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away, yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up, so man lieth down and riseth not; till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake nor be raised out of their sleep."
The Scriptures are equally explicit upon the subject of the judgment; teaching, 1. That there will be a day of judgment. 2. That Jesus Christ will be the Judge. 3. That the judgment will comprise the whole of the human race without exception. 4. That the judgment will comprise also the angels that kept not their first estate, and thus will be universal as to man, and general as including men and devils. 5. That there is a day or one season or time appointed by God. 6. That this judgment shall take place at the last day or close of time. Thus it is written: "The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.” “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.” “Because he hath appointed a day wherein he shall judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ." "Every idle word that men shall speak they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” “Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead." "It is he who was ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead." "For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ that every one may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” “We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.” Since, therefore, it is the indubitable teaching of Scripture that the personal coming of Christ again or the second time, will be at the end of the world, and simultaneous with the universal and general resurrection and judgment of all men, righteous and wicked, and of devils, it is impossible that that advent should be at any previous period.
II. Do the Scriptures teach that the Church, the Bible, the ministry, and the sacraments are to continue as God's appointed instrumentality for the conversion of the world, and the ingathering of his elect people, to the end of the world? For if they do, then of course Christ cannot come personally before the
end of the world, as the premillennial theory affirms, to abrogate this present dispensation, abolish the Church, and do utterly away with the Bible, the ministry, and the sacraments, and introduce an altogether new and different dispensation. Now, as to the Church, it is sufficient to remind our readers of our Saviour's declaration in the very institution and commission of the Church, (Matt. xxvii. 18-20,) “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them, etc., .... and, lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world;" and of the declaration of the apostle, (Eph. iv. 8-14,) "When he, that is Christ, ascended up on high . . . far above all heavens, that he might fill all things, he gave apostles, and prophets, and evangelists, and pastors, and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of faith unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." See also Eph. i. 22, 23. As to the Bible, our Saviour declares, in Matt. v. 17, 18, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets . for verily, I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.” The apostle Peter also declares that all men shall die and pass away, “but the word of the law endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” As to the sacraments, the words of Christ's institution require the administration of baptism with preaching, to "the end of the world.” And as to the Lord's Supper, it is positively declared that "as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do show the Lord's death till he come.” And as our Saviour declared to his disciples that he would not again in the flesh personally partake with them of the bread and wine till he "ate with them in his Father's kingdom,” he teaches us that he will not come again until he shall have delivered up his present mediatorial kingdom unto the Father at the last day in heaven, after which event the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be celebrated.* As to the ministry, it is unnecessary to add anything to the passages already quoted. See Matt. xvi. 18, 19, and xiii. 19-30, and 3842, where Christ declares as the result of the work of the ministry, that at the end of the world the tares and the wheat shall both be gathered together and the tares burned in the fire. "So shall it be at the end of the world.” So also in Matt. xxv. 41, our Saviour describes himself as pronouncing final sentence upon the wicked as well as the righteous. Thus again it is demonstrated that the Church and its present dispensation are to abide until the end of the world and the day of universal and general judgment.
*See Conf. of Faith on the Sacraments.
But this conclusion, although indubitable, will be made more incontrovertibly clear by some passages which in this controversy have been strangely overlooked. In John xiv. 18-20, our Saviour, in his consolatory address to his disciples, after having declared to them that in his Father's house there were many mansions, that he was going to prepare a place for them, and that he would come again to receive them unto himself, that where he is, there they might be also, in these verses adds this declaration, “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you; yet a little while and the world seeth me no more, but ye see me; because I live ye shall live also.” Now, it is perfectly clear that if Christ were personally to come again and dwell on the earth, then the world” would see him again, and our Lord could not have said, as he does say, that the world would see him no more, that is, in other words, that he would not again personally dwell on the earth. But he told them further, that while the world, which, because of its carnal blindness that cannot discern spiritual things, would not see him in his spiritual comings or manifestations to believing hearts, on the contrary his believing disciples in all ages of the Church, in an evangelical, real, and spiritual presence—the dwelling in their hearts by faith, and being seen, felt, and enjoyed in sacrament, prayer, and worship—would see him. Christ therefore wished his disciples to understand that there would be no necessity for his personal presence, since his spiritual presence would be immeasurably more to their benefit and comfort. But as this perpetual presence of Christ spiritually, implies necessarily Christ's personal and real presence perpetually in heaven, in his capacity of High Priest, Mediator, Intercessor, and King, the premillennial theory, which implies that at any moment Christ may cease his celestial mediation and rule, abdicate the seat of his intercession and the throne of his power, and personally absent himself from heaven for a thousand years, is in manifest contradiction to Christ's own most comfortable declaration. See also vs. 25-30, where Christ enlarges this thought as a ground of unspeakable benefit and consolation to them, inasmuch as while he returned to the Father to carry on the work of their salvation in heaven, the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, would supply his place, teach them all things, and fill their hearts with divine peace.
In the continuation of this parting discourse, in chap. xvi. 6-16, our blessed Lord and Saviour, with a heart overflowing with infinite and pitiful compassion, recapitulates with pointed emphasis these pregnant thoughts. Referring to the coming of the Comforter, whom he said he would send unto them, he declares, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, of righteouness, and of judgment. Of sin, because they believe not on me, (that is, will not see me.) Of righteousness -mark these two reasons which Christ gives—because (1) I go to my Father, and because (2) ye see me no more.” Christ here most authoritatively teaches that while the propitiatory part of his mediatorial work would be finished upon earth by his sufferings, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, that mediatorial work would be resumed and continued perpetually in heaven ; that as on earth he had provided a way of justifying, or constituting righteous in the sight of his Father, all those who truly believe in his name, the remaining part of the work of righteousness, our Lord was to perform in heaven in the execution of his intercessory office as our Mediator and High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary, by incessantly presenting the merits of his all-sufficient sacrifice, and to bestow upon his people, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, all necessary supplies of spiritual life, health, and succor; and by supporting, governing, and superintending all their interests, and defending them against all his and their enemies, in his character of King of Zion. Christ's exaltation and investment with his sacredotal and regal authority as Mediator, and the perpetual continuance of his real presence, so that it would be impossible that he should absent himself from heaven and any more dwell corporeally upon earth, are here made by Christ the very foundation upon which the salvation, hope, and glory of the Church rest. It thus appears that it is absolutely necessary for the full and perfect accomplishment of the work of righteousness that the heavens should retain Christ personally until the day of final judgment, and that until that solemn period, the consummation of all things, the Church on earth should see him no more.
It will also be particularly observed on this testimony of Christ, that because he himself was about to return to heaven, the Holy Spirit would be sent in his stead to instruct, etc. Had it been his design, Christ would have said, “As I go to my Father and the world seeth me no more, I will send the Holy Spirit that he may convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.” But this our Lord has not said. Each of the three subjects to which our Lord distinctly adverts has its own separate exposition annexed to it, and the words, "ye see me no more," must have a meaning peculiar to the particular subject which they explain, and a meaning not appropriate to the other subjects. These words therefore are most definite and unassailable proof that his disciples should not see him again, in the flesh, till he comes to judge the world, and that he could not by possibility be absent till then from his great mediatorial work in heaven. It cannot be thought that Christ can come to judge the world or to raise the dead before the millennium and the last day, because the perpetuity of Christ's mediatorial work, which is emphatically the work of righteousness, is repeatedly and absolutely asserted in the Scriptures. The meaning of our Lord's words is therefore most distinct and unpervertible-like something fixed by a wedge, immovable and bidding defiance to all efforts of criticism to take it away. And the argument from this passage is just as strong against the premillennial advent now, as it was against such a Jewishly believed advent as addressed to his disciples.
In corroboration, however, of this argument, it is declared by the apostle Peter in Acts iii. 21, “whom, i. e., Jesus Christ, the heavens must receive until the times of the restitution of all things, etc." "Therefore (ii. 33,) being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear." (See also ch. v. 31.)
Nothing can be made more plain by Scripture than its declarations concerning our Lord's sacerdotal office in relation to the appointed place of its execution, its immutability, its continuity, its perpetuity, and as to its nature and design. As to the place appointed to our Lord's execution of his office as High Priest, it is, among other passages, declared that Christ "is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." "We have such an High Priest who is set on the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens.” “Christ is not entered into the holy place made with hands, etc., but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." Christ, therefore, can never exercise his intercessory work in a kingdom upon the earth; "for if he were on earth, he would not be a priest,” (Heb. viii. 4,) and “no man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." As to the immutability of our Lord's office of High Priest, it is declared, “But this man, because he