Understanding The Bible
STUDY REFERENCE
Clarence E. Mason's "ESCHATOLOGY 3"
SECTION VII - "THE RETURN OF THE LORD"

 

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BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
1970

Edited by Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.


SECTION VII
THE RETURN OF THE LORD

  1. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DOCTRINE
    1. The stupendous character of such a possibility invests it with importance. Note its effects:
      1. Course of nations changed
      2. Course of nature changed
      3. Raising of dead, changing of living
      4. Chaining of Satan
      5. Appearance of Christ
      6. New Heavens, New earth
      7. Unveiling of eternity and of God
    2. The frequent mention of His Coming indicates its importance. It has been said that it is mentioned in the New Testament 318 times. The number of verses in the New Testament is 7959. It, therefore, occurs one time in each 25 verses. There are probably more texts in the New Testament on the Second Coming than on any other one doctrine.
    3. The fact that it is linked with every important doctrine shows its importance.
      This should be a great incentive to study this truth. Cp. E under this general subject, "The Prominence of the Doctrine."
    4. Its importance is shown in that it is a vital key to the interpretation of Scripture.
      John 14, first mention;
      1 Thes. 4:13-18, clarifying details.
    5. Its importance is shown in that it is set before the Church as its great hope.
      Phil. 3:20-21 From whence we look for a Savior
      1 Thes. 4:13-18 Comfort
      Col. 3:4 Our life
      Titus 2:13 Blessed hope
       
  2. THE NEED FOR HIS COMING
    (The two aspects of His coming are here not distinguished, i.e., here the Scriptures referring to the "coming" to the air for His saints, the Church, are not separated from those referring to His coming to the earth to reign.)
    1. To fulfill the promise of the Word
      1. To fulfill O.T. prophecy
        Gen. 3:15 Seed to bruise head of Satan
        Isa. 9:6-7 Child born; Son given
        Jer. 23:5, 6-8 Seed--out of north country
      2. To fulfill the declarations of the Lord
        John 14:3 I will come again.. .Rapture
        Mt. 24:27, 44 Coming of Son of Man.. .Return to earth
      3. To fulfill the promises of the Epistles
        Phil. 3:20-21 We look for a Savior ... change body
        Heb. 9:28 He shall appear the second time ... to Jewish Remnant
        James 5:7-8 Coming of Lord draweth nigh...
        1 John 3:2-3 When He shall appear...
    2. To accomplish defeat and doom of Satan
      1. To take His own from the world of which Satan is god.
        Jn. 14:3;
        1 Thes. 4:17;
        2 Cor. 4:4;
        1 Jn. 5:19
      2. To cast Satan from Heaven so that he can no longer accuse the brethren. Rev. 12:9-10
      3. To bind Satan to keep him from tempting men during millennium. Rev. 20:2-3
      4. Finally, to cast him into the lake of fire. Rev. 20:10
    3. To culminate Israel's purging and accomplish her restoration
      1. To regather Israel. Jer. 23:5-8; 30:3; Isa. 11:11-12
      2. To discipline her in the Great Tribulation. Jer. 30:7
      3. To rescue her from the Tribulation at Armageddon. Jer. 30:8-11
      4. To make Israel the head of the nations. Jer. 30:17-24; cp. Dt. 28:13
    4. To punish "the nations" (Gentiles)
      1. To end the "times of the Gentiles." Lk. 21:24 ("times" Lk. 21:24; "fulness" "Rom. 11:25; "out of" Acts 15:14) "And then shall they
        see." Lk. 21:27
      2. To destroy the image of the world power. Dan. 2; Zech. 14:1-4. Feet.. .on Mount of Olives.
      3. To bless repentant Gentiles in the 1000 year reign. Isa. 66:18-25
        The stupendousness of the Coming is commensurate with the other truths of the faith.
    5. To effect the deliverance of His Church
      1. It came into existence at Pentecost. Acts 2:41,47
      2. It comprises a heavenly people. Heb. 3:1
      3. It is to be caught away at His coming. 1 Thes. 4:17
         Whenever He comes, now or a hundred years hence, the living must be transformed. What other way can the end and readjustment come?
    6. To deliver "the whole creation" from the curse (see H, p. 170)
      1. Created things were Adam's. Gen. 1:28-31
      2. Creation brought under condemnation with Adam. Gen. 3:17-19
      3. Creation is now groaning. Rom. 8:19-22
      4. Creation to be released from the curse in the millennium. Isa. 65:25; Amos 9:13; Isa. 35:1-2,6-7
      5. Creation to be made new. Rev. 21:1
    7. To. conclude God's purposes for the dead
      1. With the saved at the judgment seat of Christ. 1 Cor. 3:15; 2 Cor. 5:9-10
      2. With the unsaved at the Great White Throne. Rev. 20:11-15; cp. Acts 17:31
         
  3. THE CERTAINTY OF HIS COMING
    1. The Scripture recognizes that man will scoff at the idea of Christ's Return. 2 Pet. 3:3-5
    2. There are unequivocal declarations promising His return.
      John 14:3 "I will come again"
      1 Thes. 4:16 "Himself"
      Acts 1:11 "This same Jesus"
      Heb. 9:28 "Appear the second time, " to Israel
    3. He fulfilled the promises of suffering; He will just as surely fulfill those of glory.
      Compare Isa. 53 with Psalm 2
      Psalm 22 with Isa. 11
      See 1 Pet. 1:10; Lk. 24:25-26
      Note Isa. 61:1-2, "year, " "day, " with Lk. 4:17-21
      Compare Mt. 16:21 with Mt. 16:27 (28ff.)
      Compare Heb. 9:28, "Bore sins" with "apart from sins."
       
  4. THE LITERALITY OF HIS COMING
    1. There are those who spiritualize His coming or declare His promises to be figurative in significance. Among others, the following events are confused with His coming:
      1. The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
        1. This cannot be as it would confuse the persons of the Trinity. See Jn. 14:16; 16:7
        2. Christ's coming still a future event in the Epistles, which were all written after the day of Pentecost.
        3. None of the events prophesied to happen at His coming were accomplished at Pentecost.
      2. The destruction of Jerusalem
        1. Mt. 24 and Lk. 21, the destruction of Jerusalem is interwoven with the future event of the Coming.
        2. Two questions are asked in Mt. 24. The parallel passage in Lk. 21 refers to and describes the destruction of Jerusalem.
        3. The Revelation was written after the destruction of Jerusalem and still looks forward to the Coming, Rev. 1:4, 7; 2:25; 22:20.
        4. The events to happen at His coming were not accomplished at the destruction of Jerusalem.
      3. The conversion of the sinner
        1. At conversion, the sinner comes to Christ; it is not the coming of Christ as the N.T. promises, Mt. 11:28; Jn. 5:40; 6:37; 7:37.
        2. The New Testament records that those who had been converted were still looking for His coming.
        3. The prophesied second coming events do not occur at the time of the conversion of a sinner.
      4. The death of the saint
        At death, the believer goes to the Lord, rather than the Lord returning to earth, Phil. 1:21-22. The omnipresence of the Lord, especially at such a time as death, must not be confused with His local presence.
    2. It is recognized that some language can be interpreted only in a figurative sense.
      Rom. 12:20 "Coals of fire" contra "food" and "drink"
      Jn. 10:7 "I am the door"
      Jn. 15:5 "I am the true vine"

      There are also numerous such passages in the Revelation and elsewhere. But when a non-millennialist writer cites Jer. 33:17-22 and says the reference to the "temple offerings and priesthood" merely express "church worship in the gospel age," he has departed from all logical interpretation of simple language.

      Nor can it be accepted that in Ezk. 37:21-28 "the terms 'tabernacle' and 'sanctuary' stand for the church or Christian worship."

      Neither will sane interpretation permit Amos 9:11 to be explained thus:
      "rebuilding the tabernacle of David here stands for the regathering of converted Israel under New Testament conditions."
       
    3. Literal interpretation is required for consistency's sake.
      Lk. 1:31-33 The first part of this portion is literal; the second part must be also.
      1 Thes. 4:16 "Himself" Caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air
      Jn. 14:3 "Myself" I will come again.
      Job 19:25 "Stand"
      Rev. 1:7 "every eye shall see Him"
      2 Thes. 2:8  destroy antichrist with the spirit of His mouth
      Mt. 25:31  "sit on throne"
      Mt. 25:32 "all nations shall be gathered"
       
  5. THE PROMINENCE OF THE DOCTRINE
    The following list, taken from Jesus Is Coming by W. E. Blackstone (W.E.B.) indicates how large a number of the doctrines of the New Testament are associated with the second coming of Christ.

     
    1. Watchfulness Mt. 24:42-44; 25:13; Mk. 13:32-37; etc.
    2. Sobriety 1 Thes. 5:2-6; 1 Pet. 1:13; 4:7; 5:8
    3. Repentance Acts 3:19-21; Rev. 3:3
    4. Fidelity Mt. 25:19-21; Lk. 12:42-44; 19:12-13
    5. Not to be ashamed of Christ Mk. 8:38
    6. Against worldliness Mt. 16:26-27
    7. Patience Heb. 10:36-37; Jas. 6:7-8
    8. Moderation Phil. 4:5
    9. Mortification (of flesh) Col. 3:3-5
    10. Sincerity Phil. 1:9-10
    11. Sanctification 1 Thes. 5:23
    12. Ministerial faithfulness 2 Tim. 4:1-2
    13. Obedience 1 Tim. 6:13-14
    14. Pastoral diligence & purity 1 Pet. 5:2-4
    15. Purity of Christians 1 Jn. 3:2-3
    16. Abiding in Christ 1 Jn. 2:28
    17. Endurance under trial 1 Pet. 1:7
    18. Bearing persecution 1 Pet. 4:13
    19. Godliness 2 Pet. 3:11-13
    20. Love of brethren 1 Thes. 3:12-13
    21. Heavenly mindedness Phil. 3:20-21
    22. Love Second Coming 2 Tim. 4:7-8
    23. Look for Him Heb. 9:27-28
    24. Confidence Phil. 1:6
    25. Steadfastness Rev. 2:25; 3:11
    26. Separation Titus 2:11-13
    27. Watchfulness (because of suddenness) Lk. 17:24-30
    28. Non-judging 1 Cor. 4:5
    29. Rewards Mt. 19:27-28
    30. Assurance of rejoicing 2 Cor. 1:14; Phil. 2:16
    31. Comfort Jn. 14:3; Acts 1:11
    32. Assurance 1 Cor. 1:4-8
    33. Hope 1 Thes. 1:9-10
    34. Time of reckoning Mt. 25:19
    35. Judgment of nations Mt. 25:31-46
    36. Resurrection 1 Cor. 15:23
    37. Manifestation of saints 2 Cor. 5:10; Col. 3:4
    38. Consolation 1 Thes. 4:14-18
    39. Tribulation 2 Thes. 1:7-9
    40. Lord's Supper 1 Cor. 11:26


     

  6. THE TIME OF HIS COMING
    Introduction: Premillennialism was called Chiliasm (pronounced kill E-azm) in the Early Church. It is from the Greek word meaning a thousand (years), as millennium is the Latin word meaning the same thing. Through general usage, however, the word has come to mean not only the thousand years, but it also includes the rapture, the resurrections, the judgments, the second coming to earth, the reign of Christ, etc.

    The hope and expectation of the O.T. WAS that the Messiah, the son of David, would appear and reign on David's throne in Jerusalem. Thus, chiliasm had its root in the justifiable hope of Israel. The Messianic Kingdom was offered to Israel at our Lord's first coming (Mt. 10:6; 15:24; 3:2; Mk. 1:15), but it was rejected in the rejection of Christ and postponed (or put in abeyance), Jn. 19:15; cp. Acts 1:6-7; 1 Thes. 5:1-2. Acts 1:8 gives the intervening program.

    The principal points of the divine program as per the premillennial view:
    (1) His coming into the air to catch away the Church.
    (2) Tribulation on earth, involve Israel and the nations, and the ensuing heavenly scenes, involving the Church.
    (3) The return of Christ to the earth with the Church, His Bride, to establish His kingdom of righteousness and peace.
    (4) The binding of Satan and the millennial reign on earth.
     
    1. Documentation that Premillennialism was the belief of the Early Church
      (The quotations of this section are taken, for the most part, from The Lord's Return, by J. F. Silver, but they have been checked carefully with the original writings of the "church fathers.")
      1. The Didache - "Teaching" The Teaching of the Lord, by the XII Apostles to the Gentiles. Paul included, (cp. Fisher, History of Christian Doctrine, p. 70)
        A sort of manual of church practices and doctrine. Written probably A.D. 100 (deductions from internal considerations place date at about 120), or earlier. Found 1873 by Byrennies, an Eastern Prelate. Published 1883.
        1. "Watch for your life's sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ye ready, for ye know not the hour in which our Lord cometh...
        2. When lawlessness increaseth, they shall hate and betray and persecute one another, and
        3. then shall appear the "World-deceiver" as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, 2 Thes. 2:9; Rev. 13:13; and
        4. the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to
          pass since the beginning. Then shall the creation of men come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but they that endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself. (5) And then shall appear the sign of the truth; (a) first, the sign of an opening in heaven, the outspreading of heaven; (b) then the sign of the sound of the trumpet; and the (c) third, and (6) resurrection of the dead, yet not of all, but as it is said:
          (7) The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him. Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven."
          (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VII, 382)

          It will be noted that the following features are here mentioned: (1) Watch; time unknown; (2) Apostasy; (3) Antichrist; (4) The Tribulation; (5) Signs in the heavens; (6) First resurrection; (7) His coming with His saints.
           
      2. The Testimony of Historians
        Fisher: (Congregational) Commenting upon the attitude of the Church as a whole in the years immediately following the days of the apostles, he says:
        "The second coming of Christ is looked upon as an event not remote." (Church History, pp. 84-85)

        Schaff: (Presbyterian) "The most striking point in the eschatology of the Ante-Nicene age is the prominent chiliasm, or millenarianism, that is, the belief of a visible reign of Christ in glory on the earth with the risen saints for a thousand years before the general resurrection... It was a widely current opinion of distinguished teachers, such as, Barnabas, Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Methodius, and Lactantius." (Church History, Vol. II, p. 654)

        Gibbon: (Agnostic) 1737-1794. Temporarily converted to Romanism, expelled from Oxford, studied in Switzerland under Calvinists, renounced Romanism, became agnostic. "It was productive of the most salutory effect upon the faith and practice of Christians." (Milman, Rome, Vol. I, p. 262)

        Mosheim: (Lutheran) 1693-1755. He says that the doctrine had no opposition till the time of Origen (185-254): "The prevailing opinion that Christ was to come and reign a thousand years among men before the final dissolution of the world had met with no opposition until the time of Origen." (A.D. 185) (Ecclesiastical History, Vol. I, p. 89, ch. III, 2)

        Chillingworth: (William, Englishman, 1602-44. Converted to Rome, invited to Douay, but did not go. Restudied and rejoined Protestantism. "Best reasoner and acute logician of his age." Church of England). "The doctrine of the millenarians was believed and taught by the most eminent Fathers of the age next after the Apostles, and by none of that age opposed or condemned; therefore, it was catholic (i.e., universal) doctrine of those times." (Works, p. 730)

        Giesseler: (1793-1854. Text mere skeleton, bulk of work--footnotes from original sources.) (Ch.ofEng.) "This millenarianism became the general belief of the time." (Comp. Eccle. Hist.)

        Stackhouse: (1680-1752. Church of England, a theologian.) "It cannot be denied that this doctrine has its antiquity, and was once the opinion of all orthodox Christians." (Body of Div., Vol. I, p. 597)

        Bishop Newton: (An eminent writer on prophecy, 1704-1782, Bishop of Bristol, Church of England.) "The doctrine of the Millennium was generally believed in the first three and purest ages." (till A. D. 350) (Dissert., Proph., p. 527)

        Bishop Russell: (1802-1880, an ecclesiastical historian, a Roman Catholic, Ireland, used in conversion of Newman to Romanism.) "The belief was universal and undisputed." (Discourse on Mill., p. 236)
         
      3. Quotations from Apostolic Fathers
        Barnabas: A Levite, named Joses of Cyprus, and a co-worker with Paul. is mentioned twenty-nine times in the New Testament. He wrote his epistle in A.D. 71. It was Barnabas who introduced Paul, after his conversion, to the other Apostles.
        1. "God made in six days the work of His hands, and He finished the seventh day, and He rested the seventh day and sanctified it. Consider my children, what that signifies; He finished them in six day-;. The meaning of this is: that in six thousand years God will bring 'ill things to an end, for a day is with Him as a thousand years (Codex Smaiticus reads, 'The days of the Lord shall be as a thousand years'). Therefore, my children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, all things will be finished."
        2. "And He rested the seventh day. This meaneth: when His Son, coming, shall destroy the time of the wicked man and judge the ungodly, and change the sun, and the moon, and the stars, then shall He truly rest on the seventh day.. .Behold, therefore, certainly then one resting sanctifies it, when we ourselves having received the promise, wickedness no longer existing, and all things having been made new by the Lord shall be able to work righteousness." (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, p.146)

          It will be noticed that the following features are here mentioned: (a) Applies to the historic time of man the six days of creation and the seventh of rest to the millennium, and gives prophecies of (b) (1) Son to come, (2) destruction of the Antichrist, (3) judgment of the nations, (4) signs in heavens, (5) all things made new, (6) righteousness.

        Clement of Rome: Mentioned in Phil. 4:3 as a fellow-laborer of Paul: wrote in A.D. 95. Note his First Epistle to the Corinthians.

        1. "Of a truth, soon and sudden shall His will be accomplished, as the Scriptures also bear witness, saying, 'Speedily shall He come, and will not tarry'; and 'The Lord will suddenly come to His temple, even the Holy One, for whom ye look.'" (Mal. 3:10; Fathers, Vol. I, 2)
        2. "Let us be followers of those who went about in sheepskins and goatskins, preaching the coming of Christ." ("Epistles, " p. 21)
        3. In his "Second Epistle" Clement writes: "Let us every hour expect the Kingdom of God in love and righteousness, because we know not the day of God's appearing. " ("Second Epistle, " p. 357)

          It will be noted that the following features are here set forth: (1) His coming speedily, (2) Follow others' example and preach coming of Christ. (3) In the Second Epistle it is to be noted that the hour of appearing is unknown, but we should expect it.

        Hermas: Mentioned In Rom. 16:14 (possibly); he wrote "The Shepherd" which has whole chapters in common with the "Didache." He wrote about A. D. 100. A part of it was found by Tischendorf in 1859 with Sinaitic Manuscript. Called: "Pilgrim's Progress" of the Church of the Second Century.

        "You (1) have escaped from the great tribulation on account of your faith, and because you did not doubt in the presence of the beast.. .God, therefore, and tell the elect of the Lord His mighty deeds, and say to them that (2) this beast is a type of the great tribulation that is coming. If (3) ye then prepare yourselves, and repent with all your heart, and turn to the Lord, it will be possible for you to escape it, if your heart be pure and spotless, and ye spend the rest of your life serving the Lord blamelessly." (Fathers, Vol. n, p. 18)

        It is noted here that the (1) church escapes the great tribulation, (2) recognizes beast opposition, (3) incentive to holiness is second coming.

        Ignatius of Antioch: Disciple of John and Peter; ordained by the Apostles. He wrote letters to the early churches. He was thrown to the lions in A.D. 107. He wrote to Polycarp.

        "Be every day better than another; consider the times, and (1) expect Him who is above all time." (Fathers, Vol. I, p. 94)

        To the Ephesians he wrote: "The (2) last times are come upon us; (3) let us therefore be very reverent and fear the longsuffering of God, that it be not to us condemnation." (Taylor, "Voice, " p. 53)

        It is noted here that: (1) it speaks of expecting Christ's coming, (2) incentive to holiness, (3) recognizes times are evil.

        Polycarp: (A.D. 69-155) Died at the martyr's stake; probably he is one referred to in Rev. 2:8-11. He was a very holy man. (Bishop of Smyrna) trenaeus mentions him as teaching that the earth will be marvelously fertile and fruitful during the Millennium, and he was the one that confirms Papias.

        Papias: Died A.D. 165. Bishop of Hierapolis and a companion of Polycarp and the most important witness to the authenticity of John's Gospel. He wrote in A.D. 116 "A Narrative of the Sayings of our Lord."

        When (1) any one of the saints shall lay hold of a cluster, another shall cry out, "I am a better cluster, take me; bless the Lord through me." (Taylor, p. 153)

        "There will be a (2) millennium after the resurrection from the dead, (3) when the personal reign of Christ will be established on the earth." (Fathers, Vol. I, p. 154)

        It is to be noted: (1) Used hyperbole in description of fruitage of one thousand year period, grapes as big as ships; not prose but figure. (2) Millennium after resurrection; (3) Personal reign of Christ on earth.
         

      4. Quotations from Ante-Nicene Fathers
        Justin Martyr: Born in Neapolis, Palestine, A.D. 89; contemporary with Papias, Polycarp, and Irenaeus. Wrote between A.D. 140-160.

        "I, and as many as are orthodox Christians, do acknowledge that there shall be a resurrection of the body, and a residence of a thousand years in Jerusalem, adorned and enlarged, as the prophets Ezekiel, Isaiah, and others do unanimously attest." (Fathers, Vol. I, p. 239)

        It should be noted that he says: all orthodox Christians accept a resurrection of the body and a 1000 year reign in Jerusalem as mentioned by Ezekiel, Isaiah.

        Irenaeus: Died A.D. 202; Bishop of Lyons, in Gaul (now France), and defender of the Montanists (158-162). Remembered well the oral teachings of Polycarp.
        1. "But (1) when this Antichrist shall have (2) devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months, and sit in the temple at Jerusalem; and then shall the (3) Lord come from heaven in clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man, and those who follow him, into the lake of fire; but (4) bringing for the righteous the times of the kingdom, (5) that is, the rest, the hallowed seventh day; and (6) restoring to Abraham the promised inheritance, in which kingdom the Lord declared that 'many coming from the east and from the west should sit down with Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob,'" Mt. 8:11. (Fathers, Vol. I, p.560)
        2. "And therefore, when in the end the (7) church shall suddenly be caught up from this, it is said, 'There shall be tribulation such as has not been since the beginning, neither shall be, '" Mt. 24:41. (Fathers, Vol. I, p. 560)
          It should be noted that he mentioned the following: (1) Antichrist to reign 3 1/2 years in temple in Jerusalem; (2) Tribulation; (3) Lord comes in clouds; (4) Kingdom for righteousness; (5) the hallowed kingdom of the seventh day, one thousand years; (6) restoration to Abraham the promised inheritance, Mt. 8:11; and (7) Church caught up.

        Tertullian: Born at Carthage, Africa, A.D. 160; and died in A.D. 240.

        1. "We do confess that a (1) kingdom is promised to us on earth, although (2) before heaven, only in another state of existence; inasmuch as it will be after the resurrection for a thousand years in. the divinely rebuilt city of Jerusalem.
        2. "After (3) its one thousand years are over, within which period is completed the resurrection of the saints, who rise sooner or later according to their desserts, there will ensue the destruction of the world and the conflagration of all things at the judgment."
        3. On (4) "The first resurrection" he writes: "It is proved to be a bodily one, because there is no spiritual one then also announced ... .It is therefore more competent for us even to maintain a spiritual resurrection at the commencement of a life of faith." (Fathers, Vol. Ill, pp. 342-343, 563)

          The things to be noted are: that (1) he refers to the kingdom promised on earth for the thousand years; (2) this is before the heavenly kingdom; (3) after one thousand years come judgments and conflagration; (4) resurrection of body; no spiritualized conception of Christ's reign.

        Cyprian: He was Bishop of Carthage, which was his birthplace. Flourished as a writer A.D. 220-250, and was martyred in 258.

        1. "Whatever things were predicted are fulfilled, and (1) the end of the world is approaching.. .The world is old, and decaying," (Fathers, Vol. V, pp. 426, 438)
        2. On Rev. 20:4-5, "All (2) live and reign with Christ, not only those who have been slain; but even whosoever, standing in firmness of faith, have (3) not worshipped the image of the beast, and have not consented to his deadly and sacreligious edicts." (Fathers, Vol. V,.p.506)
        3. "It were a self-contradictory and incompatible thing for us, who pray that the kingdom of God (4) may quickly come, to be looking for a long life here below... Let us ever in anxiety and cautiousness be waiting the second advent of the Lord, for as those things which were foretold are come to pass, so those things will follow which are yet promised; the Lord Himself giving assurance and saying, 'When you see all these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand,'" Lk. 21:31. (Fathers, Cyprian, pp. 149, 217)

          Cyprian notes the following: (1) end of age is approaching; (2) Christ's reign;
          (3) rejection of image of beast; (4) coming any moment, Lk. 21:31; (5) describes millennial glories.

        Commodianus: A Christian historian; wrote about A.D. 250. He was a teacher of holiness. and an ardent Chiliast. First Christian poet; wrote in Latin.

        1. "We (1) shall rise again, who have been devoted to Him.. .They shall come also who overcame martyrdom (2) under Antichrist, and they themselves live for the whole time."
        2. Mentioning certain evils, he says: "But (3) from the thousand years God will destroy all those evils."
        3. Again he remarks: "The (4) heaven in the meantime is changed with an altered course, for then the wicked are burnt up with divine fire."
        4. After the millennium, "They who make God of no account when the thousandth year is finished, shall be destroyed (shall perish) by fire." (Fathers, Vol. IV, pp.201,212,218)

          Commodianus refers to: (1) resurrection; (2) Antichrist; (3) one thousand year reign and destruction of evils; and (4) judgment after the millennium.

        Lactantius: Full name: Lucius Gaelius Firminanus Lactantius. Lived 260-330. Was a pupil of Arnobius, who gave lectures in rhetoric at Suia in Africa. May have been born at Firmium on the Adriatic. Others say he was a native of Africa. "The most learned of the Latin Fathers, " called the Christian Cicero (Fathers, Vol. VII, p. 4), was the instructor of Crispus, son of Constantine. He wrote about A. D. 300 and died about 330.

        1. For since "It is so arranged by God that the same Christ should come twice to earth, once to announce to the nations the one God, then again to reign." (Fathers, Vol. VII, p. 111). Why do they who did not believe in His first advent believe in the second?
        2. "Then the heaven shall be opened in a tempest, and Christ shall descend with great power, and there shall go before Him a fiery brightness and a countless host of angels, and all the multitude of the wicked shall be destroyed, and torrents of blood shall How." (Fathers, Vol. VII, p. 254)
        3. "But the nations shall not be entirely extinguished, but some shall be left as a victory for God.. -About the same time also the prince of the devils, who is the contriver of all evils, shall be bound with chains, and shall be imprisoned during the thousand years of the heavenly rule of righteousness which shall reign in the world.. .They who shall be raised from the dead shall preside over the living as judges.. .But He, when He shall have destroyed unrighteousness, and executed His great judgment, and shall have recalled to life the righteous who have lived from the beginning, will be engaged among' men for a thousand years, and will rule them with most just command.. .Throughout this time the beasts shall not be nourished by blood, nor bird by prey." (Fathers, Vol. VII, p.219)
        4. "The King and Conqueror.. .will Himself reign with them (the saints) on the earth, and will build the holy city, and this kingdom of the righteous shall be for a thousand years... The earth shall bring forth all her fruit without the labour of men... The beasts shall lay aside their ferocity and become mild... The serpent shall have no poison; no animal shall live by bloodshed." (Fathers, Vol. VII, p. 254)

          The following things are to be noted about the above: (1) God arranged that Christ should come twice and to reign the second time; (2) Comes in power and judgment; (3) Nations not entirely extinguished; (4) Satan bound; (5) Raised ones to rule and to judge; (6) Christ to reign; (7) Animal creation changed; will not eat blood.

          (1) Other 2nd century advocates include:

          1. Pothinus (Bishop of Lyons) as cited by Irenaeus his successor
          2. Melito, bishop of Sardis (100-170)
          3. Hegisippus (130-190)
          4. Tatian (130-190)
          5. Churches of Vienna and Lyons in a letter in 177
          6. Hippolytus (160-240), disciples of Irenaeus
          7. Apollinaris, bishop of Hieropolis (150-200)

          Almost all of them were martyrs. Not a single writer can be presented who opposed premillennialism in this period or who taught any other view. This shows Chiliasm was:

          1. the common faith and
            there was such unity only because the belief had been introduced by the founders of the Church.

          (2) Other 3rd century advocates include:

          1. Nepos (230-280)
          2. Coracion (230-280)
          3. Victorinus (240-303)
          4. Methodius, bishop of Olympus (250-311)
             
      5. Testimony of Sects

        Montanists:
        They arose in Asia Minor in the second century. They were spiritual people--cruelly persecuted. They were Chiliasts.

        1. The speedy return of the Lord.
        2. Awful judgments from heaven.
        3. Personal reign of Christ during millennium. They believed in heart regeneration. They were the forerunners of the modern "holiness" movements.

        Novatians:
        Flourished in the third century.
        The founder was a very learned, heavenly-minded man.
        The founder was a Chiliast and a Presbyter of the Church of Rome.
         

      6. Council of Nicea, A.D. 325
        The council itself was chiliastic (composed of Montanists and Cathari)
        "A premillenarian church overthrew pagan Rome."
        Joseph Mode quotes Acts of Council of Cyzicenus; shows that it was premillennial.
        Thomas Hartley says that there is ample proof of premillennial view of council.
        Nathaniel West gives many citations to prove premillennial view of council. See Historical Acts of Council of Nicea, II, chapter 29.
        Even Daniel Whitby, the father of the modern post -millennialism, recognized it, i.e., says early Church was premillennial at Nicea.
        Harnack says: "Chiliasm was associated with Gospel itself." (Encyclopedia Britannica, XVI, p. 318--9th Edition)
         
    2. The decline of Chiliasm and reasons therefore
      Opposition to premillennialism came mainly from the men in Alexandria who were attempting to reconcile Greek philosophy with the Scriptures, and who had abandoned the literal method of interpretation for the allegorical method.
      1. The rejection of the book of Revelation an inspired book. First by Caius of Rome, A.D. 200.
      2. Origen, A.D. 185-254. His spiritualizing method led him to say the book of Revelation was mythical and bombastic. Clemens Alexandrinus had a strong influence on Origen as teacher of the Catechetical School of Alexandria from A.D. 193-220.
      3. Dionysius of Alexandria (A.D. 190-265) followed with the same errors as Origen.
        He also cast doubt upon the genuineness of the Apocalypse.
      4. Union of Church and State
        Constantine, AD. 263 - 337
        Corrupted Nicene Creed
        Church became rich, powerful, self-satisfied
      5. Corruption through forged changes of Nicene Creed by Roman Catholic Church.
        The Synod of Sardica (in Thrace), in A.D. 343, changed doctrine and thereafter they were quoted as if they were Nicene dogma.
        "The fraudulent habit of ascribing the canons of the Synod of Sardica to the first ecumenical Council of Nice became quite general in Rome." (McClintock & Strong, VII, 629)
      6. The opposition of Jerome, A.D. 345-420
        He was a wealthy, learned man.
        He translated the Latin Vulgate.
        He was the sworn enemy of Chiliasm.
      7. The change of Augustine's thinking, A.D. 354-430
        This great theologian, despite the fact that he wrote many things of lasting value, was guilty, nevertheless, of reversing himself quite often. At first he taught the premillennial view of the millennium, but his great work, The City of God, sets forth his particular interpretation which has few if any followers today among leading amillennialists. But he turned from Chiliasm because of "carnal" conceptions of the millennium. He became the great early exponent of amillennialism. (See p. 129)
      8. The Dark Ages
        During the Dark Ages, Chiliasm was "scorned and extirpated." However, there were always some groups that held faithfully to the true Scriptural interpretation of the coming reign of righteousness on the earth.
        The expectation of the Lord's return was a vitalizing truth that was cherished by some in the years just previous to the Reformation. Since then the teaching of the Scriptures on the subject has been amplified and clarified extensively.
         
    3. The gradual restoration of Chiliasm (or at least a recognition of the 2nd Coming) in and subsequent to the Reformation
      Luther: "It is not to be admitted that the whole world and all mankind shall believe on Christ... Let us not think that the coming of Christ is far off..."
      Calvin: "There is no reason why any person should expect the conversion of the world, for at length--when it shall be too late, and will yield them no advantage, they shall look on Him whom they have pierced."
      Knox: "The Lord Jesus shall return, and that with expedition. What were this else but to reform the face of the whole earth, which never was nor yet shall be, till the righteous King and Judge appear for the restoration of all things."
      Latimer: "All those excellent and learned men whom, without doubt, God has sent into the world in these latter days to give the world warning, do gather out of the Scriptures that the last days cannot be far off. Peradventure it may come in my day, old as I am, or in my children's days."
      Wesley: Wesley was a strong premillennialist. John preached the return of our Lord, as did his poet-brother Charles. Years ago, A. C. Gaebelein, in reading Tyerman on The Life and Times of Wesley, came to a paragraph in which Wesley is reported to have complimented an author by the name of Thomas Hartley, who had written a book on prophecy, Christ's coming again, and on the future kingdom. Wesley endorsed it fully. Gaebelein searched long, finally obtained a copy of Hartley's book, and found he taught the doctrine of premillennialism. So every doubt as to Wesley's belief was removed. His brother, Charles Wesley, the hymn-writer, spoke of Christ's coming in a number of hymns.

      These quotations show:
      1. that the reformers believed in the imminent return of Christ.
      2. that God, not man, would institute the millennium.
      3. beyond this they did not go in developing the doctrine; that development came later.
      4. it must also be borne in mind that the reformers were primarily concerned with issues affecting salvation and church ordinances and government.
      5. the same degree of research did not at all characterize the examination of the revelation of God concerning the future. (See G, 2, a, pp.21-23; G, 3, pp.28-32; G, 4, pp. 32-38; in Historic Sketch of Dispensational View of Biblical Study.)
         
    4. Views on Chiliasm SINCE the Reformation
      There have been four views on the question of the TIME of Christ's Second Coming.
      1. NON-LITERAL or SPIRITUALIZED VIEW: This view denies that the prophecies of the second coming relate to a specific literal event. It rather identifies with the second coming all the events of the Christian era which are the work of Christ. For example, Pentecost, the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the death of saints, conversion, or any crisis in history or one's experience. A variation of this view is held by some who would identify the second coming with any one of the events mentioned above (see Section VII, D, p. 115). This view ignores the fact that many prophecies of the second coming were written after A.D. 70 and all the New Testament was written after Pentecost. Neither does it have an adequate explanation for the prophecies relating to the binding of Satan, the millennium of righteousness, the two resurrections, of the judgments. Hence, they say Christ is not to come in the sense the Scriptures declare that He will come (cp. Wm. H. Clarke, An Outline of Christian Theology).
      2. POSTMILLENNIALISM: The beginning of postmillennialism is usually traced to Daniel Whitby (1638-1725), a Unitarian controversialist of England; however, the roots of this interpretation go back to the rise of spiritualization.
        This view maintains that through the preaching of the gospel the whole world will be Christianized and brought to submission to the gospel before Christ returns. This submission of the world to the gospel is the postmillennialist's concept of the millennium after which they say Christ will return.

        Generally speaking- there are two types of postmillennialism, conservative and liberal. The conservatives emphasize the fact that the Kingdom is brought in through the power of the gospel; the liberals emphasize the ability of man in ushering in a golden age. The keynote of postmillennialism is progress.

        Actually most postmillennialists deny a literal earthly reign of Christ; therefore, they are basically amillennial. However, it is their optimistic emphasis upon the progress of the gospel or the ability of man which gains for the adherents of this view the name postmillennialism.

        Postmillennial literature reveals two ideas relative to millennial conditions:
        1. The literal (more or less) approach emphasizes approximately what the Old Testament predicts, except that God's Israel is said to be the Church and Christ is not seen reigning literally on the earth. (e.g., Charles Hodge; Lorraine Boettner)
        2. The spiritualized approach merely emphasizes the great spiritual blessing and triumph through the gospel, or through man's ability.

        Postmillennial literature reveals two ideas relative to the time of Christ's return, both of which say Christ will return after (post) the millennium begins:

        1. Most hold Christ will return at the close of the 1000 years.
        2. Some hold He will return during the millennium but sometime after the 1000 years begin. In either view Christ does not bring in the Kingdom by His return, but it is brought in by the gospel or man's ability (see notes on Revelation, PCB,pp.4-5).

        Summary of the teachings of postmillennialism:

        1. It is based on figurative interpretation (spiritual ization).
        2. The Biblical prophecies of the Kingdom are being fulfilled in the inter-advent period.
        3. The Kingdom is spiritual and unseen rather than material and political.
        4. The power of the Kingdom is the Holy Spirit, rather than the bodily presence of Christ.
        5. The throne of David is identified with the Throne of God in heaven.
        6. The Kingdom grows rapidly, either through the gospel (which they regard symbolized by mustard tree, leaven) or through material and scientific advance.
        7. Some look upon the coming of Christ as a series of events. Any providential dealing of God is a coming of the Lord. The final coming is regarded as climactic and remote.
        8. The final judgment of men and angels is one event with but one resurrection.

        Note the following distinctions:
        Postmillennialism differs from premillennialism which teaches that the millennium is a future event which shall be ushered in by the second coming of Christ.

        Postmillennialism differs from amillennialism in its optimistic outlook, assuring us that the Kingdom of God will ultimately triumph in the world through the spread of the gospel.

        Reasons for the present decline of postmillennialism:

        1. It is inherently weak because it is dependent upon a spiritualizing method of interpretation. This approach does not yield a definite unified system of teaching, as seen in the fact that postmillennialism finds in its ranks Unitarians, Calvinists, and Arminians.
        2. It tends toward liberalism. Again this is due to the allegorical approach. Its hermeneutical principle of spiritualizing literal Bible statements paved the way for liberalism.
        3. It fails to meet the facts of history. The world definitely is not getting better.
        4. The disillusionment caused by two world wars has given impetus toward realism in theology and philosophy, and thus has led to a repudiation of the idealism which characterizes postmillennialism. This departure from postmillennialism has resulted in an increase in the ranks of the amillennialists. There are few defenders of postmillennialism today (e.g., Boettner). This has brought into sharper focus the conflict between premillennialism and amillennialism.
           
      3. AMILLENNIALISM: This term designates that view which denies there will be a future, personal, bodily, literal reign of Christ upon the earth after His 2nd advent. Amillennialists hold to a reign of Christ as taking place between the two advents. It emphasizes that there is no future for Israel.

        It does not deny that Christ will reign or that Christ's reign will be over those on the earth;
        But it does deny that Christ will be on the earth, personally and bodily, when He reigns,
        that His reign will be after His 2nd advent, and that His reign will then be for 1000 years on earth.

        It no doubt embraces more adherents than any other millennial view. The recent rise in amillennialism is due to the following:

        The return to reformation theology by the so-called neo-orthodox theologians, who have (along with most old conservatives) abandoned the postmillennial hope of Whitby involving a future millennium on earth. They say premils are emphasizing secondary things. They are taking refuge in old creeds with neo-orthodox interpretations.

        The recent growth in power of the Roman Church, which adopted Augustine's amillennial view. Their pretensions rest on misappropriation of Davidic promises. This has influenced Protestantism.

        Liberalism's low views of inspiration have led to skepticism in eschatology. Liberals are fighting a cover-up campaign, claiming to champion the Reformed faith against pre-mils, to hide their heterodoxy.
        1. Theological basis. The amillennial position rests upon the principle of the spiritualization of certain prophecies which relate to the kingdom. Following this spiritualization method of interpretation, the term Israel is taken to mean the Church or the true people of God in any age, and the kingdom blessings are seen to relate to the Church either on earth or in heaven (though the blessings are not fulfilled in any literal sense).
           
        2. Historical background. Though some amillennialists claim that their position is the historic view of the Church, the fact remains that amillennialism did not arise until the introduction of the allegorical or spiritualizing method of interpretation by the Alexandrian school at the close of the second century or the beginning of the third century. However, the doctrinal vagaries of the men of that school (e.g., Gaius, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Dionysius) have caused present day amillennialists to shun these early third century amillennialists and to claim Augustine (354-430) as the father of amillennialism--Augustine rejected a future literal millennium on the grounds that it was a carnal concept, and instead propagated the idea that the Church was the kingdom and the present age the millennium. His view became Roman Catholic doctrine and it was adopted with variations by the Reformers.
           
        3. Augustinian amillennialism. The following points characterize Augustinian amillen-nialism: (NOTE: Augustine at first accepted the premillennial view on the basis of the septamillennial theory, but the date-setting possibilities of the theory and the carnal concepts of some chiliasts caused him to reject it. This change is seen in The City of God.) His interpretation was: (cp. p. 125)
          1. (a) The millennial reign (kingdom) is to be interpreted spiritually as fulfilled in the Church.
          2. (b) Satan was bound by our Lord during His earthly ministry, Lk. 10:18; Mt. 12:29.
          3. (c) The first resurrection is the new birth of the believer, Jn. 5:25.
          4. (d) The millennium must therefore correspond to the present period (Church Age) between our Lord's two advents. In this period the City of God, the Church, is in conflict with the City of Satan, the world.
          5. (e) Rev. 20:1-6 is to be taken as a recapitulation of previous chapters rather than a new age which follows chronologically the coming of Christ portrayed in Rev. 19.
          6. (f) Living in the first half of the first millennium of the Church's history, Augustine naturally took the 1000 years of Rev. 20 to be literal and seems to identify the period with what remained of the sixth chiliad (thousand years) of human history, and believed this period might end about A.D. 650 with a great outburst of evil, the revolt of Gog, followed by the coming of Christ in judgment and the eternal state. (Allis, Prophecy and the Church, p. 3)
             
        4. The failure of Augustinian amillennialism. The details of Augustine's millennial concept have failed to harmonize with the facts of history. For example, his adherence to the septamillennial theory made him accept the thousand years as referring to this present age, but the present age has far exceeded a thousand years. Also, his concept that Satan is now bound runs counter to the teaching of Scripture relative to Satan's activity in the present age. These are key examples of the failure of Augustine's millennial concept, and they are the direct result of the spiritualization of the Scriptures.
           
        5. The amillennialism of the Reformation. The subject of eschatology received scant attention by the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. As far as the millennial issue was concerned they were content to follow the Roman Church in a weakened Augustinian amillennial viewpoint. That is, they looked upon the thousand years of Revelation 20 as an indefinite period of time referring to the present age (cp. Calvin, Institutes, II, 250-51).
           
        6. Modern amillennialism. Amillennialists generally continue to follow Augustine with certain reservations (cp. G, 4, p. 69). Among conservative amillennialists there are two principal viewpoints relative to the interpretation of the Scriptures which deal with the millennium specifically or the kingdom in general:
          1. That which finds fulfilment in the present age on earth in the Church (Allis, Berkhof).
          2. That which finds fulfilment in the present age with the Church in heaven (Warfield).

          Another problem confronting amillennialists concerns whether the kingdom prophecies were ever intended to be taken literally. Some maintain that they were never intended to be taken literally (e.g., Calvin), while others 'declare that they originally were to be taken literally but Israel failed to meet the conditions for fulfilment so the promises were transferred to the Church which fulfills them in a spiritualized sense (Allis).

          It is evident from these facts that amillennialism as such is not a unified and constructive system of theology, but its treatment of the kingdom passages consists largely in explaining away the literal sense, ignoring the literal sense, or assigning to the literal sense some other meaning (cp. Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom, for an excellent treatment of the millennial issue).
           

      4. PREMILLENNIALISM: Premillennialism, of course, holds that it is Christ's return to the earth which begins the millennium and, indeed, makes it possible. Thus Christ's coming is premillennial (before the millennium) and, after His return, prophecies of a glorious kingdom on earth will be literally fulfilled. Allis states: "It was extensively held in the Early Church, how extensively is not definitely known." (Prophecy and the Church, p. 7) Originally this term designated merely the time of Christ's second advent -- before the millennium, or the 1000 year earthly reign predicted in Rev. 20:1-6 (called Chiliasm in the early church). However, it has come to refer to a whole system of theology, because it became evident that the second advent of Christ is not an event which can be separated from other areas of Biblical truth, but is in fact integrally related to all major areas of revealed truth and, unless the second advent is properly understood. God's program becomes distorted beyond recognition.

        Premillennialism teaches the literal fulfilment of the kingdom promises found in both the O.T. and the N.T. A clarifying word is necessary regarding the fact that the O.T. kingdom promises speak of an everlasting kingdom, whereas Rev. 20 speaks of a 1000 year reign of Christ, The millennium referred to in Rev. 20 is merely the first phase of God's eternal kingdom. The millennium is the final time age in God's dispensational dealings with man--this will be God's final test of man, demonstrating that man cannot please Him apart from His grace and that man can only triumph in grace through Christ. The N.T. also prophesies an eternal kingdom. Millennial conditions then give way to the eternal state.
        1. Premillennialism is based upon the literal interpretation of the prophecies relating to the second advent of Christ. The opponents of premillennialism attack it because they do not accept the literal interpretation of passages relating to the millennium, although they accept other prophecies literally (in which fact we feel they are inconsistent).
        2. Arguments for premillennialism
          1. Both O.T. and N.T. state that kingdom blessings are ushered in by the second advent, e.g., Isa. 59:20ff.; 6l:2b,ff.; Jer. 23:5-8:30-33; Ezk. 37:21-28; Dan. 2:44; 7:9-14; Hosea 3:4-5; Joel 2:28-3:21; Amo^ y: 11-15, Micah 5:3-15; Zeph. 3:14-20; Zech. 3:8-10; 12-14; Mal. 4; Mt. 25:31 46; Acts 15:13-18; Rom. 11; 1 Cor. 15:20-27; 2 Thes. 1:5-2:12; James 5:7-9; 2 Pet. 3:4-13; Rev. 11:15-19; 19:11-20:9.
          2. The Man of Sin is to be destroyed by Christ's coming, 2 Thes. 2:8. This Man of Sin could not be reigning during the millennium.
          3. Mt. 24:29-31, "immediately after the tribulation." The tribulation could not exist in the millennium.
          4. The persecuted Church (2 Tim. 3:12) continues till Christ comes. There will be no persecution in the millennium.
          5. Tares and wheat--Mt. 13:29--both grow together till harvest at the end of the age--not a picture of millennium.
          6. The literal character of Christ's reign, Ezk. 21:27; 2 Sam. 7:16.
            This cannot be spiritualized to say Christ is reigning today and then say He will come at the end of the millennium.
          7. Argument from resurrection. Rev. 20:4-14; cp. 1 Cor. 15:22-26; 1 Thes. 4:13-17. The first resurrection is completed before the millennium begins, and the rest of dead do not live till the end of the millennium.
        3. Types of premillennialism: non-dispensational and dispensational
          The leaders of the Reformation dealt a severe blow to the allegorical method of interpretation by their advocacy of the literal-grammatical-historical approach. This emphasis upon the literal method resulted in the revival of premillennialism in the post-Reformation period. Up to the 19th century, however, premillennialism did not exist as a codified system. Premillennial advocates simply looked for the Lord's return to establish His kingdom of glory upon the earth. During this period (c. 1525-1825) the Lord's return was viewed by premillennialists as but one event; that is, it was not then regarded as being in two phases, one relating to the Church and the other to Israel and the nations. Of course, many viewed the coming as imminent, but the clear-cut distinction between God's programs for Israel and the Church and the recognition of a future period of tribulation identified with Israel's 70th Week were not yet issues in theology. These distinctions are the result of the refinement of the premillennial system which began early in the 19th century and which continues today. This refinement is based upon the consistent use of the literal (plain, normal) method of interpretation of the Scriptures.

          Because of the fact that up to the early 19th century premillennialists did not recognize the Lord's return as involving two phases, those who are now called post-tribulational rapturists assert that their viewpoint is that which has been held by premillennialists down through the centuries, and thus they refer to themselves as historical premillennialists.

          However, such a claim is invalid because the doctrine of the Church's relation to the tribulation was not an issue previous to the 19th century. It is reasonable to assume that if the premillennialists prior to the 19th century had been presented the arguments supporting two phases to the Lord's return, many would have accepted that view. The fact that the two-phase view has been so well-received by careful Bible students since the early 19th century supports that claim.

          Post-tribulationism did not arise as a distinct position theologically until B. W. Newton opposed J. N. Darby on the issue of the pre-tribulational rapture. Therefore, it is fairer to classify premillennialists before that time as merely premillennialists generally, rather than as being specifically pre- or post-tribulationalists.

          There are(two)major types of premillennialism today:
           
          1. NON-DISPENSAT10NAL Premillennialism: This form of premillennialism
            simply insists that it is the coming of Christ which makes possible His reign on earth, as opposed to post- and amillennialism.

            Today there are four groups of non -dispensational premillennialists:
             
            1. While disdaining dispensationalism, quite a few teach deliverance from wrath m the period of the 70th Week (in keeping with dis-pensationalists who are pre-tribulational rapturists).
            2. Post-tribulational rapturists claim to have been the larger group . : historically, but since late in the 19th century in America they have been far outnumbered by pre-tribulational rapturists. The post-tribulational view is presently gaining in numbers through the books of men like Alexander Reese, George E. Ladd, etc., although the view has been more popular in England and Canada for a longer period.
            3. Mid -tribulational rapturists have had a small following through men like Norman B. Harrison, J. Oliver Buswell, etc.
            4. Partial rapturists have not been strong in America; even in England they have been comparatively weak, despite the writings of the able editor of The Dawn, D. M. Panton, and men like R. Govett.
               

            Excellent summaries of and answers to these views, especially ii, iii, and iv have been made by a number of men:
            John F. Walvoord, The Rapture Question
            Gerald B. Stanton, Kept From the Hour
            Similar title pamphlets on the theme Will the Church Pass Through the (Great) Tribulation by C. I. ScofieldT'William R. Newell,
            H. A. Ironside, and Henry C. Thiessen (the best).
             

          2. DISPENSATIONAL Premillennialism: This view is a restoration of the early Church hope as taught by the apostles and represents a refinement of (a), non-dispensational premillennialism. It emphasizes a pre-tribulational rapture. Adherents feel this view has been held since God revealed it to Paul in answer to the Thessalonians' question concerning loved ones who had died (1 Thes. 4:13-18). The Holy Spirit explained that both living and dead believers will first be caught up "to meet the Lord in the air, " then later return to earth with Him to share in the Kingdom reign. Not all who hold this view are dispensationalists [(a), i] , but all dispensationalists insist that since the Church had nothing lo do with the 69 weeks (closing with the cross): it will have no relationship to the 70th Week (which concerns Daniel's "people" Jews, and "city" = Jerusalem, Dan. 9:24ff.). Thus, the Church meets Christ in the air before that period of judgment begins, approximately seven years before the millennium.
            1. i. Dispensational premillennialism is based upon the consistent use of the literal
              method of interpretation. The literal method (which is the normal approach to a literary work), when consistently followed, differentiates God's program with Israel, the Gentiles, and the Church.
              The non-dispensational premillennialist is an inconsistent premillennialist because he arbitrarily adopts the allegorical method (spiritualization) to identify Israel as the Church. This forces him to spiritualize certain prophecies that relate to the future of Israel and the Church.
            2. Advantages of dispensational premillennialism:
              1. Difficulties and apparent discrepancies in the Bible are easily reconciled, e.g., Gen. 4:15 and 9:6; non-observance of certain Mosaic commands today, such as the sacrifices, feast observance (Dt. 16:16), dress (Nu. 15:38), marital obligation of a brother (Dt. 25:5), etc.;Mt. 10:5 and 28:19-20; Mt. 23:1-3 with Rom. 6:14 and 2 Cor. 3. Also, the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the O.T., the Gospels, the Acts, and the Epistles can be adequately explained only from the dispensational position. (See p. 19.)
              2. It reveals the true unity of the Word of God. It does justice to every area of Biblical revelation, no part being neglected. God's programs with Israel, the Gentiles, and the Church, though distinct, are all seen to be related to the two advents of Jesus Christ. Each program is part of the unfolding revelation of God and they are all tied together by the work of Christ at His first and second advents. (iii) It is based upon sound hermeneutical principles. The literal -grammatical -historical approach to the Word of God is basic to dispensationalism. This is the only sane and safe approach to Scripture. Scripture as the unfolding revelation of God is thus seen to be the best interpreter of Scripture. Interpretation is not dependent upon the whims and the ingenuity of the interpreter when this method is followed.
            3. Arguments for dispensational premillennialism:
              1. The words of Scripture taken in their normal significance differentiate
                Israel, the Gentiles, and the Church. The opponents of dispensationalism admit this. (See Allis, Prophecy and the Church, 256-262.)
              2. The doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the truth of the Church as a mystery indicate that the Church is unique and relates only to this age.
              3. The 70th Week of Israel is seen to relate only to Israel and the Gentiles.
                The Church is not seen in the Scriptures that speak of that period.
              4. The Church is promised deliverance from tribulation.
              5. The covenants of Scripture taken literally anticipate the day when Israel
                will be saved nationally and righteousness will pervade the earth. This is seen to follow the second advent.
              6. O.T. and N.T. prophecies concerning the second advent follow the pre-millennial pattern.
            4. Opposition to the premillennial and literal interpretation of the reign of Christ on the earth by amillennialists:
              1. It is condemned as a literal interpretation.
                E.g., it is claimed that Zion, Israel, Jerusalem, Temple, Land, David, King, Kingdom, Throne, etc., must. be interpreted spiritually or symbolically so that the real reference of these words, names, places, etc., is made to apply to the Church, heaven, etc.
              2. It is said that a literal reign is too crass and materialistic for a resurrected people and that it degrades the saints from heaven to earth.
              3. It is claimed that the literal application of the Kingdom and related prophecies is a perpetuation of false Jewish notions and hopes.
              4. It is claimed that Christ's coming to suffer on the cross is all that there is in the divine plan. I here is a misapplication of the phrase, "There is only one plan of salvation."
              5. It is claimed that God's Kingdom is now on earth and that Jesus now reigns as King.
              6. It is contended that the coming of Christ does not mean His personal visible appearing.
              7. It is argued that there is no salvation for the nation Israel as such, but only a personal salvation along with the Gentiles. Yet Hodge argues for a conversion of ALL Israel!
              8. The Scriptural fact of a first and second resurrection is not comprehended and the premillennialist is censured for teaching that the good and bad will be raised at separate times.
              9. The premillennialist is censured for teaching that there is no general judgment.
                 
  7. THE IMMINENCY OF HIS COMING
    This refers to the possibility of His coming at any time: that is, no other prophetic event must be fulfilled before His coming.
    1. The Lord's declarations regarding the imminent coming
      Mt. 24:45-51
      Lk. 12:35-38 (return from wedding)
      Mk. 13:33-37
      Lk. 21:34-35
    2. The Apostles' testimony regarding the imminency of His coming ?
      Rom. 13:11-12 1
      Thes. 4:16-17
      1 Cor. 15:51-53
      1 Cor. 1:4-7
      James 5-8
      Phil. 3:20-21
      Heb. 10:24-25
      1 Pet. 4:7
      1 Jn. 3:1-3
      Heb. 10:37
      1 Jn. 2:18
    3. The Imminency of the hope promotes Loyalty and faithfulness Patience Love Restfulness Godliness Sobriety and vigilance Comfort.

      The difference should be observed between the imminent coming and the soon coming, \j1^ The doctrine of imminence means that no intervening event must transpire which would prevent His coming. It means that He could come at any time. The soon coming would mean that He must come shortly. The Scriptures teach the imminent coming, but nowhere teach the soon coming. Paul, Peter, and the others were mistaken if they looked for and taught the soon coming, for He did not come soon. There was no error if they taught that He could come at any time. The believer's hope is not that He must come soon (only God knows the time), but that He may
      come at any moment. (The comment above refers to Christ's return to the air.)
       
  8. SOME SIGNS AND CONDITIONS INDICATING THE NEARNESS OF HIS COMING TO THE EARTH
    For detailed treatment of this theme, see Dr. L. S. Chafer's "Seven Biblical Signs."
    a.  Jewish
    b.  Gentile
    c.  Jerusalem
    d.  Unveiled prophecy
    e.  Material earth
    f.  Apostasy
    g.  Commercial
     
    1. Israel, Mt. 21:19
      In the Olivet Discourse, which deals with the times of the end, the Lord gives the parable of the fig tree. It sets forth the conditions of Israel just before the second coming of Christ. The movement in Israel to return to the land of Palestine, the wide persecution of the Jew, the general awakening and interest in that people is an indication of the fig tree putting forth her leaves or, in other words, the stirring again of the people of Israel to the end that they might return to their land for God's future dealings with them.
       
    2. Gentiles, Lk. 21:25-26
      It can surely be said today, as possibly never before, that the nations are in "distress" and "perplexity" and that "men's hearts are failing them" because of the fear. Two world wars, the bloody Korean, Vietnam, and Middle East conflicts are all ominous portents. The advent of the atomic bomb and its constant improvement into more and more of a horrendous threat to human life is an awesome sign. Two world wars plus constantly expanding costs of military preparedness have led to huge deficits in the nations' fiscal affairs and resulted in a feeling of "bledwhite" hopelessness.
       
    3. Church
      1. a. The apostate professing Church
        Some of the spiritual conditions to be found in the end time are indicated as follows:
        1. Laodician letter Rev. 3:14-22 Spue thee out 15-16 Lukewarm 16 Boasting 17
        2. The faith will not be found when He comes, Lk. 18:8 (probably in strict application refers to His coming to the earth).
        3. Perilous times, 2 Tim. 3
        4. "A falling away. " 2 Thes. 2:3
        5. "Evil men and seducers, " 2 Tim. 3:13
        6. "False teachers. . .damnable heresies, " 2 Pet. 2:1-3
        7. "They will not endure sound doctrine," 2 Tim. 4:3-4
      2. The true Church
        It is represented by the Philadelphian letter and conditions, Rev. 3. One of the signs of the times with respect to the true Church is the recovery of the truth of the coming of the Lord as a vital doctrine and practical hope.
         
  9. THE TWO PHASER OF HIS COMING
    1. The Rapture (or Translation of the Church to Heaven)
      1. It relates to His Church 1 Cor. 15:23 52 .
      2. To His coming ".into the air" only, 1 Thes. 4:13-18.
      3. To an event when only "the dead in Christ" of the Church are raised from among the dead.
      4. At that lime "the living believers" also are changed.
      5. The "raised" and "changed" together are taken from the earth to heaven, 1 Thes, 4:17.
      6. It- may occur at any rime before the tribulation. NOTE: The stages of the first resurrection are:
        1. Christ (on 3rd day) 1 Cor. 15:23
        2. Certain saints
          (Debated as to whether permanent bodies or a temporary corporeal "appearance" to make believers aware that an unusual event had taken place. In this view, they did not get real resurrection bodies then, but would be raised with (4) below.)
        3. Church (when Christ comes to air) 1 Thes. 4:13; 1 Cor. 15:51ff.
        4. O.T. saints (at end of 70th Week) Dan, 12:2
        5. Tribulation saints (at end of 70th Week) Rev. 20:4-6
           
    2. The Invasion (or the Return of Christ and the Church to earth, 2 Thes. 1:7)
      1. Has to do with Israel and the world powers.
      2. It comes after the great tribulation,
      3. Christ s feet will then stand on Mount Olivet, splitting it.
      4. He will crush Israel's enemies.
      5. He will judge the living Gentiles.
      6. He will judge Israel.
      7. He will bind Satan.
      8. He comes to earth with His saints (see note under 1, f., above)
      9.  At this time. the 1000 year reign begins.
         
    3. Contrasts between the Rapture (Translation) and the Return to Earth (Invasion)
RAPTURE (TRANSLATION) RETURN TO EARTH (INVASION)
Christ comes in the air for His saints. Jn. 14:3. The Church is caught up to meet Him in the air, 1 Thes. 4:16-17. Christ comes to the earth with His saints at end of tribulation to execute His righteous judgments upon the earth, 2 Thes. 1:7-10; Jude 14-15; Mt. 25:31-46.
It was not a subject of O.T. revelation ("a mystery," 1 Cor. 15:51). It was a major subject of O.T. revelation, Zech. 14:3-4; etc.
It relates only to the Church -- those "in Christ," 1 Thes. 4:16-17 It relates primarily to the culmination of God's program for Israel and the Gentiles, Rom. 11:26-27; Mt. 25:31-46; Rev. 19:1 ff
It occurs before Israel's 70th Week, because the Church is not related to Israel's program, and is exempt from God's wrath, Rom. 11:1-26; 1 Thes. 5:1-10. It occurs after Israel's 70th Week, Dan. 9:24; Rom. 11:26-27; Jer. 30:7-9; 33:15-16. The everlasting righteousness promised in Dan. 9 is brought in by the second coming to the earth.
It terminates "the fulness of the Gentiles," Rom. 11:1-25. It terminates "the times of the Gentiles." Lk. 21:24.
It ushers in the judgment seat of Christ -- the service of the saints judged in heaven, 1 cor. 3:11 ff. It results in the judgment of Israel and the Gentiles at the end of the tribulation, Ezk. 20:33-44; Mt. 24:29-31; 25:31-46.
The NT views the rapture as an imminent event, Jn. 14:1-3; Rom. 13:11-12; 1 Cor. 1:4-7; 15:51-53; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Thes. 4:16-17. Both the OT and NT view the second coming to earth as being after the predicted events of the tribulation, Mt. 24:29-31; Lk. 21:25-31.
Christ is viewed as the Morning Star in reference to His coming for the Church, Rev. 2:28; 22:16. Christ is viewed as the Sun of Righteousness in reference to His second coming to the earth, Mal. 4:2.
The rapture is presented as a message of comfort to the Church -- a promise to escape the tribulation, 1 Thes. 4:18; 5:9-11; Rev. 3:10. The return to earth is pictured as a coming in judgment after the tribulation to execute His wrath upon an unbelieving world, Zech. 12:1-10; 14:1-9; Mt. 25:31-46; Rev. 10:11 ff.
No personal judgment of unbelievers by Christ at this time. A personal judgment of all (believers and unbelievers) who are alive at the time of His coming to the earth.
Christ comes alone, "Himself," 1 Thes. 4:16. Christ comes with "armies" of heaven following Him, Rev. 19:11 ff.
Creation unchanged. Creation affected -- the curse lifted from physical creation and from the beast, Rom. 8:19-23; Isa. 65:25.
  1. THE RESULTS OF HIS COMING
    They may be stated in general outline form as follows:
     
    1. As to the true Church
      The whole Church, i.e., all born again ones, will be raptured or caught away to be with the Lord forever. This will include the dead as well as the living who have partaken of His salvation.
       
    2. As to the Holy Spirit
      1. In the ages past He was not abiding in the world with the Lord's own.
      2. He has exercised a special abiding ministry toward the redeemed since Pentecost, i.e., to the Church.
      3. At the rapture He leaves the earth in the sense of completing His abiding ministry. This withdrawal will, no doubt, permit the terrible manifestation of the great tribulation.
         
    3. As to the professing Church
      1. The professing Church is apostate, Rev. 3:14-19; 2 Tim. 3; 2 Pet. 2.
      2. Many of them are not true horn-again Christians, I Jn. 2:18-19.
      3. Scripture calls it "Babylon the Great, " Rev. 17, (after true are removed).
      4. It will finally be cursed by the beast who will hate the religious system, Rev. 17:16.
         
    4. As to the nations of the world
      1. The Gentile nations have been given power over Israel and the world since Israel was set aside and sent into the Babylonian captivity.
        Judah in 606 B.C., 598, 586; 2 Chr. 36--3 deportations.
        Israel in 721 B.C., 2 Kings 15-17.
      2. The Gentile domination is represented in the book of Daniel by the great world powers, Dan. 2; Dan. 7.
      3. This world rule serves Satan as a tool to keep the blinded race of mankind in his power, 2 Cor. 4:4; Jn. 12:31; Mt. 12:29; Jn. 14:30; Rev. 12:9.
      4. They are to be subjected to Christ or destroyed when Christ comes to reign as King of Kings, Dan. 2; Rev. 12:10; 19:16,21.
      5. But under the beast in the tribulation period the world powers will reach the climax of domination, Rev. 13 (w.15-17).
         
    5. As to the nation Israel
      1. When Israel rejected her Messiah, she was set aside; but when Christ returns He will deal again with that people as a nation, "till" Mt. 23:39; Lk. 21:24; Rom. 11:25-27; Acts 15:16.
      2. Before He comes, Israel will be disciplined by the great tribulation as never before in their history, Jer. 30:7ff.
      3. Apostate Jewry will align itself with anti-christ and the beast. This will be in ignorance and unbelief, Dan. 9:27; Jn. 5:43; Zech. ll:15ff.
      4. A converted remnant will preach the kingdom gospel, Rev. 7:4-8; Mt. 24:14.
      5. Christ will come and judge and restore Israel, purging out the false, Ezk. 20:38.
      6. Christ will set Israel up and make her the head of nations and rule through her over the earth, Dt. 28:13.
         
  2. THE RELATION OF CHRIST'S COMING TO THE DAY OF THE LORD
    Formerly Bible teachers of premillennial persuasion carefully distinguished between four DAYS spoken of in Scripture as follows:
     


    Key to above Chart:

    1. MAN'S DAY of vaunted progress, when he prides himself in the accomplishments of the human family, and to that extent feels no need of God or salvation. (The expression is a literal rendering of the phrase: "man's judgment" (lit. 'day'), 1 Cor. 4:3.
    2. The DAY OF CHRIST (Phil. 2:16, etc.), when Christ comes to the air and catches up the Church to heaven, which is the occasion of the evaluation of believers' works at the Judgment Seat of Christ. (SRB, p. 1212)
    3. The DAY OF THE LORD (or Jehovah), the period which begins when Christ comes in judgment to the earth (2 Thes. 1:8-9) and reigns 1000 years with a rod of iron. (See SRB note, p. 1349)
    4. The DAY OF GOD (2 Pet. 3:12) at the end of the 1000 years when the heavens and earth will be purified by fire (2 Pet. 3:7).


      While being fully committed to the same order of events as charted above, for a number of reasons an increasing group of premillennial brethren have felt that the partitioning of time by these mutually exclusive phrases is arbitrary and unwarranted.

      First, it can be shown that some of these terms are not mutually exclusive. For instance, within three consecutive verses (2 Pet. 3:10-12) the same event is designated by both the terms "Day of the Lord" and "Day of God." Certainly there in that context they are used synonymously.

      Second, the thesis is untenable that the term "Day of Christ" is the official and only title used in the N.T. to describe the coming of the Lord to take His Church to heaven and evaluate their deeds at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Indeed, this title is used by only one apostle in just one book and only twice (Phil. 1:10; 2:16), if the better reading of "Day of the Lord" is adopted for 2 Thes. 2:2. It would seem definitely demonstrable that this same event is plainly in view in the following passages where eight different variants of the word "day" are used:

      Day of redemption, Eph. 4:30
      Day of the Lord Jesus, 1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14
      Day of Jesus Christ, Phil. 1:6
      That day, 2 Tim. 1:12,18; 4:8
      Day of the Lord, 1 Thes. 5:2
      Day of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 1:8 (cp. v.7)
      Day of Christ, Phil. 1:10; 2:16

      The force of this argument is that there is a well-defined event plainly taught, but it is de-, scribed variously and not limited to one title. This variety of expression for the same ^ 6 doctrine occurs often in Scripture.

      Third, as suggested in the list of terms above, the phrase Day of Christ (and its variants) and Day of the Lord are not always describing a different time; Also, there are good reasons for suggesting that the Day of the Lord must be seen as extending over a longer period than the Scofield definition, beginning with the Rapture of the Church, going through the 70th Week and the 1000 years, and culminating with the purgation of heaven and earth (2 Pet. 3:_10-12). (Contra note on Rev. 19:19 in New Scofield with previous edition.)

      Fourth, in this connection, let us look at the term, "the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ." A comparison of 1 Cor. 1:7 with v.8 shows that on this occasion the tide is used of the time of the catching up and rewarding of the saints. May it not well be that this designation is the full title which combines a number of different titles in itself, including most of those listed under the Second point above, and particularly combining the terms "Day of Christ" and "Day of the Lord"? Why should not these terms be considered complementary rather than antithetical and mutually exclusive? Probably we have here the same situation as is involved in the varying accounts given in the four gospels as to what constituted the title over Christ on the cross. Not one of the gospels gives the full title. We must put all the gospel narratives together to obtain that full title, which was:

      "This is (Mt., Lk.) Jesus (Mt., Jn.) of Nazareth (Jn.) the King of the Jews (all)."

      Would it not be foolish to argue that the titles were different or contradictory or meant various things? Is it not clear that all quoted that part of the title that was appropriate to their emphasis?

      While generally Day of Christ and its variants are used concerning the Church, and Day of the Lord comes into the N.T. with heavy overtones from the O.T. concerning God's dealings with Israel and the nations (Zech. 14:1-4, 9), the difference is not one of time but of emphasis. Very often the two terms may be used of things happening at the same time. So the N.T. takes up all these terms and unites them in a full title, "The Day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Who is God). This full title permits an interchange of various parts of the title without limiting any particular phrase to one fixed time. The context of a particular usage will determine the particular group of people, the particular event, and/or the particular point of time under consideration.

      To make visual this suggested solution to the problem, the following chart is furnished:

       


      It will be seen by the chart above that the coming of the Lord to take the Church out of the earth is followed by an extended period known in Scripture as the Day of the Lord, which is a condensation of the full title, "The Day of our Lord Jesus Christ." This period extends from the rapture of the Church to the creation of the new heavens and new earth at the end of the millennial age, and includes the period of the tribulation, the whole millennium, and the judgments following the millennium. The Day of the Lord is always associated with judgment in Scripture. Beginning at Psalm 2:9 the student may trace the related Scriptures by following the references in the margin of the New Scofield Reference Bible.

      The Day of Christ, of Jesus Christ, or of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 1:8; 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14; Phil, 1:6, 10; 2:16; 2 Thes. 2:2 (marg.) is that portion within the Day of the Lord in which the Lord is particularly dealing with the Church in heaven while the judgments of the tribulation period are being poured out on the earth.

      The Day of God (2 Pet. 3:12) is that portion of the Day of the Lord in which God is judging the eaith to remove the curse of sin from the universe.

      Thus, we see that the coming of Christ for the Church releases all the judgments within that period known as the Day of the Lord.

      As further evidence that there are not just three or four mutually exclusive titles for "days," listed in the chart on page 139, the following listing will indicate many phrases (20 in fact) which show a number of variations for the periods shown on our chart, with the first of these ("my day") referring to Christ prior to His cross, as well as His cross:

      VARIOUS "DAYS" MENTIONED BY THE NEW TESTAMENT

      1. my day (i.e., Christ speaking, 'Abraham saw my day"), Jn. 8:56
      2. man's day (lit.), 1 Cor. 4:3
      3. day of redemption, Eph, 4:30
      4. day of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 1:8 (cp. v.7) 1:14
      5. day of the Lord Jesus, 1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Cor.
      6. day of Jesus Christ, Phil. 1:6
      7. day of Christ, Phil. 1:10; 2:16; (2 Thes. 2:2?)
      8. day of the LORD (cp. O.T. day of Jehovah), 1 Thes. 5:2; 2 Thes. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:10
      9. the day, Lk. 17:30; Rom. 2:16; 13:12; 1 Cor. 3:13
      10. that day, Mt. 24:36; 26:29; Mk. 13:32; 14:25; Lk. 10:12; 17:31; 21:34; 1 Thes. 5:4; 2 Thes. 1:10; 2 Tim. 1:12,18; 4:8
      11. a day (when He shall judge the world). Acts 17:31
      12. last day, Jn. 6:39-40,44,54; 11:24; 12:48, cp. No. 8; (last days: Acts 2:17; 2 Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:2; James 5:3; 1 Pet. 1:5; 2 Pet. 3:3)
      13. the great day, Jude 1:6 (cp. No. 8)
      14. the day of judgment, Mt. 11:22,24; 12:36; Mk. 6:11; 2 Pet. 2:9; 3:7; 1 Jn. 4:17
      15. His (i.e., Christ's) day, Lk. 17:24
      16. great and notable day of the LORD, Acts 2:20
      17. great day of His wrath, Rev. 6:17
      18. day of wrath and revelation, Rom. 2:5
      19. great day of God Almighty, Rev. 16:14
      20. day of God, 2 Pet. 3:12

      The validity and practicality of this view illustrated from the Thessalonian Epistles
      Quite apart from its overall interest and enlightenment, an application to the Thessalonian Epistles is in order.
       

      1. This viewpoint and chart clarifies what was formerly a problem in 1 Thes. 5.
        Previously it was difficult to make it appear that Paul was not contradicting in chapter 5 what he had said in chapter 4. He closed chapter 4 with the revelation that Christ might come at any moment before the predicted events of Daniel's 70th Week, which were climaxed by the return of Christ to the earth, which according to the old view was called "the Day of the Lord." Thus, if this view were correct, Paul then in chapter 5 exhorts the saints to be watchful, not to sleep, but be ready for an event (v.2, "the Day of the Lord") which was to occur seven years after the Church had gone to heaven in the rapture of 4:16-17. This did not make sense and played right into the hands of the post-tribulation rapturist, who said Christ was coming after the tribulation. But, if the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ starts at the time the Church is taken away from the earth before Daniel's 70th Week, then Paul enforces in chapter 5 that which closely harmonizes with what he has just taught in chapter 4. "Be ready for the rapture!"
         
      2. In 2 Thes. 2:2, the old view hung entirely on the insistence that the better textual reading was not "day of Christ, " but "day of the Lord."

        If this reading were not sustained, then "the day of Christ" was forced to cover the tribulation period conditions, which sunk the pre-tribulation rapture view. So, "day of the Lord" was insisted upon. But there is no problem,, whether the text reads "day of Christ" or "day of the Lord, " if the flexibility of the terms is admitted and context left to determine which part of that extended day is intended. Paul is saying in essence: "The persecution and trouble through which you are now passing, though exceedingly severe, must not be mistaken for that unparalleled period of wrath and tribulation (the 70th Week) which is going to come on the earth after the Church is raptured. Let no one deceive you that you are 'now present in the day of the Lord' (v.2). That day cannot be asserted to be present until there come first 'the falling away' (or departing) and second, the manifestation of the man of sin (v.3). Since these events have not yet come, then you are not in the day of the Lord. The Wicked One will not be revealed (v.8), until the Hinderer (v.7), the Holy Spirit, and with Him the Church, be taken out of the way (i.e., from earth to heaven). Ergo, since you are here and the Hinderer has not been revealed, you are not in 'the day of the Lord,' the tribulation period."

        The theory here expounded releases the tension from this interpretation and makes it easy and natural.

 

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