The Return of the King
by Harley Voogd
In Malachi 3:1-3 we read:
“Behold, I send My messenger,
And he will prepare the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek,
Will suddenly come to His temple,
Even the Messenger of the covenant,
In whom you delight.
Behold, He is coming,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“But who can endure the day of His coming?
And who can stand when He appears?
For He is like a refiner’s fire
And like launderers’ soap.
He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver;
He will purify the sons of Levi,
And purge them as gold and silver,
That they may offer to the Lord
An offering in righteousness.”
The messenger is John the Baptist, and the “Lord, whom you seek” is Jesus. This prophetic passage was fulfilled when Jesus came to His people and visited the temple 2000 years ago.
Jesus had plenty of warnings of judgement for His people, the Jews, at that time, and He expressed them in parables — see Matthew 21, 25, and Luke 19 for example.
The return of the King isn’t really seen as a happy time, is it? The Lord would return to Zion, but not in the way His people expected, and as a result, there would be resistance (Luke 19:14).
Today, we too are waiting for Jesus to return one day, but this idea of the King being away for a time and returning in wrath and judgment does not really apply anymore does it? I’m not saying there is no more judgement, and I’m not saying there is no more wrath. But, God’s wrath was satisfied in Christ, was it not?
Unlike in the first century, we are not waiting for Jesus to come back to Zion, to establish His kingdom, to pour out wrath, to rebuild the temple — all of that’s been taken care of. And, we the Church, now have full access to God through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was not the founder of a new religion, and His gospel teachings were not primarily teachings on how to be a good Christian — look to the other authors of the New Testament for that.
Jesus’ primary audience, in the four gospels, were the Jews. He was fulfilling Malachi 3:1-3, and proclaiming and warning of the imminent coming of the kingdom and the resulting judgement that would fall on the Jewish people.
When Jesus does return again, He will not be weeping (Luke 19:41-44), rather He will be crying out with joy as He comes to join His faithful people.