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We answer—The Holy Spirit is a distinct person, not to be confounded with the person of Christ. The Savior expressly said: "I will pray the Father and He shall give you another comforter" (John 14:16), and if it be another, it cannot be Himself. He, the Holy Spirit, came according to the promises,67 and it is entirely inconsistent to confound this event with Christ's return, which latter is in accordance with other promises, that He should Himself come again. They are two events, as distinct as the births of Moses and John.
It is true that Christ is spiritually with, or in, believers,68 and it is just as true that He always has been, and that in this sense He has never left them, for He said: "Lo! I am with you alway," Mat. 28:20. Mark the language: "I Am with you alway." He was with them during those days of prayer previous to the day of Pentecost, and He has been with His people all the time. But suddenly the (Parakleetos) Comforter came, another person and for a special and glorious purpose. It is, therefore, conclusive, that this coming of the Holy Spirit is a manifestation of the Divine presence, entirely different from, and superadded to, the spiritual presence of Christ, which latter, according to His own language, has never been withdrawn from His people. He never went away spiritually, but He did go bodily and visibly, and in like manner shall He return.69
(67) John 14:16. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
26. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Also 15:26 and 16:7.
(68) John 14:23. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him,
and make our abode with him.
John 17:23. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Gal. 4:19. My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.
(69) Acts 1:11. 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.
Again, after the day of Pentecost, the disciples continued to talk of the coming of Christ, which they surely would not have done if His promise to return was fulfilled on that day. And after the destruction of Jerusalem (about A. D. 71), St. John wrote the book of Revelation (about A. D. 96), in which he repeatedly speaks of the coming of Christ as being yet future, clearly showing that it could not have been fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem.
Again, as we have before shown, the Church is not the kingdom, but the body of Christ,70 and His bride. Eph. 5. She is not to be reigned over,71 but to suffer and reign with Christ.72 She is "to be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God for which she suffers,"73 and therefore Paul exhorts the disciples (members of the Church) "that they must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22), and Peter stirs us up, putting us in remembrance to add the Christian graces and give all diligence to make our calling and election sure, for so an entrance shall be ministered unto us "into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." 2 Pet. 1:5-11.
Surely this language plainly distinguishes between the Church and the kingdom, and as plainly asserts that the kingdom is yet future. So we see that both the spiritual and figurative interpretations of the coming of Christ are without foundation.
Another theory has been advanced, viz.: that the coming of Christ in His Kingdom (Mat. 16:28) was fulfilled
(70) Epb. 1:22. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23. Which is his body, the fulness of him that fllleth all in all.
(71) John 15:15. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
(72) Rom. 8:17. And if chil
dren, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
2 Tim. 2 :12. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
(73) 2 Thes. 1:5. Which it a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer.
in what they term the spiritual coming on the day of Pentecost,—and that His coming in the clouds of heaven, in the glory of His Father, with the holy angels, etc., is his real, personal, visible coming at the end of the gospel age (which they also hold to be the end of time and of the world).
This seems to us to be founded upon a mere distinction of terms, where there is no difference in fact. For is it not at His coming in His Kingdom that He shall be, manifested in His glory?74 History proves—and all our ideas of the glory of Kings coincide with the fact—that such glory is identical with the majesty and manifestation of their kingdoms.
It is in Christ's Kingdom that He shall rule all nations with a rod of iron,75 and it is in His Kingdom that He is to be manifested as "the Blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords."78 Therefore His coming in His Kingdom and His coming in His glory are synonymous, and both are yet future.
Some of Them Did See the Kingdom.
Then what do the passages mean, to wit: Mat. 16:28, "verily I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom,"—or as in Mark 9 :1, "till they have seen the Kingdom of God come with power,"—or as in Luke 9:27, "till they see the Kingdom of God."
We answer first, the limiting clause "shall not taste of
(74) 2 Thes. 1:10. When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
(75) Psa. 2«. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
Also Rev. 12:5 and 19:15.
(76) 1 Tim. 6:14. That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
15. Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
Rev. 19:16. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
death" may have the deep signification, in which sense the true believers, who were standing there, shall never experience it.77 This is certainly the signification the same language has in Heb. 2:9,78 and if we understand it likewise in these passages, then we have all eternity for the fulfillment. However we only suggest this. We do not rely upon it, for we believe the word "till" more than intimates that the "some" should taste of death, and that therefore natural death or separation of soul and body was meant.
Peter Saw It.
But now let us mark well what the "some" standing there were to see, and then let us go up the Mount of Transfiguration, and gaze through the favored eyes of Peter, James and John upon the scene which is recorded immediately after the passage we are considering. Behold His face shining as the sun and His raiment white and glistening as the snow, or as the light. See Moses and Elias as they , appear in glory with Him, and listen to the communings of this exalted trio. Then bow in silent awe, as the cloud of surpassing glory overshadows them, and reverently listen to the voice of God, the Father, saying "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him." No wonder that even the favored and beloved disciples trembled with fear beneath this supernatural majesty and effulgent glory. Surely this was I Am" spanning the centuries and giving these apostles a view of His coming and kingdom.
So they understood it and Peter especially confirms it.
"For," he says, "we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and Com
(77) John 8 :B1. Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
52. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.
(78) Heb. 2:9. But we see
Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
(79) John 8:58. Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
ING of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount." 2 Pet. 1:16-18.
We cannot tell how much of the future they saw in that enraptured hour, but doubtless they had a specific vision of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in His kingdom and glory.
John Saw It.
We have only to turn to Revelation, where we find that He "which is and which was, and which is to come" permitted John to see (Rev. 1:2, 11, etc.) it most definitely. His enraptured vision swept the centuries. Time, to him, was annihilated and he gazed upon the literal facts. He actually saw them. Thirty-six times does he say "I saw," seven times "I beheld," and five times "I looked," besides many similar expressions. And he saw the very things mentioned in the passages.
"And I Saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and Truth, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire and on His head were many crowns, .... and He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called the Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.. . . And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
He saw the beast and kings of the earth gathered and taken and cast into the lake of fire. He saw Satan bound, and he saw Christ and His saints reigning for a thousand years. He saw it all in perfect fulfillment of the statements in the passage we are considering. Rev. 19:20.
Paul Saw It.
Paul also saw Christ in His glory and doubtless he saw all that John did, and probably more, for he saw things that it was impossible for a man to utter. (2 Cor. 12:4, margin.) Surely these are an absolute and literal fulfill