•  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
I could not accept the thought current with many, that only a certain number of the saints will be taken up when Christ comes for His people. In the first place, you lose the thought that it is sovereign grace (not righteous discriminating selection) which acts toward all His people alike, and on the ground of which all will be taken up to be forever with the Lord at that hour. Scripture gives the proper attitude of the Christian as waiting for Christ, and the result to him—his being taken up to meet the Lord in the air; it never supposes aught but this normal condition being responded to by His people practically.
To do otherwise, and provide for unfaithfulness to this one hope, would be unworthy of Him. His grace will take all to be with Him then, while at His appearing His righteousness will give to one, two, and another, five, cities in answer to the conduct of each.
Another reason would be, that when His body—the Church—is completed, He will come for her (though other saints may go with Him as raised and glorified also); and when He does, He will not leave a portion of Himself—His body, the Church, behind. Probably the not seeing the distinctive place of the present interval, in which the Holy Ghost on earth since Pentecost is gathering the Church, the Bride; and when that is done, when Eliezer has brought Rebecca across the desert and Isaac comes to meet her, Eliezer turns to other service, as it were, for Isaac’s glory. Now this being so, we will dismiss the thought at once that saints—members of Christ’s body—will be left to go through the tribulation. It is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he will be delivered out of it. (Jer. 7.)
Now in Rev. 7 we find the sealed of Israel—the remnant of that nation, under the symbolic number (the multiple of 12), signifying earthly administrative completeness (for Israel is to have earthly supremacy and administration in the kingdom) of that people. We have also the complement of the heavenly people, or priesthood, under the figure of the twenty-four elders, and we have the Gentiles (spared from the judgments) before the throne, an earthly place of blessing, not round about the throne, which is heavenly—shown as coming out of the great tribulation for the peopling of the earth in the kingdom, and in subordinate blessing to Israel.
The parable of the ten virgins does not clash with this—the wise go in; the professor is shut out when the Lord comes. It is a similitude of the kingdom, in which profession would be; not the Church as His body. Nor does the Lord’s words, “Pray that ye be counted worthy,” &c., clash with this either, for at times He looks upon and instructs His disciples as the remnant who would form the nucleus of the Church begun at Pentecost; and at times He teaches them looking upon them as an elect remnant of Jews (which they were) who would represent the hopes of the nation of Israel. They are treated on remnant ground in Matt. 24, and Christian ground in 25, just as we have them also in this double condition in Acts 2 and 3, until Stephen’s death and the destruction of Jerusalem. Then Paul comes in quite heavenly in his testimony. This explains the Lord’s exhortations to them as occupying this duplex place.
Paul too, when running the race in personal devotedness to Christ, speaks of “If by any means I might attain,” &c. Yet he had his heavenly place in union with Christ too (Eph. 2, &c.) It is true, on the one hand, that he was in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; and as a saint, he was on earth running the race, and looking to win Christ and be found in Him, in whom he already was. Both conditions are true of all Christians.
As to the 144,000 of Rev. 14, it is the multiple of a perfect earthly symbolic number of the remnant of Judah, those of chap. 7 of Israel generally, the Jewish remnant (Judah) being saved in the land (see end of Zech. 12) and the Israel remnant amongst the nations (Ezek. 20)
I suppose those who never rejected grace will be saved (at least many of them), after the removal of the Church.
There is, no doubt, a Jewish Bride for the earth, according to Canticles, &c.
I do not think the “blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb,” points to the persons who are blest, but to the blessing they are called to.
This is the key to the greater works of John 14 The Lord was occupied in repairing the first creation while yet it was recognized; to His disciples He entrusts the task of so ministering Him that the new man would in effect displace the old, though He does not altogether give up the healing of the old man.
At one place, R—, the Lord has of late been working remarkably in the gospel, and, I believe, solely owing to the faith of one man. It was laid on his heart, after their usual prayer meeting, to ask would any meet specially to pray once a week for the Lord to save souls, and eight volunteered. After a few weeks the Lord began to work, and when I was there about eighteen souls had been saved in five weeks, and nearly all whole families (“Thou and thy house” over again). It would delight you to have heard those men pray, as if they expected the Lord to answer them.