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trine of the Fathers, placing so much stress upon what we think they believed and taught, and yet upon this most important theme, cast aside what we know was their faith and testimony? Is it consistent? Dear reader, do let us here emphasize Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians: “Brethren, stand fast and
Hold the Traditions
(teachings) which ye have been taught whether by word or by our epistle.” That is, whether taught in writing, or orally, see Verse 5. Now, what were these traditions (teachings) if not the coming of Christ and the Reign of the Saints, of which Paul and the other Apostles wrote so freely? Being thus exhorted, it is reasonable to believe that they did hold them, and that they are the very traditions which Whitby and the other authorities clearly prove were held by the early Church. Then let us also hold,—not the comparatively modern post-millennial theory of Whitby, —but the aged faith of the Fathers.
The Apostles Were Not Mistaken.
We cannot believe (as some assert) that the Apostles were mistaken, and consequently not inspired upon this theme, nor that they and all the early Christians mocked themselves with false hopes in regard to the pre-millennial coming of Christ. They watched and waited for the return of our Lord, as a sure event, the hour of which none but the Father knew, but which had been enjoined upon them as uncertain” and imminent.** And as they passed away
in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his
(39) 2 Thes, 2:5. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these
house to be broken up.
to the unseen domain of Paradise, they have left us the written Word, their reiterated traditions (teachings handed down), and their great hope. So we take up their vigil, hopefully watching, not daring to say that He will come tomorrow, nor a thousand years hence, but only this are we sure oi, He may come now.
God has held this glorious hope constantly before the Church, to keep her in her proper attitude of expectancy and longing, until the Bridegroom comes. Like Israel in the wilderness, we should realize that we are pilgrims and strangers, seeking a Land, a City, and a King, which are beyond our Jordan of death and resurrection.
Death and Resurrection is the common lot of the great mass of the Church. But, of course, there will be some living when Christ comes,” who will not die but be changed in a moment,” and be caught up, like Elijah, with the raised saints to meet the Lord in the air. 1 Thes. 4:16-18.
when he will return from the (42) 1 Thes. 4:15. For this
wedding ; that, when he cometh
We say unto you by the word of
It may be at morn, when the day is awaking,
When sunlight thro’ darkness and shadow is breaking,
That Jesus will come in the fullness Of glory,
It may be at midday, it may be at twilight,
While its hosts cry Hosanna, from heaven descending,
With glorified saints and the angels attending,
With grace on His brow, like a halo of glory,
Oh, joy! Oh, delight! should we go without dying;
CHAPTER VIII. Tiagram. We here present the following diagram, merely as an outline of the order of events, in connection with our Lord’s return. We exhort (1 Thes, 4:18, margin) a faithful study of it, together with the references and explanations appended, believing that, as an object lesson, it will be a great help to the reader to understand these mighty
EXPLANATION. *—The birth of Christ, the King of the Jews. Mat. 2:2. f—The death and resurrection of Christ. A—Ascension of Christ. Acts 1:9. D–Descent of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2.
Church—Mystical body of Christ. Eph. 1:22-23; 3:3-6; Rom. 12:4-5; Col. 1:24-27; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; and the Bride of Christ, Eph. 5:21–23. De—Descent of the Lord (1 Thes. 4:16) to receive His Bride. John 14:3. R—Resurrection of the just. Lu. 14:14; Acts 24:15; 1 Thes. 4:15-16; and change of living believers. 1 Cor. 15:23, 51, 52. Rapture—Translation of the saints who (like Enoch) are caught up to meet Christ in the air. 1 Thes. 4:17. M—The meeting of Christ and His Bride. 1 Thes, 4:17; Eph. 5:21-32; 2 Cor. 11:2. This is our gathering together unto Him. 2 Thes. 2:1. And the marriage of the Lamb. Mat. 22:2-10; 25:10; Lu. 14:15-24; Rev. 19:7-8. So shall we ever be with the Lord. John 12:26; 14:3; 17:24; 1 Thes. 4:17. It is the Hope of the Church. Phil. 3:20-21; Tit. 2:13; 1 John 3:2-3. And the redemption mentioned in Lu. 21:28; Rom. 8:23; Eph. 4:30. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words. 1 Thes. 4:18. Thus the Church escapes the tribulation. Lu. 21:36; 2 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 3:10. T.—Period of unequaled tribulation to the world (Dan. 12:1; Mat. 24:21; Lu. 21:25-26), during which—the Church having been taken out—God begins to deal with Israel again (Acts 15:13-17; Psa. 51:18; 102:16), and will restore them to their own land. Isa. 11:11; 60; Jer. 30:3; Jer. 31; 32:36-44; Amos 9:15; Zech. 8:10; Rom. 11. Antichrist will be revealed. 2 Thes. 2:8. The vials of God's wrath poured out. Psa. 2:1-5; Rev. 6:16-17; Rev. 14:10; 16. But men only blaspheme God. Rev. 16:11-21. Israel accepts Christ (Zech. 12:10-14; 13:6), and are brought through the fire. Zech. 13:9. They pass not away. Mat. 24:34; Psa. 22:30.