“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
“Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Tit.2: 13,14).
A rich harvest of blessing was reaped for the Church in those years before and after the turn of the century when the great truth of the Lord’s coming to catch away His own was recovered by men of God and the expectancy of His appearing became once more “that blessed hope” to multitudes of believers.
Now some are pointing to such passages as Matthew 24:6-9 and 29, 30 to prove that the Church will go through the tribulation. Others have adopted a “mid-tribulation” view, holding that the Church will go through only the first half of the tribulation period, and will be caught away before the fearful outpouring of God’s wrath in the “great tribulation.” Still others hold the so-called “partial rapture” view on the basis of our Lord’s exhortation to His disciples in Luke 21:36. Ac-cording to this view only those “counted worthy” will be caught up at the rapture.
And thus the glorious prospect that Paul, by inspiration, holds out to the members of Christ’s body as “that blessed hope,” is again being lost to growing numbers of sincere believers, simply because they fail to recognized it as a distinctly Pauline revelation.
It is a significant fact that in the very first epistle from Paul’s pen he already refers to a prior hope for the members of the Body of Christ, the hope of a coming of Christ which precedes His return to earth to reign. In I Thessalonians 1:9,10 he recalls:
“…how ye turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God,
“AND TO WAIT FOR HIS SON FROM HEAVEN….”
And in I Thessalonians 4:16-18 he explains:
“…We which are alive and remain…shall be CAUGHT UP TOGETHER WITH THEM IN THE CLOUDS, TO MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
To those who remain blind to this important fact such passages as Matthew 24 must qualify, if not contradict, I Thessalonians 4, and any attempt to harmonize the Gospel records as to Christ’s return with Paul’s special revelation as to His coming for His own, must end in the most bewildering confusion.
But we who do recognize the distinctive character of Paul’s apostleship and revelation have no such problem to vex us. To us “that blessed hope” glows — surely should glow — brighter as the days grow darker.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.
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