Volume 50 | Number 3 | July–September 2022

Inglés Español

Christ’s Second Coming and the Culmination of God’s Plan

By Dr. H. T. Spence

We are moving towards the great climax of history! But when shall this end be? The Bible indicates that when the Gospel of God’s offer of salvation to mankind reaches the ends of the earth, then the end begins drawing to its close:

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end [the end of the age] come (Matt. 24:14).

When all the geographies of people have heard the Gospel, when the Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world, and has become a witness unto all nations, “then shall the end come.” The many forms of communication and transportation especially available in the past 150 years have made this prophecy possible.

The birth of modern missions in the 1700s became the beginning of this providential pressing of the Gospel to places where it was never known before. Today the Gospel has reached the ends of the earth. But we have now come to the sad reality that the nations and people of the earth have made their choice about God’s Gospel, and the choice universally is against its truth. A few individuals here and there may still be responding to the preaching of the Gospel, but apostasy and rebellion have become entrenched where the Gospel once had gone. The response of apostasy is by far the public perspective to the Gospel in our contemporary. The Gospel has been so mixed and corrupted, it is rare now to meet a person who truly has a pure, biblical understanding of its message. Somehow providence must bring a separation in global history of the true Gospel from the universal contemporary concept of the Gospel. Contemporary Christianity—not the true Gospel—is the gospel now being promoted to the ends of the earth.

The End of History?

Now is the hour to ask if this is the end that the Scriptures speak of. The end brings a consummation of sin, of apostasy, of the powers of human technology, and of apostate governments. Even the earth itself is groaning because of the sins of man and the apostasy of Christianity promoted by the institutional Church. Apostasy is the global persuasion now, pervading every aspect of human existence. It is evident we are coming to the end, or the beginning of the end.

But this end must bring a purging of this contemporary Gospel preached in our day and time. The Tribulation Period will bring this purging, the final judgment of the world, and it will also bring the purging of the polluted present-day Gospel message. The true Gospel will come to powerful clarity in the Tribulation Period through a multitude of godly preachers (Rev. 7:4–8) and believers (7:9–17).

For the first time in human history (with warfare at its most advanced, destructive stage and the concept of so-called climate change and the belief that man has the power to control the world climate), the continuing existence of life on earth is now thought to be in the hands of man himself. Man’s venture into space raises questions regarding the ultimate habitation of man—is man’s future habitation here on earth, or on Mars, or on some other planet?

Man believes that he has come to the greatest hour of his ability to save the world and mankind through global governance. But what is the biblical interpretation of this End-time history? It must be heralded with strength and boldness in our time: God is Creator, man is creature; God is sovereign, man is subject. Our very creaturehood dictates that we are not masters of our own destiny. Almighty God is the Lord of History. We do not compose history; we comprise history. We are not God; we are too base, self-willed, ignorant, arrogant, inadequate, natural, earthy, and materialistic to provide for our own salvation. The world of man is separated from God who created it; man is out of fellowship with God. And thus, man knows nothing about history and its purpose.

God is not only the Creator, but He is also the Preserver of His creation. He exercises continuous and sovereign control over all His creation; He maintains in existence things He has created. Providence is that continuous working of God to make all events and happenings of the physical and moral universe fulfill the original design which God created. Only He can control all things to the consummated, appointed end. And God has one great end in His universal plan of history.

It is important to realize that there are an indefinite number of subordinate ends towards which history is comprised. There are myriads of tributaries flowing into one great sea—or history plan! The indefinite number of subordinate ends will truly be a part of the one great end of history. There is one great conclusion, one great end and plan in the working of providence. Basically, there are two major subordinate ends that flow to the one final great end.

The Beginnings of Civilization and Its End

At the beginning of this planet and mankind, history was very simple. It was made up of a world of beauty and glory, with a man and woman to enjoy it and to keep it. But when the Fall came, history then divided into two concepts of humanity: the godly and the ungodly. When Cain killed his brother Abel and was forced to leave his father’s home, he journeyed into the land of Nod and began his own civilization, commencing the ungodly line. For over sixteen hundred years these two lines remained separated. But there came a day as world population increased that the sons of God saw the daughters of men. The two lines became integrated, producing an offspring of giants that filled the earth with violence, and “the imagination of the thoughts of the heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5).

Though there were godly individuals living up to the time of the Flood, by the day of the Flood there was only one man and his family who were godly. It was Noah who found grace in the eyes of the Lord. After the Flood, this godly family began populating the earth. But by the third and fourth generations, two men from the line of Ham, a son of Noah, split the family again. Their names were Cush and Nimrod; Cush became the father of idolatry in history. In the split of the family and the unfolding of the history of Cush, he and his son Nimrod and several offspring (perhaps even from Noah’s sons Shemand Japheth)moved to the land of Shinar to build a city and a tower. They began to build a civilization away from God and His people. Once again, the clear line of demarcation of the godly and the ungodly became evident. In their rebellion God came down and confounded both the language and their plans of building a city and a tower. They immediately left off all that they had imagined to do.

This crisis moment at Babel initiated many subordinate histories of nations and ethnic races spreading in the earth. The world entered deeper wicked immorality and spiritual darkness until the call came from God to Abraham in the land of Ur of the Chaldeans.

In the fullness of the life of Abraham, a simple observation must be made about his offspring. Abraham had eight sons. One son was Ishmael, whose mother was Hagar; one son was Isaac, whose mother was Sarah. After Sarah’s death, Abraham married Keturah, and she bore him six sons. Abraham was a Hebrew or descendant of Heber; his descendants became known as Hebrews but not necessarily Jews. If all of Abraham’s descendants were Jews, then Ishmael was a Jew; the Arabs are descendants of Ishmael, but they are not Jews. The descendants of Keturah’s six sons became the Brahmans of India in history. Likewise, it would be foolish to declare that they are Jews, although as the descendants of Abraham they are of the stock of Heber, and therefore, Hebrews.

The same reasoning applies to Isaac. Isaac was a Hebrew, the son of Abraham. Now Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob. If Isaac were a Jew, then both Esau and Jacob would be Jews. This would make the descendants of Esau also Jews. But the descendants of Esau are called Edomites and, later, the Turks. But only from Isaac through Jacob do we find the history of the Jews beginning. All the other descendants of Abraham have their own histories; though often intertwined, these histories are distinct.

Though a multitude of subordinate and insubordinate histories unfolded simultaneously, the history of mankind became basically divided between Israelites and Gentiles. In the Old Testament all individuals came to God through Israel, because only they possessed the covenant and revelation from the Lord.

In the New Testament, when God sent His Son to this earth to die for mankind, God no longer spoke to the world through Israel. God now speaks to the world through the Gentile Church, which has brought a greater enlarging of God’s mission throughout the world.

In the past two thousand years, Christianity has encompassed the globe and has predominately become an integral part of Western civilization. Through that civilization along with the Gospel outreach mission, the Gospel has been taken to the ends of the earth.

But now we are witnessing an intense hatred for true Christianity globally, as well as for its author, God, and His Son. More recently there has arisen an increasing hatred even for Western civilization. The reason for this is that Christianity over the centuries has been woven into the very warp and woof of the fabric of its history. Western civilization is the last stronghold for the civilization of man; and it seems to be the iron of the image of Nebuchadnezzar presented in Daniel 2. Each of the metals in the image of man in Daniel 2 (gold, silver, brass) turned on the previous metal to finally leave only the clay in the feet of the image. Western civilization is tied up in this iron trying to mix with the coming clay. But though the gold, silver, and brass have disappeared, the iron is still present in the earth. This iron continues to try to make its way down into the final global power—the clay (democracy, the rule of the people). Western civilization is the singular civilization remaining that has identified with Christianity in history.

The End-Time Iron and Brittle Clay

Over the tumultuous past three years, we have seen how that iron of Roman rule has tried to control the clay. This rule is intensifying over humanity through the power of “the Lie,” deception, and whatever it takes to control the clay. The powers of lawlessness have now taken over the world, with violence filling the earth. Democracy will not take this totalitarian iron in the End Time; it will reject the iron of Roman civilization that was the embodiment of both Rome and Greece that made up Western civilization.

Recently we have been witnessing the beginning of an attempt to mix the iron with the clay. Daniel’s interpretation of the clay in chapter 2 describes it as brittle or a burnt clay (Heb., hasap); this is not the supple or moist clay of Isaiah 64:8 (homer). Only in Daniel 2 is this kind of clay found in Scripture. This brittle clay represents humanity. Although God made man from moist clay, coming to the end of history, this clay has become burnt and brittle, defiant and rebellious. It has lost its identification with creation and has become the enigmatic apostasy of the End Time. This brittle clay will fight against the iron trying to mix with it. The iron legs are two, representing the two divisions of Rome. When Constantine moved the capital to old Byzantium, he left Rome open, not simply for another division of the empire but for another concept of “Roman.” What resulted was a political Rome (Byzantine or eastern Roman empire) and the emerging religious Rome (eventually, western Roman Catholicism).Both have revealed themselves in history as iron in their power and authority.

America’s Birth at the Time of the Revivalist Movement

The great Revivalist movement of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries gave deeper insight of the Second Coming of Christ. Likewise, it influenced the birth of America. This movement gave emphasis upon the truth of the individual in relationship to God, not so much the emphasis upon the church institutionally. It was the emphasis upon the personal work of Christ in an individual’s life. The emphasis was upon the individual with Christ—purity of heart, a walk with God, communion with God—the individuality within Redemption. When the United States was birthed in 1776, it too gave the emphasis upon individuality through a government called a Republic. A Republic is a government of the individual; every individual has his unique rights, believing that all men are individually created equal. But over the many years, coming well into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, our government has radically changed. It no longer represents the individual; it has become a democracy, where the majority rules. And who defines what the majority is? It may not be a real majority, but that which is portrayed to be the majority, those with the loudest voice, the greatest of the protestation, the most aggressive in force. This form of government does not care about the individual’s rights, but it is those who can press their rights the loudest and the strongest forcing all to follow their sway.

When the clay of humanity becomes brittle or burnt clay, it will not be ruled; it will not let the iron mix with the brittle clay. Dear reader, this is where we are in history! We have witnessed for nearly three years in America the power of the iron in global mandates; then we witnessed the brittle clay of lawless humanity that no government iron could manage. The riots, burning of cities and property, violence, destruction of our landmarks and history—all have contributed to the brittle and burnt clay. Defunding the police was promoted to take away protection, thus intentionally increasing lawlessness of the land. The increasing cry recently is to take away guns so the clay cannot protect itself from the tyranny of the iron of the Endtime governmental powers.

Today the Revivalist movement is gone as well as its message of purity that helped birth this country. Thus, the very country that was birthed amidst this precious movement will be destroyed in rejecting the very power that gave it birth. We have never witnessed in history what we are witnessing in global proportion. For there has never been such a global concept of sight and power before in history.

We are witnessing days that only seem to be described as taking place in the global Great Tribulation. But some of these characteristics may happen as a prelude. This is a global storm, and the winds of demonic powers are blasting our world. Chaos and insanity blatantly stalk across our country. All Europe has already been taken in the wake of the rejection of Christianity. We are sadly witnessing the last nation of the last civilization that was a product of Christianity in the triumph of the Gospel, now becoming a product of Christianity’s apostasy.

A Warning for Our Time

I have witnessed in my lifetime the open apostasy of true Christianity. Biblical Christianity is now publicly dead; historic Fundamentalism is publicly dead. This is the reason America, once the product of the Gospel, is in the vilest throes of apostate leaders and apostate principles, where the Devil is the god of tyranny, the overthrow of principle. We have fought against the apostasy of institutional Christianity throughout our ministry, but it covers the earth today like the waters cover the sea. To trouble these waters, we are witnessing manufactured crises one after another, and there will be more as we get closer to the end of this year. God’s people must get ready for the inevitable. The Rapture of the saints will not be a luxury; it will be a necessity!

God has always made a way of escape that we may be able to bear temptation. But there will come a global crisis against God’s people in which the only way of escape will be the Rapture.

It will be rare now to witness any lawlessness righteously addressed. More and more the thinking among the conservatives will be, “What is the use of living right? What does it matter now?” And of the lawlessness of Christianity, “Why give your life to biblical separation, or be concerned about living for God? You cannot believe in this hope and survive this generation!” And because of this attitude, the love of many for God, for truth, for righteousness, will wax cold.

Matthew 24:9–12 declares:

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

This End-time lawlessness will produce not only great immorality but also a license to do whatever one wants to do. It will be a time of unhindered troubles and persecutions against the saints. These constant attacks will affect our passionate love for Christ, for the things of God, and for one another. This passage of Matthew 24 must be seen in the end of the Church ages, when lukewarmness controls the institutional Church throughout the world. To this church age Christ declares He will spew them out of His mouth.

Yes, the Gospel will be preached in all the world, but this by no means declares it will be accepted by the world. In the days of Paul and the Apostles, it did go to the ends of the inhabited world of that day. Now, we witness the Gospel’s spread to the literal ends of the world.

The Universal Plan of God and Its Consummation

The Church over the centuries has become obsessed with the edifice of its institutions and has forgotten the Lord of the Church. Revelation 3 reveals that the last Church age has rejected Jesus Christ and has placed Him outside the Church; there He is knocking on the Church door to see if any man within the Church will open to Him to sup with Him in communion. Dear reader, don’t ever allow yourself to lose the purpose and end of your calling as a Christian, as well as the purpose of your local ministry and church. We must not lose sight of the purpose of why we were saved unto Christ. It was for Christ’s glory!

Although we may lose sight of why we do what we do, God never forgets His purpose and plan in history. What is the End of His Creation? Everything in God’s plan is on schedule and on time. He has an end and purpose for it all. And what is His ultimate plan? There is only one! With myriads of subordinate ends to be found within His plan, they all resolve in the supreme goal and purpose of the universal plan.

What is the great plan? It is Himself! It is His Son! God always works for the greatest end, purpose, and good— Himself,His Son!Note Ephesians 1:9– 12:

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

And note Hebrews 1:2:

Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds [ages].

All things in creation were not only made by and through the Son but also as a love gift for the Son. Christ is to be the fulfillment by being the Son of Abraham, the Son of David, the Son of Man, as well as the Son of God and receiving the inheritance of these titles. We read in 1 Corinthians 15:22–28:

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

In 2 Peter 3 the scoffers of history do not see this; it may not seem at times that God is moving in history. And it may be that God will become more an dmore silent as we near His Son’s Coming. But we know that God is working every second in the details of history, and He is in full and absolute control in every movement of history.

There will be many subordinate ends in history, such as Israel being the appointed Elect nation (Deut. 32:8).Yes, Israel is in deep apostasy today and will deepen in that apostasy before its great revival. Yes, there was a seventy-year captivity; but we read in Jeremiah 29:11, God had an “expected end” to come out of this. There are also the subordinate ends of the Gentiles, and they are to rule “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Though there was a seventy year captivity appointed for the Jews beginning in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 9:24 reveals another seventy weeks of years appointed for Israel (a total of 490 years) that must be fulfilled. But, after the sixty-ninth week was fulfilled in the full coming of Messiah, two thousand years are skipped over; a last week (of seven years) is still determined against the Jews which Jeremiah calls “Jacob’s trouble.”

However, the Book of Revelation becomes the insight to the End of History and the universal plan of history, and the culmination of all the overwhelming number of subordinate plans. After the Rapture (Rev. 4:1), we read in Revelation 5 that the Father is holding a book sealed with seven seals. There have been many speculations as to this book in Revelation 5. This book seems to be the book of the consummation of God’s eternal purpose and plan of history. Is this book the title deed to man’s inheritance of the earth that was mortgaged and forfeited by Adam at the Fall?

Nevertheless, God’s Son became the Redeemer through His sacrifice; He alone possesses the full purchasing power to restore all that was lost at the Fall. We read in Revelation 5:3 that “no man in heaven, nor in earth ... was able [worthy] to open the book, neither to look thereon” (emphasis added). The word worthy indicates that no one was sufficiently fit or strong, or with the merit that was needed to take the Book. But when Jesus came forth from within the midst of the Throne, it was proclaimed that “He is worthy!”He alone will be able to consummate the history of the world. The breaking of the seals, unleashing the Tribulation Period, is needed to consummate history. The Battle of Armageddon is needed to bring the Gentile powers and governmental authorities to an end and resolve all governments of the earth. Christ will become the King of kings and Lord of lords. There will be the need of the Millennium to fulfill the prophetic promises to the full restoration of all nature (Rom. 8:19–23), and the fulfillment of the history of Israel (Ezek. 37).

Another subordinate part of the plan is the Body of Christ that is made up of individual Christians (Eph. 5:26, 27 and 4:13). The redeemed individuals throughout history are those that found God’s wish-will for their lives and were enabled by Christ to fulfill that wish-will for their lives. Their eternal abode will be in heaven. In contrast, the subordinate histories of the ungodly will find their end in the abode of hell.

In Genesis 24 we see the shadow and type of the Holy Spirit (as an unnamed servant in this chapter) taking an oath with the Father (Abraham) to find a bride for His Son (Isaac).Along the way the servant provides adornments and raiment for Rebekah to prepare herself to meet Isaac. Note Genesis 24:61:

And Rebekah arose, and her damsels [her attendants], and they rode upon the camels [providential forces in history to carry the bride in life to the Heavenly Isaac], and followed the man [the Holy Spirit]: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way (emphasis added).

Also note Psalm 45:13, 14:

The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.

At the end of the Millennium, we enter Revelation 21 and 22 where a new heaven and a new earth will be made (a kainos earth, a “renewed” earth), where the curse will be fully lifted (Rev. 22:3), where the Throne of God will be moved to the footstool of God, the earth. But within this Eternal Golden Age, God has a subordinate end: perpetual generations (sinless) of humanity to arise to the glory of His Son.


But he that endureth to the end”—This is the final perseverance of the saints before the Rapture.

The final days before the Rapture will be the most difficult in every area of life. The trials of the End Time will be the heaviest of history. More sickness among God’s saints, more trouble within the home, more complications facing the world, more difficulty in speaking to people about the Lord. These trials will require the grace of continuous endurance. The endurance of adversity and temptation is not independent of our own efforts; God will have to be our strength. And a great deliverance will crown the endurance that has persevered to the end.

Thank God, there will be an end! It is not a battle that will last forever! Our ship that has weathered many storms on her long voyage, from the cradle to the grave, must be prepared to face the last tempest, or she will perish in sight of her haven. It is not enough that we were victorious in bygone days. The fidelity in our youth will not excuse the failure of later years. The battle is not over till it is won, and the battle of life is not won till life is finished! Salvation is perfect and secure for those who are “faithful unto death” (Rev. 2:10)

God in history has provided a way for salvation, restitution, completeness, righteousness, victory, and eternal life. Through the ancient world until today, God has allowed the offer of salvation to work out in time and “His story” that He may bring “many sons unto glory” (Heb. 2:10). The central element is the offer of eternal life in the presence of God, transcending all material existence. This offer is communicated to man by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The ultimate end of the offer is the reign of Christ in righteousness over the whole of creation with His redeemed from history. Thus, history fulfills God’s purpose (1 Cor. 15). Thank God, we have been honored to be a part of His history, His story!