Letter to Rev. J. Litch, on the Second Coming of Christ


Universalists have long labored hard to make themselves and others believe that the prophecies of Christ, in the 24th chapter of Matthew, were all fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem. This perversion of Scripture to their own destruction, has been confined chiefly to those whose particular business it is to lure the prey into the jaws of the devouring lion. But, recently, men of a better faith, for the purpose of avoiding the force of the awakening doctrine that the great and notable day of the Lord is at hand, have concluded to swallow this opiate, and recommend it, for the purpose of keeping themselves and others asleep. This is one of the methods now practised, to induce unwary souls to place confidence in the delusive declaration, “My Lord delayeth his coming.” LJL 68.1

The disciples were told by angels, at the time of the ascension, that that same Jesus should come, in like manner as he went up. John was told in the Revelation, “Behold, he cometh in clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him; and the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” So in Matthew 24:30, 31: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect, from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” LJL 68.2

Now if Christ did come at the destruction of Jerusalem, then he came as he went up into heaven; i. e., he came in clouds; and according to the Revelation, every eye saw him, and they which pierced him, and the kindreds of the earth wailed because of him. LJL 69.1

In Isaiah 40:5, it is written, “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” LJL 69.2

This is the only coming of Christ which the Bible anywhere brings to view, except his coming in his humiliation, in the days of his flesh. Of course, if Christ has come in the clouds, and every eye has seen him; if his glory has been revealed, and all flesh have seen it together, as the mouth of the Lord hath spoken, then it will be easy to show when and where. LJL 69.3

But who saw Christ in the clouds of heaven, at the destruction of Jerusalem? LJL 69.4

That God did pour out threatened judgments upon Jerusalem, at a particular time, is true; but there was no coming of Christ then, any more than at the flood, or the destruction of Sodom. Who saw him? We have no need to listen for a moment to those who say respecting Christ’s coming, “Lo here, or lo there,”-for he has told us that it shall be “as the lightning from heaven.” Until we see it, therefore, we may know that this event has not passed. LJL 69.5

But, it will be asked, did not Christ say, “This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled?” Certainly-and the generation of which Christ spake, has not passed, and will not pass, till he comes in the clouds of heaven, and every eye sees him. LJL 70.1

The only question is, what did Christ mean by generation? Plainly, not the men then living, for it cannot be shown that an individual of that, or any other generation of that sort, to this day, has seen Christ in the clouds of heaven. It is said of Christ in Psalm 22:30, “a seed shall serve him, it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.” LJL 70.2

This, then, is the meaning of the text: “The generation of my spiritual seed shall not pass away from the earth, till all these things be fulfilled.” Generation is used with like import in Psalm 24:7, Psalm 112:2, 1 Peter 2:9. LJL 70.3

Christ said also in one place, Matthew 16. 28, “There be some standing here that shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” They did not-for six days after, they saw him transfigured upon the mount, and there beheld the glory in which he will appear at his second coming. When we all behold him in that glory, as soon we shall, then we shall know that he has come. LJL 70.4

C. F.