« PreviousContinue »
Thus the Church came in as a mystery, and was but rarely, if at all, spoken of in the Old Testament prophecies. For we read in Rom. 16:25 that it is a “mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,” and in Eph. 3:3-6, “The mystery
which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, " and in Col. 1:2427 . “Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest
the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles."
It was this mystery of the Church which so puzzled the prophets and caused them to inquire and search diligently what the Spirit meant when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ. See 1 Pet. 1:10-12.23 They could un
13. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ :
Eph. 5:23. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church; and he is the Saviour of the body.
24. Therefore as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
25. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.
27. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any
such thing; but that it should be holy
and without blemish.
28. So ought men to lovo their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no
man ever yet bated his own flesh: but nour
isheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church :
30. For we are members of his body.
31. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32. This is a great mystery : but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
(23) 1 Pet. 1:10. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
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.
12. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angeis desire to look into.
derstand the glory of the Kingdom, which should follow, but could not understand the mystery, which has been revealed unto us, and which interested the angels; to-wit, a suffering Messiah and a persecuted Church.
The Church is to be the Bride of Christ, which He is going to present unto Himself. Eph. 5:23-32.
But now she is a Virgin of sorrow and affliction, a companion in suffering with her espoused Husband-the Lord Jesus Christ.24
He said: "Because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you,” and “if they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:19-20), and “in the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33), and the apostle says, "yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Tim. 3:12. See also John 17:14; 1 Thes. 3:3.25
And this is perfectly consistent. For this world has murdered the Son of God, and is guilty of His blood, but the Father bears this insult to His matchless love and grace, patiently staying the day of vengeance, being long suffering and not willing that any should perish.26
If He thus bears with the murderers of His Son, will He not bear with the persecutors of His Church ?
And this persecution will continue until Jesus comes and takes the Church away,27 and saves her from the great hour of temptation (or trial), which shall come upon
-------(24) 2 Cor. 11:2.
is not slack concerning his promjealous over you with godly jeal ise,
count slackousy: for I have espoused you ness; but is longsuffering to usto one husband, that I may pre ward, not willing that any should sent you as a chaste virgin to perish, but that all should come Christ.
to repentance. (25) John 17:14.
have (27) 1 Thes. 4:16. For the given them thy word; and the
Lord himself shall descend from world hath hated them, because
heaven with a shout, with the they are not of the world, even
voice of the archangel, and with
the trump of God: and the as I am not of the world.
dead in Christ shall rise first; 1 Thes. 3:3. That no
17. Then we which are alive should be moved by these af
and remain shall be caught up fiictions : for yourselves know
together with them in the clouds,
meet the Lord in the air: that we are appointed thereunto.
and so shall ever be with (26) 2 Pet. 3:9. The Lord
For I am
all the world,28 when He shall recompense tribulation to them that have troubled her.29 And this spirit of rebellion. and persecution will continue, even through the tribulation30 and up to the very day of the Lord,31 when Christ shall be revealed in flaming fire,32 with His Saints, to
(28) Rev. 3:10. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
(29) 2 Thes. 1:6. Seeing it is a righteous thing with Gud to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
(30) Rev. 16:9. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name
of God, which hath
power over these.
11. And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
14. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
21. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
(31) 2 Pet. 3:1. This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance;
2. That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
3. Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4. And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water :
6. Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7. But the heavens and the earth which are
now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of un. godly men.
8. But, beloved, be not igno. rant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thou. sand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some med count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burnt up.
(32) 2 Thes. 1:7. And to you that are afflicted rest with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of his power in flaming, fire, 8.
Rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus :
execute judgment upon the earth.33 So we see that thero is no place in the whole earthly history of such a persecuted Church, for the Millennial Kingdom. For, in that time, "righteousness and peace" shall kiss each other, “truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look out of heaven." Psa. 85.
“A King shall reign in righteousness, and Princes shall rule in judgment.” Isa. 32:1. With righteousness shall He judge the poor. Judah and Israel shall be restored and dwell safely. There shall be no harm nur destruction in all God's holy mountain, and even the animals shall be at peace.34
Again, from all of these passages, and especially Isa. 60, we see that restored Israel and Jerusalem are to be the very central glory of the Millennial Kingdom. But God does not restore Israel and rebuild Zion, or Jerusalem, until He appears in His glory.
“When the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory.” Psa. 102:16. And He does not build up
9. Who shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might,
10. When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be marvelled at in all them that believed (because our testimony unto you was believed) in that day.
(33) Jude 14. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints.
15. To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their bard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (34) Isa.
11:4. But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the
breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
5. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
6. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the caii and young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
7. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together : and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
9. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain : for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
Rom. 8:21. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Zion or the tabernacle of David until He has taken out the Church.35
Thus we see a clear distinction between the suffering Church and the glorious Kingdom, which are separated by the Tribulation, to-wit:
See Diagram, page
72. The Church Shall Be Rewarded. But, do you ask: “Is the Church always to suffer and be persecuted ?”
Surely not. For she shall yet be married. And the light affliction shall work out a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory in the things which are not (yet) seen, 36 and the church shall be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God for which she suffers, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven.37 Therefore we glory in
22. For we know that the whole creation groanet
and travaileth in pain together until now.
23. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of cur body.
Also Jer. 23:3-8 and 32:3644; Ezek. 34, 36 and 37 and many others.
(35) Acts 15:13. And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
14. Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
15. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
16. After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up :
17. That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the
Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord who doeth all these things. (36) 2 Cor. 4:17.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory ;
18. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen : for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
(37) 2 Thes. 1:4. So that we ourselves glory in you in the