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Volume 11 - Page 31 of 161 Index | Zoom | |
The Hope of the Church of the Mystery.
pp. 125 - 128
If I Thess. 4: be not the hope of the one body, it is reasonable that the question
should arise, What is the hope of the church of the mystery? A patient study of Scripture
will provide a fairly detailed presentation of the hope of Israel, and also the hope of the
calling of the church which was formed during the Acts period.
When we approach the question of the hope of the one body an equally full and
detailed account of that hope is not given. That however does not indicate that our hope
is not to be known or understood. Where the church of the mystery in either doctrine,
practice or hope shares with the church of other dispensations, details will be rare. When
we consider that four short epistles contain the special teaching of the dispensation of the
mystery we shall not be surprised to find that practically nothing but essential and
peculiar truth finds room therein. Take for example doctrinal truth. Sin is
interdispensational; it is not the peculiarity of any company or calling, consequently
definitions of sin are not included in the Prison Epistles. We have "All Scripture", and
can learn from that all that is necessary.
Coming therefore to the question of the HOPE, we observe first of all that there are
some features that are common to the hope of all periods. These will not need repetition
in the small compass of the Prison Epistles. Let us notice three outstanding features
common to all.
1. RESURRECTION.--There can be no need of detailed proof to show that the one
grand all-inclusive circle of hope is resurrection. Israel are to be brought up "out of their
graves" when the time comes for them to be made "one nation in the land", and the
"tabernacle of God to be once more with them (Ezek. 37:). This truth is attested by
Paul (Acts 24: 21; 26: 6, 7; 28: 20). The church during the Acts as ministered to
by Peter or Paul had their hope only in resurrection (I Pet. 1: 3, 4; I Cor. 15:).
2. THE LORD'S PERSONAL PRESENCE.--No student of prophecy can avoid the
emphasis placed upon the personal presence of the Lord as the center of the hope of
nations or of churches. Peter intimates that until the Lord Jesus returns, there can come
no season of refreshing (Acts 3: 19, 21). The Lord Himself in Matt. 24: links the end
of the age, the conclusion of tribulation and the setting up of the kingdom, with His own
parousia or personal presence (rendered "coming"). The Thessalonian saints "waited for
God's Son from heaven" (I Thess. 1: 10). The Corinthians waited for the "revelation of
the Lord Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 1: 7).
3. THE BEMA OR JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST.--The Lord, when He sits upon
the throne of His glory, shall divided the nations into sheep and goats (Matt. 25:), and
take account of His servants and their use of the talents committed to them. The
Corinthian saints were taught that they "must all appear before the judgment seat of