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The Doctrine of Christ

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    LESSON FORTY-NINE Prophecies and Promises

    1. Christ in the prophets of old testified concerning his coming. 1 Peter 1:10, 11; Genesis 50:24; Isaiah 9:7; 32:1; 40:10; Ezekiel 21:26, 27; Daniel 12:1, 2.TDOC 133.1

    2. Christ in the flesh testified concerning his coming. Matthew 16:27; 24:27, 30, 37; Mark 8:38; John 14:3.TDOC 133.2

    3. At the time of his ascension a promise of his return was definitely made to his disciples. Acts 1:9-11.TDOC 133.3

    4. After Christ’s ascension to heaven the Holy Spirit inspired various additional testimonies concerning his return. Acts 3:21; 1 Corinthians 1:7; 15:22, 23; Galatians 3:19; Colossians 3:4; Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 16; 2:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:8, 9; 2 Timothy 4:8; Hebrews 10:36, 37; James 5:7, 8; 2 Peter 3:3, 4, 10; Revelation 1:7; 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20.TDOC 133.4

    5. There are several lines of prophecy which lead up to the Second Advent. Let each student submit a list of such as he is able to find.TDOC 133.5

    The prominence of the teaching

    “Few, perhaps, realize the remarkable prominence given to this truth throughout Holy Scripture. In the 260 chapters of the New Testament there are 318 references to the second coming of Christ.”TDOC 133.6

    Unfair to banish it

    “If the Lord committed to his disciples the promise of his personal return, and if it occupied so large a place in the lives of the early Christians, surely it is unfair to banish it from the church today. It is unfair to the world, for this truth is part of the gospel which should be delivered to the world. It is unfair to the church, for it deprives the people of Christ of one of the most powerful motives for spiritual life and service. It is unfair to Christ himself, for it obscures the reality of his personal presence within the heavenly veil, and substitutes for it the thin air of a mere spiritual influence.”TDOC 133.7

    A little longer

    “Christ is coming with clouds and with great glory. A multitude of shining angels will attend him. He will come to raise the dead, and to change the living saints from glory to glory. He will come to honor those who have loved him, and kept his commandments, and to take them to himself. He has not forgotten them nor his promise. There will be a re-linking of the family chain. When we look upon our dead, we may think of the morning when the trump of God shall sound, when ‘the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed,’ A little longer, and we shall see the King in his beauty. A little longer, and he will wipe all tears from our eyes. A little longer, and he will present us ‘faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.’ Wherefore, when he gave the signs of his coming, he said,TDOC 133.8

    When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh.’ But the day and the hour of his coming, Christ has not revealed. He stated plainly to his disciples that he himself could not make known the day or the hour of his second appearing. Had he been at liberty to reveal this, why need he have exhorted them to maintain an attitude of constant expectancy? There are those who claim to know the very day and hour of our Lord’s appearing. Very earnest are they in mapping out the future. But the Lord has warned them off the ground they occupy. The exact time of the second coming of the Son of man is God’s mystery.”-The Desire of Ages, 753, 754.TDOC 134.1

    Waiting and watching

    “Christians are further described as ‘those that wait for him,’ and as ‘those that love his appearing.’ They are everywhere in the New Testament exhorted to ‘watch,’ and to be ready for the return of their Lord. His coming is their constant encouragement and inspiration and hope.”TDOC 134.2

    Marvelous and startling

    “More marvelous than the scenes at Pentecost, more startling than the fall of Jerusalem, more blessed than the indwelling of the Spirit or the departure to be with the Lord, will be the literal, visible, bodily return of Christ. No event may seem less probable to unaided human reason; no event is more certain in the light of inspired Scripture. ‘This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.’ Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him.”TDOC 134.3

    A deception

    “The teaching so widely echoed from popular pulpits, that, the Second Advent of Christ is his coming to each individual at death, is a device to divert the minds of men from his personal coming in the clouds, of heaven. For years Satan has thus been saying, ‘Behold, he is in the secret chambers;’ and many souls have been lost by accepting this deception.”-The Great Controversy, 525.TDOC 134.4

    Watching and working

    “The expectation of Christ’s coming is to make men fear the Lord, and fear his judgments upon transgression. It is to awaken them to the great sin of rejecting his offers of mercy. Those who are watching for the Lord, are purifying their souls by obedience to the truth. With vigilant watching they combine earnest working. Because they know that the Lord is at the door, their zeal is quickened to cooperate with the divine intelligences in working for the salvation of souls. These are the faithful and wise servants who give to the Lord’s household ‘their portion of meat in due season.’ They are declaring the truth that is now specially applicable. As Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses, each declared the truth for his time, so will Christ’s servants now give the special warning for their generation.”-The Desire of Ages, 757.TDOC 134.5

    No counterfeit possible

    “Satan is not permitted to counterfeit the manner of Christ’s advent. The Savior has warned his people against deception upon this point, and has clearly foretold the manner of his second coming. ‘There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shines oven unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’TDOC 135.1

    This coming, there is no possibility of counterfeiting-It will be universally known-witnessed by the whole world.”-The Great Controversy, 625.TDOC 135.2

    Only a partial fulfillment

    “This tragedy of history [the fall of Jerusalem] is supposed by many to fulfill the prophecies spoken by Christ in his great discourse on the Mount of Olives, recorded in Matthew 24, and Mark 13, and Luke 21. When one combines these predictions, it becomes evident that the capture of the Holy City by Titus was a real but only a partial fulfillment of the words of Christ. As in the case of so many Old Testament prophecies, the nearer event furnished the colors in which were depicted scenes and occurrences which belonged to a distant future, and in this case to ‘the end of the age.’ When Jerusalem fell, the people of God were not delivered nor the enemies of God punished, nor did the sign of the Son, of man appear in the heavens, as was predicted of the time when he comes again; and long after the fall of the city, John wrote in Gospel and in Apocalypse of the coming of the King.”TDOC 135.3

    One glorious future

    “The whole life and work of the New Testament church has the coming of the Lord in view. All the lines of her activity and experience lead to this event. The sanctification of the disciple is a preparation for the coming of the Lord. Paul writes to the Thessalonians. ‘The very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:23. John puts the same thing in his own tender way: ‘And now, little children, abide in him, that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming.’ 1 John 2:28. Christian service gets its encouragement in the same inspiring issue. Paul exhorts Timothy to fidelity, charging him to ‘keep the commandment, without spot, with out reproach, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus. Christ.’ 1 Timothy 6:14. And Peter writes to his fellow elders: ‘Feed the flock of God which is among you, and when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory that fades not away.’ 1 Peter 5:2, 4.TDOC 135.4

    The patience of the early Christians in suffering and. trial is bounded by the same event. ‘Be patient therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand James 5:7, 8. ‘Let your forbearance be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.’ Philippians 4:5. Their life of fellowship and brotherly love reaches its holy consummation at the Lord’s return. ‘The Lord make you. to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we also do toward you, to the end he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.’TDOC 136.1

    1 Thessalonians 3:12, 13. Their acts of worship, as, for example, their observance of the Lord’s Supper, have the same end in view. As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.’ 1 Corinthians 11:26. Thus, whatever aspect of the church’s life and work we consider; we find it to be a stream which moves on to ward one glorious future. The appearing of the Lord Jesus himself fills the whole horizon.”TDOC 136.2

    The subject of Christian aspiration

    “He will ‘so come in like manner as’ he has gone. We are not to water down such words as these into anything short of a return precisely corresponding in its method to the departure; and as the departure was visible, corporeal, literal, personal, and local, so the return is to be visible, corporeal, literal, personal, local too. And he will come as he went; a visible Manhood, only enthroned amongst the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. This is the aim that he sets before him in his departure. He leaves in order that he may come back again.TDOC 136.3

    “And oh dear friends, remember and let us live in the strength of the remembrance-that this return ought to be the prominent subject of Christian aspiration and desire. There is much about the conception of that solemn return, with all the convulsions that attend it, and the judgment of which it is preliminary, that may well make men’s hearts chill within them. But for you and me, if we have any love in our hearts and loyalty in our spirits to that King, ‘his coming’ should be ‘prepared as the morning,’ and we should join in the great burst of rapture of many a psalm, which calls upon rocks and hills to break forth into singing, and trees of the field to clap their hands, because he cometh as the King to judge the earth. His own parable tells us how we ought to regard his coming. When the fig tree’s branch begins to supple, and the little leaves to push their way through the polished stem, then we know that summer is at hand. His coming should be as the approach of that glorious, fervid time, in which the sunshine has tenfold brilliancy and power, the time of ripened harvests and matured fruits, the time of joy for all creatures that love the sun. It should be the glad hope of all his servants.”TDOC 136.4

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