come to the destruction of Jerusalem, then it must have been his second coming; for Paul says, Heb. ix. 28, "And unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Can this be true if he came to Jerusalem? The passage certainly implies that his people would have no more sin, or afterwards would be "without sin." Experience teaches us to the contrary. Again it is said, 1 Thes. iv. 16, 17, "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 arise 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." Who saw this great transaction at Jerusalem? Were there no witnesses? Yes, the apostle John lived many years after this, and wrote his Gospel, his Epistles, and his Revelation, long after the destruction of Jerusalem. And what does he testify? In his Gospel, 14th chapter, 3d verse, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come and receive you to myself, that where I am there ye may be also." Again, 28th and 29th verses, "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father; for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass, ye might believe." Again, 1 John ii. 28, " 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." And iii. 2, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." And, again, in Rev. i. 7, "Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him; and they also which pierced him, and all kindreds of the earth, shall wail because of him." Many more places might be mentioned in John's testimony, but not one word that he had already come again, as some supposed. Let this, then, suffice to prove, that the "glorious appearing," spoken of in our text, is still future.

And now we will examine some of the evidence of the certainty of his coming, which is our second proposition.

II. The certainty of it:

1st. Because the ancient prophets all spake of it. Jude tells us that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, Behold the Lord cometh, with ten thousands of his saints, &c. Balaam was constrained to admit, "Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city," plainly referring to the judgment-day; for he says, "Alas! who shall live when God doth this?" See Numbers xxiv. 17-23. And Moses as plainly refers to this day in Deut. xxxii. 43, " Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful to his land and to his people." David says, Psalm 1. 3, 4, "Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him; he shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, (that he may judge his people.") And Isa. xl. 5, “ And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." In the 39th chapter of Ezekiel, you will see the same day of judgment prophesied of in a clear and plain manner. In Dan. vii. 9, 10, "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened." Joel iii. 14," Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision, for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision." Zeph. i. 14, "The great day of the Lord is near; it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord; the mighty men shall cry there bitterly." Zech. xiv. 5, "And the Lord thy God shall come, and all the saints

[ocr errors]

with thee." Mal. iv. 2, " But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings, and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves in the stall." And Christ himself says, in Matt. xvi. 27, "For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and then shall he reward every man according to his works." The angels that stood by the disciples at the time Jesus ascended up, and a cloud received him out of their sight, said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Let us take particular notice of the phrase this same Jesus, and compare with other parallel passages, as, our God shall come, and it will prove to our satisfaction that Jesus Christ is God, as well as man, and we may have strong consolation for our hope in his appearing, for his promises can never fail. "Heaven and earth may pass away, but not one jot or tittle of his word shall fail." Also take notice of the words "like manner," which agree with the ofter expressed sentence, "He shall come in the clouds of heaven." We shall be led to admire the general harmony of the Scriptures, and the agreement of the prophets in their descriptions of future events. Again, Christ says to the church of Philadelphia, Rev. iii. 11, "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast thou hast, that no man take thy crown.' "For yet a little while and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry," Heb. x. 37. And will not the evidence I have brought from the word of God be sufficient to prove the certainty of his future coming? And if I should argue the tradition of nations that never saw the word of God, the conviction on the mind of men generally, that there must be a day of retribution; could I open the breast of the reader, and show the thundering of your conscience; yes, could I see and expose the tremblings and failings of heart, which you have had, while you have been looking with fear for those things that are coming on the earth of what use would it be? Would you be lieve it if I could raise a dead friend who would tell

[ocr errors]

you to prepare to meet your God? No. If they be lieve not Moses and the prophets, neither would they though one rose from the dead. How foolish, then, would it be for me to try to prove in any other manner what God has revealed or promised, than by the means which God has appointed. By his word you will be judged; and if this condemns you now, (unless you become reconciled,) it will condemn you hereafter.

III. The object of his coming.

1st. He comes to raise and gather his saints to him in the air. "As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive; but every man in his own order - Christ the first fruit, afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming," 1 Cor. xv. 22, 23. Again, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them that are asleep. 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 Thess. iv. 14-17. "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him," 2 Thess. ii. 1. "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death shall have no power," Rev. xx. 6. In Psalms we have the same account of the gathering of his people. "Gather my saints together unto me, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice," Psalm 1. 5. Again, see Isaiah lxvi. 18, "It shall come that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see my glory." "For thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day," Ezekiel xxxiv. 11, 12.

And now I refer you to one more passage, and then pass on. "Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, (that is, die,) but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this mortal shall put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." These texts, to which I have called your attention, will apply only to the people of God, or those who are in Christ Jesus. I have, therefore, only been proving to you the object of Christ's coming, as it respects his people. And I think I have plainly proved that when Christ shall appear in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, he will raise the righteous dead, change the righteous living, gather them from among all nations, where they have been scattered during the ages of persecution and trial, " in the dark and cloudy day," and receive them unto himself in the air, when they will ever be with the Lord. I will,

2dly, Show that the wicked will be destroyed from the earth by fire, and the world cleansed from the curse of sin by the same means, and prepared for the reception of the New Jerusalem state, or the glorious reign of Christ with his people. That the wicked will be destroyed by fire, at his appearing, we prove by the following texts: Deut. xxxii. 22, "For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth, with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains." 2 Samuel xxii. 9, 10, 13, "There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens and came down, and darkness was under his feet. Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled." Psalm xcvii. 2, 3, " Clouds and darkness are round about him, righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about." Isa. lxvi. 15, 16, "For, behold, the Lord will come with

« VorigeDoorgaan »