Many profess to believe in the return of Christ, who make what the word of God says on the subject of none effect by holding popular traditions. THE TRUTH is such a perfect system that it will not admit of the introduction of one error without making confusion. The return of Christ is a burning and shining light throughout the Scriptures, and upon it depends the resurrection of the dead, the reward of the righteous, the fulfillment of the covenants of promise--in short the worldís redemption. This important truth is nullified by the belief that all good men go to heaven when they die, and that heaven, not the earth, is the everlasting abode of the righteous, and that all the good have gone there and are saved. Why should Christ return to the earth, if, "at the end of the world," all the good of Adamís race are to be taken to heaven, and all the wicked are to be plunged into a hell of torment and the earth burned up? Where is there room left for a belief in the personal return and reign of Christ on the earth? Belief in the second coming of Christ by those who are wedded to the theory of heaven-going at death is very inconsistent. The false theory will not harmonize with the truth. It is more consistent to hold the radical "orthodox" theory of heaven-going and deny entirely the personal coming of Christ. But the only safe way is to accept the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. What has every reader of Scripture a right to expect from the prophecies and promises we find, in the Old Testament especially? The very first promise we have, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpentís head, would surely give us to understand that Christ, who is the seed of the woman referred to, will accomplish what is implied by bruising the serpentís head. What evil had the serpent introduced into the world? It had really been the cause of all evil, in whatever form it might appear and to bruise the serpentís head could mean nothing else than to remove all the evils of which the serpentís lie was the first cause. We come along down the ages until the time when the seed of the woman appears. Does He bruise the serpentís head to the extent that the promise would imply? Does He remove the evils, with which the world had then become full? The only sense in which it can be said that he bruised the serpentís head is, so far as it applied to Himself, He gained the victory over death and the grave, in Himself and for Himself, but death still held in the tomb all those who had died in the faith and it was declared by the apostle it was heresy to teach that the resurrection was past already. Hence so long as death held in its grasp those who had died in the Abrahamic faith, the serpentís head had not been bruised. Look at the world at the time Christ was here and trace its history to the present; view it as it is today and who can say that the serpentís head has been bruised? Who can say that sin with all its resultant evils has been eliminated from the earth? Here is a work that Christ as the seed of the woman was to do. He came; he went, but he did not do it. Shall we say that He has failed to do the work allotted to Him? Nay, verily.
PART OF HIS
Again we go back and
read that the whole earth was to be filled with the glory of the Lord. From
numerous testimonies we may be sure that this wonderful work was to be
performed in and through Christ, for whom and on account of whom all things are
created. Did he, when he was here eighteen hundred years ago, fill the earth
with the glory of the Lord? Nay verily. We have seen from the covenants of
promise that the world was to be given into His hands and that He would bless
all nations of the earth. He came, but all nations of the earth are not
blessed. The covenant with David was that God would give to Christ his throne,
and that He would reign over the house of Jacob for ever. The house of Jacob is
still scattered among the nations of the earth; the throne of David is in
ruins; Christ has been here, and has gone. The covenant is not fulfilled. Will
it never be fulfilled? Who would dare say that Godís promises will fail? We go
back again to Moses, and hear him declare, "A prophet shall the Lord your
God raise up unto you like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things." The
prophet came, and appeared unto
It is not necessary to quote further from the numerous testimonies of the Old Testament Scriptures to prove the second coming of Christ. The fact that the larger part of the Old Testament prophecies remain unfulfilled, and their fulfillment depends on His second coming, is sufficient of itself to show that, since the word of God cannot fail, Christ must return again to accomplish all that the law and the prophets require in and through Him. As to the New Testament it really ought not to be necessary to cite the numerous testimonies in proof of such clearly revealed truth. The truth upon this and upon all other subjects would be very easily understood were it not for the speculations and perverseness of the religious world, which cloud and obstruct the way to a clear understanding. The following are some of the passages which declare in unmistakable language Christís return to the earth; and when we say Christís return, we mean His return in a real, tangible, personal sense, with no mystic or so-called spiritual meaning attached. We mean His coming as real as His going was, and let the reader keep this in view in examining these passages, and it will be seen no other conclusion can be reached.
Matt. 25: 31--When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all his holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.
Luke -15--He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. And it came to pass when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him.
John --Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me; and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go ye cannot come.
John 14: 3--And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you, (here, not there) unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also.
Acts 1: 9--And when he
had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud
received him out of their sight. 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
I. Cor. 1: 7--So that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall confirm you (at his coming; not at their going) unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I. Cor. --But every man in his own order; Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christís at his coming.
Phil. 3: 20--For our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Col. 3: 4--When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
I. Thess. 1: 9, 10--Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven.
II. Thess. 2: 1--Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.
Verse 8--And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.
II. Tim. 6: 1--I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom, preach the word.
Verses 7, 8--I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that (not this) day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Tit. 2: 12, 13--Teaching us that denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope and the glorious APPEARING of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Heb. 9: 28--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
I. Peter 1: 7--That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
1. John 3: 2--Beloved now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Rev. 1: 7--Behold he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shalt wail because of him
Rev. 16: 15--Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth.
Rev. 22: 7--Behold, I come quickly; blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of this book.
Verse 12--And behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be.
Verse 20--He that testifieth these things saith, Surely, I come quickly. Amen. Even so, Come, Lord Jesus.
Yes, many will say, no doubt the Scriptures teach the second coming of Christ, and everybody believes in it. But how is it believed in, in what sense? Some will say that He comes in a sort of an unexplained, inexplicable spiritual sense at the death of every believer to take the soul to heaven; others will say that He is coming at what is called the "end of the world," simply to raise the dead and take all the residue of the redeemed to heaven, when the earth is to be burnt up; but neither of these speculations is in harmony with the testimony cited. When the angels declared His coming again, they did so in words which cannot be misconstrued or perverted to make them suit human speculations. "This same Jesus whom ye have seen go into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go" is what the angels say. He went bodily, literally, and they saw Him go. He will come in like manner, and "every eye shall see him, and they that pierced him shall behold him." There can, therefore, be no question about the literality of His coming.
Not only so, but what I
wish to impress upon the readerís mind here is that salvation depends upon His
coming. It is in "the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the
throne of his glory" that the twelve apostles are to receive their reward.
For Peterís question was, "What shall we have for following thee?"
What shall be our reward? And the Saviorís answer is that they shall be
rewarded "in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne
of his glory," that it is then that they shall "sit upon twelve
thrones, judging the twelve tribes of
In the parable of the nobleman He shows them that before the establishment of His kingdom can take place, and therefore before we can enter the kingdom, He must go to heaven and return. During His absence there is a command for faithful followers to obey, a commandment which unfaithful men have perverted and disobeyed. What is that command? It might be as well here to emphasize what it is not. He does not command them to occupy till they shall go to him in heaven, the very thing that popular religious teachers tell the people they must do. Were we to ask them what our duty is, and what our hope is, the answer would be, Occupy, to use the word the Saviour used, as long as you live in this life, until you die, and then you will go to heaven. But what is the command of the Saviour in the case? Here it is in words unmistakable, "Occupy till I come." (Luke 19: 12-27.) It is further said that "when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him." Now let us suppose him calling his servants when he was here on earth, and just upon the eve of his departure telling them, "Occupy till I come." I am going away to heaven and I am coming back. I want you and all your successors, or whoever would faithfully follow me, to occupy, that is, believe me, and obey me during my absence; be faithful to me till I return, for I will return, and when I do, I will call you into my presence to give an account of how you have conducted yourselves during my absence, and your reward and punishment shall be accordingly. Can anything be plainer than this? Can anything be more directly opposed to popular theories than this? If the servants to whom he addressed himself went to heaven to him as soon as they died, they have been with him ever since. How then shall we understand him saying that when he would return he would call them together. If they have been called together to him in heaven two thousand years before, how can He call them together here when he returns to this earth? And let it be observed that the calling together is to judge them before they are rewarded, whereas, if they had been in heaven and had been rewarded for two thousand years, and then called back here to earth, we should have a reversal of the order of things, in such a manner that if an ordinary judge were guilty of such an absurdity, he would be declared unfit for his office.
John 14: 1-3, is quoted by some to prove that Christ intended that his disciples should go to heaven to him. We shall give special attention to this passage of Scripture further on, but will simply say here that there is not a word in the text about their going to heaven. What the text teaches is that Christ was going there, and that Christ was coming back. For he declares, "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again." Come again for what? Mark the next words, "and receive you unto myself." After Christ should have received them in heaven two thousand years before, how could he come again to receive them? The receiving here is when he comes again, and not when they go to him. This receiving when he comes again is that, "where I am," that is, where I am when I come again, or, if you like, where I am now when I am uttering these words, "there ye may be also." That he did not mean that they were to go to heaven to him is clear from the fact that He told them, "Whither I go ye cannot come," and the apostle Paul declares of God in heaven, that "no man hath seen Him, nor can see Him, whom no man can approach unto." The Saviour also declares that "no man hath seen God at any time." In the declaration of the angels upon the occasion of Christís ascension to heaven, when they assure us that his coming will be in like manner to his going, let it be observed that this was given as a consolation to our Lordís anxious disciples. If ever a little company of people were anxious they were at that time, and they had reasons to be so. When we take into consideration the state of things in the world at that time, the trials and hardships through which the disciples had passed in company with their Lord and Master; the cruelty which he had suffered at the hands of the Jews and Gentiles, when his faithful followers were terror-stricken and amazed, so much so that Peter was dazed and so staggered that he hardly knew what he was saying when he denied his Master in that trying hour when Jews and Gentiles sought his destruction. I say, when we consider what they had passed through, and the threatenings which seemed to confront them on every hand, and then to think that their only hope, the one in whom they had placed their implicit trust and confidence, the Shepherd of the sheep, was about to be snatched away and leave them in a dark and cruel world, as sheep without a shepherd, we can get a faint idea of the anxiety of the little company in that trying hour. If ever men needed consolation, real consolation, not flattery, not mere poetic words, but a consolation full of reality, they needed it at that time. Not only so, but they needed such consolation as would bring them as nearly as possible to its realization. Whatever promise the angels had for those men it should be such as would be nearest to them, the first blessing they would realize as a deliverance from the troubles and trials through which they were passing. According to the popular world, that which was nearest to them in the way of deliverance was death, and the consolation which would have been given to them by the leaders of religious theories of our times would have been, Why stand ye gazing up into heaven? Why are you so anxious? It will only be a few short years till you die, and then you shall be wafted away on angelís wings to heaven, to Christ, to bask in bliss eternal. I ask you, dear reader, would this not have been the consolation given by popular pulpiteers? Is not this the consolation they give now to men and women who are distressed? But how different the consolation given by angelic messengers who came with heavenly authority; who came with consolation which had its foundation, not in flattering, foolish poetic flights, more noted for their poetry than their truth; but in words of living truth they declare the deliverance which awaited those anxious people was not to be at death. It was not to be until Christ, whom they had seen going into heaven, would so come in like manner as they had seen him go. This was their consolation. Hence upon the second coming of Christ depended the salvation of those who had faithfully followed him.
We can understand now why the apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians says, "So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Why it was that he said, "Christ the first-fruits; afterwards they that are Christís at his coming;" why he declared to the Philippians, "Our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour;" why he said to the Colossians, "When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory;" why he said to the Thessalonians, "Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven;" why he declared to the same church, "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him," showing that it is when the Lord comes that we are to be gathered together unto him, and it is not that we are gathered together in heaven before he comes. And in harmony with all this he declares, in writing to Timothy, "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom." Whom is he to judge? The quick and the dead. When is he to judge them? At his appearing and His Kingdom. When will he reward them?--before he judges them? No. Therefore not before he appears. Whom is he to judge, again I ask? The quick. Who are they? Those who are alive when Christ comes; and those who are dead, not alive,--two classes--He will raise the dead, and they with the quick, the living, will be gathered together unto him, and he will judge them, and this will be at his appearing and his kingdom. It cannot be made plainer. Is it not a wonder that the world has gone astray from such clear teaching? The apostle, himself, when he came to face death, declared that he had fought the good fight, and kept the faith, and that henceforth there was laid up for him a crown of righteousness. Henceforth, that is from the time I die forward until a certain time, there is laid up, or reserved for me a crown of righteousness. If popular theories are true, Paul was mistaken, for that was not the time when the crown of righteousness would be laid up, that was the time when he would receive it. The moment he died he would mount triumphant to heaven, and there would be crowned with his crown of righteousness. But Paul did not understand it so. His faith, the good fight for which he had fought, was a faith that believed that from the time he died forward his crown of righteousness would be laid up for him. And now let us ask him when he expects to receive that crown of righteousness. And he answers, "which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me;" here we have really the answer, for he had just said to Timothy that the righteous judge would judge the quick and the dead at His appearing, and it was as a righteous judge that he would give Paul his crown of righteousness. Inasmuch as His appearing as a righteous judge would not take place until His second coming, how could Paul receive his laid-up crown of righteousness at the hands of the righteous judge until the righteous judge had come to judge the quick and the dead, among whom the apostle Paul was numbered? But he does not stop there, he proceeds further, "which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day"--not this day. Mark you, not now, the day of my death, but at that day, the day at the end of the time during which my crown of righteousness shall be laid up, then the righteous judge shall give it to me at that day. What day, Paul? "And not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." No wonder then, that Paul said "that we, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, should live soberly, and righteously, and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
In writing to the Hebrews the apostle shows us that this coming, of which he is speaking, and in which centers his hope and the hope of every follower of Christ, is the second coming. It is not a spiritual coming that is taking place all the time, at the time of every believers death; in fact, that would not be a coming at all, that would be a staying here, for every moment of time, according to popular theories, believers are dying, and it is not imaginable that Christ would be going and coming as rapidly as every individual believer dies. It would be Christ here all the time to receive the soul of every one as it leaves the body, and Christ in heaven all the time receiving them there, and that would be no coming in any sense. But the apostle says, "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." Note the words. They are full of meaning. They not only tell us that He will appear, but that this appearing of which he is speaking is Christís second appearing. Our relation to that appearing is also set forth, for it is said, to them that look for Him, that is to them that look for His second coming, He shall appear to their salvation, which surely would imply that He will not appear to the salvation of those who do not look for His second coming, who do not "occupy" till the nobleman returns. Yet they change and pervert His word and persist in going to Him, instead of His coming to them.
These words of the
apostle find a type in the High Priest under Moses. In this same chapter he has
given a detailed account of the Holy places of the tabernacle, and of the High
Priest going into the Most Holy place on the day of atonement, which he shows
was typical of Christ going into heaven. As the High Priest appeared in the
Most Holy in behalf of Israel in order that atonement might be effected between
the nation and their God, so Christ has gone into heaven as the high priest of
the Israel of God there and now to appear on their behalf, where "He ever
liveth to make intercession for us." He is now within the veil. And here
we might ask, What were the children of
Dear reader, we beseech
you to hear the voice which speaks from heaven, "Surely I come
quickly," for we are in the days when "quickly" means more
than it ever did before. It is for you to place yourself in such relation to
God as to be able to respond, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." If you are
an alien from the