DAYS OF VENGEANCE
“FOR THOSE WHO
TRUST . . .OR FOR WHO NEED TO TRUST.”
Mr G. H. Lang was
unquestionably one of the most gifted Bible teachers of his time.
It has been recorded that: “His
views on prophecy and the hereafter did not win universal acceptance.”
was a man who trusted
the Lord, ‘taught
what he really believed, and lived by what he taught regardless of the
author of numerous books and booklets, he was known to have said : “No
man should write a book until he is
40. He needs to prove his theories
in practice before publishing!” -
(See ‘Writings of Others’
on the website’s home page.)
has thus far prevented: “The Days of Vengeance” from being published, and in view of
this fact I feel the appropriate time has now arrived to place it on ‘the
and Waiting’ - (October/December 2003 issue) - and under the heading:
Things Which Shall Be Hereafter”, * are the following words by Septimus
Sears which I believe are most appropriate and applicable for our present
desire to be amongst those faithful and wise servants . . . to give them
meat in due season, and thus get the blessing of ‘that servant whom his Lord,
when He cometh, shall find so doing.’ And
I feel that this is a ‘due season’ when this particular portion of
meat should be given to the people of God.
There seems to be a general spirit of inquiry raised about the future,
and this has led to many such fanciful and contradictory interpretations and
speculations upon this subject, that some have been ready to turn from it
altogether with disgust. Now, I
feel, it is time to bring forward ‘the law and the testimony’ upon this
subject, and, by gathering together kindred portions of prophetic Scripture’,
to echo God’s voice in His Word to the people of God.”
Days of Vengeance’ should encourage and stimulate believers to a holy and
obedient life, and consequently to “attain
to that world [age]” - i.e.,
the millennium - “
and the [out] resurrection [out] from the dead,” - i.e. “the first
resurrection,” a 1,000 years before the resurrection of “the rest of the
dead”, (Rev. 20: 5,6). (See
literal Greek and compare the following texts :- Phil. 3: 10,11; Luke 20: 35;
Col. 3: 24; cf. Gal. 5: 21; Heb. 11: 35b. etc.).
teaches that Hades will hold souls of some
of the saved in the underworld as well as the souls of all
to the Lord’s Anointed,
David’s greater Son,
for each helpless sinner
life has won.
bitter was the battle
greater still the shame,
make us His forever
we with Him MIGHT reign.
He is our Rabboni,
Saviour, Lord, and King,
we should by His Spirit
praises ever sing.
eager for His coming
working for that Day,
sleep should overtake us
rise in bright array.
let’s be up and doing
never idle stand,
If we would give Him pleasure:
Day is near at hand.
- C. S. KINGSTON.
*To open “The Things Which Shall Be Hereafter”: click here.
But when ye see
Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that her desolation is at hand. Then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains ;
and let them that are in the midst of her depart out ; and let not them that are
in the country enter therein. For
these are days of vengeance,
that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
Woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those
days ! for there shall be great distress upon the land, and wrath unto this
people. And they shall fall by the
edge of the sword, and shall be led captive into all the nations : and Jerusalem
shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be
fulfilled. And there shall be signs
in sun and moon and stars ; and upon the earth distress of nations, in
perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the billows ; men fainting for fear,
and for expectation of the things which are coming on the world : for the powers
of the heavens shall be shaken. And
then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power
and great glory. But when
things begin to come to pass, look up, and
lift up your heads ; because your redemption draweth nigh.
21: 20-28. R.V.
There is the highest possible
authority for deeming Holy Scripture to have been written by God and therefore
with the utmost exactness is to its very word and expression.
For the very Son of God said of the Old Testament (the law and the
prophets) that “It is easier for heaven and earth to
pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail”, and that “till
heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away
from the law, till all things be accomplished” (Luke
16: 17 ; Matt. 5: 17, 18). The
Lord was accustomed to lay full stress upon minute details of texts, as upon the
present tense of a verb, resting His whole argument hereon : “I
AM the God of Abraham”
(Matt. 22: 32). His own words
also He attributed to the Father (John 7: 16 ; 8: 28
; 12: 49 ; 14: 10).
Thus there is no looseness of
speech. The meaning might be
expressed in figurative language, or even pictorially, as by vision.
We have lived years enough in daily contact with orientals in their own
lands to appreciate fully this prominent feature in an oriental book, which the
Bible is as to its human side. But
the figures, pictures, symbols, being used with divine skill, express the
meaning with exactness, not in vague generalities easily to be taken in various
Therefore it is not permissible
to interpret Scripture in any vague, indefinite manner, as if, either by design
or carelessness, it were written ambiguously.
He who believes that God is the author must believe that His Book
partakes in the perfectness of all God does, and that His words will mean
precisely what they say. Most
obviously must this be so when neither parable nor picture nor figure is
employed, but the statement is in plain, direct language.
This last feature rules the
message now in view (Luke 21: 5-36).
There is a single proverbial sentence : “not a
hair of your head shall perish” (18),
and one statement declared to be a parable : “Behold
the fig tree” (29, 30) : otherwise
all is literal. Wars, earthquakes,
famines, pestilences ; synagogues, prisons, kings, governors, persecutions ;
parents, brethren, kinsfolk, friends ; Jews and Gentiles ; Judea, Jerusalem ;
mountains and countryside, the sea and its billows ; the Son of man and His
coming with the clouds ; the powers of heaven and signs in the heaven - what is
there in all this that is not plain and literal. Actual disturbances in nature have before been signs that God
was acting in wrath, why should they not be so again?
When therefore the Lord speaks
of days of vengeance, and the features that will mark them, we are bound to
believe that His words were weighted, were indeed the words of His Father, used
in precision, and the more so that the events detailed were to be uniquely
terrible, unexampled indeed in the history of the human race and never again to
be equaled. Shall a righteous
judge, passing sentence of death upon many malefactors, speak otherwise than
with solemn strickness of language? Or
shall a noble leader of a mighty enterprise not speak plainly to his trusted and
loved followers of the dangers they must face for him, and the golden issues of
We preface this study thus
because prophetic scriptures are
sometimes treated in a loose, vague way that admits of them being made to teach
what strictly they do not say, and by consequence much which they do say is
ignored or misapplied. For
ourselves we wish to take each statement, and each word of each statement, as
having some distinct, particular meaning. We
know that through our human fallibility we may miss or mistake that meaning; but
we are not content to take some mere general notions of God’s words and then
to seek some equally general correspondence herewith in history or in a
suggested application to the future. We
conceive the natural result of such treatment of the Word to be necessarily a
confusing of the subject and a misleading of the reader.
Our belief in the verbal inspiration of Holy Scripture forbids
indefiniteness of sense and demands preciseness of interpretation.
It has been almost universally
(we suppose) considered that the Lord’s words concerning the “days
of vengeance”, began to be fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem by
Titus, A.D. 70, have been in process of fulfilment ever since by the holding of
that city and land by Gentiles, and will reach an ultimate fulfilment, properly
so called, at the coming of the Lord. Our
present enquiry is as to whether A.D. 70 was at all in view in this statement,
and if not, to what period does it point?
There are certain particulars
mentioned by Christ which did come to pass at that time, which fact has been the
basis of the application of the passage to that event; but the details in view
have been common to the sieges of all cities, and are not the distinctive
features of this prophecy. It is
ever the latter features which must decide the application of a prophecy, and
here they are against an application to A.D. 70.
That overthrow was most truly a
“day of vengeance” upon impenitent Israel; it
was certainly a time of “great distress and wrath”
upon them; they “fell by the edge of the sword”
to such terrible extent that Josephus says the Roman soldiers became weary of
slaughtering them; they were led captive into many provinces of the Roman world;
and Jerusalem was verily “trodden down of the Gentiles”.
all this by no means exhausts the passage, and the features that remain
are the most distinctive and never yet have been fulfilled.
They are these.
1. In the days in question all
things that have been written (that is, in the Old Testament) concerning
Jerusalem will be accomplished. 2.
The treading down in question having once commenced is to continue right
on until the times of the Gentiles conclude. 3. Certain events were
specified as to lead up to those days which have not yet happened. 4.
Certain events were to accompany those days which have not done so as
Other events were to follow immediately which have not hitherto come to
these assertions are justified it is clear that the days of vengeance in view
are yet in the future.
statement of the Lord that has to be matched by the events is that “all things
that are written” will be accomplished.
It was not a question of the fulfilment of such things as He himself may
have spoken concerning the people and city of his own time.
He announced that the pent up wrath due to generations would be vented
upon that generation, because they had endorsed, and, by killing Himself, had
brought to a climax, the wickedness of their fathers.
He said that the house of God then standing was to be abandoned (Matt.
23: 34-38), and that not one stone of it would be left upon another.
But all this was not what was in
question in His words in Luke 21: 22.
It was things that were written of which He spoke;
and not some, but all
things that were written. Where
in the Old Testament is even one thing that unquestionably applies to A.D. 70?
The phrase in Daniel
9: 26, “the people of the prince that shall
come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” is taken by many to mean
the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. Others
question this, and it is at least a doubtful application.
Apart from this we do not know of a single statement of the Old Testament
that pointed distinctly to that particular judgment.
Yet the expression “all things that are written”
seems to imply a certain amplitude of predictions as to the days in question.
No such richness of reference to A.D. 70 is to be found, whereas passages many and full treat of a final destruction immediately
preceding the restoration of Jerusalem at the coming of its King, the Messiah.
It will be well to show by
definite examples that there are
predictions as to judgment on Jerusalem that certainly, even in this day, remain
to be fulfilled, and which therefore were not fulfilled in A. D. 70.
In view of the foreseen faithlessness of Israel God gave to Moses a song
to teach to the people which He undertook they never should forget, and in
particular it was designed to teach them concerning the “latter
days” or “the end of days” (Darby,
Deut. 31: 21, 29).
The issue of the judgments
denounced was to be that the power of Israel would be completely broken (36).
This has not been fulfilled, for though they have lost national power as
far back as 600 B.C., yet they have often exercised immense financial power over
international affairs, and still do. This
therefore did not refer to A.D. 70. But
in the time of Antichrist their new power will be utterly broken,
until only a very small remnant will be left in the land and city, and they in
helplessness before their foes (Isa. 1: 9 ; Joel 2:
It is here said also that when
the time in view should come “Jehovah will repent
Himself concerning (or, in favour of) His people” (36);
but the history of almost nineteen subsequent centuries of general desolation of
the land and dispersion of its peoples tells that this change of attitude in
their God did not take place in A.D. 70.
Further, the final issue of the
judgments foretold will be that vengeance will be rendered to the adversaries of
God, as a divine avenging of the blood of His servants, and that this vengeance
will “make expiation for His land, for His people”
is explained by Numbers 35: 32, 33: “blood,
it polluteth the land; and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood
that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it”.
Hence, the expiation for the land
here in view was not made by the blood of Christ shed on the cross: it refers to
the blood of those who will yet shed in Palestine the blood of God’s servants.
And accordingly, of one of the last of the plagues which it is expressly
said will “complete the wrath of God”
(Rev. 15: 1) we hear the angel of the waters saying, when the rivers and
fountains are turned to blood: “They poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and blood hast thou given them to
drink: they are worthy” (Rev. 16: 4-7).
judgment” will atone for the land defiled by the violence done in it
and will lead directly to the restoration of Israel, which in turn will be the
occasion for the spread of the Gentile nations to submit to Israel’s God, even
as Moses said in the song: “Rejoice, O ye nations,
with His people” (43).
A foretaste of this is indeed seen already by individual Gentiles
rejoicing with individual Jews as they alike come to faith in Christ through the
gospel; but this by no means exhausts the four scriptures that Paul cites in Romans
15: 8-13, each of which, by its context, requires
the days of Messiah in visible glory for its fulfilment (Psa.
18: 49 ; Deut. 32: 43 ; Psa. 117: 1 ; Isa. 11: 10).
Paul himself shows that the proper fulfilment of these passages he cites
lay in the future, for he calls it a “hope”,
that is, something not yet present.
It is obvious that A.D. 70
wrought no expiation, brought no restoration, and ushered in no holy union
between Israel and the Gentile peoples.
This psalm was written in the days of David or Solomon, for it was at
that time that its writer, Asaph, led the priests of God.
It describes (1) a wide and deliberate confederacy, under covenant, of
nations named, (2) having for its goal nothing less than that Israel shall cease
to be a nation, and cease even to be remembered.
(3) The peoples covenanting
are Edom, Ishmael, Moab, the Hagarenes, Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia, Tyre,
with Assyria in the background lending support to the confederacy.
The history of the Assyrian empire whether in the Bible or secular,
yields no information of that empire supporting a union of the nations named.
Nor does history offer an instance of all the peoples mentioned being
confederate for this or any other purpose.
It is true that when the Chaldeans destroyed Jerusalem some of these
surrounding peoples rejoiced, and shared in the aftermath of plunder (Jer.
25); but that did not fulfil this psalm.
For (1) no definite covenant between them is mentioned: they merely
rejoiced separately in what the king of Babylon was doing altogether apart from any initiative or scheme of their own; (2) several of
the peoples named are not shown as connected with that destruction.
(3) Most particularly
Assyria did not support them at that time, for it had already ceased to be a
power, having been broken to pieces by Babylon.
It is equally certain that no
such covenant and confederacy had any place in A.D. 70.
One issue desired from the
judgments invoked against these nations is “that thy
may seek thy name, O Jehovah . . . and know that thou alone, whose name is
Jehovah, art the Most High over all the earth” (16:
fulfilment of this has been seen as yet.
It follows that this prophetic
psalm awaits accomplishment. It
affords sure information as to some developments in connection with Israel in
the land in the last days. The
surrounding countries will be re-peopled as in the days of old, as everywhere
contemplated in the prophets (Jer. 48: 47 ; 49: 6,
39 ; Dan. 11: 41: etc), which will be a natural consequence of factors
already at work, such as the gradual ousting of Arab races from Palestine proper
by Jewish acquisition of the soil, and by the coming extension of railways
through the Transjordanian regions, creating intercourse to and from Mesopotamia
and the Mediterranean countries. The
ancient bitter hostility of those races against the Jew will have continued and
intensified. They will league
against Israel; which in its turn suggests that no great power from the west
will at that time be holding the balance between the peoples of those parts and
be protecting the Jew. And the then
sovereign of Assyria (we judge Antichrist) will support their schemes for
reasons of his own.
In verse 9 and onward of this leading
prophecy there is mentioned just such a conspiracy, a “taking
counsel together” against Israel, as has been just considered.
The prophecy leads on through various developments until it touches upon
the birth of Messiah, when it passes on at once to the reestablishment of the
kingdom of David in His hands (9: 6, 7).
It includes the breaking to pieces of all Israel’s oppressors as in the
day of Midian (9: 4).
Even thus had Asaph in the psalm cried : “Do
Thou unto them as unto Midian . . . make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb”
(Psa. 85: 9-12), referring to the overthrow
of Midian by Gideon (Judg. 7).
This is to be in connection with the multiplying of Israel as a nation,
the increasing of their joy, and their being freed from all oppression (Isa.
After glancing again at the
period of Israel’s obstinate rebellion against God (9:
8 - 10: 4) the prophet suddenly apostrophises a king of Assyria : “Ho, Assyria, the rod of My anger” (10:
5). In Psalm
83 the Assyrian looms behind the group of smaller nations joined against
Israel; here he stands out in the forefront as God’s rod to chasten His
Yet it is clear that no
Shalmaneser or Sennacherib of the past fulfilled this most vivid and striking
picture; for God having used the Assyrian to punish wicked Israel, shall then
punish him also for his own wickedness, and in the very day of that punishment (ver.
20) the remnant of Israel will at last be brought to stay themselves upon
Jehovah in truth. The period of
that remnant is expressly said to be that of the “determined
consummation” of judgments in all the earth
There is then detailed the march
of the Assyrian through the land until he is seen shaking his hand in fury
against mount Zion. At that point
Jehovah intervenes to cut him down, as a wood-man fells trees, and thereupon the
“Branch out of the roots of Jesse” rises to
power to judge the poor, to slay the wicked, to remove the curse from nature,
and “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of
Jehovah as the waters cover the sea” (10:
24 - 11: 9).
The prophet then sees the
Gentile nations seeking unto the Root of Jesse (11:
10). At that same time
Messiah gathers together the rest of Israel scattered in countries named and
from all parts of the earth. The
two formerly sundered sections of Israel are seen in amity at last, and are
shown as together attacking the more prominent of the very peoples that the
psalm mentions as leagued against them ; and then the whole grand drama of this
prophecy concludes with a glorious ascription of praise which “in
that day” Israel shall render unto Jehovah, whose anger is at last
turned away from them, Who comforts them, Who is become their salvation : “Cry
aloud and shout, thou inhabitress of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel
in the midst of thee (c. 12)
When Israel’s century-long
warfare shall have been at last thus accomplished, and her iniquity in
consequence have been pardoned when she shall have received of Jehovah’s hands
double for all her sins, then at once will go forth the word: “Comfort
ye, comfort ye, My people, saith your God:” then will one tell to Zion
the good tidings, Behold your God! (Isa. 40: 1, 2,
These passages from among many
may suffice for our purpose. It
requires neither proof nor discussion to show that these mighty events,
explicitly set in connection with the fulfilling of vengeance on Israel, did not
come in the year A.D. 70, but are still in the future, and that therefore when
the Lord spoke of days of vengeance when all things that are written shall be
fulfilled He was looking on to times yet to come.
(We are not unaware that some
godly persons consider that there is no future for Israel nationally.
We consider that they do no manner of justice to the plain meaning of
such prophecies as have been now considered.
They cannot face the straightforward sense of the statements made.
As against their view we deem that Paul points to a permanent distinction
in his words “the Jews, the Greeks, and the church of
God” (1 Cor. 10: 32).
While the last company includes such as were of both the former classes,
it no more does away with Israel than with the other nations.
It has its special and heavenly privileges in the coming kingdom, but
these in no way cancel the earthly blessings that will come to the other
companies according to the plain and natural sense of the Word of God.)
2. Our second consideration concerns the term “treading
down”. In itself this word
(pateo) could apply to the violent
destruction of a city, and so might be rightly applied to the treatment of
Jerusalem by Titus. But what is here stated by Christ is that the treading down
in view would continue until the times of the Gentiles run out.
This did not follow upon A.D. 70, and is not today the fact.
It is true that Jerusalem has ever since been held by Gentiles, as indeed
it had been nearly seven centuries before, and has been since by Roman, Saracen,
Turk, Crusader, and English. But a
peaceful occupation of a city does not fall within the term “treading
Of this word the New Testament
gives its own illustrations. In Revelation
14: 20 and 19: 15 it is used of the coming destruction of Antichrist and
his armies by Christ, which will be sudden, violent, final.
The Victor is said to “tread the
winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God”.
It is with violence that men crush the grapes in the press so as to force
out the life-juice in the shortest possible time.
Swiftness and violence are of the essence of this picture.
Hence the term used is not simply the “wrath”
of God, which is general and admits of wide degrees of intensity, but “the
fierceness of wrath”.
This strong feature the other
use of the word enforces. The Lord
have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions” (Luke
10: 19). As we ourselves
have witnessed, a man simply hurls himself upon a serpent with all conceivable
fury, and stamps it down with his heel with the utmost possible force and speed;
for the serpent itself moves and strikes so swiftly, and its poison is so
painful and deadly that a man’s whole nature seems excited on the instant to
In the nature of the case such
ruthless and ruinous efforts cannot be very protracted, for the object thus
crushed - grapes or snakes or cites - are shortly destroyed by such violence.
Thus the picture and the term cannot apply to the mere possession of a
city through nineteen slow centuries.
Titus indeed trod down Jerusalem
in the fullest sense possible, leaving only a few towers standing, but before
long his successor, the emperor Hadrian, rebuilt it.
It is impossible to say that a city is being trodden down at the very
time it is being built up and beautified. Nor
did Saracen or Turk tread it down. On
the contrary, to the Moslem it is one of his most holy places, because it was on
Mount Moriah, as he asserts, that Abraham offered up his son Ishmael, the father
of the Arab races. In point of
fact, the present wall of the old city was built by an early Saracen ruler, and
today on Moriah still stands one of Islam’s
most sacred mosques. Obviously
the British occupation is the exact reverse of a treading down, for the
extending and improving of the city is a chief care of its present rulers.
N.B. It is to be noted that this article was written before establishment of
the State of Israel in 1948. - Ed.]
The very sieges of the city
since that by Titus have not been for the purpose of destroying it, but for
owning it and occupying it as a holy place.
So far therefore is it from fact
that Jerusalem has been “trodden down” ever
since A.D. 70 that it is rather that it never has been “trodden
down” since then. But it
will be so treated at the end of the age. In
Revelation 11: 2 we read of the temple court
that “it was given [edothe]
unto the nations, and the holy city shall be tread under foot forty
and two months”. This is
the same word, and it is the only other place where it is found in the New
The change of tense in the verb
is significant. John is told that
the temple court was
given over to the nations, that is, at some preceding time not here specified.
This may look back as far as to when Nebuchadnezzar was given sovereignty
over the land. But the treading
down mentioned was to be an event future to the time when John saw the visions :
“the holy city they shall tread under foot forty and two months”.
Now the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus was already past by at least
twenty years, accepting, as there is good ground to do, the generally allowed
date of the Apocalypse as in the last decade of that century.
So that this treading down was yet to come, and is yet to come, for, as
we have seen, there has been no treading down of Jerusalem since A. D. 70.
But exactly such a destruction
of Jerusalem was distinctly foreseen and vividly pourtrayed by the prophets.
It was to occur directly before the coming of Messiah, and so at the far
end of this age.
mentioned quite fairly admits of this application. At a certain point Messiah was to be cut off and was to have
nothing. Here there comes in the
prophecy an unsurveyed break of some duration.
For even if the next clause, “the people of the
prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary,”
refers to A.D. 70 there was an interval of forty years. Now if the interval might
be forty years, it might equally well be 400 years or any longer period.
Also the supposition that the
Romans were the people here in view involves the further and more than doubtful
supposition that Antichrist, “the prince that shall
come”, will be the head of the Roman world, whereas in Scripture he is
“the Assyrian”, the “king
of the north”, that is, Assyria, or “the king
of Shishak”, that is, Babylon. The
fourth empire of prophecy is never in Scripture named Roman.
It is therefore at least
admissible to refer the words wholly to Antichrist, and this will connect
naturally with the next clause, “his end shall be in
the flood, and even unto the end shall be war, the desolations determined”
for here the Beast is the person in view. This
leads on to the announcing of his covenant with the more part of Israel for
seven years, his violating it in the middle of that term, his profaning and
desolating of the sanctuary for the remaining three and a half years, that is,
for the period of the treading down of the holy city declared to John, as above
observed, all reaching on to the “determined
consumation” when he, the last desolator of Israel, shall be destroyed,
and the time of Gentile world sovereignty end.
Thus understood the passage
answers exactly to the words of Christ we are examining, which are indeed a
This final treading down of
Jerusalem was described by the prophet Zechariah,
later than the visions of Daniel.
His chapters 12, 13, 14 are occupied
with the times of the end and the restoration of Israel.
declares that Jerusalem will be as a burdensome stone to all the peoples,
wounding the shoulder of all who seek to bear it.
There shall be an universal gathering of nations against it (2,
3). But Jehovah shall
intervene to save, making His people strong against their foes
(4-9). They shall be granted
a spirit of supplication unto God (10-14; cf. Joel 2: 15-17 ; etc), and shall look unto Him whom
they pierced, and shall mourn, and shall discover that at Calvary of old their
Shepherd was smitten by God for them (13: 7).
But before they can be brought
to this humbled state they must be diminished in numbers till only a third of
them in the land are left, and that third, that very small remnant of Isaiah
1: 9, must go through a fierce refining fire, and, when thereby purged as
gold, at last they will be again acknowledged by Jehovah as His people (13:
That all this is at the end days
is clear from ch. 14: 1-4, for it is placed
in “the day of the Lord”.
Moreover, whereas it was only the Romans that destroyed Jerusalem in A.D.
70, the attack here in view will be made by a gathering of “all
nations,” that is, by the united forces of all the kingdoms subject to
the Beast, as is shown in Revelation 16: 12-16
and 19: 19.
In that day “the city shall be taken, and the
houses rifled, and the women ravished : and half of the city shall go forth into
captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city”
(Zech. 14: 1, 2).
And the day in question includes
final events which never yet have taken place, even that Jehovah shall go forth
in person and fight against those nations, and “His
feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem
on the east”. And the
issue of those purifying judgments shall be that the whole life of the people
shall become sanctified, for all common things shall be sacred, “Holy
unto Jehovah” (14: 20, 21).
It is therefore clear that there
yet remains that treading down of Jerusalem shewn in Revelation
11: 2, and which will correspond exactly to the treading down foretold by
Christ, for it will continue until it is ended suddenly by the descent of Christ
to Jerusalem and the destruction of the Beast, which will close the times of the
Gentiles, and bring the promised restoration of earthly sovereignty to the house
of David in the person of David’s greater Son.
Other pictures of this same
invasion of the holy land, and its final deliverance are found, as in Isa.
63: 1-6 ; Joel, Habakkuk, and Zephania.
Since such extreme violence is
in the case the student may enquire why the more intensive form katapateo was not used, instead of pateo. If the
Septuagint is examined it will be seen that two centuries before the New
Testament these words, and also sumpateo,
had already become practically interchangeable.
Thus pateo is used of treading
grapes in Judg. 9: 27; Lam. 1: 15; Isa. 16: 10; Jer.
48: 33; while in Isa. 63: 2 pateo
is first used and in the next sentence katapateo.
In 2 Kings 14: 9 sumpateo
is used of a wild beast trampling down a thistle, whereas in the parallel
passage (2 Chron. 25: 18) it is katapateo.
Of the crushing of eggs (Job
39: 15) and of trampling down a vineyard (Isa.
5: 5) we find katapateo, but of
the trampling down of straw by oxen in their byre, as a picture of the
destruction of a country by war, pateo
is used, and is equivalent to, beside * katapateo
in Isa. 25: 10.
In Zech. 10: 5 of warriors trampling
down enemies in the mire of the streets it is pateo
; of horse-men doing the same katapateo
is found in Ezek. 26: 11, and in Micah
7: 10 it is katapateo.
In Exek. 34: 19 the trampling of
pasture has pateo, but in Isa.
7: 25 of the same scene katapateo
i.e., ‘alongside’ - Ed.]
Most often katapateo
describes the treading down of persons, cities, or nations, but in Isa.
26: 6 pateo is found, and in Dan.
8: 13 sumpateo. In 2 Kings 7: 17 this last
word pictures a surging crowd trampling a man to death, and it is used in 9:
33, of Jehu driving his chariot over Jezebel.
In four of the five places where
katapateo is found in the New
Testament (Matt. 5: 13; 7: 6; Luke 8: 5; 12: 1)
there is no suggestion of fury or destruction, and the prefix seems only to
indicate position or direction, trampling under
In the remaining place (Hab. 10: 29)
it seems that contempt is the thought implied.
It appears from the usage that in the New Testament pateo
is used as the stronger word, all its five places distinctly importing great
violence and intention to destroy.
3. The Lord specified certain mighty events which are to lead on
to the days of vengeance, which events certainly did not happen prior to the
destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, nor have yet found fulfilment.
These were (a) vast
international wars: “nation shall rise up against
nation, and kingdom against kingdom”; (b) great earthquakes; (c)
famines and pestilences (Luke 21: 10).
These things were described as “the beginning
of travail” (Matt. 24: 8; Mark 13: 8).
This last figure precludes an application of the predictions to events
like these such as might occur at times throughout the centuries, and fixes the
application to the very end of the age, for though the woman carries the child
for a lengthy period, and may (or may not) ensure various sufferings during the
same, yet travail is but the short and sharp agony that marks the very end only
of that period. This same figure of birth pangs equally forbids the idea that
the woman in travail of Rev. 12: 2 referred
to Israel at the time Christ was born. That
symbol was of things future to John’s time (Rev.
4: 1), and also carries the mind to the closing days of this age.
Christ had just before said that
wars and tumults would mark this whole age, and yet would not show that the end
was at hand, for he said positively, “the end is not
immediately” (Luke 21: 9 ; Matt. 24: 6 ;
Mark 13: 7), that is, was not to follow quickly after the time when He
was speaking. That each evangelist
records this remark long after it was uttered suggests how they understood it
and thought it needful to repeat it to all Christians.
But A.D. 70 did follow comparatively soon thereafter and therefore was
not connected with the “end,” as events have
Nor at that time were nations
and kingdoms entire hurling themselves against one another, for they all were
kept in bounds under the Roman overlordship.
It may be averred that this feature has never really been seen before the
late Great War, for prior thereto campaigns were usually affairs of
comparatively small armies rather than of whole states mobalised as to their
whole manhood, with the women and youth also working in the background.
Yet that even the late war did
not fall within the description given may be seen from the plain statement (Luke
21: 19) that “before
all these things” mentioned -
wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilences - there is to come a hatred of and
persecution of christians which is to be a universal (“Ye
shall be hated of all men”); (b) distinctly for Christ’s name sake;
(c ) so virulent that all family affection would be destroyed by its malign
intensity; and (d) which shall continue unto the end of the age: “he
that endureth unto the end, the same (this individual) shall
be saved” (Matt. 24: 15).
Now in this discourse “the end” is the
climax and close of this age (Matt. 24: 3, 6, 13,
14), not the finish of any former burst of persecution, or the end of the
trials or the life of an individual.
No persecution answering fully
to these details has yet come. It
is the famines, and pestilences
that will fulfil the prediction before us, not one or more of these occurring
now and again. Similarly, it is the
combination of the features given as to mark the persecution that must be found,
and hitherto no persecution has
been so world-wide as to warrant the term “all men”.
As to A.D. 70, which is in the reign of Vespasian, no such persecution
marked his rule as to answer to what the Lord here said.
The later Papal persecutions were not even avowedly for “Christ’s
name sake”, but rather, as the persecutions alleged, falsely or perhaps
sometimes sincerely, because they deemed heretics to be antichristian persons.
And certainly no persecution has continued unto the end of the age.
But such a persecution will
come. For before the Beast shall
reign supreme, the Harlot system of religion will ride in power and will make
herself drunk with the blood of the saints (Rev. 17:
6) ; and when the Beast shall have destroyed her (ver.
16, 17) then he in turn will “make war with
the saints and overcome them”
(Rev. 13: 7), and his destructive efforts
will end only with the end of the age and the appearing of their Lord to save
Thus events which have not yet
transpired are to lead up to the days of vengeance.
4. Certain events which are still to come are to accompany those
days. (1). One is that there shall be a concurrent preaching of the
gospel in the whole inhabited earth (Matt. 24: 14).
This term (oikoumenee) cannot here be restricted to the then Roman empire, for
Mark gives the meaning as “all the nations”
(13: 10). But when first the Harlot
and then the Beast instigate general and intense persecution, and Christians all
over the earth are being arraigned before magistrates of all grades, are called
before Jewish synagogues and Gentile courts, even before supreme rulers, “kings
and governors”, an obvious effect will be to bring their peculiar
tenets before men at large and the gospel will be made known to all nations for
a testimony unto them. That this is future is clear from the statement that, this
having been accomplished, “then shall the end come”.
In connection with the end period there is to be set up in the holy place
that “abomination of desolation” which was
spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Matt. 24: 15; Mark
13: 14). It is to be noted
that this was not to be as a result
of the overthrow of the city, for the Lord gives it as a sign for believers to
flee from Jerusalem and the country, and of necessity this flight would have to
be before the armies that shall desolate it should encircle it, for when they
had once invested the city flight would be out of the question.
Hence the word (Luke 21: 20), “When
ye shall see Jerusalem (not compassed with, but) being
encompassed with (kukloumenen.
. pres. Part.) armies, then know that her
desolation is at hand. Then let
them that are in Judea flee unto the mountains”: that is, the armies
are still at a distance, but are converging against the city.
Now no setting up of an
abomination (an image) in the holy place preceded the attack by Titus, or any
subsequent attack down to this time. This
therefore requires fulfilment in that half of the week when “the
prince that shall come” shall cause the worship of Jehovah to cease,
“and upon the wing of abominations shall come one that
maketh desolate even unto the consummation” (Dan.
9: 27), even he who shall deceive mankind into making an image of the
Beast, shall vivify it and make it to speak, and shall cause that as many as
will not worship it shall be put to death (Rev. 13:
14, 15). So Christ added of
that time that then shall be great tribulation, beyond anything ever known or
ever to be known (Matt. 24: 21).
Dreadful as the siege by Titus was, yet surely it were extravagant to say
that its horrors were worse than anything that had happened since the world
began, or since its time, and surely it were presumptuous to affirm that nothing
so terrible ever can happen again.
One specified feature of those days was that they were to be limited by
the direct act of God, or the race of man would perish, “no
flesh should be saved” (Matt. 24: 22).
In A.D. 70 there was no approach
to such general distress and destruction, nor was a limit put thereto such as
brought a change of world affairs. Nor
were God’s elect in such particular jeopardy as to require that for their sake
God should put a limit to that period. But
all this will be true in the days of the beast, as pictured in Rev.
13 and Daniel 11: 36 - 12: 1.
If it be asked why the dread
events of A.D. 70 were not foretold particularly, the answer may be given that
it was but one fearful stage in the long-drawn and dreadful progress of
Israel’s apostasy. The sad drama
of over three and a half milleniums of years had been sufficiently described
without all its separate events being particularized.
But its climax epoch, leading to general national repentance and
recovery, is fully disclosed, for it is the great goal to which world history
points and leads.
5. Lastly, certain events were to follow immediately upon those
days of vengeance.
Immediately after the tribulation included in those days of vengeance
there shall come the terrific disordering of the sidereal and angelic heavens
specified by Christ (Matt. 24: 29; Mark 13: 24, 25;
Luke 21: 25,26), and shown again under seal 6 of the Revelation
Next following these things is to be the visible coming of “the
Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory”, with the
events then to accompany, including the resurrection of the godly and the
gathering together of His elect (Dan. 12: 2; 1 Thess.
4.; 1 Cor. 15.; etc). This
is the “blessed hope” of Paul
(Tit. 2: 13) ; the “revelation of Jesus Christ”
of Peter (1 ep.
1: 13); the “manifestation” of John
(1 ep. 2: 28).
It includes also the restoration of Israel and the establishing of the
kingdom of God on earth. That all this is still future does not need even to be
That Christians in Judea in A.D.
70 acted (as is said) upon the counsel of Christ, and fled the country before
Titus surrounded Jerusalem, was a very proper use of the Lord’s words. All Scripture is for the guidance of all saints in all times.
But their action by no means proves that those were the days to which
actually Christ pointed. The use
Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 16)
made Joel’s prophecy of an outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh did not mean
that Pentecost completely fulfilled Joel’s words.
If it had done so then there could be nothing to hope for of general
blessing beyond what this age has brought.
The law forbade the muzzling of the ox when treading out the corn.
Paul applied this to the matter of the temporal support of preachers of
the gospel (1 Cor. 9: 9, 10) ; but this
application did not cancel the primary application to oxen.
The use believers made in prayer of psalm 2
as given in Acts 4: 24-28, by no means
exhausted that prophetic utterance. Neither
did that former use of the Lord’s words as to days of vengeance annul their
proper bearing upon events yet future.
Thus in A.D. 70 (1) all things
written concerning Jerusalem were not fulfilled.
(2) That treading down did
not continue till the end of Gentile world sovereignty.
(3) It was not preceded by
the specified events; nor (4) accompanied by other events detailed; nor (5) was
it followed by the consummating events foretold.
On the other hand, all of these
particulars are shown in Scripture as connected with a treading down yet to be
known at the oppression of Israel by Antichrist.
If anything at all can be
demonstrated by a strict consideration of God’s inspired Book surely it is
these two points.