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give no broader meaning to the word oikovuévn (oikoumer nee) used by the Holy Spirit in Mat. 24:14 than in Rom. 10:18, or than to the equally strong words used in Col. 1:6 and 23.62 If we limit the one, we can, with equal propriety, limit the other. Because we have so full an account of Paul's work, we are apt to depreciate what was accomplished by the other Apostles and Disciples. Peter was in Babylon (1 Pet. 5:13), and tradition gives us account of the preaching of the gospel in Parthia, India, Ethiopia, Scythia, Spain and Britain.
So then we may rest confidently on the plain statement of Col. 1:23, as being such fulfillinent of Mat. 24:14, that the Church from that day to the present has not had, neither can have, in this, any sign or prophesied event standing between believers and the Lord's coming. If we take it upon ourselves to judge that the witness is not complete, or more presumingly, that it cannot be complete for centuries to come, then are we foolishly assuming a pre rogative which belongs to God only.
Only God Knows. Surely, only God can judge when the witness to all na tions is complete, and here lies the essence of this entire question. If the Church is the agent which is to proclaim the gospel until the witness is complete, no mortal can judge but what the witness shall be completed this moment. But we have no evidence that the Church is the only agent, and it is quite probable that she is not, for we read of another agent in Rev. 14:6.63
Therefore the witness may not be completed, until after the Church is taken away, and this other heavenly messenger proclaims the everlasting gospel to them that dwell on the earth, even unto every nation and tribe and tongue
(62) Col. 1:6. which is come unto you,
as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth.
23. See page 132.
(63) Rev. 14:6. And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
and people. Rev. 14:6 (see Greek). In this case it is not the Church which shall complete the witness and it evidently can be no sign to her.
We conclude then that like the day and hour,964 it is known to God only, and the Church can have no definite sign in it. Therefore nothing is left for us to do, but faithfully to continue proclaiming the glad tidings of the coming kingdom while we watch momentarily for the Bridegroom.
No. XI. Some Here Live to See Kingdom. It is objected, that we are taught in Mat. 16:28; Mark 9:1, and Luke 9:27,65 that the coming of Christ, and of the kingdom, should occur during the lifetime of some of the multi ade (Mar. 8:34) 66 to whom Jesus spake, and that therefore His coming and kingdom can only be interpreted spiritually, viz.: the establishment of the power of the gospel by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost, or as some hold, figuratively, viz.: the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish polity by the Romans, and the establishment of the Church. That is, as they say,-Christ came, by His Spirit, on the day of Pentecost and manifested His power through the disciples, in the preaching of the gospel, performing of miracles, etc.,-or, He came through the Roman army, destroyed Jerusalem and overthrew the Jewish polity,-and that His Kingdom is the Church over which He now reigns, or (as some say) in which or through which He now reigns over the nations of the earth.
(64) Mat. 24:36. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. (65) 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.
Mark 9:1. And he said unto them, Verily I say
unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste
of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
Luke 9:27. But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.
(66) Mark 8:34. And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny him. self, and take up his cross, and follow me.
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 Ilimself. 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, believ
,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 AJI wil 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 retum.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 Jather will send in my name, he sball teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Also 15:26 and 16:7.
(63) 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 hin,
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 ya 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,
19973 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) Eph. 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 filleth all in ail.
(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 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.
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."76 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 0:27, "till they see the Kingdom of God.”
We answer first, the limiting clause “shall not taste of
Also Rev. 12:5 and 19:15.
(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. 2:8. 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.
(76) 1 Tim. 6:14. That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing
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.