THE LORD’S DEATH TILL HE COME
The Lord’s Supper is to be observed by believers “till He come”. There are more than a dozen Greek words translated “come” in the New Testament Scriptures. That there are several aspects of the Lord’s coming, no real student of the Word of God will deny. That the principle of rightly dividing the Word of Truth should be applied to the doctrine of the Lord’s coming, no real student should even question. Concerning the Lord’s coming or appearing, the Greek words “parousia” “epiphaneia” “phaneroo” “apokalupis” are used. In the till He come”, in the verse concerning the Lord’s Supper, the Greek word is “erchomai”. This word is not as limited, or as specific, in its meaning as are the other Greek words. It is true, however, that this word is used in a number of verses spoken to Israel concerning Israel’s hope and Israel’s kingdom; for example, “till I come”, in Luke 19:13. It is found also in John 21:22 and 23; “Shall so come in like manner”, in Acts 1:11, uses the same “erchomai”.
The same word is used in John 14:3, “I will come again and receive you unto myself”: The Gospel of John is not a message concerning the Body of Christ and, therefore, some Bible teachers feel quite positive that Christ was not speaking of the blessed hope of Titus 2:13, or the appearing in glory of Colossians 3:3 and 4, when He spoke in John 14:3. However, we should not be too hasty to agree with this statement. They are likewise quite positive that the coming of the Lord, mentioned in I Corinthians 1:7, I Corinthians 15:23, and in I Corinthians 11:26, had no reference to the blessed hope of the Church which is Christ’s Body. They admit that “erchomai” might include several aspects of the Lord’s coming, but that the hope of the “Acts” Church of God was Israel’s hope, and that believers of that “Acts” period had a hope and a calling different from the hope and calling of the Body of Ephesians and the Body at the present time.
Concerning the doctrine of Israel’s hope, there are hundreds of prophecies that Israel is yet to possess the land of Canaan and live in a kingdom age under the peaceful reign of their true King David. Certainly it is not sound exegesis to teach that the saved Israelites, during the Acts period, baptized into one Body, with saved Gentiles, had any scriptural right to that hope. The hope of Israel to which Paul referred in Acts 28:20 is mentioned in Acts 23:6, Acts 24:15 and Acts 26:6 and 7. “The hope of the promises made of God unto our fathers” “hope toward God which they (Israel) also allow that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.”
Saved Israelites during the Acts period, in the Epistles to the Romans, were in the same Body of Christ with saved Gentiles and this Body is the same Body as is mentioned in Ephesians 1:19 to 22.
But then we are told that Israel had another hope, the hope of the Church of Romans and Corinthians, which was Abraham’s hope, the heavenly Jerusalem, that believers of the “Acts” period were linked up with Abraham, their father, and their hope was I Thessalonians 4:13 to 18, and after the rapture they are to reach the heavenly city for which Abraham and others looked. This they confirm by linking up Galatians 4:26, “Jerusalem above, the mother of us all; and Romans 4:16, “Abraham the father of us all”, with Hebrews 11:10; Hebrews 12:22 and 23; “the continuing city and the church of the first born, the heavenly Jerusalem”; and with Revelation 3:12, “the city of my God, the new Jerusalem” and Revelation 21:2 and 3: “the New Jerusalem coming down from God”. Undoubtedly the same exegesis employed to rule out the Lord’s Supper will rule out the rapture of I Thessalonians 4:13 to 18 as the hope of the Church. Those who rule out the Lord’s Supper and the rapture of I Thessalonians 4:13 to 18 teach that the hope of the Body is Phillippians 3:10 to 21, the calling on high, which is to precede the “Thessalonians” rapture. They claim that the rapture of I Thessalonians 4:13 to 18 is the coming of Christ mentioned in Matthew 24, and if I Thessalonians 4:13 to 18 is the hope of the Body of Christ then that Body must go into the great tribulation.
Much emphasis is placed on the word “Parousia”, which literally means “presence”. It is so translated in Paul’s reference to his own presence. II Corinthians 10:10. Inasmuch as the word “parousia” is used in Matthew 24:3 and 27 and 37 and 39, referring to the Lord’s coming for Israel in the midst of their great tribulation, and the same word is used in I Thessalonians 2:19, I Thessalonians 3:13, I Thessalonians 4:15, I Thessalonians 5:23, II Thessalonians 2:1 and 8, and inasmuch as there are trumpets and angels connected with both Matthew and Thessalonians and reference to coming as a thief in the night, the argument is that the rapture of I Thessalonians 4:13 to 18 is Israel’s rapture out of the great tribulation, and this is the rapture of the “Acts” Church and Israel’s Hope.
“Parousia” is the Greek word of I Corinthians 15:23 and therefore the mystery and resurrection of I Corinthians 15:51 to 57 could not be the hope of the Church which is the Body of Christ; that Philippians 3:19 and 20 and Colossians 3:3 and 4 and Titus 2:13 refer to an entirely different rapture or call to glory.
The “coming” of I Corinthians 1:7 is not “parousia”, but “apokalupsis”; and surely the day of “our Lord Jesus Christ” of I Corinthians 1:8 is the same day of Jesus Christ of Philippians 1:6, and both companies of saints were waiting for the same day. Such faulty exegesis cannot rule the Lord’s supper out of this dispensation.
We submit for your study the different Greek words translated “come” or “coming”, “manifested”, “revealed” or “appearing” in connection with the return of the Lord, the following words are used: “ERCHOMAI”, “PAROUSIA”, “EPIPHANEIA”, “EKO”. “APOKALUPSIS”, “PHAINO” AND “PHANEROO” are used in the following Scriptures; Matthew 21:9—Matthew 24:30, 44 and 46—Matthew 25:6 and 13 and 31— Mark 13:26—Luke 18:8, Luke 21:27—John 14:3, John 21:22 and 23—Acts 1:11—I Corinthians 4:5—I Corinthians 11:26—I Thessalonians 5:1—II Thessalonians 1:10— Acts 2:20—Jude 14—Revelation 1:7, Revelation 3:11, Revelation 22:7 and 12. In Hebrews 10:31 both “Erchomai” and “eko” are used. “He that cometh will arrive.” “Parousia” is used in the following Scriptures: Matthew 24:3 and 27 and 37 and 39—I Corinthians 15:23, I Thessalonians 2:19, I Thessalonians 3:13, I Thessalonians 4:15, I Thessalonians 5:23—II Thessalonians 2:1 and 8—James 5:7 and 8. In speaking of his own presence Paul used the word “parousia” in II Corinthians 10:10. In I John 2:28— both “Phaneroo” and “parousia” are used. “When He shall appear—not be ashamed before Him at His “parousia”. “Phaneroo is used in I Peter 5:4, and twice in I John 3:2. “Phaino” is used twice in Colossians 3:4. In I Corinthians 4:5 “Phaneroo” is translated “make manifest”. “Epiphaneia’ is used in I Timothy 6:14—II Timothy 4:1 and 8. and Titus 2:13. “Apokalupsis” (disclosure or revelation) is used in I Peter 1:5 and 7, and I Peter 1:13—Romans 8:19—I Corinthians 1:7—II Thessalonians 1:7—Revelation 1:1—I Peter 4:13 and I Peter 5:1—Romans 8:18. “Eko” (arrival) is used in Matthew 24:14— Romans 11:26—II Peter 3:10.
If we believe that the “‘till’ he come” in connection with the Lord’s Supper referred to the rapture of I Thessalonians, can we prove that the rapture differs from the blessed hope of Philippians, Colossians and Titus?