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He'll know what griefs oppressed me,
When Jesus comes;
When Jesus comes.
This subject of our Lord's coming again is of such vital importance and is so largely interwoven with the whole of Scripture, that it affords a boundless field of investigation and an exhaustless mine of truth. There is much more we would be glad to say about it, but our little book has already exceeded the intended limit,* and we will only add a few words in regard to the time.
'To those who may wish for further information on this subject, we would recommend, among other helps, the sermon by Mr. Moody. "Maran-atha," by Dr. Brookes. "He Will Come," by Dr. Tyng. "Plain Papers on Prophetic Subjects," by W. Trotter. Also the published addresses delivered at the conferences in England, to-wit: "Sixteen Addresses on the Blessed Hope," and "Our God Shall Come," and especially the Pre-Millennial Essays, delivered at the Prophetic Conference in New York and "The Great Prophecies," by Geo. H. Pember.
And first let us make a clear distinction between the time of the Rapture and the time of the Revelation.t (See diagram.)
The principal thought in regard to the former is that it may happen Now. Nothing is given us in Scripture so definite as to form a sign of or date for the Rapture. We are to be always watching and waiting for it, and expecting it at any moment.
It is true that the Church may see the "fig tree signs" Begin to come to pass1 before she shall be taken out of the world to escape the Tribulation.2
But these signs are of such a nature, especially the "wars and earthquakes," "distress of nations, sea and waves roaring," that the Church in each of the past eight
tFailure to do this has led many to make grievous errors in setting dates for our Lord's return.
(1) 1m. 21:25. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26. Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
29. And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30. When they now shoot
forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
(2) Lu. 21:34. But take heed to yourselves, lest haply your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day come on you suddenly as' a snare:
35. For so shall it come upon all them that dwell on the face of all the earth.
36. But watch ye at every season, making supplication, that ye may prevail to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
een centuries might consistently have believed that the signs were Beginning.
So we have no date for the Rapture, Only that it will precede the Revelation. That is, that Christ will come for His Church3 before He comes with His Church,* the period of the Tribulation lying between the two.
The time of the Revelation, we believe, is designated by many prophetic periods, in Lev. 26, Daniel and Revelation. But their symbolical character and our imperfect chronology render the interpretation of them difficult and uncertain. We must not take space here to consider them, but we venture to state that earnest and prayerful study of them has given us an assured conviction that they are rapidly drawing to a close.
Two events must precede the Revelation, which will indicate its proximity, to-wit: the Restoration (partial at least) of Israel,5 and the rise of Antichrist.6
(3) 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.
(4) Jude 14. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints.
(5) Ezek. 22:19. Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.
20. As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you.
21. Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my
wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof.
22. As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the Lord have poured out my fury upon you.
(6) Zech. 13:8. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two partt therein shall be cut off and die , but the third shall be left therein.
9. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God.
2 Thes. 2 :7. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth wtil let, until he 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.
But Antichrist will not be revealed—as we understand from 2 Thes. 2:7,—until after the Rapture. Neither is it probable that the restoration of Israel (except partially in unbelief, Zeph. 2:1-2), will take place until after that event. For "Jerusalem shall be trodden down .... until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24), and the tabernacle of David shall not be rebuilt until He has taken out of the Gentiles a people to His name. Acts 15:14-16.
It has pleased God to give signs, or evidences, of the approach of these events and by which we might know that the day was drawing near,7 but, as we have before said, they have been of such a character that the Church could see them repeated in each generation. And this we believe was purposely designed, in order to give the church No Date and No Sign which might so definitely indicate the time of her Rapture, that she should in any interval cease to be vigilant. It was evidently all planned, so that the unfolding of events should be, to her, a constant incentive to watchfulness.
The High Priest went into the Holy of Holies alone, and the whole congregation waited in expectation without until he had made the offering and came forth to bless them. Lev. 16; Nu. 6:23-26; Lu. 1:10. So has our High Priest entered once for all into the True Holy Place, and the Church should look for Him in fervent expectation, until He appears the second time without sin unto salvation.8 She must watch "with loins girded about and lights burning, like men that Wait for their Lord."
(7) Heb. 10:25. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as' the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.
(8) Heb. 9 :24. For Christ it, not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25. Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy
place every year with blood of others;
26. For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28. So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many: and unto them that look for him
Yet we have the blessed assurance that every passing day brings our salvation nearer than when we believed.9 And, while it is true that the church, during all her history, has had repeated evidence that the day was approaching, we ask, what are these evidences in our time1! Surely they are of especial significance.
We believe, if we can rightly read the signs of the times, that the godless, lawless trio of communism, nihilism and anarchy, so alarmingly permeating the nations today, are unclean spirits preparing the way for Antichrist.
The Jews Returning.
And, again, the Jews are, even now, returning to Jerusalem.
It is said that, "At the beginning of the nineteenth century the Porte allowed no more than three hundred of the hated people to live in the city. Forty years later that restriction was removed, but another still remained, by virtue of which they were permitted only to reside in a particular quarter of the town, which was much too small for them. It was in the year 1867 this last regulation was removed and since then the progress made by the Jews in peopling their ancient capital has been extraordinary. Almost every one of the old houses as it fell vacant has been bought by them while they have built a prodigious number of new ones in all parts of the town. Schools, hospitals and religious associations have been started on a grand scale, as also a school for manual training and of agriculture."
At the present time, 1908, the city of Jerusalem has spread over a large extent of ground outside the walls. Great hospices, hotels, churches, stores, etc., have been erected, but most notable of all, a multitude of dwellings for the Jews.
The number of Jews now residing in the inner and outer
shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
(9) Rom. 13:11. And that, knowing the time, that now it is
high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.