On The Teachings Of Christ In Regard To His Then Future Comings, And The Phraseology Of The Apostles On This Subject -- By: Henry Cowles

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 028:111 (Jul 1871)
Article: On The Teachings Of Christ In Regard To His Then Future Comings, And The Phraseology Of The Apostles On This Subject
Author: Henry Cowles


On The Teachings Of Christ In Regard To His Then Future
Comings, And The Phraseology Of The Apostles On This
Subject

Rev. Henry Cowles

This subject has a broad range of practical bearings, particularly on these two points: the true method of contemplating the now future coming of Christ in order to derive from it the best moral results; and the subject of inspiration as involved in the question, whether the apostles were or were not mistaken in their views of the time of Christ’s second coming. That the latter point needs discussion no man intelligent in regard to the views extensively held, both by learned and unlearned expositors, can doubt. Some men of great erudition maintain that Paul’s view of the time of Christ’s second coming underwent an important change between the date of his first Epistle to the Thessalonians and of his second. If so, was he inspired in a lower degree when he wrote the first, and in a higher when he wrote the second? Or will it be said that in one or both of these letters his inspiration did not reach this particular subject? Among men moving in the common walks of life the view is somewhat current that the apostles actually expected the final coming of Christ within their own lifetime, in such a sense near that it might occur any night before morning. Some believe that they taught this as a fact; others that they thought it expedient for the best moral impression to assume it, and to speak as if it were so; the points actually believed by them being only these, that the precise time was not revealed, and that nothing forbade its being so near that it might break upon the world at any moment. Now, let it be well considered, if the apostles taught the near coming

of Christ for the final judgment as a fact, they were simply mistaken, and we have grave difficulties to dispose of under the question of their real inspiration; or, if they held that nothing forbade its being so near that it might break upon the world during their own lifetime, and therefore, for the sake of the best moral impression, men should be exhorted to expect it daily as a possible, and perhaps probable, event, then we have to meet this difficulty: Is it supposable that their views of the gospel age, and of its predicted work under its then opening dispensation, were so very limited and so exceedingly imperfect? These remarks will probably suffice to show that the subject calls for thorough and careful examination.

As already indicated, we propose two main subjects of inquiry: First, The teachings of Christ in regard to his then future comings. Second, The phraseology of the apostles in speaking upon this subject. It will be found convenient, not to say important, to exami...

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