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1. Christ does not receive the Kingdom until the time of His Second Advent.

     We must quote once more a passage that has already engaged our attention in another connection, namely, the Parable of the Nobleman. Before quoting from it, however, we would first observe that this parable was uttered by our Lord in order to correct a mistaken notion that was being entertained by certain of His auditors: "And as they heard these things, He added and spake a parable, because He was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought the kingdom of God should immediately appear" (Luke 19:11). Here is further proof that the "Kingdom," referred to subsequently by our Lord was not a spiritual Kingdom instituted by Him just after His death and resurrection, but was a Kingdom which was not to "appear" for a considerable length of time, in fact not until He returned again to the earth. To quote once more from this parable -
     "He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for Himself a Kingdom and to return. ** And it came to pass, that when He was returned having received the Kingdom, then He commanded these servants to be called unto Him, to whom He had given the money, that He might know how much every man had gained by trading" (Luke 19:12, 15). Thus we see that our Lord's receiving of the Kingdom and His return synchronize. The Kingdom to which was the subject of numerous Old Testament prophecies. It was the "Kingdom" mentioned by Daniel in 7:13, 14 of his prophecy - "And I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him (compare "received" in the above parable) dominion, and glory, and a kingdom,that all peoples, nations, and languages, should serve Him." As the context here shows, the time when the Son of Man is "given" this Kingdom is immediately following the destruction of t he Gentile powers which from the Book of Revelation, we know will occur just prior to the Millennium. If further proof be needed that Christ's "receiving of the Kingdom" takes place before and not after the Millennium it is furnished by 1 Cor. 15:24 where we are told that at the close of the Millennium - which is the time when He shall have "put down all rule and all authority and power" - He shall deliver "up the Kingdom to God, even the Father." If then Christ "delivers up" the Kingdom to the Father at the close of the Millennium then the conclusion is irresistible that He "receives" the Kingdom at the beginning of the Millennium.

2. The Times of Restitution can be ushered in only by the Second Advent of Christ.

     "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the Times of Refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And He shall 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" (Acts 3:19-21). The "Times of Restitution" here promised to Israel on the condition of their national repentance is one of the names of the Millennium itself. It is termed thus because at that time Israel shall be restored to favor with God again. It is termed thus because at that time Palestine shall be restored, restored to its original fertility, when it shall again be "a land that floweth with milk and honey." It is termed thus because at that time the animal creation shall be restored, restored to Edenic conditions, when once again "the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb." It is termed thus because at that time Creation shall be restored and delivered from its present bondage of corruption, restored to its original freedom and glory.
     The "Times of Restitution" is defined in the very passage where this expression occurs, defined in the previous words "the Times of Refreshing" which shall come from the presence of the Lord." Note particularly that these "Times of Restitution" cannot come until Christ Himself comes back again. This is expressly affirmed in the words "Whom the heaven must receive until." Observe it does not say "Whom the heaven must receive or retain during the Times of Restitution," still less "until the end of the Times of Restitution" - which it most certainly would say were the teaching of post-millennialism true - but "until the Times of Restitution," that is, until those times arrive. When these "Times" come then shall the Lord arrive. When these "Times" come then shall the Lord return, and when He returns then shall come "Times of Refreshment" for His people on earth.
     Observe, further, that we are told, these "Times of Restitution" were spoken of by all God's holy prophets. Of what "Times of Restitution" then did the Old Testament prophets speak? We answer, of Millennial "Times," when all nations of the earth shall be brought beneath the sway of Messiah's scepter. The Old Testament prophets uniformly connect the Times of "Restitution" with the Coming of Christ to the earth and they certainly knew of no Kingdom being brought in by the efforts of the Church. The able declaration of Peter then proves two things: First, that until the Times of Restitution the Heaven must retain our Lord; second, that as soon as these "Times" arrive, Christ shall assuredly return. Hence, there can be no Millennium until Christ comes back again to the earth, but as soon as He does come back again the Millennium will be inaugurated.

3. The Restoration of Israel is only made possible by the Second Advent of Christ.

     Under this head we shall seek to prove briefly three things - that Israel as a nation will be restored, that Israel's restoration occurs at the Return of Christ, that Israel's restoration will result in great blessing to the whole world.
     That Israel as a nation will be actually and literally restored is declared again and again in the Word of God. We quote now but two prophecies from among scores of similar ones: - "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, The Lord our righteousness. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the House of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land" (Jer. 23:5-8). Again; "Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one King shall be King to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be My people, and I will be their God. And David My Servant shall be King over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and My Servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore" (Ezek. 37: 21-28).
     That Israel's restoration synchronized with our Lord's Return to the earth may be seen from the following Scriptures: - "And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him; and He will save us: This is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation" (Isaiah 25:9 and read on to the end of the following chapter). See further the whole of Isaiah 60 which follows the opening verse - "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon them." In Acts 3 we learned that Peter declared to Israel that if they would "Repent and be converted" that God would "send Jesus Christ unto them" and that following Christ's Return there would be the "Times of Restitution," even the Times of Refreshing which should "come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19-21). In Acts 15:16 we read, "After this, I will return and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down." And in Rom. 11:25, 26 we are told, "Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob."
     That Israel's restoration results in great blessing to the whole world may be seen from the following quotations - "And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men" (Micah 5:7). "Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit" (Is. 27:6). While in Romans 11 we are told that the restoration of Israel will bring even greater blessing to the world than did their casting away - "If the fall of them (Israel) be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness! If the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead!" (Rom. 11:11, 15).

4. A groaning Creation can be delivered only by the Second Advent of Christ.

     The difference in belief between post and pre-millennialists concerning this point is as great as the difference between light and darkness. Post-millennialists believe that Christ will not return until the end of time and that then He will come to judge the human race. As to what is going to happen at the end of time Scripture does not leave us in ignorance. Says the apostle Peter, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burnt up" (2 Pet. 3:10). Post-millennialists then look for the world (the Kosmos) to be "burned up" and for "the heavens" to "pass away" at the time of Christ's Return; in other words, they look for the destruction of the old creation as the consequent of the Second Advent. But pre-millennialists look for the emancipation of all creation from its present bondage as one of the glorious results of our Redeemer's Return. They base this belief on the teaching of Rom. 8:18-24, a passage which has already been examined in an earlier chapter. Without again entering upon a detailed exposition of the entire passage, let us seek to summarize its contents.
     "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (vs. 22). This is the lot of all Nature to-day. The world groans beneath an accumulating load of sin and wretchedness. Man groans: his soul groans, and so does his body. Animals groan. The earth itself groans, sometimes like a great giant in awful pain. How then can the world enjoy a thousand years of rest and peace and blessedness whilst the whole creation is in travail! The whole creation is here personified and represented as sending up to heaven a loud and agonizing groan. And God in heaven hears it: His ear is not heavy that it cannot hear, nor is His arm shortened that it cannot save. A day of liberation for the groaning creation hastens on. It is announced in the very passage we are now reviewing. The day when this groaning creation will be delivered is the day when Christ returns to usher in the Millennium and when the saints shall be revealed in glory with Him. The time of creation's deliverance is here said to be at "the manifestation of the sons of God" (vs. 19 and compare Col. 3:3). This manifestation of God's sons is in verse 23 denominated "The Adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" which has reference to the "first resurrection" - the "resurrection of the just." A groaning creation then is waiting for the Return of Christ and with Him the Saints manifested in glory, for then, and not till then, will it be emancipated from its present thraldom.
     Here then is the answer to our question - What is the time of the Redeemer's Return? He shall return before the Millennium. He shall come back to usher in the Millennium and set up His Messianic Kingdom, restore Israel, and deliver a groaning creation. As to how near His pre-millennial coming may be we leave for consideration in the next two chapters.

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