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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 6

The Coming of Christ

Jesus and Paul, the apostle, made special effort to warn us of deception concerning the coming of Christ. In spite of their warning, I fear it was in vain for most of our church world. Beyond doubt, much error exists today in this area of doctrine if we go by what the scriptures actually teach. Although this subject is touched on elsewhere, our purpose here is to bring out further scriptural evidence that exposes the error that exists.

THE TRUMPETS

One of the Bible keys used to open my understanding on this subject several years ago is found in the scripture references dealing with the trumpets.

The use of trump or trumpet in the scriptures denotes a message of warning. It symbolizes a divine message of warning to alarm, awaken and prepare God’s people. The reason I specify God’s people is because they only have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying. This is brought out in Joel 2:1 where the Lord says, “Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain. Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand.”

Please note, “Blow the trumpet in Zion ... sound an alarm in my holy mountain....” Zion and God’s holy mountain certainly have reference to God’s people or the Church. And, I believe, this time called the “day of the Lord” has reference to Christ’s coming and God’s judgment upon the world. The blowing of the trumpet in Zion is God’s message of warning to awaken and prepare the Lord’s people for that day.

The first mention of the trumpet or trump of God in the New Testament used in connection with Christ’s coming is found in Matthew 24:31. “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

In I Thessalonians 4:13-17 the trump of God is sounded at the coming of the Lord, the resurrection of the dead and the rapture of the saints. Let’s notice verses 16 and 17 especially. “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.”

Some would contend that this passage of scripture only refers to the resurrection of the righteous dead with the wicked dead to be raised a thousand years-plus later on. But a careful study of the context will show that Paul was comforting the living saints concerning the dead in Christ. He did not want them to sorrow concerning those who had fallen asleep in Jesus. He wanted them to know that they would not be left out at Christ’s coming, but would indeed come with him. This is the only reason he made no specific reference to the resurrection of the wicked which will take place at the same time.

Although both these scriptures tell us of the sounding trumpet that heralds his coming and the gathering together of the elect, they do not specifically tell us which trump or trumpet they are. For the answer to that question let’s go to other scriptures.

THE LAST TRUMP

I Corinthians 15:51-53. “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, 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.” Read also verses 35-50 in this same chapter.

Once again the trumpet heralds the resurrection of the dead and the change of the living saints from mortality to immortality. This time there is no doubt as to which trump is sounded. It is the last trump.

Why is it called the last trump? It is the last trump because it is final: there will be no more. It heralds the end of the age, the coming of Christ, the resurrection of all the dead, and victory over death itself. Let’s remember I Corinthians 15:25-26 says, “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”

THE LAST ENEMY

The coming of Christ heralds the climactic restitution of all things lost through the fall. Acts 3:20-21. With the lifting of the curse, death is automatically destroyed. This is the last enemy. There is no need for any more trumpets to sound after the last enemy is destroyed. It is all over.

The fact that his coming heralds the end is brought out very plainly in verses 22-24 of I Corinthians 15. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

THE END

What could be any plainer than this? Christ is the firstfruits from the dead. Afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end. Please notice! It does not say, then cometh the great tribulation, a thousand years of peace on earth, and a little season for Satan to be turned loose again. It says, “then cometh the end....”

That part of the kingdom of God (the Church, God’s people) that is still in the earth at Christ’s coming will be lifted out. The earthly part of the kingdom will be forever united with the heavenly host already on the other side. Then comes the end. God’s interest in those that are left will be over, even as it was in Noah’s day. Matthew 24:37-39. Destruction of the wicked and the earth itself by fire seals the fate of the world when the saints are removed.

From Revelation 8 through 11 we have the sounding of seven trumpets depicting different aspects of God’s judgment upon the earth before the coming of Christ. It seems these judgments are comparable to the judgments of God upon Egypt before the Lord took Israel out. These seven judgments are the prelude to the coming of Christ. Seven is the number of completeness. In this instance seven is used because it represents the final and complete judgments of God upon the earth before eternity is ushered in.

The first trumpet sounds in Revelation 8:7, and the seventh trumpet sounds in Revelation 11:15. There are no more. The seventh trumpet is the final and last trumpet. It is obvious this last trump heralds the end of the age, the resurrection and judgment of the dead, giving of rewards to the saints and destruction of the wicked. Let’s notice exactly what takes place when the seventh angel sounds. (Revelation 11:15-18) “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ: and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come: because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”

DESTRUCTION OF THE WICKED

The fact that the wicked will be destroyed at the coming of Christ is brought out elsewhere in the scriptures. In Matthew 24:37-39 Jesus likens his coming to the days of Noah. “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”

If the world of lost men is going to be destroyed at Christ’s coming as it was in Noah’s day by the flood, then who will be left to go through any supposed millennium?

SEPARATION OF RIGHTEOUS AND WICKED

In the parable of the ten virgins, Matthew 25:1-13, the emphasis of the Lord is for men to be ready for his coming. The whole purpose of this parable is to warn people to prepare for that day as the door will be shut and it will be too late after he comes. It is evident from verses 10-13 that men must be ready at his coming or be lost forever.

In Matthew 25:31-46 he is teaching that when he comes in his glory with all his holy angels, all nations will be gathered before him whom he will separate as a shepherd does his sheep from the goats. And he make it plain that the righteous will enter into life eternal and the unrighteous into everlasting punishment.

This same principle is taught in the parable of the wheat and the tares. Matthew 13:36-43. They are separated at the end of the age with the tares being burned up and the wheat gathered into the barn.

The same thing is taught by Paul in I Thessalonians 5:1-9. There will be salvation for the righteous and destruction for the wicked. And it will take place at his coming for the saints.

Perhaps one of the plainest scriptures teaching this principle of salvation for the righteous and destruction for the wicked at Christ’s coming is found in II Thessalonians 1:7-10. “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”

There is no way an honest heart can make anything else out of this scripture. He’s coming with his holy angels in flaming fire on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel. They will be punished with everlasting destruction when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.

In II Thessalonians 2:1-12 Paul warns us to not be deceived concerning the coming of the Lord and our gathering together unto him. He said the falling away and the revealing of the man of sin must come first before the coming of the Lord. According to verse 8 this wicked one called the “man of sin” will be destroyed with the brightness of his coming. It is also evident from the rest of this chapter that the world of unbelieving men will share the same fate of delusion and damnation as the man of sin. This scripture certainly teaches salvation for the righteous and destruction for the wicked at Christ’s coming.

Another scripture that cannot be interpreted any other way is II Peter 3 where the question of Christ’s coming is being dealt with by the apostle Peter. Giving the reason for the delay of Christ’s coming as the longsuffering of God, Peter tells us exactly what will happen when he does finally come. II Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

ALL THE DEAD

Another scripture that teaches the righteous and the wicked being judged and separated at the same time is Revelation 20:11-15. “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away: and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God: and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Although this great white throne judgment is said to be different and separate by more than a thousand years from the judgment seat of Christ, I believe they are one and the same.

Let’s notice that John said the dead, small and great, would stand before God. If he did not mean all the dead, but only the wicked dead, why did he say, “the dead small and great”? It is quite evident John used this expression because all the dead would be there. This certainly is confirmed by Jesus’ own words in John 5:28-29. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

All that are in the graves shall hear his voice and come forth when that last trumpet sounds. They that have done good will come forth unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation. Does this sound like there will be a thousand years between the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked?

THE LAST DAY

The fact that the resurrection of the righteous takes place at the last day is borne out by what Jesus said in John 6:39-40, 44 and 54. “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

“Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

If the righteous are raised at the last day how can there be a thousand years plus a little season before the wicked are raised? The truth is both the righteous and the wicked are raised and judged at the last day. The same last day applied to the resurrection of the righteous is also applied to the judgment of the wicked. “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” John 12:48.

This, beloved, is why the dead, small and great, come before God in that day. This is also why the books (plural) will be opened plus another book which is the book of life. The books (plural) no doubt are the records of God of the deeds done in the body. I believe they are the records of the righteous and the wicked inasmuch as they are judged by the things written in the books. Verse 12.

All scripture dealing with Christ’s coming warns us to be ready. There is no hint of another opportunity for man after his coming. In fact the scripture plainly teaches that his coming is salvation for the righteous and judgment for the wicked. All the parables of Christ dealing with this subject teach the same thing.

This idea of the conversion of the Jews after Christ’s coming and their becoming missionaries to the Gentile world for a thousand years is a doctrine of deception. The sum total of this teaching is that man will have another chance after Christ comes. Certainly Satan and his evil host would like for all lost men, Jew and Gentile, to believe this.

God’s day of mercy and grace is now. Even as his Spirit ceased to strive with man before the flood, Genesis 6:3, the same thing is happening today before the second coming of Christ. When the Church indwelt by God’s Spirit is caught away there will be no means of convicting men of sin and showing them their need of Christ. With God’s divine presence removed, neither Jew nor Gentile can be saved. This is why judgment falls at that time. When he comes for his own he will be through with this present world. This is why he will burn it up root and branch. Malachi 4:1.

II Peter 3:10-14. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”

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