The Midnight Cry

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Midnight Cry

 

By

Dr. John W. McCormick

July 19, 1922 – June 3, 1995

 

 

 

 

Copyright

1970

 

Al rights reserved.

July 8, 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

Printed by Permission:

Morning Star Baptist Church

832 South Post road

Shelby, NC  28152


 

 

THE MIDNIGHT CRY

 

By

Dr. John W. McCormick

July 19, 1922 – June 3, 1995

 

TEXT:          Mathew 25:6 “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh! Go ye out to meet him!”

 

One day, over 1900 years ago a little group of disciples was walking along outside the walls of Jerusalem with their risen Lord. Their hearts thrilled at His presence. Their minds were filled with questions about future things.

 

As they walked along asking Him questions, suddenly His feet started to leave the ground, and He began to ascend into the air! As they stood gazing upward in rapt amazement, He was soon hidden from their view.

 

Ever since that memorable day His blood washed Church has been looking, longing, waiting and hoping for His return. We have been laughed at, ridiculed, and criticized for waiting for Him; and though He has not returned for these many generations we have not grown tired of waiting.

 

Sometime, when this blind, benighted, riotous, pleasure-mad world least expects it, the Midnight Cry will ring out: “BEHOLD THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH! GO YE OUT TO MEET HIM!”  Then we shall drop these old sweat clothes of the harvest field, and go to be with the Lord of the Harvest! Hallelujah!

 

In this brief paper we prayerfully invite the reader’s attention to three things with regard to His coming­

 

THE PROMISE OF HIS COMING

 

The doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ is not based upon a few obscure passages, scattered here and there in the Bible. Rather, it is a systematic theme threaded all the way through the Bible.

 

There are 260 chapters and 7,959 verses in the New Testament in which the return of Christ is mentioned 318 times, an average of once every twenty-five verses!

 

Moreover, the promise of His coming is recorded by different speakers and writers many times.

 

A.      The Testimony of the Impeccable Advocate Our Lord Himself spoke of His Second Advent many times, Look up and read prayerfully and thoughtfully the following passages:

 

Mathew 16:27; 23:39; 24:27, 30, 31, 37-39,42-44; 26:64; Mark 13:27, 32, 35, 36; Luke 9:26; 12:37-40; 17:30; 21:27-36; John 14:3.

 

No court of law in the land (even in these days of corrupt juries and crooked judges) would demand any more testimony of a person’s intentions that this!

 

B.      The Testimony of the Incorruptible Angels

 

While the amazed Apostles were standing on the Mount of Olives, watching their Lord depart into Heaven, “two men” (there can be no question but that they were angelic beings) “stood by them in white apparel.”

 

These two men then gave those wondering Apostles one of the greatest promises of the return of Christ ever uttered! (Acts 1:10,11).

 

C.      The Testimony of the Inspired Apostles

 

Each one of the writing Apostles spoke time and again of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ:

 

1.                PAUL:

1 Corinthians 1:7-8 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

 

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

 

See further: 1 Cor. 15:23; Phil. 3:20, 21; Col. 3:4; I Thes. 1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:15-17; 5:2,3,23; II Thes. 1:7-10;2:1-8;3:5; I Tim. 6:14, 15;4:1, 8; Titus 2:13.

 

2.                JAMES:

Acts 15:13-18

13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:

14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

 

James 5:7-8 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

 

3.                SIMON PETER:

Acts 3:20-21  And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

 

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

 

1 Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

 

See further: II Peter 1:16-18; 3:3; 4:10-12.

 

4.                JOHN:

1 John 2:28  And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

 

5.                JUDE

Jude 14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

 

II.       THE PERVERSIONS WITH REGARD TO HIS COMING

 

Of all the doctrines in the Word of God this one seems to stand at the top of the list of Satan’s favorite targets!   But instead of outright denial of the doctrine, his strategy has been that of seeking to pervert the teaching of God’s Word concerning it. Consequently, his ministers have never been idle in their attempts to twist and warp this precious truth.

 

FIVE PERVERTED THEORIES:

 

A.      “The Second Coming of Christ Occurred at Pentecost.”

 

Wrong on two (2) counts:

 

First-at Pentecost it was not Christ who came, it was the Holy Spirit. (see John 16:7; Acts 2:1-6).

 

Second-the entire N. T. was written after Pentecost; yet every single reference to the Second Advent in the N. T. places it in the future.

 

B.      “The Second Advent Occurred When Jerusalem Was Destroyed in A. D. 70.”

Wrong on three (3) counts:

 

First-the purpose of the Second Advent is to restore Jerusalem-not destroy it- Joel 3:9-20; Zech.2:1-13; 8:1-8.

 

Second-none of those things which are to occur at the Second Advent took place at the destruction of Jerusalem, such as the resurrection of the Old Testament saints, the physical changes which are to take place at Jerusalem and in all of Palestine, and the destruction of the man of sin Isa. 25:8-12; 26:19; 27:13; 35:10; II Thes. 2:8.

 

Third-the book of the Revelation was written at least 25 years after the destruction of Jerusalem, yet it always speaks of the Second Advent as future. Rev. 1:7; 22:10,12,20.

 

C.      “The Spread of Christianity is the Second Advent.”

 

Wrong on two (2) counts:

 

First-the spread of Christianity has been a gradual process, whereas the Second Advent is always spoken of as being a sudden and unexpected event. Mat. 24:27,36.

 

Second-the spread of Christianity brings salvation to the repentant sinner; but the Second Advent brings swift destruction to the unrepentant sinners. II Thes. 1:7-10; 5:1-4.

 

D.      “The Second Advent Occurs for the Christian at Death.”

 

Wrong on two (2) counts:

 

First-at death the believer goes to be with Christ, rather than Christ coming to be with the believer.

 

Moreover, when Christ promised to return, He did not say to the believer: “ I will send death to bring you to myself!”

 

Second-in Titus 2:13 Paul speaks of the Second Advent as “that blessed hope.” Yet in I Cor. 15:26 he speaks of death as being an enemy. Now, how could the Second Advent be both “a blessed hope” and “an enemy?”

 

E.      “The Second Advent Occurs at Conversion.”

 

Wrong on three (3) counts:

 

First-at conversion the sinner comes to Christ rather than Christ coming for the sinner. (To be sure, as soon as faith is exercised in Christ He comes in to dwell within the believer, but this indwelling follows the act of the believer’s coming to Christ.)

 

Second-the work of conversion is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

Third-how shall we explain some of the terms used in I Thes. 4:16, 17? In this passage Paul is undoubtedly speaking of the return of Christ for the Church. He points out that some of the saints will be alive and some will already have died.

 

This is the obvious interpretation of the terms “the dead in Christ,” and “those who are alive and remain.” To insist upon any other interpretation is to rob words of all meaning, to violate every principle of proper interpretation, and to indulge in senseless and foolish speculations!

 

 

III.       THE PLAN OF HIS COMING

 

Up to this point we have been dealing with the fact of the return of Christ without going into any details as to the manner of His return.

 

A.      It Will Be Precipitant. The word “precipitant” means “to happen suddenly.”

 

Whether we speak of the first or second stage of our Lord’s Coming, we can say it will happen suddenly- See Mat. 24:27-42, 44; I Thes. 5:1-4.

 

B.      It Will Be Personal

 

This fact can be established on several counts, but we can only list two here:

 

1.           It is expressly stated in Acts 1:11 and in I Thes. 4:16.

 

2.          The use of the Greek word “Parousis.”

 

There are three (3) Greek words in the New Testament which are translated “coming.” One of these words is the Greek word parousia, which means “the arrival of a person, and the subsequent presence of the one who has arrived.”[1]

 

This word is used 18 times of the Second Coming of Christ:       

Mat. 24:3,27,37, 39,44; I Cor. 15:23; I Thes. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; II Thes. 2:1, 8; James 5:7,8; II Peter 1:16; 3:12; I John 2:28.

 

C.      It Will Be Pre-Tribulational

 

The Bible teaches quite clearly that the Second Coming of Christ will occur in two “stages.” In the first stage, He will come for His church before the Tribulation begins. In the second stage, He will come with His church at the close of the Tribulation.[2]

 

Some expositors (such as Norman B. Harrison) teach that the Church will go through the first three and one half years of the Tribulation. These men are known as “Mid-Tribulationists.”

 

Other expositors teach that the church will go all the way through the Tribulation, and that Christ will not come until after the Tribulation. These men are known as “Post Tribulationists.” (“Post” means “after.”)

 

But the Bible clearly refutes both these positions, and teaches that Christ will return for His church before the Tribulation begins.[3]

We insist upon the Pre-Tribulation View for the following reasons of our own:

 

The Believer’s Deliverance is a Deliverance from ALL Divine Wrath - Roman 5:9; Col. 1:13; I Thes. 1:10;  II Thes. 5:9.

 

There can be no question about the fact that the Tribulation will be a time of pouring out of Divine wrath upon the earth. This is explicitly stated in such passages as: Isa. 13:9;  Zeph. 1:15.

 

To insist that the Church will go through even one hour of the Tribulation is to deny the obvious truth of these Scriptures.

 

One recent expositor, in a weak attempt to deny the fact that the believer’s deliverance is a complete deliverance from all Divine wrath, pointed to the severe discipline which is sometimes meted out by the Lord upon disobedient believers, and even went so far as to cite Heb. 12:5-11 to prove his “point.”

 

But this expositor has either failed to discern the difference between the wrath of God upon sinners, and the chastening rod of the Father upon sinning saints or else he is guilty of deliberate quibbling.

 

2.      The Tribulation is a Visitation of the Wrath of God Upon Israel, and does not Concern the Church - Isa. 28:1-4; 29:1-6;Jer. 4:3-31;6:1-30;30:6; Zech. 13:8,9.

 

There are scores of other passages in both the Old Testament and the New Testament which substantiate this point.

 

3.      The Promise to the Church of Philadelphia - Rev. 3:10.[4]

 

This promise guarantees that the Church will be taken out before the Tribulation begins.  [5]

 

CONCLUSION:       

He is coming again!  It may be today! It may be tonight! Our readiness for His return does not consist so much   running to the window and looking up every few minutes, but in keeping His house in such perfect order that, come when He may, He will find everything exactly as it should be!

ARE YOU READY?

 


 

Printed by:

 

Morning Star Baptist Church

Fundamental Baptist Institute

Dr. Ronald D. Lesley Pastor

832 South Post Road

Shelby, NC 28152

 

www.fbinstitute.com



[1] NOTE:          (Some good men have mistakenly sought to limit this word to the first stage of the Second Advent, but it is obviously used in speaking of both The Rapture and The Revelation.)

 

[2] (For a more detailed treatment of this see the writer’s booklet entitled “Short Studies In the Sacred Scriptures.”)

 

[3] NOTE:          (Dr. Raymond Ludwigson in his book Bible Prophecy Notes, pp.121-131. gives 32 reasons for the Pre-Tribulation View. The reader is urged to secure a copy of this excellent book.)

 

[4] NOTE: the promise concerns exemption “from” not protection “in” the hour.

 

[5] NOTE: again the promise concerns deliverance from the “hour” of temptation, not merely from the temptation itself.