Time or Eternity? ™

What the 2nd coming of Christ means

In The Second Advent on April 15, 2012 at 8:00 am

When I speak of that event, I refer to His personal (in the sense of visible) reappearing on this earth. I mean what He himself means in Matthew 24, when He says to His disciples:

” Hereafter ye shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” And what the angels mean when, in Acts 1, addressing the disciples on Mount Olives after the ascension of our Lord, they say“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 same Jesus,” not His spirit, not His influence, not His truth, not His church, but Himself. Did they see Him as He went up? Then shall they see Him as He comes down? Did He go up in a body? Then shall He come down in a body. Did He go up in the clouds? Then shall He come down in the clouds., “This same Jesus shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.”

I mean what Peter means when, as recorded in Acts 3, addressing the multitude in Jerusalem and referring to the Savior as now being received into the heavens, he declares that He is retained there only until the times of restitution of all things spoken by the prophets since the world began. Hidden now is He, concealed from the view of His people, but the time is coming when He shall be hidden or concealed no more but manifested in glory, and they with Him.

A LITERAL ADVENT

“The Lord himself “—mark the intensive pronoun!—” shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.” What John means when, in Revelation 1: 7, he declares: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him.” Can anything be plainer? Can the English tongue express itself in clearer terms than these? But I would call your attention to another feature of the proof. There are certain words employed in the New Testament to express the second coming of Christ like “presence,” “revelation,”” appearing,” the meaning of which is always the corporeal or bodily presence of the object, or person referred to.  And why not? Did not Jesus come the first time personally and visibly? And which is the more likely, that He should come as an infant cradled in a manger, or riding upon the clouds of heaven in power and great glory? Do we not think the first advent less likely than the second?

Do we not feel that if it were literal the other most certainly should be? But pass with me from the question as to what is meant by the second coming of Christ to another,— When will He come? Were I asked to answer that question from the chronological point of view, I must say that I do not know. No man knows. Even the Son of man Himself said He did not know. It was hidden in the will of His Father. There have been those who have attempted foolishly and sinfully, I believe, to set dates and fix times and seasons for His coming, and have brought disrepute upon this precious doctrine. They have awakened a kind of repugnance to it so that good men are afraid to teach it in the class-room or preach it in the pulpit lest they be associated with the fads and fanaticisms that have grown up around it.  Shall we refuse to emphasize a truth which the Holy Spirit has so often emphasized, because Satan has sought to dishonor it? Of course not.

You know the Bible teaches that this earth is yet to see a time of peace and righteousness such as it has never seen. A period that will cover a thousand years, from which it takes the name of the “millennium,” which means a thousand. But the Bible further teaches that Jesus is coming before that time, and that it is His coming which shall introduce and make the millennium a possibility. There is, indeed, a difference of opinion upon this matter. There are good Christians who believe the second coming is post-millennial, that it will follow rather than precede that period. And because of this I would speak with modesty and without contention on the subject, but, nevertheless, I must witness to the truth as I see it, and as God has revealed it to my heart and understanding. The pre-millennial coming of Christ was the teaching of the apostolic church, and the primitive church as well; and only when the latter began to decline in faith and practice did she lose sight of ” that blessed hope” and the power of it.

It was only the Church began to think of it as an event afar off rather than near at hand, after the millennium, and not before it. And, take the words of Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, referring to the ” falling away “ or the apostasy. He tells us that it had already begun in his own day, and would continue from century to century, increasing in strength, until at last it would be developed and headed up in the “man of sin,” the “son of perdition,” whom the Lord would ” slay with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the brightness of His coming.”


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