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    A good attendance, beautiful weather, splendid messages and a spirit of unity combined to make FELLOWSHIP '76, in Rockford, a real blessings. From far and near brethren came -- filling the house almost from the first service. The special music was never better in any of our meetings.
    This year's messages were brought by brethren: Reed Williams, Homer Bryan; Ray Williamson, Richard Kamerman, Merle Gray, Perry Ferris, Willard Spilman, Jim Burks, Rick Wade, Edward Byrd, Jerry Thomas, Ben Ward and J. L. Coleman.
    We are indeed grateful that our brethren continue to come to Rockford year after year to share in this fellowship of the Gospel. It is ever our desire to BE A BLESSING and to encourage such a spirit of unity as will honor the Christ whom we profess to serve.
    ST. LOUIS FELLOWSHIP: Pastor J. L. Coleman announced, during our meeting last week, that the Calvary Cross Missionary Baptist Church, of St. Louis, will entertain a Fellowship Meeting on April 7-9, 1977. May it be characterized by the same spirit as was manifested in Rockford! E.G.

(A Study in I Thes. 4:13-18)

    What is written to prevent ignorance ought never be used in such a way as to cause confusion. It is given to enlighten and encourage -- not designed for use as a bone of contention between people who hold dogmatically to opposing philosophies concerning our Lord's return.
    All who believe in a second coming of Christ to this earth recognize that Matthew 24:29-31 refers to a post-tribulation return that is glorious, spectacular, visible and public -- to assume His kingly role and to reign gloriously in the earth. But many of them will use this passage (I Thes. 4:13-16) as referring to an earlier, SECRET coming -- without any contextual evidence to suggest such an hypothesis. Placing the two passages side-by-side, one recognizes that the basic contents are the same. Both speak of our Lord's return, of angel voices, trumpet soundings, gathering together, and the clouds of heaven.
    It seems to me a strange method of interpretation that can take the very identical phrases and symbols in both accounts and apply them first to a SECRET appearing of our

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The Clarion Herald The Clarion Herald

Lord (for His people) and then to an open, visible manifestation to reign as Lord of all. I highly suspect that such a fabrication (contrary to contextual interpretation) is designed to protect some private end-time philosophy.
    Paul wrote to the Thessalonians on this subject to enlighten them concerning those who had died in the Lord -- lest they sorrow as the heathen who have no hope. He showed them that he believed in the resurrection of Jesus. The Father had planned it. The prophets foretold it. Man's redemption required it. The angels declared it. Credible history records it. And the experimental test of all who truly trust Him proves it to be true.
    Just as Jesus died and rose from the dead "Even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God BRING WITH HIM", (I Cor, l5:18). This does not refer to "soul-sleeping" or to the unconscious state of the dead. Such as have died IN FAITH are already

in the glorious, joyful and conscious presence of the Living Christ! But it is only the unembodied spirit that is so blessed; the house of clay has returned to dust. It is, thus, the SPIRITS of just men made perfect that Christ will BRING WITH HIM -- to be reunited with their bodies which are raised in power, incorruption and glory; raised to immorta1ity and such fulness of ETERNAL LIFE as could never be experienced in these tentative and perishable houses of clay.
    Paul wants his brethren to know that what he writes is not a philosophy or theoretical hypothesis; he speaks to them "by the word the Lord!" He says: "We that are alive and REMAIN (or, are left) unto the COMING (body presence) of the Lord shall not PREVENT (precede or go before) them that are asleep. And we must remember his purpose -- to speak comfort to bereaved hearts concerning their dead loved ones. He tells them that such as have died in Christ will be at no disadvantage relative to our Lords glorious appearing, and kingdom. And there is no room for honest doubt that He here speaks of the OPEN, glorious manifestation of our Lord's kingly presence to assume His rightful role as "Lord of ALL!"
    If one is willing to lay aside all the neat little theories that carnal men have devised to bolster their own pet philosophies, concerning the return of Christ, it will become perfectly obvious that the apostle here speaks with deliberate carefulness -- NOT concerning TWO comings, separated by a period of years, but of ONE OPEN GLORIOUS

MANIFESTATION of the Son of Man to accomplish all that has been foretold concerning His coming and kingdom.
    The Lord HIMSELF shall descend from heaven", (2 Thes. l:7; I Thes. 1:l0). His coming will be with "a shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God", (Isa. 27:l3; Matt. 24:3l; Rev. 8:2; ll:l5; I Cor. 15:51-53; Rev. 10:5-7). And note carefully the order that he establishes -- an order that harmonizes perfectly with the teachings of Jesus and the other apostles.
    The dead in Christ shall rise FIRST -- clearly associated, in Revelation 11, with our Lord's coming to assume His kingly role and to REIGN! (I Cor. 15:23; 2 Thes. 2:1). "THEN we which are alive, and remain (among the living): shall be caught up TOGETHER WITH THEM in the clouds, (Dan. 7:13; Acts 1:9-11; Rev. 1:7) to meet the Lord in the air", (Matt. 25:6; Acts 20:15-16). The saints "meet" the Lord as one goes to the depot or air terminal to meet a friend or loved one who is coming for a visit. "And so shall we ever be WITH the Lord!"
    Wherefore COMFORT ONE ANOTHER with these words". E.G.

(Final Installment from Ruth 4)

    The rest that Ruth ultimately attained in the house of her kinsman-redeemer suggests the blessedness of that relationship that now exists between Christ and His church. By faith we may NOW enter into His rest.

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    It was indeed a noble pair that faced each other in the persons of Ruth and Boaz. She was one who went to the limit of her ability in the power of a deep love; he was a man of unfeigned faith. Together they faced the future in hope. Out of her deep love for Naomi, Ruth voluntarily assumed her duties; Boaz met his in the spirit of obedience to the command of God. Love moved Ruth to risk the delicate reserve of her womanhood; Boaz matched her deed by a delicacy of faith that was willing to give all in order to meet her desire and to satisfy her need. He would promise whatever she desired if only he might relieve her fear.
    Is it any wonder that a ROYAL FAMILY should come from such a union as this? God gave a precious son to Boaz and Ruth. The aged Naomi then had a redeemer. Her many friends, in Bethlehem, rejoiced with her. They called him the restorer of life", and declared that he would nourish her in her old age.
    With deep gratitude and praise, Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom -- becoming "nurse" unto it. It was her grandchild - given her by one who was said to be better to her than seven sons. She would faithfully instruct the child in the life and customs of Israel. Ruth could certainly entrust her with this. She would become to him what Mordecai was to Esther. The neighbors of Naomi called the child "Obed"; from him came King David, and from him King Jesus.
    Here is indeed a beautiful picture of what God has done for men.

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    Man was created in the image of God that he might be lord of the earth, (Gen: 1:26-29). By his fall, in Eden, he lost the lordship -- coming under bondage to Satan and to sin.
    Christ came to redeem us from bondage -- to sin, to the flesh and to the law. We do not HAVE to sin! He came to redeem the earth (our inheritance) from Satan's grasp. In a special sense, He has redeemed the church -- setting her in a position of intimacy with Himself, that through her He may raise up a spiritual seed to possess the redeemed inheritance and bring glory to His name. It is NOW the privilege of His special, peculiar people
to enter, by faith, into the intimacy of His secret chambers and to share, without restraint or rebuke, of His glorious fulness, (Rev. 5:9-l0 Luke 2l:28).


    Our hearts were made glad when, following the service on Sunday evening, November 21, Tom Hastings declared his trust in Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour.
    It is our earnest desire that Tom and all who are young in faith will "follow on to know the Lord" in the fulness that is possible to such as entrust themselves wholly to His care and direction.

    Last year we asked our readers to write to us during the month of January and the response was most heartening. We would like to invite you to WRITE AGAIN.
    At the end of January we will have completed the seventh year of publication. Some appreciate this ministry; others despise it. A number of people have changed their attitudes toward it over the years -- in both directions.
    Such a ministry is costly, both in time and finances. But we want to encourage as many as possible to STAND in these days of darkness. It is not our desire to irritate any.
    Some may want to send addresses of others whom you believe will be blessed. Others may want their names removed from our mailing list. In either case, we would like to hear from YOU. -- The Editor