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The Waiting Christ

by A. C. Gaebelein (1861-1945)

Arno C. GaebeleinWaiting for the coming of the Lord is one of the blessed characteristics of true Christianity. In the parable of the ten virgins the three great marks of a true believer are stated by our Lord. These are: Separation, indicated by the virgins having gone forth. Manifestation, they had lamps, which are for the giving of light, and Expectation, they went forth to meet the Bridegroom. With five of them it was only an outward profession. The foolish virgins are the type of such who are Christians in name only and do not know the reality of these characteristics. The Lord knew them not. These three characteristics are seen in Paul's first epistle to the Thessalonians. That model assembly was composed of such members who possessed these three things. They had turned to God from idols (separation); they served the true and the living God (manifestation); they waited for His Son from heaven (expectation), 1 Thess. 1:9,10.

The same is revealed in the epistle to Titus. "For the Grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men" Titus 2:11. That Grace accepted separates unto God. "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" Titus 2:12. This is manifestation. The Grace of God enables us to live thus. "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" Titus 2:13. Here we have expectation. Other similar passages could be quoted.

If we divide the New Testament Scriptures into three parts we have the same order. In the Gospels the Grace of God in the Son of God appeared. In the Epistles we are taught how to manifest Him by walking in the Spirit. The great New Testament prophetic book, the Revelation, looks on towards His Coming. And how His Coming is forgotten! How few of His people truly wait for Him! How few pray that important and almost forgotten prayer, Even so, Come Lord Jesus! But we must also remember that our Lord is likewise waiting. Innumerable multitudes of disembodied spirits who are saved by Grace are waiting in His own presence for the moment when they will receive their resurrection bodies, which will be when He descends from Heaven and comes into the air. The faithful remnant of His people on earth wait for His Coming. Israel and all creation wait for Him as well as the unseen beings in the Heavenly. But He Himself is waiting. This is the testimony of the Word of God. First it is the subject of prophecy. In the brief but great 110th Psalm that waiting is predicted. The Christ, who is so often seen in the Psalms and in the Prophets as King, ruling in His earthly kingdom, whose glories in that rule are so blessedly described, is seen in the beginning of that Psalm seated at the right hand of God; this heavenly place will be occupied by Him till His enemies are made His footstool. How the Holy Spirit witnessed to this fact at once after His descent on the day of Pentecost is more fully revealed in the second chapter of Acts. In Hebrews 10:12-13 we read of His waiting attitude in heaven. "But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down at the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool." The better word for expecting is "waiting."

We may well emphasize the word "Man." Our blessed Lord is not in the presence of God as a Spirit Being, but He is there in the form of Man. The blessed body He had on earth, which He gave on the cross and which laid in the tomb could not see corruption. He was raised on the third day. He ascended in that glorified body into heaven and He is on the right hand of God as Man; in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Just one Man is there in Glory. But oh! what it means! He is the Head of His body, the church and in the future all His redeemed people will possess glorified bodies, like unto His glorious body. No wonder the enemy ever aims at the denial of the Lord's bodily presence. From many pulpits it is declared to be "too material." The denial of this great truth, the Man in glory, is a denial of the entire Gospel. It is at this the enemy strikes.

As the glorified Man on the Father's throne He is waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. This does not mean, as so many believe and teach, that the Lord Jesus Christ is waiting till His enemies are gradually overcome, till the church on earth succeeds in converting the whole world. It does not mean that. His enemies will be made His footstool in a far different way. It will be a sudden event. All His enemies will be humbled, all things will be subjected under His feet at the time of His second Coming. As there was an appointed time by the Father for His first Coming, so is there an appointed time for His second Coming, when the power of God and His own power will triumph over all His enemies. As He is in His redemptive work subject to the Father, therefore is He waiting for that hour. Then the Father will bring in the first begotten into the world (Heb. 1:6) and He will receive the nations for His inheritance (Psalm 11).

He is waiting for this great event. But He is also waiting for His co-heirs, which constitute the church. The church, His body, must be first completed as to numbers before the hour can come in which His enemies are made His footstool.

He is patiently waiting for that moment. John speaks of that when he calls himself a "companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 1:9). Centuries have come and gone since He took that place upon the Father's throne, unseen by human eyes, and during all this time, while the calling out of the church proceeded, He has waited patiently. Some day His waiting will come to an end. His church will be completed and then He Himself arises from His seat and descends to that place in the air, where He will meet His own, for whom His loving heart yearns so much. What a moment that will be at last! Then His waiting as well as His patience will be ended and He will receive His kingdom and be crowned Lord of lords and King of kings. No longer will He then be unseen, but His Glory will flash out of heaven and He Himself will be manifested in Glory. Then the world can reject Him no longer but must accept His righteous rule in which His redeemed people will share. What child of God does not wish this to be soon, very soon. Oh that we might cry more earnestly, more in the Spirit, yes, incessantly, "Come, Lord Jesus."

But while He waits and the hour has not yet come we must wait as He waits on the throne. To the Thessalonians who had listened to teachers who judaized the blessed hope, fearing they were facing the day of the Lord with its tribulation and wrath, the Apostle wrote: "And the Lord direct your hearts in the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ" (2 Thess. 3:5). But we must not only wait patiently for Him but also wait with Him. He is the rejected One. The world cast Him out. As the rejected One He waits in patience for the hour of His triumph and His Glory. This place of rejection is our greatest privilege to share. And where is He more rejected than in that which calls itself by His Name! To bear His reproach in these closing days of this present age is our blessed opportunity. To suffer with Him, if not for Him, should be that for which our hearts should long, yea, pray. And we will be glad to be rejected with Him, to be nothing at this present time, to have fellowship with His sufferings, if He as the patient waiting Lord is ever before our hearts.

At the close of the one hundred and tenth psalm stands a word, which we should also remember.

"He shall drink of the brook in the way,
Therefore shall He lift up the head."

It has puzzled many readers what this saying might mean. It speaks to our hearts of His humiliation and exaltation. One thinks at once of the three hundred of Gideon and how they stooped down to drink. The brook is the type of death. He drank of the brook in the way. His way was from Glory to Glory, and between were His sufferings. And, therefore, He shall lift up the head. Wherefore, God has highly exalted Him. May we all, dear readers, follow in His path and suffer with Him; ere long in His triumph and glory we shall triumph and glory.

"And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Rom. 8:17-18).

From The Lord of Glory... by A. C. Gaebelein. New York: Publication Office "Our Hope", ©1910.

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