“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up;
and a cloud received him out of their sight, and while they looked
steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them
in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee; why stand ye,
gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into
heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven”
Yes, Jesus is coming again. The same Jesus who went away from us “shall
so come in like manner as ye have seen him go.” He’ll return as He was
received up into glory.
THE WORLD AT OUR LORD’S RETURN
The condition of the world will also be as it was when Jesus was taken
up to heaven. When our Saviour left the world He had been rejected by
men and crucified. His tomb had been sealed by a pagan seal. The vast
hosts of the peoples and nations of the world, including the chosen
race, had sinned, were living in sin and were unrepentant of their sin.
Only a little handful of believers were following the Lord and faithful
to Him they were those who saw Him go away. This little band of
disciples was alone in the whole world of darkness and iniquity.
When Christ returns He will come as He went away. There will be
comparatively a small band of faithful believers among the millions of
the earth. Few will be expectantly watching and waiting. “When the Son
of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8: “And as it
was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of
man. 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. Likewise also as it was in the days of
Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted,
they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire
and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be
in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” (Luke 17:26-30).
In the days of Noah the world lay in violence and wickedness. Only Noah
and his little family were righteous in the eyes of the Lord. In the
days of Lot, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain were sold to
do evil. Only Lot and his little family had any semblance of concern. It
will be thus when Jesus comes again. “For nation shall rise against
nation and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and
pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places, all these are the
beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted and
shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall
hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive
many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax
cold” (Matthew 24:7-12).
THE ERROR OF POST MILLENIALISM
In contradistinction to this revelation of Holy Scriptures concerning
the state of the world when Jesus comes, there are many who are
persuaded that the world will grow better and better until finally it
will evolve into the period of universal blessing which we call the
millennium. They also believe, those who follow this strange doctrine,
that the Lord will not come until after this thousand years of bliss and
perfection. They believe that through the preaching of the Gospel
through the operation of the Holy Spirit, through the regeneration of
the nations, Christ will rule in the hearts of men and that He will be
received as King over all the earth. They are persuaded that the tiger
will cease to bare his fangs, that the Leopard will change his spots,
that men will grow into perfection through the efforts of organized
The indisputable and irrefutable evidence of this, so they say, is to be
found in the progress we have achieved through science and culture. In
such things as the luxurious automobiles we now drive and the extension
of communication from the signal fires of the cave men to the modern
miracle of radio they profess to see a pattern for the conquests of
Christianity. They think that the evolution of the natural man along
utilitarian lines is harbinger for the spiritual triumphs of the
preaching of the gospel which will ultimately ensue in the perfect world
that we call the millennium. This teaching and doctrine is most
felicitous in its optimism regarding the ability of unregenerate
humanity to overcome the terrible afflictions that beset it. It is
indeed a marvelous tribute to the innate worth and latent possibilities
of Homo sapiens.
There are just two flaws in the doctrine. It has no illustration in
history and it is the open denial of the plain and revealed Word of God.
Though man has evolved in art, in science, in culture, he is still in
his heart and in his soul a rebel against heaven and a transgressor of
the laws of God. The cave man fought and killed his brother with a stone
or a club. The modern civilized man kills his brother with atomic bombs
and liquid fire. But the heart that lies back of the violence filled
with malice and hate is still the same.
The earth is thousands of years old and generations have come and gone,
but we still are as lost and undone as our first parents. Man has lifted
himself out of ignorance and superstition and darkness and has entered
almost every glorious area of achievement; but spiritually throughout
his generations he is still the same.
(Someone has said, “Man has learned to fly through the air like a bird;
he has learned to swim through the sea like a fish; but he has not
learned to walk on the earth like a man”).
Education, reformation, legislation-all have failed. We are still a
helpless and dying people. The scriptures say that the divided, warring
race will continue in disobedience and rejection until Jesus comes
again. The scriptures say that our hope for a new world wherein
righteousness may prevail lies in the personal appearing of our Savior
If we are not to look for the return of our Lord until after the
conversion of the world, and if, beyond that far away day of the world
conversion, we are not to look for the Lord until the one thousand years
of millennial bliss are complete; then for all practical purposes the
teaching of the return of Christ has no relevancy to our daily lives.
The exhortation of our Lord Jesus in Matthew 24:42, “Watch therefore;
for ye know what hour your Lord doth come,” is meaningless. And again,
His earnest appeal in Matthew 24:44, “Therefore, be ye also ready: for
in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh,” is ridiculous.
When the Lord Jesus comes back it will not be in any sense to walk among
the regenerated and perfected people. Rather His coming will be
characterized by a series of judgments upon the wicked and the violent
who lead the armies of the earth.
In the parable of the fish in the net, Jesus describes such a judgment:
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the
sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to
shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the
bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come
forth, and sever the wicked from among the just; and shall cast them
into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth”
We have the same awesome picture in Matthew 25 of the great judgment.
Also in the parable of the pounds in Luke, chapter 19. We are therefore
taught then that He could return at any moment. The stage is set
universally. The die is cast and we are poised on the threshold of the
unexpected. Christ our Lord’s coming is at hand.
If He were to come now even now think how relatively few among the
millions of the earth stand ready to pray the answering prayer of John.
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” As a people and as a church, we ourselves
have almost forgotten His admonition that we watch and be ready: “For in
such an hour as ye think not the son of man cometh.”