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    The Consummation of the Gospel

    The gospel which I am trying to present is a gospel of courage and hope. It is not mere optimism. It is not the product of a merely human philosophy. It is a direct message from the Lord of glory, conveyed to us in a well-attested and supernatural revelation. Its rock foundation is “Thus saith the Lord.” It consists essentially of the promises of the living God concerning His Son, who is the Saviour of the world. Romans 1:1-4. In the first announcement of this gospel there is the note of victory, even though it be through suffering-the seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent. Genesis 3:15. The promises which lead on to the achievement of this victory are found in many places in the Scriptures.SOTW 119.1

    We ought, however, to have an intelligent understanding of what is involved in the triumph of the gospel of the grace of God. There is no Scriptural basis for the hope that the world will be converted. The good news of the atonement and the reconciliation, and of complete deliverance from the guilt and the power of sin, is to be proclaimed to all the world, but we have no assurance that all will repent and believe in the gospel. On the contrary, the whole history of redemption shows that in all ages the loyal followers of Christ have been only a minority, often designated as the remnant. Nevertheless, the responsibility and the privilege of heralding the gospel of salvation to every creature under heaven rests upon the faithful few, sustained and encouraged by the promise of our Lord, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20. A living church is a missionary church.SOTW 119.2

    But what I wish to emphasize just now is that the day of final victory is the day of the Lord, that day to which the attention of believers has been directed by the prophets from the days of Samuel until the visions of the apostle John on the isle of Patmos. The personal, visible return of Jesus Christ in glory to execute judgment upon the incorrigibly wicked and to give the kingdom to a nation who have brought forth the fruits thereof (Matthew 21:45), is the closing act in the drama of redemption without which many prophecies and promises would be left unfulfilled, and the eternal purpose of God in Christ would never be realized. Such a denouement is unthinkable. “The firm foundation of God standeth.” 2 Timothy 2:19. Jesus Christ has testified, and He is “the faithful and true witness.” Revelation 3:14.SOTW 120.1

    It is no marvel that the teaching of the Scriptures concerning the second advent has been, and still is, the subject of attack, of perversion, and of denial. If confidence in this doctrine can be weakened or destroyed, the great motive for godliness has been deadened (2 Peter 3:11), and what has been the longing hope of the church becomes a forlorn hope. Our Lord introduced His great prophecy concerning His return with the caution, “Take heed that no man lead you astray” (Matthew 24:4), and this warning is a timely one for today. There is a master mind, even “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), himself “a liar, and the father thereof” (John 8:44), who inspires all perversions of the truth; and it is terribly significant that in these last days, when the remaining sands in the hourglass of time are running out, he has so successfully launched the un-Biblical and irreligious hypothesis of evolution in the field of science, and the un-Biblical and unscientific interpretations of modernism in the field of religion, for in neither of these man-made philosophies is there any place for the return of Christ. It is worth noting that the leaders in both of these fields, generally speaking, reject the supernatural element in Christianity, and therefore deny the fundamental features of the gospel from the virgin birth to the second advent.SOTW 120.2

    But to return to our main topic. The day of the Lord as a day of judgment and blessing is a main theme of the prophets from Joel to Malachi. While in each case it had a definite application in the time of the prophet who referred to it, yet it always had a far-reaching reference. We can doubtless perceive this more clearly than did the people of those times, since we have the benefit of the light which Jesus Himself and the writers of the New Testament have thrown upon this subject. In His prophetic outline of the events from His own time to His second coming, our Lord declared:SOTW 121.1

    “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign 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 on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:29, 30.SOTW 121.2

    But the prophet Joel, who was the first to indicate the meaning of the day of the Lord, designated these same phenomena of nature as the signs which would indicate the approach of the finality of that day: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh.” Joel 2:31. In his foreview of the destruction of Babylon, “the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride” (Isaiah 13:19), an event which in its final phase is completed in the destruction of the world, the prophet Isaiah likewise connects the day of the Lord with the signs which Jesus mentioned as marking the nearness of His return:SOTW 121.3

    “Behold, the day of Jehovah cometh, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger; to make the land a desolation, and to destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in its going forth, and the moon shall not cause its light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity: and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” Isaiah 13:9, 11.SOTW 122.1

    In view of the instruction which Jesus has given concerning the signs which point to His coming on the clouds of heaven, we are warranted in affirming that these prophets connected the final victory of the gospel with the return of Jesus.SOTW 122.2

    But it is in the New Testament that this truth is developed most clearly. There the day of the Lord, or the day of Jehovah, becomes “the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10, etc.), “the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6), “the day of God” (2 Peter 3:12), “the day of the Lord” (2 Peter 3:10, etc.), “the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:9, etc.), and “that day” (2 Timothy 1:12); and the day thus so often mentioned is plainly shown to be the day when Jesus Christ will appear to give the reward to His followers. And so the apostle Paul wrote: “The time of my departure is come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give meat that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8. The crown of righteousness, elsewhere called “the crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4), will be bestowed at that crowning day when Jesus “shall come in His glory” (Matthew 25:31), and apart from that crowning day there will be no crown, no trophy of victory.SOTW 122.3

    Blank PageSOTW 123.1

    To the same effect are the words of the apostle Peter: “Knowing this first, that in the last days mockers shall come with mockery, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.... But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up.... But, according to His promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:3-13.SOTW 124.1

    No teaching could be more emphatically clear. The overthrow of the kingdom of evil, the utter destruction of “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4), and the ushering in of the kingdom of righteousness, are directly connected with the coming of the Son of man on the clouds of heaven. Until His coming the kingdom of evil will continue, this present evil world will remain, and “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness,” will still be future.SOTW 124.2

    “One of the most complete types of the history of redemption is to be found in the ceremonies of the day of atonement. It was an essential part of the work of the high priest on that day that he should come forth from within the veil to bless the waiting congregation. Our great High Priest is now within the veil. He has offered the atoning sacrifice on the altar of Calvary, and with the merit of that sacrifice He has gone in to appear in the presence of God for us. But the great day of atonement is not yet closed. When His work within the veil is ended, He shall come forth, arrayed again in His garments of glory and beauty, for the final blessing of His waiting people. ‘Having been once offered to bear the sins of many, He shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for Him, unto salvation.’”SOTW 124.3

    What an eternal disappointment it would be, both to Jesus Himself and to His waiting people, if He should not return! This is the devil’s if. He will return. The consummation of the gospel is just at hand.SOTW 124.4

    In this connection it seems fitting to mention, at least briefly, some of the indications that the return of our Lord is near. That it will be literal and visible, and not a spiritual coming to the heart of the believer, is positively assured by the message to the disciples when He ascended: “This Jesus, who was received up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye beheld Him going into heaven.” Acts 1:11. He went away in a bodily form, visible to the natural eye, and He will come again in a bodily form, equally visible and in manifested glory. We are plainly instructed that we may know when that coming is near, although we do not know the day or the hour. Matthew 24:36. But what are the signs?SOTW 124.5

    1. The periods of time in the books of Daniel and the Revelation, which have a bearing upon the close of Christ’s redemptive work, have all come to a close. This is capable of being satisfactorily demonstrated, but I have not the space to do so here. I know the prejudice which some entertain against making use of time prophecies as the basis of any belief, but inasmuch as Jesus Christ asserted that His first coming was in fulfillment of just such a prophecy (Mark 1:14, 15), evidently referring to the expiration of the sixty-nine weeks of years of Daniel 9:25, I feel entirely warranted in referring to other time periods made known through the same prophet as evidence concerning the second coming.SOTW 125.1

    2. The outline of the world empires which would precede the setting up of the everlasting kingdom of God, has now become history. We are living in the days when the voices in heaven were heard, saying, “The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign forever and ever.” Revelation 11:15.SOTW 126.1

    3. The conditions in the religious world are such as are foretold would characterize the last days: “Know this, that in the last days grievous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of self, ... holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5. There are more members of churches than ever, but alas! the evidence of the saving power of the gospel is sadly lacking in the lives of an increasing number.SOTW 126.2

    4. The conditions in the political world meet the specifications for the last days. “Yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. When they are saying, Peace and safety, then suddenly destruction cometh upon them.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3. The Peace Pact, which has been signed by about fifty of the governments of the world, is hailed as the most significant event of modern times, making aggressive wars a thing of the past and paving the way for universal peace. At the same time the official reports show that there are more men under arms in Europe than at any time since the opening of the recent World War, and the ingenuity of the best minds is being taxed to invent more and more destructive methods of warfare. The divine interpretation of this unique situation is the correct one.SOTW 126.3

    5. The very fact that the end of the world and the coming of Christ are being denied for reasons based upon the evolutionary philosophy of the natural order, is itself one of the signs designated by Inspiration to indicate the last days: “Knowing this first, that in the last days mockers shall come with mockery, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” 2 Peter 3:3, 4. Modern scientists are seeking to bind the Lord Himself with the law of continuity, a law of their own making.SOTW 126.4

    6. The prophecies of the great apostasy heading up in the man of sin have been fulfilled in the Roman Catholic Church and in apostate Protestantism, and the last call of the gospel, just before the day of the Lord is ushered in, is: “Come forth, My people, out of her, that ye have no fellowship with her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues: for her sins have reached even unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Revelation 18:4, 5. This clarion call is now being sounded throughout the world in the great second advent movement.SOTW 127.1

    7. The instruction which Jesus gave to His disciples in response to their question, “What shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3) found in the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth chapters of Matthew, describes with much clearness the conditions which should prevail when “He is nigh, even at the doors.” Matthew 24:33. The thoughtful student of current history will be almost compelled to testify that these are the very conditions which we now face.SOTW 127.2

    8. The conditions in the industrial world, with the serious conflict between capital and labor (James 5:1-5), the rich in the meantime growing richer and the poor growing poorer, were described long centuries ago as characteristic of the last days. The conditions include the fabulous increase in wealth on the part of some of the captains of industry. The old proverb, “As rich as Crœsus,” is now entirely out of date.SOTW 127.3

    9. The great missionary movements of the last century are a divinely foretold indication that the end is near: “This gospel of the kingdom,” declared Jesus to His disciples, “shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14. The wonderful achievements of the great Bible Societies, both American and English, are an important factor in this work. The self-sacrificing devotion of Morrison, Carey, Livingstone, John Williams, James G. Paton, not to mention the names of the thousands who have made and are making the same sacrifice in recent years, bears convincing testimony that the end of sin is just at hand, and that the reign of righteousness is about to be ushered in. Blessed are those who will act their part in hastening that glorious day.SOTW 127.4

    10. According to prophecy there should arise in the very last days a movement which would have for its avowed purpose the world-wide announcement of the near coming of our Lord and the renewed proclamation of the gospel of righteousness by faith in its fullness as the preparation for translation. Revelation 14:6-16. Such a movement is now being carried forward by Seventh-day Adventists, who are working in 127 countries and 279 languages, and extending their work every year.SOTW 128.1

    These general indications of the nearness of the end could be supplemented by many particular specifications, but this is sufficient for my purpose. Any one who becomes interested in these statements can pursue the subject further in other books devoted especially to it.SOTW 128.2

    I hope I have made it plain that the consummation of the gospel, the full realization of the eternal purpose of God in Christ Jesus, waits upon the second advent of our Lord in glory, and that that glorious event is near at hand. The work of preparing the way has been committed to human agencies under divine guidance and with the assurance of divine power. The apostle John, in the closing words of the last book of the Bible, voiced the prayer of the true church of Christ in all the centuries in three words, “Come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20. It is our privilege in these closing days to watch, to work, to wait with expectant hearts, “looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13), the Saviour of the world.SOTW 128.3

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