Preface and Introduction

Answer to Historicism

The Second Advent

Elements of Prophecy, by W. Kelly, appeared in The Bible Treasury, and then in book form, with additions. What the reader has in his hands is a freshly typeset copy of the 1876 Morrish edition of this work.

Items in braces { } have been added. Thus, for example, Scripture references have been inserted so that they may appear in the Scripture Index; and notes in brackets { }, including some footnotes in brackets, have been added.


The work now before the reader is the examination of a book which appeared many years ago from the pen of a certain professor of Moral Philosophy and was regarded at the time by not a few as conclusive against Futurism. Even then, as some know, it was my intention publicly to test how far its principles were scriptural, and its reasonings valid; and it seemed to me none the less a duty because of the deliberate and strong conviction, whatever the delinquencies of the Futurists, that its tendency was retrograde, to the dishonour of Christ and the injury of the church of God. The professor however having since then divulged views on the punishment of the wicked which shocked all orthodox men, including of course those of his own party, I have judged it best not to give his name, nor to cite formally from his book. Hence such as have not read it might scarcely gather that my work is controversial; while those who do possess it will see that, however briefly, I have endeavoured to follow up with conscientious care his use of scripture and his argument, as well as his plan, so as to leave nothing unrefuted which seemed worth noticing. The Christian will perceive and I hope learn from God how much larger and more exact and profound is revealed truth than either the Historical scheme or the Futurist. This is the fruit I desire by grace to the praise of the name of the Lord Jesus. London, December, 1876.


Prophecy is the revelation of the thoughts of God as regards the future, and His glory in Christ is the one blessed end of the prophetic word, as well as of all the divine actings. Make man, make self, the end, and singleness of eye is gone; darkness ensues by the just judgment of God — a result as sure in the domain of the spiritual understanding as in that of the spiritual conscience. It is true we may say of the prophetic part what the Holy Ghost says about the whole written word, that it is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. Still, the revealed acts are the expression of the principles of God’s government of the world, and therefore the accomplishment portrayed in His word is the place where we learn these principles fully. This is surely what we have to ascertain. Otherwise we form our own notions of that which God has given us, prophecy, whereby to know His thoughts. Our business is to gather of what God speaks; and though all scripture is given for our profit, it is in no way necessary that all should be about ourselves. The glory of God in dealing with Jews is, in its place, as much the object of our faith as His dealings with Christians. And the apprehension of the distinctions in His ways, that is, real understanding of His word, depends on our knowing to whom it applies.

Is not this taking away scripture from the church? Quite the reverse. There is no instruction in the past or future history of Israel, as revealed in the Bible, which is not for the church, but it is not about the church. That such passages are so written as to bear an analogous application to the Gentile body, now grafted into the olive-tree of earthly testimony {Rom. 11}, I do not deny — an application which calls for the utmost caution, and a right division of the word of truth, because each dispensation has its own peculiarities, and in some cases there may be, and are, points of decided and intended contrast. Still, the church is not the subject treated of under the names of Judah and Israel, Zion and Jerusalem; and the effect of the unrestricted accommodation of such passages, to which we have been all accustomed, has been not only to rob the Jews of their promises, but to lower and obscure incalculably the privileges of the church, so far as present realization is concerned.

There is now, however, a considerable class of persons who admit that the only complete fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy involves the restoration of the literal Israel to their own land, and their national blessing and peace there, according to the new covenant, in the presence and personal reign of the Messiah. Hence, as a whole, they rightly refer the prophecies of future glory to the same people whose sins and judgments are therein detailed. They acknowledge that the reign of Christ over the converted Jewish people in the millennium is a very different thing from the secret counsels of grace which, through faith, have saved souls from the beginning. So far there is a step, and an important step, in the true direction. But here is a stopping short. It is not seen that the rejection of Christ by Jew and Gentile on the cross, and His consequent exaltation at the right hand of God, and the intermediate mission of the Holy Ghost here below till the Lord returns again, have made way for the accomplishment and revelation of an unique work of God, which had been kept secret from previous ages and generations {Col. 1:26}. This work is the church, Christ’s body.

It is not merely an increase of light as to the counsels of salvation, on which the entire line of the faithful, from Abel downward, had reposed, but there was a hitherto unknown and hidden mystery respecting a body destined to be the consort of Christ in heavenly glory at His coming, and meanwhile called into manifestation and enjoyment of its privileges by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, who was to commence, sustain, and guide it here below, while waiting for the Bridegroom. The Holy Ghost had acted, He had given faith, He had quickened, He had wrought efficaciously and savingly from the first; but there was no baptism of the Spirit till Pentecost. He was not (that is, in this new way) till Jesus was glorified (John 7:39). So the Lord teaches us in Acts 1:5 “Ye shall be baptized of the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” When just about to ascend He said this to the already believing, regenerate disciples. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Ghost did baptize them. He imparted many miraculous gifts, “the powers of the world to come”; but besides this He baptized them on that day, never before. Now it is certain that the formation of the body, the church, hinges upon the baptism of the Spirit, for “by one Spirit (as we are told in 1 Cor. 12:13) are we all baptized into one body.” You cannot, therefore, have the body of Christ before the baptism of the Spirit; they are simultaneous and inseparable things. Accordingly we there find for the first time “the church” spoken of as an existing corporation (Acts 2:47). The Lord Jesus, it is true (Matt. 16:18), had already said, “Upon this rock I will build my church”; but these words themselves prove that His church did not yet exist, save in the purpose of God. “Upon this rock I WILL build my church. It was not yet building. The foundation had to be laid; in death and resurrection alone could it begin. It was essential, as a condition of the existence of the church, that in the cross the middle wall of partition should be broken down, and Jew and Gentile be made one new man: in the next place Gentile and Jewish believers were builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit (Eph. 2:14, 15, 22).

For the Comforter was now come, the promise of the Father, to be in and with them for ever — that Comforter for whom it was expedient that Christ Himself should go away. The old Judaic order was nothing now before God. There was another and better temple, where God’s presence was. There was one body, wherein Jewish and Gentile distinctions were absolutely gone, the church on earth, and one Spirit who resided there. It is not a mere continuation of a believing people who looked to promise, but established on accomplished redemption, an entirely new body appears, brought into union with Christ in His heavenly honours, between the first and second advent, while He is absent above. The latter terminus is admitted now by many who would dispute the former. It is confessed that the church is the bride, the Eve of the second Adam, and that the millennial saved people, though just as much saints, as truly redeemed by the blood of Christ, as we are, nevertheless answers to the type of Adam’s children, and not of his wife. That is, it is an acknowledged principle that saintship, as in those who succeed the second advent, does not necessarily constitute membership of Christ’s body. But as to the former terminus, even a far plainer proof has been here produced as regards the saints who preceded the first advent. Whatever may have been their many and precious promises, they are never in scripture called the church of God; nay, it has been shown that they could not consistently be so termed, because they were not baptized of the Holy Ghost into the one body, and there is no other introduction therein than by that baptism, which did not then exist. The true, the scriptural, limits of the church are the cross and the coming of the Lord Jesus {at the pretribulation rapture}; founded upon the one, and waiting for the other, is that body, one with its Head on high, in which God dwells by the Holy Ghost; a new and unearthly body, having a path here below traced out for it, in many and important respects, quite distinct from what characterized the Old Testament saints, or what will characterize the millennial saints.

If these principles be admitted, their bearing on the faith, affections, worship, and service of the children of God, will soon be felt and seen. But of such consequences this is not the place to speak, though I would here advert briefly to the way in which they affect our apprehension of the prophetic word.

The disciples, though subsequently forming part of the church when it began, were nevertheless not of it during our Lord’s ministry on earth. They believed in Christ, they followed Him in His temptations, they were instructed by Him, but were not yet of the church, nor could they be till Jesus was glorified on high, {Acts 2:33} and the Holy Spirit baptized them here below {1 Cor. 12:13}. Their position was thus a peculiar one during that transitional order of things which began with John Baptist, and terminated with the cross, the proclamation going out meanwhile that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. If Matt. 10 be examined, it will be seen that the Lord gave them directions, some of which suited them only in their then state, as in Matt. 10:5, 6, some of which might well apply when the Spirit was given, as Matt. 10:16, 20, 24, 42, and others, which evidently look on to a future resumption of the testimony among the cities of Israel before the Son of man comes. Compare especially verse 23. Throughout this chapter — and it is not the only one of the kind — the disciples are addressed as having a peculiar connection with Israel, and in no way as being the church, or as representing it. No one denies that much of the chapter was fulfilled after the descent of the Holy Ghost to form the church. It was then, and in Judea, that persecution fell upon them. Still the chapter does not contemplate them as the church, but as Jewish disciples carrying out a Jewish mission, and awaiting, in the difficulties and sorrows of their testimony in that land, the coming of the Son of man. In Matt. 17 we find Peter, James, and John, the evident types of the spared and converted Jews in the millennium, and in the same scene Moses and Elias, the types of the glorified saints.

It is upon similar Jewish ground that our Lord speaks in Matt. 24. His disciples had heard Him pronounce desolation in the preceding chapter. But it was a judgment mingled with mercy; for He distinctly intimated that if the Jews should not see Him henceforth, it was not unlimited; it was till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Vengeance must fall upon the unbelieving generation, such as the mass then were and are. But the time is coming when the nation, or at least a remnant of it, shall bless and curse not; wise ones who understand shall at length with joy welcome Him whom they crucified on the tree.

And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily, I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [age]? (Matt. 24:1-3). Now it is not doubted that the church may have used, and may still use, the general principles of this chapter. All belongs to the church, for profit, instruction, reproof, or comfort; but most decidedly Matt. 24 is occupied not with the church, as such, but with Jerusalem and the temple, the consummation of the age, the clash of nations and kingdoms, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, persecutions, and trials, similar to Matt. 10, and a preaching of the gospel of the kingdom to all the Gentiles throughout the habitable world. Such is the general picture to verse 14. After that, the scene becomes more specific, both as to time, place, and circumstances. Precise interpretation must confine verses 15-31 to a period still future, though Jerusalem is still the foreground. “When ye, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth let him understand); then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains” (Matt. 24:15, 16). Now what has this to do with the church as the church? What has she to do with that holy place? (Compare Acts 6:13; Acts 21:28). And how could the setting up of the abomination in the Jewish temple be a sign to the church to flee? But no! the passage refutes the idea. “Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.” Accordingly they are directed to pray that their flight be not on the Sabbath-day, nor in the winter, for either might impede their flight and expose them to imminent peril. It is to be a brief though terrible trial: “except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” {Matt. 24:22}.

That these elect are Jewish elect (see Isa. 65:9, 15, 22) is confirmed by the Lord’s warning the disciples about false Christs who shall arise. Could the church, who knows that she is to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air — could she, I say, be in danger from the cries, Lo! here is Christ, or there; behold, He is in the desert, or in the secret chambers? But a perplexed Jewish remnant, whose hope is a Messiah on earth, might well need such monitions as the Lord here supplies. The coming of the Son of man (for it is Christ coming judicially which the chapter contemplates) shall not be secret, but as the lightning shining from east to west. They were not to be enticed by a “Lo, here or there.” Other unmistakable signs should be granted. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken” (Matt. 24:29). Here again it is manifest that the Lord is not describing the translation of the elect church, but the gathering of His elect Israel, and for a plain reason: “When Christ our life shall appear,” says the apostle addressing the heavenly saints, “then shall ye also appear with him in glory” {Col. 3:4}. Christ will not be manifested first, and the church be caught up subsequently; both are to appear together and at the same time in glory. But with the elect Jews the case widely differs. “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds from one end of heaven to the other” (Matt. 24:30, 31). They are delivered and gathered after the Son of man has already appeared. The church had not only been caught up before, but had come out of heaven along with Christ preparatory to His appearing (Rev. 19:11-14). This prophecy, then, in any full sense, for I do not deny a partial historic accomplishment, looks to a future state of things, and directly concerns a believing Jewish remnant, quite distinct from the church.

Is it in Matthew, and other Gospels only, where we read of such a converted remnant? By no means. Matt. 24:15, 21 evidently refers us to Daniel for other particulars of the same scenes and times. If therefore it be clear that Matt. 24:15-31 concerns a future converted body of Jews, and not the church, have we not here also a divine help for interpreting Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:1, 7, 11, and the connected parts of the same? That is, the saints spoken of in Daniel are Jewish, saints, and not the church, properly so called. Daniel’s people, or at least the understanding ones (compare Matt. 24:15) of that prophet, are those whom the Lord further instructs in the prophetic discourse of our evangelist. Again, it is admitted very generally that Daniel and the Revelation are so linked that, when you have determined the bearing of the one, you necessarily therein involve the general interpretation of the other. The beast of Dan. 7 is the beast of Rev. 11; 13; 17; and the time, times and a half, in that same chapter answer to the same period in Rev. 12, Compare the image in Rev. 13 with the abomination of desolation in the Gospel. Plainly therefore, while the Apocalypse has many subjects besides those treated of in Daniel or Matt. 24, while it admits of a far closer application than either to the providential history of the empire, etc., since the days of John, the grand final accomplishment of the book cannot be dissociated from the prophecies of Daniel and of the Lord Jesus Himself, which, we have seen, specially regard Jerusalem and the Jews at the end of the age.

Turning to the Psalms we find this truth confirmed. Let us first take Psalm 79, and assume what to many readers appears self-evident, that in its full import it tells of a day not yet come. The Holy Ghost there provides an utterance for a suffering people. But for what people? Clearly they are, and speak of themselves to God as His servants, His saints (Ps. 79:2). Now is there a single sentiment which is characteristic of the church of God? Or is there one which does not breathe of Jewish affections and hopes? If the heathen invade Judea, if they defile God’s holy temple in Jerusalem and lay the city in heaps, we can understand how these things may, and will deeply affect the heart of an Israelite. If the Gentiles shed the blood of God’s saints like water round about Jerusalem, and give their flesh to the beasts of the earth, rightly may he pray, “Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name. For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling-place.” But is this the language of the heavenly bride? Is it suitable to her standing to say, “We are become a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us. How long, Jehovah, wilt thou be angry? for ever? shall thy jealousy burn like fire? Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? let him be known among the heathen in our sight, by the revenging of the blood of thy servants which is shed” (Ps. 79:4, 5, 10). Is it for us to pray that God may be known among the heathen in our sight, by revenging the shed blood of His servants? “O remember not against us former iniquities: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low” (Ps. 79:8).

Is there not another body of saints of whom these words will be far more emphatically true? Not that the church may not blessedly use such a psalm; not that she may not discern what is essentially applicable to herself: but plainly the circumstances, the experience, the cries, are all characteristic of Jewish saints passing through the fire, and not of the church of God. That they are owned servants of God, who suffer in and near Jerusalem before the Lord appears for their deliverance; that in the next psalm they call on Him that dwells between the cherubim to shine forth; that they acknowledge their sins, and the righteous retributive dealings of Jehovah therein; that they deprecate His anger and jealousy, crying, “Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved; O Jehovah God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?” that they appeal in faith to the God of hosts, cleaving to the link which binds Him to His people, howsoever failing, and entreat His hand to be upon the man of His right hand, “the Son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself”; that they are saints is plain, but it is equally evident that the whole current of their prayers, sanctioned by the Holy Ghost, and answered by the Lord in person, is quite inconsistent with the calling of the church. Forgiven all trespasses (Col. 2:13), I admit that it becomes us, individually conscious of sins, to confess them, in the assurance that God is faithful and just to forgive us, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness {1 John 1:9}. But this goes upon the ground that we are forgiven (1 John 2:12), that we are already accepted in the beloved (Eph. 1:6), and that as He is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:7); whereas in the Psalms it is plain that the believing remnant have still to cry, “Show us thy mercy, O Jehovah, and grant us thy salvation,” etc. Full known acceptance is evidently not enjoyed until Jesus appears (compare Zech. 12:10-14; Zech. 13:1; Joel 2, 3, etc.).

As to Ps. 81, it needs little proof that a joyful noise to the God of Jacob, the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery, the blowing up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on the solemn feast-day, that all this is no statute for the church, though it is for Israel; nor are we ever told to look for the finest of the wheat and honey out of the rock. Again, what relation to Christianity have the earthly tabernacles and glory in the land, beautiful as Ps. 84 and 85 may be? So also the fitting supplication for those who hate us is certainly not the language of Ps. 83:9-18; but it is the right utterance of faith in Jewish saints, who are looking to God to arise and judge the earth. “Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison; which perished at En-dor: they became as dung for the earth. Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna: who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession. O my God, make them like a wheel: as the stubble before the wind. As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm. Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, Jehovah. Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame and perish: that men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.”

While the church is being called, God is interfering in no such way. He is proclaiming salvation to the world that rejected and murdered His Son, who is still, so far as man is concerned, the outcast One, though crowned with glory and honour upon the throne of His Father. Hence the church’s calling is governed by the present patience of God toward an ungodly world. Suffering, therefore, is her portion meanwhile, and grace, not judgment, her cry to God about her enemies. But the time is fast coming when God’s dispensational displays will change, and, instead of making His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sending rain on the just and on the unjust alike, “it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, Jehovah of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come out, that have no rain, there shall be the plague, wherewith Jehovah will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles” (Zech. 14:17-19). When that time comes, there will be another and a suited witness here below; not the church, (whose calling was during the time when the riches of His grace knew no measure, namely, between the cross and the return of the Lord Jesus), but His people Israel, the righteous remnant become a strong nation on earth. “Jehovah said, I will bring again from Bashan: I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea; that thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same” (Ps. 68:6. See all Ps. 94). “Remember, Jehovah, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Raze it, raze it, even to the foundation thereof. O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones” (Ps. 137:7-9). “Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye Jehovah” (Ps. 149:5-9). I might thus comment on all the Psalms, save the few which describe the atoning sufferings of Christ personally. In all of them it is the Spirit of Christ in special sympathy with Israel, though the Holy Ghost applies to the church in the New Testament many truths which are equally true of us and of them (cp. Ps. 44:22, with Rom. 8:36). But this in no way sets aside their proper and prophetic bearings, any more than Hosea 11:1 is denied to contemplate specifically the literal Israel, because in Matt. 2:15 it is referred to Christ.

If then the Psalms are the outpouring of the souls of Jewish saints, if the Spirit of prophecy breathes in them from one end to the other, is it wonderful that the prophet, who especially presents us with the times of the Gentiles, should speak of the trials of the same Saints in the last terrible crisis of suffering? Other prophets dwell much upon their ultimate triumphs, in a state totally different from that in which the Jews are now, namely, under Messiah at His coming, and the new covenant. Daniel describes the four great beasts, and more particularly the last with its little horn, before whom three of the first ten horns, or kings, were subdued. “And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the high places, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the high places, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Dan. 7:25-27). If Daniel in chapter 7 is occupied with these future Jewish saints and not with the church of God, who does not see that this goes far to decide the just and complete realization of Rev. 12, 13, and of the prophetic portion generally? For it is confessed by most that the Apocalypse is, to a great extent, an expansion of those parts of Daniel’s visions which were still unfulfilled; and those who trace as the grand lesson of the former, the corruptions, persecutions, and judgment of the papacy, are sure to bend a considerable portion of the latter to the same point. On the other hand, if it be clear that Daniel bears decidedly, in the most literal and important aspect of the book, upon the Jewish remnant during “the time of the end” or closing scenes of Gentile supremacy, the Apocalypse is necessarily fixed as having (I do not say its exclusive, but) its main application in the same eventful epoch.

It is in the final results that God proves His judgment. Morally, I admit, we should say that even now there are many antichrists. One might think to hear some reason, that this showed that the Antichrist should not come. But this is not what we have heard in scripture. Neither is it that we deny local events to which many Old Testament prophecies apply. Only it is quite certain if the word of God is to be listened to, that the vast body of the results of prophecy in Old and New Testaments will have their accomplishment in a state altogether different from that which exists at present; when the church will be no longer represented as seven candlesticks on earth, but under the symbol of twenty-four enthroned elders in heaven, and God begins to resume His old associations with the Jews, chastening them in a special way, and judging their proud and blaspheming Gentile oppressors. To leave the Jewish part out, to slight it, as is commonly done, is folly and presumption. It is presumption, for God will finally prove by judgment what He really is, and the truth of all He has said of man, His hatred of sin, and His faithful mercy enduring for ever. He will demonstrate publicly and irrefragably that there is a reward for the righteous, and a God that judges in the earth. To prefer the protracted period {historicism} is to prefer the moral judgment of man to the perfect manifestation of the almighty judgment of God. It is folly, because the peace and rest which follow God’s judgment in power cannot follow our detection of the moral character of what leads to it. The consequences are spiritual vagueness — a condition of soul, in this respect, hardly beyond that of many a pious Israelite who fully acknowledged God’s providence, foreknowledge, and wisdom in controlling earthly events. Nay, the judgment and full manifestation of God therein are even less seen in this scheme than a godly Jew might have known before the first advent of Christ.

Dan. 9 may briefly illustrate what I have been seeking to explain. It is clear that this prophecy directly contemplates the Jews and Jerusalem only. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people (Daniel’s people, the Jews), and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgressions, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy” (Dan. 9:24). I do not doubt that this entire period brings us up to the end of the age {up to the appearing of the Lord in glory}. The terminus a quo {starting point} is equally clear, and, in my opinion, furnished by Neh. 2. From the command to build the city “unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks,” the briefer period being occupied probably with the building of the street and wall, and the longer period, added to it, carrying us on to the cutting off of Messiah: “After threescore and two weeks shall Messiah (not be born, or enter on His ministry merely, but) be cut off, but not for Himself.” He is rejected; His own received Him not. He died for that nation, though not for that nation only {John 11:51, 52}. Now this is most important to note. The death of the Messiah is after the sixty-nine weeks expire, and has nothing whatever to do, so far as the text informs us, with the seventieth week. Between that death and the last week an evident gap appears, not measured by dates, but simply filled up by the revelation of disasters upon the city, sanctuary, etc. In this interval we hear of another prince, not the prince who had already come to bless the city, and who was Himself cut off, but “the prince that shall come.” It was not foretold that this coming prince was to destroy the city and sanctuary, but that his people should. What people are they? Unquestionably, the Romans; and they did thus destroy. Then follows a general picture of woe to the last. “And the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”

But what of the last week? It remains entirely apart, and the particulars are given in the closing verse. “And he shall confirm covenant (not the covenant) with many (or the mass) for one week.” It is the history of the seventieth week. We have seen Messiah already out off after the sixty-nine weeks; we have heard of another prince coming, whose people, not himself, destroyed the city and the sanctuary {AD 70}. It is of this future Roman prince we are now to learn. He covenants {confirms} for one week, for seven years, with the mass of the Jews (cp. Isa. 28:14, 15, 18, 22). The covenant of Christ is an everlasting covenant, and never marred. But this is an evil covenant, and it is by-and-by broken. “In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that, determined, shall be poured upon the desolate.” This seventieth week again is taken up, though perhaps not this period only, in the Apocalypse viewed in its future application; the last half of {the seventieth} which are specified in the period of 1260 days, during which {time} are the witnesses (Rev. 11), as well as in the time of vengeance, during which the beast has power given which he uses in warring with the saints and overcoming them (Rev. 12, 13; Dan. 7). These saints, as we have seen before, are not the church, which is nowhere found on earth from the end of Rev. 3. Its earthly pilgrimage and testimony had closed before the [seventieth] week began: from Rev. 4-19 the church is seen symbolically in heaven, and in heaven only.

Thus is shown the peculiarity of our position, upon whom the ends of the ages are met. It is a novel, unprecedented and heavenly place, in no way interfering with the vast scheme of God’s earthly government: on the contrary, in this latter, room is purposely left for another field, which was entirely hidden of old, namely, for the development of the glory of Christ as the exalted Man. It is with a Christ on high the church is associated. Of course I do not speak of His incommunicable divinity, as the Son, but of a peculiar heavenly glory shared with His bride, and unknown to the Old Testament writers, who dwell so largely upon His Messianic rights. The church then began after the cutting off of Messiah, and goes up to meet the Lord in the air before the seventieth week commences with the Roman prince and his covenant. With the cross the earthly people fell under judgment, how long soever it might linger, while God was gathering a remnant to the Saviour. That same cross becomes the foundation of Christ’s heavenly body, the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. When this work is concluded, the church will be borne away to join the Lord in the air, and renewed dealings will begin with the earthly people once more. The church has, no doubt, committed to her the more complete revelation of these judgments on the Gentiles which precede the good things in store for Israel, but the strictly prophetic part of the Apocalypse is not therefore about herself. On the contrary it reveals, throughout the chief contents of it, the glorified worshipping in heaven, and the blows of divine judgment falling with a deepening intensity, till Christ and the saints come out of heaven and appear together for the destruction of the beast and the false prophet with their armies.