Verse 16. "The Lord himself" - That is: Jesus Christ shall descend from heaven; shall descend in like manner as he was seen by his disciples to ascend, i.e. in his human form, but now infinitely more glorious; for thousands of thousands shall minister unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand shall stand before him; for the Son of man shall come on the throne of his glory: but who may abide the day of his coming, or stand when he appeareth? With a shout] Or order, en keleusmati? and probably in these words.
Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment; which order shall be repeated by the archangel, who shall accompany it with the sound of the trump of God, whose great and terrible blasts, like those on mount Sinai, sounding louder and louder, shall shake both the heavens and the earth! Observe the order of this terribly glorious day:
1. Jesus, in all the dignity and splendour of his eternal majesty, shall descend from heaven to the mid region, what the apostle calls the air, somewhere within the earth's atmosphere. 2. Then the keleusma, shout or order, shall be given for the dead to arise. 3. Next the archangel, as the herald of Christ, shall repeat the order, Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment! 4. When all the dead in Christ are raised, then the trumpet shall sound, as the signal for them all to flock together to the throne of Christ. It was by the sound of the trumpet that the solemn assemblies, under the law, were convoked; and to such convocations there appears to be here an allusion. 5. When the dead in Christ are raised, their vile bodies being made like unto his glorious body, then, 6. Those who are alive shall be changed, and made immortal. 7. These shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. 8. We may suppose that the judgment will now be set, and the books opened, and the dead judged out of the things written in those books. 9. The eternal states of quick and dead being thus determined, then all who shall be found to have made a covenant with him by sacrifice, and to have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, shall be taken to his eternal glory, and be for ever with the Lord. What an inexpressibly terrific glory will then be exhibited! I forbear to call in here the descriptions which men of a poetic turn have made of this terrible scene, because I cannot trust to their correctness; and it is a subject which we should speak of and contemplate as nearly as possible in the words of Scripture.
Verse 18. "Comfort one another with these words." - Strange saying! comfort a man with the information that he is going to appear before the judgment-seat of God! Who can feel comfort from these words? That man alone with whose spirit the Spirit of God bears witness that his sins are blotted out, and the thoughts of whose heart are purified by the inspiration of Gods Holy Spirit, so that he can perfectly love him, and worthily magnify his name. Reader, thou art not in a safe state unless it be thus with thee, or thou art hungering and thirsting after righteousness. If so, thou shalt be filled; for it is impossible that thou shouldst be taken away in thy sins, while mourning after the salvation of God. They that seek shall find.