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the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power, and great glory,”— the coming of Christ as set forth in these instances, when he is seen, is not his coming spoken of by Paul, as written in his first letter to the Corinthians (15:51-55), and in his first letter to the Thessalonians (4:13-17), when he is not seen except by his saints, who ascend to meet him in the air after the manner of Elijah who was not seen even by the fifty sons of the prophets who stood afar off gazing to witness this wonderful spectacle of which they had notice beforehand.
Christ was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven some forty-nine years before the first end of the Mosaic world, and whether the saints will be raised, and the righteous living changed some forty-nine years, more or less, before the second and last end of the Mosaic world, or not, we are not told; though it is certain that they will appear in glory before judgment will be executed upon the rebellious house of Israel and the nations, because when Christ comes for that purpose, his saints come with him, as Zechariah the prophet testifies saying, “And the Lord my God shall come and all the saints with thee” (Zech. 14:5). And again, Enoch the seventh from Adam prophesied of these (the ungodly) saying, “ Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
From these considerations it must be evident to any one who gives attention to these things that the second coming of Christ must be considered in a twofold sense; namely, that he comes first, to gather his saints together to meet him in the air, or heavens above, and to present them faultless before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy. After that, as Paul says, "they will be ever with the Lord,” or as Jesus himself said in his prayer to his Father, “ Father I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me, for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world"; and as Jesus said to his apostles, “I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Second, after that Christ comes with his Father, the Ancient of days, and with his saints, and with the holy angels, whose numbers are spoken of by Daniel and John as ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. This coming of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ and all their hosts to execute the judgments written was shown to Daniel in his first vision, as recorded in the seventh chapter of his book wherein the bold outlines of the judgments are sketched. Now in the one hundred and tenth Psalm it is written that the Father says to his Son, “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool." In obedience to this Scripture, when Christ's work was done and he died and rose again, and entered upon his glory and ascended, he sat down on the right hand of God, where he will abide until the time arrives in human history shown to Daniel in this vision, when the Father — the Ancient of days — comes with his Son to make his foes his footstool and when he brings with him the heavenly hosts, consisting of the resurrected and glorified saints and the angels of his power, to be employed with Christ at their head in the mighty work of judgment and regeneration, but all under the Father's own personal direction, who is present at the time sitting upon his throne, as the great central source of power and authority in heaven above, and in the earth beneath.
THE SCENE OF JUDGMENT The Lord says to his rebellious people, the house of Israel, by the hand of the prophet Ezekiel, “Ye have feared the sword, and I will bring a sword upon you, saith the Lord God, And I will bring you out of the midst thereof (out of Jerusalem), and deliver you into the hand of strangers, and will execute judgments among you, ye shall fall by the sword. I will judge you in the border of Israel, and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” Therefore the house of Israel will be judged in their own land, in their own cities and in Jerusalem. For speaking of Jerusalem that has slain the prophets and who will in the latter days slaughter the righteous by wholesale to fill up the measure of her iniquity, the Lord speaking by the hand of Jeremiah, under the mystical name of Babylon says of her, “ As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall (the saints), so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth " (Jer. 51:49). The heathen also are to be judged in Israel's land, as saith the Lord by the mouth of the prophet Joel (3:9), saying, “Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles, Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, I am strong; assemble yourselves and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about; thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about." The place of judgment for Israel and the nations, therefore, is within the borders of Israel's land, and the central point of judgment is at Jerusalem, the city of the great king and the place where the Lord recorded his name.
Therefore when the Ancient of days comes to judge his people and the nations, and when all his mighty hosts come with him, his throne will be set in the heavens above Jerusalem and the holy land, for it is said, “The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens.” And although the armies of the heavens in that day will be as numerous as the stars of the sky and as birds flying above Jerusalem, yet they will be invisible to the inhabitants of the earth below, for it is said by Jesus himself that except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That is, unless a man is himself immortal, he cannot of his own power see the immortal. But his eyes may be opened so that he may see the Son of God, angels, and immortal men of Adam's race; but the Father's face, no mortal man can behold, and live. None but the immortal can look upon the face of the Father.
Daniel saw in visions of the night the scenes of the judgment (Dan. 7:8-11). He saw four ferocious beasts representing the mighty nations of the earth in four grand divisions of armies, and the fourth beast, dreadful and terrible and strong exceedingly, and the king of Israel as one of the horns of this beast. And to show the idolatrous and rebellious condition of the house of Israel in
that day, it is said of this king, who is, at the time here spoken of, in alliance with the fourth beast, it is said of him, “He shall speak great words against the Most High, and think to change times and laws, and they shall be given into his hand until a time, times, and the dividing of time," and it is at this time that the Ancient of days comes, and the judgment sits upon Jew and Gentile. And this august spectacle will be manifest above the holy land when, as Daniel says, the Ancient of days shall sit, “whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool, his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels (angels) as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him, thousand thousands ministered unto him, and · ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the judgment was set and the books were opened.” These books are not opened whereby to judge the
myriads who come with the Ancient of days, among whom are the translated and resurrected saints, and his Son Jesus Christ, for these will already have
entered upon their glory and into the joys of their Lord. But these books will contain the judgments written against the inhabitants of the earth, especially the rebellious house of Israel, who in that day will have fallen away again into the iniquities of their ancestors.
Now this view of the judgment as seen by Daniel in the visions of his head upon his bed, is amplified, and many more features are introduced, in the visions of the Prophet Ezekiel (chapter 1), who also saw visions of God by the Spirit, by which the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Ancient of days sitting upon his throne, and all the hosts of heaven present, and those of them who had been redeemed by the blood of Christ represented in four divisions, under the symbols of four living creatures, which are called in the testimony of Jesus Christ, four beasts, and are described in the visions of John as the living creatures were described by Ezekiel. From the description of the four beasts by John, and by the description of the four living creatures by Ezekiel, it is manifest that they symbolize the same thing, and from what is said of them in the Revelation (5:8-10), they are proved to be glorified saints, redeemed out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation, by the blood of the Lamb, who had made them unto their God, kings and priests, and they also declare their future work, saying, "We shall reign on the earth.”
In the visions of John he sees four beasts, and he says also that he beheld and heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts and the elders, and he speaks of their number in the aggregate, but John says nothing of wheels, while Ezekiel speaks of the four living creatures and the wheels that he saw, but says nothing of angels. And as John and Ezekiel saw the same things in vision, though in a somewhat varied form, it is evident that the angels spoken of by John, and the wheels spoken of by Ezekiel, are one and the same thing. This is manifest from the words of Ezekiel, who calls the four living creatures cherubims, and says of them that their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels were full of eyes round about, showing that the angels, with the saints, will be the eyes of the Lord in every place, beholding the evil and the good among the children of men.
The angels will be employed in connection with the saints, but not over them, for says Paul, “Unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come whereof we speak.” But says Ezekiel in chapter 10, When the cherubims went, the wheels went by them, and when the cherubims lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels turned not also from beside them; when they stood, these stood; and when they were lifted up, these lifted up themselves also, for the spirit of the living creature was in them.” This is according to the doctrine that Jesus taught, saying in reply to the Sadducees, “ They that shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world and the resurrection from the dead, die no more, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” The same spirit of life and immortality will animate the saints and angels alike in the resurrection.
Now the principal object that we have in view at this time in referring especially to these visions of Ezekiel is to show the relative condition of things in the heavens and things in the earth at the time of the judgment, for Ezekiel had visions of both at the same time, for while he saw the Ancient of days sitting upon his throne, and the cherubims of glory and the angels, under the symbol of wheels, which were present to coöperate in the work of judgment, he at the same time saw the condition of affairs among the children of men upon the earth below, just as they are, and not in the forms of figures and similitudes; whereas in the prophecy of Christ, John in his visions saw, not only the things in the heavens in the forms of figures and similitudes, but also the things in the earth among mortal men. Therefore the visions of John are doubly difficult to understand and interpret; but with the aid of Ezekiel's visions and plain descriptions of things in the earth just as they obtain among the children of Israel in the flesh at the time of judgment, we have a key whereby to understand the same things, as they are displayed by John in forms of signs and figures.
A RESURRECTION AT DIFFERENT PERIODS
It will be observed that Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, in his first letter where he speaks so fully of the resurrection and the translation of the righteous, - that in that place he says nothing about the resurrection of the wicked. And also when he writes his first letter to the Thessalonians, in chapter four he speaks of the same things, but says nothing there either about the resurrection of the wicked. But at a latter period Christ comes to punish the wicked. That coming of the day of Christ is not before the revelation of the man of sin (that profane and wicked prince of Israel who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he, as God, sitteth in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God), but it is after it. (
(The man of sin appears first, completes his career of wickedness, and is finally destroyed at the coming of the Lord.) This coming Paul speaks of in the first chapter of this second letter to the Thessalonians, in the following words, “To you who are troubled, rest with us; when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his saints and mighty angels in Aaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day.”
This coming of Christ, and the great day of the Lord, is after the little horn has fulfilled his times of making war upon the saints of the Most High for a time, times, and a half, or 1260 days, commencing with the taking away of the daily sacrifice and placing in its stead the abomination of desolation; and 1335 days from that same starting point there will be a resurrection of the just and the unjust, even as it is testified (Dan. 12:2) saying, “ And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." This is referred to again in verse 12.
The righteous that are raised at this point of time appear to be those that were put to death under the reign of the little horn, or man of sin, which continues for three years and a half, and who are referred to in the Revelation (20:4) as follows, And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
At this time as shown by the testimony of Daniel, and by the testimony of Jesus Christ, there will be a resurrection of just and unjust persons, but there is no translation of the righteous living at this resurrection, for the reason that the righteous living at this time will continue to live on in the flesh and will constitute the beginning of the new nation of Israel under the new covenant, for whom Michael stands up. He will restrain the ravages of the king of Israel who does according to his will, and the righteous that have not been slain by him during these times of trouble such as never were since there was a nation, even to that same time, shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book; or as the prophet Isaiah testifies, saying, “And it shall come to pass that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem.”. The 144,000 must needs be comprehended in that number.
Therefore the announcement which we made on another page we think we have fully established; namely, that the things which the Lord said must shortly come to pass, as set forth in this revelation and prophecy, are things to be manifested in the earth subsequent to the resurrection and translation of the body of Christ in the latter days, and that the scenes of the judgment as laid in this prophecy, such as the Father sitting in judgment delivering the little book containing the judgments written into the hand of the Lamb, and the opening of the seven seals thereof, and the sounding of the seven trumpets, and the pouring out of the seven vials containing the seven last plagues, and the fall of mystical Babylon, are all things which are yet to arise in the future, and therefore can only be interpreted by the prophecies of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, and not by human or profane histories, ancient or modern. These facts we shall show more fully as we advance with the interpretation of the testimony of Jesus.