An Exposition of Matthew Twenty-Four on the Second Coming of Christ

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INTRODUCTION

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NO truth of Inspiration is more clearly stated than that God reveals his designs to his prophets, so that men and nations may be warned of coming events before their accomplishment. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the Prophets.” Amos 3:7. Before visiting the world with judgments, God has uniformly sent forth warnings sufficient to enable the believing to escape his wrath, and to condemn those who have not heeded the warning. This was the case before the flood. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world.” Hebrews 11:7. EMTF iii.1

In the days of Lot, when the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah had become so sunken in idolatry and crime that the destruction of these cities was determined, the Lord revealed to Abraham, his righteous servant, what he was about to do. Genesis 18:17-33. Lot also was warned, that he might escape. And through Lot the ungodly inhabitants of Sodom were warned, but they made light of the warning. Genesis 19:14. Thus also when the Lord determined to overthrow Nineveh, he sent Jonah with a message of warning. The people in this great city took an opposite course to that of the men of Sodom. They humbled themselves before God, and repented of their wickedness; therefore the Lord spared them, and their city was not destroyed until a later time, when the people had returned to their wicked ways. EMTF iii.2

John the Baptist was raised up by a special providence, at the first advent of Christ, to announce his immediate com- ing, and thus prepare the way before the Lord. The righteous in that generation were not only expecting him to come soon, but they knew that that generation would not pass away till he did come. Read Luke 2:25, 26, 36-38. EMTF iii.3

Before the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, its inhabitants were warned, and the way of escape was pointed out. Jesus had said, “When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” And, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of “desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand), then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.” Luke 21:20; Matthew 15, 16. All who accepted the warning, and gave heed to the sign given them by Christ, improved the opportunity given them for escape by the providential withdrawal of the Roman army, after it had for some time surrounded the city, and fled in haste to a place of safety. EMTF iv.1

Such has been the dealing of God in past ages, in reference to all important events; and so has he promised to deal with his people. Then we may inquire, Can anything be learned from the Bible relative to the time of the second advent? This is a grave inquiry, and, from the very nature of the subject, is worthy of close and candid investigation. We accept the Bible as a revelation from Heaven. What God has made known in that book ceases to be a mystery. “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.” Deuteronomy 29:29. If the Sacred Scriptures have revealed nothing concerning the time of the coming of our Lord, then we can know nothing concerning it. But if they have definitely informed us that we may know when “it is near, even at the doors,” then these things belong to us and to our children. Believing that he has given all the Holy Scriptures for a wise purpose,—for our learning and benefit,—we consider it not merely our privilege, but our duty, to search the Scriptures, with an earnest desire to know the whole revealed will of God. EMTF iv.2

By careful and prayerful attention to the prophetic discourse of the Son of God, given in answer to the inquiry of the disciples, the reader will, we trust, receive light upon this important question. And as he reads the following pages, may the Holy Spirit open to his mind the beautiful harmony of the subject in its several parts, as fulfilled in the experience of the church from the time of the first advent of Christ to the close of human probation. EMTF v.1