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as it was in the days of Noe.....likewise also as it was in the days of Lot.' xxi. 34, 35, “take heed to yourselves, lest at any time, &c. ..... and so that day come upon you unawares; for as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.' 1 Thess. v. 2, 3. “for yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night: for when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh
Certain signs however are pointed out by Christ and his apostles as indicative of its approach ; Matt. xxiv. 3—27. Mark xiii. Luke xxi. These signs are either general or peculiar.
The general signs are those which relate equally to the destruction of Jerusalem, the type of Christ's advent, and to the advent itself; such as false prophets, false Christs, wars, earthquakes, persecutions, pestilence, famine, and the gradual decay of faith and charity, down to the very day itself.* Matt. xxiv. 3—27. 2 Tim. iii. 1, &c.
The peculiar signs are, first, an extreme recklessness and impiety, and an almost universal apostasy. Luke xviii. 8. when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth ? 2 Thess. ii. 3. “that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first. Compare also 1 Tim. iv. 1.
truth shall retire
Secondly, the 'revealing of antichrist, and his destruction by the spirit of the mouth of Christ. 2 Thess. ii. 3. that man of sin shall be revealed, the son of perdition— v. 8. and then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.'
Some refer to the same event another sign, namely, the calling of the entire nation of the Jews, as well as of the ten dispersed tribes.* Isai. xi. 11, 12. it shall come to pass in that day, that Jehovah shall set his hand again the second time—' xiv. 1. ^ Jehovah will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land.' xxvii. 12. Jehovah shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt.' Jer. iii. 12. return, thou backsliding Israel.' v. 18. “in those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel.' * I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah.' xxxi. 5. 6thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria.' v. 36, &c. if those ordinances depart from before me xxxiii. 7. •I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return Ezek. xx. 42. “ye shall know that I am Jehovah, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel.' xxxvii. 21, 22. “I will make them
* Compare Paradise Regained, III. 433. especially with reference to the passage quoted from Isaiah xxvii.
Yet he at length (time to himself best known)
one nation in the land, Hos. iii. 5. afterward shall the children of Israel return. Amos ix. 14, 15. • I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel.' Zech. viii. 23. “in those days it shall come to pass that ten men shall take hold.....of him that is a Jew,' &c. xii. 4, &c. in that day, saith Jehovah, I will smite every horse with astonishment. Thus the Jews, on their return from the Babylonish captivity, Ezra vi. 17. offered for a sin-offering for all Israel, twelve he-goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel,' all which God still accounted as his own, though even to the present day they have not returned out of captivity. Luke xxi. 24. “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. Rom. xi. 12, 13. now if the fall of them be the riches of the world.....how much more their fulness? v. 15. if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be?' v. 25. “I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery.....that blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in: and so all Israel shall be saved.'
Christ will delay his coming. 2 Thess. ii. 1-3. • now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand: let no man seduce you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first-' 2 Pet. iii. 3, 4. &c. there shall come in the last days scoffers....saying, Where is the promise of his coming ?' &c. to the end of the chapter; where the reason of his delay is assigned.
His advent will be glorious. Matt. xxiv. 27. 'as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.' v. 30. they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.' See also Luke xxi. 27. Matt. xxv. 31. • when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.' 1 Thess. iv. 16. “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.' 2 Thess. i. 10. when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day. Tit. ii. 13. • looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ.' Jude 14.
behold, the Lord cometh, with ten thousand of his saints.'
It will be terrible. Isai. Ixvi, 15, 16. 'behold, Jehovah will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.' xiii. 9, 10. compared with Matt. xxiv. 29, 30. 'immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.' See also Mark xiii. 24, 25. Luke xxi. 25, 26. there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars, and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, men's hearts failing them for
fear.' 2 Thess. i. 7, 8. the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire.' Rev. vi. 12. to the end of the chapter ; lo, there was a great earthquake......and the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains.......hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains.'
The second advent of Christ will be followed by the resurrection of the dead and the last judgment.
A belief in the resurrection of the dead existed even before the time of the gospel. Job xix. 25, 26, &c. 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 I shall see God.' Psal. xvi. 10, &c. thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.? xvii. 14, 15. from men of the world which have their portion in this life.' xlix. 14, 15. like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them,' &c. Isai. li. 6, &c. “the heavens shall vanish away like smoke........ but my salvation shall be for ever.' xxvi. 19. thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise; awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust.' Zech. iii. 7. thus saith Jehovah of hosts ; if, &c. I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.' Dan. xii. 2. many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.' Hos. xiii. 14. compared with 1 Cor. xv. 54. "I will ransom thee from the power of the grave, I will redeem thee from death: O death, I will be thy plagues ; 0 grave I will be thy destruction.' Acts xxiv. 15. have hope toward God, which they them