“I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord” (Genesis 49:18)
This heartfelt cry of the dying patriarch, Jacob, expressed his life-long—but still unfulfilled—yearning for the coming of God’s promised Savior. This is the first occurrence in the Bible of the word “salvation” (essentially the same in the Hebrew as “Jesus”). It is also the first occurrence of “waited for,” meaning, essentially, “looked for,” or “waited patiently and expectantly for.” This attitude of Jacob (Israel), has been shared by the people of God down even to the present day.
Significantly, the first occurrence of the equivalent Greek word in the New Testament expresses the same concern on the part of no less a man than John the Baptist when he inquired expectantly of Jesus: “Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3).
Even though He has, indeed, come, bringing salvation, we still must wait patiently for the complete fulfillment of His promises when He comes again. It was the prayer of Paul that the Lord would “direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ” (II Thessalonians 3:5).
It is not only believers who are “waiting for… the redemption of our body.” Because of sin, “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” and, consequently, “the earnest expectation of the [creation] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God,” when it “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:23,22,19,21).
Finally, it is significant that the last reference in the Bible to waiting for something once again deals with the same promise. “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 21).
It may seem long, but the promise is sure: “Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).