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6. The Fact of the Redeemer’s Return is illustrated in the Gospel narratives.

We refer now to the incident of Christ walking over the water to the aid of His storm-tossed disciples, the dispensational significance of which has already been pointed out by several writers.

Immediately after our Lord had fed the five thousand, He retired into a mountain while His disciples went down unto the sea, and entering into a ship, they essayed to journey to Capernaum. But as they rowed “the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.” It was dark, and Jesus was not come to them, and all the progress they had made after hours of hard rowing was “twenty-five or thirty furlongs.” Then it was that Jesus drew nigh, and with a gracious “It is I; be not afraid” He stilled their fears. The statement that follows is a remarkable one—“Then they willingly received Him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went”(John 6:15–21). At the risk of being considered “fanciful” we shall attempt to expound the typical and dispensational bearings of the above incident.

Christ on the mount, praying, points to His present position on high where He is interceding for us at the right hand of God. The restless, tossing sea, aptly figures the world’s unrest in its opposition to God. The ship in the midst of the sea represents the Church which is in the world but not of it. The storm beating down upon the ship caused by the “great wind” that blew, prefigures the attacks and assaults upon the Church by the “Prince of the power of the air,” seeking to destroy it during the time of Christ’s absence. The rowing of the disciples and their failure to make headway against the storm, shows the powerlessness of the Church to improve the world as such. Nineteen centuries of Gospel preaching and Christian witnessing have failed to effect any real change in the world at large. The unrest of the world still continues, its hostility while not so open is yet just as real, and Christ is “hated” as bitterly as ever. The Church may pull at its oars, but it cannot still the sea—the storm will not be hushed until the Lord Jesus appears! All that the disciples could do was to keep the ship from sinking, and in that they were successful. There again our type is perfect. The world may be hostile to the Church and Satan may fling his angry winds and waves against it but, as its Founder declared, His church is built upon the Rock and “the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it,” and blessed be God they have not. After almost two thousand years of human and Satanic opposition, after every conceivable weapon has been employed to encompass its destruction, Christ’s Church still survives. And in the midst of the storm; at the darkest hour, in the fourth watch, Christ came to the deliverance of His disciples. So it will be at His Second Advent: He will come back to and for the Church which He ransomed with His own blood. He came to His disciples and, be it noted, He appeared not with a word of reproach but with a message of cheer—“It is I; be not afraid.” Thus will it be at the Redeemer’s Return: He will descend from heaven with a shout of welcome, bringing joy and gladness to the hearts of His own. Observe the blessed sequel—“and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.” The typical meaning of this is obvious: when our Lord comes back again the Church’s conflicts will be over, its journey is then completed, its voyage ended, its destined harbor is safely reached. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

“For the coming of the Bridegroom,

Whom, tho’ yet unseen, we love;

For the King of saints returning

In His glory from above;

For the shout that shakes the prison,

For the trumpet loud and clear,

For the voice of the archangel,

The Church is waiting here.

For the light beyond the darkness,

When the reign of sin is done;

When the storm has ceased its raging,

And the heaven has been won;

For the joy beyond the sorrow,

Joy of the eternal year,

For the resurrection splendor,

We are waiting, waiting here.”

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