This post was first published during December 2016. –ed.
Christmas signifies Christ’s entry into humanity. It’s wonderful to ponder the birth scene in Bethlehem and marvel at the fact that God tabernacled among men (John 1:14). But we need to remember that was His first coming. The obscure and humble surroundings that accompanied His earthly arrival will one day be overshadowed by His second glorious coming.
In his sermon “Christmas Future,” John MacArthur says that “the first coming of Christ was a veiled coming.” Consequently, he argues that if we are to really understand the identity of the baby in the manger then we need to gaze on His unveiled majesty as displayed in the book of Revelation. “‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ.’ That’s what the book is. It is the unveiling . . . of the Son of God. So this is Christmas future, not the view so common as His first coming, but the full view of an unveiled Christ.”
John begins the message by setting forth a powerful juxtaposition between Christ’s first and second comings:
The first time He came, a star marked His arrival. The next time He comes, all the stars of heaven will fall, and the whole of heaven will collapse. The first time He came, wise men and shepherds brought Him gifts. The next time He comes, He will bring the gifts: the rewards for His people. The first time He came, there was no room for Him in a small inn. The next time He comes, His glory will fill the entire earth. The first time He came, just a few attended His arrival. The next time He comes, every eye will see Him. The first time He came as a helpless baby. The second time, He comes as the sovereign king and judge over all.
From there, Pastor John proceeds to deliver a powerful apocalyptic encounter with the glorified Christ. Moving sequentially through the entire book of Revelation, he points out the many titles and offices that belong exclusively to our Lord. At times I found it overwhelming to try and contemplate just some of the truths lifted from Scripture’s final book.
“Christmas Future” is a sermon that provides the listener with a much needed lens—a lens for viewing the Christmas story in its proper perspective. It pulls back the veil of God made flesh to reveal His full and glorious identity as the Creator and Judge of the universe. May our conversations this Christmas be informed and energized by that reality.
Click here to listen to “Christmas Future.”