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David S. Clark - The Message From Patmos: A Postmillennial Commentary on the Book of Revelation (1921) "This early twentieth-century Postmillennial commentary on the Book of Revelation, written by the father of theologian Gordon Clark, offers an easy-to-read alternative to the popular Pre-millennial/Dispensational views of the best-selling Scofield Reference Bible and a multitude of other dissertations on end-time prophecy that litter the shelves of Christian bookstores. "


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The Comings and Appearings of Christ

By Dr. John Thomas

Question

I find in reading the New Testament, some portions of Scripture that do not appear to agree with your exposition. In Matt. 16 it is written, "that there be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." In Matt. 24:30, it is written, "they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory" Matt. 13: 26, testifies to the same thing (See Luke 9:27.) It is true that the power of God was in the Roman army at the destruction of Jerusalem; but in what sense did Christ come in his kingdom then? and if this be his second coming where is the promise of the third?-(J.T.N.)

Answer

In the preceding communication, you propose the inquiry - "In what sense did Christ come in his kingdom at the destruction of Jerusalem and if this be his second coming, where is the promise of the third?-In reply to which I would say that if you have understood me to teach that Christ, that is, the Anointed One, came as king in his kingdom, in the sense of that kingdom being set up at that epoch, you have mistaken my words. You will see by Matt. 10:23, that the Son of Man was to come, in some certain sense, before the apostles had preached "the Gospel of the kingdom" in all the cities of Israel's land. The sense in which he did come in those days is indicated in Matt. 22:7. He came, in sending forth his armies of Romans, and by them destroying his murderers, and burning up their city, Jerusalem. This was coming according to the legal maxim, which is a scriptural one also, that what is done by one's agent is done by one's self. That Gentile and Pagan armies may be God's armies is testified in Joel, where the Chaldeans who destroyed Zion are styled "His army" (Joel 2:11); and in Isaiah, where the Medes under Cyrus are termed Yahweh's sanctified and mighty ones for His anger-(Isa. 13:17; 29:3).

The word "kingdom" is used in the common version of the Bible. When the Son of Man sent his armies to destroy Jerusalem he came to his kingdom, in the sense in which Louis Phillippe (to compare great things with small) would have gone to his kingdom had he sent an army into France to overthrow the Republic there. If the Son of Man were present at the siege of the city, he was not visible to the combatants. Visible or invisible, it matters not which, so that he was there, he had both come to his kingdom, and was in his kingdom, in the sense of being in the royal territory or land of Israel, which is a basilial, and not a ducal, or republican, domain - a territory, where kings have, and "a King will reign and prosper, and execute judgment and justice" - (Jer. 23:5; 33:15.)

But the passages you have quoted do not refer to the coming of the Son of Man to destroy his murderers and their city. They refer to his coming in power and great glory as King de facto as well as de jure - in manifestation as well as of right; an appearing which Jesus says shall occur when he shall reward every man according to his works (Matt. 16:27); and which no one, I suppose, will pretend to say happened at the destruction of the city. This context of the Scripture cited by you, likewise indicates the coming of the Son of man in his kingdom at the time of his appearing in the glory of his Father with his angels; "and then," saith the Word, "he shall reward every man;" for Behold the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold his reward is with him, and his work before him - (Isaiah 40:10; 62:11; Rev. 22:12.)

By taking the 27th verse of Matt. 16th chapter with the 28th verse, you will perceive that the coming of the Son of Man is his appearing in his Father's glory, and that of the holy angels (Luke 9:26) - even that glory which is to be given to him when he is brought before the Ancient of Days to receive the "dominion, glory, and kingdom" as revealed in Daniel, "that all people, nations, and languages should serve him"-(Dan. 7:13, 14, 27.) So obvious is this that in some original manuscript copies of Matthew, the phrase en th BaVileia amton rendered in the Common Version in his kingdom, is represented by en th doxh amton "in his glory." Both phrases convey the same data to him who reads the New Testament in harmony with the Old; because, for the Son of Man to come in his kingdom with the angels, is for him to appear in the glory which he receives of his Father; and to appear in his glory or majesty, is to come in his kingdom. This coming and appearing are concomitant and inseparable events. They are the manifestation of what Ezekiel saw in vision when standing, as it were, at the gate of that temple hereafter to be erected in Jerusalem by "the man whose name is the Branch," (Zech. 3:13), even by that man whom he describes as of a bright and glowing, amberlike appearance, sitting upon a sapphire throne - (Ezek. 2:26 to 28; 40:3.) From this similitude of Jesus in his glory a voice proceeded, revealing to him the things of the invisible future pertaining to the kingdom. In vision he was brought to "the gate that looketh toward the east," that is towards the Mount of Olives; "And, behold," says he, "the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east; and His voice was like a noise of many waters; (Rev. 1:13 to 15); and the earth shined with His glory (Rev. 18:1; Ezek. 43:2). This Glory-Bearer of Yahweh in Israel having in vision entered the Millennial Temple, thus addressed Ezekiel from within concerning the place in which he was speaking-"The place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name shall the children of Israel no more defile, neither they nor their kings... Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever"- (Ezek. 43:7 to 9.) By consulting the Scriptures referred to below, it will be clearly seen that Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah and John, all write of one and the same personage, that is, Christ, and therefore of Jesus whom we believe to be the Messiah of Israel. Yahweh reveals to us through them that Christ is His terrestrial glory-bearer, even the chief of the Cherubim of glory, through whom He will shine forth in the age to come. That he will come from the way of the east, and alight upon Mount Olivet, where Yahweh's glory stood when about to ascend from Israel's land, in the reign of Zedekiah (Ezek. 11:23), to return no more until it shall be borne by Christ (who also ascended from the same spot), when he shall appear in power. He reveals also that when Christ shall shine forth from the east as the Sun of the New Heavens, he shall rise upon Jerusalem and them that love her "with healing in his beams;" and upon his sapphire throne therein established reign in the midst of Israel as king of the whole earth for ever. This is the New Testament appearing of the Son of Man in his glory and kingdom, unto which we are invited as joint-inheritors with him in the gospel of the great salvation - (l Thess. 2:12.)

But do you inquire, 'How will he appear to human eyes when he is thus manifested in the glorious majesty of his kingdom?' Read the narration of the transfiguration, and your inquiry will find the best answer that can be given. Here were three witnesses who tasted not of death till they saw "his majesty," or the glory with which he will be invested when he sits as King of Israel on the throne of his father David's kingdom, which is also "his kingdom," and "the kingdom of God." These eye witnesses in mortal flesh saw him as he will appear "at his appearing and at his kingdom" - kata with accusative at in the sense of in. His personal appearance will be earth-illuminating wherever he goes, and shining as the sun - the Spirit of the Father as from electro-magnetic poles glowing through an incorruptible body. He will "shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars, for ever and ever." Hence he is styled "The Bright and Morning Star" (Rev. 22:16), having "a countenance as the sun shining in his strength" (Rev. 1:16) - the Day-star of the Morning that dawns (2 Pet. 1:19), at eventide -- (Zech. 14:6,7.) Moses' face shone with glory - the Spirit glowing through mortality as the changed exterior of Jesus; how much more enduringly brilliant the Spirit's glow through incorruption! "The moon shall" then indeed "be confounded and the sun ashamed, when (Jesus) the Lord of Hosts (Rev. 19:11-14) shall reign on Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously" - (Isaiah 24:23.)

Now this transfiguration scene is styled by one of the eye-witnesses "the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ," "his majesty," "the receiving from God the Father honour and glory" (2 Pet. 1:16 to 18.) Peter had made known to the elect sojourners of the dispersion "the power" of Jesus, and reminds them in this place that he had made known to them also "the coming," as illustrated in the representation on the Mount. He says that what he told them was "no cunningly-devised fable," but a reality which will assuredly come to pass, He saw it, and John and James saw it, yet he saith, "Ye have a more sure word of prophecy to which ye do well to take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place." In this saying Peter magnified the testimony of the prophets above his own. Consult the prophets, and remember their words; they will remove a multitude of difficulties imagined by those who consult only the brief narratives and epistles of six of the apostles and two of their companions; and among these obscurities, that of the coming of the kingdom, and Jesus in it, in the last days of Israel's commonwealth under the Mosaic law.

The phrase "second coming," is not scriptural. "Christ will appear a second time," says Paul, to them that look for him... unto salvation." There are three comings, but only two appearings. John the Baptizer preached Christ's coming (Acts 13:24), which was the first; Jesus declared of himself that he would come before the apostles should have preached in all the cities of Israel, which coming was the second; and lastly, the apostles preached his coming to subdue all things to himself, to raise the dead, and to reign over the nations, which is the third. Christ's first coming was an appearing in humiliation; the third coming will be a second appearing, not however in humility and suffering, but in exaltation with power and great glory. At the second coming there was no appearing at all.

(By Dr. John Thomas)

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