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And yet it is her blessed privilege, in all her affliction, to know that she travails in the birth of souls,44 which are born from above by the Holy Ghost (John 3), and that the gospel (good news) of the Kingdom, which she preaches is the power of God unto salvation unto all who believe.45
The Bride of Christ.
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 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."
In this precious passage (Eph. 5) the Church, as the Bride of Christ, is typified by the most intimate, tender and sacred relationship known among the children of men.
Abraham's servant went into a far country (Gen. 24) to seek a bride for Isaac, who was the honored type of Christ as a sacrifice. Gen. 22. So has the Holy Spirit come into the world to seek a Bride for Jesus. The servant said, "Hinder me not." So the Holy Ghost is striving with the world, and pleading with cold-hearted professors, that He may hasten the presentation of the bride to the Bridegroom. See Mat. 22:2-10.
Rebekah said, "I will go." So the Bride should be
the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts.
1 Tim. 4:1. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.
2 Tim. 3 :1. This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers', disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4. Traitors, heady, htghminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Also 2 Tim. 4 :l-5.
(44) Gal. 4:19. My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.
Also 1 Cor. 4:15; Phile. 10.
(45) Rom. 1:16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
yearning to go. God has made the wedding and prepared the feast, and all things (except the Bride) are ready for the rapturous meeting, and blessed are they who are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. Rev. 19:9.
O! that the Church would work a hundredfold more earnestly for the conversion of souls and the edifying of the body of Christ, that the bride might be complete, and thus hasten the coming of her Lord,46 ever listening to catch the midnight cry: "Behold the Bridegroom comethl" and "so be ready to go out to meet Him." Mat. 25:6.
"O! I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine;
The bride eyes not her garment, but her, dear Bridegroom's face;
I will not gaze at glory, but on my King of Grace;
(46) 2 Pet. 3:11. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12. Looking for and hasting the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
TRIBULATION—RESURRECTION—JUDGMENT. The Tribulation.
We use this term to designate the whole period of earthly history, between the Rapture and the Revelation, or between the Church and the Millennial Kingdom. It will not altogether be a time of tribulation, for in it "they shall rejoice and send gifts one to another5' (Rev. 11:10), and shall say "peace and safety." 1 Thes. 5:3. We believe that it will be comparatively a short season, because the '6,000 years and the times, or year-days, of prophecy have nearly run out. Doubtless it embraces the last one of Daniel's seventy weeks,1 for the reason that then God begins to deal with Israel again, after He has taken the Church away,2 and yet it is probable that it includes much more than the seven years of that week.
It is certain that there will be in it a period of unequalled trial, sorrow and calamity,3 spiritual darkness and open wickedness.4 It is the night of the world.5 But the
(1) Dan. 9:27. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
(2) 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 mv name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
(3) Mat. 24:21. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Also Dan. 12 :1.
(4) 2 Pet. 3 :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.
Also Luke 18 :7.
(5) John 9:4. I must work true Church, which is not of the night,* being watchful and prayerful, will be accounted worthy to escape it, by the Rapture, and to stand before the Son of Man,7 while a third part of Israel will be brought through it,8 and for the elect's sake the days of this culminating tribulation shall be shortened0 by the revelation of Christ.10 From Isa., chapters 24 to 28, an idea may be gained of the terrible character of this period, during which Antichrist will also be revealed (see p. 107). Some, especially from the remnant of Israel, will accept of Christ and become His witnesses, and be slain by Antichrist. These we call the tribulation saints, who are to be raised at the close of the great tribulation, as the gleanings of the great harvest of the first resurrection.
In regard to the Resurrection, we would say that the literal rendering of 1 Cor. 15:23, is "but each one in his own band."
It seems plain that the resurrection of those "who are Christ's at His coming," includes both those who constitute the Bride, who are raised at the Rapture, when Christ
the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
Luke 17:34. I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
(6) 1 Thes. 5:4. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
(7) Luke 21:36. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Also Rev. 3:10.
(8) Zech. 13:9. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God.
(9) Mat. 24:22. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
(10) 2 Thes. 1:7. And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.
2 Thes. 2:8. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.
comes into the air; and the Old Testament saints,11 the friends of the Bridegroom,12 who doubtless are raised in a different band from the Church, see Rev. 6:9-ll,13 and also those who believe and suffer during the tribulation,14 who will be raised at the Revelation (when Christ comes to the earth), to take part with Him in the Millennial Kingdom.16
(11) Job 19:25. For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
26. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
27. Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
Isa. 26:19. Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
Hos. 13:14. I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
Ezek. 37:12. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
13. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
14. And shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live; and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.
Also Heb. 11:39-40.
(12) John 3:28. Ye your
selves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.
29. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
(13) Rev. 6:9. And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
10. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11. And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
(14) Rev. 13:15. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
(15) Rev. 20:4, And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received