this chapter it is our purpose to cover briefly Matt. 24: 36‑51.
There are many topics in these verses for discussion, but it seems
that the phrase “Duty of Watchfulness” expresses the main idea conveyed by
these verses as concisely as any other one phrase could do. Hence, we take
this phrase as our title.
The first thought in the lesson is that the time for the coming of
Jesus for the Bride is unknown to men, angels, and to Jesus Himself.
This verse together with others in the lesson teaches that the coming
of Jesus is ever imminent. The
burden of the whole lesson is that we should watch and be ready for Him at any
Verse 37 tells us that the coming of our Lord is to be like the days of
Noah were. It not only gives us a
picture of the days that precede the coming of Jesus, but of The Great Tribulation
days themselves. As to the days
which precede the coming of the Lord, we here have a striking picture in few
words. The great sin of the
Antediluvian Age was that of marrying and remarrying.
So reads the Word: “The sons of God saw the daughters of men that
they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.”—Gen. 6:
2. So our Lord is particular to
tell us that “As in the days that were before the flood they were eating and
drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered
into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them away; so shall
the coming of the Son of man be.” We
are not to understand by this that it is a sin to marry.
The sin comes in through the multiplicity of wives.
The statement applied to the people before the flood says the men took
them wives of all they chose. Men
married and remarried in the days of Noah,
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
and each man took to himself as many wives as he chose, and it was this multiplicity of wives that displeased God and brought the flood upon the earth. Jesus tells us that as in the days of Noah so it is going to be in the days of the coming of the Son of man. Whether these days in which we now live are as much taken up in this way, I do not know. One thing is sure, our day is getting to be very much like that of Noah in this particular respect. It is not an uncommon thing today to find men with two living wives. In fact, the numbers of such men are yearly increasing. They now abound in every town and city, and in fact are to be found everywhere. It is nothing beyond the ordinary to find here and there men with three living wives. Sometimes we find men with four, and I have heard that in some sections of Christian America men are to be found who have as many as seven living wives. Whether it is true or not that we have men with seven living wives, one thing is sure, and that is that we are living in a day when men are carrying the marrying question to an excess, by marrying while their former companion still lives. This was the great sin of Noah’s day, and it is coming to be one of the great sins of this Age. Surely we are drawing near to the end.
In Luke 17: 28‑30, we read: “As it was in the days of Lot; they
did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but
the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from
heaven, and destroyed them all. Even
thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”
Another sin that prevails in the world today is the sin of Sodom.
Jesus said that it would be thus in the coming of the days of the Son
Another thing about the Antediluvians is that they carried eating and
drinking to an excess. Even so,
today in every town and city, in every village and hamlet, and at every cross
roads store, we find men and women continually eating and drinking.
Especially over drinking are men going wild.
It is a notorious fact that a company of people can hardly ever come
to transact any kind of business without having a banquet in connection with
it, and this is a growing fashion even in the nominal churches and religious
movements of the day. Therefore,
it must be that we are now nearing the end.
lesson teaches us that the coming of Jesus is going to surprise this world.
Men are going to be carrying on their regular line of work without the
least suspicion that the coming of Jesus is nigh.
Two men will be working together in the field; the one shall be taken
and the other left. Two men will
be in the store, two men will be in the shop; the one shall be taken and the
other left. On the opposite side
of the earth from the two in the field, two shall be in the bed; the one shall
be taken and the other left. To
women shall be grinding at the mill (for it is said that in the East the women
still grind the corn by hand); the one shall be taken and the other left.
These verses refer, of course, to the coming of Jesus for His Bride;
and in these words we again see the necessity of readiness and watchfulness
for that event. Since the coming
of Jesus is so sudden, even like the lightning’s flash, how important that
we keep ourselves ready for that event. He
will give no note of warning to tell us that His coming is near; that is, a
notice of the event will not be traced with bright letters on the sky telling
us the year, month, or day: but as quick as a flash of lightning, and as a
snare shall it come upon all them that dwell on the earth.
therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch
the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his
house to be broken up. Therefore
be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man
cometh.” These verses need no
words of explanation from me, since they can be readily understood by all.
They emphasize still farther the duty of watchfulness on our part.
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so
doing. Verily I say unto you,
That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth
his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow‑servants, and to eat and
drink with the drunken; the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he
looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him
asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites; there shall be
weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
verses draw a contrast between two of the Lord’s servants.
We must not suppose that one of these servants is a Christian and the
other a person who has never been converted.
To begin with at least they are both servants of the Lord.
The Lord is here compared to a householder.
The truths of the gospel is the bread upon which the servants or
ministers must feed the members of the household of God.
There is much embodied in the phrase “meat in due season.”
Gospel truths that would feed the household of God four hundred years
ago may not be the bread that the children need now.
Those truths that were meat to the children of God one hundred years
ago, or even ten years ago, would not now be under all circumstances in
season. What I mean to teach by
this is that the Church of God is advancing.
As a child grows we need to increase the strength of the diet upon
which he is fed. Even so, that is
what I mean here in regard to the household of God.
Those who would be called faithful servants of the Lord must keep pace
with God. God expects all of His
servants to keep up with the workings of the Holy Ghost in the world.
Sometimes servants get behind the Holy Spirit in their work, and try to
feed the household of God on last year’s meat, when the Spirit wants to give
the children bread right from the bakery, new and fresh.
The faithful servant is the one who always has on hand a fresh supply
of bread, and who is
ready to set before his congregation the very loaf the Holy Ghost sees they
need. The servant that is so
doing when Jesus comes will be made a ruler in His kingdom.
The evil servant is the child of God who ceases to look for the coming
of the Lord, becomes a postmillennialist, grows careless and indifferent,
begins to eat and drink with those mentioned in verse 38, and quarrels and
smites his fellow‑servants. Verses
48, 49, give a vivid description of the backward steps of a backslider.
First, he says in his heart, “My lord delayeth his coming.”
Second, he begins to criticize, and smite, especially with his tongue,
his fellow‑servants. Third,
he takes his place at the soda fountain and begins to eat and drink with the
world. Jesus says that the Lord
of that servant will come when he is not looking for Him, “And shall cut him
asunder (cut him off) and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
this last verse does not refer to the final hell, I am sure.
Nothing is said about “everlasting fire,” as mentioned in Matt. 25:
41, nor is there anything said of a departure into “everlasting
punishment,” as in Matt. 25: 46; but the evil servant shall be appointed,
at the time of the coming of the Lord for His faithful servants, his portion
with the hypocrites. The meaning
is that the evil servant will be left to go into The Great Tribulation, which
is a type of hell. It is the same
picture we had in verses 40, 41; that of one servant taken, and the other
left. Instead of “cut him
asunder,” the margin gives it “cut him off,” that is, cut him off from
the Bridehood honors, and leave him to enter The Great Tribulation.
the burden of the message in the verses of our lesson is that of readiness and
watchfulness. The clear teaching
of Christ as touching His second advent into the world, as we have said so
many times, is that it is likely to occur at any moment.
Any individual or church that fails to make the proper preparation
for His coming, and fails to look for Him at every moment, fails to obey the
clear instructions of our Lord. It
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
is our Christian duty, as much a duty as any other mentioned in the Word, that we live in a constant expectancy of His coming. A postmillennialist can not look for the coming of Jesus at any time. May God grant that all who read these lines may be fully prepared for the Bridehood honors, the highest honors that God can bestow upon human hearts, when Jesus shall come as a thief to make up His jewels.