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worship God. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book; for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Verse 20. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly: Amen Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Those passages which are generally supposed to refer to Christ's FINAL COMING at the Resurrection of the Dead.
John 14: 3. And if I go, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Acts 1: 10, 11. And while they (his disciples) looked steadfastly toward heaven, as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 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 ye have seen him go into heaven.
Phil. 3: 20, 21. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.
1 John 3: 2. Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
1 Thess. 4: 13-17. But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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. 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. 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.
1 Cor. 15: 21-26. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and power. For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
1 Cor. 15: 51, 52. Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Closing Remarks on the Coming of Christ.
By a careful perusal of the above texts, it will be seen that they not only teach the coming of Christ, but that they speak of him as coming, expressly and designedly, for the purpose of executing justice and judgment in the earth. And by comparing the texts on the coming of Christ with those which teach the judgment and end of the world, it will be readily acknowledged that they all stand immediately connected, and all teach the same thing. The same is equally true of those texts which speak of the last day, last times, great day, &c. Whenever and wherever the coming of Christ is mentioned in the Bible (as in Section I., this Chapter), that coming is immediately connected with judgment, which is to be executed in accordance with the works of the creature; according to the deeds done, &c. From the foregoing facts it appears evident that these four different classes of texts namely, on the judgment, end of the world, last days, and the coming of Christ are all nearly related, and signify the same thing. Hence we come to the conclusion that the coming of Christ (as taught in these passages) merely signifies his coming to close the legal dispensation, to establish the gospel, and execute justice and judgment in the earth.
But as there are various opinions respecting the coming of Christ, and the object of his coming, we will briefly notice the different periods, as they are taught in the Bible.
The first appearance of Christ in the world, so far as we have any knowledge, was his appearance in the flesh, as an infant of days. This coming was predicted by the prophets of God, as the introduction of Messiah on earth.
His second appearance must have been in spirit and in power, to the overthrow of his enemies, the destruction of their city, and the final close of legal rites and ceremonies. This coming was not only foretold by the prophets, but pointedly declared by Christ himself. He declared to his disciples, and the people, that the coming of the Son of Man with power should take place during that generation. See Matt. 16 27, 28; 25: 30-34; Mark 8: 38, and 9: 1. This is the coming referred to in the first section of this chapter and which stands immediately connected with judgment in the earth
The only place in the Scriptures where the numeral, second, is fixed to the time of Christ's coming, is in Heb. 9: 28, where the apostle words it thus: "Unto them that look for him (Christ) shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation." Paul, in this chapter, compares the sacrifice of the high priest, under the law dispensation, with the offering of Christ; and, in conclusion, says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment; so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation." We have already noticed these passages, in our remarks on the judgment, which see. We will, how-' ever, briefly notice them here, by giving them their proper reading. "And, as under the Law dispensation it is appointed unto the high priest to die once the year, and, after this, judgment to justification, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of the many; and unto them that look for him, shall he appear the second time, without a sin offering, unto salvation." When Paul wrote this epistle to the Hebrews, Christ had not made his second appearance. The time, however, was then near at hand. The apostle and his brethren were looking for the sudden and powerful coming of Christ, to exe cute judgment upon that wicked and abandoned generation. The exhortations of the apostles, to their friends and others, show tha they expected Christ's second approach. Paul reasoned of righteousness, of temperance, and of a judgment about to come. Peter could say, "The end of all things is at hand." And John says, "Little children, we know that it is the last times." And when Christ did make his appearance in power, without a sin offering, to the deliverance or salvation of those who looked for him, he, at the same time, was a consuming fire to his enemies.
Paul, in 2 Thess. 1: 6-9, says, "Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you. And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." This ordeal by fire was at Christ's second coming, and transpired about forty-one years after his resurrection. See remarks on the above passages in this work
Christ warned his disciples to be on a look-out, to be ready; "For the Son of Man cometh at an hour when ye think not." In the parable of the sheep and goats, Matt. 25, he describes the scene by showing the different conditions of the obedient and disobedient. To the one it is said, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." To the other it is said, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." See Matt. 25 : 34—41.
The scenes above described were all to take place at the time when Christ made his second appearance on earth; when he delivered and rewarded the righteous, but cast off and punished the wicked.
Let it be here remembered that those scriptures which teach the judgment, the end of the world, or age, and the second coming of Christ, all stand connected, and allude to the same time and things; all of which are to take place on the earth, during the lifetime of men, and in strict accordance with their merit and demerit. We will also state that Dr. Macknight, Dr. Warburton, Bishop Newton, Dr. A. Clarke, and most others who have written on this subject, are unanimous in the opinion that what is strictly termed the second coming of Christ is a figurative coming, namely, in spirit or power; and that this took place at the destruction of Jerusalem, the abolition of the Jewish dispensation, and the establishment of the kingdom of heaven in the earth. That this opinion is correct, we think no well-informed mind will dispute. The words second time, in relation to this subject, occur in no other passage in the New Testament, excepting Heb. 9: 28, and which are sufficient to fix the period, as above stated, beyond a rational doubt.
There are other passages, however, in the New Testament, which speak of the coming of Christ, as attended by different circumstances. In Section II., this Chapter, we have arranged those passages which appear to teach the resurrection of the dead, in connection with the personal appearance of our Saviour. The object of this (third) coming appears to be to raise the dead to a state of incorruption, immortality and glory.
The first passage we have noticed at the head of this class of scriptures, is John 14: 3. In the preceding verse Christ says to his disciples, "In my Father's house there are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for
you." Then adds, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." In the 28th verse he says, "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you." These expressions appear to imply that as he was then personally with them, he would in person leave them, and come again in like manner. In Acts 1: 10, 11, it is said, "As he (Jesus) went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel; 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 ye have seen him go into heaven." These expressions positively show that as our Saviour in person left the world, so he in person (in like manner) would return to it again. That Christ has already made his appearance on earth in power, which appearance was called his second coming, we have already shown. But his appearance in person, as above described, is not as yet made manifest. Hence we must look for another, and a personal coming, of our Saviour on earth. This is the only remaining coming of Christ for which we are authorized to look or expect. We are informed of no other. And here let it be strictly borne in mind that this personal and third coming of our Saviour stands nowhere connected either with judgment or rewards and punishments. The class of texts which teach this last coming identifies it as standing immediately connected with the raising of the dead. Paul encourages his Philippian brethren, by informing them that Christ (for whom they looked from heaven) should change their vile bodies, that they might be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. John says, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." 1 John 3: 2. Paul, 1 Thess. 4: 13-17, says "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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 (o hinder the rising of) them which are asleep. For the Lord