This the 20th installment of 52 reviewing RA Torrey’s 1898 publication What The Bible Teaches. See all of Lex’s posts here. A PDF copy of the book can be downloaded here. You are welcome and encouraged to join the discussion in your comments to these posts.
THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST
This is the thought on most Christian’s minds: when will Jesus return for His church, His Bride? It was on the minds of His disciples too on the day before His Passion as He discussed the destruction of the magnificent Temple. “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3 Even before He was gone they were asking about His return! Interesting! He answered them in very specific terms. And from that statement, as well as others in the New Testament, come a myriad views and interpretations. Are you Pre-millennial, Post Millennial, Amillennial? Are you Pre-tribulation, Post Tribulation? So many categories of opinions and beliefs, you could say even seminaries were built around one interpretation or the other.
But this discussion is not about “What Does the Seminary Teach,” the book is “What Does the Bible Teach?” And while each theological position has its merits and they sound very convincing and it can be fun arguing about each concept, they aren’t essential beliefs. Not really. But we certainly can see how the Bible depicts the return of Jesus Christ in the last days.
I suggest a close reading of the verses Torrey shares in this chapter as they are fabulous and encouraging and filled with the hope of the Believer. Indeed Paul encourages discussion of His coming especially considering there will those alive when it happens, and he teaches us to “comfort one another with these words.” 1Th_4:18 Paul tells Titus that he should be “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” Tit. 2:13 And the Believer can exclaim, as with the last verses in the Scripture “Come, Lord Jesus.” Rev. 22:20
Torrey emphasizes that, since the Lord is so certainly coming back, that everyone should be alert so that no one is caught off guard. There are a number of parables and warnings against being slack and unprepared in the Gospels, warnings of dire consequences if you are shut out by the suddenness of His appearing. (Matt. 24:44-50; Luke 12:37, 46; 21:34-36; 1 John 2:28 just to name a few.) We should be ready at any hour, which means we need to be conscious at all times that we are acting in a manner worthy of the grace He has given us, so that we don’t have to be ashamed at His appearance. (1 John 2:28)
Some of most lovely verses in Scripture concern the manner of His return. Read of His coming in the clouds with a shout in 1 Thes. 4:16-17, and being accompanied by His angels (Matt. 25:31-32), described as a brightness (2 Thes. 2:7-8), and in Zech. 14:4-5 how the earth will rend and quake as His feet touch the earth in Jerusalem. This is awesome stuff! It is the summation of salvation history, the completion of this age, the eradication of sin, the ushering in of the Kingdom of God. When there will truly be world peace. It doesn’t happen all at once, but it is certain to happen. These verses are quite uplifting. Read them with great joy and with a sure hope. He will finally purify His creation, and all things will be made new. That is something we all should very much look forward to. Do you?
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]