THE SECOND COMING
I.... As To The Fact.
II.... AS TO THE TIME.
III. AS TO THE MANNER.
I.... As To The Fact.
[pp.7-24 do not refer to the online material]
1. THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS HIMSELF.
Matt. 16:27. "For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels, and then he shall reward every man according to his work."
Matt. 25:31,32. "When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the `Throne of His Glory;' and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats."
John 14:2,3. "In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
John 21:22."If I will that he tarry till I come what is that to thee? Follow thou me."
2. THE TESTIMONY OF HEAVENLY BEINGS.
Acts 1:10,11. "And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This SAME JESUS, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come IN LIKE MANNER as ye have seen him go into heaven."
This passage declares that the SAME JESUS shall return IN LIKE MANNER as He went, that is, that His return will be visible and personal. The two "men" that "stood by" were probably Moses and Elijah. They appeared with Jesus on the Mt. of Transfiguration, they were doubtless the "two men" who testified to the women at the tomb that Jesus has risen (Luke 24:4,5), and they will be the "Two Witnesses" that shall testify during the Tribulation. Rev. 11:3-12.
3. THE TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES.
PAUL - "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." Phil. 3:20,21.
"Looking for that `Blessed Hope' and the `Glorious Appearing' of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Titus 2:13.
"So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the `Second Time' without sin unto salvation." Heb. 9:28.
JAMES - "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord". James 5:7.
PETER - "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty." II Pet. 1:16.
Peter here refers to the Transfiguration of Christ on the mount (Matt. 17:1-5), which was a type of His Second Coming. Moses was a type of the "resurrection saints," and Elijah of those who shall be translated without dying. Peter, James and John were a type of the Jewish Remnant that shall see Him when He comes, and the reImagesing disciples at the foot of the mount, unable to cast the demon out of the boy, (a type) of those professed followers of Jesus who shall be left behind at the Rapture, and who shall be powerless to cast the demons out of the demon-possessed people of that period.
JUDE - "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam,prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgement upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoke against him." Jude 14,15.
JOHN - "And now, little children abide in him; that, when he shall appear we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming." I John 2:28.
"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him." Even so, Amen. Rev. 1:7.
4. THE TESTIMONY OF THE LORD'S SUPPER.
"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come." I Cor. 11:26.
The Lord's Supper is not a permanent ordinance. It will be discontinued when the Lord returns. It is a Memorial Feast. It looks back to the "Cross" and forward to the "Coming." An engagement ring is not intended to be permanent. It is simply a pledge of mutual love and loyalty, and gives place to the wedding ring. So the Lord's Table may be looked upon as a betrothal pledge left to the Church during the absence of her betrothed.
Paul in all his epistles refers but 13 times to Baptism, while he speaks of the Lord's return 50 times. One verse in every 30 in the New Testament refers to Christ's Second Coming. There are 20 times as many reference in the Old Testament to Christ's Second Coming as to His First Coming.
THE FIVE THEORIES.
While the majority of professing Christians admit the fact of the Second Coming of Christ, they are not agreed as to the "manner" or "time". There are five theories as to the Second Coming.
1. That His Coming Again Is "SPIRITUAL" and Was Fulfilled at Pentecost.
It was not Christ but the Holy Spirit that came at Pentecost, and his coming was conditioned on Christ's absence, for Jesus said, "It is expedient for you that I go away; but if I DEPART, I will SEND HIM UNTO YOU." John 16:7. If the Holy Spirit is only another manifestation of Christ, then they are identical, and that NULLIFIES THE TRINITY. The fact is, the whole New Testament was written after Pentecost, and declares over 150 times that the Second Coming of Christ was still future. And more, none of the events predicted as accompanying the Second Coming occurred at Pentecost, such as the Resurrection of the "Dead in Christ," the Translation of the "Living Saints," the "Binding of Satan," etc.
2. That the "CONVERSION OF THE SINNER" is the Coming of the Lord.
This cannot be. for at conversion the sinner comes to Christ, not Christ to the sinner;and the sinner's conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit, and not the work of Christ. It is true that there is such a thing as the spiritual indwelling of Christ in the believer, but His Second Coming, like His First Coming is to be an outward, visible, personal coming.
3. That "DEATH" is the Coming of the Lord.
The text that is used more than any other for funeral sermons is - "Watch, therefore; for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh." Matt.25:13. The context shows that this refers to a future coming of Christ. Christ could not come to the earth every time a person dies for two reasons -
(1) A soul passes into eternity every second, and this would necessitate
Christ's reImagesing continuously on the earth.
(2) Christ is engaged in His High Priestly functions in the Heavenlies,
and could not leave them to come to the earth for the souls of the dying.
The fact is, that at death the believer goes to Christ. Christ does not come for him. Death is always spoken of as a departure. "Absent from the body, present (at home) with the Lord." II Cor. 5:6-8.
If Jesus had meant by His Second Coming "Death," He would have said to His Disciples - "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will sent `Death' to bring you to myself." but He did not. He said - "I will come again and receive you unto myself." The last chapter of John's Gospel settles the matter. Peter said to Jesus - "Lord, and what shall this man (referring to John) do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple (John) should not DIE." We see from this that the Disciples did not think that the "Coming of the Lord" meant "death." There was a great difference between these two things in their mind. Death is an enemy (I Cor. 15:26,55), it holds us in the grace, it robs the body of its attractiveness, it is the "Wages of Sin" (Romans 6:23), and the result of God's wrath, while the Second Coming of Christ is a manifestation of His love. Christ is the "Prince of Life." There can be no death where He is. Death flees at His coming. When He was on earth nothing could reImages dead in His presence. His Coming is not death but resurrection. He is the "Resurrection" and the "Life," and when He Comes, He will change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His "Glorious Body". Phil. 3:20,21.
4. That the "DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM"
in A.D. 70 by the Romans Was the Second Coming of the Lord.
The Lord was not present at the destruction of Jerusalem. It was destroyed by Roman soldiers, and none of the things that are to occur at the "Second Coming" occurred at the destruction of Jerusalem, such as the resurrection of the dead, the translation of living saints, and the physical changes that are to occur at Jerusalem and in the land of Palestine at Christ's coming. Zech. 14:4-11. Ezek. 47:1-12. Christ's purpose in coming back is not to destroy Jerusalem, but to RESTORE it. It must be trodden down of the Gentiles until the "Times of the Gentiles" are fulfilled, "then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory".Luke 21:24-28. The Book of Revelation, written 26 years after the destruction of Jerusalem, speaks of the Second Coming of Christ as still future.
5. That the "DIFFUSION OF CHRISTIANITY" is the Second Coming of the Lord.
This cannot be true, for the "Diffusion of Christianity" is gradual
whereas the Scriptures declare that the "Return of the Lord" shall be SUDDEN
and UNEXPECTED, as a "Thief in the Night." Matt.24:27, 36, 42, 44. I Thess.
5:2. Rev. 3:3. Again the "Diffusion of Christianity" is a process, while
the Scriptures invariably speak of the "Return of the Lord" as an EVENT.
The diffusion of Christianity brings Salvation to the wicked, whereas the
"Return of the Lord" is said to bring not salvation by SUDDEN DESTRUCTION.
I THESS. 5:2, 3; II THESS. 1:7-10.
II.... AS TO THE TIME.
Of the exact time we cannot be certain. When Jesus was on the earth He said - "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither (not yet) the Son, but the Father." Mark 13:32. After His Resurrection and before His Ascension, He refused to satisfy the curiosity of His Disciples, saying to them - "It is not for you to know the `times' or the `seasons' which the Father hath put in his own power," Acts 1:7. Jesus knew of Daniel's prophecy of the "Seventy Weeks" (Dan. 9:20- 27), but He fixed no dates for their fulfillment. The student of prophecy is not to be a "date-setter," but he is to watch. "Signs" are for the Jew. There is nothing to prevent Christ coming for His Church at any time.
While we do not know the day or the hour of Christ's Coming, we know that it will be pre-millennial.
By Pre-Millennial we mean before the Millennium. That is, before the period of a "Thousand Years" spoken of in Rev. 20:1-6. This period is spoken of in other scriptures as "The Kingdom," and is described in glowing terms by the prophets as a time when the earth shall be blessed with a universal rule of righteousness. The passage in Rev. 20:1-6 simply tells us that the length of the period shall be 1000 years.
The very structure of the New Testament demands that Christ shall return before the Millennium.
Here are a few reasons.
1. When Christ comes He will RAISE THE DEAD, but the Righteous dead are to be raised BEFORE the Millennium, that they may reign with Christ during the 1000 years, hence there can be no Millennium before Christ comes. Rev. 20:5.
2. When Christ comes He will SEPARATE THE "TARES" FROM THE "WHEAT," but as the Millennium is a period of UNIVERSAL RIGHTEOUSNESS the separation of the "Tares" and "Wheat" must take place BEFORE the Millennium, therefore there can be no Millennium before Christ comes. Matt. 13:40-43.
3. When Christ comes Satan SHALL BE BOUND, but as Satan is to be bound during the Millennium, there can be no Millennium until Christ comes. Rev. 20:1-3.
4. When Christ comes Antichrist is to be DESTROYED, but as Antichrist is to be destroyed before the Millennium there can be no Millennium until Christ comes. II Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:20.
5. When Christ comes the Jews are to be RESTORED TO THEIR OWN LAND, but as they are to be restored to their own land BEFORE the Millennium, there can be no Millennium before Christ comes. Ezek. 36:24-28; Rev. 1:7 (Zech. 12:10).
6. When Christ comes it will be unexpectedly, and we are commanded to
watch lest He take us unawares. Now if He is not coming until AFTER the
Millennium, and the Millennium is not here, why command us to watch for
an event that is over 1000 years off?
III. AS TO THE MANNER.
He will return in the SAME MANNER as He went. Acts 1:11. He went up BODILY and VISIBLY and He shall come in like manner. He went in a cloud,and He sill return in a cloud. "Behold, He cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him." Rev. 1:7. The only difference will be that He went up alone, He will return as a King (Luke 19:12), followed by a retinue of the angelic hosts. "For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with his angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works." Matt. 16:27. His "Return" however will be in
He will come first into the region of our atmosphere, and the "dead in Christ," and the "living saints" shall be "caught up" to meet Him "IN THE AIR." Then after the risen and translated saints have been judged and rewarded for their works, and they, as the Church, the Bride of Christ, have been married to Him, He will come with them to the earth and land on the Mount of Olives, the place from whence He ascended. "And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south." Zech. 14:4.
The First Stage of His Return is called "THE RAPTURE;" the Second Stage - "THE REVELATION." The time between the two Stages is not less than seven years, and is occupied in the heavens by the "JUDGEMENT OF BELIEVERS FOR WORKS," and on the earth by "THE GREAT TRIBULATION."
The Rapture is described in I Thess. 4:15-17. "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and reImages unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord HIMSELF shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel (Michael) and with the trump of God; and the DEAD IN CHRIST shall rise first; then we which are ALIVE AND REImages (saints only) shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,to meet the Lord IN THE AIR, and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
From this we see that "The Rapture" will be twofold.
1. The Resurrection of the "DEAD IN CHRIST."
2. The Translation of the "LIVING SAINTS."
This twofold character of "The Rapture" Jesus revealed to Martha when He was about to raise her brother Lazarus.He said to her.
"I am the `Resurrection and the Life,' he that believeth in Me, though he were dead yet shall he LIVE (First Resurrection Saints); and whosoever LIVETH (is alive when I come back) and believeth in Me shall NEVER DIE." John 11:25,26. This twofold character of The Rapture, Paul emphasizes in his immortal chapter on the Resurrection.
"Behold, I show you a Mystery, we shall not all Sleep, but we shall All Be Changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised, and we shall be changed. For this Corruptible (the dead in Christ) must put on incorruption, and this mortal (the living saints) must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY.
O DEATH, WHERE IS THY STING?
O GRAVE, WHERE IS THY VICTORY? I Cor. 15:51-57.
The last two lines refer only to those who are "changed without dying," for it is only those who will not die who can shout -
"O Death, Where is Thy Sting?" "O Grave, Where is Thy Victory?"
In II Cor. 5:1-4, Paul expresses his longing, and the longing of the Saints, to be among those who should not be "unclothed" by Death, but who should be "clothed upon" by Immortality "without dying."
"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle (the body), were dissolved (that is die), we have a building of God, an house not made with hands eternal in the heavens. For in this (body) we groan, earnestly desiring to be `clothed upon' with our house which is from heaven; if so be that being `clothed' we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle (the body) do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be `unclothed' (by death), but `clothed upon' (by immortality), that `mortality' might be swallowed up of life."
In his letter to the Philippians, while Paul hopes that - "If by any means he may attain unto The (out from among the dead) Resurrection,yet he pressed toward the mark for the `prize' of the High (out and up) Calling of God in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:11-14.
That is, while Paul would esteem it a great thing to "rise from the dead" at First Resurrection, and be "caught up" with those who should be "changed," yet he would esteem it a "prize" if he could be caught up "without dying," that is, live until Jesus came back.
THE RAPTURE WILL BE A "SURPRISE"
"Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man COMETH." Matt.24:42-44. "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." Rev. 16:15. "But of the `times' and the `seasons' brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the `Day of the Lord' (the day of His Return), so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, `Peace and Safety,' then sudden destruction cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape." This refers to the Second Stage of Christ's Coming, the "Revelation," when He shall take vengeance upon His enemies. II Thess. 1:7-10. But Paul adds - "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day (the day of His Return) should overtake you as a thief." I Thess. 5:1-4.
We see from this that when Christ comes back it will be when we are not expecting Him. He will come as a thief comes. A thief does not announce his coming. He comes for a certain purpose. He does not take everything there is in the house. He takes only the precious things, the jewels, the gold, the silver and fine wearing apparel. He does not come to stay. As soon as he secures what he is after he departs. So Jesus at the Rapture will come and take away the saints only. The thief leaves much more than he takes. he leaves the house and the furniture and the household utensils. So the Lord at the Rapture will leave the wicked and the great mass of the heathen behind for those who will be taken will be comparatively few.
We must not forget in our study of this subject that there are to be two resurrections of the dead. The first, of the Righteous dead before the Millennium. Rev. 20:4-6. The subject cannot be treated fully in this pamphlet but will be found in the author's larger work on "Dispensational Truth," in the chapter on "The Resurrection" and "Spirit World" with charts.
THE RAPTURE WILL BE "ELECTIVE"
It will not only separate the saints from unbelievers, but it will separate husbands from wives, brothers from sisters, friends from friends. ...
The "Rapture" will be the most startling "event" of this Age and Dispensation. As it is to occur in the "twinkling of an eye" and all over the earth at the same time, that part of the world that is not asleep will witness the event. As to the "Shout of the Lord," the "Voice of the Archangel," and the "Trump of God" we do not know whether their sound will be heard and distinguished by others than the "dead in Christ" and the "living saints." We know that one day the Father spoke to Christ in a voice that He understood, but the people who stood by mistook it for "thunder." John 12:28,29. When the Lord appeared to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus spoke to him, the men that journeyed with him stood speechless, "hearing a voice," but seeing no man, and not understanding what was said. Acts 9:3-7.We know however that the "dead in Christ" will hear the sound, for it will be "intensely penetrating." There will be no graves so deep, no catacombs so rock covered, no pyramids or mausoleums so thick, but what the sound shall reach their depths and the "dead in Christ" shall hear the cry - "awake ye sleeping saints and arise from the dead, it is MORNING, the morning of the FIRST RESURRECTION."
On the morning of that glorious day the air will be filled with the "spirits" of the "Dead in Christ," come back to earth to get their bodies, raised and glorified. Whether the cemeteries and country church yards will look like ploughed fields, and monuments and grave slabs be overturned and vaults and places of sepulchre be shattered by the exodus of those who found their last resting place there, and thus testify to the fact of the literal bodily resurrection of the dead, or whether the sainted dead shall slip out of their sepulchres without disturbing them, as Christ arose and left the tomb without breaking the seal, the angel rolling away the stone simply to show that the tomb was empty, we are not told, only the event itself will disclose the manner of the First Resurrection.
If the dead slip out of their places of sepulchre without disturbing them, the First Resurrection will be secret and probably unknown to the world, but it will not be so with the "Living Saints" who are translated. If it is night on our side of the globe when the Rapture occurs the community will wake up in the morning to find all the real Christians gone, disappeared in the night. Many may hear the sound of the "Midnight Cry" -
"BEHOLD THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH"
but thinking it only thunder, will turn over for another nap, but in the morning they will find the bedroom door locked, with the key on the inside, just as they locked it before retiring,and the clothes of the loved one who occupied the room with them lying where they were placed when taken off the night before, but that loved one, who was a Christian, missing. Husbands will wake up to find that Christian wives are gone, and wives will wake up to find Christian husbands gone. Brothers and sisters will be missed, and dear children absent, and not an infant will be left behind. Many faithful servants and employees will not report for duty, and the world will awake to the fact that the Bible is true, and the much despised doctrine of the Pre-Millennial Coming of the Lord to gather His saints is no fanciful interpretation of Scripture.
If it be day with us when the Rapture occurs, the "EVENT" will be startling. As it was in the days of Noah (Matt. 24:36-39), the people will be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, buying and selling, planting and building.
If it be at a pleasant time of the year, the boats, and cars, and parks will be filled with shoppers and the mills with toilers, and the streets of the cities lined with men and women and children on pleasure and business bent. Suddenly a noise from heaven will be heard like a great peal of thunder. The people will rush to doors and windows, and those on the streets and in the fields will look up to see what has happened. To the vast majority it will be but a startling and alarming sound, but to many it will be the
"VOICE OF THE LORD."
But when the people recover from their surprised and affrighted condition they will discover that a great many people are missing, and that the missing were the best people in the community. The large Department Stores, Banking Institutions, Manufacturing Plants, and other places of business will find their working force depleted by the loss of faithful employees. People walking on the streets will find their companions gone, and the street car lines will be blocked because of the absent motormen, conductors and teamsters. Railroad and steamboat lines will be crippled, and confusion will reign everywhere. In many homes the servants will be missing and members of the family will come home to find loved ones gone.
At first the whole thing will be a Mystery,until some one who had heard or read about the "Rapture of the Saints," realizing what has happened, will explain the situation.
But one of the surprises of that day will be that so many professing Christians, and among them many ministers and Christian workers, will be left behind, while some who were not known to be Christians will be missing. The next day's papers will be full of what happened the day before, and many of them will be swelled to twice their ordinary size by the pressure on their advertising columns for information as to missing ones, and for help to fill important vacancies and positions of trust. For a few days the excitement will be intense. Then the people will settle down to the inevitable. With the exception of a few who will repent and turn to God, the mass of the people will become more hardened and wicked than before, and some who lost loved ones will be embittered. As the Holy Spirit will have gone back with the "Raptured Ones," and the "Saints," the salt of the earth, been taken out, there will be nothing to prevent the rapid degeneration and "Moral Putrefaction" of those who are "left," and sin and iniquity and all manner of crime and worldiness will increase and pave the way for the manifestation of Antichrist,under whose administration the world will rapidly ripen for judgement.
WHO ARE TO BE TAKEN
Some claim that "all" the Church are to pass through the Tribulation, (see chart 4); others that "all" the Church are to be caught out before the Tribulation, while some claim that only the "waiting" and "watching" Saints shall be caught out before the Tribulation, and that the rest must pass through it. The latter base their claim on Heb,. 9:28, where it says - "Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation." While this might apply to the living when He appears, it certainly cannot apply to the dead. There are tens and hundreds of thousand who "fell asleep in Jesus" who never heard of the Premillennial Coming of the Lord, or at least never grasped its meaning, and who therefore never "watched" and "waited" and "looked" for His Appearing. They surely are "In Christ"; and the "Dead in Christ" are to rise at the Rapture. Paul does not say in I Thess. 4:16-17, that it will be the "dead" who "watched" and "waited" and "looked", and those who are "alive" and "watch" and "wait" and "look" for His Appearing that shall be "caught out," but the dead "In Christ," and we who "Are Alive And ReImages."
The order of the Resurrection is - "Christ the `First Fruits,' afterward they that `are Christ's at His Coming.'" Paul says - "Behold I show you a Mystery; we shall not all `sleep,' but we shall ALL Be Changed."I Cor. 15:51.
Then there is another fact that we must not forget, and that is, the Unity of the Church.
"For as the Body Is One, and hath many members, and ALL the Members Of That One Body, Being Many ARE ONE BODY; so also is Christ. For by One Spirit are we ALL Baptized Into One Body." I Cor. 12:12,13.
All then who have been "born again" (John 3:3-7) are part of Christ's "Body," and we cannot conceive of Christ's "Body" being divided; part of it reImagesing "asleep" in the grave, and part of it "raised in glory"; part of it left to pass through the Tribulation, and part of it "changed" and caught up to meet Him in the air.
If "all" the Church are to pass through the Tribulation, then instead of waiting and watching "for the Lord," we should be waiting and watching "for the Tribulation," which is contrary to the teaching of Christ Himself. Matt. 24:42-44.
The Tribulation is not for the perfecting "of the Saints." IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CHURCH. It is the time of "JACOB'S TROUBLE" (Jer.30:7) and is the "JUDGEMENT OF ISRAEL,"(emphsis here ours) and it is God's purpose to KEEP THE CHURCH OUT OF IT! Rev. 2:10. The Book of Revelation is written in chronological order. After the fourth chapter the Church is seen no more upon the earth until she appears in the nineteenth chapter coming with the Bridegroom "FROM" Heaven. The entire time between these two chapters is filled with appalling judgements that fall upon those that "Dwell on the earth," and as the Church is not of the earth, but is supposed to "sit together in `Heavenly Places' in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:6), she will not be among those who "dwell on the earth" in those days.
The confusion is largely due to the fact that students of Prophetic Truth do not distinguish between Christ's coming FOR His Saints, and WITH His Saints. The former is called the "Rapture", the latter the "Revelation."
Numerous passages in scripture speak of Christ coming "with" His Saints (Zech. 14:5, Col. 3:4, I Thess.3:13, I Thess. 4:14, Jude 14), but it is evident that they cannot come "with" Him, if they had not been previously caught out "to" Him. All such passages refer therefore to the "Revelation" and not the "Rapture".
The typical teaching of the Scriptures demand that the Church be caught out "before" the Tribulation. Joseph was a type of Christ and he was espoused to, and married Asenath, a Gentile bride, during the time of his "rejection by his brethren," and "before the famine," which typified the Tribulation, because it was the time of "Judgement of his Brethren." This is the time of Christ's rejection by "His Brethren" - the Jews, and to complete the type He must get His Bride - the church, "before" the Tribulation.
Moses, who is also a type of Christ, got his bride, and she a Gentile, "after" his rejection by his brethren, and "before" they passed through the Tribulation under Pharoah. Ex. 2:23-25.
Enoch, a type of the "Translation Saints," was caught out "before" the Flood, and the Flood is a type of the Tribulation, and Noah and his family of the "Jewish Remnant" or 144,000 sealed ones of Rev. 7:1-8, who will be preserved through the Tribulation.
How thrilling the thought that some of us shall not die, that in a moment, in the "twinkling of an eye" without being unclothed by the ghastly hands of Death, and instead of the winding sheet of the grave, we shall be instantly changed and clothed with the glorious garments of immortality. What a transport of joy will fill our being as we suddenly feel the thrill of immortality throbbing through our veins, and find ourselves being transported through the air in the company of fellow Christians and of our loved ones who fell asleep in Jesus. What welcome recognitions and greetings there will be as we journey up with them to the "Bridal Halls of Heaven," where we shall join in the new and triumphal song of Moses and the Lamb. Rev. 5:9,10.
WHAT WILL BECOME OF THOSE WHO ARE LEFT BEHIND?
This is a sad question, but it is eagerly asked by many. What saith the Lord?
"Then said one unto Him, Lord, are there FEW that be saved? And He said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait (narrow) gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in (when He comes), and shall not be able, when once the `Master of the House' is risen up, and hath SHUT THE DOOR, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, open unto us; and He shall answer and say unto you, I know not whence ye are: then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets. But He shall say, I tell you, I KNOW YOU NOT WHENCE YE ARE; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YE WORKERS OF INIQUITY." Luke 13:23-27.
The time of the closing of the door is revealed in the Parable of the "Ten Virgins." It will be when the Bridegroom comes, and those that are ready (the "Wise Virgins") have gone in with Him to the "Marriage." When the "Foolish Virgins" come later, and say - "Lord, open to us," He will answer - "I KNOW YOU NOT." That is, I never knew you. You were only mere professors. Then follow the words - "Watch therefore (be ready), for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh." Matt. 25:1-13, Note that the persons shut out are not those who never heard the Gospel, but those who had been professing followers of Jesus, who had eaten and drunk in His presence and even gone out to meet Him.
It may readily be supposed that the taking away of loved ones at the Rapture will cause many of those left behind to seek the Lord, but as the Holy Spirit goes back with the Church, and for the time being ceases His Office Work of Regeneration, who is to convert those who are left? There is a passage in Hebrews that has troubled many a sincere soul who has feared that they had committed the "Unpardonable Sin." It is this -
"For if we sin (continue to sin) wilfully after that we have received the knowledge (that is know about it) of the truth, there reImageseth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgement and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." Heb. 10:26.
The preceding verse shows that this warning is connected with the Lord's Coming - "So much the more, as ye see `The Day' approaching - the "DAY OF THE LORD." The expression - "there reImageseth no more sacrifice for sins," implies that those who thus sin against their knowledge are without hope.
That there will be a "Great Multitude" saved after the Church is "caught out" in the "Time Space" between the "Rapture" and the "Revelation," is clearly revealed in Rev. 7:9-17, and some of them may be of those "left behind," but they will have to pass through great tribulation and suffer a martyr's death for refusing to worship the "Image of the Beast." Rev. 13:11-17. And we read that - When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed (at the close of the Great Tribulation) from Heaven with His mighty angels, in "flaming fire" He shall take vengeance on them that "KNOW NOT GOD", and that "OBEY NOT THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST." II Thess. 1:7-10. Let us not run the risk of being left behind.
WHAT HAPPENS BETWEEN THE RAPTURE AND REVELATION
After the Saints are "caught out" they are to be judged. This judgement takes place at the"Judgement Seat of Christ." The Scriptures speak of five separate Judgements. They differ in five general aspects. As to "Subjects", "Time," "Place," "Basis of Judgement" and "Result." For a complete description of these Judgements see my larger Book on "Dispensational Truth".
The Judgement of the Believer is threefold. At the Cross as a "Sinner" for sin; this is Past. John 5:24. As a "Son;" this is Present, and consists of "self-judgement" and confession, or else the punishment of chastisement. I Cor. 11:31,32. As a "Servant;" this is future, and is a Judgement for "Works" at the
"JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST"
"We must all appear before the `Judgement Seat of Christ,' that every one may receive the things `done in the body' according to that he hath done, whether it be `good' or `bad' (worthless)." II Cor. 5:10. The pronoun "We" occurs 26 times in the chapter, and in every instance it means the Believer, and the Epistle is addressed to the "Church" and "Saints" at Corinth, so the Judgement here spoken of is for Believers "only". The "Time" of this Judgement is when the Lord comes (I Cor. 4:5), and the "Place" is "in the air" (I Thess. 4:17) and before the Judgement Seat of Christ.
It will not be a Judgement in the sense of a "trial" to see whether the judged are innocent (saved) or guilty (lost), for it is a Judgement of the "saved only." It will be like the Judges' stand at a Fair. or a Race Track, where rewards are distributed to the successful contestants. Paul describes such a scene in I Cor. 9:24-27.
It is not a Judgement for sin, but for `works'. This Judgement is described in I Cor. 3:11-15.
"Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones (Valuable building stones, as marble, etc.), wood, hay, stubble; every man's `Work' shall be made manifest; for the `Day' and the fire shall try every man's `work' of what sort it is. If any man's work `abide' which he hath built there upon he shall receive a `reward'.If any man's work shall be `burned' he shall suffer `loss'; but `he himself shall be saved;' yet so as by fire."
The result of this Judgement is "reward" or "loss". All our "bad" and "dead works," represented by the wood, hay and stubble, will be consumed, and only our "good works" shall reImages. There is much which passes for Christian service which is merely human and secular, and does not count in our eternal reward. For those who deserve a "reward" it will be
The Crowning Day
After the Grecian games were all over the runners, wrestlers, and successful contestants assembled before the "Bema", or Judge's stand, which was an elevated seat on which the Umpire sat, and the winners received a "corruptible crown" of "laurel leaves." Some had no reward, they had lost the "Victor's Crown." But while there was no reward there was no punishment, they were not cast out.
The New Testament speaks of Five Crowns.
1. The Crown of "LIFE".
This is the "Martyr's" Crown, and is mentioned twice.
"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation (testing), for when he is `tried' (at the Judgement Seat of Christ), he shall receive the `Crown of Life' which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him." James 1:12.
"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer; behold, the Devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried (tested) and ye shall have tribulation ten days; be thou faithful `unto death', and I will give thee a `Crown of Life,' " Rev. 2:10.
Notice it does not say "until" death, but "unto" death. They were not to recant, but to reImages faithful unto a martyr's death. To recant was to lose the crown. This refers to the martyrs of the Tribulation Period.
2. The Crown of "GLORY"
This is the "Elder's" or "Pastor's" crown, given by the Chief Shepherd when He shall appear. But it is not for those who serve for "filthy lucre" or "lord it over God's heritage." I Pet. 5:2-4.
3. The Crown of "REJOICING"
This is the "Soul Winner's" Crown. Those brought to Jesus by us will be our "crown of rejoicing" at His Coming. I Thess. 2:19-20. Phil. 4:1.
4. The Crown of "RIGHTEOUSNESS"
This is the crown of those who "love His appearing and will be given in `that day' " - the Day of His Appearing. II Tim. 4:8.
5. The "INCORRUPTIBLE" Crown
This is the "Victor's" crown, and is for those who "keep under their body." I Cor. 9:25-27. Who do not yield to their fleshly lusts. Who do not permit themselves to be diverted from the work for the Master by worldly amusements and pleasure, nor saturate their body with drugs.
If we do not want to be "ashamed at His Coming," I John 2:28 let us see to it that we keep our body "under" and so live that we shall secure a crown.
THE ROYAL WEDDING
After the Saints have been "caught out" and "judged", they, as the "Church," will become the "Bride of Christ."
The "Marriage" of the Church is prophetically referred to by Jesus in the Parable of the "Marriage of the King's Son" (Matt.22:1-14), and is consummated in Rev. 19:7-9.
"Let us be glad a rejoice and give honor to Him; for the `Marriage of
the Lamb' is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was
granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for
the fine linen is the righteousness of Saints. And he saith unto me, write,
Blessed are they which are called unto the
MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB."
Notice that it does not say the "Marriage of the Bride," but the "Marriage of the LAMB". That grant event will be not so much the consummation of the hopes of the Bride, as it will be the consummation of the plan of God for His Son, arranged for before the foundation of the World. Eph. 1:4. The "Marriage of the Lamb" is the consummation of the joy of Christ as a MAN. It would not have been possible if Christ had not been born in the flesh. Otherwise it would have been the union of "dissimilar natures," for the "Bride" is of "human origin." This is why Jesus took His "human nature" back with Him to Heaven, and today we have in Heaven the MAN Christ Jesus. I Tim. 2:5.
While the "Bride" was chosen for Christ "before the foundation of the world," the "espousal" could not take place until Christ assumed humanity and ascended to Heaven as the Man Christ Jesus. There have been many long betrothals but Christ's has been the longest on record. He has been waiting for His Bride nearly 1900 years, but He will not have to wait much longer. Soon Heaven shall resound with the cry -
"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him, for the Marriage of the Lamb is Come." Rev. 19:7.
There have been many royal weddings of international interest, where the invited guests and spectators witnessed a spectacle magnificent in its appointments, and rejoiced in a union that bound together different nations. But the wedding of the Lamb and His Bride the Church will surpass them all, for it shall unite Heaven and Earth in a bond that shall never be broken, for what God (the Father) shall join together, no man shall ever put asunder, and that union no divorce shall ever break.
The Bride shall be "arrayed in fine linen, clean and white;for the fine linen is the righteousness of Saints." Rev. 19:7-8. The word "righteousness" is plural, and should read "righteousnesses". Not the imputed righteousness of Christ, but the "righteous acts and works" of the saints themselves, that shall reImages after they have passed through the "fiery test" of the "Judgement for Works" at the "Judgement Seat of Christ." I Cor. 3:11-15. What a contrast there will be between the purple and scarlet coloured dress, and jewel bedecked person, of the"Harlot Wife" of Antichrist (Rev. 17:3-4), and the spotless white robe of fine linen of the Bride of the Lamb.
During the time occupied by the "Judgement of Believers" and the Marriage of the Lamb in the Heavenlies, there will be awful times on the earth. The Jews will have, in large numbers, been gathered back to their own land, Palestine. About this time ten of the Nations occupying the territory of the old Roman Empire will enter into a Federation of Nations. Among the "Ten Kings" of those nations will arise the "Antichrist." He will soon prove himself to be a "Great Ruler" and will be made PRESIDENT. The Government will be a "Democratic Monarchy". The President will make a "Covenant" with the Jewish people. It may be a Covenant restoring to them their own land and recognizing their national existence. Whatever its character, the Prophet Isaiah speaks of it as a "Covenant with DEATH and HELL."Isa. 28:15. For 3-1/2 years the President of the Federation will keep the Covenant. Then he will break it. For the balance of his reign of 3-1/2years he will cause an awful persecution of the Jews, called by Jesus "The Great Tribulation." Matt. 24:21,22....
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