Anathema or Comfort
There are several passages which convey a very solemn import in connection with this subject, especially two, which we mention, as follows: One occurs in the salutation of Paul, 1 Corinthians 16:22. Before he pronounces the BLESSING, he excludes those who do not love Jesus, in the following words: "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be
Anathema means accursed, condemned, devoted to destruction.
Maranatha means, the Lord cometh.
Let him be accursed-the Lord cometh
It is easy now, while the long suffering of God waits for men to reject, despise and hate the Lord Jesus. But JESUS IS COMING, and woe be unto them who now reject Him, "when once the Master of the house is risen up and hath shut to the door." Paul understood this, and therefore he says, "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" (1 Corinthians 9 :22), "from the wrath to come." -1st Thessalonians 1:10. O! that men would "seek the Lord while He may be found," and "flee from the wrath to come." The other passage is in 2nd John 7: "For many deceivers have entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come (coming) in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an Antichrist." The correct rendering of (erkomenon) is COMING. Jesus was especially called the "Coming One."
But these deceivers denied the incarnation-the coming of Christ in the flesh-either past or future. See Alford, also Jamieson, Fausset and Brown. This, then, is of special significance. He that denies.
Jesus Christ's Coming in the Flesh
is a deceiver and an Antichrist. That is, he is possessed of the same spirit, which will ultimately find its personification in the GREAT PERSONAL ANTICHRIST.
It is lamentable that this passage has been so improperly translated in our version. It is such a strong assertion that Jesus is coming in the flesh, that it would doubtless have prevented much of the unwarrantable "spiritualizing" of Scripture, which has prevailed so largely.
Jesus is coming HIMSELF at the Rapture,6 to receive us unto HIMSELF, 7 and He is coming to this earth again, at the Revelation, 8 the SAME JESUS, and in LIKE MANNER as He went away.Lo! He comes, with clouds descending, Once for favored sinners slain; Thousand thousand saints attending, Swell the triumphs of His train; Hallelujah! God appears on earth to reign.
But while there is such fearful foreboding of impending judgment and just retribution to those who love not the Lord Jesus, there is, on the other hand,
The Sweetest Comfort
for those who do love our Lord's appearing. This is apparent when we understand the true position of the Church. We have seen that it is not to be confounded with the coming Kingdom, neither does it include the Old Testament Saints, for it was founded after Christ came.10 It was begun on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2)
And will be complete at the Rapture. 1st Thessalonians 4:17. It is like a parenthesis in God's dealing with His people, Israel. While they are broken off because of unbelief, the Church is grafted in.
And being a companion in suffering with her Lord; following His example, walking in humility (Phil. 2 :2-8; 1 John 2:6), during His humiliation; she shall "be counted worthy" of the greatest blessing in her exaltation with Him.
The Bride of Christ
Jesus is the Bridegroom, and the Church is His Bride.
John the Baptist stood as the last representative of the Mosaic dispensation. He said, "I am not the Christ. . . He that hath the Bride is the Bridegroom, but the friend of the Bridegroom which standeth and heareth Him, rejoiceth greatly because of the Bridegroom's voice; this, my joy, therefore, is fulfilled." John 3:28-29. Here we have a clear distinction between the Old Testament Saints and the Bride of Christ.
They shall be perfected, but God has "provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." Heb. 11 :40. Not that the Church is more worthy, but because, that in the overflowing grace of God.
He has chosen the Church to be the heavenly Bride of Christ
The Church is the body of Christ, and her precious union with Him is most clearly set forth in the epistle to the Ephesians. She is there regarded as spiritually quickened and seated in the heavenlies with her risen Lord, having been "chosen in Him before the foundation of the world" to "be holy' and without blame before Him in love." She is to be "to the praise of the glory of His grace. . . accepted in the Beloved," being "sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of her inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession."
Oh I that we might receive "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him" to "know what is the hope of His calling and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." 1 :17-18. We should not walk ''as other Gentiles walk," "but speaking the truth in love," grow up into Christ our living head, working together for the "increase of the body" and edification "in love" (4 :15- 17) "till we all come into the unity of the faith and of the I knowledge of the Son of God, unto A PERFECT MAN, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." 4 :13. That is, Christ as the head, and the Church 'as the body, will make one perfect man. "They twain shall be one flesh, 24 "the NEW MAN which is created in righteousness and true holiness" (4:24). The true seed of the woman, which shall bruise the serpent's head.
Wherefore, the Church is exhorted to "grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby" she is "sealed unto the day of redemption" (Eph. 4:30), but to be "kind one to another, tender-hearted" (4:32), "walking in love" (5:2) ''as children of light" (5:8), "circumspectly" and "wise, redeeming the time" (5:15-16), "filled with the Spirit (5:18), nourished and cherished (5:29) until sanctified and cleansed, she is presented unto the Lord "Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing," but "holy and without blemish," the Bride of Christ. "For we are members of His body." Can there be anything more precious than the thought of Jesus coming to take unto Himself His Bride? It is full of tenderness and love. What will He not do for her when He presents her unto Himself! The ecstasy of that meeting is above the power of description by tongue or pen. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." 1 Cor. 2:9. We have indeed "an earnest" "by His Spirit,"-the "first fruits" a foretaste of the joys to come. But THEN shall the Church experience the rest of love-the fullness of communion- the rapture of her Lord's embrace, and be satisfied in the sweetness of His love.
The comfort of this truth is all lost if we fail to make the proper distinction between the Church and the Kingdom. The Church is not to be reigned over, but is to reign with Christ.No more heart-pangs nor sadness When Jesus comes; All peace and joy and gladness When Jesus comes. He'll know the way was dreary, When Jesus comes; He'll know the feet grew weary. When Jesus comes. He'll know what griefs oppressed me. When Jesus comes: Oh, how His arms will rest me! When Jesus comes.
This subject of our Lord's coming again is of such vital importance 8.nd is so largely interwoven with the whole' of Scripture, that it affords a boundless field of investigation and an exhaustless mine of truth. There is much more we would be glad to say about it, but our little book has already exceeded the intended limit, and we will only add a few words in regard to the time.