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The Kingdom of Jesus Christ is Near at Hand

Time measured in God's eyes is vastly different than how we view the passing of moments.

 

"For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night." (Psalm 90:4)

"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."  (II Peter 3:8)

The Holy Spirit, speaks here of how God views time, the Kingdom is near. To many good Christians who have looked for the coming through the ages, even with the long centuries that have preceded, have deemed there to be just a short time till Christ comes, also hold His return to be near. The student who carefully studies the Divine Plan, comparing the duration of dispensations, the typical hints, etc., it is also near. Any inquiry into the various predictions and intimations relating to the Coming must admit it is always near at hand.

Since John the Baptist and Jesus Christ lived and ministered on this earth, the Kingdom has been declared as being near.

"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."  (Matt. 3:1, 2)

"Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." (James 5:8)

Not knowing the time of the Second Advent does not affect in the slightest the truthfulness of the Pre-Millennial return of Jesus. Many through the centuries have been mistaken as to the time, but that does not affect the foundation of the doctrine. It is not based on the express time of fulfilment, but on the plain grammatical sense of the Scriptures. The doctrine is one thing, the exact time of fulfilment of it is another.

Signs of Christ's coming and Scriptures can and are misinterpreted, but we should never give up the attitude of watching, praying, working.

"But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is."  (Mark 13:32,33)

Dr. Cummings (The Great Tribulation, p. 197):
"And far better the character of him who intently looks, and in his intense longing treats that as a sign which is not, than the sceptic and freezing apathy of the man whose heart is dead and whose hopes are cold, and who cares for and looks for none of these things. The incidental error of a few cannot shake or shatter the trust of many; and the error that is made by one watcher for the Advent will only lead another, like a buoy upon a wreck in the channel, to avoid the reef on which his predecessor may have suffered."

The precise time for the Kingdom is not given (Mark 13:32,33; Matt. 24:36, 42-51; 25:13; Luke 12:40; 21:35). Such declarations accompany or follow directions to observe the signs of the fulfilment of prophecy as indicating nearness. Jesus directs us to signs to show us the time in which we live, and how near we may be to the end, and not to definite time, and this is also true of the apostles. The Spirit does not contradict Himself; if it were possible to obtain an accurate, definite time then Luke 12:40 would be false!

"For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak."  (John 12:49)

"For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me." (John 17:8)

"And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power."  (Acts 1:7)

Jesus knows more about the time of His return, more than all but the Father. But He was bound not to reveal what He knows respecting the definite time because such time - its revelation - belongs to the Father.

The Kingdom is covenanted to David's Son, "the Son of Man," that is Jesus. The time of establishing the Kingdom and of judgement that comes with the Advent (Acts 1:6,7) is in the Father's hands, and Jesus therefore speaks of the time in the covenanted directions, and refers this lack of knowledge to His Messianic relationship as the Son of Man and of God, as a matter unsuitable for Him to express, being contradictory to the state of humiliation assumed. His return will be in all His glory, and while He was yet in the lowly flesh of a man it was unlawful to speak of those things and remove the immanency associated with watching and waiting. A revelation of the precise period of the postponement of the Kingdom, of the duration of the Gentile times, of the interval preceding the Second Advent, would have prevented the expression of faith, hope, and practical results afforded by the posture of constantly looking and watching for the Second Advent. We would lose the time given to us in grace to show we are worthy to rule and reign with Christ.

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us–ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14  Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless."  (II Peter 3:9-14)

As every succeeding year and day brings us nearer to that which the Spirit pronounced "nigh at hand," so the lapse of many years has certainly brought the Second Advent and Kingdom so much closer to us. This is confirmed by the signs to which the Saviour directs us that have been constantly fulfilling, accumulating, and intensifying. It is reasonable then, to conclude, and say, as we now do, that it may be near at hand.

Some make the injunction "to watch" a proof that the time can be definitely known, overlooking the simple fact that the injunction for watching is based on our alleged ignorance of the exact time. Even the illustrations given to enforce their views teach the reverse, seeing that the parties warned are presumed to be in ignorance until the signal of explosion is given.

Joseph Seiss (Last Tines, p. 255) on Daniel 12:7"
"I ever keep it before me, and I am satisfied that the last day must be before the door; for the signs predicted by Christ and the Apostles Peter and Paul have all now been fulfilled, the trees put forth, the Scriptures are green and flourishing. That we cannot know the day matters not; some one else may point it out; things are certainly near their end."
and "We certainly have nothing now to wait for but the end of all things."

Christ's declaration of not knowing the time of His return must be interpreted in harmony with the exhortations to study prophecy, the example of the prophets, and the posture of constant watching. Such example is found in Daniel, chapter 9, where he searched and made supplication to God to know and understand the time of Israel's captivity that is found in the book of Jeremiah.

"In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem." (Daniel 9:1,2)

With this search for knowledge went the confessions of his people's sins and asking for forgiveness and cleansing.

eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name." great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name."

This is what the imminence of Christ's return and the searching of Scriptures should do in our lives.

The postponement of the Kingdom is indefinite as to time, for where it is specifically stated it is always in connection with phrases ("the times of the Gentiles" or until He comes again, etc.) which give no regular chronological dates or time frame. But such things as a Gentile domination that has gone on so long, the Nation of Israel being regathered into a restored homeland with Jerusalem as their capital, the amount of such apostasy and falling away within the Church, etc., should indicate to us that much that has needing to be done is accomplished so therefore the Kingdom is proportionately closer than ever. If we look at how long other dispensations lasted we can say that this one should end soon as well.

Lange (Commentary on Matthew, p. 433):
"Watchfulness is above all the duty of those who bear the office of watchmen. The greater the insecurity and danger the more needful the watchfulness. Watchfulness the distinguishing characteristic of the true servants of Christ: (1) It is a tribute to the treasure, which is to be guarded; (2) It points to conflict with an enemy; (3) To the danger of the time of night; (4) To fidelity in waiting for the Lord. The security of the world should arouse and keep effectually awake the servants of Christ."