TWO EXPOSITIONS FROM ZECHARIAH*
[* Taken from S.G.A.T. publication.]
By Adolph Saphir
(This article is taken from Mr Saphir's book, ‘Christ and Israel,’ written about 140 years ago).
I think there is nothing in the whole range of Scripture more touching than the promise contained in these simple, unadorned words. And as they touch the heart, they fix themselves on our memory. Who can ever forget them? “They shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced.”
A whole nation is here brought before us - and what a nation! Venerable for their antiquity, remarkable on account of their marvellous history, their wonderful preservation, their world-influencing literature, their mysterious future; a nation separate from all other peoples, chosen by the sovereign grace of God, educated by His wisdom and love, chastised and scattered by His righteous wrath and holy severity, and reserved for the sake of One - Whom, alas, they know not - to be yet more highly favoured than ever, and to become a blessing to all the world!
the greatest manifestation of Divine love and condescension, their sin reached
the highest, the culminating point.
Prophets had been stoned, Divine messengers had been killed; yet Divine
patience and forgiveness, not exhausted, sent the Son. Peradventure they will reverence Him. But they, with cruel hands, nailed Him to the
cross. And rejecting the testimony of the Holy Ghost and the message of the
apostles, they filled up the measure of their sin, and judgment came upon them
to the uttermost.
words are simple, and in their luminous simplicity admit no other
interpretation. The expression ‘look’ is used of that intense, expectant gaze which is
characteristic of the attitude of humble, astonished, helpless, anxious faith.
The word ‘pierced’ can only mean thrust through
with sword or spear. No other man in
Jewish history stands out Whose death was the deed of the whole nation, and the
remembrance of Whose death, brought home by the Spirit, causes such bitter
sorrow and blessed hope.
how, centuries after the prophecy, John, the beloved disciple, stands near the
But let us return from the bright light of fulfilment to the light of prophecy, and see how clear and great it was. Zechariah, one of the three prophets who lived after the return of the Jews from their captivity, is, next to Isaiah, the clearest evangelist of the old dispensation.
It was natural that the Jews should expect the immediate advent of the Messiah after each crisis in their history. By renewed revelations they had to be taught that the ultimate fulfilment of the promise was not yet. Daniel, reading the prophet Jeremiah, expected that after the end of the seventy years the Christ would come; hence the prophecy is sent to him, that again seventy times seven periods had to elapse ere the kingdom would come. As in a long and winding river, often when we expect to see its termination we discover that a new turn of the stream opens to us another vista, and a protracted course, so did the advent of the Messiah recede from time to time, and partial fulfilment of prophecy became the starting-point of new and fuller disclosures.
not David the promised King? No; for to
him is promised a son. Was Solomon,
then, the Prince of Peace? No; he was
but a new type of the King of Israel.
Thus the return from
with Jerusalem’s renovation under Joshua the high priest, and Zerubbabel the
prince - Zechariah predicts the Messianic time; and in the second portion of
his prophecy he sees (without type, and directly) the ultimate glory of his
nation, and the reign of Messiah over all the earth. In no prophecy do we find such comprehensive
and evangelical statements, and such minute and graphic predictions. Zechariah sums up the whole prophecy of Isaiah
when he calls Messiah the Branch, Jehovah’s Servant. He sums up, almost as clearly as the Epistle
to the Hebrews, the Levitical and the Davidic types, when he speaks of “the Priest on the throne” and “the counsel of peace” between him and the Lord. The prediction here ascends from earth
heavenwards. Growing up out of
still more marvellous is the subsequent prediction. The rulers of
This Shepherd is despised and rejected by the rulers; only the poor, the common people hear Him gladly. The great and mighty of the land reject Him. They weigh for His price, as if He was a common slave, thirty pieces of silver; and in contempt the price is cast to the potter.
by His nation, betrayed and sold and set at nought, this Shepherd, Whom God
calls His Shepherd, nay, the Man Who is His equal, enters into still deeper
suffering. The sword awakes. The sword is the emblem of Divine punitive
justice. And this Divine judgment awakes
against the only Good and Holy One, against Him Who is Man and yet more than
man. It smites the Shepherd. And this, both according to God’s will and
appointment, and according to Israel’s sinful will and hatred. God gives Him up to death;
I have been reminding you exclusively of Zechariah’s predictions, nearly six centuries before our era; and yet it is as if I had quoted the Gospel of Matthew, and the Nicene Creed. The Branch, My Servant, - behold the genealogy of Jesus, the Son of David; behold His holy and spotless life. The Shepherd, My Shepherd; Whom the common people heard gladly, Whom Pharisees and Scribes hated and rejected. Thirty pieces of silver they paid, because they wished to show that Jesus in their estimation was simply a common man, neither more nor less than a common slave. And yet such was the voice of conscience, they hesitated to put the money into the temple treasury. The Shepherd is smitten; the sheep scattered - the disciples and believers are dismayed and bewildered by the dark night of sorrow and agony which bursts upon their Master. Jesus is pierced; thrust through. As Psalm 22 describes it more fully: He dies on the cross. He dies by the hand of man; but the sword that smites Him is, as the prophet foretells, unsheathed by God Himself, for God made Him to be sin for us. Yet is He the Man Who is God’s equal; or, as the Creed says, “God of God, Light of light, begotten, not made.” He liveth, and shall come again with the clouds of heaven, and “they shall look upon Him Whom they pierced.” I pause here to impress on you some obvious and important lessons.
Do you believe the Scripture? Do you believe that holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost? Do you believe that the prophets spake not out of their own depths of insight, knowledge, and feeling, but out of the depths of God, disclosed to them by the Spirit, Who searched the deep things of God? Do you believe the Scripture? I know that you believe; but oh! I wish you to believe with a firm, assured, joyous, unwavering and exuberant faith. I wish the measure of your faith not to be scanty, but full and pressed together by flowing over. I wish you to confess with a simple and clear voice, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” Whence this prediction of Zechariah, if not by God’s Spirit? Take the ideas in their general, grand, massive character. David’s Son, perfect and holy, Priest and King; Shepherd, chosen of God and rejected by the rulers; despised and put to death, descending from heaven a Prince and a Saviour. Who could have imagined such a person, such a history?
Take the details. The ass and the ass’s colt, the thirty pieces of silver and the potter's field, the death by piercing! Whence these marvellous photographic pictures?
is miracle stereotyped. If seeing were
believing, who could doubt after reading prophecy? But, alas! in order to believe we do not need
evidence merely, but a new heart.
Notice, secondly, the great facts of our Christian faith in this
prophecy of Zechariah. Here is the
Incarnation, Jehovah's equal - a Man; here is
thirdly, what is it in the gospel that appears to
And yet these two doctrines, or, rather, these two facts, are the very essence and life of the gospel. It is because man cannot believe the exceeding great and abounding love of God that he cannot believe the Son of God became man and died for us. I do not wonder that man hesitates; that he stands amazed, awed; that love so transcendent, so Divine, overwhelms him. Thus did the love of God appear unto Paul. He beheld Jesus, Whom he had persecuted. And he believed in the Son of God, “Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
And thus every Jew who, by the grace of God since the Day of Pentecost, has been brought to Christ, fulfils this prediction; he looks unto Him Whom he has pierced. It is the look of repentance; for only a sight of the crucified Jesus shows us our sin and grief. It is the look of supplication and faith; for He only can bless and save, and He saves all who believe. It is the look of peace and adoration; for His love is infinite, unchanging, and omnipotent. It is the look which never ceases and never ends; for now the veil is taken away, and we with open face beholding the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory.
While we are still looking and longing for the true and ultimate fulfilment of the promise, when Christ shall appear in His glory to the nation, and “all Israel” shall be saved, let us thank God that there is, and always has been, in Israel “a remnant according to the election of grace.” Let us be thankful that, through the preaching of the Gospel, some sheep of the House of Israel are brought to the fold of the Lord Jesus. Our Mission to the Jews may be as yet a feeble, as it is certainly a difficult, work; but it is the Lord’s work, according to His will, founded on His Word, protected and prospered by His grace, and bringing forth fruit, precious in itself, and precious as confirming our faith and our hope.
ask this day, as I ask every Lord’s day, Remember, consider the Lord
Jesus. By faith, and with a loving
heart, realise Him Who came from heaven, Israel’s Messiah, your Saviour; see
Him as the Prophet Zechariah brings Him before us, and as Jesus manifested
Himself to His disciples – “pierced,” wounded,
bearing the marks of His death in His hands and feet. And, as we know, He liveth now and will come
again to melt the hearts of His brethren, and restore them to faith and
blessedness; so for His sake, and in
sympathy with Him, let us love
THE DAY OF THE LORD
By B. W. NEWTON.
[Additional comments are added throughout]
It has been too much the habit of believers to value only such knowledge as has, in their judgment, a direct tendency to minister to the strength or comfort of their own souls. They rightly feel that they need strength, and therefore the great truths of redemption are those to which they naturally recur for comfort and sustainment. True, indeed, we need to be sustained and comforted. We need to be reminded every day that “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We need to remember continually, that the Lord Jesus is our Life, that He is ever acting in the presence of God for us - that He preserves our peace and reconciliation. He never fails to act; He never fails to make intercession for us. We need indeed to recur continually to these and kindred truths for the food and comfort of our souls. But, at the same time, there are other things in the Word of God which are needful to the man of God who desires to “be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Who is there that is not in danger of clinging to the things of this present evil world? Who is there who has not the flesh? - and the flesh loves to cleave to the things which the eye sees. In order to meet this tendency there is abundant testimony in the Word of God respecting things soon to come to pass; respecting “the day of the Lord,” when every eye shall see, and every heart feel, that “all flesh is grass, and all the godliness thereof is as the flower of the field” (Isaiah 40:6); and that it withereth when the breath of the Lord bloweth upon it. This is a truth sharp and piercing - our hearts shrink from it; we do not like that the things which our nature loves should be given up. And therefore it is that such parts of the Word of God as this are brought to bear on the conscience.
Therefore it is that such parts are found profitable even to the most established saints of God; for they reveal truth whereby God judges the flesh. And, remember, it is a more blessed thing to have the flesh in us judged by the power of the testimony of the Word of God, than by chastisement or rebuke from Him. It is a happy and blessed thing to see the flesh judged in any way; but it is most blessed when the Word of God does it. When our hearts have been bruised by His Word being brought, by His grace, to bear upon us as the sword, it saves many a sorrow, and many a trial.
Yet there is a place more blessed even than this. For what does God desire for us - us whom He has loved and cleansed, and made priests and kings, and to whom He has given His own Spirit? What does He desire but to fill us with the knowledge of His own love; to lead us to know what He is about to do; to show us His relation to us; and His relation to things in this world, in order that we might rest in His love, and not in the world’s vanities? Was it not a blessed thing to be such a prophet as Zechariah? Was it not a blessed thing to stand like Jeremiah or Isaiah - witnesses for God’s Truth in the midst of a “disobedient and gainsaying people”? Is there no honour in such a place? Would you not desire it? Well, although we are not prophets, yet we may speak the things that the prophets speak. Their testimonies may be revived in our lips. Men may be caused to hear through us what the prophets, and the Lord, and the apostles, have spoken respecting the things about to be.
And it is no little matter whether our hearts are filled with our own thoughts - our own vain imaginations which Satan rules (for Satan gains the mastery of our thoughts when they do not flow from the source of God’s own truth); it is no little matter whether we have the false suggestions of Satan in our hearts, or the knowledge of the truth of God. So that there is nothing that I could desire more for you, than first to see you simple in your thoughts respecting redemption, holding fast those blessed words – “sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus once,” and then to see you standing forth in the strength of that redemption, maintaining the truths of His holy Word. So would you every day more and more feel the importance of having your thoughts filled with the knowledge of what God has revealed to us in His Word, in order that we might lead others to the well-springs of Truth, where they may be at once sanctified and comforted as the separated people of the Lord; for it is Truth that sanctifies.
this passage respecting things to come (Zechariah
14), is so plain, so simple, that who is there that can fail of
understanding it? It is a word addressed
Lord Jesus wept over
events have now gone on so as to cause the thoughts of men again to be
frequently turned towards
Verses 1-2: The first
words of this chapter are, “Behold, the day of the
LORD cometh, and thy spoil
shall be divided in the midst of thee.”
These are solemn words. “The day of the Lord”
is a solemn word; and it is well we should understand its meaning. The word ‘Behold’
calls our most solemn attention. The Lord
recently our own hosts have been assailing the
those who know the truth will see that it is the Lord who will gather the
nations. He says, “I will gather all nations against
Verse 3: Observe what the next verse
shall the LORD go forth, and fight
against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle.” How few believe that! How few believe the Lord will really
interpose, as of old, in the things of this earth! Very few, even of God’s own people, believe
it. They have been so much
accustomed to have their thoughts directed to their rest in heaven - their
hope, and the blessedness they expect there, that they have quite forgotten
other parts of truth such as this. They
have forgotten what God has revealed touching the destinies of
other words, His mighty power shall visibly be put forth on behalf of
is God’s intention as to the earth [in the
age to come]. It is that Christ should be brought into it -
the King of Glory, in order that He
might reign until He has subdued every enemy. And you who believe,*
will share with Christ in that hour. It
is the great and all-important hour - the hour foreordained or ever the world
was. And therefore it is no wonder that
the Scripture teems with reference to it: no wonder that we have to read the
Song of Moses, and many a record of
[* That is, if we are “considered worthy of taking part in that age, and in the resurrection from the dead”, (Luke 20: 35). It is difficult for me to comprehend how any regenerate believer, who openly rejects much of Christ’s teaching and His conditional promises, could be judged (by the righteous Judge) as ‘considered worthy’ to rule with Him at this time!]
Verse 4: But to return to the chapter
before us. “His feet,” it is said, i.e., the
feet of the Lord, “shall stand in that day upon the
He ascended up into heaven, when the angels came and said to the disciples who
were looking after Him: “Ye men of
too, it is said, “The Mount of Olives shall cleave in
the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west.” The moment His
feet touch it, the earth will bear witness to the presence of its God. The
any one say it has come? Yes, Christians
have said so. They have said that Jesus
has come as this chapter speaks. But the
that passage in Luke 11 which speaks of the
signs of the times; and this will be one of these signs. And now, observe, besides this, it is not
only said that Jesus will stand on the
[* It is apparent in this paragraph that Mr. Newton does not believe ‘the First Resurrection’ is one of reward. He interprets the word ‘all’ in its fullest sense to include every ‘believer in Jesus,’ irrespective of how they have lived and behaved after regeneration. See "Seventeenth Centuary Witness" at the end of this writing.]
Now I wish this to be received by you as a tangible, certain fact. I wish it to be realised by your faith. It is of no little moment to connect our own prospects of glory with the day of Jesus. And now I would ask you what will you feel at that hour respecting everything that is of the earth? The glory of the kingdoms of this world - all the pomp and pride of this life - everything that man has - what will it all seem to you in that hour, when the glory of God, the glory of angels, the glory of Jesus, and your own glory as connected with Him standing there in the majesty of His power, shall be manifested? What will the glory of earth then seem to you when the earth shall tremble at the presence of His glory, and yet you be safe with and like the Lord; strong in the power of God, without any of the feelings or habits of nature remaining - all that gone, and you really standing in the strength, majesty, and power of God?
is your prospect respecting the
[* That is, a “just recompense of reward”.]
Verse 5: But where is
And as for the Gentile nations - the ten proud kingdoms of the Roman World that will be gathered there, confederate against Jerusalem and against Israel, saying: “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” (Psalm 83:4), - the day of their doom will have come. The Day of the Lord will suddenly break upon them in all the destructive power of its glory, and their place shall be no more found; except, indeed, in Tophet, prepared for them and for their king: “for Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for THE KING* it is prepared’ (Isaiah 30:33).
(*Antichrist, who shall head this last gathering against Jerusalem).
Verses 6-7: This awful day of visitation shall, it is said, be ONE day. “It shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night; but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.” It shall be a day that shall not have the accustomed light of day; for all the natural sources of light shall be withdrawn. “The stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine” (Isaiah 13: 10). Hence there will not be the ordinary light of day. Neither on the other hand will there be the darkness of night. The earth indeed will be, as it were, hidden in the womb of darkness - darkness that may be felt - such darkness as rested on the formless void before God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3); yet in the midst of this black intensity of darkness will be present the brightness of heaven’s own glory.
Whose feet shall then stand on the
this awful interruption, in the course of nature shall not be so extended as to
break the appointed succession of day and night: for God made a covenant with
Noah, and said, “While the earth remaineth ... day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).
Accordingly the day appointed for this act of visitation shall be
strictly a day, duly preceded by night, and duly followed by night. Indeed, the intervention of wrath shall have
ceased before the evening has run its course: for it is said, “At evening time it shall be light.” At evening time the natural sources of light
shall be restored; the moon and the stars shall again shine peacefully on the
stricken earth. It shall be an
evening of rest - the first commencement in the earth of the peace of the millennial
day.* The spared in
[* See Heb. 4: 1]
But how will their hearts have been instructed? They will have been brought through all the terrors and darkness of that awful day. They will have seen countless multitudes smitten, whilst they were spared. They will have been spared in grace - undeserved grace - simply because God has been pleased to have pity on them - having mercy upon whom He will have mercy (Romans 10: 15). They will recognise that it is grace then, ‘Not unto us, 0 LORD, not unto us, but unto Thy Name give the glory, for Thy mercy (loving kindness), and Thy truth’s sake’ (Psalm 115:1). Such will be the language of their lips, and of their hearts then.
And will not such persons, after their hearts shall have been bruised and broken by the terrors of that day, and by the remembrance of all the past history of themselves and of their people, and after that they shall have looked to Him Whom they pierced and have mourned, and after they shall have received the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, will they not be peculiarly constituted fit messengers of God - messengers of grace? Will they not, like so many Pauls, be ready to bear witness to the abounding grace of God? It will be the same gospel as that in which we now rejoice; but it shall go forth in brightness then.
their message shall be blest. It will be
no longer said, “Who hath believed our report?”
(Isaiah 53: 1) - for their message will be
welcomed, and all Israel and many peoples shall be ready to say, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth
good tidings, that publish peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that
publish salvation; that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7).
As they sow, and wherever they sow, God will command His blessing. Satan will be bound; and therefore, will no
longer be able to pluck away the seed; and the course of this present evil age
will have ended, so that “the care of this world, and
the deceitfulness of riches” will no longer choke the seed, and make it
unfruitful. It will be the hour of the
supremacy of Truth.
Verse 8: “And
it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from
these waters of healing, blessed in themselves, will be yet more blessed in
respect of that which they symbolise - for they are the symbol of that river of
truth - that stream of spiritual health which through the gospel shall go forth
what is this physical change in comparison with the moral transformation that
shall be found in millions of changed hearts that shall no longer be fountains
of poison and death, but become first recipients and then communicators of
spiritual healthfulness and life? “He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of
his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John
7:38). Such will be the relation
we learn a lesson from this. We are
indeed poor sinners of the Gentiles; yet we are brought nigh through faith in
the Blood of Jesus, and forestall all the spiritual blessings of converted
Yet if the darkness be great, and the power of falsehood mighty - if in this season of night many monsters have gone forth from their dens - if Ritualism crouches on the one hand, and Latitudinarian Infidelity ravins on the other, the more need that we should grasp the banner of Truth firmly, and that we should seek steadily to hold forth the Word of life. We are indeed commanded to be as a city set on a hill. Once the Church collectively was this: it was once the “pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15); but it is scattered now, and the falsehood and worldliness of Ritualism reigns, and will be supplanted by nothing till it bows to antichrist.
Nevertheless, there yet remains individual testimony - the more honourable and precious because of the abounding evil. Individuals may yet show that they are the servants of the Truth - that they are not quite as salt that has lost its savour. There is still the gospel of the grace of God - the everlasting gospel. We may declare it; we may say to all men, that God is ready to receive sinners, not in their own names, not in the value of their own characters, but in the value of the Name of Jesus, and as a covenant God to know them in the preciousness of that Name for evermore. We may say to every one who saith, What must I do to be saved? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). We may say to those who have cast themselves with the feeblest faith on God through the Blood of Jesus, that they shall never be confounded. We may tell them that they already have a representative existence in heaven, even while personally on earth; for that Christ is their risen Head, and in Him they are already seated in heavenly places.
We may encourage one another to add to our “faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience,” and the like (2 Peter 1:5-7), knowing that so an abundant entrance shall be ministered into the everlasting kingdom. We may mark the place of believers as being apart from the greatness, whether ecclesiastical, or secular, of man’s city - our place is “without the camp (gate), bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come’ (Hebrews 13:13-14).
We cannot be too careful to view the advancing natural
greatness of the earth in the light of this chapter. The power of the nations is being greatly
increased; their resources enlarged, their strength consolidated. But all this
power, finally, and perhaps very soon, is to be brought to bear on
Verse 19: God will consume them. “Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.” This is no cunningly devised fable. It is the Word of God. The withering hand of God will be really laid on living men - men great in power and military prowess - the flower of our fleets and of our armies - men great in all that the world is seeking after.
“Come,” it is said to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, “come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great” (Revelation 19:17-18). Ah! how little men think as they grasp so proudly the helm of their mighty vessel, that it is fast speeding onward to this point of overwhelming ruin! May human progress (as men now vaunt of it) be ever viewed by us in the light of these testimonies.* Then they will separate us from unclean things, and teach us to wait for God’s Son from heaven.
(*This truth affords
matter of solemn and affecting warning to Christian parents and others. BY connecting their offspring with the powers
of this world - with its military or naval greatness, they will place them in
the very current of affairs which may ultimately bear them onward to the scenes
of Armageddon, and the
will be otherwise with the spared in
But Jerusalem on earth will be connected with another Jerusalem that is above - where all is heavenly and not earthly; where their brethren, “the Church of the first-born,” will have preceded them, who thence, perfect not only in glory but in their sympathies, and actions, and in power of caring for others, will watch over Jerusalem and the earth, and minister continually to them. As Moses and Elijah once visited the earth in glory, so during the millennial reign, the glorified saints will from time to time visit the earth, to minister to the heirs of salvation in it, until the imperfect millennial state shall have passed away, and be succeeded by those “new heavens and new earth” in which all the redeemed of every dispensation shall form one glorified Church, perfected for evermore.
But what, it may be asked, will be the portion of believers when the day of the Lord comes? Will they be involved in its terrors, and be made to pass through its fires? No. The first act of the Lord when He descends into the air and reveals His glory, is to take them, changed and glorified, to Himself. Before* He sends forth any of His judgments, the trumpet shall sound, and the saints who sleep shall rise glorified, and they who are yet alive shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and both together be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and to come with Him, for He will descend from the air to the Mount of Olives, and there His saints shall surround Him.
The author teaches two future advents of Christ; the first ‘to the air’ for ‘believers’;
and the second for ‘the saints who sleep’ (the
dead) at the time of ‘the resurrection of the dead,’
at the end of the Great Tribulation - (only for
They will therefore be in the same circle of light and glory that surrounds their Lord. And they will be like Him. No traces of their natural selves will remain. They will no longer bear the image of the earthy, but the image of the heavenly. Whether called to behold death or life - judgment or glory - darkness or light, they will behold all as, and with their Lord. Terror will be no terror to them; darkness will be no darkness in the light of the presence of their glory; they will be strong according to the strength of Christ: “they will follow Him whithersoever He goeth.”
Let us not then despise the facts of this chapter. Let us place them before our children - let us seek to teach them to all. The solemnity of these future facts, and the simplicity with which they are revealed, may arrest the attention even of the careless heart, and show it the delusion under which Christendom slumbers as to these things. What a difference, whether we view the future of the earth according to men’s present thoughts respecting human progress, or according to the testimonies of such a chapter as this! May it not be said unto us, that the prophets have prophesied to us in vain.
[* Taken from the Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony magazine, ‘Watching and Waiting,’ July/August, 2003.]
(The following is an extract from the Baptists’ Confession of Faith, 1660, which was presented to King Charles II. These good men said ‘we are not only resolved to suffer persecution to the loss of our goods, but also life itself rather than decline from the same.’ The Confession was ‘subscribed by certain elders, deacons, and brethren, met in London, in the behalf of themselves and many others unto whom they belong, in London, and in several counties of this nation, who are of the same faith with us.’ Forty ones names were written, followed by the statement, ‘owned and approved by more than twenty thousand’.)
We believe that the same Lord Jesus, Who showed Himself alive after His Passion, by many infallible proofs (Acts 1:3), Which was taken up from His disciples and carried up into heaven (Luke 24: 51), shall so come in like manner as He was seen to go into heaven (Acts 1: 9- 11). And when Christ, Who is our life shall appear, we also shall appear with Him in glory (Colossians 3: 4). For then shall He be King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). For the kingdom is His, and He is the Governor among the nations (Psalm 22:28), and King over all the earth (Zechariah 14: 9), and we shall reign with Him on the earth (Revelation 5:10). The kingdoms of this world (which men so mightily strive after here to enjoy) shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ (Revelation 11: 15). For all is yours (ye that overcome this world)*, for ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s (1 Corinthians 3: 22-23). For unto the saints shall be given the kingdom, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heaven (Daniel 7: 27). Though now many men be scarce content that the saints should have so much as a being among them; but when Christ shall appear, then shall be their day, then shall be given unto them power over the nations, to rule them with a rod of iron (Revelation 2 :26-27). Then shall they receive a crown of life, which no man shall take from them, nor they be by any means turned or overturned from it, for the oppressor shall be broken in pieces (Psalm 72: 4), and his vain rejoicings turned into mourning and bitter lamentations, as it is written (Job 20: 5-7).
[* Note the condition. The promise is to overcomers only.]
(Hence, Baptists had once the honour of contending for the personal reign of Christ over the earth, and of suffering for professing the same).