THE GOLDEN DAY
By MARY ARDINE.
[("The authoress, who had learnt much at the feet of Mr. G. H. Pember in his garden at Budleigh, Saltertbn, asked him one day to put it all on paper just as he had told her. "I am sick and an old man, my dear," replied the veteran of prophecy; "do it yourself." The result follows. Mary Ardine is an assumed name."- D. M. Panton.) All added material in * [*magenta] is from D. M. Panton.]
The sunbeams lay across the little lawn, and crept in and out of the great elm tree where a bird was lazily twittering its evening song. The Master sat, resting tranquilly beside the open window, and smiled as the sunshine fell on the page of the book before him, turning the words to gold. He repeated softly to himself
0 Golden Day, that ends the weary night!
0 Golden Day, our hearts cry out for thee!
Come quickly, Lord, and bring Thy glory in!
The Invalid raised herself a little from her couch, and glanced across curiously at him. "Is it the old subject, Master," she said, "the Coming and the Kingdom?"
"Yes," he answered, smiling; "the sunbeams brought it to my mind again, though it is never very far away."
"How can you call the Coming of Christ a Golden Day?" she asked, a little petulantly. "The very thought of it fills me with terror - the earth to be burnt up, the Great White Throne, and the dead all standing to be judged: it is terrible, and I cannot bear to think of it."
He smiled kindly. "Things look grey to you, both here and hereafter, I know," he said: "I wish I could help you to see that His Coming will change all dark things to light for those who love Him. Think for a moment what it will be to you to be perfectly well and strong, to know neither ache nor pain, to be full of such fresh vigorous life and happiness as you have never dreamed of! But that is only one beam of the Golden Day, one of the joys that He will bring with Him; for He will fashion anew the body of our humiliation, 'that it may be conformed to the body of His glory: 'and we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him even as He is.' Have you ever tried to think out the meaning of those two words - 'like Him'?"
She drew a long breath; but then sank back again on her cushions, and answered wearily:- "I suppose you mean when I die; but that is all so vague, and death is so dreadful to contemplate and think about."
"We are never told to think about it or contemplate it in that way," he said earnestly. "If you will look through your New Testament, you will be surprised to see how seldom death is mentioned; but every page is bright with the blessed Hope of the Lord's Return. From the beginning to the end of the Epistles His Coming again is set before us as our one great hope and joy, that for which the Church as a whole, and her every individual member should look and wait. Is it not strange and sad that Christians should have so forgotten the hope of their calling, or have become so absorbed in vainly trying to make the world better, that they have ceased to look for the King Who Alone can bring peace and righteousness out of all the confusion and sin?"
"But," interrupted the Enquirer, laying down his book as he became interested in the conversation, "do you mean to say that you believe in a real personal and literal Coming of Christ to reign upon the earth?
Most certainly," replied the Master: "the promises are too plain to be mistaken. Was not His First Coming real, literal, and personal; and were not all the prophecies relating to it fulfilled to the letter? The prophecies concerning the Second Coming are equally clear and minute: since, then, we cannot help believing the literality of those that belong to the First, shall we decline to do the same in the case of the others, simply because they have not yet been fulfilled? Or why must the unfulfilled promises be spiritual, when we do not deny that the fulfilled are literal? "
The Enquirer was silent, and the Master continued:- "Nearly all the prophecies group themselves round the two most stupendous events in the history of the world, the First and the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The one group has been already fulfilled to the minutest detail, as you know: surely, then, it is but reasonable to conclude that the other must be fulfilled with equal exactness. There is nothing more plainly revealed in Scripture than this fact, that the Lord will come again to the earth, suddenly and unexpectedly, to take His Kingdom, and to reign over all the world in righteousness and in peace. But, if you are not looking for the Lord's personal return, may I ask what you are looking for?"
The Enquirer hesitated. "I do not know that I have ever really faced that question," he said at last ; "but I suppose I have a general idea that the world will gradually become better and better, until it is all Christianized, and the Millennium comes in, and, alter that, the Great Day of judgment."
"Yes," said the Master gravely; "I am afraid many people have that 'general idea,' and so the Blessed Hope grows dim and meaningless; for how can you watch and wait for that which you believe cannot come for thousands of years? I say for thousands of years, because it is a well-known fact that there are more heathen in the world to-day than there were in the time of the Apostles. And this is how men destroy the power of the Lord's own words, 'Watch, for ye know not the day nor the hour when the Son of Man cometh.' And as to the world gradually, growing better, we shall not find that hope in the Bible. The Apostle warns us, that, 'in the latter days, perilous times shall come; that 'evil men shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.' It has always been so: man has ever failed all down the ages; for the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.' "
"Then," said the Invalid gently, "will you tell us what you are looking for?"
The Master paused a moment, and then answered:- "I look, not for gradual improvement and growing righteousness on the earth; but for increasing lawlessness, and for the terrible judgments of God. But I also look and wait for the coming of The King at any moment, according to His promise, to call to Himself His faithful servants; for The Lord will descend, from His place at the right hand of The Father, into the air, and we shall be caught up to meet Him. This will be the first act in the mighty drama whereby He will show forth His great power and glory to all the world, and take His rightful place upon the earth, ruling over the nations as King of Righteousness and King of Peace. You remember the shout of triumph in the Revelation, 'The kingdom of this world is become the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever.' "
Oh, the Revelation"; exclaimed the Objector, "how can any one attempt to understand that book? It is all signs and symbols and riddles: I never try to read it."
"And yet," replied the Master, "it is the one book to the reading of which a special blessing is attached:- Blessed is lie that readeth, and they that hear, the words of the prophecy, and keep the things which are written therein.' Besides which, it is expressly addressed to 'His servants.' Do you think The Lord would have used such words of a message which He did not intend us to understand? If we would only read and accept it, according to His direction, as 'the things which must be done with speed,' and take it as a literal prophecy of the events of the last days of this dispensation, most of the difficulties would vanish."
"But surely there are symbols in the book," said the Enquirer.
"Undoubtedly," replied the Master, but they are either so plainly figures that we cannot mistake them, or, otherwise, they are distinctly described as such. As, for instance, in the fifth chapter, we cannot fail to see that the Lamb represents The Lord Jesus in His atoning and sacrificial character; for pages would not have explained what is intended so fully that simple and beautiful figure. So, too, in the twelfth chapter, where we find the 'Woman clothed with the sun,' we are not left in doubt, but are distinctly told that she is a sign 'or symbol.' And so many other passages."
The Invalids couch was drawn to the open window, and she lay thoughtfully gazing upon the fair scenes of the summer landscape, but ever and anon glancing sadly and tenderly at the bowed head of a companion beside her, who, weary of weeping, had flung herself on the floor at her friends feet, and buried her face in her hands. The silence was unbroken, save for the occasional far away shout from the tennis-lawn, or the laughter of the village children as they passed down the lane from school.
"Listen dear," said the Invalid at last, "I have been thinking so much of you; for the Master has been telling us wonderful things in these last few days, things that will comfort you."
"Comfort me!" cried the other bitterly: what can comfort me now that he is dead!"
"What if you were always expecting to meet Him again very soon? Ah! I cannot explain it properly," she added quickly, distressed at the sudden start and bewildered look of the girl. But with a sigh of relief she, just at that moment, heard the click of the garden gate, and saw the Master passing across the lawn. She called to him softly, and he stepped through the open French window, and sat down beside them.
"Tell us what you were saying last night, please, about waiting and watching for the Coming of the King."
"I have been trying to tell her, but have only blundered," she added sadly, glancing at the young head which had sunk down again to its old hopeless attitude.
"I was talking," he said gently, "of what a glorious blessed hope that is, and how it takes the sting out of all our sorrows and bereavements. We look for the Coming of the Lord at any moment; to-day or to-morrow: we do not know how soon. He has sent us the message, 'Behold, I come quickly,' and has bidden us watch, and wait, and work, as those who expect Him speedily, that we may be ready to meet Him with joy, and not be taken by surprise. And so, when our loved ones pass away, we know that the parting is only for a little while: we wait on this side the veil, they on the other. It may be a very short separation; for He is coming soon, and 'them that sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.' His appearing will be our glorious meeting, and the end of all pain and separation."
"Why do you think it will be soon?" asked the Invalid. "Nearly two thousand years have gone by since He went away."
"There are many students of prophecy, happily, in these days," replied the Master, and, though they differ widely in details in many of their interpretations, yet they are all agreed on this point, that the time of the end is very near."
I remember once many years ago," said the Invalid, "being very much frightened by a tract some one gave me, in which it was said that the world would come to an end in the next year, but nothing happened, and, after that, I thought no more of the subject."
"Yes," said the Master, "the fixing of dates has, been one of the enemy's great weapons for bringing discredit on the glorious hope. But The Lord has said, 'Of that day and that hour knowet no man;' and His word shall settle the matter for us, once and for all. But it is a very different thing to watch the signs of the times. That He has told us to do, giving us many signs whereby we way, know, that the time is at hand; and He has said, 'When ye see these things coming to pass, know that He is nigh, even at the doors.'"
"But," argued the Objector, who had entered the room unobserved, and caught the last sentence, "why should the Lord be nearer now than a thousand years ago? Things go on much the same as they have always done."
"That is just what, as the Apostle tells us, the mockers will say in the last days:- Where is the promise of His coming? for from the day that the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.' Do not take your place among them, my friend," said the Master gravely.
"But there are many well known signs which lead us to believe
that we are even now in the last days," he continued; "that at any moment the Lord may appear, the long centuries
of silence be over, and His awful voice be heard again in the world. Perhaps I may just mention two or three. There is the ever increasing lawlessness of
the present day in the world, and the worldliness and laxity of the churches;
these are patent facts to all who choose to see them, and are expressly stated
to be signs of the last days. Another
striking sign is the wonderful way in which the Gospel of Grace is being
preached in all parts of the world, as if the Lord were hastily completing the
number of those who are to be His at His coming; and, again, there is a remarkable movement among the Jews, who
are now actually returning to
"That is true," said the Enquirer; "but I never thought of connecting such things with prophecy."
"Perhaps not," replied the Master; "but, when once we are made aware of the true connection, it is marvellous to see how prophecy is being fulfilled before our eyes."
"Have you any other reason for thinking that the end is near? " asked the Invalid.
"What is the rapid spread of democracy in these last few years but a sign that we have reached the iron and clay period of Daniel's Great Image?* replied the Master. "There remains now nothing more to be done, save the formation, of the Ten Kingdoms, which, in the present unsettled state of Europe and Asia Minor, may be very rapidly accomplished; and then the Great Stone will soon fall and break in pieces all the kingdoms of the earth, and in their stead, as Daniel tells us, 'The God of Heaven shall set up a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.'
* Dan. 2.
"Besides, you are not, perhaps, aware of the enormous
increase of Spiritualism during the last twenty years, both in Europe and
*1 Tim. 4: 1.
"I have always considered Spiritualism to be mere trickery and imposture," said the Objector.
"No doubt there are charlatans and impostors, whose tricks are again and again exposed," replied the Master; "but beneath all this lies the real evil. No one who has examined the subject carefully can doubt that the intercourse between Spiritualists and demons is a reality beyond all question. With this is connected the worship of Satan, which is already an accepted fact, and grows naturally out of Spiritualism. All these things cannot fail to convince the thoughtful mind that we are indeed in the perilous times of the end.
3. THE RAPTURE.
The little company were gathered under the elm tree, and the cheerful clatter of tea cups mingled with the hum of voices. The warm sunshine had tempted even the Invalid out of doors, and she lay on her couch in the shade, enjoying the fragrance and beauty of a summer afternoon. By and by the merry chatter died away, and the Master drew out his Bible.
"You asked for a little talk this afternoon," he said: "was there any special point of which you wished to speak?
"We want," said the Enquirer, "to get a step further in our subject. You have told us that the Coming of The Lord is a literal and personal appearing, and that he may come at any moment; and I, at least, want to know what we are to expect to happen when He does come."
"If we turn to the first Epistle to the Thessalonians, we find, in the fifth chapter, that the day of The Lord will come as a thief in the night; therefore, we must be ready at any moment to respond to the great rallying shout, or word of command - for such is the literal meaning of the word translated 'shout ' in the sixteenth verse of the fourth chapter of our English Bible. There we are told that The Lord Jesus will leave His seat at the right hand of The Father, and descend into the air of our atmosphere; and that we, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, shall receive our resurrection-bodies, and be caught up to meet Him. Then the training time will be finished, the trials and temptations of our earth-life at an end, and before us will be the eternal joy and glory.
All were silent a while, and then the Invalid asked, "And what about the dead? "
"The life beyond the veil is hidden from our eyes," replied the Master, "and the Bible deals principally with the living. Yet we are not left in doubt as regards your question. We are told that the living shall have no advantage in that day; that, while they will be changed, the dead in Christ will be raised, and will also be clothed with incorruptible bodies.
"Will all Christians be taken when the Lord comes? - asked the Enquirer.
"That is one of the points upon which the Lord's people are not fully agreed," answered the Master sadly. "There are many deep thinkers and students who believe that all who have accepted salvation in Christ are members of His body, and, therefore, must be taken; And there are others who believe that this is the special reward and privilege of those who are faithful and true to Him here, of the little flock separate from the world, who walk as seeing Him Who is invisible, and whose heart and treasure are in heaven."
"And which view do you take? " asked the Enquirer quickly.
The Master smiled. "I do not wish to press my own view," he said, "but to me the matter seem perfectly plain, though for those who have not thought it out, there is need of a little disentangling. For, in the fourteenth chapter of Revelation, which, apparently, describes the gathering of the Church to the Lord in two different companies, called Firstfruits and Harvest,* we seem to see, that, before the great event spoken of in the fourth chapter of the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, the Lord will some day or night take away a comparatively small number of His people who, like Enoch, will be walking with Him and sacrificing all else to please Him. And this explains His meaning when He tells us to watch and pray that we may be 'accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.' For, after this rapture of the Firstfruits, the great judgments will begin, and there will be tribulation and persecution: then will come the Harvest, which seems to be meant in the fourth chapter of the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, and includes the resurrection of the dead. All who are taken in these two companies will be members of the Lord's body, and will reign with Him because they will have part in the First Resurrection.** But even yet there will be some believers who will be left out as unworthy; and that is why the Lord bids us hold that fast what we have, that no one take our crown, and gives many similar charges, all addressed to His own people - a fact which evidently points to the possibility of some, even of those who believe in Him, failing to obtain the Kingdom."
* Those who, on this point, follow in Mr. Pembers footsteps omit to notice that there is no article before firstfruits (Rev. 14.). We believe that these are but a section, albeit a very important section, of the Firstfruits, who comprise (Rev. 7: 9) a far vaster body, revealed as on high ere the judgments of the Tribulation epoch begin. - D. M. Panton.
**Rev. 20: 4
"Friends," continued the Master, looking earnestly around, if these things be so, what manner of persons ought we to be? Think how terrible would be our portion if we found ourselves left behind to pass through the Great Tribulation! Should we not earnestly seek to cleanse ourselves from all worldliness and self-seeking, to walk with Him now 'in white garments,' that we may by his grace be accounted worthy to escape the judgments of the last days? And, again, if we could but realise that it is possible for believers to miss the crown, the glory, the reigning with Christ, what an incentive we should have to personal holiness, to separation from the world, to so abiding in Him that, when He shall appear, we may not be ashamed before Him!"
"But I do not quite follow you," interrupted the Objector. "How can Christians be in danger of missing the glory? Does not the Lord Himself say that whosoever believeth in Him hath everlasting life? How, then, can it depend on our faithfulness or service? "
"It is indeed a glorious and blessed fact,"
replied the Master quietly, "that eternal life is the gift of God through Christ, that whosoever believeth on The Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved; but the crown and the Millennial Kingdom I take to be distinctly a
reward for faithfulness. It
is to the OVERCOMERS that the promise is given that they shall sit down with Him on His Throne
- that is on the Throne of the
"I do not exactly understand what you mean by the
"The reign of Christ upon the earth for a thousand years, after His Second Coming," replied the Master, "until He shall have put down all rebel rule and authority, and His enemies shall be made the footstool of His feet."
But the Objector still looked unconvinced. "Your distinction between having eternal life and sharing the glory of the Kingdom is quite a new idea to me," he said. "I should like to see it proved from Scripture."
"We might take many passages," replied the Master, but there is the one grand foundation text; - 'God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' Eternal life is a free and inalienable gift, when once bestowed; but the crown is conditional, and may be lost through unfaithfulness. We have no promise that we shall reign with Christ if we merely believe in Him, and go no further. 'If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.' 'Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.' 'Well done, good and faithful servant: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.' The unfaithful servant, and the foolish virgins, were in each case shut out from the joy and the marriage feast; but that does not necessarily imply that they were lost; for the one was all the time the servant of his Lord, and the virgins had accepted the Bridegroom's invitation, and gone out to meet Him. But it was those who were ready that went in to the marriage.
"Perhaps we may turn to the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John, where I think we have the two classes mentioned. In the twenty-fourth verse is the promise of eternal life to all who believe. In the twenty-fifth verse, we are told of the voice of the Son of Man among the dead, which I take to be the 'shout'of 1Thess. 4: 16; and you will find there these words, 'they that hear shall live,' a statement which surely implies that there will be some who will not hear, and so will not then rise to resurrection-life and glory. Accordingly, in the twenty-ninth verse, we read of another day, the day of the Great White Throne,* when all the dead shall hear His voice, and shall come forth, the saved and the unsaved, some to the resurrection of life - those who have believed in Him, but missed the Kingdom - and some to the resurrection of judgment. Oh! that we may be among those who follow Him here in whole-hearted devotion, as faithful servants doing their Lord's will from the heart, laying all that we have and are at His feet to be used as He wills, working, watching, and waiting, for Him!"
* Rev. 20: 11.
4 THE GREAT TRIBULATION.
I THINK it is sheer waste of time," said the Objector emphatically -"all this studying of prophecy, and looking into the future. What can it matter to us if the Lord comes to-morrow or a thousand years hence? All that concerns us is, that we should do our duty, and then we shall be always ready. I think all this is very unprofitable, and that we ought to leave such things, and study those parts of the Bible that help us in our own spiritual life, and teach us something for our daily needs and duty."
The Inquirer looked puzzled. "But if it is in the Bible, it must be meant for us," he said. "I do not see how we can pick and choose, and regard one part as profitable, and another as unprofitable. The Bible itself says, that 'all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for instruction.'"
"And, then, see how people differ about it," continued the Objector, ignoring the Enquirer's remark. "You hardly ever find two books on the subject that say the same thing and, if the clever people who study so much cannot agree, what is the use of our troubling our heads: we shall only get them into a fog. I think the whole thing is a mistake, and I wonder that the Master talks so much about it." He turned away impatiently, and startled as he found the Master standing beside him.
"You were so absorbed that you did not hear me coning across the grass," he said smiling ; "and so I heard a little of what you were saying. I think you are mistaken," he continued, taking a seat under the elm tree beside the Objector. "If there were no other reason, the text which the Enquirer has quoted should be sufficient; for 'the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children.' If God has revealed these things in His word, He must mean us to study, and try to understand them. And how would it be if you had a beloved and absent friend who had promised to return to you at any moment, and had asked you to be continually expecting him; would he not be, to say the least, disappointed, if, when he came, you were declaring that it did not matter whether he came soon or ten years hence; in short, if he found no preparation, and no expectation, on your part, of his return? Would he not be inclined to doubt your love for him? The illustration is very simple, but it may serve our purpose.
"There is, also, another side of the question. If the Great and Eternal Jehovah, the Creator of heaven and earth, stoops to reveal to me, the creature of His Hand, His wondrous plans and purposes; if He, as it were, condescends to take me into His confidence, and show me in His written Word the marvellous working of His will through all the restlessness and turmoil of this 'weary march of nations,' shall I turn to Him and say, 'This does not concern my personal salvation: therefore, it does not interest me'! Surely the safety of our own souls is not intended to be the boundary of our horizon, supremely important though it be! Let us, then, learn to widen our view of spiritual things, and let our hopes and longings reach out to the thought of the glory of God and the fulfilment of His great purposes. If we do this, we shall soon find that there is no such powerful motive for personal holiness, whole-hearted consecration, and earnest faithful service, as the thought of the Lord's speedy return."
"Well," said the Objector, "I must think that out quietly; but, in the meantime, I am not going to run away from our talk this morning. What was the subject to be ?"
"The Great Tribulation," replied the Master, "though it is a subject so large that we cannot do more than touch upon its chief features."
"When the Firstfruits are rapt to God and to His Throne, Satan, the Prince of the Air, will immediately be cast out; for the Heavenlies are then to be the possession of Christ and His saints. We read, 'There was war in Heaven Michael and his angels going forth to war with the Dragon; ... and the great Dragon ... was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him. 'Woe,' says the heavenly voice, 'for the earth and for the sea because the Devil is gone down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time.'"
"You were speaking the other day," said the Enquirer, of the judgment-seat of Christ. Is it at this time that it will be set up?"
"I thought there was no judgment for those who are in Christ," struck in the Objector.
"Whoever believes in the Lord Jesus," the Master replied, has everlasting life; and on this he will never be judged. But all prizes and rewards depend on sanctification and service; and this will require investigation. So there are first that shall be last, and last that shall be first. Oh! that we might realize how immensely our faithfulness here will affect our position then! We are so careless, so half-hearted, so indolent; and our opportunities slip away so swiftly one by one, and we heed them not. May He grant that, by His grace, we may be amongst those to whom He can say, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things.' Very small and insignificant will all the honours and advantages of the world appear to us, on that day, in comparison to the lowliest bit of service which He has permitted us to do for Him. But I suppose that this judgment can scarcely take place until the Harvest, that is, the second and great company, has been gathered in."
No one spoke for a little while, and then the Invalid asked, "And what will be going on in the world during this time ?
"The taking up of the Firstfruits,"
answered the Master, "will be the signal that the terrible events of the last days
of this dispensation are at the door. Those
Christians who have been left behind, and many who have been only professors of
Christianity, will see their position, and be aroused to true life and action.
They will realize, that, though they have
missed Rapture, all is not lost and they, will go forth to proclaim to
all the world the speedy Coming of The King. Then will follow a great awakening and
ingathering of souls; for we see them, in the seventh chapter of Revelation, as
a great multitude which no man can number, of all tribes and peoples and
tongues. These must wash their robes in
the blood of the Lamb, and be cleansed from worldliness and indifference, and
made ready, through the fire of tribulation; for then, indeed, must men,
emphatically, through much tribulation
"At this time the great power of the Antichrist will rise to its height - the 'man of sin,' ' he that opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God.' We read much of this terrible being in various parts of the Scriptures - in the eleventh chapter of Daniel, from the thirty-sixth verse; in the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians and the second chapter; and in the thirteenth and seventeenth chapters of Revelation. All who will not worship him and his image will be persecuted, imprisoned, and slain.
"But his chief vengeance will be directed against the godly remnant of the Jews. When he first appears in his power, the Jewish nation, then settled in Palestine, will, like the rest of the world, be intoxicated with his fascinations, and will, with pride and joy, accept his patronage and protection, even receiving him as their Messiah; for we read that he will make a firm covenant with them for seven years.
"For three years and a half all will go well, and the whole
world will wonder after the Antichrist; but, in the midst of the seven years,
he will break his covenant with the Jews, and become their bitterest enemy. The point at which this rupture will occur
appears to be when he introduces the miraculous image of himself into the Holy
of Holies in the great future Jewish temple at
"But in their extremity they will cry day and night unto God, with humble and contrite hearts, and He will hear and answer them by sending The Deliverer."
"And where will the Christians be at that time? " asked the Enquirer.
they, too, wait for the
"No," replied the Master. "If we turn to the fourteenth chapter of Revelation, we find
in the first five verses the description of the 'Firstfruits,' and these,
as we have said, are the ready ones whom He will call up to Himself before the
Tribulation. In the fourteenth and
two following verses, we have the Harvest, the
great multitude who have passed through the Tribulation, and washed their
robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. These, too, are now
ready, and are called away, from all their trials and persecutions, to join the
first company who preceded them, to be presented faultless before the Throne,
and to share the glory of the
5. THE COMING OF THE KING
On the next afternoon, the Objector was the first to take his place beneath the elm tree. The Master smiled gladly as he came to meet the little company and found him seated there, Bible in hand.
"Yes," said the Objector in answer to the unspoken question: "golf is interesting, but I had those unfortunate Jews on my mind a good part of last night, and thought I should like to know what is going to become of them. So the golf can wait."
"The Children of Abraham will, indeed, have to suffer to the
utmost," said the Master;
"all human help will fail them. The siege of
"The Antichrist will purpose to sweep both God and His people
from the face of the earth with one mighty stroke, and will summon all the
nations of the earth to the battle. We
have a wonderful description of what will take place in the fourteenth chapter
of Zechariah. The great army led by the
Antichrist will besiege
"Of the glory of His approach we have a picture in the twenty-ninth Psalm, beginning with the scene in heaven among the angels, the 'sons of God,' who are called upon to praise and worship him. Then the mighty procession, The King and His countless hosts, passes on in thunder and earthquake, the voice of The Lord,' down the whole length of the Holy Land from Lebanon to Kadesh, until His feet stand on the Mount of Olives, and every eye shall see Him."
"Will the Jews know that their Deliverer is the One Whom they rejected and crucified? " asked the Invalid.
"Yes," replied the Master; "and what a moment that will
be, when in the tumult of joy at their marvellous deliverance, they recognize
in their Messiah the despised Nazarene! How deep and overwhelming their sorrow
will be, we read in the twelfth chapter of Zechariah; for The Lord will pour
upon them the spirit of grace and of supplications, and they shall look upon
Him Whom they have pierced, and shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth
for his only son. In that day shall
there be a great mourning in
"And what will become of the Antichrist and his army? asked the Enquirer.
"Who," exclaimed the Master, "could resist for a moment the mighty power of the Lord's appearing, and the glory of His presence? We are told that the great army of His foes will be slain by the sword of His mouth, destroyed as in a moment by the very sight of His glory. The Antichrist and the False Prophet will be taken, and cast alive into the lake of fire; while Satan will be bound by a strong angel and shut up in the Abyss, that, for a thousand years, he may deceive the nations no more."
"Well," said the Objector, "the world must be a very different place when that time comes, and there is no Satan to tempt men."
"Yes," replied the Master, "man will then have only the evil of his own heart to contend with: all temptation to sin through the suggestions of Satan and his angels will be removed, and all human surroundings will make for righteousness. But even then he will fail, as he has ever done all down the ages."
6. THE MILLENNIUM
"We speak to-day of the Millennium," said the Master "the thousand years of the glorious reign of The Lord Jesus Christ upon the earth; and Prophets, Psalmists, and Apostles all unite to paint in vivid colours the glories of that golden age.
"How do we know that it will last a thousand years? asked the Enquirer.
We are told, in the twentieth chapter of Revelation, that Satan will be bound for a thousand years. And, again, it is said twice over, that those who were accounted worthy to take part in the first resurrection lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
"Does that mean that all the dead will not be raised then? asked the Invalid.
"Certainly," replied the Master for, if you will turn to the twentieth chapter of Revelation and its third verse, you will find it distinctly stated that the rest of the dead lived not again till the thousand years should be finished. It is to the 'Firstfruits,' who were taken away before the Tribulation, and to 'the Harvest,' those who have not worshipped the Beast nor received his mark,* that the glories of the First Resurrection are to be given for, 'if we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.' Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection ... they shall be priests of God, and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.'"
* Together of course, with the chosen from among the dead, who will then be raised.
"What will the world be like then: will it be very different from what it is now? " asked the Invalid.
"Very different in many
respects. You must study the
Scriptures for yourself. The curse of
the Fall will be in great measure removed, and earth
will stand forth again in something like her primeval beauty. The thorn and the briar will give place to the
fir and the myrtle tree, and the wilderness will bloom and blossom as the rose.
The wolf and the lamb will feed together', and the lion eat
straw like the ox; for the wild beasts will no longer hurt nor destroy. And although these blessings are specially
promised for the
"In that Golden Age,
"You said something the other day about the future
"Yes,", replied the Master, "as
Solomon built the first
"But will all the nations accept this state of things gladly? asked the Objector.
"As a whole they must surely only rejoice in their glorious King, and in all the blessings of His Kingdom. There will then be no more ignorance and darkness of heathenism: 'for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.' We are told, indeed, in two or three passages of some who will render feigned obedience; for, although Satan and his angels will be imprisoned in the Abyss, and will no longer be able to present their evil suggestions to men, yet the human heart remains the same, and there will ever be those who in secret hate righteousness and justice, and only yield obedience because they are compelled to do so. And so we read, that He will rule the nations with a rod of iron, and break them in pieces like a potter's vessel. No open rebellion, nor covert act of oppression will be tolerated for a moment, and there will be no possibility of evading the inflexible laws of Him Who is first King of Righteousness, and then King of Peace."
"But the Jews will not want to rebel," said the Invalid.
"No, indeed," replied the Master: "the days of their rebellion and hardness will be over for
ever. Israel and Judah, gathered into
their own land from all the countries of their dispersion, will be again united
as one glorious and happy people. And
the prophecies concerning their spiritual condition are even more wonderful
than those of their outward prosperity. The Lord will have made His 'new covenant 'with them, and
given them the new heart and the new spirit; and they will walk in His
statutes, and keep His judgments, and do them. They will be 'all righteous,' a 'holy people,' who 'shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies, neither shall a
deceitful tongue be found in their mouth.' And '
"It seems very wonderful to think of the despised Jews -
"Yes," said the Master, "and I wonder sometimes how some readers of the Bible interpret many of its passages. Take, for example, the last verse in the eighth chapter of Zechariah; -'In those days ... ten men ... of all the languages of the nations, shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you : for we have heard that God is with you.'
"But it appears that, in the Millennium, the world will render them glad and grateful homage, and for the most part rejoice with them in their glorious King; for 'they shall be in the midst of many peoples as dew from the Lord, as showers upon the grass,' a blessing among the nations."
"And will there be no more heathen? " asked the Invalid.
"No," said the Master. "In this dispensation the Lord is taking out a people from among the nations, one here, another there, and the great mass of heathenism is practically untouched; but, in that Golden Age, all nations shall serve Him: for the darkness will have passed away, and the true light will be shining to the ends of the earth. The Temple in Jerusalem will be the great centre of worship, and we read that all the families of the earth will go up to Jerusalem from year to year to worship The King, The Lord of Hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles."
"Will the Church he on earth during the Millennium? asked the Enquirer.
"And what lies beyond the Millennium?" asked the Inquirer.
"Eternity lies beyond it," replied the Master gravely. We speak the word glibly enough, but no human mind can attempt to measure the vastness of its meaning. Many details of the scenes of the closing years of this dispensation are given us in the book of Revelation; but of what lies beyond the Millennium we have only broad outlines.
"We are told, that, at the end of the thousand Years, Satan will be loosed for a little season, and will go out to deceive the nations."
"It seems inconceivable," said the Objector, "that after a thousand years of the blessings of the reign of Christ, men should be ready to go over to Satan again."
"Yes," said the Master, "but the human heart is evil, and, until they are renewed by the Holy Spirit, men will ever love darkness rather than light, in whatever favourable circumstances they may be placed. We need light within as well as light around us.
"And so, Satan will once more gather all the nations against
"And, after all that, the 'Day of judgment? " asked the Enquirer.
"Yes," replied the Master; you will find it in the twentieth chapter of Revelation at the eleventh verse, immediately after the account of Satan's last defeat. 'I saw,' says the Apostle, a Great White Throne, and Him that sat on it, from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away.' Great and awful, indeed, will that day be, when all the dead who had no part in the first resurrection shall stand before the Throne of the Son of Man to be judged according to their works. Many, even then, shall come forth to the resurrection of life; but alas, in that day, for the hardened, the impenitent, and the rebellious; for those who have rejected the mercy of God in Christ, and whose names have been blotted out of the book of life! What can remain to them but eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the lake of fire which is the second death!"
The Master ceased: and there was silence for a while. Then the Objector said; "If we realize this, it ought to make us all try to do something to help those around us. Look at the hundreds, even in this little place, who never seem to give a thought to anything beyond the needs and pleasures of the moment."
"True indeed " assented the Master, it is terriblv sad to think how many there are who have the light and the knowledge of salvation, and are yet content to sit with folded hands while souls are perishing around them. God willeth that all men should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth; and He works chiefly through human instrumentality. The command to preach the Gospel to every creature is for each individual disciple, and the Lord has given to every one his work and sphere of influence, whether it be great or small. But too often His people are silent, or think that the proclaiming of the Kingdom is the business of ministers and missionaries only. Yet, in some way or other, we must all take our part in the great work, if we are to be faithful servants. The knowledge of salvation through faith in Christ, and of the Coming of His Kingdom, is a mighty talent entrusted to us, not to be wrapped up carefully and buried in our own hearts, but to be proclaimed by voice and life, that others may hear, and see, and share, the blessings and the glory of His great salvation.
"But let us proceed with our subject." Of what lies on the
other side of the Millennium, in the
"The Apostle Peter tells us, that the world, in old time, was
destroyed by water in the Flood; but that the heavens that now are and the earth
have been stored up for fire; that the heavens, being on fire, shall be
dissolved, and the elements melt with fervent heat; and that the earth and all
the works that are therein shall be burned up. 'But,' he adds, 'we look for new
heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth
righteousness.' Of that new heaven and new earth we read in
the sixty fifth chapter of Isaiah; -For,
behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not
be remembered nor come into mind. And the Apostle John saw in vision that new
heaven and new earth (Rev. 21: 1). He saw, too, the glorious city of the saints,
the New Jerusalem, coming down from God, out of heaven, to the earth;
for, in that
"But who can attempt to understand these glories, or even to picture them in imagination? We can but worship and adore the wondrous love and condescension of our God Who calls His creatures to such bliss, and gave the Son of His love as a sacrifice for sin, to open to us the Kingdom of Heaven, Well may Prophet and Apostle cry, 'Eye hath not seen, not. ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him; but He hath revealed them unto us - glimpses and foreshadowings - by His Spirit.'
8. THE PARTING OF THE WAYS
The summer was over. The blown. leaves lay thick under the elm tree, and the wind blew in gusts round the deserted seat. A few late flowers still lifted their heads in the garden, and glowed in the fitful October sunshine, while the robins sang cheerfully the prelude to their winter song's.
Within the quiet house the Master sat beside the Invalid, speaking last words of farewell greeting: the firelight chased the deepening, shadows of the afternoon, and lit up the sweet and peaceful face, placid still in spite of the gathering tears.
"We shall miss you sorely," she said; "but life will never be again what it was before you came to us; the old dull monotone and hopelessness are gone for ever. But there is so much more to learn. I wish you could have stayed with us a little longer."
"The Lord Himself is our Teacher," he answered, "and the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth; as we yield ourselves to Him. Our paths have run side by side for a little while, and the quiet jesting time has been very sweet; but now they part again, and we dare not linger; for the time is short and the Kings business requireth haste."
"Yes," she said laughing softly; "so the Objector has found out at last. We have hardly seen him for days: he has been rushing round the village to get up some week- night Gospel meetings for the winter. I overheard him say as he hurried off this morning, that he had wasted too much of his life already; but that it should not be his fault now if our village did not know that The Lord is coming, and that we must be ready to meet Him."
"Good," said the Master heartily, it is a sure sign that we have taken hold of the 'Blessed Hope' if we begin to bestir ourselves for the salvation of others. The Objector will make a grand worker now that his fund of energy is turned into the right channel."
"Have you seen the Enquirer to-day?" she said presently.
"I have," he answered, looking at her a little anxiously, but quiet eyes did not falter. "We had a long talk this morning. Can you spare him?"
"Yes," she said softly, how call I grudge by best to him Who
gave Himself for me? If God is calling him to
"I believe God is calling him," said the Master: and he added smiling, - you know that 'she that tarried at home divided the spoil.' It is often the hardest part - that tarrying at home. You and he will be workers together in a great Missionary cause, and rejoice together, in the Great Day of His appearing, over the rescued souls for which you have worked and prayed together, you in the quiet home, he out in the great battlefield of heathendom."
They sat silent, each deep in thought for a little while, and then the Master asked, "How is your silent friend with the mournful eyes?"
"Wonderfully changed," answered the Invalid, brightly:- "there is a new light in her face, and a new restfulness in her voice. She is busy, too, and interested again; for she has filled her lonely house with a troop of little white-faced children from the city hospital. She brought a carriage full over to see me yesterday, and I heard her old happy laugh once more at some of their quaint old-fashioned speeches. She told me very simply before she left me that the bitterness seems to have gone out of her sorrow; for she knows now that the separation is only till He come, and that she and her beloved will meet again in a little while."
"Yes, thank God," said the Master, "the Blessed Hope has brought balm to many an aching, lonely heart. A little while, and we who remain and they who have gone before will meet in His Presence to be for ever with Him. Well may the Apostle bid us not to sorrow as those who have no hope. You friend will be a blessing to many; for she has drunk deeply herself of the cup of sorrow and loneliness, and will now be able to comfort other hearts; while her own faith and love grow deeper and stronger."
"And you?" he said, as the stroke of the clock
warned him of the quickly passing hour. She
smiled a happy smile of contentment. "It is well
with me," she said, "for He is
sufficient; and many happy bits of service come to me in my quiet room. The Objector will want help and sympathy
for his mission, and soon there will be the
"I am sure they will," he answered: "it is to every man his work; and, in these days of rush and turmoil, one hardly realizes the mighty power of a life laid aside from active work, and consecrated to God. For you will not forget the highest part of your mission, the ministry of intercession. You will uphold and strengthen our hands, and from your quiet room will flow streams of blessing to water many a thirsty field, and comfort many a weary and discouraged worker."
"If that might be," she said softly, "then pain and weariness would be well worth bearing, and in a little time will come the perfect health of the glorious resurrection-life. I can wait for that."
The shadows deepened, and the last notes of the robins song died away in the gathering twilight, as the Masters voice again broke the silence in earnest pleading for hearts and lives filled with the Holy Spirit, and that they might so abide in Christ that when He should appear they might have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at His Coming.
And so they passed on their several ways, each to the appointed place in the great harvest field. They have caught the first bright glow of the coming dawn, and they work and pray, as they watch and wait, for the breaking of the full glory of the Golden Day.
[It is believed Mary