1 HIS COMING A PROPER, PERSONAL ONE
"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." (Acts 1:11) The Lord had Himself promised the same thing. "I go to prepare a place for you. … I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14) That the Son of man will literally return, and be revealed, is also clear from Luke 12:35-46, Luke 17:22, 37, Luke 18:1-8, Luke 19:11-27, Luke 21:27-36. The last is the more important, because it shows the fallacy of such as suppose Matt. 24:30, Mark 13:26, to have been fulfilled in the siege of Jerusalem under Titus. Past and present disasters, "until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled," are fully described already in Luke 21:20-24. Next follows the closing scene — distress of nations with perplexity; and men see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. "This generation" (i.e., the present unbelieving race of the Jews) lasts till then; it shall not pass away till all be fulfilled. For "the world to come," grace will convert "a generation to come." (Ps. 102:18) In a word, death, the outpouring of the Spirit, and the destruction of Jerusalem, are all distinct things from the advent of the Lord Jesus. He is coming, and quickly. (Rev. 12:7-20.)
2 HIS COMING PRE-MILLENNIAL.
"He shall send Jesus Christ … whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution (i.e., restoring of all things which God hath spoken of by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:20-21) Jesus is still in heaven, and that blissful period is not yet commenced: His mission and those times upon earth are to run on together Romans 8:19-23 teaches that creation must groan till the sons of God are manifested. But their manifestation depends on that of Christ. (Col. 3; Col. 4; 1 John 3:3.) Therefore, the predicted blessing of creation — which is one main feature of the millennium — is to be when Christ and the Church appear in glory; not before. Nay, "ourselves also which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption; to wit, the remedy of our body." And, confessedly, the redemption of the body, or resurrection, awaits His doming. That is, there is no relief to a groaning creation, or to a groaning Church, till Christ comes; in other words, there can be no millennium till then. Again, Israel is now blinded in part, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." (Rom. 11:25-26) Here again we learn that the coming of the Saviour is to accomplish the salvation of all Israel, which is another characteristic of the millennium. With Jeremiah 30:7, and Daniel 12:1, we may compare Zechariah 12; Zechariah 13; Zechariah 14; they will be found to afford fresh proofs. Zechariah 14:2, 8 announces that the Lord is to come for the deliverance of the Jews when they are in the deepest trouble; that His feet shall stand upon the same spot He had touched before His ascension — upon the mount of Olives, which is to be cloven in twain; that all the saints shall come with the Lord, and that, after this, living waters shall go out of Jerusalem, and the Lord shall be King over all the earth. Is not this the millennium? It is preceded by the Lord's coming. Another witness is to be found in such scriptures as 2 Thessalonians 2; 2 Peter 2; 2 Peter 3; Jude; 1 John 2; where evil is shown to have been introduced within the bosom of Christian profession from the days of the apostles, and that it is to spread, ripen, and be terminated only by the judgment which the Lord shall execute when He returns. Not the Church, but Christ is to destroy the Antichrist, and this by His personal appearing. His presence gathers the Church above; its Shining forth or epiphany destroys the Lawless One here below. (2 Thess. 2:1-8) Compare with this Isaiah 11:4, to which the allusion is evident. The reign of blessedness on earth ensues: "When thy judgments are in the earth the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." Matthew 13 is to the same effect: the Son of man, by His angels, clears the field. 1 Corinthians 15:23-28, and 2 Tim. 4:1, are very distinct in connecting Christ's appearing with His kingdom, not with the end, and the end (not with His appearing to reign, but) with the surrender of the kingdom to God the Father. In this kingdom the risen saints reign with Him; they rise to meet Him at His coming, preparatory to His reign. (2 Tim. 2:12; Rom. 8:17) Revelation 19; Revelation 20 distinctly prove that Christ and His saints come from heaven to destroy the beast and the false prophet, with their adherents, and then to establish His kingdom on the earth for a thousand years, previously to the judgment of the great white throne, and the new heavens and earth.
3 HIS COMING TWO-FOLD; 1, FOR, AND 2, WITH HIS SAINTS.
1. For His saints: John 14:3 ; 1 Cor. 15:23; 1 Thess. 1:10; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Phil. 3:20; Rev. 3:10-11.
2. With His saints: Zech. 14:5 ; Col. 3:4 ; 1 Thess. 3:13; 2 Thess. 1:10; Jude 14; Rev. 17:14; Rev. 19:14.
It may be well to notice here that Rev. 4-19, gives us a divine description of the Church's position in heaven — symbolized by twenty-four crowned elders — after Christ has come for them, and before He comes with them. From the moment they are caught up to meet Him in the air, they are ever with the Lord! with Him in the Father's house; with Him when the successive judgments (under the figures of seals, trumpets, and vials) are falling on the earth; with Him when the marriage supper of the Lamb is celebrated above; with Him when He comes from heaven to war with His civil and religious enemies; with Him when we reign together on the earth for a thousand years; and with Him in the subsequent eternal state. "So shall we over be with the Lord."
4 HIS COMING AND KINGDOM OUR PROXIMATE OBJECT OF HOPE, AND A GRAND MOTIVE OF HOLINESS, PATIENCE, AND FAITHFUL SERVICE.
Luke 12:35-36; John 14:3; John 21:22; Rom. 13:11-12; Rom. 16:20; 1 Cor. 1:7; 1 Cor. 11:26; 1 Cor. 15:23, 58; Phil. 1:9-10; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:4-5; 1 Thess. 1:3, 10; 1 Thess. 2:12, 19; 1 Thess. 3:13; 1 Thess. 4:13; 1 Thess. 5:1-6, 23, 24; 2 Thess. 1:7, 10; 2 Thess. 2:1-14; 2 Thess. 3:5; 1 Tim. 6:14; 2 Tim. 1:12, 18 ; 2 Tim. 4:1, 8, 18; Titus 2:12-13; Heb. 9:28; 10:37 ; James 5:7-9; 1 Peter 1:5, 13; 2 Peter 3:11-14; 1 John 2:28; 1 John: 3:2-3; Jude 14, 21, 24; Rev. 3:11; Rev. 22:7, 12, 17, 20.
5 THE RESURRECTION OF THE JUST DIFFERENT IN SOURCE, CHARACTER, TIME, AND, ISSUES, FROM THAT OF THE UNJUST.
Luke 14:14; Luke 20:35-36; John 5:28-29; John 6; Rom. 8:11, 23; 1 Cor. 6:14; 1 Cor. 15; 2 Cor. 4:14; 2 Cor. 5:1-10; Phil. 3:11, 20, 21; Heb. 11:35; Rev. 20:5-6.
Oh, what a bright and blessed world Rev. 11:15.
This groaning earth of ours will be, Rom. 8:21.
When from its throne the tempter hurl'd, Rev. 20:3.
Shall leave it all, O Lord, to thee. Zech. 14:9.
But brighter far that world above, Rev. 21:10-11.
Where we, as we are known, shall know; 1 Cor. 13:12.
And, in the sweet embrace of love, John 17:23.
Reign o'er this ransomed earth below. Rev. 21:24.
IF THIS TRACT SHOULD FALL INTO THE HANDS OF ANY THAT ARE SAYING, WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
THEY WILL FIND THE ANSWER IN Acts 16:31, AND Acts 26:18.