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Like Noah, Israel passes through it.
So the Church should humble herself to walk with God (Micah 6:8), as Enoch did (Gen. 5:24), having the testimony that she pleases God,21 and watch for the Rapture at any moment.
The Jews, through their dates and seasons, may look for the Revelation, or day of the Lord, a day of thick darkness to them, in which there is no light at all.22 Yet, in it they will accept Christ23 and "at evening time it shall be light," and "living waters shall go out from Jerusalem." Zech. 14:6-8.
The Rapture, or being caught away, at the coming of the Bridegroom, is full of the sweetest comfort for the believer, and therefore Paul says, "Comfort one another with these words." 1 Thes. 4:18.
But the Revelation of Christ with His Saints, to take vengeance on the ungodly, is full of solemnity and terror to them who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.24
(21) Heb. 11:5. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
(22) Amos 5:18. Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light.
19. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.
20. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?
(23) Zech. 12:9. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
10. And I will pour upon the
house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of suppliestions; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.
(24) Rev. 6 :12. And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13. And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15. And the kings of the
earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond man, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16. And said to the mountains
and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17. For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
Also 2 Thes. 1:7-10.
The Church and the Millennial Kingdom.
The second point is: The distinction between the Church and the Millennial Kingdom.
The Christian Church (eWXijo-ia—ekkleesia), meaning assembly or congregation, is distinct from the congregation of the Mosaic dispensation, or Church in the wilderness.1 For, until after Christ came, it was a thing of the future. This is proved by His assertion in Mat. 16:18, "On this rock will I build my Church," showing that it had not yet been built.
And, it is likewise distinct from the Millennial Kingdom, which is to follow it.
The Church is a companion of Christ in His humiliation, manifesting His sufferings and filling up the afflictions which are behind.2
The Kingdom is the manifestation of the glory of Christ which shall follow,3 when He "shall sit in the throne of His glory," and when they who have suffered with Him during this time of the trial shall also be exalted to regal power and authority.4 This Kingdom was at hand,5 that
(1) Acts 7:38. This is he, that was in the church (ecclesia —congregation) in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:
(2) Col. 1:24. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church.
Also 2 Cor. 1:5-6; Phil. 3: 10; 2 Tim. 1:8.
(3) 1 Pet. 1:11. Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was
in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
(4) Mat. 19:28. And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Also Luke 22 :28-30.
(5) Mat. 3:2. And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Also Ch. 4:17 and 10:7.
is, it came nigh6 (or approached, same Greek word),7 when Jesus, the King, came. So much so, that the three favored disciples witnessed a foretaste of its glory and power on the Mount of Transfiguration.8
But the Jews rejected it and slew their King. They were not willing to have this man reign over them, and therefore the Kingdom did not "immediately appear." It became like a nobleman which "went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom and to return." See Luke 19:11-27. By this parable Jesus distinctly taught that the Kingdom was in the future.
The Kingdom Still Future.
It was in the future when Christ said: "I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof (the passover) until it be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God," and again, "For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God shall come." Luke 22:16-18; also Mat. 26:29; Mark 14:25.
(6) Luke 10:9. And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
10. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,
11. Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding, be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
(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.
Also Luke 12 :33.
(8) Mat. 17:1. And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart,
2. And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine
as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
3. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
4. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
5. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.
6. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
7. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.
8. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.
9. And as' they came down from the mountain, Jesus
It was in the future when the thief cried, "Lord remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom." Luke 23:42. Joseph of Arimathea, who laid Jesus' body in the sepulchre, "waited for the Kingdom of God," which also indicates that it was still in the future. Mark 15:43.
It was still future when Paul exhorted the disciples to continue in the faith, and said "that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God." Acts 14:22. It was in the future while the persecuted Thessalonians suffered, that they might "be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God." 2 Thes. 1:4-5.
It was most assuredly future when, years afterward, Peter gave his exhortations as follows: "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things ye shall never fall. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." 2 Pet. 1:10-11. And it has been future during all the long, sad history of the faithful and godly Church, while she has suffered the terrible persecutions of fagot, inquisition, banishment, ridicule and false accusation.9
And it will be future until Jesus, "having received the Kingdom,"10 shall return to recompense tribulation to
charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
Also Mark 9 :1-10; Luke 9: 27-36.
2 Pet. 1:16. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the , power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were, eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory,
This is my beloved Son, in whom
18. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount.
(9) 2 Tim. 3:12. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
(10) Luke 19:15. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.