A Letter from Mr. G. H. Pember to Mr. G. H. Lang.*
[*A copy of Mr. Pember’s original letter to Mr. G. H. Lang on the Rapture.]
Dear Mr. Lang,
From your letter I see that you have been reading one of the early editions of “The Great Prophecies.”
These contained the results of my studies; but after more frequent reading, and more mature consideration, I perceived that some of the expositions were not sufficiently searching and exact; while one or two, which I had accepted from older teachers, did not seem to be correct in details though I found so ... change as regards general ... conclusions. In my consequent teaching, you would, I think find a toleration of both your difficulties.
As soon as I became convinced of the inaccuracies which was some five years ago, I withdrew the book from circulation, much to my publisher’s annoyance; for it was selling well at the time. Then after a delay occasioned by ill [health] a new and full edition, which will, probably, be completed, if the Lord so wills, to embrace the whole range of prophecy.
I am sorry that the price is so high; but, not being able to print at my own expense, am obliged to a ... to the publisher’s decision on that point.
I have, however, asked them to forward to you a copy of the volume already published, which will you kindly accept. A second volume will be (D. V.) issued later in the autumn or towards the end of the year, and I hope to be able to send you a copy of that also, if you think it would be of any service to you.
In regard to your first difficulty, there are one or two preliminary points which will, probably, be conceded.
(1) The calling of
(2) But the Church’s calling is heavenly.
(3) Therefore, any
prophetic scene which takes place in heaven - at least until the close of the
Millennium - must have reference to the Church, and not to
In Rev. 14, apparently, describes the destiny of all the living who will be removed from the earth when Christ comes, under the many appropriate figure of all the ingathering of all the fruits of a year. This precept is divided into three parts, Firstfruits, Harvest and Vintage; of which the first two are both grain, the last ... The cereals, as, … represent the Church; “The clusters of the vine of the earth” - not of the True Vine, not of the Christ, but of the antichrist - stand for the wicked. The cereals are reaped and removed from the field and removed to another place where the garners is: the ... cart ... into the ... which is within the vineyard.
The application to the Church removed to heaven, and the wicked slain upon earth is obvious. But there is a Firstfruits and Harvest of the cereals. And as the living members of the Church will be caught up in two bodies, the one a very small company, the other a large one comprising all the living members of the Church then upon earth.
Between the Firstfruits and
Harvest in Rev. 14., we have indications of
the fall of the mystic
Therefore, the Harvest saints will be upon earth when their ... events take place; while the Firstfruits will escape them.
Why the latter escape we may learn from Luke 21: 36, and Rev. 3: 10.
From the first passage we find the worthy will be with the Lord Jesus while the plagues are being poured out upon the earth. But during that period, He will be in heaven, and so cannot be Jews. Moreover, Luke’s Gospel was written specially for Gentile converts.
Similarly, in Rev. 3: 10, it is these who have kept the word of the Lord’s patience, that will be removed by Him from the hour of trial which is to come upon all the world. But to be saved from that which comes upon all the world, one must be taken out of the world, “Caught up to God to his Throne”. We are not told that they will necessarily have any advantage over their fellows, living or dead, when all the members of the Church are gathered in and the Body is completed, at the time of Harvest and Resurrection. They are merely taken away before the Great Tribulation because they do not need its cleansing fires, and are set, as it were, aside out of danger, until they are judged by their more numerous companions.
Those whom they left on earth alive, not having obeyed the command to watch and pray always, were not found ready when the moment of escape was possible. Therefore, they must remain upon earth and endure more or less of the Great Tribulation, which will, of course, act upon them, through the Spirit’s influence, in the same manner as other and more ordinary earthly trials, but with far greater power; for only thus can their sanctification be accomplished.
Their relief will come either by death, or when the Son of Man sits upon the white Cloud for the Harvest, and the Resurrection will taker place at some time.
And it is of this ... gathering only that Paul speaks in 1 Cor. 15 and 1 Thess. 4. There he says, the dead in Christ will be raised first, and then the living will be changed, and from there to their flight to the air.
But with the matter of the Firstfruits the dead have no concern; for they are safe from the Great Tribulation, the effects of which has not extended beyond the limits of this present world.
In regard to your second difficulty, the R.V. of 2 Thess. 2: 7 - “Only there is one that restraineth now until he be taken out of the way.” Restraineth what? Evidently the development of the lawless one from the mystery of lawlessness.
What power, then, is that which restrains the lawlessness of the world and thwarts Satan’s efforts to bring it into a condition fit for the reception of the antichrist? Surely it is the Spirit of God, Who not only sanctifies the people of God, but also convicts to the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment and acts upon the conscience of the unsaved men that they tremble at the thought of judgment, and wicked as they are, ... do their worst. It is the exercise of this power that makes the world habitable; when it is removed men will ... at his wickedness and the working of Satan will have full play. A similar withdrawal seems to have succeeded the consumation of wicked deeds which was swept away by the Lord. “My Spirit will not always strive,” or more literally, “... from His judical office in man.” The Hebrew word seems to express just the same as the Lord’s “convict of sin,” etc. The play of conscience suddenly created, and men were capable of any wickedness, without fears and without remorse. But this withdrawal will only affect the world, and will not deprive believers of the indwelling Spirit.
I trust these remarks will be sufficiently clear, but I must apologize for the haste with which they have sparingly been written. I have more correspondence than I am well able to cope with.
But, some time in the
summer, I hope to be in
In the book, which you will, I trust, receive tomorrow, there is an erration which needs correction. Page 435, line 7, reads as follows: - “by the ecumenical Council at Rome in 1870.” Will you kindly erase the words “by the ecumenical Council” and change “1870” into “1854”?
Ever Yours in the Lord,
G. H. Pember.