As very often happens in cases of this kind each extreme is largely responsible for the other. Neglect prepares the way for exaggeration; exaggeration leads to further neglect. Moreover, in the case before us, both tendencies are strengthened by the very difficulty in which the subject is involved. Vagueness, uncertainty, mystery, attract some minds as powerfully as they repel others. And, assuredly, the element of uncertainty is not wanting here. In the first place, this is a subject for all our knowledge of which we are wholly dependent upon revelation. Much that Christ and His apostles have taught us we can bring to the test of experience and verify for ourselves. But this doctrine we must receive, if we receive it at all, wholly on the authority of One whom, on other grounds, we have learned to trust. Verification, in the nature of the case, is impossible. Further, we have gone but a little way when revelation itself becomes silent; and, as I have said, when that guide leaves us, we enter at once the dark forest where instantly the track is lost.
Let us seek to learn, then, what Christ has revealed, and what He has left unrevealed, concerning His coming again.
As to the fact of Christ’s coming we are left in no doubt. Our Lord’s own declarations are as explicit as language can make them. Thus, in Matthew xvi. 27 we read that “the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then shall He render unto every man according to his deeds.” In the great discourse on the Last Things, recorded by all the Synoptists, after speaking of the fall of Jerusalem, Christ goes on, “Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man