God’s Purpose for Iran


By Paul Toms


(This is a summary of a message given at the monthly meeting of the Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony on 24th February, 2012.  It was recorded and can be downloaded from the SGAT website; also cassettes and CDs are available).



In October 2005, President Ahmadinejad of Iran made a statement that has caused considerable controversy.  He quoted the Ayatollah Khomeini, who said words to the effect that ‘this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.’



This, in effect, shows the true heart of the president towards God’s chosen people - a desire that is probably not uncommon amongst a number of the Islamic states that are situated around the area of the Middle East.



The news over the past weeks has included very much about Iran.  This nation spreads fear amongst the leaders in the West as it seeks to bring its nuclear capability to a frightening level; and when the president utters such words, it may well bring terror to those who know not a sovereign God.  We shall later consider those Jews who lived in the time of Esther; and the God Who delivered His people then is the God that is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever’ (Hebrews 13: 8).  Yes, this nation is very much in the news today; but it also features prominently in the pages of Scripture.



The name ‘Iran,’ by which this nation is currently known, is not to be found in the Word of God; but a close look at a Bible Atlas will reveal that the land that is now occupied by Iran was known initially as Elam, and the Bible refers to it by this name.  Later, it was more commonly described as Medo-Persia.  Indeed, it was only as recently as 1935 that the then Shah changed the name from Persia to Iran.   To the north of Iran is a country that goes by the name of Turkmenistan.  This was, until 1881, also a part of the nation then called Persia, and it was from this area that a people known as the Parthians originated ‑ another name that is used in the Bible for these people.



It would be useful to start at the beginning to ascertain from where this people originated; and as with the origins of all peoples, it will necessitate going to the Book of Genesis.  In chapter 10, we read the generations of Noah after he came out of the ark with his family.  He had three sons ‑ Shem, Ham and Japheth.  Verse 22 tells us that to Shem there were born a number of sons; and the first mentioned is Elam.  It was from this son that the nation of the Elamites descended.  One of Shem’s other sons was Arphaxad; and it is through this line of the family that Abraham was born and so, eventually, the Hebrew or Jewish nation.  Thus, we immediately see the close link that exists between the sons of Elam and the sons of Arphaxad.  Elam, or Iran, is not far from Ur of the Chaldees, where Terah settled, and to him was born Abram.   So sons of Shem moved south from the Ararat Mountains to the area around the Persian Gulf.



Yet despite that close connection with Abram, there was war before too long.  The next reference to Elam is a few chapters later, in Genesis 14, where we read of the battle of the four kings against five kings.  One of the invading kings which defeated the cities of the plain was Chedorlaomer, king of Elam.  The kings from the east, including Chedorlaomer, took away Lot, the nephew of Abram, which resulted in Abram gathering together his servants into an army and chasing after and defeating the kings and bringing back the spoil that had been taken.  So started a conflict that has gone on till this very day, sometimes quite evidently, as we can see from the utterings of the ayatollah and the president of Iran.  At other times this conflict has not been quite so evident, and there appears to have been peace between the two nations.  In fact, prior to the overthrow of the Shah of Persia by the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Persia had been an ally of Israel and supported them in their struggle with other nations in the Middle East.  A point of interest is that this defeat by Abram of the four kings from the east brought into the pages of Scripture the person of Melchizedek, king of Salem.  The name ‘Melchizedek’ means ‘King of Righteousness’ and ‘Salem’ means ‘peace.’  The Lord Jesus Christ is the King of Righteousness and He is the King of Peace.


So, the Book of Genesis records that this people, who descended from Shem ‑ the Elamites ‑ made a confederacy and warred against Abram, with whom the Lord had made an everlasting covenant that the land he had seen would be his and his seed's after him (Genesis 13: 14-18); and we have seen that this conflict between Abram and the children of Elam brought about the appearance of the King of Righteousness and Peace.  Although under different circumstances, the final conflict between Israel and the forces that will include Iran shall bring about the appearance of the King of Righteousness and the King of Peace, and then it will be that Israel will look upon Him Whom they pierced and they will mourn.  This is something of which the president of Iran has not taken account in his statement against the people of Israel.



The next mention of this people that descended from Elam, is of that time for which they are probably best known - the period in history referred to as the beginning of the times of the Gentiles.  It was the time when the nations of Israel and of Judah were taken into captivity because of their continual sin and rebellion against God.  First, the king of Assyria, and then the king of Babylon, had come into the land and had conquered the northern territory and the southern territory respectively and had taken captive the people of Israel and Judah.  Then, while Israel was in captivity, the kingdom of Persia arose and conquered the Babylonians and became the ruling empire.



God revealed to Daniel the nature of the times of the Gentiles, and the various different empires and their characteristics.  In Daniel 2, we read of the dream that was given by God to Nebuchadnezzar of a great image.  Its head was of gold (that referred to the kingdom of Babylon); but the breast and arms were of silver, which represented a kingdom that would follow, and be inferior to, Babylon.  As we look through the pages of Daniel, and of secular history, we see that the kingdom that followed mighty Babylon was that of the Medes and Persians.  It was inferior in its ruler-ship, for the king of Babylon had absolute rule.  Nebuchadnezzar did as he pleased and he had power over the life and death of all his subjects, including his wise men and counsellors.  The kingdom of the Medes and Persians was different in that the king had to share the rule with his counsellors; so that when Darius made the decree (see Daniel 6) he did not have the authority to overrule this when, to his utter dismay, he discovered that he would have to condemn Daniel to the den of lions.



In Daniel 7, we read of a vision given to the prophet, portraying the four kingdoms in the form of beasts that arose out of the sea.  The first was like a lion (the king of beasts) with eagle’s wings (the king of birds) - indicating a most powerful kingdom.  The second kingdom was signified by a bear that was risen up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth; and the words spoken to the bear were, Arise, devour much flesh.’  The three ribs have been thought to represent the three previous empires of Egypt, Assyria and Babylon.  We observe that the Medo-Persian Empire was a united kingdom that had previously been divided.  It was made up of the two peoples of the Medes and the Persians, and, whereas, other empires were first united and then divided, this kingdom was originally divided and became united.  It was a kingdom that had great power - as the bear was powerful and was to devour many.



In Daniel 8, we read of the vision which the prophet had when he was actually in Persia, not Babylon. Daniel recorded at the beginning of the chapter that he was in the land of Elam, and whilst there, he saw in vision the ram which had the two high horns - one horn was higher than the other and this was the horn that rose up last.  The history books tell us that the kingdom of Media was the earlier of the two kingdoms, and as with the bear that was risen up on one side, so it was that Persia was the mightier of the two kingdoms.  Daniel went on to tell how this ram pushed westward, northward and southward and there was none that could stand before it.  So it was that the kingdom of Persia pushed beyond the borders of the Babylonian empire, and they occupied even more lands.  Yet this mighty kingdom came to an end, and was overrun by the kingdom of Grecia, led by Alexander the Great, whose kingdom, when he died, was divided between his four generals.



Daniel 11: 24 tells us about the Persian Empire being overthrown by the Greeks but we are first told, ‘Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all.’  It is widely thought that this fourth king was Xerses, who is also known by the name of Ahasuerus, the king who married Esther, the Jewish orphan.  From the Book of Esther we learn that Ahasuerus reigned over a hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India even unto Ethiopia - a large empire.



How interesting is the story of Esther, without any mention of God throughout the book, yet if ever there was a book in Scripture that showed the sovereignty of Almighty God, it is this.  So often we think that our lot is a wretched one and we almost fail to see the hand of an omnipotent God in control of all things. The devil goes about as a roaring lion (1 Peter 5: 8) and it can often seem that he has the upper hand.  Those Jews in Shushan must have thought this when Haman the Agagite came to prominence and started to put his plans into operation.  Yet God had His plan and, years before, He had put Mordecai at the gate of the king; He had placed Esther in a position of prominence in the kingdom; and He would save His people.  Though unseen, the hand of God had put these things into place so that His plan overruled the plotting of Haman.  God’s plan for His people will never be thwarted by devilish schemes.  We would do well to remember this when we feel the weight of trials.  Our God is the Eternal Refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms of an eternal and omnipotent God.



Jeremiah prophesied of the time when this period of captivity for the Jewish nation would come to an end, and there would be a return to the land of Israel (Jeremiah 25: 11), and Daniel understood this from reading the Word of God (Daniel 9: 2).  So there was a time destined when the Jews would return to their land, and in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah we read of this being fulfilled.  The president of Iran may wish for the regime that is occupying Jerusalem to vanish from the page of time, but however much he tries to bring this about, he will never succeed.



It was a king of Persia, Cyrus by name, who accommodated the return to Israel (2 Chronicles 36: 22-23). As we read through the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, we see how this return to the land was financed and assisted by the kings of Persia.  The prophecy of God, through the prophet Jeremiah, was fulfilled. This gives us assurance that those things foretold in Scripture, though they may seem impossible to the finite mind, will be fulfilled in God’s time according to His plan and will, and to the very letter.  God had said seventy years and seventy years it was.  His Word will come to pass; and as He had used the enemies of Israel to execute judgment upon them, so too He used the enemies of God to bring blessings upon His people.  The hearts of kings are truly in the hand of our God; He turneth them whithersoever He will (Proverbs 21: 1).  This is true for all His people, all true believers.



This period of Israel’s captivity is perhaps the time of which most is recorded in Scripture about the country now known as Iran and about those people who were the ancestors of the current day Iranians.



Another mention of these people is in the New Testament.  Acts 2 gives the account of the great revival on the day of Pentecost.  This was the time when the Holy Spirit was mightily at work in the hearts of men in Jerusalem; and those poor, ignorant fishermen from Galilee were greatly used of God to the establishing and strengthening of His kingdom.  We read that in Jerusalem at that time were inhabitants known as Parthians, Medes and Elamites.  These heard the gospel in their own tongue, and they were greatly amazed.  So, as Christ had said, the gospel went forth from Jerusalem to the uttermost parts of the earth.  They went back to their own lands and, no doubt, told others of the Gospel of Christ Jesus.  So it would be that in the times of the apostles there were those from this part of the world who came to trust in the Saviour.



What of Iran today?  We hear of the words of the ayatollah; we hear of the words of the president; and they may lead us to believe that the gospel is very much a thing of the past in that land, and that the dark cloud of Islam has spread over, and all but extinguished, any flame of gospel fire.  But a look through the current Christian press will inform us that the work began at Pentecost as gone on and there are now those in Iran who will not bow the knee to Allah nor serve the god of Islam - many suffering the cruellest means of persecution for their faith.  The work of translating the Scriptures is proceeding from a faithful text into Farsi, the language of Iranian people.  There are those in that land who love the Lord and seek to serve Him in difficult circumstances, but it may be that they are the richer in such trials than we who live in comparative ease and freedom.  It is very much a persecuted church, and there are those there who are believers but do not have the strength to confess their belief.  We need to pray for such believers.



There are also those in Iran who make a profession but the lives they lead are far from what they profess.  It is so often the case in lands that know persecution, that some will make a profession, but live a life that does not correspond.  This is a ploy the devil quite often uses; he did so in the days of the ‘Iron Curtain’ with the persecution of Christians in Russia and other communist states.  This often seems to weaken those in the church who are true believers, when they see the character and conversation of those who profess but do not possess true regenerate hearts.  So, it is good to remember the work of God in Iran, and pray for our fellow believers in the Lord in that land that God, by His sovereign, omnipotent hand will sustain and strengthen them, and that the witness they maintain under very trying circumstances will bring forth fruit unto God’s eternal glory.



We have seen that the people of Elam, or Medo-Persia, have had quite an impact upon the history of Israel.  To have a correct understanding of Scripture, we need to know of God’s dealings with His people; and how the nations round about them are in the plan and purpose of God, not only in the past and present, but for the future too.



We have seen what the Bible says about this area of land and the people that have inhabited it from the very early stages of the earth’s history, and their featuring quite predominantly in the story of the region around the Promised Land and the Great Sea - the Mediterranean Sea.  The Scriptures also have much to say about them in the times approaching the last days, and that great and notable day, often referred to in Scripture as The Day of the LORD.’



A right reading of Scripture shows us that in the last days there will be a joining together of mighty forces in a united attack upon the people of Israel.  It will be the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30: 7), and of great tribulation for all true believers.  Christ spoke of this in Matthew 24.  There is in our generation a deep-rooted hatred of the Jewish nation, and the majority, if not all, of the Islamic states would like to see the words of the ayatollah come to pass, that the regime occupying Jerusalem is eradicated from the page of history.  The Lord Jesus spoke of the times of the Gentiles (Luke 21: 24).  That began when the people of Israel and Judah were taken captive, but the Saviour also said that the times of the Gentiles would be fulfilled.  They will end.  Paul also spoke of this fact.  He wrote of the time when the blindness now upon the Jewish nation will be no more (Romans 11: 25).



In Revelation 16: 12-16, we read of the sixth angel pouring out the sixth vial upon the River Euphrates, and kings of the east are mentioned as they come to war against the Lord.  This indicates that the land of Iran will be amongst those who will be gathered in that great army that will congregate at Armageddon.  This will be the army of the antichrist, as he makes war with God and His people.  The reference to the kings of the east means those nations east of the Promised Land, and so it seems that the ruler of Iran will be amongst this gathered host that will march toward the City of Jerusalem.  The various portions of God’s Word which reveal this, show that the main thrust of the attack will come from Babylon.  The two main cities referred to throughout Prophetic Scripture are Babylon and Jerusalem, and in the last days the centre of anti-Christianity will emanate from Babylon.  It seems to me from looking through Scripture that one of the main allies of Babylon will be Iran, the old enemy, Elam and Persia.



Isaiah 11: 11 refers to the Lord gathering His scattered people; and of the nations mentioned from which Israelites will come, one is Elam. The Lord knows who are His and He knows where they are and their circumstances, and He will protect them and bring them to the Promised Land in His good time.



Isaiah 13 has much to say about the destruction of Babylon and its system.  Some think this prophecy was fulfilled when the Medo-Persians entered Babylon in the time of Daniel, but verse 9 specifically states that it will be at the Day of the LORD.’  Following verses state that it will not be inhabited; but when Babylon was overthrown by Darius (see Daniel 6) this was not the case, and even up to this present day there are still people living on the site that was Babylon in Bible days.  Verse 17 tells us that in this last overthrow the Medes will be stirred up and fight against the Babylonians, such will be the confusion in that day.  These two nations Babylon (Iraq) and Persia (Iran) have throughout the years been at enmity with each other.  It was as recently as 1988 that the Iraq/Iran war, which lasted for eight years and cost about a million lives, came to an end.  This was the longest conventional war of the twentieth century and ended with no real winner.  This same thought is present in Isaiah 21: 2.



In the following chapter, Isaiah 22: 6, we see the opposite side to the future of Elam.  This is a prophecy concerning Jerusalem and the Valley of Vision, a day of great trouble for the people of God; and it is the Elamites who are pulling at the bow strings and firing the arrows of destruction.  It is a time when the nation of Israel does not call upon the Lord, but rather, they have an almost hedonistic attitude toward life and revel in eating and drinking for tomorrow we die ‑ a most ungodly outlook.



The prophet Ezekiel mentions Elam or Persia in three chapters and in each it seems to be in reference to their being a force against Israel and against God.  In Ezekiel 27: 10, they are confederate with Tyrus.  In chapter 28 we see that this city sets itself to be above God and thus He will overthrow the city with great and utter destruction.  Ezekiel 32: 24 is similar and speaks of the overthrow of Egypt by the Lord, and that they of Elam will cry a lamentation at the fall of Egypt, and how the Lord has brought Pharaoh and his multitudes to be slain with the sword.  We turn to Ezekiel 38: 5 and read of the confederacy of Gog and Magog (of whom the first mention in Scripture is in Genesis 10: 13, and the last mention in Revelation 20: 8) and that Persia will be with them.  We see the coming of Gog against the children of Israel (verse 18), but the chapter closes with the words of verse 23, which assure us the Lord will have the victory over His, and His people’s, enemies.



Turn to Jeremiah 25: 25.  As it so often happens in prophecy that there are two different time spans, so it is in this chapter.  There is reference to the seventy-year captivity, but verse 15 speaks of the time when the Lord shall go forth and pour out the cup of His fury upon nations.  This refers to the Day of the LORD, which is yet future, when Christ shall come a second time in power and glory.  The controversy of the Lord with the nations is found in verses 31-33.  The kings of Elam are mentioned in verse 25 in this list of nations.  He will plead with all flesh and give them that are wicked to the sword (verse 31 ).



Another prophecy spoken by Jeremiah tells us what will happen to this nation in that great and terrible day.  Elam (Iran) is mentioned in chapter 49: 35-39.  This chapter speaks of judgment on various nations - Ammon, Edom, Damascus, Kedar and Hazor, and yet there are two that have a message of restoration, and Elam is one, for we read that although the Lord will break their bow, cause them dismay, and bring evil upon them, He will bring back the captives of Elam.



When we return to the vision of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2, we recall that the great image depicts the times of the Gentiles.  We read of the stone cut out without hands, which destroyed the image and became a mountain that covered the whole earth.  This, verse 44 tells us, is the kingdom that the God of heaven will set up that will never be destroyed.  So it will be, as with that first mention of Elam in the Bible, when the kings gathered and fought against Abram; and that ushered in the appearance of the King of Righteousness and Peace; so too, the gathering of the confederacy of nations (of which Persia will be a part) against the Jewish people at the end of this age will bring in the appearance of the King of kings.  Christ Jesus will appear the second time in power and great glory and subdue all nations.



Many might think Iran has a very bleak future; but we have millennial promises assuring us that when Christ shall reign, the truth of Isaiah 2: 2 will truly be seen upon this earth, It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.’  We read in verse 11 of the lofty and haughty men being bowed down; and also that the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.’



The prophet Zechariah speaks of the same time, Strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem(see 8: 20-23).  What a blessed time this will be ‑ the Elamite, the Mede, the Persian, the Iranian coming to Jerusalem to worship the LORD of hosts in His temple; not Allah in the Dome of the Rock, but the Rock of Ages, the Everlasting Refuge.



Psalm 72:11 reminds us that all kings shall fall down before Him: all nations shall serve Him;’ and verse 3 of this psalm links those two words, righteousness and peace.’



What a great God we have, what a glorious gospel this is!  The world is full of sin, utterings against the Lord and against His Anointed.  The words of the president of Iran reveal his hatred for Israel, which is really hatred for the God of Israel.  Paul tells us that we too have this spirit of rebellion and hatred within us, and but for grace, which is the gift of God, we would have that same enmity against God and His people.  God, in mercy calls His people, who serve and worship Him.  He sent His Son to die for such. Jesus came to this earth in humility the first time.  He is coming again in power and great glory to rule and to reign.  This is the believer’s glorious hope.  It will be then that all will acknowledge Him as the King of kings.  This is God’s ultimate purpose for Iran.



We have thought of some very solemn things that are yet to happen ‑ nations destroyed, God's enemies put to the sword, souls cast into eternal damnation. May we think upon these things seriously, and come to know God as a God of mercy and not a God of judgment; and to be those that, in this the day of grace, fall down before Him and serve Him, for He alone is worthy.



How this ought to stir us to prayer for those in Iran who know the Lord, that they will witness for good in that spiritually dark land, that they may serve Him and bring glory to His name; to pray also for those who work in other lands to seek to bring the living Word of an Almighty God to those people.  He was able at Pentecost to save those from this land, and even now He can turn the hearts of people to seek after Him.





Believe God’s Prophets




Benjamin Wills Newton



(The following is taken from Mr Newton’s preface to the third edition of his book, ‘Babylon and Egypt,’ published in 1890.  We desire that true believers would solemnly consider the teaching of Mr Newton with regard to Prophetic Truth, not because it is his teaching, but because we sincerely believe it is the Truth taught in God’s Holy Word).



We may be very sure that the careless and erroneous way in which Christendom has interpreted Prophetic Scripture, has greatly tended to increase the Infidelity that now prevails so widely.



In 2 Chronicles 20: 20, we read of Jehoshaphat saying: Hear me, 0 Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper.’  These words of Jehoshaphat I implicitly receive.  I believe that God IS: and I trust in Him.  I believe that He would not deceive me.  I believe He would not place me in a world like this, full of sorrow and danger, and evil, without sending to me light adequate to direct my steps.  It is impossible to suppose that a good and gracious God should create responsible creatures, and give them no instruction as to their responsibilities.



Accordingly, I find that there has been sent into the world a Book that claims to come with the authority of God.  Its claim is founded on evidence, partly external, partly internal.  Amongst men, there are no accepted writings of their fellow-men that have for their genuineness and authenticity, external evidence so strong as that on which the Scripture rests: but the external evidence is as nothing compared with the internal.  No one, however, who is not brought, either by the consideration of the external evidence of the Scripture, or by other means, to receive the Bible as the Word of God, and to search it in His fear, will ever apprehend the demonstrative character of the evidence which the Scripture itself supplies of its Divine origin.



The woman of Samaria, when the Lord Jesus spoke to her conscience, and disclosed the facts of her personal history, instantly acknowledged His mission, and said to others, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?’  So likewise, the written Word of God proves itself to be discernitive of the thoughts and intents of the heart,’ and those who become conscious of its power of doing this, ask for no further evidence of its being Divine.  The like, too, may be said of the light that it sheds on human history, past, present, and to come.  When any one has used Prophetic Scripture and realised the accuracy of its past fulfilments, and discerned the present signs indicative of the approach of those predicted events which yet remain to he accomplished, he will no more doubt that the Scripture illumines, than that the sun shines.



Moreover, God by His Spirit, Who dwells in the hearts of His people, ratifies and maintains the knowledge that He gives.  The figments of the sceptic or the scoffer no more affect such an one than the drifting flakes of a snowstorm affect a castle’s wall.  They who consorted with the Lord Jesus, received hourly evidence of His being what He was: but it was evidence about which strangers in the distance knew nothing.



Yet the carelessness of the human heart and its innate antipathy to Truth, may be fearfully worked on by sin and by Satan, and cause evidences, that God has mercifully afforded to momentous facts, to be thrust aside or buried.  A remarkable example of this is afforded in the history of the rejection of the Lord Jesus.  No fact was more notorious than that of His birth at Bethlehem.  The chief priests and scribes when asked by Herod, instantly replied that Bethlehem was the appointed place of His nativity; and from the events that subsequently occurred in Bethlehem, thousands in Israel must have known the connexion that Joseph and Mary and the Lord Jesus had with that city.  Little enquiry was needed to ascertain the lineage and birth-place of the Lord Jesus.  The National register of Israel declared that the Lord Jesus was of the family of David, and belonged to Bethlehem.  Yet the rulers of Israel silenced Nicodemus by saying, Out of Galilee ariseth no prophet,’ assuming that because Jesus lived in Galilee, He belonged to Galilee.  When carelessness desires not to know, it can soon find excuses for not knowing.



Can we say that we have not showed like carelessness?  Infidels have declared that the Lord Jesus was a deceiver, for that He said that He would appear in glory IMMEDIATELY after the destruction of Jerusalem, but that He did not.  What has been our reply?  We have virtually said that immediately does not mean immediately; or else, that the unequalled season of tribulation (immediately after which He will come) is past; that the sun and moon have been darkened; the stars have fallen from heaven; that the angels have been sent forth and gathered together the elect from one end of heaven to the other, and we have thus increased mistrust of Scripture in others, without satisfying our own consciences.



Our error in stating the unequalled season of tribulation to be past, is the result of unpardonable carelessness; for the words used by our Lord respecting it are virtually quoted from Daniel 12: 1 - a verse demonstrated by its context to be unfulfilled.  It is no little sin thus to nullify the solemn prophecy of our Lord in Matthew 24, and to feed Infidelity by our folly.  Yet this we have done, and this, not only in the case of Matthew 24, but generally throughout all the Prophetic Scripture.  A large mass of the Prophetic Writings refer to Jerusalem, Babylon, Nineveh, Egypt, Edom, Moab, and other countries.  The predictions respecting their now near future are awfully solemn, and should ever be present to the remembrance of those who fear God.  Such knowledge is an essential part of that Truth which ‘sanctifieth.’  Sanctify them through (by) Thy truth, Thy word is truth.’  But we have not used this portion of God’s Word.  We have almost universally regarded it as a tale of the past: and have treated the unfulfilled portions of Daniel, and the Old Testament Prophets, as we have Matthew 24.  As a consequence we have thrown Scripture open to the assaults of the Infidel.



In Isaiah we read, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.’  That is false, says Infidelity.  Damascus, from the days of Abraham until now, has ever been a city: and is at this present moment advancing in prosperity.  It has never been ‘a ruinous heap.’  What is our answer to this?  Have we any?



Of the Land of Edom it is said, ‘And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch.  It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever; from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever’ (Isaiah 34: 9, 10).  This too, says Scepticism, is false.  Edom has ever been visited and traversed, and is so still.  What is our reply?  Of Egypt, Nineveh, and Babylonia, like things may be said.



The fact is that we have been in the habit of saying things that are not true respecting all these places; and thereby we have greatly strengthened the enemies of Scripture.  Infidelity cannot be silenced by falsehood: but it may bow, under God’s blessing, to the voice of Truth.  Several instances of this have come within my own knowledge.



To every argument, urged by Scripture respecting these things, the one same answer is to be given.  The predictions that are referred to have not been fulfilled.  Foreshadowing fulfilments there may have been, but foreshadowment is not fulfilment.  The period of their accomplishment is not only marked as future, but it is declared to be at the time when God shall forgive Israel, His nation; restore them to His favour; place them under the shelter of the Blood of Jesus, and make them a blessing to the whole earth.  The judgments spoken of will be inflicted in the Day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversies of Zion.’



Thus saith thy Lord the LORD, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of His people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury, thou shalt no more drink it again: but I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over (Isaiah 51: 22-23).  Then Damascus shall be taken away from being a city: then Edom will meet its doom.



Nor must we hide from ourselves the sinfulness of explaining away the force of the descriptions of Scripture under the pretext that the language is poetic, exaggerated, and virtually untrue.  If we say that the predictions of Psalm 18, or the closing verses of Revelation 6, or Isaiah 13: 9-11, or Joel 3: 9-10, etc. have been fulfilled in any past events in the history of Earth, we open wide the door to the reckless impiety of Neologianism, and the dishonesty of ‘Non-naturalism,’ in all its forms.



Satan, no doubt, desires that we should hide from ourselves, and from others, all that Scripture has revealed respecting both the glories, and the terrors, and the judgments of the great Day of visitation.  Shall we voluntarily enter his snares?  Shall we deliberately nullify that which God has said respecting the great Day of the Coming of our God and Saviour?  Figurative language, and symbolic visions, can convey to us the knowledge of literal facts, quite as well as simple language.



They who may kindly condescend to consider this matter will, I think, admit that, if those statements be true, the teaching of Christendom since the apostles died, has been on these subjects fearfully false; and that a rectification of doctrine is urgently required.  Such a rectification would, no doubt, involve a vast change in our present habits of thought and action.  If, on the other hand, these statements be false, they cannot be too strongly denounced, or too strenuously resisted.  These are subjects that do not admit of compromise, or qualification.



My earnest desire is that not one self-conceived thought of my own should have any influence.  I desire that all who fear God should be brought nearer to God and to His ways, and be truly enabled to say, By the Word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the Destroyer.’  The bright blaze of the light of concentrated Anti-Christianism will soon be seen in avowed contrast with the light sent forth by God, through His prophets and apostles, to guide unto His holy hill and to His Tabernacles.  Which shall we follow?  The one leads surely to the Pit; the other to Christ, and to His glory.