King's Business - 1912-01


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An Address By Prof. C. R. Erdman, D. D., at Northfield Conference. >

E. MOODY announced that this was a doctrine upon which many Christians dif- fered, but the Northfield preachers always agreed in regarding the coming of Christ as personal and as Dr. Erdman said: " My in Hebrews ix, 28: 'And

to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pente cost, nor to the presence of Christ with us through the Spirit. Again, it does not, as some have believed, refer to the de- struction of Jerusalem. It is true that the prophecy of that event is bound up with the foretelling of the second coming, but there are many things about Christ's return which are unfulfilled by the destruc- tion of Jerusalem. Nor is death the thing that is in the mind of the writer of this text, even if death does mean the union of our souls with Christ. Finally, the on- ward progress of civilization cannot fulfill the prophecy of the second coming. The writer has a definite return of Christ to this earth in mind and nothing else will satisfy the statement which he makes. What a sad book the New Testament would be apart from this coming of Christ. The world last saw Christ crucified as an evildoer between two thieves, and if the story is to end there it will be the great- est tragedy of history. His followers said they saw Him risen from the dead, but the world never saw Him, and refuses to believe His return was the hope which in- spired Paul on his travels, Peter in his letters and John on lonely Patmos. It is the great encouragement to the Christian church today. To whom will He appear; the verse an- swers, " t o them that await fer Him." This does not refer to any one sect of be- lievers. It refers to all Christians. I know there are those who believe that there will be special blessing for those who set the time of His reappearance and wait for Him in some special way and place. Nothing is further from the thought of the writer, for this hope of Christ's return is common to all classes of be- lievers. There is nt) creed in all Chris- tendom which does not refer to this com- ing again of Christ. We Presbyterians have it in our Westminster Confession and you will find that John Wesley, hardly a Presbyterian, had the same belief. If this is so, why is it that we hear so few ser- mons on this doctrine, why do we preach- ers remain silent on the truth which is so essential a doctrine in our system of Christian truth? There are many reasons for this, but none of them, it seems to me, are valid. Perhaps we are careless about the doctrine, thinking that there are others

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unto them that look for Him shall He appear a second time, without sin unto salvation.'' This, said he, is the blessed hope of the Church, the event toward which history has been moving through all the centuries since the death of Christ. We refer familiarly to three appearances of Christ; first, here on earth to save from sin; second, now in heaven pleading be- fore the Father in our behalf; and thirdly, the return of Christ in glory to this same earth that slew him. If we study the fig- ure we will see that the writer here used language borrowed from the Old Testa- ment law of Atonement. As the priest laid aside his robes of majesty and en- tered the holy of holies to plead for the people in virtue of the sprinkled blood, so Christ who laid aside His glory and came to earth to save people by His own shed blood has gone into the holy place on high to intercede for us. And as. the priest resumed his robes of beauty and glory reappeared before the people, so, says the writer, will Christ come again to the people for whom He has been inter- ceding. He is to eome as the priest who has won pardon for his people. Frances Havergal wrote:

Thou art coming, oh, my Savior, Thou art coming, oh, my King, In thy beauty all resplendent: In thy glory all transcendent; Well may we rejoice and sing. Coming in the opening east, Herald brightness slowly swells; Coming, or, my glorious Priest, Hear we not thy golden bells?

There are certain things which are some- times supposed to be referred to by this prophecy rather than the actual, physical return to this earth of the Christ who left it; a return which the writer considers as sure as the judgment. It does not refer

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