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Jesus is coming Himself at the Rapture,8 to receive us unto Himself,7 and He is coming to this earth again, at the Revelation,8 the Same Jesus, and in Like Manner as He went away.*9
Lot. He comes, with 'clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Swell the triumphs of His train;
God appears on earth to reign.
But while there is such fearful foreboding of impending judgment and just retribution to those who love not the Lord Jesus, there is, on the other hand,
The Sweetest Comfort
for those who do love our Lord's appearing.
This is apparent when we understand the true position of the Church. We have seen that it is not to be confounded with the coming Kingdom, neither does it include the Old Testament Saints, for it was founded after Christ came.10 It was begun on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2)
'That is corporally, in the flesh.
(6) 1 Thes. 4:16. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first;
17. Then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
(7) John 14:3. 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.
(8) 2 Thes. 2:7. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until be be taken out of the way.
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:
9. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
(9) 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.
(10) Mat. 16:18. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will
and will be complete at the Rapture. 1 Thes. 4:17. It is like a parenthesis in God's dealing with His people, Israel. While they are broken off because of unbelief, the Church is grafted in.11 .
And being a companion in suffering with her Lord,12 following His example,13 walking in humility (Phil. 2:2-8; 1 John 2:6), during His humiliation,14 she shall "be counted worthy"15 of the greatest blessing in her exaltation with Him.18
The Bride of Christ.
Jesus is the Bridegroom, and the Church is His Bride.
John the Baptist stood as the last representative of the Mosaic dispensation. He said, "I am not the Christ. . . .
build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
(11) Rom. 11:17. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree.
(12) Acts 5:41. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
Phil. 1:29. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.
Also Heb. 10:34.
(IS) John 13 :15. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
1 Pet. 2:21. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
(14) Acts 8:33. In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
(15) 2 Thes. 1:5. Which is 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.
Rom. 8 :17. And if children, 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.
(16) Phil. 2:5. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
He that hath the Bride is the Bridegroom, but the friend of the Bridegroom which standeth and heareth Him, rejoiceth greatly because of the Bridegroom's voice; this, my joy, therefore, is fulfilled." John 3:28-29. Here we have a clear distinction between the Old Testament Saints and the Bride of Christ.
They shall be perfected, but God has "provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." Heb. 11:40. Not that the Church is more worthy, but because, that in the overflowing grace of God17 He has chosen the Church to be the heavenly Bride of Christ.*
The Church is the body of Christ,18 and her precious union with Him is most clearly set forth in the epistle to the Ephesians. She is there regarded as spiritually quickened19 and seated in the heavenlies20 with her risen Lord,21 having been "chosen in Him before the foundation of the world" to "be holy and without blame before Him in love."22 She is to be "to the praise of the glory of His grace .... accepted in the Beloved,"22 being "sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of
•Israel was an earthly bride, comforted with temporal blessings, and to these she shall be restored. Though now through unbelief she is desolate, her children shall yet be as the sand of the sea. Isa. 54; Jer. 3:1-18; 31:32; Ezk. 16; Hos. 1:10, 11; 2; 3. See page 162.
(17) Eph. 2:7. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, in Ms kindness toward us, through Christ Jesus.
(18) 1 Cor. 12:27. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
(19) Eph. 2:1. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.
(20) Eph. 1:3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.
Eph. 2 :6. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit to
gether in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
(21) Eph. 1:20. Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.
(22) Eph. 1:4. According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5. Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.
6. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. her inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession."23
Oh! that we might receive "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him" to "know what is the hope of His calling and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." 1:17-18. We should not walk "as other Gentiles walk," "but speaking the truth in love," grow up into Christ our living head, working together for the "increase of the body" and edification "in love" (4:1517) "till we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto A Perfect Man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." 4:13. That is, Christ as the head, and the Church as the body, will make one perfect man. "They twain shall be one flesh,24 "the New Man which is created in righteousness and true holiness" (4:24). The true seed of the woman, which shall bruise the serpent's head.25
Wherefore, the Church is exhorted to "grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby" she is "sealed unto the day of redemption" (Eph. 4:30), but to be "kind one to another, tender-hearted" (4:32), "walking in love" (5:2) "as children of light" (5:8), "circumspectly" and "wise, redeeming the time" (5:15-16), "filled with the Spirit (5:18), nourished and cherished (5:29) until sanctified and
(23) Eph. 1:13. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,
14. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
(24) Mat. 19:4. And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5. And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6. Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Eph. 5 :31. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall bs joined unto his wits, and they two shall be one flesh.
(26) Gen. 3:15. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Rom. 16:20. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [>e with you. Amen.
cleansed, she is presented unto the Lord "Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing," but "holy and without blemish," the Bride of Christ. "For we are members of His body."26 Can there be anything more precious than the thought of Jesus coming to take unto Himself His Bride? It is full of tenderness and love. What will He not do for her when He presents her unto Himself! The ecstasy of that meeting is above the power of description by tongue or pen. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." 1 Cor. 2:9. We have indeed "an earnest" "by His Spirit,"—the "first fruits" a foretaste of the joys to come. But Then shall the Church experience the rest of love—the fulness of communion— the rapture of her Lord's embrace, and be satisfied in the sweetness of His love.
The comfort of this truth is all lost if we fail to make the proper distinction between the Church and the Kingdom. The Church is not to be reigned over, but is to reign with Christ.27
No more heart-pangs nor sadness
When Jesus comes;
He'll know the way was dreary.
When Jesus comes;
When Jesus comes.
(26) Eph. 5:25. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up tor it;
26. That he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word,
27. That he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
30. Because we are members of his body.
31. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.
32. This mystery is great: but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church.
(27) 2 Tim. 2:11. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
12. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.