A SELECTION OF INTERESTING CHRISTIAN CORRESPONDENCE
I am very glad you are bringing out a magazine on the
subject of the Lord's Return, and prophetic truth in relation to it, and
also preparation in heart and life needed in view of it. We are living in the most solemn and momentous
period of the world's history; and the
events which are occurring testify to the truth of prophecy in a startling
manner; that we are rapidly drawing near to the end of this dispensation, and
that the Coming of the Lord for His saints is imminent.* How necessary then
that every [regenerate]
believer should be awake to this; "the Bride must
make herself ready"; we [who want to be part of His Bride] must
people prepared of the Lord," cleansing ourselves "from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit",
"that our hearts may be "established unblameable in holiness" at His Coming. Weaned
from this world, we must "remember
I am, etc.,
Christian man, much used years ago as a soul-winner, recently stopped me on the
road for a brief chat, during which he solemnly remarked, "Do you know, they are teaching in this city that when a
Christian dies, the spirit* keeps down here somewhere?" "Really! where do they teach the spirit rests; in the
coffin with the body?" "I don't know,"
he replied with dismay. "Where do you think the Christian's spirit goes at death?"
I asked. "Why, up to heaven, of course."
"Where do you suppose our Lord's Spirit went
at His decease?" I enquired. "Why,
straight up to His Father in the glory." That the believer died and
goes to heaven at once seems to be the popular idea amongst
Christians. At the death of Mr.
Spurgeon, e.g., a telegram was sent out to the effect that, "Mr. Spurgeon entered
heaven at five minutes past eleven on Sunday evening." But, sir, do the Scriptures warrant this? Our
Lord to the Jews declared, "No man hath ascended into heaven"; again, after His
ascension, it was written, "David ascended not into
the heavens." But further,
we read, our Lord and the Thief the same day entered the same place, viz., ‘
[* It is the animating spirit which leaves the body and returns to God at the time of death (Eccl. 12: 7); but the soul is the person; and the soul, at the time of death, descends into Hades - the place of the dead. “You will not abandon ME to Sheol” (Psa. 16: 10; Acts 2:27) To describe a disembodied soul as a ‘spirit’ is misleading. “…The body without the spirit is dead…” (Jas. 2: 26); “They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.” … “Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up” (Luke 8: 53, 55).]
The unwarranted assumption that Paradise was emptied, when our Lord led captivity captive in respect of Himself, is one of the traditions of the Mediaeval Church where errors grew like grass.
Surely the promise, "I will come again and receive you unto myself," or as the French Version beautifully renders it, "I will come again and take you with Me," must be fulfilled before we can leave the tomb, enter heaven, and be " forever with the Lord " (1. Thessalonians 4: 15-18).
CHAS. S. UTTING.
[A reply to letter 2.]
In regard to Mr. Utting's letter in your current number, surely his view is not correct?
Apart from the use of the word Heaven in regard to the sky or firmament, there appear to be three distinct "Heavens" spoken of in the Bible.
1. "The first Heaven and the first earth" in Rev. 21: 1.
2. "The new Heaven and the new earth" in the same verse.
3. "The Heaven of Heavens" - the Throne of Jehovah, - "Our Father which art in Heaven."
1. "The first Heaven and the first earth" seem closely linked together. We are here told that they "passed away" (Rev. 20: 11). In both passages "THE Heaven and THE earth" are connected together in a manner which is evidently not accidental.
"The first Heaven" is described as "passing away," after having served its purpose as the temporary abode of the saints who have "fallen asleep," whether before or during the Millennium. When "the first earth” passes away there is no longer any need for "the first Heaven." Moreover we are told at this juncture "Behold, I make all things new!" (Rev. 21: 5). Hence we have a "new Heaven and a new earth," far exceeding the first in its beauty and glory.
Christ seems to confirm this linking of the first Heaven and earth to ether in Matt. 5: 19, - "Till the Heaven and the earth PASS AWAY" - the same word as in Rev. 21: 1. So again He says in Matt. 24: 35, - "THE Heaven and THE earth shall PASS AWAY" (pareleusontai), using again the same word.
2. To make this " first Heaven " a part of Sheol, or Hades, seems to me entirely contrary to the general spirit and teaching of the Bible, and to the meaning invariably attached to these words. Where Sheol is not translated Hell in the Bible, it is either Grave or Pit. The actual number of times Sheol occurs in the A.V. is Hell 31 times, Grave 31 times, and Pit 3 times. When used as hell it is obviously meant to be the temporary place of punishment where the wicked dead are to await their final resurrection, trial and condemnation, and there is nothing whatever to indicate that a part of it is to be reserved for the saints who have "fallen asleep." The contrary seems clear from the following considerations :
Sheol does not "pass
away," but is "cast into the
Just as the Heaven and the earth are linked together, so we find "death and hell [Hades]" are linked together in various
passages. They are not said to "pass away," but are cast together into the
The parable of Dives and Lazarus makes a clear distinction between Hell [Hades] and "Abraham's
bosom," and informs us that between them there is "a great gulf fixed." Could this, have been said
(d) We are distinctly told that the prophet Elijah "went up by a whirlwind into Heaven" (2 Kings 2: 11) - not down into the bowels of the earth. It is fair to assume that he went to the same Heaven, or paradise, which is the abode of the saints who have fallen asleep, the only difference being that he did so without dying.
(e) The passage quoted by Mr. Utting, "No man hath ascended up to Heaven," surely refers to the Father's Throne, the Heaven of Heavens. If, however, it be taken as referring to the first Heaven, Paradise, Abraham's Bosom, it would appear to be simply a confirmation of the statement that between Paradise and earth, as between Hades and earth, there is "a great gulf fixed," and there is no going backwards and forwards between the two, though Elijah himself was allowed the exceptional privilege of appearing on the Mount of Transfiguration and Paul and John were permitted to go there while still living and to describe some of their experiences.
(f) Assuming that Paul’s visit to Paradise, also called by him the third Heaven, was to this same first Heaven, we are particularly told that he was "caught UP into Paradise," - not that he descended into Sheol, or Hades.
I am, etc.,
Sheol: A Rejoinder.
[A Reply to letter 3.]
I beg a brief reply to F.B.T.? His letter to a great extent is assumption
and theory. This will not do. Sheol (N.T. & LXX. Hadees)
is rendered in the A.V. "sometimes ‘Grave’ and sometimes ‘Hell.’ But they never
mean either the one or the other" (Govett). It is one general abode of the
dead (Eccl. 3:
20; 6: 6), but when the souls of the saved and the lost are
differentiated, distinctive names are given to the places where they are
awaiting resurrection. Hadees, Death, and
Destruction are terms used to mark the places of the lost, while the saved
are said to be in Abraham's bosom, or
To assume that any one of the
heavens is synonymous with
The case of Elijah thus becomes irrelevant.
Finally, the Scriptures record no instance of a disembodied human spirit [i.e., a disembodied soul] entering the joys of heaven. Though redeemed, it is unclothed, has the stigma of death upon it, is ceremonially unclean, and is only part of the man. Not till "in the twinkling of an eye" at the descent of the Lord, will the saint be "raised in glory," body, soul and spirit re-united, one man, “to be for ever with the Lord.”
CHAS. S. UTTING.
In the "Golden Day" article of December issue page 422 the words occur "We look for the coming of the Lord at any moment." I was rather surprised to read that in THE DAWN, but why should I be? For you do not teach all that you may see fit to accept from contributors. I wish I could have a criticism of the "any moment" teaching dealt with in very few words, say as yes or no answers to a series of questions around one point of view. Some of my "any moment" friends admit that such questions present real difficulty for the teaching they have been accustomed to think in. Take an incident in the life of the apostle Peter. John 21: 18. "When thou shalt be old."
(1.) Could Peter with the knowledge that he would live to be an old man believe that the Lord would come during his lifetime - say a period of 30 - 40 years? Yes or No?
(2.) Does the prophesy of the Holy Spirit through Peter reveal a long series of years of the Church’s life on earth after Peter and the Apostles have gone to be with the Lord?
If the answer to question one be NO, then we are bound to believe that Peter did not teach the coming of the Lord during his lifetime.
If the reply to question two be YES, then the Holy Spirit did not teach an any moment coming by the Apostle Peter. Further, the Holy Spirit would not teach through the other Apostles anything in opposition to His teaching through Peter. Incidents in the life of the Apostle Paul and the teaching of the Holy Spirit by him yield to me the same results. And Yes or No questions applied to the teaching of our Lord lead to the same conclusion. What a different life the Church would be living in these closing days if all the people of God thought the same thing!
I am, etc.,
[A reply from D. M. Panton to letter 5.]
Our understanding of the Scripture on the problem raised by Mr. Finnie is expressed in the article on the Parousia in this issue. As usual in greatly debated points, there are two sets of Scriptures apparently discordant; and the discovery of the truth (equally as usual) lies in their adjusted harmony. - D. M. PANTON.
THE APOSTLE PETER AND THE ADVENT
[A reply to letter 5.]
Allow me to reply to Mr. F. W. Finnie's letter in this month's number of THE DAWN headed "Any Moment," with special reference to the apparent difficulty he raised in regard to our Lord's word to Peter - "When thou wast young thou girdedst thyself and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shalt gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldst not."
I would point out that the comment of the evangelist which follows his record of this statement shews that it was found needful to explain that Peter's death was within the scope of the prophecy, which would indicate that another interpretation had been previously put upon it. I have taken it to refer to the lesson the apostle was to learn from his fall and subsequent restoration. Our Lord had already promised him that when he turned again he would be able to strengthen his brethren (Luke 22: 32), and I believe a spiritual experience is indicated by this subsequent word of our Lord to Peter.
I suggest that the opening clauses - "When thou wast young thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest" - refer to Peter's impulsive declaration at the Supper Table that he was ready to go with our Lord both to prison and to death, the result of his inexperience of his own strength indicated by the word "youth" [young] and which ended so disastrously for him. I think the words "when thou shalt be old" mean when he had gained this experience of his own weakness, and the words "thou shalt stretch forth thy hands" indicate dependence, and the words "another shall gird thee" that he should have the strength of Another to support him, and the final words "carry thee whither thou wouldst not" mean that he would thereafter do the will of Another rather than his own will.
The lesson was therefore the same that the apostle Paul sets forth in Romans 6. and 7., and expresses in his declaration that he was "always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifest in our body" (2 Cor. 4: 10); the reality of this experience being shewn by the next phrase - "For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh." This answers very much to the apostle Peter glorifying God in living, the new life of a crucified man as well as in ultimately dying the martyr's death.
I gather that it was not until the time referred to in 2 Peter 1: 14, that the apostle received from his Master the intimation that the words in question involved literal death. Until this time they would therefore present no difficulty to the apostle in expecting the Coming of the Lord at "any moment." If he had taken them from the first to mean he was to die a martyr's death, he could hardly have offered, in his second recorded sermon to the Jews that if they would repent there would come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and He would send the Christ (Acts 3: 19, 20) in accordance with Hosea 5: 15.
I am, etc,
The September Dawn is full of searching and arresting things "A Block to Progress" is calculated I should think, to arrest anybody. Let us not be discouraged, however, for it is written He shall not be discouraged. Owing chiefly to the spread of Modernist teaching thousands of erstwhile ‘believers’ are becoming unbelievers; but every day thousands of erstwhile unbelievers are (through the acceptance of the Gospel Message) becoming believers, and this is the complementary truth. Wherefore let us humbly thank God, and take courage, for "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied" (Isa. 53: 11).
I am, etc.,
R. L. LACEY
[D. M. Panton’s reply to letter 8.]
Mr. Lacey is profoundly right: it is an awful truth of the Word of God that the vine that remains barren timber must make place for the fruitful; that banqueting seats, scorned, are made over to fresh guests, and the crown the backslider forfeits goes to other brows; and even a lost apostleship another takes. * The Divine economy can never be baffled and never exhausted.
[* see: 'Judas: a regenerate believer.’]
LETTERS FROM THE EGYPTIAN GAZETTE
Dear SIR AUTHUR CANON DOYLE,
I have read with attention in The Egyptian Gazette of May 30 a report by Mr. H. A. White of an interview with yourself. May I trouble you with two enquiries?
1. You say: "Of course they have not time on the other side ... They have no idea of time. They try sometimes to indicate time but they may be out by months, or even a year or two." How, then, are we to deal with certain parts of the Bible which purport to be revelations given by or through spirit beings, in which they specify exact periods of time? I refer to, for example, Daniel 9. ‘seventy sevens’ from one specified event to another 12: 11, 12, ‘1290 days,’ ‘1335 days’: Revelation 11: 2 : 12: 6 13: 5 ; 20: 3 ; ‘1260 days,’ ‘42 months,’ ‘1000 years.’
Interpret such expressions how we will, do they not at least suggest that such beings have very distinct sense of time, both brief ‘days’; longer ‘months,’ ‘years’; and extended, ‘1000 years’? I would also ask whether it is not a philosophical necessity that limited intelligences must think in limited periods, since only an infinite mind can grasp eternity and not need bounds of time space?
2. You say: "When you talk about the Christ coming down it does not necessarily mean that Jesus is coming down; it means that somebody of a very high level is coming. Jesus was only a medium for the Christ spirit. ... The Christ will have to come through some individual, not necessarily Jesus; and we shall call this human being the Christ."
My question is: How, then, is the charge to be met that will arise out of 2 Epistle of John, verse 7: "For many deceivers are gone forth into the world, even they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist" ?
If your time allows a brief reply I shall ponder it.
G. H. LANG.
SIR A. CANON DOYLE’S REPLY
The above letter was returned with the following note written at the head of it: "I do not believe in literal inspiration of the Bible. It is quite untenable.- A. C. D."
[Mr Lang’s response to Cannon Doyle’s reply.]
June 30th, 1927,
Dear Sir ARTHUR CANON DOYLE,
I am in receipt of your very brief remark written at the head of my letter of June 3rd.
It seems merely to evade my questions. These were not based on any particular view of the inspiration of the Bible. For any thing they indicate my view of that question might be your own, though in fact it is not.
Certain statements by you appeared in print. I asked if you be so good as to indicate how certain Bible statements, to the contrary can be met. To inform me what is not your view of the inspiration of the Bible really seems little to the point, unless you wish thereby to intimate indirectly that what the Bible may say is of too small importance to be discussed.
The spirits instructing you tell you that in their world they have no idea of time. I simply pointed out that a certain, ancient Book, which says a good deal about such topics, speaks to the contrary, and I enquired whether the latter view is not philosophically right and the view you announce philosophically wrong?
The point is worthy of elucidation, being really of importance to your case. The beings who teach you venture to foretell the future, but they very judiciously excuse themselves from the test of whether their predictions come true as to time, the excuse being that they have no idea of time. This is ingenious, but to the critical mind is also suspicious.
On the contrary, the spirits whose predictions are reported in the Bible passages I cited, submitted themselves to this keen test by defining points and periods of time.
This is in their favour; and the contrast raises pertinent and destructive questions as to the ability and the character of the spirits of whom you are the mouthpiece. Why do they avoid a crucial test, and on an unfounded ground?
Upon the matter of the burden of their predictions (apart from details) - that a time of vast distress will lead on to one of peace and prosperity, and will include the advent of a great dominating Personality - I simply remark in passing that this is no more than they and you could have learned from the Bible. Students of that Book have expected these things ever since the Book was completed. Thus they are no revelation at all, but only an unacknowledged repetition of what the Bible revealed long since.
My second question is even more fundamental. I scarcely wonder you chose to ignore it. You repeat the ancient gnostic invention that "Jesus" and "the Christ" are not one and the same person, but that "Jesus was only a medium for the Christ spirit." The Bible, however, asks bluntly, "Who is the liar but he that denieth that Jesus IS the Christ?" - not is a medium of the Christ spirit (1 John 2: 22).
Those who teach you say that Jesus is not the One who is coming, and certainly not in flesh. The Bible distinctly asserts that Jesus is the coming One and that he will come in flesh, that is, in the identical humanity and body in which He lived on earth and now lives at the right hand of God, only glorified. You deny this; and the Bible very solemnly retaliates upon you by asserting that he who denies it is "the deceiver and the antichrist" (2 Ep. John 7; Acts 1: 9-11; 1 John 4: 1-6).
It is no wonder that, you dare not face the literal sense of Holy Scripture. Its statements being true, your position and prospects are dismal enough, which, believe me, moves my heart.
As these letters arose out of utterances of yours in the public press, in the interests of the public and of the truth I propose to send them to the press. It is profoundly important that all should know that on such vital matters spiritism and the Word of God are irreconcilable opponents. With all respect and with all earnestness I press this upon your own attention and remain,
G. H. LANG.
To this letter no answer was received.
In 1898 a lady (who afterwards entered the Church of Rome) wrote to Archbishop Temple for counsel on the Lord’s Supper, and the Archbiship replied :-
Madam. - The bread in the Holy Communion is certainly not God either before consecration or after, and you must not worship it.
Emotion in Service.
The conversation with Hudson Taylor in your September issue rightly emphasizes aspects of truth; but may not the somewhat unbalanced presentation encourage some to regard coldness as maturity? Emotion without faith and obedience is deadly, and this is the usual danger to-day: hence a rocky-ground hearing with natural joy, and failure to count the cost as our Lord so earnestly sets it forth in Luke 14: 25-35.
if we have tasted that He is gracious, we would grow up unto Him in all
things. He Himself was ever perfect,
and He beheld the city and wept over it: He was moved with
compassion. Paul wrote to saints with
tears; and spoke with weeping of the enemies of the cross of Christ, nor did he
become unemotional at
Granted that the joy of a child and of an adult may have different aspects, and the joy of a mature believer is expressed in some ways differently from that of a young believer, and with a fuller view of encouragements and discouragements, and a quiet calm; granted that it is likewise with sorrow also:- yet nevertheless, do we not need to be humbled that we are not more like Christ in the intense emotion which the Song of Songs portrays, and in the depth of feeling when reproach broke His heart?
The evil of an evil world would pain us more: if we become, "used" to it, are we not failing, in measure, to walk in the Spirit Who emphasizes intercession with groanings which cannot be uttered? In so writing, I feel my own coming short and while praying "Come, Lord Jesus," long to be more prepared daily by an all-round growth, and to illustrate the precious words "as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing."
I am, etc.,
PERCY W. HEWARD.
THE BRIDE OF CHRIST: AN INQUIRY
is submitted that the
1. It is never so designated.
2. While more than a dozen Scriptures speak of the Church as the Body of Christ, not one says it is His Bride.
3. Perhaps the most glorious scene in the whole Bible is that in which the Holy Spirit describes the marriage of the Lamb, whose bride is the heavenly City; i.e., those saints, as inhabitants thereof, whose while apparel will represent their "righteous acts."
But amongst these will be Abel, Enoch, etc., who are outside the Church.
4. But if the "Marriage of the Lamb" be so wonderful and august an event, and the "Bride of the Lamb" so glorious, how can it be otherwise than an assumption to think that the Church is Christ's bride, when the Christ - as Christ - is associated with no such glorious event, neither is a bride assigned Him in the whole of the New Testament ?
5. The Bride of the Lamb reigns with her Bridegroom, and is seen, after the marriage in Rev. 19., as the armies of heaven clothed in white linen descending with their Leader and King on the white horse to take the Kingdom by force. But as many thousands the Church will be disqualified from reigning with Christ, then the Church as an entity can be neither the "Bride of the Lamb," nor a bride of Christ.
6. It seems that the "wife of the Lamb" is composed of the Martyrs, Prophets, and Overcomers, of all the Dispensations, and so of course would include those of the Church, but those only.
7. If the Church were the bride of Christ, then, if Christ be going to marry it (or her) pre-millennially, whatever were the spiritual condition of any member at death - short of excommunication sins - would be immaterial to their enjoying, in the resurrection, the heavenly felicities and raptures of such an occasion!
I append some notes.
The parables of the Marriage Feast, Wedding Garment, and Ten Virgins have each their teaching, but do not throw light on the point discussed, I think.
The great passage Eph. 5: 22-33, to me, shews the great love, and union, existing between Christ and His Body, and also what is required by Him to exist between husband and wife: but it nowhere declares that the Church is His bride; it says it is his "Body."
2 Cor. 11: 2. "for I espoused you, etc."
is a personal travail of Paul's in prayer and wrestling of spirit on behalf of
the Corinthians, even as he did for the Colossians, and those of
2 Cor. 11: 1. It was manifestly impossible for Paul or any man to present any Christian or any Church "a pure virgin to Christ." The Holy Spirit in recording this wonderful love of Paul's does not say, nor teach, that the Church of God itself is "espoused" to Christ, nor married to Him. It is the record by the Holy Ghost of a wonderful, personal, private, and local intercession and travail; it was mighty and glorious, on the part of a lonely warrior, a giant of faith.
It seems that the only heavenly bride which the ‘Son of God’ will have will be "the Bride of the Lamb." "THE SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE SAY, COME." The bride here I think stands for the "watchful" in the Church, who long for His coming, and as such will "qualify" and be of course in the company forming the "Bride of the Lamb." As this bride of Rev. 22, 17 cannot be completed company, but only that portion of it in existence at the time, so, coming immediately after the definition of the Bride of the Lamb, and description of her as well, the only conclusion possible is that this is the Bride referred to; and we are confined to applying the term here occurring to those who witness, proclaim, work for, and obey, Christ, as they wait and watch for the ‘coming’ of verse 20.
I was greatly surprised and pleased to come across a footnote "The Coming Prince," p.200. Sir Robert Anderson says:- "In Scripture the Church of this Dispensation is symbolized as the Body of Christ, never as the Bride. From the close of John Baptist’s ministry the Bride is never mentioned until she appears in the Apocalypse (John 3: 29, Rev. 21: 2-9). The force of the ‘nevertheless’ in Eph. 5: 33, depends on the fact that the Church is the Body, not the Bride. The earthly relationship is re-adjusted by a heavenly standard. Man and wife are not one body, but Christ and His Church are one body, therefore a man is to love his wife, ‘even as himself.’"
I submit there is only one heavenly Bride, and that "The Bride of the Lamb"; also that the idea the Church is the bride of Christ is an assumption and a fallacy.
I am, etc.,
CHAS. S. UTTING.
[A reply to Letter 15.]
I have read with interest your correspondent Mr. Utting’s letter on the Bride of Christ, appearing in the October DAWN, and should like a little space in your magazine by way of reply.
I say at the outset that what I believe underlies Mr. Utting’s
denial that the
To suggest, as Mr. Utting does, that the bride, who in concert with the Spirit cries "Come" in response to Him Who reveals himself as the "Root and offspring of David, the bright and morning star" (Rev. 22: 16, 17), is confined to that portion of the Church which is (as Mr. Utting says) " in existence at the time of our Lord's coming," is to take away the whole value of our Lord’s last message from all the saints throughout the ages who by reason of death will not be on earth when He comes.
I do not see how it can be disputed that the writer of the Apocalypse himself formed part of the bride saying "Come," for indeed it is proved by the response of verse 20, which was surely the writer’s own.
These two passages, the application of which to the Church can hardly be disputed, make void Sir Robert Anderson’s statement quoted by Mr. Utting that the Church of this dispensation is never symbolized as the bride. Sir Robert’s dragging in the symbol of the body into Ephesians (5: 33) shews that he likewise does not distinguish between the reality and the symbol. He might just as well say that the Church in Ephesians cannot "grow into a, holy temple of the Lord" (2: 21) because it is the body of Christ. If we press the figure in this way we might say that Christ cannot present us to Himself as a glorious church (verse 27) because we are members of His body (verse 30).
I am surprised to see that Sir Robert Anderson states that man and wife are not one body, when Scripture says the two shall become one flesh (verse 31. See 1 Cor. 6: 16).
A reference to the context of John 3: 29 will shew that the figure of the bride is used there to justify John's disciples leaving him for Christ by enforcing the claims of the Bridegroorn - "He that hath the bride is the Bridegroorn." Those who thus attached themselves to Christ became the nucleus of the Christian church into which the Gentile Corinthians were afterwards admitted.
As regards Romans 7: 1-6, Mr. Utting overlooks the fact that , the word "joined" is no more found in the passage than "married," or the Greek verb which is thus translated hardly carries this meaning, and the verb would be better translated as "be" or "become" to another man.
I quite agree that the saints of the old dispensation will be among those described as the bride at the marriage of the Lamb (Rev. 19: 7), for through death they have become heavenly saints, but I fail to see why their presence should exclude us who are equally heavenly saints. On the contrary, I read that "without us they are not made perfect" (Heb. 2: 40). It seems to me presumptuous for anyone to define exactly of whom "the wife of the Lamb" is composed, as Mr. Utting does, limiting it to certain people whom he describes as "martyrs, prophets, and overcomers," All I would dare to say is that if a man is not an overcomer, he has no right to expect to sit down with "the faithful and true Witness"; in His throne (Rev. 3: 14, 21), which is I suppose one of the privileges of the Lamb's wife.
The importance which I attach to the subject is that I dread the weakening in the souls of believers of those ties of affection Christ which are, I believe, intended to be strengthened by the use of the symbol of the bride.
I am, etc.,
THE CHURCH A BRIDE?
[A reply to letter 16.]
Seven reasons and five scriptures were given as the ground for rejecting the theory that the Church is a Bride of Christ. The "reply" does not dispose of these reasons and challenges only three of my readings of Scripture. In dealing with 2 Cor. 11: 2, Mr. Roberts is of course quite logical; but we do not start quite alike. The meaning of the remark that neither Paul nor anyone could betroth any person to Christ was, I thought, obvious, viz: that such an operation is the sovereign act of God the Holy Ghost. Still, there are the words "betrothed," "husband," and - "Christ," so that at first sight, and reading superficially, some support appears to be offered for the theory. However this gives the opportunity to observe that the betrothal looks on to the nuptials, but by no means guarantees them to the individual! Hence the apostle's anxiety for the Corinthians, his travail for the Galatians, and agony for the Laodiceans. At their conversion all believers are betrothed to Christ; the marriage is still future. The husband’s title in the context is Christ: true; and as Christ is head of the Church this was consistent in a letter to the early Church; but in the future dispensation when the glorious nuptials occur it is the marriage of The Lamb, not of The Christ.
Roberts supplying "become," as more
correct than "joined" in
The remarks of Sir R. Anderson to my mind appear unanswerable. Mr. Robert's suggestion that because the Scripture states husband and wife become one flesh, therefore they are one body I do not understand. Husband and wife surely are two bodies, and when they die will require two coffins.
In dealing with Rev. 22: 16, 17, Mr. Roberts places in inverted commas, as quoting myself, words not mine as so placed; thus simply demolishing something which was not erected. I must leave this however for sake of space, but crave your permission to say that :-
These facts are patent:
(1) the formula "The Bride of Christ" is quite outside the New Testament; Roman and Anglo-catholics appropriate it as their own.
(2). The only recorded marriage of Our Lord is that of Rev. 19. and it is in his capacity as " The Lamb," not as "The Christ."
(3). The wife of the Lamb includes Old Testament heroes; therefore the Church as such and as an entity is precluded, although members thereof who qualify as per Heb. 11., and fulfil the conditions of 2 Tim. 2: 12, etc., will be in the glorious company of the former.
(4). Neither record nor description of any wife or marriage of Christ - as Christ - is given us.
(5). The glorious destiny of the wife of the Lamb impels the conviction that, were there so brilliant a company as a bride of Christ, her destiny would also be shewn us and would appear an equally if not more glorious one than the former.
I am, etc.,
CHAS. S. UTTING.
My Dear Children,
John Paterson, of Penyvenie in Ayrshire, was of those persecuted Covenanters of the 17th Century who chose suffering and death rather than displease God. He had been attending a "conventicle" - or forbidden religious meeting - when, on his homeward way, he observed two dragoons on horseback following him; but the ground being soft and boggy, they made no speed, while he - on foot - went lightly through the moss. Having passed the summit of what is called the "Meikle Hill" he found a mossy furrow in which he lay down for concealment. The troopers, however, had dogs with them, which they put on the scent. The animals advanced over the broken surface of the morass, exactly in the line of his hiding-place; he heard them coming, and expected every moment that they would appear on the edge of the trench above him; but just when they were about to spring forward to the place where he lay, a fox jumped from its lair in their very face, and bounded down the hill. The joyous dogs left their former scent and stretched themselves out at full speed after the fugitive fox, and the soldiers, forgetful of all else, followed the chase, passing within a few yards of the place where Paterson lay. Hearing the hubbub, and not knowing the cause, he raised himself, peering cautiously over the edge of the deep bog, and observed the fox, the dogs, and the soldiers in full race down the heathy slope, leaving him far behind.
that he had been publicly denounced as a rebel and a reward offered for his
capture, Paterson left his home and hid himself in Benbeoch
Craigs, from whence he came down, when possible, to
visit his household. One day, as he had
just left his retreat, he saw dragoons approaching. He instantly retraced his steps, but the
troopers, noticing that he hastily ascended the hill as if anxious to avoid
observation, rode after him. As he was
climbing over the stone dyke (or wall) which stood a few hundred yards from the
bottom of the crags, he turned to see what progress the horsemen were making,
and, perceiving the speed with which they advanced, sprang from the wall and
ran to seek his hiding-place. In this
place are large masses of granite torn and tossed from the neighbouring hill,
evidently by some powerful convulsion of nature. As
"Blessed are ye," the Lord Jesus Christ said,
"when men shall revile you, and persecute
you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice
and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in Heaven: for so persecuted
they the prophets which were before you."
(Matt. 5: 11). The Lord shewed
how even the prophets - whose memory when He spoke was venerated by the Jews as
that of undoubted men of God - had in their life-time been the objects of
persecution and reviling. And He would
have His people be willingly prepared for the same treatment, since the
world will never tolerate an unflinching witness for God. True, there are times when - in any given
place, as in
Since, then, God's word warns us that "All who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3: 12), and since we never know when we may be called upon to choose between obedience to God at all costs, and disobedience to God in order to keep man's favour, let us who are His seek to be prepared for the test. He alone can prepare us - whether our battle-ground be home or school or a wider sphere. To Him, therefore, let us seek, for such a living faith in Him as will result in daily stedfast faithfulness, for "he that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much" (Luke 15: 10). And "this is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith."
Your affectionate friend,
[*Taken from Traditions of the Covenanters,- by the Rev.
is considerable objection to the name of THE DAWN. Nearly everyone I come in
contact with thinks it has to do with Russelism, or
Millennial Dawnism. A
I am, etc.,
W. L. MADLEY.
[Mr. Panton’s (the editor of The Dawn Evangelical Magazine) reply.]
We felt the force of Mr. Bradley's contention before the magazine was started; and no doubt here and there the title creates some confusion. But we do not see why one of the loveliest words in the language, and the word that exactly expresses our outlook, should remain the monopoly of a false sect; and with the circulation of the magazine the problem solves itself. To change the name now, in the confusion it would create, is probably the greater evil, and is hardly practicable. -Ed.
Daniel's Seventy Weeks
[The following letter, printed in The Rock, is worthy of exceedingly careful thought - D.M.P..]
Shall I briefly present to you some objections which I entertain against the common view of the seventy weeks? (Dan. 9: 20-27).
The prophecy regards Daniel's people of
It is the discovery of prophetic truth made by an angel (vv. 21, 22). Now angels are specially commissioned to aid
The Jews are the people of the letter
(2 Cor. 3.),
and the prophets of
"Weeks," then, are to be taken literally, of seven days each (Lev. 12: 5; Num. 28: 26; Jer. 5: 24; Dan. 10: 2, 3).
It is a prophecy, I suppose, of the false Christ, who
shall arise to deceive
He shall make a covenant with Israel for one week, and in the midst of the week shall break his covenant, causing the sacrifices of the Temple to cease, and setting up the "abomination of desolation" on the Temple (vv. 27); at which moment Christ's Jewish disciples are to flee with headlong speed out of Jerusalem (Matt. 14: 16-24).
The literal half-week is seen in Revelation 11:
7-11, when the two "prophets,"
Enoch and Elijah, are slain at
"The Anointed One" slain at
Has the commandment to restore and to build
Will the Lord's people search and see?
[Comments by D. M. Panton on letter 21.]
We are not inviting a discussion on the Seventy Weeks, for it is exactly one of the subjects that are illimitable and interminable - a sure proof that the certainty often assumed on the subject does not exist: but it is due to Dr. Hospers to have an opportunity of meeting the "Objections"; and we welcome a word from our Hebrew brother in Tangier. Later, we may handle the criticisms, if our position so kindly sent us by our correspondents, criticisms which it would be an intellectual pleasure to meet; but, for spiritual reasons, we are loath to absorb the space, and are inclined to think that an over-indulgence in this type of discussion - dealing with an alleged mystical figuring - has helped to bring prophecy into disrepute. Our readers have had the three main views placed before them. For the bewildering maze of figurative interpretations - the literal interpretation can be but one - we would again refer the impartial student to Lange on Daniel; a maze of which one in ten writers on the Seventy Weeks seems to be aware, nor one in a hundred to see the paralyzing uncertainty into which plunges his own theory. We are no enemy to ascertained facts, but we demur to theories, so unproved as to be innumerable, being pressed on the Church as facts.
- D. M. PANTON.
[A response to letter 22 above.]
Your kind notice of my article on the Seventy Weeks carries your editorial reminder that I did not refer to your "Objections" (THE DAWN, Feb. 15, p. 518). I am not after having the last word, but I take your remark as a tacit invitation to have these met, if possible. Surely we are after the truth. I had placed my main reliance upon the thetical side of the matter, and already my article was long enough. Allow me, then, to notice the objections in the order in which you gave them.
1. We must be careful about laying down our own conditions what prophecy ought or ought not to say, and we may not determine the manner in which this should be done. May we demand that a "prophecy so startlingly evidential" should be referred to again in the New Testament? Would not this be following the Modernist principle which reasons on similar lines in regard to certain doctrines, as the Virgin Birth, not given often enough?
2. Neither does it seem proper for us to say that there may not be a gap in the 70 weeks. Nor does the Holy Spirit need to inform us of such a gap in so many words. There are other cases in which He jumps over a period of 2000 years; as, Luke 4: 17-21, "syllable of explanation" there either. And how often telescopes the two Advents without telling us so! God may do any "unique thing" He pleases.
3. That there should be a gap in the 70 weeks is not necessarily an untruth. It is hardly correct to affirm that there is not the remotest hint of such a thing. Indeed? the fact that 70 weeks were marked off into 7 and 62 and 1 weeks is most cant in that direction.
4. This objection is purely an exegetical one. The fulfilment of the items of Dan. 9: 24 at the end of the 70 weeks does not prove anything about the course of the 70 weeks as such. That is to say, even if granted that these items are fulfilled at the end of the last week (however short or long), it tells us absolutely nothing as to the beginning of these 70 weeks, or their course.
5. Is it "fatal to the ordinary view that, in a mathematical prophecy, such as this, in which its sole evidential value rests on an accurate and demonstrable fulfilment, no agreement concerning even the first Advent dates, which ought to have been obvious, has ever been reached"? Here again human requirements are posited. Theoretically, we would say, such and such ought to be so. But here we run up against the age-long psychological problem: Why do not all people see alike - even the most learned? Why will not everybody think logically? Why does not everybody love to do the right thing even though experience constantly proves how the wrong acts bring damage? etc. "Demonstrable fulfilment," "obvious," - perhaps. But let us consider the realities of life and actual experience. At this late date, the honest Editor is but adding another variation to the large number, and by what token may he affirm that he has found it? Why he and not another, even though the matter should have been plain enough to all - even though plain as mathematics? Thus we all flounder in a bog of subjectivism and would save ourselves with an arbitrary gesture, meanwhile looking wise. We dare say that the thetical presentation of the matter is the only safe course to take.
6. "A prophecy which puts numerical limits to the sin of Daniel’s people, Daniel is said to have understood (Dan 10: 1)." To be perfectly accurate, this "understanding" of Daniel does not pertain to the vision concerning which our controversy relates; it refers to what follows, what occurred at another time. But even then, we must be cautious about pressing the measure of this "understanding." He was immensely comforted as he learned of the near approach of the Messiah and the eventual salvation of his people.
7. May we plead that "Daniel's dates lie buried till they are unsealed, so abandoning all evidential significance in the figures?" In answer, we refer to paragraph 5 above, and add that there is often in Scripture a degree of relativity with which we must reckon. Though things are ever so plain, it ever remains to us a process of seeking. We are informed, but, as were the disciples concerning Jesus’ death and resurrection, still we do not fully understand. Much was revealed to Daniel, but the revelation to the Apostle John was needed to carry our knowledge further. Somehow these figures have immense value to us however much all may be struggling to make use of them.
I am, etc.,
G. H. HOSPERS, D.D.
[A reply to letter 23 above.]
Both numbers of THE DAWN (Feb. and May), are before me, and I read your article on the Seventy Weeks, the Objections, and the criticism to both.
As there are so many theories that are advanced now-a-days on different subjects of Scripture, as a rule, I avoid censure. I find I have hardly time to accomplish all the writing that lies generally before me. I could not however pass over this subject of the Seventy Weeks without making a few remarks in the hope that they might throw some light on such an important subject. And I can only spare time to touch on a few points.
Let me say, first, that I am a Hebrew by birth, and that I have been working among the Jews, as the Lord's servant, for over twenty years. This subject has been referred to hundreds of times in our arguments with the Jews, and of course I have had to make a close examination of the passage.
Hebrew students should notice a distinction between the usage of the word "weeks" in Daniel, and the usage of it in the other parts of the Old Testament. A careful examination will reveal that the word translated "weeks" has a masculine and a feminine form. Where the feminine is used, it is a clear reference to weeks; and where the masculine is used, it refers to a "heptad," a word which stands in the same relation to 7, as the word "dozen" to 12. A 7 of years; a 7 of days; and may be used for a 7 of anything else. Now, the masculine form is found only in Daniel, and the feminine in every other place in the Old Testament where the word is used, and where the meaning is distinctly weeks, and could not be taken for any-thing else.
This of course differs from the statement in THE DAWN for February, page 488, where we read, "Throughout the Old Testament this word is never used of any but weeks," and then the conclusion, is come to that in Dan. 10: 2, "It is explicitly stated that the word uses consists of days."
Rather than think that Dan. 10: 2 confirms the usage of the word in the previous chapter, I believe it does state exactly the opposite. Why say in the tenth chapter "weeks of days," if the usage of the word in the previous chapter means also days? As a matter of fact, it would be out of place, unless he wants us to understand the use of the word in the previous chapter is not "of days."
I say therefore that Daniel in the ninth chapter understood that the angel was speaking to him of 70 sevens of years, and lest we should confuse the 3 sevens of the tenth chapter with the 70, he distinguishes them by adding "of days." It stands then that the use of the word in the masculine by Daniel means a "seven," and not an ordinary week.
at the ninth chapter now, we are told that
Daniel understood by books the number of the years of the captivity in
Daniel had made inquiry about the 70 years of the captivity, the answer came in a period (of years naturally) extending to 70 sevens. (One is reminded of a similar answer in Matt. 18: 21, 22). As if the angel had said: You want to know what is going to be your people's destiny after the 70 years. It is determined that 70 sevens more of years (or 70 times over) are to pass over them and the holy city before "the transgression is finished, or shut up," etc. (verse 24). And the prophecy sets out, not from the release of the people, but from the edict to restore and to build Jerusalem, and extends to the cutting off of the Messiah, the destruction of the restored city by the Romans, and then to a period when the Jews would go back to Jerusalem, and make a covenant with Antichrist, the Roman prince, whose end would be at the time of the consummation of the prophecy.
we notice that a division is made, undoubtedly for our guidance, of the 70
sevens, into 7, 62, and 1; three distinct periods indicative of different
events that would take place. The first
period was to start with "the commandment to
restore and to build
with the rejection of Him came the rejection of
Parenthesis of Time. In your "Objections" 2 and 3 you state that the inserting "2000 years between the last two weeks without the remotest hint of any such thing in the passage," would make the prophecy "an actual untruth."
Do we find in the Old Testament any other prophecies allowing of such an insertion of 2000 years without the slightest reference to it in the passage? Yes. Isa. 61: 1, 2, was referred to by our Lord in Luke 4: 18, 19. In comparing the two passages we find that our Lord quoted only half of the verse of Isa. 61: 2, and He said, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears," a reference no doubt to this dispensation of grace which His first coming ushered in. "The Day of vengeance" of the same verse is still awaiting His Return. See Isa. 34: 8 ; 63: 4 ; Jer. 51: 6, etc.
We take another prophecy, Isa. 9. If you examine carefully the Hebrew of verse 1 you will see both advents mentioned therein without any reference to a long period between.
Micah 5: 2 is as we know a reference to His first Advent. But verse 3
tells us that "He will give them up until the time
that she which travaileth hath brought forth."
These last words are undoubtedly a
reference to Isa. 66: 7-9, to
The Apostle Peter (in 1 Pet. 2: 11 and 12) does tell us that the prophets were not given clear light as to the things which they did testify with reference to the first and second Advents of Christ. But what God kept secret from them, none could have discovered until He was pleased to reveal it unto us.
One more remark. Reference has already been made the May magazine to your statement in page 487. "The marked absence of the article would be strange, if not impossible, applied to Christ." And Dr. Hospers is right in saying that both the Hebrew and the Greek allow of the use of the word as a proper name. But may I add that we have in the Hebrew Bible that the definite article "the" is very frequently dropped after the Hebrew word "ad" ("until" or "even"). Examples of this we find in Ex. 12: 10, "until (the) morning" - twice repeated in the verse. 1 Sam. 2: 5, "even (the) barren."
I am, etc.,
[To be continued (D.V), as and when I select more interesting correspondence - WHT.]