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    CHAPTER 24. The Second Advent

    HE who would come to God must first believe that he is. Hebrews 11:6. He who would intelligently hold any doctrine concerning Christ must believe in him as the Son of God, and have some idea of the work he has undertaken to do. Christ says to his disciples, “Ye believe in God, believe also in me.” John 14:1. For those and to those who thus believe, we write.SYNPT 243.1

    1. What must he who would come to God, first do?
    2. How must he regard Christ?
    3. What ground do all Christians hold in common?
    4. What great future event in Christ’s work do the Scriptures speak of?
    5. To discuss intelligently the second advent, what other advent must we consider?

    Within the area of one great fact, all believers in Christ hold common ground; namely, that Christ, in human form, was once literally and personally here upon the earth; that he taught, suffered, died, rose, and ascended to heaven. Of a certain event in the future the Scriptures speak, in varied phraseology, as his return, coming again appearing the second time, etc. What do they mean by these expressions? Is Christ again to reveal himself personally and visibly to mankind? If so, under what circumstances? in what manner? for what purpose? and at what time? These are questions of absorbing interest.SYNPT 243.2

    The subject of the second advent can no more be discussed intelligently apart from that of the first advent, than advanced grammar can be considered without the use of the alphabet, or the higher mathematics without reference to the first rules of numbers. Why did Christ come the first time? If this question can be answered, it will determine why he comes the second time, if he is to come; and if the purpose of the second advent can be known, that will determine largely the nature, manner, and concomitants of that coming.SYNPT 244.1

    6. Why is there such diversity of views on this subject?
    7. On what ground only can we determine the nature, manner, object, and relative time of the second advent?

    The great diversity of views that exists on this subject must be owing to a failure on the part of those who hold these diverse views, to comprehend the scope, and look through to the completion, of the plan of redemption. Ask the average church member of to-day what purposes God has for the future of this earth and the human family, and he will tell you he does not know. Is the present state of things always to continue? - Yes, so far as he is aware. It has been in some way arranged that the righteous go to heaven, and the wicked to hell, when they die; and this process is to go forward through an indeterminate future, and the world drift drearily on without object, aim, purpose, or hope. And therefore all declarations, concerning the second coming of Christ must apply to some present experiences, - to the inflictions of judgments, special outpourings of the Spirit, the development of new isms (like Mormonism, Shakerism, and Spiritualism), to conversion, or to death. Is this consistent? - By no means as can be easily made to appear.SYNPT 244.2

    If the redemption which Christ has undertaken for mankind consists of a definite and well defined plan, certain parts of which are fulfilled by his first and second advents, and can be fulfilled only by them, the nature, manner, object, and relative time of his second advent are determined beyond the possibility of variation.SYNPT 245.1

    Will the reader go with us in the further development of this thought? Man was once upright, and needed no redemption. He fell; and a Saviour, gratuitously provided by the grace of God, became his only hope. In his fall he lost innocence, took on guilt, subjected himself to death, and alienated to the deceiver his title to the inheritance, the new-made earth, which God had given him. The incipient promise of the proposed work of redemption was that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the deceiving serpent, which must signify that the purposes of the deceiver were to be thwarted and his work undone.SYNPT 245.2

    8. What was man’s original condition?
    9. What change in this respect took place?
    10. What was involved in the promise of the woman’s seed?
    11. What has Christ undertaken to do?
    12. What acts on his part does this involve?

    To this end, Christ accordingly undertook to restore to man his lost innocence, take away his incurred guilt, release him from the power of death, and put him again in possession of his forfeited inheritance. To do this, he gave himself as a sacrifice, by which perfect satisfaction was rendered to the law of God. This brought him to this world in the form of a servant, to suffer the death of the cross. The foundation of the work was thus laid broad and deep. Man has an intercessor, and sins can be pardoned. But the work cannot be completed till the power of death is broken, and the inheritance, restored to its Edenic beauty, is again put back into the hands of its first possessors. For this purpose the dead must be brought out from their graves by a resurrection; but the resurrection depends upon the second coming of Christ, by which alone it can be accomplished. And every bloody trace of the curse must be burned out by the all-purging fires which God will kindle as a testimony against sin. Hence, when Christ comes, he takes his people to himself, not be again established upon the earth till its purification is accomplished, and the whole work of redemption is carried out. Christ’s second coming, then, must be a personal, literal, and visible coming. In no other way can God’s revealed purpose in this matter be brought to its predicted and glorious issue. A brief examination of the testimony of the Scriptures will now show that the foregoing propositions rest securely upon their uniform and unequivocal testimony.SYNPT 245.3

    13. How much has he already accomplished?
    14. What remains to be done?
    15. On what does the resurrection of the dead depend?
    16. What does Christ do with his people when he comes?
    17. What, then, must be the coming of Christ?
    18. What fact is explicitly stated? Reference.
    19. To what does the restrictive clause apply?

    1. The fact that Christ will come a second time to this earth, is most explicitly stated. “Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:28. The restrictive clause, “unto them that look for him,” does not apply to his appearing; for when he comes, “every eye shall see him” (Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:30); but only to his bestowal of salvation; for to those only who look for him will appear “unto salvation.”SYNPT 246.1

    When Christ ascended, the two angels who remained a moment behind to comfort the disciples under the shock and sorrow of separation from their Lord, exclaimed in thrilling tones, “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.” Acts 1:11. This statement is direct. Its terms are simple and explicit. It is not ambiguous. It has no double meaning. Men may disbelieve it, as popular theology practically does; but it can be understood in only one way; and that is, that the same Christ who ascended, shall literally, visibly, and personally appear again to human eyes in the clouds of heaven. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 states the same thing; also Mark 13:26; 14:62; Luke 21:27.SYNPT 247.1

    2. The object of Christ’s coming is to reward every man as his work shall be. Matthew 16:27; Revelation 22:12. And this is accomplished by -SYNPT 247.2

    First, Raising the righteous dead to immortality. John 6:39, 40; 1 Corinthians 15:23, 42-44, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 20:6.SYNPT 247.3

    20. Who gave the testimony of Acts 1:11?
    21. What is its meaning?
    22. What other texts state the same thing?
    23. What is the object of Christ’s second coming?
    24. What is first done toward accomplishing this?
    25. Secondly?

    Secondly, Changing all the righteous living to immortality through the mighty energy of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; Philippians 3:20, 21; Colossians 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 John 3:2.SYNPT 247.4

    Thirdly, Destroying all the living wicked. Isaiah 6:11; 13:9; 24:1, 3; Jeremiah 25:32-35; Zephaniah 1:2, 3; Matthew 13:38-42; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; 2:8; Revelation 6:14-17; 19:21. (The wicked dead are reserved for punishment to the second resurrection, after the investigate Judgment on their cases during the thousand years of Revelation 20:4, following which, in their cases, the second death ends all. Revelation 20:11-15.)SYNPT 248.1

    3. The manner of this coming will be overwhelmingly majestic and glorious. It will be in the glory of the Father (Matthew 16:27), with all the holy angels (Matthew 25:31), in flaming fire (2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8), with the blast of a trumpet and a voice that will shake both heaven and earth, and reach the ears even of the earliest dead in their lowest sepulchers. Matthew 24:31; John 5:28; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Hebrews 12:26; Revelation 16:17. The wicked will perish in that awful day, as wax melts before the fire (Revelation 6:15, 16; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 1:7; Hebrews 12:29; Revelation 19:21), but the righteous will hail him with exceeding joy. Isaiah 25:9; 1 John 2:28; Jude 24; Revelation 22:20.SYNPT 248.2

    26. Thirdly?
    27. What will be the manner of his coming?
    28. How will it affect the wicked?
    29. What difference between the righteous and the wicked in regard to knowing about these things?
    30. What can be said of the nearness of the advent?

    4. A knowledge of this coming will be possessed by the righteous, but not by the wicked. Daniel says (12:10) that the wise shall understand, but the wicked shall not understand. As a snare shall it - the day of the Lord - come upon the wicked. Luke 21:35. They remain in willful darkness, and the day comes upon them as a thief. 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3. But the righteous are not in darkness, and the day does not overtake them as a thief. Verse 4.SYNPT 248.3

    5. This second coming of Christ is now near at hand. The Scriptures have not only revealed the fact of the restitution of all things (Acts 3:21) through the redemption which Christ has undertaken, but they have also given us abundant data by which we can tell when the great work is drawing near its completion. The result to be reached is the establishment of the kingdom of God in all the earth, and such an overthrow of all opposition to God’s authority and such an eradication of all the elements of evil, that the great chorus of the whole universe shall be one of peace, harmony, and love among all creatures, and thanksgiving, honor, and glory to Creator and Redeemer, “to Him that sitteth on the throne and unto the Lamb forever and ever.” Revelation 5:13. The evidences which show that the kingdom of God is nigh are -SYNPT 249.1

    31. What is the great result to be reached?
    32. What is given by which we may judge of our nearness to the end?
    33. How many kingdoms from Babylon to the end of time?
    34. What are these? and how many have appeared?

    1. Historical events. Lines of consecutive events are given us, the concluding one of which is the setting up of God’s kingdom, and the ushering in of eternal scenes, while all the others lie within the field of human history. Thus beginning with Babylon the Great, 677 B.C., four great ruling kingdoms were to appear consecutively among men. These were Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia, and Rome. And they have all appeared as foretold. The last of these kingdoms (Rome) was to be divided into ten kingdoms; which was accomplished between the year 356 and 483 A.D,; and in the days of these divisions (which still continue) the kingdom of God was to be sent up by the violent overthrow and utter destruction of all these kingdoms. Daniel 2:31-46. This is next in order, and must be near, as other prophecies still more definitely show.SYNPT 249.2

    35. What is next in order?
    36. What is given in Daniel?
    37. What division takes place in Rome?
    38. What is symbolized by the little horn?
    39. What is its last specified act?
    40. When was it performed?
    41. What is the fate of this power, and how accomplished?
    42. What is given in Daniel 8?

    In Daniel 7 another prophecy is given us, from which we learn that the second advent of Christ is now at hand. Here the same historical events presented in the image of Daniel 2 are again symbolized, with some sharply-outlined subdivisions, and the fixed limitations of a prophetic period. As in Daniel 2, so here, Babylon is followed by Medo-Persia, Grecia, and Rome in the procession of earthly kingdoms; and then the saints take the dominion under the whole heaven. But Rome, before its history is finished, breaks up into ten divisions, symbolized by ten horns; and the rise of the papacy to rule and domineer among these kingdoms through all the dark ages, is symbolized by another horn rising to power, and continuing 1260 years. Commencing in 538, this period of 1260 years ended in 1798. The last specified act of this horn was the utterance of “great words,” which we think were emphatically spoken by the Ecumenical Council of 1870, in its decree of papal infallibility. In consequence of these words, and apparently after no great lapse of time, Daniel saw the beast slain and his body given to the burning flame. Daniel 7:11. But the burning flame in which the papacy perishes, is nothing less than the spirit of Christ’s mouth, and the brightness of his coming literally manifested at his second advent in the clouds of heaven. 2 Thessalonians 2:8. Of our proximity to that event, the reader can now judge.SYNPT 250.1

    Again, in Daniel 8, the rise and fall of Medo-Persia, Grecia, and Rome are given us, to be succeeded by the kingdom of God. Another longer and more important prophetic period is measured off, which terminated in 1844; and the event to which it brought us was the last brief division of the work of our Saviour as mediator for the world, nearly forty years of which are already in the past. His exalted position as King of kings and Lord of lords is next inevitably to come, and that speedily.SYNPT 251.1

    43. What important period is there measured off?
    44. When did it end?
    45. To what event did it bring us?
    46. What position is Christ next to take?
    47. What is given us in the last part of Daniel 11?
    48. What is indicated by the condition of the Turkish power?

    In the closing verses of Daniel 11, the prophet depicts the last scenes in the history of a power now fast sinking to its inevitable doom. Of the Turkish power, as the “king of the north,” it is written, “He shall come to his end, and none shall help him. And at that time shall Michael [Christ] stand up [that is, commence his reign].” The question, “How near is the Turkish power to its utter extinction?” is to the student of prophecy simply this: “How near is the setting up of the eternal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ? To this question let politicians and statesmen anywhere respond, and we will abide by the answer.SYNPT 251.2

    In Revelation 12 and 13 we are carried through the pagan and papal forms of the Roman government, forward to our own time and our own nation. Certain religious movements, which are already appearing in embryo, are here to be developed, when this government, with the papacy, in conjunction with which it performs its last acts of religious oppression, is suddenly arrested in its career, and perishes in its pride at the second coming of Christ. Revelation 13:13, 14; 19:20.SYNPT 252.1

    Such is a small portion, briefly stated, of the historical evidence that history itself is soon to cease in the opening scenes of the eternal world. Further evidence of this is found in -SYNPT 252.2

    49. What can be said of the prophecy of Revelation 12, 13?
    50. In what do we find further evidence of the nearness of the end?
    51. What are some of the principal of these phenomena?

    2. Natural phenomena. - It might be expected that nature, in her various modes of operation, would give premonitions of the approach of the final catastrophe. We are not surprised, therefore, to read the predictions that the sun should be darkened, the moon refuse her light, the stars fall from heaven, strange sights appear above fiercer and more frequent convulsions shake the earth beneath, and the great deep lift up its waves as if it would leap in terror from its ancient bed. All these phenomena have appeared. The dark day and night of May 19, 1780, the great meteoric shower of Nov. 13, 1833, wonderful auroras, cyclones and cloud bursts on land, water-spouts and tidal waves at sea, are all matters of record and of growing wonder and alarm. What do they presage? Prophecy says, “The great and notable day of the Lord.” Joel 2:30, 31; Acts 2:19, 20; Luke 21:25-27.SYNPT 252.3

    3. Political disturbances and perplexity among the nations.- In a line of consecutive events, national distresses and perplexities stand next preceding the shaking of the powers of heaven, and the appearing of the Son of man. Luke 21:25-27. Nihilists in Russia, communists in Germany, monarchists in France, dynamiters in England, paupers and anarchists in Ireland, Mormons in America, capital oppressing labor, and labor combining against capital, here, there, and everywhere, till the world’s mass of humanity is heaved and tossed like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, - all proclaim the prophecy fulfilled. Add to this the fact that millions are almost daily squandered on the invention of new and more murderous weapons of war, on experiments in attack and defense, on vast collections of the material for war, and that even the heathen of the far East, China and Japan, are rapidly providing themselves with the improved modern implements of warfare, and that the millions of Mohammedans from Persia to Hindostan are ready to rise as a man in defense of their prophet, and we may well believe that “the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision,” or “concision,” cutting off, as the margin reads. Joel 3:9-14.SYNPT 253.1

    52. What was to be the condition of the nations of the last days?
    53. What fulfillments do we already see?
    54. What moral and religious phenomena were to appear?

    4. Moral and religious phenomena. - As the world draws near to its last day, its religious and moral conditions was, according to prophecy, to be peculiar and abnormal. Satan comes down to work with increased energy, because he knows that his time to work will soon be past. Evil men and seducers wax worse and worse. Violence fills the earth, as in the days of Noah; licentiousness, as in the days of Lot. The moral barriers of society seem to be giving way. Professed Christians are borne down by the tide of evil influences, and sink to the same level with the world. Spiritualism with its fetid breath and polluting touch, stalks forth through all lands, to poison the last fountains of truth, and take all the world in it subtle snare. Revelation 12:12; 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13; Luke 17:26-30; Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12; Revelation 13:13; 16:13, 14; 19:20. But God counterworks by sending forth a last saving message, to prepare all who will receive it for the coming of his Son. The “gospel of the kingdom” goes to all the world. Matthew 24:14. A threefold message, symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14:6-14, prepares a people for the coming of the Son of man upon the great white cloud. All this we witness in the world around us. What more remains to be done?SYNPT 253.2

    In view of this great event, the second coming of Christ and the end of all things, the church is exhorted to watchfulness (Mark 13:36, 37; 1 Peter 4:7), sober, righteous, and godly living (Titus 2:12, 13), patience, and love to the brethren (James 5:8, 9), and all holiness and godliness in life and conversation. Obedience to these exhortations will secure us a preparation for that day. Disregarding them, we shall find our portion at last with hypocrites and unbelievers.SYNPT 254.1

    55. How are the prophecies in this respect being fulfilled?
    56. By what means does God counterwork the powers of darkness?
    57. To what is the church exhorted in view of the second advent?

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