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X. THE REDEEMER’S RETURN IS NECESSITATED BY THE EXPECTATION OF THE DEAD IN CHRIST.

This argument may be summarized thus:—The Intermediate state into which the souls of the redeemed pass at death is not the perfect state, it is but an “unclothed” (2 Cor. 5:1–3) condition. Like their brethren who are still upon earth, those now in Paradise are “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:23). A countless multitude of those who fell asleep in Jesus are yet in the disembodied state, and in that state they are “waiting,” waiting for the time when this corruptible shall put on incorruption and when this mortal shall put on immortality. Those, who while on earth, looked and longed for the Return of their Redeemer, and who are still waiting that blest event shall not wait thus forever, as it is written, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16, 17).

In the last book of the Bible, where the veil that separates between the present and the future and between this world and the next is pulled aside, we find a Scripture that bears closely upon the point now under consideration. We refer to Rev. 6:9, 10—“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the alter the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” This passage, stript of its symbolism, signifies that martyred believers now in the Intermediate state are waiting with eager expectation the time when God shall avenge their death, which time is reached immediately before our Lord returns to this earth. That which we wish to specially emphasize is the fact that souls now in Paradise are here represented as crying “How long?” Thus we learn that those “present with the Lord,” as well as believers still “in the body,” are eagerly expecting and waiting for the time of their Redeemer’s Return. The answer made to these disembodied “souls” is very striking—“And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (Rev. 6:11).

The “dead in Christ” are waiting in hope, waiting for the fulfillment of that promise, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Cor. 15:42–44). Is their hope nothing more than an idle dream? Are they to wait thus for ever? No, blessed be God. His Word, declares that at the time of our Redeemer’s Return, “Them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him”(1 Thess. 4:14). Therefore we say that the present unclothed condition of the dead in Christ with their expectation of the Resurrection morn requires and necessitates the personal Return of our Lord.

To sum up. At least ten reasons require that Christ shall come back again -- the declarations of Old Testament prophecy; the affirmations of our Lord Himself; the ratification of the Holy Spirit through the writers of the New Testament Epistles; the humiliation of the Cross, requiring a corresponding vindication of Christ in power and glory; the present disorganization of Israel; the exaltation of Satan and the powerlessness of man to depose him; the degradation and desolation of the world; the lamentations of a Creation waiting to be delivered from its bondage of corruption; the supplications of the Church crying “Even so, come, Lord Jesus;” and the expectation of the dead in Christ waiting for their glorification, singly and collectively necessitate and demand the personal Return of our Redeemer.

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