THE 2ND COMING OF CHRIST
AS TO THE TIME:
”Of the exact time we cannot be certain. When Jesus was on the earth He said—”But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither (not yet) the Son, but the Father.” Mark 13: 32. After His Resurrection and before His Ascension, He refused to satisfy the curiosity of His Disciples, saying to them—”It is not for you to know the ‘times’ or the ‘seasons’ which the Father hath put in his own power.” Acts 1:7.
While we do not know the day or the hour of Christ’s Coming we know that it will be PRE-MILLENNIAL.
By Pre-Millennial we mean before the Millennium. That is, before the period of a “Thousand Years” spoken of in Rev. 20: 1-6. This period is spoken of in other scriptures as “The Kingdom,” and is described in glowing terms by the prophets as a time when the earth shall be blessed with a universal rule of righteousness. The passage in Rev. 20: 1-6 simply tells us that the length of the period shall be 1000 years.
He will come first into the region of our atmosphere, and the “dead in Christ,” and the “living saints” shall be “caught up” to meet Him “IN THE AIR.” Then after the risen and translated saints have been judged and rewarded for their works, and they, as the Church, the Bride of Christ, have been married to Him, He will come with them to the earth and land on the Mount of Olives, the place from whence He ascended. Zech. 14:4.
The First Stage of His Return is called “THE RAPTURE”; the Second Stage—”THE REVELATION.” → The time between the two Stages is not less than seven years, and is occupied in the heavens by the “JUDGMENT OF BELIEVERS FOR WORKS,” and on the earth by “THE GREAT TRIBULATION.”
The Rapture is described in 1 Thess. 4:15-17. “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 (Michael) and with the trump of God; and the DEAD IN CHRIST shall rise first; then we which are ALIVE AND REMAIN (saints only) 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.”
From this we see that “The Rapture” will be twofold.
1. The Resurrection of the “DEAD IN CHRIST.”
2. The Translation of the “LIVING SAINTS.” This twofold character of “The Rapture” Jesus revealed to Martha when He was about to raise her brother Lazarus. He said to her:
“I am the ‘Resurrection and the Life,’ he that believeth in Me, though he were dead yet shall he LIVE (First Resurrection Saints); and whosoever LIVETH (is alive when I come back) and believeth in Me shall NEVER DIE.” John 11:25, 26. This twofold character of The Rapture, Paul emphasizes in his immortal chapter on the Resurrection.
“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, and we shall be changed. For this Corruptible (the dead in Christ) must put on incorruption, and this mortal (the living saints) must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY.
O DEATH, WHERE IS THY STING?
O GRAVE, WHERE IS THY VICTORY?”
1 Cor. 15:51-57.
The last two lines refer only to those who are “changed without dying,” for it is only those who will not die who can shout—
“O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?
“O Grave, Where Is Thy Victory?”
THE RAPTURE WILL BE A “SURPRISE”
“Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man COMETH.” Matt. 24: 42-44.
We see from this that when Christ comes back it will be when we are not expecting Him. He will come as a thief comes. A thief does not announce his coming. He comes for a certain purpose. He does not take everything there is in the house. He takes only the precious things. The jewels, the gold, the silver and fine wearing apparel. He does not come to stay. As soon as he secures what he is after he departs.
So Jesus at the Rapture will come and take away the saints only. The thief leaves much more than he takes. He leaves the house and the furniture and the household utensils. So the Lord at the Rapture will leave the wicked and the great mass of the heathen behind, for those who will be taken will be comparatively few.
THE RAPTURE WILL BE “ELECTIVE”
It will not only separate the saints from unbelievers, but it will separate husbands from wives, brothers from sisters, friends from friends.
“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. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Luke 17: 34-36.
The words “men” and “women” in this passage are in italics. That means that they are not in the original, and so the passage should read there shall be “two in one bed,” husband and wife, or two brothers, or two sisters, or two friends. Two in “bed” indicates night; two grinding at the mill, morning or evening; two in the field mid-day. This shows that the Rapture will happen all over the earth at the same time or as the Apostle describes it in a “moment,” or the “twinkling of an eye.” ”As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man Be” (Matt. 24: 27) is the way Jesus puts it.
The “Rapture” will be the most startling “event” of this Age and Dispensation. As it is to occur in the “twinkling of an eye” and all over the earth at the same time, that part of the world that is not asleep will witness the event. As to the “Shout of the Lord,” the Voice of the Archangel,” and the “Trump of God” we do not know whether their sound will be heard and distinguished by others than the “dead in Christ” and the “living saints.”
We know that one day the Father spoke to Christ in a voice that He understood, but the people who stood by mistook it for “thunder.” John 12: 28, 29. If the dead slip out of their places of sepulchre without disturbing them, the First Resurrection will be secret and probably unknown to the world, but it will not be so with the “Living Saints” who are translated. If it is night on our side of the globe when the Rapture occurs the community will wake up in the morning to find all the real Christians gone, disappeared in the night.
If it be day, the “EVENT” will be startling. If it be at a pleasant time of the year, the boats, and cars, and parks will be filled with pleasure seekers. If it be in the midst of the week, and during the business hours of the day, the shops and stores will be filled with shoppers and the mills with toilers, and the streets of the cities lined with men and women and children on pleasure and business bent. Suddenly a noise from heaven will be heard like a great peal of thunder. The people will rush to doors and windows, and those on the streets and in the fields will look up to see what has happened. To the vast majority it will be but a startling and alarming sound, but to many it will be the “VOICE OF THE LORD.”
But when the people recover from their surprised and affrighted condition they will discover that a great many people are missing, and that the missing were the best people in the community.
At first the whole thing will be a Mystery, until some one who had heard or read about the “Rapture of the Saints,” realizing what has happened, will explain the situation.
But one of the surprises of that day will be that so many professing Christians, and among them many ministers and Christian workers, will be left behind, while some who were not known to be Christians will be missing. For a few days the excitement will be intense. Then the people will settle down to the inevitable. With the exception of a few who will repent and turn to God, the mass of the people will become more hardened and wicked than before, and some who lost loved ones will be embittered.
As the Holy Spirit will have gone back with the “Raptured Ones,” and the “Saints,” the SALT of the earth, been taken out, there will be nothing to prevent the rapid degeneration and “Moral Putrefaction” of those who are “left,” and sin and iniquity and all manner of crime and worldliness will increase and pave the way for the manifestation of Antichrist, under whose administration the world will rapidly ripen for judgment.
At the “Second Stage” of Christ’s Second Coming, the “Revelation,” we shall behold His “Glory.” When Jesus came the first time He was disguised in the flesh. The “Incarnation” was the hiding of His Power, the veiling of His Deity. Now and then gleams of glory shot forth as on the Mt. of Transfiguration; but when He comes the Second Time we shall behold Him clothed with the glory He had with the Father before the world was.
The “Revelation” will be as sudden and unexpected as was the “Rapture.” The people will be buying and selling, building and planting, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. The statesmen will be revolving in their minds new plans for the world’s betterment.
The pleasure-loving will be seeking new sources of pleasure. The wicked will be plotting dark deeds; and the unbelieving will be proving to their own satisfaction that there is no God, no heaven, no hell, no coming judgment, when suddenly there will be a change. In the distant heaven there will appear a “POINT OF LIGHT,” outshining the sun. It will be seen descending toward the earth.
As it descends it will assume the form of a bright cloud, out of which shall stream dazzling beams of light, and flashes of lightning. It will descend apace as if on the wings of the whirlwind, and when it reaches its destination over the brow of the Mt. of Olives it will stop and unfold itself to the terrified and awestricken beholders, and there will be revealed to them Jesus seated on a “White Horse” (Rev. 19:11-16) and accompanied with His Saints and the armies of Heaven.
Then shall be fulfilled what Jesus foretold in His Olivet Discourse— “Then shall appear the sign (a cloud) of the Son of Man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven WITH POWER AND GREAT GLORY.” Matt. 24:30.
Following the “Revelation” will be the “Battle of Armageddon,” and then Christ will sit upon the “THRONE OF HIS GLORY” and judge “The Nations,” (Matt. 25:31-46), after which He will set up His “Millennial Kingdom.”—Rightly Dividing The Word; By Rev. Clarence Larkin (1850-1924); Publish date; 1921.
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