, Countless Trumpets” written by his friend, John Cennick, two years earlier.
- Read this biography of Charles Wesley, considered the greatest hymn writer of all time; he composed 8,989 hymns (10 times more than Isaac Watts).
- According to Wikipedia, this hymn was considered one of the “Great Four Anglican Hymns” on the basis of a survey by the Reverend James King in 1885. King surveyed 52 Anglican hymnals globally and found four hymns in 51 of the hymnals. The four are:
- All Praise to Thee, my God, this Night, text by Thomas Ken
- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, text by Charles Wesley
- Lo! He Comes With Clouds Descending, text by Charles Wesley
- Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me, text by Augustus Montague Toplady
- The following is a partial list of the Scripture references for Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending provided by Hymnary.org:
- Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash