Preface – Page 5










1. Scripture And Systems – Page 29


The Biblical Pre-Millennial Position – Page 30


The Post Millennial System – Page 31


A Call For Reconsideration – Page 35


The Interpretation Of Scripture – Page 39


2.  Points Of Agreement And Disagreement – Page 43


The Personal Coming Of The Lord – Page 44


The New Heavens And The New Earth – Page 46


Dispensationalism – Page 50


The Conversion Of Israel – Page 58


3. The Difficulties Of Post-Millennialism – Page 67

Characteristics Of The Present and Millennial Ages


Hoe Is The Age Of Blessing Introduced? – Page 72


Questions For The Post-Millennialist – Page 79


Appendix – Page 93

Note On Brown’s Interpretation Of 2 Thessalonians 2: 8.



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Scripture everywhere testifies that before the final, everlasting hope of the church, when the Lord declares, ‘Behold, I make all things new’ (Revelation 21: 5) there will be a time of unparalleled blessing for this earth.  We have not yet seen the time when ‘the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea’ (Habakkuk 2: 14).  But how shall this blessed period be brought in?  Will it come through the church by Gospel preaching or social involvement or will it come as a direct result of the return of the Lord Jesus in glory?  This important question is the subject of this book.



Post-Millennialism is not a new system.  Mr. Iain Murray in ‘The Puritan Hope’ has ably demonstrated the influence the view had on the English Reformation and beyond.  Post-Millennialists believe there will be a gradual triumph of true Christianity before the Lord returns.  Israel will be converted and the world evangelised by means of the Church.



However, although widespread at the time of the Puritans this view was held only by a small minority of [Page 6] evangelical Christians by the middle of the twentieth century.  That situation has now changed.  The reprinting of many Puritan works by the Banner of Truth Trust and the widespread importation of American reprints of earlier works by the Metropolitan Tabernacle Bookshop and others has resulted in many Reformed Christians adopting Post-Millennial views.  It might be added that (although not strictly Post-Millennial) for practical purposes the rapid growth in Restoration and Liberation Theology is leading many other Christians to expect a Golden Age before the Lord returns.  This would be either the expectation of the restoration of the church to its apostolic purity and power before the Lord returns as the means of ‘bringing in the Kingdom’, or Christian social action to establish the promised social righteousness and peace that the prophets foretell.



It is the conviction of the publishers of this small book that the basis and consequences of Post-Millennial views should be carefully examined in the light of Scripture.  The adoption of such beliefs inevitably colours our attitudes to society and politics, our hopes and attitudes as Christians.  Our object is not to attack our fellow Christians, but in a spirit of love and sincerity to test such hopes by the inspired record of God’s will and plan.



Part One sets out simple reasons why we believe that the time of millennial blessing must be brought in by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself when He returns.



Part Two examines closely a classic statement of Post-Millennialism, the title of which we have modified for this book.  It is ‘The Second Coming of Christ; Will it be Pre-Millennial?’  By David Brown.  When Dr. Brown’s book was reprinted in the early 1980s the Metropolitan Tabernacle Bookshop introduced it in the following terms – ‘One of the finest treatments of the Millennium,’ ‘no book takes us to all the issues and Scriptural principles bearing on the [Page 7] last things like this does,’ ‘truly comprehensive,’ ‘outstanding  It is therefore an appropriate touchstone by which to test the system.



Mr. Benjamin Wills Newton (1807-1899) was a contemporary of Dr. Brown.  He was a Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford and as an Anglican there he was prominent in the early struggle against John Henry Newman and the Oxford Movement.  He was for a time associated with the Brethren and was a leader of the Plymouth Assembly during the time of its early phenomenal growth, but he always rejected the notion of a secret rapture of the church before the Lord’s coming in glory.  He was acquainted with the founding fathers of the Free Church of Scotland and for 50 years after leaving the Brethren he ministered in independent Reformed chapels in London and Newport, Isle of Wight.  The two parts of this book were originally issued separately, the second part in three instalments during the years 1861- 1863. We have brought them together under the new title in virtually unedited form.



                                                                                                                    - C. W. H. Griffiths



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(The following tract was first published from notes taken at a lecture given at the

Mechanics’ Institute, Plymouth, November 4.1841, by B. W. Newton.)



I believe it to be the happy place and the safe place for your souls, to be expecting the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Scripture declares (and experience verifies it) that creation is groaning now in the bondage of corruption (Romans 8: 19-22).  But it was not made always to groan under the consequences of man’s transgression.  God desires and intends that it should be freed from the bondage of corruption, and be made to rejoice and sing.  And He has appointed the means.  He will ‘bring again the first begotten into the world’ (Hebrews 1), Who, returning, will apply to Israel and to the earth and the things therein the power of that redemption which at His first advent He wrought out, and which God has accepted for ever.



If this be true, it is all-important for those who fear God to be acquainted with these things.  Accordingly God has not left us without instruction respecting them.  He said, ‘shall I hide from Abraham the thing which I intend to do?’ [Page 10] He does not desire that that day should come on us as a thief in the night.  ‘Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you  Surely this is a sweet and consoling thought to the believer, when thinking of the awful coming of the Lord: awful to all that is connected with flesh and blood; yet a day of joy and certain rest to every poor sinner who has by faith touched the hem of the garment of Jesus.  All who have fled for refuge to the Blood of Jesus may know beforehand what Jesus knows.  They should be able to mark the signs of the times.  Thus are they kept in wise peace.  But there can be no wise peace where there is ignorance of these things.  We should seek therefore to understand what is coming to pass, and mark the progress of events around us to their final crisis.



First, then, I would consider the possibility of bringing in the time of universal blessing by any instrumentality already in progress.



I suppose all who believe the Scriptures look for such a period of universal blessing.  I presume that no believer in revelation doubts this.  Our question then is, How is this to be reached?  And in considering this most interesting question, I would first examine whether God has any instrumentality now in the earth for this end.



In order to examine this, I must ask you to look back over the history of man.  It is a history, a humbling history, of failure throughout.  In every position and in every age man has failed.



First, Adam in Paradise lost all over which he had been set by God.  Next other blessings were given to man after the flood.  When the sons of Noah descended from the ark many blessings surrounded them - covenant blessings, now enjoyed by us.  How do we know that day and night will never cease unto the end - that the seasons will in due course [Page 11] return - that seed-time and harvest shall not fail?  Because God made that solemn covenant with man then.  Well, what has been the result of all this goodness on the part of God?  What the result of man’s use of natural blessings?  HEATHENISM!  A bowing down to blocks of wood and stone! Such is now the condition of man looked at simply as man.  The description of this fearful result of God’s covenant with man we have in Romans 1.  This is the character of all Heathen lands - Satan reigning almost unrestrained.  This is what man has become under the natural blessings of God.  This is the end of man as man. And now, I ask, since this awful evil has come in, since it now exists, how long will it continue?  Scripture replies, until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This I learn in Isaiah 66: 15, that ‘the LORD will come with fire and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury and His rebuke with flames of fire and that after this He sends to the ‘isles afar off which are described up to that moment as not having heard His fame nor seen His glory.  Next, in the history of mankind, we find Abraham separated to new and peculiar blessings.  In the children of Israel, his natural seed, it was tried whether man would answer to the responsibility of these new blessings.  The thone of Israel should have been the centre of all blessed rule and order in the earth.  But where is the throne of Israel now?  One word of the Scripture describes the present condition of that poor blinded people – ‘Wrath is come upon them unto the end’ (Greek … 1 Thessalonians 2: 16).  And again, ‘Ye shall not see me henceforth till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord’ (Matthew 23: 39).  Until the return of Jesus blindness and wrath rest upon that people: and thus two great classes of mankind, Heathens and Jews, are to continue in their darkness until the Lord Himself returns and rends the veil which is spread over the nations.


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Next I turn to Nebuchadnezzar.  In the person of this king, God placed man in a new sphere of responsibility and trial.  God gave to Nebuchadnezzar a grant of power - civil power.  This you may read in Daniel 2.  You have heard I doubt not of the Chaldean, the Medo-Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman Empires.  Under the last of which, in its broken form, we still are.  When I mentioned Nebuchadnezzar to you, I thought you might say, How does that name affect me?  Most intimately.  You now live under the power given to him.  The power of this country comes from God through Nebuchadnezzar.  England is one of the horns on the fourth beast: that is, is one division of the fourth, or Roman, Empire.



This Roman Empire was the last universal empire on the earth.  It existed in its glory under Caesar at the birth of Jesus.  Since then there has been no universal empire, nor can there be one again until the Lord comes; for God has said that this very Roman earth shall by its blasphemous iniquity bring down the judgment of His wrath.



You may read in the prophet Daniel God’s own history of these four empires.  The great Gentile empires - the period of whose existence is, in the New Testament, called ‘the times of the Gentiles’ (Luke 21: 24).  In Daniel we see that their end is open blasphemy against the God of heaven.  Now if this is the end to which these great nations come (and they are truly great), there can be no hope of the world’s amelioration by them.  If I find it said that these horns blaspheme God, it is impossible that the world’s rectification can be by them any more than by idolatrous Heathen or disbelieving Jews.



Would you not tell me that these great European nations have power?  Do we not all know that they govern and direct the energies of the whole world?  Well, all power comes from God.  The power by which these nations have, ever since Nebuchadnezzar’s days, retained this place, is of [Page 13] God, He has set them there, and until the Lord Jesus Christ comes they must retain their power.  But how have they used this power?  What has been man’s history in this sphere of trial?  What a reply to these questions is furnished by the scene on Calvary!  But how do they now use this power?  What is now the moral character of these mighty and governing nations?  What spectacle do they now present to the Heathen lands?  They claim to be Christian countries.  They present themselves to the idolatrous world as Christendom - Christ’s kingdom.  Now Christ was meek, and gentle and holy; in His mouth were no reproofs - He was reviled, but He reviled not again.  But do we find these features in any, so called, Christian nation?  No, you know it is not so.  And you know that throughout this land wailing would burst forth if Jesus were now to return!



But lastly, in our sketch of the history of man, let us look at the Church of God.



The Church was called out from among Jews and these nations.  It was in the eye of man a poor despised little company, gathered by a few Galilean fishermen, and quite apart from the power and glory of the earth.  They called nothing they had their own; but the love of Jesus was among them, and great grace was upon them all.  Thus they first appear before us in the Scripture.  This you may read in the Acts.  The last picture we have of them in the Word is as seven golden candlesticks (Revelation 1, 2, 3).



At Ephesus all the saints were united as one light, and so also at Smyrna, and so also at Sardis.  All who believed in each of these places were visibly united.  Not scattered - not divided - but in manifest unity; though even then much sunk from what we see in Acts.  But has even this measure of faithfulness continued?  Beloved friends, there is no such thing as visible union among the saints now!  If Jesus now returned, we should not be so found by Him.  We have lost this unity - this holy order; we have sinned it away.  And, [Page 14] alas, instead thereof there is distinct and advocated division on one hand, and equally open and defended union with the world, on another!  Yea, even to the beasts themselves (Daniel 7) have been given the names of the golden candlesticks!  This is now the state of the Church!  And the Lord Jesus Himself foretold all this, as you may read in Matthew 24.  Speaking to His disciples of the history of the Church during His absence, the Lord says, ‘And many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many: ‘and because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold.  But he that shall endure unto the end the same shall be saved.’  Here the Lord looks forward to the end, and so gloomy is the condition of the [apostate] Church herself at the end, that His word is, ‘he that endureth’ as though the faithfulness of a few [remaining] individual believers was all He then looked for.  And you will find that all the Epistles in the New Testament accord with this.  For example, the Apostle Paul looking forward to the last days of the Gospel dispensation, says, ‘This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come’ (2 Timothy 3).  I might quote the epistles of Peter, of Jude, of James and of John, to the same effect. All the Apostles mark the condition of the Church at the end as one of entire failure.  And our own observation concurs with the history of the last 1800 years in humbling confirmation of this!



And now, having thus surveyed the instrumentality existing in the earth, I ask you how can the rectification of the world come by any of this?



Can it come from man as man?  The end of that is Heathenism!  From Jews as Jews?  They crucified the Lord of glory, and wrath abideth on them until the end!  From the Gentile nations?  God calls them beasts, and their end is open Atheism and blasphemy!  From the Church?  Her path has been one of steady declension:- ‘evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse  and ‘love waxing cold until the end!’


[Page 15]

This is the Lord’s own description of the end of all that He has planted in the earth!  This is the issue of His manifold trial of man!  And have you not learnt enough of your own hearts to lead you to say, this must be so? Have you not learnt enough of the sure failure of man there?  The human heart is itself a picture of what the world is.  It is no matter whether man is tried in this state or in that - the issue is ever the same.  Flesh is flesh:- and ‘the flesh profiteth nothing  And not until we have learnt to say, ‘All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof as the flower of the field’ - are we prepared to learn the truth of God as to these things.



It is, therefore, a snare of Satan to think that any who have so fallen should be the means of restoring and blessing the whole earth.  And such a thought is most injurious to our souls; for it takes us away alike from the humble place of confession so becoming us, and from the true hope of strength.



I have thus given you several reasons - which connected together form one great and sufficient reason - why the time of universal blessing cannot be brought in by any instrumentality which as yet God has set in action.



But I must now ask your attention to another most important reason for this.  No instrumentality yet employed is, in its nature, suited to this end.  Even if any of those things we have been considering had stood in their primeval power, they were not adapted or designed for such a purpose.  And for this reason: Satan must be bound before Millennial blessing can come.  And could anything given Man, or the Jews, or the Gentile nations, or the Church bind him?  No!  No moral influence can bind Satan.



The preaching of the Gospel of God’s grace can never bind Satan.  Nothing but the actual exercise of Almighty and judicial force can do this.  So that none of the things we have been speaking of were even intended by God to bring about this.  God Himself never contemplated such a result [Page 16] from such instrumentality. Not, I again say, if they had kept their first position and proper power could any of these things bind Satan and cast him into the pit!



Think of this, dear friends.  Satan must be bound before Millennial blessing can commence.  I well know that we like to put away the thought of Satan and of his power.  The scepticism of the saints of God on this solemn subject is truly fearful.  We do not sufficiently recognise that he is the prince of this world.  We see vanity and sin and iniquity indeed around, but we are slow to realise that it all proceeds from Satan.  Now I do say that it is our duty to search the Scriptures on this matter, and to see that we give due weight to what is there said about Satan and his power.  The crowns of the Roman earth are represented as being on his head.  He is the crowned Dragon (Revelation 12), the Prince of this world: who practically guides its course.  And who can bind Satan?  Not until a mightier than he comes can this be.  The strong man armed will keep possession of his goods until a stronger than he - even Jesus - cometh to spoil and to bind him!



But again - no existing instrumentality can bring in the coming blessing, because creation is to be freed from the bondage of corruption.  I speak now of things not of persons.  And there will not be one thing that will not be blessed then.  The trees of the forest, the blades of grass, the animals of every kind, all will be living witnesses of the restoring might and grace of Jesus.  All that now groans shall then rejoice.  The creation waiteth in hope for that [millennial] day (Romans 8).  And can the testimony of the Church effect this? Surely there is nothing now in the earth - no instrumentality God is employing which is either suited or adequate to effect the freedom of creation?



Indeed, looking at the Church, unquestionably the most effective instrument for blessing yet employed by God, I see that it was constituted to gather out and not to bless [Page 17] universally.  Its commission is indeed to preach the Gospel to every creature, but for what end?  To gather out of the nations a people to His name (Acts 15).  The Church was never constituted to convert nations or to bind Satan, or to set creation free.  And we must in this submit our thoughts and expectations to God.  We must not say that certain instrumentality will produce a result which God never intended it to produce: a result most blessed indeed and much to be desired, but one which God has His own appointed agency and time for effecting.  The Church then is specially charged by God to limit her expectations as to the result of her evangelisation to the gathering out of the gentiles and the Jews a people to His name.  Not to limit the sphere of her evangelisation - no; but while freely proclaiming the Gospel of the grace of God wherever a sinner can be found, to remember that her ministry is to effect a certain result, defined both as to character and as to measure, and that God has other instrumentality by which to accomplish the world’s universal blessedness and peace. 



Such, then, appear to me sufficient reasons for asserting that nothing yet dispensed by God will bring in, or was ever intended to bring in, that period of universal joy which, as believers, we are all expecting.



And now I must proceed to ask, What will effect this most blessed object?  Beloved friends, to whom is it likely God would give this honour? do we not feel instantly ready to reply - To the Lord Jesus?  Well, so it will be.  His will be the honour - His the joy - of bringing in that glorious age!  This He will do in person. Until He comes this earth will be full of His enemies.  But He will come and rule amongst them.  This we read in Psalm 110.  Jehovah hath said unto Jesus, Sit thou on My right hand until I make Thy foes a footstool for Thy feet.  And that done God next bids Him rule in the midst of those His enemies.  When Jesus comes forth from the throne of God, to which He has ascended, He will find the [Page 18] earth therefore filled with enemies.  Not filled with Millennial goodness and holiness, but enemies prepared as a footstool for His feet!  And then His work will be to plant His foot upon them.  As Joshua, the type of Jesus, planted his foot upon the necks of the kings, so will Jesus make His conquered foes His footstool.  But I must be more minute here.  And I will therefore endeavour to sketch before you a map of the earth at the hour of the coming of the Lord.



First, there will be the wide outer range of countries lying in Heathen darkness.



Secondly, there will be wide portions of the earth professing the name of Christ.



Thirdly, there will be one part of the earth not then professing the Name of Christ, but having wholly cast off that Name, blaspheming God and Christ and worshipping Antichrist.  This will be the condition of the Roman earth: of which this country, with all the leading nations, forms part.  All the nations mentioned in Daniel, and included in the Nebuchadnezzar Image, will then be deliberately worshipping a man; having then openly rejected both God and Christ.  This may appear a thing almost incredible to you; but God has declared that so it will be.  And such a spectacle has already been seen, in a limited sphere, almost in our own day.  Such was actually the case in Paris during the Revolution.  Who would have thought that in that city - that polished and Christian city - God would have been openly cast off, and a wretched woman worshipped!  But so it was in the very centre and focus of the earth’s civilisation!  And this affords a little picture of what the whole Roman earth will be when Jesus comes!  ‘God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie!’ and for this cause they will worship him ‘whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders; and all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish’.  Read 2. Thessalonians 2.


[Page 19]

Fourthly, there will be the Jews.  They will be gathered as a nation in Judea, and as a nation will be involved in the Anti-Christian blasphemy.



Besides all these, and scattered amongst all, there will be a few real Christians.



Such is a sketch taken from the Word of God of the condition of the earth when the Lord Jesus returns.  An awful scene indeed for Him to appear over in glory and in might.  Amidst this dense darkness will He come! And what will be the result, do you ask me; to these various classes?  I reply - As to the Heathen - most of them will be spared.  As to Christendom - you may see its judgment in Matthew 13 and 25.  The tares will be gathered for the fire - the wheat for the garner:- the wise virgins enter in to the nuptial feast, the foolish are shut out forever.  As to Anti-christendom - the kingdom of the Beast - utter destruction will fall on it (see 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 14: 9, 10, 11).  As to the Jews - the great mass will be cut off; but a remnant shall be spared.  For ‘yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four of five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the LORD God of Israel’ (Isaiah 17).  This little spared remnant will become the nucleus of the future nation, and are thus described in Psalm 72: 16.  As to the real Christians - they will, as the wheat, or the wise virgins, enter into heavenly glory and rest.



Such then will be the condition of the world, and such its treatment, when Jesus comes.  Not a world whereon Millennial blessing has been, but a world full of His enemies.  A world filled with the consummated corruption of every thing God has dispensed to Man - the Jew - the Gentile or the Church!



But in the Word of God we have also an insight into what takes place in heaven just before the Lord comes forth.  This is found in Daniel 7.  It is a scene in heaven - a yet future [Page 20] scene.  The state of the earth becomes a matter of consideration in heaven: its blasphemies are seen; and then, those blasphemies at their height, one like unto the Son of Man is brought before the Ancient of Days, and the kingdom under the whole heaven is given to Him.  Now this is future.  That throne is yet to be set.  That weighing of things on earth - that reception of the kingdom by the Son of Man - is all future.  And it is all secret in heaven.  Men will know nothing of it.  Men will not know when Jesus quits His Father’s throne on which He now sits; and when He is thus brought before the Ancient of Days, and thus definitely invested with the power over the earth.



Men will be raising and rejoicing in the throne of iniquity on earth - when this solemn and critical transaction takes place in heaven.  They will little think that at that moment the power man has so fearfully abused is passing into the hands of the Lord Jesus, and that He is instantly coming forth to use it!



You must observe that the power which belongs to Christ as God, sitting on the throne of God, is widely different from that power of which I now speak and which He will then receive.  God delegates power to whom He will - Pilate for example, had such power from God (John 19: 11).  Now Christ is at this present time in the place of Him from Whom that power proceeds which is thus delegated to others.  But He is going to leave that seat and take this delegated power into His Own hands.  For this power is too important a thing to be left in the hands of any save Jesus.  It is too precious to be left in the hands of a fallen creature; though, for wise ends, God for a time has delegated it to such.  Jesus, therefore, will receive and use this power.  And this is what He Himself referred to when He said, ‘A certain nobleman went into afar country to receive a kingdom and to return’ (Luke 19: 11, 12).  It is this receiving of the kingdom by the Son of Man which is revealed to us in Daniel.  So that this [Page 21] agrees with what I have already said as to the condition of the earth when Jesus returns, and as to the purposes for which He will come.



For observe - the earth will not be destroyed when the Lord comes.  It is never so said in Scripture, but quite the contrary.  For in Psalm 96 where we read of His coming, it is said, ‘Let the earth rejoice &c. So that it is mere delusion to say that the earth is destroyed when He comes.  Read also Acts 3.  It is there said, ‘Whom the heavens must receive, until the times of restitution  Now restitution cannot be destruction!  Indeed there is no such thing in the whole Scripture as that the earth is destroyed when the Lord Jesus returns [to reign] in His glory.  Fearful judgments will indeed be then poured out on living persons upon the earth, but all this will be the consuming of the chaff and the stubble in order to the world’s abundant and fruitful blessing.



Thus, beloved friends, I have shown you not only that there is no power in earth which can introduce, or ever was intended to introduce, the blessing for which all look, but also, that He Who is to bring it in and establish it is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.



And I ask you - Is it not worthy of Christ, and worthy of God also, that Jesus should take this power of which I have spoken?  If it is worthy of God and of Christ to pity to love and to save, then it is indeed worthy of Jesus to take this power.  For how will Jesus hereby cause the blessings of redemption to be extended and enjoyed. All nations shall then call Him blessed.



I would again say that this is not the power which the Lord Jesus has, as God, for ever and ever; but it is that definite delegated power which He is seen to receive in Daniel - which He holds and exercises as man during the Millennium - and which at the close of the thousand years He returns again to God:- for then God becomes visibly all in all.  This reign of the Lord Jesus is thus spoken of in [Page 22] 1 Corinthians 15: 24-28.  We there read that He will put down all rule and all authority and all power, for He must reign until He hath put all enemies under His feet; even unto death itself.  So that as man, disobedient and self-glorying, lost all by using his power for Satan and for death; so man, obedient and God-glorying, will use His power to put down Satan, subdue death, and bring in universal blessedness.  And is not this worthy of Jesus? will not this be to the glory of God?



But over what shall He reign? what shall be the sphere of His dominion? These questions you will find answered in Hebrews 2.



In chapter 1 it is said, ‘when He bringeth again His first begotten Son into this inhabited earth, He saith, let all the angels &c.  Now in chapter 2 we have this inhabited earth again mentioned.  And we are here referred to Psalm 8 for a description of it.  I ask you, therefore, to read Psalm 8 in order to understand the dominion into which Jesus will then be ushered.  It is a dominion over all things in air, and earth, and sea.  This beautiful Psalm is, therefore, a picture of the last Adam set in blessing over all the works of God’s hands. And this, it is said in Hebrews 2, is that inhabited earth into which Jesus (who is now crowned with glory and honour, v. 9) will be soon brought to reign in visible glory.  For ‘now we see not yet all things put under Him’ (v. 8).  I would therefore, ask all who honestly desire to probe Scripture on these things, to examine Hebrews 2 in connection with Psalm 8.  This would be of itself quite sufficient to establish all I have said.



But now, in conclusion, I would say a word as to the effect of all this on those who believe these things. Beloved friends, one effect will be to separate wonderfully from things around.  Not so as to make you hard-hearted or indifferent - no, far otherwise; for you will be the more able to feel the groans of creation around you.  If you look [Page 23] onward to the time when there shall be love and peace and gentleness and happiness, and if your hearts rejoice in that blessed day, you will be more able to hear the present groan of creation.  You will be more attuned to the thoughts of God by dwelling in hope amidst the future blessing, and so be more able to see present things also as God sees them.  And this is a great element in holiness.  Jesus, when on earth, felt the misery around Him so acutely, because He knew the delights of the bosom of the Father.  It is acquaintance with God which makes us tender to man; - it is rest amid blessing which makes us sympathising amidst sorrow.  Thus your acquaintance with these things will only render you more sensitive to the mournful groaning around you (Romans 8: 23, 25).  Thus you will have holy and tender feelings about present things, even while walking in marked separation from them.  But to be taken up in interest in things as they are is not a sign of holiness; but it is a sign of little sympathy with God, either as to things to come or things present.



And then as to the energy of human thought and passion and purpose.  Would you help on these things to their fearful crisis?  The Spirit of God leads not there, but to the bosom and the hopes of Jesus.



And again: the belief of these things will make you long more than ever to tell of the Paschal Lamb in the place of judgment (Exodus 16).  To seek to gather poor sinners within the safe shelter of the Blood of Jesus.  The expectation of the coming of the Lord will not take away the desire to preach Christ to sinners; no, it will quicken that desire.  It will make Jesus and His salvation more precious to your own souls, and so stir you more than ever to publish that salvation unto others.



Again: you will enjoy sympathy of feeling with Christ Himself, because expecting the same things.  He is now, while seated on His Father’s throne, waiting for the hour of His own glorious and blessed dominion, - the hour when, [Page 24] with His redeemed Church, He will appear and reign in glory.  Dear friends, have you sympathy with Him in this expectation?



Again: you will have sympathy with all departed saints.  They also are now waiting in hope for that day of joy.  They looked forward to it when on earth - they wait for it now in heaven [‘Hades’ - the underworld of the dead.]*  Enoch prophesied of it - Abraham saw it and was glad.  It has ever been, and it now is, the hope of the faithful.


[* See 2Tim. 2: 18; Rev. 6: 9-11. cf.  Luke 16; Acts 2: 29-34.  It is not possible to ascend into Heaven before the time of Resurrection; and that time will be when our Lord and Saviour descends to earth to establish His kingdom here and resurrect the ‘holy’ and ‘accounted worthy’ dead from ‘paradise’ (1 Thess. 4: 16; Rev. 20: 6; Luke 20: 35; Luke 23: 43.)]



Again: you will thus have Scripture made more simple and practical to you.  For all Scripture bears upon that point to which we are now just coming.  Enoch prophesied of that which is now at the door.  So that you will find that not one single passage, taken as a whole, is worn out by time; but that, as day by day advances, the Scripture becomes the more closely connected with our own circumstances.



Again: all this places us in the position of suffering until Jesus comes.  And if we suffer with Him, we shall be also glorified together.



The Church is not gradually merging into a reigning condition; though the Church is, through much tribulation, advancing onward to her hour of glory and dominion.  Until her Lord comes, her hour of suffering continues; and its intensity will be in proportion to her faithfulness.  You will find that every epistle addressed to the Church confirms this.  The epistles are written to a suffering Church.  A Church whose hour of suffering is to terminate only on the personal appearing of her Lord to take her to Himself.  It is an error, though a very common one, to suppose that the Church’s suffering and humiliation will gradually give place to her exaltation and glory.  It is not so.  ‘I have seen servants riding upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth’ (Ecclesiastes 10: 7).  This is the character of things now.  The exaltation of all that is not of Christ - the debasement of all that is of Christ.  And this continues until the Lord Jesus returns (James 5: 7).


[Page 25]

There is one subject closely connected with all this which I have not mentioned.  It is the rising of all the dead saints, and the changing of all the living saints, when Jesus comes.  This, however, I must defer to another time. (See ‘The First Resurrection and the Reign in Righteousness’ by B. W. Newton ‑ Ed.)



And now I only add, that God’s telling us of these things places us in a blessed and happy place - even as friends of His.  But at the same time it places us in testimony as Noah.  Noah is our type and should be ever before us.  Men believed him not, and yet the flood came.  Well, the Lord Himself said, ‘As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be’ (Matthew 24: 37-39, Luke 16: 26, 27).  Are there none who can now stand in the Noah place?  Are there none who can now point to the coming wrath and to the ark of safety?  Yes - there are such.  He who knows the value of the Blood of Jesus, and who sees what God has written respecting the things shortly to come to pass, may stand in righteous but gracious testimony amidst the nations that are ripening for the coming judgment.



Are we waiting the coming of Jesus?  Are we and our households feeding on the Paschal Lamb, with our loins girded and our staves in our hand, waiting to depart?  This is the present place of the Church of God.



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(This was first published in parts in ‘Occasional Papers on Scriptural Subjects’ between 1861 and 1863.)


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That there is to be a time when the history of this Adamic earth will end, and when ‘new Heavens and a new Earth’ will be created worthy of the glory of the Second Man, the Last Adam, is a truth that must be recognised by all who bow to the testimony of Holy Scripture: but whether before the history of this Adamic earth ends, there is to be another dispensation in many respects contrasted with the present, is a question about which many varying opinions have been of late years expressed.  Dr. Brown, in the work before us, has considered that question; and has answered it in the negative.  He thinks [as all A-millennialists do today] that the present dispensation is the last imperfect dispensation, and that when it ends, it will be immediately followed by the creation of the new Heavens and new Earth in which righteousness in all perfectness will for ever dwell - that consequently no millennial dispensation [‘Age’] is to intervene between the present period and the everlasting age.*


[* That is, ‘the everlasting’ “new” creation (Rev. 21: 1), will replace this present creation for ‘the ages of the ages’ (Gk.) - for all eternity -  after God will destroy this present creation by fire, (2 Pet. 3: 10).  In other words Dr. Brown, deprives Messiah of His God-given “inheritance” upon this earth for ‘a thousand years’ (Psa. 2: 8; Rev. 20: 4-6)!]



Dr. Brown’s book has attained, especially in Scotland, great notoriety.  That it should be popular cannot be wondered at.  He writes with vigour and clearness; and many of [Page 30] the statements which he has found in the works of millennial writers and which he assails, are no doubt indefensible.  He draws a vivid but not untrue picture of the manner in which many millennial writers have made Truth their plaything whilst putting forward their own unscriptural fancies about the millennial age: he exposes the fallacy of such notions; and if it could only be shown that the doctrine of the millennial reign of Christ necessarily involved the acceptance of such errors, Dr. Brown’s triumph would be complete.






But there are many (myself among the number) who whilst firmly believing in the coming of a thousand years of peace and blessing to this earth, do, nevertheless, utterly reject those unscriptural statements, by which in the early centuries as well as in more modern times, the doctrine of the millennial reign of Christ has been discredited.  For example, we draw the strongest distinction between the millennial Heavens and Earth, which, though altered, will be essentially the same Adamic creation that we now behold, and the new Heavens and the new Earth which will be strictly a new creation, formed in suitability to the heavenly glory of the Second Man, and in suitability to the spiritual [resurrected, glorified and immortal] bodies of the redeemed.  We believe that neither Christ nor any of the glorified saints will ever again have this Adamic earth as their home.  Their home will be above the Heavens, We believe that the Gospel which the millennial earth will hear and welcome, will be no different Gospel from that now preached - but the same everlasting Gospel, bringing all who receive it into the possession of the self-same spiritual and eternal blessings as are the portions of believers now.  They will be justified through the blood and righteousness of the same Substitute - be [Page 31] baptised by the same Spirit - stand under the same everlasting Priest - be united with the same risen Lord, and finally be presented before the Father alike changed into Christ’s heavenly likeness.  We believe that Israel being, as a nation, converted at the commencement of the millennial age, will be the great missionaries to the earth - that the Gospel preached by them will be welcomed, and that millions will thus be gathered into the garners of God, - the millennium thus becoming the great harvest-time of the earth.  We believe that the Church of God is one - that it includes not a part of, but all, the redeemed.  We believe that all who have believed from Adam to Moses, and from Moses to Christ, and from Christ to the commencement of the millennial age, and likewise all who shall believe during the millennial age, shall finally form one glorified Church (each member thereof bearing the risen likeness of his Lord) in the new Heavens and new Earth.  We believe that the Mediatorship and Priesthood of Christ are everlasting – ‘Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek’ - and that the redeemed will stand under Christ as their Mediator, Priest and King, for ever and ever.  However true, therefore, it may be, that many millennial writers have rejected some or all of these truths, yet such aberrations are not to be imputed to those who whilst they believe in the millennial reign of Christ, do at the same time, cleave to the doctrine that has just been recited.






But Dr. Brown’s book is not concerned merely with combating the statements of others.  He has a system of his own - one, of the truth of which he appears very confident, for he presents it early in his work - as early, indeed, as the fourth page.  We have to thank him for his candour in this; for in listening to the arguments of others it is well that we [Page 32] should clearly understand what the conclusions are to which it is intended to lead us.  If we are asked to renounce or to reject a certain system of doctrine, it is important that we should be distinctly informed what system is to be established in its room.



In the fourth page of his work, Dr. Brown briefly, but very plainly tells us what it is necessary that we should receive, if we follow in the path in which he leads.  After blaming the primitive Christians for ‘expecting the struggles in which they were engaged to end in the personal appearing of the Lord, and the first resurrection of his martyred witnesses’ - Dr. Brown adds, ‘the militant did, indeed become a triumphant Church, but in a very different sense from what was expected.  The martyred testimony of Jesus lived and reigned, but the martyrs themselves lived not.  The Gospel slew the great red dragon - Paganism was defeated in the high places of the field - Christianity ascended the throne of the Caesars; that was the predicted reality which the enthusiasm of so many had led them to misinterpret.’ (see page 4).  In this sentence, concise but full, we find what is necessary to be believed, if we adopt the system of Dr. Brown.  We must believe that fifteen hundred years ago, ‘when Christianity ascended the throne of the Caesars,’ the Church ceased to be militant and became triumphant.  But I do not think the saints themselves have been aware of this.  They have certainly imagined that they are still militant not triumphant.  They have thought that the way that leadeth into life is still ‘narrow’ - that they are to enter into the kingdom through ‘much tribulation’ - that the path of sorrow and reproach marked in Hebrews 11 is still their path - and that the time when rest or relief from their sorrows is to be granted is only when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven in glory.  This is what Paul expressly taught the Thessalonians.  ‘God’ he said, ‘shall recompense tribulation to them that trouble you, [Page 33] and to you who are troubled, he shall recompense rest (Greek …) with us when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels  He does not say that the day of their rest and triumph should come when Christianity should ascend the throne of the Caesars.  See also his words to Timothy.  ‘Keep this commandment’ - a commandment addressed not to the Church as triumphant but as militant – ‘without spot, unrebukeable, until the Epiphany of the great God our Saviour, &c.’  If Dr. Brown’s system be received, the descriptions of the Epistles, so far as they speak of the Church as militant and suffering, must cease to apply when ‘Christianity ascended the throne of the Caesars  Then too the Ancient of Days must have sat in judgment; and the Son of Man have been brought in the clouds of heaven before Him; and the ten-horned Beast (which is the symbol of the whole Roman World) have been given to the burning fire; and the little horn have been destroyed, for all this takes place when the Church ceases to be militant, and becomes triumphant.  Have all these things been accomplished?



Further, we must believe that ‘the great red dragon (Revelation 12: 3) ‘called the Devil and Satan (Revelation 12: 9) ceased to be the accuser of the brethren before God - and ceased to be the deceiver of the nations, and was SLAIN, fifteen hundred years ago when ‘Christianity ascended the throne of the Caesars’: and we must also believe that THE FIRST RESURRECTION, (that of which it is said, ‘blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years) took place at the same period, that is to say, when ‘Christianity ascended the throne of the Caesars



I must honestly confess, that I believe no such thing.  I do not believe that when ‘Christianity ascended the throne of [Page 34] the Caesars in other words, when the proud and worldly Constantine saw fit to profess the religion of Christ, and to assume the virtual headship of a fallen and corrupt body that called itself the Church - I do not believe, either that the Dragon was slain, or that he ceased to be ‘the accuser of the brethren’, or that he ceased to deceive the nations, or that Christ and the saints began to reign or that the Millennium began.  If it commenced in the fourth century it must have ended in the fourteenth.  Between the years AD 315 and AD 1315 the world must have had its millennium; and yet neither the Church nor the world appear to have been conscious of the fact.  The true saints of God, certainly, never discovered that Satan was slain, or that he had ceased to be their accuser before God; or that they had ceased to suffer: or that the time of the reign of Truth had come; or that the nations were no longer deceived by the Evil one.  Did the persecuted Adhanasius think that the reign of Truth had come?  Or did the millions who perished before the ruthless sword of Attila, the scourge of God, think that the sword was beaten into the ploughshare?  Never was there a time when the earth groaned under the power of evil more than in the centuries that followed Constantine.  Heresies and persecutions; the inroads of the fierce northern nations that shook the Roman Empire to its centre; the bloody triumphs of Mohammedanism in the East, and the consolidation of Popery in the West; the reign of priestcraft, feudalism and chivalry - these are the characteristic features of the period that we are asked to recognise as the millennium of God!



It seems scarcely wise that Dr. Brown, if he desire to gain even temporarily the ear of reflective readers, should set before them so early in his book, statements so astounding; or that in his preface he should express his general approval of a work in which similar statements abound.  However much the imaginations of millennial writers may have [Page 35] carried them astray, yet I must in truthfulness say, that the wildest of their theories fall short of the extravagance of such statements as these.  If the blessed and holy descriptions of the millennium, given alike in the Old and New Testaments, are to find their fulfilment in scenes by which even the natural feelings and natural conscience of men as men are outraged - if the predicted reign of Christ and of His Truth over all nations, has been fulfilled in the triumphs of Mohammedanism and Popery, then the principles on which we are to interpret Scripture must be so nearly akin to those of Origenism and Swedenborgianism, and Neology, that I see no ground left on which we could hope to resist their falsehoods.






Is it vain to hope that Dr. Brown will reconsider his system?  His candour has, in the course of his work, allowed many things which other opponents of the millennial reign of Christ have been wont to deny.  May we not hope that he will reflect on the consequences of such statements as those made in the passage above quoted?  What must be their practical effect?  If we receive them, we must say that the Scripture has pronounced its most peculiar blessing on what?  On an era which gave development and consolidation to those principles of imperial and sacerdotal worldliness which have since made the Greek and Latin divisions of Christendom teem with abomination.  Are we to take the fawning flattery of Eusebius as an example of the principles of the martyrs of Christ?  Are we indeed to put the blessing of God on Constantine and his deeds, and to say of him what he said of himself, that he was the trampler down of the Dragon?  And is his headship over a proud hierarchy of mitred priests to be welcomed as if it were the reign of Christ?  Even if Oxford (See Waldegrave’s Bampton [Page 36] Lectures. 1854) should listen complacently and set the seal of its approval to such things, yet surely we might expect that the Christians of Scotland would detect in the era of Constantine, the embryo, and more than the embryo form of those principles against which many a Scottish martyr testified unto death.  Were not the principles which were inaugurated at the time when Christianity ascended the throne, virtually the same principles which the fiend-like Claverhouse gloried in, and resistance to which caused Nithsdale and Annandale, and many a vale besides, to flow, like the valleys of Piedmont, with the blood of saints?  The Christians of Scotland are not they who should pronounce God’s blessing upon the time when ‘Christianity ascended the throne of the Caesars



Let the following passage from Eusebius, describing the closing hours of Constantine, shew us what kind of Christianity was then inaugurated.



‘After this he proceeded to erect a church in memory of the Apostles, in the city which bears his name.  This building he carried to a vast height, and brilliantly decorated by encasing it from the foundation to the roof with marble slabs of various colours.  He also formed the inner roof of finely fretted work and overlaid it throughout with gold.  The external covering, which protected the building from the weather, was of brass instead of tiles; and this too was splendidly and profusely adorned with gold, and reflected the sun’s rays with a brilliancy which dazzled the distant beholder.  The dome was entirely encompassed by a finely carved tracery, wrought in brass and gold



‘Such was the magnificence with which the emperor was pleased to beautify this church.  The building was surrounded by an open area of great extent, the four sides of which were terminated by porticoes which enclosed the area and the church itself.  Adjoining these porticoes were ranges of stately chambers with baths and lodging rooms, [Page 37] and many other apartments adapted to the use of those who had charge of the place



‘All these edifices the emperor consecrated with the desire of perpetuating the memory of the Apostles of our Saviour.  He had however, another object in erecting this building: an object at first unknown, but which afterwards became evident to all.  He had in fact, made choice of this spot in the prospect of his own death, anticipating with extraordinary fervour of faith that his body would share their title with the apostles themselves, and that he should thus even after death become the subject, with them, of the devotions which should be performed to their honour in this place.  He accordingly caused twelve coffins to be set up in this church like sacred pillars in honour and memory of the apostolic number, in the centre of which his own was placed, having six of theirs on either side of it.  Thus, as I have said, he had provided with prudent foresight an honourable resting place for his body after death, and having long before secretly formed this resolution, he now consecrated this church to the apostles, believing that this tribute to their memory would be of no small advantage to his own soul.  Nor did God disappoint him of that which he so ardently expected and desired.  For after he had completed the first services of the feast of Easter and had passed this sacred day of our Lord in a manner which made it an occasion of joy and gladness to himself and to all; the God through whose aid he performed all these acts, and whose zealous servant he continued to be even to the end of life, was pleased at a happy time to translate him to a higher and better sphere of blessing



‘At first he experienced some slight interruption of his usual health, which was soon followed by positive disease.  In consequence of this he visited the hot baths of his own city; and thence proceeded to that which bore the name of his mother.  Here he passed some time in the church of the [Page 38] martyrs, and offered up supplications and prayers to God.  Being at length convinced that his life was drawing to a close, he felt the time was come at which he should seek to expiate the errors of his past career, firmy believing that whatever sins he had committed as a mortal man, his soul would be purified from them through the efficacy of the mysterious words and the salutary waters of baptism.  Impressed with these thoughts, he poured forth his supplications and confessions to God, kneeling on the pavement in the church itself, in which he also now for the first time received the imposition of hands with prayer.  After this he proceeded as far as the suburbs of Nicomedia, and there, having summoned the bishops to meet him, addressed them in the following words: ‘The time is arrived which I have long hoped for, with an earnest desire and prayer that I might obtain the salvation of God.  The hour is come in which I too may receive the blessing of that seal which confers immortality; the hour in which I may partake of the impression of the salutary sign.  I had thought to do this in the waters of the river Jordan, wherein our Saviour, for our example, is recorded to have been baptised: but God, who knows what is expedient for us, is pleased that I should receive this blessing here.  Be it so, then, without delay; for should it be His will Who is Lord of life and death, that my existence here should be prolonged, and should I be destined henceforth to associate with the people of God, and unite with them in prayer as a member of His Church, I will prescribe to myself from this time such a course of life as befits His service.’ After he had thus spoken, the prelates performed the sacred ceremonies in the usual manner, and having given him the necessary instructions, made him a partaker of the mystic ordinance.  Thus was Constantine the first of all sovereigns who was regenerated and perfected in a church dedicated to the martyrs of Christ; thus gifted with the Divine seal of baptism, he rejoiced in spirit, was [Page 39] renewed, and filled with heavenly light his soul was gladdened by reason of the fervency of his faith, and astonished at the manifestation of the power of God.  At the conclusion of the ceremony he arrayed himself in imperial vestments, white and brilliant as the light, and reclined on a couch of the purest white, refusing to clothe himself with the purple any more.  He then lifted his voice and poured forth a strain of thanksgiving to God, after which he added these words: ‘Now I know that I am truly blessed: now I feel assured that I am accounted worthy of immortality, and am made a partaker of Divine light



Is this real Christianity?  Can we wonder that Gibbon should sarcastically comment on it thus?  ‘The pride of Constantine, who refused the privilege of a catechumen, cannot easily be explained or excused: but the delay of his baptism may be justified by the maxims and practice of ecclesiastical antiquity.  The sacrament of baptism was supposed to contain a full and absolute expiation of sin; and the soul was instantly restored to its original purity, and entitled to the promise of eternal salvation.  Among the proselytes of Christianity, there were many who judged it imprudent to precipitate a salutary rite, which could not be repeated; to throw away inestimable privilege, which could never be recovered,’ &c. (‘Decline and Fall’ chapter 20).






We who maintain that a large part of prophetic Scripture yet remains to be fulfilled, are accustomed to receive many a word of admonition as to the danger of wrongly applying or interpreting the Word of God.  No doubt there is danger; but is the danger confined merely to interpretations that have the future as their subject?  Is there not equal, if not greater danger of wrong interpretation in respect of the past?  Men seem to think that the interpretation of [Page 40] prophecies which they conceive to be fulfilled, must be comparatively sure and safe.  But is it so?  Is there not infinite danger of our misjudging the events of the past, so as even to call evil good: and what possibility can there, in that case, be, of our interpreting prophecy aright, even supposing that we had committed no error in thinking it to be fulfilled when it is not?  In looking back over the history of professing Christendom from the day of Constantine onward, we are to remember, that God has watched it and formed His own estimate thereon.  The events that have marked those years have not been disregarded by Him. He has weighed them in the balances of His holiness, and His sentence on them is registered above.  The exaltation of philosophic and ritual Christianity under Constantine, and the resulting consequences down to the moment at which we live have all been watched by the holy eye of the great Judge of all, and He expects that the judgment of His people should, as to these things, be in accordance with His own.  He has not written His Word to sanction evil, but to condemn it.  Shall we then seek to frustrate His purpose in this?  Shall we so distort and alter the bearing of His Word as to cause it to sanctify abomination?  These are questions more solemn - more important, than any that concern any mere point of prophetic interpretation.



Nor must it be supposed, that the subject in dispute between those who maintain, and those who reject the doctrine of the Millennium, concerns any less important question than the principle on which Scripture as a whole is to be interpreted.  The same license that allows me to say that the word resurrection in Revelation 20This is the first resurrection.  Blessed is he that hath part in the first resurrection &c: these words being, let it be remembered, an explanation of the symbol which John had seen in vision) - the same principle that leads me to say that resurrection in this passage does not really mean resurrection, * but only a revival of principles, must, if I am consistent, be applied to the final resurrection mentioned in the close of the same chapter; and I shall have to say, that the rest of the dead raised at the close of the thousand years, means not the resurrection of persons, but merely a revival of principles, and so the doctrine of a resurrection may be set aside altogether.


[* NOTE. This is the position and interpretation of multitudes of God’s redeemed people today!  Will any who adopt this method of prophetic interpretation inherit the coming Kingdom of Messiah?  Will those who have taught error of this nature ‘Rule and reign’ with Him for ‘a thousand years’?  Can it be assumed that a Righteous Judge will allow such a thing to happen?  NO!: unless of course repentance is ‘granted’ and a life of holiness unto God and the truth of His Word is forthcoming! 


It is a costly mistake to allow oneself to agree with false teachings - no matter how many may believe and allow themselves to get caught up in them or how eloquently they are presented -  they must be rejected and exposed for what they are: “There arose false prophets among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that [who] bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction:” (2 Pet. 2: 1, R.V.)  A-Millennial prophetical teachings are rampant throughout Christendom today!]



There are other points on which I might dwell, such for example as the incongruity of Dr. Brown’s statement respecting ‘the slaying of the great red Dragon with the very words of the passage on which his remarks are founded.  If the great Dragon was slain at the time supposed, how is it that the very same chapter describes him in the last verse as continuing to persecute, and leads us on to the succeeding chapter where that Beast through whom the Dragon persecutes is described, and of which Beast it is said that ‘the Dragon gives to him his throne and great authority’?  It would be strange that the Dragon if slain should be able to do this.  I might dwell on many points like these but all that I will now do, is, to ask attention to the events which Scripture connects with the destruction of the power of Satan.  In Isaiah 26 - 27 I find these solemn words, ‘Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.  For, behold, the LORD cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.  In that day the LORD with His sore and great and strong sword ... shall slay the Dragon that is in the sea and then, as a consequence, Israel - converted Israel (not the present election from among the Gentiles) ‘shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit



Again in Revelation 19: 19 and 20: 21, I find exactly the same order.  The Lord Jesus is revealed as King of kings and [Page 42] Lord of lords, the armies of Heaven following - the same event to which Isaiah referred when he said, ‘Behold, the LORD cometh out of His place &c.  Next Antichrist and all those associated with him are destroyed.  Next Satan is bound (Revelation 20: 2); then comes the [millennial] reign of Christ and of His saints, when Israel shall indeed ‘blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit  Ah! how different these things from any thing that occurred either before, or at, or after, the time when Christianity ascended the throne of the Caesars!  And when the LORD shall thus have come out of His place, and punished iniquity, and bound Satan, and converted Israel, may we not well say that a new dispensation will have commenced, and yet it will not be ‘the dispensation of the fullness of times  It will not be yet the time for the ‘new Heavens and new Earth’ to be created in which righteousness shall for ever dwell.



*       *       *









I have expressed a hope that a time will come when Dr. Brown will reconsider some of the opinions expressed in the book before us.  I have not abandoned this hope.  There are certain truths firmly held by him which, if he follow them out to their consequences (as I trust he will) must lead him to conclusions other than those which he has in past time formed.  Dr. Brown reverences the Word of God.  He knows the value of close textual exposition.  I trust, therefore, that he will yet see reason to acknowledge that our present dispensation is not the last temporary and imperfect dispensation on earth.  I trust that he will yet recognise that the Scripture clearly speaks of another earthly dispensation interposed [here] between the present, and the period when ‘new heavens and a new earth’ are to be created in which righteousness is for ever to dwell.



There are several points on which Dr. Brown does not accord with the statements ordinarily advanced by those who reject the doctrine of the pre-millennial advent of our Lord.  For example, it has been very commonly said by such, that we need not give prominence to the coming of the [Page 44] Lord, nor make it the subject of our hope, for that ‘the death of individuals is to all practical purposes the coming of the Lord to them’. With such sentiments Dr. Brown has no sympathy.






‘It is not enough,’ he observes, ‘that we believe the doctrines of Scripture numerically, so to speak.  We must believe them as they are revealed - in their revealed collocations and bearings.  Implicit submission to the authority of God’s Word obviously includes this.  If, then, Christ’s second appearing, instead of being full in the view of the Church, as we find it in the New Testament, is shifted into the background, while other anticipations are advanced into its room, which though themselves scriptural, do not occupy in Scripture the place which we assign to them, are we trembling at the authority and the wisdom of God in His Word, or are we not rather ‘leaning to our own understanding  ‘Let not your heart be troubled said Jesus to His sorrowing disciples: ‘In My Father’s house are many mansions: I go to prepare a place for you.  And if go away’ - What then?  ‘Ye shall soon follow me?  Death shall shortly bring us together?’  Nay - but ‘If I go away, I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am there ye may be also’ (John 14: 1-3).  ‘And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in while apparel; which also said, ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven shall,’ - What?  Take you home soon to Himself at [the time of] death?  Nay, but shall ‘so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.’ (Acts 1: 10-11).



The death of believers, however changed in its character, in virtue of their union to Christ, is, intrinsically [Page 45] considered, not joyous, but grievous - not attractive, but repulsive.  It is the disruption of a tie* which the Creator formed for perpetuity - the unnatural and abhorrent divorce of parties made for sweet and uninterrupted fellowship.  True, there is no curse in it to the believer; but it is the memorial of the curse, telling of sin, and breach of the first covenant, and legal wrath.  All the ideas therefore which death, as such, is fitted to suggest, even in connection with the better covenant, are of a humiliating kind.  Whatever is associated with it of a joyous nature is derived from other considerations, by which its intrinsic gloominess is, in the case of believers, relieved.  But the Redeemer’s second appearing is, to the believer, an event of unmingled joyousness, whether as respects the honour of his Lord, which will be majestically vindicated before the world which had set it at nought, or as respects his own salvation, which will then have its glorious completion.  How, then, should the former event be fitted to awaken feelings.  I say not equally intense, but even of the same order, as the latter?  In connection with His second appearing, the believer is privileged to regard his own death as bound up with the Redeemer’s triumph, and a step to his final victory with Him.  But as a substitute for it - a being to all practical purposes (as they say) one and the same thing with the expectation of the Redeemer’s appearing, this looking forward to one’s own death will be found very deficient in practical effect.


[* NOTE.  ‘The disruption of a tie’ which Physical Death affects (or separates) is: (1) the animating ‘spirit’ returns to God, (Luke 23: 46; Acts 7: 59. cf. Luke 8: 55); (2) the ‘soul’ descends into ‘Hades’ / ‘Sheol’ - the place of the dead ‘in the heart of the earth,’ until the time of Resurrection when our Lord returns, (Acts 2: 27; Matt. 12: 40; 16: 18; 1 Thess. 4: 16. cf. Gen. 37: 35; Psa. 16: 10.) - and (3) the ‘Body’ decomposes in the grave “waiting for adoption” and “redemption,” (Rom. 8: 23, R.V.)! 


When Messiah returns, to raise the dead and establish His Reign of righteousness and peace upon this sin-cursed earth (Gen. 3: 17, 18), then, and not before that time, will the ‘tie’ will be established once again.]



The bliss of the disembodied spirits [and souls] of the just is not only incomplete, but in some sense, private and fragmentary, if I may so express myself.  Each believer enters on it for himself at his own death.  His spirit is with Christ, resting consciously under His wing from the warfare of the flesh, and tranquilly anticipating future glory.  ‘He shall enter into Peace; they shall rest in their beds - each one waking in his uprightness (Isaiah 57: 2) ... But at the Redeemer’s appearing, all [who will be “accounted worthy to attain to that age” (Luke 20: 35) to be raised “out from the dead” (Phil. 3: 11, Lit. Gk.), and from amongst] His redeemed will be collected together and Perfectly, Publicly and Simultaneously glorified.  It is necessary to point out the inferiority, in practical power, of the one prospect to the other, or to indicate the superior class of ideas and feelings which the latter is fitted to generate.



Dr. Brown afterwards quotes Titus 2: 11, 14.  ‘The grace of God which bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works



‘Here,’ says Dr. Brown, ‘both comings of Christ are brought together; the first in ‘grace’ the second in ‘glory’; the first ‘bringing salvation’ - the second, to complete the salvation brought.  To the first we look back by faith - to the second we look forward by hope.  In the enjoyment of the fruit of the first we anticipate the fullness of the second.’ (See pages 22, 23, 24).  All who adhere to the Scripture as their guide, will recognise the value of statements such as these.






Moreover, Dr. Brown does not explain away into intangible nothingness the hope which the Scripture gives of the creation of ‘new heavens and a new earth’ after the Adamic heavens and earth have passed away.  He does not nullify the words of the Apostle, ‘We according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness  He admits [as all A-Millennialsts also do] that as the saints will finally in the resurrection be clothed with spiritual bodies, formed according to the likeness of Christ in glory, so truly will [Page 47] ‘new heavens’ and a ‘new earth’ fitted to the condition of such glorified bodies, be literally and actually created.  See page 12*.  But Dr. Brown will not admit (and who that values God’s Truth would wish him to admit) that the new earth is to be ‘tenanted by a world of men in the flesh, the vast majority of whom, at the first, are total strangers to Christ and dead in trespasses and sins.  And this is the new heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness which we according to His promise look for (page 286).


* Dr. Brown’s admission in the passage referred to, page 12, of the actuality of the ‘new heavens and new earth must be regarded as incapable of being reconciled with the statement made by Bishop Waldegrave and others, and assented to by Dr. Brown in his first chapter, to the effect that the millennium is passed, and that we already are or have been in the new heavens and new earth.  Dr. Brown has, no doubt, imagined that he could hold the future literal creation of new heavens and new earth, and yet retain the other notion.  But I think further reflection, and a careful examination of Revelation 20 and 21, to the 8th verse inclusive - where the chapter should divide, will convince him that the two thoughts are utterly irreconcilable; and when he is convinced of this, I feel assured that he will not abandon the literality and futurity of the new heavens and earth, but that he will reject and condemn the thought that we are at present in them.



Who, I again ask, that loves God’s Truth, will not rejoice that Dr. Brown should reject with abhorrence a statement so revolting as this?  Yet this is the doctrine that disfigures the pages of many a writer on the millennium.  They seem never to have apprehended the lesson which it is the great object of all Scripture to enforce, viz., the distinction between the first man as earthy, and the Second Man - the Last Adam in resurrection glory.  The earth, whether in its paradisiacal or its antediluvian, or in its present, or in its millennial condition, is adamic.  It was made for and in adaptation to the condition of the first Adam.  It was never designed to be a sphere suited to the heavenly, resurrection-glory of the Second Man, and of those who are to be glorified with Him in spiritual bodies.* It was never intended to be the home of such.  It was never designed to be the place in which righteousness should ‘dwell’.  With the earthy man the history of this earth commenced, and with the conclusion of his course, when death the last enemy is destroyed (and that will not be till the end of the millennium) the history of this adamic earth will terminate; and then - not before, new heavens and a new earth will be created, into which ‘flesh and blood’ that is, humanity in its present form, cannot enter.** None will be there except those who, having been redeemed and washed from their sins in the Blood of the Lamb, have also attained the great result of redemption, by being changed into the likeness of their glorified Lord.  Their bodies will be heavenly bodies, and all the circumstances of their condition spiritual.*** The new heavens and new earth, therefore, will harmonise with the spiritual condition of those for whom, and in adaptation to whom, this new creation is made.  The adamic earth even in its paradisiacal (how much less in its millennial) condition, can bear no comparison with ‘the new earth’.  It can be no more compared therewith, than Adam in his earthiness can be compared with Christ in His glory.  The new heavens and new earth are to be the peculiar inheritance of redeemed and glorified man.  Not indeed that we are to be limited thereunto.  It is not the only sphere of our blessedness.  We shall have access even to the Heaven of Heavens, for we are to be with Christ where He is, (John 17: 24): we are to follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.  (Revelation 14) The final condition of the redeemed will be altogether unearthly.  None of the characteristics that attach to our present ‘bodes of humiliation’ will be found either in the heavenly City, or in that new earth into which the heavenly [Page 49] City finally descends.*  All there will be in resurrection perfectness. Accordingly, we are expressly told that the new heavens and earth will not exist until ‘the first heaven and the first earth in which the millennium finds its sphere, shall have ‘passed away, and no place be found for them and then He that sitteth on the throne will say, ‘Behold I make all things new  The millennial dispensation, therefore, which precedes the creation of the new heavens and earth is not the final dispensation.


[* NOTE.  There is no Scriptural evidence to suggest that resurrected souls - with immortal, glorified bodies - cannot dwell upon this earth during the time of our Lord’s millennium! 


God’s promise to Abraham - a promise which has not yet been fulfilled - was for him to inherit land upon this earth; for as far his eyes could see and in all directions, Gen. 13: 15; 15: 7!  “Many shall come from the east and from the west,” said our Lord Jesus Christ, “and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heavenMatt. 8: 11.  This statement can only be fulfilled after Abraham’s resurrection, for Stephen says: God “gave him (Abraham) none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: and he promised that he would give it to him in possession…” (Acts 7: 5, R.V.).  Are God’s unfulfilled prophecies - relative to His people Israel and the Church concerning this earth - never to be realised?  


** “Flesh and blood,” says Paul, “cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 15: 50): but a resurrected, immortal, glorified body of “Flesh and bones” (Luke 24: 29) - like that of our Lord’s after His resurrection - most certainly can!


*** The inspired Apostle Paul, in 1 Cor. 15: 44, describes the resurrected body as “a spiritual body”!  What does he mean?  To teach that there are disembodied souls (human phantoms), in the presence of God in heaven now, and without the appropriate clothing required at the time of Resurrection, is like describing an old steam-driven train as an object which was made out of steam! 

Is it not stated in Scripture that our Lord, after His resurrection, ate bread and fish upon this earth?  Did He not promise His disciples, (and those who would continue with Him in His trials), that they too would one day “eat and drink” with Him at His table in His Kingdom, and “sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel:” Luke 22: 30?  “And these all, having had witness borne to them through their faith, received not the promises.  God having provided some better thing concerning us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (Heb. 11: 39, 40, R.V.), at the time of Resurrection: not at the time of Death.]

* I say ‘finally,’ for ‘the new Jerusalem’ will not be in the millennial earth.  During the millennial period it will be above, the created heavens.  In the new heavens and earth, however, it is said to be brought into participative association with men – but men glorified in the new earth.  Its relation to the millennial earth is typified by the   relation of the Holy Place of the Tabernacle or Temple to the outer Court.  The first eight verses of Revelation 21, describe its relation to the new earth: the subsequent part of Revelation 21, which ought to form a separate chapter, describes its relation to the millennial earth, during which period there will be ‘nations’ that need ‘healing’ (see Revelation 22: 2): but this will not be true in the new earth.  We read of no ‘nations’, or ‘kings’ of nations there.



It is a dispensation interposed between the present dispensation and ‘the dispensation of the fullness of times Nor is it until this last, that the counsels of God touching the perfected and united glory of all the redeemed [“accounted worthy” at that time] will be accomplished.  The millennial is, as its name implies, a temporary - not an abiding dispensation; it is subsidiary to the final dispensation, and is marked in many ways by imperfection; death and corruption are not extinct till its conclusion, for there is a fearful outbreak of evil at its close extinguished by a terrible act of Divine judgment.


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If I interpret the sentiments of Dr. Brown aright, he will except to little that I have now stated respecting the new heavens and earth, and the condition of the redeemed therein.  He will also unite with me in saying that all die redeemed of every age, whatever may have been their dispensational position on earth, will finally form one glorified body - one glorified Church - all equally conformed, according to 1 Corinthians 15, to the heavenly likeness of their risen Lord.  Dispensational distinctions of light and knowledge, however important here, are not to be transferred into heaven.  Abel, Abraham, Moses, Daniel, John the Baptist, and Paul will not carry with them into the eternal world those differences of light and knowledge which marked them here.  Alike changed into the glorious likeness of their Lord, they will have like powers of understanding, and affection, and service.  They will all know as they are known: they will all be equally near to Christ and to God.  The prayer of John 17 in respect to all the eternal blessings therein asked, will be fulfilled in them all.






But Dr. Brown has found in the works of writers on the millennium, statements which go to exclude, and that for ever, a large - indeed the largest, portion of the redeemed from the Church, and from the Church’s blessings.  It is asserted by many that neither Abel, nor Enoch, nor Noah, nor Moses, nor David, nor Daniel, nor any of those who shall be converted in the millennium (although that is to be the great harvest-time of the earth) will ever belong to the Church or share the Church’s distinctive glories.  According to these writers, dissimilarity - not union, and unity, is to characterise heaven.  Abraham, although ‘the father of the faithful’ is to be excluded from the distinctive blessings of the faithful.  According to this new system the blood and [Page 51] righteousness of Jesus do not avail to bring into the Church’s glory.



That which is supposed to afford the distinctive ground of entrance into the Church is not (as we have hitherto imagined) the work of Christ, but the work of the Holy Spirit: for it is affirmed that only they who receive of the Holy Spirit in the manner in which that Spirit is now* given, are admitted into the Church and into the Church’s eternal blessings.


* The period to which this ‘now’ applies, is extended from Pentecost, or as many say, from Paul to a supposed secret rapture of the saints.  The advocates of this system seem to forget that the Old Testament saints received the same Spirit as we, although they received Him as a Spirit of servantship (Greek: …  (Romans 8: 15) - we as a Spirit pertaining to the condition of sons (Greek: …).  Although sons, yet the saints, whilst under the law as a tutor, were in a state of pupilage, and differed nothing from servants. (See Galatians 4: 1)  They consequently were caused to feel as servants - we as sons: but it is the same Spirit; for ‘the flesh profiteth nothing and if they had not received the Spirit, they could in nothing have either loved or served God.



We can scarcely wonder that Dr. Brown should take alarm at and denounce statements like these.  We would indeed grieve if it were otherwise.   He calls them ‘novel’, ‘startling,’ ‘repulsive,’ ‘speculations and speaks of the doctrinal system of which they form a part as ‘a wedge upheaving, when introduced into the text of Scripture, almost everything which has been hitherto regarded as most fixed and sacred - all that has most surely been believed amongst us’ - (page 85).



‘As the union of all believers in Christ (I continue to quote from Dr. Brown) is the same as to its essence, so the future glory of them all alike is made to flow from that union, and not from any external circumstances in which [Page 52] they may differ from each other.  Let me entreat the attention of my pre-millennial friends to this remark.  Is it necessary to give proofs of what is so manifest?



‘Thou hast given Thy Son power over all flesh said Jesus to His Father, ‘that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him - Father, I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory,’ &c. (John 17: 2, 24).



‘Here we find all the elect getting eternal life from Christ’s hands - will any that ever shall believe in Him get less than this?  But here, also, Christ wills that the same elect company be with Him where He is, to behold His glory - and can any class of believers have more?



‘This is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.



‘No man can come to me, except the Father, Which hath sent Me, draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.



‘Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.



‘He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him.’ (John 6: 39, 44, 54, 56).



‘Who that reads these words can doubt that the elect - drawn to Christ by common supernatural grace, one with Him in common, by mutual inhabitation through the Spirit, and thus saved with a ‘common salvation’ (Jude 3) are destined to partake in common of the resurrection, life, and glory of their Head?  ‘The glory which thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one (John 17: 22).



‘Whom He did foreknow says Paul, ‘He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren [in resurrection and glory surely as well as everything else] Moreover, [Page 53] whom He did predestinate [the whole company of the elect], them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified them [all of them] He also glorified.



‘If any man [during the millennium surely, as well as at any other time] have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.



‘But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you(Romans 8: 29, 30, 9, 11).



‘But why go on?  Who can read the New Testament and fail to see that all the life, and glory, and fellowship with the Lamb, which any believer is ever to have, is made to flow from the common oneness of all believers with Christ, as Head of His body the Church, and not from the mere ‘external circumstances’ which may distinguish one class of them from another?’



Many a heart will, I trust, respond to these sentiments.  It is a solemn thing to interfere with the everlasting unities established by God in Christ.  As there is only one redemption, so likewise the mystical body of Christ is one; comprehending all who are included in the one redemption.   The Scripture knows of no redemption that does not also involve union with the Person of the Redeemer.  The principles taught in such chapters as Romans 5 and 8 respecting the flesh of fallen man and the mode of deliverance therefrom, and the final results of that deliverance, are not temporary, transitory principles limited to this or that dispensation.  They are eternal principles; as true of Abel or Abraham, as of Paul; and true also of the last saint that shall be converted in the millennial age.



There are not two Gospels, or two kinds of Christianity.  It will not be less true in the Millennium than now, that ‘whom He called, them He also justified, and whom He [Page 54]  justified them He also glorified  And what is ‘glory’ but conformation to the likeness of Christ (1 Corinthians 15) - the being made joint heirs with Him: - He ‘the firstborn among many brethren



In Romans 8 we see recorded the blessings present and to come that grace has given to all the family of faith. The heart of the Apostle glowed with thankfulness as he recounted them.  But there was one thought of deep sorrow that abidingly weighed down his soul.  He remembered Israel - God’s nation - his ‘brethren according to the flesh for he knew that they had rejected and spurned this great salvation.  ‘I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart (for I used to wish myself accursed from Christ) concerning my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, Who is over all, God blessed for ever.  Amen  Such are his words of sorrow in chapter 9; but when we come to chapter 11, we find other thoughts.  We have there his joyful anticipation of the hour in which Israel, again brought under the Abrahamic covenant of grace, shall be re-grafted into their own olive tree; or when, to use other words, they shall receive those eternal blessings in Christ which Romans 8 had detailed.  It was the joy of the Apostle’s heart to know that not one of the blessings recorded in Romans 8 shall finally be wanting to redeemed and forgiven Israel - that they should be brought at last to know all the fullness that is in Christ.



And such throughout is the testimony of Scripture.  It teaches that all who are brought during the present dispensation into the fold of faith, belong to the spiritual Israel, and forestall all the spiritual blessings which the outward [Page 55] Israel shall have when they as a nation shall be brought into the same fold and they too become spiritual.  All our present spiritual blessings are the result of the new Covenant of grace under which we stand; and when, by and by, repentant Israel is brought under the same Covenant, the same spiritual blessings will be theirs together with certain outward blessings, which by their addition in no wise affect those higher blessings, which as being spiritual and eternal, give to converted Israel and to ourselves an essential similarity of condition, paramount to all mere earthly and temporary differences: and this similarity or rather oneness, it is the delight of the Scripture to extol.  But if we adopt the principle of this ‘novel’ system, as Dr. Brown justly calls it, we must unlearn all these things.  Instead of uniting and blending (so to speak) Romans 8 and 11, we must sever and set them in a kind of antagonistic contrast.  We must believe that Israel when re-grafted into that olive tree (their own olive tree) from whose fatness ‘we derive all our blessings, will find in that fatness’ - not the riches that we find - not the love and grace and glory of Romans 8 - not inheritance of the heavenly glory of Christ, but blessings of a lower order, falling infinitely short of those which are inherited by us.   All the saints of Israel of old time, and all that are to be in the millennial age when Israel is to be ‘married’ under the new covenant to the Lord are, it is said, to be excluded from the distinctive blessings of the Church forever.   Such are the doctrines of this most delusive and dangerous system.  The very things that Scripture brings into indissoluble union, it rends asunder.  It confounds ‘the Church of the first born ones which is complete at the Lord’s appearing, with the Church as a whole, which is not complete at the Lord’s appearing.  It utterly subverts the testimony of Hebrews 11 by making the hope of the saints of Israel of old to be something less than the heavenly City - the Bride of the Lamb; whereas that chapter declares that [Page 56] they looked for that heavenly City, and that their inheritance was therein.  It equally nullifies Ephesians 2, which teaches that the mystical body of Christ is only one, and that to be excluded from it is to be excluded from [eternal] salvation.  It does not indeed deny that Israel will be brought under the new covenant, but it teaches that the saints of this dispensation, although a mere section of the redeemed, will receive blessings of a higher order than those included in the new Covenant of grace - a thought which, if carried out to its legitimate consequences, must lead to saying that the distinctive blessings of the Church are above, and beyond, and independent of, all that Christ as the Mediator of the new Covenant has performed.  It supposes that a part of the redeemed receive blessings of a higher order than those which are included in the new Covenant, under which Covenant comes, be it remembered, all that the Epistle to the Hebrews reveals respecting Christ as our sacrifice and great Melchisedek Priest - all in fact that enables us to say that our sins and iniquities are remembered no more, and that God’s laws are written in our hearts for ever, through that Spirit whereby we are united to our risen Lord in life and glory above the heavens.  Are such blessings as these not to be considered as coming among the distinctive blessings of the Church?  Are we to say that our blessings are so peculiar that they are beyond the scope of Scripture, and that they are in fact unrevealed?  Such is the conclusion that necessarily results from these principles - such the precipice that ends the path into which this system leads.*


* The expression, ‘Church of the first born ones,’ to which I have above referred, is clearly restricted to those who rise in the first resurrection; whereas the word ‘Church’, when used in its eternal sense, and unaccompanied by any limitation, means all the redeemed.


We, as believers, are at this present moment said to be ‘married’ unto Christ.  See Romans 7: 4: ‘that ye might be married unto another, even to Him Who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God’: and again, ‘for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife and they two shall be one flesh.  This is a great mystery; but I speak respecting Christ and the church.’  If then we who live in the present dispensation are not excluded by the fact of our being at present the spouse of Christ, from being comprehended under the future title of ‘the bride’ ‑ a title which is not applied to us till the millennium begins, so neither will Israel, who are called the spouse or married wife in the millennium be excluded from the title and privileges of ‘the bride’ when that name is for the last time applied to the redeemed, viz., when after the millennium the heavenly city descends into the new earth.  ‘Spouse’ and ‘bride’ are corporate titles that equally belong to all who are brought under redeeming love.



Again, where Scriptures use varieties of illustration to present in different aspects the various relations of the same one person, or of the same one body, these varieties of aspects are by this system supposed to imply absolute distinctions.  How various are the aspects under which we, who are one body in Christ, are presented in the parables and other parts of the New Testament.  We are called [Page 57] ‘wheat’ (Matthew 13: 30), ‘fishes’ (Matthew 13: 47), ‘sheep’ (Matthew 25: 33), ‘servants’ (Matthew 25: 14), ‘children of the bridechamber’ (Matthew 9 :15), [who are being invited to be] ‘guests at the marriage supper’ (Matthew 22: 10), ‘virgins which went forth to meet the bridegroom’ (Matthew 25: 1), ‘branches in the true vine’ (John 15: 1), ‘children of God’ (Romans 8: 16), ‘brethren of Christ’ (Hebrews 2: 11), ‘married unto Christ’ (Romans 7: 4) - all these descriptions illustrating relations which are at present ours.  Are we to say that they are not to be regarded as presenting different aspects of the same body, but that they indicate distinct bodies?  We must say this if we consistently carry out the principles of the strange system we are considering.  We must say that there are as [Page 58] many divisions of the redeemed as there are parables in the Gospels, or visions of glory in the Revelation.  What if we were to apply the same principle to the types of the Old Testament, and to say that He Who is represented by the victim, or by the incense, cannot be represented by the priest; or if we were to say that the types of the burnt offering and sin offering cannot at the same time be combined in one person - what then would become of the sacrificial and priestly service of Him on Whom almost every type in Leviticus concentrates its instruction?  Manifold are the aspects in which Scripture is wont to present to us that which is in itself one.  It is well to apprehend these varieties of aspect.  Indeed, we cannot advance in the knowledge of the Word of God without apprehending them: yet it is far better to be ignorant of them, if by means of them we seek to destroy the unities of truth.  The error and danger of these doctrines have not escaped the penetration of Dr. Brown, and with the earnestness of his protest against them I once more express my glad concurrence.






Now let us approach the subject of our differences. Yet here again I find myself met by a point of agreement. Dr. Brown recognises that Israel will be as a nation, converted to Christ.  He does not [like the Anti-millennialist of today] indulge the vain and deceiving thought that Israel’s national standing is for ever forfeited; and that gradually they will be absorbed into and lost in the Gentile Church.  Dr. Brown sees clearly that Israel is as a nation to be converted; that they are not to be grafted into the Gentile branch of the olive tree, but are to be grafted back as a distinct and separate branch into their own olive tree; and that, at a time when the present phase of Gentile Christianity will cease to be.  ‘Blindness in part says the [divinely inspired] Apostle, ‘has happened unto Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in  Dr. Brown admits on the evidence [Page 59] of this verse, that the present form of Gentile Christianity, as now seen in Christendom, is to come to an end and that then Israel as a nation, is to be brought into the knowledge and confession of the name of Jesus.



This admission goes far to sustain the conclusion which I am anxious to establish, viz., that between the present and the final dispensation in the ‘new heavens and earth’, another temporary and imperfect dispensation intervenes - a dispensation not different as regards Truth (for there is only one Gospel; one salvation; one Church; one final glory;) but different as regards the circumstances under which Truth will be ministered, and the results that will attend its ministration.



What a wonderful change must be effected in the moral and spiritual condition of the world from the mere fact of a truly converted nation being suddenly established as the controlling centre of influence in the earth.  Nations may be viewed either corporately and governmentally (and in this aspect their character is determined by their legislative and executive acts), or we may view them in respect of the individuals of whom they are numerically composed.  In both these respects Israel will be perfect.  Their legislative and executive action will be immediately under the control of heaven, and all the members of the family of Israel, even though they may be as the sand of the sea for multitude, will be all converted unto God.  ‘Thy people shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the Land for ever,* the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified.’ (Isaiah 60: 21).  ‘The Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.  As for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith the LORD; My Spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seeds seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever(Isaiah 59: 20-21).


[* That is, in this context, for as long as this present earth, sun and moon endure.]


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Israel when made this, and that suddenly (for they are the nation that is to be ‘born in a day’) will bring to bear on the earth an influence very different in its character and potency from any that has ever yet been known.  Hitherto every good thing that has been committed to the hands of man has been, more or less, perverted to evil and used against God.  The natural blessings covenanted to the earth in the days of Noah have on God’s part been faithfully given; but how they have been used, the history not merely of Paganism, but of Judaism and Christendom, will declare.  Supreme governmental power when withdrawn from Jerusalem was committed to certain successive Gentile Empires who were commissioned to rule in the earth, and to tread down Jerusalem till the days of their supremacy should terminate by Jerusalem’s forgiveness.  ‘Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles till the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled  The nations who have held this power, have been sometimes Pagan, at other times Mohammedan or else nominally Christian - finally they will all become Anti-christian; but not one of them has ever been, as respects the individuals numerically composing them, converted: nor governmentally has any one of them adopted truly the principles of Christ as their guide.  Accordingly, the symbols by which they are governmentally denoted in Scripture have unvaryingly been ‘fierce beasts’, the last of which, because of the blasphemies in which it will be involved, is to be ‘given’ in vengeance, ‘to the burning flame (Daniel 7). Such has been, and will be the character of governmental power as exercised by the leading nations of the earth during all the time of Israel’s punishment.  And then, as regards Truth, Christendom has succeeded into the place once occupied by Israel in being entrusted with ‘the oracles of God  But has Christendom continued in God’s goodness?  Has it been, or is it, a witness to God’s pure truth?  No.  The Gentile olive branch has not continued in God’s [Page 61] goodness and therefore we know that it must be cut off, and that with judgment - even at the moment when [the remnant of] Israel, punished, but not destroyed by judgment, shall come forth out of their long night of darkness, and inaugurate the brightness of another day.  May not a dispensation [or ‘Age’], introduced by a change so great as this, be truly said to be a new dispensation?



Let us take any of the descriptions given in the Old Testament respecting the condition of the earth after the national forgiveness of Israel, and say whether they do not imply the introduction of a new era in human things.  At present there are throughout the earth ‘gods many, and lords many’ (1 Corinthians 8: 5) but then ‘Jehovah shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one LORD and His Name One  (Zechariah 14).  At present it is said of Israel that they are ‘blinded’; that they ‘please not God, and are contrary to all men, and that wrath has anticipatively come upon them unto the end (Greek: …1 Thessalonians 2: 16) but then ‘Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.’ (Isaiah 27: 6).  All that see them shall acknowledge them that ‘they are the seed whom the LORD hath blessed (Isaiah 61: 9).  At present ‘darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the peoples but then, ‘many nations shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion* shall go forth the law, and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2: 3).  At present certain Gentile nations (represented in Daniel by fierce beasts; the last of whom, because of its blasphemies, is to be given to the burning flame) exercise authority in earth; but then ‘the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High [Page 62] (Daniel 7: 27).  At present ‘Satan is a roaring lion going about seeking whom he may devour but then, there shall be no lion in the path of the redeemed of the LORD, (Isaiah 35: 9) for ‘Satan shall be bound (Revelation 20).  At present ‘nation rises against nation, and kingdom against kingdom and the final summons to the Gentile world in this dispensation is, ‘Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up; beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong (Joel 3: 9 compared with Revelation 16: 13, 14) but then, men ‘shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (Isaiah 2: 4).  At present we have through much tribulation to enter into the kingdom of heaven, but then, ‘the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.’ (Isaiah 35: 10).  Contrasts like these abound.  I think Dr. Brown will acknowledge their force.



Let us take one example more.  In Isaiah 11 we find a period described in which ‘the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them  The very fact that the earth now presents no scene in any wise resembling this, is a sufficient proof of the futurity of this prophecy.  If the context be examined, the oft-recurring words, ‘in that day’, prove beyond a question, that the time spoken of is the yet future time of Israel’s national forgiveness.  ‘In that day the LORD shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people that shall be left ... and He shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the [Page 63] dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth ... in that day thou (Israel) shalt say, 0 LORD, I will praise thee, though Thou wast angry with me Thine anger is turned away and Thou comfortedst me.  Cry out and shout thou inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee



But there is one clause in Isaiah 11: 4 which deserves special consideration: ‘by the breath of His lips shall He (the Messiah of Israel) slay the Wicked One (Hebrew: singular).’  This clause is quoted by the Apostle in 2 Thessalonians 2: 8, ‘Then shall that Wicked One be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming  No one can doubt that these words refer to ‘the glorious epiphany of the great God our Saviour and therefore we have the authority of the Apostle for saying that this event must occur previously to the time of earthly peace of which the rest of the chapter treats, and previously to the time when forgiven Israel sings the song of praise from which I have just quoted.  I feel assured that Dr. Brown, who feels the importance of close textual interpretation of Scripture, will admit the force of this argument.  The authority of Paul determines for us the meaning of the words, ‘by the breath of His lips He shall slay the Wicked One



How indeed could we expect that a dispensation like the present in which out of four sowings, one only prospers (Matthew 13: 8) - in which the wheat-field, even in its earliest stage of growth was marred by intermingled tares - in which the tares have since so prevailed as to hide, and almost to choke the wheat - a dispensation in which the professing Church has been like one who has taken meal and poisoned it with leaven, and then fed all who came to her with the bitter corrupted mass - a dispensation of whose close it is said, ‘evil men and seducers shall wax worse and [Page 64] worse, deceiving and being deceived’: how can a dispensation, marked by characteristics such as these, be that which blossoms and buds, and fills the face of the world with fruit?  Is it not said of Gentile Christianity that if it continue not in God’s goodness it shall be cut off?  We were early warned of the failure of the dispensation in which we live.  And how truly have facts verified the warning.  We have seen ecclesiastical corruption bring forth abundantly its accursed fruits.  We see, too, refined and intellectual infidelity raising its hydra-head; and we are taught in Scripture that it will for a season prevail.  We know that there is a time coming when the leading nations of the earth will say of Jehovah and of Christ, ‘Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us  But we are not dismayed.  We only see in these things tokens of our drawing nearer the end of the appointed path of our pilgrimage.  ‘Therefore wait ye upon Me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdom, to pour upon them Mine indignation, even all My fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy.  For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one consent ... In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against Me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of My holy mountain.  I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD... The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing ... Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they [Page 65] have been put to shame.  At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD’ (Zephaniah 3: 8-20).  Such are the words addressed to Israel.  May not an intervention such as this be justly said to introduce another and a new day.



*       *       *


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That the earth in which we now sojourn, was once a scene of perfectness and peace, will be doubted by none who receive the testimony of Scripture.  Creation came forth from the hand of its almighty Creator, perfect; and was by Him pronounced ‘very good  God could rest in it, for not only was there no evil, but there was likewise no woe - no groan - no destruction.  Plants, animals, and man, were alike possessed of all the unimpaired perfectness that pertained to their respective conditions.  But when sin entered all was changed.  God instantly subjected creation to the bondage of corruption.  It began to groan.  Not a leaf retained its proper perfectness - not an animal its peacefulness.  In earth, air, and seas, terror and destruction began to reign.  ‘The whole creation says the Apostle, ‘groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now



With sin, came also the power of Satan.  He gained a title of entering, as the Adversary and accuser of the brethren, [Page 68] even into the presence of God.  (See the history of Job and 2 Chronicles 18: 20).  The hour which is to take from him this branch of his terrible power, when thanksgiving shall be given in heaven because ‘the accuser of our brethren is cast down which accused them before our God day and night - that hour is not yet come.  Heaven, therefore, is one of the spheres in which Satan is permitted to act against man.  He is also the prince of the power or authority of the air.  Legions of evil spirits who, as being incorporeal, frequent the air and roam through it invested with powers of observation, motion, and action, inconceivable by us, obey his bidding as their prince.  He is able too, whenever God permitteth, to direct the winds, the lightnings, and the storm, as is shown in the history of Job.  On earth, likewise, he worketh in all the children of disobedience.*  He and the evil spirits under him, are said to be ‘the rulers of the darkness of this age  He is ‘the god of this age’ (Greek: … 2 Corinthians4: 4), the deceiver of the nations. (Revelation 12: 9 and 20: 3).  He so rules in the hearts of men as to make the world morally what it is.  From the time of man’s fall till now, his power has not diminished but increased; and will continue to increase until the last great Antichrist shall have been revealed.  The greatness and extent of the power of Satan is another terrible fact, stamping a second characteristic mark of misery and woe upon the earth’s present condition.


[* This statement also includes disobedient redeemed people of God!  See 1 Sam. 16: 14. cf. 1 Sam. 19: 1, 9; also Mark 14: 10, 28-71. cf. Luke 22: 31; 2 Thess. 1: 8b.]  


But again, God hath in this earth a chosen city and a chosen people.  Jerusalem is His city, and Israel His people.  Through them, when the veil shall at last be rent from their darkened heart, all nations shall be visited with the light of truth and gladness.  They are to be made the earth’s centre of rectification.



But at present Israel is disobedient.   They are under the curse; they have rejected truth and rejected grace.  They forward the course of the world’s prospering evil, and until they repent, until [Page 69] the time comes for Israel winnowed by judgment, to convert and be healed, darkness must continue ‘to cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples  In the blindness and degradation of Israel, therefore, we find another sorrowful characteristic of the earth’s present condition.



And when the national punishment of Israel formally commenced (Daniel 1: 1), and when the power with which the throne of David and of Solomon had once been invested was taken from Jerusalem, we find the earth placed under Gentile supremacy.  From the day that Daniel began to prophesy until now, Empires raised up from among the Gentiles (‘Universal’ Empires, as they are called) have successively ruled the earth.  But have these Empires governmentally served and glorified God?  Have they been guided by His laws, and walked in His paths? No: they are all symbolised in Daniel by fierce monsters, the last of which, because of its blasphemies, is to be given to the burning flame.  ‘Thou never barest rule over them (repentant Israel will say, speaking of their Gentile oppressors) ‘Thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by Thy name’ (Isaiah 62: 19).  The great Image (see Daniel 2) which symbolises the power of these Gentile Empires cannot be that under which the earth will receive her promised blessings of truth, righteousness, and peace; for that Image represents a power always fierce, always terrible; and it is finally to be smitten, ground to powder, and scattered to the winds of heaven.  Nebuchadnezzar was the first holder of the power which this Image symbolises - Antichrist will be the last.  These two names sufficiently indicate its character and its course. Caesar, Herod, Pilate, are intermediate names.  Under a power thus foreign to the ways and thoughts of God, how could earth prosper?  In the continuance therefore of the Times of the Gentiles, during the whole of which Jerusalem is to be trodden down (see [Page 70] Luke 21: 24) we find another sorrowful characteristic of the earth’s present condition.



But again: in the midst of the prevailing darkness, Christ’s servants were called forth to shine as lights in the world.  And they shone brightly once.  The Churches were as golden candlesticks - lamps of the sanctuary shining with heavenly light, and shining unitedly.  But false profession came in.  Not only did tares become mingled with the wheat, but they multiplied and prevailed.  The evil men [i.e., apostates] that ‘crept in unawares’ (see Jude 4) became strong, and grasped the reins of the Church’s government and hence the priestcraft and formalism and idolatry, and superstition in the East and in the West, which have made Christianity, century after century, a by-word and a reproach.



The branch in the olive tree, by which the Apostle represents Gentile Christianity, has, like the Israelitish branch previously, failed to continue in God’s goodness: and although Christendom has its remnant just as Israel had its remnant - its Daniels, and Jeremiahs, and Simeons, yet the branch which represents Gentile Christianity as a whole, seeing that it has become thoroughly cankered and corrupt, must finally be cut off.



The corruption, then, of professing Christianity is another characteristic of the earth’s present condition.  Creation, subjected to the bondage of corruption, groans.  Satan is the god of this age, and morally fashions it.  Jerusalem is desolate, and Israel under curse.  The ruling Gentile nations - the nations of the Roman World, who now dominate in the earth, are advancing into a darkness that is to end in the fullness of Anti-Christianism; whilst the professing Church instead of resisting the advance of evil, are for the most part, either the slaves of sacerdotal religiousness and superstition, or else the worshippers of human progress.



That such is now the condition of the earth, Scripture and experience alike attest.


[Page 71]

Brown, whose acquiescence I am anxious to secure, will not, I trust, refuse a general assent to the correctness of this description.  And if it be correct, how important that the true people of God should recognise its truthfulness, lest they should call evil good; lest they should mistake present human progress for progress according to God.



But we are concerned not merely with the present, or with the past; Scripture leads on to the future also. Falsehood and evil are not always to triumph in the earth.  The night may have been long, but it is far spent and the day is at hand.  Creation is to be released from its present groan.  Satan (even before this present Adamic earth ceases to be, before the creation of those New Heavens and New Earth in which righteousness is for ever to dwell) is for a thousand years to be bound, and shut up in the bottomless pit.  At the same time Jerusalem, converted and healed, is to be made the governmental centre of the whole earth - a source of light, and truth, and blessing.  The Image (the symbol of Gentile supremacy so long dominant for evil) is to be smitten, ground to powder, and made like the chaff of the summer threshing floor. (Daniel 2). Christendom - the professed kingdom of Christ (for even when the nations of the Roman World (Greek: … ) Eastern and Western shall have nationally abjured the name of Christ and given themselves over to blasphemous infidelity and Antichrist, there will be still throughout the earth multitudes who will retain the profession of the name of Jesus) - Christendom will be visited, and out of it will be gathered ‘all things that offend, and they that do iniquity and at the same moment, all the true subjects of His kingdom being changed and glorified, shall form together with the saints that have gone before, the Church of the first-born in the heavens, shining like the sun in the kingdom of their Father: whilst Israel, converted and grafted back into their own olive tree, shall take their place in the kingdom of God on [Page 72] the earth, and succeed to that place of testimony which the professing Church (the wheat and tare field) had occupied: not, however, to fail therein, but to ‘blossom, and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit






But by what agency are these mighty changes to be effected?  Even if Christendom had not corrupted itself as it has done, it is very evident that the Church even in the days of its primitive purity, whilst watched over by Apostles, and standing as the pillar and ground of God’s Truth in the earth, was never invested with any power to bind Satan, and to shut him up in the bottomless pit.  The testimonies of grace and truth, placed by the Holy Spirit in their lips, could not and were not intended to effect this.  Neither has the Church been invested with any power to release creation from its groan; nor to destroy the governmental supremacy of the Gentiles; nor to break the yoke from off the neck of Israel, and to plant them in the promised rest and glory of Immanuel’s Land.  A power capable of effecting such things as these, is not committed to the people of Christ, whose present place is like that of John in Patmos, to be patient and to suffer.  They can resist Satan; they can [should] bear testimony against him and his devices; but they cannot bind him; they cannot consign him to the place of his doom - that belongs to a mightier than they - it pertains only to their risen Lord, the King of glory.



It is written in Psalm 102: 16, ‘When the LORD shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory  The whole testimony of Scripture is in accordance with this great truth.  It is sometimes taught in simple language, as in the passage I have quoted, and in Zechariah 14: sometimes in symbolic vision, as in Revelation 19: 11. But in whatever manner conveyed, the result of the instruction is the same.  All the events of blessing to which I have before referred, such as the release of creation, the binding of Satan, and the like, are uniformly declared in Scripture to be the result of ‘the glorious appearing of the great God our Saviour  Thus in the same passage in Romans 8, in which the creation is described as groaning in the bondage of corruption, it is also described as waiting in hope - but waiting for what?  For the manifestation, or rather revelation (Greek: … ) of the sons of God.  In other words, it is waiting for the hour when they who are at present sons of God, but who are not yet so manifested, will be manifested; and this manifestation is to be at the appearing of our Lord. ‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is  Creation, therefore, is to be released from its present groan at the appearing of the Lord.  To this all Scripture testifies, see for example Psalm 96: 11-13 ‘Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof.  Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the LORD: for He cometh, for he cometh to judge (rule) the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with His truth  Read also the whole of Psalm 98, a Psalm, the fulfilment of which awaits the manifestation of our Lord in glory.  In Psalm 8 likewise, we find that all things - even the least things of creation – ‘all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air. and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas are to be put in manifested subjection to the gracious power of the Son of Man glorified, Who when the appointed hour cometh, ‘shall open His hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing  But for that hour we wait.  ‘Although says the Apostle, ‘we already see Jesus crowned with glory and honour’ (and in that fact we find [Page 74] the earnest of all that is yet to be) yet we do not see ‘all things put under Him (Hebrews 2: 8).  Nor shall we see it until He, Who is now hidden with God, like the rod of Aaron that was laid up in the sanctuary, shall ‘come forth’ (Isaiah 11: 1) to ‘reprove with equity for the meek of the earth to ‘smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips to slay the Wicked One’ -  words quoted by the Apostle when speaking of the same Wicked One, he says, ‘whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming  Isaiah, therefore, and Paul speak of the same coming forth of the Lord, and the same destruction of the same Wicked One.  But, by what is that destruction followed?  By the happy, peaceful rest of creation: ‘The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.  And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.  And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den.  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea  For this creation waiteth: it will be released from its groan then.



Again, as respects the binding of Satan: that, evidently, could not be the result of any mere moral or spiritual agency, such as the Church employs in testifying to the Gospel of the grace of God.  So indeed, souls may be delivered from his power and brought into the kingdom of God’s dear Son; but agency of this kind cannot bind Satan personally, or shut him up in the bottomless pit.  A stronger than Satan must come to take his armour away from him, and spoil his goods.  Accordingly, the Old and New Testament alike declare, that the punishment of Satan is the result of the coming of the Lord in glory.  Thus Isaiah 26: 20: [Page 75] ‘Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; hide thyself as it were for a little moment until the indignation be overpast.  For, behold, the LORD cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.’  In the next verse the punishment of the dragon, ‘that old serpent which is the devil and Satan is described.  ‘In that day the LORD with His sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and He shall slay the dragon that is in the sea and then follows a description of the blessedness and fruitfulness of Israel.  Israel shall be as ‘a vineyard of red wine.  I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day ... He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit  Hence it is abundantly evident, that neither Israel, nor the earth, are destroyed, when Satan is smitten, and when ‘the LORD cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity



Revelation 20 teaches, though with more fullness, the same lesson.  There, in vision, John beheld his Lord clothed with that terrible power with which in due time He will come forth as the One that ‘treadeth the wine press of the fury and wrath of Almighty God’ - a character in which the Lord Jesus has never yet been revealed.  In the subsequent verses the destruction of Antichrist, and of those gathered with him, is described; and then is narrated the binding of Satan.  The instruction was indeed conveyed to John in a symbolic vision, but is it on that account the less sure?  “I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.  And he laid hold on the Dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.  And cast him [Page 76]  into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season  If these words are not to be taken in their obvious meaning as denoting that at the Advent of the Lord, Satan shall be personally imprisoned in the bottomless pit, and so deprived of his present power of deceiving the nations, I know not what part of Scripture could be protected from perversion.  As yet no blow like unto this has been allowed to fall upon ‘the god of this age  Hitherto his relation to this fallen earth has ever been that of a ‘roaring lion going about seeking whom he might devour but his ability to go up and down, to and fro in the earth (to use the words by which he himself describes his wandering) shall terminate then.  From that time onward the steps of the redeemed shall find no lion in their way.  ‘No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there: but the redeemed shall walk there: and the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away (Isaiah 35: 9).  How different this description from any that could at this moment be given of the path of the redeemed.



The lion is emphatically there present now, and his power waxeth greater daily, and will continue to increase until his last great servant Antichrist shall have been revealed.  But then it shall terminate - terminate by the coming forth of Him Who, followed by the armies of heaven, shall tread ‘the winepress of the fury and wrath of Almighty God



And now as respects the blessing and glory of Israel and Jerusalem in the latter day - many passages might be quoted to prove that the promised blessedness of Israel and Jerusalem awaits the manifestation in glory of their still rejected [Page 77] Lord.  ‘The LORD shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.  So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy and there shall no strangers pass through her any more(Joel 3: 16).  See also Zechariah 14.  That chapter emphatically describes the blessedness of Jerusalem in the latter day, when ‘it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses.  And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited ... In that day there shall be upon the bells of the horses, holiness unto the LORD; and the pots in the LORD’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar.  Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of Hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of Hosts  These words are definite and precise as respects Jerusalem.  Of the earth also it is said, ‘the LORD shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall there be one LORD and His Name one (verse 9.)  But what event precedes this day of blessing on Israel and on the earth?



The event described in the passage which I now quote: ‘and His feet (the feet of the Lord) shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west ... and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee.’ (verse 4.)  These words are simple, plain, precise.  On what principle can we reject them; how can we explain them away?


[Page 78]

Lastly, as regards the dominion of the Gentiles.  How is the proud Image that symbolises the strength and greatness of Gentile sovereignty to be made to pass away?  Does it gradually wane?  Is it changed slowly or otherwise into some other shape, so as for its existence to be continued in some altered character or form?  No: there is no such change - no such transformation.  Whilst yet standing in the integrity of its strength, it is suddenly to be smitten by a destroying blow that grinds it to powder, and scatters it to the winds of heaven.  Has the hand of Christ ever yet been thus stretched out against that power which the throne of God delegated to Nebuchadnezzar and the three Empires appointed to succeed him and to tread down Jerusalem? On the contrary, Christ has up to the present hour sustained that delegation, and will continue to sustain it till the times of Gentile sovereignty shall be fulfilled. ‘Then there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon and in the stars and the long threatened - long deserved blow shall be given: how and under what circumstances, the end of Revelation 19 and the end of Luke 21 sufficiently declare.



In Daniel 7 likewise, we find amplified instruction respecting the conclusion of the times of Gentile supremacy.  We learn that the fourth, or Roman Empire, throughout its whole territorial extent, Eastern and Western, is finally to be divided into Ten Kingdoms; that these Kingdoms will give themselves up to godless lawlessness under the headship of one symbolised by a little horn, who shall speak ‘great words and blasphemies that in consequence of these blasphemies the Ancient of Days will sit in heaven and hold solemn inquisition on the Kingdoms involved in this iniquity, and sentence will be passed upon them.  In order that that sentence might be carried into effect, and in order that there might be One Who should, for the future, worthily administer the government of [this] Earth, the Son of Man will be brought before the Ancient of Days to be [Page 79] invested with that power.  ‘I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him.  And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed  At the same time, ‘the saints’ (that is, all [‘accounted worthy’ to be with Him then]* who shall have been brought into the fold of faith, whatever the dispensation to which they may have belonged) will be made partakers of the [millennial] glory of their Lord, and will under Him, and with Him reign from Heaven.  ‘The saints of the high places shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.’ (verse 18).  And again, ‘judgment was given to the saints of the high places; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom (verse 22.)


[* See Luke 20: 35; 2 Thess 1: 4, 5, A.V. cf. Matt. 5: 5, 10, 20; 7: 21; Phil. 3: 11; 1 Tim. 6: 19; 2 Tim. 2: 4-6; Rev. 3: 21.]






Is it needful to use any argument to prove that all these things are future?



Facts sufficiently attest that power hath not yet been taken from the Gentiles. ‘The times of the Gentiles’ are not yet fulfilled.  The Roman Empire has not yet been divided into its Ten final parts.



The last great Head of Gentile power hath not yet appeared.  And until he has appeared and run his course of blasphemy, the Ancient of Days will not sit, nor will the administration of the power of earth be vested in heavenly hands.  The place of Christ’s saints now is to suffer - not to reign.



Yet the system which Dr. Brown has for the present, though I trust not abidingly, adopted, finds it necessary to refuse its assent to these things.  It refuses to allow that [Page 80] the Advent of our blessed Lord is to precede the time of Israel’s and the earth’s blessing.  The supporters of this system, (whatever view they may take of the release of creation from its groan, of the binding of Satan and the like) concur in asserting that these things will not be accompanied by the personal manifestation of our Lord.  They concur, therefore, in the attempt to explain away and nullify all the passages that speak of that Advent.



Thus Dr. Brown (though with hesitation) argues that the words ‘brightness of His coming’ used by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2 when speaking of the Advent of our blessed Lord to destroy the Lawless One, are not to be understood of His personal appearing in glory.  He admits, indeed, that he feels some difficulty in maintaining this; yet if it be not maintained, the system that he is defending irrevocably falls, for if the words of the Apostle in this passage do refer to the Advent of the Lord in glory, then His pre-millennial coming is demonstratively proved (see Appendix).



Again, what is Dr. Brown’s interpretation of Daniel 7?  I quote now not from the book whose title is prefixed, but from another of his works (Commentary on the Four Gospels by David Brown D.D.).  Commenting on Mark 13: 26-27, he writes as follows: ‘In Matthew 24: 30, this is given most fully: ‘and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man &c. That this language its highest interpretation in the Second Personal Coming of Christ, is most certain.  But the question is, whether that be the primary sense of it as it stands here?’



‘Now, if the reader will turn to Daniel 7: 13, 14, and connect with it the preceding verses, he will find, we think, the true key to our Lord’s meaning here.  There the powers that oppressed the Church - symbolised by rapacious wild beasts - are summoned to the bar of the great God, Who, as [Page 81] the Ancient of Days, seats Himself, with His assessors, on a burning Throne; thousand thousands ministering to Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand standing before Him.  ‘The judgment is set, and the books are opened  Who that is guided by the mere words would doubt that this is a description of the Final Judgment?  And yet nothing is clearer than that it is not, but a description of a vast temporal judgment, upon organised bodies of men, for their incurable hostility to the kingdom of God upon earth.  Well, after the doom of these has been pronounced and executed, and room thus prepared for the unobstructed development of the kingdom of God over the earth, what follows? ‘I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they, (the angelic attendants) brought Him near before Him For what purpose?  To receive investiture in the kingdom, which, as Messiah, of right belonged to Him.  Accordingly, it is added, ‘And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed  Comparing this with our Lord’s words, He seems to us by ‘the Son of Man’ (on which phrase, see on John 1: 51), coming in the clouds with great power and glory to mean, that when judicial vengeance shall once have been executed upon Jerusalem, and the ground is thus cleared for the unobstructed establishment of His own kingdom, His true regal claims and rights would be visibly and gloriously asserted and manifested



‘See on Luke 9: 28 (with its parallels in Matthew and Mark) in which nearly the same language is employed, and where it can hardly be understood of anything else than the full and free establishment of the kingdom of Christ on the destruction of Jerusalem.  But what is that ‘sign of the Son [Page 82] of Man in heaven’?  Interpreters are not agreed.  But as before Christ came to destroy Jerusalem some appalling portents were seen in the air, so before His Personal appearing it is likely that something analogous will be witnessed, though of what nature it would be vain to conjecture.  ‘Then shall He send His angels’ - ‘with a great sound of a trumpet’ (Matthew 24: 31), ‘and shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.’  As the tribes of Israel were anciently gathered together by sound of trumpet (Exodus 19: 13, 16, 19; Leviticus 23: 24; Psalm 81: 3-5), so any mighty gathering of God’s people by divine command, is represented as collected by sound of trumpet (Isaiah 27:13; compare Revelation 11: 15); and the ministry of angels, employed in all the great operations of Providence, is here held forth as the agency by which the present assembling of the elect is to be accomplished



‘Lightfoot thus explains it:- ‘When Jerusalem shall be reduced to ashes, and that wicked nation cut off and rejected, then shall the Son of Man send His ministers with the trumpet of the Gospel, and they shall gather His elect of the several nations, from the four corners of heaven; so that God shall not want a Church, although that ancient people of His be rejected and cast off; but that ancient Jewish Church being destroyed, a new Church shall be called out of the Gentiles.  But though something like this appears to be the primary sense of the verse, in relation to the destruction of Jerusalem, no one can fail to see that the language swells beyond any gathering of the human family into a Church upon earth, and forces the thoughts onward to that gathering of the Church ‘at the last trumpet,’ to meet the Lord in the air, which is to wind up the present scene.’



‘Still, this is not, in our judgment, the direct subject of the prediction; for the next verse limits the whole prediction to the generation then existing


[Page 83]

For such a comment as this to be written by a person so conversant with Scripture and with facts as Dr. Brown, is to me a sufficient evidence that the system which demands such a mode of defence, is one incapable of being defended.  If it were true that the Lord Jesus was brought before the Ancient of Days and assumed the administration of the government of the earth at the time when Jerusalem was taken by Titus, then Antichrist - the little Horn - must not only have been before that time revealed, but must, at that time, have perished; for his consummated blasphemies are the occasion and cause of the Session of the Ancient of Days, and of the investiture of the Son of Man with the power of earth; at the period of which investiture, the dominance of evil in the earth terminates for ever.



Again, was the Roman Empire divided into its ten final parts when Titus took Jerusalem?  It must have been so divided, if the Session of the Ancient of Days took place then; for it is the blasphemy of those Ten Kingdoms in connection with the little Horn that causes the Session of the Ancient of Days.



Thirdly, we are told in Daniel that the Session of the Ancient of Days is immediately preceded by a period of three years and a half, or 1260 days, - that period being one of matured blasphemy, at the conclusion of which, the Roman Empire in its divided form, having fully completed its course, perishes.



Did it perish when, under Titus, it triumphed over Jerusalem?  Did the 1260 days of its matured blasphemy precede that taking of Jerusalem?  All this must have been accomplished if the Session of the Ancient of Days took place when Titus conquered Jerusalem.



Then too, the times of Gentile supremacy called by our Lord, ‘the times of the Gentiles’ must have terminated, and Jerusalem ceased to be trodden down; whereas ‘the times of [Page 84] the Gentiles’ continue still, and Jerusalem is still being trodden down.*


* Even if the ‘days’ were understood to be ‘years’ the argument would remain the same.  That period terminates the reign of evil, and must conclude before the reign of Christ begins.  If Dr. Brown’s interpretation of Daniel 7 were correct, all that the Revelation details respecting the reign of Antichrist in Revelation 13 and the sackcloth testimony of the Witnesses in Revelation 11 must have been accomplished before Titus took Jerusalem.  If at that time the Son of Man had been brought before the Ancient of Days, at that time would have been heard great voices in Heaven saying. ‘The sovereignty of the world (Greek …) has become the sovereignty of our Lord and of His Christ



It is of no avail to say that the little Horn and the Ten-horned beast in Daniel are mere general representations of earthly power in its habitual opposedness to God.  Nothing can be more precise and definite than the symbols of Daniel 7.  Nor can it be said that the power of Christ and His saints, as described in this chapter, will be the means of gradually changing or supplanting the evil power of the nations that preceded.  Antichrist’s power is triumphantly supreme during the 1260 days to which I have referred.  But with the termination of those days, his power, and the power of the Gentiles ceases.  It is altogether abolished; and until it has been abolished, the power of Christ and of His saints is not established in the earth: consequently, it is impossible that a power that has reached the utmost limit of its existence when the 1260 days end, can be gradually supplanted by a power that is not brought into exercise until the 1260 days have run their course.



And in what sense did the saints possess the kingdom when Jerusalem was taken by Titus?  Did the true Church then cease to suffer?  Did it then become, or even commence [Page 85] to become a reigning triumphant Church?  What has it known but failure, disaster and sorrow ever since!



Dr. Brown quotes the words of Daniel, ‘I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they [the angelic attendants] brought Him near before Him ... And there was given Him dominion, glory, and a kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages, should serve Him’ &c.  On these words Dr. Brown comments thus: ‘Comparing this with our Lord’s words, He seems to us by ‘the Son of Man’ (on which phrase, see on John 1: 51) coming in clouds with great power and glory to mean that when judicial vengeance shall once have been executed upon Jerusalem, and the ground thus cleared for the unobstructed establishment of His own kingdom, His true regal claims and rights would be visibly and gloriously asserted and manifested.  See Luke 9: 28 (with its parallels in Matthew and Mark), in which nearly the same language is employed, and where it can hardly be understood of anything else than the full and free establishment of the kingdom of Christ on the destruction of Jerusalem.’ (Commentary on Mark 13)



It is difficult to conceive how any one who believes what the prophets have written respecting the glorious destiny of Jerusalem in the latter day, and who has also contrasted the condition of Apostolic Christianity as it existed before the desolation of Jerusalem, with that kind of debased Christianity which has existed since, could possibly write such a comment as this.  Surely, Dr. Brown will admit that the visible and glorious assertion and manifestation of the true regal claims and rights of the Son of Man (I quote virtually Dr. Brown’s own words) are by the appointment of God inseparably bound up with Israel and Jerusalem, and that until the time comes for it to be said to Jerusalem, ‘Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee the condition of the earth generally, will [Page 86] be one of darkness, and not of light: ‘darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples (Isaiah 60: 12).  How then could the desolation of Jerusalem and the strengthening of the evil power of the Gentiles be an era when the ground was cleared for the visible and glorious assertion of Christ’s Kingdom?



And will Dr. Brown indeed affirm that the full and free establishment of the kingdom of Christ dates from the destruction of Jerusalem; and that then Christ sent ‘forth His angels with the great sound of a trumpet to gather together His elect from the four winds If this verse had any reference to the sending forth preachers of the Gospel (which it has not; for angels mean angels, as in the parallel passage in Matthew 13: 41; and a trumpet means a trumpet, as in the parallel passage in 1 Thessalonians 4: 16; and the elect mean all Christ’s believing people who shall be caught up to meet Him in the air), if M verse did refer to the sending forth of the Gospel, it would not have been connected with the period of Jerusalem’s destruction, for that was not the period when the Gospel went forth in its purity and strength.  It was rather the period when its preaching, at least in its purity, ceased.



The Apostles, with the exception of John, had died; and he was about to be consigned to Patmos: the Gentile Churches amongst whom Paul had laboured, had begun to decline - their candlesticks were soon to be removed - the early brightness of Christianity had waned, and before the conclusion of the first century, the foundations were being prepared for those fabrics of ritualism and corruption which has made Christendom what it since has been.  To say that the failure of the Christian Churches at the close of the first century, had begun to prepare the way for ‘the full and free establishment’ of principles of rebellion against Christ, would be far more true than to say, that that was the period when the way was cleared for the full and free [Page 87] establishment of His Kingdom.  If the principles of that Kingdom were not established by the labours of the Apostles, we may be very sure that they have never been established since.  After Paul’s departure, ‘grievous wolves were to come in, not sparing the flock’ (Acts 20: 29): and before the close of the first century, such wolves had come in and begun to prevail, and surely it was not they who were to be the means of ‘the full and free establishment of the kingdom of Christ



I cannot bring myself to believe that Dr. Brown will rest satisfied with a system of exposition that leads to results such as these.



I do hope that the time will come when he, and many others who have adopted this system, will cease to view Gentile Christianity, which has emphatically failed to continue in God’s goodness, in any other light than that of coming judgment and excision, and that they will no longer connect it with the thought of the saints reigning in heavenly places with Christ.  Then they will no longer feel it necessary to put God’s blessing upon an era of worldly sacerdotalism and false profession like that of Constantine; nor to explain away the literality of the first resurrection by saying that it means only a revivification and reign, during the middle ages, of the principles of the martyrs, which principles, since John wrote in Patmos until now, have most unquestionably never triumphed - never reigned.  I trust also that they will cease to maintain that the Lord Jesus came as the lightning shining from the east unto the west at the time when Jerusalem was taken by the Romans.



He did not then come as the lightning; the sun was not then darkened; the moon did not then cease to give her light; the stars did not fall from heaven; the Son of Man was not seen coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, nor did that unequal season of ‘tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be then occur.  That period is yet to [Page 88] come.  The Lord Jesus has emphatically declared that it is to be the immediate precursor of His revelation in glory.



All Scripture testifies that there is such a period of unequalled tribulation to come upon Jerusalem and the land of Israel.  ‘Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it (Jeremiah 30: 7).  The Jews will return (perhaps soon) to their own land in unbelief, and there will be stricken by the righteous hand of their God in a manner in which they never yet have been stricken.  Antichrist shall be commissioned to ‘tread them down like the mire of the streets and there shall be superadded judgments from the hand of their God, trumpets and vials of wrath.



That will be the time of unequalled tribulation distinctly prophesied of by Daniel (see Daniel 12: 1), and re-prophesied of by our Lord - at the conclusion of which Israel ‘shall be delivered, every one that be found written in the book  It is to that period of tribulation that Matthew refers when he says, ‘immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light’ and Mark when he says, ‘in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light and Luke when he says, ‘there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity &c. (Luke 21: 25).



How different that hour from the time when the Roman armies encompassed Jerusalem.  Their advance was gradual, it was expected and waited for; their triumph was slow, and its result was to destroy Jerusalem and to exalt themselves: but the Coming of the Lord, on the contrary, will be sudden and unexpected: it will be, to the world, as a thief in the night; the destruction wrought will be instantaneous, but the result will be the deliverance of Jerusalem and the extirpation of her adversaries.


[Page 89]

It was not His coming but His absence that was the occasion of desolation to Jerusalem when Rome triumphed over it: whereas, His coming will bring to Jerusalem deliverance, and to the Gentiles destruction. There is, consequently, no such analogy as has been supposed be­tween the periods when the Gentiles triumphed over Jerusalem because the Lord had abandoned it, and the period when they shall be destroyed and Jerusalem delivered, because the Lord will have ceased to abandon it, and will return.



It is said that the doctrine of the pre-millennial Advent of the Lord is attended with great difficulties.  These difficulties will, on examination, be found to be, for the most part, imaginary.  Of this, at any rate, we may be very sure, that it has no difficulties worthy to be compared with those that result from its rejection.  When our Lord says that immediately after a certain tribulation He will appear, I should find an insuperable difficulty in saying that He alluded to a tribulation 1800 years past.  When He says that the sun shall be darkened, I should find an insuperable difficulty in understanding His words as implying anything else than the sun being darkened.  To explain away the simple meaning of His words, not only frustrates His intention in using them, but sanctions the neologian habit of reading Scripture.  I know not what ground we could establish against neology, if we surrender the literal interpretation of such words as those that have been just quoted from Matthew and Mark.



And then as regards the future - hope is a great element of spiritual healthfulness.  The anticipation of the period when Satan is truly to be bound, and creation to be free from its present bondage, and the glorified saints to reign with Christ from heaven over an earth brought under the shelter of His power, is a happy prospect intended to cheer and to encourage the heart amid many present sorrows.  Are we to [Page 90] take away this prospect?  Are we to destroy that bright picture of the future which the Holy Ghost has been pleased to portray over and over again in the pages of God’s Word?  We necessarily do this if we assert that the saints have been long reigning - if we say that they entered on their power when Titus took Jerusalem; or if we assert that the first resurrection is not future - not real, but that it has already been fulfilled in the resurrection of certain principles, and the like.  If all this were true, the Millennium would have come and the Millennium would have ended without the people of God having rested from their sufferings, or ever having been aware that Satan was bound, or creation released from its groan!  If millennial rest is not before us in the future, most assuredly it cannot be found in the past.  Shall we pronounce it then a cunningly devised fable?  Has a hope been awakened in us that is a hope to be disappointed?



But again, the Scripture not only comforts, not only presents us with objects of future hope, it likewise warns.  One of the subjects of its most solemn warning is the corruption that is to abound throughout this present dispensation, but more especially at its close.  The Scripture again and again declares that both in the professing Church and in the un-professing world, iniquity will increase, and that the result would be an intervention of the Divine hand in judgment suddenly arresting its progress and cutting it off for ever.  Are we to conceal the inveterate character of this evil and its doom?  Are we to hide the fact that the professing Gentile Church, symbolised by the olive branch, has not continued in God’s goodness and is to be cut off?  Are we to hide the fact that the leading Gentile nations to whom supreme power in the earth has been committed during the time of Israel’s punishment, have so used it, that it will be found in the hands of Antichrist at the last, and that they and he will be consumed by fiery judgment at the appearing of the Lord in glory?  We do hide these things if we assert that [Page 91] there is in the midst of the fallen Gentile Church a recovering power working; if we assert that nothing more is needed for the blessing of Israel and the earth than the development and expansion of those principles which Gentile Christianity, wise in its own conceits, has chosen to approve and foster.



*       *       *


[Page 92 blank: Page 93]




Note On Dr. Brown’s Interpretation Of

2 Thessalonians 2: 8



‘Whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth,

and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming



In the preceding chapter, I have remarked that Dr. Brown in refusing to admit that the glorious Epiphany of the great God our Saviour Jesus Christ is referred to in the text just quoted, is yet evidently not quite satisfied with his conclusion.  After admitting that there is in this text ‘apparent evidence for the pre-millennial Advent’ (page 426) he subsequently observes, ‘I can see nothing requiring us to take this incidental brightness of His coming to be the same with that personal coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering unto Him, the error about which had been already corrected.  I do not say it cannot be.  All I say is, I see nothing which imperatively requires us to so understand it.’ (page 431)  These words plainly show that Dr. Brown feels considerable hesitancy in saying positively that the text before us does not refer to the coming of our Lord in glory.  I rejoice in this hesitancy.  I trust that it may ultimately lead him to reconsider his arguments and alter his conclusion.  He will have the candour to admit that if his present interpretation of this verse be given up, the system which he now sustains must be abandoned.



The text before us, in order to be interpreted aright, should be viewed both separately and in its connections.  The terms employed should first be considered separately and then viewed in connection both with the chapter and Epistle to which they belong, as well as in relation to that [Page 93] part of the Old Testament from which they are quoted - Isaiah 11.



First then let us consider the meaning of the single Greek word ‘parousia’ usually rendered by our translators, ‘coming  Its primary meaning is ‘presence’ as contrasted with ‘absence:’ so used in Philippians 2: 12, ‘not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence  But when applied to a person who is spoken of as arriving after absence, it is in our version commonly translated ‘coming though in most cases perhaps, ‘arrival’ or ‘advent’ as being less ambiguous than ‘coming would be a preferable rendering.  It occurs (omitting the text before us) twenty-two times in application to persons.  That in every case when so applied it emphatically denotes personal presence or personal arrival, will, I think, be doubted by few who examine the subjoined quotations.



Matthew 24: 3: ‘What shall be the sign of thy coming (advent)

and of the end of the age



Matthew 24: 27: ‘For as the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth unto the west,

so shall the coming of the Son of Man be



Matthew 24:37: ‘As it was in the days of Noah,

so shall the coming (advent) of the Son of Man be



Matthew 24:39: ‘And knew not until the flood came and took them all away,

so shall the coming (advent) of the Son of Man be



1 Corinthians 15: 23: ‘They that are Christ’s at His coming’ (advent)



1 Corinthians 16: 17: ‘At the coming of Stephanas



2 Corinthians 7: 6: ‘At the coming (arrival) of Titus



2 Corinthians 7: 7: ‘Not by his coming (arrival) merely



2 Corinthians 10: 10: ‘His bodily presence is weak.’



Philippians 1: 26: ‘By my coming to you again



Philippians 2: 12: ‘Not as in my presence only



1 Thessalonians 2: 19: ‘For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?

Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming (advent).’



1 Thessalonians 3: 13: ‘Blameless in holiness before our God and Father

at the coming (advent) of our Lord Jesus



1 Thessalonians 4: 15: ‘We which are alive and remain

[after others ‘accounted worthy to escape’ (Luke 21: 36, A.V.) are rapt into heaven] unto the coming of the Lord



1 Thessalonians 5: 23: ‘May your whole spirit, and soul, and body,

be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ



2 Thessalonians 2: 1: ‘I beseech you concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ

and our gathering together unto Him



2 Thessalonians 2: 8: ‘And then shall be revealed the Lawless One whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming


[Page 96]

2 Thessalonians 2: 9: ‘Whose coming (that of the Lawless One)

is according to the energy of Satan



James 5: 7: ‘Be patient, therefore, brethren,

unto the coming of the Lord.’



James 5: 8: ‘Be ye also patient: stablish your hearts for

the coming of the Lord draweth nigh



2 Peter 3: 4: ‘Where is the promise of His coming



2 Peter 3:12: ‘The coming of the day of God



It will be observed that the expression ‘coming’ of our Lord is used many times in the two Epistles to the Thessalonians, and, with the exception of the passage before us, no attempt is made to destroy the force of the expression.  Is it possible that the Apostle should in these two Epistles use this expression six times, and always, as is admitted by all, in application to the Lord’s personal appearing, and that suddenly in the second Epistle, whilst pursuing the same train of thought, he should alter the sense of ‘coming’ and give to it a meaning not only different from that in which he had ever before used it, but one which in truth it is incapable of bearing, for the word when applied to a person never can and never does mean anything but personal arrival or ‘presence’?



It would, I repeat, be a strange thing if the word [… translated ‘coming’] should denote the personal presence of our Lord in every other place where it is used in these two Epistles, and that this verse should be the solitary exception. And this would be the more strange in a chapter that avowedly has for its peculiar subject the personal coming of our Lord, which is in this chapter treated of in relation to [Page 97] an error into which the Thessalonians had fallen respecting it.  The chapter commences with the words, ‘now I beseech you, brethren, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto Him  These words are allowed by all, to refer to the personal Advent of the Lord.  The Thessalonians had fallen into the error of expecting the coming of the Lord without expecting first the coming and triumph of that Lawless One whom the coming of the Lord is to destroy.  The Apostle in this chapter undertakes to correct this error, and to place the coming of the Lord in its proper relation to the coming of the Lawless One.  Is it then conceivable that with this view in writing the chapter, he should conclude it without any reference at all to the personal coming of the Lord?  For if the words ‘brightness of His coming’ do not indicate a personal appearing of the Saviour, then a chapter which avowedly undertook to set the personal appearing of the Lord in its right relation, both to the events that should precede, and the events that should accompany such appearing, would conclude without giving us any instruction at all respecting His personal coming; for it would (on Dr. Brown’s hypothesis) direct our minds to a non-personal coming altogether different in time and in circumstance.  Is this conceivable?



And let any one who reads the chapter with unprejudiced mind, say whether the impression left upon him in reading it is not this: that its object is to make the personal Advent of the Lord immediately consequent on the conclusion of the course of the Lawless One.  Is not the sentiment of the whole passage this:- that the cup of iniquity must first be filled to the brim by the full development of Antichrist, and that then instantly the Lord would personally come to destroy him?  Is not this the impression that would be left upon the mind, even if the emphatic words ‘brightness of His coming’ had not been used?  How would the [Page 98] Thessalonians have marvelled, if they had been told that they had erred not only in omitting to expect the coming of the Lawless One, but still more, in not expecting a non-personal Advent of their Lord, which was to precede, by an indefinite period, that personal Advent which in every other part of the two Epistles they had been commanded to expect!



And if there is to be this non-personal Advent of our Lord, described in terms so remarkable, ‘brightness of His coming in what way and under what circumstances are we to expect it?  In what part of Scripture are we taught respecting it?  The Scripture abundantly testifies to a personal coming of the Lord that is to destroy Antichrist; but where does it speak of another Antichrist destroyed by a non-personal Advent?



But again, there are few parts of Scripture that bring before us more clearly the personal Advent of our Lord, and the blessed results thereof, than Isaiah 11.  That chapter should be read in immediate connection with the preceding, where we find recorded the forgiveness of Israel and the final fall of the unregenerate power of earth symbolised by Lebanon.  ‘Lebanon shall fall by a Mighty One  The next chapter records the results of the coming forth of that Mighty One - Him Who is the Rod out of the stem of Jesse, now hidden with God (like Aaron’s rod hidden in the sanctuary) but Who shall then ‘come forth’ and ‘flourish’ or ‘bring forth fruit* From that moment the dominance of evil shall cease.  Righteousness and meekness shall be trampled down no longer.  ‘He shall reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: ... and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the Wicked One  Creation shall [then] be freed from its bondage: the wolf shall dwell with the lamb; hurting and destruction shall cease.  And in that day, forgiven and converted Israel shall ‘with joy draw water from the wells of salvation  None of these things are as yet true.  Meekness [Page 99] suffers: the Lord Jesus, still maintaining the longsuffering testimony of grace, does not, at present, put forth His power to smite and to destroy.  The whole Scripture declares that He will not put forth that character of destructive power until He is ‘revealed in flaming fire, taking vengeance  But Dr. Brown by maintaining that the verse in Thessalonians, which is a quotation from Isaiah 11 refers not to a personal but to a non-personal Advent of the Lord, would be obliged to say that all the descriptions of Isaiah 11 and 12, the conversion and rest of Israel, the destruction of the Wicked One their persecutor, the fall of the dominance of evil, the peaceful rest of creation, and the vindication of meekness and righteousness from their oppressors, are all the result of this supposed non-personal Advent.  In that case, certainly, the tried and suffering people of God should experience a relief from their sore vexations as soon as this supposed non-personal Advent takes place.  It would be strange, indeed, if the saints of God should be worn out with persecution after Christ had interfered on behalf of the meek of the earth, - after creation had been blessed, - after - [Page 100] hurting and destruction had ceased, - and after Israel were rejoicing in their God!  Yet this must be so, if Dr. Brown’s present exposition be maintained; for in 2 Thessalonians 2 we are expressly told, that persecution and tribulation are to be the portion of God’s [faithful and obedient] people, and that their enemies are to be strong and mighty until the hour ‘when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance  This text, Dr. Brown allows to refer to the personal Advent of the Lord in glory.  He allows that the suffering people of God will not attain rest or relief (Greek: … ) until His personal Advent: but according to his present interpretation of 2 Thessalonians and Isaiah 11, they ought to have attained this rest ages before (at the time of the supposed non-personal Advent), or else we should have to say that creation was resting, and meekness and righteousness vindicated from oppression, and yet that Christ’s servants were groaning under tribulation and the power of their persecutors, waiting for relief.


* See Isaiah 11: 1. ‘And there shall come forth, a rod (or sprout) from the stem of Jesse, and a branch (or shoot, [Heb.…] so called from being verdant) from his roots shall bring forth fruit’ (Hebrew: … to bear, to be fruitful, to increase).  ‘Et exibit virga ex trunco Isai, et surculus ex radicibus ejus fructum faciet  Vitringa. That is, He whom we already own as the sprout sprung from the apparently dead stock of Jesse, shall (when the time comes for Lebanon to fall and for the Assyrian to be destroyed and for Israel to be forgiven - the subjects of the preceding chapter) come forth and shall bring forth fruit and flourish: being no longer then ‘as a root out of a dry ground’ - having no longer to say, ‘I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought and in vainIsaiah 49: 4.  ‘In that day shall the Branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel Isaiah 4: 2.



As regards the use of the word ‘Generation’ (Greek: …) in Matthew, Mark and Luke, (Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be done), even if these were a secondary as well as primary meaning to be attached to our Lord’s prophecy respecting His glorious appearing in these passages, yet the words ‘All things’ - or all these things, would necessitate our including the secondary as well as the primary meaning.  The difficulty therefore that has been supposed to be connected with the words ‘This generation’, would not be removed by saying that our Lord’s words had a double meaning - for whatever they meant, ‘all things’ of which He spoke was to come to pass before the passing away of the generation to which He referred.



(For a fuller consideration of ‘This generation’ see

‘The Prophecy of the Lord Jesus as Contained in Matthew 24 and 25, Considered’ by B. W. Newton - Ed.)









Keep in mind:-



“If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God.  When Christ who is our life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with him be manifested in glory.


“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetness, the which is idolatry; for which things’ sake cometh the wrath of God UPON THE SONS OF DISOBEDIENCE *…


“Whatsoever ye do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that from the Lord YE SHALL - [during the millennium in the ‘Age’ yet to come] - RECEIVE THE RECOMPENSE

- [or ‘the REWARD,’ A.V.] - OF THE INHERITANCE …*


“… For he that doeth wrong shall receive again for the wrong that he hath done:

and there is no respect of persons:” (Col. 3: 5, 6, 23-25, R.V.).**



* See Eph. 5: 6 and context; Matt. 22: 12-14; Heb. 4: 6; 10: 30.  ** See Matt. 25: 21-23. Compare 1 Pet. 1: 9, 11 with John 3: 13 and Acts 2: 34 (in context).

*** Luke 16: 10-13.  Compare Num. ch. 14 with 1 Cor. 9: 24-10: 1-13; Heb. 4: 1; Rev. 20: 4, 5.



“Many crowd the Saviour’s Kingdom,

Few receive His Cross;

Many seek His consolations,

Few will suffer loss,

For the dear sake of the Master

Counting all but dross.



Many sit at Jesus’ table,

Few will fast with Him

When the sorrow-cup of anguish

Trembles to the brim:

Few watch with Him in the garden

Who have sung the hymn.



Many will confess His wisdom,

Few embrace His shame;

Many, while He smiles upon them,

Loud His praise proclaim –

Then if for a while He tries them

They desert His name.



But the souls who love supremely,

Let woe come or bliss,

These will count their dearest heart’s blood

Not their own, but His:

Saviour, Thou Who thus hast loved me,

Give me love like this



                                                                                                   - THOMAS a KEMPIS