Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Terry James: How Near?

How Near?
Terry James

We’ve just paused to examine, to marvel over, the coming of the Christ child—the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Christmas is, therefore, perhaps an even better time than ever to think on Christ coming again to wrap up all involved in that majestic purpose the Lord declared “finished” from the cross at Calvary.

God’s Word–Jesus, Himself—gave many signals of the wrap-up of matters involving the reclamation of this fallen planet. All of those signals were, most end-times seminary scholars seem to believe, issued to point to the Second ComingThe signs Jesus gave, we are told by many in this category, don’t include the mystery later revealed to and by the apostle Paul. I refer to the first phase of the Second Coming. Paul divulged that “mystery in the following, of course.

Behold, I show 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. (1 Corinthians 15:51–5)

I disagree with my friends who believe Jesus never alluded to the Rapture while He was on earth in the flesh, preparing to sacrifice Himself for the sins of fallen mankind. I believe that He did so while speaking to His closest disciples who asked Him questions after He said He would be going away (speaking of His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.). The Lord said:

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:1–3)

Jesus was talking here about His return to receive believers into His presence–above the earth (in the clouds); he wasn’t speaking of meeting them on the earth’s surface. Christ’s words here involve the “mystery” the Paul referenced in 1 Corinthians 15. Jesus will call all believers to Himself in the air (Revelation 4:1).

Like in the case of His words to His disciples and to us down through the centuries, Jesus’ prophecy concerning the wrap-up of this earth age was meant for all believers, not just for the Jews, I’m convinced. The seminarians mostly believe that Matthew, chapters 24 and 25 (the Olivet Discourse), were given only for Israel. The signs given in the Olivet Discourse, they proclaim, therefore don’t include mention of the Rapture of the church of this present age.

We have looked many times in these commentaries how and why I (and may I add significant Bible prophecy teachers) find Christ’s reference to that stunning event in the Olivet Discourse—for example, in Matthew 24:36–42 and again in Luke 17:26–30. We believe these words of our Lord speak explicitly about a time like the “days of Lot” and how He will intervene catastrophically just as He did in that evil time.

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