Looking for - Expecting; waiting for. That is, in the faithful performance of our duties to ourselves, to our fellow-creatures, and to God, we are patiently to wait for the coming of our Lord.
(1)We are to believe that he will return;
(2)We are to be in a posture of expectation, not knowing when he will come; and,
That blessed hope - The fulfillment of that hope so full of blessedness to us.
Of the great God - There can be little doubt, if any, that by “the great God” here, the apostle referred to the Lord Jesus, for it is not a doctrine of the New Testament that God himself as such, or in contradistinction from his incarnate Son, will appear at the last day. It is said, indeed, that the Saviour will come “in the glory of his Father, with his angels” Matthew 16:27, but that God as such will appear is not taught in the Bible. The doctrine there is, that God will be manifest in his Son; that the divine approach to our world be through him to judge the race; and that though he will be accompanied with the appropriate symbols of the divinity, yet it will be the Son of God who will be visible. No one, accustomed to Paul‘s views, can well doubt that when he used this language he had his eye throughout on the Son of God, and that he expected no other manifestation than what would be made through him.
In no place in the New Testament is the phrase ἐπιφάνειαν τοῦ Θεοῦ epiphaneian tou Theou- “the manifestation or appearing of God” - applied to any other one than Christ It is true that this is spoken of here as the “appearing of the glory - τῆς δόξης tēs doxēs- of the great God,” but the idea is that of such a manifestation as became God, or would appropriately display his glory. It is known to most persons who have attended to religious controversies, that this passage has given rise to much discussion. The ancients, in general, interpreted it as meaning” The glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.” This sense has been vindicated by the labors of Beza, Whitby, Bull, Matthaei, and Middleton (on the Greek article), and is the common interpretation of those who claim to be orthodox; see Bloomfield, Rec. Syn., and Notes, in loc. He contends that the meaning is, “the glorious appearance of that great being who is our God and Saviour.” The arguments for this opinion are well summed up by Bloomfield. Without going into a critical examination of this passage, which would not be in accordance with the design of these Notes, it may be remarked in general:
(1) that no plain reader of the New Testament, accustomed to the common language there, would have any doubt that the apostle referred here to the coming of the Lord Jesus.
(2) that the “coming” of God, as such, is not spoken of in this manner in the New Testament.
(3) that the expectation of Christians was directed to the advent of the ascended Saviour, not to the appearing of God as such.
(4) that this is just such language as one would use who believed that the Lord Jesus is divine, or that the name God might properly be applied to him.
(5) that it would naturally and obviously convey the idea that he was divine, to one who had no theory to defend.
(6) that if the apostle did not mean this, he used such language as was fitted to lead people into error.
(7) and that the fair construction of the Greek here, according to the application of the most rigid rules, abundantly sustains the interpretation which the plain reader of the New Testament would affix to it. The names above referred to are abundant proof that no violation is done to the rules of the Greek language by this interpretation, but rather that the fair construction of the original demands it. If this be so, then this furnishes an important proof of the divinity of Christ.
Looking for that blessed hope - Expecting the grand object of our hope, eternal life. See Titus 1:2. This is what the Gospel teaches us to expect, and what the grace of God prepares the human heart for. This is called a blessed hope; those who have it are happy in the sure prospect of that glory which shall be revealed.
The glorious appearing - Και επιφανειαν της δοξης του μεγαλου Θεου και σωτηρος ἡμων Ιησου Χριστου . This clause, literally translated, is as follows: And the appearing of the glory of the great God, even our Savior Jesus Christ. On this passage I must refer the reader to the Essay on the Greek Article, by H. S. Boyd, Esq., appended to the notes on the Epistle to the Ephesians, where both the structure and doctrine of this passage are explained at large.
Some think that the blessed hope and glorious appearing mean the same thing; but I do not think so. The blessed hope refers simply to eternal glorification in general; the glorious appearing, to the resurrection of the body; for when Christ appears he will change this vile body, and make it like unto his Glorious Body, according to the working by which he is able even to subdue all things to himself. See Philemon 3:20, Philemon 3:21.
We cannot find salvation in our own individual selves; we are to look unto Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith and as we look, we live.... How hard poor mortals strive to be sin-bearers for themselves and for others! but the only sin-bearer is Jesus Christ. He alone can be my substitute and sin-bearer. The forerunner of Christ exclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”.... Then take your eyes off yourself, and encourage hope and confidence in Christ. Let your hope not be centered in yourself, but in Him who has entered within the veil. Talk of the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (The Review and Herald, June 9, 1896). LHU 331.3Read in context »
“Rejoice in the Lord alway,” says the apostle; “and again I say, Rejoice.” Wherever we go, we should carry an atmosphere of Christian hopefulness and cheer; then those who are out of Christ will see attractiveness in the religion we profess; unbelievers will see the consistency of our faith. We need to have more distinct glimpses of heaven, the land where all is brightness and joy. We need to know more of the fullness of the blessed hope. If we are constantly “rejoicing in hope,” we shall be able to speak words of encouragement to those whom we meet. “A word spoken in due season, how good is it!” Souls are perishing for the lack of personal labor. LHU 244.3Read in context »
Jesus is soon coming, and our position should be that of waiting and watching for His appearing. We should not allow anything to come in between us and Jesus. We must learn here to sing the song of heaven, so that when our warfare is over we can join in the song of the heavenly angels in the city of God. What is that song? It is praise, and honor, and glory unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. We shall meet opposition; we shall be hated of all men for Christ's sake, and by Satan, because he knows that there is with the followers of Christ a divine power, which will undermine his influence. We cannot escape reproach.... LHU 372.2Read in context »