Throughout this 2015 Advent season, the Sojourn family of churches has come together to record a series of Advent hymns for your enjoyment and edification. Each Thursday, we’ll be releasing one song together with a blog post.

This week’s hymn is titled Lo! He Comes With Clouds Descending, originally written by John Connick (1718-1755) and later rewritten by Charles Wesley. We’ve made some slight revisions and updates to the lyrics, which were inspired by the beautiful imagery of Christ’s return described in Revelation 1:7.

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

While this may not be your typical Advent hymn, it still has purpose and deep meaning within the season of Advent. The lyrics are eschatological, pointing forward to end-time realities rather than backward to the birth of Jesus. But this hymn reminds us of Advent’s dual purpose:  (1) to participate in Israel's longing as they waited expectantly for the First Advent, the coming of the Messiah, and (2) to wait expectantly for Christ’s return in glory, the Second Advent.

Two-thousand years ago, Jesus came humbly, quietly, as a child, to remove the power of sin and death. Someday soon, He will come in glory, as a King, to remove the presence of sin and death once and for all. So during this season of Advent, as we celebrate the initial coming of our Messiah, may we actively long to see Him come again. For "our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself" (Philippians 3:20-21).

Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for chosen sinners slain;
A thousand, thousand saints attending
Sing the triumph of His name:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God appears on earth to reign!

Every eye shall then behold Him,
Robed in dreadful majesty;
Those who put to shame and sold Him,
Pierced and nailed Him to the tree,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Come, the true Messiah, see!

Now redemption long expected,
See in splendor He appears;
All His saints by man rejected,
Now shall meet Him in the air.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
See the day of God appear!

Lo! He comes in glory shining.
Saints, arise and meet your King;
Glorious Captain of salvation,
All the nations come to sing:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God appears on earth to reign!