Bible Truth Examiner

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STUDY 1: THE SEVEN MAIN OBJECTS OF OUR LORD’S RETURN

 

Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

 

THE creeds of the dark ages would lead us to believe that our Lord’s Second Advent is

something to be feared, especially for those who have not lived faithful Christian lives – the vast

majority. The Bible, however, teaches the direct opposite, that our Lord’s return is cause for

great rejoicing, as we hope to show from the Scriptures.

 

The famous American evangelist and publisher, Dwight L. Moody, once said that one verse out

of every seven in the New Testament refers to our Lord’s second stay on earth; and an even

larger proportion of such passages is found in the Old Testament. Because there are so many

more verses in the Old Testament that refer to our Lord’s Second Advent, at our Lord’s first

Coming the Jews expected that their Messiah would only come once, and that to reign. They

were unprepared to accept the meek and lowly Jesus, and therefore rejected Him. Their table [the

prophetic Scriptures] as foretold, became a snare to them (Psalm 69: 22, 23) (Romans 11: 9, 10).

 

Definition of Post- and Pre-Millennialism

 

There are two general views among Christians regarding our Lord’s Return and the thousand-

year Reign. Post-Millennialists contend that Christ returns after the Millennium to take over a

world that has been converted, and that has been reigned over by the Church in the flesh for a

thousand years, and to wind up earthly affairs. Pre-Millennialists, on the other hand, contend that

Christ comes before the Millennium to reign a thousand years, and to convert the world.

 

The problem with Post-Millennialism is that no Scripture supports that view. On the contrary, the

Scriptures teach that none would know beforehand the day and the hour of our Lord’s Return,

and that the Lord’s people should watch for the event as possible at any time, lest it overtake

them unawares (Matthew 24: 42-44) (Matthew 25: 13) (Mark 13: 32-37) (Luke 12: 35-40).

 

Let us now consider the seven main objects of His Return:

 

Gathers and Delivers the Little Flock

 

(1.) The Little Flock is referred to in the Bible as the Bride of Christ, the Church, etc. She

consists of 144,000 individuals (Revelation 7: 4) (Revelation 14: 1). Throughout the Gospel Age

the Church has been espoused to her Lord (2 Corinthians 11: 2), and has kept herself pure from

all worldly affiliations and alliances, witnessing to and longing for His Kingdom, when she is to

be married to Him.

 

Upon our Lord’s Return, He first gathers her through and to the Truth – the “meat in due

season” (Luke 12: 37). Second, He delivers her in the First Resurrection, through which He

changes her from the human nature to the Divine, immortal nature (1 Corinthians 15: 42-54),

that where He is there she may also be (John 14: 2, 3). When our Lord’s returned, He first raised

all the saints who had died during the Gospel Age, and then as each living saint finished his

course in death, he immediately joined his Lord (1 Thessalonians 4: 15-17).

Cleanses and Delivers the Great Company

 

(2.) A second purpose of our Lord’s Return is to cleanse and deliver the Great Company.

Through measurable selfishness, worldliness, sin and error, this class has failed to qualify for

Brideship with Christ. The Lord put them through some very severe experiences in the “great

tribulation,” through which they learned to recognize the folly of their past course and to cleanse

themselves (Revelation 7: 13, 14). He then delivered them in their resurrection to the spiritual

nature, but lower than the Divine nature. There they greatly rejoice, as they are ushered into the

King’s Palace to be “companions,” bridesmaids of the Bride, the Lamb’s wife

(Psalm 45: 14, 15).

 

Develops the Youthful Worthies

 

(3.) Jesus returns also to develop the Youthful Worthies. They are called such to contrast them

from the Ancient Worthies – those who were faithful to God during Old Testament times, before

the opportunity was opened for anyone to enter the High Calling to the Divine nature and joint

heirship with Christ. The Youthful Worthies, on the other hand, come into existence after the

opportunity to enter the High Calling is closed. When they consecrated their lives to God, He

gave them a new heart, mind and will, to love truth and righteousness, and to serve Him. The

faithful will share in the “better resurrection” with the Ancient Worthies (Hebrews 11: 35), by

being raised perfect human beings at the beginning of Christ’s Mediatorial Reign. The Youthful

Worthies, along with the Ancient Worthies, will be made princes throughout the earth in the

earthly phase of God’s Kingdom, and will co-operate with the Ancient Worthies in uplifting the

human race from the fall.

 

Overthrows Satan’s Empire

 

(4.) A fourth object of our Lord’s Return is to overthrow Satan’s Empire. Satan has an empire

over the human family as the prince and god of this world (John 16: 11) (2 Corinthians 4: 4).

Although he is invisible, he has held the race in subjection to himself through the three

departments of his Kingdom: (1) false religions, (2) oppressive governments and (3) predatory

aristocracies. All history attests to his evil reign, for he has terribly mistreated the human family,

his blinded and deceived subjects. By error he has deceived and distressed them; by sin he has

depraved them; by his fallen angels he has misled them; by wars he has devastated their homes

and lands and murdered vast numbers of them; by famines, pestilences and great calamities, such

as volcanoes, earthquakes, floods and droughts, etc. he had plagued them; and by the persecution

of the righteous and the exaltation of the wicked he has enslaved them. As Pharaoh’s antitype, he

is rightly called the oppressor (Psalm 72: 4).

 

But the Bible assures us that his empire will be overthrown through the great Time of Trouble

which began with the two World Wars, followed by World-revolution and will then culminate

with World-anarchy. Satan will be bound for the thousand years of Christ’s Reign, and be unable

to oppress or deceive the nations (Revelation 20: 1-3).

 

Establishes God’s Kingdom in the Earth

 

(5.) A fifth object of our Lord’s Return is the establishment of God’s Kingdom throughout the

earth. God has promised in the Scriptures to establish His Kingdom of righteousness and peace

on the ruins of Satan’s Empire. During the time before the Gospel Age God prepared the

individuals of the Ancient Worthy class to be the Kingdom’s chief princes, as earthly

representatives of our Lord Jesus and His Church (Psalm 45: 16); and during the Gospel Age He

has prepared Jesus and His Church to be the Kings of His Kingdom (Romans 8: 17). The coming

of this Kingdom has been the hope and prayer of the faithful ever since it was promised

(Matthew 6: 10).

 

This Kingdom will be an absolute monarchy, but its Rulers, being perfect in wisdom, power,

justice and love, guarantees their worthiness to hold office and their efficiency to rule. The

arrangement they will establish for mankind will be conducive to Truth and Righteousness and

inconducive to error and sin. Instead of the earth then being under the curse, it will be turned into

an Edenic condition. Instead of false religions, oppressive governments and predatory

aristocracies holding sway, the true religion of God, the fostering Government of Christ Jesus

and the Church and the benevolent aristocracy of God’s faithful servants will hold sway. Instead

of losses, disappointments, sorrows, tears, crying, sickness, weakness, dying and death, there

will be prosperity, hope, joy, pleasures, laughter, convalescence, strength, health and life. Instead

of Satan and his fallen angels controlling almost every one, Jesus and the Church will control all.

Instead of wars between nations and hatred of man to man, there will be peace on earth and good

will to men (Luke 2: 14). Instead of the righteous being persecuted, they will be exalted. Instead

of the wicked being exalted and rewarded for wrong-doing, they will be abased and striped for

their reformation.

 

Ministers Restitution Opportunities

 

(6.) A sixth object of our Lord’s Return is to bless the whole human family, living and dead, with

opportunities of obtaining Restitution. Restitution means a return to an original state. The

original state of the human family was the image and likeness of God, as seen in Father Adam

and Mother Eve. The image of God implies perfection in the physical, mental, moral and

religious faculties (Genesis 1: 26, 27); and the likeness of God implies a perfect earth with

perfect rulers in charge. (Genesis 1: 26) (Genesis 1: 28, 29). But the original image and likeness

of God have been lost; and have been replaced by physical, mental, moral and religious

degradation, and by the tyranny of the cursed earth over man. The Scriptures assure us that all

this came upon man because of Adam’s sin (Genesis 3: 1-24) (Romans 5: 12-21)

(1 Corinthians 15: 21, 22). But our Creator’s compassion moved Him to send His well-beloved

Son into the world as man’s Ransom-price from death (Matthew 20: 28). As Christ’s First

Advent was to lay down the Ransom-price, so His Second Advent is to make the Ransom-price

available for the recovery of the non-elect, in a restitution, a return to the original estate, from

the ruins of the lost image and likeness of God brought upon all by heredity through Adam’s sin.

(The Gospel Age has formed a parenthesis between Christ’s two Advents for the selection of His

Bride, who have received the blessings of the Ransom-price ahead of the world.)

 

In order to obtain their share in the Restitution blessings, all of the dead will be awakened. Let us

now quote and explain Acts 3: 19-21, one of many Scriptures which teach this thought:

 

19: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of

refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”

 

The word “refreshing” carries the thought of the re-enkindling of life and the promotion of

growth that is effected by rain falling upon mown and burnt grass, to which the fallen human

family is compared (Isaiah 40: 5-8), for our race has indeed been mown down by the curse, and

burnt by the fierce rays of sin (Psalm 72: 6) (Psalm 72: 16). But Christ’s Reign upon our race

will be like the rain, in that it will raise the dead and restore all the willing and obedient back to

human perfection. The Greek word for “presence” is face, or favor (Numbers 6: 24-26). During

the reign of sin God’s back is represented as turned toward man (Jeremiah 18: 17); but during

Christ’s Reign, He will turn His face toward man, beaming with grace, mercy and truth for

man’s restoration.

 

20: “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you.”

The word “which” gives the thought of “who” and the word “before,” gives the thought of

“during the Gospel Age.”

 

21: “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath

spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

“Whom” refers to Christ and “receive” means “retain”; in other words, heaven must retain Christ

“until the times of restitution of all things,” when every feature of the image and likeness of God

is to be restored to the willing and obedient during Christ’s Reign. “Which [things] God hath

spoken [promised] by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began [all of the Old

Testament prophets testified to the message of Restitution].”

 

Tests and Rewards all Restitutionists

 

(7.) A seventh object of our Lord’s Return is to test the human family as to their fitness or

unfitness for everlasting life, and to render the final decision in each case – everlasting life on

earth for the faithful restitutionists and everlasting destruction for the wicked.

 

During the Gospel Age the Church underwent four judgment processes: (1) they were fully

instructed, (2) thoroughly tested, (3) lovingly chastised and (4) justly sentenced; likewise, during

the Millennial Age the world will undergo the same four judgment processes. Those

Restitutionists who under the light of Truth then given are rightly exercised under chastisements

intended for their correction and perfecting, and faithfully stand under the testing that will be

given them, will be proving themselves as worthy of everlasting life.

 

All will be given at least one hundred years of trial, but any that fail to make any progress after a

hundred years will be destroyed from among the people in the Second Death (Isaiah 65: 20)

(Acts 3: 22, 23). There will also be some that will reform externally, but will not have developed

the love of God in their hearts, nor exercise it toward their fellow men. During the Little Season

following the Millennial Age Satan will be loosed and attempt to deceive mankind again. The

Lord will use those circumstances to give mankind their final testing. Those who are not loyal at

heart will be destroyed, whereas those who prove loyal will be granted eternal life.

 

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