COMING EVER IMMINENT.
IN the first chapter we tried to show you that the coming of Jesus in the future is a certainty. In this chapter we pass on to establish the fact that the coming of our Lord is ever imminent.
Imminent means impending, threatening, near.
What we mean by the coming of the Lord being ever imminent is that
Jesus is likely to come for His Bride at any moment.
The doctrine of the post-millennialist is that the world will be
brought to Christ through human agencies in the Gospel dispensation; that we
shall have one thousand years of perfect peace, at the end of which time Jesus
shall come and make an end to everything terrestrial.
At first thought this theory might seem plausible, but upon
investigation we find it contrary to the Word of Truth.
Let us examine the 24th chapter of Matthew, the 13th chapter of Mark,
the 17th and 21st chapters of Luke. These
chapters treat of the second coming of the Lord.
What do we here find portrayed? A
thousand years of peace prior to the coming of Jesus and leading up to that
event? Nay, verily.
The picture is a dark one. “As
the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.”
How were the days of Noah? Let
God answer. “And God saw that
the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of
the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”—Gen. 6: 5.
This does not sound like there was a thousand years of peace and
righteousness immediately preceding the flood.
Our post‑millennial brethren tell us that there will be a
thousand years of peace preceding the coming of our Lord; but God says, “As
the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man
be.”—Matt. 24: 37. “Likewise
also as it was
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
in the days of Lot . . . even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” —Luke 17: 28-30. How was it in the days of Lot? Let God answer. “The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous.” —Gen. 18: 20. “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” —Jude 7. “For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.” — 2 Peter 2: 8. This does not sound as though we shall have a thousand years of peace before Jesus comes.
“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” —Matt. 24: 14. Some think that this text teaches that all the world will be converted before Jesus comes. There is no such intimation in the text. The gospel is now preached in many places, but in no place are all converted.
“For that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” — 2 Thes. 2: 3,4. Will “that man of sin” be revealed, destroyed, and then a thousand years of peace ushered in before the coming of Jesus? Let God answer. “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 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.” —2 Thes. 2: 7,8. In this text we are expressly told that the “man of sin” (the Antichrist) will continue until Jesus comes, and that Jesus will destroy the “man of sin” with the brightness of His coming. How then can we say that a thousand years of peace will precede the coming of Jesus?
COMING EVER IMMINENT.
The above few passages I have given in contradiction to the post-millennial doctrine. As many others have written at length on this line, I refrain from going into details here. I wish to devote my space to a phase of the subject that, so far as I have seen, has been largely neglected by others.
In passing on to the next phase of the subject, I wish to say that the
post-millennial theory is a poor encouragement to watchfulness.
Jesus certainly insisted that His people be ever watching for his
coming. If the Scriptures teach
us anything about the coming of Jesus, they teach us that no one knows when
the time is. “For as in the
days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and
giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not
until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the
Son of man be . . . . Watch, therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord
doth come.” — Matt. 24: 38-42. “But
of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in
heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
Take ye heed, watch and pray: for
ye know not when the time is.” —Mark 13: 32, 33.
“Be ye therefore ready also; for the Son of man cometh at an hour
when ye think not.” — Luke 12: 40. From
these Scriptures we should ever bear towards the coming of the Lord.
Anything that discourages watchfulness is contrary to the teachings and
exhortations of Jesus Christ. No
one can be watching for the coming of Jesus and be a post-millennialist at the
Perhaps few with post-millennial views will read these pages; but there
are many, even among the Pentecostal people, who put off the coming of Jesus.
Some get tangled by trying to put between them and the coming of the
Lord that which will not necessarily take place until the Bride have been
caught away. For instance we
recite Matt. 24: 14, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all
the world for a witness unto all nations; and
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
shall the end come.” The coming
of Jesus to catch away the saints is not “the end” of which Jesus here
spoke. In many places do we read
of “the end of the world” (end of the age, in the Original); but nowhere
does this expression refer to the coming of Jesus to catch away His Bride.
Revelation the 14th chapter certainly gives us a scene subsequent to
the catching away of the Bride, and we read in the sixth verse, “And
I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel
to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred,
and tongue, and people.” “The
end of the age” does not come until we reach the close of the 19th chapter
of Revelation. So you can see
that the gospel will not necessarily have to be preached unto all nations
before Jesus comes after His own.
Another difficult passage is Matt. 24: 29‑31.
Many miss the meaning altogether.
There are several passages in both the Old Testament and the New
Testament that speak of signs in the sky before the great terrible day of the
Lord comes. Many understand that
these signs are to appear before the catching away of the Bridehood saints,
but such is not according to the revelation of the Word.
Such signs may occur before the Bride are caught away; but the
Bible does not teach it as a necessity. “The
great and terrible day of the Lord” has no reference to the coming of
the Lord for His Bride; but it refers most directly to the battle of
Armageddon, to be fought at the end of The Great Tribulation.
The signs are to appear in the sun and moon and sky before The Great
Tribulation is over; but they are strictly tribulation scenes.
To place such signs before the catching away of the Bride is to
misconstrue the Scriptures.
If we would understand the facts taught in these verses mentioned, we
must remember that neither of the Gospel writers recorded the full
discourses of our Lord. (John 21: 25). They
recorded only such portions of His discourses as are essential to get men to
believe that Jesus is the Christ. (John
COMING EVER IMMINENT.
To understand the Bible on any subject, we must compare Scripture with
Scripture. All the Old Testament
prophets and New Testament writers refer to the revelation of Jesus; but the
Book of Revelation is the only Book in the Bible that was given
exclusively to set forth the facts of His coming.
The Book of Revelation is also the only Book that gives a discourse of
our Lord in full. Therefore, if we would get a correct idea of the consecutive
order of events relative to the second coming of Jesus, we must go to the Book
It is evident that the 4th chapter of Revelation gives us a picture of the catching away of the Bride. The events enumerated in the 6th chapter of Revelation open The Great Tribulation. In this chapter it is clear that certain phases of The Great Tribulation will precede the signs in the sun and moon and sky. The said signs take place under the sixth seal; and these things are preceded by war, famine, death, and martyrdom. Jesus said that wars, famines, and pestilences are the beginning of sorrows. Whether Jesus said anything between what is recorded in vs. 28 and what is recorded in vs. 29, we do not know. Whether He did or did not, by comparing Scripture with Scripture it becomes evident that “the tribulation of those days” refers to the wars, famines, etc., immediately connected with the catching away of the Bride. So let us read: Immediately after the tribulation connected with those days in which the eagles are gathered about the carcase shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken. In Rev. 6: 12‑14, we read of the very same event in these words: “The sun became black as sackcloth of hair. and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together.” Moreover, all these signs come immediately after the tribulation immediately following the catching away of the Bride.
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
to the meaning of the signs mentioned in vs. 29, I have not space to discuss
at length. In fact, the words
need little explanation if we are ready to accept the plain, simple statement
as it is. When men try to turn
the literal statements of the Bible into figurative language, they have to
write volumes trying to explain that which any child can understand.
In the verses above quoted, I take “the sun” to mean the sun;
“the moon” to mean the moon; “the stars” that shall fall to mean
falling or shooting stars. Taken
as I have given it, the passage presents no difficulty: taken any other way,
it presents many difficulties.
“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven.”
Connected with the second coming of our Lord, there are two appearings:
the first, before The Great Tribulation to catch away the Bride; and the
second, at the end of the Age to set up His Millennial throne.
Nowhere in the Bible is the truth of His two appearings more distinctly
mentioned than here. His first
appearing is secretly and as quick as lightning; His second, is openly and
seemingly gradual. (Rev. 1: 7; 19: 11). “Then
shall all the tribes of the earth mourn.”
Why? Because He cometh “to execute judgment upon all.”
(Jude 15; Rev. 19: 11‑21). “They
shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great
Connected with the second appearing of our Lord, there is the sounding
of a trumpet, and the sending forth of angels to the four winds to gather His
elect. The year of Jubilee, which
was a type of the Millennium, was announced with a trumpet (Lev. 25: 9).
So the blowing of the trumpet on the day of atonement to announce the
opening of Jubilee was only typical of the blowing of the trumpet of the Lord
at His second appearing to announce the beginning of His Millennial reign.
The Jubilee trumpet “proclaimed liberty throughout all the land unto
all the inhabitants thereof.” (Lev. 25: 10).
Even so, the trumpet of Matt. 24: 31 will proclaim liberty from all
laws of Antichrist and oppressions of the devil.
The Scriptures so
COMING EVER IMMINENT.
teach that only a small number of the saints will escape The Great
Tribulation. (Luke 21: 36). Great
multitudes will go up out of The Great Tribulation (Rev. 7: 14), but
some saints will live on earth to see the last end of those days.
These few will be scattered throughout the whole world. (Rev. 12: 14;
Luke 21: 24). It is to gather
together at Jerusalem those scattered ones that the angels are at this time
Another theory is that Jesus can never come back to this world until
His prayer in John 17: 22, “That they may be one,” is visibly fulfilled to
the letter; until all the Lord’s people join the same church and have all
things in common as they did in Acts 4: 32.
This is a big theory without a thread of Scripture for its support.
There is an abundance of Scripture to teach that the Bridehood saints
are all one, but not one passage in all the Word teaches that all of them are
members of the same organization. No
Scripture teaches that all the saints will ever be “one,” neither
in this world nor in the world to come. “There
are three‑score queens, and four‑score concubines, and virgins
without number. My dove, my
undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one
of her that bare her. The
daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and
they praised her.”—Song of Solomon 6: 8, 9.
Some think that before Jesus comes for His Bride the church will reach
all the experiences and practices of the early Apostles.
There is truth in this, but is must be stated with care, lest it be
misunderstood. Such a thing is a
possibility, but not a necessity. No
doubt, God will have a class of people measuring up to the highest standard of
New Testament Christianity before He comes for them; but no one will ever know
just when certain ones have reached this standard, or just how many have
reached it, until the day has arrived. No
one can prove but that all through this age God has had certain ones ready for
His appearing. Elijah, at one
time, thought that he was the only person in the world who was serving God
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
but God assured him differently. Even
so, the Lord may have many in the world today who are in His highest will.
Others think that the Jews must all be gathered back to Palestine
before Jesus can come. There are many prophecies which promise the restoration
of Israel; but I have found no one that assures full restoration of the Jews
before the coming of the Lord. The
parable of the fig tree in Matt. 24: 32, likely refers to the gathering back
of the Jews. However, it is not
stated even there that the budding of “the fig tree” precedes the
coming of Jesus for His Bride. The
putting forth of the leaves precedes the “summer,” and surely the
“summer” represents, not a point of time, but a duration.
The coming of Jesus to catch away His Bride occupies, not a duration of
time, but a point. So no ground
for putting off the coming of Jesus is found here.
We are told in the Word that in the last days wickedness shall abound.
Even so, wickedness has abounded all through the centuries; and no one
will be able to tell just when the Bible picture is filled out to the finish.
close examination of the subject, I must say that I have been unable to
discover that the Bible places a single event between Pentecost and the second
coming of the Lord. Many things
are to take place between Pentecost and the millennial reign of Jesus—some
of them are already past; but nowhere have I found it positively stated that
any certain thing must take place before Jesus can come.
In other words, the Bible nowhere justifies us in putting off the
coming of Jesus a single moment; but it exhorts us to be looking for Him at
any instant. There has not been a
point of time since Jesus was glorified, but that there was a likelihood of
His second coming. It is an evil
servant who ever says, even in his heart, “My Lord delayeth his
coming.”—Matt. 24: 48.
through inspiration, wrote many things about the second coming of Jesus; yet,
he himself knew not the time. He
verily believed that Jesus would come again during his life
COMING EVER IMMINENT.
“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.”—1 Thes. 4: 15. Notice
that he did not say they which are alive and remain unto the coming of
the Lord shall not prevent us which are asleep.
That is the way he would have said it had he expected to be asleep
himself. If the Scriptures place
anything between the day of Paul and the coming of Christ, Paul did not so
understand it, for he expected Jesus to come during his life time.
are certain prophecies, of course, which have been fulfilled during the
passing centuries; but it is nowhere stated that any certain thing must take
place between any certain event and the coming of Jesus for His Bride.
closing, I wish to say that the true attitude of the church of Christ towards
His second coming is that of ever watchfulness.
When any church or individual fails to be on the alert for His coming
at any moment, that church or individual fails to measure up to God’s
closing, let me ask that our readers be not hasty in setting aside anything I
have said; but that they await further development and Scriptural proof of
the points taken.