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His Coming Does Not Mean Death.
His first coming did not mean death to the Jews, and they did not so understand it; neither does His second coming mean death to Christians, nor should they so understand it.
Jesus makes a clear distinction between death and His coming in John 21.1 He tells Peter how he should die, and then, by contrast, He speaks of John, saying: "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" That is, that John might not die, but live till Jesus should come again. The disciples so understood it, and reported that he should not die.
Death is an enemy,2 and at Christ's coming we are raised from the dead, and shout victory over death and the grave. "O Death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is thy victory?"3
(1) John 21:18. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
19. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this he saith unto him, Follow me.
20. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
21. Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man dot
22. Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come,
what is that to thee? Follow thou me.
23. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, It I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
(2) 1 Cor. 15:26. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
(3) 1 Cor. 15:23. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
54. So when this corruptible shall have put on lncorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
If we are faithful unto death (that is, though faithfulness cost us our lives) He has promised us a crown* but we do not receive it until He comes.5
Nothing. is promised us at death, except to be at rest6 in Paradise.7 But we are promised all things in the resurrection, when Jesus comes.8
Therefore we find Paul yearning for this resurrection.9
He did not want to be unclothed by death but clothed upon by the resurrection.10
(4) Rev. 2:10. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
(5) 2 Tim. 4:8. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, Which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
1 Pet. 5A. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
(6) 2 Thes. 1:7. And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.
Rev. 14:13. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth. Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
(7) Luke 16:22. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried.
Luke 23:43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
(8) Luke 14:14. And thou shalt be blessed; for they can
not recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
Luke 20 :35. But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
36. Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
Rom. 8:32. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
(9) Phil. 3:11. If by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead.
(10) 2 Cor. 5:4. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
1 Cor. 15:51. Behold, I.shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54. So when this corruptible
Let any one insert "death" in the passages which speak of Christ's coming and he will see that it will not apply. For instance:
"For 'death' shall come in the glory of His Father." Mat. 16:27. ,
"When 'death' shall sit in the throne of His glory." Mat. 19 :28.
"Hereafter shall ye see 'death' sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." Mat. 26:64.
"Behold he (death) cometh with clouds and every eye shall see Him." Rev. 1:7.
"For our conversation is in heaven, from whence, also, we look for 'death.'" Phil. 3:20.
If the reader thinks that these are exceptional passages, we beg of you to try it in other Scripture referring to His coming. The only possible similarity consists in analogy— viz.: in the fact that we do not know the time when we shall die. But thanks be to God, we may not die at all, for "We shall not all sleep." 1 Cor. 15:51.
There will be one generation, at least, who will realize that the coming of our Lord is not death.
And if it is not admissible to say "for 'death,' himself, shall descend from heaven with a shout" (1 Thes. 4:16), neither is it admissible to say, "Watch, therefore; for ye know not what hour 'death' doth -come." Mat. 24:42.
For, by such wresting of Scripture, we jostle this prominent truth, of our Lord's advent, into the back-ground, and substitute therefor the 'grim monster,' death.
Death Is Not Practically the Coming of the Lord.
It is assuming too much, to say that death is practically, to the believer, the coming of the Lord. For we do not know it, and the Scriptures do not assert it. On the contrary, the events which occur, as the Scriptures teach us, when the Lord comes, do not occur at the death of a Christian. The dead are not then raised, nor are the living be
shall have put on lncorruptlon, brought to pass the saying that and this mortal shall have put is written, Death is swallowed on immortality, then shall be used in victory.
lievers changed, as they will be when the Lord comes. We know very little about Hades or the intermediate state of the dead. It is probably true that, since the resurrection of our Lord, the souls of believers, at death, go to a Paradise above, so that Paul could say "absent from the body, present with the Lord." 2 Cor. 5:8. But it would appear, from Rev. 6:9-ll,M that certain of the departed souls yearn for the execution of Judgment, which occurs when the Lord comes.12 Spiritually, the believer is with Christ now, and always,18 but, to be with Christ, bodily,14 is only to be attained by the resurrection, at His coming.15 Therefore, it is entirely unscriptural to instruct the believer to look for death, as being synonymous with, or equivalent to, the Lord's coming.
(11) Rev. 6:9. And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
10. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11. And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
(12) 1 Cor. 4:5. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
2 Tim. 4 :1. I charge thee in the sight of God, and of Christ Jesus, who shall judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
Rev. 11:18. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that
fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. Also Mat. 25 :31-40.
(13) 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.
Mat. 28:20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
(14) John 12:26. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
John 17:24. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
(15) 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.
1 Thes. 4 :17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Dr. David Brown's Testimony.
Rev. David Brown, although a prominent Post-millenialist, recognizes this and he says: "The coming of Christ to individuals at death—however warrantably we may speak so, and whatever profitable considerations it may suggest— is not fitted for taking that place in the view of the believer which Scripture assigns to the Second Advent." And he very properly illustrates by the following passages:
"'Let not your heart be troubled (said Jesus to his sorrowing disciples): In my Father's house are many mansions; I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go away' —What then? 'Ye shall soon follow me? Death shall shortly bring us together?' Nay; but 'If I go away, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am there ye may be also.' John 14:3.
"'And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 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'—What? Take you home soon to himself at death? Nay, but shall 'so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.' Acts 1:10-11."
"And," he adds, "how know we that by jostling this event (the Advent) out of its scriptural place in the expectations of the Church, we are not, in a great degree, destroying its character and power as a practical principle? Can we not believe, though unable to trace it, that God's methods are ever best; and that as in nature, so perhaps in revelation, a modification by us of the divine arrangements, apparently slight, and attended even with some seeming advantages, may be followed by a total and unexpected change of results, the opposite of what is anticipated and desired? So we fear it to be here.''" We would that we had space to, quote more, for we admire this frank admis
* Second Advent, pages 21, 22.