|“Look, he is coming with the clouds; everyone |
shall see him, including those who pierced
him; and all the peoples of the world will
mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.”
Jesus comes! Prepare! These words came early in the Biblical story. God promised a Messiah—God with us—to the Jews through the Old Testament prophets and then through John the Baptist. We look at these prophecies as Advent texts. And, we rejoice that God has a plan through His Son who came as a helpless babe. He grew into a man, lived, died in our place on the cross of Calvary, and ascended back to His Father in heaven.
If we only observe the first coming of our Lord at Christmas, we lose the complete story of Advent. Just as we can read the text of many hymns in two ways—concerning the first coming and the second coming of Christ—we can sing about the second coming as the next Advent of our Lord.
The hymn, “Lo! He Comes, With Clouds Descending,” expresses the Christian’s hope for Christ’s return to earth. Here’s the first verse.1
Lo! He comes, with clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand, thousand saints attending
Swell the triumph of His train;
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God appears on earth to reign,
God appears on earth to reign.
You may hear a beautiful rendition of this hymn by clicking on the video button below.
The hymn appears to have been a collaboration between five individuals: a land surveyor from England turned Moravian preacher, hymn-writer Charles Wesley, two of his followers—one a cobbler—and then a man who loved to add Hallelujahs to Wesley texts. One author says it this way:2
As we await the coming of our Lord, about which this hymn is written, God’s Kingdom continues to grow just as this hymn once grew. Preachers, cobblers, land surveyors and those who embellish with hallelujahs build on one another’s efforts for the glory of God. They are just a few of the “thousand, thousand saints attending.”
|1 Wesley, Charles; Cennick, John; Madan, Martin. “Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending.” Hymn in the Public Domain.|
|2 Peterson, William J. and Peterson, Randy. The One Year Book of Hymns. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1995. Entry for August 8th.|