A Conversation Between Bro. Seeker and Bro. Faithful On The Second Coming of Christ
By F. G. Smith
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Titus 2:13.
Bro. Seeker: Good morning, Brother Faithful. I could scarcely wait for this opportunity to drop in to talk religion with you again.
Bro. Faithful: I am certainly glad to see you, Brother Seeker. But what has happened to make you so enthusiastic today?
Bro. Seeker: Well, you know about that new tabernacle erected down on Main Street. I went to the tabernacle last night to hear the new evangelist, and he preached a wonderful sermon on "The Blessed Hope."
Bro. Faithful: What did he mean by the "blessed hope"?
Bro. Seeker: The second coming of Christ. I was surprised when the preacher intimated that many Christians do not believe in the second coming, and because of this they are about as bad as infidels. He talked about the "hope of Israel"; about dispensations, rapture, tribulation, anti-Christ, return of the Jews to Palestine; restoration of Judaism and the temple, with blood again flowing in sacrifice on the Jewish altar; of the rebuilding of David's throne, with Christ sitting on it and, through the Jews, ruling the world for a thousand years during the millennium. It was wonderful.
Bro. Faithful: Brother Seeker, you should stop to consider carefully before being entirely carried away with these pleasing theories. Christians generally believe, and always have believed, in the second coming of Christ. What many of these Christians do not believe is the particular detailed program that a group of modem millennial teachers have mapped out as sure to take place when Christ comes.
Bro. Seeker: But the evangelist gave many scriptures to prove his points.
Bro. Faithful: Certainly; that is to be expected. Propagators of ingenious theological theories always seek to sustain their views by a free use of texts. But, Brother, we must observe the difference between what the Scriptures naturally teach and what they can be made to teach by arbitrarily pulling them out of their context and fitting them into some ingeniously devised theory of doctrine.
Bro. Seeker: You are throwing cold water on all of mynew-found joy.
Bro. Faithful: But, Brother, only truth will endure. Enthusiasm based on speculative, fanciful interpretations of Scripture "'ill perish. Only facts and truths can be depended on.
Bro. Seeker: Then how am I to know what to believe?
Bro. Faithful: Go to the W o rd of God yourself, my Brother. Read what the Scriptures really state. If you willobserve carefully how the apostles Paul, Peter, and otherspreached and wrote, you cannot help but see a great difference between them and the teaching of these modem millennialists.
Bro. Seeker: I confess I am not very familiar with the Scriptures. I am willing to sit down and quietly listen if you will take the time now to preach me a little sermon covering some of the main points.
Bro. Faithful: I shall gladly do so; but since my time this morning is limited, I cannot discuss all of these scriptures one by one. Here is a tablet; if you will take your pencil and make some notes as I talk, you can examine the scriptures and points more carefully afterward.
In the first place, I should like to call your attention to the fact that this modern premillennial emphasis is not the standard teaching of the historic Christian church. For long ages only a few persons, here and there, were premillennialists. But during the last [eighty] years premillennialism has been spread far and wide by modem propagandic methods.But the main idea is not modem or new; it is a revival, with slight modifications, of the ancient Rabbinism. It is based largely on a particular interpretation of certain Old Testament Messianic prophecies. These prophecies of the coming Messiah were for the most part stated in terms of a restored, prosperous Israel-the popular concept of that time. The Rabbis always interpreted them in literalistic style; hence they pictured the Messiah as gathering Israel, and restoring the Davidic throne and reign in Jerusalem. To all the Jews this was "the hope of Israel."
But when Christ came, He made no effort to carry out this literal program, and for this reason He was rejected by the Jews. Whenever He or His inspired apostles quoted Old Testament prophecies they invested them with a higher, spiritual meaning, and applied them NOW. Not once did they create a future age, or millennium, in which to carry out on the plane of the natural, these Old Testament prophecies. Let me call your attention to specific instances:
In Luke 4:16-21, Jesus quoted part of the prophecy given in Isaiah 61 :1-5, but He spiritualized it and applied it now. Read it for yourself. In Acts 16:13-17 the Apostle James quoted Amos 9 :11, 12, concerning the rebuilding of David's tabernacle, but he spiritualized it and applied it now, in the gospel age.
In Acts 26:6, 7 Paul, on trial before Agrippa, declared that it was because of the "hope" of Israel that he was accused of the Jews; and in Acts 28 :20 he says, "For the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain." It is evident that Paul taught a different "hope of Israel"; that is, he interpreted differently than did the Jews the Old Testament prophecies concerning Israel. In Acts 13:27 he says further concerning the Jews: "Because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him." So Paul declares the Jews did not understand their prophets, and that for this cause they crucified Christ, and sent him [Paul] in chains to Rome. Modern premillennialism is but the revival of Rabbinism; the substitution of an earthly political program for the quiet, peaceable, spiritual reign of the Messiah, which is the very essence of the gospel.
In 1 Peter 1 :9-12, the apostle declares that the Old Testament prophets in their predictions referred to the things "now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel." On Pentecost the same apostle quoted the prophet Joel, and applied it now, saying, "This is that ... " (Acts 2). In the same chapter, verses 29-36, he quoted the prophecy of David concerning Christ being raised up to sit on his throne, and he applies that now-in this age-not to some future millennial era. Then in Acts 3:24"Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days".
the same apostle makes the sweeping declaration: "And all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold OF THESE DAYS." He says they were all talking about the gospel age-every one that spoke-and that Holy Ghost ministers preach it that way, when they "preach the gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven." But modern millennialists throw most of these texts over to some fancied future age. The apostles never did so: hence this latter-day emphasis and teaching is Rabbinical, not apostolic
Bro. Seeker: It is difficult for me to keep still. You are getting me into deep water. But what about the twentieth chapter of Revelation and the binding of the dragon?
Bro. Faithful: I haven't time this morning to deal with involved prophecy. I have here a book entitled The Revelation Explained, published by the [Faith Publishing House, Guthrie,Oklahoma]. If you will read this book, which I am going to leave with you, it will help you understand these prophecies and many others.
But Brother Seeker, you should consider plain texts first. Did you ever notice that four times in one chapter (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54) Jesus declared that He would resurrect the righteous at the last day? That repeated statement does not fit in with premillennialism; for they teach that the righteous will be resurrected at least a thousand years before the last day; that the righteous will be raised before the millennium, but the wicked not until a thousand years later.
Take down, then study later, the following eight scriptures, ( which will be at the end of the conversation between Bro. Seeker and Bro Faithful)all of which speak of Christ's second coming. You will notice there is judgment in each one of them; Christ represented as making final disposition of all men, both good and bad: ( 1) Matt. 13:30, 40-42; (2) Matthew 16:27; (3) Luke 17:26-30; (4)2 Thess. 1:7-10; (5) Rev. 19:11-16; (6) Matt. 25:31-46;(7)Rev. 1:7; (8) 2 Pet. 3:10-14. These scriptures leave no place and no time for an earthly millennium after Christ comes.
Bro. Seeker: Brother Faithful, I must interrupt y o u again. The evangelist at the gospel tabernacle said that there are to be two resurrections of the dead; that the millennium is to come between the two; the righteous being raised at the first resurrection and the wicked at the second. I remember one of the scriptures he used (1 Thess. 4:15-17), in which it is said that "the dead in Christ shall rise first."
Bro. Faithful: That scripture is often incorrectly applied. If you will examine it yourself you will see that nothing is said about the righteous being resurrected before the wicked. It shows only that righteous dead will be resurrected before the righteous living are "caught up"; so all can ascend together at the same time. And instead of that ascension being for a short "rapture" period only, the text says: "And so shall we ever be with the Lord."
Brother Seeker, the Scriptures teach no millennium before Christ comes again, and all these scriptures you have taken down today leave no place for-but really contradict the idea of-a millennium after He comes the second time. Both the righteous and the wicked will be raised together. In Acts 24:15, Paul calls it "a resurrection of the dead"-not two resurrections; and says that it includes "both just and unjust." Rev. 1 :7 says that when He comes "every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him." So the wicked will be raised at the same time. In John 5:28, 29, Jesus declares that all who are in the graves shall come forth in the same "hour."
I have already shown you how, four times in one chapter, Jesus declared that the righteous would be raised up "at the last day,"-not 1,000 years before the last day. In that text you quoted, but which your evangelist misapplied, it says thatthe righteous will be 1-esurrected at '·the trump of God." Now turn to 1 Cor. 15 :51-55 and you will find that the "trump"which awakens the righteous dead and transforms the righteous living is called "the LAST trump." Being the last, it must awaken the wicked dead also; for there will not be another a thousand years later to awaken the wicked. Since the righteous will be raised up at "the last day," awakened by "the last trump"-that marks the end of all earthly things.
This "last trump" calls the world to judgment and to final rewards and punishments. According to the gospel, Christ's kingdom on earth is spiritual in character, not political, and is now. It is pressed into and enjoyed by all the saved ones now;for He "hath translated us from the power of darkness, into the kingdom of his dear Son." In the universal sense Christ is reigning now on His throne of glory above, at the Father's right hand, "King of kings, and Lord of lords," and in due time He shall appear to judge the world.
Bro. Seeker: Then of what does the "blessed hope" consist?
Bro. Faithful: Simply in this: Christ has now gone to prepare a place for us, and He has promised to come again to receive us unto Himself. That will end all of earth's sorrows and trials for us; for He will take the righteous to their eternal reward in the new heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Bro. Seeker: I am so glad that I came over this morning.I begin to see things in clearer light, and I am going to settle down and study the Word of God.
-F. G. SmithTHE
(Scriptures for study from above)
( 1) (Mat 10:30) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
, (Mat 10:40) He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
(Mat 10:41) He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.
(Mat 10:42) And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
(2) (Mat 16:27) For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
(3) (Luk 17:26) And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
(Luk 17:27) They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
(Luk 17:28) Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
(Luk 17:29) But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
(Luk 17:30) Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
(4) (2Th 1:7) And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
(2Th 1:8) In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
(2Th 1:9) Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
(2Th 1:10) When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
(5) (Rev 19:11) And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
(Rev 19:12) His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
(Rev 19:13) And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
(Rev 19:14) And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
(Rev 19:15) And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
(Rev 19:16) And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
(6) (Mat 25:31) 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:
(Mat 25:32) And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
(Mat 25:33) And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
(Mat 25:34) Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
(Mat 25:35) For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
(Mat 25:36) Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
(Mat 25:37) Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
(Mat 25:38) When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
(Mat 25:39) Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
(Mat 25:40) And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
(Mat 25:41) Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
(Mat 25:42) For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
(Mat 25:43) I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
(Mat 25:44) Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
(Mat 25:45) Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
(Mat 25:46) And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
(7) (Rev 1:7) Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
(8) (2Pe 3:10) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
(2Pe 3:11) Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
(2Pe 3:12) Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
(2Pe 3:13) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
(2Pe 3:14) Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
(Luk 4:16) And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
(Luk 4:17) And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
(Luk 4:18) The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
(Luk 4:19) To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
(Luk 4:20) And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
(Luk 4:21) And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
(Amo 9:11) In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:
(Amo 9:12) That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.
(Act 26:6) And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:
(Act 26:7) Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.
(1Pe 1:9) Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
(1Pe 1:10) Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
(1Pe 1:11) Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
(1Pe 1:12) Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
(Joh 6:39) And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
(Joh 6:40) And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
(Joh 6:44) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
(Joh 6:54) Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
(Act 24:15) And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
THAT BLESSED HOPE
(Isa 61:1) The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
(Isa 61:2) To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
(Isa 61:3) To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
(Isa 61:4) And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
(Isa 61:5) And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
(Act 16:13) And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
(Act 16:14) And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
(Act 16:15) And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
(Act 16:16) And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
(Act 16:17) The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
(Act 2:29) Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
(Act 2:30) Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
(Act 2:31) He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
(Act 2:32) This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
(Act 2:33) Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
(Act 2:34) For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
(Act 2:35) Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
(Act 2:36) Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
(1Th 4:15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
(1Th 4:16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
(1Th 4:17) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
(Rev 1:7) Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
(Joh 5:28) Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
(Joh 5:29) And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
(1Co 15:51) Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
(1Co 15:52) 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.
(1Co 15:53) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
(1Co 15:54) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
(1Co 15:55) O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?