A Survey of the Eschatology of the Olivet Discourse Part II -- By: James F. Rand

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 113:451 (Jul 1956)
Article: A Survey of the Eschatology of the Olivet Discourse Part II
Author: James F. Rand

A Survey of the Eschatology of the Olivet Discourse
Part II

James F. Rand

At the beginning of this great discussion of the prophetic truth concerning Israel’s last days, the disciples had requested two signs from their Lord: the sign of the end of the age and “the sign of thy coming” (Matt 24:3). Christ reversed the order of His presentation of the answers to these two questions in order to present them in chronological order. Having concluded His presentation of the great tribulation, He now turns to the truth concerning His second advent, the next event in chronological progression.

The second advent (Matt 24:29–30; 25:31). This coming is a personal, visible return in power and great glory as will be seen in the presentation of the Scriptural testimony. Wilbur M. Smith has well summarized this return: “After this tribulation, after this desecration of the temple, our Lord says He will visibly return in clouds, with power and great glory, and gather together His elect from the four comers of the earth. This coming is a solitary one, it is not a series of comings; it is not a secret coming; it is not a veiled coming; it is not such a coming as the first advent was, of submission even unto death, but a coming in power, to defeat His enemies, to rule as King, to subdue the earth, to make an end of wickedness” (Wilbur M. Smith, Peloubets Select Notes on the International Sunday School Lessons, 1944, p. 93).

This second advent is often confused with the rapture of the church. Its presentation in the Olivet Discourse immediately following the tribulation has led some to posit a posttribulational rapture. To do this, however, is to ignore vital distinctions between the rapture of the church and the second advent for Israel. The former is a return for His own that they might evermore be with Him (1 Thess 4:13–18); the

latter is a return for Israel, for judgment upon Israel and the Gentiles, and for the establishment of His millennial kingdom.

Posttribulationists (as well as amillennialists) recognize the impossibility of reconciling these two events into one and so propound the theory that the Lord descends, meeting the body of Christ in the air, who then immediately return with Him to earth for His judicial session and the setting up of His millennial kingdom (Alexander Reese, The Approaching Advent of Christ, p. 237). Both Reese and Cameron justify this theory by their definition of the word “to meet” in You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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