“My hair stood on end, a shiver raced down my spine, and a lump came to my throat. It was him!” I asked Ed, my old neighbour in Saskatchewan, “Does this seem like a happy or a scary situation to you?”
“It seems to me that a lot of bad stuff could result from seeing him whoever he might be,” Ed answered. “Are you into some spooky story from Halloween,” he asked me.
“No, the quotation is not from a spooky story,” I said.
It may mean both what could be positive or negative. It does center on whoever him turns out to be. He is not a zombie, a ghost, or a monster. Hair standing on end, and a shiver down the spine could suggest fear. A lump in the throat might suggest great emotion at the sight of someone special, but not necessarily dreadful. Recognizing him implies he is life-altering because of our relationship with him.
Ed said that he hated riddles. He asked me not to take forever to tell him the identity of him in the quote. I tried to explain that the quotation reflects scriptural emphases at the end of the church year. As our church year ends, we reflect on the return of Jesus Christ to judge the living and the dead. The second coming of Christ will be fearsome for some, and joyous for others, and experienced by the living and the dead.
We are warned of God’s wrath as well as His steadfast love when Christ returns. Jesus will return to earth to judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity, as described in Psalm 98. It will be both a tragic and joyous time. For the arrogant and evildoers, it will be like a burning oven or furnace, and they like stubble will be set ablaze, so there is nothing left of them. For those who fear God, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. Jesus is the rising sun from heaven with His healing salvation for those who believe in Him. They will go leaping in joy like calves released from their stall. (Malachi 4)
Jesus warns us that his return will come suddenly to all who dwell on the earth. His disciples wanted to know the signs that would indicate Jesus' return to earth. Jesus mentioned that wars and tumults will happen, kingdom will rise against kingdom and nation against nation. There will be earthquakes and natural disasters. Fear, foreboding, perplexities, will be evident in the nations of the earth.
Jesus speaks of it this way, “Watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” Jesus warns us to keep awake in our faith and life in him. Will we be waiting for him when he comes from heaven?
Everyone on the earth will see the Lord Jesus Christ coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When we see Jesus, will a lump of joy and praise come to our throat at the sight of Him? May our hair not stand on end, and a shiver of dread run down our spines.