Godís plan in the Bible
A "PRIMER" ON PROPHETIC TRUTH
H. W. FRY
Revised and Edited by G. H. PEMBER, M.A., author of
"Earth's Earliest Ages,"
With a Preface by the Same.
I have long regarded Mr. Fryís book as an excellent manual - indeed, the best that I know - for those who wish to begin the study of prophecy, and especially for such of them as can bestow but scanty time upon it.† So much valuable information is deftly packed into the little volume, and it is presented to the reader in so orderly and concise a manner, that it can scarcely fail to endow him with a clear knowledge of Godís plan in the Bible.
When, therefore, Mr. Fry wished to issue a third edition of his book, and asked me to revise and bring it up to date, so far as my own investigations would enable me to do so, I deemed it a simple duty to comply with his request.
Consequently, the book has been examined as carefully as the time at my disposal would permit whatever in it appeared superfluous or uncertain has been omitted; while, if anything seemed obscure, an attempt has been made to render it clear.† Moreover, in a few passages in which the events of recent years, or an advance in knowledge, called for alterations or additions, these have been made.† But there is no change in the general scheme and character of the book; and, I am glad to say, no increase in its bulk.
Mr. Fryís method of interpretation is that of accepting every word of prophecy in its natural and literal sense, save in obvious cases of figure, and of explaining Scripture by Scripture.† And there is, certainly, no other reasonable way of understanding Godís revelations, which, since He gave them to men, are, of course, expressed in terms easily intelligible to those for whom they were intended.† We must not forget, that the element of mystery was introduced into Christianity by those who professed Christ in order that they might corrupt His doctrine, and assimilate it to that of Apollo and the universally worshipped Goddess of Nature.*† The Most High God deals plainly and intelligibly with His creatures: it is Satan who excites their curiosity, and deceives them, by means of mystery and darkness.
[*The popular names of these deities when they began to affect Christianity were Mithras and Isis.]
The chief aim of this little book, as its title, indicates, is to exhibit, in slight but connected outline, the plan which God has revealed for the redemption of our world.† And scarcely any work could be more practically useful than this - to those, at least, who are already believers in "the Scripture of Truth."† For the Bible - strange as it may seem - is rarely studied with that reasonable attention which is usually given to uninspired books.† Instead of striving to get a comprehensive grasp of its whole contents, and to understand the relation to each other of its disclosures and principles, the majority of its readers are accustomed to cull a verse, a paragraph, or at most a chapter, from this book and from that, and to draw from them whatever consolation, hope, moral teaching, or precept of holiness, they may seem to afford.† And this is usually done without any reference to the context, or to Godís general scheme of action; and, not seldom, even without notice of the Dispensation to which the cited passage belongs.
What but the direst confusion could possibly follow such a procedure; and that especially if the passages thus isolated be prophetic?† For it is impossible to arrive at a full understanding of any Divine prediction, unless one has some comprehension of the general scheme of prophecy, and knows where the particular utterance must be fitted in.
Yet there are very many students and would-be interpreters who do not trouble to expend thought upon such matters.† On the contrary, they eagerly seize upon any words which seem to suit some preconceived system, or can, in their judgment, be connected with a passing event or tendency.† And these they use for their own purposes; while they altogether ignore the necessity of harmonizing their interpretation with other Scriptures, and with what ought to be known of Godís plan as a whole.
A conspicuous instance of this kind of exposition, and, also, of its consequences, may be found in a very frequent mode of treating the prophecy of the Seventy Sevens, the simple meaning of which is indicated in the present volume.
many insist, that there is no interval, no "monstrous gap", as they delight to style it, between
the Sixty-ninth and the Seventieth Seven; and that the prophecy ends with the
death of the Lord and the destruction of
Now, when we examine the first of these two statements, we quickly perceive that a very little knowledge of Scripture should have been sufficient to expose its untruth.
first of all, Daniel himself placed events between the Sixty-ninth and the
Seventieth Seven, namely, the death of the Lord Jesus, the destruction of
Then, secondly, in each of the great prophecies of Moses - Lev. 26.; Deut. 28, - 30., and 32. - it was predicted, that the Jews must be driven out of their country, and scattered among all nations for a long exile, during which God would suspend His dealings with them as His people. And this period of non-recognition is manifestly the same as the interval between the Sixty-ninth and the Seventieth Seven, for which, it furnishes us with a satisfactory explanation.
from the solution, given in the book before us, of the apparent discrepancy
between 1 Kings 6: 2, and Acts 8: 17-22, it is clear, that, in reckoning the
periods of His dealings with Israel, God ignores the time, or times, during
which He has chastised them by delivering them into the hands of their
foes.† In "The Great Prophecies
of the Centuries," I have gone still further, and have shown, that the
Bible seems to divide the whole period of
while such times will be found to amount to ninety-three years in the first
epoch and seventy in the second, they comprehend, in the third, the whole lapse
of centuries from the day on which the Lord gave up the City and Sanctuary to
destruction - just before He entered into Jerusalem as the King of the Daughter
of Zion - until the day when the Jews shall once more be recognized as a nation
in their own land.† This time has already
(1904) been extended to some eighteen hundred and seventy-five years; but, at
last, the Jews are manifestly returning to
By a consideration of these three points, students, who are seeking the truth in sincerity, will readily perceive, that Godís way of computing the Seventy Sevens has been expounded to us with great clearness in the Bible itself.
The second mistake, that the Seventy Sevens end with the death of the Lord Jesus, ought never to have been possible to those who had read the earlier part of the chapter in which the prophecy occurs.† For all the circumstances connected with that utterance prove, that it is concerned exclusively with Danielís "people" and "Holy City," that is, with the Jews and Jerusalem, or, with the Jews at times when they are in possession of Jerusalem.
Thus a large class of expositors are putting forth an interpretation, the very conception of which is erroneous.† For they explain the prophecy from an altogether Christian point of view, and insert into it the hopes and aspirations of the heavenly people; while they absolutely ignore the yearnings of Danielís heart as expressed in the prayer to which the prophecy is a direct answer, and assume that God cared not for the affliction and desires of His earthly people [the Jews].
And yet, the prophecy is found in the Old Testament: it is written in Hebrew, and must, from its circumstances, be understood to refer to Hebrews.† Moreover, it was communicated to a Hebrew prophet and patriot, who earnestly longed to know when his people and his holy city would be finally and for ever reconciled to God.
Fervently does he pray:-
"0 Lord, according to all Thy righteousness, let Thine anger and Thy fury, I pray Thee, be turned away from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Thy people are become a reproach to all that are round about us."
was this desired consummation, in all its particulars as expressed in the first
verse of the prophecy, fulfilled at the First Advent?† Was there, at that time, a full end, and a
sealing up for ever, of Jewish transgression and sin?† Was the remnant of the people then reconciled
to God; were all the survivors of the nation born in a day; and did they and
their descendants forthwith become everlastingly righteous?† Was all that the prophets had predicted
fulfilled eighteen centuries ago, and did the Messiah then build and sanctify
Nay, we know that none of these things have even yet happened; and, what is more, Zechariah tells us that they never can happen until the Lord has appeared for the second time, and the Jews, as they look upon Him, recognize the Holy One Whom they pierced, and, at last, fall prostrate before Him.† Then, and not until then, will there be a fountain opened to the House of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness; that is, it will be opened to Jews as Jews; for by that time the Church-period will have passed by.
Those, then, who will have it that the Four Hundred and Ninety Years were completed at the First Advent, can maintain their assertion only by disregarding the context and every circumstance connected with the prophecy.† Still worse, their interpretation turns the Lordís gracious answer into an absolute mockery of the prophetís prayers and tears.† For, if their conclusions be true, then, instead of consoling Daniel with hope for the latter end of his people, God did but hint at the fearful culmination of their sin, and led him no further than to the threshold of their severest and most protracted trial.
is, however, impossible that such could have been the case: if an answer of any
kind was to he vouchsafed to Danielís supplications, then, as soon as the Four
Hundred and Ninety Years have run their course, the final restoration of
I have entered somewhat fully into this question because of its great importance as a clue to the scheme of all Divine prophecies, but, nevertheless, cannot conclude without a few words of caution.† While we prayerfully strive to understand the revelations of God, let us not for a moment allow their practical and sanctifying virtue to be merged in a mere intellectual study.† They are intended to serve as "a lamp shining in a squalid place,"* by means of which we may see the filth that is everywhere around us, and so may avoid soiling our garments.† For Divine prophecy sets before us Godís view of the social, moral, and religious phenomena of these Last Days, in order that we may be warned to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, and free from the influence of those who prophesy falsely under Satanic inspiration.† Let us, then, not forget the admonition in the opening verses of the Apocalypse:-
"Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein."
[* 2 Pet. 1: 19.† Both of our versions have, "in a dark place"; but I can neither find nor hear of any instance of the use of [the Greek] translated literally. "murky.") in such a sense.† The only established significations of that word are "dry," "dirty," or "squalid."† And in the Bible, as, indeed, in all other books, we must draw our interpretation of every sentence from the proved meaning of its words, and not alter that meaning to suit our own view of the passage.]
Finally, and above all, Divine prophecy reveals to us the mysteries of our incarnate Lord, and the glory which He will presently assume.† Let us eagerly drink in its every word; it will show us the very thoughts and feelings of our suffering and dying Saviour: it will teach us in what manner He, Whom not having seen we love, because He first loved us and gave Himself for us, will shortly return to this earth in the power and glory of His Father, and be adored by all His saints, and by all the angels of God.† And it will make us rejoice to know, that our weak and sinful flesh will not shrink with terror from the brightness of His appearing; for that, in one moment, in the twinkling of an eye, He will change the bodies of our humiliation into the likeness of His Body of Glory, according to that mighty "working whereby He is able to subdue even all things unto Himself."† So will He raise the poor out of the dust, and lift up the needy from the dunghill, to make them sit with princes, and, inherit the throne of glory.
"Unto Him that sitteth on the Throne, and unto the Lamb, be the blessing, and the honour, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever. Amen"
G. H. Pember
* The Jews
1.† If we take up a book written by an author of reputation, we expect to find in it a well-developed plan or plot - some definite aim, object, or teaching, which runs through the whole book from beginning to end. We are not surprised to see that it is divided into chapters, and the chapters into sentences; neither do we wonder if the whole be arranged in two or more parts, each consisting of several chapters.† We should, however, be startled were we to discover that the chapters, or even the divisions, had no connection with each other; and, in such a case, we could only suppose that the author had become mentally incompetent.
2. †And, again, the higher our estimate of the knowledge skill and general qualifications of an author, the higher will be our anticipation of the excellency and perfection of his work.
3. When, therefore, we take up the Bible, the Book which was written by the very [Holy] Spirit of God, through various instruments, indeed - just as a man might write his manuscript with different pens - but essentially by the Spirit Alone; when we accept it as such, and as the only perfect Book, we should, although it is divided into many parts written at various times and under very different circumstances, with reason expect to find one definite plan or scheme running through the whole, from Genesis to Revelation.
4. And how gloriously this expectation is fulfilled!† When we read the opening chapters of Genesis, the story of manís creation by God, and his settlement upon the earth in happy circumstances; when we learn how he forfeited his joyous existence through sin, and lost Paradise and the Tree of Life; when we shudder at the curse pronounced upon the transgressors, and the tears, pain, sorrow, and death, that followed it, and still more at the awful fact, that the Tempter himself continued to retain manís confidence, and at the terrible consequences of such a connection - when we have contemplated all these things, how ineffably beautiful it is, and what a testimony to the fathomless love of God, to find that the closing chapters of Revelation tell us of the removal of sin, of the recovery of Paradise and the Tree of Life, of the remission of the curse, of the wiping away of tears from all faces, of the ending of pain and sorrow and death, of the casting out of the Devil, and of the glorious words, "Behold, I make all things new!"† How wondrous the story! How worthy of the God Who is love!† And, if we study the revelations and details contained within so marvellous a beginning and ending, we shall find them all in fullest accord with what we have already read, all leading gradually, but directly, from the fall to the restoration, and all equally worthy of our earnest attention.† Why, then, are we content with owing so little of this wonderful Book; why do we not strive for a complete knowledge of all the measures which the great God has taken to bring back life out of death, order out of chaos, tranquillity out of unrest, and perfect happiness out of misery?
5.† It is with the desire of aiding those who wish to obtain a clearer view of the main teachings of the Bible, as a whole, that the following pages have been written.† Everything is stated as simply as possible, with a view to help simple people.
6.† May the dear Lord bless our labours for His Own sake, and to His Own glory; and may the effect of this little work be to impress deeply on the mind of every reader the wisdom, as well as the necessity, of being ready for the glorious events which may at any time take place.† For, when they come suddenly upon us, it will be to the ineffable joy and blessing of those who are watching and waiting for the Lord, but to the terrible confusion of all who, while professing to be ready, are in reality the children of this world.
7.† A further introductory word of warning may, perhaps, be added; since many people are apt to be impatient when they find difficulty in interpreting the teachings of Godís Book.† For it is very important to remember that the Bible is not merely revelation: it is also a veil.† To those who read in the Spirit, it is a revelation, and the same [Holy] Spirit of God Who wrote it will also interpret it to the humble and seeking heart; while its study will only add pride to the proud, stubbornness to the stubborn, and increase the darkness of those who love darkness rather than light.† Its perusal will emphasize, and add fuel to the flames of whatever passion animates the heart, pride to pride, wisdom to wisdom, love to love, darkness to darkness, light to light, faith to faith, doubt to doubt, and so on.† Let us, therefore, be very careful that the spirit in which we approach this great subject is in accordance with Psa. 25: 5 and 1 John 2: 27.
8. We will take it for granted, at the commencement of our study, that God had a definite plan and a definite object in giving the Bible, as His message to man, in the form in which we now have it.† We may, too, surely, assume that it contains everything necessary for salvation; and, in the same way, may we not also thoroughly realize that no part of it is unimportant or to be neglected ?
9. But, before we endeavour to trace out Godís plan, let us fully recognize the fact, that His action has been continually thwarted and hindered by the Devilís plan. Indeed, we shall find that the Scriptures give us much information and warning as to this counterplan of evil so that we may not be discouraged when we see it in the ascendant. For, in the end, Godís plan must and will triumph, and the reign of righteousness be ushered in.
10. †Let us further bear in mind, that the three great doctrines of Christianity are - 1st, the fall of man; 2nd, the advent of Jesus Christ in humiliation, to die for the sins of the world, and to rise again; and, 3rd, the Second Advent of Jesus Christ to reign [both here, and afterwards in a Ďnew heaven and new earthí] in glory.
11. †To help our
memory, we will take five coloured cords, as shown in Diagram A, to illustrate
the main teachings of the Bible. On the one side there is a white cord, A,
which illustrates Godís plan; the black cord, B, on the other side, represents
the Devilís opposing plan.† Each of these
cords is knotted in three places.† These
knots illustrate, in each case, three facts.†
Those on the white cord, A, remind us, that God has, 1st, His
12. †But, besides
these cords, there are three others, C, D, and E, red, yellow, and blue,
respectively.† These are plaited one with
the other to illustrate the fact, that there are three main lines of prophecies
running through the Bible, viz., those concerning
three plaited cords are, moreover, tied into knots in two places, to show that
the three lines of prophecy mainly converge around two
great events.† The first of these is the
coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in humiliation, to be rejected by
His earthly people, the Jews, and to die for His heavenly people, the
Church.† The second, is the return of the
same Lord, in glory, into the air, to call thither His heavenly people to
Himself, and, subsequently, to descend to earth, accompanied by His glorified
Church, and to save His people
14.† We may summarize the teachings of these cords thus:- All through the Bible Godís plan may be traced, with His King, Jesus Christ, His people, Israel, and His capital, Jerusalem; and Satanís opposing plan may also be detected, with his king, the Antichrist, his people, the Gentiles, and his capital, Babylon.† And so, the three lines of prophecy, concerning the Church, Israel, and the Gentiles, are intertwined throughout the Bible, but principally converge round, point to, and teach of, the first and second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven to earth.† By these facts we see, that the one glorious central Figure of time and of eternity, so far as this world is concerned, is the Lord Jesus Christ.
15.† If we can thoroughly master these few points, we have, though very roughly, an outline which will materially help us to understand the fuller details that follow.
16.† We will now take a somewhat more minute view of the main lines of teaching, by history and prophecy; and, for the purpose of making more clear what is said, a chart or diagram (B) is appended, which, on examination, will be found to illustrate twenty leading events of history and prophecy, as follows:-
(A) God prepared the earth to be the dwelling place of man, as related in the first two chapters of the Bible.
(B) But man sinned, and lived on the earth for a considerable period, during which he did not seek God, or do His will, but stubbornly rebelled against Him.† Thus Godís plan was marred by the counter plan of Satan; therefore,
(C) In His anger He brought a flood of waters upon the earth, and destroyed all mankind, except one family, that of Noah.
By this family the earth was repopulated.†
But their descendants quickly forsook Godís laws, and again His plan was
marred. Henceforth, therefore, He abandoned mankind in general to their own ways, and those out one special people for
Himself, namely, the Children of Israel.†
These He placed in
After a while, dissensions arose, Satanís plan again interfered with Godís
plan, and the nation was divided, the Ten Tribes separating from
carried away into captivity to the other side of the
The Two Tribes, that is, the Jews, were left in
He suffered them to be carried into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, and that to
But God had not abandoned either His people or His capital; so He stirred up
Cyrus to command that the
Later on, God influenced Artaxerxes to order the
rebuilding of the walls and city of
God had previously foretold by the mouth of the prophet Daniel, that, since the
Seventy Years of the Babylonian captivity would not suffice to bring the Jews
to a genuine repentance; therefore, their suspension from the sovereignty of
the world should be extended to seven times seventy, or 490, additional years.† And these Seventy Sevens - wrongly called
"weeks" - of Years were to commence
from the going forth of Artaxerxesí command for the
On the chart, the first Seven Sevens are represented by J. (See also paragraphs 105 to 122.)
(K) The second period of Sixty-two Sevens terminates at the cutting-off, or death, of the Messiah, Who also appeared as a Prince (Matt. 21: 5).
(L) Then commenced a great interval (see paragraph 110) between the end of the Sixty-ninth Seven and the commencement of the Seventieth, during which Jerusalem is trodden down of the Gentiles, and all Israel is Lo-ammi, or "Not-My people."
(M) And so, the Jews were wholly banished from their beloved land, and again, as a nation, ceased to exist.
(N) But, during this great interval, God would not leave Himself without witnesses upon earth, and, therefore, began to call out His Church, made up of individuals chosen from amongst all nations, who were to be His spiritual people, until the time when He would restore the Kingdom to Israel.† Such is the age in which we live.
On the chart, 0 represents another feature of these present days - the return
of the Jews to Palestine; and already (1903) there are many more of them in the
(N), to represent Him on earth.† Probably, then, He will soon remove those of them who are ready, and re-establish His relations with the Children of Abraham.
Then will commence the period predicted by Daniel as the Last, or Seventieth,
Seven.† It will be the season of temporal
judgment, of the Great Tribulation described in the Apocalypse.† It will be the time of Jacobís trouble, the
day of vengeance of our God, and it will culminate in the Great and Dreadful
Day of the Lord.† Then Christ, the Messiah,
will return to the earth with His glorified Church, in order that He may save
His then repentant earthly people,
The day of vengeance being over, the Devil bound, and Godís plan once more in
the ascendant, the whole of the Tribes will be gathered to
(R) the Millennial period of a thousand years, during which Jesus Christ, the Great King, with David raised from the dead as His vicegerent, will reign over the whole earth.
(S) At the expiration of this period, the Devil will again be let loose, and sin will once more appear on earth in a virulent form: but for how long a time is not revealed.
(T) When, however, he is finally cast down, and the judgment of the Great White Throne is ended, then other and very different scenes will follow.† Old things will pass away, and all things be made new; while, finally, Christ will give up all things into the Fatherís hands.† What then will happen we know not; for then the eternal period will commence: and, while much is foretold of the future in regard to the things of time, very little, indeed, is revealed as to the things belonging to Eternity.
17.† In the above outline only a few Biblical references have been given; but, in the more complete plan which follows, everything will be substantiated on the authority of Godís Word.† If only the events just mentioned be fully comprehended, the detailed narrative that follows will be much more readily understood and retained in the memory.† And, when once a sketch, however slight, of the whole plan of Divine revelation is secured as a possession of our mind, we shall without hesitation confess how ineffably grander the Bible appears in its general scheme and entirety, as well as in its detail, than it could possibly seem to those who study its inspired pages in the partial and disconnected manner usual in our times.
18.† In the days when our Lord was on earth, He found it very difficult to make His disciples grasp the spiritual teaching which He came to offer.† They understood well enough the temporal teaching of the prophets, that their Master was Davidís Heir, and the rightful King of Israel; but they expected Him to restore the temporal Kingdom to Israel at that time, and could not understand that He had a spiritual as well as a temporal dominion.† It was, therefore, expedient for them that He should go away, and that the Holy Spirit should come down and show them these things.† But, in our day, it seems just as difficult to make some enlightened Christians grasp the fact, that there are not only spiritual things in the New, as well as in the Old, Testament, but, also, very definite, and very terrific, and very glorious teachings of a wholly temporal and earthly character, which are, perhaps, as important for the right comprehension of Godís Will and design as the spiritual teachings are.
19.† May the same Holy Spirit Who wrote the Word for our learning, and Who enlightened the early disciples on those matters which they could not fully comprehend, enlighten, also, every reader of these pages, and cause him to see that ALL Scripture is profitable.† For, if a man is to be "thoroughly furnished," he must be acquainted with the details of prophecy before he can expect to understand the nature of that glorious hope on which he professes to rest.† For, unless he be thus instructed, he is apt to keep his eyes fixed on the present age - marked as N on the chart - to concentrate all his ideas on that one portion of Godís plan, and, by so doing, virtually to ignore the other glorious truths, and so to over exalt his own times, forgetting that their main importance lies in the future, that is, in what they lead to.† Let us, then, remember, that, however grand and fascinating one portion of Godís plan may be, yet, since a part must be less than the whole, it is ours to be content with nothing short of the fullest obtainable knowledge of all that has been revealed.
20.† It is no light matter for reader or writer to approach the great subject discussed in these pages.† Surely the most reverent attention is due when the matter under consideration is the thoughts and plans of the Almighty.† Unnumbered millions of human beings have already played their part in His great scheme, and unnumbered millions more will do so before it is worked out.† It is, indeed, an awe inspiring thought, that, not only has God a definite plan for the life of each one of His people, but also an equally definite plan for the world as a whole.† All His plans are definite, all are fore-ordained, and all are intricately interwoven.† And, notwithstanding the limitations and hindrances arising from the counter plans of Satan, yet, sooner or later, the mighty and glorious Will and plan of God must triumph.† Hallelujah!† May the Lord, indeed, hasten that glorious time, and in the meanwhile may we, who can truly pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done," avail ourselves of the inspiring revelations of the Living Word concerning this "blessed hope."† For He has given them to us for our comfort, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
21.† It will be our privilege, as we study these truths, to observe how we are told, that the evil which is in the world must and will be overcome.† It will inevitably be cast out; for it cannot withstand the mighty purposes of God.† We shall see, that, although it is foretold that wickedness will prosper and succeed for a time, yet, in the very height of its prosperity, when such power and dignity as evil can assume have come to the full, and are dazzling all men with their deceitful magnificence, even then the Arm of the Lord will be stretched forth in anger and might, and the whole system of rebellion will be crushed beneath It.† But this is not all for we learn that, together with the evil system, the evil-doers themselves, also, will be destroyed.† This study solemnly warns all who call themselves Christians to take heed that they are so, not merely in word, but in deed.
22. †Just as, in the days of Noah, while he was actually building the ark in which he and his family were to be saved, the world saw no reason to fear a flood; so it is at this moment in which we live.† Worldly people, and even many Biblical students, see no reason for imagining that judgment is near, or that any change in the order of things is likely to take place.† But this, instead of making us confident in the stability of things existing, should rather influence us the other way, and make us mistrust what the world believes, and rely wholly on what the Word of God reveals; for it is at a time when we think not that the Son of Man cometh.
23.† And there is another very important point which we must not omit to notice.† Undoubtedly justification - that is, repentance and faith resulting in pardon - is the great essential for all unconverted men who would receive eternal life.† But sanctification - that is, consecration of oneself to God and faith in His promises, resulting in purity of heart and holiness of life - is the great essential for those justified persons who long for the glories that shall be revealed. All men come short of the glory of God, because all have sinned; but there are many who, although they are pardoned, and delivered from spiritual death, will altogether fail to obtain the prize that is set before them.
24. †For it is those only that suffer with Christ, after they have been cleansed by His Blood, who will reign with Him.† If, then, the period of our probation should pass, and we be found to have refused the suffering ordained for us, and so to have missed the blessing of sanctification by faith, we should lose, also, the glory that would otherwise have been secured to us.
25. †Many people look upon the possibilities of holiness of heart and righteousness of life as chimerical.† But, though with man this is impossible, yet "with God all things are possible"; and He "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think."
26. †Evil is subject to His power even now, and He is able to subdue it in our hearts.† Only let us study His Word, appropriate His promises, and seek to know Him definitely as our Saviour from the power, as well as from the guilt, of sin.† Just in the same way, hopeless as the case may seem at present, it is Godís plan and purpose to destroy evil out of the world, and to bring in a reign of righteousness and peace and blessing.
27. †God can and will purify the world: He can and will purify the human soul.† But "without faith it is impossible to please God"; and "we are purified by faith," and not by sight.
28.† We will again avail ourselves of the services of a chart (C), but will add a considerable number of items to the previous diagram, so that we may be able to go into greater detail.† In the previous chart we had twenty leading events chronicled, in the present one we have fifty-six, an increase of thirty-six events.† Briefly enumerated, these events are as follows:-
(1) Represents the Creation. Gen. 1: 1; John 1: 1-3; Isa. 45: 18.
(2) Represents the period of ruin to which the earth was reduced by a catastrophe of which we have no record; but which, perhaps, was connected with the fall of Satan and his angels, and the destruction of the world that then was.
(3) Represents the reforming, or restoration,* of the earth. Gen. 1. and 2.
[* NOTE. The initial creation was not ďformless and emptyĒ but ďbecameĒ that way after Satanís fall.† Therefore, the age of our earth is not disclosed in the Scriptures; and the creatures that roamed upon it before its restoration and the creation of man are not mentioned or described in Scripture.† Between verses two and three of Genesis chapter one, we have an undisclosed time gap before the account given us of earthís restoration - (and the subsequent creation of man and woman) - from verse three onwards: not, as many mistakenly believe, its creation.† The A.V. translation is misleading by its use of the word ďwasĒ instead of ďbecameĒ.† It was not without form and void at the very beginning Ė at the time of its initial creation: it became that after Satanís fall.]
(4) Represents Satan as the Prince of the Power of the air. Eph. 2: 2.
(5) Represents the fall of man. Gen. 3.
Represents the human race between the expulsion from
(7) Represents the translation of Enoch. Gen. 5: 18-24, and Heb. 11: 5.
(8) Represents the Flood. Gen. 6. - 8. Heb. 11: 7.
Represents the city and
(I0) Represents the call of Abraham. Gen. 12: 1-5; Acts 7: 2-5; Isa. 51: 2.
(11) Represents the glory of God coming down upon the Ark. Ex. 40: 34, 35; 1 Kings 8: 10, 11; 2 Chron. 5: 11-14.
Represents the severance of
the line of sovereignty, right fully belonging to
(15) represents the translation of Elijah. 2 Kings 2: 1-18.
Represents the returning into heaven of the Glory of God from the
Represents the carrying into captivity of the Jews to
(18) Represents the land keeping Sabbaths for seventy years. Lev. 26: 34, 35; Jer. 25: 12.
Represents the Jews in captivity for seventy years in
(20) Represents the Golden Head of the Image in Nebuchadnezzar's vision, that is, the Babylonian Empire. Dan. 2.
(21) Represents the Breast and Arms of Silver, that is, the Medo-Persian Empire. Dan. 2.
(22) Represents the Belly and Thigh - part of Brass, that is, the Grecian Empire.
Represents the Legs of Iron terminating in the Feet of Iron and Clay (pottery),
that is, the
Represents the return of the Jews under Ezra to rebuild the
Represents the first period of "Seven Sevens,"
commencing at the return of the Jews, under Nehemiah, to rebuild the city and
(26) Represents the second period of "Three Score and Two Sevens," terminating at the cutting off of "An Anointed One, a Prince." Dan. 9: 25, 26.
(27) Represents the Word made flesh, or the birth of Christ. John 1: 14.
(28) Represents the Christ proclaiming Him self to be the King of the Daughter of Zion. Dan. 9: 25; Zech. 9.; Matt. 21: 5.
(29) Represents the Ascension of Christ. Acts 1: 9; John 20: 17; Luke 24: 50, 51.
(30) Represents the descent of the Holy Spirit to form the Church on earth. Acts 2: 1-4; Eph. 2: 13-18.
(31) Represents the Church period. Matt. 16: 13-18; Eph. 1: 22, 23, 2: 19-22, 3. ; 4: 1-16, 5: 23-32.
(32) Represents the "Heavens opened." Acts 7: 56.
(33) Represents the dispersion of the Jews under Titus and Vespasian.
Represents the return of Jews to
(35) Represents the rapture of the Firstfruits. Rev. 14: 1-5.
(36) Represents Satan cast out of heaven, that is, out of the First Heaven, or Kingdom of the air, and thrust down to the earth. Rev. 12: 9.
(37) Represents the period of the Great Tribulation in the Last, or Seventieth, Seven. Matt. 24: 21; Dan. 9: 27; Dan. 12: 1.
(38) Represents the rapture of the "Two Witnesses." Rev. x11: 3-12.
(39) Represents the "Parousia" or "Presence," that is, the Lordís descent into the air to meet His faithful people. ("In Thy presence is fulness of joy.") 1 Thess. 4: 16.
(40) represents the completion of the Mystery of God, and of the First Resurrection. Rev. 10: 7; 1 Cor. 15: 23, 51, 52.
(41) Represents the Bema, or the judgment seat of Christ. 2 Cor. 5: 9-11.
(42) Represents the "Epiphaneia," the appearing or manifestation; that is, the descent of Christ
with His saints to the earth. Zech. 14: 1-5; Rev. 19: 11-21.
(43) Represents the destruction of the Beast and the False Prophet. Rev. 19: 20.
(44) Represents the Stone, cut out without hands, destroying the Image which represents the World powers. Dan. 2: 34, 35 and 44, 45.
(45) Represents the binding of Satan for a thousand years. Rev. 20: 1-3.
(46) Represents the re-gathering of the Ten Tribes. Isa. 11: 10-12 ; Zech. 10: 7-12.
(47) Represents the Millennial reign of Christ. Rev. 20: 4-6; Luke 1: 32,33.
(48) Represents Satan loosed for a season. Rev. 20: 7-10.
(49) Represents the destruction of Gog and Magog by fire from heaven. Rev. 20: 9.
Represents Satan cast into the
(51) Represents the Great White Throne. Rev. 20: 11-15.
(52) Represents the Great Resurrection of all the rest of the dead for life or for judgment. Rev. 20: 11-15; John 5: 28, 29.
Represents those whose names are not found written in the Lamb's Book of Life,
and who are cast into the
(54) Represents the Great Abdication, when Christ, having subdued all things, gives them up into the Fatherís hands, that God may be all in all. 1 Cor. 15: 24-28.
(55) Represents the Heavenly Jerusalem sent down from God out of heaven. Rev. 21.
(56) Represents Eternity.
29.† We will now more minutely describe the various events alluded to in the diagram (C). The first two verses of the first chapter of Genesis, in a very few words, describe two periods of time, each, probably, of vast duration.† We are in no way able to judge when "the beginning" (No. 1) was.† Many millions of centuries may have elapsed since the earth was created, and, no doubt, the first period, or periods, continued for countless ages.† At last, however, a great catastrophe appears to have happened, and, instead of law and order reigning. as doubtless was originally the case, another period of indefinite duration ensued, which was one of ruin (No. 2). The account of the restoration of the earth from its ruins (NO. 3) is given in the first two chapters of Genesis.
30.† No definite statement is found in the Bible to the effect that any race of beings inhabited the earth before Adam's creation; but there are indications that such may have been the case.† Whether, however, it was so or not, of one thing we are sure, and that is, that man is not the only race of intelligent beings connected with, if we may not say actually dwelling upon, the earth. Man inhabits the earth; but Satan, or the Devil, with innumerable hosts of invisible evil beings, inhabits the air.† He is described as "The Prince of the Power of the Air" (NO. 4), and rules over the fallen angels and evil spirits, or demons, which congregate there, and, with united purpose, do, as they ever have done, their utmost to lead men into sin, and so to counteract and spoil the plan and purposes of God, and to carry out and establish their own counter plan of evil.† How well the Tempter succeeded with Eve, thus introducing sin into the world (No. 5), we all know; how he has continued to be successful ever since, history teaches us; and how successful he is at this day, our own eyes witness, and our own experience proves.
31.† Man, on account of his sin, was banished from
32.† Previously to this appalling judgment by water, an event of great significance had taken place.† Enoch had been caught up to Heaven without dying (No. 7).† We will not now explain the matter; but later on we shall see what a peculiarly significant event this was. (See paragraphs 8o and 81).
33.† After the judgment of the flood,
35.† Briefly, then, let it be understood, that
37.† But our attention must now be turned to the
history of the people especially chosen of God.†
How they gradually developed from Abraham, as an individual (No. 10),
through Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph; how they went into and were brought out of
Egypt; how they journeyed through the wilderness, and, finally, settled in
Palestine as a united nation - with these portions of their history we are all
well acquainted, and need not dwell upon facts so familiar.† Moreover, we remember the establishment,
under Moses, of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, and how the Glory of God came
visibly down from heaven (No. 11), and filled the tent, which, however, subsequently
gave place to the
38.† This originated what God intended to be the
chief line of earthly sovereignty (No. 14); and it continued in Jewish hands,
39.† Again, we need only refer to the
fact, that, shortly after the death of Solomon, the Ten Tribes revolted, and
henceforth became an independent kingdom, separate from that of
40.† Another event chronicled on the chart is, also, well known, but its significance, which will be explained in the following pages, is not, as a rule, appreciated.† That event is the translation of Elijah (No. 15).
41. †No. 16 marks
the melancholy fact, that, about the same time that the sovereignty passed from
Jewish hands, the Glory of God was taken up from the
42.† No. 17 indicates the carrying away of the
Jews themselves in captivity to
43.† These Four Gentile Empires were revealed in
Nebuchadnezzarís Vision of the Great Image. (Nos. 20-23).† Their dominion commenced when Nebuchadnezzar
44.† Profane history teaches us how the four great Empires, prophesied of by Daniel, have held the earthly sovereignty up to the present time.† First, the Head of Gold, or the Babylonian Empire; secondly, the Breast and Arms of Silver, or the Medo-Persian Empire; then followed the Belly and Thigh-part of Brass, typifying the Grecian Empire; and last of all came the Legs of Iron, representing the Roman Empire, the decadence of which in its latter days is hinted by the mixture of Clay with the Iron of the Feet and Toes.
45.† Returning to the main part of the diagram, we
see the fact recorded, that, while, at
No. 19, the Jews were undergoing a seventy yearsí captivity in
46.† No. 24 notes the fact, that
such Jews as cared to do so were permitted to return, under Ezra, to assist in
the re-building of the
47.† Small Jewish contingents did, however, respond to the appeals of Ezra and Nehemiah, and were now back in the land; and, therefore, although they were not the sovereign race they might have been, yet God resumed His dealings with them. Daniel had prophesied (Dan. 9: 25), that, between the going forth of the commandment to rebuild the city and wall of Jerusalem (Neh. 2: 8) and the appearing of Messiah the Prince, Seven Sevens of Years and Sixty-two Sevens, making altogether Sixty-nine Sevens, should pass by.† These Sixty-nine "Sevens," or Four Hundred and Eighty-three Years, are marked on the chart as commencing at NO. 25, which represents the first period of Seven Years.
48.† We assume that these numbers represent years;
for the prophet had previously been speaking of years (Dan.
9: 2).† He had been much troubled in
his mind, because God had revealed to him, by the vision of the great Image, that the sovereignty would remain in Gentile hands
until Four World powers should have arisen and been overthrown.† For he remembered another prediction through
Jeremiah, who announced, that the captives should be permitted to return from
49.† It is not very clear why the Seven Sevens were marked off; though it may be suggested as probable, that the rebuilding of the streets and walls of the city were to occupy the first period of Forty nine Years.† But the second period of Sixty-two Sevens when added to the Seven Sevens amounts to Sixty-nine Sevens, and defines a most distinct period.† For this was to be the whole time that should elapse between the going forth of the commandment and the appearing of "Messiah the Prince" or, if we translate literally, "an Anointed One a Prince."† But who is Messiah the Prince?
50. †Jesus Christ, when on earth in the flesh, did not come as a Prince to reign, but in humiliation to suffer; and, accordingly, we read, that, when the people, realizing that He was Heir to Davidís crown and kingdom, would have taken Him by force and made Him King, He hid Himself - thus showing that He did not at that time desire, or intend, to be so recognized.† Yet, at length, there came a day when He ceased to repel those who would hail Him as their Sovereign Lord.† It was when He entered the city of Jerusalem four days before His death, riding on an assís colt, and the people spread their garments before Him, shouting:- "Hosanna to the Son of David!"
51.† Then He no longer rebuked their acclamations; for He knew that they were fulfilling what had been foretold of Him (Zech. 9: 9), and were marking the close of the Sixty-ninth Seven.† So, on that memorable day, "Messiah the Prince" appeared; and the event foretold to happen next was, that the same Messiah should be "cut off."
52.† The sadly fickle multitude, which had caused the fulfilment of Zechariahís words, were, also, the means of turning Danielís prophecy into history.† For, within four days from the time that they had hailed the Lord Jesus as King, they suffered, and even encouraged, the malice and wickedness of the High Priest to cut Him off.
53.† In our more detailed study of the Seventy Sevens, we shall be able to show, that the foretold period of the Sixty-nine Sevens, or Four Hundred and Eighty-three Years, was fulfilled precisely, even to the very day (see paragraphs 117-20).
54.† The birth of Our Lord is indicated by No. 27 on the chart, and No. 28 marks His ministry on earth, which was followed by His death upon the cross for our sins.† He was exit off, and there was nothing for Him; that is, He had at that time none of the glory and dominion which by right belonged to Him as the Messiah.
55.† No. 29 reminds us of His ascension to glory at the right hand of the Father, waiting (No. 32) till His foes have been made His footstool.
56. †No. 30 represents the glorious fact of the descent of the Holy Spirit and the establishment of [Gentiles incorporated into] "the Church" (No. 31).† But, when we speak of the Church, we must not be understood to allude to any Establishment, Sect, or Denomination, whether Orthodox, Papal, or Protestant.† What we mean is that true and spiritual company of believers which, at present, is invisible to men, but is known to God.† For, after the death, resurrection, and ascension, of the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit was sent down into the world to teach men how they might become acceptable to God, and worship Him, Who is Spirit, in the only way in which He will suffer Himself to be worshipped, in spirit and in truth.† And all those who are willing to be so taught, and to be filled by the [Holy] Spirit, are baptized by Him into that one Body which is truly called the Church, and which is the Body of Christ.† This mission of the Holy Spirit is, of course, the great feature of the present age in which we live.
57.† So far, we have been considering events which have already happened; now we come to others which are still in the future, but which must take place, because they are foretold in the Word of God.
58.† We have already seen (paragraph 51), that the coming of Christ to Jerusalem as the King of the Daughter of Zion, and riding on the assís colt, indicated the completion of the Sixty-nine Sevens foretold by Daniel; but there was another Seven, the Seventieth, of which we have, as yet, said little.† Did that Last Seven of Years immediately follow the Sixty-ninth, or not?† If not, why not?
59.† There is abundant reason to say that it did not; but, on the contrary, that a great interval at once commenced, during which the Jews are in exile, and Godís dealings with them as a nation are suspended, and will not be resumed, either spiritually or temporally, until the appointed period of exile shall have gone by.† For it was as a nation that the Jews rejected the Lord Jesus, when He offered Himself to them as their rightful King; and so, God rejected them as a nation, and soon after wards caused their city to be destroyed, and them selves to be banished from their land (No. 33).† And they will continue to be thus rejected, or "given up," until (see paragraph 65) "she that travaileth," that is, the true "Church" (see Rev. 12: 1-5), hath ďbrought forth" (Micah 5: 1-3).
60.† In the war with the Romans multitudes of the
Jews were killed, while the rest of them were scattered over the face of the
earth, to endure the terrible persecutions and sufferings which for centuries
have been their lot.† Hence one of the
very significant signs of the present time is the fact, that the hand of
persecution, which was in a great measure stayed, is now again raised to smite
them, especially in Russia, the effect being their migration in large numbers
to the Holy Land, which is no longer forbidden to them.† It is also a well-known fact, that, whereas,
a comparatively few years ago, the more important and honourable offices and
positions in all nations were closed against Jews, yet now, in many countries,
they hold more of these offices and positions, in proportion to their numbers,
than any other section of the people.†
Further, there are at this time (1903) many more Jews residing in
61.† These facts claim the most earnest attention from all Christians, since they enable us to realize, that the time when she that travaileth shall bring forth must be very near; for it is evident, that before long the Jews will be once more a nation dwelling in their own land, to which they are even now regathering (No. 34).† And God will then resume His dealings with and His judgments upon them by bringing on the final period of the Seventieth Seven, which will include the Great Tribulation, the Day of Visitation and of Desolation.† Then the inhabitants of the whole earth, both Jews and Gentiles, but especially the Jews and the unready Christians, will be subjected to the fearful temporal judgments foreshadowed so often in the writings of the prophets, and recorded in the Book of Revelation, many of which will be caused by the great Antichrist, the "Assyrian" of Isa. 10: 5.
62.† But we may avoid these woes, if we will; for God has provided an open door of escape.† Before the period of tribulation can commence, the saints, those who are found ready and watching for the mighty and glorious event, will be removed, "caught up (No. 35) unto God and to His Throne."† For, through faith in the cleansing power of the Blood of Jesus Christ, and through sanctification of the Spirit, they will be accounted worthy to escape ALL those things which are coming upon the earth.
63.† Now, according to the belief of almost all prophetic students, events are fast ripening for the commencement of the Seventieth Seven.† The night is now, not merely far spent, but is actually passing away, and the first faint beams of dawn may be already detected by those who are earnestly watching.† Are we among the watching ones?† Have we cast off the works of Darkness, and put on the armour of Light?† Have we obeyed our Lord's command, and watched and prayed always, that we may be accounted worthy to escape the things that are coming upon the earth, and to be with Him while they are happening?† Let us beware; for at an hour when we think not, and swift as a lightning-flash, the awful moment may have passed by, and the cry be heard from many a house throughout the broad earth, "One has been taken, and the other left!"
64. †Alas! how many professing Christians will then be left, and so be disappointed of their hopes!† They believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, they profess to be waiting and watching for Him; but, when He comes, they will not be ready; and so, instead of being caught up to God and to His Throne, and spared the terrors of the Last Days, they will find themselves left to go through the greater part of the persecutions and tribulations of the Seventieth Seven, initiated and carried out first by the "Great Whore," and afterwards by the Antichrist, or Beast. †Such a danger ought to be the highest and most powerful stimulus to all [regenerate] believers, of whatever sex or age, warning them to prepare to meet their God.
65. †The event referred to at No. 35 may, then, be very near at hand; and it will bring the great interval to a conclusion, and usher in the short period, during which the judgments of God will be in the earth (No. 37).
66.† At that time, many of tile Jews will have returned to their own land, and the earth will have lost the best of her believing inhabitants; nevertheless, there will be a great revival of true faith among those that are left behind.† For they will have been horrified at the discovery that their spiritual condition was found wanting; and that, though they may still be saved,* yet they can now be so only as through fire.† For they must endure all the terrors of the Six Seals, as well as those of the Six Trumpets.† Should they, however, be enabled to remain faithful, their troubles will be ended at the sound of the Last or Seventh Trumpet, which will be the signal for the resurrection and translation of the Church, and will usher in the Seven Vials of Godís wrath.† This is the event represented by No. 40.
[* That is, Ďsavedí in the sense of being restored and given an opportunity to win the ĎPrizeí - to rule and reign with Christ during the millennium.]
67. †At or about
the commencement of this period of the Last Seven, vast political disturbances
will take place - "nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom"; in fact,
such wars will ensue as are now anxiously expected and dreaded by all the
68.† We may anticipate that these political convulsions will result in the setting up of Ten Kingdoms, corresponding to the Ten Toes of the Great Image (Dan. 2: 41-43), and also corresponding to the Ten Horns of Dan. 7: 7, 20, and of Rev. 17: 12.† Then, out of the confusions of wars and revolutions, a man will arise, probably in somewhat the same way as the first Napoleon, who will increase in power and might, until he becomes, as Napoleon nearly did, the one great Emperor of the civilized world; and this man will be the Antichrist.† Precisely when he is to appear, we are not told; but, in all probability, his coming will not be very long delayed; for even now his spirit is spreading among us.
69.† About this time, the great city of
70.† It was one of the great Napoleonís ambitions
71.† The Ten Kingdoms, mentioned in paragraph 68, will flourish for a time, but not for long; for a Stone (No. 44 on chart) strikes the Image upon the Feet, and utterly demolishes it.† Then the Stone gradually becomes a great mountain, and fills the whole earth.
Now a mountain is a Biblical symbol for a government or kingdom, the Stone represents the Lord Jesus, and its fall from above, His return to our earth.† Hence it is here predicted, that the Ten Kingdoms will be destroyed by the Lord at His appearing; and that, subsequently, he will, also, absorb into Himself all other worldly governments, and so extend His dominion over the whole earth.† Then, at last, the government will be upon His shoulder, according to the prediction of Isaiah (9: 6).
72. †But, after the present Dispensation has ended, and the watching Saints have been caught up to God and to His Throne, many events must happen both in the air and upon the earth.
For instance, we know that Satan and his hosts have been "the Power of the Air" from the days of Adam to the present time. But, if the Lord Jesus and His saints are to come into the air, it does not seem consistent that the Devil and his hosts should remain there.† Nor will they be allowed to do so.
Accordingly, in Rev. 12: 7-9, we read of a war in heaven, just after the rapture of the Manchild, in which the Archangel Michael drives out Satan, together with all his angels, and casts them down to the earth.
Then a voice is heard, saying, "Rejoice ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them!"† And well they may; for the Accuser and Destroyer is cast out, and the Saviour and His ransomed ones are about to take possession.† But then the voice changes to a minor key, "Woe to the inhibiters of the earth!"† For the Devil, driven down to earth, is now forced to remain there, and has great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.† We may, therefore, be sure that the Great Tribulation will speedily enter upon its most appalling phase.
73.† No doubt, the true Christian and the Jew are
those who will suffer the most acutely at this crisis.† But the rebellious and the worldly, also,
will be fearfully plagued by the judgments of the Seals and Trumpets; while
upon them God will, subsequently, pour out the far more terrible Vials of His
wrath.† What the nature of these plagues
will be may be seen by a reference to Rev. 6., 8., 9., and 16.† And the prediction of Jehovah in Exod. 34: 10,
indicates that they will be far worse than the plagues of
74. †Let it not,
then, be forgotten, that all these are to be literal plagues, just as much as
It will thus be evident, that those who refuse to do the bidding of the Government of that day will be deprived of all power to take part in the ordinary affairs of life, and will find even their supply of provisions cut off.† In such circumstances, either concealment or escape will be all but impossible.
75.† Every Christian believer will find himself in
a fearful dilemma.† For, if he looks to
the earthly authorities, he must either enter into the
service of the Antichrist and receive his mark, or he must prepare to
die; for death will be the penalty of refusal. But, if he turns to the Heavenly
Powers, he must either refuse to receive the mark of the Beast, or be doomed
together with him to the
76. †But, as we have already remarked, in addition to terrible sufferings at the hand of man, believers will, also, be scared and tormented by those judgments upon the world which, at the same time, will be coming, in rapid succession, directly from the hand of God.† There will be no escape from these woes, except through death; and in the description of one of them, we are told that many in those days will seek death, and will not be able to find it.
77.† But, while these fearfully portentous events are taking place, while the people of God are being persecuted, and His Name blasphemed, by the Antichrist, there will be great searchings of heart among the Jews, and perhaps, also, among the Ten Tribes on the other side of the Euphrates.† For two mighty witnesses for God, armed with supernatural powers, will then be bearing their testimony to Israel and the world, calling men to repentance, and uttering fearful prophecies of judgment.† But their ministry will be altogether on Old Testament lines.† There is no hint that they will preach the Gospel of the Grace of God; nor, indeed, would their action be in harmony with such preaching.
Who, then, are these "Two Witnesses" of Rev. 11: 3-12?† It is very evident that they are persons of great authority and sanctity.† Their history is not narrated by John as having formed a part of his vision, but is dictated to him by an angel, and he simply writes it down.
79.† The translation of living saints from earth to heaven was a thing not unknown before this time.† But it would seem that these two very eminent saints are to be specially sent down from the presence of God, to be His witnesses at this awful juncture.† They can hardly be other than human beings, because they have to die (Rev. 11: 7).† Moreover, we do not see how they can be persons who have already passed through the grave; for it is "appointed unto men once to die"; and, if these had already died, and were to be raised from the dead for the purpose of their testimony, they would, according to the prophecy, have to die twice.
80. †The question, then, arises: Are there two eminent saints who have never died, and who would seem fit to assume this honourable but onerous position?† Our thoughts immediately turn to Enoch and Elijah, who were translated to heaven without dying (see Chart C, 7 and 15), and that, probably, for the special purpose of being reserved for this very service.† We have a further indication in Malachiís prophecy, which declares that Elijah will be sent back to earth about this time; and, also, in Christ's announcement, that, before the Great Day, Elias (or Elijah) must first come (Mark 9: 12) to do the work at the end of the present age that John the Baptist might have done at its beginning.† The following verse (v. 13) seems to convey the idea, that God, knowing the certainty of the rejection of Christís person and mission by the Jews, would not, at that time, send Elijah to attempt his predicted work, but substituted John the Baptist in the spirit and power of the ancient prophet.† But Elijah himself was reserved until the time of the end, or, as Malachi has it, until just before "the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord." Then both he and his fellow-prophet will be sent to restore "the holy seed," and to make them remember the Law of Moses (Mal. 4: 4).† For Jews, as Jews, will never receive the Lord Jesus until He actually appears, and they look upon Him Whom they pierced.
81.† When the marvellous mission death and subsequent resurrection of the Two Witnesses have been accomplished (No. 38), the full numbers of the Church will be gathered in to the Lord (No. 40), the dead being raised and the living changed and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air (1Thess. 4: 16-7; 1 Cor. 15: 51-2).† And when these are joined to the Firstfruits, which will have been taken up before them, the complete Body of Christ will have been translated from earth to heaven.
82.† But, while God's heavenly people will be thus
persecuted and delivered, what will meanwhile be befalling His ancient people
83. †How many Jews there will be in the Land when that event is consummated, we are not told; but we know that the majority of them will be living there in unbelief as regards Jehovah, and in disobedience to His law.† As to their attitude towards Christ, they will never, as a nation, believe on Him, until, as we have just said, He actually appears, and they look with their own eyes upon Him Whom they pierced.
84.† The "covenant," or treaty, thus made will be seen to operate well for a time.† During the first half of the Seven Years the Antichrist will, probably, act as though he respected, or at least tolerated, religion.† He will certainly pander to the Roman Catholic Church during the earlier days of his career, because we are told in Rev. 17., that the Harlot, that is, the false Church, will be carried, or borne, by the Beast which symbolizes the then Emperor of Christendom.† Hence, at this early period, the Papacy will rather seem to be patronizing and directing the Antichrist than the Antichrist the Papacy.
85. The fact, that the Antichrist makes a treaty with the Jews for seven years, further indicates, that he will deem them sufficiently powerful to be worth conciliating; and, no doubt, in some way, perhaps financially, they will be in a position to render him important service.
86.† But, though it seems evident that he will build up his power and influence with the help of both the Jews and the Papacy, yet it is equally evident, that, later on, he will consider himself sufficiently strong and popular to do away with all religion, the false as well as the true, and to set forth himself as the sole object of veneration and worship.
87. †In proof of this we are told, that he will
destroy the Papacy (see Rev. 17: 15-18), break
his treaty with the Jews (Dan. 9: 27), and
then cause the daily sacrifices, which will have been resumed, to cease, and
the "abomination of desolation" to
"stand in the Holy Place."† We interpret this last clause to mean, that
he will cause his own image, of which we read in Rev.
13: 14, 15, to be placed in the Holy of Holies at
88. †In all this awful blasphemy, he and his powerful assistant, "the False Prophet" (Rev. 13: 11), will be merely fulfilling the predictions of God. (See Rev. 13: 5, 6.)† They will actually cause mankind to worship Satan, or the Dragon, as well as the Antichrist, or Beast (Rev. 13: 4).† These three, the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet, are set before us as the Satanic Trinity, being the Devilís mimicry of the Blessed and Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
89.† This attempt to force the worst kind of idolatry upon the Jews will, doubtless, be mightily resisted by them, not, perhaps, so much as an insult to God as to themselves; and the consequences of this and other disagreements will be, that the Antichrist will hate the Jews, and turn all his power against them with a view of extirpating them from the face of the earth, just as he will have previously destroyed the Papacy.† But, although he will wield gigantic power, it would seem that he will foresee difficulties.† For he will gather together, from many nations, a vast and, apparently, irresistible force, to crush Jerusalem; and the very fact, that he will feel the need of so numerous a host to carry out his object, seems to indicate that he will by no means despise his foe.† Yet how little will he suspect the might of the Holy One of Israel with Whom he will find himself to be suddenly confronted!
90.† His armies will, probably, occupy a line of
country between Bozrah and
91. †And so, they will continue urgent in prayer, lifting up supplications like those in Psa. 55: 1-9, or Isa. 64.; and, perhaps, strengthening their faith by remembering such words as may be found in Psa. 107:- "Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses."† And this time He will fulfil the Psalm in a wondrous manner, by sending down the Lord Jesus, with all His saints, to tread the winepress of His wrath, and to deal with the wicked as they will be seeking to deal with the Jews.† See Rev. 14: 19, 20, 19: 11-21.† This will be "the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord" (No. 42) as described in Joel 2: 30-2, 3: 9-16; Zech 14: 1-7; Matt. 24: 30.† It is the time when the dominion, or line of sovereignty (No. 14), will pass once more out of the hands of the Gentiles, and be restored to the people of God.† It is the time when the Stone (No. 44) of Dan. 2: 34-5, shall smite the Image which represents the Gentile Empire (Nos. 20, 21, 22, and 23), and grind it to powder at the battle of Armageddon; while the "Stone", Itself shall thenceforth increase, and continue to increase, until It fills the whole earth.
92.† But the terrific destruction of the nations
will not be the only great event of That Day.†
For the Beast and the False Prophet will be seized, and cast alive into
93. †Soon afterwards, the glory of Jehovah, which
was removed from the Sanctuary in Ezekielís days (No. 16), will return to the
Mountain of the Lord (see Ezek. 43: 4, and No. 42),
and remain, once more permanently visible, over the restored
95.† It may be well at this point to mention, that, according to the Bible, the reward in store for those saints of the Israelitish Dispensation who were not, through sin, cut off from their people, is altogether distinct and different from that which is prepared for the sanctified and faithful of the New Testament Dispensation.† For the latter have a heavenly calling, and will dwell in the presence of their Lord; while the reward of the Old Testament saints will be to be brought out of their graves and replaced in their own Land.*† See Ezek. 37: 12-14, which must be understood literally, since it is the interpretation of the figurative vision of the Dry Bones (see also paragraph 275).
[* There is no scriptural evidence to suggest that New Testament saints will have greater privileges than Old Testament saints.]
96.† Christís spiritual people, then, will dwell
with Him in the Heavenly Places having their dominion in the air, out of which
Satan, together with all the fallen angels and demons, will have been
driven.† But His earthly people will
abide in the Land which He had chosen for them, with
[* Those who are resurrected (from the dead) and changed (via rapture of the living)into an immortal state Ďlike the angelsí (Luke 20: 35), will be able to rule from the air as well as from the earth as David.]
97. †It is highly probable that the inhabitants of the Heavenly Places will frequently visit the earth, just as heavenly beings did in Old Testament times; and, no doubt, the Great King of Kings Himself will personally appear at Jerusalem from time to time, although His actual abode will be in the Heavenly Places, where His people will be with Him.
98.† It would not, indeed, be right to be too dogmatic
in regard to the glorious things which we have tried to set before the
reader.† Nevertheless, what we have
described seems to be the course of events indicated in Scripture.† There is, however, a very solemn thought
connected with this subject.† Will all
those who profess and call themselves Christians be amongst the inhabitants of
the Heavenly Places?† We are forced to
reply, Certainly not; nay, we must even go further; for, probably, there are
many who are, in a sense, real believers, and are, therefore, justified and
saved from all danger of hell-fire, but will never be suffered to dwell in the
Heavenlies during the Millennium, or period of rest and reward.† These pardoned, but incomplete, Christians
will not awake until the judgment of the Great White Throne.† Then they will be raised from the dead; but,
since their names will be found written in the Lamb's Book of Life, they will
be saved from the [eternal] doom of the wicked; and will, at last, enter upon
the fruition of eternal life.† Unless,
then, we are cleansed and purified [and our
standard of righteousness measures] up to Godís
standard here below, we shall have to endure the fate of the Foolish Virgins,
and be excluded from the Body of Christ and His
99.† The magnificent period of the Millennium (No.
47), when all the nations of the earth shall be blessed through the Jews, will,
however, soon pass by, and then the earth must again be tested by temptation;
for many of her inhabitants will be yielding but a feigned obedience to the
Lord.† Therefore, the imprisoned Powers
of Darkness must be let loose, in order that their influence may either rouse
men to resist them and to cry to God for help, or may incite the wicked to avow
their rebellious thoughts, and to rise in open revolt against their Rightful
King (No. 48).† The result will be a
general insurrection headed by Gog and Magog (No. 49), the details of which are not revealed.† After the lapse, of an uncertain period, this
rebellion will be subdued, and then Satan will be finally "cast into the
100.† Then commences the scene of terror, when the
unsanctified and unsaved dead will all be summoned to stand before the awful
judgment-seat of the Great White Throne (No. 51).† Myriads will be raised from their graves (No.
52) who have lived and died in carelessness, and, consequently, have no hope of
pardon, but will be cast (No. 53) into the horrible
101.† Others, however, will also he raised at the same time who will not share so appalling a fate.† They will be those believers whose names were written in the Lambís Book of Life, but who, during their sojourn upon earth, had failed to attain, through the power of the indwelling Spirit, to that holiness and purity of heart without which no man shall see the Lord.† Consequently, they had not been thought worthy to have part in the First Resurrection, and had lost their reward.† Nevertheess, since they did believe in the Lord, they must on the Last Day be raised to that fruition of eternal life which, had they been faithful, they might have enjoyed a thousand years earlier. See John 6: 40.
102.† The very awful events which we have described will be followed by a purification of the earth, and its, at least partial, reconstruction.† The purification will be by fire, which will be such that the very elements will melt with fervent heat, and all dross will be burnt up.† Then the Lord will make all things new, and in the New Heavens, and on the New Earth, there shall be nothing that can ever offend.† The curse will be altogether removed, and there shall be no more sin, or sorrow, or sighing, or tears, or sickness, or death; for the old things will have passed away.
103.† But a memorable event will mark the
commencement of the final and everlasting state.† For, after the judgment of the Great White
Throne, and the casting of all the enemies of the Lord Jesus, including Satan
and Death and Hades, into the
104.† We have thus given a brief outline of the course of events as indicated in the Great Revealed Scheme of God.† If these events can be thoroughly realized by the student, he will have a comprehensive idea of "Godís Plan in the Bible."† There are, however, many points on which the teaching may reasonably be amplified, and we will now proceed to deal with a few of these points in greater detail.
The Seventy Sevens
105.† We have already mentioned the Seventy Sevens; but there is much to be said respecting that famous prophecy which it seemed best to introduce separately.† For a general outline must not be confused by too many details, nor in any way complicated more than is absolutely necessary.† But a thorough insight into the facts connected with the revelation of the Seventy Sevens is essential to the comprehension of all prophetic utterances.
106.† When the Jews were carried
107.† We are fully authorized to make this
separation between the Sixty-ninth and Seventieth Seven, because the prophet
himself separates them by placing events between them (Dan.
9: 26).† Also Our Lord gave us a
very marked example of the same sort of thing, when He was reading from Isa. 61: 1, in the synagogue at
108.† Similarly, in Isa. 9: 6, we read, "Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder." But, although the Child was born, and the Son given, some nineteen hundred years ago, the government is not yet upon His shoulder.† Nay, even in the first eighteen chapters of the Apocalypse, the royal diadem is found only on the heads of the Dragon and the Beast; it is not until we come to 19: 12, that the Lord Jesus is described as wearing it.
109.† Other instances might be quoted; and, moreover, we know as a matter of fact, that the predicted results of the discipline appointed for the Jews have never yet been effected.† Therefore, unless the prophecy be a myth, the Seventieth Seven has not yet become history, although eighteen hundred and seventy-four years [and more] have elapsed since the last day of the Sixty-ninth Seven.† And there is no possible way of accounting for this phenomenon, unless we understand, that a suspension of Godís dealings with the Jews followed immediately upon their rejection of their Messiah, and must continue until the Church-period [or Christian-period] is ended, and they [the Jews] are again owned as His people.† The objects to be accomplished by the Four Hundred and Ninety Years of discipline are six in number, and are thus stated:-
1.† To shut up transgression.
2.. To seal up sins.
3.† To cover iniquity.
4.† To bring in everlasting righteousness.
5.† To seal up vision and prophet.
6.† To anoint a Holy of Holies.
110.† Now we know well, that none of these things
has been hitherto effected.† Transgression has not been shut up, neither
that of the Jews nor that of any other nation.†
Sins are not sealed up, but are everywhere rampant; nor is iniquity
covered. Everlasting righteousness has certainly not yet been brought in; the
visions and utterances of the prophets are by no means all fulfilled, so that
they may be sealed up and laid aside.†
And the glorious
[* See Hosea 6: 2: ďAfter two days (two thousand years according to Peterís reckoning, 2 Pet. 3: 8) Ė ďhe will revive us; on the third dayĒ Ė (the millennial kingdom of Christ) Ė ďhe will restore us, that we may live in his presence.Ē]
111.† But much additional light is thrown on this subject by an examination of the apparent discrepancy, in the numbers of years given for the same period, between 1 Kings 6: 1, and Acts 13: 17-22.† For the true explanation of this difficulty is very instructive and suggestive.
112.† The first of the two references makes the
period between the day on which
113.† But, if we carefully study the Book of Judges, we shall find, that, during the four hundred and fifty years of which Paul speaks in Acts 13., the Israelites were sold by God into the hands of six different nations, and endured five periods of servitude, as punishments for their wickedness.† And, while they were in servitude, God abandoned them for the time, and no longer recognized them as His chosen people.† The various times of servitude were as follows:-
For 8 years they served the Mesopotamians, Jud. 3: 8.
For 18 years they served the Moabites, Jud. 3: 14.
For 20 years they served the Canaanites, Jud. 4: 2-3.
For 7 years they served the Midianites, Jud. 6: 1.
For 40 years they served the Philistines, Jud. 13: 1.††† =93
So for ninety-three years out of the four hundred and fifty they were in servitude.
114.† Now, if we deduct the ninety-three years of
servitude from the five hundred and seventy three years obtained by Paulís
reckoning, we shall find the remainder to be exactly four hundred and eighty,
which is the number given in the Book of Kings. And
so, the discrepancy vanishes; for we can readily assume, that Paul uses the
ordinary human chronology, which makes the period between the Exodus and the
founding of the
115.† But we also know, that, as soon as the Jews are restored to their own Land and again recognized as a nation, God will once more resume His dealings with them, and the dread Seventieth Seven, with all its fearful terrors, will begin to become history. And, just before its commencement, the waiting saints connected with the Church will be caught away from the evil that is coming upon the earth.
116.† How critical, then, are the times in which we live!† For already we see the Jews gathering in their own Land, and beginning to feel, that, after eighteen weary centuries of dispersion and exile, they are still a nation.† This is one of the most striking signs of the times; nor can anything more definitely prove the imminence of the great events which are foretold as preceding the end of the dispensation, and which we can see maturing under our very eyes.† There are, also, many other indications of what is coming, which convey much confirmatory evidence to thinking minds, though, taken separately, they may be more or less open to argument.† But, on this one point, there can be no difference of opinion.† The great fact is, that the Jews are regathering; the great inference, if men will only open their eyes to realize it, is, that very soon the Lord Jesus must return for His ready, waiting, and watching people.† "Prepare to meet thy God."
117.† We have previously, in paragraphs 52 and 53, pointed out, that the Seventy Sevens were to commence on a certain specified day, and that the first Sixty-nine Sevens, or 483 years, were to terminate, also, on a certain specified day.† We need not, then, repeat what has already been stated in those paragraphs, but will just explain how it is that we understand the 483 years to have been exactly fulfilled to a day.
118.† We must, however, in making this or any other calculation as to prophetic periods, remember, that a prophetic year always contains 360 days, or twelve months of thirty days each.† From remote antiquity this was the universally recognized length of a year.† But we have Biblical proof, that, in the prophecy now before us, at least, the year is reckoned as of 360 days. The Sixty-nine Sevens have passed, the Seventieth is still in the future, and the events which are to occur during the latter are described, in considerable detail, in the Book of Revelation.† Now, if we search the Book of Daniel and the Revelation to discover what is said of the final Seven of Years, we shall find a thrice repeated statement, that one half of the Seven consists of "a time times and the dividing, or half of, a time."† Now, in the opinion of almost all scholars, the expression "a time," that is, a circle of time or a complete time, signifies a year; while "times" must be understood as "two times."† Hence the phrase means a year, two years, and half a year, or three years and a half.† In two passages the same period is described as forty-two months (Rev. 11: 2; 13: 5); and in two others as 1,260 days (Rev. 11: 3; 12: 6).† It is thus easy to see, that, if forty-two months contain only I,260 days, there will be but thirty days for each month; and that a year made up of twelve such months will contain only 360 days.† And this is what we may call a prophetic year.
119.† The year now in use is called the "Julian" year, and contains, as we know, 365 and a quarter days, the quarter day being supplied by adding an extra day every fourth or "leap" year.† When, therefore, we want to prove the accuracy of Danielís prophecy, we must recollect that he was referring to prophetic years.
120.† The first of Nisan in the 20th. year of Artaxerxes (Neh. 2: 1), the day on which the command went forth to
rebuild the street and wall of
121.† It is, also, well to notice how entirely the Jews were without excuse in their rejection of the Christ; for, had they paid attention to the prophecies which they professed to hold in such veneration and respect, they could have calculated the exact day on which the prophecy of Daniel, and also that of Zechariah (9: 9), were to have been fulfilled.† Danielís prophecy was still further verified, because, within four days from the end of the Sixty-ninth Seven, "Messiah" was cut off, and there was nothing for Him.
112.† Surely these details must greatly strengthen our faith in all utterances of Godís Holy Word.† We may often fail to understand, as Daniel did (Dan. 12: 8); but we can believe.† God does not ask us, or permit us, to understand everything.† He wishes us to believe what He says whether we understand it or not.† Daniel believed and prophesied at Godís command that which he did not understand.† We must believe in the same way; and, if we do not, we practically insist on walking by sight, and refuse to walk by faith.† We can exercise faith only when we have not got sight.† When we fully understand a thing, we virtually need no faith.† But "without faith it is impossible to please God," and we should have no opportunity of exercising faith if we understood everything.† Nothing can more surely tend to strengthen our faith than to see apparent discrepancies, and then, after having believed confidently that God is right, notwithstanding the evidence we seem to have that He is wrong, suddenly to find that it was only our own blindness and ignorance which made it, even for a moment, appear that He might be wrong.† Such an experience vastly increases our confidence that other things, which we do not understand, may, also, be perfectly explicable when we get a little more knowledge.
123.† No account of the "Seventy SevensĒ could be deemed in any way complete without some reference to the details of the Last, and infinitely the most important, of them all.† A careful study of the accompanying chart, D, will assist the reader to understand its momentous events.† We may mention, that the Book of Revelation is mainly a history of those same events; or, since it was written a long time before they were to happen, we should rather say a prophecy.† Yet, after all, prophecy is merely history written in advance.
124. †An examination of the Book of Revelation will show, that, from the commencement of the fourth chapter to the end of the nineteenth, the events described are those of the Last Seven of Years only.
125.† For this awful crisis will be the great period of judgment on Jew and Gentile: it will be the special season of trouble referred to in Dan. 12: 1.† It will he the time of desolation of Dan. 9: 27: it will be the Day of Visitation and Desolation referred to in Isa. 10: 3, and in many other places.† Some of these events, such as those of Rev. 7., 8., 14., and part of 19., will take place in the heavens: the remainder on earth.† But they will all happen during this tremendous period of Seven Years.
126.† When the appalling time commences, a certain set of circumstances will be found to be existing.† Many of the Jews will then be dwelling in their own Land (see paragraph 116), though what proportion of them will be there, we cannot tell.† The Antichrist will have arisen, though as yet he may not be very prominent.† The Ten Kingdoms (see paragraph 68) will either have been already formed or will very shortly be so, and the ready saints will have gone (see paragraph 62).† The Antichrist will then arrange his treaty with the Jews for seven years (see "Preliminary Events" on Chart D); and this covenant will usher in the Seventieth Seven, and, doubtless, be the event which will, in the sight of God, and, probably, in that of man also, give back their nationality to the Jews.
I27. †We are able to be certain on this point, because God will resume His dealings with the Jews as soon as He recognizes them once more as a nation, and we know, that the commencement of this final Seven is His actual resumption of dealings, in terrible judgment, with His Own stiff-necked people,* as well as with His Gentile foes.
[* That is, regenerate believers who will left to endure these terrible times of persecution, after the watchful are removed via rapture, (Luke 21: 34-36).]
128. †We may also remark, that there are three sets of events which claim our attention, and are indicated upon the diagram. First, the topmost of the three represents the historical and political events of the Seven Years.† These all happen upon the earth, and include the great persecutions which Godís people will have to undergo at the hands of their fellow-men. The middle line represents events which will, also, happen on the earth.† But these are terrible plagues, which will be sent upon mankind directly from God.† All classes of men, Christian, Jew, and Gentile, will suffer from these plagues.† But true Christians, if they remain "faithful unto death," will escape altogether the third series of woes, or the pouring out of the Vials.† The third line of events comprises those which are to take place in heaven during the same period as that in which the others are to be fulfilled on earth.
129.† It will be noticed, that certain things have been mentioned as happening during the first half of the "Seven," and others during its latter half.† Between the two halves there is a division on the chart, and, at that juncture, several important events must take place, which are there enumerated.† The preliminary events have been alluded to in paragraph 126.
130.† It will also be noticed, that the Seventh Seal extends during the whole length of the Seven Trumpets and of the Vials, and the Seventh Trumpet, also, is prolonged during the period of the Vials.† The reason is, that, when the Seventh Seal is broken, instead of one great plague resulting, seven new plagues, called Trumpets, are introduced; and in the same way, when the Seventh Trumpet is sounded, instead of one plague, seven new ones, which are caused by the outpouring of the Vials, are introduced.† But all the judgments - Seals, Trumpets, and Vials - terminate on the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord, marked on Chart D; on that day (a day, probably, of 24 hours) the events mentioned on the Chart will occur.† This is the day on which the present Dispensation must finally close amid the most fearful catastrophes, calamities, and judgments.† Then the glorious day which follows will usher in the Millennium, or the thousand yearsí reign of the Lord Jesus.
131.† Several times in the foregoing pages we have had occasion to mention the "Antichrist," and it is very desirable that we should form some definite idea as to who and what he is, and when he will appear.† In paragraph 11, we saw that God had His special plan, and His special King, Jesus Christ.† We also saw that Satan had his special anti-plan, and his special King, the Antichrist.† The latter is not represented as standing in Christís stead, in any sense, as a vice-Christ; but as an unmitigated counterfeit, or a fraudulent misrepresentation of the True Christ Himself.
132.† Jesus Christ is the True Friend of men, but they will not receive Him.† The Antichrist, who will be the embodiment of worldly talent and accomplishments, will make himself out to be manís true friend by bringing in superhuman aid to help him to resist God, He comes in his own name, and, he will be received.
133.† He will be a man, just as Christ was a man; that is to say, he will be a very prominent personality.† Christ was not a mere system, nor will His great opponent be so.† It is true that John in his Epistles speaks of many Antichrists as then existing in the world (1 John 4: 3; 2 John 7); but he carefully distinguishes them from the Antichrist who was still in the future (1 John 2: 18); and, in another place (1 John 4: 3), further explains himself as meaning that these evil men had the spirit of the, Antichrist.† Now the evil spirit, which opposes Christ and denies Him as coming in the flesh, has, of course, been manifested in men from the earliest times of our age.† But, in 1 John 2: 18, these many Antichrists are contrasted with a special individual, in whom their own characteristic will culminate.
134.† If we consider them as individuals, there will be many points both of similarity and of contrast between the Antichrist and our Lord Jesus Christ.
As the Christ was superhuman in virtue, so the Antichrist will be superhuman in vice, though, possibly, in covered and very attractive and respectable vice.
The Christ represented God upon the earth, and was "the express image of His Person" (Heb. 1: 3); the Antichrist will represent Satan upon the earth (Rev. 13: 2).
God gives all power and authority unto the Son (John 5: 22, 23); Satan gives his power to the Antichrist (Rev. 13: 2).
Each of them is manifested for three and a half years, the Christ for salvation, the Antichrist for damnation (Rev. 13: 5).
John 15. describes the Christ as the True Vine, the Tree of Life; Rev. 14: 18-20 describes the Antichrist as the Vine of the Earth, or Tree of Death.
The Good Shepherd is alluded to in Zech. 11: 7-14; the Idol Shepherd is also spoken of in the same chapter, verses 15-17.
In Matt. 4: 8-10, the kingdoms of the earth are offered by Satan to the Christ, but He refuses them; in Rev. 13: 2 and 7, the Antichrist is found to have accepted the same.
[Jesus] the Christ says:- "I am come in MY Fatherís Name, and ye receive Me not. If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive" (John 5: 43).
The Christ comes down from heaven (John 3: 13); the antichrist comes up from the Abyss, that is, from a prison [in the underworld of Hades/Sheol] of lost spirits [disembodied souls] (Rev. 17: 8).† The translation "bottomless pit" [found in the Authorised Version translation] is absurd.
Both the Christ and the Antichrist are raised from [the place of] the dead (Luke 24: 34; Rev. 17: 8).
The Christ is "the Bright and the Morning Star" (Rev. 22: 16); the Antichrist is [the son of] "Lucifer, Son of the Morning" (Isa. 14: 12).
The Christ is "the Prince of princes" (Dan. 8: 25); the Antichrist "the prince that shall come" (Dan. 9: 26).
The Christ is "the King in His beauty" (Isa. 33: 17); the Antichrist is "the Lawless One" (2 Thess. 2: 8, R.V.).
The Christ is "the Son of the Living God" (John 6: 69); the Antichrist is "the Son of Perdition" (2 Thess. 2: 3).
The Christ is "the Lamb of God" (John 1: 29); the Antichrist is "the Beast" (Rev. 19: 20).
The Christ is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14: 6); the Antichrist is "the deceiver" (2 John 7).
The Christ is "the Deliverer" (Rom. 11: 26) the Antichrist is "the oppressor" (Isa. 14: 4).
The Christ is "the Righteous Branch" (Jer. 23: 5) ; the Antichrist is "an abominable branchĒ (Isa. 14: 19).
The Christ "humbled Himself" (Phil. 2: 8); the Antichrist "exalteth himself" (2 Thess. 2: 4).
The Christ writes His Name in the foreheads of His followers (Rev. 3: 12 and 22: 4); while the Antichrist causes his name, or mark, to be written in the forehead, or hand, of his followers (Rev. 13: 16).
135.† The Antichrist is called by Daniel, "the prince that shall come" (Dan. 9: 26). He is called by Paul, "the Man of Sin," "the Son of Perdition" (2 Thess. 2: 3).
He is called by John, "The Beast" (Rev. 13.), and by Isaiah, "The Assyrian" (Isa. 10: 24).
All these descriptions allude to an individual, and not to a system, or to a line of individuals, like the Popes.† We may be quite sure that the Antichrist is not intended to indicate the Pope, or the Papacy, for several reasons, and among them for the following:-
No Pope has ever yet received power from ten kings in the way mentioned in Rev. 17: 13.
No ten kings have ever yet destroyed anything which could answer to the symbol of the Harlot, in order to hand over their power to the Pope (Rev. 17: 16, 17).
No such ten kings as are described in Rev. 17. have ever yet arisen simultaneously.
No Pope has ever yet worn the ten diadems of the earth as the Antichrist will (Rev. 17: 17).
No Pope has ever had a prophet such as we read of in Rev. 13: 11-17.
No image of a Pope has ever been made in order to be publicly and generally worshipped.
Many whose names are not in the Book of Life certainly do not worship the Pope (Rev. 13: 8).
136.† We may, then, confidently state, that this terrible being has not yet appeared; and that, when he does so, there will be no mistake as to his identity.† He will be pre-eminently accomplished, powerful, wealthy, and influential; the embodiment of talented wickedness and blasphemy, the personification of Satan, with a marvellous gift of attracting unregenerate men.† He will, probably, arise in somewhat the same way as, and run a similar course to, the first Napoleon, who was, perhaps, his autotype.
137.† In Rev. 17: 7,
the Beast is described as he that "hath the Seven
Heads and the Ten Horns."†
Then, in verses 9 and 10, we are told, that these Seven Heads have two
significations, one in reference to the Harlot, the other in connection with
the Beast. For they represent the
138.† They also represent Seven Kings, that is,
Seven Emperors of the
139.† The following is a very brief summary of the reasons for supposing Napoleon to have been the Seventh King*:-
[* See Pemberís "Great Prophecies" (2nd or 3rd edition), pp. 153, 169.]
1st. . In 1806, Napoleon forced the Emperor Francis II. of
2nd. . By so doing, he transferred the seat of the Imperial
Roman Government to
Napoleon had a great ambition to resuscitate the
4th.† He made great
advances to the Jews, and summoned the Sanhedrim to meet in
5th.† When he was in Egypt, he expressed his desire
to make the people believe that he was the son of Jupiter Ammon;
and he actually did proclaim himself to be "the
Man of Destiny."† He loved to
be called "Your Providence," instead
of "Your Majesty."† He allowed his own name and that of Josephine
to he blended with the Name, of God and placed over the Ark of the Covenant in
the Council-chamber of the Sanhedrim.†
And, a little later, at a fete in
6th.† The letters of his name - in the Greek language, and in the Dative case, which would signify "belonging," or, "devoted to Napoleon" -when taken as numerical figures and added together, exhibit the dread number 666.
7th.† His emblems were, (1) the single-headed eagle, (2) the violet, and (3) the bee.
The first of these represents the Roman Empire as one and undivided, such as it was in the days of the first Six Heads, and in contrast to its condition while divided into the Eastern and Western Empires, which is symbolized by the double-headed eagle.
The colour of the violet indicates the Imperial purple.
The Chaldean for "bee" has also the meaning of a "word," and may, perhaps, be intended to mark the bearer of the emblem as the Word of God; though in this case the God would really be Satan, the Anti-god; just as his "Word" will be the Antichrist.
140.† The Eighth King is he who "was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the Abyss"; and he is, also, one "of the Seven" (Rev. 17: 11).† These particulars indicate, that he will be one of the Seven previous Kings raised from the dead; that one, indeed, whose deadly wound is said to have been healed in Rev. 13: 3.† Which of the Seven he will be, we cannot decide; there was, however, among the early Christians a general anticipation that he would be a reincarnation of Nero.
But, whatever name he may have borne in a previous existence, that name and his history will be known when he appears; for it will be the undoubted fact of his resurrection from the dead that will draw the whole world after him.
Yet, while the world admires and worships him, those who have pondered and prayed over the wonderful revelations of God will recognize in him the great Antichrist, the Beast, who is so soon to run his course, and then to be cast alive into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone (Rev. 19: 19-21).† See paragraph 247).† And, in his destruction and its consequences, the destruction of all earthly power, the closing scene in Nebuchadnezzarís vision, will be fulfilled: the Stone will smite the great political Image upon the feet, and will grind it to powder.
141.† In That Day the Lord Alone shall be exalted: the King of Glory, the Christ Himself, shall take possession of the earthly Kingdom which is His by right.
REV. 17: 5.
143.† We have already seen, in paragraph 35, that
the city of
144.† At the head of the Mystery-organization was a Priest-king, who for some time was King of Babylon.† But, after the capture of Babylon by the Medes and Persians, and the expulsion of the leaders of the Mystery, the latter fled to Pergamum, and made that city their head-quarters, and its King their Pontifex Maximus - a fact which, probably, has something to do with the Apocalyptic designation of Pergamum as the place ďwhere Satanís throne is" (Rev. 2: 13).
Attalus, III., the last of
the Priest-kings, who died about 133 B.C., bequeathed his royal and priestly
office, together with all his dominions and his vast wealth, to the citizens of
previously to the birth of Christ,
146.† Now, although multitudes of Christians were done to death during the Ten Persecutions, yet the Church, as a whole, was by no means diminished, but increased and flourished upon the very efforts that were made for her destruction.† For God was with her, and, consequently, not all the cruel malice of her foes could avail to check her progress.
147.† But, in course of time, her wily persecutors began to realize this fact, and at once set themselves to devise more subtle means, if perchance they might be able to effect by craft that which violence had failed to accomplish.† The cruel face of the Babylonian Harlot began to relax into a smile: her words no longer threatened, but were full of flattery: she offered compromises: she invited the Church to take her share of the honours, power, and wealth, of the children of this world; and the gilded bait was eagerly swallowed.† And so, the nominal [carnal] Christians, though they had been reared in humility and disciplined by persecutions, forgot their past, and allowed themselves to be lured from the narrow way to the haunts of pride and luxury.† As Christ Himself had foretold, the humble mustard plant, instead of continuing to exist as a lowly herb, suffered itself to be forced by an unnatural and artificial growth into a great tree.† And then the birds of the air - those symbols of evil, which devour the good seed - came, found it a congenial resting-place, and made their nests in it.
148.† In Rev. 2: 6, we read of Nicolaitanism, and are told that it is a thing specially hated by the Lord.† When we inquire into the meaning of the term, we find that it is derived from two Greek words, the first a verb signifying "to conquer" or to ďsubdue," the second a noun which means "people," and is the root of the English word "laity."† Thus a Nicolaitan is one who subdues, or keeps under, the laity.† The reference is, of course, to the rise, in very early times, of Clericalism and Ecclesiasticism, that system in which a distinctive order of men set themselves over the flock of God, to exercise lordship over His heritage; and this He has specially forbidden, and declared that He hates.† If anyone would gain a comprehensive view of the oppressive and desolating effects of Nicolaitanism, when thoroughly carried out, he should read McCarthy's "Priests and People in Ireland." The poverty, the ignorance, the failure in commerce, and all the woes of Catholic Ireland, are to be attributed to that cause, and to that cause alone.
149.† The Roman Catholic Church is Nicolaitanism and Sectarianism in their extremist forms, and every Protestant sect is only less so in proportion as it retires from the ways of the great Roman Apostasy. †Sectarianism is the natural result of the Nicolaitanism so hated by God.† For, whenever men with the privileges of a caste govern a religious community, they become, in their anxiety to keep their party together, rabidly jealous of their laws and doctrines, and intolerant of those who venture to differ from them.
150.† The final merging of the nominal Church in the Apostasy may be said to have taken place about A.D. 366, when Damasus, having been elected Bishop of Rome, and, therefore, head of the so-called Christian Church, was also consecrated Pontifex Maxinius, or Royal High Priest of the great Pagan world or Babylonian Mystery.† This horrible union of offices produced the Church of Rome.† What wonder, then, that she is called a Harlot!† She is not so merely because she is the actual descendant and representative of the Babylonian Whore, the original Mother of the Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth; but, also, because she has played, and is playing, the whore herself in her present form and in her present habitation. For, with lying mouth, she claims to be united to the Lord Jesus; whereas she has nothing whatever to do with Him.† On the contrary, she destroys His Word, transgresses His commandments, and despises His will.
152.† Before we leave the subject of
153.† The present Episcopal Church of England is a
Reformed Church of Rome; and the various Dissenting communities which have
seceded from her have, some in one way some in another, still further purified
themselves.† In far too many Episcopal
places of worship, there is little or no objection to many of the errors and
harlotries of the Roman Church: the reform is very superficial, and its results
seem to be rapidly disappearing.† In some
cases, however, a more sweeping change has, undoubtedly, been effected; but,
even in these, it is not difficult to detect the marks of
154.† CHRISTMAS. - We have
grown into the habit of regarding the twenty-fifth day of December as the
anniversary of the birth of the Lord Jesus.†
But this is an absolute error.† In
155.† EASTER takes its very name front the Assyrian goddess Ishtar, who is frequently mentioned in Assyrian records.† The "hot cross buns" of Good Friday, and the dyed eggs of Easter Sunday, were in vogue among the Babylonians 1300 years before the Christian era.† We inherit them through the Roman Catholic Church.
156.† LENT, again, the Ďforty daysí fast preparatory to the festivities of Easter, is of Babylonian origin, and was observed many a long century before the Christian era.
157.† The priestís tonsure, the bishopís mitre and crozier, the priestís vestments, the nimbus, the round sacramental cakes, or wafers - all these originated in Babylon.
158.† Baptismal regeneration is a purely Pagan
doctrine.† To this day there are Pagan
religions which teach, that baptism, or washing, removes sin.† At Benares, the
Hindus may he seen every morning, by thousands, cleansing themselves from
corporal and spiritual defilements by bathing in the
159.† The symbol of the cross, too, is purely Pagan, and was the ancient sign of life through the conjunction of the sexes.† It is strange, indeed, that professed Christians should have taken to worship the implement of Satan on which their Lord was put to death, and that often this worship should supersede that of the Lord Himself!† But He is our God: let us worship Him.
160.† The Eastward position is wholly Pagan, being,
naturally, connected with the worship of the sun.† How well this was known even to the Jews, we
may see by a remarkable passage in Ezekiel 8: 15,
16, which, also, tells us that the practice is an abomination to the
Lord, and that it was one of the sins which caused Him to give up
161. †The Virgin Mary.† Under this name the chief and most popular
deity of the Roman Church is worshipped as the Queen of Heaven.† She has, however, nothing to do with our
Lordís mother, but is the great Pagan goddess of nature, disguised, and with
another name added to her long list of appellations.† Down the ages she has been worshipped as Mylitta, Astarte, Aphrodite, and
Venus.† She was usually connected with a
son; and - under the name of
162.† Many similar facts might be cited; but these, surely, are sufficient to show, that the purer any sect desires to be, the more completely must it separate itself from the appalling corruptions of the Catholic Church.† But, when we inspect the observances of many of the Protestant Churches, we are at once reminded of that Parable in which the Lord likens the Kingdom of the Heavens, in its present state of Mystery, to "leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened" (Matt. 13: 33).† The meal was good, and fit to be used for an offering to the Lord (Lev. 2: 1); but the leaven was corrupting, and by defiling the meal made it unfit for presentation to Him (Lev. 2: 11).† Now, the woman represents the Ecclesiastical System, or Catholic Church, which, as soon as it was formed, began to put the leaven of Babylonianism into the pure flour of Godís Word, until all the doctrines of Christ had become leavened and changed by it.† And where can we now find a recognized form of worship which is not more or less tainted by this process?
164.† In the eighteenth
chapter of the Revelation, we read of
a sudden and terrific catastrophe falling upon a city which is called "
165.† Can, then, his description be in any sense applied to the Mystical Babylon of the previous chapter?† To this question we can return a decided No.† For we read, that the Ten Kings hate the Mystical Babylon, and cruelly destroy her (Rev. 17: 16); whereas these same Kings of the Earth bewail and lament over the destruction of the great city (Rev. 18: 9).† Moreover, the destruction of the Mystical Babylon is effected by the hands of the Ten Kings; while that of the city is a direct judgment of God (Rev. 18: 8).† It is, then, clear, that the Woman and City cannot be the same.
166.† Who and what the Woman is, we have already,
to some extent, discovered; let us, then, try to elucidate the difficulties
respecting the City.† Now, were we to read
the whole chapter, noting its literal sense, we could not but suppose that John
was speaking of a literal and very great city named
there, then, any other indication of this, either in Biblical teachings, or in
the probable outcome, in the near future, of present political tendencies?† Or, on the other hand, is it not a fact, that
the prophecies of the destruction of
167.† To do this, we must carefully study the awful
predictions in the thirteenth chapter of Isaiah, where the prophet begins by announcing,
that what he is about to utter is the burden of
That the whole land is to be destroyed (v. 5).
That the land is to be laid desolate, and the sinners destroyed out of it (v. 9).
has never yet been accomplished.† The
country round the ancient site of
That the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light, the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine (v. 10).
That God will shake the heavens, and make the earth remove out of her place (v. 13).
terrible events must be still in the future; for no record exists of their
fulfilment in the past.† Moreover, they
are elsewhere mentioned among the signs of the Lordís coming, and appear, from Isa. 14: 1-3, to be connected with the final
latter cities were destroyed by fire and brimstone from heaven; so will
That Babylon shall never again be inhabited, or dwelt in, from generation to generation; that not even the Arab shall pitch his tent there, nor shepherds cause their flocks to lie down upon its site (v. 20).
(This has by no means been fulfilled; for Arabs and shepherds still frequent the site, and villages are built upon it.)
168.† Some of these predictions are very strongly emphasized in Jer. 51.† In that chapter the prophet declares-
That the city shall for ever be desolate, and that no one shall take from her a stone for a corner or for a foundation (v. 26).
has most certainly not been the case with ancient
That the city shall sink, and shall not rise again (verses 63-4).
There are, also, other prophecies on the same subject; but those which we have cited will be sufficient for our purpose.
169.† The past history of
170.† May we not, then, infer, that Isaiah and
Jeremiah saw in vision a state of things respecting
171.† Yet another corroboration
may be obtained, by observing the similarity of the state of things which we
found to be depicted in the thirteenth chapter
of Isaiah with that which is described in
the Revelation as existing in the last Seven
of Years, and about the time when the
172.† It is also worthy of notice, that, in the
prophecies of Isaiah, the judgments upon
173.† That there are predictions respecting
174.† Finally, there is, in the fifth chapter of Zechariah,
a curious indication of the means by which
175. †So much,
then, for the testimony of the prophets as recorded in Scripture.† And an intelligent glance at the political
aspect of the world will reveal not a few signs, that
their predictions are on the eve of fulfilment.†
For a grand revival of the East is in progress, and
the districts near to the site of
176.† Again; what is called "the Eastern Question," which may be said to have commenced with the Crusades, and has been cropping up now and then ever since their era, has assumed an acute form in our own time, and has now resolved itself into a sort of diplomatic scramble among the European Powers, likely at any time to result in war for the possession of vantage-ground in the reviving countries of the East.
177.† As regards the immediate neighbourhood of Babylon itself, the projected railway, through Asia Minor and Mesopotamia to the Persian Gulf, will carry Western commerce and civilization into those ancient countries; and, as many politicians, who possess neither knowledge of, nor interest in, prophecy, have said, will bring about the resuscitation of the famous cities of old upon the Euphrates and the Tigris.
railway is, apparently, to be constructed under German auspices; but the
English have been lately employed in strengthening their hold upon the Persian
Gulf, and especially upon
it has been reported that two enterprising Jews from Bagdad
have purchased the site, or, possibly, a part of the site, of ancient
178.† Indeed, the splendid situation and central
position of ancient
179.† It is now many years since the English
Government sent Col. Chesney to survey the
180. All the causes that have been
enumerated, when considered together, point to a strong probability that
181.† We may, also, be sure, that when the final
catastrophe befalls this Queen of Cities, it will happen in the manner
described in the same prophecy.† In one
day, nay in one hour, with the awful suddenness of the overthrow of
182.† In connection with this study, the reader will find it profitable to refer to the under mentioned passages, comparing the older with the later prophecies.
Compare Jer. 51: 13 with Rev. 17: 1
Compare Jer. 51: 7 with Rev. 17: 4
Compare Jer. 7 with Rev. 17: 2
Compare Isa. 47: 5 with Rev. 17:18
Compare Isa. 47: 7-9 with Rev. 18: 7-8
Compare Jer. 51: 25 with Rev. 18: 8
Compare Jer. 51: 45 ; 50: 8 ; 51: 6 with Rev. 18:4
Compare Jer. 51: 9 with Rev. 18: 5
Compare Jer. 50: 15, 29 with Rev. 18: 6
Compare Isa. 21: 9 ; Jer. 51: 8 with Rev. 18: 2
Compare Isa. 13: 21 with Rev. 18: 2
Compare Jer. 51: 63, 64 with Rev 18: 21.
183. †Finally, the
wonderful words of the prophecy of Rev. 18. cannot possibly be referred to the capture of
Seeing, then, that Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied of the same city as John, and that a comparison of the words of the three prophets reveals the fact, that the main points of their predictions are common to all of them, it would appear that they must have prophesied of the same event.†† Hence from the date of the Revelation, A.D. 96, and from the fact, that nothing in any way answering to chap. 18. has happened since that time, it follows that the event predicted must still he lying in the future.
The Great and Dreadful Day of The Lord.
184.† We must now say a few words respecting the final crisis of this Dispensation, which is so vividly described in Isa. 24. and Rev. 19.† Malachi calls it the day "that shall burn as an oven"; and it will, probably, be a literal day, so that all its events will take place within twenty-four hours.† The greatest of them will be the return of the once despised and crucified Jesus.† He will not, however, return in humiliation, but in power and great glory, followed by the Armies of Heaven, and with the Day of Vengeance in His heart; for the year of His redeemed will have come.† The Kings of the Earth, deceived by the foul spirits from the mouths of the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet (Rev. 16: 13, 14), will have set themselves, and the rulers have taken counsel together, against Jehovah and against His Anointed, or His Christ (Acts 4: 25, 26).† "Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us!" will be their cry (Psa. 2: 2, 3).† For, in their maddened pride, they will have dared to think of measuring their strength even against God, and of making war upon the Lamb.
185.† They will have seen and been deceived by the miracles of the False Prophet: they will have witnessed his superhuman power, the calling down of fire from heaven, the causing of the image of the Beast to speak, and many other mighty works, more striking, it may be, than even those which are recorded of the Lord at His First Advent.† They will have been further fascinated with the flatteries, the brilliant intellect, and the reckless blasphemies of the Beast, and will have been induced to believe the lie.
186.† And, as the result of all this, they will be gathered together in vast armies, fully equipped with the most effective weapons, and tinder the leadership of the Beast and the False Prophet, for the war of the Great Day of God, the Almighty, and to the battlefield of Armageddon.† "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for He is Lord of lords and King of kings" (Rev. 17 14).† "The Lord shall have them in derision" (Psa. 2: 4).† He will look down upon their madness, and command the flesh-eating birds of heaven to gather themselves together, that they may feast upon the flesh of these wicked men.† Then the heavens will cleave asunder, and there will appear One sitting on a white horse, with many diadems upon His head, clothed in a vesture stained with blood, Whose Name is The Word of God, Whose titles are Lord of lords and King of kings, and out of Whose mouth proceeds the sword of, death, with which He will smite the rebel nations; for He it is That will tread the winepress of the wrath and anger of God, the Almighty.† His saints will be with Him; but they will merely stand by and see the vengeance and the salvation of their God; for He will tread the winepress Alone (Isa. 63: 3), and the slain of the Lord shall be many (Isa. 66: 16).
187.† It is not easy to realize that which may not
happen for several years; let us, therefore, for a moment suppose, that, by
Godís decree, the whole series of events which we have just narrated were fixed
to occur within the next three months.†
How bewildering would be the hurry and din of preparation in every
188.† We may imagine how absolutely secure the nations would he feeling in the midst of the rumours with which the world would be full, owing to the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom that is, the good news of the Lord's immediate return to reign - by His people upon earth (Matt. 24: 14).† We can picture to ourselves the bitterness of their contempt for any who should hint at danger.† Have we not, they will say, the great Emperor who returned from the dead - for they will not call him the Antichrist - as our general?† And who is like unto him?† Who is able to make war with him?† What being so powerful and so Divine has ever before visited our earth?† Have we not, also, on our side the great Prophet, who has shown himself to be the possessor of a power, never known before, over both matter and spirit, over material things as well as spiritual?† And, yet again, is there not with us the great spiritual Prince of this World, whom we were once falsely taught to call Satan, the Adversary, and the origin of all evil; but have now discovered to be the true God, the giver of all good, who brought our mighty Emperor from the dead, to rule over us, and to be the true Christ of the world; and who gave us the all-wise and all-powerful Prophet to be our guiding Spirit?† Thus will they believe the lie, and, strong in their horrid faith, be eager to carry out the total extirpation of the Israel of God, although they will have been warned, that, should they make the reckless attempt, the Son of God would descend from heaven to destroy them.
189.† Now, let us suppose, that the preparations have been completed, and the armies despatched; and that, throughout Europe, the morning, noon, and evening newspapers are being eagerly searched for telegrams; for the minutest particulars are being ceaselessly wired to every part of the world by zealous reporters.† Then, suddenly, just after the junction of the allied armies has been effected, and all arrangements have now been made, so that nothing remains but to commence the attack, the whole world is startled by portentous signs in the atmosphere, which no scientist can explain.† But for the aid of their clocks, men could scarcely tell whether it is night or day; for it is not dark, neither is it light (Zech. 14: 7).† The sun appears to be honeycombed with spots, and is rather black than white.† The moon has changed her colour to a blood-red hue, dark and threatening.† The stars are dimmed, and terrifying showers of countless meteors are hissing and exploding in the air.† The ground quivers continuously beneath the feet of the horror stricken fugitives, and at intervals is violently shaken; while storms, frightful with thunder, lightning, rain, hail, and roaring wind, such as have never been seen or heard before, are everywhere prevalent.
is wrong with the universe: all nature is out of course: a fearful and final
catastrophe is momentarily expected.† The
lightning-flashes reveal pale faces and shaking forms.† What can be about to happen?† In
190.† The appalling portents grow worse instead of better: all things seem ripening for some fearful, collapse.† And suddenly a light, brighter than the sun in his strength, strikes through the gloom, and the Lord roars out of Zion, and utters His voice from Jerusalem (Joel 3: 16); and, according to His word, shakes, not the earth only, but also the heavens.† There is a terrific earthquake, such as has never been previously experienced since men were upon the earth, and it is followed by an awful crashing of hail-stones, accompanied by the loudest thunderings and most destructive lightnings; while, amid the confusion, the rocks and mountains are rent asunder, and the waves of the sea are terribly agitated; so that menís hearts are dead with fear.
191.† But it
is too late for repentance!† The lightnings are carrying death in all directions: the great
armies are being dissolved and rapidly reduced to ashes, to be trodden
beneath the feet of delivered Israel: the Kingís arrows are sharp in the hearts
of His enemies (Psa. 45: 5): the proud rebels are being slain by the
sword of Him That sitteth upon the horse (Rev. 19:
21).† At the same time, He sends a
fire among them that dwell carelessly in the isles, that is, in the countries
bordering upon the
192.† The great leaders of the rebellion, the Beast
and the False Prophet, are seized; and, since they have been taken red-handed
in the fight against their Creator, there is no need of judgment: they are cast
alive into the
193.† Thus will be fulfilled the prophecy of the Stone cut without hands That fell upon the feet of the Image, and brought the huge Colossus in shattered fragments to the ground.† And, when this last and harrowing scene is over, and the Day of Vengeance has come to its close, then the violent agitation of the elements will cease, and the gloom be dispersed, for, at the eventide of that day, the natural light will at length return (Zech. 14: 7).† The Lord has shown forth His power, and all His enemies are ashes beneath the feet of His people.† After the mighty tempest comes the peaceful calm; and now will those words be fulfilled:-
"Come, behold the works of the Lord,
What desolations He bath made in the earth!
He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder;
He burneth the chariots in the fire.
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations;
I will be exalted in the earth."
And so, the present Dispensation will have passed away amid the terrors of His coming; and the long-expected Millennium, the reign of the Righteous King, the time of peace and joy and reward, and the rest that is reserved for the people of God, will have come.
194.† It must not, however, be imagined that only
the armies which are gathered together in the
196.† As to the Gentiles, it is said in the description of the earthquake, "And the cities of the nations fell" (Rev. 16: 19).† Now, in the Greek original, there is a definite article before "cities"; the prediction may, therefore, mean, that all the cities of the Roman world will be either consumed, swallowed down, or shattered to the ground, by the terrific convulsion.† In this case, the loss of life would be prodigious, but not more than Isaiah leads us to expect, when he says, that, at the end of the judgments, the inhabitants of earth will be found to have been burnt up, so that but few men will be left (Isa. 24: 6).† The mention of death by burning evidently points to the bursting out of fire or boiling water from the fissures caused by the earthquake.† This kind of destruction may be included in the words, "For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh; and the slain of the Lord shall be many" (Isa. 66: 16).† But, of course, the red lightnings that will proceed directly from Himself will effect no inconsiderable part of the slaughter.
197.† How often, when people are deploring either the state of the world in general or their own woes and sorrows in particular, do we find their thoughts running on to some future period, when all that is wrong will be put right.† Most men have some such idea as this, whether they be believers or unbelievers: but the former usually imagine that their golden age will be brought about by the triumph of religion; while the latter expect it as a result of manís own efforts, when he is better educated and more enlightened; or, perhaps, look for it as the ultimate of continuous evolution.† But all those who entertain such views are, of course, utterly regardless of what the Holy Spirit has taught us by the mouth of Paul, namely, that evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Tim. 3: 13); and, also, of the Lord's Own words, that, in the Last Days, the love of many shall grow cold, and lawlessness shall abound (Matt. 24: 12).
198.† Both of the two above-mentioned parties call their happy prospect the Millennium; though the word is a strange one to come from the lips of infidels, since the only authority for the promise of a thousand years of blessing is that very Bible which they condemn.
199.† What, then, is the Millennium?† The world will often talk of it as a time of
political happiness, when "
200.† But what do Christians say?† Their opinions are various.† Many good people affirm, that the Millennium will dawn as soon as Roman Catholicism has received its death-blow.† Others, that it will come when the efforts of the Church have succeeded in converting the world to God.† This last view would, at least, seem likely to be true, were it not for one unfortunate circumstance.† For the Bible repeatedly, and with plainness, gives us to understand, that the world never can be converted, until Christ has returned.† And, certainly, this assertion is strongly corroborated by the history of the last nineteen centuries.† Finally, there are others who, although they read the daily papers, go so far as to affirm, that the Millennium is even now in progress.† Thus the opinions of professed Christians, however excellent some of them may be, are far too varied to be worthy of trust: we must, therefore, have recourse to the fountain-head of all authority, and inquire with Paul, "What saith the Scripture?"
201.† It tells us, that, after the destruction of the Lordís enemies at His personal appearing, He will cast Satan and his fallen angels and demons, together with the rebellious "Kings of the Earth," into the Abyss.† Then He will place His ransomed Church, as the ruling spiritual Kingdom, in the heavens, with Himself as their King.† And upon earth, He will establish the children of Abraham, in their own Land, as the "Kings of the Earth upon the Earth."† Peace and prosperity will follow: the knowledge of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea: the curse will, in great part, be removed: there will be no evil spirits of the air to tempt men to sin: every human being upon earth will render homage, in perfect outward submission, at least, to the Lord Jesus, as the King That - rules in righteousness.† Such will be the nature of the next age, which will last for the thousand years during which Satan is to be bound in the Abyss; and is, therefore, called the Millennium or ĎThousand Years' period.
202.† During its course, the Lord will take the
place of Prince of this World, which is now held by Satan. On the earth, Israel
will be His special people;- but, apparently, He will govern them for the most
part through a viceroy, who will be David, the King, raised from the dead (Ezek. 34: 23-4, 37: 24-5; Jer.
30: 9; Hos. 3: 5; Isa. 55:
3-4).† Through him the Lord Jesus
will reign over the whole world: for He will "have
dominion from sea to sea, and from the river unto the
ends of the earth" (Psa. 72: 8; Zech. 9: 10).† But, while David will administer this vast
realm as Prince upon earth, the Lord, as the great Over-King, will probably,
visit His chosen people from time to time.†
Meanwhile, they will be unto Him a Holy Kingdom of Priests (Exod. 19: 6), nay, even the bells upon the horses, and
the cooking and other utensils, at
203.† The principal seat of the government, and the
centre and capital of the world, will, of course, be
204.† Then, at length, men will obtain a practical knowledge of that which for scores of centuries they have been endeavouring to find out, namely, What is the best form of government? (Isa. 9: 6; 11: 1-9; 24: 23, and 32: 1; Jer. 33: 14-6).† At last, they will find themselves under the rule of an irresistible righteous and absolutely autocratic Government.† "And the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever" (Isa. 33: 17),
205. †As we have already said, Jerusalem will be the
capital of the world in those happy days; and, in the closing chapters of Ezekiel, we have a description of the glorious
Temple which shall be built by the Messiah Himself (Zech.
6: 12-3).† In Ezek. 42: 15-20, the measurement of the outer wall
of the Temple-precincts are given to us as being 500 reeds for each side of the
square.† Now, a reed is equivalent to 6
cubits; but the cubit, as is well known, varied in length, so that there were,
probably, three distinct cubits.† It is
most likely that one which contains about 24 inches, or 2 feet, was intended by
Ezekiel.† In this case, a reed will be
equivalent to 12 feet, and 500 reeds will be 6,000 feet, or 2,000 yards, or 1
mile 240 yards.† And, if this be the
length of one side of the square, its four sides, or its whole circumference,
will be 4 miles 960 yards.† Ezekiel gives
a minute description of the details of this
206.† The old form of worship - with modifications,
no doubt - will be restored, probably because "the
Mystery of God," that is, Christ in us, will then have been
finished.† Hence the types which once
foreshadowed His coming, at the end of the ages, to put away sin by the
sacrifice of Himself, will be again required; but, this second time, to serve
as memorials of the accomplished fact.†
Their reintroduction seems, however, to intimate, that the Lord will not
dwell personally upon the earth during the Millennium, although He will be its
acknowledged Sovereign, and, doubtless a frequent visitor; just as He was an
occasional visitor in the Mosaic and older Dispensations.† But His abode will be in the Heavens, where the
glorified Church, His Body, will dwell with Him; while His viceroy and His
chosen nation will represent Him upon earth.†
For, apparently, it is not until the New Jerusalem comes down from God
out of heaven that the Temple-services will be dispensed with (Rev. 21: 22).†
That grand event will, however, take place, after the Millennium, at the
beginning of the
207.† In Ezek. 48: 1,5-6, we are told, that the Millennial City of Jerusalem will be in the form of a square, the length of each side of which will be 4,500 reeds; or, reckoning 12 feet to the reed, as we have done above, 54,000 feet = 18,000 yards = 10 miles 400 yards.† Hence the whole circumference of the city will be 40 miles 1,600 yards.† The changed condition of the earth at this time will be marvellous.† To appreciate it, we must bear in mind, that the population of the globe will have been terribly thinned by the judgments of God during the Seventieth Seven, and that the survivors will gladly welcome the new rule.† In connection with this subject, it will be instructive, to read Ps. 46. and 47., which belong to the period; also Ps. 155., the time of the fulfilment of which is fixed by verses 11-13.
208.† The face of the
209.† Again, the conditions of the atmosphere will be altogether changed.† This may be seen in the fact, that the moon will then equal the sun, as it is at present, in brightness; while the sun will shine with seven times the power that it has now; and yet the atmosphere will be so modified that the accession of light will be entirely beneficial (Isa. 30: 26).† Police will scarcely be required; for God will execute His Own judgments.† There will be no wars, and, therefore, no armies, and, probably, no work for hospitals, or reformatories, or charitable institutions.† Of sickness, at least, there will be comparatively little, and but slight need of physicians; while the length of human life will be greatly extended (Isa. 65: 20-3), and death will be feared only when it is inflicted as the direct penalty of sin. †Men will die, generally, of old age.† To almost every one will the words of Eliphaz the Temanite apply:- "Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in its season"; and the dread and pain of death will all but disappear.
210.† We must not, however, imagine, that the Millennial will be altogether a sinless age.† There will still be evil in menís hearts, though its manifestation will be very slight as compared with what it is now.† See Psa. 155: 20; 66: 3; 81: 15; Isa. 65: 20.† All these passages indicate the presence of sin; for, although human nature will be freed from the temptations of evil spirits, and cowed by the majesty of the Lord and His inflexible rule of righteousness, it will, nevertheless, remain unchanged in the unregenerate.† But every outward sin, as soon as it is manifested, will receive sharp and terrible judgment from the Lord.
severance from sin cannot be the lot of all men upon earth, until the
establishment of the
211.† So much, then, for the condition of the nation, during the Millennium.† But the chosen people will, apparently, be perfect even in that age, and Israelites, then true saints and servants of God, will preach the Gospel to all nations.† Missionary work, no longer hindered by the Devil, will be carried onto perfection, and with the result that, not only all nations, but also every individual belonging to them, will know the truth, and vast numbers will rejoice in it (Isa. 11: 9; Hab. 2: 14).† There will thus be an almost inconceivably improved condition of things on the earth in the Millennial Dispensation, as compared with the present age.† And yet, there will be an even greater difference between the Millennium and the serenely joyful World-without-End which shall follow it, when sorrow and sighing will have fled away for ever, and sin and death shall be no more.† We must, however, realize, that the Millennial earth will be the same as that which we now inhabit, however much it may be altered and improved; and, also, that, in all probability, men will work, build, plant, manufacture, travel, and study, just as they do now, the great difference being, that they will do all these things in totally changed and greatly improved circumstances.† As to the cause of the improvement, we need mention but one fact - Satan will be bound in the Abyss, and the Lord Jesus will be enthroned as the Prince of this World and of the Power of the Air.† But, as we have before said, we do not think that He will reside continually upon the earth during His Millennial reign, but only visit it from time to time, as in the earlier Dispensation.† We cannot, however, speak with certainty on this matter.
212.† But it is, probably, to be anticipated, that
He will reign by deputy, and appoint a vicegerent to occupy His earthly throne
213.† We have thus seen how glorious a time is in
store for our world; but it is not for us to anticipate the enjoyment of it as
dwellers upon the earth.† For our portion
at that time will be either far more blessed or disastrously less so.† For those of us who shall be alive just as
the Seventieth Seven is about to commence will, if found watching, be caught up
to God and to His Throne, and so escape altogether the things that are coming
upon the earth.† But if, at the critical
moment, we be found to be spiritually sleeping and careless, we shall not be
thought worthy to escape the season of trial.† Nevertheless, by repentance and earnest
testimony, which will then involve much suffering, and, perhaps, even death, we
may yet be chosen to meet the Lord in the air at the sound of the Seventh and
Last Trumpet.† If, however, we
should have missed both of these opportunities, we must be destroyed from the
earth by the wrath of God before the Millennium begins, and have our portion
allotted to us with those who are reserved for the judgment of the Great White
Throne.† That awful Assize will take
place at the end of the Thousand Years, when all who are not found written in
the Lambís Book of Life will be cast into the
The Final Rebellion and the Great Judgment.
ALL THINGS MADE NEW. THE GREAT ABDICATION.
214. The reign of the Lord Jesus will, indeed, be an age of blessing; but the Thousand Years will soon pass by, and, sad as it is to contemplate, their completion will be speedily followed by another and final outburst of sin and rebellion.† During the whole period of the Millennium, Satan will remain bound in the Abyss, and be unable to deceive the children of men as he did in the previous Dispensations.† Hence all the spiritual influences of the Power of the Air will then be tending to good, and no one, save the wilfully and persistently wicked, will be able to find reason or excuse for sin.† But the hearts of men will still be carnal, and very many of them will render service to the Lord, not with loyalty and good-will, but merely through fear and the absence of any other leader.† Consequently, when, at the expiration of the Thousand Years, Satan and his legions are loosed from the Abyss and the air again becomes tainted with evil influences, the multitudes of the insincere will yield to temptation, and will soon be breathing out hatred and defiance of God.
215. †In brief, then, some or all of the nations
will once more he tempted and deceived into revolt, and will raise the standard
of rebellion against the Government of David, the Lordís vicegerent at
Jerusalem.† They will gather themselves
together to march upon "the beloved city,"
and will even compass it about; but, before they can come near to harm it, they
will be destroyed by a direct interposition of God, Who will send down fire and
utterly consume them.† This revolt will
break up the Millennial peace, and a period of
judgment will follow it.† The Great White
Throne will be set, and the dead, the small and the great, will be summoned
before it to give an account of the deeds done in the body.† And all who are condemned will be cast into
216. As soon as the judgment is ended, the whole earth will he purified by a fire so intense that, as Peter tells us, the very elements shall melt with fervent heat (2 Pet. 3: 10-12).† But, as, the conflagration dies out, New Heavens and a New Earth will appear, in which none of the former evils will be found.† For sin, the curse, sorrow, sighing, sickness, death, and even the separating sea, will then have passed away for ever, and all things have been made new.
217. This will be the Eternal Rest, when the former things shall not he remembered, nor come into mind (Isa. 65: 17).† And the New Heavens and New Earth are those wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Pet. 3: 13), and which "shall remain" (Isa. 66: 22).
218.† Perhaps, it will be immediately upon the establishment of this final order of things that the great event foretold by Paul in 1 Cor. 15: 24-28, will take place.† For all the conditions mentioned by the Apostle will have been fulfilled.† The Lord. will have finally put down all opposing rule and authority and power, and have; subjugated all His foes; even Death, the last remaining enemy, will have been destroyed.† The whole of the work, to do which He came forth from the Godhead, will have been perfectly accomplished, and all creation apart from men, and all those of the human race who could be saved, will have been restored to a glorious and intrinsic purity and holiness.† There will, therefore, be no longer anything to keep the Supreme Father and Most High God away from His creatures and the works of His hands.† And so, the Lord Jesus will vacate His Throne, and deliver up His Kingdom to God, even the Father, that God, that is, the Glorious and Ever-blessed Trinity, may be all in all. Henceforth the Lord will cease to reign as Man; but He will continue to reign as God in conjunction with His Father; for the grand consummation of Godís plan in the Bible will then have been effected.† His wisdom and power, ever blended with His love and mercy, will have triumphed over every foe, and overcome every obstacle: sin and death will be no more: time will have passed away, and the endless ages of Eternity have resumed their course.
221.† Possibly, a difficulty may have occurred to some of our readers in their perusal of our last chapter.† What, they may wish to ask, is to become of the people of God during the conflagration by which the earth is to be purified?† It would certainly seem to he essential that they should be removed, and conveyed to a place of safety, before the earth and its atmosphere are set on fire; and, without doubt, their gracious Creator will be found to have provided a refuge for them.† What it may be, we know not; but would reverently suggest, that they may, possibly, be rapt into the Heavenly City, which, as soon as the cleansing fires have done their work, and order and peace, brightness and beauty, are restored, will descend, and become the Capital of the renewed earth, into which nothing that defileth will ever be suffered to enter.
220.† From this Heavenly City, transferred to earth, the Lord Jesus will reign, no longer as the glorified Man, but as the Son of God, and in conjunction with His Father, Who, since every trace of sin and death will have been removed, will then be able to dwell among the purified and sinless children of men.† Let us now consider what this City is, who are its inhabitants, and what are their circumstances. (See 55 on Diagram C.)
221.† We will begin our investigation by asking, What were the hopes and expectations of the Old Testament patriarch, and saints?† If we turn to Heb. 11: 10, we shall find an answer to this question; for Abraham, we are told, "looked for the City which hath the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God."† And, again, in verse 16, we read of all those who died in faith, that God "had prepared for them," not an ecstatic state, not a mere joyful existence, but "a City."† Now, our Lord speaks of "many mansions" which He has prepared for them that love Him (John 14: 2, 3).† And is not a beautiful city suggested by the idea of many mansions grouped together?† He adds, "I go to prepare a place for you."† And does not the word "place" indicate a definite locality?† Moreover, He says, that the many mansions are in His Fatherís House.† And are we not told, that God and the Lamb will have Their Throne in the Golden City, and that the Lambís servants shall serve Him there, and shall see His face (Rev. 22: 1, 3, 4)?† The Fatherís House with the many mansions would seem, then, to be the same as the New Jerusalem; and to it Paul manifestly refers when he says, "For here we have no continuing city; but we seek one to come."
222.† It is thus clear, that the New Jerusalem is
not a myth, not a dream or an imagination, but a literal city; quite as real as
223.† Now, if we had before us a description of some earthly city, let us say of Paris, and were to read, that the river Seine runs through that city; that trees are planted on both sides of the Boulevards; that the streets are paved with asphalte, and lighted with the electric light; that there is no cathedral there; that the wall round the city is, we will say, forty feet in height, and built of stone with bronze gates; and that the city is a square, each side of which is about five miles in length - with such a description we should have before us something which we could understand, and which would convey to our minds a definite idea of the general characteristics of the city described.† We should never dream of spiritualizing such an account as this ; for to do so would plainly indicate our belief, that the person who wrote it was drawing upon his imagination, and calling his "airy nothings" a city.† And we should have no ground for such a conclusion, unless the writer had given some hint leading thereto.
224.† If, then, we have no right to turn the literal description given by a mail into a mere imaginary vision or figure, how much less right have we to do this with what is inspired?† Hence we have neither right nor reason for regarding the subject matter of Rev. 21. and 22: 1-6, as being anything but the literal description of a literal and material city.† Of course, its magnificence and splendour must to us necessarily appear transcendent, and far beyond any human conception.† But, seeing that architects among ourselves can produce beautiful buildings which excite menís admiration and enthusiasm, it is only reasonable to suppose, that, if God deigned to design a city, its glory would be something altogether surpassing our comprehension.
225.† Let us, then, read very carefully the 21st. chapter of the Revelation and the first six verses of the 22nd chapter, bearing in mind, that, whether we can realize it or not, the description is emphatically literal.
226.† As a necessary inference from the first and
second verses of the 21st chapter, we must regard the
227.† What the nations here mentioned are, must be more or less a matter of conjecture.† But, most probably, they are such remnants of the Millennial nations as remained faithful to the Lord Jesus during the great revolt at the close of that period.† They would, doubtless, have been conveyed to some place of safety, while the purifying fires were raging, and afterwards have been retransferred to the New Earth.† But, whoever they may be, they will be found on the New Earth, enlightened and blessed by the proximity of the New and Heavenly Jerusalem.
228.† Now, the
229. †As to the inhabitants of the New Earth,
whoever they may be, they will live in circumstances totally different from
those existing on the present earth.† The
Millennial Earth will be greatly blessed, but the New Earth altogether so.† In the case of the latter, the physical and
atmospheric changes will be such as we cannot conceive.† The curse will be entirely removed: thorns
thistles and weeds, and hurtful beasts birds and insects, will be unknown: sin
will be no more: and neither tears, nor sorrow, nor death, nor wars, nor
accidents, nor sickness, will be anywhere found.† For all these former things will have passed
away for ever, from the moment when the Devil and Death and Hades, together
with all the unsaved, shall have been cast into the
230.† It is, however, far more difficult to realize the glories of the New Jerusalem, the abode of the Great God and of the Lord Jesus with His Bride.† Were a gifted jeweller to make a model of the City - say some six inches square - we might, perhaps, be helped to a faint conception of its beauty.† But, when we remember that the Architect and Builder of the real City is God, and that in His sight six inches or twelve thousand furlongs are practically the same thing, we are carried beyond our powers of thought, and cannot imagine, but only believe in, and look forward to, His glorious Creation.† For, to pass by its costly and resplendent materials, its size, also, is superhuman and Divine.† Each side of its vast square measures twelve thousand Roman stadia, that is, about 1,500 English miles!
231.† Moreover, its height is said to be equal to its breadth and length.† What are we to understand by this?† Some explain, that it will be a vast cube, each of the sides of which will be 1,500 miles square; while its streets will be like tunnels running through it.† Such an arrangement would, however, leave no appropriate place for the Throne of God and the Lamb.† It is, therefore, much more probable that the City will be a pyramid, in which the perpendicular, let fall from the apex to the base, will be equal to the side of the square upon which it stands; and the courses of masonry will support the ascending rows of streets.† In that case, we should find no difficulty in the wall, 288 feet in height, by which the base of the City is to be enclosed, and which would give it a beautiful finish; whereas to a cube-shaped structure, 1,500 miles high, the wall would he neither useful nor ornamental.† To the pyramidal shape, also, we seem to be guided by the following passages:- Psa. 118: 22; Matt. 21: 42-44; Acts 4: 11; and 1 Pet. 2: 4-8 (R.V.).† For, what is meant by "THE CHIEF CORNFR-STONE," or THE HEADSTONE OF THE CORNER?† In an ordinary building, which is the headstone, or which is the corner?† Surely there is no single stone which could be designated as the headstone, and each of the four corners is equally important.† And, again, what are we to understand when we read, that the "rejected" Stone is become the head of the corner - not the foot or the foundation?
232.† Now, if we regard the New Jerusalem, the acknowledged home of the Lord Jesus and His Bride, as a pyramid, on which each of the inhabitants has his mansion or dwelling-place, which would be the only possible spot for His abode?† Surely it must be at the top of the pyramid.† And, if that be conceded, we can readily understand which is the Headstone, and which is the corner; because on the top corner of a pyramid all the corners join in the point; so that the topstone would be what is called the headstone, the crowning stone, and the corner; while, at the same time, it would be a complete model of the whole pyramid.
233.† Again, it is easy to see, that the topstone would, and must be, "rejected, or refused," by the builders, until the structure was all but completed.† For there would be only one place into which it could be fitted, that is, at the very summit of the pyramid.† It would thus be the last stone to be put into position, when it would form the apex of the building, connecting all the other corners, and crowning the work.† How wonderfully does this illustrate the words:- "Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner-Stone, in Whom the building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord" (Eph. 2: 20-2).
234.† In 1 Pet. 2: 5,
we are told, that the saints are "living-stones,"
being "built up a Spiritual House,"
"acceptable to God," that is, built
into a temple for God.† And it is very
important to remember, that the
235.† We may, therefore, conclude, that the Heavenly Jerusalem, which is the literal Heaven, is the materialization upon the New Earth of the Spiritual House mentioned in 1 Pet. 2: 4-8.† In the latter, the saints are being built up as living stones; while, in the Heavenly Jerusalem, the Bride and the Lord with His Body, the Church, will dwell in material glory, in a material house of many mansions, that is, in a material city.† The Architect of both of these Buildings is the same God; and the one of them is the spiritual counterpart of the other.
236. Thoughts of these things should be continually in our mind; so that we may ever be contemplating the glory that shall be revealed, and be setting our affections, not on things on the earth, but on the things that are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Such meditations will increase our spiritual growth and strength, and cause us so to advance in holiness that we shall be ready to meet with joy Him Who sent His angel to testify these things to us for that very purpose.
237.† Since we have been learning something of what Heaven is to be, it may be interesting to inquire, also, what the Scriptures teach upon the subject of Hell.
238.† What, then, do we understand by the word "Hell"?† It is worth while just to ask ourselves the question, that we may know whether we have any definite idea at all.† Do we imagine that it might be properly described as the prison in which the unsaved are confined after death; or, as the place which the saved escape, because they are saved?† But, if these definitions were assumed to be correct, how could we explain Acts 2: 31, for there the Lord Jesus is said to have been in Hell?
239.† Let us look at a few passages in the Authorized Version of our New Testament:-
In Acts 2: 31 we read "Hell."
In Luke 8: 31 we read "the Deep."
In Rev. 9: 1-2 we read "the Bottomless Pit."
In 2 Pet. 2: 4 we read " Hell."
In Matt. 23: 15 we read "Hell."
And, finally, in Rev. 20: 14, 15, "Hell" is said to be cast into "The Lake of Fire."† Do all these words refer to the same place? And, if so, what are we to understand by the last passage, which, in that case, tells us that Hell is cast into Hell?† This would scarcely be sense; but a little explanation will soon clear up the matter.
240.† The fact is, that our Authorized Version is to some extent faulty and confusing.† If the same passages be examined in the Revised Version, they will be found to be much clearer.† For, in the original Greek, there are three principal words which indicate different places in the unseen world; and these are Hades, Gehenna, and Tartarus.
241. Hades is a place of departed spirits [souls],* in which, until the death of the Lord, all the
dead, both good and bad, were detained.†
But, since His Resurrection, it would appear that the spirits [souls]*
of the saved go to the celestial
[* That is, disembodied souls. (See Acts 2: 27; Ps. 16: 10. cf. Jonh 3: 13.† Christ preached to the spirits in the underworld (Hades); but these creatures are described as ďthe NephilimĒ or ďGiantsĒ (Gen. 6: 4): the offspring (Ďchildrení) of a sexual relationship between angels described as (Ďsons of Godí) and humans, described as Ďdaughters of mení.]
242.† Hence, in the previous Dispensation, Hades was divided into two parts, separated by a great gulf, in the one of which were the people of God, and in the other the children of Belial.† In Luke 16: 22, we read of the death of the rich man and of Lazarus.† The rich man went to Hades, and there he opened his eyes and beheld Lazarus and Abraham on the other side of the great gulf; for, like himself, they, too, were in Hades, but in the other compartment.† It was into Hades that our Saviour descended.† In the Hebrew of the Old Testament, Sheol is the equivalent of Hades.†† So, in Gen. 37: 35, Jacob says, "I will go down unto Sheol," that is, "unto Hades," not "into the grave," as the Authorized Version has it.
Some think that the better side of Hades was called Paradise; but that
is a mistake.*† The
[* Note. How can it be Ďa mistakeí when the ĎGates of Hades will not overcome itĒ (the ĎChurchí Matt. 16: 18)?† We read in Rev. 6: 9-11 that the souls who were slain ďbecause of the word of God and the testimony they had maintainedĒ were told ďto wait [in Hades] a little longer, until the number of their fellow-servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completedĒ (verse 11)?† These souls, will be martyred during the Great Tribulation, and will be in Hades along with all the rest who previously were martyred; and John sees them all awaiting Resurrection, for the ĎFirst Resurrectioní has not, even at that time in the future taken place!†
Furthermore, the Ď
244. †In 2 Cor. 12: 2-4, Paul
[*Note. The thief did not go to any heavenly
Paradise on the day he died; he descended with Christ to the Paradise below on that
day; that is, at the time of his death: "THIS day thou shalt be with Me
245.† The word Gehenna,
which is the same as Tophet in the Hebrew of the Old
Testament, stands for what we now call Hell, that is,
[* Note.† The Ďspirití which returns to God at the time of death is Godís animating spirit.† ďAs the body without the spirit is deadÖĒ (Jas. 2: 26).† ďHer spirit returned, and at once she stood upĒ (Luke 8: 55). ďThe dust [of the decomposed body of the dead] returns to the ground it came from, and the [animating or life-giving] spirit returns to God who gave itĒ (Eccl. 12: 7).† ďIf it were His [Godís] intention and He withdrew His spirit and breath, all mankind would perish [die] together and man would return to the dustĒ (Job. 34: 14, 15).† ďJesus said, ĎIt is finished.í† With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spiritĒ (John 19: 30).† It is the soul which descends into Hades at the time of death: ďYou will not abandon me [Lit. ďmy soul,Ē See R. V. and Greek] to the grave [ďHadesĒ] (Acts 2: 27.) cf. Psa. 16: 10 where ďSheolĒ = ďHades.Ē† Todayís popular N.I.V. translation is as misleading here as the Authorised Version is throughout, where Hades Ė the place of the dead in the underworld Ė ďin the heart of the earthĒ (Matt. 12: 40), the place where our Lord went immediately after His death, is described by several different words!]
246.† From Isa. 30: 33, we learn that Tophet, or Gehenna, is prepared for the King, that is, as the context shows us, for the great Godless King, or Emperor, that is coming, that is, for the Antichrist; and that "the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it."† But in all probability, it is not kindled as yet; for it is not yet needed.† Two beings will, however, be cast into it before the Millennium, namely, the Antichrist, or Beast, for whom it was specially prepared, and the False Prophet. But, after the Post-millennial rebellion, the Devil himself will be cast into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, the judgment will follow, and then Death and Hades, and, finally, all those whose names are not found written in the Book of Life, will be doomed to the same place of torment (Rev. 20: 10-15).
247.† The third name, Tartarus, does not denote a prison for the confinement of human spirits, but a place of punishment for certain angels that were guilty of specially heinous sin.† And, from what Peter (2 Pet. 2: 4) and Jude (vv. 6 and 7) tell us, there can be little doubt that they are those angels, or sons of God, of whom we read in Gen. 6: 1-4, and who rebelliously left their own sphere, and intermingled and intermarried with the children of men (see "Earth's Earliest Ages," PP. 205-13, 238-9).† Thus they rendered themselves liable to special punishment, and were hurled down to Tartarus by God, and there cast into "pits of darkness" - such is, perhaps, the true reading of 2 Pet. 2: 4 - to be reserved for the dread judgment of the Great White Throne.
248.† It may be that many believers, who love to
think and talk of dear departed ones as being in Heaven, will be loath to admit
that they are at present only in
249.† Many people imagine that there is a day coming when all men, the living and the dead alike, will be summoned to stand before Godís Throne, and to give an account of the things done in the body; and that some of them, through faith in the Lord Jesus, will be liberated, and, perhaps, rewarded; while others, and by far the greatest number, who have rejected Him, will receive a sentence of damnation and punishment.† This, however, is only a part of the truth.
250.† For the Bible-teaching on the subject instructs us, that there are yet four principal and special Assizes of judgment which must take place in the future.† We must not, however, include among these such punishments or chastisements as are inflicted without a personal arraignment of the accused before the Son of Man, to Whom all judgment is committed.
251. †Thus the destruction of the world by water in
the Flood, the fearful visitation upon
The judgment of the Saints for their works; for judgment must begin at the House of God.
253. 2nd. The Judgment of the Living Nations (Matt. 25: 31-46).† This will take place before the Lord "when He sits upon the Throne of His Glory," just after His destruction of the Antichrist and of all the rebel hosts that will follow him (paragraph 91).† It will, thus, happen just before the introduction of the Millennium; and the nations to be judged will be "the quick" or "living," as contrasted with the dead, which are alluded to in Acts 10: 42; 2 Tim. 4: 1; 1 Pet. 4: 5.
254. 3rd. The judgment of the Dead, which will take place at the time [after the millennium] when all that are still in their graves will come forth (John 5: 28-9), some of them, who believed in the Lord but were not found worthy of the First Resurrection, to a resurrection of life [in a new heaven and new earth]; but all others to stand before the Great White Throne, and, unless their names be found written in the Book of Life, to receive the sentence of the Second Death, and be cast into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone.† This judgment will take place after the final rebellion under Satan has been put down; and then the Eternal Rest will begin. See No. 51 on Chart C.
255. †4th. The judgment of Angels.† Of this we know but little; but, that it will take place, we are distinctly informed in 1 Cor. 6: 3; 2 Pet. 2: 4; and Jude 6; while the last-mentioned passage intimates, that it will occur about the same time as the judgment of the Dead.† But the "angels" to be judged are not, of course, the glorious beings whom we usually associate with the term; they are only a certain number of that class, who left their own sphere, or habitation, and connected themselves with mankind in defiance of Godís law, thus rendering themselves liable to judgment and punishment.
256.† A glance at Chart C will enable us to understand how distinct these great events are.† The Judgment of the Saints is indicated at 41 on the chart; that of the Living Nations will be found at about 42; that of the Great White Throne at 51; and that of Angels also at 51.
257.† In regard to the judgment of the Living
Nations, it will be well to point out, that the "fire
for an age," or "age-long fire"
- for so the words should be rendered - is not the Lake of Fire and Brimstone,
which is specially prepared for the King, or the Antichrist (Isa. 30: 33), nor for the Devil and his angels.† But the reference is to the Abyss which is
provided for Satan and "the High Ones that are on
High," or his angels, together with "the
Kings of the Earth upon the Earth," or those kings and their
peoples who will join in the war against the Lamb (see Isa. 24: 21,
22; Rev. 20: 1-3, 17: 12-14).† All
these, as Isaiah tells us, will be gathered as prisoners into the pit, and shut
up in the prison.† Into that same prison,
then, will those nations who are represented by the goats be cast.† They must be carefully distinguished from the
nations that will follow the Ten Kings; and are, probably, to be identified
with certain remote peoples who, when the Lord return, will neither have heard
His fame nor seen His glory (Isa. 66: 19).†
Hence they will be judged by the natural law of love which God has
written in all human hearts, and not by their attitude towards the Lord, Whom
they will not have known.† And the
special test applied to them will be their behaviour to the fugitive
Christians, or to the Children of Abraham, who will have fled into their lands
to escape the persecutions of the Antichrist.†
Hence, too, they will not at this time be reserved for the final and
everlasting judgment, but will be thrown into the fiery Abyss prepared as a
prison for the Devil and his angels during the thousand years of the Millennial age.† At
the end of that time, however, they will be liberated.† "And after many
days shall they be visited," says Isaiah - words which correspond
with Rev. 20: 7, "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be
loosed out of his prison."†
But what will be the result of the new trial to the goat-nations,
whether they will by that time have learned of Christ and submitted to Him, or
whether they will join in the final rebellion, and afterwards have their part
258.† The nations represented by the sheep will be judged upon the same principles as the others, but will be found to have acted up to their light, and will, consequently, be invited to inherit the Kingdom prepared for them. This will, of course, be in the earthly sphere of the Lord's dominions. And on earth they will live, enjoying all the blessings of the Millennial age, until, at its close, the final test will come by which their everlasting destiny will be decided.
259.† If we review the judgments described above, we shall see, that, although the impenitent and unbelieving will be panic-stricken when they are summoned to face the judgment reserved for them, yet those who love and obey God in this life, believing on His Son Jesus Christ, need have no fear.† They will not be called to stand at any judgment bar where they will be in danger of death.† For everlasting life is secured to them, because of their faith in the Blood of the Lord: their works, however, must be judged, that He may decide whether or not they are worthy of the First Resurrection and the Kingdom, and, if they are found to be so, may apportion their position and rank for the Age to Come.
260.† May all the readers of these pages be so enabled to watch and pray always that they may make their calling and election sure, and know that to them judgment can only result in blessing, through Him That loved them and gave Himself for them.
The Resurrections and Ascensions
261.† We have now to deal with a mighty subject, and one of surpassing interest to every living soul.† Would that we were enabled to realize, to a far more intense degree, its vast importance!† For, if we were, how much more earnestly would our thoughts be turning towards the future, and how easily should we brush aside the impeding cares and anxieties of the present! How much more firmly would our hopes and affections be fixed upon the things that are above, and how ready should we be to relinquish the things that are below!
262.† In paragraph 95, we have already remarked,
that the difference between the rewards of the Old Testament saints and of the
children of God in this Dispensation, that is, of the Church, will be very
great.† For the latter will succeed to a
heavenly inheritance; whereas the former will be restored to their
own land, the
263. Of the Israelitish resurrection we read in other passages besides the one quoted above.† For instance in Isa. 26: 19, we have:- "Thy dead men shall live; My dead bodies shall arise."
264. The last verse of Daniel - as, indeed, the whole of the last chapter, especially verses 1-3 appears to refer to the same crisis:- "Go thou thy way till the end be; for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at t he end of the days."† Daniel must go down [into Hades] the way of all flesh [the dead]; but, on the resurrection morning, he should stand in the place reserved for him.
265.† In a peculiarly interesting passage - Jer. 31: 15-17 - we have a description of Rachel weeping for her children who had been slain (Matt. 2: 18).† But the Lord comforts her with the promise, "They shall come again from the land of the enemy," "shall return to their own border."[Jer. 31: 17]† What, then, can the last clause mean, if it be not intended to convey an assurance, that the dead children should be raised [resurrected] and restored to their own Land?† And this wonderful restoration will be effected at the time referred to in verse 10, that is, just at the commencement of the Millennial reign.
266.† Again, in Jer. 30: 9,
God says, "They shall serve the Lord their God and
David their king, whom I will raise up unto them."†
Here we have a plain indication, that a future reign over
267.† It is also possible, perhaps, that Isa. 49: 6, may allude to the same resurrection to earthly power, when it is declared of the Lord Jesus, that He shall "raise up the Tribes of Jacob."
268. †In Hos. 6: 2, we find the words, "In the third day
He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight." And, in Hos. 13: 14, God says, "I
will ransom them from the power of the grave, I will
redeem them from death."†
Then in Isa. 33: 14-17, it is said to
269.† Lastly, in Ezek.
48: 9-11, in the prophetic description of the Millennial Land of Israel,
we read of a Holy Oblation to the Lord, in the midst of which is to be the
Sanctuary.† And of this Sanctuary we are
told, "It shall be for the priests ... which went not astray when the Children of
270.† But, besides all these indications, we have
also certain confirmatory facts.† When
God for the first time promised to give the Land to Abraham (Gen. 13: 14-17), He did not at once fulfil the promise, neither, indeed, has He
yet done so.† In Gen. 15.,
the promise is repeated in a somewhat different form, and it is made, not so
much to Abraham personally as to his seed.†
Now, many have assumed that this promise was fulfilled when
271.† Let us, however, first make it clear, that the promise to Abraham himself has not yet been redeemed.† For, in Acts 7: 5, Stephen declares, that God gave Abraham none inheritance in the Land, "no, not so much as to set his foot on."† In Heb. 11: 9, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are mentioned, not as possessors, but as heirs of the promises; while, in verse 13, we are told plainly, that they all "died in faith, not having received the promises." †Rom. 4: 13, also, points out, that the promise to Abraham and to his seed was by faith - a plain indication that neither he nor they were at that time to inherit the Land.† Yet, notwithstanding all this delay, the promises remain sure, and in due season will be fulfilled.
272.† There is, however, a still stronger proof, that neither Abraham himself nor his descendants have as yet received the promised inheritance.† We have already seen, that, in Gen. 13: 17, God promises the Land to Abraham, and, in Gen. 15: 18, to Abrahamís seed.† And, in Gal. 3: 16, these passages are combined in the words, "Now, to Abraham and his seed were the promises made."† But Paul adds a very important explanation, namely, that the "seed" is to be taken in a singular sense, and to be understood, not of the whole family of Israel who were, indeed, at one time in temporary and partial possession of the Land. but of the Christ Alone.
273. †We are, therefore, forced upon the conclusion, that these promises are still unfulfilled, and are to be referred to the times of the Second Advent, when "many shall come from the East and West,Ē and when He, the Seed, "shall reign over the House of Jacob for ever, and of His Kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1: 33).† For the Israelite, no less than the Christian believer, can obtain the fulfilment of the promises only through the Lord Jesus Who died for him.
274.† We may, then, confidently accept all these
wonderful indications, that the promises to
275. But now the question arises, Is there a distinct destiny for the spiritual people of Christ who are connected with the present Dispensation; or do they share the reward of the faithful Israelites?
may reply, without hesitation, that the hope of the Church is altogether
distinct from that of
[* It is difficult to see how Old Testament saints and prophets, have "a separate material inheritance." Furthermore, I see no distinction made in Scriptures, in relation regenerate believers and that promised "inheritance" as a "reward" (Col. 3: 23, 24).† Is it not a stated fact in the Scriptures that Abraham is described as the regenerate believerís "father" also? - "Our father Abraham" (Rom. 4: 1).† He is the father OF ALL THEM THAT BELIEVE (verse 11); Gal. 3: 7).
name, significantly means ĎFlightí or
ĎWanderingí.† Is there not a distinction
made here also in two lines of conduct amongst the regenerate?† See Gal. 5: 13-26.† The pull of
It was amazing grace for God to reveal Himself to Hagar - (in angelic or Ďhuman-angelicí form known as ĎTheophanyí in the early history of Old Testament times) - and writ large over the divine record of this divine phenomenon is Godís kindness.† For the first time in history One of the Godhead was manifested to Hagar on earth in angelic form.† ďAnd to whom?† To a low-born Egyptian woman; a slave; a wanderer; to one whose insolence to and contempt of Sarah her mistress compelled the latter abruptly to alter her attitude towards her.Ē†
there not a lesson here which Paul allpies to those
in ďthe churches
have thus found in the Old Testament very clear teaching as to the resurrection
and earthly inheritance of
278.† Now, we have, doubtless, observed, that ascensions to God are typified by the firstfruits and the harvest; while the Law, in Lev. 23: 10-13, teaches us, that a firstfruits of every harvest had to be gathered and presented to the Lord before the harvest itself was reaped.† The firstfruits was, indeed, but a handful, a mere nothing as compared with the harvest: nevertheless, God commanded that it should be brought to Him.† And, as we shall presently find, there is to be a similar division in the gathering in of His Own spiritual people.
279. A few, a very few, who, like Enoch, are walking with God, will be accounted worthy to escape the terrible period of testing and sifting which is to come upon all flesh during the Final seven of Years, to which we have so often referred in previous paragraphs.
280.† In Luke 21: 36, the Lord Jesus urges His disciples to watch and pray always, that they may be accounted worthy "to escape all these things that shall come to pass," these things being the plagues and judgments of the Last Seven of Years. Again, in Rev. 3: 10, He promises the Philadelpliian Church, that, because they have kept the word of His patience, He, also, will keep them from the hour of temptation, or trial, which is to come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. These passages, however, merely indicate a great event, which is elsewhere described with more detail.
281. In Rev. 12., we read of the Woman which represents "the House of God" set to witness upon the earth, that is, at the time intended, the Church.† She is in serious straits; for she is in the pains of travail, and yet, at the same time, is faced by a Dragon, a remorseless foe, who waits hard by with intent to devour her child as soon as it is born.† The Church is in that condition now, and may at any time give birth to the Firstfiruits.† But this is well known to the great enemy of mankind, who is zealous that not even the Firstfruits may escape him, while he is still at liberty to persecute and slay Godís people, - whether Jews or Christians.† Nay, we may be sure that he is specially eager to avenge himself upon the Firstfruits, since they will be those who will have obtained the most complete victory over him through the Blood of the Lamb, and who will have denounced him and his ways, and have remained faithful to the Lord Jesus, his Foe, That is about shortly to bring him to naught.
282.† But, blessed be God, He, too, is well aware of the circumstances of the Firstfruits, and has accounted them worthy to escape the things that shall come to pass.† Therefore, He has made provision that they may be caught away to Himself and to His Throne at the very moment in which they are made manifest.† And this rapture appears to be the next event which will happen in the fulfilment of prophecy, and which may happen at any time.† As soon as the appointed period has arrived for the resumption of' Godís dealings with His people Israel, then the Firstfruits, those living believers who by His grace are accounted worthy to escape all the impending terrors, will be caught up and presented to Him as He sits upon His Throne, just as the handful of ripe ears - the firstfruits of the harvest - was wont to be carried to His earthly Temple in the days of old.
283.† Of course, this event will not, strictly speaking, be a resurrection; for those who have part in it will not have died, and, therefore, cannot be raised from the dead.† But it will he an ascension, and the opening event of what, in Rev. 20: 5, 6, is called the First Resurrection (see NO. 35 on Diagram G).
284.† It is followed by scenes of woe, anguish, and persecution, and by wars, famines, plagues, and every kind of calamity, on earth.† But, while these judgments are being poured out, the Firstfruits will be safe with their Lord in heaven, and are, doubtless, the same as the 144,000 who are described in Rev. 14: 1-5, who sing a new song before the Throne, and are said to be "redeemed from among men, being a Firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb."
285.† We must carefully observe, that this ascension of the Firstfruits is not the same as the ascension referred to in 1 Thess. 4: 15-17, and 1 Cor. 15: 52, both of which passages are concerned with the Harvest, and not with the Firstfruits.
286.† The Firstfruit, which will consist of saints who are found to be serving the Living and True God and waiting for His Son from heaven, will be removed before the scourge of God is lifted up against the inhabitants of the earth, and before the persecutions and Tribulation begin.† But the Harvest, that is, those who not be ready at the time of the Lordís first summons, will by no means be delivered from the affliction which they will need to make the world bitter to them.† On the contrary, in addition to the persecutions of the wicked, they will have to endure the woes of all the Seals and of six of the Trumpets; but they be spared the horrors of the Vials.† For, just as the Seventh Angel is about to sound the Seventh or Last Trumpet, the Mystery of God - that is, His Kingdom in Mystery, or Church upon earth - will be finished, and all the remaining members of His Body, the living and the dead alike, will be summoned to meet Him in the air.† These, when joined to the already translated Firstfruits, will complete the number of those blessed ones who will have part in the First Resurrection, and, after standing before the judgment-seat of Christ, "will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him a thousand years" (Rev. 20: 6).
287.† After this great event, more than a thousand years will have to pass by before the hour comes for the next and final Resurrection.† For, between these two risings of the dead, not only the Millennium, but also the time occupied by Satanís last rebellion and its suppression, must intervene.† In the First Resurrection, the blessed and holy alone will be raised.† But, in the Last, all that still remain in their graves will come forth, "they that have done good unto a resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto a resurrection of judgment" (John 5: 28, 29).† The first-named class will include those believers who, although they had received life through their faith in the Lord Jesus, had not been "reckoned worthy to obtain that ageĒ - namely, the Millennial Age of Reward Ė ďand the resurrection out from among the dead" (Luke 20: 35).† Therefore, they will have to remain among the dead [in Hades] until the general Resurrection; but, since their names will then be found written in the Lambís Rook of Life, they will, at last, be permitted to enter into the full enjoyment of that which He has purchased for them at the price of His Own Blood.† Others, also, may be raised to the Resurrection of Life at the same time.† But, alas! it is to be feared that a vast number of the dead will prove to be those who have persistently rejected the Lord Jesus, and who will awake to find, that the end has come at last, and the time of grace passed by for ever; and that nothing remains for them but the fearful expectation of immediate judgment and fiery indignation.
288.†† May we be moved by the [Holy] Spirit to meditate continually on these interesting and most vital truths, and, by the grace of God, so to live that we may have a well-grounded hope of a joyful resurrection!† Language fails when one strives to express the unspeakable importance of the stupendous events with which we have been dealing.† But, if we have been enabled to concentrate our minds upon them, and in some slight degree to realize what they will be, how quickly do we feel the insignificance and triviality of all that is earthly!† May, then, these sublime predictions of the future be ever impressed upon our hearts, together with the fact, that, whether for weal [an old word for Ďhappinessí or Ďwell beingí] or for woe, we have, each of us, his own part to play in them.† May the thought of this draw us nearer to our God, and stimulate us to pray without ceasing, that He may be pleased so to sanctify us, spirit, soul, and body, that we may be found blameless at the coming of our Lord, and be accounted worthy to escape the things that shall come to pass, and to stand in His presence.† Then, throughout the Ages of Eternity, shall we praise Him for the glorious Plan revealed in His Word, whereby He redeemed us from all our iniquities, and restored us to light and to immortality.
289. The whole duty of man is expressed in six words:- "Fear God, and keep His commandments."† Hence the height of sin is the exact opposite to this, which might be conveyed in the precept :- "Forget God, and seek your own selfish ends."† Now, the great Mystery of Babylon, which has been considered in paragraphs 142, etc., was established, as we have seen, for the express purpose of enabling men, and especially the leaders of men, not only to ignore the claims of God, and seek their own ends irrespectively of His commands, but to do so in direct opposition to, and in daring defiance of, Himself. Babylon as a Mystery, seeing it was the first organized rebellion against God, from which all later rebellions have more or less sprung, is, therefore, the great parent abomination of the earth: it is genuine, unadulterated, and concentrated, WICKEDNESS; and is represented in these days by the Papacy, with its seat at Rome, as we have seen in paragraph 145.
290.† But the manner in which man has endeavoured to attain his own end has undergone various modifications and changes, while the centuries were rolling by.† At first, he deliberately, though for the most part in secret, or "mystery," worshipped the Devil and evil spirits; for he had realized, that, in so doing, he would be permitted to follow his own natural bent; whereas, if he should attempt to serve God, he would have to give up his own will, and accept that of God.† Later on, in the early part of the Christian era, he effected a compromise with the growing power of nominal Christianity, and continued to worship his own gods under a Christian nomenclature.† Such worship, and, indeed, worship of every kind, is in these days considerably slackened; but the time will come when men will once more deliberately worship Satan, and also his great king and vicegerent, the Antichrist: they will, however, do so under wholly different circumstances, and under an altogether new system.† And that new system will be Commerce.
291.† It may be objected that Commerce is not a religion.† But the remark merely opens the question as to what religion is. Surely it is worship, the veneration for, and zealous cultivation of, that which we either love best or fear most.† It may be the worship of God, or the worship of Mammon.† A man may choose which of the two Deities he wills; but one of them he must worship in some form or another.
292.† The two powers, apart from God, by which men
have regulated society from its earliest infancy, are Religion and
Imperialism.† Religion represents the
Spiritual Power -
293.† The authority, then, both of priest and king is rapidly waning, and some system is needed to take its place, and furnish a new and acceptable centre round which men can rally, and from which they will be able to draw satisfaction for all the desires and hopes of the unregenerate human heart.† This they will find, nay, are already finding, in Commerce.
294.† Do we not see signs of this
tendency around us on all sides?† Even
now, when we look for no more than indications of those things that must
shortly come to pass, what is the interest that dictates to the legislators of
every civilized Power?† Not religion,
certainly, but Commerce.† What is the
great bond of union between man and man, between community and community,
between nation and nation, between Jew and Gentile, between
295.† What other power, political or religious, is even now its equal?† None; and yet at present we see it only in its earlier stages.† It has gradually arisen and unobtrusively developed, until it has already become the chief influence in the earth; and, before long, it will be without a rival, the acknowledged centre around which human society and human interests will revolve.
296.† For, when we have considered its modern history up to the present day, we are not disposed to imagine that it will require much time to establish itself as supreme.† Barely a century ago, Commerce was a mere subsidiary either to Religion - Babylon in Mystery - or to Imperialism; and when we contemplate the mighty advances which it has made, at their expense, within the last few years, may we not confidently anticipate, that even these great strides will be surpassed in the immediate future?
297.† Another prominent feature of these days should be noted in connection with our present subject, and that is the universal tendency to concentrate.† For agitations are being ceaselessly carried on for union, or concentration, in coinage, in weights and measures, in postal affairs, in customs arrangements, and similar matters; and in what interest?† Purely in that of Commerce.† Moreover, the tendency to concentrate commercial interests in certain conventional centres, such as London, New York, Paris, and Vienna, is, also, worthy of notice.† And, yet again, how increasingly numerous are great trading companies, "trusts," "rings," "corners," associations, monopolies, and combinations of every kind.
298. In short, all things are now tending in one direction, that is, to absolute subserviency of every other power and interest, religious or political, to Commerce.† And, in the end, it will, doubtless, be found necessary, in order to ensure and to efficiently control these vast businesses and organizations, to establish one great commercial centre of the world, and to arrange for the government of this one centre by one supreme commercial King, or Chief.
299. Thus the conclusions to which we are driven are:-
That, before long, the one great reigning power of the whole earth will be Commerce.
the power of
That, consequently, Commerce will soon take their place as the supreme influence and motive power.
And that there will, in the end, be one Central International Commercial Capital of the world; which, again, will centre in one great Commercial King, or Chief, elected by the people.
300.† To this we may add, that, bearing in mind what is written immediately above, and also the paragraphs in this book respecting the City of Babylon and the Antichrist, we cannot but anticipate, that the great Central International Commercial Capital of the world will be the restored City of Babylon; and that the great Commercial King, or Chief, will be the Antichrist.
301. But there is a special and very remarkable prophecy, which seems to be directly connected with this interesting subject, and which we must now consider.
302. In the fifth chapter of Zechariah, we have an account of two visions seen by the prophet.† In the first, he saw a flying roll, which was explained by the angel as a judgment, sent forth by God to cut off and consume thieves and false swearers, or liars. In the second, an ephah appeared going forth, and its interpretation seems to indicate who and what the thieves and liars of the first vision are.† But, leaving our readers to peruse the chapter, we will enumerate the various symbols of the second vision, and afterwards endeavour to interpret it:-
(1) The ephah; which was the largest dry measure of ancient Eastern commerce., corresponding to the English bushel.
(2) The talent of lead, which was the largest commercial "weight," similar to the English "ton."
(3) The woman, whose name is said to be Wickedness, is the system of Babylonian Mystery, or, as we have seen in paragraphs 42, 289, etc., concentrated wickedness.
(4) The two women which support the ephah, and, probably, represent evil systems.
(5) The wind in their wings, which, possibly, indicates, that the system which they support is carried, or disseminated, over the whole earth.
(6) The wings are like storksí wings, to hint that the two supporters of the ephah are of an evil nature.
(7) The ephah is, lifted up between heaven and earth - perhaps, to indicate, that, so far as profession goes, the system represented is not merely secular, but lays claim, also, to a moral, if not to a religious character.
The ephah is being transferred to the
303.† Now, putting these symbols together, we conclude, that we have here a representation of Commerce, which is typified by the ephah, and the talent of lead, or, as we should say, by the bushel and the ton; that the heart, centre, or mainspring, of the system is wickedness; that its supporters are two evil systems, which may possibly be interpreted by verses 3 and 4, the one being a system characterized by thieving and dishonesty, the other a system of false swearing or lying; that these disseminate their influence and doctrines over the whole earth by unscrupulous means, but under moral pretensions; and, finally, that they build a house, or a base, for Commerce in the Land of Shinar.
304. †In other words, what this prophecy appears to teach is, that, in the Last Days, a powerful but godless commercial system will be developed, which will supersede and absorb the system and spirit of wickedness - that is, Babylon in Mystery, or defiance of God; that it will dominate the whole earth; and that its headquarters will be transferred - from Rome, where it now is - to its own base, the place of its origin, namely, to Babylon in the Land of Shinar.
305.† Now, although, it is well to remember the saying of the Apocryphal writer of Ecclesiasticus, that, "As a nail sticketh fast between the joinings of stones, so doth sin stick close between buying and selling" (27: 2); yet it is, of course, understood and freely admitted, that there is nothing essentially wrong in honest trading.† Business may, most assuredly, be carried on in the fear of God and for His glory; but, even in these days, the vast majority of commercial men, however honourably they may conduct their operations, do so without any respect to Godís will in the matter.† Many, too, who profess and call themselves Christians, draw a very distinct line between their religious and their secular affairs, being, apparently, unconscious of the fact, that, by so doing, they are taking their stand among the godless commercial men of the day.† For commerce only needs to be carried on in forgetfulness of God, and it instantly becomes sin; since ďwhatever is not of faith is sin.Ē
306.† But we must remember, that, before the
commercial tendencies of which we have been speaking are fully matured, those
who are wholly devoted to God will have been removed from the world; and that,
at the same time, the Spirit of God, which now acts as a check upon dishonesty
and wickedness, will have been taken out of the way, and will no longer stand
between the godless and the most outrageous sins.† As a natural consequence of this, lawlessness
will have terribly increased; and, since all religions, even
307.† Lastly. we are warned, that, in that terrible time, no man will be allowed to buy or sell, that is, to engage in any, kind of commerce, unless he shall first have received the mark of blasphemy either on his forehead or on his hand (Rev. 13: 16, 17). And, inasmuch as a willing submission to this law on the part of any man will, in itself, constitute him a rebel against God, and make him guilty of a sin which precludes repentance and reconciliation to God, and can in no circumstance be pardoned (Rev. 14: 9-11); it necessarily follows, that all the commercial men of that period will be blasphemously godless, and doomed to "drink of the wine of the wrath of God." See paragraphs 74 and 75.
308.† Surely the consideration of such truths as these should lead us to a vivid realization of the tremendous issues that are depending upon our present conduct.† For, if we would escape the peril of being carried down the stream of ungodliness to perdition, now is the time to make our calling and election sure, and to show, by our walk before God, that we have chosen, and, in the power of His Spirit, irrevocably determined, that, whatever others may do, and at whatever cost to ourselves, we will serve Him Alone, and resolutely turn our backs upon Mammon and all the good things of this life that are in his hands.
309.† The history of the Jews is very important to those who would understand the counsels of God; but, at the same time. it is so copious that it becomes difficult to deal with, when a lengthy article would be out of place.† And the scope of our book will only permit the briefest possible sketch of this intensely interesting subject, which carries us through many centuries, from the call of Abram, indeed, to the very end of the Divine revelation.
310.† For our present purpose, then, we will merely note a few of the leading events in Jewish history, adding, however, some Scriptural references which the reader can examine and digest at his leisure.
311.† The beginning of the story is, of course, the
unconditional gift of the whole
312.† This banishment, however, is not to be perpetual (Lev. 27: 44-45;
313. †It is foretold that, previously to the time of the re-gathering, the Jews will be emancipated from the cruel bondage and ignominy to which they have been subjected in the lands of their exile (Zeph. 3: 19, 20); also that they will have greatly increased in numbers, and have accumulated much wealth and influence.
314.† Now, all these predictions are being fulfilled before our eyes.† Everywhere the Jews are beginning to manifest an ability, and to exercise an influence, which provoke the jealousy of other nations.† And, doubtless, this feeling will grow with their power, until, when they finally become a wealthy and influential people, and are restored to their own Land and Capital, the ever-increasing hatred of the Gentile nations will become so violent that they will combine for the purpose of wiping the whole Jewish race from off the face of the earth (Psa. 83: 1-8).
315.† Thus, as the time for the promised restoration draws near, the threatenings of bitter trouble will also begin to be fulfilled. Indeed, the very fulfilment of the promises will cause the fulfilment of the threats.
316.† Very instructive is it to note, that, after
so many centuries of desolation, Palestine is now being revived, and that by Jewish settlers; while
Jerusalem, within whose walls, until not much more than a quarter of a century
ago, very few Jews were permitted to dwell, is now mainly inhabited by Jews,
who have flocked to it from all parts of the earth.† In the first edition of this Book, we called
attention to the fact, that, while it was being written, a large and
representative gathering of influential Jews was being held, for the first
317.† We cannot better illustrate the strength of the desire for restoration which is now animating the Jews, than by mentioning some of the many societies which they have formed to aid in bringing about their return to Palestine, among which are the following:-
The Chovevi-Zion - or Lovers of
(2) Límaían - For Zionís Sake. A similar society.
The Society for Assisting Jewish Agriculturists and Artizans
(6) Ezra - A great Austrian Society, go called because it is formed to do what Ezra did, that is, to lead the Jews back to Jerusalem.† It has its own journal called "Zerubbabel," because it is intended to help the Society, as the Prince of that name helped the scribe Ezra..
318.† That such Societies should recently have sprung into active existence is an exceedingly significant fact, which cries aloud, that the Word of our God is being fulfilled.† It is, also, an unmistakable sign, that the present Dispensation is nearing its end, and that we may expect the Lord before long to translate His Heavenly people into His Own Presence.† For the branches of the Jewish olive were broken off, that the Gentile branches of a wild olive might be grafted in.† But now the times of the Gentiles and of the Church have almost passed by; and, therefore, the Lord will shortly remove His Own people to Himself, and then break off the barren branches of the merely professing Church, in order that the Jewish branches may again be grafted in their own tree.
319. †And, after that, the chief
event, in the history of
When the Jews have been re-gathered and finally tested in the time of Jacobís trouble, they will be delivered by the Personal Appearing of the Lord Jesus (Zech. 14: 2-4).
Satan will be bound and cast into the Abyss (Rev. 20: 1-3).
The Lord will sit upon the Throne of His Glory (Isa. 9: 6, 7).
The Millennium will commence (Rev. 20: 4, 5).
The Glory of the Lord will be restored to it (Ezek. 43: 4, 50).
the end of the Thousand Years, Satan will be loosed, and will again incite the
nations to destroy
But the Lord will interpose to save His people, and will send down fire from heaven to consume their foes (Rev. 20: 9).
320. †Here the
future history of
321. †It would be a delightful task to continue these studies in the glorious Word of our God: but the object of our little book is, as we have already remarked, very unpretentious.† Indeed, if it be permitted to stimulate any of its readers to a deeper search into the matters with which it deals, its aim will have been accomplished.† Certainly, there are many subjects of revelation upon which we have not touched; but these have been expounded by other and more competent students.† We will, however, add one more chapter to our work, and endeavour to show how much light may be thrown upon apparently obscure parts of the Bible by even a slight knowledge of the threads of Godís Plan.
322.† The instance which we will select is the tenth chapter of Isaiah - a passage which conveys but little sense to a casual and ill-informed reader. Yet it will be found, that even the elementary studies contained in this book will help us materially to understand the apparently dark oracles of the prophet.
323.† In the preceding chapter, the ninth, we find
a description of the pride and perversity of
324.† Now, what day of visitation and desolation is
here meant?† The reader will find an account
of it in paragraph 61, and, also, in the whole chapter entitled† "The Last, or Seventieth,
Seven."† There the question is
answered, and we see, that the prophet is foretelling events which are to occur
in the period of culminating judgments, just before the final deliverance of
In the fourth verse, if we accept the rendering of the A.V., God shows what the people will have to endure, because they have forsaken Him, and lost His help.
In the fifth, He addresses the man whom He has chosen to be the rod wherewith He will chastise them.† He calls him the Assyrian; and, if we turn to paragraphs 131-41, we shall learn who this Assyrian is.
The sixth describes the nation against whom the Assyrian is to be sent, and the kind of chastisement which he is to inflict.
The nine verses that follow indicate, that, although God is using this Assyrian for His purposes, yet the agent marches to war in his own name, and with great pride and blasphemy. (See paragraph 134, and Rev. 13: 6)
Therefore, in the sixteenth verse, we are told, that, as soon as he has accomplished the chastisement for which he was sent, he himself and his wicked hosts will be punished.† See paragraphs 140 and 247.
The seventeenth verse introduces the Lord Jesus as "the Light of Israel," and "the Holy One" Who shall burn and devour the thorns and the briars in one day.† Compare the splendid passage in 2 Sam. 23: 6, 7 (R.V.).† The "one day" is the same as that which is described in Mal. 4: 1.
twentieth predicts, that, as soon as the terrors of judgment are over, and the
wicked, whether Jews or Gentiles, have been cut off,
then the remnant of
The next three verses very clearly point to what is also foretold in Dan. 9: 24.† These verses explain the manner in which righteousness will be brought in; how the time is determined (5: 22); and that the transgression will be finished, because the incorrigibly wicked will be destroyed, and the remnant of Israel return unto the Mighty God.
325.† Now, all these points teach us the intention of the prophecy, and indicate the time in which its predictions are to find their fulfilment, namely, that which is marked by No. 42 on Diagram C.
chapter closes with a magnificent and highly poetical description of the march
of the Antichrist upon
326.† But our study is now completed.† Nothing further remains for us, except to inquire, Has the object of our labour been attained?† Is the Word of God more intelligible to us?† Has its value increased in our eyes?† Is it more attractive to us than it was when we commenced this study?† If we can give an affirmative answer to these questions, let us render praise to the Lord. To Him be all the glory.† But let us learn one more lesson.† For whatever we may now know, however much we may understand, or however deep may be our spiritual experience, the Word of God, and the spiritual experiences open to us, are infinite, and, therefore, inexhaustible.† And, if it be a blessed thing to comprehend some of the teachings of the Word, and to realize some of the experiences of Godís full salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, how much more blessed is it to be continually advancing, to rise to greater heights of knowledge, and to penetrate to deeper depths of experience!† While, then, we should be humbly grateful for what we have been already permitted to enjoy, let us never be satisfied with present attainments, but pray without ceasing, that the God of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of our understanding being enlightened; that we may know what is the hope of His calling and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe.
To those who desire to know more of the wonderful subjects of this little volume, the following books are recommended for careful study:-
"Earth's Earliest Ages, and their connection with Modern Spiritualism and Theosophy."
"The Great Prophecies of the Centuries concerning Israel and the Gentiles."
"The Church, the
Churches, and the Mysteries."† These three
books are by G. H. Pember, M.A., and are published by Hodder and
Prince" by Sir R. Anderson. Hodder and
"The Two Babylons," by the Rev. A, Hislop. S. W, Partridge and Co.
"The Apocalypse." by Joseph A. Seiss. 3 vols. James Nisbet and Co.