Questions of Interest on the Second Coming of Christ: No. 4

Acts 3:21  •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 5
"Will you notice Acts 3:2121Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:21)? I have lately seen it stated with confidence, that no one could answer the objections contained in that text which reads, ' Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution,' &c. But the writer does not say what the prophecies are, that remain to be fulfilled; but dwells largely on death, of which Isaiah speaks in chapter xxv. 8, 4 He will swallow up death in victory. So that Christ cannot come before the millennium. May it be said, when Christ comes for His saints and they are caught up, that Christ is still in heaven?"
On the repentance of Israel, Peter assures them that God would " send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." It is very strange that the writer should find difficulties in this verse and its context. I remember about fifty years ago, this scripture was specially used to many to show them that the Lord would come at the commencement of the millennium. Take this illustration. There has been a revolution in Brazil. The emperor has been rejected; he is received in, say, England. And it is said England will receive him until the restitution, or restoration of the empire in Brazil. Would that mean that England would receive the rightful emperor until after the empire, or until the time when the empire should be set up again?
The Jews had murdered the Christ of God, their true Messiah, long foretold in scripture. God had raised Him from the dead, and received Him up to heaven. The heaven must receive Him until the times of restitution, or restoration of His empire. At present they are rebels against God and against their Messiah.
Could anything be plainer? To say that this means the heavens must receive Him, until after His millennial kingdom is over, come to an end, would not only be contrary to all scripture, but would have no meaning in it.
Let us, however, turn to the scripture referred to—Mic. 4; 5 In chapter iv. we have the future reign of Messiah; all nations going up to worship in Zion; no more war; swords and spears turned into implements of happy husbandry This blessed scene shall surely come, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. " And the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth, even forever." " The first dominion: the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem." Then a time of great labor, and sorrow, and pain is spoken of. " Be in pain, and labor to bring forth, Ο daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail." Then the Judge of Israel shall be smitten with a rod upon the cheek. Now mark the special verse referred to by Peter, " But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting [or the days of eternity]." (Chap. v. 2.) "Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth." Then follows the millennial blessing of Jacob.
Such is the absolute inspired word of the Lord. How much has been fulfilled at this hour? Evidently chapter iv. 1-8 has not in the least had its fulfillment. It would have had it, had they repented at the preaching of Peter. But they did not. It is no theory, but an undeniable fact that the kingdom has not vet come to the people of Israel. Then has the great pain and tribulation spoken of come? No, for at that time they shall be delivered; or at least the remnant of them. At the destruction of Jerusalem they were not delivered, but destroyed by hundreds of thousands, or scattered among all nations. And they are, according to the sure word of God, to be given up, until, the time of travail, and until she hath brought forth the remnant spoken of in chapter v. 3.
Has the Judge that is to reign been smitten with a rod upon the cheek? He has. The Son of God has been smitten, bruised, spit upon. Has He come from Bethlehem? He has. That was the place of His incarnation, or birth.
Has He gone forth into the heavens unto God? “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted,” &c. (Act ii. 32, 33.)
How long will the heavens retain Him? "Until the times of restitution," &c. That is plainly the time of the kingdom of God on earth. Who is He? He that is to be Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity. Yes, He is the Eternal Son of God.
Do the Jews know all this? No, they are blind yet. But the day will come when He shall say to them, "Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Bead that chapter of their coming glory, Isa. 9 In no sense has this been fulfilled yet.
How long now has Israel to wait for these scenes of blessing and the reign of Messiah at Zion? " Until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth."
Was not that travail when Christ the man-child was born? No, there was no travail then. " Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man-child." (Isa. 66:77Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. (Isaiah 66:7).)
What does she bring forth then when she travaileth? " As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children." Then follows her millennial joy. (Isaiah 66:88Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. (Isaiah 66:8) to end.) Oh, who believes the word of God—-the glories of our long rejected Jesus—the blessings of His earthly people Israel? Do not mistake. In all these scriptures there is no reference whatever to the church. But He who is Israel’s Messiah is also the Head of the church—His body. Hence, His corning to take the church does not affect these questions in the least The Jews will not see questions Him come for His bride, may not know of it, except the great wonder there may be when every true Christian is gone in the twinkling of an eye. If we confound the hopes of the church, and the future kingdom and earthly glory of Israel, all must be confusion and difficulty.
You say the writer dwells, largely on death; speaks of Isa. 25:8, &c, so that Christ, he says, cannot come before the millennium. Now if you read the whole chapter you will find that this event, " He will swallow up death in victory," is really what ushers in the millennium. As it goes on to say, " And the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people [Israel] shall he take away from off all the earth" "In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah." Oh, how simple all this would be if we believed God meant what He said. He is not speaking of the church in Isa. 25, but of Israel and Judah. (See ii. 1-3.)
Surely the writer could not have been aware that the Holy Ghost had explained when this would take place. In 1 Corinthians 15. we have the coming of the Lord, and the resurrection of those that are His at His coming (ver. 23), and the blessedness of that resurrection, and the change in a moment of those that shall be alive when He comes for them. Read to verse 53. Now the Holy Ghost says that it is when all this has taken place that Isa. 25,. will be fulfilled. Verse 54: " So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."
Is it not then perfectly clear that this resurrection, described in 1 Cor. 15, takes place at the coming of the Lord? " They that are Christ's at his coming." (Ver. 23.) It is quite true that the end, or second resurrection, takes place after the kingdom is delivered up. (Ver. 24.) The order of resurrection is thus described. " Christ the first-fruits." Then, " Afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." We know that more than eighteen hundred years have intervened between these two parts. " Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God." And we know from Rev. 20, that at least one thousand years will intervene between the resurrection of " they that are his," and the rest of the dead.
This also is certain, that as the apostle refers to a scripture in Isaiah, that ushers in the millennium, as the time of the resurrection of " those that are his " in verse 54—" Then shall be Î brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory"—that therefore the coming of the Lord, and this the first resurrection, takes place before, and not after the millennium, C. S,