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AFTER CHANGE—BEFORE GLORY
„I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed. The one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together. The one shall be taken, and the other left. And they (the disciples) answered and said unto Him, „When, Lord?” (that is, when will they be taken) And He said unto them, „Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.” Luke 17:34-37.
The above verses, in connection with others of a similar nature, have received special attention for several months. Believing, as we do, that we are drawing very near the time when this will be fulfilled, it is important that we try to arrive at a correct solution of the matter. Further, as the light shines more and more, we also believe that when due, this, like other things, will be understood by those in the shining way; hence, if we can now understand how or in what manner this will be fulfilled, it is evidence that we are near the event spoken of. Like other portions of God’s word, this has to be taken in connection with other scriptures in order to arrive at the whole truth. So now, by comparing scripture with scripture, we shall endeavor to set forth the manner in which this will be fulfilled. First; we do not think that the scriptures teach that those who are taken will be taken to any locality (not Mt. Zion, or any definite point), neither do we think that those when taken, and for some time afterward, will be invisible to those around them. No, we believe, after they are taken, they will be visible and to all appearances just the same, but in reality, they will not be the same as before taken, for if they were, then to be taken would not mean anything. Some may ask, how can they appear the same, and yet not be.
We find angels have appeared as men, yet they are not men, but are spiritual bodies. When Jesus was raised from the dead, He was born of the spirit, and hence a spiritual body, for that which is born of the spirit is spirit, and hence is not flesh. John 3:6. Though he was a spiritual body, yet he appeared (only appeared)
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as a man. Now, could He not have remained under the vail of flesh all of those forty days after the time He rose? We think so, for if He could appear as a man (because of the vail) for a short time, He could have remained so all the time He was on earth after His resurrection. This being true then, one can be a spiritual body and yet appear as a natural fleshly body. Again, if Jesus did so, and we are to be made like Him, then we could be taken or changed to spiritual bodies, and yet remain under the vail and to all appearances the same, and yet not be the same in reality. The fact that when we are changed we will be seen, is proven by the taking of Elijah.
If you will read (2 Kings 2:10), you will notice a conditional promise to Elisha. He had asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, and Elijah says, „Thou hast asked a hard thing, but if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee, but if not [that is, if you do not see me], it shall not be so.” Verse 15 informs us that the spirit of Elijah did rest on Elisha. Then we know he must have seen Elijah when taken, for this was the condition on which he would receive the spirit. In Verse 11 there are two statements, viz.: Elijah and Elisha were parted asunder by a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. This last event was after they were parted, but how long after we are not informed. Elisha saw the first act, but not the latter. Now, what we want to consider, is the separation, or first act, for this, I believe, shows the change or taking of the saints, and what I now want to prove is that we will be taken (changed to spiritual bodies) and yet be seen, just as Elijah was seen, when he was taken from Elisha. Elijah has been a perfect type of the church, as all our readers know, from Pentecost down; hence, when he was taken, it must have been a type of our change, for the church is not complete until we, the living, are taken. Then the manner of Elijah’s change, is important, if we would understand how we shall be changed. We now leave this type and look at another, which, seems to teach the same thing. I refer to Moses and Aaron. We understand Moses to be a type of Christ, and Aaron a type of the overcomers. Aaron is mentioned as going forth to meet Moses as we go forth to meet Jesus; „And when he (Aaron) seeth thee (Moses), he will be glad in his heart.” So will we be glad when we „see (Jesus) as he is.” Verse 27 informs us that Aaron met Moses in the Mount of God, and kissed him. This meeting of Moses and Aaron, as also the parting of Elijah and Elisha, we understand to typify our change. We think so, for this reason, viz.: It was after they (Moses and Aaron) met in the mount that Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord, who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him. Verse 28. This instruction, seems to show the increase of knowledg
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that will be acquired by the change to the spiritual condition and yet that they will be seen afterward and remain, to all appearances, the same, is proven by the work of Aaron after he met Moses. Verse 16 reads, „He (Aaron) shall be thy spokesman unto the people, … and he shall be to thee (Moses) instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.” This proves clearly that there is a difference between the condition of Moses and Aaron, at least so far as teaching the people is concerned, and if Aaron represents the church, and we were (when changed, or when meeting Jesus) to go into the invisible condition as He is, how then could we be the spokesman unto the people? Here is a point worthy of notice. The main difference between Moses and Aaron after they met seems to have been that Aaron was the active agent in communicating to Pharaoh (the world), so the only difference between us (when changed) and Jesus will be that we will be under the vail, and hence visible—the active agents or representatives of the unseen kingdom of God. „The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation” (outward show). Luke 17:20.
After the meeting of Moses and Aaron in the Mount, they went and gathered together the elders of Israel, and Aaron spake all the words … and did the signs, and the people believed. Verses 29-31. This would represent that Jesus and the saints were in a sense together, and yet the saints only would be seen by the world, for Aaron spake the words, did the signs, and the people believed.
After the meeting of Moses and Aaron, there were ten plagues. During the first three, Moses does the work through Aaron. We read: „Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, … and Aaron cast down his rod.” Ex. 7:10. Again, „The Lord spake unto Moses, say unto Aaron, take they rod, … and Moses and Aaron did so, and he (that is, Aaron) lifted up the rod and smote the waters … in the sight of Pharaoh.” … Verses 19,20. Again, „The Lord spake unto Moses, say unto Aaron, stretch forth thine hand, and Aaron did so, … and the frogs came.” Ex. 8:5,6. Verse 16 informs us that Aaron acted as prophet, and did the work connected with the third plague. We believe that those whom Aaron represents (the little flock) will be really spiritual bodies, but during the three first plagues will be under the vail, and hence appear as prophets (teachers) unto the people, and in this condition will be the prophet or mouth-piece of the Christ, as Aaron was of Moses after meeting him.
This company of changed saints it appears are those brought to view in Rev. 15:1-4, standing on, as it were, a sea of glass; the sea mingled with fire (people in the midst of judgments); these have the harps of God; these are they who had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name the overcomers. These sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb. Not the song sung by Moses and the Children of Israel after the overthrow of the Egyptians, but the song of Moses, when the elders of the tribes were gathered together. See Deut. 31:28-32;1-4. Moses sang: Ascribe ye greatness unto our God, … for all His ways are judgment. … A God of truth, … just and right is He.” The company on the sea of glass sing: „Great and marvelous are thy works, … just and true are thy ways, … for all nations shall come and worship before thee, for thy judgments are made manifest.” We find the words are nearly identical, and hence the same song. This company on the sea of glass are before the throne (not on the throne). Rev. 4:6.
This picture is given, however, after the throne was set, and one sat on the throne (verse 2), and out of the throne proceed lightnings and thunderings (judgments). So in Rev. 15 we have those on a sea of glass making a proclamation during troublous times, mingled with fire. It would also appear that this same company of changed ones are among the number mentioned in Rev. 14:1-5, viz.: „A Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, and with him are one hundred and forty-four thousand. These are in the Mount, as Moses and Aaron met in the Mount. These harp with their harps (like those on the sea of glass). These sing a new song „before the throne;” these are virgins; these follow the Lamb, and in their mouth was found no guile; „for they are without fault before the throne of God. Notice, these are before the throne—not on it. This is likely the position referred to in Luke 21:36, viz.: „that ye may be accounted worthy to escape, … and stand before the Son of Man.” But some one says, „When changed are we not exalted to the throne?” Not necessarily so. Jesus was a spiritual body, and at times appeared under the vail before He ascended to the Father’s throne. (See Acts 2:22-36.)
Then we might be changed to spiritual bodies, and remain under the vail of flesh for a time, before we are exalted to our Lord’s throne. But some one says, „Is not a spiritual body a glorified body?” No. Jesus was a spiritual body before He was glorified (exalted to power). John 7:39. Then we might be spiritual bodies before we are glorified. We, the living ones, when changed to spiritual bodies, and while yet under the vail of flesh and before we are glorified, are probably those who are spoken of in Isa. 52:7-8, viz.: „How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him (The feet represent the taken ones under the vail and are said to be of Him because in the spiritual condition as He is) that bringeth good tidings, … that publisheth salvation; that sayeth unto Zion, thy God reigneth; thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing, for they shall see eye to eye (Now they do not) when the Lord shall bring again Zion. The above description would seem to indicate a different condition of the watchmen than that now held; also the work here is for Israel, just as the first work of Aaron, after meeting Moses, was among the elders of Israel. Israel, or my people, in the type (Ex. 8:23), primarily refers to the servant company down here and are spoken of as my people in Rev. 18:4. The servant company here will be separated from Babylon by the three first plagues, or during the time that the proclamation of Rev. 14:6-10 is being made by the taken but vailed saints, just as Aaron was spokesman to the people during the three plagues that caused the division between Pharaoh’s people and the people of God.
We suppose that any who have a mind to apprehend spiritual things can see how, by the evidence already given, we could be changed to spiritual bodies, and yet remain under the vail of flesh and at the same time see Jesus without His coming in the flesh or appearing under that vail to us. Any one who will use Moses and Aaron as a type must give up the idea of Jesus appearing to us in the flesh. Notice, Aaron went up to meet Moses in the mount. Yes, the church goes up toward the condition of Jesus, but Jesus does not come
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down to the condition of the church. If Jesus were to come in the flesh, as some teach, then He could be the prophet Himself, and the very fact that Aaron was still prophet after they met proves that we will be under the vail, and hence in a condition to speak to the people, while Jesus will not so appear, and hence could not be prophet (teacher) even as Moses was not. We being in the spiritual condition Jesus will be our God as Moses was to Aaron. The fact that Aaron met and saw Moses in the mount, indicates that we must go up, or into the spiritual condition before we can meet and see Jesus. When He shall appear we shall be like Him and see Him as He is?” [1 John 3:2.] The change comes to us not to Him, „we shall be like Him.” „We shall see Him as He is,” a spiritual body; not as he was, in flesh.
The fact that we will see Jesus after our change, though still under the vail, is proven by another type, viz.: that of Isaac and Rebecca: „And Rebecca lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she lighted off the camel, therefore she took a vail and covered herself.” (Gen. 24:64-65.) When she saw Isaac represents one change. Then the putting on of the vail would show that we will remain vailed for a time after our change. The reason she is said to put on the vail is because when she saw Isaac she was changed, and hence the vail is no longer her real condition, but the assumed. Just so when we see Jesus we will have been changed and though under the vail it will only be put on, so to speak, and only because of this vail (the flesh) will we appear the same to the world. We will have additional power of utterance and knowledge, and perhaps certain miraculous powers which will be demonstrated, as was the case with Aaron after meeting Moses. We believe that the change we have been considering is near, much nearer, perhaps, than many are aware of. Let us be careful for nothing. Let us be Holy, for without Holiness shall no man see the Lord. Let all strive to enter in, ere the Master shuts too the door, for then there will be no more admission to the little flock, who shall finally sit with Jesus on the throne. Yes we shall soon be in the Kingdom.
Not many months—
Their course shall run,
Not many mornings rise,
Ere all its glories stand revealed
To our transported eyes.
A. D. J.
— December, 1880 —