Volume 48

The Lord's Coming (2)

J. Taylor

Page: 286

1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:17 - 20; 1 Thessalonians 3:12,13; 1 Thessalonians 5:1 - 11,23

J.T. In suggesting this book one has in mind that the subject before us should be pursued in a constructive way; we should begin where the Spirit of God begins, that is, in the Thessalonian epistle. It was Paul's initial epistle. We learn from the apostles, initially, especially from Paul. Then the gospels may be used to enlarge our subject. Thirdly, the Old Testament scriptures will yield, amplifying the truth as we proceed. Enoch was referred to at the previous reading, on chapter 4 of this book, and the Lord's coming is connected with other leading men in the Old Testament. But the first letter to the Thessalonians is used by the Spirit of God to introduce this subject in a variety of ways. The Thessalonians were young Christians - just converted. The letter was written shortly after the apostle left Thessalonica, and he introduced the subject of the Lord's coming in every chapter, which is very significant. He touches on it again in the second epistle. It would seem that the Lord would help the young, with all of us, to consider the subject in the order in which the Spirit of God has presented it. In this epistle it is mainly connected with the state of the saints. The first reference to it is in relation to the Son of God. The saints were waiting for the Son of God from heaven, which is very suggestive, as presenting Christ in His peculiar attractiveness in relation to another world. Secondly, in chapter 2, the apostle brings himself into the matter in a touching way, regarding the saints as his "crown of boasting" at the coming of our Lord Jesus. In chapter 3 we have love among the brethren connected with the coming of the Lord Jesus: "to the confirming of your hearts unblamable in holiness

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before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints". Then, in chapter 4, the coming of the Lord for His saints. In chapter 5, what we are in a public way, as "sons of light", is connected with His coming. So that an instructive variety of features of the subject is seen in this book as bearing on our state; beginning, as we have noted, with our attitude as waiting for God's Son from heaven.

A.B.P. You mentioned the attractiveness of the Son of God in connection with another world. Will you say what you had in mind in that connection?

J.T. The Son of God is mentioned in many connections in scripture, but here He seems to be presented in an attractive way; that is, the thought is attractive . It was the outcome of the gospel which was preached to them. Romans presents the gospel as concerning God's Son; it says, "marked out Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by resurrection of the dead (Romans 1:4)". The epistle to the Romans presents Christ as the Son of God in this most interesting way. It would seem as if that title is intended to attract us in the gospel. Paul says, "But when God ... was pleased to reveal his Son in me, that I may announce him as glad tidings among the nations", (Galatians 1:15,16). It would seem that He is presented as an Object for our hearts; to be waited for from heaven.

A.R.S. I suppose that looking for the Son of God from heaven would keep our affections fresh for Christ, and would result in separation from everything contrary to Him.

J.T. Yes; and it suggests what He is to God as Son: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I have found my delight", (Matthew 3:17). God presents Him to us that He may be our delight. He has gone into heaven, but He is coming back and we await Him "from the heavens".

A.B.P. Is His attractiveness exemplified in John 9?

J.T. Just so. "Dost thou believe on the Son of God? (John 9:35)"

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The Lord would fix his heart. And what follows, right through to the early part of chapter 12, is that the Son of God might be glorified; He is glorified as our hearts are drawn to Him, and we are waiting for Him. There seems to be a fixedness in mind for our affections; a fixedness answering to the presentation of Christ as the Son. We have been helped in regard to this title, and it surely is that we might be drawn to Him, out of this world, to where He is.

C.A.M. Would you say that the way Paul mentioned the Son of God in Damascus at the outset would show that from the beginning he had this wonderful truth of the Person of Christ before him to fill out?

J.T. It shines out in his ministry in a peculiar way. There is a peculiar attractiveness in God presenting His Son to the affections of man; that man might be drawn to Him, and thus be drawn out of this world into the world in which He is. The Son of God involves another world.

J.S. Would it involve complete deliverance from this world?

J.T. That is what is in mind. Deliverance from this world involves another world being opened up to you. That is what is meant in John 9. The man was cast out of the religious world, and the Lord would fix his thoughts on another world. This is deliverance. If he had nothing of a peculiar nature to hold him after he had been cast out, he might drift back again. As we go forth unto Him, sonship in Christ holds us as in another state of things.

C.N. The interview that Nathanael had with the Lord Jesus resulted in his saying, "thou art the Son of God (John 1:49)". Does that help in illustrating attractiveness?

J.T. That is a good scripture to bring in here. It underlies what has been said. Many young people professedly take an outside place, but what is to hold them? Light will not always suffice. The heart must be

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brought into the position; there must be an Object to hold you outside, so that you do not go back. Nathanael came out. "Come and see", Philip said to him. The Lord saw to it that as he came there was something to hold him, so that he came to the light of the Son of God.

P.R. Do you think that the entering in of the apostle and the two servants with him, as mentioned in verse 9, would express sonship? They would see it in the apostle and those with him.

J.T. Yes. In the epistle to the Corinthians the apostle alludes to himself and those two brothers; "For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, he who has been preached by us among you (by me and Silvanus and Timotheus), did not become yea and nay, but yea is in him", 2 Corinthians 1:19. These three were engaged in the presentation of the Son of God, and the consequence is that the Thessalonians turned to God from idols and were awaiting the Son of God from heaven. Paul had been preaching in Thessalonica, but he also "went in among them (Acts 17:2)". He would be among them as a brother as well as an apostle, and evidently these two servants were with him, so that there must have been a very real presentation of Christianity as it is in Christ in this threefold testimony. Those two brothers, Silvanus and Timotheus, were linked up with Paul in preaching the Son of God at Corinth and doubtless also in Thessalonica.

A.R. In that sense there was more than light there.

J.T. You could not help but see the radiation of affection in those three brothers as they presented the Son of God, for it would be in a very attractive way; because it is not only the truth presented in the gospel that makes it attractive, but the person that presents it.

A.N.W. And all their ministry would concentrate upon one God, and His Son, in contradistinction to the multiplicity of idols from which they had turned.

J.T. Yes; for it says: "and how ye turned to God

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from idols to serve a living and true God, and to await his Son from the heavens", (1 Thessalonians 9,10). There must have been a very beautiful testimony presented in a threefold way to attain such a result in such a short time.

J.S. So that you see them completely delivered from idolatry, and serving a living and true God. They seem to have received a good start.

J.T. That is what I thought; the acceptance of a living and true God, and His Son.

A.R. So that we are not waiting for release from the world merely, but for the Son coming into His rights. These scriptures refer to His coming in a public way, do they not?

J.T. That is the truth. His coming for us is enlarged in chapter 4. That will be to take us out of this world. But the general thought of His coming is that He is coming in again to take charge here below. That is what they were waiting for.

A.R. I was wondering if it corresponds to Hushai, Zadok and Abiathar remaining in Jerusalem with the ark while David was in rejection.

J.T. They would be waiting for David to come back.

A.N.W. In that connection, should we have more definitely before us the display of the coming rather than the transference in the rapture?

J.T. Oh, yes. The transference in the rapture is very little spoken of -- chiefly in this epistle. The general thought is that the Son of God is coming back from the heavens. "The heavens" is added here.

J.S. Is the rapture but an incident in the coming?

J.T. That is the way the truth is presented. We are taken up for a little while and then we come out with Him; the rapture is a private matter. Generally speaking, the coming of Christ is spoken of as a great public matter; sometimes called His appearing.

A.P.T. The six verses which begin with verse 5

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commence with the thought of the glad tidings. They comprise one sentence ending with the thought of the Lord's coming. Is it connected with the preaching?

J.T. Yes. There is a great richness in chapter 1, especially as indicating quick development in the Thessalonians in the Christian state and testimony growing out of it, and happy relations between them and the apostle. The connection here is the glad tidings, because the glad tidings are concerning God's Son. The word would be presented in an attractive way, as at Corinth later. That is the great thought at this time, that the Lord might be apprehended by us as the Son of God, so that our affections may be freshly set; we are to be looking for Him from heaven. He is our Deliverer from the coming wrath. We shall be immune from wrath. He has effected our deliverance from it.

J.T.Jr. When you spoke of state did you have in mind the result of the gospel in that the Spirit of God's Son comes into our hearts, leading up to service to the Father, and then the waiting on our side in an intelligent way for the Son?

J.T. That is the thought. The way the epistle begins is striking: "Paul ... to the assembly of Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ 1 Thessalonians 1:1". This would imply that they were very lovable believers. It is a very remarkable title to attach to them; "the assembly of Thessalonians in God the Father (1 Thessalonians 1:1)". Their local setting is stressed, and nevertheless they are "in God the Father" the "in" being positional, but referring to the place they had in God's affections. They were so lovable, and hence would enhance the richness of Paul's ministry for the three sabbaths in that town. God effected such results; such attractive persons. For it is not simply that they were saints, but they were Thessalonians. They are viewed peculiarly as local to the place, and yet they are "in God the Father".

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W.R. So that the testimony had spread to Thessalonica. "For ye , brethren, have become imitators of the assemblies of God which are in Judaea in Christ Jesus", (1 Thessalonians 2:14). It is extensive to that point.

J.T. That is it. They were attractive to God the Father; they were in the Father. It is the very preposition that the Lord Himself uses: "In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father (John 14:20)". It alludes to the Father's affection. These saints were loved by Him; His Son was in their hearts. They were awaiting Him. That would keep them out of this world, as they had come out.

J.S. Are they viewed positionally here in a two-fold sense, "in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ"(1 Thessalonians 1:1)?

J.T. It is a question of the affections of the Father for the Thessalonians. They were so lovable! The apostle speaks touchingly to them in the end of chapter 2; they had a striking place in his heart; it all brings out what a work was effected in that city in a short time.

A.N.W. They are addressed similarly in the second letter.

J.T. Showing they were not losing ground. The apostle's affections are expressed at length in chapter 2, but peculiarly in the verses we have read. He says, "But we, brethren, having been bereaved of you and separated for a little moment in person, not in heart, have used more abundant diligence to see your face with much desire; wherefore we have desired to come to you, even I Paul, both once and twice, and Satan has hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of boasting? are not ye also before our Lord Jesus at his coming? for ye are our glory and joy", verse 17 - 20. It seems to me that this statement of Paul's should be linked up with the position of the Thessalonians in chapter 1 -- "in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ"(1 Thessalonians 1:1). It is a question of their attractiveness, and of course that ought to search us as to whether we are in

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any way attractive, because the result of the gospel should lead to something for God's heart and Christ's heart and for the heart of the servants whom God uses to help us, whether it be our conversion or later service.

A.B.P. In Acts it says they preached Jesus and the resurrection. According to this scripture, it would be proper to include the Lord's coming in the preaching.

J.T. Quite so. You might be sure Paul added it constantly. Indeed, the dispensation began with that same thought. "This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, shall thus come in the manner in which ye have beheld him going into heaven", (Acts 1:11). That is how the dispensation began.

A.R. Would the preaching of Christ as the Son of God be with a view to developing sonship in the saints?

J.T. Yes; first to afford an Object for our affections; One who is attractive, but at the same time powerful. That is how Paul presents the truth. It is the glad tidings concerning God's Son, "marked out Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by resurrection of the dead -- Jesus Christ our Lord", (Romans 1:4). That is not exactly His own resurrection, but the resurrection of the dead; it is plural. He is attractive, but with power! So that you have One who is able to hold us, and He is our Deliverer from the coming wrath. And then, as we were saying, the end of chapter 2 shows how Paul regarded them; they were his joy and crown. He later speaks much of Corinth; "written in our hearts", 2 Corinthians 3:2, They were, through him, "known and read of all men". He would speak freely of them in a commendatory way.

J.T.Jr. He seems to regard them as one. He says, "your face"; it is in the singular.

J.T. Yes; "we ... have used more abundant diligence to see your face with much desire", verse 17. That is a form of words to indicate they are all linked together; many in one thought. One has lately been

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impressed with how we ought to look at the brethren. They should become increasingly attractive; you serve them in love; you are thinking of them thus in your service. That is how Paul looked at the Thessalonians.

C.A.M. It works both ways. If the saints are a reflex of the ministry, we would do well to come under the light of the most glorious ministry available. As you say, there is a wonderful reflex in these saints to his ministry.

J.T. That is right. The cumulative thought in this epistle includes the servants. The next cumulative thought is the servant through whom they have been converted; the Thessalonians will be Paul's crown of boasting at the Lord's coming. The saints are to the servants what they are to Christ, and here they are to be Paul's crown. That is to say, he can point to them as the fruit of his work.

J.S. He was very greatly compensated for this remarkable service.

J.T. And that ought to induce admiration of, and, consequently, love for, the brethren. Of course, sometimes they are unlovely, but any work of God is surely to be admired. It is most important to learn to take account of the saints in relation to the work of God in them. In certain circumstances all else can be left. This is essential to the service of God in the assembly.

A.N.W. Why should Satan want to hinder the meeting of Paul and the saints?

J.T. That brings out the whole position, really. It is a love question. It implies the fruitfulness of this fresh work of God, and Satan would rob God and Christ, and Paul too, of this loveliness of the Thessalonians.

P.R. Would the words, "before our Lord Jesus", emphasise what you are saying? They would be able to stand the light and scrutiny of that moment and appear in their beauty there.

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J.T. That is what I thought. There is a group of things suggested; they are waiting for Christ, but they are glorious now! Paul is regarding them as before our Lord Jesus Christ; they are his crown: "what is our hope, or joy, or crown of boasting? are not ye also before our Lord Jesus at his coming? for ye are our glory and joy". All that will stand the test of the presence of the Lord when He comes.

W.R. Would this fit in with the song in Exodus 15? I thought that as new converts they make much of the Father and the Son, and the language of the song in Exodus 15 was the result of deliverance which had so recently taken place. They say, "This is my God, and I will glorify him", (Exodus 15:2).

J.T. Quite so; they were taken up with Jehovah. He had acquired a place in their hearts. They believed, God and His servant Moses. They were engaged with Jehovah and were able to sing that song with Moses.

J.T.Jr. Would you say the apostle had confidence in the local company even though he was not there in person? He said he was separated from them in person, but not in heart.

J.T. One of the features of the apostle Paul was that he could link up with the brethren, as present, even though absent physically. He said to the Corinthians, "as absent in body but present in spirit", 1 Corinthians 5:3,4, And "ye and my spirit being gathered together",. What underlies all that is the organism of which we are a part; that is, the assembly; so that the apostle was enabled, by the Spirit's power, to link on, in spirit, with the saints at a distance.

A.N.W. One would like to know more of the feeling of bereavement as departing from one another -- "having been bereaved of you" -- a very touching word!

J.T. One is tested like that. One sees a good many of the brethren and must say good-bye frequently, and it is a real test. One often prays that it might be done

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properly, not in a mere perfunctory way; leaving the saints in affection; saying good-bye as of the divine family. I think the apostle Paul leads in family affection.

A.P.T. Mr. Darby gives a foot-note to the word "separated" in verse 17 -- he renders it "orphaned of".

J.T. Yes; that is he had a sense as to them of being Orphaned -- a striking word. The Lord says, "I will not leave you orphans, I am coming to you", (John 14:18). That is what the apostle had in mind to do. He was so linked up in affection with the Thessalonians.

A.B.P. He had nursed them as a mother, and as a father had taught them how to walk, having full manhood in view at the coming of the Lord. Is that right?

J.T. Quite so; and with the skill of a nurse, "as a nurse would cherish her own children", (1 Thessalonians 2:7). So that they would not be malformed; they would not be allowed to fall and become lame, like Mephibosheth. It was true love underlying all this, to do the best for the brethren.

A.R. Does it not suggest that the servant carries the saints in his affections, and the saints, in turn, carry the servant in their affections?

J.T. Yes. This particular part of the epistle shows the link between the servant and the saints, in view of the Lord's coming; they are seen as "before him" then. That is one of the cumulative features -- how the saints will appear in relation to the ministers through whom they have been helped -- hence John says, "that we ... may receive full wages", 2 John 8. What would the full wages be, save what we get here; what the heart cherishes in the saints? Paul says, "For what is our ... crown ... are not ye also ... ?" I believe the wages, alluded to by John, are similar to this; it is one of the cumulative ideas that will be present at the coming of the Lord Jesus; not the way they served the saints, but the way they loved them, all being lovable. The work of each

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servant will be manifest. The Lord will know how to express all that in a crown.

W.B-w. There is a reference in John 4:36, "He that reaps receives wages",.

J.T. The thought is developed in his second epistle. He says, "that we may not lose what we have wrought, but may receive full wages", 2 John 8. As converted, by the grace of God, when the Lord Jesus comes, you will be there, and you will want the person He has used for your blessing to be there, that you may shine as his crown.

C.N. Does not verse 8 of chapter 2 support all that has been said? "Thus, yearning over you, we had found our delight in having imparted to you not only the glad tidings of God, but our own lives also, because ye had become beloved of us (1 Thessalonians 2:8)".

J.T. Very beautiful! "Because ye had become" - it was a development as he was there amongst them. One would like to see and find in oneself a little of this rapidity of development, for it was only a matter of three weeks in the case of the Thessalonians.

Now the next thought is that we are to be before our God and Father, as in chapter 3:13. The Thessalonians are to be "in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints". It will be a wonderful throng -- a wonderful variety of the work of God, and the bearing of it all according to this passage is that we are before our God and Father in holiness; hence the service of God enters into our subject in chapter 3.

J.S. It is a remarkable expression -- "unblamable in holiness".

J.T. I thought that; and it is "before our God and Father" in the cumulative position here, because the thing is expanding; it is "all his saints". The Thessalonians are to be there, and the apostle's love is towards them. He says in verse 12, "But you, may the Lord make to exceed and abound in love toward one

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another, and toward all, even as we also towards you, in order to the confirming of your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints". It seems to me that this has its bearing Godward. It is what we are for God, in holiness; how it is worked out and how it will appear at the Lord's coming. It is a question of love.

J.S. Does it relate to the whole sojourn here?

J.T. Well, this is the end of the sojourn; how we appear when the Lord comes with all His saints. What an immense display there will be! We want to know how to be there; it is a question of what is for God now, and the development is that we "exceed and abound in love toward one another, and toward all", and as it was displayed in Paul too, "in order to the confirming of your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints". It seems to me this is the great end; it is a question of what is for God at the end.

A.N.W. Is it further inward? The crown is not in view now, so much as a place of dwelling.

J.T. I think that is right; it is inward; it is bearing on eternity, that we are before our God and Father, dwelling unblamable in holiness.

F.H.L. Would the first chapter of 1 John lead up to this? I was thinking of the fellowship of the Father and the conditions which must obtain for the practical pathway suitable for it -- God being light.

J.T. Well, that would work out in connection with what the apostle begins with -- what was from the beginning, and how he has seen and heard and handled "concerning the word of life, (1 John 1:1)" and he wrote that the saints might "have fellowship with us";(1 John 1:3) that is, with the apostles; their fellowship was with the Father and with the Son. So that the saints are brought into the fellowship of the apostles. It would certainly bear upon what we have before us here, only here it is the final

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thought -- "before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints".

C.A.M. So that it would be an advance on what was remarked as to service. In the first chapter it says, "how ye turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:9)". The footnote says, 'to serve as bondmen'. I suppose there is a service flowing from deliverance from the outside world, but there is this beautiful inside service, would you say?

J.T. Quite so; the culmination of what the apostle has in mind would be that they are before our God and Father at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints; that they would not be behind the great general position, because all the work through the apostles, and servants generally, is to conform us to the divine counsels. Everything must fit with the divine counsels, and the apostle introduces great thoughts here, one after another. And this, then, it is "with all the saints". How do we measure up with them? You move amongst the saints in New York, or London, or Melbourne, or Sydney, or other places, and you see that there are gradations, of course, but they are all the subject of the work of God, and you do not want to be behind them. Paul has the highest idea here -- "unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints". You want to learn to measure up in the general display before God.

J.T.Jr. Would it be seen from the divine side in Ephesians 1:4? In our chapter it is rather that there is something going on in the saints, leading up to the thought of holiness.

J.T. That is it exactly; "love toward one another, and toward all". The latter is the general thought, like Colossians. And then Paul says, "as we also towards you". He had indeed shown them the way, and all with a view to their hearts being confirmed unblamable

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in holiness before our God. So that, I think, the instruction the Lord is giving us as to service now would help on those lines, but light is not enough. It is a matter of love toward one another locally; and then toward all -- that would be universal -- according to the example Paul had set.

A.N.W. Service Godward is in mind here.

J.T. Yes.

F.S.C. Would this be the practical working out of the peace offering?

J.T. Well, the peace offering is love toward one another, but it is also that in which God has part, which is an important matter. Can God have part with us in these meetings? Well, if He has part with us, this work will be going on -- love toward one another, and love toward all, but then there is the holiness, because without holiness we cannot see the Lord; we cannot be to God's pleasure save with holiness. So that the peace offering is a question of felicitation; but God being there, there must be holiness. What is before us is in view of the future -- the coming of the Lord.

A.R. What have you in mind in regard to service?

J.T. Well, "holiness before our God and Father" refers here to our eternal service before Him. We are pleasing to Him. Leviticus is the working out of it at the present time, in type, of course, but "we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God", (Philippians 3:3). The word 'worship' has the meaning of 'service' and is more public. We come to that in holiness, but it is a question of development here; it is love toward one another, which is a local condition; and then the universal condition -- love toward all, including those at a distance. God can love at a distance, and He would have us do so.

E.E.H. How does that thought synchronise with Colossians 1, where we have the idea of the presentation before the Godhead.

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J.T. Well, it is a similar wording, "by him to reconcile all things to itself, having made peace by the blood of his cross ... to present you holy and unblamable and irreproachable before it", (Colossians 1:20,22). It is almost the same wording, only the "fulness" is spoken of in the neuter, being referred to as "it". It is God, of course, as in chapter 2:9. It is the Deity. We are presented before it.

W.B-w. And Jude refers to it, too, "to set you with exultation blameless before his glory", Jude 24. Every servant has that in mind, has he not?

J.T. It keeps one right in his service; not simply that he has done a good piece of work, but the thought of the result for God should dominate all things with us.

A.R. One would have God the Father before him, but is it also your thought that we cannot leave the saints out of our minds? Love, working in relation to assembly service, must have the saints in mind.

J.T. Exactly; hence the Lord says, "If therefore thou shouldest offer thy gift at the altar, and there shouldest remember that thy brother has something against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and first go, be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift", (Matthew 5:23,24), because you must, as it were, bring him . And so here it is love toward one another, and love toward all; that is, when I draw near to God, I do so in relation to all the saints. Colossians teaches love towards all saints. Ephesians teaches us that God has raised us up together and made us sit down together in the heavenlies; that is, all the saints are included, and if you love them, you would not wish to go without them.

W.B-w. But "unblamable" must apply to us now, as before God in assembly service.

J.T. That is right, in the abstract thought of it; the Spirit enables you to take that ground, as associated

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with Christ. "He that sanctifies and those sanctified are all of one", (Hebrews 2:11).

N.P. In Hebrews 12, the writer, referring to chastening, says that it is that we might be partakers of His holiness.

J.T. Well, quite so; He is the Father of spirits, and disciplines us that we might be partakers of His holiness, not merely of holiness, but His holiness. So that He would have us entirely suitable to Himself.

And then, passing over chapter 4, which has been considered previously, and which refers to the rapture -- a most important part of the epistle -- we come to chapter 5, where the question of times comes into view. "But concerning the time and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that ye should be written to, for ye know perfectly well yourselves, that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief by night", verse 1, 2. This question of time often comes up. When the disciples asked the Lord about it. He says, "It is not yours to know times or seasons, which the Father has placed in his own authority", (Acts 1:7) -- a very important matter to keep before us. Who can say anything of the date of the coming of the Lord? Daniel was concerned about his city and his people, but as to the coming of the Lord, who can say? The Lord says, "It is not yours to know times or seasons, which the Father has placed in his own authority (Acts 1:7)". We are to bow to that. He says that not even the Son knows, but the Father. That helps, I think, as to the economy in which we are; that God is reserving His own place in it and intimates to us that this is so. He is not obliged to tell us everything; we are to be reverent and subject as regards that, and not to be too sure as to dates indicated in public events and time already elapsed. The apostle, however, does not say here. It is not yours to know, but rather, "ye have no need that ye should be written to, for ye know perfectly well yourselves, that the day of the Lord so

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comes as a thief by night". He does not say what night. We are kept on the qui vive; we cannot say just how far off it is. We have the Lord's own word that He comes quickly, but that means when the time arrives. But He said that He Himself does not know; the Lord Himself has graciously taken that attitude, Mark 13:32.

E.E.H. What does "the day of the Lord" refer to in chapter 5:2. What event is in mind?

J.T. It is when He comes out; we have reference made to the day of the Lord, the day of God, and the day of Christ, Christ's day. This, I think, is the authoritative day, somewhat linked with the word in Revelation, by John: "I became in the Spirit on the Lord's day", Revelation 1:10. It is a question of authority, and the whole context shows that, for He comes as a thief, and He comes in judgment; it is the side of judgment.

J.S. In that day He will brook no evil.

J.T. Well, He comes out armed with all that is necessary to deal with His enemies, so that we have in the next book, "whom the Lord Jesus shall consume with the breath of his mouth, and shall annul by the appearing of his coming;" 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

W.B-w. He says the same thing to Sardis -- "I will come upon thee as a thief", (Revelation 3:3). Does that refer to this day?

J.T. That is a judicial reference to the state of Sardis, which is not the case here. But he is reminding the saints what they knew already, that the Lord would come as a thief. But He is not telling them when, so that we are kept watching; hence he says, "But ye , brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you as a thief". He could not say that to Sardis. There is nothing blameworthy here; it is a question of the economy; that is, the Father keeps things in His power; we do not know the day, but the apostle stresses that the way the Lord comes, will be

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as a thief. That refers to the apostate Christendom. It will not be the bearing of it to those who are expecting Him. Therefore, he says, "But ye , brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you as a thief: for all ye are sons of light and sons of day; we are not of night nor of darkness. So then do not let us sleep as the rest do, but let us watch and be sober; for they that sleep sleep by night, and they that drink drink by night; but we being of the day, let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as helmet the hope of salvation", verses 4 - 8. It seems to me that this is an important side to our subject as bearing on our conduct publicly.

J.S. As sons of light, we should be in constant expectation; we are not of the night, or as those who sleep.

J.T. I think the idea is that the light of another day has come upon us. Peter says, "until the day dawn and the morning star arise in your hearts", 2 Peter 1:19. But Paul brings us into it; we are already in it, and sons -- not children, but sons -- meaning we are developed in the thought, and hence our conduct is to be according to this -- luminous -- and therefore we walk soberly.

W.R. Would you say the disciples came to this, following the Lord's ascension, as presented in Acts 1? When they came into the city they went into the upper chamber.

J.T. They knew what to do; it implied that they did not belong to the religious world; they belonged to the new order of things. Sons of light know what to do.

R.S. Is it what the Lord speaks of in the end of Mark 13, in regard to the day, and our attitude of watching and praying?

J.T. That is the same thought exactly. Yes, indeed.

A.B.P. We speak of the first day of the week as the Lord's day, and we have God before us in a special way on that day. Should this experience keep us in

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full accord, now, with this day of the Lord of which the apostle speaks?

J.T. I think that is right. We acquire sensibilities as in assembly which tend to guide the mind as to the Lord's coming. As our sensibilities are developed in the assembly, we get instinctively to know He is near, there is no doubt about it with us as a general expectation. You can gather up from inside conditions that He is near. There are waiting voices -- the Spirit and the bride say. Come. There is something going on all the time in what is current and we get it by instinct. Such do not pretend to know the date of His coming. That makes the great difference, I think, between those who are spiritual and subject, and those who study prophecy, and try to work out public events as corresponding. They do not get very far; it is the person in the assembly in a characteristic sense acquiring instinctive feelings from the Lord, who has reliable discernment as to this great and blessed matter.

Ques. How do you view the verse, "The Lord does not delay his promise, as some account of delay, but is longsuffering towards you, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance", (2 Peter 3:9)?

J.T. That fits in with what we are saying. It is Peter's confirmatory way; he is confirming Paul's remarks. He is dealing with scoffers who say, "Where is the promise of his coming? for from the time the fathers fell asleep all things remain thus from the beginning of the creation", (2 Peter 3:4). They are willingly ignorant, as the apostle says, but he does not hint that he knows the day, nor does any one; we are to be in the attitude of waiting . But he says, the real cause is that God is longsuffering. He does not wish anyone to perish.

A.R. Would the partaking of the Lord's supper in the light of 1 Corinthians 11 be that we are expecting Him to come?

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J.T. Yes; "announce the death of the Lord, until he come", 1 Corinthians 11:26. But the gathering up of impressions by instinct, as in the assembly, is what the brethren should notice. We should get right feelings or impressions there, to understand from the Lord that the time is near. The Spirit and the bride say, "Come", so that the end of Revelation gathers up the subject -- "I come quickly" the Lord says, chapter 22: 20.

W.B-w. In verse 10 of this chapter it says, "that ... we may live together with him". Is that the end in view here, at His coming?

J.T. Quite so. And then in verse 23, "Now the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly: and your whole spirit, and soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ". That is a very practical touch at the end, as to our whole spirit and soul and body. It is well worth taking into consideration, by each of us, as to how this works out. What one's spirit is, and what one's soul is, and then, of course, one's body; all are preserved. It is in view of the coming of the Lord. This epistle will encourage us to believe He will come before we die. The desire of the apostle is that the bodies of the saints should "be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ".

P.R. Why does the apostle say, "the God of peace"? Would you think it of great importance in view of the commotion of the present moment; the state of things around?

J.T. I am sure that is so. "The God of peace" is an assuring expression. In Hebrews, we have "the God of peace, who brought again from among the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep ... perfect you in every good work to the doing of his will, doing in you what is pleasing, before him through Jesus Christ", Hebrews 13:20,21. We are to be strengthened and settled in the midst of all the commotion.

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P.R. In contrast to verse 3, where there are those who say, "Peace and safety".

J.T. Yes. One is so sensitive of being affected unduly by current public events, instead of waiting in faith upon God; as doing so our hearts and minds will be fortified with His peace.

J.H.E. The Lord said, "Peace be to you" when He came among the disciples, (John 20:19).

J.T. He says it twice over there. In chapter 14 verse 27 He says, "I give my peace to you (John 14:27)". It is very precious because there is so much commotion, and one has to own one is at times affected unduly by it, and perhaps we all are, so that we should endeavour to get into the realm of faith and peace.

A.N.W. Perhaps what you say accounts for the apostle saying, "the God of peace himself".

J.T.Jr. And then in verse 3, "When they may say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction comes upon them". There may be that kind of peace, but destruction comes upon it.

J.T. So that in this time of physical danger, especially when travelling, it is comforting that the body is in mind for preservation, as well as the spirit and soul. So that you feel you are in good hands, and nothing can happen without God. Not a sparrow falls without Him -- how much less a son!

A.B.P. Does the "God of peace" suggest that peace had its origin in Him and is controlled by Him?

J.T. It is one of the things of which He is God. It is an interesting matter -- the things of which He is God -- and peace is one of them. It would mean that He is the Originator of peace and He controls it.

W.B-w. It does not matter what troubles come in; He controls peace.

J.T. That is it, and, of course, faith rests on that.

A.P.T. 2 Corinthians 13:11 says, "the God of love

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and peace shall be with you". Would that thought specially fit in there?

J.T. Quite so, in view of the restorative effect of Paul's letters.

A.N.W. Would Psalm 91 be in keeping with this? I was thinking especially of verse 1: "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1)". And then the Psalm speaks of Jehovah giving "his angels charge concerning thee", (Psalm 91:11), and then, "Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he hath known my name",(Psalm 91:14).

J.T. In keeping with what you quote, David says, "in the day of evil he will hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of his tent will he keep me concealed", (Psalm 27:5).