"But, lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day: The saints triumphant rise in bright array; The King of Glory passes on His way. Alleluia! Alleluia!
"From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast, Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host, Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: Alleluia! Alleluia!"
"Look!" our hymn calls out, "there breaks a yet more glorious day." A more glorious day? What glorious day came before this even more glorious day still to come? Earlier verses of the same hymn celebrate the saints on earth who are still engaged in warfare against sin and Satan. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they fought long and hard, but the day came when their Lord and Captain called them home to Himself. They enjoyed "the golden evening" of rest in the "sweet calm of paradise the blest." That blessed rest, won by Jesus through His death and resurrection, marked a glorious day for each and every saint who was called home.
That peaceful rest would seem to be reward enough, but something "more glorious" is going to happen. On a more glorious day, the King of Glory will pass by and the saints whose bodies have been laid to rest will "rise in bright array." The hymn echoes the words of the apostle Paul as he describes Jesus' return on the Last Day: "The Lord Himself will descend from heaven ... and the dead in Christ will rise first" (1 Thessalonians 4:16). As Jesus, the King of Glory, passes on His way, the triumphant saints will rise from death as their Savior had risen. The saints still living on that great day will, with the rising saints, be clothed in the bright array of immortality. On that more glorious day the "countless host," the "great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages" (Revelation 7:9b), will stream through heaven's gates of pearl and offer eternal praise to the God who saved them.
After describing that more glorious day, Paul reminds us, "Therefore encourage one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:18). As we face warfare in this earthly life, fighting against temptation, illness, strife, personal loss, and even death itself, we do not look back in time to some imagined golden era or to "better days" we might once have known. We set our sights firmly on that more glorious day that lies ahead for us. The King of Glory is coming, and when He descends from heaven on the day of His return, we will be raised in glory and dressed in bright array to share in His eternal victory. When the battle is long and difficult, those are the words we must use to encourage one another. We turn our hearts and minds to the hope and promise of that "yet more glorious day." Come, Lord Jesus!
WE PRAY: Lord Jesus, I long for the day of Your return. Help me to encourage others in this blessed hope. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "For All the Saints," which is number 677 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets? Why? Do you remember one in particular?
2. What does Jesus returning and the dead rising from their graves look like to you?
3. How does knowing that Jesus is coming back strengthen you in your life today?
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"