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    August 14, 1884

    “The Sabbath-School” The Signs of the Times, 10, 31.

    E. J. Waggoner

    LESSON FOR THE PACIFIC COAST—SEPT. 6

    1. For what purpose will Christ, the second time? John 14:3.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.1

    2. What is implied by the last clause of this verse?SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.2

    3. When does Paul say that the saints will be with Christ? Colossians 3:4.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.3

    4. As Paul was about to die, what did he say was laid up for him? 2 Timothy 4:8.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.4

    5. When will this crown be given? Ib.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.5

    6. What is the testimony of Peter on this point? 1 Peter 5:4.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.6

    7. What, then, is the Christian’s hope? Titus 2:11-13.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.7

    8. What is his incentive to patience under trials? James 5:8.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.8

    9. When will salvation brought to God’s people? 1 Peter 1:5, 13.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.9

    10. How does Paul describe the coming of the Lord and its attendant circumstances? 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.10

    11. What authority does he give for these statements?SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.11

    12. What is meant by the words, “we shall not prevent them which are asleep”?SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.12

    13. What was the necessity for such an assurance?SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.13

    14. Do people nowadays generally think that the living receive the reward before those that have died?SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.14

    15. What is the first thing that takes place when the Lord comes? Verse 16.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.15

    16. What is the next occurrence? Verse 17.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.16

    17. Whom did the living saints and those raised from the dead meet in the air?SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.17

    18. How long do they remain with him?SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.18

    19. Then when and how are all the saints taken to be with Christ?SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.19

    20. Show that God did not design that the patriarchs, prophets, and others should receive their reward before we do. Hebrews 11:39, 40.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.20

    “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:3. The thoughtful reader cannot fail to notice that the same text which contains the promise of Christ’s coming, is also the reason for that coming. For what purpose is he coming? “That where I am, there ye may be also.” Now we will make a statement which must be self evident; Christ will not do that for which there is no reason; we cannot conceive of his doing such a thing. Then if he has promised to come to earth for a certain purpose, the necessity for his coming must still exist, else he will not come. But he will come, because his promise stands on record; therefore the reason which he gave for his coming does exist still. So we ask again. For what purpose did he say he would come? Anybody may read the answer in Christ’s own words, that it was to receive his disciples to himself. Then it must follow that they are not with him now; for if they were, there would be no reason for him to return for them. It would be the height of absurdity for Christ return to earth for his disciples, if they were already in Heaven. We hope no one is bold enough to accuse Christ of such foolishness as that.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.21

    There is another thought on this verse that is worthy of notice. It is this: Since Christ promised to return for his disciples, it must be that he did not contemplate such a thing as that they would go to him before he should return. He could see what was in the future, and if the disciples were going to be with him at any time before his second coming, he knew it. But if such had been the case, he would not have said that the object of his coming was to take them to himself. The fact, therefore, that he did make the receiving of them to himself the object of his coming, shows that he did not know that they could be with him without his coming, and that is equivalent to saying that they could not be with him unless he should come.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.22

    Paul adds the weight of his inspired testimony to that of our Saviour. Said he: “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.’ Colossians 3:4. Notice the adverb of time. When Christ shall appear, then shall ye appear with him. No comment on this text could make it any clearer than it is as it stands. Read it, and accept it in its most obvious sense, and you have the main facts concerning the second coming of Christ.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.23

    Again the apostle says: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7, 8. He had reached the end of his course, and he had confidence of his acceptance with God. Did he therefore say, I shall therefore receive my reward immediately? No; “henceforth,” i.e., from this time onward, “there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.” Well, how long is it to remain “laid up”? The answer is implied in the closing part of the verse: “And not to me only, but to all them also that love his appearing. We would gather from this that the crowns are given at the appearing of Christ. But we are not left to conjecture an inference in so important a matter. Peter exhorts the elders of the church of Christ to do their duty faithfully, and says by way of encouragement: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” 1 Peter 5:4. That is when the crowns will be given. If they are given when Christ appears, they cannot be given before.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.24

    It is with this in view that the apostle James exhorts the brethren to patience. “Be ye also patient, stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth night.” James 5:8. The full force of his exhortation cannot be appreciated unless we read the previous verses. He begins the chapter with an arraignment of certain ones for oppressing the poor. He says to them: “Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.” Verse 6. And then turning immediately to the brethren-the oppressed ones-he says: “Be patient therefore brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.” As much as to say, Endure these things patiently, however unjust they may be, for the Lord is coming soon, and then you will receive your reward. And with all this Peter heartily agrees when he says: “Be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.25

    In 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 Paul gives a most graphic description of the coming of the Lord. He prefaces his account with the statement that it is “by the word of the Lord;” he did not give it on his own authority. We that remain until the coming of the Lord, he says, shall not go before them that are asleep. The Thessalonian brethren did not comprehend the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and supposed that there departed friends were lost forever; that only those who should be living at the time of the Lord’s coming could share in its glory. The apostle comforts them with the assurance that the living shall not have any precedence over the dead. Take particular notice, however, of what Paul did not say. He did not say, as many a modern comforter would do, “We shall not go before them which are asleep; on the contrary, they have gone before us, and are now safe in the arms of Jesus.” This is what Paul did not say. Had he said so, some of his brethren might have inquired if all who go before to the arms of Jesus, spend their time sleeping. If the doctrine that the saints receive their reward at death had been believed in by Paul, here would have been a grand opportunity to present. But he did not do so. Let us see why.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.26

    “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17. This is what Paul did say. The “dead in Christ” shall rise. What did they care about that? Why, he was telling them about their dead friends. Yes, but when he introduced the subject, he was speaking of “them which are asleep;” them “which sleep in Jesus.” Exactly; and now he uses this other term in reference to the same class; and so we learn that those “which sleep in Jesus,” are “the dead in Christ.” They are to “rise” when the Lord comes; and further, they will “rise first;” that is, before the living are taken. As soon as the dead have been raised, then “we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” So neither class has the presidence; the living do not go to be with the Lord before those that have died; the dead are not now enjoying the bliss of Heaven while the living are toiling in this world; but at the coming of the Lord both shall together be taken to be with him.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.27

    “And so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Explicit enough, is it not? How shall we be with the Lord? By the resurrection of the righteous dead and the translation of the living, which will take place at his coming. And notice that this takes in the whole multitude of the disciples of Christ; for it comprises all that are dead, and all who are alive when the Lord comes, and there can be no other class. There is, then, no other means revealed in the Bible, whereby men may be with the Lord except these two of resurrection and translation. A few favored ones, as Enoch and Elijah, and those who came from their graves at the resurrection of Christ, were not obliged to wait until the coming of the Lord; but they were taken only by one of the two ways mentioned-resurrection from the dead and translation without seeing death.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.28

    It is interesting to note the harmony of the different portions of the Bible on this point. What we were forced to conclude from the promise of Christ, namely, that his disciples could not be with him until he comes, is stated in plain words by Paul. Besides what we have read above, we have his testimony in Hebrews 11. In that chapter Paul speaks of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses, Gideon, David, Samuel, and many martyrs, “of whom the world was not worthy,” and says: “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise; God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” vs 39, 40. What stronger testimony is needed? One needs only to read the plain texts of Scripture to be convinced that to the people of God the coming of the Lord is everything. Without that, all their hopes are lost. It is the time of their reward.SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.29

    “Them which sleeping Jesus.” On this clause Dr. Albert Barnes comments as follows:-SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.30

    “A most beautiful expression. It is not merely that they have a calm repose-like a gentle slumber-in the hope of waking again, but that this is ‘in Jesus’-or ‘through’ (dia) him; that is, his death and resurrection are the cause of their quiet and calm repose. They do not ‘sleep’ in heathenism, or in infidelity, or in the gloom of atheism, but in the blessed hope which Jesus has imparted. They lie, as he did, in the tomb-free from pain and sorrow, and with the certainty of being raised up again.”SITI August 14, 1884, page 486.31

    On the expression in 2 Timothy 4:8: “Unto all them also that love his appearing,” Dr. Barnes says:-SITI August 14, 1884, page 487.1

    “That is, all who desire his second coming. Faith in the second advent of the Lord Jesus as coming to judge the world, and a desire for his return, became a kind of criterion by which Christians were known. No others but true Christians were supposed to believe in his return to our world, and no others truly desired it. Compare Revelation 1:7; 22:20. It is so now. It is one of the characteristics of a true Christian that he believes that Christ will come again to judge the world; that he sincerely desires his return, and that he would welcome his appearing in the clouds of heaven.” E. J. W.SITI August 14, 1884, page 487.2

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