Concerning the second coming of Christ

by St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

"This is written for you concerning the second coming of Christ, of which we spoke briefly when you visited me. I send you this letter and advise you to do that which is written therein. Christians (especially in this last time, when 1,780 and more years have already passed since the first coming of Christ), Christians, I say, should every day expect the last judgment and prepare for it with fitting penitence.

When an earthly king plans to visit a city, and the city is informed of his coming, all the citizens await him and prepare to receive him. The heavenly King, Jesus Christ, intends to descend to earth a second time. This He Himself declared when He lived on earth, and His servants, the holy Apostles, announced as much, and Holy Church awaits His coming.

Therefore Christians, being informed of this second coming, must every day prepare themselves to receive Christ, for He will come when least expected. He will not come this time as He came before - that is, in poverty and humility - but in terrible glory. He will come, not to live on earth, to teach and to suffer (for this has already been accomplished), but to judge, and to render to each his due.

If an angel should visit us and say to us that Christ would come one of these days, we should be seized with trembling and should turn to sincerer repentance. We should guard ourselves from all sin and implore God's mercy with sighs and tears.

But who knows how far off this coming of Christ is? It may occur any day now. For no one knows the counsel and intentions of God, and it has been said,

" Wherefore be you also ready, because at what hour you know not the Son of man will come".

Truly our Lord will come. He will come to judge. He will come soon, and at a time when men do not expect Him. And he will render to each what he has merited. The greater the time which has elapsed since the first coming of Christ, the nearer draws His second coming; and the longer we live, the nearer we are to His universal judgement.

Already we are closer to this day and hour of judgment than we were yesterday and before yesterday. Let us inscribe this in our memory and prepare for that day with true repentance.

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering (for he is faithful that hath promised), and let us consider one another, to provoke unto charity and to good works: Not forsaking our assembly, as some are accustomed; but comforting one another and so much the more as you see the day approaching".

Let us repent, beloved in order that this day terrible to sinners may bring comfort to us instead of terror and despair,

"Because he that appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in equity".

Hence we find comfort in that Christ Our Lord will judge the world; this is why God commands all men to repent, so that they may avoid that fearful condemnation,

"Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels".

Let us turn, beloved with all our love to God. Let us repent, and our sins will be forgiven, and we shall avoid condemnation; and Christ's judgment will not inspire us with fear and trembling but will give us comfort and eternal salvation.

For Christ, Our Lord, will condemn not those who have sinned, but those who have sinned without repenting. He will forgive and will save those who have repented of their sin, for He has come into the world to save those who have sinned and have repented, and this I desire for you as well as for myself".

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