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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."39 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 uncertain40 and imminent.4
And as they passed away
(39) 2 Thes. 2:5. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you,
15. So then, brethren, stand tast and hold the traditions which ye were taught whether by word, or by epistle as of ours.
(40) Mat. 25:42. Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth copie.
43. But know this, that if the goodman of the house bad known
in what watch the thief would
ye also ready : for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
(41) Luke 12:35. loins be girded about, and your lights burning;
36. And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord,
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, hopefuily 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, 42 who will not die but be changed in a moment, ,43 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 wedding; that, when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
37. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
38. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them SO, blessed are those servants.
39. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. 40. Be ye
therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
Heb. 10:37. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
(42) 1 Thes. 4:15. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
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.
18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
(43) 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 twink ling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and
It may be at morn, when the day is awaking,
To receive from the world "His own.”
It may be at midday, it may be at twilight,
When Jesus receives “His own.'
While its hosts cry Hosanna, from heaven descending,
Will Jesus receive "His own."
Oh, joy! Oh, delight should we go without dying;
When Jesus receives “His own.'
the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Mat. 23:37. 0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a ben
gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Diagram. We here present the following diagram, merely as an out 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 questions.
EXPLANATION. The birth of Christ, the King of the Jews. Mat. 2:2. t-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. Dem 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.