William E. Blackstone
Jesus is Coming
Jesus Is Coming Again
Reader, do you know that Jesus is coming again.
He said, "I will come again" (John 14:3) and His word endureth forever, for He is the truth.
The angels said He would come again. "The same Jesus," "and in like manner ," and they were not mistaken when they announced His first coming.
The Holy Spirit, by the mouth of the apostles, hath repeatedly said He would come again. Is not such an event, stated upon such authority, of vital importance to us?
At His first coming, the world rejected Him. He was the despised Nazarene. But when He comes again, He will appear as "the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords."
He is coming to sit upon the throne of His glory, and to be admired in 'all them that believed, and to rule, in judgment and equity, all the nations of the earth.
How glorious it will be to see the King in His beauty.
Perhaps you are not a Christian, and say- "I Don't Care Anything About It."
Then, dear friend, we point you to the crucified Savior as the only hope of salvation.
We beg of you to "kiss the Son," lest ye perish from the way. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him. What shall it profit you if you gain the whole world and lose your own soul? He is coming, and we know neither the day, nor the hour, when He may come. What if He should come now? Would you be found of Him in peace," or would you be left behind to endure the terrible things which shall come upon the world, while the church is with Christ in the air, and be made at His appearing to mourn and pray to the mountains and rocks to hide you from His face?
"Prepare to meet thy God," was the solemn injunction to Israel (Amos 4:12), and every one of us, both Jew and Gentile, must meet Him, either in grace or in judgment.
We, then, as ambassadors for Christ, beseech you: be ye reconciled to God, now, in the accepted time, in the day of salvation. Do let us entreat you to repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, and that you may turn "to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from Heaven," and be unblamable at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But if you are a Christian, then we point you to His coming again, as The True Incentive to a Holy Life. Jesus is coming, therefore mortify your members which are upon the earth, that you may appear with Him in glory.
Strive and pray for purity of heart, that You may "be like Him and see Him as He is." Search the Word, that you may be sanctified and cleansed thereby, and that your whole spirit, and soul, and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. But possibly you say, with contempt, "Oh, That's Second Adventism." Beloved, have you considered that Moses, so David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Zecariah, all the prophets and apostles, were believers in the second advent of Christ? And because some, by setting dates, and other errors, have brought disrepute upon this doctrine, shall we east it aside altogether?
But it may be you say (as we have been pained to hear from so many even earnest Christians): "Well, I Don't Think It Concerns Me Much, Anyway: I've always thought that in most cases it meant death, and if I'm prepared for death, that's enough; and there is too much speculation about it to suit me; and I don't believe it's a practical doctrine; and, more than that, I think it's a mistake to pay so much attention to it."
Yes, even thus do many Christians, who profess to be members of the body of Christ, end who have been espoused unto one husband, that they may be presented to Him -summarily dispose of this precious truth, that Jesus is coming, to take unto Himself His bride.
0, beloved, do not thus deprive yourself of this comforting truth. Please take your pencil and mark in your Bible the passages that pertain to it; and see How Large a Portion of the Word Is Devoted to It. If the Holy Ghost has deemed it so important, is it not worthy of our attention? The Word exhorts us to give attention to it; and the danger of condemnation is to them who do not.
Again, please to examine the passages cited under the heading, ((A Practical Doctrine," on page 180 and see how Jesus and the apostles used this doctrine to incite us to watchfulness, repentance, patience, ministerial faithfulness, brotherly love, etc., and then decide whether anything could be more practical.
Surely no doctrine, in the Word of God, presents a deeper motive for crucifying the flesh, and for separation unto God, and to work for souls, as our hope and joy and crown of rejoicing than this does.
For the whole teaching of it is, that our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence, also, we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body." It awakens groaning for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
It gives us a view of the world, as a wrecked vessel, and stimulates us to work with all our might that we may save some. Most, if not all, of the evangelists of our day are animated by this doctrine, and surely their work is practical.
Again, Peter says, "We have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed (as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise) in your hearts" ; and he exhorts us to be mindful of these words. Therefore we are not speculating when we prayerfully study prophecy.
Perhaps you ask, " Are not these prophecies to be interpreted 'spiritually'? And does not this 'coming' mean our acceptance of Him at conversion, and the witness of the spirit? Or does it not mean His reign over the Church?" etc.
No! Not at all. Think a moment. Do you condemn the Jews for rejecting Christ, when He came in such literal fulfillment of prophecy, and yet reject the same literalness about his second coming? This is not consistent, and while we believe Luke 1 :31, to be literally true, let us believe likewise in regard to verses 32 and 33.
Luke 1 :31-33:
"31. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus. "
"32. He shall be great, and shall.be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto HIm the throne of His Father, David.
"33. And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end:"
The inconsistency of accepting literally verse 31, and 'spiritualizing' 32 and 33; is clearly illustrated by the following account of a conversation between ,a Christian minister and a Jew:
"Taking a New Testament and opening it at Luke 1 :32, the Jew asked: 'Do you believe that what is here written shall be literally accomplished,-The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His Father, David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever" 'I do not,' answered the clergyman, 'but rather take it to be figurative language, descriptive of Christ's spiritual reign over the Church.'
"'Then,' replied the Jew. 'neither do I believe literally the words preceding, which say that this Son of David should be born of a virgin; but take them to be merely a figurative manner of describing the remarkable character for purity of him who is the subject of the prophecy.' 'But why,' continued the Jew, 'do you refuse to believe literally verses 32 and 33, while you believe implicitly the far more incredible statement of verse 31" 'I believe it,' replied the clergyman, 'because it is a fact,' 'Ah!' exclaimed the Jew, with an inexpressible air of scorn and triumph, 'You believe Scripture because it is a fact, I believe it because it is the Word of God.'"
And now, dear reader, was not the argument of the Jew candid and forcible? There are symbols, figures or tropes, metaphors, etc., used in Scripture and there are, also, allegories.
But, unless they are so stated in the text, or plainly indicated in the context, we should hold only to the literal sense.
The words of Christ in John 7:38 we are told in the very next verse were spoken "of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive."
The allegory in Gal. 4 :24-31 in no possible manner detracts from the literal sense of Scripture, but on the contrary it confirms it. We know that both Hagar and Sarah had a literal physical existence. Mt. Sinai and Jerusalem are literal.
We have a literal Christ, the mediator of the new covenant. And so we beheve that the Jerusalem which is above," of which Sarah is typical-"the heavenly Jerusalem," "the new Jerusalem which cometh down out of heaven from God," is also literal, tangible and real. How then, are we authorized, from such examples as these (which. are most prominent among those cited by Post-millennialists as authority for "spiritualizing"), to do away with the literal sense of Luke 1 :32-33, or of the multitude of passages which predict the restoration of Israel, the coming of Christ, or which describe His glorious Kingdom? There can be no warrant for it. It subverts the authority and power of the Word of God, and Post-millennialists, by so doing, open wide the door for skeptics and latitudinarians of all descriptions. There are a portion of the Israelites in the present day who style themselves "reformed " or "liberal." They likewise spiritualize the Old Testament prophecies and have therefore ceased to look for any literal Messiah. One of them not long since said to the writer "the nineteenth century is the Messiah," and this absurd doctrine is now quite generally preached in their principal congregations. That even Jews should thus join with Gentiles in "spiritualizing" Scripture, is a marvelous sign of the times in which we live. ["When the Son of Man cometh shall He find (the) faith on the earth?" Luke 18 :8.] Why! the same process of spiritualizing away the literal sense of these plain texts of Scripture will sap the foundation of every Christian doctrine and leave us to drift into absolute infidelity, or the vagaries of Swedenborgianism.
What is the purpose of language, if not to convey definite ideas' Surely the Holy Spirit could have chosen words to convey His thoughts correetly. Indeed it is all summed up in the inquiry of a little child, "If Jesus didn't mean what He said, why didn't He say what He meant ", But we believe that He did mean what He said, and that His words will "not pass away." Mat. 24:35.
He said that. He came "not to destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfill," and "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Mat. 5:17-18.
Prophecies Literally Fulfilled at the First Coming.
If He came and literally fulfilled the prophecies of a suffering Messiah, Psa. 22, Isa. 53, etc., will He not as surely come and likewise fulfill the prophecies of a glorified Messiah reigning in victory and majesty' Psa. 2; 72; Dan. 7: 13-14, Isa. 9; 11; 60, etc. Think of the many prophecies descriptive of a suffering Messiah, which we have seen literally fulfilled, and upon which we rest, as such strong evidence for the truth and inspiration of the Word, to wit:
Isa. 7:14-Born of a virgin.All these were literally fulfilled when Christ came. Do not, then, reject the literal fulfillment of those numerous prophecies which describe His future coming, and His glorious reign upon the earth. Namely:
Mic. 5 :2-At Bethlehem.
Jer. 31 :15-Slaughter of the children.
Hos. 11 :1- Called out of Egypt.
Isa. 11 :2-Anointed with the Spirit.
Zech. 9 :9-Entry into Jerusalem.
Psa. 41:9; 55: 12-1'J;-Betrayed by a friend.
Zech. 13:7- Disciples forsake Him.
" 11 :12-Sold for thirty pieces of silver.
" 11 :13-Potter's field bought.
Isa. 50 :6-Spit on and scourged.
Ex. 12:46; Psa. 34:20-Not a bone broken.
Psa. 69 :21-Gall and vinegar.
Psa. 22-Hands and feet pierced.
-Garments part-ed-lots cast.
Isa. 53-Poverty, suffering, patience, and death. And
many other passages.
Prophecies to be Literally Fulfilled at the Second Coming.
That He shall come Himself,- 1 Thes. 4 :16.
That He shall shout,- 1 Thes. 4 :16.
That the dead will hear His voice,- John 5 :28.
That the raised and changed believers will be caught up to meet Him in the air,- 1 Thes. 4:17.
That He will receive them unto Himself,- John 14:3.
That He will minister unto His watching servants,- Lu.12:37.
That He will come to the earth again,- Acts 1 :11.
To the same Mount Olivet from which He ascended,- Zech. 14:4. In flaming fire,- 2 Thes. 1 :8.
In the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,- Mat. 24:30; 1 Pet. 1:7; 4:13.
And stand upon the earth,- Job 19 :25.
That His saints (the Church) shall come with Him,- Deut. 33:2; 1 Thes. 3:13; Jude 14.
That every 'eye shall see Him,- Rev. 1:7.
That He shall destroy Antichrist,- 2 Thes. 2 :8.
That He shall sit in His throne,- Mat. 25 :31; Rev. 5 :13.
That all nations will be gathered before Him, and He will judge them,- Mat. 25 :32.
That He shall have the throne of David,- Isa. 9:6-7; Lu.1:32; Ezek. 21:25-27.
That it will be upon the earth,- Jer. 23 :5-6.
That He shall have a kingdom,- Dan. 7 :13-14.
And rule over it with His saints,- Dan. 7:18-22-27; Rev. 5:10.
'I'hat all kings and nations shall serve Him,- Psa. 72:11; Isa. 49:6-7; Rev. 15:4.
That the kingdoms of this world shall become His kingdom,- Zec 9:10; Rev. 11:15.
That the people shall gather unto Him,- Gen. 49 :10.
That every knee shall bow to Him,- Isa. 45 :23.
That they shall come and worship the King,- Zech. 14 :16; Psa. 86 :9.
That He shall build up Zion,- Psa. 102 :16.
That His throne shall be in Jerusalem,- Jer. 3 :17; Isa. 33 :20-21.
That the Apostles shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel,- Lu. 22 :'28-30.
That He shall rule all nations,- Psa. 2 :8-9; Rev. 2 :27.
That He shall rule with judgment and justice,- Isa. 9:7.
That the Temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt,- (Ezek. chapters 40-48),
And the glory of the Lord will come into it,- Ezek. 43 :2-5; 44:4.
That the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,- Isa. 40 :5.
That the wilderness shall be a fruitful field,- Isa. 32 :15.
That the desert will blossom as the rose,- Isa. 35 :1-2.
And His rest shall be glorious,- Isa. 11 :10.
And many more we might mention.
Surely, there is no symbolism in these plain prophecies, which gives us any authority to "spiritualize" them. Rather let us expect that He will as literally fulfill these as He did the others at His first coming.
His Coming Does Not Mean Death.
His first coming did not mean death to the Jews, and they did not so understand it; neither does His second coming mean death to Christians, nor should they so understand it.
Jesus makes a clear distinction between death and His coming in John 21. He tells Peter how he should die, and then, by contrast, He speaks of John, saying: "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" That is, that John might not die, but live till Jesus should come again. The disciples so understood it, and reported that he should not die.
Death is an enemy, and at Christ's coming we are raised from the dead, and shout victory over death and the grave. "0 Death, where is thy sting' 0 Hades, where is thy victory?"
If we are faithful unto death (that is, though faithfulness cost us our lives) He has promised us a crown but we do not receive it until He comes.
Nothing is promised us at death, except to be at rest in Paradise. But we are promised all things in the resurrection, when Jesus comes.
Therefore we find Paul yearning for this resurrection.
He did not want to be unclothed by death but clothed upon by the resurrection.
Let anyone insert "death" in the passages which speak of Christ's coming and he will see that it will not apply. For instance:
"For 'death' shall come in the glory of His Father." Mat. 16:27.
"When 'death' shall sit in the throne of His glory." Mat. 19 :28.
"Hereafter shall ye see 'death' sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." Mat. 26 :64.
"Behold he (death) cometh with clouds and every eyu shall see Him." Rev. 1:7.
"For our conversation is in heaven, from whence, also, we look for 'death!" Phil. 3 :20.
If the reader thinks that these are exceptional passages, we beg of you to try it in other Scripture referring to His coming. The only possible similarity consists in analogy: in the fact that we do not know the time when we shall die. But thanks be to God, we may not die at all, for "We shall not all sleep." 1 Cor. 15:51.
There will be one generation, at least, who will realize that the coming of our Lord is not death.
And if it is not admissible to say "for 'death,' himself, shall descend from heaven with a shout" (1 Thes. 4:16), neither is it admissible to say, "Watch, therefore j for ye know not what hour 'death' doth come." Mat. 24 :42.
For, by such wresting of Scripture, we jostle this prominent truth, of our Lord's advent, into the back-ground, and substitute therefor the 'grim monster,' death.
Death Is Not Practically the Coming of the Lord.
It is assuming too much, to say that death is practically, to the believer, "the coming of the Lord. For we do not know it, and the Scriptures do not assert it. On the contrary, the events which occur, as the Scriptures teach us, when the Lord comes, do not occur at the death of a Christian. The dead are not then raised, nor are the living believers changed, as they will be when the Lord comes. We know very little about Hades or the intermediate state of the dead. It is probably true that, since the resurrection of our Lord, the souls of believers, at death, go to a Paradise above, so that Paul could say "absent from the body, present with the Lord." 2 Cor. 5 :8. But it would appear, from Rev. 6 :9-11 that certain of the departed souls yearn for the execution of Judgment, which occurs when the Lord comes. Spiritually, the believer is with Christ now, and always but, to be with Christ, bodily, is only to be attained by the resurrection, at His coming. Therefore, it is entirely unscriptural to instruct the believer to look for death, as being synonymous with, or equivalent to, the Lord's coming.
Dr. David Brown's Testimony.
Rev. David Brown, although a prominent Post-millenialist, recognizes this and he says: "The coming of Christ to individuals at death-however warrantably we may speak so, and whatever profitable considerations it may suggestis not fitted for taking that place in the view of the believer which Scripture assigns to the Second Advent." And he very properly illustrates by the following passages:
"'Let not your heart be troubled (said Jesus to his sorrowing disciples): In my Father's house are many man- sions; I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go away' - What then? 'Ye shall soon follow me? Death shall shortly bring us together? Nay; but 'If I go away, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also.' John 14:3.
" 'And while they 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' - What? Take you home soon to himself at death? Nay, but shall 'so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.' Acts 1 :10-11."
"And," he adds, "how know we that by jostling this event (the Advent) out of its scriptural place in the expectations of the Church, we are not, in a great degree, destroying its character and power as a practical principle? Can we not believe, though unable to trace it, that God's methods are ever best; and that as in nature, so perhaps in revelation, a modification by us of the divine arrangements, apparently slight, and attended even with some seeming advantages, may be followed by a total and unexpected change of results, the opposite of what is anticipated and desired? So we fear it to be here." We would that we had space to quote more, for we admire this frank admission-that death is not the coming of our Lord-from one who labors so hard to support post-millennialism. Again, the substitution of death for the coming of the Lord practically degrades the grand doctrine of the resurrection, from its lofty prominence in Scripture, to almost an unnecessary appendage.
But we believe in the preaching of Jesus and the resurrection16 and we look forward with joyous anticipation to the resurrection from the dead, as the time when Jesus shall give us the victory over death.
Oh! that Christians might realize "the grace that is to be brought unto" us (not at death but) "at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Nowhere in the Savior's teachings are we commanded to watch or prepare for death. But we are commanded to watch and prepare for Christ's coming.
Therefore, let us not be deceived by the thought that our great enemy, Death, is the precious coming of Jesus.
So, beloved, we conclude that this glorious doctrine does concern you.
Search the Scriptures.
Perhaps, you say: "I don't know much about it, and I can't understand it." But do you want to understand it' If so, God's word is open to you. The Holy Spirit will teach you. He will show you things to come, and these pages are written with the earnest desire to aid you in the study of this truth.
Will you study it? Will you search for yourself, as did the noble Bereans? not merely to read through this little book, but to use it simply as an index, and go to the Word, search out the passages herein referred to, read them and pray over them, until the Holy Spirit guides you into the truth? If so, we believe that you will see the light, and find comfort to your soul.
Said a Christian, who had long opposed the truth of the pre-millennial coming of Christ: "I have spent the happiest night of my life, for last evening I saw the truth concerning the second coming." It filled him with joy, and he is one who has been greatly used in leading souls to Christ. May God bless and thus use you, dear reader.