We have already shown in a previous chapter that each of the apostles bore witness to the Second Coming of Christ. Their testimony is clear, full, and uniform. At this point we shall select but a single passage, a familiar one, from the epistles of the apostle Paul. In 1 Thess.4:13-18 we read, |But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (i.e., |go before| them which are asleep. 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.|
The above passage is the most comprehensive statement upon the Redeemer's Return which is to be found in the apostolic writings. The importance of the communication contained therein is intimated by the prefatory clause -- |This we say unto you by the word of the Lord,| an expression which is always reserved for those passages of Divine revelation which are of peculiar importance or solemnity. Here again we learn that Christ is going to return in person -- |The Lord Himself.| Here again we have a positive promise -- |The Lord Himself shall descend.| And here again, the Second Coming of Christ is presented as the |blessed hope| of the Church -- |comfort one another with these words.| We reserve further comment upon this passage for a later chapter.