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    ABSURD APPLICATIONS

    But the doctrine of the second appearing of Christ, made so very prominent in the Scriptures, is lost sight of by those who receive theories not found in the Scriptures. Thus the fulfillment of all the threatenings of God’s word, relative to the swift approaching day of wrath, and the revelation of the Son of God in flaming fire, to destroy the inhabitants of the earth, as they were once destroyed by water, are put far into the distant future, if not completely lost sight of, by the unscriptural doctrine of the world’s conversion and the temporal millennium.SEADV 10.2

    The second personal appearing of Jesus Christ is most absurdly applied to several different things. Some teach that death is the second coming of Christ. This is not only a violation of plain Scripture declarations, but of the laws of language. There can be but a single second advent of Christ; while this misty sentiment has as many appearings of Jesus as there are deaths. The early disciples did not receive the idea that death was the second coming of Christ.SEADV 10.3

    Peter, seeing the beloved John, “saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die; yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” John 21:21-23. So far were the disciples from holding that death was the second coming of Christ, that when they understood their Lord to intimate that John might remain until his return, they at once concluded that he would not die,SEADV 10.4

    And what foggy theology is this, that makes death the second appearing of Christ! He is coming as the Life-giver, and the believer’s best friend. Death is the life-taker, and man’s last enemy. 1 Corinthians 15:26. Christ is coming to give life to the just, and to “destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Hebrews 2:14. The devil has the power of death, and, in the providence of God, is permitted to send the barbed arrow even to the heart of the just, lay him low in death, and lock him in the tomb. But the Life-giver, having passed under the dominion of death, and having been gloriously raised from the embrace of the grave, triumphantly says, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell [hades, the grave] and of death.” Revelation 1:18. The devil holds the power of death. Christ holds the keys of death and the grave, and at his second appearing he will unlock the tombs of the just, break the power of death, their last enemy, and lead them forth to immortal and eternal scenes of glory.SEADV 11.1

    Again, conversion is said to be the second coming of Christ. Then there are as many second comings of Christ as there are conversions. There can be but one second appearing of Jesus Christ. And again, the manifestations of the Holy Spirit are said to be the second advent of Christ. Hence, men talk of the spiritual coming of Christ, and his spiritual reign for one thousand years. But here, also, they are involved in the difficulty of a plurality of second comings of Christ; for in this case they would have Christ appear at each gracious manifestation of the Holy Spirit. There can be but a single second advent of Christ.SEADV 11.2

    The distinction between the manifestations of the Holy Spirit and the personal presence of Christ at his second appearing is made very plain in the Scriptures. Says Jesus, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter.” John 14:16. This language implies the distinct existence of more than one comforter. When Christ was with is people, he was their comforter. In his absence, the Father was to send another Comforter, even the Spirit of truth. During the absence of the Son, the Holy Spirit was to be his representative, and the comforter of his sorrowing people.SEADV 11.3

    The facts in the case are distinctly stated in the following impressive words: “But now I go my way to Him that sent me.” “It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you. But if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” John 16:5, 7, 8.SEADV 12.1

    And again, the Shakers see the second appearing of Christ in the person of Ann Lee. And the Mormons see the fulfillment of the prophecies relative to the coming and kingdom of Christ in the gathering of “the latter-day saints.” And the spiritualists generally agree in saying, Lo, here is the second advent of Christ in the manifestations of spiritualism.SEADV 12.2

    In the prophetic discourse of Matthew 24 and 25, covering the entire Christian age, our Lord, after speaking of the tribulation of the church under papal persecutions, says of our time: “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For 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.” Matthew 24:23, 24. The world then in this passage points to a specific period of time when “Lo, here is Christ, and Lo, he is there,” would be heard. Our Lord here describes the spiritual deceptions of the present age. False christs arose not far from the first advent, to deceive the Jews in regard to that event (Matthew 24:5); likewise false christs and false prophets have arisen at this day to deceive the people on the subject of the second advent.SEADV 12.3

    Dr. Henshaw, the last Bishop of Rhode Island, speaking of the doctrine of the temporal millennium, in his Treatise on the Second Advent (page 115), says:-SEADV 13.1

    “So far as we have been able to investigate its history, it was first advanced by the Rev. Dr. Whitby, 1Daniel Whitby, D.D., was born A.D. 1638, in England, and died A.D. 1727. the commentator, and afterwards advocated by Hammond, Hopkins, Scott, Dwight, Bogue, and others, and has been received without careful examination by the majority of evangelical divines in the present day. But we may safely challenge its advocates to produce one distinguished writer in its favor who lived before the commencement of the eighteenth century. If antiquity is to be considered as any test of truth, the advocates of the pre- millennial advent and personal reign of Christ with his saints upon earth, need have no fears of the result of a comparison of authorities with the supporters of the opposite theory.”SEADV 13.2

    And from the modern and popular error of the temporal millennium and the spiritual reign of Christ have grown those mystical applications by which the plainest declarations of Scripture relative to the second appearing of the Life-giver, are applied to death, to conversion, to the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, to shakerism, to mormonism, and to spiritualism.SEADV 13.3

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