St. Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315-386) was bishop of Jerusalem, a Scripture scholar and a celebrated preacher. This excerpt comes from his "Catechetical Lectures," which summarized the essentials of the Christian faith for new converts.
We preach not one coming only of Christ, but a second also, far more glorious than the former. For the former gave a display of His patience; but the latter brings with it the crown of a divine kingdom.
We stand in faith, then, not upon His first advent only, but we look also for His second. The Savior comes, not to be judged again by men, but to judge those who judged Him. He who once held His peace when He was judged (see Mt 26:63) will remind the transgressors who did those daring deeds at the cross, saying, "These things you have done and I kept silent ... but I will rebuke you" (Ps 50:21).
The first time, He came according to a divine arrangement to win men by persuasion. But this time they will be compelled to have Him for their King, even if it is against their will.
Malachi says of the Second Coming: "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 fullers' soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver" (Mal 3:1-3).
Immediately after these words the Savior himself says through the prophet, "Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely," and the rest.
For this cause St. Paul, warning us beforehand, says: "If anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, the work of each will come to light; for the Day will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire" (1 Cor 3:12-13).
The World Renewed
Our Lord Jesus Christ, then, comes from heaven; and He comes with glory at the end of this world, on the last day. For of this world there is to be an end, and this created world is to be remade anew. Corruption, and theft, and adultery, and every sort of sin has been poured forth over the earth, and blood has been mingled with blood in the world. For this reason, so that this wondrous dwelling place may not remain filled with iniquity, this world passes away, so that the more beautiful world may be made manifest.
And do you need proof for this from the words of Scripture? Listen to the prophet Isaiah, who says: "All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree" (Is 34:4).
The Gospel also says, "The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky" (Mt 24:29).
Thus the things that are now seen will pass away, and there will come the things that are looked for, things more beautiful than the present. But as to the time when this will take place, let no one be curious. "It is not for you," Christ says, "to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority" (Acts 1:7). And you must not venture to predict when these things will take place.
Are You Ready?
You must not fall asleep as you wait. For Christ says, "You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come" (Mt 24:44).
So wait and look for the Lord's coming upon the clouds from heaven. Worship only Him as your King, and flee all error. Guard what has been committed to you concerning Christ, and be conspicuous in good works, so that you may stand with a good confidence before the Judge when He comes, and inherit the kingdom of heaven. TCA