THE UNITY OF BIBLE TESTIMONY
TO THE COMING OF CHRIST
MR. WILLIAM G. CARR, Of
(At the Glasgow Conference, June, 1894.)
The truth of the Lords coming runs like a golden thread from Genesis to Revelation. It is not a new doctrine, but an old truth. Let us briefly look through our Bibles, and see how all witnessed concerning it, from the time that the first and oldest preacher began to preach of the coming of the Lord, namely Enoch, reference to which is made in the Epistle of Jude, beginning at the 14th verse. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, etc., to end of verse 15.
We get several things in the life of this wondrous preacher. He walked, he waited, he pleased God. And he preached of the coming of the Lord, resurrection of the dead, and the judgment of the ungodly.
words of Jacob were also about the Lords coming (Genesis 49: 10). In this verse we get what we frequently get
in Scripture - the first and second coming of the Lord so interwoven that only
those who are taught of the Spirit can distinguish the difference. Genesis 49:
10: The sceptre
shall not depart from
last words in Deuteronomy 33: 25: Thy shoes shall be iron and brass,
&c., to end of verse 27. Has that yet been done? There
are millions of Jews to-day that are trodden down
under despotism. Never yet has that
advent been accomplished referred to in verse 27: But He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.
Balaam. (Numbers 24: 17.) He
tried to curse
That is the way the heathen are to be treated.
a great deal about the preceding verse: Ask of Me, and I shall give thee the
heathen for thine inheritance, etc., and there most people who
quote these words stop. Why dont they
read the next verse, He shall break them with a rod of
iron, etc.? That is
evidently referred to here by the Sceptre that shall rise out of
Job 19: 25. In the city where I come from some of our Congregational ministers tell us that Job was a myth. He is a beautiful myth. It is very significant that the book of Job is a key to the Bible, and you will find in one chapter alone nearly every doctrine in the New Testament, notably the 33rd.
Hear Job 19: 25: I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another. Now we have had Enoch, Jacob, Moses, Balaam, Job - surely witnesses enough to establish the truth from the Old Testament.
And now to speak of the Psalms in a general way, and you may prove this for yourselves. As I read I see that out of one hundred and fifty psalms, ninety speak of the second coming of our Lord. Possibly I may be mistaken, but it would be very easy to correct this, and a profitable study to do so.
Prophecy is full of it; sixteen
books of the Old Testament, and one in the New (Revelation). The
coming of the Lord is the burden of prophecy.
I may say it is the fulfilment of every hope; it is the accomplishing of
every promise of the Word of God; and it is the time of rewarding for the deeds
done in the body. Isaiah begins this
prophecy; Malachi ends it. Prophecy is
always associated with
Then, coming to the New Testament, the evangelists speak of it something like one hundred times. In John 14., In my Fathers house are many mansions, &,c. There is one other reference I will speak of without reading it, that parable of our Lord concerning the nobleman who went into a far country to receive a Kingdom and return. The nobleman was our Lord, the far country heaven, the kingdom that which we read of in the book of Revelation. Our Lord received the seven-sealed book, the title deeds of the kingdom. It is a principle of Gods truth, that judgment always precedes blessing and glory; therefore we are pre-millennialists on principle. We are forced to be, because it is the principle of Gods truth, and I am sure if our brethren who take the other view would only see this, they must necessarily be pre-millennialists too.
Now I am going to the book of Acts, where our Lord ascends into heaven, where He is taken away
from His disciples. I love to think of
that glory-cloud that covered them all those years in the wilderness; how it
came down once more, and took Him away to heaven. Acts 1: 11: Ye
His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives. 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. To any plain man, to any sensible man, if I should say to you: I go through that door, and as I go away so 1 will come back again, would not need any Greek or Hebrew to understand that. It only needs common-sense and plain English to understand it. This same Jesus shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go.
The Epistle to the Romans is
made up of three parts - the first eight chapters, of doctrine; the
next three, of dispensation; the
last four, practical. The
second division of three chapters
9. 10. and 11. are all associated with the resurrection - blessing - and
restoration of Gods people
In the next Epistle, the Epistle to the Ephesians, we find nothing about the coming of the Lord, because we are viewed as with Him quickened, raised, and seated together in heavenly places in Christ; i.e., with Him in glory by faith, soon to be with Him literally. I believe that is the truth that we as Christians need to believe - that is the truth that we preachers ought to preach to-day - the gospel the glory [of Christ]. We speak too much about earthly, worldly, and carnal things. We are occupied with worldly things, minding earthly things. Possibly some here to-day may be in the condition in which I was some years ago - striving, climbing, agonizing, and praying, getting up a rung of the ladder day, by day, finally falling perhaps further than I had got up. I was not making very much headway. One day I opened my Bible and found that instead of being at the foot of the ladder to agonize and struggle, God had put me at the top. How true it is that God always gives us the best. Satan tries to keep us from realizing our blessed position in Christ. Since I saw that truth, that I had died and was risen again in Christ, my whole Christian life and character have been changed. I dont struggle any more. I just enjoy myself [in what Gods grace has done for me].*
[* Keep in mind: our position in Christ, (as eternally saved by Gods grace through faith in Him), may not be our position with Christ, during the age yet to come, (Luke 20: 35; Rev. 3: 11, 21)!
Our former blessed position in Christ, is Gods free gift to all of His redeemed children, (Romans 6: 23, R.V.); but our latter position with Christ, (after He returns to this earth) is described as a Prize, a Reward, and an Inheritance, - (all of which can be lost through wilful sin and disobedience, (Galatians 5: 21; Ephesians 5: 5; Hebrews 10: 32-35. cf. 1 Corinthians 10: 1-12.)! These positions with Christ, at that time, will be given to all who been judged to have qualified for them by running in the Race, (1 Corinthians 9: 24).]
In the Epistle to the Philippians, 3: 20, Our citizenship is in heaven, from whence we look for the Saviour; also, the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are citizens up yonder we are not citizens here. I dont know how it affects you to get hold of that truth. I know what it did for me. Although a politician for many years, holding six positions under the United States government, I quit. and I have no use for politics any more until He comes, whose right it is to reign. * So about our glorious body we are to get it when the Lord Jesus comes. Oh, how great is this truth, how practical it is, how real it is!
[* See Politics: Forbidden Territory For Christians by Owen Voss.]
In Colossians we read, For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God, etc. (3: 4). And I believe that one glimpse of that glory that is to come - that glory that is [both millennial* and] eternal - because it is His glory, and unfading, will make all glory down here [now] look very dim.
[* Habakkuk 2: 14, R.V.]
Now the Epistle to the Thessalonians contains in every chapter some reference to the coming of the Lord; and that blessed chapter, the fourth, seems to be the culmination of it, For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord. It was not Paul who said it. It was by the word of the Lord. If we believe that Jesus died and rose again - we all do, of course we do! Well, even so - if we believe the first, we must believe the second.
Notice that 14th. verse, For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. Then he tells us how - For the Lord Himself - not another. When He wants His people, the Jews, He sends His angels to gather out His elect from the four corners of the earth (Matthew 24: 31); but when He wants His church He will not trust that to the angels. 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 clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Now two or three things in conclusion about the practical part.
The Lords coming is the time of
reward (1 Peter 5: 2‑4). And I cannot help, as I go over all these
things about the Lords coming, dropping a word to the ministers who are here
to‑night. I believe your calling
and mine, my brother, is to feed the flock of God. I dont know how it is in your country, I
have just come from my own (
Now to sum up briefly, How is He coming? When is He coming? And [to] where?
How will He come? Literally, visibly, personally, as we have seen.
When will He come? We believe, from the teaching of Gods Word, that the only thing that hinders His coming is that the last member of the body of Christ may be gathered in. May we live so that we may not be ashamed before Him at His coming!
Where will He
He will come to the earth, and His feet shall
stand, as we have said, on the
God grant that this may be a blessed practical hope to us from this night. May we see how full the Scripture is of it, and how it runs like a golden thread from Genesis to Revelation!
* * *
THE COMING PRINCE
We are thankful to welcome a new edition of Dr. (now Sir) Robert Andersons importand work, The Coming Prince. It is no mere reprint of that unanswerable volume. It has been carefully revised, and contains an additional chapter entipled A Retrospect and a reply, in which the author replies to adverse criticisms of former editions, especially to that which calls itself The Fallacies of Futurists. Dr. Andersons views support our own, that the Divine Prophecies, while they have a futurist fulfilment and interpretation, may have also a Hostoricist, and even a Presentist application; that neither is true to the exclusion of the other, all three being required to exhaust the meaning of the prophecy. Dr. Anderson speaking of this subject says (page 292, etc.):-
The pages give proof how thoroughly I accept a historical application of prophecy; and if anyone demands why then I have not given it a greater prominence, I shall recall St. Jamess answer when the apostles were accused of neglecting in their teaching the writings of Moses. Moses, he declared, hath in every city them that teach him. What was needed, therefore, if the equilibrium of doctrine was to be maintained, was that they should teach grace. On similar grounds the task I have set myself was to deal with the fulfulment of the [Divine] prophecies. But I have no controversy with those who use their every talent in unfolding the historical interpretation of them. My quarrel is only with men who practically deny the Divine authorship of the Sacred Word by asserting that their apprehension of it is the limit of its scope, and exhausts its meaning, and The Coming Prince is a crushing reply to the system which dares to write Fulfilled across the prophetic page. The real question at issue here, I again repeat is the character and value of the Bible. Dr. Guinness asserts that the apocalyptic visions have been fulfilled in the events of the Christian era. I hold him to, that issue, and I test it by a reference to the vision of the sixth chapter. Has this been fulfilled, as in fact he dares to assert it has? The question is vital, for if this vision still awaits fulfilment, so also do all the prophecies which follow it. Let the reader decide this question for himself after studying the closing verses of the chapter, ending with the words, FOR THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH IS COME, and who shall be able to stand?
The old Hebrew prophets were inspired of God to describe the
terrors of the great day of His wrath, and the
Holy Spirit has here reproduced their very words. The Bible contains no warnings more awful in
their solemnity and definiteness. But
just as the lawyer writes Spent across a
statute of which the purpose has been satisfied, so these men would teach us,
forsooth, that the vision meant nothing more than to, predict the rout of pagan
If it be urged that the events of fifteen centuries ago, or of some other epoch in the Christian dispensation, were within the scope of the prophecy, we can consider the suggestion on its merits; but when we are told that the prophecy was thus fulfilled, we can hold no parley with the teaching. It is the merest trifling with Scripture. And more than this, it clashes with the great charter truth of Christianity. If the day of wrath has come, the day of grace is past, and a gospel of grace is no longer a Divine message to mankind. To suppose that the day of wrath can be an episode in the dispensation of grace is to betray ignorance of grace and to bring Divine wrath into contempt. The grace of God in this day of grace surpasses human thought His wrath in the day of wrath will be no less Divine. The breaking of the sixth seal heralds the coming of that awful day; the visions of the seventh seal unfold its unutterable terrors. But, we are told, the pouring out of the vials, the seven plagues which are the last, for in them is finished the wrath of God, is being now accomplished.
The sinner, therefore, may comfort himself with knowledge that Divine wrath is but stage thunder which, in a practical and busy world, may be safely ignored! ... With regard to the seventeenth chapter of Revelation, Dr. Guinnesss argument is this: The eighth head of the Beast must be a dynasty; the Beast carries the Woman; the Woman is the Church Rome. Therefore the dynasty symbolised by the eighth head must have lasted as long as the Church Rome; and thus the Protestant interpretation settled on a foundation not to be removed.
It is not really worth while pausing to show how gratuitous are some of the assumptions here implied. Let us, for the sake of argument, accept them all, and what comes of it? In the first place Dr. Guinness hopelessly involved in the transparent fallacy I warned him against on p. 268 of this volume. The Woman is destroyed by the agency of the Beast. How then is he going to separate the Pope from the apostate Church of which he is the head, and which, according to the Protestant interpretation, would cease to be the apostate Church if he were no longer owned as head?
The historicist must here make choice between the Woman and
the Beast. They are distinct throughout
the vision, and in direct antagonism at the close. If the Harlot represents the Church of Rome,
his system gives no account whatever of the Beast; it ignores altogether the
foremost figure in the prophecy, and the vaunted foundation
of the so-called Protestant interpretation
vanishes into air; or if he takes refuge upon the other horn of the dilemma,
and maintains that the Beast symbolises the apostate Church, the Harlot remains
to be accounted for. He forgets
moreover, that the Beast appears in Daniels visions in relation to
[* See Luke 20: 35.]
Whatever you may do, work at it from the soul, as for the LORD, and not for men;
knowing that from the LORD you may receive the RECOMPENSE of the
INHERITANCE; for you serve Christ the LORD. For HE who
ASTS UNJUSTLY, will receive back for the injustice he
Committed; and without respect of persons:
(Colossians 3: 23, from the Greek.)