Part Six: Miscellaneous Texts and Subjects

Israel’s Millennial Temple

(Ezekiel 40-48) In the last section of the Book of Ezekiel the orderly arrangement of the restored nation of Israel is foretold along with a view of the sanctuary of Jehovah in the midst of the holy city, Jerusalem, then to be seen in all its millennial beauty and holiness. And I think there is no reasonable ground whatever for assuming that hitherto these prophetic chapters have in any degree been fulfilled. I deny entirely that they have any direct application to the Christian Church. I also deny altogether that the chapters may be understood to have what is called a spiritual significance. In these denials I am not referring to the whole of Ezekiel’s writings. Truths having a general application are found in previous chapters. For example, Jehovah’s promise that He will sprinkle clean water upon the house of Israel, give them a new heart and put a new spirit within them (Ezek. 36:25, 26) is of wide application, including the present day. Indeed, I have sought to preach the gospel from it, although I have not attempted to do so from the valley of dry bones! As to these closing chapters of Ezekiel, I am convinced that there is no possible way in which they can be applied to the spiritual blessings that by faith we have found to be embodied in the church, that is, found to be in Christ Jesus for the possession of the church. And I will give reasons to support this view. Jehovah’s New Temple in Jerusalem. The central feature of these last visions granted to Ezekiel was the return of the Shechinah of Jehovah to dwell again in the midst of His people in Jerusalem (Ezek 43:1-6). As related in his first chapters, the prophet had seen the abandonment of the city of Jerusalem as the abiding-place of that glory on earth. Now he beholds the return of the glory-cloud of the God of Israel “from the way of the east,” a sight never known in this world since the day of the captivity of Jehovah’s people in Babylon.

The prophet began to see these “visions of God” when among the captives by the river Chebar in the land of the Chaldeans (Ezek. 1:1-3). Ezekiel says that in these visions “brought He me into the land of Israel,” that is, Ezekiel was merely transported there in spirit. The apostle John speaks similarly in the Revelation: “I became in the Spirit on the Lord’s day”; “he carried me away in spirit to “a desert”; “he carried me away in the Spirit, and set me on a great and high mountain” (Rev. 1:10; Rev. 17:33; Rev. 21:10). So we may say that it was the power of the Spirit of God that brought Ezekiel from the land of the Chaldeans to the land of Israel (Ezek. 40:2).

Then we learn that Ezekiel was shown a man who measured the various parts of the buildings the prophet saw. He names the outer court and the inner court, the wall and the windows, and the chambers, with which the structure was abundantly supplied. We have also the porch with two tables on one side and two on the other for slaughtering the burnt-offering, the sin-offering, and the trespass-offering, with other tables, making eight in all. Details are also given of the apparatus for other sacrificial service (Ezek. 40:5-43).

At the close of this chapter, we learn of the accommodation in the building made for the priests who had charge of the house and of the altar. There were two chambers or cells, one at the north gate and one at the south gate. The prophet was told what branch of the Aaronic family will occupy these cells for the millennial temple-service.

The sons of Zadok will be chosen in that day for approach to Jehovah in ministry (Ezek. 40:46; Ezek. 43:19; Ezek. 44:15; Ezek. 48:11). This was the branch of Aaron’s line that came forward in the day of David (1 Chron. 12:28). For hundreds of years the wrong line had usurped the high-priesthood. Eli belonged to the younger branch of Aaron’s family which unlawfully possessed themselves of the high-priesthood in spite of Jehovah’s solemn promise to Phinehas (Num. 25:12, 13). But there was a restoration in the person of Zadok in David and Solomon’s time, for Jehovah is faithful in spite of man’s failure and enmity. And in the latter day of which Ezekiel speaks, we find the sons of Zadok will reappear in the priestly line, and Jehovah’s original “covenant of peace” with Phinehas will be maintained (Ezek 40:44-46). Is this merely a Symbolic Vision? Now I take it the language of this chapter is not merely figurative in meaning. There will be literal priests of Aaronic descent who will offer literal sacrifices as stated. Whether people understand it or not, the word of God on this matter is perfectly plain. Difficulties only arise because so many reason solely from the Christian thoughts and Christian truths. But is God to have none but Christians in His purposes and future dealings?

Further, is not God to be allowed the liberty of acting according to His own counsels and plans for His own people, whether earthly or heavenly? Is it not possible for Him in the future to accept sacrifices and offerings in an appointed place? I am convinced that it would be rank apostasy for a Christian to offer sacrifices and burn incense. On this ground, many feel that those chapters in Ezekiel ought not to be taken literally for the church, the Christian body. This is true; but why should they not be for the nation of Israel when converted and settled in the holy land?

When the nation repents and receives the Messiah Whom they crucified, but Whom God has glorified, they will no longer pervert but obey what God has established by His word. The sacrifices to them will be memorials of Christ’s one sacrifice, the burnt-offering from one point of view, the meal-offering from another, the sin-offering another, and so on. I take it, therefore, that these scriptures in their strict literal import apply not to the Christian assembly, but to Israel in the future, and indeed to the Gentile nations of that day also.

The New Testament scriptures that are often used to deny this interpretation are those addressed exclusively to present day Christians. They say that the Bible says, There is no more offering for sin (Heb. 10:18, 26). But this scripture applies to Christians not to the Jews. The Jews will have the remission of their sins, but they will have also sacrifices appointed as reminders of the one effectual sacrifice, of Christ, offered and accepted once for all.

I know it has been said that the offering of millennial sacrifices would be a going back in the ways of God. But this is not true. The sacrifices of Israel in the future will differ fundamentally from those in the past. Those of old were types of what Christ was coming to do sacrificially, but in those future days they will be the appointed types of what Christ has accomplished by His single sacrificial offering and death.

Thus, the establishment of sacrificial testimony to the atonement made by Christ through His crucifixion and death will ensure a continual tribute of praise to the Messiah of Israel throughout His millennial reign. The revival of sacrifices and feasts in Jerusalem will not be a retrograde step in the divine dispensations for this earth, but will rather mark the climax of His dealings with the present heavens and earth, when “all the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto Jehovah” (Ps. 22:27).

Then, after the measurements of the court and the porch (Ezek. 40:47-49), dimensions of various parts of the temple and the sanctuary are given in the next two chapters (Ezek. 41, Ezek. 42:20). Much silver and gold were used in the construction of the tabernacle in the wilderness, and of the temple by Solomon; but both metals are absent from Ezekiel’s description of the future temple. This absence, however, does not absolutely imply that neither metal will be used.

In Ezek. 41:22, it is said of the table of wood upon which the showbread was displayed before Jehovah, “This is the table which is before Jehovah.” (This designation also occurs in Mal. 1:7, 12). In Ezek. 44:7, the fat and the blood of the sacrifices are spoken of as Jehovah’s “bread.”

In Ezek. 43, Ezekiel records his vision of the return of Jehovah to the earthly city of His choice. Having described his sight of the temple-buildings (40-42), he now describes the glory of God coming to fill them. “And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east . . . And the glory of Jehovah came into the house by the way of the gate whose front was toward the east . . . and behold the glory of Jehovah filled the house” (Ezek. 43:2-5).

Moreover, the prophet learns that this restoration of Jehovah’s presence will not be of temporary duration, but will last for ever: “Son of man, this is the place of My throne, and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever; and the house of Israel shall no more defile My holy name (v. 7).

Details follow of the “law” of the house, as well as of the altar and its ordinances. It is confirmed that of the Levitical priests, those of the seed of Zadok will be chosen by Jehovah to draw near to Him and to minister unto Him (v. 19). For the sacrifices and consecration offerings will be required before the burn-offerings are offered and blood sprinkled upon the altar for seven days. “Upon the eighth day and onwards the priests shall offer your burnt-offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord Jehovah” (vv. 8-27). A Prince of the House of David At first, the prophet saw the gate open, but now he sees it closed. And he brought me back toward the outer gate of the sanctuary which looked toward the east; and it was shut” (Ezek. 44:1). By His own sovereign right Jehovah, the God of Israel, had entered the sanctuary to dwell there. And the glory of Jehovah filled the house of Jehovah.” By Jehovah’s command, the gate was to be shut, and no one was to enter by it, save the prince, who should sit in it to eat bread before Jehovah; “he shall enter by the way of the porch of the gate, and shall go out by the way of the same” (Ezek. 44:2, 3).

It is important to observe that Israel in the millennial kingdom will have a prince upon earth who will go in and out of the sanctuary. Who is this prince? Certainly not the Lord Jesus, the Messiah Himself. He will be the earthly representative of Jehovah and His Christ, and of Him we learn more in Ezek. 45 and 46. Doubtless he will be a direct descendant of David, God’s chosen king of Israel. In ch. 46, he is associated with the people in their sacrificial offerings to Jehovah.

This chapter to the end (Ezek. 44:4-31) deals with the ordinances of the house and the priesthood. The Lord Jehovah rebukes the iniquities of the past in connection with His sanctuary where above all other places on earth His holiness should have been upheld. The past failures of the Levites and the priesthood are recounted as a solemn warning for the future. Sundry regulations are also given for the conduct of the priests, the sons of Zadok, who will be chosen to present Jehovah the fat and the blood of the sacrifices (vv. 15-31).

Ezek. 45 introduces a feature in the division of the holy land during the millennium, which will be a new one. “When the land is divided by lot for inheritance, a portion shall be presented to Jehovah for a heave-offering. This will be the “holy portion of the land.” It will be reserved for the service of the priests who do the service of the sanctuary (Ezek. 45:1-4).

Further details follow of the future agreements to be observed for the various services of the sanctuary (Ezek. 45:5-17), and these are followed by details concerning the sacrificial offerings to be made at the various feasts of the year (Ezek. 45:8 - 46:24). There were to be offerings on the first day of the first month in the year to purge the sanctuary. On the fourteenth day of the same month they must keep the Passover, a feast of unleavened bread for seven days; and the prince also must offer the appointed sacrifices (Ezek. 45:8-24). On the fifteenth of the seventh month the feast of tabernacles was to be kept with the appropriate offerings (Ezek. 45:25). No reference is made to the day of atonement on the tenth of the seventh month.

It is remarkable that no mention is made of the feast of weeks or Pentecost. Its absence from the list of feasts seen in Ezekiel’s visions is an indication that it relates to what will be Jewish and not to what is Christian. The result of the Spirit’s descent at Pentecost was that believers from every nationality were baptized into one body, national distinction disappearing. But in the millennium, though the Spirit will be poured out upon all flesh, Israel and the Gentiles will retain their separate nationalities. This is beyond question, but the absence of the feast of weeks from Ezekiel’s list is often overlooked.

In Ezek. 46, the visions seen by the prophet relate to the prince, to the people, and to the priests in their worship. The ritual for the new moons and the Sabbaths is also revealed.

The rules applying to the prince are noticeable. In Ezek. 44:3, he has the right of entering and of leaving by the gate of the sanctuary, and also of sitting there “to eat bread before Jehovah.” No one else uses this gate but himself, for he is the prince of the house of David (cp. Ezek. 44:2-3). But on the feast days he goes in for worship with the people in order that he should not exalt himself overmuch. “The prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate . . . and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate” (Ezek. 46:2). He thus takes his place with the people of Israel in rendering homage to Jehovah.

It is evident that we could not apply this regulation for the prince to the Lord Jesus without irreverence. But the prince is His delegate, and in that office he is alone, yet as one of the chosen nation of Israel he takes his part in the offerings and sacrifices of the people.

Then again, the same distinction is observable in the regulation for any disposal of the prince’s property (Ezek. 46:16-18). The prince’s inheritance shall be to his sons, and shall remain in the family. If he bestows any property to his servants, it must return to the family in the year of jubilee. It is impossible to think of such a rule applying to the Lord Jesus. It applies, however, throughout the millennial kingdom to His representative on the earth, who will be a scion of the house of David discovered and brought forward by Jehovah, as He discovered the sons of Zadok in the Aaronic line, and rewarded their faithfulness to Him (Ezek. 48:11).

Lastly, the prophet sees the cooking places or kitchens where the priests will boil the sin and the trespass offerings, and bake the oblations for the sacrificial meals of the people (Ezek. 46:19-24). The Flow of Healing Waters Ezekiel is next shown a remarkable phenomenon in the land of Israel which will characterize the introduction of millennial blessedness with its mitigation of the primeval curse (Ezek. 47:1-14). The prophet sees a miraculous stream of waters issuing from the threshold of the house and flowing eastward towards the Dead Sea, changing the face of the countryside from barren desolation to luxuriant fertility (Ezek. 47:1-9).

Previously to Ezekiel’s vision, the prophet Joel had foretold the coming of these miraculous waters: “a fountain shall come forth from the house of Jehovah, and shall water the valley of Shittim” (Joel 3:19). A later prophet also spoke of the same millennial marvel: “It shall come to pass in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the eastern sea, and half of them toward the hinder (western) sea: in summer and in winter shall it be” (Zech. 14:8). Like material blessing will of course spread from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. The Dead Sea and its neighborhood represent symbolically the utter ruin which man by his sin brought into the world bestowed upon him as his dominion (Gen. 1:28-30). But “the wages of sin is death.”

However, then “it shall come to pass that every living thing which moveth, whithersoever the double river shall come, shall live” (Ezek. 47:9). The fish of the sea shall also be multiplied. But not every part of the earth will be fully restored by the “healing waters.” “Its marshes and its pools shall not be healed; they shall be given up to salt” (Ezek. 47:11). The fullness and absolute perfection of the new heavens and the new earth in the eternal state will not be realized during the millennium. Here we read of the “great sea” and of “the great multitude of fish”; but no sea will exist in the eternal state when God will tabernacle with men; the present earth with its land and sea will then have passed away for ever (Rev. 21:1-3). A New Distribution of the Tribes The close of the Book of Ezekiel describes a fresh division of the land among the twelve tribes of Israel (Ezek. 47:13 - 48:35). In the millennial kingdom, the tribal inheritances will be arranged in parallel strips of territory extending eastward from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan. The whole land from north to south will consist of twelve belt-like portions, divided in the neighborhood of Jerusalem by Jehovah’s portion, called the holy oblation or heave-offering which will be for the prince, the priests and the Levites, the sanctuary being in the midst (Ezek. 48:8-22). In the allotment of the land among the tribes, Jehovah said, “Joseph shall have two portions” (Ezek. 47:13), that is, one for Manasseh and one for Ephraim. Levi is not included with the twelve, but has his share in the sacred heave-offering, of land devoted to Jehovah’s service (Ezek. 48:13, 14). The land of Gilead and Bashan to the east of the Jordan, originally occupied by the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 22) is not included by Jehovah. These tribes made a mistake originally in seeking a premature settlement outside the Holy Land. Their error will be rectified when the millennial kingdom is established.

The centre of that kingdom will be the City of Jerusalem with its twelve gates. But the city will have a new name in that day of righteousness and peace. It will be known as Jehovah-Shammah, the LORD is there (Ezek 48:30-35).

Note on the Same Subject The future temple will have double-leaved doors instead of a screen, and a veil then renewed. Yet the sons of Israel and even the prince have no entry into the house only the priests. There is no question of going within. Still the differences are marked and instructive. There will then be no evening lamp; for Jehovah their light is for ever risen upon Zion. No candlestick is needed any more, but the altar within is Jehovah’s table; and no high-priest ministers. There is no Pentecost any more, for it is already consummated in the church. There is no feast of trumpets, for the earthly people have already been summoned and gathered; and there is no longer an atonement day for the work was done, and the people had afflicted their souls when they looked to Him Whom they pierced. The Red Heifer disappears. But the Passover abides as the memorial of redemption, and the feast of Tabernacles will mark their place and blessing. The altar of holocausts or burnt offerings has an absolutely central place, though of course outside the sanctuary; for seven days atonement is made for it; and on the eighth onward the priests offer Israel’s burnt offerings and peace offerings. Sabbaths and new moons are still celebrated as witnesses of rest come and of Israel’s regaining their place. No table with the twelve loaves is seen, for Israel’s tribes were them selves before Him; no candlestick, for the True Light was seen. In the Holiest is no sign; no ark is needed; Jehovah fills the house alone. From unpublished MSS. Taken from The Bible Monthly, vol. 26 (1952).

The Little Horn of Daniel 7

Q. — Can the little Horn of Dan. 7 be the last Roman Emperor? Is he not rather the Jewish Anti-Christ? On the one hand the ten Horns are not the beast, nor is the little Horn which comes up among them, and destroys three of the first Horns. And as the Beast was destroyed because of the great words the Horn spoke, their distinction is clear on the other. Taking the little horn as the Wilful King, or the Anti-Christ, he is the Beast’s minion, and corresponds more with the Second Beast of Rev.13. He has. all cunning (eyes like those of man), pleases the Beast, and represents him, though a distinct personage.

(condensed from) L.P. A. — It is quite true that John’s Anti-Christ (or wilful king of Dan. 9:36 et seqq.), being the subordinate of the Beast as to earthly power, is the Second Beast or false prophet {of Rev. 13:11-18}, the highest pretender to spiritual eminence and energy, answering to the man of sin in 2 Thess. 2. They are, one no less than the other, worshipped, and they perish together in the lake of fire (Rev. 19). But the Roman empire, or first Beast of Rev. 13, has a chief; and this clearly the little Horn, which came up after the ten, dispossessed three, and became the dominant power, to which the rest gave their kingdoms as vassals. Dan. 7 alone gives the historic details. It is the once little Horn become great, whose pride and blasphemies brought judgment on the imperial Beast as a whole. In the Revelation, which gives character rather than history, it is the Beast that said and did what its last ruler said and did. Compare Dan. 7:8-11, 20, 21, 24, 25, with Rev. 13:4-7. This solves the difficulty. The Revelation therefore does not distinguish this last Horn as such like Daniel, but attributes to the Beast in its last form what Daniel predicated historically of the little Horn. So true is this, that Rev. 17:11 identifies the Beast or Roman empire with the eighth resurrection head, which answers to Daniel’s little Horn; and in v. 12 takes no notice of the then fallen Horns. John speaks of the characteristic ten Horns. There is the clearest guard against confounding him with the second beast, the lawless king in Judea (Anti-Christ).

There is no doubt that the Roman imperial Horn is said to have “eyes like the eyes of a man”; but this only symbolizes his extraordinary intelligence and insight humanly. The second Beast pretends to give breath and speech to the inanimate, as well as to call fire from heaven in the sight of men — the crucial proof of Jehovah as God against Baal in Elijah’s day. Again, it is certain that the Roman prince in Dan. 9 causes sacrifice and oblation to cease in the temple; so that his thinking to change times and laws was quite consistent with Dan. 7, instead of bringing the Anti-Christ into what belongs to the Roman power. But as they are confederates, it is easy to identify them mistakenly.

We must also beware of the still more prevalent confusion of the little Horn of Dan. 8 with either the Emperor in Rome or the Anti-Christ in Jerusalem. He is the enemy of both, being “the Assyrian” of the prophets in general, and the “king of the north,” whose last doings and end we read of in Dan. 11:40-45. He is destroyed no less signally than the Beast and the False Prophet soon after their awful catastrophe.

The Bible Treasury, New Series 2:32.

Daniel 7:1, 6, 17, 24 The book of yours which I have by me is, Lectures on the Book of Daniel, second edition.

Q. 1. I cannot reconcile some passages in it with Scripture. On page 103 I read: “The first was like a lion and had eagle’s wings.” There, beyond question, we have the empire of Babylon (and on page 33) Babylon was first made an empire of in the person of Nebuchadnezzar, who here includes, as it were, those that were to follow. Surely the description in Dan. 7:2, 3, “. . . behold the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from the other” in no way applies to Nebuchadnezzar’s accession to the throne of Babylon. Was not his father Nabopolassar king of Babylon before him?

Q. 2. In pages 106 and 107 Alexander’s (the Grecian) kingdom is represented (you say) in the vision by the Leopard which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads. [You add] There you have not so much what was found in Alexander himself, but rather in his successors. Why do you say so? The scriptures must be correct. The leopard appeared with four heads, not with one which was replaced by four, like Alexander’s one kingdom which was divided into four! The interpretation of this vision in Dan. 7:17 (“These great beasts which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth”) was given within some three years of the fall of the Babylonian empire. And yet you say, “The first was like a lion and had eagle’s wings.” There beyond question we have the empire of Babylon (p. 103). The interpretation given to Daniel says “shall arise,” while the Babylonian empire began (p. 33) in Nebuchadnezzar some (?) sixty-six years before.

J. S. O. A. 1. The book of Daniel is itself the nearest and weightiest help to explain the difficulties of its several parts. Thus Dan. 2 and 7 reflect light one on another. There is a manifest unity in the colossal image seen in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, which has its answer in “the four great beasts” that “came up from the sea” in Daniel’s vision during the first year of Belshazzar’s reign. In the visions all were thus seen at once, though in historical fact they were to succeed each other; as the rest of the chapter would plainly enough indicate. It was not a question of what Babylon had been, or of Nebuchadnezzar’s succeeding Nabopolassar, but of God’s gift of world-empire to these four successive powers. They begin with Nebuchadnezzar, and are terminated by the judgment to be executed on the final form of the fourth or Roman empire by the Stone cut without hands, i.e. God’s kingdom wielded by the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven. Nabopolassar was doubtless king of Babylon; but in no way head of the image or imperial system which commenced with his son Nebuchadnezzar, to whom God gave this place expressly. He, not his father, could say though arrogantly, “Is not this great Babylon that I have built?” as he built enormously besides. His foreign conquests were great, yet less momentous than his energetic home policy. But his overthrow of the Jewish kingdom in its last stronghold was the turning-point, and in him the Gentile imperial system began. Dan. 2:37, 38 affords light clear enough for beginning with Nebuchadnezzar and excluding his father or any other before him; as no reasonable mind doubts the parallelism of the two chapters. Compare Jer. 27, Ezek. 12, 17. A. 2. Here the comparison of Dan. 8:21, 22 simply and fully solves the difficulty as to Dan. 7:6. So one must say because scripture so explains. The later vision of Dan. 8 beast on important details of the second and third powers, laying aside all reference to the first and fourth in Dan. 7. “It is written again” is of the greatest moment when “It is written” is misapplied. Scripture is everywhere consistent as well surely correct. The fourth beast appears with ten horns; yet we know from other scriptures that these mean ten kings at the very close of the last empire, in no way that they were so found when that empire first began. The same remark applies to the four heads of the leopard or Macedonian empire. Each vision gives characteristic differences without in the least implying that they all appeared from the start. Other or subsequent statements correct such an inference as unfounded and contrary to fact.

So “shall arise” in Dan. 7:17 must in fairness be taken as a whole, connecting the three powers to come with the Babylonian though already in being and tottering to its fall. To construe the words with such rigid technicality as to exclude the Babylonish empire from answering to the lion with eagle’s wings is, not a difficulty for my exposition, but really a setting of Dan. 7 in opposition to Dan. 2 and a groundless upturning of the plain fact. From a full consideration of these scriptures I hold that truth calls one to interpret the “four kings” which “shall arise” as comprising the beginning to the end of these earthly bestial systems, but not so as to exclude the first beast from Nebuchadnezzar’s day; for this would set scripture against scripture and thus disproves itself as erroneous. “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.” One cannot fairly use this to deny retrospect, but must include Babylon from Nebuchadnezzar. For the object is to give the imperial system relative unity; whilst “the first” and “another,” etc. in vv. 4-7, gave also succession adequately, as indeed had been done yet more plainly in Dan. 2. Dan. 2:11, 12 contrast a prolonging of the three previous beasts after the loss of dominion; whereas the fourth is utterly destroyed when it ceases to be an imperial power at the close. Scripture therefore sustains the statements questioned, without meddling with the ordinary version of the passages; it shows that the difficulty lies rather in divorcing one text from another, instead of receiving all. Scripture cannot be broken. The prophetic manner also must be borne in mind. A priori expectations of what or how God should reveal are sure to be disappointed. Our blessing is to own His wisdom and goodness in what He gives or withholds. The Holy Spirit, as He wrote all in view of Christ’s glory, so works in giving us to expound aright just go far as we have His glory in view, the true safeguard of explaining aright.

Even the incredulous Gibbon in his Letter to Bp. Hurd (Hurd’s Work, V. pp. 365, 366) says, The four empires are clearly delineated, the expedition of Xerxes into Greece, the rapid conquest of Persia by Alexander, his untimely death without posterity, the division of his vast monarchy into four kingdoms, one of which is mentioned by name, their various wars and intermarriages, the persecution of Antiochus, the profanation of the temple, and the invincible arms of the Romans are described with as much perspicuity in the prophecies of Daniel, as in the histories of Justin and Diodorus. From such a perfect resemblance the artful infidel would infer that both were alike composed after the event. He argued that the author of the Book of Daniel was too well informed of the revolutions of the Persian and Macedonian empires, supposed to have happened long after his death; and that he was too ignorant of the transactions in his own times: in a word, that he was too exact for a prophet, and too fabulous for a contemporary historian.

It is enough to reply that the book is no less distinct in Dan. 9 about Christ’s death and the destruction of Jerusalem; and that the alleged contemporaneous history is declared to be at “the time of the end” when Israel are to be delivered, and therefore, as future, necessarily unfulfilled prophecy. Hence, to say “fabulous” is not only premature but ignorant, as it will be surely proved to be the baseless scepticism of Gibbon, in the wake of Porphyry. But even they took no exception to the Four Empires as laid down in Dan. 2, 7, and saw no such force in Dan. 7:2, 3, 6, or 17, as to enfeeble that interpretation. Now there was no empire of Rome until long after the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, where it pleases unbelief to imagine the writing of the book of Daniel. Yet the book not only speaks of a fourth or Roman empire, but dwells with peculiar fulness on its last phase, not yet accomplished, when its blasphemy is to draw down the holy vengeance of the Son of man. Then will follow, not the white throne judgment when the wicked dead shall arise from their graves for judgment, but the kingdom which He shall previously exercise over all peoples, nations, and languages. This therefore clearly presupposes the earth, when it shall be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea. Indeed even before that kingdom the latter part of Dan. 11 shows us “the time of the end,” in which Antiochus Epiphanes has no place whatever. But three kings figure: “the king” (Dan. 11:36-40) in the land, who will be so distinct from the then “king of the north” and the “king of the south,” that they will both attack him at the same time. Dan. 11:41-45 are occupied exclusively with “the king of the north” in that future. day, who becomes an especial object of divine wrath as “the king,” we know from elsewhere, will have been before him. Thus minutely writes the prophet on the solemn crisis at “the end of the age,” which future detail is clearly after the gap where Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabees are done with.

The Bible Treasury 15:367, 368.

The Little Horns of Daniel 7 and 8: Not the Same

Q. — J. C. asks whether the little horn of Dan. 8 is distinct from that of Dan. 7.

A. — First, the very language differs. The prophet, who wrote in Aramaic from ch.2:4, returned to Hebrew after ch. 7. The course of the four world-powers is given in a most instructive two-fold form, one Nebuchadnezzar’s vision (2), the other Daniel’s (7), with corresponding differences, in the language of the first empire, the captor of Judah. The chapters between contribute important moral features needed to fill up the divinely given picture. From Dan. 8. we receive special details which concern the Jews, which are a accordingly given in Hebrew.

Secondly, Dan. 8 deals with the second and third of the world-powers, Med.-Persia, and Javan or Greece the first great ruler of which was to have his vast kingdom broken into four in due time after his death, and of course with inferior power. One of these was to meddle disastrously with the Jews and their religion and worship above all, whether in the type that is fulfilled, or in the antitype of the latter time “when the transgressors are come to the full.

Thirdly, the empire of Babylon, the lion-like beast with eagle’s wings, had a unity peculiar to itself. The Medo-Persian ( a bear in ch. 7, a ram in ch. 8 with two high horns of which the higher came up last) answers truly and solely to the second of these world-powers, which, fierce and devouring in general, was mild and generous toward the Jews, as indeed was the notable horn of the Macedonian power, Alexander the Great. In this third empire the marked and settled partition after its founder’s death was four-fold, which no historian can question.

But the no less marked division of the fourth or Roman power is into ten horns, of course contemporary, with one small at its rise which plucks up three by the roots, as remarkable for its intelligence as for its pride and blasphemous audacity. Here however we are in presence of that which awaits its fulfilment, even admitting a partial application to past history. For that horn by its lawlessness brings on, not providential loss of dominion as in the case of the earlier beasts, but direct, distinctive, and divine judgment at the appearing of God’s kingdom in the person of the Son of man. How can these things be? The Revelation answers by the rising again of the fourth or Roman empire, when its imperial head (slain unto death) is healed to the wonder of the whole world (Rev. 13:3), the beast that was, and is not (its present negation), and shall be present, having emerged from the abyss. For it will be the brief destined hour of the dragon’s wrath, power, and authority. Here also is shown that the Roman beast had distinctively seven successive forms of government or heads, besides (at the close, if not before also) ten contemporaneous horns or kings. Cp. Rev. 17:8- 12 with Dan. 7.

Clearly then it is no question in Dan. 8 of the Roman power of ch. 7, whose last horn, little at first, greater afterwards, is to wield and direct the whole force of the empire, so as by his blasphemies to meet destructive judgment from God. He will be the immediate precursor of the Son of Man’s coming in his kingdom. Even the unspiritual Josephus could not but see this, though he was prudent enough to be reticent on a future so repulsive to his Roman patrons. But Dan. 8 speaks not of the west but of the east, even of the Graeco-Syrian king dom and its persecuting profanation in the person of Antiochus Epiphanes, of whom we have ample details in Dan. 11:21-31. Indeed the prediction is so exact as to surpass what. any ancient historian extant furnishes; so much so that the heathen Porphyry betook himself to the same refuge of unbelief which the destructive critics of late days affect — the pretense of a writer in Maccabean times, who personated Daniel in Babylon! The vision in Dan. 8:9-14 dwells on what is now history; the interpretation, in 23-25, mainly on what is yet to be fulfilled.

It is well to observe that Dan. 8:11 and the first half of 12 are really a parenthesis. The change of gender “he,” faithfully owned in the A. V., is slighted in the R. V. Its aim seems to have been to make the personality stronger, and here therefore to refer rather to the antitype than to the historical horn, which before and after the parenthesis is called “it.” In the interpretation nothing is said of the “2300 evenings-mornings,” or 1150 days, and of treading down the sanctuary, which may therefore be accomplished already. This period is known to be approximately near: none can deny its absolute exactness, of which the believer is sure. Prophecy interprets history, not the converse. The one is absolutely reliable, as from God; the other imperfect at best, often partial and prejudiced, too often adverse to the truth. The historical horn did not play the Solomonic part of “understanding dark sentences” to deceive the Jews, reserved for the antitype, who is also to be “mighty, but not by his own power.” This can hardly be said of Antiochus Epiphanes. The future apostate ruler of Turkey in Asia, the enemy of Israel, will be sustained by a mightier monarch still farther north. See Ezek. 38, 39.

As to unfulfilled prophecy, superstition (slave of tradition) is dull and dark, rationalism is blind and hostile to God. Superstition is not faith and therefore incapable of understanding beforehand; rationalism is in principle antagonistic to the truth, for it denies that prophecy is ever specific, and especially on the remote future. Hence, as superstition is unbelieving and unexercised, so rationalism offers nothing but futile interpretations to blot out the glorious future of God’s kingdom by any little earnest in the past. But this falls so short as to give the willing impression that the prophets exaggerated or lied, like the poets or politicians of the day. Who but the unintelligent could confound the little horn of Dan. 8 with that of ch. 7? or either the western or the north-eastern chief with the wilful king, to reign at the time of the end in Palestine, described in Dan. 11:36-39? The last no doubt is the Antichrist, here viewed politically, in 2 Thess. 2 religiously as the man of sin opposed to the Man of righteousness, Who will appear from heaven to destroy him. There are many antichrists; but this does not justify the pretentious ignorance of scripture, which jumbles all three into Antiochus Epiphanes. For he was but a type of the final representative of that power, the enemy of the Antichrist whose ally is the last chief of the Roman empire: all to perish for ever in the day of Jehovah.

The Bible Treasury 19:207, 208.

Daniel 8:14

Q. — Dan. 8:14. The meaning of this verse is enquired; and the question is raised if the “2,300 evenings-mornings” apply to the desolation since the Roman destruction of Jerusalem under Titus. F. F. T. (Dublin).

A. — It helps to clear the book and its particular visions if we observe that the last Beast in Dan. 7 is the western Empire; and Rev. 11-13, 17 enables us to say the Roman Empire revived but pointedly distinguished from Babylon the Harlot, viewed as a great city as well as the great corruptress of Christendom. Here the Beast and the ten horns, his vassal kings, unite to destroy; but they are themselves destroyed by the Lamb when He returns with His glorified saints from heaven (Rev. 17:4, 19:14). No ingenuity can make these revealed facts fit into the Protestant interpretation, as I showed many years ago in reviewing the last edition of Mr. Elliott’s Horae Apoc. before he died.

One main defect of that hypothesis is that it neglects the final future crisis for the Jewish people and the land before the Lord appears in glory and judgment. Another is that the proper Christian and church hope is not appreciated by this school, but mixed up with the Jewish. The times and seasons, which wholly pertain to the earthly people, are misapplied to Christians. These are not of the world and are called to be ever expecting the Lord Jesus, to take them to Himself and the Father’s house, before the unaccomplished measures of time begin to apply to the Jews and the powers of the world at the end of this age.

This chapter however brings to light a power in the east, not Roman, but from the Seleucid quarter of Alexander’s divided empire. And we have to distinguish the general vision of which v. 14 forms the close from the interpretation which deals with the future catastrophe and goes from v. 19 to v. 26. For the interpretations given by scripture add fresh light, and enable us to discriminate the part accomplished in Antiochus Epiphanes from the final enemy of Israel in the N.E. Of him we hear much in Dan. 9, “the king of the north” at the end, who is to be judged no less awfully than the Roman emperor of that day, and his antichristian colleague, the false prophet-king in the land. This N.E. power is the same predicted by “the Assyrian” of Isaiah, Micah, and other prophets.

There are no dates attached to Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of the four great Gentile empires raised up successively on the apostasy of the Jews, and set aside by the kingdom of God figured by the little Stone. But in the corresponding vision of the four Beasts, judged and superseded by the universal kingdom of the Son of man when the saints of the heavenly places appear, and the people of those saints, we have the well-known formula of “a time, times, and half a time,” i.e. three years and a half, during which times and laws will be given into the hand of their western enemy. Dan. 8. is occupied with the east, and “the daily” is taken away “by reason of transgression”; and the peculiar term occurs of “2,300 evenings-mornings,” which I see no reason to doubt was literally accomplished in Antiochus Epiphanes of whom we hear so much, in Dan. 11:21-32. But the special object is the enemy “at the last end of the indignation.” In Dan. 9 we have another sort of computation — by “Weeks,” or periods of seven years; and there the Roman capture of Jerusalem is plainly set out, though in the general interval without date after the cutting off of the Messiah. But the last week, severed from the chain, awaits its completion in the doings of both the Western emperor and his eastern antagonist at the end of the age. In Dan. 11:36-39 the Antichrist (who is to reign over the land and be the object of attack “at the time of the end” to both the king of the south and the king of the north) is seen. And the last chapter gives a variety of dates but all bearing on that future crisis, our Lord in Matt. 24:15 directing particular attention to verse 11.

The Bible Treasury, New Series 1:319.

Translation of Daniel 9:26, 27

Q .- Dan. 9:26, 27. Is Young’s version correct, or that of the A. and R. Versions? The latter substantially agree; but Young changes the sense by confounding Christ with the one who confirms in v. 27. Have the English translators forced the Hebrew? or is Young without warrant? I greatly desire information. G .A .S. — N. J., U. S. A.

A. — There need be no hesitation in accepting the general sense of the A. V., modified by the Revisers. The article of reference is due to “sixty-two weeks,” after which Messiah was to be cut off and “have nothing,” as the Genevese E. V. had already rightly said. But the force of the next clause is utterly missed by Dr. R. Young. It really means, “And the people of the prince that shall come [in contrast with Messiah the Prince already come and cut off] shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood [or overflow], and even to the end war — desolations determined. And he [the coming prince] shall confirm a covenant with the many [the apostate mass of the Jew] for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause sacrifice and oblation to cease; and because of sheltering [lit. wing of] abominations [or idols] a desolator, [shall be], even until the consumption and that determined shall be poured out upon the desolate.” So in fact the Roman people (not yet their coming prince) did come, and destroy the city and the temple [or holy place], followed by a flood of desolations on the guilty people and on Jerusalem for ages. But the time hastens, when the thread must be resumed and the last or postponed week of the 70 be accomplished. Then the coming Roman prince, in his incipient form, shall confirm covenant with the ungodly majority of the Jews, “the many,” but break it by putting down their worship, and protecting idolatry and the Antichrist as we know. from elsewhere. This will bring on the closing scenes of the Assyrian, or king of the north (Isa. 10, 28, 29; Dan. 11:40-45), “the desolator”; and the last word of predicted judgment will be accomplished on Jerusalem. The death of Messiah broke the chain; but that closing link has yet to be joined, and all will be fulfilled in due season. The attempt to foist in the gospel is baseless. To translate the last verse, as Wintle does, following ancient versions, may be grammatically possible, but is unaccountably harsh, if not absurd: “Yet one week shall make a firm covenant with many, and the midst of the week shall cause the sacrifice and the meat offering to cease” etc. With what propriety or even sense could “one week,” or its half, do these remarkable things? The coming Roman prince is to confirm a covenant with “the mass” of Jews for seven years; and then breaks it when half the time expires. How strange to attribute either to the Messiah! “The many rejected Him and shall receive the Antichrist. “Many” and “the many” are by no means to be confused in Daniel, any more than elsewhere. Translators (the Revisers among the rest) have not heeded the distinction, nor have commentators generally. It is the few, or the remnant, who receive the Messiah in faith, and in due time (when their wicked brethren, “the many” meet their doom) become the “Israel” that “shall be saved” {Rom. 11:26}. This plainly and powerfully refutes the assumption that the last verse alludes to Christ’s covenant. It is rather a covenant with death and hell; as Isa. 28:15 also lets us know. This will be fox seven years, but broken.

The Bible Treasury 20:255, 256.

Daniel 9:27 I believe that it is impossible legitimately to connect the death of the Messiah with the Covenant confirmed with the mass, or many, for one week (i.e. 7 years) in this passage; and that for several reasons. First, the Messiah was already regarded as “cut off”‘ at the close of a previous division of the weeks, viz. after the first 7 + 62 = 69 weeks = 483 years. Secondly, the disastrous end of the city and the sanctuary is supposed to have come before the seventieth week begins. (Compare the conclusion of v. 26.) After the Messiah was cut off and before the last week, it will be noticed by the careful reader that there is an interval of indefinite length, filled up by the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and a course of war and desolation which is not yet terminated. Thirdly, after all this, comes the last or seventieth week, which has to do with Antichrist as clearly as the first 69 weeks bring us down to Christ’s death, the interruption of the chain being left room for, and supplied in the latter part of verse 26. Fourthly, it is clear that when the Messiah has been cut off, another personage is spoken of as “the prince that shall come, whom it is absurd to confound with the Messiah, because it is His people who ravage the Jewish city and sanctuary: that is, it is a Roman prince, and not the promised Head of Israel. Fifthly, as this future prince of the Romans is the last person spoken of, it is most natural, unless adequate reasons appear to the contrary, to consider that verse 27 refers to him, and not to the slain Messiah: “and he shall confirm covenant” (not “the” covenant, as the margin shows). Sixthly, this is remarkably strengthened by the time for which the covenant is made {confirmed}, namely, for seven years, which has, in my opinion, no sense if applied to anything founded on the Lord’s death, but exactly coincides with the two periods of 1,260 days (Rev. 11) and 42 months (Rev. 13), during which the Roman beast acts variously in the Apocalypse. Seventhly, it is yet more fortified by the additional-fact that, when half the time of this Covenant expires, “He shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease,” just as might be gathered from Rev. 11 and other Scriptures.

Christian Annotator 4:71 (1857).

The Antichrist

Daniel 11:36 “The king,” in Dan. 11:36, is, without doubt to my mind, the political side of the same Person whom St. John designates religiously or irreligiously as “the Antichrist.” It is clear from Daniel that his seat of power is “the Holy Land” the object of attacks at the close from the powers of the South and of the North (i.e. Egypt, Syria or Turkey of our days). However, his destruction is reserved for the Lord Himself, appearing from heaven (2 Thess. 2:8, Rev. 19:20). It is of the Syrian power (whoever then may hold it) that the last verses of Dan. 11 speak. He also falls by Divine judgment (see Dan. 8:25, 11:45).

The relation of Daniel to the Revelation is a wide subject; but this I may briefly say, that, as Daniel reveals the results of the failure of the earthly people Israel, so Revelation presents the consequences of the failure of the heavenly testimony through out Christendom and the world at large. This remark may help to show the analogy and the difference between the two prophecies. What the former was to the Jew, the latter is to the Church.

Daniel 12:11, 12

I do not think that this passage has the slightest reference to Antiochus Epiphanes; but I am of opinion that Dan. 11:31 was accomplished then, and of this the first and second books of Maccabees treat. Of course there is a strong analogy between the two texts and the evil described, as there will be between that which Antiochus did and “the king” who is to perpetrate even greater abominations in the latter day. It is of this last only that Dan. 12:11, and to this text, not to the former, our Lord referred, in Matt. 24:15. For, clearly, a future scene of iniquity is predicted in the gospel; and this, necessarily, sets aside reference to a monarch who died more than a century and a half before the Lord was born. May I add to Mr. E. B. Elliott’s remark about the absence of the article in Dan. 12:11 , while it occurs in Dan. 11:31, that there is this difference also: the text in ch. 11 strictly means “the abomination of the desolator” (polel. part.), whereas in 12 it is simply desolate, making desolate, or, of desolation (kal. part.). Both forms occur in Dan. 9:27, which strictly runs, I suppose, “and for the wing (i.e., protection, or overspreading) of abominations (idols), there shall be a desolator, even until the consummation, and the decreed sentence be poured upon the desolate.” It is quite impossible to maintain that this was accomplished in the siege of Jerusalem by Titus; for in no sense were the 1290 days (taken either as days or years) followed by the final and eternal blessing of Israel, which the prophecy imports. It is to a future crisis, then, that the prediction applies; and even Mr. Elliott, keenly opposed as He ordinarily is to futurism, allows that these dates may be, as I am entirely persuaded they will be, literal days. The symbolical adjuncts of Dan. 7, 8 are wanting: all here is conveyed in plain and unfigurative terms. Compare with this Matt. 24:22, and indeed the context before and after, which, though partially accomplished, awaits the same times for its fulfillment. The 30 and 45 days, in addition to the 1260, may refer to the ingathering of the Jews and Israel, or, to other changes, after the power of’ evil is overthrown, preparatory to complete blessing

Christian Annotator 3:272 (1856).

Many:

Daniel 12:2

Many Christians . . . apply this passage to a literal resurrection. But they are involved in difficulties, from which ingenuity essays in vain, as I think, to extricate them. Instead of commenting on what appears to me mistakes, let me state my firm conviction that a national resuscitation of Daniel’s people, i.e. Israel, is in question here, as in Isa. 26 and Ezek.37. This being understood the entire context is plain. It is at the time of their deepest distress that Michael stands up, and not merely are all those elect Jews delivered who have been glanced at in the previous parts of this prophecy, but many who are dispersed, as it were buried, or at least slumbering, among the Gentiles, awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Compare Isa. 66, sub finem.). Then follows the peculiar blessedness of the “Maschilim,” i.e. the understanding ones, that instruct the mass in righteousness, who, instead of going out like the moon, though it may appear again, shine as the stars for ever and ever. This figurative application of a resurrection to Israel’s circumstances at the close of the age, is of course perfectly consistent with a real bodily resurrection of saints before, and of the wicked after, the millennium, as in Rev. 20:4-12.

I am aware of the assertion that the phrase — is never used elsewhere in Hebrew as distributive of a general class previously mentioned. But I believe it to be unfounded. The reader has only to examine Joshua 8:22, and he will see that the pronoun is used in a similar way, Israel being the general class, and the same expression as here taking it up distributively. Accordingly, our English Bible in both cases, and in my judgment rightly, translates “some and some.” Of course, it is not denied that in certain circumstances “these” and “those” would well represent the meaning. My opinion is that the other is an equally legitimate rendering, wherever required by the context, as I conceive it to be in both the texts cited. And such, I find, is the view of the Vulgate and Luther as to Dan. 12:2.

Again, I have no sympathy with those who apply this verse to mere temporal deliverance. But it is not a necessary inference, on the other hand, that the words “everlasting life” imply a resurrection-state. People forget that the saved Israelites in question are supposed to possess eternal life, which certainly may be before any change as to the body. It may help some readers to notice a somewhat parallel case, both in good and evil, as respects the Gentiles in Matt. 24:46.

Plainly, they are the nations at the beginning of the millennium discriminated as sheep and goats, and dealt with by the king without delay. “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.” So, when Israel reapears in that day, sad examples are to “whose worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring to all flesh”; while others are to be brought an offering to the Lord, who shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. These awake to everlasting life; the others are abandoned to shame and everlasting contempt, apart from the question of {literal} resurrection. It will be a time, not of national deliverance merely, but of signal mercy and judgment from God; and this for Israel after their long sleep among the Gentiles, as well as for such Jews as will have figured more in the previous crisis in the land. The Maschilim seem to be a special class still more distinguished (Dan. 12:3).

Christian Annotator 2:378 (1855).

Zechariah 12 . . . The “idol shepherd” is Antichrist, whom retributive judgment is to raise up in the land of Judea in the last times. “If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” He shall in the end suffer the sternest vengeance of God. This is no modern opinion. . . .

There is no reason that I see for identifying the stone in Zech. 12:3, with that in Matt. 21:44. The former evidently means Jerusalem itself, the latter the Lord Himself in two positions answering to the two advents. First, in His humiliation, He is a stone as it were in the ground, and “whosoever shall fall on it shall be broken,” verified in all unbelievers, but especially in the Jews; next, He is exalted to heaven, and coming again in power and great glory, He will execute destructive judgment — on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Cf. Dan. 2, 7; Rev. 19). “A burdensome Stone” is another idea, and will be true of Jerusalem in the latter day, when the Assyrian heads a great Gentile confederacy after the Antichrist is disposed of, which is the subject of Zech. 12:2-6, 14:1-3: also Isaiah, Micah, Daniel, and other prophets, treat of this closing king of the North.

There is no intermingling of the Church or Christian body with the subjects of this prophecy. There may have been some partial application in the past, as there will assuredly be a complete fulfillment in the future; but it is Judah and Jerusalem that are in question, whatever profit the Church or Christian may and ought to draw from this as from all Scripture.

The double reference of John 19:36, and Rev. 1:7, is simply to link both advents into the prophecy, which mainly bears on the second, but presupposes the first, “They shall look on me whom they have pierced.” But Rev. 1:7 is so far from intimating a general conversion of mankind previous to the return of the Lord, that it plainly enough insinuates their then unbelief, for “all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” He will be unwelcome to them.

The mourning of godly awakened consciences, when Jehovah-Jesus is seen, to the final deliverance of Jerusalem, and the total overthrow of all their Gentile foes, is most strikingly described in verses 10-14, but it is in terms which exclude the revival in Ezra’s time, save as being a feeble earnest. Each felt alone with the Lord; and those families are specially named who represent prominent classes in Israel from the beginning, and throughout their history.

Christian Annotator 3:76 (1856).

Matthew 13 and the Present Hope

Q. How may Matt. 13 be reconciled with 2 Thess. 2, upon the following points? In the prophetic teaching of the Lord Jesus, when on earth, in Matt. 13, there is no present hope, but a prolonged exhortation, at the end of the age, when the wheat is gathered into the garner; whereas, in the teaching of the Holy Ghost from the ascended Lord, the Church is besought “by the coming of the Lord and our gathering together unto him,” as a present hope. Were the Thessalonians “wheat”- or rather are Christians, as such, in Matt. 13 as well as in the epistles? If so, how can the same persons have a present hope, and a protracted one?

B. A. I am not aware of anything that justifies the contrast thus drawn between the parable of the wheat and tare-field, and the instruction in 2 Thess. 2 and elsewhere. The angelic intervention under the authority of the Lord is to gather together first the tares and bind them in bundles with a view to their yet future destruction, before the wheat is gathered into His barn. but why should this be styled a prolonged expectation? Why should it interfere with the constant hope of the coming of the Lord to receive us to Himself? This parable, like all others, is constricted, as it appears to me, expressly to keep up the habitual looking for the closing scene. One could not collect from it anything to forbid that first generation of disciples expecting to be called away to their heavenly mansions. Of course, the same thing applies to all that followed. Thus I see no reason to doubt that the wheat includes the Thessalonian believers with all other Christians. “In the time of harvest” is not a single point of time with previous events protracting the hope, but the general season of gathering in the saints, executing judgment on the tares already disposed by the angels with a view to it, and then the appearing of the saints in glory, which closes this age and introduces the new one.

The Bible Treasury 7:64.

The Ten Virgins Matthew 25:1-13

Mr. Weekes’s interpretation appears to me not merely to rest on insufficient and misapplied evidence, but to contradict the general teaching of God’s Word. Whether the lamps had gone, or were only going out, makes no real difference as to the grand teaching of the parable; and, as far as this goes, either the one or the other is quite compatible with the absence of oil. Mr. Weeks’s statement that the foolish “have some oil” is most objectionable: not a word implies it; nay, what is said both by the wise virgins and the Lord would imply the reverse, even if we had not the plain and positive declaration that the foolish “took their lamps and took no oil with them.” Why might not wicks be lit, and relit, without oil? I agree with Mr. W. that “are going out” is a more correct rendering than the ordinary version; but it in no way shows that the virgins had oil, or that they were more than professors without the Holy Ghost, though responsible for and designated according to the position they assumed. As to the unconverted being called “virgins,” there is no more difficulty there than in the “servant” of the preceding parable. In either ease they took that place, and were judged accordingly. There are Christians who love Christ’s appearing in the midst of much ignorance as to its details There are professors who talk much of the Second Advent, and hold it to be premillennial. But I assuredly believe that the former, if they are alive and remain till the coming of the Lord, will be caught up to meet Him, and that the latter, if they abide unregenerate, must have their portion outside, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

As unfounded is the idea that ταγματι in 1 Cor. 15:23, means “company,” “band,” “regiment,” while fully admitting of course that such is a frequent signification in profane authors. But here the context is decidedly adverse, whether το τελος be applied, as by Mr. T. R. Birks, to the wicked dead, or, as by Mr. W., to Christians instructed in the Lord’s second coming and kingdom. All or most of the versions at all known and accurate (as the Syriac Vulgate, Beza, Luther, De Wett, Diodati, Martin, Ostervald, the Lausanne, etc.) seem to agree with the authorized version in giving “order.” Indeed, the way in which our Lord’s resurrection is introduced appears to me of itself to exclude such a translation; for His resurrection is the first step, which perfectly agrees with “order,” but not with “company.” Again, such a view necessitates the harshest possible construction of “the end” ( το τελος), which, by a figure, must be tortured to mean the good (or bad) who are raised then; whereas, in truth, it is most plain that “the end” is really after the kingdom is given up, and, à fortiori, subsequent to all judgment. The white-throne judgment of the dead is one of the closing acts of the kingdom, after which cometh “the end.” Lastly, it would be incongruous to suppose with Mr. W. that after “they that are Christ’s” rise, another regiment of Christ’s should remain to rise. Not a class, but an epoch, is meant by “the end”; an epoch subsequent to the resurrection of the wicked and their judgment.

Christian Annotator 3:174

Does the Parable of the Ten Virgins Refer to the Jewish Remnant?

Q. Matt. 7:22, 23; Luke 13:25-28. Do these texts warrant the inference that the parable of the virgins (Matt. 25:1-13) refers to the Jewish remnant, rather than to Christendom? J. D. B.

A. — It is a mistake in interpreting scripture to conceive that similarity in one point or more establishes identity, many of which however striking would be of no weight against a single irreconcilable difference. The context (and not verbal analogies even if far stronger than in these instances) is alone decisive. It is worth remarking, just to shew how precarious this ground is, that a well-known living commentator and critic contrasts Matt. 7:23 with ch. 25:12. The truth is, that in the day of the Lord all will be judged who have not been saved, and on similar though not identical grounds; for the Lord will deal with Jew, Gentile, or Christian profession on their own footing, but in His light. The passage in Luke is proved by the context to be the judgment of the Jews who refused the urgent proffers of Jesus. The passage in Matt. 7 need not be so restrained, though no doubt applying there and then. But the parable of the virgins, both contextually and in its own statements, applies not to the Jews (who have already been fully treated of in the preceding two chapters, nationally and as a remnant), but to professing Christendom consisting of disciples real and unreal. The Jewish remnant will be rather the earthly bride than virgin going out to meet the Bridegroom; neither will they from the first possess the gift of the Spirit (the “oil in their vessels”) like the wise virgins; nor will any of them be “foolish” like these, but “the wise”; nor will they go to sleep during their awful hour of trial.

The Bible Treasury 7:64.

1 Corinthians 6:9 and Partial Rapture

Q. — Does not 1 Cor.6:9 with many like scriptures warrant the inference that Christians who fail in faith or fidelity will be excluded from inheriting the kingdom of God, though saved at the end from the second death?

Mathetes. A. — In no way is this true, but wholly opposed to the mind of God in His word, and productive of nothing but confusion like any other serious error. On the face of this text itself, how can any taught of God allow that one born of the Spirit is to be classed among the ἄδικοι or unrighteous? Compare also the rest of the verse and the following verses, where not failure in a believer is in question, but unqualifiedly wicked characters are denounced, with the very different statement that “such were some of you, but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” Take one of the strongest apparently for such a construction, Luke 12:45, 46, “But if that bondman should say in his heart, My lord delayeth to come, and begins” etc. We may see from the corresponding parable in Matt.24:48 that it is no case of a believer excluded but of an “evil” servant, a hypocrite. Nor indeed need we travel beyond the further words of Luke to arrive at the same fact; for his lord is said to cut him in twain and appoint his portion with the faithless ( ἀπίστων). Will the Lord so deal with any born of God? It is indeed a far other lot than missing the reign though blessed for eternity, a portion assigned to not a single Christian in a single scripture. That the language of our Lord, and also for the apostle in this Epistle and elsewhere, implies it of professing Christians is true and solemn. “That bondman,” in fact, seems expressly intended to warn of this tremendous issue.

But Christians in the genuine sense, as the query supposes, stand on other ground. If they discerned themselves, they should not be judged. If they grow careless in self-judgment, the Lord does not fail to deal with them. Yet when judged in this way, they are chastened by the Lord, that they should not be condemned with the world, as say the scriptures in the text queried. The doctrine behind the query is wholly false and evil.

The Bible Treasury, New Series 1:352.

Saints and Believers 2 Thess. 1:10

Q. — 2 Thess. 1:10. What is the difference of saints and believers? and why is the Lord to be glorified in the one and admired in the other? I have asked a good many, and all see the difficulty: if you could throw a little light on it, I should be very thankful. E. C.

A. — The careful reader will note that two classes of enemies are brought before us in v. 8: those that know not God, Gentiles; and those who, if they could not in the same way be said to be ignorant of God, do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, Jews. They were both such as should pay the penalty of everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His might, when He shall have come to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all that have believed. It is not the moment of the translation of the saints to heaven, but of the appearing or day of the Lord, when He shall come, not to receive them to Himself, but “to be glorified in his saints.” This, however, being comparatively vague — for He might be glorified simply in their glorification, and this wholly outside the ken of the earth, — we have greater precision in the next clause, “and to be wondered at in all that have believed.” Here display to others is more prominent. It is no question of those who shall be brought to know His glory on earth after He is thus come, but of all those that have believed previously; and as “the saint” in whom He is said to be glorified would fully apply to those of the Old Testament, so I think , “all that have believed” more properly belongs to the present time, when faith has its largest exercise and fullest development. Those of old were separated to God, and though they had faith practically, yet the especial character in reference to God and Christ was hope or trust. Now that redemption is accomplished, it is in the strictest sense faith. And this seems to be confirmed by the appended parenthetic application to the Thessalonians: “for our testimony to you was believed.” “In that day” belongs, of course, to their manifestation with Christ in glory.

The Bible Treasury 6:336.

The Catching Up of the Man-child — Revelation 12:5

Q. — Rev. 12. Is the man-child caught up to God and His throne yet future? If so, how do we account for no mention of death and resurrection?

C. R. A. — From Rev. 11:19 is a fresh start in the book, as the seventh trumpet in a general way brings us down to the end. This closes the first volume of the Revelation. The second, beginning with that verse which should introduce ch. 12, tells us, not of “a door opened in heaven,” but of “the temple of God that is in heaven opened.” God’s ark was seen now, the ark of His covenant, though there followed, not only lightnings and voices and thunders, but an earthquake and great hail also. Then were seen signs in heaven: the mother, not the bride, (with supreme government, reflected authority subordinate, and full power in man) yet in travail; and the dragon, wielding the power of the Roman empire, and seeking to devour her child destined to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. But the vision omits that work which is the basis of redemption and divine right, and at once shows us Him caught up on high, whilst the woman flees into the wilderness for 1,260 days. It is a mystical presentation of Christ with Whom the church is hidden, as in O.T. figures, caught up to heaven, without date, save that the woman’s flight into the wilderness is measured out, during which she is protected but has in no way the glory and power on the earth that is to be her portion. But heaven meanwhile is cleared of the great enemy and his angels; which is plainly future, and cannot be till after the rapture of the saints on high. The accuser of the brethren is not yet expelled. For the N.T. recognizes that our wrestling is against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies. But Satan and his emissaries shall surely be cast down, never more to regain access there as now; and the contest for the earth is decided in due time, when He Whose right it is shall unite heaven and earth and all things under His away. Thus the ascension of Christ is mystically identified with that of the heavenly saints; just as what is said of Messiah in Isa. 1 is applied to Christians in the later verses of Rom. 8. Still more easily is this understood in the symbols of a prophetic book like the Revelation. The signs being seen in heaven does not mean that the object in view is heavenly for the woman any more than for the countless crowd of Gentiles in chap. 7. The mother is as clearly the earthly people, as the heavenly bride is the church.

The Bible Treasury, New Series 2:287-288.

The Fall of the Dragon and His Hosts — Rev. 12

Q. — Matt. 24:29. Is there any ground to identify the shaking of “the powers of the heavens” (or, as in Mark 13:14 the powers that are in the heavens”) with the fall of the dragon and his hosts from heaven in Rev. 12? The time does not at all agree. If not, what is meant? C. L.

A. — The difficulty suggested as to the date can have no place whatever. Other questions may arise as to the force of words. In Rev. 12 Satan is cast down, clearly before the last great tribulation, greatly enraged, because he knows he has but a short time, and persecutes the woman for the time, times, and half a time. In the passage in the gospels, where the mark of time seems precise (Matt. 24, Mark 13), the shaking of the powers of the heavens is after the tribulation. That is, the casting down of Satan in Revelation 12. is before, and introductory to the last tribulation; in Matt.24 and Mark 13 the shaking of the powers of the heavens is after the tribulation.

Thus, as events, they have nothing to do with one another. In Luke 21 the expression is vague and gives a general ground for what happens.

The enquiry then is simply, without any reference to the fall of Satan from heaven, what these terms mean.

It seems to me that in Luke there is mixed metaphor; in Matthew and Mark it is more in the style of O.T. prophecy. I have little doubt that the scene will be as mixed as the metaphor — terrible signs actually given (compare Luke 21:11); and, besides that, an actual disruption of all existing powers, and terror on every heart, with the tumultuous swellings of peoples. Compare Ps. 93 where I do not believe it is mere literal waters. Further, I find in Dan. 8:10 the host and the stars clearly refer to rulers (Jewish priestly rulers) on the earth. Now I do not doubt the shakings and subversion of the future (before the great and terrible day of the Lord) will be much greater and more terrible than what is in Daniel 8; but this gives an inlet into what those expressions mean. I would not confine this tremendous breaking up of existing powers and rule to Jewish ones there, though it is in Dan. 8, because Gentiles and Jews are all mixed up together, the sacrifice taken away, and idolatry come in. But there will be more than a revolution — a subversion and upsetting of all manifested and organic powers. There is an analogous upsetting of all powers in Rev. 11, supposed by the inhabitants of the earth to be the great day of the Lamb’s wrath, which it is not, but only a precursor of it. I refer to it to show that such subversions of all constituted powers are so spoken of, without any raising of the question whether Satan is cast down from heaven or not. This is before the trumpets and the vials; the end of the last tribulation comes after it — somewhere at the end of the second woe-trumpet, and then God’s judgment by Christ Himself. The beast and the final tribulation are a special subject, besides the general government under which these, shakings come; and they are so given in the Apocalypse. The general government of God applies to the nations at large; the beast is in connection with the rejection of Christ and enmity to Him. They go on concurrently, but the latter is a special matter.

The Seven Heads and the Seven Kings — Rev.17:9-11

Q. Rev. 17:9-11. How are we to understand “the seven heads” and “seven kings?” Is it legitimate to take “the seven heads” as 1, Egypt; 2 Assyria; 3, Babylon; 4, Medo-Persia; 5, Greece; 6, Rome; 7, Israel in its apostate state? And is it correct that “the seven kings” can be, 1, Pharaoh; 2, Sennacherib; 3, Belshazzar; 4, Antiochus Epiphanes; 5, Herod; 6, Nero; 7, Napoleon; 8, anti-Christ? F. R. G. S.

A. — One of the most important helps everywhere for right interpretation is a firm adhesion to the context. In the present case the object before us is the Beast or Roman Empire, which the Holy Seer beholds in its last form before it goes into perdition. The seven heads are doubly interpreted. They are seven mountains (or hills), whereon the woman sits (cp. v. 18). Rome is the seat geographically, not Jerusalem, nor the plain of Shinar. But they are seven kings, or differing forms of ruling power. The Beast is thus distinguished. There had been, 1, kings ; 2, consuls ; 3, dictators ; 4, decemvers; 5, military tribunes; who held successively and constitutionally the imperium. And these five were fallen. The sixth was actually then in power — emperors. The seventh had not yet come; and it was to be transient. “And the Beast that was and is not, himself also is an eighth, and is of the seven; and he goeth into perdition.” Thus the context fixes the heads, not only in connection with a Roman seat, but to the peculiar and complete changes of its ruling powers, explaining that the last is an eighth, and yet one of the seven. It is the imperial form, which had been wounded to death (Rev. 13:3), revived by the dragon as the resurrection-head of the empire rising up at the close against the risen Lord of glory. The introduction of other kingdoms or empires, south, north, and east, long before the Roman empire began, is out of the way imaginative; still more so the strangely unconnected episode, as that of the queried list of kings. Even in the heads, as here mistakenly separated from the kings, to make apostate Israel the seventh head of the Roman empire is a singularly wide if not wild conjecture. Hengstenberg followed by the late Dean Vaughan so took six of the heads, but the seventh to be the ten horns in a cluster! a not much happier guess than Israel, though somewhat more homogeneous. The context suffices to correct all such thoughts. The proposal was to explain the seven heads, which we have in vers. 9-11; then the ten horns, which follow in vers. 12-14.

The Bible Treasury, New Series 2:15-16.

Fine Linen Rev. 19:8

Q. Rev. 19:8. What is the meaning of the inspired explanation of the symbolical “fine linen?”

B. A. Observe, first, that it is said to be the righteousness “of saints,” not of God, but of His people. Secondly, it is not exactly their righteousness, but their “righteousnesses” ( δικαιώματα). This it is impossible in any just sense to understand of the righteous standing which is made ours in Christ. God’s righteousness in Him is the same for all saints. But each saint here will have his or her own righteousness. Hence it is no question of taking up the saints to heaven, which will be the crowning act of grace, nor of our presentation in the Father’s house way suitable to His grace. We must therefore distinguish between the white raiment of Rev. 4 and the fine linen of Rev. 19. The one was the clothing of pure grace, the fruit of divine righteousness in Christ. But in ch. 19. it was given to the bride to be arrayed in “fine linen” which is expressly said to be the saints’ righteousness. It is in view of our appearing with Christ before the world, and consequently when all the righteous results of the ways of the saints shall be manifested.

The Bible Treasury 7:160.

Translation of Revelation 20:5.

Q. T.C.J. (N.Y.) sends Zion’s Watch Tower, Vol. 4, No. 12, and asks whether the following paragraph (p. 2, col. 2) is true. “It is an important scripture; and a line on the subject would be appreciated by many of us.”

“Rev. 20:5, first clause, which reads, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished” is the subject of dispute. We showed conclusively that the above text has no support from any authority older than “the middle of the fifth century.” It is not found in any of the older MSS. — it is not in the Syriac — and the confessedly oldest, most complete, and best of all Greek MSS. of the New Testament, the Sinaitic — does not contain those words. It is wanting too in several of the more recent MSS., among which is the Vatican, No. 1160, a MS. of special clearness and harmony with the most ancient ones.”

A. The criticism, there need be no hesitation in saying, is unfounded; of which there can scarce be conceived a better proof than the fact that out of more than 500 editions of the Greek New Testament not one known to me exhibits the text desired. All present the clause which these manuscripts and the Syriac V. omit. Every editor of the most ordinary information knew of the various reading in question; yet not a single man of judgment has ever doubted that the omission is an error owing to one of the most fertile sources of variants, homoeoteleuton, as it is technically called. The clause before (end of v. 4) closed with the words χίλια ἔτη; and so does the first clause of v. 5. This naturally misled the eyes of weary scribes. So the critical editors in all lands and times have judged. But it “has no support from any authority older than ‘the middle of the fifth century’“! Can the Ed. of Z.W.T. have weighed his own words? There is but one MS. of the Revelation older, the Sinaitic; which is often and notoriously faulty, and no where more so than in this Book. Thus in Rev. 20 only, ἐκ τοῦ οὐρ. in v. 1 is omitted; the precisely same sort of error as in 5 occurs in its form of v. 2, 3, from αὐτόν to αὐτόν being omitted. In v. 6 it adds καί in error. In v. 8 it omits wrongly τῆς γῆς τόν; and it wrongly adds πάντα, and καί after M. In 9 there is the corrected insertion in error of ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ, and in 10 ὅπου is falsely repeated. In 11 there is the mistake of ἐπανω for ἐπ , as the article is wrongly dropped from 12, with ἐπί for ἐνώπιον, with the absurd correction of both inserted later. In 13 is the misreading against all authorities of κατεκρίθησαν. In 14 καί is added wrongly and is wrongly left out. In 15 the future supplants the aorist. Now large as this list is, all the blemishes of the Sinaitic text of this one chapter are not here registered, but enough surely to prove how little the real character of that document is known, and how precarious it would be to demand support from authority older than the middle of the fifth century.

Next, though the Peschito Syriac was made in very early days, we have no MS. of any great antiquity; and even if we had, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, with Jude, are supplied from a later version, and the Revelation from a copy in the Leyden library, whose age is so uncertain, and character of text so doubtful, that it ranges very low indeed in a critical point of view.

The Alexandrian Uncial (A) is a capital authority as to the Rev.; and so is the Eph.. Reser. of Paris (C), but here we do not hear its voice after 19:5. But the Alex. is, like it, of the fifth century and is supported by the Basilian Vat. 2066, a MS. of far greater weight than the cursive 40 (=Vat. 1160), by an adequate number of cursives of which more than twenty have the same defect here as . All the ancient versions, save de Dieu’s Syriac, confirm the clause, as well as the early commentators, Greek and Latin.

Further, the clause is so entirely in keeping with the context that, if we had not these words at the opening of v. 5, the same truth is conveyed, or supposed, by the first resurrection of the righteous who reign with Christ for a thousand years (vv. 4-6), followed by the little while of Satan’s last deceit and war of the external nations, and the standing before the great white throne for eternal judgment of the dead, who had had no part in the resurrection of life and glory.

The Bible Treasury 16:96.

Where Will the Heavenly Saints Reign? Revelation 20

Q. — A friend of mine says that the living and reigning with Christ refers to those beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and cannot apply to a reign on earth. It is, he says, a vision in heaven. Would you kindly refute this error in “The Bible Treasury” for August? Yours truly, A SUBSCRIBER.

A. — The reign of Christ and the glorified saints is heavenly, but over the earth. Only the old Chiliasts, and their modern followers, treat it as “on” the earth, as is wrongly said in the Authorized and even the Revised versions of Rev. 5:10. The local dwelling is properly ἐν, the sphere of rule is ἐπί, a distinction maintained in Hellenistic Greek, as in the Septuagint and the Greek New Testament. The vision being “in heaven” determines nothing as to actual place, as we may see from Rev. 12 and elsewhere. Nor is it confined to those beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, but comprehends, first the general body of saints in those seen seated on thrones, then those beheaded, and lastly such as refused the worship of the beast and his mark. The first general class was already risen; the two other companies only now lived, in order to reign with Christ, as all of course are to do. “Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world? . . . Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” (1 Cor. 6:2, 3).

The Bible Treasury 16:128.

Application of Revelation 22:17

I do not wonder that Mr. Haskins finds difficulties in accepting the interpretation of those who apply this verse exclusively to the Lord, or to sinners. The truth is, that the former portion refers to the one, and the latter to the other. Nothing can be sweeter nor clearer, when seen. Jesus had just announced Himself as not merely the root and the offspring of David, but the bright and morning star. Immediately the Church, with the bridal affections, says, Come. It is the Bridegroom that thus awakens her desires that He should come. He is the first object of the heart, and lest it should be thought to be a thought to be a mere human, unsanctioned longing, it is added, “the spirit and the bride say, Come.” But there are many who have heard His voice and been washed in His blood who yet feebly know their privileges in Him; they little if at all appreciate what He is as the Bridegroom, what they are as His bride. Are these to be silent? Nay, “let him that heareth say Come.” They may know His love but imperfectly: but let them not fear to say, Come. But does not such a hope, such a waiting of the heart, hinder one’s yearning after poor souls? Enemies have said so; mistaken friends may have thought so; but God links the two most blessedly together. If the bride, if the individual saint, owe the first love of the heart to Him who is coming to meet us in the air, so much the more can we turn round to the needy world and invite him that is athirst to come (not to say, Come, which to him, indeed, were but judgment). Nay, even if I meet a soul who perhaps has not yet known deep soul-thirst, yet is willing, I can bid him freely welcome, “whosoever will let him take the water of life freely.” It is a perfectly beautiful scene, which the Lord grant us better to know and enjoy by the Holy Ghost!

Christian Annotator 3:51 (1856).

Will the Church Escape the Great Tribulation?

By E. Shackelton. Sec. Ed. With Suppl. London: J. F. Shaw.

As this pamphlet has been sent for notice, it is almost enough to say that it is Newtonian {B. W. Newton} prophetically, with the ignorance of the distinctively intimate as well as heavenly relationship of the church to Christ, which characterizes that school. The author must be strangely unacquainted with “Dissenters,” if he believes that what he calls “the secret-rapture view” originated among people most of all indifferent to the church and its hopes, as well as to prophecy; perhaps he only means persons who left the English Establishment, or, who, at any rate, were outside it.

He is also surprised that truth so important should only of late have been learnt from scripture. How could Mr. Shackleton expect such a thing in the early fathers, if he is really acquainted with their writings? Which of them escaped the Galatian leaven? Now it is remarkable that this Epistle {Galatians}, which aims at clearing the churches of that country from a misuse of the law — the bane of the patristic writings generally, is precisely that in which the apostle never speaks openly of the Lord’s second coming. What was the use to those who had lost the virtue of His first coming? The Reformers were too absorbed in contending for justification, as well as against Popery, to search into prophecy or the church. And what real advance has been made since? I fear there has been in general a departure from much that was then recovered. Our appeal must therefore be to scripture only. The fathers invented the miserable system of expunging Israel and Judah from O. T. prophecy: for them, all was “the church”; and so with most Anglicans, and almost all “Dissenters,” to this day. Their lucubrations therefore about the Antichrist and the great tribulation are worthless. The Protestant scheme went farther astray in denying the individuality of the Antichrist, as well as his literal place in the temple at Jerusalem in the consummation of the age, and converting the days into nothing but years. But both alike Judaized the church by blotting out Israel’s true hopes, through misappropriating Jewish scriptures; and Mr. S. is not clear of this error, through which he is bitter against those who would distinguish what is Christian from Jewish.

In vain you adduce some absurd individual, who counted 2 Timothy Jewish, and only Eph. and Col. applicable to the church. After knowing the Christians to whom he seems to refer widely and well for more than forty years, I can affirm that no such folly has ever existed among them to my knowledge, without denying the fact of Mr. S.’s unhappy experience. The only writer I ever heard of that applied all the Rev. to Jews was an English clergyman. Mr. S., one presumes, allows that Israel and the Jews as such have a large place in the book. Does he hold that God carries on the church on earth at the same time that he works savingly in that nation as a distinct object? Surely this were confusion and error. That God should save Gentiles as such, simultaneously with His renewed dealings with the chosen people, is exactly what the Rev. attests; whilst all this time the church is never spoken of as on earth, but its symbol is seen in heaven. Here all is harmony, yet so little does Mr. S. understand the matter, that he cites Mosheim and Milner against Origen’s allegorising; whereas be ought to know that, whatever their differences in detail, all three (with the mass of medievals as well as moderns) agree in the blinding error of putting the church, instead of Christ, as the object of the divine counsels in scripture. Take Christ as the true center of all, and room is left for the Jews, and the Gentiles, as well as for the church of God, each in its own time and true relation to Him. Then Zion is Zion, and the church is itself. None more opposed to the vicious spiritualizing of Mosheim, Milner, Origen, and the theologians generally, than those he combats.

If Mr. S. desires to read an anticipative answer to almost all his arguments in his pp. 15-83, he can find them in the B. T. 1 (second edition) 203, 218, 231, 232, 243, 249, 259. Let me, if I may, recommend to him, however, and others also, the only satisfactory course: instead of arguing, to read, with prayer and care, scriptures which treat of the future tribulation, with this question throughout before God: — Of whom in each passage does the Holy Spirit clearly speak? After all, the texts, as has been shown in this journal already, are neither many nor obscure: Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21; (and Mark 13:19); Rev. 3:10, and 7. Now, beyond controversy, the first four treat only of the Jews, and the sixth expressly of the Gentiles; whilst the fifth, which alone certainly speaks of the church, gives the promise of being kept, not in or during, but “from the hour of temptation,” which no doubt includes the last tribulation.

Let Mr. S. shake off his new bias and face these scriptures with simplicity. He will not then misapply John 17:15, to deny the plain force of Rev. 3:10; nor will he confound the sheep and the goats with the brethren of the King {Matt. 25:31-46}, still less with the glorified saints; and he will get to understand the translation of 2. Thess.2:2 exhibited by the Revisers and all scholars, instead of giving it up as “almost unintelligible.” The apostle beseeches the saints for the sake of ( ὑπέρ) the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto Him (Whom they were waiting for, as the bright object of hope), to the end that they should not be quickly shaken, nor yet troubled, by any kind of influence, as that the day of the Lord had set in (or is already come). This, and this only, is the true meaning; which Mr. S.’s mistaken theory prevents him from even apprehending. It is the effect of error to exclude the truth. Where God’s word is thus made null and void, it ought to raise in a grave spirit the fear of being under some withering tradition of man.

The Bible Treasury 16:223, 224.

The Two Parts of the Lord’s Coming

Q. — Can the Parousia (Coming in Person) of the Lord be separated from His Epiphaneia (shining upon); or from His Apokalupsis (Revelation)?

A. — Without doubt, the first is distinct in character and even in time, if scripture is to decide, as it surely ought. Add two other words, Hemera (day) and Phanerosis (manifestation), to give a substantial form to the verb often used in this connection. For the truth is that “coming” or “presence” ( π.) as applied to the future of our Lord does not involve display {in glory, at the appearing}, unless modified by other links such as “Son of Man,” (as in Matt. 24:27, 37, 39), or by a term which openly adds it (as in 2 Thess. 2:8), or by facts like 1 Thess. 3:13. These accompaniments unquestionably intimate not “presence” {parousia} only, but its display. Now such texts as 1 Cor. 16:17; 2 Cor. 7:6, 7; 2 Cor. 10:10; Phil. 1:26; 2:12; as well as the 2 Thess. 2:8, simply prove the general fact of a personal arrival or presence; and 2 Peter 3:12 is not exactly our Lord’s own coming, but that “of the day of God,” though no doubt our Lord will then have come also.

It is not contested that Parousia is applied very frequently to our Lord’s corning again, as in both Epistles to the Thessalonians, in the First to the Corinthians, and in those of James, Peter, and John. And all admit that Epiphaneia means “appearing” (as it should be in 2 Thess. 2:8), and apokalupsis “revelation,” both applied often to the manifestation of the Lord, like φανερόω, in His “day.” But how do these scriptures prove to a demonstration that Parousia is not distinct in character as well as time from the words indicating display? Mr. B. assumes, but never even approaches, the proof. He marshals the various occurances, and forthwith states his conclusion without a reason. What is the worth of this ?

The intelligent reader sees that, where grace is in question, the coming, or presence, of the Lord is set out; where responsibility and its results, it is “the appearing,” “day,” etc. This disposes of Mr. B.’s first effort at an argument in p. 15, whilst the revelation of Christ will still be the full favor of the saints in its display. Instead of confounding Christ’s Parousia and the connected gathering of the saints unto Him in 2 Thess. 2:1 with the Epiphany of His Parousia which annuls “the man of sin,” the pointed difference of the phrase ought to have led him to distinguish them. If His coming to gather the saints together to Himself were necessarily visible, where is the force of adding the appearing of His coming {2 Thess 2:8} when it is a question of destroying the Antichrist? But there is much more when we take in the light afforded by the second verse, and the context generally. For the error which the Thessalonian misleader taught was that “the day of the Lord was actually present.” This the apostle dissipates, first, by beseeching them by, or for the sake of, the Lord’s coming ( παρουσία) and our gathering together unto Him; secondly, by the declaration that that day was not to be unless the apostasy first came and the man of sin were revealed, whereas a hinderer acted as yet till he should go. Mr. B.’s confusion not only makes the added epiphaneia {v. 8} meaningless, if Parousia in itself is a display, but it renders the motive, urged in v. 1 against the delusion of v. 2, not only powerless, but unintelligible. For if the Lord’s coming and His day coalesce, as they do absolutely in Mr. B.’s view, there is no sense in the passage; whereas to recall the saints to their hope was calculated to guard them from the false rumor that the day had set in. Then we have the plain disproof that follows: the cup of Christendom’s iniquity was not yet full, as it must be before the Lord Jesus judges it (not at His coming, but) at the appearing of His coming. What he calls “the secret rapture” deserves to fall, if assumption, and arguments like these {of Mr. B.}, dispose of it completely.

Mr. B. has to learn that Matt. 24, 25 is a large prophecy, which deals with the Jews first, with Christendom in the central parables, and finally with all the Gentiles alive in that day. Hence “Son of man” (Christ’s judicial title) is His title with the Jews and the Gentiles, but disappears in the part that relates to the Christian profession. The critics. (Tregelles, like the rest) little knew the service they were rendering to the truth in striking out the spurious clause at the end of Matt. 25:13. The Parousia of the Son of Man is judicial for the earth; the Parousia in 1 Cor. 15:23 is to raise the saints that sleep for heaven, though all admit they will be manifested with Him in glory at that day. Mr. B. also ignores the fact that the “shout” of the Lord in 1 Thess. 4 is word quite peculiar and of special relationship, as of an admiral to his sea-men, or of a general to his soldiers. There would be no propriety in employing such word if it were a shout for everybody. It is no question of shaking earth and heaven, though this will be also; and it is amazing to see Ps. 50:4,5; Jer. 30:30; Hosea 11:10; and Rev. 1:7 classed with so wholly different an aim. Those that come out of the great tribulation in Rev. 7 are expressly distinguished from the elders and the four living creatures, who symbolize (one or both) the saints seen glorified in heaven from Rev. 4 and onward. And Rev. 20:4, in the grand description of those saints who share the First Resurrection, gives three classes: those already enthroned (embracing the O.T. saints, and the church), who followed Christ out of heaven; the early Apocalyptic sufferers (Rev. 6:9); and their brethren who were to be killed as they, after the Beast and the False Prophet ravaged beyond example, as we see also in Dan. 7. “The consummation of the age,” in Matt. 13, is not an epoch, but a period or season, in which distinct operations take place, beginning with the severing of the darnel and the gathering from the field of the wheat, and ending with the burning of the darnel, the lawless ones, when the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, that is, in the heavenly sphere which sovereign grace gave them to share with Christ. The just application of Luke 21:25-36 will be manifest from the context, and is in perfect accordance with the title of the Son of Man seen coming in a cloud with power and great glory. If we fail to distinguish things that differ, only confusion and error can ensue.

The Bible Treasury 16:222, 223.

When Will the Saints be Caught Up?

Q. — Will the saints be caught up before Lord comes in glory and the tribes of the earth mourn because of Him?

A1. Matt. 24. Here there is no hint of the Church’s escaping the great tribulation, except by sudden flight; nor of any other παρουσια except that which we are to expect after the tribulation. (See vv. 23, 27, 29.) Nor of any gathering of His elect unto Him except in v. 31, after the great tribulation. In vv. 32, 33 we are directed to “know that it is near, even at the doors, when we shall see all these things,” i.e., those which are described in vv. 7-29.

A2. 1 Thess. 4. The living will not be changed before the dead in Christ are raised (v. 15); then (1 Cor. 15:51) we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump (literally, for the trumpet shall sound) — all, not same only, of those who believe. And the trumpet mentioned in Matt. 24:31, when all the elect are to be gathered together, cannot be subsequent, or the other would not be the last trump.

A3. The caution of 2 Thess. 2:1-12 seems to imply that the Church must witness the full revelation and ενεργεια of the wicked one, and then expect the immediate coming of our Lord.

Q. It is true, we are to be continually looking for the coming of our Lord; but is this inconsistent with the expectation of a previous tribulation? Q.Q.

A. — The Old Testament saints and the Church, which is being now formed by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, will be caught up to meet the Lord before His coming as Son of man in power and great glory, when all the tribes of the earth (or the land) lament. This necessarily follows from the doctrine laid down in Col. 3:4 compared with 1 Cor. 15:23, 1 Thess. 4, 2 Thess. 2, and other scriptures, and from the prophetic intimation of Rev. 4, 5 compared with Rev. 17:14, Rev. 19:14. For if Christ and the glorified saints appear together at the self same time in glory, it is evident that the saints must have been caught up, changed into His likeness, before that common manifestation of Him and them. Besides, the Revelation indicates their presence above, after their translation there, and before their appearing along with Him, under the symbol of the crowned and enthroned elders, who are seen in heaven when the seven churches disappear (Rev. 2, 3), and before the pre-millennial judgment of Rev. 19, and the millennium of Rev. 20. This interval is occupied here below by God’s preparation of Jews and Gentiles (separate from the glorified) who will be to His praise on earth, as the Old Testament saints and the Church will be in heaven when the administration of the fulness of times is put under Christ, the Head of all things heavenly and earthly.

1. This helps to render Matt. 24:15-41 perfectly plain. Certainly there is no hint of the church’s escaping the tribulation by sudden flight here; for those spoken of are a remnant of converted Jews who will be found in Jerusalem, in connection with the temple and the Sabbath in the latter day. What possible ground is there to predicate this of the Church of God, which is neither Jew nor Gentile, and which, save at its first origin, is found everywhere under heaven? What reason to take it away from the last days of this age, when God will again be savingly at work among the Jews in their land, protecting a remnant from the last fiery tribulation which the Antichrist will occasion, and fitting them as a people for the Lord, when He comes for their deliverance in the clouds of heaven, and the mass being apostate will be filled with terror and mourning and shame at His sudden glory which flashes on the world? That the elect of Matt. 24:31 cannot possibly mean the Church is evident, if it were only from the passage itself; for the sight of the Son of man appals all the tribes before He sense His angels to gather these elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now if you apply this to the same scene and persons as Col. 3:4, you set one scripture against another — the unerring proof of error. Distinguish between the saints already caught up, to be glorified with Him on high, and these elect gathered from all places of their dispersion here below, to be blessed under His reign here below, and the balance of truth is preserved. No doubt, the gathering of the elect here, then, is after the great tribulation, but it is also after His appearing. It is therefore not the Church which appears with Him when He appears in glory, and which is promised (in Rev. 3:10) exemption not only from the place and circumstances of the great coming temptation, but also from its hour. The signs are, as usual, for the Jewish saints, who were wont to ask such things as evidence of the approaching accomplishment of their hopes.

2. 1 Thess. 4. No one contends that the living will be changed before the dead in Christ are raised. It is clear that, the latter being raised, and we who are then alive being changed as they, all together will be caught up to the Lord. The “last trump” of 1 Cor. 15 is an allusion to the final signal of the break up of a Roman camp for its March. It has nothing whatever to do with the loud sound of trumpet in Matt. 24 (with which cp. Isa. 27:13), any more than with the seven trumpets of Rev. 7-11.

Undoubtedly when the Lord at His coming or presence ( παρουσία) gathers the changed saints to Himself in the air, it is all, not some only, of those who up to that time have believed (compare πᾶσιν τοῖς πιστεύσασιν in 2 Thess. 1:10. But how does this present a difficulty to such as see from Scripture that others subsequently are to be converted, kept through the tribulation and blessed in the millennial kingdom of the Lord? It is the querist’s system which is at fault, not leaving sufficient room for all the elements, and of course therefore both leading to confusion in the various parts, and presenting a defective result. 1 Cor. 15 presents (and so I may add 1 Thess. 4) our last trump, because the question is of the risen saints; Matt. 24:31, presents, if you will, the last trump of the Jewish saints then scattered over the earth. How does this identify the two, even if the trumpet in Matt. 24 had been styled the last trump, or “his elect,” were called “all the elect,” neither of which is the fact? Is it a contradiction if the historian speaks of the last trump sounding for the tenth legion in Gaul, and of the trumpet gathering the twelfth legion in Syria?

3. 2 Thess. 2:1-12 cautions us against the error of those who confounded the coming of the Lord to gather His saints on high with His day upon the lawless one. The misleaders of the Thessalonian believers sought to alarm them by the false cry that the day of the Lord was already present ( ὡς ὅτι ἐνέστηκεν ἡ ἡμέρα τοῦ κυρίου). This the apostle dispels, first, by a motive of consolation for the heart, as well as, secondly, by an express prophecy. First, he beseeches them, by the coining of the Lord and their gathering together to Him, not to be shaken or troubled by this pretense (for which they feigned a revelation and even a letter of the apostle). The first act of the Lord, bound up with His very presence, is the translation of His own beloved ones to Himself. But, secondly, that day (mark, he does not say the Lord’s παρουσία, but His day) should not come till the full development of the evil which His day is to judge. The mystery of lawlessness is now restrained: when he who hinders its outburst is withdrawn, then shall be revealed the lawless one whom the Lord Jesus will destroy by the breath of His mouth and annul by the appearance of His coming. Observe the striking difference between the terms in vv. 1, 8. When it is a question of gathering the saints, the phrase is simply His coming or presence; when it is a question of His day or dealing in judgment with the lawless one, it is the shining forth of His coming — not παρουσία only, but ἐπιφάνεια τῆς παρουσίας αὐτοῦ. The real caution of the chapter would have preserved the querist from an error kindred in principle, though not in form, to that which wrought among the Thessalonians. We are then to be continually expecting the Lord, apart from either external signs or the final great tribulation, which Scripture connects with others, not with us, after we have been translated to heaven.

The Bible Treasury 6:159, 160.

When Are O.T. Saints Raised?

Q. — When will the Old Testament saints be raised ? Are they included in “them that are Christ’s at his coming” (1 Cor. 15:23), and raised when the Church is caught up? (1 Thess. 4) in which case they would be said to “sleep through Jesus,” and to be “the dead in Christ.” Or, do they wait some little time longer, and only raised on the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Rev. 11:15-19), where “thy servants the prophets” are spoken of together with others (the seventh trumpet being the final one of this dispensation, and thus in keeping with the word to Daniel in ch. 12:13, “Go thy way till the end be; and thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days”)? And still more striking is that which Job says (Job 19:25-27), “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth . . . in my flesh shall I see God.” Was not this expecting Him on the earth, as Christ will be in the millennium? (Zech. 14; Acts 1). H. W. T.

A. — I see no reason to doubt that all saints who have died will be raised up when Christ comes and changes us, the living, that remain to the moment of His presence, and both shall be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. “Those that are the Christ’s,” in 1 Cor. 15:23, seem to me a category put in an expressly large style so as to embrace the saints before the Church as we as such as compose it. Compare Heb. 11 {: 40}. And this is confirmed by the special communication which begins at 1 Cor. 15:51; “Behold I shew you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Here there is a secret beyond the Old Testament which revealed no more than the resurrection and the coming with the Lord in the day of’ His appearing. (Job 19, Zech. 14). But the apostle was inspired to add both the manner of raising the dead saints and especially the change of us, the living, then found here below, who shall all be alike changed, and, according to 1 Thess.4, caught up to meet the Lord above. Hence in this latter scripture “those put to sleep through Jesus” may be said of dead Christians (the occasion of the need of comfort to the living), while the next verse speaks with greater comprehensiveness of those fallen asleep in general. Again, “the dead in Christ” need not be restrained to those since redemption; it is in contrast with the dead in Adam or after a merely natural sort.

There is nothing said of raising saints from the dead under the seventh trumpet, though I do not object to the conclusion that, as it is the winding up of God’s appeals to the world and the introduction of the world-kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, so it announces the judicial recompense in broad terms up to the end. The time of award to His servants the prophets, and to the saints, etc., does not fix it as the moment of their resurrection — they may well have been raised before, At any rate nothing of the kind can he built on a passage which is silent as to that for which it is alleged.

Nor is there the least warrant to connect “the seventh trumpet” with “the last trump” of 1 Cor. 15, nor even with the “great sound of a trumpet” in Matt. 24. “The seventh” is of course the closing one of the Apocalyptic series and of the general course of the book up to the kingdom. “The last trump)” of 1 Cor. 15 means simply the final summons when the heavenly saints leave their earthly sojourn to join the Lord — a figure, like others in the chapter, taken from familiar military matters. The trumpet in the gospel is rather connected with the divine call to gather Israel from all lands according to the prophets. There is no doubt that when this point is reached all the departments of the kingdom, heavenly and earthly, will be occupied and displayed by Christ, the risen saints, and the people of’ God, nor will it cease till every creature, even of the lost, bows and confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Daniel and Job will be there, of course, among the rest.

The scripture which is most to the point (of proving saints raised just before the millennial kingdom begins) is Rev. 20:4; but I see no reason to doubt that the first class already enthroned includes the Old Testament saints with the Church, while the two classes particularly described and then raised in addition to the foregoing are only the apocalyptic confessors. This then gives no countenance to the view that the Old Testament saints are reserved till then. The sufferers at the end of this age are specified as then made to live and reign with Christ: else they might seem to have lost all, as regards the kingdom. No others are said to be raised at that time.

The Bible Treasury 7:80.

Looking for the Appearing

Q. — If the Church is with the Lord, caught up to Him at His coming, how can any Christian love or look for His subsequent appearing? 1 Tim. 6:14; 2 Tim. 4:8; Titus 2:13. So 1 Thess. 2:19, 23 seem to teach, not a secret previous coming for Christians, but the same as 1 John 2:28; Rev. 1:7; Mark 8:38. So that revelation, appearing, and coming seem to me synonymous and synchronical. A resurrection from out of the dead and a change of the living saints visibly going up to meet the Lord seems to me a more sober idea, if I may speak, and to do less violence to ordinary scripture statement, than a secret rapture, which seems to be both unnecessary and based on a very few and not very distinct scriptures. They are all (as I think) the same event, though many acts are folded up therein. J. L.

A. — The presence ( παρουσία) of Christ is His coming, or rather state of being present, in contrast with His absence, and is in itself equally compatible with being visible or not at His pleasure (as we see after His resurrection). The solution of the question depends on other scriptures and cannot be decided by the bare word “coming” or “presence.” One of these scriptures is the comparison of 2 Thess. 2:1 with v. 8. On the face of it, verse 1 binds together His coming or παρουσία with the gathering together of the saints to Himself. This is the motive for comfort against the terror of the day of the Lord, which the false teachers were seeking to bring on the souls of the Thessalonians. The false rumour that His day was actually arrived, or present ( ἐνέστηκεν), was effectually dispelled by the sweet information that that day of awful associations for the world should not be there before the full development and open display of that lawlessness, which was already at work in secret ways. For the day of the Lord is ever the predicted period of judgment on man’s evil, which it is to put down and cleared away, in order that the good of God’s kingdom may be no longer hidden or hindered but shine out to His everlasting praise. Hence it is said that the lawless one (for so it will end) shall be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus shall consume with the breath of His mouth and shall destroy, or annul, by the appearing of His coming with the Lord’s presence to assemble His saints to Himself, but with His judicial action on the Antichrist.

Plainly, the coming or presence of the Lord is the great general truth. It embraces indeed His appearing as one of its acts or characters, but it includes much more. Hence, when precision is sought (as here to counteract a false impression, which the enemy sought to endorse with the apostle’s name), we have the παρουσία distinguished from the epiphany, or shining forth of that παρουσία. Now it is evident that, if the coming of Christ necessarily implies visibility to all the world, there is no force in the distinction; if, on the contrary, He might come to gather His saints without appearing to any beyond themselves, and then subsequently cause His coming or presence to be manifest in the destruction of the lawless one, nothing can be more appropriate or exact than the phraseology here employed.

There is no difficulty, accordingly, in apprehending how Timothy or others could be exhorted in view of Christ’s appearing, spite of the gathering of the saints on high previously. The act of translating the saints above is no open vindication before the world either of Christ or of themselves; the appearing, revelation, or day of the Lord is this precisely. Not till then will be seen the consequences of faithfulness or the lack of it in His service; not till then will the madness of the world’s hostility against Jehovah and His anointed be proved. Hence, when it is a question of exhorting to earnest, devoted, holy labor and endurance, scripture habitually speaks not of the coming simply but of the appearing of Christ. Then will be the reward of toil and suffering; then must the haughty world be humbled, apostate Judaism and Christendom be judged, and righteousness be established over the earth, the glorified saints reigning with Christ over it, and the Jews restored to their promised supremacy and blessedness here below. This makes evident the reason why the hearts of the saints, in present sorrow and shame, feeling their own weakness and the temporary triumph of the enemy in the world, are always urged to look on to the appearing of Christ. Their own removal by His coming does not, could not, satisfy the desires of those who are bent on the making good of His glory universally, and the final total overthrow of Satan, and the blessing of all creation.

This, then, in my judgment, entirely and simply meets the scriptural statements which speak both of the Lord’s coming and of His appearing, etc. Timothy is enjoined to keep the commandment, laid on him by the apostle, spotless, irreproachable, until the appearing of our Lord, which in its own time the blessed and only Potentate shall show (1 Tim. 6:15). It is a question of responsibility in service; and this attaches, not to the rapture of the saints at all, but to the manifestation of Christ. When the Lord appeared the first time, God’s grace was made manifest, and life and incorruption were brought to light by our Saviour. When He appears again, glory will be revealed; fidelity during His absence will be no longer a matter of denial, detraction, or debate, and evil will hide its head. A faithful royalist could not be satisfied till not merely the arrival of the exiled king, but his coronation and the public exercise of his prerogative. Still more evidently does this principle apply to 2 Tim. 4:8: “Henceforth the crown of righteousness is laid up for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me in that day; and not only to me, but also to all that love ( τοῖς ἠγαπηκόσιν, characterized by their love for) His appearing.” That this demonstrates the justice of what has been already remarked, I need scarcely say. The coming of Christ to receive us to Himself and be with Him in the Father’s house would not at all suit the requirements of the passage; because that is the pure fruit of His own grace, removing us into the scene of His Father’s love and glory, but in no way vindicating His servants, by a just requital of all faithful there is a reward for the righteous; verily He is a God that judgeth in the earth. Rapture to heaven previously would not meet this exigency, though, of course, perfectly consistent with it. We must believe all that is revealed, not a part only; and a main point of real progress is that we learn to distinguish things which differ.

Titus 2:13 quite falls in with the two texts we have examined, the only question being whether “that blessed hope” does not look rather to the point of personal joy when we are caught up to be with the Saviour, and “the appearing of the glory” to the later and public display. If so, this scripture would connect the two things, as one combined object in the mind of the Spirit, leaving it to be decided by other testimonies whether the two things happen at the same time or with some interval.

In 1 Thess. 2:19 and v. 23, it is simply a question of Christ’s presence or coming, entirely independent of manifestation. The first scripture is the expression of the apostle’s affections for the objects of his devoted labours. Circumstances might and do separate them now for a little in person, not in heart; but they should be together before our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming, “our glory and joy. This would not cease but, on the contrary, appear when Christ is manifested, but the fact is before the apostle; and this is true at the coming of Christ and even before His manifestation, of which nothing is said here. So in 1 Thess. 5:23, he prays that their whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, if verified then, this would be also true at His appearing; but the other sufficed and indeed was more comprehensive. On the contrary, where it is a question of the world being judged (as in the beginning of the same chapter), “the day of the Lord,” and not simply His coming or presence, is spoken of; for that necessarily supposes judicial action and display. So even in 1 Thess. 3, where we have the coming of our Lord with all His saints, not them caught up to Him, as in 1 Thess. 4, in order to God’s bringing those who sleep with Him.

But John 2:28, Rev. 1:7, and Mark 8:38 are wholly distinct in tone from the simple presence of the Lord and His saints. In the first of these texts, manifestation is express. It is a question of the workman not being ashamed before Him at His coming, through the souls they laboured for abiding in Him now. The coming of the Lord alone would not decide this, and therefore manifestation is added. Again, Rev. 1:7 has nothing to do with the translation of saints to heaven but is the solemn threat of impending judgment for the world, especially for Israel (i.e., those who pierced Him). “Every eye shall see him,” defines the character and time most fully. So Mark 8:38 describes the Lord coming with His holy angels in His quality of Son of man which notoriously attaches to Him as executor of judgment (see John 5).

I cannot doubt, therefore, that coming or presence is never in itself synonymous with appearing, revelation, or manifestation. This does not decide the question of their agreeing or differing in point of time. But it tends so far to maintain the definiteness of scripture language, which is indispensable to all real intelligence and progress in the truth.

That the removal of the saints from earth to meet the Lord does not synchronize with their appearing in glory along with Him, is, to my mind, certain from a variety of scriptures. First, Col. 3 declares that when Christ, our life, appears, “then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” The context would convince any fair mind that rigorous precision is here intended. The basis is the identification of the Christian with Christ. Is He dead and risen? So are they. Is He now hid with God? So are they now with Him. But this will not be always. He is about to be manifested in glory: when He is, then shall they too be manifested in the same glory with Him. This is decisive against the hypothesis of Christ first appearing, then translating the risen and changed saints, and bringing then and thus His day on the world. For in this case, Scripture must be broken, as Christ would have appeared in glory without His saints and before them. Their rapture (to use a word which used to be more familiar with divines than it seems to be of late) cannot then be when He is manifested; for they are all, Christ and the saints, manifested together.

Besides, the same result follows from the scriptures which speak of His coming with the saints. They must have been, then, caught up before in order to come with Him.

Further, the great book which puts together in an orderly way so many elements scattered over the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, the final prophecy of the New Testament, has it no light for us on this vexed question? Much every way, but this chiefly — that thence we learn how the saints are seen glorified in heaven under the symbol of twenty-four elders not to speak of the four living creatures from Rev. 4; that they are seen there kept out of the hour of temptation which comes on all the world to try them that dwell on the earth; that during this hour God works in Jews and Gentiles, who alone are spoken of as being on earth, without a hint of the Church or churches after Rev. 3 (save in the exhortation at the end when the prophetic part is concluded); and that when the Lord does come to judge, the saints are with Him, and come out of heaven, not from earth, for the closing scene, when executing vengeance on them that know not God and them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus, He comes to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that have believed in that day. Then and not before, will be the public retributive dealing of the Lord, when His saints shall be vindicated and their enemies shall be troubled worse than any tribulation they inflicted on the faithful. The Lord’s coming simply to receive the saints to be with Himself above is no doubt the joy of grace; but it is not all, and does not supersede the importance of the scene of manifestation (which is itself a part of His coming or παρουσία), when all questions of responsibility in good or ill will be solved and made apparent.

The best sobriety of the saint is to believe the scriptures — not some, but all; sacrificing the truth neither of our manifestation and reward when Christ comes in judgment, nor of the scenes of horror, when God will give the Jew and man in general to taste the result even in this world of rejecting the true Christ and receiving the false one; but when He will make ready once more, by an Elijah testimony, a people prepared for the Lord on earth, that when He does appear in glory, He may have not only a risen glorified Bride with Him, suited to the heavenly places and the Father’s house, but also an earthly people, the nucleus for the blessing of which will follow the execution of judgment on all His enemies. It is the same παρουσία but ἡ π. as such, and ἐπιφανεία τῆς π. are quite distinct in character and time.

The παρουσία of the Lord, then, is not a mere act of coming, but the state of being present in contrast with His absence. The epiphany or shining forth of His παρουσία most naturally intimates that this presence in itself is not necessarily visible.

The Bible Treasury 6:239, 240.

The Bride

Q. 1. — Was not the truth of Christ and His members — one body — the mystery hid in past ages and revealed to Paul? 2. — Was the truth of “the Bride” a mystery? Was it hid in the Old Testament? Is not Rebekah a type of “the Bride”? Was not Eliezar forbidden to take a Gentile bride for Isaac? 3. — Where is the Church — the body — ever spoken of as “the Bride?” I. W. S.

A. 1. — The mystery hid from ages and generations consists of two parts:

(1), the supremacy of Christ over the entire universe of God, of all things, whether in heaven or on earth; and

(2) of the Church, His body, composed of Jews and Gentiles baptized by the Holy Ghost, united to Him as head over all. It was revealed to the holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, but in fact revealed by Paul to us. 2, 3. — It is evident from Eph. 5, Rev. 19, 22, that the figure of the Bride, the Lamb’s wife,” equally applies to the Church. Eve, in Gen. 2, and Rebekah, in Gen. 24, etc., revealed nothing of the mystery. They told their own profitable tale of old, but nobody ever did or could draw from them alone the union of the Church with Christ in heaven. When the truth of the Church, Christ’s body and bride, came to view, then these scriptures yielded a further deeper meaning in God’s wisdom, though even then the union of Jew and Gentile in one new man, the body of Christ, the head of all things in heaven and earth went far beyond any or all these types. But the reference is distinct in Eph. 5 to Adam and Eve on this point. “It is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.” The point forbidden in Gen. 24 is not a Gentile bride, but a daughter of the Canaanites (i.e., the type of a wicked spirit in the heavenlies). In Eph. 5 the point is the wife or bride as much as the body.

That there will be an earthly bride, according to the Psalms, Prophets, and Canticles, does not clash with the truth that there is a heavenly bride, married to the Lamb before the appearing of Christ and distinct from the blessed guests who are to be at the supper (the Old Testament saints, I suppose). Rev. 22:17 is conclusive to my mind that “the bride” of the Apocalypse is none other than the Church, now waiting for Christ with the Holy Spirit dwelling in her and prompting the precious word, “Come.” Far different will be the relation and attitude of the Jewish remnant, before the Lord appears for their deliverance.

The Bible Treasury 5:320.

America, Australia, etc., in the Coming Crisis

Q. — What will be the position of the Continents of America, Australia, etc., with their populations in the coming crisis? Will they be under the Roman Beast?

A. — I am not aware of any distinct reference to the continent of America in the scriptures. But in a general way it appears to me that “the waters,” on which the great Harlot Babylon sits (as in Rev. 17), include its population on all sides of the world. It was, we do not doubt, peopled not only by migratory hordes of Chinese, etc. across Behring’s Straits, but by Icelanders, Norwegians, etc., who are believed on sufficient grounds to have made their way there little after A.D. 1000, and therefore many centuries before its discovery by Christopher Columbus, who opened it to the enterprise of Europe.

But it seems plain that the American or the Australasian lands and races cannot find themselves under the Roman Beast. For it, as I understand, is exclusively western, and does not comprehend even Greece or Macedonia, still less the properly Medo-Persian or Babylonish empires. Hence in Dan. 2 the gold, the silver, and the brass, are seen at the end when Judgment falls, no less than the iron and clay, the symbol of the Roman empire. Cp. also Dan. 7:12. It is an error to make the range of the Beast, and of his Jewish ally, the Anti-Christ, universal. We must leave room for a great adversary in the king of the north or the Assyrian, and for Gog, the chief of the Russian races, behind that king, and after him.

It may however be well to add that the late Mr. E. B. Elliott (in the Horae Apoc. ii. 73, fifth edition) imagined that there is a more direct allusion to the discovery of America, if not of Australasia, in Rev. 10:2 (latter clause). He naturally says little, and is somewhat indefinite, but as usual confident. It is the end of footnote 3, though the reference in the General Index might lead one to expect more. “Dr. S. R. Maitland thinks it strange that no notice should have been taken in the Apocalypse of the discovery of America, supposing it a prophecy of the history of Christendom. (Remarks on Christian Guardian, p. 120). If I am correct in my understanding of the vision before us, the supposed omission does not exist.” This is all the notice I can find in his four large volumes.

The Bible Treasury, New Series 2:47-48.

Abraham and Christians

Q. — Will you do me the great favour to direct me as to the reconciliation of your views of the parenthetical nature of the Christian Dispensation with the passages in the New Testament which seem to teach that Abraham and Christians are one in relation to all the benefits that flow from the mercy of God through the Redeemer? If the Scriptures alluded to did not seem so plainly to contradict your distinction of heavenly and earthly, I could adopt your view. But with only the light I have now, there is nothing for me but painful uncertainty. Lexington, Va., Dec. 30, 1881. F. P. M.

A. — The passages of the New Testament to which our correspondent refers are doubtless such texts as Rom. 4:11, Gal. 3, and Heb. 11. The reason why they are supposed inconsistent with the special privileges of the believer now, is that the distinctive place of the Christian, and yet more the church, is not apprehended. People seem that to be born of God, and to be justified by faith, are the sum and substance of present blessing. But it is not so. All saints are necessarily born of the Spirit. The baptism of the Spirit was never enjoyed till Pentecost; and on this depends the body of Christ. Compare Acts 1:2 with 1 Cor. 12:13. And the gift of the Spirit, as thus over and above the new birth, as it could not be before redemption, was to be the permanent privilege of the Christian. The comforter or Paraclete was to abide with the disciples forever. Even as to justification by faith, Rom. 4 makes this difference between Abraham and us: he believed that God was able to perform His promise; we believe on Him that raised up from the dead Jesus our Lord, after accomplishing His work in death for our offence. The Old Testament had promise; we rest on accomplishment; so that there is a grave difference at the threshold. Then Gal. 4 shows that even the true saints of old were in servitude; but that now it is a question of the adoption of sons, the Spirit of the Son being sent forth into the hearts of the sons, crying Abba, Father. The inheritance of promise is common ground; but this quite consists with fresh and inferior {sic, superior} blessing consequent on redemption. If we think not of the individual, but of our corporate relationship, the difference is at least as marked. The olive tree of testimony according to promise is not at all the same as the house of God, or the body of Christ. There is continuity in the olive tree, even if some of the natural branches were broken off for unbelief to let in the Gentile wild olive graft; and the Gentile, if not continuing in goodness, is to be cut off, that God may ingraft again the natural branches no longer abiding in unbelief. “And so all Israel shall be saved” {Rom. 11:26} in the depth of God’s wisdom and mercy. But this is quite distinct from Eph. 2, where the two are formed into one man, in which is neither Jew nor Gentile; and we are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the chief cornerstone. During the Old Testament the middle wall was not broken down, nor were both made one. Even in the Lord’s ministry here below, “Go not,” said He, “into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not”: dead and risen, He sends them to any or all. How could the house be even began before the foundation, not of prophets and then apostles, but “of the apostles and prophets” whom the ascended Head gave as gifts? And the body is formed in union with Him by the Spirit sent down from heaven.

Thus, if there are benefits which all saints enjoy from God’s mercy through Christ, which is thankfully owned, there are fresh and unspeakably great privileges which flow from redemption, and the presence of the Holy Ghost, who associates us in unity with Christ on high. In these last lies the peculiar blessings of the Christian and the Church. When Christ comes, the worthies of faith will, no doubt, receive the promise; but God has none the less provided some better thing for us {Heb. 11:40}, though we and they shall together enter on glory in that day.

The Bible Treasury 14:32.

Earthly and Heavenly Spheres During the Millennium

Q.- It is acknowledged that the Lord will reign in Zion (Ps. 2, 99; Isa. 2, 8, 12, 24, etc.; Zech. 2, 8, etc.). Yet it is drawn from the N.T. that His or our especial scene of glory will be in heaven. How can this be? R.

A. — Few truths are more important, whether one thinks of Christ or of the church. It is a question of the purpose of God, hidden in the ages and dispensations, but now brought to light formally and fully by the apostle Paul. Take Eph. 1:9-11 as a grand unfolding of it, where we learn that for the administration of the fulness of the times (or seasons) God will gather together (or head up) in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; in Him in Whom also we obtained (or were given) inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will. This rises incomparably beyond the kingdom in Zion, or the yet larger dominion of the Son of man, both of which will assuredly be accomplished “in that day.” It is even beyond all the promises to which the O. T. saints have just claim, and wherein no disappointment shall ever be. But grace gave to the apostle to reveal the divine counsel of setting Christ at the Head of all creation, the Heir as the Creator of all, now His (as the Epistle to the Colossians shows) on the ground of reconciliation. He is thus constituted the glorified Head over all, as we now know by faith. And “that day,” which proclaims Messiah’s reign over the land of promise with Israel renewed as His people, and all nations and tribes circling round Israel and subject to the Son of man, will make known the still more wondrous glory of our Lord over all things heavenly, angels, principalities, etc., with the church in the same glory His bride as now His body.

When this characteristic truth of the N.T. dawns on the soul, a crowd of scriptures confirm it. Thus in Matt. 6 our Lord taught His disciples to pray for “Thy” (i.e. the Father’s) kingdom to come, as well as His will to be done on earth. The Father’s kingdom is as distinctly heavenly as the Son of man’s is earthly: so Matt. 13:41-43 clearly proves. The risen saints shine as the sun, which is not earthly, in their Father’s kingdom; whereas the Son of man by His angels executes judgment on all offences and unrighteous persons in His kingdom as manifestly on earth. But it will be the day for His exaltation manifested on high as well as here below, being the Son of the Father and set by God over all things heavenly and earthly.

Then John 14 is unmistakable that our special hope of blessedness is not merely reigning with Christ, as all suffering saints shall, but that He is coming to receive us to Himself in the Father’s house where He now is. And the great N.T. prophecy shows us (Rev. 21:9 to the end) the bride the Lamb’s wife the centre of heavenly and universal glory; as the O.T. is equally clear that Zion will be for all the peoples of the earth, then owning Israel to be the seed which Jehovah has blessed and set at the head of all nations under the Great King, Himself Jehovah-Messiah.

So Rom. 8:16, 17, designates the Christians as God’s children. “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” This goes far beyond the earth; as Rom. 5:17 cannot be limited to the millennial reign.

Again, 1 Cor. 6:2, 3, teaches that we shall judge the world — nay more, judge angels. And 1 Cor. 15:48, 49, distinctly calls us even now “heavenly” in title, after the pattern of the Heavenly One, and points on to our bearing that heavenly image, as we have now borne the image of the earthly (Adam’s). But instead of gathering up other intimations, look at the glorious type of that day furnished by Gen. 14 where Melchizedek meets Abram victorious over the foe in the hour of their short triumph and pronounces him blessed of the most High God, possessor of heaven and earth; as he blesses the most High God Who had delivered his enemies into his hand. Christ is even now, as the Epistle to the Hebrews teaches, priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek; but He will exercise its privileges in the blessings of that day of blessing. One might add many a glimpse in the types of Joseph, and of Moses, as well as in that of the sanctuary. But enough is said to show the blank left by looking no higher than the earth for the Lord in that day. If nature abhors a vacuum, the Christian in hope awaits glory in the heavens for Christ and the church, while fully assured that glory of Jehovah and the knowledge of it shall fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.

The Bible Treasury, New Series 2:79-80.

Millennial Conversion

Q. — Where in the Psalms or Prophets is justified the belief that there will be conversions in the Millennial age? J. C. J. (U. S. A.).

A. — Almost every where that we find the work of divine goodness contemplated. Take Ps.2:12: “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry . . . Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” All conversions past, present, or future, are in this way and no other. They alone are the righteous who fear God then as now. The gospel, which actually goes out in indiscriminate grace, the apostle vindicates to the Jewish objector in Rom. 9, 10 by testimonies from the Law, Psalms, and prophets which anticipate that day. It will be the harvest. We are but a sort of first-fruits, though called to “some better thing,” as Heb. 11:40 speaks, as compared even with “the elders.” But the ingathering great as to extent awaits that day. All must bow to the Lord, “King over all the earth,” as well as “Head over all things”; but all are not converted even then, as Isa. 65 shows, and on a large scale Rev. 20:7-10. They will previously have rendered but a feigned obedience. Cp. Ps. 18:44.

The Bible Treasury, New Series 2:240.

The Separate State And the Resurrection

When we have learned a truth, even in power from God, such is the narrowness of the human mind, that we are in serious danger of making it a shut-door against other truths, and thus of stopping short of the largeness of God’s thoughts. Indeed, the more important a truth, the greater is the peril of its becoming all-absorbing. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, (blessed, divine remedy!) whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” {John 14:26}. “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth” {John 16:13}.

Thus, when Jesus, after speaking of the many mansions in His Father’s house, and of going there to prepare a place for His own, said: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there may ye be also” {John 14:3}, it is clear that He did not mean death, nor the end of the world, nor the destruction of Jerusalem. He who was going away promised to come again: if it was a real, personal departure of Jesus, it was to be as real and personal a return, not to reign over them in their place, but to take them to His place, that He and they might be there together. Right, therefore, it is, that our hearts should feel that our going to Him is a thing very distinct from His coming to receive us unto Himself in such sort as this.

Again, our souls may have drank somewhat into the triumphant strain of the Apostle, when he cries: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” {1 Cor. 15:55}. Hades is not our joy, but He who has won the victory-He that liveth and was dead, and behold He is alive for evermore, and hath its keys! It is true that the Christian can say that all is his, life or death; still, death is not, and ought not to be, the object of his affections. Christ is the Bridegroom; not Christ known after the flesh, for henceforth know we no man thus: we know Him the risen man, the Lord from heaven. And by the energy of the Holy Ghost, knowing Him risen, we long for that which will but speak His worth, His power, His glory — above all, His love. We long for His coming and for the resurrection — the resurrection of them that are Christ’s, at His coming. Happiness, no doubt, it is to be rid of this clog and burden, this body of sin and death — happiness far deeper is the assurance that we depart to be with Christ; but, led of the Spirit, we long for His triumph, for His joy. Our death and consequent separate state, however to us “far better” through His grace, is far from being His triumph No! it is “when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory” {1 Cor. 15:54}.

Nevertheless, let none depreciate the blessed portion of those who, absent from the body, are present with the Lord. When the word of truth in its fullness and simplicity is respected, this may not be touched. To the dying thief, who prayed the Lord to remember him when He should come in His kingdom, Jesus said: “Verily, I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise” {Luke 23:42, 43}; that is, He proffers something beyond and better than he asked, something which, to the renewed mind, is more prized than any outward governmental display, however glorious — the joy of being with Christ Himself, and that very day too, without waiting for His coming in His kingdom. I do not mean, nor believe, that, in the kingdom, the element of the presence and companionship of Christ will be wanting, nor can it be supposed that we shall be less able to appreciate this blessed association, when that which is perfect is come. Surely not. Yet, strictly, it is not what constitutes the character of the kingdom, for it existed, as we have seen before the kingdom, and it will continue after the kingdom shall have been delivered up. But when one has felt even a little of the affections of Christ, it needs few words to show that no conferred honour, no recompense, however right, (and God forbid that we should disparage the recompense of such a Lord!) can approach the joy of being near Him, and with Him, and, blessed be God, for ever!

The saints, then, which sleep in Jesus, (or rather who were put to sleep by Jesus, τοὺς χοιμηθέντας διὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ — 1 Thess. 4:14, ) death shall not be able to separate from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. so Stephen, stoned, calls and says, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” {Acts 7:59}; and Paul could say “to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” “. . . For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better” {Phil. 1:21, 23}. There was not, and could not be, a doubt, whether to choose death or resurrection. The hesitation was about “living in the flesh,” not about resurrection, which was incomparably more blessed than either to live or to die: “if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection from the dead.” To abide in the flesh might be more needful for others; but as far as the servant of Christ, individually, is concerned, to depart and to be with Christ is far better. (Phil. 1.) Nevertheless, the third chapter of this same epistle declares that we have another and sweeter hope. We look for the Saviour from heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ; who, instead of giving to our spirits only the joy of being with Him, shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself. And the Apostle, in 2 Cor. 5, speaking of Christian position and judgment as to these things, utters our confidence and willingness to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord, though, even here, he shows that there is another thing closer to the heart. “We groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven . . . For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed (i.e., death and the separate state,) but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life” {2 Cor. 5:2}: the result and complement of the resurrection of Christ. “If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies because of His spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom. 8. 11-23).

The Prospect 1:16.