Present Hope of the Church
The Great Tribulation
This is the next in our series of ‘The Things which shall be Hereafter (Rev 1:19)’. It is a subject which is spoken of extensively in scripture but is often misunderstood. Two important points:
It is future
It relates to Israel – the church has no part in it.
The notes here are largely from ‘The Scroll of Time’ by John Ashton Savage
We love His appearing, but we love Himself better. Therefore we wait for Him to take us to Himself. If our hearts have known what Himself is, we cannot confound His taking us to Himself, with His appearing. We are ‘members of his body’ (Eph 5:30). ‘Your life is hid with Christ’ (Col 3:3). He is to take us up to the Father’s house, the fullness of His own blessedness – with Christ; the blessed outshining of His Father’s love connects itself with the church’s position. All through there is an identity of blessedness with Christ in life, hope, object, all. If this hope is let into the heart, there must be a break with the world. I cannot be waiting for God’s Son from heaven if I am expecting wrath; and I cannot be waiting for God’s Son from heaven
7Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb
The next event for us is the rapture. It could be at any time – today even – and applies only to the church. Because of that, there is no reference to it in the Old Testament. In scripture, the in Greek word ἁρπαγησόμεθα/harpagēsometha/Strong 726 in 1Thess 4:17. Is translated ‘caught up’. The word ‘rapture’ is a noun with the same meaning.
We should ask why is the rapture so little understood, or even accepted amongst many sincere Christians? This scripture in 1 Thess 14:13-18 is very clear:
ublicly, the Church has fallen like all the rest. Grace will produce and perfect its own work. Christ’s building will be complete and perfect, and manifested in glory. But Man’s building is defective and corrupt, and will come under the worst and severest of judgments.
The Lord’s first coming: He came in flesh, but only those who received Him knew Him, and that through the Spirit.
His second coming: He is seen by all.
Hence His first coming was really a spiritual one; the true coming will be the second.
In 1828 or 1829 Darby drew his ‘Prophetic Map’ (see JND Notes & Comments Vol 2 – page 192).
This article looks aback over what Darby wrote in the light of various things that have happened in the world since then.
How does the New Testament distinguish between the earthly hopes and promises to Israel, and the heavenly hopes of the church? It is absolutely impossible to set aside the promises to Israel – the church odes not replace them [as modern ‘replacement theology’ and would suggest*]. God had made promises to His people which […]
The Psalms connect Christ with and Israel, and with the remnant in particular. It would be impossible to enter into the detail of all 150 Psalms here, but what we cannot fail to see is that there is, in the latter day, a godly pious Jewish remnant – tried, oppressed and all but overwhelmed. Jehovah owns and encourages His people and rewards them with Jewish blessings according to promise, Christ having entered into their sorrows and borne their sins. Christ, as Jehovah, comes to judge. The Son of man and King in Zion enters into the temple with all things under His feet, subjecting all the nations to Himself.
We need to understand what the church really is, and to distinguish between the kingdom and the church. In the kingdom we get the display of God’s power and government, whereas in the church it is union and fellowship
The church is Christ’s representative on earth. By one Spirit we have been baptised into one body, whose Head is at the right hand of God in heaven, united to the members, formed into a body down here on earth by the power of the Holy Spirit. Scripture calls this ‘the church.’
The hope of the church is founded on her relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven. She is united to her Head there, seated in heaven in Him, waiting to be there physically. The occupation of the church ought to be in constant, incessant reference to her Head. If not, she cannot act for Him. She looks, to her Head, the only source of power, and joins with the Holy Spirit in the cry ‘The Spirit and the bride say, Come’ (Rev 22:17).