Alexander Brown
(1814- 1896)

Minister of St Paul’s Evangelical Union Church, Aberdeen ;
President of that denomination in 1896

“He does not anticipate any catastrophe at “the end of the age,” but a steady progress on the part of Christianity until at length, in spite of occasional retrogressions, it achieves a universal victory”

Alexander Brown Index // The Great Day of the Lord: A Survey of New Testament Teaching on Christ’s Coming in His Kingdom, the Resurrection, and the Judgement of the Living and the Dead













1890 (Second Edition 1894)


“To sum the whole into a sentence — with the fall of Jerusalem, the then existing age was ended, the dead were judged, the saints were raised to heaven, and a new dispensation of a world-wide order instituted, of which Christ is everlasting King, and ever present with His people, whether living here or dead beyond.” (p. 257)

Hyper PreterismAlexander BrownThe Great Day of the Lord: A Survey of New Testament Teaching on Christ’s Coming in His Kingdom, the Resurrection, and the Judgement of the Living and the Dead (1890)  “To sum the whole into a sentence — with the fall of Jerusalem, the then existing age was ended, the dead were judged, the saints were raised to heaven, and a new dispensation of a world-wide order instituted, of which Christ is everlasting King, and ever present with His people, whether living here or dead beyond.” (p. 257)    – A simple but fundamental mistake, confining the new aion within the brackets of carnal chronology.   It is the same exact mistake of Futurism, except that the incorrect HyP AD70 dispensational line in history past has immense theological consequences with which Futurists will never have to deal, placing their dispensational line as they do in history future (thereby not ever having to deal with the myriad complications of living in a global change of spiritual economy — which yields theological Universalism of some sort.. hence the high concentration of Universalist/Pantelist/Comprehensive Grace teachers within full preterism).

“Some reader may demur to our suggestion that the first resurrection took place after the close of the Judaic age, on the ground that such an event must leave its mark on history, while history’s page is blank.

If we turn to v. 51 we shall there plainly read that this resurrection was then immanent. Paul says” we shall not all sleep,” that is, at “the last trump,” the signal of this deliverance of the dead. If this were true, what date within a lifetime was more likely than immediately after the old dispensation was judged and done away? Indeed, if we turn to “the last trump” in the book of Revelation, we find that it is the time for the judgement and resurrection of the dead, and that it is also the close of the old dispensation, as witnessed in the overthrow of Jerusalem.”


THE INDEPENDENT.“It is eloquent and vigorous, and sets forth many great and just spiritual conceptions.”
“There is a great deal in the book well worth thinking about.  Mr. Brown has evidently a vigorous mind, and he can put his thoughts into nervous and telling language.”
” An exceedingly able and deeply interesting study of this strange book, the Apocalypse. Mr. Brown is both a scholar and an independent thinker, nor is his style less vigorous than his thought.”SCOTSMAN.

“A learned and acute view of the prophetic visions and their eschatology. The book is so clearly and closely argued that whether its reasoning command assent or no, it will always prove stimulating and suggestive to a reader interested in this subject.”

THE EXPOSITOR.“.The Book of Revelation still attracts commentators, and Mr. Brown has published a thoroughly sensible guide to its interpretation.  In applying his key to the meaning of particular passages he is remarkably successful. Sobriety and sense characterise the interpretation throughout, and none can read the small volume without feeling increased hopefulness about the understanding of a book which is virtually sealed to most readers. The work deserves to be widely read.”-Dr. DODS.

THE CLERGYMAN’S MAGAZINE.“Here we have a brilliant book on a great theme, and unlike most productions of the kind. The writing is forcible and telling, and the argument is convincing, though calculated to shake confirmed beliefs. Other writers have been before him in the elaboration of his theory, but we believe the author to be the first to have given it an original and striking setting, and to make a readable book where they have failed. We have read the book from beginning to end, and should like to be instrumental in recommending it to others. For, whether we agree with the conclusions or not, it will be difficult to retire from this delightful book without feeling that it has awakened new thoughts and exercised a powerful stimulating effect on faith and practice.”

 PREFACE.IT is greatly to be desired that Christian scholars and- divines should thoroughly re-consider that interestingfield of doctrine known as “Eschatology.” Currentopinions on” Last Things” are widely and increasinglyfelt to be dependent upon a highly artificial system ofinterpretation, and even then are marred by evidentinconsistencies, and scarred by visible self-contradictions.The practical results, besides, have beendeplorably unwholesome to Christian life, making itunduly sectarian, feverish, and materialistic, as well asdamaging to the claims of Scripture as an authenticrecord of the teachings of our Lord and HisApostles.This book is a humble plea with all who areconcerned with Scripture interpretation to re-considerthe whole question of the Coming and Kingdom ofChrist. It proceeds upon the principle that prophecyVi not couched in occult or deceptive language, thoughstrongly Hebraistic in conception and expression, andaims at showing that what Christ and His. Apostlesforetold was strictly true when their language is interpretedin its directest sense, and in remembranceof the spiritual ends they had in view. The substantialaccuracy of our. conclusions may almost be presumedfrom the fact that New Testament prophecy is foundself-consistent and easy of interpretation, and theoutcome entirely worthy of the Gospel of God’ssalvation.Our method is by the necessities of the case strictlyexegetical, and we extend to each book a separate,though sometimes brief examination. We give thefirst and most prominent place to the Apocalypse fordiverse reasons. It is the one New Testament bookwhich is professedly concerned with the SecondAdvent, and is constructed pictorially to answer to theBiblical phrase which is the title of this work-itsevening and morning prophecies together making upthat epoch of judgement known to the closingcenturies of the Jewish dispensation as “The GreatDay of the Lord.” In keeping with this design, it isnot only the fullest Scripture dealing with our subjectbut at the same time the simplest; because, in spiteof its allegorical scenes and Kabbalistic hints, it is therichest in detail as to the time, the nature, and thesphere of our Lord’s Coming in His Kingdom. ThePreface. viiother books of the New Testament are accordinglytreated as subsidiary and corroborative,-the onlyfurther light found in them being what St. Paul teaches\ as to the origin and developement of the resurrectionbody. The one drawback of our method is that itleads to a repetition .of texts and of ideas; but on theother hand, su~h repetition may the better drive homethe _unfamiliar teachings of this work, and the moreforcibly exhibit the perfect agreement which existsbetween all the New Testament books as to the factsof our Lord’s Second Coming.We have not thought it needful to discuss theauthorship, date, and structure of our piece de resistance,the Apocalypse. The exigencies of the case do nottie us to any particular opinion. The book mighthave been written in part as a theological explanationof events already past, or in anticipation of eventsabout to come. However, the evidence for the latestdate consistent with the authorship of St. John is soscant, and dubious at the best, while the internalevidence for the earlier date is-so exceedingly strongand so clearly supported by traditions almost equal inauthority and more than equal in probability to thosewhich support the first, that we cannot refuse ourbelief to the earlier date fixed for its origin. In anycase, what we find to be the only possible interpretationof the book is in itself a strong presumption of its earlyand apostolic origin.viii Preface.Our readers will probably not find fault with us forendeavouring, not merely to elucidate the propheticsense of Scripture, but to accompany it with thoselessons of life and godliness with which true prophecyis always charged. As New Testament prophecy ishere interpreted it will be seen that its message isan essential portion of the Gospel of our salvation,and lends ftself easily to didactic purposes.The first edition of this book was published fouryears ago, and was received with a favour for whichwe return our sincerest thanks. This edition adds tothe first a more careful examination of the other NewTestament books than could be given when thesewere only cursorily cited to point out their agreementwith certain teachings in the Apocalypse. It is hopedthat this enlargement will make the volume increasinglyuseful j and certainly, the eschatological parts ofthe Gospels and Epistles are as commonly misunderstoodas the so-called mysterious Apocalypse itself.In conclusion, we would in all sincerity assurea~y readers whose minds may be pre-occupied withthe more sensational doctrines now popular that, oncalm consideration, they will find the views here presentednot only more distinctly scriptural, but morehelpful to Christian life and more comforting in viewof death and the infinite beyond. One thing weassert as beyond all question, because now vouchedfor by a very wide experience, that to those who usePreface ixthis key the entire Bible -becomes a more luminousand helpful book, and many passages that beforeseemed confused, contradictory, or even meaningless,cease to be perplexing and become radiant with asatisfactory meaning. May the. divine blessing leadeach reader into the knowledge of the truth.ABERDEEN, October, 1894.COR RICE N DA.Page 62, line 2. CorII incredulous” read iNCrtdible.u lo.t., n 8, for IIexpiscated If It tsju1tJ{td.II 13-4. It 2, CorII augeries II “augwries.II lSI, U 2I r for CI understood” II “,iSlltulerstootl.It J82, It 19, CorU who n 1uJw.U 2031 It 23, for II Aceldema. tI II AceltJamtJ.II 231, ” 17, for U temporarily It II tt”,jortUl~.CONTENTS.~ht (lj)ttat ~a!! of the ~orbIn the Old and New Testaments,ST. JOHNSpecially prefaced to be its interpreter, …THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST.Through what media Christ is revealed, …The time and place of this revelation,The Christ about to be revealed, …Christ’s Message to the Asiatic Churches-As to the time of His coming,” their moral state,II their immediate future,PAGBI3&16181920THE PROPHETIC VISIONS.’art 1.-ettightfaU. Dr tltt ~aet ~a~s of tltt Jdllish ~ie.Heaven opened,-The Divine Moral Government, 25Christ assumes His Mediatorial Powers, … 33The Beginning of Judgement, 41The Sealing of God’s Elect, 51The Trumpet Judgements, 59The Mystery of God Finished, 79Destruction in order to Salvation, 86 ‘art II.-~ll~.pting, Dr the ~bbtnt of the Qthrlstian ~e.The Woman and the Dragon, logThe Wild Beast from the Sea, 123The Tame Beast from the Land, … … 133Appendix.-The Beasts, the Man of Sin, and Anti-christ, 140The Church on Mount Zion, 144The Son of Man in the Clouds of Heaven, 154The Seven Last Plagues, … 163 _xii Contents.PAGEThe Harlot judged, 179The Marriage Supper and the Victory of the Word of God, 196Satan Bound-The Millenial Reign-The Judgement of theDead, 205The New Jerusalem, … 229Summary and conclusion of this Book, … 244HIS GOSPEL AND EPISTLES.The difference in style and tone, …Why little Apocalyptic teaching in the Gospel, …Christ’s twofold coming to His disciples,The lapse of time before His coming,Approaching Resurrection and Judgement,The” last hour” of the Epistles,… …SS. MATTHEW, MARK, AND LUKE.THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS.257258259261264 •267When written, 269The mission of John the Baptist, … 271Jesus un the nearness of His coming, 273The coming and development of His Kingdom-modernmisunderstandings, 276The Lord’s last prophecy, … … … 280The meaning of the Disciples’ questions,… 285The answer in detail, 295Corroborative Parables-The Virgins, The Talents, The Sheepand the Goats, 313ST. JAMES AND ST. JUDE.Eusebius on the cause of St. James’ Death, 324The falling away in the Jewish Church-the day of judgement-the Parousia at hand, … 325The Witness of St. Jude, .. 326ST. PETER.The Apostle living in the last days,The” restitution of all things,” .Impending judgement, … .The Kingdom heavenly in its nature,Is the coming delayed in the Second Epistle? ..Supposed destruction of the world,328329331332333334Contents.ST. PAUL.Difficulties with his” eschatology,”XIIIPAGE33£339340342344347348FIRST AND SECOND THESSALONIA”S.His teaching at Thessalonica,The second coming a time of peculiar judgement,The advent signalised by a resurrection of the dead,The coming just at hand, …What is meant by the coming,The rapture of the living Saints, …FIRST CORINTHIANS.The” day of Christ” still near, and described as a Jewi.hJudgement, … … 352The resurrection at His coming, 354SECOND CORINTHIANS.Paul’s supposed change of outlook, 358His view of the earthly tahernacle, 360Longing to he “clothed upon,” … 364A process already begun, … 366GALATIANS.A transition period between the the Old Jerusalem and the New, 368ROMANS.Impending judgement-Glory about to he revealed-victory athand, 369The restoration and conversion of the Jews, 371EPHESIANS.The dispensation of the fulness of the times about to come, 372COLOSSIANS.The Gospel preached in all the world before the enrl-theshadow and the coming substance-the “rudiments of theworld” to be consumed by the wrath of God, 373PHILIPPIANS.The day of Christ to be seen by the Philippians, yet Paul prefersto die, although not prepared to say that he is perfected orready for the resurrection, 375TIMOTHY AND TITUS.The Apostle’s last word-the judgement near-the glory of Godabout to appear-the signs of the coming in the Apostacyof the Church, 377xiv Contents.ANONYMOUS.THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS.The old age still running, but about to disappear,The world about to come,… .. … …The changing dispensations,The city about to come, …The tones of impending judgement,CONCLUSION.NOTEWORTHY FINDINGS,APPENDIX.THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS.CLEMENT OF ROME,BARNABAS, …HERMAS,IGNATIUS, .POLYCARP, ..Sub-apostolic religious literature, …BIBLIOGRAPHY,INDEX,389394394396396397398II CQthe ~ttnt ~lt}1 uf the ~urb.”INTRODUCTORY.” IF TRUTH DO ANYWHERE MANIFEST ITSELF, SEEK NOTTO SMOTHER IT WITH GLOSSING DELUSIONS, ACKNOWLEDGETHE GREATNESS THEREOF, AND THINK IT YOUR BESTVICTORY WHEN THE SAME DOTH PREVAIL OVER YOU.”-HOOKER’S Ecclesiastical Polity, Pref. Sec. ix,”~ht Q5ttat !lay of the ~~tll “S”TANDS like a background of red-hot fire in all theScriptures from Isaiah to Revelation. Judgementis God’s strange work; but in a world of sin, with arighteous God upon his throne, the tones of threateningmust always be reverberating through the air.Happily, even in Old Testament revelation, God’sjudgement-day is always at the same time” the dayof his salvation.”” Destruction and salvation are the handsUpon the face of time.”All salvation is by fire; to save is necessarily to destroy.Hence the great Messianic Salvation for whichIsrael hoped, is identical with” That great day of theLord” in which “his fury shall burn like an oven.””The acceptable year of the Lord” is “the day ofvengeance of our God.”Interpreters of prophecy vainly think that the prophetswere somewhat confused in their outlook.Isaiah is charged with confounding the first andsecond advents of our Lord, while those two eventswere lying at least 2000 years apart. Those old Seerswere better instructed than their commentators. Theadvents were resolved into one because they are substantiallyone, both as to their intention and their2 The Two Adueuts Om.time. The unvarying testimony of the Scripture is,that the same generation sees the consummate sacrificeof our great High Priest and the desolating judgementsof our righteous King. The New Testament day ofjudgement is the historical boundary line between thelegal age and that gospel era which is ” the acceptableyear of the Lord.” It takes both the first and second,the suffering and the reigning Christs, to introduce thegospel dispensation; just as it takes the dead and therisen Christ to constitute that one Mediator who cansave unto the uttermost all who come unto God byHim.That such is the standpoint alike of Old Testamentand New Testament writers may be seen at a glanceby anyone who will be at the pains to look for thisidea in the Scriptures. Our Lord lived and suffered inthe latter years of the Mosaic age, and taught his disciplesthat his work, whether He lived or died, wasto bring that age to an end. As plainly as languagecould express it, He told them that his work wouldbe completed ere many years had passed. Accordingly,their eyes were ever looking forward to thatawful day, significantly called” the last.” They speakof themselves as living in the last days, in the end ofthe age, on the edge of a fearful crisis which willshake the heavens and the earth; and they plainlyrecognize that Christ’s saving work is not completeuntil this judgement is consummated. This is thereason why all through the New Testament we havesounding the trumpet of immediate judgement; or, torevert to a former figure, why the background of theScriptures is the red-hot fire of judgement. Christ’ssaving work is not finished with his sacrifice. He isThe Gospels and tlte Apocalypse One. 3to reign and judge-destroy his and his people’s enemies-before his saints can enter into their eternalrest, and the world be made to realize the marvellousfact that God has come to dwell on .earth and to bestowhis pardon and salvation without distinction asto race, or as to the greatness of men’s sins.The Apostle John was especially chosen and preparedto explain to the expectant Church thoseaspects of Christ’s conquering work with which it wasimmediately concerned. He had to tell his generationin what facts they could discern the boundaryline of the old and new ages of the world; whereand how they were to read “the sign of the Son ofMan,” and feel assured that He had prepared a placefor them in heaven, called up his saints from the graspof Hades, and secured a certain victory for his Gospelon the earth. This message was conveyed in his bookof” Revelation”; ominous with meaning for its times;as pregnant with meaning for ourselves. Never will itbe an old almanac, void of sense, except by the helpof a library of historians. Pre-eminently, it is the recordof Christ’s saving work in continuance of hisearthly sacrifice,-so essentially bound up with it, thatwithout the Apocalypse, the Gospels are incompleteand meaningless. In short, it is the final and crowningword of revelation-filling up Paul’s profoundepitome of the Saviour’s mission :-” for to this endChrist died and lived again, that he might be Lord ofboth the dead and the living.” (Ro. xiv. 9). TheGospels are “the earthly things” of Christ; the Revelationis “the heavenly”; the former tell us that Hedied and rose again, the latter that He lives and ISthe LORD both of the LIVING and the DEAD. There4“Blessed is He that Readeth.”fore the Revelation of St. John is not a book to beevaded and left enigmatical to the Church; or whichcan be neglected without serious injury to the Church’sdoctrine and life. We trust that many of our readers,to whom it has been hitherto a sealed page, or astumbling-block, will find it to be one of the mostsuggestive and comforting portions of the Word ofGod.May the good Lord endow reader and author alikewith the spirit of wisdom and interpretation, that theymay be worthy of the blessing pronounced upon thosewho read and understand.THEREVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST.INTRODUCTOR Y.CHAPTER I.T\HE opening verses of John’s book are equivalent to- the title page of a modern volume. That head line”The Revelation of Jesus Christ” is a comprehensivesummary, implying that the main scope of the work isthe manifestion or unveiling of what Jesus Christ trulyis in his divine nature and his saving work. ThisApocalypse is to be seen in “the things whic/t mustshortly come to pass.” Christ is by no means about toreveal Himself in his naked personality to the eyes ofmen; nor to be made the subject of a treatise in whichhis essential nature and relations to the Church andworld will be exhaustively unfolded. Heis to reveal himselfIN CERTAIN FACTS OF HISTORY. As these unfoldthemselves they will be seen to contain”a manifestionof his presence,” a demonstration of his superiornature and exalted functions as the One Great HighPriest of Humanity, and the Prince of the Kings of theEarth, whose will must finally become supreme. Somewhatas the effective miracle of the words “Rise upand walk,” was the visible sign and pledge of theinvisible blessing of the words “thy sins are forgiventhee,” so the outward and visible deeds here prophesiedagain, as they had been in the days of our Saviour’sflesh, were to stand as signs of power and blessingissuing from their Lord in unseen and eternal spheres.6 Christ Reueaied £n History. [I.Such being the ostensible purpose of the book, it isevident that this” Revelation” can be given only inevents which” must slzortty come to pass.” A personalrevelation in historical occurrences fixed for a distantday, or beginning in some near day and slowly draggingitselfonward in unspecialized events standing hundredsof years apart, could have rendered no possible serviceto the early Church; and unhappily, as we know, couldonly keep in perplexity the Church of succ~ssivecenturies. To have any power of comfort for theChurch, or any force of conviction for the world, itmust be a process of comparatively brief and compactdimensions ; condensed almost into an episode; atableau of events which can be seen almost at oneglance of the eye.Now, in the title page of the book there are no lessthan FIVE distinctive indications of the whereabouts inhistory this” unveiling” must transpire.(1) We have the intimation that God gi1/es thisrevelation to Jesus Christ. Earlier in Scripture we aretold on high authority that the very angels in heavendo not know the day and hour of the coming of theSon of Man; and not even the Son Himself, but theFather only, who keeps the times and seasons in hispower. The fact that now the day and hour arecommunicated to the Son is proof of the immanenceof the event. “The Father loveth the Son and shewethHim all things that Himself doeth,” that is, as Heproceeds to execute them. The time is come for Godto work; then Christ is sent to give the revelation tohis waiting and expectant Church. Indeed, Christbecomes, as we shall see, the executor of the Father’swill.1-3.] A Book for its Times. 7(2) This revelation is for Christ’s”sen/ants,” of whom. ] ohn is one. Primarily, this revelation is not the book;it is the actual historical unveiling of the majesty ofChrist. The events narrated are to happen in order toreveal Christ to his servants then on earth. That therevelation is an actual unveiling before that generationseems implied in the order to transmit the necessarykey to the events to the churches over whom Johnwas exercising presbyterial functions, and throughthem to the universal company of believers.(3) The same is clear from the fact that those towhom the book is sent are” hearers” in the churcheswhen the book is read, and are required” to keep tlutlzings zuritten therein,” by fidelity to Christ” in themidst of the events in which the “unveiling” is beingrealized. But how could those addressed be seriouslyconcerned in the prophecy of the book, if no part of itis yet fulfilled, or even if by far the greater portion layin the dim and distant future, and especially that eventwhich really is the only one of practical importance inthe book-the second coming of their Lord? Doesthe language not imply that” the proplucy” is one,condensed, immediate,-the coming of their Lord tothem,-putting the Church upon a new probation? Theepistles to the churches will clearly show that the bookis not so much a series of events as one event, theComing of the Lord; and that the prophecy from firstto last enters into the life of the existing members ofthose churches, tests them individually like a judgementday,and rewards or punishes openly before the world.How vastly different is the standpoint of the apostleand his contemporaries from that of a recent expositorwho makes the daring statement that” It is clear that8 Does God Educate by Delusions? [1.God, though giving the prophecy in the apostolic age,cannot have intended it to be understood for manymany subsequent generations.” Thus, we are invitedto believe that this book was really intended to be amystification of the church for eighteen centuries; thatGod calls darkness light, and deludes his people byfalse hopes. If God educates his people by suchdelusions, where does this process end? May not thehope of a second coming be as delusive for this centuryand the next as it was for the first? May not the hopeof immortality itself be only a benevolent ignis fatuusto lead the Church across the bogs of sensualism tofirmer walking ground? The method savours toomuch of a trick to be divine. The book pledges itselfat its birth to be a book whose words are” faithful andtrue,” and in the keeping of whose instructions thereis a great reward. ” Let God be true and every mana liar.”(4) This unveiling of Christ is to be given inthings w/zz”ch MUST SHORTLY come to pass.” Thesewords ought to put beyond all controversy the substantialmeaning of the book. Unhappily, few Englishexegetes have been prepared to stand by their directsense. One class reads them as if they ran-” thingswhich must shortly begin to come to pass.” Alford,although he actually interprets the book according tothis false sense, denies strenuously its validity. Themeaning” is, he says, things” which in their entiretymust soon come to pass,”-” must have come to pass”-” be fulfilled.” Others admit that the clause mustcover the whole transactions of the book, but putthis word”shortly” on the rack and stretch it out over atleast 2000 years. “It is God’s word, and we never1-3.] ” Tlze Day ofJeho·valt.” 9know what shortly may mean with Him, to whom aday is as a thousand years.” On this principle wecannot know what any word from God may mean,whatever it may concern, for God is not at any time aman. But certainly this elastic treatment of the temporalelement in prophecy cannot be justified in onesingle case: and is actually refuted by the classicalcase in Daniel, by which it is most frequentlydefended. Dr. Briggs assures us that near and at Itandin the prophetic books mean nothing: are only stockbits of furniture in the prophetic art. The” day ofJehovah” was at hand alike to Joel and to Malachi;and Jesus and the Apostles go on using the sameloose and confusing speech. (Messianic Prophecy, p.54.) Such blundering has no existence save in theimagination of slovenly or careless interpreters, who,if they were not deceived by phrases, would see thatthe prophecies they confound do not refer to thesame impending judgements. There are many” daysof Jehovah” in the visions of the prophets. Now, itis the destruction of Moab, then it is Jerusalem indanger of Scythian or Assyrian invasion; or it isBabylon threatened by the Medes, or Egypt defeatedon the Euphrates; occasionally it is a purely ideal andgeneral judgement of the enemies of the Church. Tomix all these judgement-days together, and charge theprophets with confusion, is an unpardonable sin.Whenever a prophet says that” the day of the Lordis near,” it will be found on the simplest comparisonof his prophecy with contemporary history, that someterrible calamity is impending in which God’s hand isto be seen. This blunder, into which too many writershave fallen, may be explained thus:-They imagine10 Were the Apostles i’rfistaken ? [1.the prophet to be thinking of an ideal and final judgementwhich is described as near, while actually distant;whereas he is thinking of a specific day of judgementwhich is actually ncar, but which in its processes andresults he describes in ideal terms. It is forgotten thatthe prophet is poet aa well as seer. These variousjudgement-days are not to be confounded because describedin similar terms. The prophets are not to besupposed as looking through a haze, and having” nosense of perspective.'” All such uncomplimentarycomments should cease, and prophecy be read accordingto the plain straightforward sense it must havecarried to those for whom it was spoken at the first.However, it is no prophetic utterance we have here;but a business and prosaic record of the apostle’s owninterpretation of his book. It is after he has receivedhis visions, mastered their contents, and is about toput them into literary form for the Asiatic churchesthat he deliberately pens these words – pens themwith a human and honest sense. What did John meanby the words tV TrJ..XH-sllortly? Did he really understandthe events of Christ’s parousia to be just impending?No scholar doubts that such was the realbelief of the apostolic age; and therefore, on thetheory we combat, we are invited to look back uponthe painful spectacle of those “inspired apostles”Christ’sfaithful companions and martyrs-blunderingon such a simple matter-inspired to utter phraseswhich deceived themselves and conveyed wrong impressionsto the Church! We cannot but feel sorryfor those deceived apostles, worthy of more candidtreatment; but what are we to think of the divineaction in the case? Is it enough to cover it (as Mr.1-3.] ” SllOrtly ” means- What ? 11Guiness does) with the soft apology – “The HolyGhost did not undeceive them.” Pray, Sir, who deceivedthem first of all? At how many more apostolicmisapprehensions does God wink? Is it a part ofGod’s general method to use language which deceives?Is it possible that He can employ tools so sinister andoffensive?I t is maintained, however, that” shortly” is “a propheticformula” of all ages, and means nothing in thisplace. Alford, followed by the Speaker’s Commentary,stakes the whole case upon our Lord’s use of theword in Luke xviii. 8,-” He will avenge themspeedily,” where, he says, “long delay is evidentlyimplied.” We are perfectly willing to take up thechallenge, especially since the subject of our Lord’sdiscourse is identical with the subject of John’s Revelation.Our Lord looks forward to the time when, inthe social disorders and persecutions of a closing age,his apostles will be sorely pressed, and many of themmartyred for the faith. Then (as in the correspondingpassage in Rev. vi. 10), their blood will cry from theground for revenge, and ascend with the groans oftheir fellow saints on earth. At first God cannot granttheir prayer; but He says to them :-” Rest for a littleseason until your fellow-servants and your brethrenwhich should be killed like you shall be fulfilled,” thenrelief will come. Thus our Lord teaches his disciplesto persevere in prayer, with the assurance that just whenGod seems deaf to their bitter cry, their victory is near.They are to know that “it is darkest just before thedawn” ; that”when things are at the worst they begin tomend” ; and therefore the word” speedily” is expresslyintended to oust every possibility of the notion of12 ” The Time is at Hand.” [1.delay. Surely the disciples would easily understandthat from the moment of their faintness and despairrelief was near. So plainly is deliverance near to thetemporal standpoint of the thought of Christ, that onemay well marvel that able expositors should be capableof such mistakes as to pen: “here speedily implies along delay.” We claim that it can mean nothing butspeedily; and that the idea of delay would choke allbreath out of the parable.(5) The solemn assurance, “the time is at hand,” wehold to be an honest word; and as such it is made anargument for watchfulness. If, as a matter of fact, theprophecy hardly concerned that generation, what truthis in the apostolic statement, or what force in theargument? Then who is responsible for the excitementof hopes destined to be disappointed; for theculture of church piety by baseless fears and deceitfulpromises? Is it lawful to do evil that good may come?We are not ashamed to press this argument once again.These are questions that must be faced.PREFACE AND DEDICATION (i. 4-20).JOlIN’S mind is stored so full of the soul-stirring sceneswhich he has beheld in trance that, as soon as he isface to face with his readers, he anticipates his subjectin abrupt and broken utterances of the sublimest character.The Christ whom he reveals is at the very firstthe Christ both of the Gospels and the ApocalypseHewho shed his blood for men, and is now “the Rulerof the Kings of the earth,” who has made his Church akingdom and his people priests, destined to supremacyon the earth. His present message to the churches is4-7.] Tile Time and Place of the Parousia. 13-” The unveiling of the hidden glory of the Crucifiedis near. He cometh in his kingdom. All eyes shallsee the signs of his kingly dignity, and especially thatpeople who slew Him as if he had been a worm andno Son of God. All the tribes of the land shall beattheir breasts over Him. Amen-So let it be.” *Here again we have a key to the true interpretationof the book. John quotes from Zech. xii. where theprophet is typically teaching that before the ideal agecomes in Israel will have” to mourn that she pursuedwith mortal enmity a servant of God sent to bearwitness to the truth.” The sorrow of that day is to fillall the land of Israel in its tribes, and to be particularlydistressing in Jerusalem. Surely John’s quotation ofthese words indicates his belief that they are hasteningto fulfilment, and points us to the field on which theapocalypse is mainly to transpire. The tragedy beginswhile the Jew is still in possession of the land, whileJerusalem stands, and while some of that generationwhich pierced the Christ are still alive to be visited bythe fitting Nemesis of their crime. The same limit oftime was fixed by our Lord Himself for his parousia“This generation shall not pass away till all thesethings be fulfilled;”-” Some of you standing hereshall not taste of death till you see the Son of Mancoming in his kingdom.” It is a glaring fact that inalmost every possible form, Christ indicates the whereaboutsin place and time of his coming, and that inevery instance it is near to those who stand about Him,and involves the unbelieving in a penalty which is at* It may be as well to note here, once for all, that the Greek word sofrequently translated “earth,” means also” land,” and ought as a ruleto have been so translated.14 ..In the Spirit.” [I.once the rupture of their national covenant with God,and the destruction of their national life. “Judgementmust begin at the house of God.” In Christ’s day thisjudgement is within a lifetime, a generation; in theEpistles it is” at hand”; in the Apocalypse it is come.The Jew, as Paul and James so clearly intimate, is tobear the brunt of it; but the thunderbolts that shakethe city of God to its foundations will send out theirwaves of trouble and distress to the ends of theearth.John, the son of the eagle eye, was languishing inbanishment for the testimony of Jesus. In the midstof his sufferings, he must often have remembered theenigmatical saying of his Lord concerning the terminusof his earthly life-” What if he tarry till I come?”and fondly cherished the expectation that he wouldbe spared to see the day when his Lord would takehis mighty power and reign. At length a mystic handis laid on him, and he too becomes as one who hastranscended death. The deep eternal world is allaround him. Christ is discovered to be in no distantsphere, but present with his Church even before theend of the age. Consciousness needs only to beturned inward from the sphere of sense, in order towitness the occurrences and scenes of that deeper andmore enduring world.Immediately, John learns that he has been broughthither for a purpose. He is to see marvellous things;and to write his visions in a book that the men of histime may ponder its lessons and be blessed in theirobservance.. In John’s first vision he saw a picturethat was dear to him, because it reminded him of a10-16.] “jesus Crowned.” 15sacred past; and sad as dear, because it prophesied ofa splendour that was soon to pass away. This goldencandlestick is not now, alas, the glory of the temple;it has become the symbol of the Christian Church. Inthis centre of illumination stands one like the Son ofMan, as John had seen Him in his transfigured glory.The face of this heavenly personage is so dazzling inits burning splendour that John is glad to rest his eyesupon the drapery which invests Him. The garmentsare sacerdotal. Now, the Aaronic priesthood is entirelysuperseded; the Son of Man Himself is the HighPriest of humanity. The smoke of burning flesh stiIlascends from the altars of Jerusalem; but only to affrontthe majesty of heaven. Visibly the seven-branchedcandlestick is in its place; but its light is burning tothe socket and will soon go out. Jerusalem is nolonger the divine centre of the world; because supplantedby that Church in which Christ dweIls, andthrough which He is the light of the world.Such is the marvellous transformation which hastaken place upon that Jesus who parted from hisdisciples on Mount Olivet, as only the sublimest of allmen, and hitherto too much conceived of as stillhampered by the smaIl dimensions of our manhood.The manhood is indeed retained; but He has nowbecome the Ancient of Days described in propheticscenes, the Eternal’ Wisdom, white with thesplendours of its purity. The eyes of his Divine Intelligencego to and fro to search the evils andexceIlencies of all hearts; even in his feet, where Hecomes’ closest to the earth, his outgoings are mostglorious. Altogether, Christ is revealed to his Church,in his divinest and most gracious attributes. He is16 What Cllyist is to tile CllUycll. [1.the Great High Priest, the voice of Everlasting Love,the Sun that brightens all man’s heaven, the Kingwho wields the all-conquering sword of truth, andcarries the keys of eternal kingdoms in his hands.He is no longer the tender martyr, or the resuscitatedprophet of the Church’s feeble faith, but the veryChrist of God, exalted far above all angels, clothedwith the attributes of the Eternal. This Son of Godis going forth to war; He is taking to Him his greatpower, and is to reign until his enemies are judged andscattered. His fainting Church will see ere long thatshe is destined to prevail and to fill the whole earthwith her ·glory.This then is the” Revelation of Jesus Christ.” Thecontents of the book are to answer to the features ofthis image, prove it true. The churches are to watchand see if the immediately unfolding history of theworld does not illustrate and confirm its teaching, andhis supernatural claim. They have thought of Him asafar off in the heavens; they must learn that He hasalways been amongst them. Just as they are despairingof the triumph of the cross they are to be assuredthat the moment is at hand when the tide of victorywill turn. When their enemies are most triumphantlyasserting that the Christ is for ever dead, they areto see that He has risen indeed, and not as aman might rise, but a’s God must rise when Hetakes the form of our humanity. This was a revelationsuited for the hour, and for all time. TheChurch is .the kingdom and city of God. Read inthis book her mission. Interpret by this book hervarious trials; discern, if you will, her future history.This book explains it all, simply because it is a19.] The Limits of tile Book. 17revelation of what Christ is to the Church, andhow Christ fulfils his will in the Church’s destiny.It is from Christ himself that John receives his commissionto write this book. Its contents are prescribedin a form which John could neither mistake nordisobey. “Write what thou sawest” (or hast seenwhen the visions are finished), ” both the things whichare” (the then existing state of things in the seen andunseen worlds in their inter-relations) “and what isabout (p.EAAH) to happen after these,”*-the changeswhich must immediately supervene. Here thenis the well-defined field of history to be embracedwithin the book. Is it not the very climax of absurdityto treat a book whose subject is so strictlylimited, as if it were a chart of universal history, analmanac with enigmatical dates covering undecipherabledistances of time? The book is pledged again andyet again to treat substantially of its own immediatetimes,-and it can only be in some merely incidentalway, and with frankest acknowledgment, that it willventure to step beyond the bounds assigned to it.With no warning to the contrary, we shall stand bycommon sense and common honesty in seeking forthe meaning of the book.* While the Revised Version does more justice than the Received tothis verb expressing the immediateness of events, it often in this andother books of Scripture most unreasonably gives it the go-by: especiallywhen its reference is to the second coming, the resurrection and thejudgement.CHRIST’S MESSAGE TO THE CHURCHES.CHAPTERS II.-III.“Watch, for ye know not the hour of the coming of theSon of .lifan.”r’f’IHESE seven epistles are passionate even burningJl. appeals to actual historical assemblies of believers.I t is beyond the right of exegetes to give these churchesa typical significance; or to break up their evidentlycontemporaneous existence into seven successiveperiods covering the entire history of the Church.THE TIME OF CHRIST’S COMINGis described as urgent and immediate to each individualchurch, to the last, no more so than to thefirst. To Ephesus, Christ says: ” I will come quickly.”To Smyrna, his coming is preceded by a brief affiictionsoon to fall on them: “Fear not the things, whichthou art about to suffer; behold the devil is about tocast some of you into prison.” Pergamos is threatenedwith immediate judgement: “Repent or I come quickly.”Thyatira is told that the long suffering of theLord is exhausted and judgement about to begin (vv.21,22,25). Sardis is exhorted to watch because thestorm may burst at any hour. Philadelphia is toldthat an hour of judgement is about to come on all theworld in which Christ will be present to protect hisfriends, as well as to war against his foes. Laodicea isH.-III.] “Watch l ” 19threatened with immediate rejection: “I will soonspue thee out of my mouth. . Behold, I stand atthe door.” Thus the crisis is as near to the last churchas to the first-equally near to all, in the same events.It is difficult to see how the churches could interpretthis message with any other meaning, in absence of theslightest hint to justify a repeated, successive or distantfulfilment of its solemn warnings. As a matterof fact, the universal Church was at that time in livelyexpectation of Christ’s coming; and, therefore, theseepistles sent from Christ Himself could not but intensifythe certainty that the most tremendous climaxin the world’s history was at hand. No ulterior end,such as that of keeping the Church always on thealert for Christ’s coming, can justify the use of deceptivelanguage in the Scripture. The Son of God isnot so impotent as to require to delude his Churchinto beliefs which, for the vast majority, can have nofulfilment. If this tricky method were pursued byany other founder of religion, it would be universallystigmatized as unworthy jesuitry. We ought not toimpute such methods to Him whose word is-Yeaand Amen.THE MORAL STATE OF THE CHURCHESis precisely that which long before it had been prophesiedto be at our Lord’s parousia. Christ describeshis pre-advent Church as suffering persecution, inundatedwith false teachers, strifes, seditions, and impurities,”whereby the love of many shall wax cold.”Paul warns the Thessalonians that the coming will notbe ” until the falling away come first.” Timothy is20 Tlze Falling Away. [II.-III.instructed” that in the last days grievous times shallcome ;”-false teachers will abound, sensual lusts invadethe Church, and lawlessness prevail. Peter remindshis readers that they had been forewarned ofthe corrupt condition of the Church in ” the last of thedays,” and points them to the evils then existing ascorroborations of these prophecies. John, in hisepistles, cites the abounding heresies of his day asproofs that” the last hour” is come. Jude quotesPaul’s prophecy as to the last time, and puts his fingeron the evil doers who fulfil it: “these are they whomake separations, sensual, having not the Spirit.” Letour reader once again cast his eye over the state ofthe Apocalyptic churches, and there he will find everyevil in full blast which the Gospels and Epistles foretellas symptomatic of the coming of the great day ofthe Lord. The whole Apostolic Church, if we mayjudge it by its named representatives, is in a state ofserious relapse. Weary of its terrible conflict with itsfoes, invaded by Gnostic thought and heathen vice,tormented by Jewish spite, it is faint and ready to die.The critical hour is come when Christ must either godown or conquer.THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE OF THESE CHURCHESis interestingly bound up in the events and especiallyin the issues about to happen in the world’s history :described spiritually in this book. Ephesus is tomake her choice between extinction and the last sceneof the book-true life in the Paradise of God. Smyrnais appointed to the martyrdoms of chs. vi. and xii.,and to be rewarded with deliverance from the secondII.-III.] Tile Coming in Churclt Experience. 21death (xx. 14; xxi. IS). Pergamos is threatened withthe sharp sword of the Word of God (xix.), andencouraged to repentance with the promise of beingsealed with the new name, given to the elect (xiv.).Thyatira is to be visited with great tribulation (vi.and xvi.), but the faithful are to sit with the manchildon God’s throne (xii., xix.), and enjoy” the morningstar,” i.e. the coming day, which Christ’s advent heraldsin (xxii. 16). Sardis is warned, in language repeatedin xvi. 15, at the very crisis of the coming, that iffound faithful she will be dressed in white robes (vii.9-13) for the marriage supper of the Lamb, and havethe final victory of eternal life (xix.) Philadelphia ispromised that the Jew shall be humbled at the Christian’sfeet, and the victors made pillars in the templeof God, and citizens of the New Jerusalem (xxi.), ToLaodicea comes the warning of rejection; but onamendment, a share in Christ’s victory and kingdom.Thus patiently have we gone over these epistles to putbefore our readers the significant fact that the eventsconnected with Christ’s coming, as described in subsequentvisions, are distinctly set before these churches asexperiences through which they must pass, and whosehappy fruits they may reap. They are warned of animmediately impending struggle between the powersof Light and Darkness, in which they will suffer, butout of which they will be spared to come as victors.The promise to Philadelphia is expressly significant.The Jew had been the bane of the Apostolic Church:” its thorn in the flesh”-often as troublous inside theChurch as out of it. He claimed to be still the praisedof God; and like Ishmael, persecuted the Isaac of theSpirit. When in amiable relations with his Roman22 The Key to tlte Visions. [II.-III.master, his one aim was to stir up Rome to crush theChurch of Christ. The moment is now come whenhis pride will be overthrown, his power to injurebroken, his covenant relationship be annulled, and hisprivileges visibly passed over to the believer in ChristJesus. The old Jerusalem is about to pass away, thenew about to come down from God in heaven. .Anew era dawns for the Church and the world. Thisis the key to the events about to come to pass. Thewhole unfolding of the book from first to last is anexperience immediately awaiting them as Churches ofJesus Christ. If we will not see this fact, so plainlyintimated before the visions dawn, we deserve to misstheir meaning, and to be given over to the fate of thosewho” delude themselves by the believing of a lie.”PART 1.”tRigbtfall; or tbe l..aet lDa\?e of tbe3ewieb Bge.” The Lord shall judge his people.”” Woe unto us! for the day declineth, for the shadoic« of theevening are stretched out.”” Then sank the star of Solyma,Then passed her glory’s day,Like heath that in the wildernessThe light wind whirls away.Silent and waste her bowersWhere once the mighty trod,And sunk those guilty towers,Where Baal reigned as God.”-Nool·c.HEA VEN OPENED.CHAPTER IV.” The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice.He sitteth bettoeen the cherubims, let the earth be moved.”WE are now on the eve of that predicted cata-~ Y clysm by which a dispensation which has”waxed old” is to be providentially broken up, and anew and better era introduced into the world. If weremember the crisis of the hour we shall soon discoverthe meaning of the vision which John proceeds towrite. Many of the earliest readers of the Apocalypsewere familiar with the scene depicted here. Ezekielthe prophet had had a similar vision when an exileby the river Chebar. Jerusalem dragged on a wearyexistence under a king whom Nebuchadnezzar hadset over it. The Jews left in the city had profitednothing by the chastisement, and still worshippedidols in the temple dedicated to Jehovah. Then thissolemn vision comes to Ezekiel, and he is bidden prophesythat a severer storm of judgement is about tobreak upon the holy city. Jerusalem is to be troddendown, the temple to be demolished, the city of Godleft desolate, the old kingdom of God to disappear!But Ezekiel was made to understand that there wasa Divine Providence in the calamities of his time.He learns that if the old order changes it is to give26 Ezekiel andJohn. [ to a new and better; that the judgements whichbefall his people will not uproot God’s kingdom fromthe earth, but in reality prepare the way for moreglorious manifestations of his power, and a still moregracious fulness of his presence among men. ThisApocalyptic vision is so like Ezekiel’s because John’scircumstances are the same. The older prophet wasin banishment-John was an exile for the wordof Christ. Ezekiel’s generation was crushed bythe Babylonian beast-John’s was oppressed by themightier incubus of Rome. Ezekiel’s Jerusalem wasabout to be laid in ruins because it had rejected theServant, John’S because it rejected the Son of God.In both epochs, the judgement would necessarilyseem to be destructive of all God’s promises to hispeople, and of all hope for the regeneration of theworld. In the latter epoch, the Church was as yetso outwardly identified with the Jewish people and solittle severed from Jewish thought, that it could notbut share largely in the trials of the times, if it did notaltogether sink in the general collapse. And so, as thefaithful in Ezekiel’s time were strengthened for impendingjudgements by a vision of God’s throne, anda reconstructed temple far excelling the glory ofthe past, John and the Church are also solaced by theassurance that God still reigns, and uses all the forcesof the universe for the advancement of his cause.” The Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up.”Heaven is opened to John’s sight. There is thethrone of God. It is not empty. It is not possessedby a multiplicity of powers that rule the earth withdivided counsel. One sits on it. One Will rules over1-3.] Love and Severity in God. 27all. One Supreme Intelligence directs the courseof history. One plan is being carried out from thefoundation of the world to the final consummation ofits destiny. The character of the Deity who reigns issymbolized by the bright translucent gleam of jasperand the rich red glow of the sardius stone. There isno mixture nor confusion; but all over that transcendentform there is both the gleam of the purity oftruth and the rich warm glow of love. Behold yourGod! not the God of Calvary only, sweet to look onin his mingled tenderness and love, but as well theGod of righteousness and truth. We shall read verysoon of “the fierceness of his wrath!” but look beneaththe surface, and there is the calmness of theunruffled sea. His judgement is not a bursting avalancheof passion; it is the inflexibility of his truthgoing forth to victory. His justice and his mercy arethe same, though of diverse aspects. The truth whichcondemns our evil saves us from its power. WhenGod comes down to judge, He is a Father overwhelmingus with the bitterness of our sins in order that Hemay purify and save; the severity of the jasper temperedby the generous warmth of the ruddy sardius.Shining above the throne there is “a rainbow likean emerald to look upon.” This God is the old historicY ahveh of Israel. If the Gnostic heresy was in circulationby this time that the God of the Jews was anotherand inferior being to the God of Jesus Christ, and thatHe had come to dethrone Him, here is its refutation.It was this God who said-” I have set my bow in theheavens,” and He still remembers it in mercy. He isalso the strong and jealous God of Mount Sinai. NowHe says,” Yet once more I shake the earth.” TheCJlerubim and Seraphim. [IV.quaking mountain was expressive of the goings forthof higher truth, the institution of new laws, thethreatening of severer judgements. Here, likewise, anew dispensation is to be officially begun. Old thingsare to pass away, all things are to be new. Anothergrand climacteric in the world’s development has beenreached. New light is to break forth from Jehovah’sthrone; a new fire which will consume his enemies.It is indeed to be a war of THRONES ; and Jehovah’ssovereignty will assert itself against all the priestlyhierarchies, the tyrant Caesars, and the idol gods thathave held dominion in this world.In the front of that throne” are seuen lamps of firebunting, wlziclz are tlte seven spirits of God.” The deepmeaning of this symbol is still hidden, but we maysafely say, with Bohme, that it points to seven fundamentalpowers that penetrate and illumine the universe.The effluent influence of God is well illustratedby the light and heat of fire. God is our Sun; hislove and light, in all their sevenfold diversity, flowforth continually to quicken and inspire his creatures.“And before the throne there was a sea ofglass likeunto crystal.” This sea would look as if it were thefloor of heaven; the foundation of God’s throne.Does that throne rest on darkness and on mystery?Are God’s ways full of perplexity and crookedness?Nay, the principles of his government are most transparent.His throne is established in righteousness,and all the outgoings of his rule are truth and equity.“Uherubim. and Seraphim; C17Jing-Hol!J, Iwl!J, Iwl!J.”Round about the throne were placed “four LivingOnes,”bearing the likenesses respectively of a Lion,6-8.J Divine Providence. 29a Calf, a Man, and a flying Eagle. It is significantthat these are the principal types which theancient world chose to symbolise the Divine; yetgreat diversity prevails as to their interpretation. Itseems impossible to do better than to understand themas embodiments of the powers or qualities of God inhis government of the world and its nations.”Strength and Courage are Divine,” said the Assyrian.In the government of God, there is no lack of either inthe treatment of his friends or foes. His utterance ofjudgement is like the lion’s assault upon its foes; hisvigilance is like the lion searching for its prey-unsparingin its efforts to rend the carcase of every falseand evil thought that lodges in the mind of man.” Usefulness is Divine” said other ancient nations. Theplodding ox, what better symbol of patience and fruitfulforce? Divine Providence is not merely like a liongoing forth to slay, but like a patient ox turning allits toil to fruitfulness. If God destroy, it is that Hemay build again; if your error is exposed, it is to leadyou to the truth; if you are afflicted, it is to correctyour ways; all divine activity issues in abiding good.The human form divine is Wisdom inspired by charity.Such indeed are the energies of God-most wisely ordered,most humanely inspired; and ever workingupward with the intelligence, the penetration, the unweariedflight of the eagle. There is aspiration, progressiveevolution in the processes of God; a powerthat lifts all creation up into diviner forms, and forever beautifies the sons of men. “They that waitupon the Lord shall renew their strength: they shallmount up with wings as eagles; they shall run andnot be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”30 All to the Glory of God. [IV.The “eyes” with which these Living Ones areendowed are expressive of the Divine Omnisciencewhich accompanies them in their action, the infallibilitywith which they act; and the” wings” again tell thatthey never grovel in the dust, but soar unweariedly tohigher and still higher heights of excellence. Accordingly,their final cause in the universe is to manifestand declare the glorious character of God. Doeshistory reveal a power within it, not ourselves, thatmakes for righteousness? Is God’s government unfoldinghappily and progressively as the ages roll? Isthe earth being surely, if slowly, delivered from itsvanity and corruption? Does the human race progressunder the courageous, practical, kindly, and inspiringProvidence of God? Men ask these questions, notwithout their fears that the world goes from bad toworse; but whatever be the devious courses of thestream, let us heartily believe that the Living Powersthat work upon this world as the hands of God, aresuch as John described-infallible by their omniscienceand ever rising upward in their spiral course ;-thereforenever resting in ascribing “glory, honour, andtllanks” to Him that sitteth on the throne, by thegrowing betterness and beauty of the world.“Principalities and Powers in the Heaoenlies”Apparently outside the circle of these Living Onesare “four and twenty Elders, seated upon thrones, wearingzohite robes, and having crowns of gold upon theirheads:” Who are these? it may be asked; for theanswer is not quite apparent. Sometimes _they aretaken to be representatives of the Christian Church,but more frequently twelve prophets and the twelve4,10.] Tile four and twenty Elders. 31apostles, representing the Old and New Covenants.We believe it to be altogether a mistake to find theChurch already standing round the throne of God inheaven. Even the Lamb is not yet seen there;therefore it is impossible to have redeemed humanity.These Elders are not human; they have not passedthrough the great tribulation, nor been redeemed fromthe earth. As Kelly notices, to the destruction of hisown interpretation, ” their worship does not go beyondthe thought that God had created and sustained allthings.” With Reuss, we take them to be angels ofthe highest rank, a grand celestial priesthood, who, byreigning over God’s creation, give Him that continuousglory which is his due. Perhaps, we ought even to gothe length of identifying them with that order ofangels in whose hands the Mosaic Covenant wasordained (Gal. iii. 19; Heb. ii. 2). Let us not forget,however, that we are dealing only with a symbol.And yet, why may there not be in the spiritual universeactual thrones and dominions for the due administrationof God’s will? Let us not fancy that in discoveringkings and priests in heaven we are simply carrying upour human notions and transforming heaven accordingto our earthly models. It may be that the Elders are24 because there were 24 courses in the Jewish priesthood;and yet, may it not rather be that the earthlyarrangement was the shadow of the order in theheavens? Perhaps after all, heaven is not so unlikeearth; except that it is the sublimation of our noblesthopes, the unalloyed fulfilment of all that is good andtrue on earth. All its creatures are pursuing thehighest good in contemplation and in action, becauseall of them refer their activities and joys to· the holy32 Wlzo is on the Tltrone? [IV.inspirations of their God, and utterly forget themselvesin the work committed to their trust.Ponder on this vision and yuu will see how fittinglyit answers to the wants of John and his fellow christians.The question which was gnawing at theirhearts amid all the horrid disorder and oppression ofthose times was, Is Satan King of Kings and Lord ofLords? or is there after all a righteous God, and isthat God upon his throne? The answer is no dreamof the night, no fanciful speculation, no dogma fromthe schools, but an open sigltt of heauen-s-e. revelationof God’s throne as fixed and sure, in closest contactwith the earth.”The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice.”” There is a river, the streams whereof shall makeglad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernaclesof the Most High. God is in the midst of her; sheshall not be moved; God shall help her, and thatright early. The Lord of Hosts is with us; the Godof Jacob is our refuge.”THE LAMB IN THE MIDST OF THETHRONE.CHAPTER V.” Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;who sat doum on the right hand of the throne of theMaje8ty in the Heavens.”S’ T . John might well be satisfied, for a time at least,, with the vision which he had seen. He had beenthe witness of a turbulence and disorder down on earthwhich have been seldom, if ever, paralleled in theworld’s history. A Roman historian of the period(Tacitus, Annals, B. 1., 2) has painted a powerfulpicture of the times in which this Revelation wasgiven to the Church. Wars, earthquakes, intrigues,murders, domestic impurity, treachery, profanity, andpolitical revolution, are the pigments with which hepaints. Whatever were the common sufferings of thetime, it was worse to be a Christian. The follower ofJesus was then a social pariah on whom men mighttrample as on a worm, and whom corrupt officialsdelighted to hunt to death, in order to confiscate hisgoods to an empty exchequer, or for private spoil.Added to the disturbed condition of the churches, itwas a time of perilous trial to the faith of manyChristians. To an earnest soul like John’s, rackedwith fears as to the future-longing for the coming ofGod’s Kingdom, and yet doomed to see the world334 Tlte Book of Destiny. [v.growing worse, and the state of the Church morehazardous-this vision of a throne set high in heaven,a government whose energies were full of eyes ofwisdom, and clothed with wings of aspiration andprogress, must have come with a peace and hope thatmade him calm and steadfast as a rock. But this isonly the beginning of a series of more brilliant revel ations,-the first scene in a drama of many acts ofever-intensifying interest, in which is to be unfolded tothe Church the dark and troublous path by whichGod will lead her to her final victory.” The purpose ofHim that 100rketh all things after the counselof His .cill.”John looked again at Him who sat upon this throne.“On Izis rig-Itt Izand lay a book.” The Seer at oncedivines that the contents are a matter of immediateinterest to himself, and is eager to be told the meaning.Therefore we may safely say, this is the book ofGod’s eternal purpose-the counsel of his Will-thething that God will do against every opposing power.Many ()f us have been jealous of the doctrine thatGod has a written plan for each separate human life,to which every will must bow by grim necessity. Wehave regarded such a doctrine as fatal to freedom, tomorality, to religion; and as time has passed, ourcontention has been justified by an increasing concurrenceof opinion. But we have had no jealousy of thedoctrine that God has fore-ordained what He Himselfshall bring to pass-that God has settled plans, thecounsel of his own unerring wisdom, by which Heever works and guides the world to its certain destiny.2,3.] Who knows tlte Mind of the Lord? 35Such a faith is of prime necessity when men arecalled upon to struggle for the true and right in theface of odds that might well appal the stoutest heart.It was a faith essential to the earliest pioneers ofgospel truth, as they flung themselves into the midstof savage hordes to conquer or to die. Without thisfaith, the fires of persecution would have withered thespirits of our own reforming forefathers. Instead ofbattling against mighty odds with a hope that rarelydied, and a strength like the very strength of God,because they held themselves to be guided by a Willthat was invincible, they must needs have yielded todespair, and crept into their mountain caves to die likebeaten dogs. Through the faith that their cause wasGod’s and that God marches to certain victory, theweakest was made mighty to labour and to endure.” The things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God.”But how is it possible for men to know what God’shand may contain? The cry of all ages is-” Who isworthy to open this book, able to break the seals thatlock its contents from the ken of men? ” Man wantshis augurs and his prophets very much, and is willingto pay the price of their charlatanism. “But no one inlzeaven, or in earth, or in tlte deptlts of hades” can readthe secret purposes of God. The” times and seasons”are kept hidden even from the angels in the Father’shand. The book of God can be read only by someone who has a perfect apprehension of the mind ofGod; and if the book is to be translated for the earsof man, by some one who has a perfect apprehensionof the wants and longings of the human heart.36 Our problems soh/ed in Clzrist. [voSo eager was John, that a moment seemed like acentury of delay, and his despair found vent in tears.Is it possible to grieve standing even in the presenceof the throne? Tears are human. Dante meets Virgilwith the challenge-s-v.Art thou truly man or melancholyshade? ” The answer is-” Non 1I0m; 1I0mo gia fui,”(not man; I once was man). The hallowed assuranceof our Christian Faith is, that we shall be more humanonce we have crossed the threshold of that life.Before the unsolved problems of eternity, we too maybe moved like John. His heart was with the Church;the destinies of his people roused his interest; andTHERE he hungers to know, whether the tree of lifewhich God has planted on the earth, is to be torn up,or to root and spread itself in peace and joy to men?But God shall wipe away all tears. An Elder said toJohn “weep not!” Ah, how often do we weep likeJohn; too soon, before we know God’s story to itsend; weep because there is a little pause, and we fancythat it ends in darkness or in death, when, if only wewere patient and had faith, we should anticipate asplendid culmination for whatever his Providence hasbegun. U Be/wid, tile Lion of tke tribe of fudalz, tileroot of David, Izatlz ouercotne to open the book and loosetlze seuen seals thereof.” These were familiar titlesto the members of the Apostolic Church. Theyconnect Jesus with the brightest hopes of Israel, thegrandest promises of the old prophetic word; andpoint to Him as the heir of David’s throne, whoseright it is to reign over all the peoples and the princesof the earth.But why has He such power, and through whatspecial aptitudes does He prevail? Behold, this Lion,6.] Sacrifice the Way to Power. 37name of power, magnanimity and courage, is in verydeed a Lamb. How contradictory, yet how true inthe experience of the Church. The ways of the Lordare a combination of power and gentleness. Able totear and destroy, his very fierceness is the play of love.He can slay and be slain. Here at this moment, Heis the Lamb slain for our sin, the Lamb of woundedlove, God’s sacrifice for our salvation; but for thecompletion of his work, the Lamb must be as well theLion who can destroy the enemies whom his lovecannot transform.” Exalted far above all Principalities and Powers.”This slain Lamb is in the midst of tlte throne.Blind unbelief, so proud to be” unduped of fancy,”says-“He is dead. Far hence He liesIn the lone Syrian town,”but to those who have eyes to see, God has made itplain, that Christ has really ascended up to imperialpower and splendour in the heavens. God is neverin the future to be severed from this Lamb. Histhrone is never to be seen apart from Jesus crucified; in its very thunderings and lightnings thereis the spirit of gentleness and love’ that sufferedunto death that we might live. This Lamb is henceforthinside the mystic circle of the Elders and theLiving Ones. In all directions, the energies of Godflow out through the principle of self-sacrifice andmercy. None the more is God’s government one oflaxity and incompetence. The Lamb has seven horns,that is perfect power, and seven eyes, infinite discern38All tllings put under Him. r-.ment to detect the evil and the good. ” As the Fatherhath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son tohave life in Himself.” The Lamb is invested with thejudging and quickening powers of God: henceforth isto be held as most Divine.Then the Lamb took the book out of the rigltt Ilandof Him that sat on the throne. This is the transformationof Old Testament revelation into the sweeterspirit of the New. .The Father has given the kingdomto the Son. Moses is no longer master of thehouse; the Son is taking his mighty power to reign.The Lamb is now” the power of God.” Henceforth itmust be known that all highest power must take theform of love, and that they alone know God who seeHim through this once-suffering now triumphantMediator.” Let all the Angels of God u’O’rship Him.”This apotheosis of the Lamb is universally acknowledgedin the heavens. “When God bringeth in hisfirst begotten” into the highest heaven, Cherubimand Elders all fall down before the Lamb in homageto that Divine Man in whom both hemispheres of theuniverse are united, and a lost world reconciled to God.Now is the time for universal joy and thanksgiving.On earth Christ has achieved a mighty work, thoughit is still only in its bare inception. He has given toGod a Church that even in its infancy is the mightiestpower the world has ever known. The kingdom ofGod is come. Prophetically, the Church is seen toreign. It is the stone cut out of the mountain thathurled against the brutal kingdoms of the earth willgrind the strongest of them to powder. Heaven begins6-14.J C/zrist Head ouer all. 39its actual reign on earth; and this is the moment ofhigh festival.”Surely this is indeed an answer to the cry of thetroubled churches of John’s time. Is the devil’s carnivalto reign on earth? Are oppression and violenceto prevail against the saints of God? Hear the answerin the swelling song of heaven-” The Lamb is themightiest power; He is invested with the royalties ofheaven and earth; He is the redeemer of his peoplefrom the grasp of every power that is inconsistent withthe reign of peace and love. His Church is gloriousin its might; as yet a small and secret company ofkings and priests, it nevertheless rules the destinies ofearth, and the nations that shall not acknowledge itshall perish.” Such was the assurance which came tothat fainting Church from the throne of God. Smallas yet was the company of them that kept the wordof God; but they were the kings of their generation,the wielders of that influence which more than all hasshaped the world’s growth through eighteen centuries.In this joyful acclamation at the advent of theLamb all ranks and orders of the angels join (v. II).That sacrificing love by which the world was redeemedconcerns all ranks of God’s creatures. The manifestationof his character as a God who suffers for his universe,suffers to abolish suffering amongst the creaturesHe has made, is an occasion of transcendent joythrough all the sentient universe. Yea, down even tothe unseen depths of being there can be but one re-* Ifthe reader will turn to the Revised Version (ch. v, 9-10), it willbe seen that they who sing this new song of the Kingdom are no part ofthe redeemed. It is the heavenly hierarchy who here celebrate the initiationof the era of redeeming love.40 God in Christ. [v.sponse. Wherever God in Christ is known and recognized,there can be only joy. God in Christ is the Godof conciliation, of progress, of increasing light andliberty. As God in Christ is known, his praise shallincrease through all eternity.THE OPENING OF SIX SEALS.CHAPTER VI.” The time is comefor judgement to begin at the house of God.”T’HERE is something in the heart of man that~ makes him pry into the future. We ever lookforward with good hope. Fortune, not misfortune, weanticipate; but no revelation of the future would betrue to life that did not mix our joys with tears, andshow us dark and lurid shadows falling here andthere upon the silveriest path that human foot hastrod. Perhaps John may weep again; this time, becausethe seals are opened and the future ominouswith every token of distress and pain.A seal is opened by the Lamb. Then John hears avoice of thunder say” Come.” It is the utterance ofthe Lion: Providence in its strong commanding aspects; and this call is addressed to the rider and hishorse not yet in the field of vision. The Lion is herethe servant of the Lamb. An ancient prophet saidthey should “lie down together;” and the first true reconciliationwas realized in Him who is at once theJudge and the Saviour of Men. But notice that evenhere the influence of the Lamb is uppermost. Thestrength and courage to devour and rend are completelyat the bidding of the Lamb who was slain.“Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered.”John saw, and behold, a wlzite horse, with a crownedrider, going forth conquering and to conquer. A power42 Victory! Va’ Victis! [VI.this with which the lion-like aspect of Providence is inclosest sympathy. It purports victory on victory. Ihave felt strongly drawn to the interpretation givenby Alford, Godet, and others, that this represents theconquering, invincible, V’;ord of God-truth from thebow of doctrine, which is like an arrow in the hearts ofthe enemies of the king. Great is truth, and it mustprevail in every province and dominion now enslavedby darkness and sin. There is, however, a certainincongruity between so sweet and pleasing a conception,and the dreadful images which follow; and I feelconstrained to prefer another view. Emphasis is laidon victory-let us keep to that. This horseman is theleader of an army; the commander of the awfulpowers that follow. These are for the time to be victorious.This rider then may only symbolise the invincibilityof the powers that follow, the certainty that theyshall do the work for which they are sent forth of God.May we not go a little further, and see the symbol ofsome imperial government, whose power has beenhitherto invincible, and before whom there is still acourse of victories. Va: Victis! In vain will be theirresistance. If already they have been conquered, andare impelled by some impulse of independence to reasserttheir liberties, it is only to be smitten with astronger hand, for God says that the conqueror shallbe victorious still. But the picture is not all darkness.That conquering power is in the hand of God. Terrible,therefore, as are the figures that follow, John isconsoled by the assurance that they are in the serviceof the Lamb.“Wars and rumours of wars, and famines in direr« places.”These seals are at once reduplications and expan1-8.] Famine and Death. 43sions in their successive order. The white horse of thefirst is, in the second seal, the red horse of tumult,warfare, fratricidal strife. With war’s red hooftrampling over the fertile fields, burning and treadinginto the mire what it cannot use, and withdrawing menfrom the peaceful ways of industry, there comes thedread black horse of famine and want. “A measure oftuheat for a penny! ” One day’s wage earns only onemouth’s bread, so that the workman will devour allthat he can win, and have nothing for the hungrymembers of his family. Bread at eight times its usualvalue-famine prices! Our first thoughts are for thepoor; but the rich as well will have great concern fortheir luxuries of “oil and wine.” That the scene iseastern cannot well be denied; nor that the wheat andbarley, the oil and the wine, were the leading productsof Palestine in the days of John. History tells us howmuch its inhabitants had reason to be troubled aboutthe means of life in the terrific days of the revolution.“I will send the pestilence and also wild beasts among them.”There is one power at least that will mercifully endthe sufferings of men. After famine follows Death. Itwill do its work by the sword, by hunger, pestilence,and by the wild beasts that come down upon depopulatedlands and smoking villages. That is theappalling scene that has followed in the wake of everyconqueror. It is the witness of what mere brute powercan do,-of what brutes men can become when theyforget the imperative THOU SHALT of a just and righteousGod, and become worshippers of a mere I WILL.The lesson has often been pressed home on men, thattyrannies can only end in blood and tears j that44 Hades. [VI.wealthy indolence, looking down upon the strugglesof ignorance and hunger weltering uncared for at itsfeet, will be torn down from its glittering throne towalk in poverty and rags; that indifference to thewill of God must soon become incompatible with thebrotherhood of man; and that the final refuge fromman’s inhumanity to man is death. And indeed it is arefuge that might well be envied in such miserabledays. were it not for a ghastly form that comes behind.The unillumined Hades of ancient thought meantdisembodiment and weakness, judgement withoutmuch hope of rest or victory. John can say nothingto redeem this future, for he is dealing with a heathenor pre-christian world. rn all ages, with a universalityand persistency that are surprising, men have divinedthis miserable vision of the future life. Everywhere ithas called up fear and trembling, but neither selfinterest,nor false philosophy has been able to drivethis faith from the common heart of man.” Where.wever the carcaseis, therewill the eaglesbegathered together.”But we must turn back for a moment. What hasall this to do with John and the infant Church?Much every way, if John recognises in this conqueringpower some fresh assertion of its domination on thepart of Rome. Where will this be felt? We cannothesitate in answering-Jerusalem is still the centre ofJohn’s thoughts as she is the sacred centre of the earth;and it must be especially in the chosen land that suchdread events will reach their deadliest climax. Johnknew that these sweeping calamities were such as Godhad frequently before employed for the chastisementof his native land. Had not Jehovah said to that4-8.] Where is the blow to fill! ? 45ancient prophet who like himself had seen the Throneand Cherubim: “I send my four sore judgements uponJerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisomebeast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man andbeast” ? Knowing that the Jews had filled up thecup of their iniquity, until Paul was compelled to saythat” God’s wrath had come upon them to the uttermost,”it was scarcely possible to interpret these visionsotherwise than as a threatened repetition of the desolationswhich hac befallen Palestine in Ezekiel’s time.” What shall be the s~gn of thy presence, and of the end of the age?”Besides, John had heard Christ asked concerningthe destruction of the temple and the end of theJewish age, and had not forgotten the thrilling answer” Ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars; nationshall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,and there shall be famines and pestilences, and earthquakesin divers places. All these are the beginningsof sorrows.” And here in his apocalyptic visions theseidentical calamities stand at the head of that series oftribulations amid which the Kingdom of Heaven isborn. That these should come directly from the handof God and from the Lamb, John well knew. He hadby no means mistaken those trenchant parables inwhich Christ warned the Jews that the consequence ofhis murder would be the destruction of their politicalexistence and theocratic privileges. “The Lord ofthe vineyard will send his armies and miserably destroythose wicked men who slew his Son, and will let outhis vineyard unto other husbandmen.” “His armies!”-yes, his armies. It would be no surprise while itwould be a consolation to the christians of those times46 The Martyrs’ Cry. [VI.that it was not Nero nor Vespasian who was judgingJerusalem. It was God. The punishment would notbe sorer than was needed. The wrath of the Lambwould be tempered by all the mercy of his Love; andthe day of darkness would surely pass away to usherin a gladder day than the past had ever seen.” Shall not God avenge Ais elect? He will avenge them.speedily.”Another seal is opened, and a startling picture is unveiled.The scene is in the eternal world but withoutparticular localisation. Souls of martyrs are seen beneat/:the altar ON which the Lamb had at first appeared asslain. The symbol seems to signify that their state isone of sacrifice rather than of reward. They are notyet in their resurrection forms, nor in the society oftheir Lord; but cry aloud as if impatient of God’sdelay to judge their persecutors. This is indeed astartling revelation; yet clearly it is a reference to theparable recorded in Luke xviii. Our previous discussionof its meaning will enable us to be curt. OurLord foretold that the time would come when theblood of his Apostles would be shed, and that upontheir murderers would come God’s great day of revenge,although the vengeance might seem to be long delayed.St. Peter appears to have felt, with a naturalimpatience, when writing his second epistle, that thisavengement had been too long delayed; and explainsit by the divine unwillingness to cut short man’speriod of repentance. At last, however, the Church istold that the hour is come! Heaven’s patience isworn out: the clouds are gathering for the storm.The spirit-martyrs are to be patient “for a little time”until their number is complete. Meanwhile they are9-17.] TIle Sinners’ Wail. 47given” wllite robes” to signify that their vindication isproceeding from that hour.We must take care to read nothing passionate, vindictive,or cruel into the martyrs’ cry. The naturalman’s desire for vengeance is that his enemy shallsuffer injury for injury, wrong for wrong, simply to bequits, and without regard to whether vengeance willyield good results. The spiritual man’s desire is thatevil shall be checked, that folly and wickedness shallbecome their own avengers, and wisdom and righteousnessinvolve their own reward. His cry for vengeanceis that justice may put its check on evil; break thepower of those tyrannies and falsehoods that withstandthe progress of the truth, and thereby hasten on thetime when the order and peace of heaven shall prevail.The personal element cannot, perhaps, be altogetherexcluded in this case; for when the time iscome they will lie no longer beneath the altar, butwill be adorned with crowns and palms, and becomethe envy of coming generations to whom the prize ofmartyrdom is denied. Even now, in anticipation ofthe day of victory, they are putting on their festalrobes… Your children shall begin to say to the mountains: Fall onus; and tu the Mlls cun’?” us.”The sixth seal moves towards an answer to themartyrs’ prayer. The scene here opened up is simplyoverwhelming in its grandeur, being no less than thedestruction of the physical universe. Popularly it isnot read as a ” sign,” but taken as science-an actualastronomical catastrophe. As a matter of fact, thedays of the Apocalypse were remarkable for their48 [vr,physical portents. From the close of the reign ofTiberius, A.D. 37, earthquakes hardly ceased until thefate of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79. DuringNero’s reign, more than 300 cities were demolished byearthquakes. From Rome to Jerusalem, nature wasin one continuous condition of disturbance, and visitedwith signs of a portentous character. Plainly, however,the reference of this seal is not to a physical demolitionof the universe. Such a blunder is inexcusable.After the catastrophe is past, the earth stands fast inits place; there is still land and sea, trees and grass,unhurt by the commotion, and an abundant populationwhich has not felt the shock! In the interpretationof prophetic books we must remember the habitsof prophetic thought. The host of heaven was dissolved,and heaven rolled away as a scroll in the dayof God’s vengeance upon Edom (Is. xxxiv. 4). Allthe lights of heaven were made dark when Babylonwas destroyed by Media (Is. xiii. 10), and when thestar of Egypt set (Ezek. xxxii. 7-8). The same catastrophetook place at the invasion of locusts in the daysof Joel; and Amos uses the same symbols to pourtraythe impending tribulations ofhis time. In short, thescene before us is the concrete form in which all prophecyanswers the question: “Shall not the day of theLord be darkness and not light? even very dark, andno brightness in it?” (Amos v. 20.) There is thereforeno excuse for the ignorant fear that conjures upa universe broken up and pulverised. The symbologyis indicative of troubled and revolutionary times, whenthe ordinary foundations of society are broken up,when old religions perish, the leaders of thought arestricken down, and chaos reigns.12-17.] “Weep for Yourselves.” 49The scene of this impending revolution is markedoff by our Lord himself in Mat. xxiv. 29. It is centredin sacred J udrea : and so powerful a fulfilment ofthe symbol is never again to take place in human history.The actual fact was no whit behind the prophecy.Renan utters no exaggeration when he saysthat during those days” life actually became unbearable;”and “men’s minds were kept in a constantstate of frenzy” (Les ApOtres, 264-6). No wonderthat the kings, and princes, and chief captains” (compareActs iv. 26; Mark vi. 21) especially, were afraidof what was coming on the land, and that the multitudeswere weary of life, and called upon the rocks tofall on them and end their tortures. This imprecationis first heard in Hosea x. 8, when Israel is sufferingfrom the Assyrian invasion. Christ forewarns “thedaughters of Jerusalem” that it wiII be repeated bytheir children in the dreadful sufferings of the comingRoman desolations; and there can be little doubt thatthis Apocalyptic scene is intended to be the realisationof Christ’s prophecy by that very generation that,as children led by their mothers’ hands, had heard thefatal warning from his lips. The striking figures ofthis picture do no more than justice to the dislocationsand terrors of that time in Palestine. The armies ofthe Lord have appeared, as the people had beenwarned by the preaching of apostles and evangelists.The powers that rule religion and the state, the sunand stars, are tottering; famine, pestilence, and civildiscord are breaking up society, and the land is rockingto its foundations. No wonder that multitudesrecognize these judgements as God’s punishment oftheir sins, and are tormented with the fear that it450 Outraged Love. [v!.may be true that they have actually murdered theSon of God. No fire burns so fierce at last asoutraged love.THE SEALING OF GOD’S ELECT.CHAPTER VII.” Ah Lord God! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israelin thy pouring out of thy.fury on Jerusalem?”TIHE last scene told us that heaven and earth are- about to pass away, and a new heaven and anew earth take their place. The picture John nowsees is one much needed to pacify his anxious mind;for the question must have started-Amid such convulsions,what is to become of the people of God?Here he is told by powerful symbols that no breath ofwind can blow upon the land until God gives hisconsent. The four winds of Daniel are apparentlypolitical spirits or powers, and these winds must beakin. Violent and reckless as these are, they cannotbe allowed to blow until God has first of all securedthe safety of his faithful ones.This sealing scene is suggested from Ezekiel, likeso much else in the Apocalypse. That ancientprophet, as a prelude to the Chaldzean devastation ofJerusalem, saw in vision a man clothed in linen gothrough the city of Jerusalem and mark the foreheadsof the men who sighed and cried over her idolatries;the remainder were committed to the sword. Weshall not err in thinking that there is a similar meaninghere. God’s “four sore judgements” are about tobreak once more upon the land; and to show that52 Does Providence discriminate? [VII.these are limited and bounded by Almighty Providence,it is decreed that their vengeance shall not fall onany who are the doers of God’s will. How often doesit seem to us that Providence is a Power without aConscience !-a judgement without discrimination-avengeance that falls alike on all. One thing happenethalike, we say, to bad and good. Let forth the dogs ofwar, let famine fill the land, let the pestilence waste atnoon-day-what respect have they for righteous men?Yea, is it not too frequently the case that the blowfalls first upon the righteous man, and that they whoescape most deftly are, if anything, the wicked?” Streams will not curb their prideThe just mall not to entomb,Nor lightnings go aside to give his virtues room;Nor is that wind less rough which blows a good mall’S barge.”Doubtless there is much to perplex us in the dailymarch of Providence, and we may well at times bewailourselves and say there is no favour for therighteous; but a wider survey and a calmer judgementwill discern, sometimes at least, the clearestindications of the presence of a Hand that shields andsaves. Especially in times of critical importance tothe Church may the presence of God’s angel be discerned,sealing his saints and building round abouttheir persons and their homes a wall of fire throughwhich the Adversary cannot break.An”d who are these whom Providence now shieldsso marvellously? They are called “the servants ofGod,” and by more particular designation they are“the tribes of the children of Israel” The referencemust be either to the whole believing church of Christ,or to the believing sons of Abraham. The latter is by1-8.] A Remnant shall be Saved. 53every argument to be preferred. This seal is the fulfilmentof an Old Testament promise that Israel shall begathered from the corners of the earth and preservedin a kingdom that shall never be removed; and alsoof certain well-known threats, one of which wasfamiliar to every Jew, and may have helped to givethis vision its particular form-” the Lordsltall separatehim unto evil, out of all tlte tribes of Israel” (Deu.xxix); and another better known to the members ofthe Church,-God will “gather his wheat into hisgarner, and burn up the chaff with unquenchablefire.” The narrative is then so diluted with a Jewishtincture that it cannot be explained but by referringit to the believing Jewish Church. If the vision hadbeen intended to give comfort to some distant GentileChurch, surely a symbolism would have been chosennot so likely to create perplexity. So definite aparticularisation of the tribes seems unavoidably topoint to the actual Israel of the flesh; and no choiceis left to us when we have seen, at so many points,that Palestine as God’s land, Jerusalem as his city, theTemple as the centre of his worship, the Jews as hiscovenant people, are so intimately concerned with thescenes and visions of the Apocalypse. The burden ofthese impending judgements is to fall on them.” God did not cast off his people which He foreknew.”In the interval between the ascension of our Lordand the destruction of Jerusalem, the question wasnever absent from the Jewish mind (alarmed by thethreatenings of national destruction so freely utteredby the prophetic Spirit in the Church)-” Has Godcast away his people? Is Israel given over to deWlzatadvantage Ilatlz tile jew? [VII.struction? Is it not written that Israel is God’severlasting people-that of his Covenant there is noend?” Now that the destruction of the Jewish policyseems most imminent, that question presses with anew intensity upon the hearts especially of all HebrewChristendom. The answer comes-” God hath notcast away his people. No faithful soul shall perish inthese impending judgements. Out of every tribe aremnant will be saved. The holy people will live on :its name never be blotted out. So great will be thetribulation, that except the days be shortened no fleshshall be saved; but for these elects’ sake those daysshall be shortened, and a multitude out of all thetribes be’ preserved according to the covenant merciesof our God.” Such is the message which comes toJohn. Prophetic assurances of Israel’s perpetuity areto be fulfilled; but the Christian Church is destinedto supplant the nation; the Church is organically onewith Israel. The holy seed among the covenantpeople are the first-born of the Church of Christ; andthe nucleus around which all its future growth shallcluster. In coming generations of believers, thesesons of Abraham will find their true successors, andperpetuate an Israel truly worthy of their fathers’God.” In ChriBt Jesus there is neither Jeu: nor Greek.”All over Christendom there is a deep-felt interestin the future history of the Jews-a heap of wastedsympathy. Nothing will please but that the Jew mustbe visited with some magnificent favour in the futuredevelopment of God’s kingdom; so that he shall standupon the shoulders of the Gentile and lord it over him.9-17.] One Body and one Spirit. 55The Scriptures give the Jew no pre-eminence beyondthat he is first in the field, and has the natural rightsof the first-born son; with the ominous intimationthat these are frequently, through unfaithfulness, forever transferred to the younger. The Pauline answerto this extravagant expectation is one that for everends its prospects :-” In Christ there is neither Jewnor Gentile. He is a Jew who is one inwardly. Inthe broad field of the Gospel, there is no respect ofpersons.” In John’s time, we fear that a somewhatbitter struggle existed in the Church between itsJewish and Gentilish clements: a struggle for supremacy.Had it been left to men to settle it, Godonly knows how it might have ended. Perhaps therewas a Providence in the limited number of Jews whoentered the Apostolic Church; for if the bulk ofIsrael had been converted, the chances seem thatcircumcision and other J ewish rites would have beenmaintained and made compulsory, so as to give theJew that primacy of rank in the Church which manyChristians seem anxious to bestow upon him at thisday. However, God settled it by Titus; and finishedit beyond recall by Hadrian. The Jew was to haveno special pre-eminence henceforth in the Church ofGod.This settlement of the question is plainly pre-intimatedin this book, the vision of a nameless multitudeout of every nation andpeople and tongue. There ismuch need for the caution given to interpreters by thequestion of the Elder: “Who are these?” It comesreadily to the lips to say-” the Church in heaven,”thevision is so pure and beautiful. In fact, the favouriteanswer is, that this is a vision of the heavenly56 Tltrough the Great Tribulation. [VII.Church; with some, the Church of the early centuries;and with others, the Church after the consummationof all things. Every interpretation which makes it theChurch in heaven at any period is egregiously astray.It makes a violent and needless dislocation of the orderof the visions. Why, the Apocalyptic martyrs arenot yet in heaven, but waiting in a state of sacrifice.As a vision of heaven, it would contradict the visionof the sealed believers-a minority of the Church preserved,but a numberless multitude given over to bedestroyed, though compensated by heavenly glory!How much happier to see in it really a supplementaryvision to the first. God’s Jewish people are preservedat the focus of the storm; and is it to be imaginedthat God’s Providence is less careful of his GentileChristians? Is the Apostolic Church exclusivelyJewish, or is it a more eclectic gathering as becomesthat God who is not the God of the Jew alone, but ofthe Gentile also? (Rom. iii. 29). And there is thesplendid answer in this white-robed and rejoicingmultitude.They, like their Jewish compeers (and they nowtogether form one delightful company) have comethrough great tribulation.’ The” hour of trial” intimatedto three of the Apocalyptic churches as “aboutto come,” is here in vision past. Great multitudes havestruggled through those dark and dreadful hoursunderthe shadow of God’s wing. Their palms are theindications of their victory. Their white robes are theproof that like Sardis they have stood faultlessly thebrunt of Satan’s onset, by the ardour of their devotionto the Lamb who died for them. Their place beforetlte throne of God (ethical not local) is symbolical of9-17.] Tile Church to be triumpltant. 57their nearness and dearness to God; they are thepeople of his Presence, the pillars of his new temple,God’s Kings and Priests; the chosen ones that dwellhenceforth in that Jerusalem which is the throne ofthe Lord (Jer. iii. 17). In short, we stand at that pointof sacred history when the middle wall of partition isbroken down; and the Gentile becomes fellow-heir withthe believing Jew of all the special privileges of theelect of God. Here henceforth is God’s chosen Israel.The beautiful pastoral idyll in which their simplejoys are described seems too pure and hallowed forthis earth. These delights are, however, just such aswere promised to the Asiatic churches if victoriousthatkingdom of God in the heart which is “righteousness,peace, joy in the Holy Spirit.” Indeed, it isIsaiah who is the author of these images of serenedelight. Even in his earthly Utopian Jerusalem heexpected the Lord to spread his pavilion, and be “acovert from the storm and rain ;” to save them fromhunger and thirst, and lead them like a shepherd untoliving springs; and to multiply to his waiting people” the breasts of his consolations.” These experiencesmay seem too exalted to be enjoyed on earth; butbeyond all question they were the every-day anticipationsof the Prophets and Apostles of God’s ancientChurch. Have we not all known saints whose earthlyexperience was not excelled by the raptures of thiswhite-robed multitude?The vision must have wiped away all tears, for atime at least, from the eyes of John; for it indicatesthat the Church of Christ will do for Israel and theworld even more than was spoken by the Prophets ofthe ancient Word. At all events, the vision is delight58Joy in Heaven. [VII.ful to the Principalities and Powers around the thronein heavenly places. The song of the triumphantChurch is caught up and echoed by them as it floatsin to the ear of God. What a splendid picture of responsivesympathy and joy filling the hearts of all theholy universe of God! How far the angelic heavensseem, to our dim sight, to be removed from this dulland sinful earth ! Yet not so far. “There is joy inheaven over every sinner that repenteth.” When greatmultitudes of the nations ascribe their blessedness toGod and to the Lamb, the angel heavens break outinto sympathetic and triumphant song. The victoryseems to be their own. What a revelation of unselfishlove as filling every heart, and binding all the worldsof God in one. There is no trace here of thatthat Satanic spirit which rejoices in its own exclusivenesswhen set high apart in isolated glory! They rejoiceto see Mercy triumphing over sin, Salvationreaching forth its mighty arms to grasp multitudesfrom every nation under heaven.THE SEVENTH SEAL, WITH ITSTRUMPET JUDGEMENTS.CHAPTER VIII.” These are the da.1fS of vengeance, ichen. all tMngs writtenmust befulfilled.”T\HIS silence in heaven is a moment of deep suspense- before the august events about to be unfolded”the calm before the lightning storm.” Seven Angelsprepare to sound seven trumpets. Meanwhile, a sceneof deep significance transpires. We see the prayersof the saints ascending up to God from a censer in theangel’s hand; and then the fire of the altar is thrownfrom the censer to the earth, and causes thunders,lightnings, and earthquakes. Already we have beentold that the loudest cry of the Church is the groan ofher martyred saints: “How long, 0 Lord, is thyjudgement of the earth to be deferred?” Alreadythese saints have been told to wait” a little while;”and now this fire thrown from the censer is the signthat their prayers are bringing vengeance down uponthe earth. The Lord will indeed avenge them sjJeedily.Judgement is a portion of his saving mission, for He”came to cast fire upon the land,” and even in thedays of his flesh it was” already kindled.” Thus arewe continually reminded that the time occupied in thedrama of the book” is short.”60 As fericho. [VIII.” The Son of Man shall send forth his angela with a great soundof a trumpet.”The seven trumpets, then, are the FINAL elementsof vengeance which fall upon the race that has rejectedGod and embrued its hands in the blood of his witnesses.The judgement-process takes this form to remindus of the graphic and powerful story of the sixthof Joshua. There we read that the sounding of seventrumpets was the herald of the falling of the walls ofJericho, as the first security for the ultimate possessionof the promised land. Weare come to a similar crisisin the history of the newer Israel. For forty years theChurch has been enduring hardships in the wilderness,but now will have a signal token given to her that sheshall finally possess the promised land, the universalearth. Another city is to fall, and its fall is a triumphantGospel victory. It follows as matter of coursethat this new Jericho, which stands in the way of theprogress of the truth, must fall soon. If, as so manyimagine, these trumpets are sounded over a period of1500 years, with as many as 700 between some ofthem, and are to transpire on fields continents apart,what sign can that be to the Apostolic Church, orindeed to any generation of Christians? Diffusivenessdestroys intensity; is waste of power, and never commandsattention. Accordingly, all seven angels arejJrejJared to sound at once. That speaks to haste, toclose succession, to repeated blows, while the predecessoris still felt. And such must be our reading tomaintain consistency with the statements of the book.John is to tell the churches of things “which mustshortly come to pass.” This hour of tribulation was”about to come.” The weary martyrs are only to6-12.] As Sodom and Egypt. 61rest “a little while” until their prayer is granted.Therefore the trumpets can cover only a brief season;and must be found fulfilled in the days of John.Certainly there was no delay… The Lord toill maJce thy plagues uxmderful ; . . . and He7IJill bring 7tp07! thee again all the diseases of Egypt.”Tile first angel sounded, and there followed hail andfire mingled with blood, and tlzey were cast into the Imld.A glance over the four plagues of this chapter at oncerecalls to memory the plagues of Egypt, and thejudgement upon Sodom; and John especially musthave noticed the correspondence. Now if we areconcerned at all with the question-On what portionof the earth are these four plagues to fall? we havebut to ask, whether John gives us any indication ofwhat land he would reckon as equivalent to Sodomand Egypt? If we can determine this point, it will saveus from the mistake of seeking in the desolating inroadsof Huns and Goths, in the advent of Mohammed,in Saracenic armies, in Turkish Pashas, and in the wildFrench Revolution, with other events of modern times,the fulfilment of a prophecy which was limited by theSeer to a definite space and an apportioned time.Fortunately we have the statement of John himself.For once let us anticipate. Turn to ch. xi. 8, and youread-I( And their dead bodies lie in the street of thegreat city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt,where also their Lord was crucified.” We have onlyto remember that Jerusalem often stands for Palestine,as Berlin stands for Germany, Rome for I taly, Constantinoplefor the Turkish Empire, and it becomesapparent that the CENTRE of the scene where these62 Tlte house of bO’fldage. [VIII.Apocalyptic plagues transpire (whatever may be theircircumference) is that so-called “holy land,” which,by its incurable infidelity and wickedness, has becomeas -hateful in God’s sight as Sodom and Egypt in thedays of old.If then we see that these calamities are centred inthe holy land, we can derive therefrom a lesson of nosmall significance. The nation which has been exaltedunto heaven can be cast down unto hell. The elect ofthe present may be the reprobate of the future. Godputs no nation in a supreme place that will not dosupreme work, and God keeps no nation in supremeplaces that will not meet the supreme duty of the hour.I[ the chosen clay is spoiled upon the wheel, thePotter will shape it for a different destiny. This evilfate is anticipated by St. Paul in the Romans, wherehe hints that Pharaoh’s judgements may be in storefor Israel. Was not that a hidden intimation that theJew had become the oppressor of God’s true Israel;that he more than any other, held the infant Churchin bondage, and like Pharaoh must be smitten thatGod’s people may go free? Thus certainly reads history.The early Christian Church was for years theconvenient appenage of Judaism. Its truths were narrowedby Jewish limitations; its offices claimed formen of Jewish blood, its liberty chained by the crampedspirit of the Jew; altogether, it was enslaved in thegrip of that Jerusalem which” gendereth to bondage.”Besides, the Jew outside the Church was the mostactive opponent of the Gospel. Everywhere he wasfierce and intolerant in his opposition to the risingfaith. The Roman and the Greek” cared for none ofthose things,” nor as yet had differentia ted between6-12.] The climax of Jewish Sin. 63the Christian and the Jew. The Jew well understoodthat the religion of his fathers was fighting for its life,and everywhere rose in massive opposition to theCross. Being amongst the most astute of men, wealthyand managing, custodiers of the public purse as moneylendersin all the thriving cities of the empire, theyhad no difficulty in harassing the preachers of theGospel. They hired the idlers and the ragamuffins ofthe cities to hoot and stone the evangelists; bribedmagistrates and officers to imprison and persecute.Well does Paul say, “These Jews are contrary to allmen; forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that theymay be saved; to fill up their sins always; but thewrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” (1 Thes.ii. 15). It is no fancy, then, that the Jew was to theinfant Christian Church what Egypt had been to theinfant Mosaic Church; and we need not be astonishedthat Egypt’s plagues should be repeated on those whoare now repeating Egypt’s cruel and oppressivepolicy.” As on Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven,after the same manner it shall he in the day that theSon of Man is revealed.”The first four trumpet plagues are then the heraldsof blighting desolations that are to fall upon this gardenof the Lord. They seem constructed especiallyto remind the reader that there was about to be a finaland complete fulfilment of the terrible threats in Deu.xxviii. and xxix. Moses warns the covenant peopleto take heed lest their hearts turn away from the Lordtheir God, lest there should be” a root among themthat bears galt and zoormtoood” Then the desolations64 Th« fruitful land made desolate. [VIII.of Egypt will be repeated; and he that comes fromafar will “sec the plagues of the land and the sicknesswherewith the Lord hath made it sick; and that thewhole land thereof is brimstone and salt, and a burningthat is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweththereon l£ke the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah,Admah, and Zeboim, which the Lord overthrew in hisanger and in his wrath.” Let anyone be at the painsto compare the Palestine of the days of Christ, withits abundant population, its fruitful soil, its teemingwaters, and profitable commerce, and the Palestine ofthe last eighteen centuries with its desolated forests,ruined villages, dried brooks, waterless wells, silted-upharbours, salt and rainless fields, and he may wellexclaim-” Truly a fearful commentary on the firstfour trumpet visions.”That the calamities of these trumpets did actuallybefall Palestine in the days of John need not be said.” The soil,” says Rabbi J ohanan, who escaped fromJerusalem during the siege,” has been transformed,and the formerly rich fields and pastures are for themost part become barren waste.” Open the page ofJosephus (Wars, B. iii. c. 10) and read that as thestruggle raged along the coast-” The sea was bloody a long way;” and that later in the war” one might see the Sea of Galilee all bloody and full of deadbodies, and the shores full of shipwrecks; insomuch that themisery was not only the object of commiseration to the Jewsbut to those that hated them and had been the authors of thatmisery.”We can easily understand that, in the midst of theunparalleled calamities of those days, the waters oflife were turned to bitterness, and the day was very6-12.] Day turned into Night. 65dark. In such an hour, religion is man’s supremestsolace, and there is no help but in God. Alas, herereligion is only a soutee of bitterness and contention,of confusion and shame. As time passed on, repeatedcalamity waked up fearful questionings, and faith wasperishing. Was this God in whom their fathers trustednot a dream-a myth like so many of the gods of thesurrounding nations? What certainty was there ofhis existence? How could He be the God of Israel,and stand idly by to see his people crushed betweenthe upper and nether millstones of plundering religiousfactions and invading Roman armies? Thus does thesun of Israel’s day grow dark. They can discern nobrightness in its shining, or feel anything of its lifeimpartingwarmth. The moon, too, shines with anominous diminution of her lustre. The Church itselfis waning in its influence, growing dark and enigmatical,less and less able to inspire the failing hopes ofa mourning people. The priests are no longer men oflight and leading, able to interpret the voice of heaven,and reflect the mind of God. The very stars are dark-Scribes and Rabbis, the astutest politicians andinterpreters of prophetic lore, can shed no more lightupon the national question than the most ignoranttillers of the soil. Less and less have they to say uponthe problems of the hour, and soon will cease to guideat all. Deplorable condition! No light from heaven-no love on earth. God failing men, silent or onlyanswering, as Josephus tells us, in the prodigiousstorms of rain, thunder, and lightning, with amazingconcussions and bellowings of the earth, which nowand then filled Jerusalem with midnight terrors, as theawakened consciences of the people interpreted them566 Other Woes to follow. [VIII.of ” some grand calamities that were coming uponmen.” (Wars, iv. 4, 5.)Great as such sufferings are, they are by no meansthe greatest of all woes. Indications are abroad andvisible to such men as John, that in a national collapse,the transition of an age, the judgement of a peoplewho have been exalted up to heaven and are to becast down unto hell, there are greater sufferings still tofollow.” Woe, woe, to the illllabitants of tile land by reasonof the other voices of the trumpets wlzich are yet tosound.”THETRUMPET JUDGEMENTS CONTINUED.CHAPTER IX.” Tribulation such 1M hath. not beenfrom the beginning of the worlduntil now, no, nor evershall be.”FlOUR angels have sounded their trumpets and the- earth has been stinted of its produce, commercehas been paralyzed, war has stained the seas withblood, bitterness has been infused into all the naturaljoys of life, and religious faith has declined until thelight of life has become almost as dark as night. Butthe abyss of woe has not yet been fathomed, and itmust be touched.TIle jiftlt angel sounds. Thereupon, John sees nota falling star, but a star which before had fallen to theearth. To him was given tile key of the bottomlesspit. The star apparently represents some religiouspower, stands for a fallen heavenly light. The prevalentinterpretation of this trumpet is that this star isMohammed, the smoke Mohammedanism, the locustsare the Saracens, the crowns of gold are their turbans,and the tails which sting are the horse-tails of theirstandards. We shall see, as we proceed, whether thisview will stand the test. Meanwhile, why should weleap forward into history more than 500 years beyondthe time of John? We have come upon no indicationwhatever that John is not still telling his fellow-servants68 The Fllllen Star. [IX.of” things that must shortly come to pass.” If an authortells me that he is to delineate events in close proximityto his times, surely it is a gross perversion to carry hiswords forward into history 500 years. At any rateMohammed could not possibly be this star, because henever was a heaven-fixed star giving light upon theearth; much less did he fall by unfaithfulness to hiscommission. Nor did Mohammed ever hold the keyof the bottomless abyss, any more than he ever heldthe key of heaven. This fallen star looks to be thetruth of God perverted into falsehood-an exalted privilegeabused-good converted into evil. I For thisreason, the star cannot be Nero (Macdonald). Itmight be Satan-only, as Gebhardt remarks, “the kingof the abyss is to be distinguished from the star.” Thebest interpretation we have seen is that of Maurice,who takes it to be the Jewish people as a society setapart to witness for a true and righteous God. Ifwe are at liberty to say that this people transformedthe Word of God into an authority for false and evilprinciples, would not such a description as we havehere be verified? Would not such a perversion of thetruth of God be an opening of the bottomless pit tolet out upon society every dark and noisome plague?What other than abyssmal inspirations could float upthrough minds” that have turned their backs towardsheavenly purity and light, and plunged deeper anddeeper into darkness with no other than the falselights of self-love’s lustful fires and vile emotionsguiding them away from all that is good and true?”Were these Jews not such a society of men? Entrustedwith” the oracles of God,” were they not alight shining in the heaven; and were they not by1.] Tke Prophetic Gift abused. 69this time fallen from their high position to the earthtothe very dust of selfish worldliness?” From the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness ,gone forthinto all the land.”The above interpretation is a key that fits the lockwith fair precision, and we are loathe to meddle withit. Yet on the whole we think the key would movemore sweetly in its wards if the star were interpretednot as the Jewish people but rather as the distinctiveprophetic gift or office imparted to that people to givelight on earth. Israel’s prophetic light, once so gloriousin its splendour, became a fallen star. The prophetslied, the people loved to have it so-then divine inspirationceased. Prophecy, in its fallen and degradedforms of magic, augury, divination, and enchantment(to which the Jewish people took with greed), openedthe gates of the abyss to belch out every sort of demoniacinspiration, and fostered gross delusions whichultimately lashed their victims with the stings of scorpions.”The prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.”This bottomless pit is unbelief. When Judaism lostits divine illumination it became a fountain of corruption.Clinging to the form of godliness, it lost moreand more the power; and when at length the land wasseen smouldering in the fires of judgement, what didthat seem to witness but that the God of Israel was asmuch a myth as Jupiter and Apollo, and other farcicalgods of Greece and Rome, To what other endcould a people come of whom Christ was compelled tosay, ” Ye have both seen and hated both me and myfather.”Now, what is this we see? Smoke as tke smoke ofa greatfurnace darkening t/u ‘very heavens. When the70 Smoke and Locusts from tlte Pit. [IX.pit of godlessness is opened up, volumes of darknesscome belching out of its unfathomable depths. Theinfernal vapours of false, bad passions obscure almosttotally what is godlike and divine. All error is an obscurationof the light of truth; but by moral infidelitythe sun of heaven is blotted out, and there is nothingleft for us but a burning fiery furnace of destruction inthe depth, and a world hideous with gloom becauseall joy and light have gone. Yes, life is dark whenthere is no God, or only a God that has abandoned us;when there is no brotherhood on earth, no Father ofthe race in heaven; no home with a loving immortalityto shelter our naked souls.Worse than the darkness which makes day hideousis a plague of locusts from the pit. The imagery hereis modelled on the plague of locusts in the book ofJoel. Whether that prophet was referring to a literalplague of locusts or to an army trampling downthe land in its victorious march, expositors cannottell. Certainly the figure might well be applied to aninvading military host; and so John’s locusts are bysome applied to the Saracenic armies who marchedunder the banner of Islam. Such an application ofthe figure is not lawful here. These locusts” are notto Iturt tile grass, nor any green tlting, nor any tree.” Isit possible to imagine the march of barbaric armieswithout destruction to the fields and tillage of invadedtowns and hamlets? These locusts are not to hnrtthose wllo are sealed of God. Is it possible that thoseMohammedan invaders,sweeping impetuously along ona crusade of conversion, would pass by every Christianand leave him unhurt ?-would not their hatred be thebitterest where men’s faith in Christ was staunch and3-7.] Heathen “Schwtirmerei.” 71uncompromising? Is it possible that the commissiongiven to those warlike hordes was” not to kill men,”even Christless men, but only to hurt them for fiz1emonths; or that the men oppressed by them would seekdeath and not find it? No more express intimationcould be given that these locusts are no humanpower, and least of all victorious Mohammedan armies.What, then, are these swarming beastly forms thatwound men like a scorpion wizen it strikes? Theirorigin contains the answer. Open the abyss of unbeliefand godlessness-what swarms of low, crawling,sensuous thoughts invade the mind to consume thetender blade or early shoot of goodness that may yetexist! “They are like horses prepared unto the battle”-fierce, desperate, impassioned, warlike. Ever boastfuland pretentious, they look as if they were to fightman’s battles and make him victorious over evil; butthe more specious their pretences, the more bitterlythey deceive and wound. On their heads are imitationcrowns of gold. Infidel imaginings, magical incantations,full of sensuous vigour, come with kingly pretensionsto their dupes. “Follow us, and we shall bringyou better times. The earth is ours and we shall reignover it.” But the actual significance of their crownsis that a godless spiritualism, equally with a godlessmaterialism, is a tyrant where it rules-a source oftorment rather than of blessing. “Their faces were asmen’s.” Those lying dreams from the abyss pretendto be divine, but are only reflections of man’s ownthoughts, the birth of his own restless passions; andwhen they come to rule him with a regal sway, theirinfluence is accursed and there is only torment fortheir victims.72 Fierce ye: Effeminate. [IX.“And tlzey had Ilair as the Ilaz’r of women,’! thoughthey had the teeth of lions. Their aspect is largelywarlike; and there is a commotion as if preparing forwar. A true description of mingled sensuality andsuperstition when emboldened by a temporary ascendancy.Let them once attain to power, and whateverbe the soft airs they assume, the indulgences theyoffer, the pledges given that sensuous loves are halfdivine,and subject to no law, they are beastlydestructive powers-” Like to Furies, like to Graces ;”difficult to subdue when once encased in their hellforgedarmour-pretentious in their claims, but able tocarry on only a mimic warfare against the truth andlight of God.Such are the locusts from the pit. Sensual reasonings,strengthened by heathenish superstitions, all thespawn of hell, inspired with deadly hatred of, andpouring out their venom on, all that is pure and heavenly.Shielded by the imperviousness of their materialismto spiritual light, they seem to themselves tobe an army of gigantic warriors, while mere pigmiesseen in the light of heaven. Swarming forth from thenether pit which a decadent faith and a perverted gifthave opened up, threatening to destroy all goodness,they will have only a temporary triumph-indeed, willrather hasten than hinder the advent of heaven’skingdom.This sensuous invasion has power to hurt men forfive months. The time allotted is perhaps of nomarked significance, as it is the usual period of a locustplague; and yet it is remarkable that it marks theR-12.] The Reign of C/zaos. 73most terrific period of Jewish delusion, disorder, andmental agony-the five months’ siege of Jerusalem.From all this mental stupefaction and stinging tormentof disappointed hopes, t/ze sealed of God werefree. They were not in the darkness and delusion ofthe smoke of the pit. The end was declared from thebeginning; and in the knowledge of God’s purposes,they shook the dust of the city from off their feet, andfled. Josephus tells us at great length how the citycame to be like hell let loose on earth; and not somuch from Roman arms as from the brutal passionsand infernal feuds of its deluded populace. The godworshipped in those months was not JEHOVAH theCreator, and sustainer of all life and beauty, butABADDON the Genius of Destruction.” Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos! is restored:Light dies before thy uncreating word:Thy hand, great Anarch, lets the curtain fall,And universal darkness buries all.”No wonder that in such times of calamity and distress,with the powers of heaven all shaken, the orderof society broken up, with mutual faith and trust destroyed,hunger and pestilence raging in the streets,the clamour of war around the walls, and hearts stungwith the arrows of a reproving conscience,-no wonderthat men’ sought for death, to end the bitterness of alife that had become intolerable. Death, you mightsay is easily found of them that seek it. Yes, butsuch men as these as carefully shrink from death asthey eagerly long for it. Conscience makes cowardsof them all ; and while seeking death, they stilI wouldrather bear the ills they have than fly to others thatthey know not of. Oh, if death were only sure to be74 Fire, Smoke, and Brimstone. [IX.annihilation, the extinction of all hated memories, thenegation of all future pains, then death would beutterly desirable. But who can assure them of thisimmunity from the judgement of a righteous God?Such death, such deep forgetfulness they cannot find.One woe is past, but another is about to fall. Asixtli angel sounds, and a voice is heard from betweenthe horns of the golden altar. Mark that it is still theday and dispensation of the altar in Israel; but nowthe altar is no sign of reconciliation but of judgementproceeding to extremity.· The prayer of the martyrsis hastening to accomplishment.” Wickedne88 burnetli as the fire ; the people also are as thefuel offire ; no man spareth. his brother:”The four angels on the Euphrates are let loose, andthere comes upon the scene an army of 200,000,000horsemen. A number of preterist expositors find herea reference to the Eastern troops (Roman and Parthian)that were marched and concentrated uponPalestine at the outbreak of the war; and the angelsare either the four Roman legions or the four Easternkings mentioned by Josephus as coming to the conquestof the land. This might possibly supply a frameworkfor the vision; but is very far from realising thepith of what John sees.We must remember always that these visions seemintended to gather up all the prophetic utterances ofthe Old Testament anent” the day of the Lord,” andthus teach us that in the events about to happen ALLTHE SCRIPTURE IS TO BE FULFILLED – the idealjudgement-day be realized, and the ideal kingdom ofGod ushered in-that time” whereof God spake by12-14.] TIle hot Simoom. 75the mouth of his holy prophets which have been sincethe world began ;” and which Peter localises as to datewhen he says to’ those before him-” they told ofTHESE days.” (Acts iii. 21,24).The judgement before us having its issues in thealtar in front of God reminds us of the Psalm “theLord is in his holy temple: upon the wicked He shallrain snares (pac/lim, but possibly it should read pecham,coals), fire, and brimstone, and burning wind.” Thephysical picture called up here is the hot, blasting, alldestroyingsimoom, a favourite image of divine angerwith the Prophets. Isaiah invokes an overwhelmingjudgement upon Assyria in similar terms: “The Lordcometh from afar burning with his anger, and in thickrising smoke, his lips are full of indignation, his tongueas a devouring fire, and his breath. like astream of brimstone.” Jeremiah is very bold, andturns this flame of judgement on Jerusalem: “Ahot wind from the bare heights in the wilderness, notto fan nor to cleanse. Behold, He shall come up asclouds, and his chariots shall be as the whirlwind; hishorses are swifter than eagles.” The vision of St. Johnthen points to some invasion that like the hot blast ofthe simoom shall burn and scorch until desolationreigns.The Euphratean country might well be chosen as thesource of this unhuman raid. The simoom was aneastern wind. The enemies of the ancient Churchhailed mostly from the East-the Scythian, Assyrian,and Babylonian especially-descending like evil beastsfrom the neighbourhood of this great stream. But ereO. T. history closes, those enemies have disappeared;they have been judged and cast down to hell. There,7G The Eupltratean Host. [IX.where formerly was the river of Paradise, was now asthe Prophets had said. a wilderness whose streams arepitch and dust of brimstone, whose ruins are the resortof the wild beast, and the Satyr, the habitations ofspectres and devils of darkness (Is. xxxiv.), Whenthen from the Euphrates region there comes up thisunnatural host like the hot blast of the simoom, it isto signify the iavasion of this once holy and blessedland, by all the taint of heathenism, and by all thescorpion power of hell. The boundary of God’s ancientkingdom is assaulted-taken at the rush-wiped cleanout. The difference between Zion and Babel is nomore, for Zion has renounced her calling and her God,and must be left to be devoured by the demons shehas worshipped.This terrible break-down had not been unforeseen.Of that day and hour knew no man, not even theangels of heaven; but it was all in the purposes ofGod-” the hour and day, and month and year “knownwith the utmost exactitude by Him who neverprecipitates his judgements in his anger, nor delaysthem needlessly by his long-suffering mercy. Themartyrs and the living saints had thought the cup ofiniquity to be full, and wearied for this vengeance;they had thought to hurry the day by their prayers;but the hand of God will not be forced, yet the prayersof his people will be answered. And so, a tramplinghost of desolating powers are let loose upon the landto sweep it like the hot simoom.“Tlte land is full of bloody crimes, and the city i8 full ofviolence.”Over the land rolled the hot sulphureous blast. “Thethird part of men was killed.” The population of16-10.] Tlt~ Reign of Terror. 77Palestine IS reckoned to have been from four to five.millions; and the accepted estimate of life destroyedis one million and a half. A fearful holocaust !-thework of heathen passions, breaking out into heathenviolence and brutality, such as many good men canonly explain to themselves on the supposition that theJewish people got to be possessed by a host of demonsfrom the abyss whose purpose was to make a hell onearth. No more sickening tale of covetousness,impurity, madness, and fratricidal strife can be foundin the annals of history. Those scenes were but veryfaintly parodied in the seven years’ struggle of theFrench Revolution. There too atheism and irresponsiblebrutality were enthroned; and there too contentiousstrife and devilry became supreme, and Frenchmenshed their brother’s blood as if it had been filthy water.Break down this boundary line between the spiritualand the sensual, the kingdom of God’s wisdom andman’s natural desires; profane all that is sacred; andwhatever be the arts and culture of the people, you willhave the same result. Where heaven does not reignhell will. When the fear of God has perished and menbecome self-idolators, there is no fiendishness toosubtle for imagination or too brutal to be executedagainst other men. All the wisdom of those in poweris low, sensual, crawling in the dust; and when cunningfails, they strike and kill. It is the Reign of Terror.Fire and brimstone are the implements by whichEternity is made terrible: it were well for us toremember that God does sometimes kindle Tophethere. . The fiery sufferings that are seen to follow sin,and lick up the grace and joy of life like oil, are thebreath of Jehovah, a stream of brimstone prepared78 Tiley repented not. [IX.against the hour and the day; and that fire must burnuntil the pile on which it feeds ‘is turned to smoke anddust. ” Our God is a consuming fire.”Strong and loud as were these trumpet calls torepentance, the residue of men remained unchanged;enamoured of their falsities even while tormented bythem. They cannot see the connection between theirmiseries and their apostasy from God. Outwardlyindeed they give God honour; inwardly they bow toidols. Possibly they persuade themselves that worshipcondones wickedness; or that by their wickedness theyare the more devoutly serving Him. However it be,the light that is in them is as darkness; and since theywill not repent there is no resource to a righteous Godbut to go forward with yet severer judgements until .not only the Euphrates has been passed but utterlydried up-not only the walls of Jericho been shakenbut utterly thrown down.THE MYSTER Y OF GOD FINISHED.CHAPTER X.” The Mystery of Christ which in other qenerationsiras notmade kmoum:”A\T this point there is an interruption of the trumpet- ~ blasts, in order to offer a needful explanation.John sees an angel of conspicuous dignity descendingon the earth. A favourite supposition is that Michael,the angel-prince of Israel, is intended. More probablyit is Christ. As such, John describes although he doesnot name Him; and appropriately so, for He is veiledin clouds. It is Paul’s doctrine verificd-” The Lordshall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voiceof an archangel, and with the trump of God.” Eventsare nearing the boundary line between the old age andthe new; the Lord is “coming in his kingdom “;already his foot is on the land and on the sea-thetoken of his claim to universal dominion; and thelast trump waits his word to bring the old world toan end.The little book open in Ilis hand indicates that onlya little remains now to be revealed, so far as his leadingpurpose is concerned. The spoken thunders are,however, ominous of further and severer judgements,and John is able to interpret them; but apparentlythey bespeak some judgement which lies out of theline of present purposes, and are not to be explained80 No delay. [ yet. Doubtless they will be unfolded to us in theproper sequence of events, and in the usual strongsymbology of this book. The story of God’s ancientpeople is not yet complete; with that only are wenow concerned.” A short work will the Lord make of it.”Meanwhile, the angel has lifted up his hand toheaven, and sworn that” there shall be time no longer.”These words have not unfrequently been misunderstood.Sometimes they are said to mean that timeshall at this point cease to be, and eternity begin; andagain, they are interpreted as saying that a certainperiod of time, defined to be 1111~ years, shall notquite elapse (Bengel, adopted by Wesley), bringingdown the period of its terminus to 1836. All suchnotions become fantastic before the evident meaningof the words, as given by Alford :-” there shall be nolonger a lapse of time-time shall no longer intervene;” or more directly, as in the margin of theRevised Version, and recommended by the AmericanCommittee for the text, “there shall be delay nolonger.”And what is the occasion of this very solemn protest?It looks back to the fact that the judgements of thepreceding trumpets have been ineffectual in theproduction of repentance; and possibly have left theirvictims in a state more reprobate and hopeless thanbefore. Then, “why should they be stricken any more?Will they not revolt yet more and more?” It maybe so, yet for many reasons the work of judgementmust proceed. The martyrs beneath the altar will findthe promise kcpt-” Rest yet for a little time.” That6-7.] The Mystery of God. 81little time is now about completed. The climax ofvengeance is at hand. If the] udge has seemed to benot listening to the supplication of his claimants, it isbecause He is exceeding merciful and not willing thatthe day of grace should be unduly shortened. Butwhere punishment after punishment has signally failedto soften, and they who have felt” the terrors of theLord” have only the more fixedly clung to their superstitionsand crimes, what remains for it but to hastenon that act of doom which will at least vindicate therighteousness of God, and cleanse the earth of a falseand obnoxious system?” My name shall be great among the Gentiles.”Let us not suppose, however, that the saints of Godcan cry for any merely bloody triumph, any merelypersonal vengeance upon their persecutors; or that Godwould pledge himself to be the instrument of such destructivepassion. Both are impossible. The saintsare to be avenged by the bringing of God’s mystery toan end; that is, the coming into the light of full accomplishment(according to God’s meaning), of all themessages spoken by the prophets, especially thosegrand evangelical intimations that had been the hopeand yet the puzzle of all bygone generations. Thathad been the subject of bitter disputes between thoseearly martyrs and their persecutors, as witness thecase of Stephen. The battle between the]udaic andChristian schools raged round the question-” How isGod going to fulfil those Old Testament promises ofa Messianic kingdom?” Jewish scholasticism gave ananswer that glorified the temple, the law, and the bloodof Abraham! The answer of the martyrs was-682 The Martyrs Vindicated. [x.” Messiah will be a suffering priest, a lamb of sacrificefor the sins of the world. He will break down themiddle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile;abolish the ceremonial law, and bring all nations intothe obedience of faith. In his day no land or city willbe holier than another; no race will pride itself uponits favouritism with heaven, for in every mountainGod’s name shall be honoured and his praise ascendto heaven.” The core of the conflict was Jewishlocalism against Christian universalisrn ; and, in theintensest hatred of a religion which seemed to despoilhim of his glory, the Jew sprang at the Christian’sthroat, as if that would save his grand inheritance.When those martyrs who had felt the sting of Jewishvenom cried for vengeance, they were crying for thetriumph of their principles, for the plain and manifestvindication of 1!he truth for which they died-thetruth that Palestine was no more the holy landJudaismno longer a living and authoritative revelationof God’s will-the Temple no longer the one placewhere God could be approached with acceptable worship-the kingdom of the Jews no longer synonymouswith the Kingdom of Heaven! That vindication isthe only vengeance allowable to the saint; and it ison the eve of being given to those supplicants. J udaism,as an official system is hastening to its close; ” anend is being made of the holy people,” as predictedby Daniel; an obstructive Church which has ceasedindeed to be a Church is being speedily reduced tonothingness by the successive sounding of the trumpsof doom; a dispensation utterly corrupt, and refusingto advance along God’s line of march, must needs bedevastated and destroyed to make way for a higher8-10.] The Bitterness of Good News. 83and purer dispensation of the grace of God! Oh,how incredulous it must have seemed that a peopleso exalted of God should come to so miserable an end!No wonder that the angel feels it needful to lift hisIland to heaven, and make a solemn attestation that itshall be so! Yes, when the angel who IS ABOUT TOSOUND shall utter his mighty voice, then, even whilethe echo is in our ears, the walls of this once-sacredJericho shall fall, and the newer Israel will marchstraight forward into its possession.John is now ordered to take the little book and eatit. The knowledge of the contents of this book, whichconcerned the finishing of the mystery of God, waspleasing to his first perceptions, but painful to hishuman sympathies on further contemplation. Jeremiahhad the same experiences-i-” Thy word was untome the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” But afterwards,when he discovered that his predictions impliedthe desolation of his people, his patriotism found expressionin passionate Iamentation-s-” Behold, see ifthere be any sorrow like unto my sorrow. My bowelsare troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth forthe destruction of the daughter of my people.” Thesame experience befell Ezekiel, and at the destructionof his people he “sighed with the breaking ofhis loins, and with bitterness.” Surely when John ismade to repeat the experience of these older prophets,it is an indication that his circumstances are identical.He is to read and inwardly digest what must needscause joy because it promises redemption to the world,but must as well be painful to his” bowels of mercies,”his brotherly compassions; for the book concernsabove all men on earth, “his kinsmen according to84 A Barren Tree. [x,the flesh,” for whom, like Paul, he could have wishedto be accursed from Christ, if thereby he could savethem for the service of God. Long-expected as wasthis denoument, perhaps John had hoped to the veryend for some happy compromise in which Jerusalem.the joy of all the land, would still be saved the ravagesof her cruel foe, and Judaism harmonised with thespirituality and universality of the gospel. Now, everyhope is gone. Her days are numbered; the seventhtrumpet is about to sound; and with the reverberationof its notes, the outward signs of Hebrew greatnesshertemple, her self-government, her priesthood, andher capital will pass away.” Cut it down, why cumbereth it the 9I’Ound?”A solemn lesson this for all coming ages. Everyinstitution of God or man is daily being tried upon itsmerits. No nation is impervious to the judgementsthat test its deepest foundations, and determinewhether it is worthy of a place in history. No sect, no dispensation, even if it be the Christian.can boast of its immunity from the possibility of decayand death. God only hath immortality. The bestthings can become corrupt, and the corruption of thebest is the filthiest and most noxious. The Lord willnot acknowledge any Church as his out of which histruth has perished; and if it should become a buttressof ancient tyrannies or of class distinctions, and agilder of worldliness and sin with the glitter of respectability,no matter that it has been once a Church ofGod,-against it will go forth those thunderbolts ofjudgement which will level it with the ground. It isin vain for men to say of their Churches or their sects11.] A Larger Prophetic Outlook. 85″ The Lord hath set his love upon us-the temple ofthe Lord, the temple of the Lord are we!” For suchwas Israel. Yet He who said that she was “engravenon the palms of his hands,” had also in the course oftime to say-” 0 Jerusalem, thy house is left unto theedesolate.” There is no decree of perseverance forSaint or Church, unless they persevere. It is a wholesomelesson for individuals and communities. If Christbe not in us we are reprobate. Void of the righteousspirit, we are worthless branches on whom devouringfire shall fall.John is not allowed to linger in unhappy contemplation.He is called to work. “Thou must prophesyagain, concerningmanypeoples, and nations, andtongues,and kings.” Is not this another proof added to themany that John has been prophesying hitherto,mainly of one nation, and one people: painting tragicpictures of the dying struggle of an ancient and Godhonoureddispensation with which one people was concerned?However, his mission is not to finish withdestruction; after the night will come the day. He isnot giving us occasion to glory over the downfall of apeople; but teaching us how that people’s fall willbring in a dispensation of love, mercy, and truth, thatwill concern equally and for ever every people andtongue and nation under heaven.BREAKING IN PIECES THE POWER OFTHE HOL Y PEOPLE.CHAPTER .XI.” Tlw relno/’ing of those things that are shaken, that those tllingll1()hich are not shaken Inay remain.”ALMOST universally ~hi.s chapter is held to be the– -.:.. crux of Apocalyptic interpreters. We are consciousof the difficulties of our task, but we face themwithout despair. Let us keep a tight grip of the cluelineJohn has put into our hands.We have now before us the vision which finishes“the mystery of God.” That mystery is revealed inthe “unveiling” of Jesus Christ; and will find solutionin the open light of day. What is this mystery?We can see it gradually coming to the light withinthis book. It is, put as a human query,-How is Godto realise the universal hopes and promises held out tohis ancient people, and as well be true to his specialcovenant with the seed of Abraham? God waspledged to do great things for his people. His kingdomwas to be an everlasting kingdom, and Jerusalemwas to be the joy of all the earth. Now, unless thesepromises are to be utterly falsified, there must be somereal sense in which Judaism does not perish, in whichthe temple is not destroyed, nor the covenant peoplecast away. The solution, as we know, is found in areal organic and historic unity between the Churchand the covenant people. As Baur would say, there1-2.] Saved from the Fire. 87is a real” Ineinander” of the truth as it is in Jesus andthe truth according to Moses-the temple of Jerusalemand that temple in which God permanently dwellswith men.This unity in God’s purpose, and this continuity ofhis kingdom, are not sufficiently justified by the visionof 144,000 of all the tribes of Israel saved alive incovenant love. Not only must the Jewish stock liveon as God’s elect, but the ideals on which it was fedby its Prophets must survive, or rather be carried forwardinto new developments, in which every hope andpromise of the past will be abundantly realised. Notonly the people must be sealed, but the covenant worship,and its principles. After that, the deluge.The answer to this demand is now before us.Before absolute destruction comes, John is told tomeasure the temple of God-the vaos and its incensealtar, with them that worship therein; but to takeno reckoning of the outer courts as they haveceased to be of value or significance, and are henceforthto be profaned. As in Ezekiel’s case, a templeis to be destroyed; and first measured, because it is tobe rebuilt in more magnificent proportions. Expositorshere stumble into errors which we must carefullyavoid. We must not conclude (with such as Bleek,Colani, S. Davidson) that John here prophesies thatthe material temple of Jerusalem is to be saved fromdestruction in the siege, or (with Macdonald and Russell)that the measuring is the prophecy of its destruction.Destruction is no doubt implied in the measuring;but restoration is the essential idea in the case.The” signs” of this book are not concerned withmerely literal events, such as an historian might chro88The Eternal in the Temporal. [xi.nicle, but with the spiritual principles worked out inthat history. We must also avoid the error that thetemple measured is the human temple of believingJews (Weiss, Gebhardt, Waller); and the outer courtthe unchristian Jews. This would be a needless repetitionof the process accomplished in the sealing ofthe tribes. The vision is meant to tell us how thetemple may perish and yet live; Jewish worship ceaseand yet survive; Old Testament prophecy seem tobe belied in the letter while amply fulfilled in thespirit. In Jewish worship there is a kernel which isindestructible; a shell which may be broken andthrown away. The altar of incense, the offering of aprayerful heart, is the essence of all worship; but theblood of bulls and goats is only a symbol for a season,a mediatorial vehicle to serve until the perfect day iscome. Judaism and Christianity are simply variousdevelopments of one divine eternal plan. The NewTestament was latent in the Old; the Old is transfiguredin the New. The Gospel is the templewithout its outer court. In Christ Jesus there is nolonger Jew and Gentile, male and female, priest andworshipper; but all are one. Christianity is the HolyPlace to which every nation has direct access. Thepreservation of the outer court in John’s symbol wouldhave meant the imposition of Jewish rites on Gentilepeoples; or, in other words, it would have made ritualisticJudaism the outer gate of Christianity, as somany J udaising Christians wished. But now therudest heathen, washed from sin by the precious bloodof Christ, becomes himself a priest to God, with freestaccess to the Holy Place. The epistle to the Hebrewsexplains how the Jewish temple is preserved while2.] TIle Abomination of Desolation. 89transfigured. Jesus has opened up the way into theHoliest. We need no son of Levi, no bestial sacrifice,to introduce us to the fellowship of God! We havebut to come with a cleansed heart, and stand and offerincense for ourselves at the golden altar in the fullassurance of faith, for our great High Priest is gonewithin the veil, and through him our offerings ascendto heaven, and are acceptable to God.” Jerusalem. shall be trodden doum. of the Gentiles, until the timesof the Gentiles befulfilled.”The destruction of the outer temple court (sacerdotalJudaism) is effected by the trampling forces of” the nations.” They are to tread the holy city underfoot for “forty and two months.” “The city is heretaken as the symbol of the entire people, because themetropolis in common is the centre and essence of thenation or land.” (Waller’s Offenbarung, in loco). Thatmight well be universally admitted. It is surely morethan a chance co-incidence that the trampling downof the sacred people by the Romans and their alliesbegan in the spring of 67 A.D., and lasted until Sept.70 = 2 and 40 months. Objections are raised to thisinterpretation (vide Alford) on the ground that Jerusalemcannot be called “the holy city,” seeing thatsoon after it is designated” Sodom and Egypt,”-atleast, that both characters cannot be realised in J erusalem.We cannot feel sure that we ought to treatthis objection seriously; but it may be useful to adda word or two upon the point. Every reader of theScripture surely has observed that the custom is verycommon of calling a thing or person at once by anideal and a real name. The” holy seed” are described90 ferusalem Trodden Down. [ acting most profanely; the” saints” are chargedwith being” carnal.” Why should not Jerusalem becalled holy, viewed by its sacred calling; and sinful accordingto its actual character? Or, again, as ethicalqualities are always relative in finite things, whyshould Jerusalem not be called IlOly when consideredin its contiguity to the profaner forces of heathenRome ; and sinful when regarded as in contrast withour sinless Lord, whom it so ruthlessly crucified? Or,why should not Jerusalem be sometimes named accordingto its pretentions as a sacred city; and atanother time be characterised after the ethical spiritby which it is possessed? We leave the reader toform his judgement. At any rate, the meaning of thevision was unmistakeably realised in this 42 months’military raid. The Jewish polity in its outward andtemporal form (its outer court) was thoroughly pulverised.Palestine was henceforth incorporated withthe Roman empire; the country was stripped of itspopulation; the soil was confiscated and sold to thehighest bidder; the temple was levelled to the ground,and its sacred vessels carried to Rome to grace theentry of the conquering general; and the contributionof two drachmas which every child of Israel throughoutthe world had hitherto given annually to thetem ple he was now required to transfer to the Capitol,or cent re of Roman worship. Thus was Judaism inits national life, its religious forms, its pretentiousclaim to be the one mediatorial nation, utterly spoiledand broken up. The work went on till finished, and.. the times of the Gentiles” were brought in . ” Indeed,the Gent ile found his day of grace, because the Jewqua J ew had ceased to be. When the temple sank inDiqitrzed byGOOgle2-3.] The Truth Set Free. 91flames, the practice of the ritual law became impossible;the priesthood was reduced to an honorarysinecure and empty name. “This could not but appear”(says Dollinger, First Age ofthe Church, 109) “toall Christians, surely also to many Jews, as a solemnrejection by God, declared in deeds, of the people Hehad formerly chosen out of all the nations of the earth.”Without this, the day of the Gentiles could not havecome; at least, by this it came. So witnesses a historianwho is not thinking of any text in the book ofRevelation :-” The destruction, never to be repaired,of the material temple, cut the cords which bound thenew faith to its local habitation, and launched it underthe hand of Providence, on its career of spiritual conquest.”(Merivale, Romans under the Empire, vi. 605).It is also note-worthy that from that day the Jewceased to make proselytes of the Gentiles. Thus wasthe symbol of the measured temple amazingly fulfilled.The Roman conquest, treading down the outer court,brought out the glories of the inner sanctuary of God’struth; and at the same time ushered in ” the times ofthe Gentiles “-the day of Gentile pre-eminence in thekingdom of heaven.THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF TWOWITNESSESis a symbol whose introduction in this place has beena source of great perplexity, but which, according toour interpretation, could not well have been omitted.”No solution has ever been given of this part ofthe prophecy,” are the ominous words with whichAlford opens his comment. Events move rapidly in92 Law and Love. [xi.these days, and solutions have been found which onlythe ultra-fastidious can refuse.The time during which these two Witnesses prophesyis identical with the treading down of the holycity by the heathen. The latter is given in moons,perhaps because it is a continuous work, and a workof darkness and of night, of judgement and destruction; the former is given in days, because it is a dailyand intermittent task, and emphatically a work of light.Who are these Witnesses? They are not so muchtwo distinguished persons as two offices or functions,two aspects of God’s work in Israel-the governing andthe teaching. These” two olive trees” or ” two candlesticks”are the two” sons of oil” referred to by Zecharia-the priest and the king or judge in Israel-whofulfil their offices not by their personal power andmight but by the Spirit of the Lord. In other words,they are the institutions of the Law and the Priesthood-guided by prophetic inspirations. The Law isGod’s demand that men shall love Him with all theirhearts and minds; the Priesthood is God’s witnessthat He loves the sons of men and dwells amongthem as their Sun and Shield. The Law demandsrighteousness; the Priesthood offers help to its attainment.It is, therefore, absolutely true that if men waragainst these Witnesses they are burned with ” unquenchablefire.” Truth and Love are the keys of thekingdom of life ; men must revere them or be scorchedto death in that fire of brimstone which is the righteousbreath of the Lord. The Old Testament neverwearies witnessing, and the foregoing trumpet-plaguesarc the latest proofs, that all heaven’s rain, all earth’sfru itfulness, and all society’s order are dependent onDiqitrzed byGOOgle3-5.] Tlze old Truth Glorified. 93their being honoured; while all the plagues of Egyptand Sodom break out of the abyss when men waragainst their sovereignty. Moral evil, in short, is theprimal fount and origin of all man’s miseries on earth.Expositors are greatly tempted to find theseWitnesses in Christian apostles and preachers. Theysometimes search Jerusalem in its latter days for twoapostles who were slain, and may have had themarvellous resurrection here narrated. It is scarcelypossible to be farther off the track. It turns the” sign”into a verbal prediction, which it is not. It ignores thestatement that it is imposslble for any man to hurtthem, because in the attempt tlte man Itimself must bekilled. The martyrdom of two personal Christianwitnesses would flatly contradict this intimation.Besides, the Apostles cannot yet be appropriatelyintroduced, as the Gospel age is not yet officiallybegun. The Jewish age is still only on its dying bed,and John concerned only with its dying agonies, andwhat can be saved from the wreck. From its peoplethere has been saved a remnant-the believing Israel;from its temple, there has been saved the Holy Place–does nothing more remain to be conserved? Yes, onething more-s-the divine soul of the dispensation’struth! The very fact that” a seed” was saved, isproof that there was something divine and eternal inIsrael’s worship and polity; and the sealing of thesaints therefore logically involves the measuring of theHoly Place,and the resurrection of theseWitnesses. Theparallel between the three is very close, and crammedfull of instruction. The elect seed, transferred fromJudaism to the Church of Christ, is the core or heart.of the Jewish people. The Holy Place is the vital94 Chn’st in th« Old Testament. [xi.centre of the Temple system. The inner soul of theWitnesses is made indestructible in this figurativeresurrection. In all three cases, the outer and moreprofane is given over to destruction; the inner essenceof all three survives. Isracl is preserved in its faithfulpeople; in its spiritual temple; and in the principlesof which its temple was the home; or, to vary theexpression for illustration’s sake, the Kingdom of Godin its people, its worship, and its truth and governmentlived on through the night of judgement which hadfallen upon its corruptions, and the cumbrous encrustationswhich had clung to it and destroyed itsusefulness.But whose are these two Witnesses? We infer,without express instruction, that they are Christ’s.Well might He call the light-giving and ruling officesin Judaism hz’s Witnesses. Prophets, priests, and kingswere the forerunners, the divine make-shifts, set upuntil the ideal prophet, priest, and king should come.All the Scriptures” testify of me,” said He. The lawand the prophets were preaching Christ, often notknowing what they did, all through the ages from thefirst. Such is the stand-point of this book-” The testimonyof Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (xix. 10).There would have been no law, no covenant people, nopriest or king, if there had been no Christ to come inthe fulness of the times.Where do these Witnesses prophecy? The answeris contained in the very nature of the Witnesses. Itcan only be ” in tlze streets of the great city, wlzzch spirituallyis called Sodom and Egypt, where also ourLord was crucified.” Without veil, the scene is Jerusalem.”It is called the GREAT city, as farther on is5-8.] The Clzristian’s Egypt. 95Babylon, because it is the metropolis, and representativeof the collective body of the rejected covenantpeople, as Babylon is mentioned as the capital andcentre of the heathen world.”–(Waller, 243). In spiritualcharacter, this so-called holy city is only to benamed with Sodom and Egypt. Isaiah was very bold,and in Jerusalem addressed its dignitaries as-I< Yerulers of Sodom.” In Jeremiah’s time, as in John’s,Jehovah was compelled to say of the prophets-i-” Yeare all to me as Sodorn.” Alford stumbles sorely becausethe designation-s-” Egypt” is not found in theprophets. Israel could not be Egypt until it becamea house of bondage and oppression ; and that was impossibleuntil a more spiritual people than itself aroseto suffer from its yoke. If we remember how frequentlyour Lord and his Apostles spoke of theJewish system as holding its subjects in bonds, imposinga burden greater than men could bear, asbeing a yoke of bondage robbing men of the freedominto which Christ had come to lead them; or if weknow the history of apostolic times, when there wasthe greatest danger of Jewish elements prevailing inthe Church, and swamping it, or let me say, transferringit into a petty judrean sect, we cannot be surprisedthat the Jerusalem which then was, was in theeyes of such as Paul and John a veritable Egyptianhouse of bondage.Here then, in this hotbed of lawlessness and oppressionthe principles of Old Testament revelation lift uptheir feeble voice. They have sadly lost their wontedpower and glory, and instead of goodly garments walkin sackcloth as becomes the evil times. Even in thosedark days there were a few in high places who openly96 [xi.rebuked the murderous wickedness and anarchy whichprevailed. Prophetic voices even plainly uttered presagesof doom in the city streets. No man cared; oronly cared so far that by a dagger he soon silencedthe hateful voice. Hear Josephus about the Zealotdefenders of Jerusalem: “These men trampled uponall the laws of men and laughed at the laws of God;and for the oracles of the prophets, they ridiculed themas the tricks of jugglers.” The powers of hell prevailed;the beast from the abyss (certainly not Nero,but the Dragon), with its locust sensualities and itsdemoniac hosts, did what no man nor sword could do-profaned and desolated the sacred forms of truthand righteousness.This shameful spectacle proceeding through thosemonths was a source of sorrow to the few, but ofjubilant rejoicing to the multitude. To be at liberty tofollow their propensities and gratify their sensual lustswithout divine restraint is, alas, a very welcome libertyto men whose hearts are black. Every unbeliever inthe divinity of religion, every heathen man who hadbeen annoyed by the Jew’s assumed superiority, everyRoman politician of the time, was happy to think thatJudaism was rotting for the Roman eagles; every Jewwho wished freedom from the restraints of justice andreligion would hold high carnival over the evident collapseof sacred principles so long revered. On everyside there were gracious congratulations that a radicalreform had come. It was a scene that may be repeatedany day; indeed, never is wanting where rightand wrong are struggling for the mastery. Everyepoch of anarchy and bloodshed has had its brood offiends who stood apart in safety and shouted their10-12.] Judaism Perfected by its Death. 97applause. Let us be charitable enough to hope thatit has been mostly in the delusive dream that” theday of the wine-press of wrath” is the forerunnerof a “good time coming.”” The sign of the Prop/let Jonas.”The resurrection which soon follows intimates thatdivine principles cannot perish from the earth. Theyrise from the dead like their Master; though not sosuddenly. God’s work may appear to vanish beforethe violence of men; but the vanishing point is trulythe moment of its awakening to new power, and itsassumption of complete supremacy. The peoples andnations that rejoiced over the silencing of divine truthand authority, and hoped never again to be tormentedby the claims of one true and righteous God, werespeedily disturbed in their godless revelry. As J udaismdied, Christianity shot up into fresh and wondrouspower. I t seemed to the heathen as if the old hatefultruths had been clothed with diviner power, and exaltedup to heaven They had thought that the worshipof the God of the Jews was at an end; that withits weird condemning voice for ever hushed, its severeunsympathetic purity ceasing to rebuke their superstitiousrevelries, they undisturbed could still enjoy thesweet licentiousness of their pagan cults; but no,God’sWitnesses arose in form more terrible withheavenly light, and bore a more effective testimonyagainst the world’s evil.” Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”Whether this earthquake is to be taken as a physicalupheaval may be questioned. Seeing that it is not nar798 Earthquake Terrors. [XI.rated as a vision, but as if it were history, it may wellbe taken in a physical sense. There certainly wassuch a storm and earthquake, when God’s Witnesseswere lying trodden in the streets of Jerusalem, asmade even the boldest think that God was judgingthem. Josephus tells us of” a prodigious storm in thenight, with strong winds, drenching rains, continuedlightnings, terrible thunderings, and amazing concussionsand bellowings of the earth.” This, he says, portendedsome dreadful calamity; as indeed it did.Next morning it was found that Ananus, the highpriest, a man of singularly noble character, and othervenerable teachers of the people, had been slain in thetemple courts, then” cast out naked into the streets tobe the food of dogs and wild beasts.” That night,8,500 men were slain, and from that hour, Josephussays, may be reckoned” the beginning of the destructionof the city, the overthrow of her wall, and the ruinof her affairs.” (Wars, B. iv., chs. 4, 5.) Theseoccurrences are altogether strikingly like what Johndescribes in broader features and more spiritual form.However, we must not think that it is against the cityof stone and lime that God’s wrath here is hurled,or that God can desire Jerusalem to be blotted out.It is on the men, with their false religious system,their sins and godless tempers, that heaven’s judgementfalls. Enough that Jerusalem’s power is broken;her proud sons humbled in the dust; her theocraticdignities withdrawn.It looks, indeed, as if some blessing had come toJerusalem by these premonitions of destruction.” The rest were affrighted and gave glory to God.” Expositorssometimes import into this the meaning that13-15.] Wickedness and Wors/tip. 99the Jewish people are to profit by their afflictions, andrepent so far as to “become a Christian people, a trueIsrael, and Jerusalem a truly holy city.” (Gebhardt,&c.) Of course, that prophecy, if ever made, wasfalsified. But John makes no such anticipation.Telling the night-side of Israel’s story, he could notintroduce so much of the rosy morning,–cspeciallywhen such a national morning was not to dawn. Whatmore natural than that when such divine judgementsare in the land, men should discern that those whoescape particular judgements are no safer than thosewhofall. “The rest”-were they holier than those whoperished in a night? Were not they, too, destructible?Might not their names be in God’s book for a judgement-day, to-morrow or the next? What will theydo in their fear? Give glory unto God, such gloryas such fearful souls can give. But what profit comesof it ? What can worship in which Catastrophe takesthe place of Conscience lead to? Nothing but a pacificationof men’s fears, and a renewal of their evilways. The piety born of fear is not regenerative;fright does not save. It can awaken in a selfish way;and bring men to talk flatteringly before the face ofGod. But” wickedness and worship” are an old conjunctionwhich God will not tolerate; and the storyof this book must therefore run :-” Be/told, the thirdwoe cometh quickly.”” At the sound of the last trump.”The seventh angel sounded. The mystery of God isfinished. The heavenly voices declare that God’s purposeis now made plain. ” The kingdom of t/te worldis now become the kingdom of our Lord and kis Christ,100 TIle Kingdom Come. [XI.and He shall reign for euer and ever.” Here, themystery of God is revealed as a grand two-sided truth;Jesus Christ is God’s one vice-regent, the head andsummation of humanity; and this Christ, as Paul sofrequently insisted, is commanded now to be madeknown unto all nations for the obedience of the faith(Ro. xvi. 25-6), in accordance with God’s purpose tohave a dispensation of the fulness of the times in whichall things are summed up in Christ, the things inthe heavens and the things upon the earth (Eph. i.9-10); or, in other words, with God’s purpose that theGentiles shall be fellow-heirs, and fellow-members ofthe body, and fellow-partakers of the promise in ChristJesus (iii. 6). Thus clearly, the time of the soundingof the trumpet is the moment when God officially inhistory makes plain his purpose to abolish thedistinction between Jew and Gentile, and make themmembers of one Church in Christ. If ever there wassuch a moment, or can be, never could it be moreappropriately done than when the primary, elementary,and limited dispensation of the law was brought to anofficial end by the divine abrogation of the templeritual; and the Gospel preacher was made free toinvite the ends of the earth into the Church of God ona footing of equality with the best of Abraham’s sons.Here is the historical fulfilment of “the Gospel of theKingdom” preached by the Baptist and by ChristHimself some 40 years before :-” The Kingdom ofHeaven is at hand.” Few were then the signs thatChrist was on his way to such marked supremacy;but the via dolorosa led to the stars and to the crown.Now that proud religion which contemned Him isplucked up and cast into the fire and burned, whilst15-18.] Why do the Heathen Rage? 101He is seen “coming in his kingdom,” clothed withpower and glory.” Jr/U’1~ the 81m of .Mancometh, BIUIll Hefind fuitt: 01~ the earth1″Well may the heavens with brimming- hearts of love,lift up their voice and sing. Much more joyfullymight the earth hail the coming of the Lord to hisrightful throne; the revelation of a sovereignty inwhich love and power go hand in hand to put to shamethe tyrannies and brutalities of the petty kings of earth.Yet there was no thankfulness on earth because nofaith, no not in Israel, to see that God had set hisChrist upon David’s throne as a blessing to the world.” The nations were zorotk,’ at the theocratic pretensionsof the Jews, and against the claims of the God ofIsrael. The kings and princes of the earth had hatedevery thought that limited their right to reign, andpromised liberty to oppressed and groaning peoples.God answers men according to their kind. Obstructiveinstitutions,wrathful against the truth, He baptiseswith his wrath. Evil has a tremendous grip of life onearth. Men are by nature lovers of tradition, followersof precedent. If a thing is old it is highly reverenced.Our old nobility, old customs, our most ancient Church,are, like old wine, the better of their keeping. Satanhas a prescriptive right to reign if he has had possessionlong enough. Vested interests, is the most sacredprinciple of political economy. Therefore, we standaside,and let old hoary evils flourish, if not too corruptto stand erect. God baptises with his wrath whateveron this earth has served its day. “Spare it, for it isold! ” we say. “It is old, so let it die,” is the decreeof God. We dream fondly of the old old world; but102 Tlte judgement Day. [xr,God is ever hastening toward a new heaven and newearth wherein dwelleth righteousness.” The trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised.”Not only was it God’s time to judge his land; itwas also “tlte time of tIle dead tlrat tltey should bejudged.” This is a revelation for which many of thereaders of the Apocalypse are not prepared. It is,however, in strictest keeping with the teaching of theGospels and Epistles. Christ and his Apostles, withoutexception, taught that judgement was at hand, notonly for the living, but for the dead as well. Theproof texts are so numerous that we need not quotethem; but it may be needful again to warn somereaders that the immediateness of the judgement toApostolic times is not always expressed as it ought tobe in our English translations. It seems most fittingthat at the close of a dispensation a judgement shouldtake place of all those who are or have been under itslaws. It is the divine method that the things of eachdispensation shall be entirely wound up and put inorder before it pass away. The living Jew was judgedand self-condemned by the preaching of the Gospel.I ts rejection was his sentence to his doom. Whateverbe the meaning of St. Peter, he illustrates this principlein his statement that” the gospel was preached evento the dead that they might be judged according tomen in the flesh, but live according to God in thespirit.” He does seem to say that the preliminarypreparations for a judgement of the spirit-world beganwith the risen life of Christ. By all appearance it isto this invisible judgement Christ refers where He saysin John v. 26-” THE HOUR COMETH, and now is,18.] Tlte Resurrection of the Dead. 103when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God.”That is no figurative transaction with people figurativelydead; from the fact that tile execution ofjudgementis the predominant idea in the Saviour’s mind;and from the still more emphatic and unmistakeablerepetition of the truth in v. 28–” The hour cometh inwhich all that are in the tombs shall hear his voiceand come forth” unto life or judgement. Such wasthe uniform teaching of our Lord’s Apostles. If ourLord’s coming was impending, so necessarily was thejudgement-day; and that such sublime events are thefitting accompaniment of an epoch so marked in itssignificance as the close of an age, surely no one candeny.” The dead in Christ shall rise first.”Consequently, this is the moment when all thosewho have feared the Lord receive their rewards. Theprophets, the saints, the martyrs with their weary crybeneath the altar-” How long, 0 Lord,” are deliveredfrom the bands of death and attain to glory andhonour. The Lord has descended with a shout, withthe sound of the last trump, the keys of Hades in hishands, and delivered his waiting saints. This is thefirst resurrection. Here again we strike a telling noteof harmony between the Apocalypse and other portionsof the Scripture. The resurrection is declared to becoming on apace in the Gospels; in the Epistles to benear; in the Apocalypse to be come. The dead saintsenter upon their rest at the close of the old dispensation.The new age with its new liberties to the earth, has newliberties for the unseen world. The prison doors ofignorance and unbelief on earth open synchronously104 A Promise KejJt. [XI.with the prison doors of Hades. Here is the fulfilmentof the promise Christ made to his disciples-” A littlewhile and ye shall see me again; I shall come for youand take you to myself!” Here, too, is the fulfilmentof the assurance of the angels on Mount Olivet: “Yeshall see Him in like manner come to you again!”This glorious fulfilment of the promise has beenforgotten in our Protestant Church, and expiscatedfrom all Protestant theology. It was a powerfulthought, and a happy one, in the faith of the earlyChurch, though accompanied with unfortunate limitations.Dante could celebrate the arrival in Hades of”un PossenteCon segno di vittoria incoronato “-a Potentate with sign of victory crowned, whoseword released the spirits of his waiting saints, thefirst-fruits of his triumph! Were it not well for us inthese days to enter into the possession of the full faith,not alone of the ancient Church, but of the writtenWord; and to rejoice that Christ has indeed ledcaptive captivity, and not left heaven empty of hisrisen saints?Then comes the ominous intimation that” tlte timeis come to destroy them that destroy tlte land.” Thismight readily be understood of those lawless anddisorderly Jews or benighted religionists who had beenthe curse of Palestine. But clearly, although theirjudgement has not been carried to completion indetail, they are to be understood as judged. Thisnote is the intimation of a fresh extension of the fieldof judgement, of which we are on the eve. Those whohave been God’s instruments in destroying the cove18-19.] Heauen Opened to Beiieuers. 105nant people, and have trodden down the holy city, arethemselves to be judged in their turn. “If judgementmust begin at the house of God, what shall be the endof them that obey not the gospel of God?” Or ifsuch things have been done in the green tree of juda-a,what shall be done in the dry tree of that heathenismwhich vaunts itself against the honour of the only God?Anon we shall see this work proceed; John’s plannecessitates a halt in order to make a new beginningupon different lines.” The wayinto the holies: is made manifest:”Meanwhile, the temple in heauet: is opened. That isthe signal of two glorious facts. (1.) The reward ofthe risen saints is, to enter into more immediate fellowshipwith God. They have ascended into a more perfectlife. Never before was that degree of heaven open tofoot of man save Christ’s; but now the promise isfulfilled-” I go to prepare a place for you, that whereI am there ye may be also . . to behold my glory.”(2.) The temple in Jcrusalem is gone; God’s house onearth is left desolate. All eyes are now towardsheaven. The way into the holiest is made manifest,because the first tabernacle is no longer standing.Thus are we parabolically taught how, in the new dispensationof the gospel, God and man are reconciled,and brought into a closeness of communion whichpresages certain victory to God in the ultimate historyof humanity.There is one thing apt to strike the reader as verystrange in the contents of this last trumpet-theapparent insignificance of its contents, in form atleast. Great things are told to John; but there is no106 Finis ! [xr,grand VISIOn, no fulness of detail, no emphasis as ifthese things were of much importance; whereas, fromthe last and crowning trumpet we should have expectedsome grand denoument, in which all that ispast would be comprehended and explained. Nevertheless,this last trumpet really contains the whole gistof what has gone before; and it sums up, in few words,all that is to come in the second part of the Apocalypse.It is not by any means, as Ewald has said, a preludeto the following visions; but it is the whole of thefollowing visions in epitome. And the reason for thisparticular brevity of narration seems to be, that almostall the contents of this last trumpet (signifying as itdoes the advent of the Gospel age, with all its magnificentendowment of Christian blessing) belongsrather to the MORNING of “the Great Day of theLord” than to the NIGHT. It is always hard to drawa line between the night and the morning; and John,since he must draw it, chooses to do it so that thelight of the morning will make a narrow band ofbrightness on the eastern side of the night. Artistically,his picture is complete. We have seen the oldage die of sheer rottenness and inanity; and we knowthat a new age follows. John will immediately proceedto introduce the morning of a better day. ‘vVe knowhow Judaism died; we shall see how the sun of theGospel rose, and fought with clouds, and mists, andstorms, until it shone with the light of an eternal day.PART II.IDa\?sprtng; or tbe Bb”ent of tbecbrtetran Bge.” Howl ye, woe worth the day! For the day is near, even theday of the Lord is near, a day of clouds ; it shall be the timeof the heathen.””As the lightning cometh forth from the East and is seen evenunto the West; so shall be the coming of the Son of Man.”” Say, watchman, what’s off the night?Do the dews of the morning fall?Have the orient skies a border of light,Like the fringe of a funeral pall?The night is fast waning on high,And soon shall the darkness flee,And the morn shall spread o’er the blushing sky,And bright shall its glories be.”-Anon.THE WOMAN AND THE DRAGON.CHAPTER XII.” The beginning of the Goapel of Jesus Christ.” sIERIOUS difficulties have arisen over the structureof this book,-many critics and expositors havingfailed to notice the principle on which John treats histheme; or rather, on which “the day of the Lord” is revealedto him. As typical of such, we may cite first acase which was lately introduced to English readers inthe pages of the Expositor. A German scholar (Vischer)thinks that the Lamb whom we have seen in themidst of the throne cannot be Christ because Christis not born until we come to chapter xii. His Englishcicerone (Simcox) sympathises, and thinks it hard tosuppose that an event can be described in chapter xii.which was 70 years in the past. These apparentdiscordances naturally lead to uncomplimentarytheories of the book’s origin. All such misconceptionscease so soon as we apprehend John’s simple andnatural, therefore truly artistic plan; a twofoldrepresentation of the day of the Lord-mutuallysupplementary; but either of which might standalone as meeting the requirements of the title”THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST.”A few who have noted this double structure havefailed to see the principle on which it is done; and theline of cleavage has been drawn at chapter x. with atrumpet still to sound, and the tragedy left suddenly110 Tlte Author’s Plan. [XII.suspended in the air. The general plan of the bookmakes it plain that only here, between xi. and xii., dowe reach the dividing line; and are able to look backand behold a finished work. John’s subject is “TheGreat Day of the Lord “-the coming of Christ inthose events of judgement and redemption which arethe official introduction of the Messianic age-theage of the Kingdom of God; or, as better known byus, the age of the Gospel. That great day, as suitedthe Hebrew mind of John, is arranged in two successiveperiods of darkness and light; or, as we say, night andday. ” The evening and the morning were day one.”The” day of the Lord,” like the creative day, beginswith chaos and night (the gloom of judgement in thefalling of sun, moon, and stars); and then it proceedswith the creation of the light, and the victories of light,in new bloom and beauty on the earth. This is theregulating principle of the order of the Apocalypse,and our readers can easily put the matter to the test.Renan gives expression to a very common feelingof bewilderment at this part of his comment in hisAntichrist. He says that” the author is little carefulof the unity of his work,” and cannot understand how,when all seems finished, John” reserves the means ofcontinuing his tale.” Our readers will see thatthe fundamental plan of the book implies sucha narrative as we have had, and the resumption of thetale afresh from a different point of view. All apparentconfusion disappears before the fact that wewitness first the night of judgement, then the dawningof the better day; see first, how a decadent divinedispensation dies, then how from its womb a divinerage is born.1.] Destruction and Re-construction. 111Look back and see. Is it not evident that we havebeen hitherto concerned, as on this principle we ought,with the decline and fall of the ancient Church-withJudaism, her apostasy, her growing darkness and herdoom? We have been passing through the darknessof the night; and have followed its weary hours untilwe found that the day was about to break, or had justbroken and no more. On the night-side of God’s day,we are not meant to see much of the Church of Christ,or even of Christ Himself, except under clouds ofdarkness. The narrative is concerned with destructionand not re-construction. Scarcely do we see anythingof the latter beyond the fact that there are in Judaismcertain things which must survive; and that in thefires of judgement God preserves them. A spiritualpeople, a spiritual worship, and a body of spiritualtruths are seen to survive the general wreck. Weknow without instruction that this is substantially theideal Church of God: the nucleus of what comes tobe the Church of Christ. As yet, however, the new ishidden in the old. The things which can be shakenmust be removed in order “that what cannot beshaken may appear.” The scaffolding hides thegracious proportions of the building which is growingup within its lines; only when the formal and thetemporary are removed do we have a vision of theimperishable ideal. John has hitherto written onlythe dying history of the old; he will now write thebirth and growth to manhood of the new. Our earshave heard the cry-” the King is dead! ” and now weshall be pointed to his Son and heir, and hear theacclamations of the multitude-“Long live the King!”In other words, we shall now have the light-side of112 Tlte Daughter of Zion. [XII.”the day of the Lord.” The darkening night hasbeen pictured; we shall see the same scenes from thestandpoint of the dawning day. The day-star of theChurch will be seen in weakness and struggle with thedark clouds of the passing night. Not only will themorning break; the sun will slowly yet surely ascendthe sky, wrestling with many a long trailing serpentclouduntil it reach the zenith of its glory. Thismethod of handling the subject compels us to travelover much of the ground a second time. Night andmorning intermingle and overlap at many points, andso do we find it in John’s book. Especially is thistrue, as indeed it ought to be, in the closing verses ofPart I., where the Seer is on the borderland of the betterday. That last trumpet ushers in the dawn, andtherefore it is a brief epitome of the visions yet tocome, in which are depicted the rise and triumph ofChristian Truth. Thus grasping the scheme of thebook, we shall the easier thread our way throughimpending intricacies, and be able to avoid difficultiesover which other feet have stumbled.“Zion travailed . . she was delivered of a man child.”John sees ” a woman arrayed witlt tile sun, the moonbeneatk her feet, and upon her lzead a crown of twelvestars.” Expositors find here, with unusual unanimity,a symbol of the Church the bride of God. Theglories which invest her are not her own. Her brightnessis the refulgence of the Sun of Righteousness.But which Church is this? It is inadmissible toanswer, the Hebrew-Christian Church of judsea ;because in that case, the mother would be her own son,and the son his own mother; and while the mother.1-3.] TIle B£rth of Chr£st. 113flees into the wilderness, as the son she would becarried up to heaven. Confusion upon confusion.This interpretation is favoured because of unwillingnessto break the continuity of the visions by going back70 years, and finding here the birth of Christ. However,we must needs go back if John is starting de novoto explain the coming of the day of the Lord fromthe positive and constructive side. This woman is theChurch as continuously existing throughout Jewishhistory. It is elect humanity as loved, comforted, andmade fruitful by the grace of God; the daughter ofZion in her beautiful array; that spiritual remnant ofwhom Christ as to the flesh was born. Thus does• John once again catch up another of those permanentideals which sparkle like diamonds in the page of theprophetic word. God has not forsaken Zion; norforgotten the wife of his love; nor so much as changedin his eternal purpose. “The gifts and calling ofGod are without repentance.” The Church of the pastis one with the Church of the future, except that thelatter is lifted up into a purer faith, a brighter hope,and a diviner charity.This ” Man ch£ld” is Christ. The” Dragon” is thatold Serpent the Devil. This animal form is chosen asthe most suitable type of sensual wisdom, cruelty andcunning, armed with multifarious forms of power, andcrowned with universal sovereignty. Here he lies inwaiting for Christ’s birth. Thus does John give unityto all Anti-Christian forms of evil. This is the envenomedpower that inspired the fox-like enmity ofHerod; that prompted Judas to betray his Master,and stirred up Priest and Pharisee to slay Him, in thehope that, Christ once destroyed-the Kingdom of the. 8114 Satanic Darkness. [ would continue in subjection to its dark anddesolating sway. This same dragon lies in wait todestroy the birth of good in every human soul, toquench the faintest glimmerings of new light, and tooppose every heavenly influence and doctrine thatwould deliver men from its fatal delusions.The stars ofheauen dragged to earth by this dragon’stail may point us to that great apostasy of angelswhich figures so largely in rabbinical theology andwhich has passed over bodily into Christian thought(whether in corroboration or merely as a note of’identification, we cannot say); or it may symboliseSatan’s power over those human lights which God hasset for the guidance of humanity. The saddest pagein human history is, the records of its men of light andleading. From the grandest heights they have falleninto deepest depths. There is mingling with thestream of human life an element of contrariety whichoften perverts the highest gifts and the most sacredoffices to mean and selfish, even beastly uses. Suchan apostasy, we might say, had been universal overthree-fourths of the world; the light had been turnedto darkness. This had taken place even among thestars of Judaism; later, among the star-like minds ofChristendom. All great truths have had their lightobscured by the bad perversions of gifted and powerfulminds who have paid homage to the dragonprinciple in preference to the God of love.” I unll give thee the nations for thine inheritance; thou shaltbreak them with a rod of iron.”This man child” was SOON to rule all nations witha rod of iron.” These words present us with the4-5.] Absolute lvlorality. 115govermental aspect of Christ’s saving work. He cameinto the world to found a kingdom co-extensive withthe human race. That is equivalent to the redemptionof mankind from its vain traditions, its evil habits, itsenslaving tyrannies. His government is to be firmand strong. Satan had ruled the world hitherto onthe principle of license. Heathen religions kept theirsway because tolerant of the immorality of king andsubject, the noble and his slave; and tyrants had beenpopular in proportion as they had pandered to thefrivolous and sensuous tastes of priests and people.Christ came to institute a kingdom of inflexiblerighteousness. Even the pretentious righteousness ofScribes and Pharisees will not satisfy his iron law.His administration will be puritanical comparedwith the immoral looseness of other kings andconquerors. His laws will be absolute; his will inthe end irresistible. Under his dominion the decreeholds sway-Men shall reap as they sow. This idealpurity is not always realised in Christendom; but theideal remains to-day not one whit accommodated tothe weak desires of men.We have in this sentence a conjunction of ideasquite alien to current conceptions. Christ is ” SOON”to rule the nations, and for this purpose is ” caught upto God and to his throne.” Usually it is understoodthat the reign of Christ was not to be until a day fardistant from the time of John, and that Christ mustrather descend from the throne of God and comepersonally to the earth in order to begin his reign.Largely it is believed that Christ is powerless now;remains an uncrowned King until He can come downfrom heaven and set up a throne in imitation of116 War in Heaven. [XII.Csesar’s in Jerusalem. On the contrary, the Scripturesassociate his Kingship with his ascent. He is allpowerfulbecause He is at the right hand of theMajesty in heaven, and his ascension was the momentof his investment with a power and government whichknow no end. That indeed was the index of histriumph, the declaration of his royality, and the leadingcaptive of captivity. I t is in that glorified condition,at the centre of Being, that Christ exercisesall his power; and his second advent must be held instrict subordination to the truth that He cannot leavehis heavenly throne, nor needs to leave it for theincrease of his glory and dominion. He ascended upto the matrix of all power in order that He mightreign; to leave that centre is to condescend toweakness and the abnegation of his universal sovereignty.” I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.”The first effect of Christ’s sovereignty is_H war inheauen” There are four different spheres in whichthis statement may possibly be fulfilled. It may pointus to some actual conflict, not indeed of arms but oftruth and error, in the inner spirit-world or heavens.Satan, according to Jewish thought, had access toheaven and to the ear of God; and could prejudicethe cause of men with God. Pared to the quick, thatmay signify only that the evil or imperfect states ofthe inhabitants of the ancient spirit-world had aprejudicial effect upon the spiritual states and fortunesof men on earth; and that human advancement isdependent on the defeat or lessening of evil in theunseen world. This idea, so far as we know, is5-7.] Satan Overcome. 117developed only in the schemes of certain of the mystics.(2.) It may mean that until Christ overthrew thepower of Satan by his assumption of his mediatorialpowers, and his opening of the Holiest to his people,even Christians in the spirit life were in some senseimperfect, as the epistle to the Hebrews hints, and inthat sense still accused of sin (Gebhardt). (3.) ThatSatanic influences warred against the truth as preachedby the Apostles; while heavenly influences warredupon their side and overcame. Paul had some suchconception of an unseen foe-” We wrestle not withflesh and blood, but against principalities; etc., in highplaces.” (4.) It may signalise the installation ofChrist upon his Father’s throne in his glorified humanityasa fresh bond of peace between earth and heaven.Now, God and man are reconciled. The guiltiest cancome to God without any longer being tormented byaccusing fears that sound as the condemning voice ofGod.These are not so much diverse interpretations, asbranches of one and the same conception. If the firstbe true, and Christ in some local sense has purifiedthe higher regions of the unseen, and so” prepared aplace for us,” then all the other senses are in agreementwith the fact and form a part of it. Possibly thestrongest view may be the nearest to the truth. Truthis stranger than fiction; and this old eastern notion offallen angels cast out of heaven, at which the youngworld laughs, may be a historical reality. At all events,this overthrow of Satan as a consequence of the ascentof Christ to heaven, is in some grand and worthy sensebeyond all doubt. When at last our Lord stood inview of his death and resurrection, He said: “Now is118 Tile Accuser Refuted. [XII.the hour and power of darkness;” but He couldprophetically add, “Now is the prince of this worldcast out.” Thus we see how fitly such a conflict isrecorded by the pen of John, as following the adventof Jesus to his throne.Immediately there is joy in heaven, because thedevil is dethroned, and Christ, “the friend of sinners,”is invested with the authority of God. With Christ,his saints have triumphed against all the accusationsof the evil one. Satan’s foulest charge againsthumanity is, its selfishness; its proneness to makeprofit even of religion. ” Skin for skin, all that a manhath will he give for his life.” That accusation wasrefuted by the blood of the Lamb, and then by everyblood-drop wrung from the martyrs’ veins. “TheyI07Jed not their life.” Rather than deny the truth theydied a dreadful death, and demonstrated their fidelityto truth and God. They were able to die because theLamb had died. “The blood of the Lamb was aperpetual witness to them that God had reconciled theworld unto Himself. It was a living sacrament of aperpetual and living union between the children onearth and their Father in heaven Thereforethese men could throwaway their lives, knowing thatthe truth was worth more than their lives, and thatthey might trust their lives unto the God of truth,”(Maurice). What glory is thus shed around thememories of those noble men! Their martyrdom ismade a portion of their Saviour’s triumph; for it seemsthat Christ, with Michael and his hosts, could not havesilenced the accuser unless down on earth men hadproved by deeds that they could die for God and forhis truth.!l-14.] Tlte Climax of Wickedness. 119But what is joyful for the inhabitants of heaven ismisery for the dwellers upon earth. The devil is comedown full of wrath and the bitterness of despair.Heaven is lost; he still may have the sweet revengeof creating a wilder turbulence on earth. Now therebreaks upon the land a wave of selfishness and hatredthat boils in wrath against whatever is divine, andspares neither kith nor kin in its devastating fury Itwas indeed a wicked age, ” a time of devil ascendancyover the world,” a ripening of the harvest of iniquity.the overflow of the cup of earth’s sinful abominations,Such a festering mass of wickedness never before norsince was seen in human history. As we read thedreadful story of the middle of that century in thepages of Gibbon or Mommsen, or directly face to facein Tacitus or Suetonius, one’s heart bleeds for thatsuffering generation, whether Jews or Gentiles, andseeks in vain for consolation except in the assurancethat the very violence and brutality of its evil must thesooner hasten its final removal from the earth.” Let them that are in Judaa flee into the nwuntains.”And how fares it with the Church? The malignityof that generation surged in storms against the Chureh,especially the Hebrew-Christian Church. A fit of persecutingzeal was at its height, when the nationaltroubles with the Romans diverted attention from theChristian cause. Then came the tramp of Romanlegions through the land; and heathen armies threatenedto be more destructive than the persecutor’sblows. But the Church remembered the warning ofher Lord: “Let them which be in Judzea flee into themountains,” and the wings of God’s protecting love120 Persecution and False Doctrine. [XII.bore them safely from the field. Our earliest Churchhistorians tell us that the Jewish Christians fled at theoutbreak of the war to Pella, on the borders of Arabia,and there dwelt in safety until peace returned.Though stripped and left with nothing but a bare subsistenceduring those three years and a half in whichthe Romans trampled down the land, they weatheredthe storm of desolation and found them years ofsafety and repose.Foiled in his use of fire, the dragon” casts out of hismouth a flood of water as a river,” in order to sweepthe infant Church away. The serpent is sensual anddemoniac wisdom; the waters of his mouth, are a flood.of fleshly but pretentiously spiritual speculations, underthe ambitious name of Gnosis. You hear enough ofthis in many of the Epistles-of seducing spirits,and doctrines of devils, forbidding to marry, teachingthe worshipping of angels, denying the resurrection,denying even” the Lord that bought them “-all ofwhich Paul calls, “the profane babblings and oppositionsof science falsely so called”-“foolish and hurtfullusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.”” What waters were these for the Church to float inafter she was loosed from her old moorings!” and theApostles fast passing over to the other shore.Salvation did not come by the counter-reasoningsof the Timothies, Apolloses, and Clements who wereleft to fill the Apostles’ places. Everything in a speculationdepends upon its relations to the wants of life.Paul told the Colossians how to answer them-” Mortifyyour members; keep from sin.” He wrote toTimothy: “The end of the commandment is charityout of a pure heart and good conscience, and faith un14-17.] Doctrine knOW1t by its Fruits. 121feigned-follow after these and you will not be sweptaway.” And what says the vision which John sees?“The earth. opened Iter mouth and szoalknoed up theflood.” Every one soon discerns whether such speculationshave power in them to purify the life andrefresh it amid its constant tear and wear. Will theyhelp us to be purer and happier here on earth ?-thatis what every Christian wants; not something thatwill merely pique his fancy and swell his imaginationwith unpractical dreams. Let us not be afraid of thefloods that men call heresy. We shall soon knowwhether we can live by them or not, and whether thereis anything in them that can help us in an evil hour.” A nd the dragon was wroth.” The earth in whichhe trusts betrays him. The mother Church is faithfulto her King, repells the heresies of Anti-christ, and,like a faithful wife, goes on to multiply the children ofher Lord. The dragon then turns with greater hopeagainst the children scattered through the world. TheChristians in the Gentile world must be persecuted,rooted out, else the powers of hell will be speedily dispossessed.Observe against whom it is the dragongoes to war. He wages not merely a war of falsehoodagainst truth; but a war of evil against good. Satanicbitterness does not waste itself in rage against asentimental, speculative, or dilettanti piety; it hatesas hell hates heaven, the piety that keeps God’s commandments-the charity that thinks no evil-thatloves its neighbour as itself, and finds its strength inGod, a God of love who has united Himself to thehuman race by the testimony of a suffering, dying, ascendingand reigning Christ. Let that indicate howyou are to obtain the victory-not as believers in ab122Safety in Obedience. [XII.stract doctrines or in concrete priestly superstitions;but as you take up God’s will and honestly strive to doit. War against self-love within your soul; hold fastto your redeeming Father as you see Him in the faceof Christ, and you will win eternal victory. A childof the light and of the day, you will neither in timenor in eternity be a citizen of the kingdom of darknessover which Satan reigns.THE WILD BEAST FROM THE SEA.CHAPTER XIII.“Anti-Christ is already come.”IT is the dragon that stands upon the shore, and- looks wistfully across the sea as if waiting for someconfederate to assist him in his evil work. The devilis never at a loss for tools to do his work. A beastascends out of the sea-that may be out of the midst ofmany peoples, and tongues, and nations; or the “sea”may be a fragment of literalism in the picture, and inthat case the beast will be some distant power whosedomain is somewhere across the Mediterranean Sea.In either case, we may premise with safety that itrepresents the Roman Empire. The dragon is a powerwhose locus is the air; therefore it is a purely intellectualand moral force whose supremacy in the world ismaintained by the inspiration of material agencies todo its will. The beast belongs by its nature to theearth; and yet has such affinities with this evil-natureddragon that it becomes a willing tool for the accomplishmentof Satanic purposes.This beast has so much in common with the fourgreat beasts of Daniel’s vision, that we are bound toregard it as a vast political power whose realmembraces the territory of Daniel’s beasts. Presumablythis is the Roman wbrld-the empire of the Caesars,124 The Heads of the Beast. [XIII.John will soon settle it beyond a doubt. These “sevenheads” of the beast, he tells us in chapter xvii., areseven successive kings. Five of them are fallen whenJohn writes; the sixth is reigning; a seventh is tocome and reign a little time; an eighth head is to bein power when judgement is at its consummation. It isevident that we have here some world-power which hasthree reigning heads within a few brief years-andthose years far on in the life of the apostle John.What power can that be but Rome-which actuallyhad seven reigning heads or more within the last halfof John’s life, and at the time demanded by thisinterpretation of John’s book. These”ten horns” maytherefore be either the Roman legions, or the ten mainprovinces of the empire, with their diademed, semiindependentkings. Another interpretation mark isgiven in v. 3-one of these heads or kings is smitten soas to endanger the beast’s life, but there is a rapid andsurprising recovery. The sign is so far indefinite as togive scope for reasonable difference of opinion; but itis a remarkable fact that among the emperors of Romecorresponding events were happening in John’s time.Five emperors had been, the sixth was reigning. Thuswe are fixed down to a definite period in Rome’shistory. Unhappily we cannot settle with precisionwhat that period was from the fact that two modes ofreckoning were open to the Apostle. Josephus andother oriental writers usually count Julius Caesar asthe first; Tacitus and other Latin historians beginwith Augustus. According as John reckons, it is eitherNero or Galba who is reigning at the point of timerepresented in the vision. It would not, however, bewise to be over-precise in fixing so indefinite a matter.1-3.] Wounded as if to Death. 125If we make allowance for the revolutionary disorderthat prevailed on the death of Nero (Galba, Otho, andVitellius, being all three at one moment nominallyemperors, and spending together not a year upon thethrone), and on the possibility that John, in his distantbanishment, might not know at any moment who wasor had been actually on the throne, we shall see,unhappily to our disadvantage, that the reigningemperor may be anyone from Nero to Vitelliusthirteenmonths seeing all four on the throne.After all, our ignorance is not material. Enough ifin those days we can find anything corresponding withthis rapid change of heads, and this almost fatalwound with which the beast was smitten in one of itsimperial heads. That head may very well be Nero.Prophecies had been for some time in circulationthrough the empire that Rome and its power wouldspeedily fall. In the ballads afloat among the peoplewas the line-” Last of the descendants of ./Eneas, amatricide shall reign,”-pointing directly to the EmperorNero, the last descendant of the great Julianline, and the wicked murderer of the mother who hadraised him to the throne by her unscrupulous crimes.This popular impression that Rome had reached thezenith of its splendour was greatly deepened by eventshappening at that time. Nero was growing yearlymore brutal and ferocious in his character-intensifyingthe violence and anarchy of all classes of the people.Misfortunes of all kinds were happening in variousportions of the empire-such as tidal waves, earthquakes,famines, pestilences. The heavens were fullof prodigies. Tacitus relates that “comets, eclipses,meteors terrified the ignorant, and were made the126 Tlte Deadly Wound Healed. [XIII.pretext for imperial cruelties.” Seneca, the tutor andfriend, finally the victim of Nero, says-” The worlditself is being shaken to pieces, and there is universalconsternation.” Revolt had broken out in various provinces,and was especially in full swing with considerablesuccess in Palestine. Indeed, all the Jews werepersuaded that with Nero the empire would collapse,and independence be restored to Israel. Politicallythe whole empire was in a state of violent agitation,and at last the stormy surges of popular wrath brokeagainst the throne. Nero fled in secrecy, only toperish ignominiously as a suicide, or by the sword ofa household slave. Thus set the sun of the greatJulian line of emperors; amid such disorder, and withso many adventurers fighting for the crown that itlooked as if the State must break into a thousand piecesand the sun of Rome’s imperial splendour for ever set.The unparalleled disorders of the times are well condensedin this brief excerpt from history-the threesuccessive reigns occupied but a year,-Galba washacked to pieces, Otho flung himself upon his sword,Vitelli us was dragged to the common place of executionand stabbed to death amid the insults of thepeople. Indeed, none of them can be regarded otherwisethan Suetonius names them-” three militarychiefs, who aimed at the imperial purple.” It is onlywhen Vespasian, the conqueror of j udsea, mounts thethrone and founds the Flavian line, that Nero can besaid to have had a true successor. Then it was thedeadly wound was lzealed. Josephus says Vespasian’sgovernment was the unexpected deliverance of thepublic affairs of the Romans from ruin (Wars, IV. xi.5). Rome at once entered on a new lease of pro3-5.] Boastfulness and Blasphemy. 127sperity and power; and all tke world zoondered afterthe beast which had so miraculously recovered from itsdeath-like wound, and believed with a profounder convictionthan before that Rome as an empire wasimperishable.” The .Man of Sin, the Son of perdition, he that oppoeeth.and exalteth himself against all that is called God, or that isuorehipped ; so that he sitteth. in the temple of God settinghimself forth as God.”Another feature in the recognition of the beast isthe impression of invincibility it creates-” Who islike unto the beast? WILO is able to make war withIdm ?” Well, history has answered that! There was,however, an excuse for Roman pride and boastfulness.Her armies were well nigh invincible. If ever she hadbeen defeated, it was by the interminable swamps andforests of bleak Germania, or the sterile moors of distantCaledonia, not by any weakness in the arms orany faltering in the courage of her legions. Rome was,indeed, at the time of the Apocalypse, the Mistress ofthe World. Lucan could write without flattery:”Throughout all ages, has every war given subduednations unto thee” (Pharsalia, vii. 420).Boastfulness and blasphemy were the habit of hismouth. True of any emperor and his generationbefore the time of John; but especially true of Nero.No previous occupant of the throne had been so elatedwith his powers, or had so dared to provoke the populaceby his unconstitutional and immoral deeds. Asa proof of the beastly inhumanity and unparalleledboastfulness of this man, let me transcribe a few sentencesfrom Renan. “Nero proclaims daily that art128 Warring ‘witlt the Saints. [XIII.alone should be held as a serious matter, that all virtueis a lie, that the brave man is he who can abuse,lose, and waste everything.. A colossal self-lovegave him an ardent thirst to absorb the glory of thewhole world; his enmity was fierce against those whooccupied public attention; for a man to succeed inanything was a State crime. To deny his talentwas the State crime par excellence; the enemies ofRome were those who did not admire him.” Togratify his craving for notoriety he travelled throughhis empire, and entered upon all sorts of circus andtheatrical contests; until at length he returned fromGreece bringing 1808 crowns to prove his superiorityover all the artists of his empire. The uncontrollablevanity of the man is seen conspicuously in his havingordered a monument to himself of brass in the streetsof Rome; and erected at the entrance to his palace,a colossal marble statute of himself, 120 feet in height,” adorned with the insignia and attributes of the sun.”” It was given to Ium to make war witlt th« saints,”. and this work was to continue forty-two months.This period coincides with the time during which theJewish war begun by Nero’s orders, was continued; italso is the period during which Nero himself warredag ainst the Church of Christ. He began his persecutionsin November 64, and died a hated fugitive in Juneu8. The period during which” he did his works” canhardly have been either less or more than two and .forty months. The relentlessness of his persecutionwas commensurate with his brutal and irreligious temperament.He spoke” in blaspfumy against God, andagainst Ids tabernacle, and them that dwell in heauen;”T his man is here distinctly noted as at once the enemyDiqitrzed byGOOgle7-8.] Blasphemies against God. 129of Jehovah, the destroyer of Judaism, and the profanerof the gods supposed to dwell ori high. If thisbe not Nero, never has there been a man on earthwhom it has so well suited. No doubt he entered onthe Jewish war with the intention of blotting out theJewish worship, and enthroning himself in the Creator’splace in the temple at Jerusalem. Nothing in heavenor earth was sacred but the glory of his name. Hisearliest and most enthusiastic cult was of Cybele, thesensual Syrian Goddess, but Suetonius tells us how it ended:Religionum usquequaque contemptor, pra-ter uniusDeae Syriae. Hanc mox ita sprevit, ut urina contaminaret.(lvi.) The insolent brutality of the man isseen in his daring treatment of the temples of the gods.In order to find means to repay the debts of hisextravagance:”Treasures human and divine were swept into the gulf. Thetemples of Rome itself were denuded of the offerings of ages,the spoil of conquered enemies long hoarded up in the shrines ofthe gods, the trophies of victories and triumphs held sacredthrough all emergencies, which even Ceesar who sacked thetreasury had respected. From Greece and Asia, not the offeringsonly, but the images of the gods themselves were carried off byauthorised commisaioners . . . Nero, emboldened by theincredible submission of the world to his feeble sceptre, treatedgods and men alike as mere slaves of his will, ordained equally,whether in earth or heaven, for his personal service andgratification.”-(Merivale, ut supra vi. 177-8).It was but a trifling step to put himself in the placeof the gods whom he had deposed. Nero’s first childwas a daughter; but it died in infancy. At once thisinfant was “canonized as a goddess; a temple wasdecreed to her, with an altar, a bed of state, a priestand religious ceremonies.” A few months after, died9130 Worsltipped as God. [XIII.Popprea his wife, killed by a kick from himself. Shetoo was made agoddess, and one of the best men inthe State was executed because he denied that Poppreawas a goddess. Then it was proposed in the Senatethat a temple should be erected to Nero himsclf”divine Nero “-who had risen above the condition ofhuman nature, and was therefore entitled to. religiousworship. Certainly, popular adulation, if not evenworship, was not lacking for this besotted emperor.On the coins of the realm he was saluted as “theSaviour of the World.” Out upon his tours, the peopleoffered sacrifices by the way; and the poets of thetime assured him that” when he repaired to the starshe would have his choice of heavens; that all the godswould suffer him to make himself supreme; and thatif he did not balance himself carefully in the boundlessether, the stability of heaven would be disturbed.”(Pharsalia i. 50-6.) The saying of John, that allworshipped him except the followers of the Lamb is norandom statement, but a literal fact of history. Allthe Roman emperors had been deified upon their death,and worshipped as ascended gods: Nero was the firstto be worshipped in his life. Farrar says-” At thisdreadful period, the cult of the emperor was almostthe only sincere worship which existed,”To such a man falls the opprobrious distinction ofhaving been the first of the Roman emperors to waragainst the saints-whether of the old Church or ofthe new. In his reign, Paul was beheaded; andperhaps Peter crucified at Rome. He is said to haveset fire to the city (64 A.D.) for the double enjoymentof seeing the glowing spectacle, and having it rebuiltin splendour as a monument of his reign. Then, to7-8.] Anti-Clmst. 131avert suspicion from himself, he transferred the blame,some say to the Christians, others to the Jews,Christians included. However it was, “a vast multitude,”says Tacitus, were brought to trial and condemned.Some of them were covered with the skins ofdogs and bears, and put into the amphitheatre to betornby famished dogs; others were nailed to crosses;others were encrusted in sulphureous pitch, and set onfire in the autumn nights along the walks of Nero’sgarden, which were opened to the populace that theymight enjoy the tragic illuminations. It is even darklyhinted that, dressed in the skin of a wild beast, heentered the amphitheatre and violated Christian virginsbefore the populace. No wonder that Nero becameto Christian imagination the very incarnation of evil;the Anti-christ, the wild beast from the sea; thedelegate of the great red dragon, with diadems andnames of blasphemy on his brow. No wonder that heleft a furrow of horror in the hearts of men, and thatthe surmise long lingered that such a monster mightnot be dead, but again appear to persecute and crushthe saints of God.The Roman conquest of Palestine is referred to inthe charge that the beast blasphemes God’s tabernacle.That is temple language; and implies the profanationof the most sacred places of the Jews in the occupationof the land. We know that the court, the temple, andthe sacred vessels were polluted or destroyed; andthat the very God of Israel shared in the contemptand hatred which were poured upon his people. “Itwas given him to -ouercome the saints.” He had divinepermission to completely destroy the sacred peopleand to be supreme on earth. The Roman empire in132 Tile Persecutor’s Doom. [XIII.this triumph was the earthly similitude of that Dragonwho is the” Prince of this world.” The whole earthlay beneath his brutal hoof. Only the followers of theLamb were pure from the defilement of his worship.” If any man have an ear let him hear.” Does notthis appeal show how much this book concerned theChurches to which it was addressed? If this beaststood centuries away from those early ChristianChurches, how much did it concern them to give heed?But if it meant that this beast who banished John toPatmos would in this head himself be banished; thatthis incarnate demon with his persecuting sword wouldhimself be finished with the sword, then it was of somemoment that those living Christians of the days ofJohn should show their fa#ll and patience by listeningto this hopeful word, and enduring to the end.THE TAME BEAST FROM THE LAND.CHAPTER XIII.” Prove the spirits; because many false prophets are gone outinto the world.TIHIS second beast, which rises from the land, is a- necessary supplement to the beast which risesfrom the sea. Without it the political beast would bea creature of no significance. Both of them wereimpotent without the dragon. The devil or essentialevil, is the inspiration of the first beast, and thesecond is “the guide, philosopher, and friend” of thefirst. The dragon is a supernatural power; the tamebeast is the incarnation of his serpentine wisdom; thewild beast is the incarnation of his force and authorityto rule. If, then, the wild beast from the sea isthe Roman imperial power, there should be no greatdifficulty with this milder beast-the prompter of itsgodless blasphemies. It is beyond question a religiouspower, for no State can subsist without religion; andespecially in the ancient world was the political poweridentified with the spiritual, and dependent on it forits status and existence. This lamb-like beast, withits draconic teaching, is then the incarnate form ofheathen Romish prophecy, the God-opposing scienceand wisdom of the old religions standing in theservice of the world-power and its governor: a Churchin the pay and protection of the State for the purpose134 Clmrclt and Estate. [XIII.of exalting its supremacy. It is the pagan priesthoodand philosophy, with its augeries, its oracles, its falsemiracles, befooling a superstitious people, keeping themin terror of the unseen, and drilling them into servilesubjection to the powers that be. In short, this Christlike,yet draconic beast, is the live brain of the empire.We need make little of the Senate, as a separate power,in our consideration of the Roman State. Thatassembly did largely what the interests of religion badeit. Pontiffs, augurs, and other ecclesiastical officerswere members; and as itself a sacred institution, itcould meet only in a consecrated place. The Emperorwas the national High Priest. The civil law wasthe creation of the priesthood, and bore a deep impressionof its sacerdotal’ origin. ‘ ” The citizen was mergedin the State ; for the State he was born, he lived, hemarried, tilled his land, bequeathed his goods, he perpetuatedhis family. The Roman worshipped for hiscountry rather than for himself.” (Merivale, Conversionof the Empire, 34). So absolutely was heathenismplanted at the centre of Roman life that no man couldbe a citizen, and buy and sell in freedom, unless heworshipped the gods of Rome: i.e., was stamped withthe mark of the beast. At times this law might notbe strictly enforced; but again and again it wassuddenly brought into force, and Jews and Christiansexpelled the State because they would not acknowledgethe divinity of the emperor. At any rate every imperialcoin carried the sign of heathen blasphemy; and soinvolved every trafficker in the acknowledgement ofits truth. Priests, philosophers, and statesmen wereall interested in the maintenance of this state of thingsfor the State paid well for their support. If the em13-17.] }VIagical Miracles. 135perors were deified and worshipped, it was at their instigation.Every nerve was strained, every trick ofmagic used, every resource of demoniacal inspirationcalled upon, to demonstrate to the populace the actualdivinity of the temple gods. Magianism had reachedits climax of diabolical cunning. It was an age-II When so many marvels happenedThat men no more marvelled at them.”Statues walked, spoke, and eat; fire was broughtdown from heaven, in order to excite the populacewith a fearful apprehension of the spirit-world, and aready obedience to priestly inventions for baffling orappeasing its angry demons. The most notoriousastrologers of the period were Simon Magus, of Scripturenotoriety, and Apollonius of Tyana. Eitherof them might well typify the false prophetical systemof the times; and be the “false prophet” of this book.Apollonius, the greater of the two, was a little olderthan our Lord. He was educated in Tarsus, and probablyknown by reputation to St. Paul. Professingto work miracles, he endeavoured to found a newreligion on the basis of them. He was at Rome inNera’s time; then we find him in the service of Vespasian,and the Flavian dynasty, until disgusted withDomitian. He is said to have pretended that he wasa god; and certainly was looked upon, throughout alarge part of the Roman empire, as an emanation ofthe Divine nature. Do we not find here many of theessential features of the Anti-christ?This wonder-working beast was particularly activein the reign of Nero. The evil conscience of this man,with the inflated dream of greatness which floated be136The Number of the Beast. [XIII.fore his mind, threw him into the hands of soothsayers,prophets, magi; and for long he was mastered by apassion to learn the secrets of their arts, so as to havethe spirit-world at his command. Historians of theperiod tell us that he hoped” to be able to control theways of providence, and give the laws to the gods,”but instead of” holding commerce with evil spirits” hewas simply led by “the advice of a pernicious crew ofabandoned men and women, who were the Emperor’sconfidential ministers and the instruments of everyvillany.” Thus did the second beast flatter and cajolethe first by magnifying it before the populace, but forits own selfish and pernicious ends.But which head of this imperial beast exhibits thisclimax of wickedness and profanity? “Here is wisdom.He that hath understanding, let him count the numberof the beast ; for it is the number of a man, and hisnumber is X~s, 666.” This little puzzle, which John setshis hearers is apt to look somewhat undignified to agrave man of the 19th century, It certainly wouldnot bear that look to either a Greek, a Roman, or aJew. We have to remember that in those daysnumbers were expressed by the letters of the alphabet,much as if in English were 1, 2, 3, etc. Everyword, therefore, in Hebrew and Greek, was capable ofbeing read as figures, and then added up into itsarithmetical value Here, then, John suddenly gives aclue to this monster of iniquity-the letters of hisname make 666.Certain expositors shrink from what seems the toopragmatical interpretation of this number by making itan individual’s name. Distance lends enchantment.Seen through a haze, 6GG is much more imposing than18.] Three Mysten’ous Sixes. 137when it is prosaically tracked home to a first-centuryman even if he is a beast and an emperor. Maurice isquite Turneresque in his power of painting objects ina haze; and he leaves this beast in the obscurity of “asociety which is a number of atoms without a centre,work without a sabbath.” Our latest commentator(Milligan) evidently is smitten with the same conception.”Three mysterious sixes following one another! “-” apotency of evil than which there can be none greater,a direfulness of fate than which there can be noneworse.” Now this may be very imaginative, but itdoes not commend itself as very wise. What lightdoes it throw upon the beast not already given?Does not every reader know without H three sixes,”that there can be no worse crime, no greater evil, thanto blaspheme God, and make oneself to be worshippedin the place of God? It seems a needless puzzlewhich John sets his readers; at the best, it reduces itto a very trifling trick, if he is only asking theconundrum :_H Do you know the moral meaning ofthree sixes?” However, John is not concerned withthe moral significance of the number (although themoral suggestion of three sixes, may have promptedhim in part to give the cryptogram), but with the wayin which 666 will count into a name. The reader isnot asked to imagine, or to moralise, or to reflect, but” to count the number.” And why is he told that it is” tlu number of a man,” if John means rather that it istlu number of a moral idea?In short, all fair dealing with the matter must treatit as « tlte number of a man,” and this man for the timebeing a head of the beast in which its brutal andgodless character is being manifestly brought to light.138 Tlte Number of a Matt. [XIII.John implies that clear and definite light on thismatter will be found by anyone that with the needfulunderstanding will search this 666 for the letters ofhis name. This, in any case, implies that this man isa conspicuous figure in the days of John. If this beasthad been Mohammed, Luther, Napoleon, or a Pope ofRome, all the understanding of the times would nothave shed a ray of light upon the case. A cryptogramis not a telescope for looking across centuries. It israther a microscope to make more visible what is beforeone’s eyes. And yet John does not wish the secret tobe visible to every eye. There is an intentional puzzlein the evident simplicity of the thing; and when themeaning is discovered the reason for the puzzle willbe plain. No doubt, many readers knew that Johnwas pointing to an emperor of Rome. Let us supposethat a Roman citizen, into whose hands an early copyof the book has come, suspects that his emperor Nerois here painted in these diabolical hues, and tests thematter by resolving his name into its numerical valueaccording to the Roman tongue, it will not make 666.If an educated man, he will know enough of Greek toattempt it in that language, but now it makes 1337.He must let the puzzle drop, no wiser; it is beyond hisunderstanding; and perhaps for the Christian cause, itis as well. But suppose the reader has any knowledgeof the _Hebrew tongue (as so many of the earlyChristians had,) at once he will discover that NERONCESAR comes out with precision, 666.NERON-nlln, 50; resh, 200; vav(o), 6; num, 50=306’666CJF1jAR-koph, 100; samech, 60; resh, 200=360j .Many of our readers will have noticed from theRevised Version that there is a very ancient variation18.] Wlty t/ds Mystery ? 139in which the number is 616. It is lucky for the prettytheory of ” the three sixes” that this number has notprevailed. It is, however, a corroboration of theinterpretation given above that this number resolvesitself into identical results. There was also in Hebrewuse the Latin form of Nero’s name, without the finalnun ; and NERO C.iESAR makes 616. The coincidencebecomes stranger still when we find that the Hebrewof KAISAR ROM or RUM (the Roman Casar) makesalso this variant, 616. Which number is John’s actualreading it is difficult to determine; but it is satisfactoryto find that, in either case, the result is the same.John’s finger points us to the ROMAN C£SAR, let it beNero or some other of his immediate successors, to bedetermined by the facts of history.But why does John resort to this covert way ofpointing out the personal beast? Because it was hazardousfor either Jew or Christian in those days tooffer any direct insult to the imperial majesty of Rome.The empire swarmed with spies, whose profit wasdependent on the detection of offenders against theEmperor’s majesty. To breathe a syllable of reproachwas counted a crime equal to high treason. Paul, inquieter times, dare not speak out about” the man ofsin ;” and Josephus, high in favour at the court ofRome, stops abruptly in his explanation of Daniel’sprophecies, with a mysterious hint that” he does notdeem it prudent to say more.” So John writes Nero’sname upon his page; but veils it in a cypher to whichfew Romans had a key, while Christians could easilypene.trate its disguise.APPENDIX.THE BEASTS, ” THE MAN OFSIN” AND” ANTICHRIST.”WE cannot quit this lengthy revelation of the powersof evil, with which nascent Christianity has to contend,without at least a brief enquiry as to what may betheir relationship to other latter-day manifestations ofevil, such as our Lord’s” false Christs,” Paul’s” Man ofSin,” and John’s” Antichrist.” * It is scarcely open todoubt that Paul’s Man of Sin, and adversary to all that iscalled God (2 Thess. ii. 1-12), corresponds in characterwith John’s wild beast from the sea. They both appearat a time of declension in the Church, both areopposed to the very idea of the Divine, both claim forthemselves the honours which hitherto have belongedto the God of heaven, both are instigated by Satanboth are invested with or accompanied by what claimsto be miraculous powers; and both of them finally” go to perdition.”John’s Antichrist (1 Ep. ii. 18; iv. 3) is rather aheresy personified than a personal agent. It had beenprophesied before as to come; and at the time of theepistle is “already come,” and busy at its nefariouswork. .Our Lord’s pre-intimation of false prophets, someof whom set themselves up as Messiahs (Matt. xxiv.),* We leave out all consideration of any apparently corresponding agencyin Daniel, because that book is at the present undergoing smelting inthe crucible of the Higher Criticism.The Diaboiicai Trinity. 141differs from Paul’s Man of Sin, while in general agreementwith the Antichrist of John.We propose to show that all three conceptions arein harmony-the differences being but phenomenal,according to the local colouring of each case; andthat all three are depicted in the visions of the Apocalypse.” Antichrist” is the all-inclusive term. Whatever issufficiently Antichrist must exist as a trinity of evils,even as Christ comes before the world as a trinity ofsacred Powers for the government and salvation of theworld. Now, St. John has just revealed to us threebeasts rising in opposition to the rule and authority ofGod; and it is only an insolvent mind that can fail todiscern in them an evil trinity intentionally contrastedwith the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and HolyGhost.The great Dragon or old Serpent is the Prince ofthe power of the air, the God of this world-the Antigodthat, posing as a spiritual and eternal power, aimsat universal dominion in heaven and on earth. Thesecond beast from the sea, to whom the Dragon giveshis authority and power, and who is invested with supernaturalhonours, is Paul’s Man of Sin,-the Antichristin the strictest sense: for he is the visible embodimentand representative of Anti-god, as Christis the incarnation and governmental representative ofGod the Father. The third beast is the analogue ofthe Holy Ghost-(demoniac inspiration and prophecy)-imparting its powers to Anti-christ, as Christ wasbaptized with and wrought miracles in the power ofthe Holy Spirit. It bears witness to the divinity ofthe second beast, as the Spirit of God bore witness to142 Clm’s! and A nti-ckrist.the divinity of Christ; and works miracles on behalfof Anti-christ and his cause, as the Holy Ghost did bythe Apostles in the service of the Christian Church.These three are one. Anti-christ -is Satanic powerwarring by earthly forces, and demoniac miracles andteaching; Christ is the power of God, operating bythe Holy Spirit in the world. In this unity and trinityof evil, all the evil forces warring against Christ in thecoming of his kingdom are gathered up and reconciled.The contrast and antagonism are complete.I. Christ is a Lamb,2. is the form of God,3. is endued with the HolySpirit,4. has a kingdom and authority,5. has many crowns,6. claims universal rule,7. makes war and overcomes,Anti-Christ, a composite wild beast.of Satan.with demoniac influences.has the same.has his thousands.does the to be invincible.8.9·10.II.12.13·14·15·16.”‘s kingdom is delegated.from the Father,claims the right to behonoured with theFather,is Saviour of the world,seals his saints,is Great High Priest,leads us to worship Godbecause He has’ exaltedChrist to power,has his apostles and evangeliststo preach hisname,was without sin,was put to death androse again,is eternally exalted,..’s from be honoured aboveGod.uses the same title.seals his Supreme medium of glory toSatan because he hasgiven his authority tothe beast.has his magicians andpriests to magnify hisauthority. .is the man of sin.was smitten and the son of perdition.Windt sltall Reifn? 143The Sacred Trinity.”God {Chri;t}WOrking by’dwelling the the,in Lamb, Holy Ghost.,Three holyand lovingpersonalities.The Trini~y of Evil.” Satan {Anti.Christ) Working bydwelling the Jdemoniacalin wild beast, arts.…. JThree uncle;n and selfishbeasts.Thus we have in these visions a perfect trinity of evil,in which is seen the full development of” the mysteryof iniquity” working over against “the mystery ofgodliness.” The coming struggle is to settle whichshall reign eternaIly, and to whom belong the Earthand the Human Race.THE CHURCH ON MOUNT ZION.CHAPTER XIV.” Ye are come unto Mount Z1’on.”OVER against this trio of persecuting Anti-christian\ powers is the Lamb on Mount Zion, with his144,000 saints. These are the sealed of the tribes ofchapter vii. The difference in the two visions isprecisely what it ought to be according to the principleon which we have interpreted the two divisionsof the book. In chapter vii. they were simply coveredwith God’s wing as those faithful Israelites who werenot to be judged with the people of the land; herethey appear as the actual Church of Christ: the historicalcontinuance of the ancient, and realization ofthe ideal Zion, They are marked as sons of God,believers in the Fatherhood, and are centred roundabout the Lamb. All this shows us that when thehistory in this vision is realised, the Church is stillsubstantially a Hebrew Church. We are not yet cometo the time when the Gentile element is predominant.These are” the first-fruits unto God and the Lamb,”and everywhere in the New Testament this title belongsto the Hebrew Christians. No doubt there is aclose identity between this vision and the beautifulpassage in the Hebrews-” Ye are come unto MountZion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,&c.” We have no means at present of deciding1-3] As it were a New Song. 145whether the writer of the Hebrews is actually referringto this vision of St. John; but at all events, thevision is well interpreted of the primitive Church ofChrist in its ideal purity and privileges; that Churchespecially in Palestine in the days of Nero and St.John-tempted by abounding sensualities and idolatries,but true in heart and life to the Lamb of God,whom they followed as their Shepherd, believing thatHe would feed them and lead them into his eternalrest.While gazing on this scene, John’s ear is rivetted bymusic issuing from the upper spheres. It is the “choirinvisible” rejoicing at the sight of this great multitudewho bear the Father’s name, and stand in stedfastloyalty around the Lamb. The innumerable companyof angels in heaven rejoice to see so large a numberredeemed from the bondage of sin and death, andfrom the judgements falling 011 the land. As firstfruits,it is the promise of a noble harvest. ” They singas it were a new song.” Little doubt but the hostof heaven had sung songs of joy over deliverances andrestorations of God’s people in the days of old. Butsuch a high deliverance as this was new in the historyof the earth, though foreshadowed by deliverances ofthe past. The twenty-third Psalm is an old song, yetit is new as sung by us with our Christian knowledgeof the Shepherd-King. The eighty-fourth is a newsong on the Christian’s lips when the” amiable tabernacle” is in heaven, and” the valley of Baca” is thepilgrimage of earth. And so this” as it were a newsong,” is the Christian meaning of the ancient promisesof God sung by the angels who are learning how tointerpret those songs of other days that spoke of Zion1Q146 Heralding tlte Gospel Age. [ God’s everlasting love, and whose promises aremore than realised in the opening of God’s heaven tothe ransomed sons of men, and the prospect of anearth delivered from the darkness and oppression ofthe dragon and his beasts.That song, too, is one whose music is echoed in theChurch’s heart. None but the redeemed can join init; for none else know its meaning. Even if they did,seeing that it speaks of judgement and the triumph ofthe King of kings, it could excite only terror in theirhearts. Who among the godless can say-” I willsing of the righteous judgements of the Lord?” Onlythose who are gathered round the Lamb, deliveredfrom all evil loves of self, and of the world, and consciouslyinspired with love to God and good feelingtowards their fellow-men, are able to rejoice whenGod arises to shake terribly the earth. If we areto have boldness in the day of judgement, our heartsmust not condemn us j and if we are not to be consciouslyself-condemned, we must be perfected by lovebegotten of the knowledge of God’s love to us. Hence,no man can sing this song but those redeemed fromthe sin and evil of the earth, and quickened by thefaith of Jesus dwelling in their hearts.“He shall send his angels with a great sound as of a trumpet.”There follows a startling episode. An angel is seenflying in the midst of heaven, “hm1ing aft eternal gospelto proclaim.” There is something here to make uspause. Has the Gospel not been preached already onthe earth? Why should an angel be sent to makethis emphatic enunciation, if, in the usual interpretationthe time is the end of the 19th or in the 20th century?– ~-~—-_._——————3-6.] All Nations Warned of its Coming. 147Are we to hold that the everlasting Gospel has neveryet been preached in any emphatic sense upon theearth? The truth is, that this episode correspondswith the announcement of the angel in ch. x., that”the mystery of God is about to finish.” Thatmystery, we have said, was that the Gentiles wereto be made fellow-heirs with the Jews of the covenantand its promises. That moment is now imminent:its coming is heralded by an angel with the voiceof a trump. It will be remembered that our Lordinstructed his disciples that they should in the mainexpend their strength upon the Jews, and endeavourfirst to bring them into the Christian fold.The age was ripening for its harvest; and the labourerssent forth were to do the fullest justice to the childrenof his covenant. The years that lay between theascension of Christ and the consummation of theJewish age belonged to the Abrahamic people. Theywere Israel’s day of grace. Though Paul and othersdid preach to Gentile audiences, yet this was onlylike the crumbs that fell from the children’s table.Emphatically, the Gospel was still hampered in itsspread by a prime consideration for the social interestsand ritualistic prejudices of the Jew. Said ChristHimself to the twelve-” Ye shall not have gone overthe cities of Israel until the Son of Man be come;”that is, ye shall not have more than time to preach inthe great cities where colonies of Jews are foundedbefore the commencement of judgement, and theinstitution of the universal kingdom. Our Lord alsosaid, in his great eschatological discourse, that theproclamation of “the Gospel of the Kingdom” amongall nations would be synchronous with” the End,” i.e.148 The Gospel of the Kingdom. [XIV.of the Judaic age or dispensation. Strauss will haveit that these two sayings of our Lord do not agree, thefirst having originated at a time when the currentbelief was that the Gospel was intended only for theJews, and the second at a later date, when it came tobe seen that the Gentiles were to be embraced. Thisintentionally damaging comment is founded on acommon exegetical mistake. The passage in Mat.xxiv. is identical with the first in Mat. x. 23. Preaching” among all nations” is equivalent to going” overthe cities of Israel; ” inasmuch as the preaching in theformer case is of “this Gospel of the Kingdom,” i.e.” the good news” in that form in which Jews and theirproselytes were accustomed to look for it-the comingof the Messianic Kingdom. The Jews of the firstcentury, with that trading instinct which has never leftthe race, were scattered over all the habitable world.It was the will of Christ that all these settlementsshould be visited by the Apostles, and every child ofthe covenant warned that the age was closing and anew dispensation about to begin. Thus would therebe a witness given amongst all nations, which a fewyears at the most would enable them to verify.Judaism was to perish; yet the sublimer essence ofJudaism, with a heart for all the world, would surviveand root itself in the earth; that was the prophecy setbefore the nations; and speedily they would seewhether Christ who spoke the prophecy was true andable to fulfil his word. It is in this sense that Paulsays again and again that the Gospel has been preachedin all the world; and it is in this sense that the greatGreek fatherChrysostom, much to his exegetical credit,interprets the saying in Mat. xxiv. When this angel6-8.] The New Age Death to Bab}’lon. 149appears, this work of preaching” the Gospel of theKingdom” is past and gone. The Jews everywherehave been warned and called into the Kingdom. Theend is come of which Christ spoke. The angel cries-” The hour of Ilis judgement is come,” The end ofIsrael’s day; the harvest of the Jewish age is come.The day of vengeance is to be as well the day ofthe acceptable year of the Lord for the Gentile world.The judgement-day is here again the day of theworld’s salvation. The wheat of the Church is beinggathered round the Lamb into God’s garner; the chaffis to be burned with unquenchable fire. The greatNew Age of God’s World-wide Love is now to beofficially begun, and all men everywhere are calledupon to repent and believe the Gospel. This angel istherefore here worthily employed in heralding theadvent of the Christian Age.Another angel follows, crying: “Fallen, fallen isBabylon the great.” But what is Babylon? We shallknow fully by and bye. Just now it is enough to knowonly what is written. Babylon is confusion! thatsystem of error which knows no difference betweenone God and another; worships all alike, especiallythe God that is most terrible and revengeful; thesystem that confounds the king’s prerogative withGod’s, as it commands-” Let all the people worshipthis golden image which I have set up;” in whichmen exalt their sensual wisdom and demoniac revelationsabove the word of God-the system that hasmany voices, many ways of scaling heaven, manymediators who claim a homage that is due to Godalone-that is Babylon; error with its confusion andits strife, here organised and forcing itself upon all the150 Evil Sentenced to Misery. [XIV.nations of the earth. The prelude to that overthrowwill be the fall of that exalted city which had mostassurance of its eternity. As it is seen to fall, theChurch can rest assured that heathen priestcraft withits countless shrines and magical devices, and semibrutalgods, and shameless immoralities will also fall.The everlasting Gospel will burn up Babylon ineverlasting fire.Still another angel follows, pronouncing woe againstthe worshippers of the beast. The same” shall drinkof the wine of tIle wratlz of God wlzic/l is prepared unmixedin the cup of Itts anger.” What a gathering offiery imagery is concentrated in this passage! Howpowerfully it tells of the undying hatred of evil whichis in the bosom of a righteous God! But why doesthis alarming denunciation come in at this point ofhistory? Because, as we are told, the judgementhouris come; and along with it, to all the nationsthere is a clearer revelation of God’s righteous love.Men everywhere are now commanded to repent, heldinexcusable for the worship of the beast, and morethan’ ever will find his worship full of gnawing painsand fiery stings ; because henceforth there is a gospelfor mankind, a revelation of the Lamb as the imageof the eternal God-a richer baptism of the Spirit,kindling higher longings in men’s souls. If still theycling to their pernicious doctrines and their sensuouslusts, then in the presence of the Lamb and his servants,their sinful lusts will burn within them as unquenchablefire, and their consciences will gnaw themlike a deathless worm. Thus Christ is to rule menwith a rod of iron. The gratifications of a sinful manwho is face to face with Christ and saving truth must9-13.] Goodness Rewarded. 151terminate in torments, whatever spurious delights accompanythem. There can be no peace for wickedness;goodness alone can make happy.” The dead in Christ shall. me first: then. ue that are alice,that m’e left, shall. toqether mtlt them be caugltt ‘Up in theclouds to meet the Lord in the air:”” Here Z”S the patience of tIle saints” In this climaxof evil; when the devil is angry because his time isshort, the patience of the saints will be most severelytried; but they may rest assured that Christ is destinedto be victorious. Even now He will make evilmiserable, his own believing people happy; and thehour is at hand when the faith and righteousness ofhis saints will have their reward in the glorious kingdomof his love.This fact is counted worthy of divine attestation. Avoice from heaven is heard, saying-” Write, Blessedare tke dead wldelt die z”n the Lord from henceforth:”I crave your deepest interest and steadiest patiencefor a moment as we ponder over this. The passageis most sadly understood, and yet it is one of the mostmeaningful and consolatory in the word of God. Thewhole point of the utterance lies in these wordsfromItencefortlt, usually passed over in silence by thecommentator, as if quite superfluous, or their insertiona mistake. Clearly enough, they intimate that thereis a special point of time at which the condition ofthe Christian z”mmedz”ately after death becomes moreblessed than it was at any previous time. That is thewhole point of the passage: missing that, everythingis lost. After this point of time, ” they rest from their152 Resurrection Immanent. [XIV.laboursand their works dofollozo them.” Before this time,death was not rest nor reward; but only a state ofhope and expectation.Do the Scriptures tell us that there was a time whenthe dead in Christ were not at rest, when they were notrewarded for their great fidelity, when even martyredsaints, had to compose themselves in hope? Theydo. In Scripture, the resurrection is a future thoughnear experience; and until the resurrection-day thesaints have “not yet ascended up,” nor are they “presentwith the Lord.” John, in particular, reveals thestate of all the Christian dead in his vision of themartyrs, crying with troubled passion, as men whowere wearied waiting for their reward. Then, whenJerusalem is shaken with God’s judgements, and thenew age introduced, we are told that the time of thedead is come to be judged and rewarded according totheir works. Heaven is then opened to Christ’s saints;and henceforth they worship restfully in the Paradiseof God. And now, as John traces the development ofChrist’s kingdom from a positive point of view, wecome again within sight of the same great juridicaltransaction. We have just read that” the hour of God’sjudgement is come,” that is, the time when Christ rewardshis waiting saints with their resurrection-day,and reaps the harvest of the earth. Certainly, thatmomentous transaction cannot be in front of the 19thcentury. It is behind us. Historically, it lies nearthe days of John. It was one of the characteristicevents of the opening of the Gospel age. Such, wemaintain, to be written everywhere on the page of theNew Testament with the clearness of a sunbeam.The Apostles and other martyrs are not until this day13.] Immediate Entrance on Glory. 153beneath the altar. Hades does not now hold theChristian as its prey. The martyrs'” little while” islong since past; and they have been called up intothe glories of the place which Christ prepared forthem in heaven, where now they live and reign withChrist. From the moment marked by St. John, thefinishing of the work of judgement and the reward ofthe dead,-the Christian man who dies goes home atonce to his reward; he has no time of waiting for theheavens to open their embraces. For the noble andholy child of God, death is no longer descent, to waitin the lingering Hades-state; but it is ascent to bewith Christ. “If ye will hear it,” this is the truth thatso many have perverted into the notion of a rapture ofli’l’ing saints, caught up and curiously transformed.What Paul teaches is identical with what John teacheshere,-that after a certain point of time, the Christianis caught up at death to meet his Lord, and so passesin a moment, without sleep or consciousness of delay,into his rest and his reward. Looking through theeyes of the Seer we shall be privileged ere long to seethis blessedness realised, and heaven opened to all truebelievers.THE SON OF MAN IN THE CLOUDS OFHEAVEN.CHAPTER XIV.” Then shall. they Bee the Son of ],fan coming in eloud« ~oithgreat power and glO’l”//; and then Bhall He Bend forth, hiBangela.”PIOR impressiveness and far-reachingness of conse-quence, no symbol in John’s book excels thatnow before us. To comprehend its meaning, we mustlook backward and ‘also forward to what stands oneither side. Immediately in front, we have threeangels appearing in close succession uttering proclamations,and giving emphasis to their message by theloudness of their voice. These are the heralds of aking, marching in the van, sounding their alarmingtrumpets to prepare the people for his coming, andmarshalling them for judgement. That is what Christsaid would be the sign of his coming-” his angelswith a great sound as of a trumpet.” Accordingly wehave now this vision of the King himself, the Son ofMan sitting on a cloud in heaven, clothed in the gloryof his Father, crowned with divinest honours. Thenagain, in the rear are his processional angels withsickles and vials of wrath. Is not this the thing whichwas spoken by our Lord: “for the Son of Man shallcome in the glory of his Father, with his angels; andthen shall he reward every man according to hisworks. Verily, I say unto you, there be some stand-J14-16.] The Haruest of tlte Age. 155ing here which shall not taste of death till they seethe Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Mat. xvi.)On nearer view, we see that the purpose of thismanifestation is-JUDGEMENT; first, under the figureof a harvest time; and secondly, as a visitation ofsuccessive plagues. In the first symbol, the Son ofMan gives the signal by throwing his sickle on theearth; but the burden of the reaping falls upon theangels. Here again John sees the fulfilment of what’he had heard from the lips of Christ some forty yearsbefore in such parables as the tares and the wheat.”The harvest is the end of the age; and tlte reapersare the angels.” The purpose of this reaping isdescribed as a gathering out of God’s kingdom allthings that offend, and them that work iniquity, inorder that the righteous may shine out as stars andgive light to a darkened world (Matt. xiii. 40-3).The purpose of this Apocalyptic judgement is identical.That” end of the age” of which Christ spokewas the closure of the Jewish and heathen age inwhich He lived; Jerusalem was to be the centrearound which its main events transpired; and ourreaders are now in a position to well judge whetherwe have not found this book of Revelation agreemost precisely, and without artificial manipulation,with our Saviour’s teaching.Let us now give a careful study to this picture.The leading figure is” tlte Son of Man.” There is areason for the title under which John identifies ourLord. In the days of his flesh He had said that alljudgement was committed to his hands because Hewas tile Son of Man. That tells us that the tests ofjudgement can be measured by a truly human stan156Tlte Son of ]/fan. [XIV.dard-that human sympathy and tenderness will havetheir share in determining the fates of men, since notonly our High Priest but our Eternal Judge is capableof being touched with a feeling of our infirmities, andentering into all the sorrows and temptations of ourcase. Can we do otherwise than rejoice in such aSaviour, and look with quiet confidence upon any dayof judgement which He institutes.The Son of Man is- not coming to his kingdom. Heis a King. On his head there is a golden crown. Heis seen” in the glory of his Father.” His people hadrejected Him as the Son of the Carpenter. Fortyyears have passed without any change in Israel’s faith,except indeed in the direction of a more reckless andabandoned denial of his claims. No curse was ofteneron Jewish lips, no imprecation oftener offered as incenseunto God, than the curse heaped upon Jesus,”THE HUNG: may his name and memory be blottedout!” No prophecy was more boastfully uttered inJerusalem than that God would utterly destroy theNazarenes, while the temple and the law would proveeternal. At last, there is an answer to the challenge.The holy land is resounding to the tramp of armedmen-the cities of Galilee and Samaria have fallentheheavens are nightly lit with prodigies that ringthe nation’s death-knell-Jerusalem is hemmed inwith troops that never weary in their savage hatred ofeverything distinctive of the Jew-and every circumstanceis ominous with political extinction to thisproud and boastful nation. Behold, at length thedoleful prophecies of Christ are painfully accomplished,and Israel is irretrieveably cast down fromher heaven-born eminence. How else can we inter14-16.] Christ’s Coming Not Corporeal. 157pret this than as God’s answer to the Jew? Christ iscrowned with the glory of that divinity which Hejustly attributed to Himself; and his enemies overwhelmedwith a well-deserved ignominy and shame.Philo had argued for the divinity and perpetualobligation of the Mosaic legation from its enduranceto his time; now that argument is meaningless.The Son is greater than the servant,-so proves hisdismissal.” Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Ghrist;or, Here; believeit not.”Again, let us pay attention to the method of Christ’scoming. It is a prevalent notion, and a most unfortunate,that the Scriptures are committed to a descentof the visible, corporeal personage of Christ,-who issupposed to have his palace and his throne in somegreat city; and, as many think, in a restored Jerusalem.The notion is unscriptural, we might even say antiscriptural.Its influence through these 19 centurieshas been only mischievous-breeding the most reptiliansectarianism, and sneering infidelity. Here is the fullestexplanation which has been given to us-Christ’s finalwords. Surely they give us no excuse for expecting thepersonal descent of Christ to earth and his corporealvisibility to men. Christ is seen in the clouds ofheaven. That, in prophetic language, clearly indicatesthat his coming is in darkness and in shadow-veiledin the tribulations of the time, the facts of Providence,the events of history, visible only to the eye of faith;and that it is from heaven his power and work proceed.It is unfortunate if we fashion any more materialconception of Bible teaching than that Christ comes to158 Our Lord’s Own Prophecy. [ in the outgoings of his pQwer, the enforcementof his authority, the punishment of his enemies, andthe establishment of his Gospel Kingdom. To insiston any other mode of realising the Second Coming,so far as this world is concerned, is to invest our Lord’sgreat prophecy with tremendous difficulties of interpretation;it is to falsify it, or to say that theEvangelists have given a wrong meaning to Christ’swords. There is no escaping the dilemma drawn upby a late professor of theology at Strasburg :-“Jesus, in the discourses imputed to Him, does not simplyannounce in general that he will return on the clouds of heaven-one day, in two thousand years perhaps, or in a hundredthousand; He announces that He will return immediately afterJernsalem shall have been profaned. If the words which theyplace in his mouth have any sense, they have that, and if theyhave not, it is because, for theologians, white means black andblack means white. But for whoever is not a sophist, thisdilemma is set down catagorically ; either Jesus was deceived,or these discourses are not his. The Christian Church cannothonestly escape from this dilemma.”–(Colani, Lea CrO’!lancu.MeBBianiquea, pp. 251-2).The door of honour opens only to a right conceptionof the nature of the Second Coming. If Christ meantto pledge himself to such a materialisation and localisationof his presence on earth as so many orthodoxdivines insist upon, then certainly that has not takenplace and the prophecy is disgracefully falsified.Infidel hangers-on to Christianity rejoice to have it so,in order that its more supernatural claims may bediscredited. But we can neither believe in theorthodox carnal coming, with its too apparent shiftsto postpone the time fixed for the coming; nor in themistaken Christ, or the blundering Apostles of the14-16.] The Purpose of Christ’s Coming. 159unorthodox. It seems to us beyond all question thatChrist’s figurative language is mistaken for dull prose,and even then carelessly interpreted. There is not somuch as a-rag of excuse for those who have imagineda bodily dwelling of Christ upon the earth, prophesiedmystically for a day then near and from century tocentury postponed. Far better that Christ shouldnot come thus. The vast majority of the human raceare in the spirit-world. If his redeemed are withHim in the heavenly world, they will not want Himto forsake the heavens and go down to earth. Indeed,do not we ourselves count this one of the most delightfulprospects of the eternal world, that having passedthrough death into the better world, we shall be ” forever with the Lord.”And for what is it that Christ is said to come? Theanswer is given in different forms. At one time, it isto avenge Him on his adversaries; at another, it is toavenge his saints; and again it is to take his vineyardfrom servants who have appropriated the fruitunto themselves and to give it to others who will recognizehis lordship; here, it is to reap the harvest ofthe land. It is a solemn, yea, a dreadful function,which is thus attributed to Christ; and never at anytime so fittingly as at the transition from the Jewishto the Christian age can this work be accomplished.There are particular crises in the history of men andnations when the false threatens to overlay the true;when unrighteousness and hypocrisy have supplantedtruth and goodness, and are ripening to amaturity that forebodes the extermination of God’skingdom on the earth, and then it is that the judgingwork of Christ begins. Perhaps such a reaping-time160 TIle Harvest of the Land. [ this must follow every distinctive revelation ofGod’s truth. There comes the time when eachordinance of God has effected all of which it iscapable, and when the perversities and misapprehensionswhich invariably gather around it have destroyedits power and made some change of form desirable.So was it with the Mosaic Law. It had ceased to bean inspiration for righteousness; it had become a cloakfor sin; and accordingly its doom had come. Itsgood and evil had ripened in their extremest forms;and if the world was not to perish in corruption, it wasneedful that the good should be conserved, and theevil broken and consumed. It is at this crisis the Sonof Man appears in heaven. He is sending his righteousjudgements on the earth. The good have beengathered into the Christian Church; the evil haveripened for destruction, and Christ’s punishments areintended to purify the earth, and fit it for the plantingof the seed of his eternal Gospel. It is now the end ofa dying age, a new and better dispensation is to bebegun. The sickle is cast into the earth; and proleptically,the earth is reaped.“I will tell Y01~ what I will do to my vineyard.”A double reaping is in process. Why there are thustwo harvests has puzzled many; but there is a verysimple reason for this imagery. There were two harvestsin Palestine-the grain harvest and the harvestof the vines. It was therefore natural, seeing thatPalestine was the scene of this spiritual reaping, andthat our Lord had so frequently used this two-foldfigure of the harvest-field and vineyard, that this harvestshould have its two-fold symbol. However, the17-20.] Treading the Wine-press. 161Lemphasis is laid upon the harvest of the vintage. It isthe vine of the land which is reaped. Now, this figureof” tlu vine of tke land” is most appropriate, if thisharvest is reaped as we have said in Palestine. Israelis distinctly and repeatedly figured as the vine of God,as in Isaiah-” The vineyard of the Lord of Hosts isthe house of Israel,” and as in the Psalms-” Thou hastbrought a vine out of Egypt.” That this” treading ofthe wine-press of the wrath of God” is a most likelydescription of the bloody wars of Rome all over Palestinein the days of John is seen by recalling Isaiahlxiii.-” I have trodden the wine-press alone .I have trampled the people in my fury;” and also thelamentations of Jeremiah over the Babylonian conquest- “The Lord hath trodden the virgin, thedaughter of Judah, as in a wine-press.” That thissanguinary conflict was worthy of being depicted as astream of blood pouring out over the borders of theland (1600 furlongs) and reaching up to the horses’bridles, is witnessed by the pre-intimation of our Lordthat such sufferings had never before been in any landand never would be again ; and also by the more prosaicfigures of the Jewish historian, from which welearn that about a million and a-half of human beingsout of a population of five millon, perished by swordand famine during the war. Besides this, Jewish bloodwas shed in rivers beyond the borders of the holyland, from Alexandria (in which alone were 50,000massacred) to Tyre, then up to Damascus, and finallyfurther north. Well might that awful harvest be representedas “the great wine-press of the wrath ofGod.” Yet God’s wrath is not essentially differentfrom his love. If God judged his people, it was toII162 Judgement in order to Salvation. [ them. If the angel cast his fire upon the earth,it was to burn up the dry encumbering thorns in orderthat the ploughshare of the Gospel might prepare thesoil for the good seed of the kingdom. If Israel’s sunwent down in blood, it was that all the world mighthail the rising of the sun of righteousness. Renan haswritten no truer and more effective word in his treatmentof the Apocalypse than where he shews that thecontinued existence of the Temple, or even of the Cityof Jerusalem, was inconsistent with the world-widespread of Christianity, and much more so with thespiritualisation of its doctrine and worship. Christ’struth could only be redeemed from Judaistic trammelsby the shedding of Israel’s blood.THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES.CHAPTERS XV. AND XVI.“The Lard knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation.”ACAREFUL reader cannot but be struck with the—= ~ similarity of this fifteenth chapter to certainportions of the first part of the book. We have alreadyshown good reason why it must be so. As thevision of the Lamb and the 144,000 of the previouschapter corresponds with the sealed of the tribes inchapter seven, so does this vision correspond withthe great multitude out of every tongue in robes ofwhite. It is the habit of this book, before any calamitousjudgement falls, to show that God’s people willcome through it most victoriously. The 144,000 wereseen on Mount Zion to signify their security while theharvest of the land was being reaped; this companystanding on the glassy sea are those who refuse toworship the evil beast, and are to be preserved fromthe plagues about to desolate an evil earth. Theystand on that glassy sea mingled with fire __ becausewhile apparently in the midst of judgement, they arenot touched by its scorching fires, nor troubled in theirsouls by any want of clearness or transparency in thepurposes of God.The fact that they sing” the song of Moses and thesong of tlu Lamb” is enough to show that they arefirst-century Christians, and many of them Hebrews164 Preparing Heauen for Mm. [xv,to whom the worship of synagogue and temple hadbeen dear. We are also clearly dealing with a timewhen heathenism and idolatry are rampant in theearth, and the crucial test of fidelity to Christ iswhether men will offer sacrifice to Ca-sar. The songof the victors contains other points of identification.God is addressed as: “KinE[of the Ages,” because thisis the time of the end, the boundary of the old ageand the new. They prophetically celebrate the comingof “all nations” to worship God, because they stand atthe introduction of the age of God’s world-wide love.The temple in Iteaven is at tltis time opened. This isthe same event as is recorded in xi. ID; here withfuller information. In the former case, the openingstands for the entrance of the dead on their reward;but here, while the Temple is opened, we are to see apreparatory work proceed before the reedemed areable to enter upon its glories. God’s judgements arenot yet finished; the vials of his wrath not yet exhausted.God’s angels can dwell in the glory of hispresence; they can breathe amid the fiery smoke thatno man can endure; live in that brilliant light whichsends a haze upon the poor weak eye of man. Nohuman soul is in that Temple. No redeemed spirithas been as yet caught up to enter on its glories, forthe place is not quite prepared. However, there willbe no delay. God’s righteous judgements are proceeding;and soon” the dead who died in the Lord” willbe led up into their eternal rest in the Father’s house.XVI. The World’s judgement-Day. 165“Tlte coming of the day of God, by reason of lI:ltiCIt theheasens being on fire shal] be dissolced, and the elements sltallmelt unth. fervent heat:”The scene to which the preceding is introductory isone of unusual sublimity even for so sublime a book.Seven angels proceed from the throne of Deity, resplendentwith the glare of precious stones and theglitter of golden girdles, and in their hands are bowlswhich contain the wrath of God. That wrath is thefervour of his love for truth going forth in oppositionto Satanic error-it is the purity of his righteousnessin its burning zeal against iniquity-that goodnesswhich like a fire eats every dry branch of fruitless andfalse pretence-that mighty wind which scatters likethe chaff every bad confederacy of men.Every reader may see at a glance a striking similaritybetween these seven vials and the seven successivetrumpets of the earlier portion of the book. Evidently,we are meant to think of them as related: andsuch is the common feeling of interpreters. Alongwith a certain identity there are material differences;easily explained by the principle on which the structureof this book proceeds. The story of the rise ofChristianity must be somewhat like the story of thefall of Judaism, so intimately were they bound together.How the darkness of the night is vanquished,is not materially different from how the day was bornand swelled to noon. In such a brief prophetic sketchas John’s there comes a point where Judaism will getmixed up with other forces which are opposed toChrist, and indeed be so identified in a common enmityand in a common judgement, that the boundarylines are lost to view. Finally, Judaism as the young166The Trumpet Plagues. [XVI.est and weakest foe will disappear, and a strongerenemy alone be left upon the field. Heathenism withits kindred sensualities then remains the only foe ofChrist; and the moral conflict of the age is finallyfought out between the Sermon on the Mount, andthe utterances of pagan oracles and priests.At the opening of these vials, we are just at thatpoint where Judaism is already seen as broken in itspower. The land is being reaped outside the city,and Jerusalem is shaken but not fully judged. Therefore,our attention, in the main, is arrested by a rampantheathenism which is inspired from the abyss.The sphere of divine judgement is widened out, andit is seen that Heathenism as well as Judaism is tosuffer from the ban of God, be even more completelyjudged than the system of his ancient people. Indeed,the vial judgements are seen to fall on all the enemiesof the Church of God, whether they be Jew or Pagan.The first trumpet was a plague upon the produce ofthe earth; the first vial, more trenchant in its nature,is a plague upon the bodies of men themselves. Everyworshipper of the beast is to suffer in that naturewhich allies him with the beast. One cannot welldetermine whether literal bodily ailments are intended;and sickness, pestilence, and plague to be regarded asGod’s judgements upon men’s sins; or whether thesebodily ailments are to be taken as the type of specialmoral evils into which the malignant infidelity andsuperstition of the age break out. In either case, weshall not err far from the truth; for it seems as if historyplaced the fact beyond dispute that nearly all man’ssuffering is the consequence of sin.2-4.] The Bitterness of Sin. 167The second angel poured out his vial, and the seabecame as the blood of a dead man. The secondtrumpet produced a similar effect. That may beinterpreted of a time of naval warfare and commercialparalysis; or it may symbolise the stagnancy andcorruption of human thought and feeling, and theperversion of the leading elements of life into sourcesof pollution and of death. In any case, it is a tellingpicture of the stagnancy and incipient corruption ofthe most mobile elements of a nation’s life in the dayof its paralysis and hastening death.The third angel poured out his vial on the riversand fountains of water, and they became as blood.The corresponding trumpet told us that the burningstar Wormwood fell into the rivers and fountains andmade the waters bitter. The meaning is the same.The ordinary joys of life are turned into wormwoodand gall. St. Paul prepared the Corinthians for thistime of tribulation, warning them not to marry, not toform intimate connections with the world, to sit asloosely to its treasures as they could, because suchjudgements should soon come as would transform thetenderest ties of life into cups of stagnant blood.Doubtless, it is like refreshing water in the oasis of lifeto enter into wedlock and to have joyous childrendancing round the hearth, while prosperity waits on uswith its golden cup; but what if “the time is short”until these dearest refreshments of our life are changedinto blood, and our parched lips are wrung with thecry: “Blessed is the womb that never bare, and thepaps that never gave suck.” When Paul foretold suchsufferings for the green tree of the Christian Church,168 A Dry, Parched Land. [XVI.what must have been suffered in the dry tree of anevil world! If we go back into that old Jewish andheathen world (there is not much to choose betweenthem), we are in a dry parched land where no wateris. Everywhere, commerce is depressed, governmentis unsettled, life and property insecure, family lifeutterly corrupt, children a calamity, fidelity and friendshiprare, and suicide ennobled as a virtue. Thesprings of life are dry-there is no gladness in thesouls of men. The things that used to be attractions,now are life’s perplexities. Men have perverted God’sgood gifts; and their possession has become a cankerand a snare. Even the old religious faith, and thehopes of immortality kindled by the gods, have beensupplanted by despair; and superstitious fears havebecome the very bitterest poison in the cup of life.Religious error that panders to the sensuous tastes ofmen, in spite of its attractions for the time, turnsfinally into blood, and woe to them who have to drinkit.That such punishments are quite consistent withGod’s goodness is witnessed by the angel of the waters.“Righteous art thou 0 Lord because thou hast judgedthus, for they Izave shed the bloodof saints andproplzets,and tho« hast gh1en them blood to drink.” And thesaints beneath the altar also acquiesce-” Yea, 0 Lord,true and righteous are thy judgements.” I t is wonderfulindeed, to see how in every great historical periodmen’s sins and righteousnesses have ripened into theirappropriate fruit of pain or joy. The sufferings of anyage on which you care to lay your finger are thenatural fruit of its falsehood and its sin, according to aneternal law that knows no variableness and shows no4-8.] Day turned into Night. 169respect of persons. In such seasons of collapse, goodmen may be compelled to suffer death, because evilmen cannot endure their testimony against their wickedways; but the destruction of the good does but intensifythe misery of those who shed their blood. “They thattake the sword shall perish by the sword “-the menthat shed other’s blood as water, will in the ripeness ofthe times, have blood to drink, until satisfied anddisgusted with their defilements in which once theyrevelled with delight.The fourt/i trumpet was a plague of darkness; andthe corresponding vial is a plague of scorching heat.It would be hard indeed to reconcile these two if theyreferred to physical calamities. Darken the sun, andyou not only lessen the light of day, but you decreasethe heat; but make this a symbol of the living experienceof men, and then, while to one class truth maybecome obscure, to another truth may become so clearthat, if it is unpalatable to their lusts, it will burn themas with scorching fire. The favourite interpretation ofthis vial by those who bring the visions of John downthrough all Christian history, is that this sun isNapoleon-and his scorching fire the rolling of hisartillery and musketry. We cannot think that theapostle John and the Christians of his generation weremuch concerned about Napoleon and his Europeanwars. But they were over head and ears concernedwith the providential judgements which were fallingupon the men and institutions which stood up inopposition to the Gospel of their Lord; and with thelusts and passions breaking out within the hearts oftheir own particular generation-tending to the disso170The Heavens on Fire. [XVI.lution of society, and the downfall of philosophies andcults opposed to Christ. Now, can we not believe thatin the higher light which was dawning on that ageandwith its sense of utter failure in its politics, philosophyandreligion, and other attendant humiliations,-there must have been a quickening of the passionsof the people, a kindling of disappointment, a sense ofshame and fear, making them reckless, “destroyingmutual love and social confidence, instigating to mutualfraud and deeds of violence, to sanguinary wars andother enormities, enough to chill one’s soul to think of!”Yes, by no fitter symbol than the scorching sunshinecan you depict the misery of the man who in thedawning light of a better age, begins to see the failureof all his life-long dreams, the enormities of his evil,and stands self-condemned before a light which hecannot quench as yet, and which torments him, becauseinstead of confessing that it is light from heaven, andthanking God for revealing a goodness to which hehas been a stranger, he turns his curses against God,and blasphemes his holy name. So did the men ofthat generation-they repented not, but perished intheir sin.The fifth vial is a natural continuation of the fourth.When under the scorching heats of hated light, mengo on in evil; and instead of repenting of their sin,impute their miseries to heaven, the last state of thesemen is worse than the first. Paul says-” God will sendthem strong delusions that they may believe a lie ;”which is pious language for the mental law that whenmen resist the truth they are necessarily misled by lies,and drift off into grosser and still grosser darkness. This9-12.] Hell on Earth. 171language is kindred to some awful words of Christ’sthat we usually associate with another place thanearth. Take first these men with fountains andstreams dried up, and still athirst; then scorched withheat; then immersed in darkness gnawing theirtongues for pain,-and you have, we think, a statethat is not remote from hell, with its darkness, itseverlasting fire, and gnashing of teeth. The meaningof these symbols is that, in this day of judgementwhich had come to that ancient world, lull wasrealised on earth. Is it only by a chance co-incidence,that Renan writing of this ‘very generation, says-” L’espritde vertige et de cruaute debordait alors, et faisaitde Rome un veritable enfer!” The souls of men whetherheathen or pharasaic, were scorched,and parched, and sodarkened by their blindness that they knew not whereto turn. Such is the fate of men who reject heaven’sdawning light and cling with fondness to their fallaciesand sins, even when they are lashed by them as byscorpion stings. Their only hope lay in the knowledgeof the Father of Jesus Christ; but they clung totheir material Messiah or their heathen sensualities,and were fated to be cast outside the kingdom intothat darkness where there is weeping and wailing andgnashing of teeth.The sixth vial is again a companion picture to thesixth trumpet. That was the obliteration of all distinctionbetween the Babel and the Jewish kingdoms,-the absorption of the sacred in the secular and godlesskingdom of this world. This vial correctly symbolises,in addition, that Babylon itself is also to beoverthrown in turn. Ancient Babylon, after it had——————_._–~_.—- .—-.- — – –172 The East against the West. [XVI.destroyed Jerusalem, fell by the Kings of the Eastdiverting the Euphrates from its channel, and enteringat night while Belshazzar and his court were engagedin drunken revelries.” The vision symbolises a risingwar of Eastern thought against the mystic Babylon.Strange to say, the life of Rome actually came to beinfested and to have its old stern virtues underminedby ‘a current of Eastern thought which flowed steadilyin until it came to be a powerful factor in the nationallife. Of this Seneca complained, especially of Jewishthought. Once the West had ruled the East; but thetide was on the turn. Chaldrean and Jewish astrologerswere the rulers of men’s destinies. The gods ofthe East, as older than the gods of Rome, came to bein request as the native deities failed to satisfy men’swants. At length, there were no gods in Rome morepopular, with the provincials and the lower orders,than those whose native haunts were the Orontes andthe Nile. Thus, a door was opened for Jewish andmonotheistic thought, which Christianity was ableto utilise effectively. Says Uhlhorn-” This also wasa preparation for Christianity. To the world seekingfor mightier gods, was preached the true God. Menlooked for a new God to the East: according to God’scounsels, He was actually to be proclaimed to theworld as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Conflict,etc., p. 66.)The heralds of the Gospel are not unfittingly symbolizedin the Eastern kings who assaulted ancientBabylon. The Apostles are notoriously “the kings that* So history runs, although the story is now regarded asmore than doubtful. The symbol, however, could be harmoniouslyworked out on the basis of the drying of the Euphratesin 2 Esdras, xiii, 40-9.12-14.] Tlte Kings of tlte Eartlt. 173come from tlte sunrising.” They march forth againstthe West to conquer Babylon, and make the worldtributary to heaven’s kingdom. They are indeed thechildren of the light and of the day, who will teachthe darkened kingdoms of the beast to hail the risingsun. There was an ancient prophecy which said thatan Eastern King should rule the world. That Kingis Christ; and seated on his throne are his twelveApostles. It is indeed a marvellous fact that we todayin this distant Western isle are here to verify theprophecy of John by acknowledging the spiritual supremacyofChrist and his Apostles. We have beenconquered by the Kings of the East and are nowthe willing subjects of the Lamb.It is significant, however, that at this moment Satanand his beasts are invoking the brutal force of kingsto war against the cause of God. Largely that warfareis directed against the Hebrew polity in thebelief that with Judaism the God of the Jews will disappearfrom history. It had been hoped that thecommandants in the provinces, and dependent kings,would have gladly seized the opportunity of the Jewishrevolt to assert their independence ; but on the contrarythey sent their troops with eagerness to eraseJerusalem from the earth. Titus is even credited withthe motive of destroying both Christianity and J udaismby his war against the Temple. “These two superstitions,”he is reported to have said, “although contraryto one another, are of the same source; theChristians come from the Jews; the root torn up, theshoot will perish quickly.” Thus, literally, was theheathen military ascendancy of those days-” tlte war0/ the great day of God.” And yet, while warring174 The East Victorious. [XVI.against God, they are doing the work of God. In destroyingJerusalem, they are blindly preparing the wayof the Kings of the Sunrising; and hastening God’svengeance upon mystic Babylon. Christianity, reinvigoratedby release from Judaic material limitations,will all the sooner begin an effective war againstRoman civilisation. How tersely, and in what powerfullines,the conflict of heathenism with the truth isdrawn in this vision of the frog-like spirits. TheKings of the East – the kingly truths and principlesof the Christian faith-are to meet in dreadarray the kings of the Roman earth-the regnantprinciples and passions of the heathen world. Thereis to be a war of holy and unholy principles-a conflictof truth and error. On one side will be the Lambof God, the potency of his truth, the courage and devotionof his saints; and on the other side, a confederacy of earthly and infernal powers, “mixing thecoarsest animal with the most subtle spiritual wickedness,”and using the two-edged sword of demoniacalsigns in order to command the people’s faith andbrutal force to put to silence the soldiers of the cross.“Be!lold, I come as a thief Blessed is he thatwatclleth and keepeth Ids garments lest he walk nakedand t!ley see Ius shame” What can the repetition ofthis warning mean, but that this is the particularjuncture of events for which the Church at Sardis wasto watch? In this conflict of truth with demonismand brute force, Christ is coming in his power andglory. Great need, amid the complications of thesetimes, that the people should comport themselves asChristian men and prove worthy of spotless garmentsand the crown of glory in the endless life of God!14-19.] The Valley of Decision. 175That early conflict of God’s kingdom was to be on thegreat broad plain of Armageddon, the valley of decision-famous both for the defeat and the victory ofIsrael. Locally, and in the first place, it was onHebrew ground that heathenism delivered its assaultagainst the one Almighty God. That fateful strugglerealised all the past associations of the plain of Armageddonin Hebrew history. Outwardly there wasevery sign of heathen victory. Israel was broken intopieces under heathen feet; the land was full of mourning;every family weeping for its victims, dead orgone away to worse than death. But Judah’s desolationwas the revival of Judah’s spiritual power. Salvationwas of the Jews to all the world precisely becauseJerusalem was to be no more the centre and sovereignof Christian life and power. This profounder Armageddonwas both defeat and victory; both of themdecisive not only of a nation’s but of a world’sdestiny.The seuentk and last vial also corresponds with theseventh trumpet. Then the voices of heaven proc1aimed-“The kingdom of the world is become thekingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.” This lastvial is poured into the air as if to shake the dragon’spower; and then a voice comes from the throne: “Itis done.” The last stream of wrath is emptied out, thelast force set in motion which shall bring proud Babylonto the dust; and the declaration is accompaniedby a sign of what this vial can produce, for there is amighty earthquake and” the great city is divided intothree parts.” Considerable difference of opinion existsas to whether this great city is Jerusalem or Rome;176 Jerusalem FaDen. [XVI.and certain expositors have reversed their formerjudgements, so nicely does the evidence seem balanced.This dubiety arises from the fact that all the, foes of Christianity are here blended in one picture.At first Judaism stood well to the front, but now it isalmost fully judged, and is receding before the advancingprominence of Babylon. This” great city ” is notRome ; since, as the visions proceed, we find the greatcity which is the seat of Babylon, comparatively undisturbed.It does, indeed, seem clear that JerusalemIS In view. The judgement of the holy land has beendescribed in this Second Part as until now falling only” without the city;” and it is therefore to be expectedthat we shall hear something of the city’s fate.Here, then, the catastrophe of judgement is complete,partial as it looks. This tripartite division ofthe city is apparently taken from Ezekiel’s descriptionof the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem. That prophettook his hair and divided it into three parts. Onepart he burned, another cut with a knife, and the thirdscattered to the winds of heaven. Said the Lord God-” This is Jerusalem;” and the prophecy meant, athird shall die by the pestilence and famine, a thirdshall fall by the sword, and a third part be scatteredto the winds of heaven. Such, indeed, was Jerusalem’sfate in the siege of Titus. Politically and sacerdotally,Jerusalem ceased to be.The” cities of the nations” might be those Gentilecities in which Jewish colonies came to grief at thisparticular time, but more probably the towns andcities of Decapolis, Edom, Samaria, and Galilee, called”Galilee of the nations” in St. Matthew’s gospel. In17-21.] End of the Judaic World. 1’77deed, these are distinctively called “cities of thenations” in the history of Josephus.“Babylon the great was remembered.” Surely thisintimation is enough to warn us that Babylon is notyet broken into pieces nor completely judged. Weare to understand that only the first distinctive foe ofChristianity is gone. The Jewish polity has beenshaken to its foundations. Its people have beencrushed beneath a plague of hail (a favourite symbolof destructive military visitations in the Prophets andthe Apocrypha), the weight of each of which correspondswith the stones hurled from the” scorpions” of theRomans against the bold defenders of Jerusalem. “Theislands and mountains .fled away”-so complete wasthe dislocation of the Jewish world, so utterly did Godjudge it and its ways. Nothing short of a new heavenand a new earth were to follow the great day of theLord. And no one can doubt that this judgement-daywrought a revolution in the outlook of the Church.As Dollinger says-” Christians recognized it as aprovidence of God, and a sign that the end of theceremonial law was come,-that Christian doctrine wasthereby completely taken out and separated from thematernal womb of Judaism.” A second deliverancefollowed. “The church of Christ,” says Mosheim, “hadat no period of time more bitter and desperate enemiesthan that very people to whom the immortal Saviourwas more especially sent.” Likewise Neander: “Jewishproselytes were often the fiercest persecutors of Christianity,and suffered themselves to become tools of theJews in exciting the pagans against the Christians.”When the sacred instruments of Jewish worship wereprofaned, and the Jew had no longer a home on earth,10178 Iclzabod. [XVI.his wrath might remain as fierce, but he ceased to makeproselytes, and his power to wound was gone. Isaacwas more than able to hold his own with Ishmael.Solemn lesson! The most favoured Church maybecome so corrupt as to be intolerable in the sight ofheaven. It may slay as the enemies of God his chosensons. When exalted to the heavens with pride,Ichabod may be written on its walls, and its prayers,its penances, its fasts, its genuflections, and its turningover the pages of its Bible, be an abomination inthe sight of God.THE HARLOT JUDGED.CHAPTERS XVII. AND XVIII.“La, I begin to work evil at the city 0./ my 1wme, and shouldye be utterly unpunished?”WE must be careful to note, as we enter on the~ episode of Babylon, that we are not asked tolook and see an actual event transpiring. Failure tomark this has led to error. John does not see thedestruction of Babylon by the fire of the breath of God.He sees what Babylon is, and where she sits in herself-vaunting pride, and is TOLD what shall be her end.I n visions of occurrences, John sees what is immediatelyto happen or what is actually in process and will soonreach its culmination; but, when he is merely told thatanything slzall be, the event still lies a little into thefuture, and is thereby marked with indefiniteness asto the time of its occurrence. The fact that John istold that Babylon shall be hated of the beast and hishorns, and slzall be burned; and that the trafficers ofthe world slzall mourn for her, indicates plainly thathe prophesies of things a little distant and not of whatis actually transpiring before his eyes. Even the notein the previous chapter-” Babylon the great wasremembered in the sight of God” is enough to showthat Babylon’s destruction is not actually proceeding,but is decreed and being kept in mind; and that inthe fall of the great city jerusalem (the destruction of180 Babylon. [XVII.Judaic hindrances to the triumph of the Gospel) Godis preparing the way for his judgement upon Babylon.In short, God’s judgement on Jerusalem is here setforth as his pledge to the Church that Babylon willnot be spared. This episode, then, is intended by Johnand the angelic host to be an offidal judgement pronouncedagainst tltt”s second foe and prolepticallyfulfilled. To faith, what God means to do is done.Indeed, as we have already said-the deliverance ofthe Gospel from its Judaic fetters was a sentence ofdoom on Heathenism. In such grand creations, thefirst hour is decisive. A Gospel for the Gentiles was,in its very birth, the fall of Babylon.How are we to think of Babylon, that great city, thatstrong dty-which is, “Mystery, Babylon the Great,the mother of harlots and of the abominations of theearth?” Expositors have for the most part confinedthemselves to one of three suggestions-all of whichhave considerable resemblance to the truth. A fewhave found Jerusalem concealed under the guise ofBabylon; and it is surprising how well they can makecertain marks of identification harmonise with thehistory and fate of that once sacred city. They say,Jerusalem was the wife of God, what other city can becalled an harlot? What other city is so chargeablewith the blood of Prophets and Apostles, or has soplainly ceased to be in fulfilment of this prophecy?(The ablest word for this view of Babylon will be foundby the English reader in Dr. Russell’s Parousia.i The.great majority of British expositors have, however,found Babylon in the church of Rome, or the city ofRome itself as head and centre of the Roman faith.That church, they say, is the bride of Christ; but what1-5.] Where is Babylon? 181with its worshipping of saints and images, its idolatryof the host, its assumptions of infallibility and dominion,it is clearly marked as anti-christian and apostate,and therefore is destined to the doom of Babylon.And what have we to answer in return? That wehave no objection to find Babylon in Jerusalem. Ithad apostatized from God-lost its grand ideal meaning-come to worship force, and chose another God whenit cried-” Away with this man; crucify him, crucifyhim; we have no king but Ceesar.” We have noobjection to find Babylon in the Roman church, if itbe there; and, certainly there are many startling signsof similarity. Weare prepared to find Babylon inLondon or in Paris; or indeed, in Protestanism, withits error and confusion. Babylon is wherever we findBabylon’s characteristics. Let us, however, be sure ofwhat Babylon’s features are; for if we cannot seewhat John is meaning, we are likely to fall into seriousand irretrievable mistakes; and to apply this shamefulname to men and systems who are no more nearlyallied to Babylon than we are ourselves.Now, John is not thinking specially of Jerusalem,though she was tainted by the Babel spirit. That cityis already judged and shaken to its base; and afterthe woes which have been described, it is impossibleto imagine Babylon sitting at Jerusalem in its fulsomesensuousness, cool and unconcerned. Nor is Johnthinking here of an apostate Christian Church in thedim and distant future. There is not a syllable in theprophecies of this book to indicate that Christ’s Churchhas been apostatizing up to this particular stage ofhistory. On the other hand, the last vision of theChurch revealed it standing on the glassy sea. Nor182 Not a Christian Chuyelz. [ John concerned with anything that does not exist;and that cannot afford light and consolation to theinfant Church amid the unparalleled trials which besetit. At any rate, Babylon does not bear one singlemark of being a Church of Christ, however sinful andapostate. She is described very literally as a city,great in population, rich in wealth, given to luxury anddebauchery, dealing in horses and chariots, and keepingmultitudes of slaves. So vast her population andso expensive are her habits, that she is the emporiumof the world’s trade. Her collapse is a serious blowto every shipmaster and mariner, and all who maketheir living by the sea; and her sincerest mourners inthe day of her decline are the merchants who have becomeprinces by reason of her costly tastes for preciousmetals, pearls, fine linen, fragrant woods, marblesspices, ointmcnts-s-everything that is dainty and sumptuousto the soul of man. How that describes thechurch of the Vatican we utterly fail to see; or whothe transformation of Roman Catholics into EvangelicalProtestants would strike such a fatal blow at thetrade and commerce of the world that all the merchantprinces would stand aghast, and all the fleets ofthe nations be disbanded for want of commerce! Ifthat really is to be the consequence of the new reformation,will not our evangelical British merchantswish the Millennial day to be indefinitely postponed?We come to far more likely ground, when we takeBabylon to be some heathen, anti-divine organisationexisting in apostolic times; exercising its oppressivepower against Prophets and Apostles, and standing incolossal magnitude as an insuperable obstacle to theuniversal sovereignty of Jesus Christ. If there wasXVIII.] Found in Rome. 183And 1st, her sensualpoint we shall asksuch a city, then the centre of the world, great in extent,costly in her habits, into which were gathered thewealthiest families of the time, a market for all theexpensive luxuries of Arabia and the Indies; if thiscity exercised its sovereignty in all the habitableworld, and withal was madly anti-christian and idolatrous-then this city of John’s time must have beenthe seat and throne of Babylon. That Rome was sucha city, there can be no dispute ;. and we need not wonderthat when Jerusalem has just been trampled in thedust, and Judaism blotted out, the infant Church feelsherself to be standing face to face with this giganticfoe, wondering if it be possible that she can survivethe might of Rome.Rome answers to her marks.wantonness (xviii. 8). On thisGibbon to bear his testimony :-” The most remote corners of the ancient world were ransackedto supply the pomp and delicacy of Rome. . . . . .The objects of oriental traffic were splendid and trifling; silk, apound of which was esteemed not inferior in value to a pound ofgold; precious stones, among which the pearl claimed the firstrank after the diamond; and a variety of aromatics that wereconsumed in religious worship aud the pomp of funerals. Thelabour and risk of the voyage was rewarded with almost incredibleprofit; but the profit was made upon Roman subjects,and a few individuals were enriched at the expense of thepublic.”Rome was full of palaces, furnished with everyluxury; and built with a splendour that has neverbeen paralleled in the world’s history. Pliny says thatNero consumed more precious spices at the funeral ofhis wife than all Arabia could produce in any year.184 Rome’s Sensuous Religion. XVIII.This reminds us that we must not fail to note howmuch Rome’s luxury was connected with the servicesof religion, and how deeply” a multitude of lazy andselfish priests,” and the merchants interested, woulddeprecate the success of a religion like the Gospel,without temple, sacrifice, or sacerdotal order. Mosheimwrites :-” The public worship of such an immensenumber of deities was a source of subsistenceand even of riches to the whole rabble of priests andaugurs, and also to a multitude of merchants andartists.” As the ascendancy of idolatry was fatallystricken, well might the merchants and the seamen ofthe navies that went everywhere between Britain andCeylon be represented as bewailing bitterly the downfallof the system which made them rich.Another characteristic, and one which cannot marka Christian church, but marks distinctively imperialRome, is its traffic in horses and chariots, and slaves,and lives of men (xviii. 14). As a warlike and imperialcity, and for the circus sports, horses and chariotswere in great demand. The horribly inhuman conditionof society may be imagined from the fact thatof 1,200,000 inhabitants in Rome quite one-half wereslaves-prisoners of war deported from their homesand sold-males and females brought from everyquarter for the vilest uses. From so small a countryas Judcea, 90,000 were led away after the siege of Jerusalemto feed wild beasts, or work as slaves tilldeath brought peace. So absolute was the slave’ssubjection, and so worthless was his life, that in oneRoman household 400 were put to death because oneof them under provocation assassinated his master.They were sometimes cut to pieces to feed the fish inXVII.] Marks of Identity. 185their master’s pond; or to let some guest see thedying agonies of a man. In fact, they were notcounted human beings in that Roman world, but onlychattels on their lord’s estate; and as such they wererefused all share in the national worship. Never beforenor since have the sanctities of human naturebeen so diabolically profaned.This harlot has also slain tlte saints and the martyrsofJesus. This distinction is frequently made in theApocalypse, and not without good reason. “Thesaints,” we believe to be “the holy people,” or saintsof Daniel, whom the beast was made to break inpieces and wear out. We see, then, that the harlot isthe common enemy of Jew and Christian. The particularreference before us is to Rome’s cruel annihilationof Judaic power; and to the Christian blood inwhich she had so lately steeped her hands.Again, this woman’s seat is on the beast full of thenames of blasphemy. That beast is the Roman power;or the emperor as its representative, with his claims tobe” Divus.” The city where her palace is is Rome.This woman sits upon” seven mountains.” Romeis often called in ancient literature” the seven-hilledcity;” and indeed had a yearly festival in honour ofthe inclusion of the seventh hill in the city’s boundaries.We read that there are “<senen kings” who reignsuccessively, and are appropriately designated heads ofthe beast. Of these, the sixth was reigning whenJohn wrote. That readily corresponds with the successionof Roman emperors about this time.Again, the beast John saw supporting the harlot,” was, is not, and is about to come up from tile abyss.”186 The Beast that was and is not. [XVII.This curious enigma is hard to solve, because manysolutions have been found. Our first concern shouldbe to see what John means. The beast he saw wasRome under that king or head in whose reign theharlot’s ascendancy will have reached its climax ofsecurity, and, with the usual irony of fate, in whichher supremacy will be fatally undermined. A certainmystery attaches to the person of this king; he was,is not, and is about to come; he is the eighth, followinga seventh, who reigns a little time, and is from theseven; and all the heathen world admires his reign.The marks of identification are dark enough in allconscience. But let us see.A favourite interpretation with Preterists is, thatthis eighth is the brutal Nero, who was supposed tohave escaped at his dethronement and fled eastward,and was shortly afterwards reported to be returningto claim his throne, supported by the Parthians. Beyondall question, many doubted Nero’s death; andfalse Neros did arise and claim his crown. We do not,however, believe that John here prophesies the literalreturn of Nero; much less, as some have supposed,his literal resurrection from the abyss. The mostprobable interpretation is, that Vespasian may beJohn’s sixth emperor, reigning at this point in thevisions, after Jerusalem has passed away. The briefand partially simultaneous reigns of Galba, Otho, andVitellius were the interregnum of the wound, becauseall this year the empire was in the throes of continualrevolt. The seventh, who continues a little while, isTitus, who reigned only twenty-six months; and theeighth, brother of the seventh, who gathers up intohimself the material splendour, beastliness, and blas8-11.] Nero’s Duplicate. 187pherny of the whole course of imperial reign, isDomitian.There is in the history of Domitian a fact, unnoticedby expositors, which may have led John to make theenigmatical remark-” which was, is not, and is to be.”Both Josephus and Suetonius tell us that in therevolution which deposed Vitellius, Domitian wasbrought forth to the multitude, recommended to theemperorship, “and unanimously saluted by the title ofCaesar,” after which he assumed the honours. Titus,too, all along regarded Domitian as his partner in theemperorship, although not visibly in power. “AfterDomitian became emperor, he had the assurance toboast in the senate that he had bestowed the empireon his father and brother, and that they had restoredit to him.” Thus Domitian might very literally bedescribed as the emperor that” was, is not, and is tocome “-the abyss being named to symbolize thesignally diabolical and anti-christian character of hisreign. He is thus, too, an emperor in close connectionwith the healing of the deadly wound, inasmuch as he isthe first crowned of the Flavian line; and beyond question,was the emperor in whom the specially beastlyfeatures of Roman rule reached their culmination.There was a remarkable resemblance between thecharacters and careers of Nero and Domitian ; only, inthe acute judgement of Renan, “Nero had not thedark wickedness of Domitian, the love of evil for thesake of evil.” Both of them were blood-thirsty, luxuriousand incestuous tyrants. Domitian like Nero hada craving tv be invested with necromantic powers;like Nero he commanded himself to be deified, andaddressed in letter or in speech: “Dominus et Deus188 The Pagan Revival. [XVII.Noster,” Our Lord and God; and like Nero, he becamea violent persecutor of both Jews and Christians. Thelikeness between the two was even physical, and isverified by ample testimony. The common nicknameof Domitian in Rome was” Calvus Nero”-the baldNero. (juvenal, Sat. iv. 38). Tertullian calls him” afragment of Nero” and a” sub-Nero”; and Eusebiussays: “he at length established himself as the successorof Nero in his hatred and hostility to God.” In onething only did they differ. Nero was little better thanan atheist, and discouraged all religious ceremoniesbut the worship of the emperors; Domitian, like hisfather, laboured to revive the worship of the gods inRome, and succeeded. “It was the boast of Domitianthat in his youth he had waged the wars of Jove indefence of the Capitol (the temple of Rome); that ina later age he had scaled the heavens for himself andfamily by piously restoring it.” (Merivale’s Conversion,etc., 32). Beyond all question, the dying heart ofPaganism was galvanised into a quicker action by thedevouter faith of Vespasian and his sons. There wasno actual revival of pagan faith among the people ofthe empire; but official Paganism took fresh heart, andposed in greater ceremonial splendour to the delectationof the Roman crowds. It seemed as if the old Romanworld had come to life again; the beast from the abysswas more aggressive; the dragon again was vigorouslyasserting his claim to be supreme in earth and heaven.Even in the fulfilment of this mark-“and goetltinto perdition,” Domitian is again a Nero. He endedhis reign by assassination; and as the great Julian lineof emperors closed with Nero, so did the Flaviandynasty go down with Domitian.18.] Babylon tile Destroyer of Jerusalem. 189Last of all, John is most distinctly told that thiswoman Babylon is “The great dry which reigneth overthe kings of the earth]’ (xvii. 18). Mark specially thetense in which the angel speaks-that reigneth, thatnow reigns, not” that shall reign,” as if speaking of adistant day. This could mean none other than greatRome, which then reigned jealously and tyrannicallyover the empire and its many provinces; that is, bysymbol, “upon many waters” which are “peoples andnations and tongues,”-a Babel multitude.All these indications most decisively point to heathenRome, and that is the interpretation which has foundthe widest acceptance among Christian scholars fromthe earliest times. There is a certain grand appropriatenessin the introduction of the Roman power atthis part of the apocalyptic drama. The prophetsof the Old Testament no sooner prophesied that Babylonwould destroy Jerusalem for 70 years, than immediatelytheir prophetic anger burst out on Babylonwith the reproach that although God had employedher for the punishment of his unfaithful people, Hewould nevertheless punish her speedily for her sins,and reward her double for the intensity of her hatredto Jerusalem. Correspondingly, when the Romanpower has here ground Jerusalem into powder, theprophetic spirit of the New Testament turns againstthe Roman power, and calls it ” Babylon,” and in therepetition of 01.:1 Testament language, declares that ittoo must be punished double for its sins.This of itself is enough to refute the notion thatBabylon is Jerusalem. But the correspondence betweenthe Babylon of Isaiah xlviii. and Jeremiah 1.and li, is to be found at so many points that the con190Rome and A ncient Baby/on. [XVIII.elusion seems inevitable. 1. Isaiah’s oracle concerningBabylon is of “the wilderness of the sea.” TheRomish beast is from the sea; therefore Rome answersas Jerusalem cannot do. 2. Babylon” sits uponmany waters” (Jer. Ii. 13), jerusalem’s grief is that shesits on the dry mountains. Metaphorically this fitsRome, but hardly Jerusalem. 3. Old Babylon, likethe apocalyptic, is a “golden” cup of the wine offury to the nations, treading them down in her wrath;and such was Rome, but Jerusalem never was, forthe Jew did not love soldiering. 4. Babylon as shedestroyed old Jerusalem boasted that she was” a ladyfor ever,” and the same boast is repeated here. 5.The threatened tribulation is in both cases for the unmercifulmanner in which Babylon has carried out hermission of being a whip in the Lord’s hand for thechastisement of nations. 6. This Babylon is called” a harlot,” and here the parallel so far fails. Yet otherheathen cities are called harlots, such as Samaria andNineveh. Tyre is charged with fornication; and in2 Esdras xv. 47, Babylon itself is charged with whoredom.We must not think that only Jerusalem can betreated as a harlot in the Scriptures; and that thereforeBabylon is presumably Jerusalem. Babylon isconstantly depicted in harlot character, and barelyfalls short of the name itself. These and other pointsof identity between John’s Babylon and the Babylonof Isaiah and Jeremiah seem plainly to exclude allreference to Jerusalem; because the balance of prophecyrequires that this Babylon, like the last, shallbe the destroyer of Jerusalem and the enemy of God.But why is Rome thus to come into judgement?] ohn is not the prophet of a new and startling politicsXVIII.] WIdell Rome is Babylon? 191but the herald of a new dispensation; and the standpointfrom which Rome is judged is purely ethical andspiritual. Ancient Babylon was condemned for itshaughty pride and its gross idolatry, and Rome its replicateis condemned because she sits in her pride aqueen, is wanton in her sensuality, and acts corruptinglyupon all the kingdoms she reduces to hersway; especially that she tramples with cruel andcontemptuous hoof upon all that is most sacred in theworship of Christ and God. We must, however, becareful to keep in view that it is not Rome politicalmuchless is it the Rome of stone and lime-withwhich the Apostle is concerned. Rome is here consideredas the centre and embodiment of heathenthought and worship; as a woman, that is a church,priding herself in finding all her exaltation and herpower in her reverence for the gods and the love whichthe gods have for her. She is a pretentiously religiouscity, a city of temples, of altars, of statues of the deities;and thus a wanton, a harlot with many lovers.Worse than all, she uses her religious sanctities as ameans of perpetuating her dominion and of gratifyingevery unholy lust; and so she is the mother of all theabominations of the earth. Herein lies the Babelprinciple-the lust of dominion and worldly gain bymeans of religious sanctities. Religion is only a ladderto the glory of this world. The holiest thingscome to be prostituted to the profanest and most infernaluses, so that the hearts of the people becomeutterly corrupt, even in their highest principles. Andsuch was heathen Rome. Intense as she was in herreligious fervour, she made religion a panderer to herpassions; and instead of being purified thereby, her192 Rome’s Fornications. [XVIII.people’s hearts became” the habitations ofdemons, andthe hold of every foul spin’t, and a cage ofevery uncleanand hatiful bird.”One has but to look at the history of Rome to seehow true it is that she corrupted all the earth with herfornications. Desiring to be the religious home andpolitical mistress of all nations, the native gods ofother countries were invited by the Roman Senate toset up their altars in the capital. In times of war, theparticular gods of the besieged cities were implored togive them up to the Romans in return for a more imposingworship in the imperial city. Thus Gibbonwrites, “Rome became the common temple of hersubjects; and the freedom of the city was bestowedon all the gods of mankind.” The Roman people werethus drawn from their primitive allegiance to theirfathers’ God into the abominable dissipation of anever-growing, ever-changing polytheism. They fellinto the pernicious custom of worshipping at whateveraltars offered the freshest and most excitingpleasures.Not only did Rome receive strange gods, she carriedher own particular divinities to other lands; andthus intensified the worst evils of idolatry throughoutthe world. Especially did she force upon her provincesthe worship of the emperors; and even Romeherself had a temple erected to her genius, and wasworshipped in every loyal province. This idolatrouspropagandism was part of Rome’s settled policy as ameans to the subjection of the world and her own ascendancy.She attributed to this recognition of allthe gods, her particular right to reign as queen.” Every distinct nation worships its own country gods;XVII.] Tile Goddess Roma. 193we Romans all of them; thus, while we perform thereligious rites of all nations, we deservedly enjoy universalempire,”-(Octavius of M. F., vi.) There wasbut one God whom the Romans would not worship,for whom the public revenues would build no temple,one God who was despised and hated,-the God ofthe]ew and the Christian. Do you wonder that thisimperious city, vaunting of its religious spirit, boastingof its pantheon of false gods, exalting itself as thegoddess ROMA to a place among divinities; andthen turning upon the holy harmless preachers of thecross to destroy them and proscribe the name ofChrist, and perpetuate the abominations by which itlived,-do you wonder that on it should fall the anathemasof heaven, and that the struggling infantChurch should have been comforted with heaven’s ownassurances that this great system of iniquity shouldtotter to its fall and be utterly consumed?And whence comes Babylon’s destruction? It comesfrom God; it comes from the kings of the East, thesurely growing power of truth in the new dispensationof the Gospel; and it comes from the people overwhom she reigns. The nations of the earth-the diversepeoples of the Roman world, grow weary of theharlot and her pollutions. The provinces had alwaysmaintained a higher morality, and a purer religiousspirit, than had Rome. They first felt the awful burdenof the idolatrous system which had obtained; andwere the first to break away from the religious dominationof Rome. But even Rome itself at last grewsick of the hateful system that ruled its life, and washappy to be free.But this deliverance did not come without a struggle.’319•4 Rome’s Destruction. [XVII.The first instinct of Rome’s dependents, entranced bythe mystic glamour of Babel error, was to support thecentral power, and war against everything whichthreatened to dethrone it. It was a bitter disappointmentto the Jewish revolutionary leaders that neighbouringprovinces, whom they expected to pant forfreedom, and to be ready to take advantage of Rome’spolitical disorganisation to strike for independence,rather manifested sympathy with Rome and hatredof the Jews. The soldiers that should have swelledthe ranks of liberty, flocked to Roman standards,eager to assist in putting down revolt. So much wasthe Jew hated and isolated in that ancient world.Nevertheless, Jerusalem was to conquer, under theguise of its defeat. From her went forth subtle influencesthat the intensest bigotry could not resist.The chaos of heathen thought presented no unitedfront to the solid onset of a more ideal Judaism, andthe diviner” truth as it is in Jesus.” The best thoughtof the provinces was weaned from its heathen bent.Polytheistic harlotry was discovered in all its nakedvileness; and from every side there arose a spirit ofintense antagonism to the darker features of its cults-until at last, even when it had reigned supreme, itdied and passed away. How magnificent is the contrasthere between this wanton Babylon and the NewJerusalem, the chaste religion of the Gospel. Thekings of the Roman world make Babylon naked andburn her in the fire of their wrath, when they come todiscover that she works only misery and oppressionin their midst; while all the kings of the earth becomenursing mothers to the Church, and bring theglory and honour of the nations into it. Yes, allXVIII.] Decadent Heathenism. 195wanton love turns at last into fury and hate. Thereis that in the Babel system which leads to discord,strife, and death. Evil is ultimately suicidal. Thoughmen bind themselves with oaths into brotherhoodsantagonistic to the divinely-appointed order and progressof society-thank God, such brotherhoodsare not permanent by reason of the disintegratingcharacter of evil. Truth is not at every momentmightier than error; but in the end error falls topieces by its own repulsions, and then truth triumphson its ruins.And Babylon, the fortress of decadent heathenism,the eager searcher for new gods, and debaucher ofthe nations with a multiplicity of idols, in spite of herpomp, her pride, her wantonness, her lust of conquestdid fall and her ancient glory pass away. There is nomore telling witness to that fact than that on the spotwhere apostolic blood was shed there stands the mostmagnificent place of worship in the world, and that inthat harlot city one who, rightly or wrongly as it maybe, was named the representative of Christ, came to sitin that imperial chair from which a heathen Ca-sar ruledthe world in the name of all the gods. And so everyBabylon will fall in turn; and men, grown wisethrough their experience of evil, will learn that thereis no prosperity or joy on earth but in God and hissalvation.THE MARRIAGE SUPPER THE VICTORYOF THE WORD OF GOD.CHAPTER XIX.“As the bridegroom. rejoiceth over the bride, so shall th!!God rejoice over thee.”JOH N has not seen Babylon consumed. It israther a future victory of which he has beenassured. It is, however, a result contained in the veryadvent of the Gospel. The effect is hidden in thecause; and thus already, by the angels, and all theheavens, Babylon is seen as fallen. While John is fullof enraptured amazement at this prophecy, he hears aburst of heavenly voices rejoicing in the righteousjudgements of the Lord. We know that when heavenrejoices it is not because earth is cursed, and the areaof its sorrow widened. Rather is it because whatevermay corrupt the earth is judged and whatevermay cause sorrow and oppression is sentenced to becast down and broken, in order that God’s kingdommay be more fully realized in the hearts and consciencesof men.These rejoicings could not take place over anymerely mortal city. Mere political overthrows havelittle bearing on the moral history of the world. Wemust not bring heaven down into the paltry politics ofWhig and Tory j or dream that heaven is largely in1-7.] The Marn’age Supper. 197terested in the transference of trade from Rome toConstantinople, Venice, London, or New York.When, therefore, we are asked to see that great city ofapostolic times, imperial Rome, in the Babylon of St.John, the reader will understand that such a cityshaped itself to John as the very impersonation of theheathen spirit, and as a standing challenge to theGospel’s claims to be the only true and universal religion,and Christ’s own claim to be the King of kings.There could be no revelation of Christ in his glory, noclaim to bring the world its righteous king, withoutthe distinct assurance that Christ would in due season” Tread the idols in the dust,Heathen fanes destroy;Spread the Gospel’s holy trust,Spread the Gospel’s joy I”Suddenly, John hears a fresh outburst, apparentlyof all in heaven and on earth, in sympathy with theadvent of the kingdom of God on earth, rejoicing overthe approaching marriage of the Lamb with his bridethe Church. It is somewhat disappointing that sucha beautiful and promising conception is not wroughtout in the visions of this book. We have only an intimationmeanwhile that the marriage hour is come.Even this problem is left unsolved-Does the marriage,scene occur on earth or is it placed in heaven? Ouranswer is-It may be in both worlds, because theChurch in heaven and on earth is one.This marriage may have some real significance onearth. Those bright and festive robes may well typifythe Church which has faithfully answered to the call”Come forth, my people out of Babylon.” TheChurch, we shall suppose, in her early zeal makes a198 TIle Bn”de of God. [XIX.perfect separation of herself from every false and evilway of that Babel system by which she is encompassed.When the smoke of Jerusalem’s judgement iscleared away, the world’ sees this little company ofsaints gathered around the name of Christ, worshippingHim as seated on God’s throne, and as havingwon a triumphant victory over the evil power. Didthis not also put peculiar emphasis upon the Church’sown divinity, clothe her with the graces of her husband,identify her with the heavenly destinies of herLord? Now she has come forth from the obscurity ofher virgin days; she is no longer confounded withthe beggared Jew, but is seen to pass into the palacesplendours of her marriage with the King of kings.Clothed was she in mean and humble garments whileJudaism sneered, and asked-Where is the sign of hiscoming? and Heathenism proudly stalked abroad inall its glittering pomp; but when Christ was seen inhis divine ascendancy over human and infernal foes,the Church appeared in all the grand significance ofher relation to the Eternal One. The time was comefor Zion to put on her beautiful apparel and shinewith all the light and glory of the Bride of God.But who can those be who are” bidden” to themarriage supper? The difficulty has been felt-Arenot those who are bidden “saints,” and yet theydo not appear to be the Church, the bride? Letus not press the figure quite so tightly. Those “bidden”will be witnesess, at least, of the glory of the bride andher beloved. Now, as the marriage of the Church canonly be beheld by the eye of faith; the blessednesshere spoken of will be the happy fortune of those onlywho can discern at this particular time, the Church’s7-9.] Those Bidden. 199wedded dignities. In short, those bidden are thosewho see that the Church of Christ is indeed the brideof God; a divine dispensation of love to men. Thesewill unite themselves with the Church and ultimatelyenter on eternal life.Of course, the Church beyond the veil will realisethis marriage in a much more realistic sense. Is itnot possible that this “fine linen bright andpure” isakin to the white robes in which we saw the martyrspiritsarraying themselves in preparation for the comingof their Lord? Is this marriage-day not after allto them what we prosaically call” the resurrection”thecoming of their affianced Lord to lift them fromtheir low estate and make them partners with Himselfin the glory which He has with the Father? The placein heaven has been prepared; the bride sits downupon her husband’s throne.There is much here that reminds us of the parableof the wise and foolish virgins; and from that wementally swing to the vision of the risen and reigningsaints, who have the first resurrection. Married unionwith Christ is the close and intimate life of the risensaints. Those” bidden” are spirits who are readyand worthy to share in the first resurrection. Thosenot bidden are the rest of the dead who do not live asyet with Christ,-who “cannot enter now.” There isa wonderful harmony; and this may be the actual significanceof the marriage feast, for John plainly tellsus that the resurrection of the saints and the reignwith Christ take place at this point of time.No wonder that the heavens rejoice-as the rcdeemedenter on their grand inheritance, and theChurch on earth is seen arraying herself in beauteous200 John’s Fellow-Servant. [XIX.apparel, and realising her eternal unity with the Sonof God. All this is significant of the departure oflong-reigning fallacies, and widely-corrupting iniquitiesfrom the earth; and of the nations coming to thefeet of Jesus to be taught and healed. With universalshoutings they exclaim-” Let us be glad and rejoicefor the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wifehath made herself ready.”The infinite relief with which John heard the newsof this near and blessed consummation of his hopesfor the Church is well expressed in his instantaneousprostration at the feet of the nameless one thatassured him of its truth. It was some spirit near him,closer in sympathy than an angel from the heavens, afellow-servant from the human race, one of the prophetswho reckoned himself, as well as John, a witnessfor the truth of Christ. The spirit of his propheciesin the days of old was a testimony to this very Christwho now initiates this Messianic age . The dead arenot like a burnt-out wick ; nor like men that dreamin sleep; nor is their life what Martensen describes asthat mere “esoterisches Leben in sich seiber leben,”or ” self-brooding,” which is sometimes credited to theHades state. Here we discover that the Church in theunseen, before the resurrection life, is in living sympathywith the Church on earth, keenly conscious ofits struggles, intensely interested in the consummationof its reign .” TAe Lord Jesus from heauen. 1citl~ the angels of Ma powerin jlamin.q fire, rendering eenqeance to them. that knownot Gad.”Once more we come directly upon the person ofour Lord. John sees him riding on a white horseDiqitrzed byGOOgle10-16.] God’s Word at War. 201arrayed in garments red with blood, and crowned withmany diadems. The revised translation prefers toread that his garment was” sprinkled” with blood.That is the reading also of Origen and the translatorsof the Syriac and Ethiopic versions. It would, therefore,appear that John has Is. lxiii. 3 in view; and theblood is consequently that of his enemies.This revelation is the same in character as thereaping scene of the xivth chapter; only here it is ajudgement of the heathen as yonder it was of theJudaic world.Christ’s present office is the twofold one of judgingand making war; and as John here exhibits it, it proceedsfor a considerable space of time. To judge isto separate good and evil in the minds of men ; andto make war is to combat with evil until it is destroyed.The just severity of his reign and his implacable enmityto evil are well-expressed in those two characteristicsentences-” He shall rule the nations with arod of iron; and He treadeth the wine-press of thewrath of Almighty God.” These are terrific words,and awake suggestions concerning Christ to whichhappily we are not accustomed. Have we any reasonto suspect that John is here allowing his own subjectivityto colour his vision of the Saviour? Is Johnstill the son of thunder who would call down fire fromheaven upon villagers who refuse to receive his gospel?Perhaps, indeed, he is; but any way, this descriptionof Christ’s reign is most appropriate to the necessitiesof that hateful old Roman world.“He shall rule them with a rod of iron.” Insome respects the imperial Roman government wastyrannical and severe; but from a moral point of202 Clmst’s Righteous Rule. [XIX.view, it was loose and easy to a degree. The Caesarsnever intruded on the privacy of the citizens, nor tookmeans to repress free thought. Merivale says :-” Itwas generally deemed sufficient to divert the interestof the people from public affairs by supplying themwith a constant variety of employment or dissipation,to amuse them in their casual bursts of anger by thesacrifice of some object of their aversion, to soothetheir discontent by redoubled largesses, to allay theiralarms of plague or famine by the more extravagantshows and massacres in the circus.” The same loosenesswas prevalent in religion. It was lawful to worshipany god or all the gods of the Pantheon, so longas the national worship was not abandoned. Religionat its best was a due observance of sacred ceremonies,and was totally divorced from truth and purity indaily life. Such was not to be the law of Christ. Hisauthority would be all pervading and obtrusive-eveninto the domain of private thought. His law notonly says-Thou shalt not kill ; but also, Thou shaltnot hate. He not only forbids adultery, but the sensuallook. The common indulgences of heathen lifeare abhorrent to the law of Christ; and this new Kingwill secure obedience not by pandering to men’s lusts,but by constraining them to obey the behests of truthand righteousness. In His kingdom, the gods shallnot be made down to the measures of men; but theone inflexible law will be: “Thou shalt worship theLord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.”The other function of this heavenly ruler is ” tomake war.” The issue is described as full of horrors.Weare in the thickest of the carnage of a dreadfulbattle-field; and the air is dark with birds of prey that17-21.] The Gospel Warfare. 203come to feast upon the dainty flesh of men. We mustnot freely take for granted that all this bloodshed isan allegory. Alas, history will refute us if we do, onalmost every page. The garments of the Gospel arebesprinkled with the blood of friends and foes. Thetruth of one God, and one Christ, has not triumphedwithout the gathering of hostile nations, and the delugingof fields with blood. Kings have gone out intobattlefields to war with Christ; and without victory inwar, the Galilean could not have conquered the kingdomsof this world for God. But for the bloodshedand suffering of the nations in the march of truth,Christ is not responsible. His chosen weapons are notcarnal. His sword is the word of truth. His armiesare the prayers and inspirations of his saints. He warsnot against men, but evil principles j and if kings andemperors were content to abide by the challengewhich truth throws down to error, then the triumphsof the Gospel would be the victories of peace. Itis,indeed, a painful sight to see Christian men warringwith the canon and the sword-” giving their brethrento be food for the fowls of the air;” but there is thisconsolation, that out of every Aceldema there will bea noble resurrection of new truth, or holier influence,or fresh-kindled zeal. Where conflicting hosts areslain, there also will be slain some beastly lie, somefoul ambition, some accursed power, that was tendingto destroy the peace of earth, or the very souls of men.” God’s world has one great echo.Whether calm blue mists are curled,Or lingering dew-drops quiver,Or red storms are unfurled,-The same deep love is throbbingThro’ the heart of God’s great world.204 The Victory of the Word. [XIX.” Oh God ! man’s heart is darkenedHe will not understand,Show him thy cloud and fire,And with thine own right handThen lead him throngh his desertInto thy holy land.”Let us not forget who is to win this victory: ” TheWord of God.” Perhaps it was from this vision Johnfirst learned the secret of this name. “The Word ofGod “-significant of clearest light with a backgroundof profoundest mystery. So much we can understand,for the Word is the expression and form of truth; butso much we cannot understand, for” no man hathseen God.” Christ only knows the full significance ofthis name. It is too extensive and intensive for us tofathom it. This much we know-God is Light withoutdarkness ; Love without hate. He goes forth towar with beast and liar-with brutality and error. Inthis vision, we ‘see the beginning of the conflict in thebeginning of the Gospel ministry to the heathenworld; and symbolically we see the end. The Wordgoes forth to war with evil; to slay error, to explodeevery fallacy that crushes men; to break up everytyranny which is inimical to the full development ofwhat is best in human nature. If the progress of thetruth and the avengement of fallacy and wrong involvebloodshed and its attendant horrors, let usmourn for the perversity of blind and sinful men; butlet us feel assured that God moves on his triumphalmarch through history, and that every century seessome curse abated and some young trees of libertyand righteousness planted for the healing of thenations.SATAN BOUND-THE MILLENNIAL REIGN-THE JUDGEMENT OF THE DEAD.CHAPTER XX.“.No one can enter into the house of the 8trong and spoilhis goods, except he fir8t bind the strong; and thenhe will spoil his Muse.”T\HE scene before us does not come unexpectedly- upon the reader. Indeed, it may well be asked:Should not the first strategical movement in thiswar have been the capture of Satan and his ejectionfrom the earth? It will be found that the actual orderis the divine method. The struggle between good andevil is depicted in figures of physical warfare ; but weclearly see that we are looking on a moral contest inwhich God respects his creatures’ wills and overcomesthem by the persuasive force of truth and righteousness.The Devil can be ejected from the earth onlywhen men learn to love the truth, and are willing tobe subject to its power. Therefore, the more visibleenemies of righteousness are first overcome. TheChurch has an important share in the heavenlyvictory.The binding of Satan is intended to express therestriction which the advent of Christ to power, andthe spread of Christian truth put upon the manifesta206Satan BOU1ld. [xx,tion of demoniacal power, so prevalent in the firstcentury. It is not easy for us to put ourselves in theplaces of those early generations. We cannot feel howreal Satanic action was to them; nor even well imaginewhat diabolical shapes it took. We know, however,that it was” the hour and power of darkness” ;and from this book itself that the Devil had comedown to earth in great wrath (xii. 12) in order tocrush the infant Church.Let us go back a moment. What did we read onthat occasion? That the Devil knew that he had”buta short time” in which to meet the crisis of the warbetween heaven and hell. Here then we have a testof the principle of interpretation we have followed.Every system which makes hundreds or thousands ofyears to pass between the ascent of Christ and thebinding of Satan must be false; and false in the faceof evidence that amounts to demonstration. Thebinding of Satan at the close of his short struggle forascendancy, we have the right to say is, the restraintput upon demoniacal influence by the growing ascendancyof the Christian Church-and largely, perhaps,that Church in the invisible world. Heathenism itselfabout this time bears witness to the growing silenceor the growing falsity of its oracles. The Church wasin gleeful spirits over its hold on demoniacal manifestations.”Men dwelt with exultation on the powerwhich their prayers and the utterance of the divinename, and the laying on of hands, had to drive thedemon howling and blaspheming from his usurpedabode.”-(Demoniacs, Smith’s Dic.ofAntiq.). Tertullianasserts that the Christians had become essential to thesafety of Roman citizens: ” We could ruin you only1-3.] Tlte Saints in Power. 207by dividing from you. If we retired, who coulddeliver you from those insulting spirits, those disguisedenemies that torture and discompose your bodies”(Apology, xlix.) This common power of the Christiansover demons was the current crucial test as to whetherChrist or Satan was supreme; it was the sign that theage of demoniac heathenism was on its dying bed;that a new age of divine power was begun-theKingdom of God and his Christ.” They that are Christ’s at his coming.”We cannot be surprised at what now follows, viz.,that John should see thrones, and the saints who havepassed through death reigning in their resurrectionlife. According to what we have found in previousvisions, we ought to come upon a scene like this-thesymbol of the Christian age begun on earth and theheavenly reward of the faithful. It may be a surpriseto some to be told of a resurrection of the saintsoccurring in apostolic or sub-apostolic times. Nevertheless,such is the time appointed for the resurrectionby the uniform teaching of the Scriptures. Indeedthere is nothing new in this revelation given to John.Paul before taught us that” the saints shall judge theworld.” Every Gospel and Epistle tells us that Christis about to take his power and reign, to judge the livingand the dead, to raise his saints to kingly power.John just sees these promises accomplished. Thisunanimity of teaching ought to compel our faith andto confute those interpretations which throw all thisinto the indefinite future.WHO ARE THESE RESURRECTED ONES? Thereare exegetes who resolve the whole transaction into a208 Who are raised from the Dead? [xx,figure of speech-a resurrection of the martyr-spirit inthe Church on earth; others spiritualize it into theChristian or regenerate life. Poor thin refinements utterlyunworthy of the grand occasion! Here is summedup the grand result of the struggle of Christwith Antichrist and Satan-the outcome of redemption,and it can mean no less than actual immortalityand glory to the saints of God.Others find here the actual resurrection, some ofthree classes, some of two, and some of only one. Mostclearly, there are neither THREE nor ONE, but TWO.There is no word here of ” caught up and transfiguredearthly saints.” John sees on thrones” souls”-that is,persons separated from the body of flesh; and thesepersons of two classes, differing however only in thedegree of bitterness which their fidelity to Christ occasioned.The one became martyrs for their faith; theother escaped through the great tribulation,-all ofthem” faithful unto death.” These two classes necessarilyembrace all the Christian dead of apostolictimes; therefore, we have here all who up to this pointof time” had died in the Lord.” They at this momententer on their rest; become caught up into glory tobe for ever with the Lord.WHERE DO THEY LIVE? Not upon the earth.There is not a line in the vision to lead to such anotion. They are with Christ; and seen by Johnin heaven, along with heavenly armies, warringwith the sword of the word, against demoniacalpowers, whilst the destiny of the conquered is the lakeof fire and brimstone. Matthew Arnold complainsthat the “Apocalypse replunged religion into thematerialism” out of which Jesus had laboured to de4-6.] Christ’s Coming Visible and Personal. 209liver it. No book ought to have a more spiritualisinginfluence upon the Christian faith. Here is John carefullyexplaining to the primitive Church that if anyof them cherished carnal hopes from the secondcoming of their Lord they would be woefully disappointed;and yet this carnal idea reigns in theChurch to-day, creating a very carnival of confusion-a new Babel-and issuing in serious mistakes inChristian doctrine, not to speak of it breeding confederationswhose whole atmosphere is polluting tothe inward life. Christ’s return is VISIBLE and PERSONAL;but NOT EARTHLY and MATERIAL. “I willcome for you,” He says, “that where I am, there youmay be also.” This clearly is the pledge of a visibleand personal return. So is the angelic saying on themount of ascension: “This Jesus shall so come in likemanner as ye beheld Him going into heaven.” Butmark that it is the Apostles who are to behold Him inthis manner. He is to return to them. They howeverhave been distinctly told that possibly all of them,with perhaps the single exception of J ohn, will be deadbefore the time of his coming; and they must haveunderstood that they were to see Him come for themwherever they were when dead. How this promisecan fairly be transformed into a corporeal descent intothe earth in the 20th century is a mystery to thepresent writer. The coming of Christ to this outerworld is but phenomenal and dispensational, in thesigns of a providential judgement and a quickenedChurch. These are the tokens of his reign; that is,of his heavenly power, his true divinity, his functionsas Saviour and King of men. The risen saints livewith Christ in the glory of his Father.210 The Reign of the Saints. [xx,WHERE DO THEY REIGN? Christ reigns on andfrom his throne in heaven. He ascended up to theseat of power; to the centre of the sentient andspiritual universe; and from thence his power proceeds.It seems to be a jejune and trivial conception thatChrist must descend and reign like an Eastern princeon earth. It is falling back upon carnal notions; uponthe rudiments of this world, plainly renounced byChrist when he refused to be a King, and taught theJewish people that by no outward ordinances ordragooning, or sensuous splendour issuing from a localsource, was the Kingdom of God to come. Christreigns in and by his Church. When Satan was castdown the kingdoms of this world became God’s andChrist’s; or in the language of St. Paul (1 Cor. xv. 24)the Son delivered up the kingdom to God the Father.The authority usurped by Satan was wrenched fromhis wicked hands and delivered back to God, and overthis restored kingdom God and his Christ shall reignfor evermore,-Christ the active personal force whichguides its course, subject always to the infinite andeternal Father whom no eye but Christ’s can see.This restoration of the kingdom involved the destructionof the last enemy, viz., death-in the re-·surrection of the saints to reign with Christ. Thegovernment of Christ is not dissociated from the elevationand sovereignty of humanity. Christ triumphsover Satan only as men triumph over evil by theirfaith. His sovereignty implies the sovereignty of man,the regeneration of our hearts, the rule of God in theconscience and life. The sovereignty of the saints, inits ultimate form, may have its offices of rule over thecities and kingdoms of a human spirit-world infinitely4-6.] Tile Nature of tlte Resurrection. 211vaster than this Monacoan principality of a world;but certainly we must not despise the posthumousinfluence of the saints on earth. There is a sovereigntyexercised by many of the departed saintswhich certain living saints would give kingdoms topossess. Do not the Apostles reign with Christ? Isit not said sometimes that the authority of Paul withinthe Church has deposed Christ from his throne? Donot our prophets say :-” Paul is now coming to anend of his reign” (Renan), because the sharpness iswearing off our Protestant theology, and modernthought is going back more than formerly upon theperson and words of Christ? All this, with the respectso justly due to the martyrs and fathers of the earlyChurch, is no mean fulfilment of the saying-” theylive and reign with Christ.”IN WHAT FORM DOES THE RESURRECTIONTRANSPIRE? Let us be done with the mischief whicharises from the prevalent notion that resurrection issome form of re-incarnation associated with the graveyardand the cast-off flesh. Weare on a false trackwhen the heart of “resurrection” is the idea-” reembodiment.”Resurrection is not” rising again” asif of something formerly recumbent. It is essentially”upstanding (,),” and properly implies place,position, power, in the Kingdom of Heaven. In itsideal sense, it is the inheritance of the saints alone.They only are” worthy to obtain the resurrection ofthe dead, and arc equal to the angels, and are sons ofGod, being sons of the resurrection” (Luke xx. 35-6).In a looser and inferior sense, all men are to have an”upstanding” in the unseen world; but the “standing”of the wicked is on so Iowa plane as to be hardly212 The Thousand Years. [xx,worthy of the name. The question-” With whatbodies do they come?” is entirely aside from the factof resurrection; and whatever answer may be givenmust not confound resurrection with re-incarnation,materiality, and sense and time. The resurrection ofthese saints indicates no particular change of form,and certainly no transaction which brings them nearerto the earth. John had seen some of them beneaththe altar now he sees them in a higher sphere,and 5ird.,s upon thrones. That is the essential factin resurrection. What has happened in the interval?The Lord has descended with the shout of a victor,with the keys of Hades, for his waiting saints and hasled them into the Kingdom of Heaven. They werecaught up into heaven-underwent” the rapture of thesaints” in those seraphic bodies with which the indwellingSpirit of God had clothed the mystic shrine ofpersonality.How LONG ARE THE SAINTS TO REIGN? “Forever and ever.” The thousand years is the usualperiod which Rabbinical theology assigned to an ageor dispensation, and does not limit the reign of thesaints; but only marks the period of a fresh Satanicoutbreak (unsuccessful) against Christ’s kingdom.This thousand years period has proved a stumblingblock to many students of New Testament prophecy.Some feel strongly disposed to place but little weightupon this prophetic annunciation because it is the onlyplace in Scripture where a 1000 years are spoken ofas an apparent limit to the Messianic reign. Otherscannot see that the teaching of this chapter is in harmonywith the rest of Scripture (for example, Beet,4-6.] Tlte Millennium 1VO Utopia. 213Symposium, 26-35), especially in the interval which itis supposed to place between the resurrection of thegood and bad. All this apparent confusion only showsthat many of our exegetes have not yet found the keywhich unlocks this important doctrine and harmonisesScripture teaching. As to this thousand years limitation,John neither tells us how he obtained this informationnor betrays its motive. It seems, however, tobe inserted here simply as a note of warning to theChurch. If the vision of an endless unbroken reignof holiness alone had been presented, false hopeswould have been raised, only to be dashed in bitternessto the ground. Indeed, otherwise sensible men,in spite of the warning here so plainly given, have entertainedmost foolish and unwarranted dreams aboutthis period of the Church’s history, and failing to findtheir imaginings realised, assert that this millennialperiod is still to come. We believe the millennial termis introduced, not to encourage such utopian dreams,but to check them. A long period of growing powerand extended victory is said to lie before the infantChurch. This 1000 years will not be a battle for existence-that is fought at the beginning of the Christianage and won-but it will be a period of incessantand successful work for the extension of Christ’s kingdom.However long these stretches of prosperity, evilwill still exist upon the earth, and the peace will attimes be broken. The beast and the false prophet,enemies of the infant Church, will be “gone to perdition;” Satan will be bound and cast into the abyss;but the evil seed sown broadcast in the world duringthe age of Satanic ascendancy still grows and flou214Gog and Magog. [xx.rishes outside the Church, stretching over many a distantcontinent and shore. Even after a 1000 years,there is a multitudinous heathenism which theChurch’s agencies have not reached, and its existencewiII be a standing menace to the cause of Christ.Whilst heathen men are on the earth, there is a dangerof their characters becoming so Satanic that oncemore they are in mental touch with hell, and the abyssagain is opened, so that Satanic thought and demoniacpowers swarm into human life and fill it with suchdevilish potency that the very Church of Christ ismenaced, and old times when heathen influencessurged like waves around its walls come back again.With such a state of things there might even be a revivalof the pagan spirit in the Church itself. John warns theChurch against such possibilities of invasion. Thatany such danger could exist against a Church ofresurrected Saints, with a Divine Christ visibly reigningin the midst of them, after a thousand years’ triumphantpossession of the earth, is an imagination almost toopreposterous to enter the human mind. Only a reverentand docile belief that such is taught in Scripturecan keep an idea so essentially insane alive. John’sthought is infinitely far from such an imagination,and it ought for ever to be dismissed. The Seer describesthe future of the infant Christian Church onearth, whose history is concurrent with the reign ofthe saints in heaven. It will have its recurring outbreaksof Satanic evil; it must never lull itself into afalse security because half a world is Christianised.So long as Gog and Magog, heathen peoples, areallowed to exist on earth, there will be Satanic invasionsof the Church. It is impossible that the gates9.] The Camp of the Saints. 215of hell can prevail against it. The fire of the Wordof the Lord-the brimstone breath of his righteousness-issuing from the altar, will repel the foul invadersthat would desolate her hearth; and in somemore distant day the devil’s work will be utterly undoneand consumed in eternal fire.WHERE IS THE SCENE OF THIS DEMONIACWARFARE? It is around” the camp of the saints andthe beloved city.” We must remember that John isnot a political historian, but a seer depicting the strugglingsof the kingdom of God on earth, through certain”signs” presented to his inner eye. Do not let thenotion of a stone and lime Jerusalem lead you into asnare. John has shown us that historic Judaism is forever gone; its earthly site is even clean wiped out. Hewrites with another Jerusalem in his eye-one dearerthan the old; the true home of God’s saints; the realmetropolis of his kingdom upon earth. So soon as thefield is clear he will tell us of this Jerusalem; but,meanwhile, principles must be postponed to persons,if anything more interesting, and the work of the oldworld be completely done before we are fully introducedinto the new.That this millennial forecast of John’s is not beyondthe truth, all history bears witness. The rapid spreadof Christian truth over the Roman world, was succeededby a dangerous relapse into heathen thought. Thedark ages, as we call them, was an invasion of theChurch by demoniac thought-a revival of sacerdotalismwith its pretentious claim to rule the heavens, andits magical appeals to the superstitious fears of men.The camp of the saints was compassed, the beloved216 Satan Loosed. [xx,city beleaguered by Satanic foes; and only the freshfire of God’s word-breathed from the nostrils of suchheaven-born souls as Luther-Miichtiger Eichbaum !Deutsohen Stammes! Gottes Kraft!-rolled back the tide of hel1 and saved the world.Then it is possible that we are living in thatmille’nnial age about which men dream such utopiandreams! It is: we are. That conclusion may be asurprise to many of our readers. But let us not forgetthat once in the Church’s history it was the commonbelief that John’s 1000 years were gone. Dorner bearswitness that the Church up to Constantine understoodby” Anti-christ” chiefly the heathen state and to someextent unbelieving Judaism-(System, etc., iv. 390).Victorinus, a bishop martyred in 303, reckoned the1000 years from the birth of Christ. Augustine wrotehis magnum opus, “the City of God,” with a sort ofdim perception of the identity of the Christian Churchwith the New Jerusalem. Indeed, we know that the1000 years were held to be running by the generationsprevious to that date, and so intense was their faiththat the universal Church was in a ferment of excitementabout and shortly after A. D. 1000, in expectationof the outbreak of Satanic influence. Wickliff, thereformer, belived that Satan had been unbound at theend of the 1000 years, and was intensely active in hisday. That this period in Church history is past, ornow runs its course, has been the belief of a roll ofeminent men too long to be chronicled on our pageofAugustine, Luther, Bossuet, Cocceius, Grotius,Hammond, Hengstenberg, Keil, Moses Stuart, Phil7-10.] TIle Jvlillennial Age. 217lippi, Maurice, etc., etc. Let it be kept in mind thatJohn is not responsible for the extravagancies socommonly associated with the millennial age. Thereis not a syllable here to justify them. And yet themillennium Christ has actually given us is better thanthe sensuous dreams with which men stupify themselves.Christianity has changed the world; made allthings new. Weare so accustomed to magnify theevil in the world that we forget to give God thanks forthe evils which his Gospel has extirpated. Go backupon that old pagan world into which the Gospelcame-take up such a book as Brace’s Gesta Christi,the achievements of Christ, and read there how Christianityhas changed the life and character of the wholecivilised pagan world. One may well exclaim in theeloquent language of Farrar,-” What need to tell youagain how it purified a society which was rottenthrough and through with lust and hate, how it rescuedthe gladiator, how it emancipated the slave, how itelevated womanhood, how it flung over childhood the;egis of its protection, how it converted the wild, fiercetribes from the icy steppes and broad rivers of theNorth, how it built from the shattered fragments ofthe Roman Empire a new created world, how it savedlearning, how it baptized and re-created art, how itinspired music, how it placed the poor and sick underthe angel wings of mercy, and entrusted to the twogreat archangels of reason and conscience the guidanceof the young!”BUT WHAT OF THE “FIRST” RESURRECTION?This reign of the saints with Christ is the firstresurrection; are there more to follow, and in whatsense? Another subject of bewildering perplexity218 Tlte First Resurrection. [xx.alike to pre- and post-rnillenarians, but which resolvesitself into sunlight when we think in the track of John.We have not space to refute the many surmises whichare afloat; but hope to make John’s meaning plain ina few sentences.Paul is our great authority on the resurrection ofthe dead. When does it take place? “They thatare Christ’s at his coming.” This agrees with John,who has just shown us the Son of Man in the cloudsof heaven, and now shows us the first resurrection inthese reigning saints. It is a simultaneous” upstanding” of all the dead in Christ; and is signalised asthefirst resurrection, not by any means, as is commonlytaught, to empllasise tile idea that there is one or moresimilar resurrections still to follow at distant intervals;but to emphasise the apostolic doctrine that this isabsolutely the first resurrection that has been achieuedthateven the Old Testament saints Ilad not attainedtheir final destiny until that Chnst wlzom the Jewsdespised and cursed, Ilad by his merits prepared aplace for them in heauen, and led tltem into its finalrest. This resurrection is that which is immediatelyanticipated in all the books of the New Testament.John here assures us that it has taken place.Every Christian soul at that moment in the intermediatestate was called up into the Father’s housesomeone of the many mansions-for service in thekingdom of heaven.This however, while it is the first, and perhaps thelast of its kind, does not exclude resurrection in anothermanner. The Church exists on earth; men are bornand die, long after the earliest saints have ascendedup to heaven. This too, is clearly enough indicated5-G·l A re there other Resurrections? 219in the Scripture. Paul’s interest naturally does notreach far beyond the first resurrection of the Parousiatime; but he ventures a step or two. “We shall notall sleep at the last trump,” that is, at thecoming of Christ’s kingdom. Of course, it follows thatmany of the Corinthians can not be in the firstresurrection, which is only of the dead or those fallenasleep. Would not this be a grievous loss to theseCorinthians? Would it not consign them to the Hadesstate, a time of waiting in imperfect conditions ofvitality and glory, until perhaps some other and distantcoming of their Lord for their deliverance? No,by no means. They, in the putting off of their corruptionwould not descend to Hades-they would becaught up to meet the Lord; they would not be sentencedto a long delay and eager waiting for theirLord, they would be cllanged as it were in a momentfrom the Church on earth to the glorified Churchabove. They will have no reason to regret that theyare not dead before the coming of their Lord to takehis saints to heaven, because Christ has henceforthabolished Hades for his people, and given them imme<Hate victory over death’s most sharp and bitter sting.Such is Paul’s answer; given, alas, if we may judgeby experience, too briefly and obscurely to be easilyseized; but plain enough when the key is found.The first resurrection is that which takes place of allsleeping Christians simultaneously at the Parousia;afterwards resurrections are not general but particular-” each man in his own order.” The place is readyfor the Christian, if the Christian is ready for theplace; hence death is immediate translation. Theimpression seems to be widely spread that Paul held220 “Caugltt up together witlt thein,” [xxthat at the moment of the last trump those Christiansliving on the earth would be caught up into the massof the resurrected dead so as to be partakers in onecommon act of ascension. Perhaps this idea is borrowedfrom 1 Thes. iv. 15-17. It is, however, distinctly statedthere that what befalls the living Christian is an afternot a simultaneous experience (v. 17) ; and though thewords” together with them,” look to be equivalent toII simultaneously” they are not actually so. “AjJ-a(together) may express the idea of place as well as oftime, and in the New Testament most frequently carriesthe idea of identity of quality, and might well betranslated” likewise.” The word is radically identicalwith the Sanscrit sauui, Latin simul, Gothic santa,English, same. In this light, it is seen that Paul instructsthe Thessalonians only to this effect, that they,though not dead at the second coming, will afterwardsbe caught up in similar manner to the dead, to meetthem and be for ever in their blessed society. Paul’steaching is thus in strictest harmony with the intimationof John: “Blessed are the dead which die in theLord henceforth,” because they immediately enter ontheir rest and the reward of their works. After thesimultaneous resurrection which John now witnesses,each Christian dying immediately passes into thesociety of his Lord. Hence, the doctrine of theApostles is far more reasonable and more comfortingthan the usual interpretations make it. These pointus to a distant day as the complete realization of ourhopes. “Like the martyrs in Rev. v. 10, we are to bein eternity waiting eagerly for complete triumph.”(Beet, Symposium,1.53). But the entire New Testamentteaching is, that as soon as the Christian age is5-6.] ” The Rest of the Dead.” 221introduced, the Christian heavens are opened, and theChristlike worker meets with his reward. Immediatetransition from one life to another, from the Churchbelow to the Church above-such as will appear toconsciousness as an instantaneous change-is the wellwarrantedexpectation of the ripened saint. Thusdoes Christ equalise, as near as possible, the portionof his saints.WHAT BECOMES OF THE REST OF THE DEAD?” They lived not until the thousand years should befinis/zed.” John thus simply severs them from thepeculiar rewards of faithful believers in Christ Jesus.In the spirit-world at that moment were all the pastgenerations of the earth. We need not be surprisedthat multitudes of them could have no share in thejoys and triumphs of the Christian saints. Many ofthem had lived and died in sin; and been” spirits inprison” before the Saviour’s advent. How could theywho were ignorant or unbelieving reign with Cllristhoweven could they li71e with Him? From therewards of the Christian age they are excluded. Theyare” not worthy of that alwv (age), nor of’ upstanding’from among the dead” (Luke xx. 35); and hence,they” go away into a10vLav separation.” John’s languagedoes not imply that at the end of the 1000 yearsthey are exalted to the society of the faithful in ChristJesus. Their future is somewhat strangely leftindefinite. His eye sweeps along the Christian age,but not up to the very last does he see them enter intothe communion of the saints. It is with them as withthe foolish virgins. The sentence runs solemnly (assome might think, with no positive encouragement to222 The General Judgement. [xx,expect a reversal of their doom; and as others mightsay, not to the exclusion of some distant hope) :-” Yecannot enter now.” This, however, is not John’s lastword about” the rest of the dead.” Here they are onlyincidentally bounded off from the saints to give shadowto the picture. By and bye, he will tell us more, andwhen that moment comes perhaps this little ray ofhope may be totally quenched.THE GENERAL JUDGEMENT OF THE DEAD.What then is the state, during these 1000 years, ofthose vast companies of the dead who have not enteredinto heaven with Christ? This is a question raised bythe usual interpretation of this passage-to which itgives no answer. We know nothing of these myriadsof dead for a thousand years-a curious fact; and stillmore strange if we are to spread out this period into365,000 years, after the usual fashion of the year-daytheory. The Seer is not responsible for the awkwardnessof this eschatology. The puzzle arises from afatal misconception of John’s meaning. This generaljudgement is supposed to take place at tlu end of the1000 years-to be preceded by a destruction of earthand heaven-s-and to embrace Christians and 110nChristians,and the dead who have been in Hades orGehenna during the 1000 years. A finer piece ofconfusion is inconceivable. It utterly dislocates John’sthoughts; and introduces an eschatology which isincoherent, and without a particle of support in Scripture.Such, however, is the finding of such eminentcommentators as Bleek, Weiss, Gebhardt, Dorner,Godet, Edwards, and, we suppose, all the ordinary pre11-15.] The Coming and tlte Judgement. 223millennial adventists. Dorner frankly calls attentionto the conflict which this interpretation raises with theother Scriptures, inasmuch as they join the judgementand the consummation of the world to Christ’s secondadvent, while Revelation interposes a reign of Christfor a 1000 years before the end arrives (System, iv, 389).The contradiction is seen by many, but has to be leftunremedied.It has to be carefully noted that we must not readthe successive paragraphs of this book as if given instrict chronological succession. Such an order issimply impossible in a series of visions covering a subjectso many-sided and profound. Will our readersbe kind enough to extend to us their patience andattention, while we try to show them now that the rewardof the saints just witnessed and the judgementscene before us are essentially one transaction. John’sglance forward a 1000 years is no part of his originalpurpose, but only an interjected note of neeciful warningwhich breaks the continuity of his leading courseof thought. Again we say, what John does not see,but is only told and tells again to us, lies out of thedirect line of his teaching, and is to be understood asparenthetical. We must, therefore, as the method ofthe book demands, take the vision of v. 11, and link iton to the vision of v. 4, because the right concatenationof John’s thought lies along the line of what ismade visible to the seer, and not along the explanatoryby-paths into which he may digress. The saints upontheir thrones are therefore closely linked to the judgementscene which follows.That this is so, is plain from the corresponding momentin the first or night-half of the book (xi. 18),224 Good and Bad judged together. [xx,(p. 102-3) when, at the completion of judgement on theliving Judaic world, the time of the dead to be judgedand the Lord’s servants to be rewarded is corne. Bethevents proceed together and are inseparably one. So,too, in the more constructive or day-side of the book,we must clasp in one the judgement of the livingworld in ch. xviii. with the reward of Christ’s faithfulones and the condemnation of the wicked dead. Indoing so, we fall into harmony with all the otherScripture teachings on the judgement. Everywherethe judgement is two-fold-of the living and the dead;and everywhere it is at once of the evil and of thegood. If, for instance, we take the classical passagein John’s Gospel, its meaning seems so clear as to beunmistakeable. ” The hour cometh, and now is, whenthe dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God ; andthey that hear shall live “-cannot be explained away,as do Augustine and a multitude of successors, intoconversion and its experimental life. The whole passageis of the nature of a climax, and already Christhas claimed the power to introduce men to the heavenlylife. Nor could Christ feci any need to say:” the hour cometh,” if he only claimed the power to turnmen from sin. He claims here nothing less than tobe the Lord of the dead. He will especially possessthat Lordship after his own resurrection ; but evenbefore that time, in special instances, the dead do hearand obey-these individual cases being signs of a universalsovereignty about to come. The altogetherfuture command of the dead which Christ claims invv.28-9 is his exercise of Lordship, in an hour then comparativelyncar, over the final destinies of all tile dead.“The hour cometh when all in the tombs shall come11-15.] Harmony of Gospel and Apocalypse. 225forth; they that have done good unto the resurrectionof life,and they that have done ill unto the resurrectionof judgement.”There is by no means that difference which Westcottfinds,-in the Apocalypse, “an open judgement ofmen,” and in the Gospel, “a judgement which isspiritual and self-executing.” This interpretation is adesperate effort to harmonise what otherwise seemsconfusion; but the judgements are the same in allrespects. Christ is equally active in them both, and theharmony is complete. In both Gospel and Apocalypse,as indeed in all the Scriptures, there is to be animmediate judgement of the living and the deadbothsaints and sinners. Nowhere in Christ’s teachingis there a separation as to the time of judgementbetween saint and sinner, nor is such a separation inthe book of Revelation.We have already seen, in the preceding chapter,the judgement of the living Heathen world, as beforewe had seen the Jewish, and it is now meet that weshould see the Lord proceed with equal step to thejudgement of the dead. The first part of thatjudgement scene is-the saints of Christ upon theirthrones. But why is the saints’ reward thus severedfrom the general judgement of the dead? It is onlysevered in appearance; “the rest of the dead” are inthis very scene appointed their award-negatively, thatis by exclusion from the honours of the saints. Thesaints are, however, of deliberate purpose made tostand out from the judgement of the wicked. Johnhere follows a principle with which we are perfectlyfamiliar. Before the unfolding of every scene ofjudgement or trial in this book, whatever is to beIS226 Exemption from Judgement. [xx,exempted from its severities is exhibited as divinelysaved before the judgement comes. Witness thesealing of the servants of God before the trumpetjudgements;the measuring of the core of the templebefore its outward destruction; the Witnesses beforetheir death declared to be indestructible and immediatelyraised from the dead; the woman protected from thedragon, the 144,000 on Mount Zion from the ravagesof the beast and the reaping of the land, the Churchupon the glassy sea amid the seven vial plagues; thesaints called out of Babylon before her destruction,the saints called to the marriage supper of theLamb before his armies go forth to make war on theearth; and finally here, the departed saints upon theirthrones before the opening of the judgement books.Our readers will see that we are introducing no newprinciple of interpretation, but only observing theuniform habit of the book. Good news before bad ;fears allayed before excited. ” God is ready to judgethe dead” but no fear for his saints.. As Christ taughtJohn, believers shall not enter into judgement. Thesaints come forth to a resurrection of life, and not likethe wicked to a resurrection of judgement. They needno trial, no opening of the books of their inner life, fortheir record is too manifest, their character too wellattested by their fidelity to the Lamb to need particularquestioning. Yes, they come to a time of judgement;but are not judged so much as made the standard bywhich others shall be adjudged their doom. ” The restof the dead” are not taken up to be for ever with theLord. Their judgement proceeds to its issues, as weread.John sees “a great white throne.” Such was the11-15.] Earth and Heaven fled away. 227splendour of the vision, its vastness and solemnity,that nothing else was seen by John. One can onlysmile when expositors gravely find here a destructionof heaven and earth. John merely tells us, in a touchof unparalleled sublimity, that from his sight the oldfamiliar earth has disappeared; and even the accustomedheaven is gone. The Seer visually is he knowsnot where. His topography is at fault. He does notseem to be in heaven; nor yet in hell; nor certainlyis he standing on the earth, for God is not visible inspace and time. All he is sure of is that he standsbefore the splendid majesty of God, and that all thedead are there. We are left in doubt about the saints;but we take for granted that the saints are here, notamong the crowd, but on their thrones. All Hades isgathered in its mighty mass. Whether men wereburied in graves, burned on the funeral pyre, or tossedin the restless sea, all are here. No form of bodilydeath can keep souls from the judgement bar of God.They are here in all their nationalities, in all theirfaiths, in all their varieties of character,-the men andthe women, the kings and the beggars of that old preChristianage. They are to be assorted and put inorder in the eternal world, so as to realise what theirlife on earth has been, and what is the essentialoutcome of the principles they have obeyed. Thereis no partiality in the judgement; no injustice, nodifference of principle in fixing their rewards. “Everyman according to his works.” The issues of this life, wesee, are different degrees of happiness; differentdestin ies, ranging between the two extremes of livingand reigning with Christ in age-long blessedness andgoing away into age-long fire-the very fire which228 Death and Hades destroyed. [xx.had scorched so many of them on earth to no apparentgood result-with what fruits in the grand finality ofGod no man, but God only knows.And Death and Hades were cast into the lake offire.“The last enemy is destroyed.” Death and Hades areovercome for the saints of God. The kingdom ofChrist knows them no more. Christ has abolishedDeath; the Christian never dies. Hades cannot holdthe child of God; may be is abolished for dreadGehenna to the sinner. Blessed are the dead in Christfrom henceforth. Heaven is open to believers. Wethat live now immediately reap the fruits of Christ’smediation. Weare already risen with Christ; andwhen death comes, we shall be changed directly fromthe Church below into the Church above-caught upto meet the Lord with all his saints.THE NEW JERUSALEM.CHAPTER XXI.” The name of the cit!! from that day shall be,The Lord is there.”T\H IS entire drama of the Revelation is the official- close of the Judaic age or dispensation, and theofficial instalment of the Messianic or Gospel age.This transition point is much referred to by our Lordand his Apostles as “the end of the age,” and itswork is described as a judgement in the visible andinvisible which clears the field for the’ advent of adispensation of more light and power. Always thatis described as” near,” and it was near in the mosthonest and human sense that words can bear. Wehave seen how cordially Revelation is in harmonywith Gospels and Epistles on the subject of “lastthings.” We have learned here how the Lord comesin his kingdom, warring with all the obstacles to itstriumph, judging the earth and consuming its evilwith unquenchable fire; ana now, along with this thespirit-world, or Hades, is judged of its dead-thesaints raised up into their heavenly state, and theother ‘dead awarded to a condition suitable to theirworks., There are now only TWO things lacking. (1.) Wehave seen the old dispensation in its typical formJerusalem,with its temple and altar; but we havehad only the meagrest description of the new dis———————-230 Tlte New Jerusalem. [XXI.pensation. It has not yet taken shape beyond theintimation that it is the age of the Gospel for allnations, and tongues, and peoples. The book cannotbe complete until it has set some definite form beforeits reader’s mind, revealing what shall take the placeof the old that has vanished away. Our eyes must seeJerusalem’s substitute. (2.) When John ventured fora moment forward into the history of the new dispensation,he spoke of “a camp of the saints, thebeloved city,” as beleaguered by the demoniac hostsstirred from the abyss. Then we knew nothing ofthis beloved city; and in the keenness of our interesteager questionings arose-What is it, where is it, towhat does the Seer refer? Patience-the old worldmust be judged and put away before the new worldcim be seen; and as soon as John’s pen is free he willmake it plain.The remainder of the book exactly answers to ourwants. John sees a new heaven and new earth, inwhich the sea does not count, because he sees by” alight that never was on sea or shore.” Prosaic commentatorstell us that after the thousand years thereis a great conflagration, by which the structure of theglobe is changed, and something organically differentcreated in its place. The supposition is not plausible;it is totally incredible, when we see the groundson which it rests. Peter’s prophecy (2 Ep. iii. 10)is made largely responsible for this doctrine. Butwhy is the Apostle not interpreted by the meaning ofsuch language in the prophetic books? Why is henot believed when he says that his generation islooking for these things, and earnestly desiring them;and that this judgement is about to begin? Why is1.] A Re-constituted World. 231his analogy of the destruction of the flood not kept,and the revolution limited to the people and thecivilization of the time? If Peter was mistaken as totlte date of this destruction, was he not still moreprobably mistaken as to its nature? And why, again,is it not observed that before the thousand yearsbegin, and throughout the larger portion of this book,the earth is swept by fire, scorching and burning men,the heavenly bodies shaken, and the fundamentalelements of that old civilization consumed? It sayslittle for the visual organs of expositors that, when ‘theyhave been witnessing this burning earth, they come tothe closing scene so oblivious of what has taken placethat they are not aware that this burning has as yetbegun.Of course, John expects that we know that Peter’sburning is overpast, We are now temporarily in thebeginning of the Christian age or dispensation. Theold elementary world has perished in a baptismof fire. “All old things are passed away; behold,God has made all things new,” although it is only asyet in germ, according to God’s method of creation.Oh, if only we lived for a decade under those old heathenheavens of Persia, Greece, or Rome, peopled with theirwicked, quarrelsome, licentious deities, until we feltthe curse of them aright; and were then brought fromunder their gloomy terrors into the bright and happysky of Christian faith, we would know whether or nota new heaven has been created.’ Does the reader whowants something more spectacular and stunning forhis new earth know what sort of earth was that oldRoman world in which the Apostles shed their blood?Conceive of an empire in which there were 60,000,000232 A Re-constituted World. [XXI.slaves !-where infanticide was practised even bywealthy families-where empresses were strumpetswiveswere husbands’ chattels to be lent to other men-where human sacrifices were offered to the godswhereemperors were deified – where suicide wascounted virtuous-where fornication and adultery werereligious rites-where sexual acts were openly performedupon the stage-where men were kept to fightwith swords, and prisoners thrown to lions for publicsport-where the poor man had no rights nor charities-where almost all the rich were dissolute and princesalmost all oppressive-we say, Look upon that world,and then-” How soon a smile of God can change the world!”look at the world which Christianity has created, and,with all its shortcomings acknowledged, tell us if,thank God, we are not living in a new earth to-day.This new world is initiated by a city which John seescome down out of heaven from God. This city is depictedwith a brilliancy of setting which we dare nottouch. It is all glorious without and within. We,6’aze and admire, but shall not stain it with the dulland muddy pigments in which alone we could possiblylimn its features. If tempted to delineate the subject,it could only be in the hope that our descriptionwould somewhat veil its dazzling glory and let weakeyes look it fuller in the face. Two mistaken interpretationsof this city are afloat. One makes it anactual city of the newly-created and sublimated earth.We have already disposed of this imagination. Theother view is, that it is the home of the glorified in2-17.] What is the New ferusaiem ? 233heaven. Weare surprised that such an interpretationshould find acceptance. Andrew Fuller says, with hisusual sanctified good sense,-” It seems singular thatthe heavenly state should be introduced as a subjectof prophecy… The whole of what is said, instead ofdescribing the heaven of heavens, represents the gloryof that state as coming down upon the earth!” Andyet this vision does not, as he supposes, attribute aglorious condition to the earth. This glory is not universallydiffused; but limited to the area of the city,found only within its walls. Surely, there need be nomisapprehension. It is the city of Ezekiel; the idealJerusalem in which God dwells with men; and thatcan be only the Christian Church. Indeed, John tellsus it is only such a city as is equivalent co God’scoming down to dwell with men, to be their God, andto make his peace and righteousness possess thehearts of men on earth. Such a city is not visible andtangible as other cities are. It is planted on thatmountain of the Lord which no earthquake can tearup. It is seated high above the dank and fetid vapoursof this earth; in those superior realms where float theheavenly atmospheres of humility and love in whichthe angels breathe. I ts dimensions declare it to besuperhuman-1200 miles square and 1200 miles inheight, a perfect cube like the holy place: that partof the ancient temple measured, because in the end ofJohn’s book as in Ezekiel’s it was to be restored as theNew Jerusalem. Well has the author of Ecce Homosaid something like this: No man built this city, noarchitect designed it, no eye ever saw its wallsrising tier on tier, no ear ever heard the click oftrowel or hammer on its stones, for it is a city built234 The Old and New ferusaiems. [XXI.and planned of God and let down out of heaven to bethe metroplis of God’s earthly kingdom, the seat of histhrone.What then is this city? Augustine has made anoble attempt to answer-and would, but for a tooprosaic literalism, have seized the truth. It is theChristian dispensation; Christianity in its truths, itsaffections, and its potencies: the seat and organismof God’s presence among men. If we describe it bywhat it is to God, it is his temple and throne; or bywhat it is to men, it is their light, life, and salvation.As this city is the new Jerusalem, it is plainly pointedout as the successor of the old-a spiritualisation ofthat New Jerusalem which Ezekiel describes as tosucceed the Jerusalem of his day. It will be found tofulfil corresponding functions, in a degree as muchsuperior as Christ is superior to Moses, the Son to theservant of God; or as the holiest of all was superiorto the outer courts in the elementary age of divinerevelation.1. It was in Judaism that God dwelt and communicatedof his truth and love to men in the lastage of the world; and it is in the Church that Godnow dwells on earth and communicates Himself tomen. That Church is spoken of as Jerusalem in otherportions of the Scriptures; and no better commentarythan those texts can be written on the New Jerusalemof John. The Christian Church, in its truths andinspirations, brings together into one assembly of saintsand worshippers, the angels, the spirits of the dead,the glorified apostles, and the saints on earth. Christianityunites two worlds, makes one Church, joins the2-17.] Defences of the Churclt. 235visible and invisible into one. Heaven comes down toearth; God is joined to man. This city was to thewriter to the Hebrews an existing reality. “Ye arecome to the heavenly Jerusalem. It is not a distantterminus-a thing of hope-a glory the Church maysee after a thousand years are gone. Ye have receivedit now, and are come into its blessed light, its happyprivileges, its saintly, angelic, and divine communion.”Judaism itself was a revelation and a gift from God tomen, that God might dwell among them; but it wasso only in a distant or elementary way. That dispensationwas ordained” in the hands of angels”; nowGod immediately dwells with men in Christ. Christiantruths and principles are no elaborations of humangenius-no clumsy invention of needy priests or craftystatesmen-no simple out-cropping of the superstitiousleanings of the human heart. Its foundations are stillseen dipping down beneath the strata of naturalisminto a region whither the eagle’s eye cannot follow.Her strong defences are her own divinity. Not by thearguments of her profoundest theologians, nor by herarray of ecclesiastical laws and councils-not by herpolitical ascendancy where she has overridden theState, nor by her political subserviency where she hasbeen its tool has she withstood the assaults andbatterings of her foes, and gone from one degree ofglory to another, in pursuance of the divine idealwhich she follows and is destined to embody on theearth. These have been as much her hindrance asher protection. She has survived as she has lived,because she is a city of eternal truth and righteousness,whose soul is God Himself, imparting to her outermostcircumference his own eternity, breathing into her that236 Light and Life. [ whose magic fire encompasses and thrills her, whileit blasts the earthly principles and potencies that inhatred of her light, come up to assail her bulwarks.2. This city is a source of light and life to the nationsof the earth. “It has no need of the sun nor of themoon.” Clearly, that is no city of this world. “Thereis no night there.” That is no city subject to therevolutions of this globe. “The Lord God Almightyand the Lamb are the light of it.” This is ” the lightthat lighteth every man that cometh into the world”-“the light of life”-“the true light that now shineth”-and what is this but the Gospel of Jesus Christ, andwhere does it shine but in the Church of God? Thenwe read that” the nations shall walk in the light of it.”Notably, it is not said that the nations dwell withinthe New Jerusalem or Church on earth. The nationas such is not pure enough to come into a city whereevery inhabitant is searched and sifted to the core.Every so-called Christian nation which has yet existedhas been to some extent a harbour of corruption, ofkingcraft, and of priestcraft, rent by feuds of bloodand class, and stained by sins which would defilefoulness itself. One by one we go into the city of ourGod. One by one we bring our tribute of submissionto the feet of Christ, one by one we wash our heartsand garments, one by one we bring our genius, ourtalents, or common-place abilities, and yield them upto the service of the Master. The nations as such willrecognise the city of God; they will receive so muchof its light, and shape their legislation somewhat byits principles. The Gospel will become the brightilluminating sun of social life and conduct; and in22-24.] No Night in Christ. 237Lproportion as the nations walk in its light will they beblessed; or as they resist its teaching, dwindle ininfluence, hasten to corruption, and perish from theearth.That sublime saying, “There shall be no nightthere,” may seem too much of heaven to be applicableto any state on earth. We must not forget, however,that it is an Old Testament anticipation of Israel’sglory upon the earth; and a distinctive feature of theGospel dispensation. “Ye are all sons of light and ofthe day; we are not of the night nor of darkness.” Isnot that the case? Do we not actually experiencethe truthfulness of Christ’s saying-” He that followethme shall not walk in darkness; but have the light oflife.” What is the character of this light? It is thatglory of God which we are told” shines in the face ofJesus Christ.” If we know Christ, we have been”called out of darkness into this marvellous light.” Ifwe say, the light which is in Christ is not equal tothis, we condemn ourselves. If we dwell in the richesof God’s grace, then all mystery is made plain to us,and there is ” no night” with us. Even death will notdim the splendours of the Christian’s day. Ateventide it shall be light. The path of the just shinethmore and more unto the perfect day. As the higherup we climb, the sun grows brighter, so the nearer wedraw to Christ and God the brighter becomes the lightuntil upon our eyes it breaks in spirit-worlds as fromthe naked face of God.3. There is no temple there because the city is alltemple: the perfect cube of ” the holiest of all.” Allin that city are priests to God, with access to the heart238 No Ritual. [XXI.and ear of God. Life is continuous worship j work issacrifice j and prayer the offering of sweet incenseunto God. That horrid notion, revived by premillennialtheorists, and diligently taught to-day, thatagain the Christian is to cut the throats of beasts andoffer bloody sacrifices in a material New Jerusalem, isutterly discountenanced by the Scriptures. It is asurviving remnant of the pagan nature and the elementaryritual which Christ came expressly to sweep away.Its resurrection in these days is a disgrace to 19thcentury Christianity; and is to be accounted for surely,not merely by mistaken exegesis, but by that superstitiousrevival of ritualistic flummery which hasinvaded the Episcopal Church of England-only wetrust as a fitful and passing aberration.4. Here is continuous peace’ and consolation. ” Godshall wipe away all tears.” Augustine says that itseems” excessively barefaced” to refer such words tothe present time. Weare bold enough to do itStrictly speaking, they do not depict a state wherethere is absolutely no experience of affliction. Ratherdo they impress us that there are tears to wipe away;but that there is no sorrow in Christ Jesus, and, in theblessed hopes and consolations of the Gospel,a remedy for every pain and sorrow of the heartThere always will be tears to wipe away so long asbabes are born and men are grown from infancy j butthe pains and achings of the soul’s relations to theeternal world are entirely overcome in Jesus ChristGo back to your Old Testament saints, and markhow doleful were their experiences. “The pains ofhell got hold on me “-” tears and sorrow were my4.] Joy in Chnst. 239Lmeat.” See what perplexities beset them about” theways of God to man “-what fears of death encompassedthem! Look out upon that old heathen world!How sad it was although it had inherited the fairestportion of God’s earth! How comfortless the religioneven of its truest seekers after God! How gruesomewith its pictures of quarreling and avenging gods!How repulsive its thin and hungry life beyond thegrave! How utterly changed is the aspect of the worldto the man who writes-s-” the kingdom of God isrighteousness, peace, joy in the Holy Ghost.” Turnto that man’s epistles-follow him through the manifoldtrials of his life and you find his pains and troublesso lifted up into the marvellous light of God’s eternallove that they are transmuted into joys; and insteadof weeping, he is rejoicing in his tribulation. InChrist’s salvation there is not only nothing to painand disappoint; but everything to make pain anddisappointment in the world entirely change their character.If our experience has fallen short of this, wemust not make it the measure of what the city of Godmay be to other men. John must describe it accordingto its ideal powers, its highest capabilities of endowment,and what it shall be in eternity more truly than intime. The city of God is heaven itself as well asheaven on earth.5. Continuous safety and blessedness. ” No morecurse.” The former earth was cursed by sin andbrought forth its thorns and thistles; but in the kingdomof God, “every plant that our heavenly Father hathnot planted shall be rooted up.” There will benothing to hurt or destroy in all God’s holy mount.240 No Death in Christ. [XXII.It is a land of fruitfulness. “Wherever the watersrolled there was life,” and now the wilderness is bloominglike a rose, and the Christian is like a tree plantedby the rivers. It is a state of perfect righteousness.” He that is born of God cannot sin.” “There is nowno condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,”for they are “made free from the law of sin anddeath.” Walking in love and pleasing God, their experienceis ” peace that passeth knowledge.”6. There is continuous life. It is startling to read”Death shall be no more.” So much is death with usthat we are constrained to relegate these words to someentirely different state of life than this. However,they are intended to be true to-day. What says theApostle? ” Christ has abolished death.” “He hathdestroyed him that had the power of death.” Whatsays Christ of Himself? “He that believeth on meshall never die.” “He that keepeth my words shallnot see death.” “He that believeth on me is passedfrom death unto life.” Every Christian then shouldbe “delivered from the fear of death.” Its characteris essentially changed by faith in Christ; it is not theancient death, but ascension into fuller life. Deathand Hades are indeed cast into the lake of fire; thereis no death beyond bodily transformation to the childof God, no dolefulness beyond ” the shadow feared ofman.”7. Contz’nuous royalty. “They shall reign for everand ever.” The Church is destined to be triumphant.Satanic outbreaks, John has warned us, will occur inthe course of history; but so far from destroying thecity of God, they will only serve to remind the saints1-5.] A Missionary Centre. 241that there are still portions of the earth to conquer,and remnants of hereditary evil to be warred againstand overcome. “Behold, I make all things new.”This regeneration is accomplished through theChurch. New herself in all the principles and conditionsof her life, it is God’s purpose to reign in herand by her transform the earth. The kingdom ofGod on earth is one continuous evolution from thevital centre of the Church. All evolution implies involution.Because God is in Christ, and Christ is inthe heart of the Church, the Church is the leaven thatshall work in the meal of universal humanity until thewhole is leavened. The earth shall slowly throughthe ages grow liker heaven, as the Church continuesto utter the prayer” thy kingdom come,” and to obeythe divine command, ” Go ye into all the world.” Thesaints are to reign by putting down everything opposedto righteousness within the nations of whichthey are citizens, and by going forth to conquer thepeoples that still trust to other gods in ignorance ofthe Gospel of Christ.8. The identity of the New Jerusalem with theGospel dispensation is proven by the emphatic mannerin which it is charged with the work of evangelisingthe world into which it has come. It is a holy city,essentially incapable of defilement by the world’s unbeliefand sin; but it is not on that account a city inthe clouds or in the eternal state, far separate from thewicked world; nor is it simply a state of reward andblessedness for the saved. In this city is “the tree oflife whose leaves are for the healing of the nations.” Ithas been sent down from heaven upon this gracious,6242 E’llangelizing Work. [XXII.evangelical mission quite as much as to impart “tltefruits of life” to the saints of God. “The river of thewater of life” is the Gospel fountain of salvation forhim that is athirst; and whosoever thirsts is invited tocome with freedom and partake. That this is a notificationfor the beginning of the evangelization of theworld is beyond all question. The Christian does notthirst, for he to whom Christ gives the water of life”shall never thirst again,” but become himself a wellof water unto other thirsty souls. Therefore, such anintimation, standing as a divine preface to the figure ofthe New Jerusalem (xxi. 6), stamps it as the Gospeldispensation whose mission it is to carry the water oflife to the ends of the earth.One condition of this evangelizing work is thecontiguity of saint and sinner. Nearness is an essentialrequisite to power. God is able to save in Christ,because, standing there, his hand is on humanity, hisfeet upon the earth. The saint in the cloister or thehermitage is a dead branch of the Church. Withoutthe city walls are dogs, sorcerers, murderers, idolaters,and all who make and love a lie (xxii. 15); and it will bethe mission of the saint to change these men untilthey become capable of a totally different classification,and are numbered with the saints. While the NewJerusalem exists, it is still the day of grace; the sinnercan wash his robes and enter in at the gates of thecity of God. Not otherwise can he enter into the joysof God. Unclean and false, he cannot go in even atthe open gate which so cordially bids him welcome,because to enter is to become clean and true. Howbeautifully is there symbolised here the wideness, thefreeness, the impartiality of the saving grace of God.1-5.] Universal Welcome. 243GATES OPEN-oPEN DAY AND NIGHT-GATES TOTHE EAST AND WEST, THE NORTH AND THE SOUTH-GATES EVERYWHERE OF ADMISSION; and all thecondition required is- Wash your robesand enter in.That this city is no emblem of a merely future ordistant state is most emphatically put before thereaders of this book. John is told that this new cityof God is an already accomplished fact. He had notseen it in this light before, nor could the world see ituntil the things which hid God’s grace from men hadbeen removed out of the way; but the Seer is informedby God Himself: “THESE WORDS ARE COME TOPASS.” (xxi. 6). The New Messianic Age IS COMEto the world, the City of God IS HERE, the water oflife is flowing to all mankind, eternal joys await thesaints that overcome. The cowardly who deny Christ’sname in the trials of this hour, the unbelievers, thesorcerers, the idolaters who war against the Church,thesewill have their portion, wherever they may be, intime or in eternity, in unending restlessness andmisery.IRESUME AND CONCLUSION.CHAPI’ER XXII.” I come quickly: lwld fast that which tlwu luut that noman take thy crown.”£. MODERN reader of Revelation opens it withA. the impression that the book is a mystery, andthat it is hopeless to understand its lessons. If he readsit with the help of commentaries of the usual kind hisperplexity will be intensified, and the more of themhe consults the more will his bewilderment be increased.He finds that the 1800 years during which the bookought to have been growing plainer to the Church,still leave it wrapped in deepest mystery. Suppose,now, that he reads the book with no pre-conceptions,no sooner does he dip into its pages than he findsthat the primitive reader, even the casual hearer in theSabbath gathering of the Church, is expected tounderstand and find practical guidance for his dailylife. Since, however, the learned commentator ofto-day betrays on every page the signs of uncertaintyand perplexity (after three-fourths of the book is saidto be fulfilled), how was it possible for the primitiveChristian to understand and practise if to him thebook’s contents lay totally in the future? Is it notclear that the early reader must have had a key to thebook which the scholar of to-day has lost? and is itnot also evident that if the book speaks truly when itTlte World in John’s Day. 245professes to deal with” things which must shortlycome to pass,” it would necessarily be intelligible tothe first generation as it cannot be to readers whowill not use that key, or who take and shape it in thefire of their a-priori prophetic theories into a form thatwill not fit the lock?Let us go back and take a hasty glance at what wehave found, and we shall see again how simple wasthe structure of the book as read in Apostolic times.John wrote to the early churches of “a time of trialabout to come to try them that dwell on the earth,”a time as fierce and searching as a judgement-day.That same season had been prophesied by the Baptistfor the Jewish nation; by Christ and his Apostles forall the habitable world. We know from history howtrue were those prophecies. It was a period ofclimacteric. Old systems of thought and civilizationwere ripening for decay; new ideas were in the air.The political world was unstable, the social worldcorrupt, the religious world demonised; and everythinggathering itself up for that geological upheaval whichcame and made that time the watershed of two ages.Amid the ferment of the times the Church was suffering.Heresies were abroad; schism not uncommon. Jewishpatriotism was making men sorry they had becomeChristians. Many believers were” drawing back untoperdition,” not prepared for the struggle of the new lifewith the old.This book is sent for the encouragement of theChurch. It reveals Christ afresh as no mere humanteacher whose influence might go under in the confusionof the times; but as indeed Divine, clothed withpower and glory, and guiding the march of history.246 The Message of John’s Book. [XXII.John foretells what Christ shall bring to pass: whatthey themselves shall see. Judaism will be overthrown;the Church of Christ will be God’s temple without theshell of ancient ritual. That would be the sign of theSon of Man: the visible signal of his truth and power;and the certain fulfilment of all his promises. Thefact that He judges the visible dispensation is theproof that He judges the invisible; and that his saintsand martyrs have been caught up into the place whichHe prepares for them in his Father’s house, to reignwith Him for ever in his kingdom.As surely as this first foe or rival of the Church isoverthrown, will that other foe through which theDevil is deceiving men-the harlot system of polytheisticconfusion, heathen sacerdotalism-be also indue time overthrown. _\ Gospel age will be instituted,in which the Word of God will conquer everydiabolical foe, and go forth possessing men and nationsuntil the world is redeemed to God.This new age necessarily implies transcendantchanges. A new heaven is a new God for the nations,a new destiny for men, new worship in men’s hearts;and a new earth implies new experiences in religion,new social states, new springs of life, a happier world.Within this better world, as the secret of its betterness,will be the spiritual Church of God,-the promisedZion or Jerusalem, the true city of our God. It is tobe a dispenser of life and healing to the nations. Theywalk in its light. Happy are the individuals who havewashed their robes, and entered into this heavenlycitizenship. This Zion shall no more be moved, Godis in the midst of her; and where God is there is nomore death, and no more curse. No, there is no longer6-7.] “Faitliful and .True.” 247even any night, for the sun of God’s favour never sets.His light never fades. These are present day experiences;true now, true everywhere, true eternally to allwho are in Christ Jesus. It does not follow that wecan exhaust them here. By and bye, we shall have amore abundant entrance into the everlasting city ofour God. The New Jerusalem exhibits the idealChristian experience that God will be perfecting in usto all eternity. Christ will be more to us in heaven;but in the New Jerusalem here He is essentially thesame as He will be in heaven.Take that outline as the meaning of this delightfuland magnificent book, and its mystery will flee away.You will understand how the early reader was blessedin proportion as he received its meaning. You willfind its symbols wonderfully clear, and every utteranceas straightforward and as honest as the “Amen” ofGod.Is it possible that, as we close our studies, we areflatly to contradict these solemn words of the angelthat spoke for Christ: “These words are faitlzful andtrue.” Have they indeed been such plain and wholesomewords that simple men can trust them to meanwhat they say? Have they, indeed, been “aboutthings which must shortly come to pass?” If theyhave mainly been about things removed a 1000 or2000 years from those whom Christ addressed throughJohn, how are these words true? Remember, thebook started with this intimation; repeated it again andyet again. First, John told us so; next, Christhimself; and finally, the Angel of the Lord. Threewitnesses. Do we indeed believe?” Be/wId, / come quickly.” If that was true at the248 The Duration of tlu Drama Short. [XXII.beginning of the book, and true at the close, then thetime that intervenes between the first act and the lastis short indeed. As a matter of fact, the book isconstructed to cover the shortest time. The hour ofjudgement was about to come upon the AsiaticChurches. \Vith the earliest scenes, the judgementthunderbolts are falling, the saints are sealed; in themidst of judgement the martyrs cry for haste and aretold to wait a little time; and the first half of the bookcloses with the assurance that the martyrs AREavenged. Not a syllable as to duration through allthe visions longer than three-and-a-half years, or 1260days, and the Lord is come.Take the second or positive aspect of Christ’sComing. After Christ ascends to heaven, Satan iscast down. He is in great wrath, because HIS TIMEIS SHORT. In ch. xix., Christ comes with his angels,wars with the beast and casts him into the lake of fire,while an angel binds Satan and casts him into theabyss. This event is the initiation of Christ’s kingdom,or the official instalment of the Gospel dispensation.Christ is come in his kingdom; thus again, we seethat the time between Christ’s ascent and his return isdescribed as short. That advent is emphatically premillennial,The forward reference to the close of a1000 years is only a passing glance, a momentary noteof warning to the infant Church not to expect toomuch in the earlier centuries of its history. All thevisions of the book are realised before the millennialreign begins; the New Jerusalem being the reigningChurch, “the camp of the saints, the beloved city,” thenew divine centre of the ransomed earth. Thus doesthis portion of John’s book clearly and persistently8-11.] At Hand to tIle Apostolic Church. 249insist on a brief space of time as enclosing all theperiod between John’s day and the institution of thekingdom of our Lord. It was, therefore, true thatour Lord came quickly according to his promise; andthe only coming to which the Christian can now lookforward, beyond the increasing presence of Christ’sspirit in his heart, is that in which he shall be caughtup into a higher world to meet his Lord.” Blessed is lze that keepeth tlte words of the prophecyof this book.” How was that possible to those earlyreaders for whom scarcely a seal was opened or one ofthe trumpets sounded? This appeal is made meaninglessunless all the prophecy is one event, realising itselfat one time, as the book itself says. The Preteristis equally interested with the first generation in itsmeaning; and equally called upon to believe and obey,because it speaks to him of great divine transactionsthat bear upon his duty and his destiny. No otherscan keep this prophecy.” Seal not up the propheC)! of this book, for the time isat hand.” The same urgency is here as we have foundelsewhere. Daniel’s prophecy reaches forward at theutmost only to the abolition of” the power of the holypeople”; that is ·500 years from Daniel’s time. Yethis prophecy was to be sealed because the time wasdistant John is not to seal for tlte time is at hand. Inthe face of such a fact, students of prophecy will putJohn’s fulfilment 2000 years away! Does not thecomparison show that John’s events must fall outmuch within 500 years? Yes, and a great deal less.For hear again:-” Let the righteous do righteous1tess still; let the jilthybe jiltlty still; and let the holy be holy still.” These250 A Book to be Obeyed. [XXII.words were never intended to prove that there can beno change of character in eternity. They simplyexpress the suddenness of Christ’s outburst upon thatgeneration. “Go on, thou hardened sinner, asking,’Where is the sign of his coming?’ You will nothave time to repent before your wickedness overwhelmsyou! Be stedfast in your faith, 0 Christian, your eyewill soon behold the vindication of your righteousness jthe judge is at the door! “Verses 18 and 19 are particularly convincing proofsthat John’s generation were to experience the contentsof this book. This prophecy is-the Coming of Christin Judgement. It was to be read in the churches ofthat day; and the penalty of perverse or unfaithfulhearing was to be exposure to these judgements as theytranspired from day to day. What more convincingproofs could the book contain that its contentsespecially concerned the people of its author’s times?As if, with a solemn oath, to put it beyond all dispute,Christ avers” YEA, I COME QUICKLY;” and as a tokenof the ripeness of the times, and the true understandingof the Apostolic Church the answer is sent back:”AMEN, COME LORD JESUS!”We have all along kept in mind that this treatisewill fall into the hands of many whose interest in thetrue interpretation of New Testament prophecy, islargely subordinated to their desire to know what itcan yield them in the way of guidance and encouragementin their Christian life. For such we reserve ourclosing words.The Goal of Prophecy. 251This New Jerusalem would seem to be God’s finalrevelation for the salvation of the world. The Gospelis the goal of all holy prophecy. The Scriptures fromthe beginning point to Christ,-beyond Christ, theyare as silent as the grave. We are perfected in ChristJesus for ever. The Gospel is God’s final remedy forman’s sin; the power of God unto salvation. TheChurch is to grow fuller of the life of God; the belt ofdarkness round the Church grow thinner till it vanishesclean away. This can be accomplished only by eachcitizen of the New Jerusalem doing his duty towardsthe bettering of the world. Every man of God shouldbe a warrior against ignorance and evil in all its forms,fired by the passionate impulse of the sculptor-poet-” Bring me my bow of burning gold:Bring me my arrows of desire;Bring me my spear; 0 clouds unfold,Bring me my chariot of fire,I will not cease from mental fightNor shall my sword sleep ill my handTill we have built JerusalemIn England’s green and pleasant land.”Events of history in which evil is overthrown andtruth advanced should be hailed by us as signs of thepower and glory of our exalted Saviour. Since theearly Church was taught to see the hand of Christ inthat rapid evolution of events which issued in the fallof Judaism, and the growing impotence of heathenfaiths, we also ought to see the interposition of theMaster in every victory of the right. At some pointshistory is the apotheosis of the wrong. Since Christreigns, evil triumphs that it may the sooner come toruin; and there are times when eyes almost blind252 Hero- Worship.might see the hand of Christ in history. Families,churches, factions, and nations are seen swinging inthe scales of judgement, awaiting award or punishment;and though for a time the test seems meaninglessand likely to end in confusion worse confounded,at length the majesty of right is vindicated. There isa Providence that makes for righteousness, and clearsthe character of the God who rules the world.Whatever be the part that any creature plays inthe march of progress the glory belongs to God alone.How prone human nature is to make heroes, demigods,or gods of its more assertive men! The adulation,toadying, bare-faced fulsome flattery that arepoured upon leaders of religious movements in particularis often painful to behold by those who have anyrespect for human nature. That we are not beyondthe temptation of worshipping the creature is particularlyvisible in the way saints are honoured with festivals,and evoked in prayers as if keepers of heaven’skingdom. Even your sturdy Protestant shows thisweakness in his unwholesome reverence of his favouritereligious leaders. The smaller the sect, the morevirulent the disease, even until it becomes a sin forother men to differ in opinion. The following generationsare expected. meekly to chain themselvesaround the great man’s pedestal. Would that westudied more this weakness in the character of Johnas twice he threw his manhood at the angel’s feet!Would that religious leaders were as humble in theirclaims as this other-world servant of the Lord.” See tlzou do it not.” Here is-a thorough abnegationof all authority over men on the part of the angelicworld. Here is an ascription of all honour and gloryThe Churclt and her Lord. 253to God, and a touching manifestation of humility andimmeritoriousness on the part of the heavenly vehicleof the truth, which ought to put to shame manyof its earthly mouth-pieces. What a rebuke toPopes, and lesser holy fathers, sitting on theirthrones and holding out their toes and finger-ringsfor brethren in the Lord to kiss! and how meanand petty does such prostration make those who arecontent so to be humbled and made nothing of beforeweak men, too often swallowed up in the infernal lustsof dominion and pride. “See thou do it not,” in anyform. Worship no pope, no priest, no minister. Situnder no man for his gifts. Love the Church of God,and love its principles; and stand by them amid fortuneand misfortune. Keep in mind that to be attractedby men and by their gifts, as distinguished from theprinciples they represent, is to be drawn fatally nearthe disposition which was condemned in John. “Seethou do it not.”The Church as the bride will always be looking andlonging for her Lord and husband. This figure givesexpression to a truth of prime importance, viz., thatevery true believer in the Lord is being inwardlyunited to Christ by ties that never will be brokenthatmind and heart and soul are in some deep waybeing filled and possessed by Christ, so as to lift us upinto his fellowship and closer conformity to his immortalityand glory. The cry, “Come, Lord Jesus I”is the Church’s desire to know ever more of Christ,and see ever more of Him prevailing in the world overthe errors and unrighteousness of men. It is byChrist’s interior coming that we grow wise and good,beautiful and loving, and meet for God’s presence in254 TIle Church and the World.the heavens; and it is only as Christ finds fuller embodimentin his Church that the world will feel hisinfluence and power, and grow a fairer and brighterworld for sin-stricken and heavy-laden men. Greatthings are yet in store for the human race. The halfhas not yet been told us of what Christ will accomplishin the world. Even the most glowing propheticanticipations of the Word will be fully realised, thoughnot with the materialistic limitations in which theywere given. When we look at the capabilities ofChrist’s loving spirit, and think of it as embodied ina great and glorious Church in the continents andislands of a coming age, we have an assurance of greatchanges and reforms over all humanity in which everygrade of men will have its share of blessing. Evenso, Lord Jesus. May the fulness of thy kingdomcome. Though we shall not behold it with our eyesof flesh; may we, from the upper realms where Thoualready reigncst gloriously, look down upon this betterearth and have the joy of thinking that we have individuallyhelped to bring about the happier day. Suchbeing the purpose of Heaven,The City of God should always have a pressingwelcome for the sinner. Her voice must ever ringout clearly through the ages-e-” He that is atlurst leth£1Il come; let h£m take of the water of life freely.”Come now to be forgiven. Come to begin your lifeanew under the inspiration of love to Him who lovedyou and died for you; and all that is feeble and sinfulin your life will break up and float away. In cleanand holy garments you will stand within the City ofGod, walk in its light, taste its fruit, and see your Godin the light that knows no setting while eternity endures.rTHEGOSPEL AND EPISTLES OF ST. JOHN.WV/ E have taken our readers carefully’ throughf the locus classicus of New Testament prophecy.Our most adverse critic will surely confessthat we have been consistent in our principle ofinterpretation; that our method has been at leastfairly reasonable, considering the changeable natureof the book’s contents; that no difficulty has beenpurposely evaded; and that, on the lines laid down,the Apocalypse makes one compact and harmoniouswhole, according to the professed intention of itswriter-” a revelation of Jesus Christ in things aboutto come to pass.”Now we shall proceed to judge the interpretationgiven by the most exacting of all tests-comparisonwith the prophetic teaching of the other New TestamentScriptures. This is.a touchstone before whichno other theory can stand. The idealistic theorylately so strenuously advocated throws the Apocalypseout of gear with every other bit of Christian prophecy;while the current historical methods not onlydeal arbitrarily with many portions, but after all contradictthe express purpose of the author, and, astheir advocates frequently confess, raise many dis-‘7256 The Gospel oj St. Jolmcrepancies with the other prophetic writings whichno ingenuity can reconcile. We claim that we shallbe able to show the strictest agreement between allthe Scriptures–one prophetic mind existing in theApostolic Church, without repentance or even trace ofso-called ” development” in the authors whosewritings cover the largest period of time.Let us begin our studies with the other writings ofSt. John. And to make sure work let us recall thesalient features of the teaching of the Apocalypse.It has told us that the second coming of Christ is tobe soon after the book is written. This coming has atwo-fold sphere of manifestation. In this world, it isthe abrogation of a then existing dispensation in thefires of judgement, openly signalised in the destructionof Jerusalem; and it is the co-incident institution ofan age of universal grace in which God in Christ goesforth to war with every evil, and the first fruits ofwhose ultimate victory is the shattering of the powerof a then triumphant heathenism, the mistress of theworld. In the eternal world, it is Christ’s descent tomeet the dead, in order to judge the wicked and toraise up His saints into the glory which He had withthe Father, where they are henceforth to “live andreign.” In this new dispensation there is no materialsacred city, no temple made with hands. It is itself’the New Jerusalem, spiritual and invisible, presentpotently wherever are Christ and His truth, universaland perpetual for His people. In this gracious dispensationdeath is no longer a misfortune. TheSheol-Hades state of waiting and looking for theSaviour is abolished, and the dead who die in theLord reap at once the fruits of faith by entering uponWritten after the Apocalypse. 257heavenly glory. To sum the whole into a sentence-with the fall of Jerusalem, the then existing agewas ended, the dead were judged, the saints wereraised to heaven, and a new dispensation of a worldwideorder instituted, of which Christ is everlastingKing, and ever present with His people, whetherliving here or dead beyond.We take now into our hands the Gospel of St.John. This work is so unlike the Apocalypse both inmatter, style, and language, that many scholarshesitate to admit that they are from one pen. Thedifference in language arises chiefly, we believe, fromthe fact that he wrote the Apocalypse early in lifewhile as yet his acquaintance with Greek was limitedto what he had acquired from reading the Septuagint,and conversing mainly with Greek-speaking Hebrews;whereas he wrote his Gospel a quarter of a centurylater, when he had resided long in Ephesus, and hadmuch intercourse with those to whom Greek was thenative tongue.t In comparing the matter of thebooks, we must remember that John is not strictlytheir author, and that the purpose of the two isworlds asunder. The Gospel gives us only some thirtydays of our Lord’s Judean ministry, whereas theApocalypse is strictly limited to a dramatic presentationof the double judgement which closed adispensation and opened a new epoch to the world.Of course, the question must arise-Why did JohnI Fresh from a perusal of “Discu>lsions on the Apocalypse,”(1893), we are more than ever convinced that the internalevidence leaves us no choice between an earlier and later datefor the appearance of the book, and that too much weight hasbeen put upon the Ireneean tradition,258 Why is there no Apocalypse in tlte Gospel?omit from his Gospel this great field of eschatological. teaching, especially seeing it bulks so largely in theother three Gospels ?The answer is simple enough. Granted that thisfourth Gospel is not written until the other threehave become the property of the universal Church,and so long after the fall of Jerusalem that thedispensational coming of Christ has lost much of itsinterest and freshness, and it will be evident that theauthor cannot think it needful to draw up anotherrecord of discourses which have already been sofaithfully reported and have so largely served theirpurpose and been fulfilled. Of course, this silence ofJohn’s Gospel as to our Lord’s dispensational teachingcannot be easily justified if the contents of theApocalypse and Matt. xxiv. and xxv. refer to acoming that is to lie before the Church for twentycenturies, and a judgement still future for the world.St. John, in that case, must have felt the permanentimportance of that doctrine for the Church, and hissilence would be inexplicable. But if these otherwritings bear only on the crisis of the consummationof the Jewish age, and the introduction of a dispensationcharacterised by the universal presence of GO’din Christ, then it must surely have seemed to St, Johnto be a needless task to reiterate teaching sufficientlywell known, and so palpably fulfilled some’ thirtyyears before. His Gospel was especially bound to bevacant of all lengthy references to “the wrath tocome,” the demolition of the temple, and” the end ofthe age,” in short, what has somewhat conternptuouslj-“been called” Jewish Apocalytic ideas,” if years beforeits author had published the Apocalypse to theThe Coming in the Gospel. 259Church. He would naturally feel that the time -waspast for reporting afresh such prophetic intimations,since he had long before written out the key to theirfulfilment as the events were transpiring before theeyes of his own generation. Thus does it seem inevitable,in our judgement, that Apocalypticteaching must be largely absent from any very lateand genuine Gospel attributed to St. John.Notwithstanding these necessary differences, it willbe found that the fourth Gospel contains someremarkable and strongly characteristic references tothe dispensational coming of Christ. John remembersChrist’s prophetic forecast to the woman of Samaria,that His mission would wrest the worship of Godfrom the hands of a hereditary priesthood and fromlocal limitations, by revealing God as a Father whoimparts His presence to the soul that comes to Himin spirit and in truth. “The hour cometh” is anindex finger pointing to the dispensational judgementon Jerusalem which ends the age of local cults, andintroduces the Parousia or age of universal presence.In no other way could the localisation of God beabolished than by the destruction of the temple, andthe imposition of a situation which made its renewalimpossible to the Jew. Beyond such broad and loftyreferences as this, but little is said of the SecondComing in its more familiar aspects. But in chaptersxiv.-xvi. there are many interesting notices of theaspect which alone had any interest for John when his• Gospel was compiled. It is too commonly supposedthat this long discourse refers to a merely subjectiveand spiritual coming to His individual disciples. Butour Lord recognizes two degrees of presence accord260Cltrist’s Hea’l/enly to the well knowing saying, “Lo, I am with youalway, even to the end of age,”-one subjective byHis spirit, which is before “the end of the age,” andthe other visual and personal by a meeting face to facewhen the age comes to an end. Where Christ says” I am with you,” He promises the subjective blessingof His presence; but where He says, “You will bewith me,” He means the open vision of His face inthe prepared place in His Father’s house. Theformer is the presence vouchsafed to His personaldisciples up till the consummation of the age; thelatter is the meeting and visible communion of thesaints caught up to be for ever with the Lord in theireternal home. In the beginning of chap. xiv. ourLord distinctly intimates His ascension into heavenlyglory. “I go to prepare a place for you.” In theEpistle to the Hebrews and the Apocalypse briefreferences are made to this heavenly mission, butbeyond hints of a purgation and a warfare in whichSatan is cast out, there is no clear light. As soon,however, as this preparation is completed, Christcomes to His disciples to take them where He is,” that they may behold His glory.” This coming iscertainly not to this material world, any more thanChrist’s permanent dwelling place is to be henceforthon the earth. The disciples to whom Christ comesare not supposed to be living in flesh and blood. OurLord told them plainly that before “the end of theage,” some of them would be killed, others h etasted death in the course of nature. Peter was.assured of martyrdom before His coming; John hada hopeful intimation of the possibility of being spareduntil that time (xxi, 22). Our Lord must thereforeThe Lmgth of His Heavenly Absence. 261have been looking upon His disciples as having forthe most part passed through death and entered uponHades when His promise would be fulfilled “I willcome to you.” Indeed, almost in as many words, Heasserts the fact. He tells them that they know theway by which it is needful to journey to the Father.To their protest of ignorance, He answers that theymust go as He goes Himself, through the Cross or itsshadow, down by the tomb, upward in the quickeningof the resurrection life, that is the only pathway tothe stars. There is 110 single hint of any shorter ormore pleasing way to the incorruptible and eternallife of Heaven. John might live until the Mastercame; but even J ohn must die like other men, and becaught up to meet his Lord only by putting off hisearthly tabernacle for his house which is from heaven.Does our Lord give any hint as to what length oftime may elapse before He comes to give His disciplesthis glorious resurrection? We have seen that on acertain occasion our Lord covertly implied that Hiscoming would be after St. Peter’s death and beforeSt. John’s. In this same chapter we have a definiteassurance to this effect: “Yet a little while and theworld beholdeth me no more; but ye behold me;because I live ye shall live also.” (v. 19.) In all fairnessthis “little while” should be referred to thetime between His own ascension and the time whenthey should “live” and “behold Him.” That thedisciples read our Lord’s meaning thus seems evidentfrom Judas’ question: “What is happened that thouwilt SOON manifest Thyself to us and not unto theworld?” (v. 22). This manifestation is no meresubjective feeling, but an open and personal revelation.262 “A Little While.”It does not refer to the occasional appearances of thepost-resurrection days, but to a meeting of a permanentand final character, when the disciples “live” intheir resurrection life. The same encouraging assuranceis repeated: “A little while and ye behold meno more, and again a little while and ye shall see me.”(xvi. 16.) The reason given for this absence andsubsequent meeting i s : “Because I go to the Father,”i.e., He ascends into divine conditions and becomesimperceptible to flesh and blood, but in this veryascension into complete Divinity He becomes theresurrection and the life of all believers, and therebyinsures their meeting by organic incorporation intoHis own glorious life. In this open meeting is fulfilledthe promise of the angels at the moment of our Lord’sascension: “This same Jesus which is taken up fromyou into heaven shall so come in like manner as yehave seen “Him go into heaven.” He would comeopenly and visibly in His glory to take them up intothe glories of the heavenly home; He would openthe gates of death and set: His waiting disciples free;lead them up into the green pastures and the stillwaters of the eternal home.This meaning, we confess, is not that which carrieswith it the names of our best recent interpreters. Dr.Godet gives” his view in a sentence. “The first littlewhile ends at thedeath of Jesus, the second has for itslimit Pentecost.” But how could our Lord say soabsolutely of two days’ absence in death,” Ye see meNO MORE “? Then, what of our Lord’s appearancesafter the resurrection belonging to the seeing of neitherperiod? Besides, this puts two different senses uponthe word” see “-the first being ordinary eyesight of” Ye sftall see Me.” 263the body and the second mental apprehension. Dr.Westcott makes the second” little while” begin at theresurrection, but creates fresh objections by making” Ye shall shall see Me” carry three different sensesthevision of the risen Christ; clearer apprehensionby the gift of the Spirit; and open vision at Christ’spersonal return. Dr. Wendt contends at length thatJesus never “predicted transient appearances to hisdisciples after death,”! and probably he is right; buthe is most certainly wrong when he interprets thesaying of the spiritual indwelling of Christ in Hisdisciples. Against all three expositors we more thanquestion the right to apply the verb optom,l£ tointellectual apprehension. It is the choice expressionof St. John for open spirit sight. We utterly refuse,besides, to admit that when our Lord is speaking ofparting and subsequent meeting, He could possibly beso inaccurate as to mean by” Ye shall see Me “-afuller apprehension of His nature. If this were alegitimate interpretation, then we ought to interpret”Ye shall not see Me” as a state of growing ignorance!Our Lord can refer in both cases only to open visionof His person; and the first” little while” must coverthe period up to His ascension, from which point only isHe seen no more, and the next “little while” mustrelate to the period between His ascension and thedisciples’ meeting with their Lord in the unseen whenHe descends for them to raise them up into Hisheavenly life.If this be the right interpretation of our Saviour’steaching, it follows that He must certainly have taught”Teaching of J esus,” Vol. II. p. 302.264 Impending Judgement.His disciples to look for a resurrection of the dead,accompanied by a judgement and apportionment ofdestinies, soon after His ascension into Heaven. Hiscoming before long to them in the state of death, andtheir translation into heavenly glory, could hardly bedissevered from the reward of all God’s saints and thepunishment of His foes. An age or dispensation couldnot fitly end without a judicial estimate of its results.If the living generation were to be judged, ought notall the generations of the dead? Messiah could notbe supposed to take His personal disciples out ofHades and leave Abraham, Moses, and Isaiah, in itsunhallowed shades; nor can it be conceived that theOld Testament saints had entered on their promisedrest before the Messiah had “prepared a place” forthem. All these considerations lead us to the conclusionthat our Lord must have taught that there wasere long to be a general resurrection and judgement ofthe dead.Such was indeed the case. The healing of animpotent man on the Sabbath day led the Jews tomurmur against Christ, and depreciate His claims toanything like Divinity. (Chap. v.) In the face ofthis revolt, our Lord asserted all the more strenuouslyHis personal dignity and supreme executive power.His powers ran parallel with the peculiar functionsof the Deity. He could not only heal the impotent,but they would shortly see whomsoever of the deadHe chose to call upon answering His voice and risinginto life. This saying is inanely frittered away bymost expositors into the meaning that Christ wouldshortly show the Jews that He could regenerate thebad, produce conversions! We cannot imagine whyImpending Resurrection.’ 265they should ” marvel” at the production of a moralchange upon character. Surely such a thing was notutterly unheard of in Judea. Much less can we seehow they should marvel more at such a change thanat the sudden cure of an impotent man; but we caneasily imagine the mocking look and incredulousshrug with which His claim of power to raise the deadwas heard. The answer to their scornful unbelief wasmore imperious still: “The hour cometh in .which allthat are in their tombs shall hear His voice and shallcome forth; they that have done good unto theresurrection of life, and they that have done ill untothe resurrection of judgement” (28). Our Lordclaims nothing less than the approaching exercise ofthe function of apportioning all the dead to theirmeriteci destinies. He is soon to be “executingjudgement.” “The HOUR cometh” is the signal ofthe immanence of a general judgement. as it was themeasure of the nearness of the new dispensation whenJerusalem would cease to be a religious shrine, in. the. address to the woman of Samaria. The two eventsare indeed coincident. When !”judgement begins atthe house of God” on earth it begins also with” thedead.” Here then we see when our Lord was to takeHis .disciples to Himself; when the saints were toenter on “the Sabbath that remaineth “-when thosewho waited for the hope of Israel were to be” perfected.”In the visible end of the Judaic age and theofficial introduction of the Christian, we find theperiod when Christ first opened heaven to all believers,and the unbelieving dead beheld themselves shut outof the glories of that life.Is it not strange that with so much open light ex266Wken is tke “Last Day”?positors will for the most part continue to stumbleover such a direct and simple reference to the time ofthe resurrection as that which our Lord repeats sofrequently in the pages of St. John-” I will raise himup at the last day.” What accuracy can therepossibly be in that too popular interpretation of “thelast day” ?_U When an human interests cease”(Westcott, xi. 24). When will such a void and chaoticday arrive? Is the Creator purposing to depopulatethe globe before at least the earth is scorched to acinder by too close proximity to the sun? Are thesaints to wait until the crack of doom in some imperfector purgatorial state? Can the “little while”honestly be interpreted by myriads of millennia ofyears? Has Abraham not yet found the” city whichhath foundations”? Have Peter, Paul. and John notyet been sought in the region of the dead by their DivineDeliverer? Are they still orphans-still disembodied-still sighing for the vision of Christ’s face? Certainlythis is so, if Christ does not come to raise His peopleout of Hades till “the day when all human interestscease.””The last day” is easily interpreted. It is the lastday of the age, the Judaic age then running, and wasa popular phrase for the time when the higher Messianicprivileges would be given to the people of God.To mistake its meaning is inexcusable, seeing thatalmost all the Apostles write of “the last time” and” the last day” as being present for themselves j andespecially when John himself, so notably in his firstepistle, draws his readers’ attention to the fact that theold world is in its dying throes, the darkness of theDevil’s reign fast passing away before the true light ofSt. fohn’s Epistles. 267the Gospel’s morning, and that not only the “lastday” but the ” last hour” of the day has come (ii. 18).And here let us take a brief survey of what Johnteaches in his epistles. There remains no authentic traditionas to the date cf these letters, and we must judgeof the period from the contents as we find them. All theevidence points us to some time between the writingof the Apocalypse and the Gospel. To all appearanceJerusalem is being rapidly pulverised by the Romanpower, if it has not actually fallen. The darkness ofthe old age is passing away and the light of the betterday is already shining. What Paul wrote of as” thelatter days,” days of apostacy and tribulation, are nowcome; and indeed to John are nearly past. Withhim it is ” the last hour.” One of the distinctive notesby which the apostle recognised his whereabouts wasthe visible advent of Antichrist. He tells his readersthat the advent of this power is plainly marked intheir prophetic charts, and now that it is visibly atwork the Lord must be at hand, indeed the Lord isalready come and requickening the energies of Hischurch (1 John v. 20). The whole tone of the epistle isfirm and confident of the nearness of Christ, andalready the apostle is rejoicing in a victory almostcompletely won. He therefore urges his readers toendure wrong patiently a little 1011ger. If” the lasthour” was not come, he must have woefully misconceivedthe situation; and there could have been nocogency in his exhortations or truth in his promises ofimmediate relief.Here endeth our survey of the writings of St. John.268 TIle Harmony of St. John’s Writing».And how will the results compare? Without hesitationwe must answer that they agree with the utmostprecision. In the Apocalypse we have the secondAdvent as it transpires in both the worlds of the livingand the dead. At the end of chapter xi. whenJerusalem is judged, the world becomes Christ’sKingdom, i.e. the Gospel age begins, the dead arejudged, the saints rewarded, and heaven directlyopened to mankind. The same order reigns in themore positive representation of Christ’s coming whichbegins with chapter xii.-the dead are judged and thesaints glorified before the vision of the New Jerusalem,or the advent of the Christian dispensation on theearth. The Gospel deals only with the side of theadvent which affects those in the unseen, but as tomanner and time is in strictest agreement with the”Apocalypse. The epistles land” us in the heat of thecrisis-the strictly transitional moment between theJudaic and Christian ages j and” thus these threeagree in one. They speak alike of a critical darat hand, the close of the Mosaic age, and the introductionof a brighter and more potent measure of thereign of God. They tell us of a mighty work of redemptionthat Christ wrought soon after Hisascension into Heaven, and gratify the longings ofour souls with the assurance that Death and Hadeshave yielded up their prey; so that those dear disciplesand waiting saints of Old Testament times-yes,and all who have since died in the ripeness of discipleship-have already entered into rest, and been blessedwith the vision of their Saviour’s face.Ss. MATTHEW, MARK, AND LUKE.THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS.W~ff I D E as are the differences acknowledged tof exist between the form and spirit of theteaching of Christ in the Synoptics and in St. John’sGospel, at no point is the divergence more notoriousthan in that field of thought we have been traversingin these pages. Weare no longer in the great unseenworld seeing Christ meeting with His lost disciples,and judging all the generations of the dead; butamong the citizens of this world, watching thedevolution of the ages, the creation of a new heavenand new earth, in transactions that we shall see areidentical with much that we have found in theApocalypse. This difference, at which manyexpress astonishment, perhaps needs explanation, butit in no way throws discredit on the historical accuracyof the one evangelist or the other.The Synoptic Gospels were evidently writtenbefore the destruction of Jerusalem. They betray noparticular knowledge of that event, or of the state ofthings which supervened. They abound with statementspointing to an impending dispensational crisis,2’10 Messiah and His Days.and are warm with the voice of warning and entreatyto be ready for that event. This would seem toindicate that they were written with a view to explainto those then living the claims of Christ, and themanner in which His mediatoral ‘Messianic office wasabout to be assumed. The motive justifies thecontents, leaving the authors, who believed with alltheir hearts in the prophetic truthfulness of Jesus, nooption but to emphasise teaching which was of suchsupreme importance for their contemporaries. Notonly so, but since as a matter of fact these prophesiedevents were understood to take place as the fulfilmentof Old Testament prophecy, it was natural that theearlier evangelists should bring forward whatever inChrist’s words or works seemed most surely to be therealization of ancient prophecy. Hence much, both asto form and substance, of the contents of theSynoptics.Messiah and His days is the one ideal of Hebrewthought. His coming is set forth ‘under the twofoldaspect of deliverance and judgement- the opening ofprison doors and the day of vengeance of our God.Most fitly, then, the Hebrew canon closes with abrilliant prophecy of the T.ord coming suddenly toHis temple, as a fire that bums up the wicked likestubble, while it shines as a sun of righteousness tothose who fear His name. Only one solitary sign ofwarning is to be given as a fore-intimation of theapproach of this solemn judgement-time-the appearanceof Elijah the prophet before the coming of thegreat and dreadful day of the Lord. These arc thepersons by whom, and the work by which, the longpromised ideal of Israel was to be realised; butJohn the Baptist. 271as events have proved, in a manner which no oneanticipated before the time. Let us proceed to seehow, according to our Gospels, this prophecy-is to befulfilled.1. Silent centuries have passed. The process ofdivine revelation begins anew. If the time of fulfilmentis approaching, a striking personality, a centralfigure of commanding influence, must appear uponthe field. In the beginning of the Gospel narrativewe seem to find the answering form. John the Baptistis vigorously proclaiming His message of repentance,and enforcing it with dreadful threatenings ofimpending woe. ” The wrath ABOUT to come” (seethe Greek) is the text of every sermon. Now, he says,the axe is laid at the root of the trees, and every worthlesstree is about to be cast into the fire. He makes noclaim to be able to command the furies. One cometh”whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughlycleanse His threshing-floor; and He will gather Hiswheat into the garner, but the chaff He will burn upwith unquenchable fire.” Thus John pursues hisministry in “the power and spirit of Elias,” ringingout his two-edged message,” The kingdom of God isat hand,” and” God’s judgement slumbers not.” Weknow not whether the popular leaders were quite aliveto the significance of this fiery prophetic presence intheir midst; but, at all events, they had their suspicions,and a general impression, perhaps ill to explain, thatthe days of Messiah were at hand. A deputation fromthem interviewed the Baptist, and bluntly put thequestion” Art thou Elijah?” and the preacher, takingtheir question as they meant it, bluntly answered-IS272 Elias Recognised.” No.” Perhaps the prophet did not recognise hismission; but this is scarcely probable, seeing that bythis time he had recognised Jesus as Messiah. Hisdenial certainly does not, as some will have it, invalidatehis Elijah ministry, for .Christ Himself recognizedthe prophetic rile which had’fallen on John. “This is heof whom it is written, Behold I send My messengerbefore Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way beforeThee.” Thus does our Lord in the directest.manneridentify John with the promised messenger of Malachiwho precedes by a little while the great Messianicjudgement by which the wicked are consumed andthe righteous left in peace to carryon God’s kingdomon the earth. But anticipating great unwillingness toreceive the truth, on the part even of His disciples, Hesays again, more plainly, “And if ye are willing toreceive it, this is Elijah which is to come” (Matt. xi.)?Later on, the disciples ask Him: “Why say the scribesElijah must first come? [i.e., If you are the Messiahand your advent as near as you’ say]. “And Heanswered and said, Elijah indeed cometh, and shallrestore all things; but I say unto you that Elijah iscome already, and they knew him not” (Matt. xvii.)See, then, what the actual situation is in the days ofChrist. Standing back there in thought, we are in thebrief interregnum between the appe:l.rance of Elijahand the coming of Messiah to burn the land with fire.The way of the Lord has already been prepared; andtherefore there must be at this point, according to]. The Greek reads: “This is Elijah which is SOON to come.” Theexplanation of this peculiar form of speech seems to be, that it was apopular saying at the time, “Elijah is soon to come,” and that our Lordhere means to say-John is the Elijah that the people are expecting soon.The Training of the Twelve. 273Hebrew prophecy and our Lord’s interpretation ofJohn’s mission, an unparalleled crisis impending inJewish history, in which” God will come as a mightyOne, and His reward is with Him” (Is. xl. 10; compareRev. xx. 12, where the last clause is applied tothe coming of Christ).2. It is hardly needful to do more than sketch outbriefly the facts that show how thoroughly our Lordentered into the national situation as we have describedit. He began His ministry by re-asserting the prophet’smessage: “Repent ye; for the kingdom ofheaven is at hand.” All through His early Galileanministry He preached with diligence” the good tidingsof the kingdom” in irs three blessed characteristicsitwas to be spiritual, impartial and therefore universal,and it was near. A little later on, we get very definiteinformation as to the doctrine of the kingdom in whichthe Twelve were trained. They are being sent out onan evangelizing tour through, and aredirected to preach, saying II The kingdom of heaven isat hand” (Matt. x.) In the same connection they areassured that the kingdom of God is so near that II theyshall not have gone through the cities of Israel till theSon of Man be come.” From such statements it isseen that the coming of the kingdom and the corningof the Son of Man are one and the same idea, (2) thatthe kingdom is to corne while these very disciples areengaged in preaching the gospel, and (2) that theywill scarcely have been able to cover the whole fieldof the people of Israel before the end. This emphaticteaching was supplemented by much information alltending to the same effect. The generation then alive274 The Coming of the Kingdom.were for the most part to reject the Christ, and insteadof salvation, as God proposed, to reap judgement worsethan that of Sodom or Nineveh. Instead of procuringthe sons of Abraham for the people of His kingdom,Messiah is ” to declare judgement to the Gentiles andlead it unto victory until the Gentiles hope in Him.”(Matt. xii.) Accordingly, in His parables, our Lordteaches that the kingdom will be realized in a harvestof the land in which the bad, like worthless tares, aregiven up to burning, and the good, like wheat, keptfor the garner; or again like fish in a net, assorted intothe good which are kept and the bad which are thrownaway. “So,” He says, “shall it be at the consummationof the age,”-the Son of Man will come, as theForerunner said, with His fan and purge out the chaff,and then the righteous shall shine forth as the lightsof the world. This consummation is everywhere inthe Gospels declared to be at hand. It is the comingof the kingdom; or in other words,” the coming ofthe Son of Man in His kingdom.” Christ Himselfwas following up the work of John in sowing the seedof the word and preparing a people for His Name;the ripening of the elect who receive the word intofitness for a spiritual kingdom is to be the sign forjudgement to begin; and the kingdom is objectively orhistorically constituted when the harvest of judgementand salvation is reaped. Then the kingdom runs itsprophetic course towards universal victory, accordingto the parables of the mustard seed and leaven-allthe birds of heaven lodge in its branches, and all themeal of humanity is leavened with its life.Now, this teaching seems beyond misapprehension,but as if to make assurance doubly sure, our LordThe Coming within a Lifetime. 275carried His explicitness still farther. When the timehad come for telling His disciples that He must bekilled in Jerusalem, He exhorted them to show thesame fidelity to the truth, and encouraged them evento lay down their lives, with the stimulating promisethat He was SOON to reward His servants. Wequote the passage in full, making a needful alterationon the translation: “For SOON the Son of Man shallcome in the glory of His Father with His angels;and then shal1 He render unto every man accordingto his doing. Verily I say unto you, There be someof them that stand here, which shall in no wise tasteof death till they see the Son of Man coming in Hiskingdom.” (Matt. xvi, 27, 28). What else could thesewords mean for the disciples, with their previousinstruction, but that while some years would pass andthin the numbers of the living before His SecondComing, yet this Coming would certainly transpirewithin the boundary of the lifetime of the younger ofthem standing there; and that, alive or dead at thecrisis, all of them proving faithful to the end wouldreap a rich reward? Within six days the disciplesput their question, ‘What, then, about Elias, who is tocome before the great and notable day of ThyComing? and received the answer, II Elias is alreadycome and gone! ” We need not wonder that, on theback of such startling announcements, the disciplescame to Jesus with the pertinent and practicalquestion, “Who is greatest in the kingdom?” andthat certain of them were already making sinisterprovisions to occupy the highest places when thekingdom came.276 Typical Misunderstandings.3. The pitiful confusion which exists in the highesttheological quarters upon the subject of the kingdom’sadvent demands that we shall strive to make thetruth still more explicit. As examples of the seriousmisunderstandings which are rife, we shall glance attwo recent works by authors who have carefullystudied the life and teaching of Jesus historicallyTheKingdom of God, by Dr. Bruce, the chapter on”The Parousia and the Christian Era,” and TheTeaching of Jesus, by Dr. Wendt, the chapter on”The Nature and Advent of the Kingdom.” Theformer expresses the common perplexity of theologiansthus :-” There is no subject on which it is moredifficult to ascertain the teaching of Christ than thatwhich relates to the future of the kingdom.” Neitherof these able scholars can offer us a reasonable solutionof the difficulty, for the very good reason that it isentirely of their own creation. Dr. Wendt chargesthe Evangelists with giving us bungled reports of theMaster’s sayings, and finds, as well, that He”developed,” that is, changed His opinion as to thecoming of His kingdom. Now, we deny that thereis the slightest visible trace of such a development.Certainly, our Lord never was under the pitiabledelusion that His kingdom would come in His ownand His disciples life-time through a general acceptanceof His Messiahship by the Jews; nor, later, ofbelieving that He would die, but that His kingdomwould come, and Himself return to the earth, in thatvery generation, “at the close of the earthly developmentof the kingdom of God.” (I. 397-8.) As to theearlier supposed belief, why, John the Baptist, echoingMalachi, knew better, and prophesied the demolitionTypical Misunderstandings. 277of the Judaic Institution by axe and fire; and, as tothe later, while it closely approximates the truth atpoints, it is the grossest assumption to charge Christwith the notion that His kingdom would close itsdevelopment in one brief life-time, in the face of Hisdistinct intimation that His disciples would be hatedand killed, and that when the Son of Man came Hewould not find faith in the land; and it is aninexcusable blunder to associate Christ’s coming withthe close of His earthly kingdom in the face of themany passages which universally connect it with itsofficial initiation.Dr. Bruce, careful and patient student as he is, fairlywanders in a maze between what seems to himcontradictory teachings as to the consummation of thekingdom-here, by “an early catastrophe,” and there,by “a lengthened history.” He offers us the solutionof bad reporting by the EvangeHsts, and two secondcomings, one SOON, and another DELAYED to someindefinite period which has not yet arrived. Thefeatures of these two comings are supposed to be sojumbled together that it is now almost impossible todissever them and adjust them in their appropriateplaces. For this third, far-distant coming, the proofsrelied upon are those passages which speak of theParousia as delayed. But how is it that the Parousiais never spoken of as delayed through generation aftergeneration? It is delayed in appearance only tosome of those to whom Christ speaks ; and neve” in onesingle case delayed beyond tile limits of an individuallife. Those in whose eyes it is delayed are eitherpeople who have been expecting it, and have oftenbeen aroused by false alarms, and, of course, like every278 The Parables of DlIlay.eager watcher, thought the time unreasonably long;or people like the upper servant who wish the comingto be delayed, and whose wish is father to the thought.In agreement with this, it is a decisive feature of everyBible reference that those to wlwm it seems delayedare the very jJersons to whom it comes! Can this possiblybe the description of a Parousia which is delayedover thirty or forty christian generations? Nay, it issimply that very Parousia which was to beSOON, within a generation, for which many were wearying,but which, as always happens to the eager, didnot answer sharply to their hasty expectations, whileit came too soon to those who wished delay. Indeed,the express motive of these warnings of delay is a callto ” watchfulness,” but the demand for watchfulness isessentially implicative of unlooked-for nearness whichtakes one by surprise. Therefore the very proofs reliedupon for a long delayed Parousia disprove the doctrinecontended for.The solution of this question is not far to seek, andit would be surprising that so many life-long studentsshould have missed it, if it were not that we all knowtoo well the blinding effects of being trained in falsetraditional ideas. Approach the Parousia from thestandpoint of the kingdom, and this is how its historyunrolls itself. The kingdom. as a reign of God withinthe heart, came to earth in Christ Himself, and grewas men’s hearts opened to the Spirit of God. Thissubjective form of the kingdom is not, however, theprevalent form in the Synoptic Gospels. The kingdomis there conceived in its distinctively christian form,as Christ’s mediatorial reign, a new dispensation ofdivine truth and power, ministered fcr God’s glory andHow the Kingdom Comes. 279man’s salvation. This kingdom as a historically constituteddispensation, most certainly comes by what Dr.Bruce calls” an early catastrophe,” and Dr. Wendt” asudden miraculous interposition of God.” And whyshould it not? We might even ask, Could it comeafter any other fashion? Did not a previous divinedispensation hold the field? Did not the OldTestament prophesy the latter’s destruction by acatastrophe-a fire that would burn as an oven? Didnot Christ say, that, those who administered it weredetermined to maintain it, and had refused to give itup to the rightful heir? In that case, could it be takenfrom them otherwise than by violence, ” a catastrophe,””a divine interposition;” and do not the Synoptics brimwith the announcement that God is to send His armiesand cast those murderous usurpers out, and give Hiskingdom unto another people? This divine assault isIsrael’s judgement-day, the great day of the Lord, thefire which Christ came to cast into the land so that itshould be turned into Gehenna, the burning of thechaff and tares after the good wheat in Israel isgathered into Christ’s garner. Notice, however, thatthis catastrophe is not called in Scripture the” consummation” of Christ’s kingdom, but of the Jewish agethen current. Christ’s kingdom knows no consumrnationinthe sense of coming to an end, but steadilyexpands according to those many parables in whichits “lengthened history” is described. There is noend to the Christian world. Christ’s kingdom takesits official and historical beginning in a catastrophewhich visibly ends the effete Mosaic .tEon j its missionhenceforth is to conquer men of every tongue and tribe,and hold the whole earth in possession, time without280 Our Lord’s Last PtOpltecy.end. Here is the simple key to all the seeming confusionof New Testament teaching; and it is to bedeeply regretted that this key has not been found asyet by those who have the teaching of our students ofdivinity, and whose literary arts give them the publicear, for it puts a speedy end to that really unscholarlylicence which reflects on the accuracy of the evangelists,charges such as Paul with ignorance, and even imputesmistakes to Christ on matters which He taught withconfidence and deliberation.4. At length our Lord is in Jerusalem to meet Hisdeath. There His teaching as to His kingdom isbeyond all mistake. The chief priests and elders aretold that when they have killed Him they are to looksoon after for the day of their national destruction.”The kingdom of God,” He says,” shall be taken fromyou, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth thefruits thereof.” This desolation of Israel is the comingof the Lord in the fires of judgement. The coming ofGod’s kingdom is the official withdrawal of the brokencovenant from the Jews and its rejuvenescence in thehearts of regenerated Gentiles. The date of thiscalamitous yet blessed tranference is sternly fixed:-” All these things shall come upon this generation.o Jerusalem, your house is left unto you desolate!”Nowhere up to this last public discourse, is there asyllable removing the coming of Christ in His kingdomto a distant date, or placing it beyond theexperience of the men to whom Christ then spake.Occasionally we find hints that this coming is a twosidedevent-bearing upon the dead as surely as theliving, and creating a kingdom there as well as here;The DiscijJles’ Questions. 281but never are the two sides severed as to time, orother than one grand event, telling simultaneously inboth worlds, and with no dubiety as to its approximatedate and the outward signs which accompany it.With teaching running on such plain lines, thedisciples’ standpoint may be easily understood inputting the questions recorded in the beginning ofMatt. xxiv. Strangely enough, as it seems to us, thosequestions have been commonly misunderstood; andexegetes have therefore found the interpretation of ourLord’s reply one of the most puzzling tasks presentedby New Testament Scripture. Let us see whetherthere is not a simple and clear solution of thisperplexity.The disciples, warned so frequently of comingtroubles, were not, like the great men in Jerusalem,able to laugh at the threats of Christ. Hence, theywere eager to draw the fullest information from theMaster. Holding on to the subject on which theLord had just been speaking, they said to him,”Before you leave the Temple will you not comeround and see the splendid masonry? Have you noticedthat massive stone in the south-west corner of the wallthirtyfeet and more by eight? Was there ever suchwondrous masonry! Why, it will be beyond thepower of time to harm such ponderous work as that !”The only answer was a sigh,-” There shall not be leftone stone upon another, that shall not be throwndown.” Curiosity was .only the more excited by thisdoleful prophecy; but they dropped the subject for amore convenient moment, which soon came to themin the quiet of a short breathing-space on the side ofOlivet, probably in sight of the glittering splendour of282 Mistaken Meanings.the Temple buildings. Two or three of them, anxiousto probe the matter to the core, opened a fire ofquestions, the purport of which is all summed up inthis-” When shall these things be? How shall weknow that the time approaches when the house ofGod shall be made desolate, and Thy time be come,and the age brought to its consummation? Tell us,that being fore-warned we may be fore-armed againstthat dreadful time.” There is nothing fresh or out ofthe way in these questions. They concern the mostordinary common-places of our Saviour’s teaching.Over and over again, they had been instructed, onevery substantial point. and only one thing seemedwanting to the perfection of their knowledge, a clearerindication of the signs that would precede the climax,and enable them to be the more on the alert.Two mistakes have however vitiated the commoninterpretation of their meaning and our T.ord’s reply.One of them arises from a wrong translation, or, onthe part of Greek readers, a misapprehension of lthemeaning of one phrase in the disciples’ questions. etit be noted that the disciples make no shadow c f areference to any imagined “end of the world” ir aphysical or material sense. No such idea was in th irminds; their anticipations were entirely of t. eopposite character. What they ask concerns “tl eend of the age.” It is most unfortunate that th eRevisers have retained the word world as th.translation of o.lwv in the New Testament. Only ir, one single instance out of many can the translationbe in the least degree justified. On every ground, theonly possible translation is that of the marginal reading-I< the consummation of the age’;” and the phrasMistaken Meanings. 283″ end of the world” has all along been a trap for thepopular mind (which even scholars like the two justcritised have not escaped), fixing it in the expectationof a material wreckage, which has no countenance inthe Scriptures. Believing, as multitudes do, that ourLord predicts terrific physical revolutions as theaccompaniments of His coming, their entire conceptionof His parousia has taken a form prolific of very badresults.The second mistake is still more widely spread.Many scholars who perceive that the disciples arenot concerned with” the end of the world,” but with” the consummation of the age,” nevertheless fall intothe serious error of importing into the disciples’questions two or three different subjects. They arethus forced to find two or three different answers inour Lord’s reply, so inextricably mixed, it seems, thathardly two expositors of any self-reliance can agree indiscriminating this from that, or as to whether acertain passage does or does not refer to two eventslying thousands of years apart, but which our Lord,if He has not been mis-reported, is pleased to throwtogether because analogous in their nature. In short,they make the serious slip of supposing that thecoming of the Son of Man has no connection in timewith the destruction of Jerusalem and the abrogationof the Mosaic ritual; and the still less excusable slipof thinking that by” the consummation of the age”the disciples meant the end of an age which had onlythen begun and is running at this present day, andwhich, therefore, lay twenty or thirty millennia awayfrom the subject of question one, the destruction ofJerusalem. The disorder thus introduced into Christ’s284 A Specimen Exposition.reply, when the questions are really one and deal witha series of phenomena running simultaneously tofulfilment, cannot easily be imagined. The task,indeed, quite overmasters the interpreter, and almosteveryone going upon this hypothesis confesses hisperplexity. The more commentaries of this order oneconsults, the more one is puzzled; and the dazedfeeling grows that the meaning is playing at hideand-seek with us. In illustration, let us take a recentable work on Matthew’s Gospel and watch the author’smethod. He pleads that the” Ye shall SOON hear ofwars and rumours of wars-the famines, the earthquakes,the false prophets, and persecutions” of whichthe disciples are warned-refer, all of them more to afuture age, than to the period before Jerusalem’s fall!Then vv. 15-22, beginning, ” When, therefore, ye see,”suddenly sweep backward, without warning, and referto Jerusalem alone. The next nine verses, beginning”Then, if any man shall say to you,” leap awayforward to the end of the Gospel age, and of courseare unfulfilled as yet. Ver. 32 takes us back to theactual crisis around Jerusalem; and in contradictionof the connected exposition, ” He is nigh” (ver. 33) isadmitted to mean the coming of the Son of Man.Again, ” all these things” which that generation shallsee (ver. 340) concern Jerusalem alone; while in vv. 35to the end we are again whisked away, withoutwarning, forward thousands of years. Thus tortuouslyproceeds this wayward and arbitrary exegesis. The”ye,” in which Christ addresses the men to whom Hespeaks, changes its reference backwards and forwardsevery now and then from them to a generation yetunborn; and the final” Watch ye ” does not mean theI jThe Dimples’ Meaning. 285audience of the hour, but believers who are to be alivein two or three thousand years! And all this in theface of Luke’s report of Christ’s concluding words:”Watch ye at every season, making supplication thatye may prevail to escape all these things that shallSOON come to pass” [see Greek],” and to stand beforethe Son of Man.” If the bulk of the events foretoldlay twenty centuries away, what need to pray thatthey should escape them? And if they actually didescape the trials of their time through watchfulness,how could escaping wars, famines, and persecutions,make them stand before the Son of Man, if He wasnot coming in their day, but in three thousand years?Such are the tremendous exegetical difficulties of thissystem of interpretation. Would that the difficultiesraised were only exegeticall We are constrained toask-What wiser could the disciples be for an answerwhich they could not understand? or what wiser arewe, their successors, if the answer was meant for us?Such an answer is not in keeping with the intellectualpower or the moral honesty of Christ; but the answerreally given we shall see was full and particular,without mystery or dubiety, so clear that he who runsmay read.5. Our immediate business at this stage is to seethat we clearly understand the meaning of thequestions which our Lord was called upon to answer.”When shall these things be, and what shall be thesign of Thy Presence and [no article in the Greek]completion of the age?” That this is the most literalrendering possible of the words will scarcely bedenied.286 The Questions really One.(a.) The first clause concerns, by unanimous consent,the desolation of the Temple, of which Jesus hasjust been speaking. The second is not concerned withthe COMING of Christ as the mere event of a moment,but with the PRESENCE of Christ as a permanent andabiding blessing with His Church. The third is not,even in form, :l. separate question, but is treated as anadjunct of the second. The Presence of Christ impliesthe completion of the previous age. Therefore. it isevident that “the presence of Christ” carries here adispensational sense, equivalent to Christ’s age, assucceeding the Mosaic. the presence of Christ’skingdom, or mediatorial reign. Accordingly, ONEsign indicates that both events have happened-theMosaic age having necessarily ended with the presenceof the Christian. Now, handle these questions as youwill, it cannot be denied that they enquire as to theTIME of one event alone. The disciples were no doubtintensely anxious to know the time of Christ’s Presenceand the completion of the age, yet they did notask this question. Why were they content withknowing only the time of Jerusalem’s destruction?For the very satisfactory reason that they identifiedthe two as occurring in very close proximity. Theyrequired to know the time of one event only in order toknow the time of both; but in addition to the wIlen,they thought it well to know the Sig1t which wouldmake it perfectly self-evident that Christ’s age orkingdom had been introduced in the plenitude of itspowers. If this really is the relationship of thequestions, it settles at one sweep, their generalinterpretation. There is but one double-branchedquestion and not three. The disciples are concernedThe Time and the Sign. 287about only one event, of which they wish to know thewhen? and what the sign? They clearly proceedupon the assumption that the desolation of theTemple is not distant, and that no measurableinterval lies between that event and the Parousia andend of the age. Even Dr. Bruce, who tears the answerasunder limb from limb, admits that “the threequestions are apparently assumed by the questionersto be equivalent in import.” It seems to be perfectlyevident that our Lord heard them in this identical sense.From His well-known candour we must expect aplain correction, if the disciples are here proceedingupon fallacious assumptions. From the vigour andclearness of His judgement, we know that there willbe no weak confusion in His answer. Therefore, ifthere is no plain correction in the answer (and none isevident), there has been no mistake made by thequestioners. If, too, the answer proceeds clearly uponthe assumption of a closeness or identity as to time ofthe parousia with the destruction of Jerusalem, thedisciples must have put their questions in that sense;and the answer must be interpreted with that simplemeaning, whatever be the consequence to “our littlesystems,” and the serious task of reconsideration it willimpose upon our mistakes. That the answer doescertainly run together the two events without anywell-marked dividing-line, every competent exegetewill admit; and this we claim to be a prima-facieargument for our Lord’s intention to express the closesuccession of the two in time.(b) We submit, then, that the disciples could meanby “the end of the age” only that particular age ordispensation in which they lived. The Scripture ages’9288 The End of the Judaic Age.are all marked off by the current order of things inthe religious sphere. The disciples belonged to theday of Moses, of the Law and the Levitical Priesthood;the pre-Messianic age of Prophecy. Doubtless, theywere well aware that when the Messiah came He wasto institute a reformation that would be equivalent toa new heaven and new earth. This Messiah hadalready come to them; He had spoken plainly, inawe-inspiring terms, of the consummation of theexisting state of things, and promised that all thingswritten should speedily be fulfilled. With such asolemn tragedy in sight it is most improbable thatthey were casting their eyes forward upon the end ofan age which had not then so much as dawned, andwith whose end they and their people had noimmediate concern. It is commonly understood thatthis age of ours is a portion of the age in’ which theylived. In that case, either our age is Judaic or theirage was Christian. The latter is no more tenable thanthe former. The disciples were not living in the freshbeginnings of an age, but in the last days of a dyingone. Our Lord spake” at the end of these days.” Heoffered His sacrifice “in the end of the ages.”Therefore, there is no legitimate conclusion left to usbut that these disciples were concerned about thecompletion of an age then hastening to its close, andin whose dying agonies they were individually involved.It would be strange indeed if the interests of thesesimple men overleaped the end of an age so close athand to put questions concerning an end far distantin the future.(c) These questions had been excited by ourLord’s own thrilling discourses concerning the” end ofTIle End of the Age. 289the age.” That end was synonymous with the comingof the kingdom of God, which they were assured wasat hand. I ts approach was to be heralded by thetravail-pangs of a fiery judgement that would purge itfrom the foulness of the place and people of its birth.(Matt. xiii.) This judgement would take place assoon as the elect wheat of the Jewish Church wereripened enough by Christian teaching to be easilyseparated from their social entanglements with the taresof Judaic formalists and unbelievers; and thus, first byspiritual and then by local separation, be saved fromthe deluge of fire that was to descend upon the land.Nor was the approximate period of this judgementleft in any doubt. Our Lord’s statements that He isSOON to come, and that the kingdom is at hand, allimply as well the nearness of the end of the age. Inone case He is recorded as having said that sin againstthe Holy Ghost is forgiven II neither in this age nor inthe age ABOUT to come “-that is, neither under theMosaic nor Messianic measure of grace can it be anythingbut fatal to the soul’s acceptance before God(Matt. xii. 30). That the disciples were quite on thewatch for this approaching age, the age of the kingdomof God, up to the moment of Christ’s death, iswitnessed by the regretful remark of the two in thewalk to Emmaus: “We hoped that it was He whichshould SOON redeem Israel.” This anticipation wasrevived by the Resurrection; and on the very Mountof Ascension they asked: “Wilt Thou at this timerestore the Kingdom unto Israel?” On the day ofPentecost Peter expressed the common faith that theywere living in “the last days,” according to theprophecy of Joel j and that the wondrous outpouring290 Tlu End Expected Soon.of the Spirit they had just received was for the specialpurpose of ripening the good wheat of the Church,before the darkening of heaven and earth, whichpresaged” the notable day of the Lord “-the reapingof the han-est of the land. Our concern, at present, isnot with the accuracy of the disciples’ anticipations,but with their express convictions as to the end of theage; and we claim that they were expecting a nearend to their age, an end which would transform existingIsrael into the ideal Israel of the Scriptures. Weclaim also that our Lord’s answer must be held tohomologate this conviction, if it is not disclaimed.He who was the Truth would not have glossed overso serious a mistake, especially when it concerned thevery point on which information was desired. Surely,if an age were to intervene between the desolation ofthe Temple and His presence, our Lord would nothave answered as if both events were simultaneous, oras closely related as two sides of a shield.(d) By another series of teachings the discipleshad understood that the parousia was to be heraldedby or be even coincident with the destruction ofJerusalem. What else- mean the parables which S:lYthat the Lord is to go away and come again to judgeHis persecutors? He is to send His armies anddestroy them; to take the vineyard (the kingdom)and give it unto others. This work of vengeance is tobe the day of His triumph and vindication. HisPharisaic auditors knew well that He spoke of THEM,and prophesied that the kingdom would pass to theGentiles in their time (Matt. xxi, 43-46). We mustcredit the disciples with as quick an apprehension oftheir Master’s meaning. The kingdom, thus redeemed,. IThe Right Chronological Standpoint. 291regenerated, and enlarged, was to constitute the newsuccessive age. Accordingly,” the coming of the Sonof Man” has its equation in “the age about to come”=” the coming of His kingdom “=” the kingdom ofHeaven” = Christ’s mediatorial dispensation or reign,in which all things are summed up under Christ andadministered by Him from the right hand of theFather. Such, an age necessarily implied the destructionof the Temple as a de facto abrogation of theMosaic mediatorship, and also the dispersion of theJews, in order to secure the permanency of the sign ofjudgement. Christ’s age begins where Moses’ ends.The abrogation of the Mosaic covenant, seeing that itwas unquestionably Divine in origin, is undeniableproof that Christ is indeed the Son of God, and thatnow He is invested with power and glory. Hence,the destruction of Jerusalem and the advent of thenew age, or Christ’s kingdom, are virtually coincidentin time. With this finding, our Lord’s answer is instrict agreement, and becomes at once self-luminous.(e) In agreement herewith, let it be noted that thechronological standpoint of all the New Testamentwriters is in “the end of the age.” The old world stillabides with them. The Temple stands in all its glorydefiant of the infant faith; and its elaborate servicesare” as they were from the beginning.” UnbelievingJews are mocking the Apostolic preachers, and demanding,-“Where is the sign of His coming?” Theanswer of faith is: God has been patient for your sakes;but the old age has now nearly run its course. It isthe last time-the last days-and with John, the lasthour. The things that are, are to be shaken; theTemple and its priesthood to pass away. The time is292 The Parousia and tlte Fall of Jerusalem.nigh-the Lord is at hand-the Judge is at the door.In the Book of Revelation, its actual accomplishmentis pourtrayed in pictorial form to the opened eye ofJohn, as a process already begun. Surely all thisfurnishes a faultless chain of evidence as to what thedisciples meant by, “What is the sign of Thy presenceand completion of the age?”(/) This interpretation of the disciples’ meaningis strongly corroborated on turning to the correspondingpassages in Mark xiii. and Luke xxi. There thequestions are reduced in form: nothing being askedconcerning Christ’s parousia or the end of the age.We transcribe Mark’s report from the Revised Version,and Luke’s is substantially the same: ” When shallthese things be? and what the sign when these thingsare all about to be accomplished?” The time andthe sign are here concerned, according to the context,only with the desolation of Jerusalem, and the answersreported by Mark and Luke embrace all the contentsof the answer to the three in Matthew. The destructionof Jerusalem-the falling of the stars ofheaven-the coming of the Son of Man-every notablefeature is here in one close piece-woven, like our Lord’sgarment, without seam. Now, these two Gospels areof equal authority with the first-equally correct, andequally inspired. They were originally put intoseparate circulation; and must have been intendedseparately to convey the Lord’s very truth to theirreaders. But if it be the case that the end of the ageand the Lord’s parousia are separated by two… thousand years from the fall of Jerusalem-whataccuracy, we might ask, is in the reports of the secondand third Evangelists? And how misleading theyThe Parousia and Temple Worship. 293must have been to their early readers! It seems thatwe are shut up to hold either the conclusion to whichexegetical despair has driven every candid expositorwho clings to the orthodox view of the coming, in companywith such free-thinkers as Francis Newman, W.R. Greig, Dr. Martineau, and Matthew Arnold, thaterror has marred the Evangelists’ reports; or else, thatthe questions in Matthew are one in import, andidentical with the single subject of Mark and Luke.(g) Finally, the matter must be tested by theability of this interpretation to make our Lord’s replycogent, lucid, and of service to the disciples for whosesakes it was spoken-qualities that are lacking to thepopular exposition of its meaning. The key of thewhole position, as we deem it, lies in noticing the emphaticopposition here set up between the TEMPLEand the PAROUSIA. Their mutual attitude is notmerely antithesis, but marked antagonism. The agethen existing had for its soul, its inspiring genius, theTemple. There it stood, the centre of Israel’s faith,itsglory, and its hope. Nowhere else was God; onno other altar could man offer sacrifice; at no otherspot, receive heaven’s blessing. Such ideas had had,in the olden time, a happy educative influence on Israel;but they had served their time, and become obsolete.Worse than obsolete, they were fostering an idolatrous,inhuman, and hypocritical spirit in God’s Church.The Temple and its furniture had become fetishes,more sacred than Jehovah’s law; and to many, thanJehovah’s self. Worship had become punctiliousritual, and a price for the favour of God. jehovah•.rwas appropriated to the uses of the Jew as if He hadbeen a merely local” lares and penates,” and not the294 Tne Parousia a Fni’VtrsaJ Presence.God of the whole wide earth; and the Gentiles werescarcely accounted worth)” of being respected as Hiscreatures. Israel had therefore failed to serve thepurpose of its Divine election. The only remedy forthis fallen condition of the Church is the totalabrogation of the dispensation, and the>ubstitution ofanother that shall lay a mightier hand upon the heartand conscience of humanity. The age of local shrinesand prescribed rituals must cease. Men must henceforthbe compelled to face the truth that God is notlimited to temples made with hands; that no priesthoodkeeps the key of access; that .. neither in thismountain nor in Jerusalem,” and by no fastidious ritual,does God seek man to worship Him; but that He is animmanent Presence-a Spirit and a Father, who makesonly this restriction upon man’s power to worship, thatit shall be .. in spirit and in truth.” This more spiritualage was about to be ushered in. The clock hadalready struck-s-” the hour cometh, and now is.” TheTemple of Herod would go down; the Temple ofChrist’s Body would ascend through death into aDiviner state. Then, the centre of all worshippingeyes would be no temple built by hands, but theadorable Parousia or presence of an unseen but omniscientChrist, who could say: U Lo, I am with youalway, even to the end of the age; but more intimatelyand abundantly when the cumbrous scaffolding of thepresent dispensation, to which, alas, you cling toomuch, shall have finally disappeared, and all your eyesand hearts be constrained to seek with deeper eagernessthe consciousness of a Divinity in which you liveand move, by which you are inspired to lofty faith andnoble deeds; and, abiding in which, you are united toA Near or Distant Parousia ? 295the spirits of just men made perfect, to innumerablehosts of angels, and to the city of the living God, theheavenly Jerusalem.” And so it seems that to realizethe Parousin here is, like St. John, to “know that theSon of God is HERE and that weare in Him. This isthe true God and eternal life.” The age of the disciplesknew God only as shut up in a sanctuary at Jerusalem;the following age was to dwell in God by the personalthough invisible PRESENCE of Christ with every truebeliever. Such is the antithesis which lies at theheart of this great prophetic discourse. The Templeage, with its materialistic localizations, is about todisappear; the age is about to dawn when every truedisciple can enter into the Holiest of all and standperpetually in the Parousia of” God in Christ.” Doesit not appear evident, then, that “the age about tocome” is indeed no other than this blessed Gospel age,in which we are favoured by a Presence which is withevery two or three who are gathered together in Christ’sName?6. Let us now search the answer in detail thatwe may see whether it agrees most with a near or adistant parousia. It is as well to note, at the outset,that our Lord’s express intention in answering thesequestions is to arm His disciples effectively againstthe errors and temptations peculiar to the times. Wemay, therefore, confidently hold that the instructiongiven runs upon the plainest lines, and that any seriousmistake under which the questioners may lie will bespeedily corrected. It is, surely, the very last occasionon which our Lord would speak, as Dean Mansel says,” with the obscurity of prophetic language,” or mingle,•296 Signs oj tlte End.without sufficient definition, His disciples’ personalexperiences with other events lying thousands of yearsapart. No method could better lead them to confusionand serious mistake.” Take heed,” He says, ” ye will hear of many callingthemselves Christs.” This prophecy was certainlystrikingly realised in the Apostolic age, and especiallybefore the fall of Jerusalem. There is even good reasonfor believing that the Emperor Nero was at one timeprompted by the phantasy that he was the King ofancient prophecy who was to rule the world fromJerusalem. The probability that any future generationwill be troubled by many Christs is very smallindeed. Here and there some idiotic individual, movedby current prophetic teaching, may be seized by thefancy of calling himself” Christ,” but those led astraywill not be many. In fact, the prophecy must be readof the first christian generation. When our Lord says” ye ” to men standing in His presence, He in no casemeans the “ye” to carry an indefinite or merelygeneral reference to believers of some distant date.Certainly, the next sign cannot be thus postponed.”Ye shall SOON hear of wars and rumours of wars.”This troubled state of society was to continue for someyears, and was not ., the end,” but only the” travailpangs” of the corning Messianic age. The historiansof the period fill their pages with” cities sacked by theenemy or swallowed up by earthquakes” throughoutthe Roman empire. From the year 52, when a savagewar broke out between the Galileans and Samaritans,there was no peace in Palestine until Jerusalem waslevelled and her worship silenced.At this period the disciples are to suffer persecutionWork to be Done before the End. 297as preachers of the Kingdom. ” Ye shall stand beforeSanhedrims, and in synagogues shall ye be beaten”(ver. 9 with Mark xiii. 9). This is a certain note offirst century life, when Jerusalem still stands, and theevangelists are of Jewish blood. Indeed, the referenceis mainly Palestinian in scope. Amid the calamitiesof this period, many in the church grow cold, and turntreacherously upon their friends. These evils areaggravated by the spread of” damnable heresies” thatmight almost deceive the elect, (vv. 10-12). Thispicture is exactly realised in the later epistles, and inthe seven Asiatic churches of the Apocalypse. St.John recognizes” the last time “-the time just beforethe end-by the many servants of anti-Christ who hadinvaded the infant church-a veritable flood of watersfrom the Serpent’s mouth.“And these good tidings of tlte Ki1zgdom shall bepreached in the whole inhabitable worldfor a testimonyunto all the nations and then shall the end come.” Atlength there comes into our horizon what seems to bea sign that” the end” could not have been intendedfor the Apostolic days. It is argued that a generationwas not sufficient for such a work, and that Luke mustbest represent the teaching of the Master when hereports that this season of evangelization is ” the timesof the Gentiles,” which in fairness must last as long atleast as the Jewish seasons, which were for manycenturies. Now this interpretation is simply ridiculousin view of the number of palpably erroneous notionsit contains, although it is the product of a writer whoseeyes are usually in his head. How can” the end” beat the conclusion of the evangelization of the Gentileworld when the end is either coincident with or close29~ The Gospel Preached before the End.upon” the abomination of desolation” standing in thetemple? and when the social and political troubles ofthe apostolic age were its birth-pangs, and when” theend” is the end of the then existing Jewish age?The” times of the Gentiles” are certainly this currentperiod of Gentile evangelization, but the evangelizationreferred to here is quite another thing. It is identicalwith that evangelization which our Lord orders for allthe cities of Israel, and which will hardly be accomplishedbefore His coming. The Gospel to bepreached is ” the good news of the coming Kingdom.”All the lsraelitish locations or colonies throughout theworld were to be visited and evangelized so that theJews and Gentiles in those cities might hear for themselvesthat Jerusalem was to be destroyed, and Mosaicworship cease, as the sign that God had made JesusLord and Christ, and that all nations were henceforthto obey Him. This divine arrangement was a wiseand kindly providence in the interest of both Jew andGentile, and the fulfilment of this pre-intimatedpurpose must have been a valuable” witness” to thedivine claims of Jesus. And this general evangelizationof the civilised world need not have beenmisunderstood, because the Scriptures recognise it asan accomplished fact as early as the days of Paul. Thefaith of the Roman Church was then spoken of”throughout the world.” The Gospel was a readycome” to all the world and preached to every creature”(Col. i. 6, 2:~). No doubt, by the year 70, every considerablecity of the world, where at least a Jewishcolony had been planted, had been visited in orderthat the scattered brethren might be apprised of thejudgement impending over Jerusalem and its Temple,II Then Cometlz tlze End.” 299and be convinced upon its accomplishment that Jesuswas the Christ, the Son of God. St. Paul pridedhimself upon the fact that through him alone theGospel had been fully proclaimed and heard of all theGentiles (2 Tim. iv. 17). Why then should thisevangelization in the Synoptics be so grossly misunderstoodas to be taken to indicate a “distant foreshadowedfulfilment” (Alford) of the coming to anotherpeople in another age? It is to the credit of Chrysostomthat he seized upon the proper meaning of thisverse, and saw that the Divine intention of it was toleave the Jews throught the world” without a shadowof excuse” for unbelief. Would that his example hadbeen more catching amongst his exegetical successors!The fitness of the divine long-suffering through such. a testifying period of years agrees with what was duenot only to the covenant people, but as well to allthroughout the world who had put any faith in thedivinity of Jerusalem’s religion, or had any knowledgeof Israel’s God.This work efficiently done by Christ’s messengers..then cometh the end.” We claim that what immediatelyfollows is our Lord’s definition of” the end.”Interpreters can hardly mistake the meaning of vv.15·22. II The abomination of desolation” is in allprobability the now notorious profanation of theTemple by Eleazer, and his crew, before the investmentof the city by the Romans. The warning to fleefrom J udsea into the mountains, shows that this judgementday is to cover the length and breadth of theland; and its distinctively Jewish area is plainlyindicated by the instruction not to let this dangerovertake them on a Sabbath day when the gates of300 ” The Days of Vengeance.”the cities would be shut and it would be impossible toprocure the assistance of their neighbours, nor in thewinter when the days arc short and cold, and theroads impassable from the heavy rains. These andother simple admonitions, with His kindly remembranceof mothers and mothers-about-to-be, speakvolumes for the tenderness of Christ’s heart, consideringthat at the moment He is sitting under the shadow ofHis Cross. Indeed, the unparalleled severities of thisjudgement-harvest of the Holy Land seem to havepainfully impressed our Lord. This catastrcphe is withoutdoubt to Him, however commentators may belittleit, “the great and notable day of the Lord “_u the daysof vengeance, that ALL THINGS which are written maybe fulfilled” (Luke xxi. 22.) The fiery judgementsanticipated by the prophets are therefore here realized’and exhausted. Let this be marked and well digested.Strongly as certain exegetes affirm a second fulfilment,and on a necessarily larger scale, as Christendomexceeds J udsea, more strongly does our Lord contradicttheir expectations, for such great tribulation has neverbeen “nor ever shall be” again. So fierce, indeed,will this Gehenna be, that without a Providentialshortening of its duration no flesh shall be saved fromits unquenchable furies. There is no need to arrayevidence of the terrific trials which befell theAbrahamic people in the concluding years of theJudaic age. So marvellously was this prophecy fulfilledthat many of the freer critics of the Gospels haveasserted that these books must have been written afterthe fall of Jerusalem, because prophecy never cananticipate history so realistically as it is said to havedone here.Pretended Christs. 301Besides the physical dangers to which the infantChurch would be exposed in this bloody Armageddon,there was a still greater danger from the currentexpectation of the Jews that on any evil seriouslythreatening the national life and its religion, theMessiah would certainly appear and bring salvation.Nothing therefore was more natural than that in thefeverish atmosphere of the nation’s dying throes falseChrists should be reported. Such would-be Savioursmight even attest their Messiaship by miracles, andalmost succeed in deceiving the Church itself. Well,how does our Lord proceed to arm His Apostlesagainst this immanent and destructive delusion? WillHe not here speak out in plainest terms; or will Hetake shelter behind the custom of” prophetic obscurity”in which now-a-day exegetes believe so much? Why,if ever our Lord can have felt a necessity for plain andexplicit counsel, so as to leave no excuse for ignoranceor loophole for blundering, it is now, when His veryelect in the infancy of their faith are in danger.Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the commonbelief of to-day was the actual mind of Christas He was addressing His ciisciples, what naturallywould have been the form of instruction best fitted tosecure the stability of the Apostolic Church? Good,kindly, Christian men, of great teaching power, andwith a multitudinous following, are consumed withzeal for the idea that Christ Himself will visiblyappear, next year or a little later, to destroy the wickedand rule over His saints on earth,-this or somekindred notion, for the idea is protean in its shapes.If our Lord had had as much as the faintest notionthat He was to come personally only at the close of302 Tlu Real Christ InvisilJle.the Gospel age, two thousand years after the fall ofJerusalem, He could have secured the absolute safetyof His elect with a single explicit word. It was onlyneedful for Him to have said, “My coming is notconnected with the fall of Jerusalem; but lies farforward in the future.” Nothing approaching to suchwords were spoken. While the disciples are to believein the coming when Jerusalem is in its dying throes,they are not to believe that Christ is” here” or” there”-localized in some palatial chamber or in the retirementof the desert. Our Lord is far from denyingthat His Advent is appointed for this time. Theword that would have justified the notion nowbelieved was never spoken, useful as it would havebeen to the blundering Church of these eighteencenturies. Instead of such advice, the disciples arewarned that their defence against delusion lies in clearlyunderstanding that there is never to be such a local andphysical manifestation of the Christ on this earth.” The world seeth Me no more.” A physical Christ,visible in Jerusalem or elsewhere, is strictly forbiddento Christian faith. Never is it to be said in historyconcerning Him or His kingdom (Luke xvii, 20):Lo here! 10 there! Our Lord abjures that questionableprivilege of material localization which so many of Hisfollowers impute to His return. The notion is asurvival from the rudimentary structures of the Judaic.Messianic faith. To hold it in the Church is to encrustChristianity with a Judaic shell; to conceive Christ’sglory under the very limitations which He is throwingoff by His death and resurrection; it is to contradictthe most vital and essential meaning of His parousiaor Presence, which is really absence if it is not asHis Presence not Local. 303universal as His Church, as ubiquitous as God Himself;and it is to turn back upon that very idea of atemple-presence which Christ is dying to make obsolete.Most plainly is this local personal idea of His returnrepudiated by Himself: “Never will it be true that Iam to be seen here or there. My coming has a twofoldaspect. It is an outbreak of new light that shall shinefrom the East to the West; and it is, as well, like tothe gathering of eagles round the carcase to devour it.To the new world, it is a coming full of new illumination,a new sun arising on the world; to the old world, it isa corning to judge and to sweep corruption from theland.” In other words, it is the official advent of theChristian age by the flashing forth of the brightness ofChrist’s glory on the world, the breaking of new lightupon earth’s darkness, fresh revelations of Christ’sascended reign, and a larger influx of Christ’s Spiritto His Church; and it is as well, the close of theJudaic age by the judgement and destruction of therotting carcase of a church which has ceased to haveGod’s life in it, and is now only an encumbrance andpollution where it lies affronting Heaven.Thus our Lord instructs us that His coming cannottake the personal and local form under which men socommonly, and, we might say, naturally, conceive it.He does not say, ” I am not coming at this time, your lifetime.” That would clearly have put thedisciples beyond all danger of delusion, and it wouldhave given reasonable cover to the zeal of those who arelooking for the Advent now. But He did not say itcouldnot: because His express intention was to tell Hisdisciples that He would verily corne while some ofthem had not tasted death, and that the signs of His30~ .. After the Tribulation.”Advent to supremest authority in heaven and on earthwould be the destruction of Jerusalem as theabrogation of the former covenant, and the increasingdominance of the Christian faith over the beliefs ofmen. Again, history agrees with our interpretation.When the Lord of the Vineyard sent His armies intoJudsea, the Christians recognized the signal for theirflight, and only the spiritually dead were left behind.The Roman eagles spread over the land like a devouringplague, and never ceased their consuming workuntil the land was peeled, Jerusalem laid waste, andJewish worship rendered void. The carcase wasdevoured; the eagles fattened on its unwholesome flesh.The land was finally judged for its sins because thecup of its iniquity was full.Is the story of Jerusalem finished here, or are wetransported into some more distant time? Our Lordproceeds: “But immediately after the tribulation ofthose days” (ver. 29). Here there is no break in time,but the closest succession; and if we read Luke’sreport, identity of time with the time of Jerusalem’stribulation. The passage is “very difficult,” saysMansel, from its so intimate connection with Jerusalem,and its unmistakable reference to the Second Coming.Luckily, for such perplexed commentators, Lukesupplies a remark about Jerusalem’s tribulation atwhich they grasp with the proverbial despair of adrowning man. .. Jerusalem shall be trodden down ofthe Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”This is interpreted as covering all the period duringwhich the Jewish race are dispossessed of the HolyLand; and Matthew’s” immediately” therefore comesin after this age-long tribulation has passed away!The Times of the Centzles. ‘ 305But what are we to think of a system of interpretationwhich makes one Evangelist contradict another? Then,again, we may ask, What ends this supposed long period. of tribulation? And” immediately after” the end ofthe Jewish tribulation, is there to be such a convulsionof the physical universe as is here described; or, ifunderstood spiritually, such an utter collapse of theChristian Church as Alford describes? On the contrary,Paul tells us that the restoration of the Jews toDivine favour will add immensely to the fulness andglory of the Gentile (Rom. xi. 12). Altogether thenthe interpretation is out of joint. Meyer’s view is, thatLuke’s statement refers to the short period duringwhich the Roman trampling on Palestine is allowed torun. Better still, we think, is the idea that our Lordmeans here to say, “The Gentiles shall tread downJerusalem until an end is made of the Judaic Dispensation,and the age of the Gentiles is ushered in.”Such an age for the Gentiles had been foreshadowedin the Old Testament Scriptures. Our Lord had said,”The kingdom shall be given to the Gentiles;” andPaul accordingly was looking forward to a time, notfar distant, when “the fulness of the Gentiles shouldcome in,” i.e. when the Gentiles would have their fullstanding in the kingdom of God, by the official abrogationof the Jew’s pre-eminence in the destruction ofJerusalem. When Jerusalem’s day would be completelygone, the Gentile’s season would begin, andthe Scripture be fulfilled. Thus does Luke’s intimationfinely resolve itself into an idea in completest harmonywith our exegesis of the passage; and bring all threeEvangelists into strict agreement as to the time andplace of what is immediately to follow, according to306 Tke Powers of Heaven Shaken.Mark’s words: ” In those days, after that tribulation.”Taking the narrative, then, as it reads, without intercalatinglong periods according to our fancy, this”difficult” passage becomes like simplicity itself.When Jerusalem has passed through this great tribulation,the people been broken and scattered, andworship made impossible, is there any mode of speechthat will better describe Israel’s unspeakable desolationand horror of great darkness than that old figure whichthe prophets had made familiar to every Jew-” Thesun shall be darkened, the moon shall not give her light,the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of tlteheavens be sltaken”? This cannot be interpreted as anactual rupture of the sidereal system, as the earth isstanding fast in its place, and men living and beholdingin spite of the catastrophe. It is a prophetical quotationto be interpreted in its well-defined Biblical sense.The same language was used by Isaiah to describeBabylon’s destruction by the Medes; by Ezekiel concerningEgypt’s fall; by Joel and Amos of thetribulation of their days. Let the reader put himselfin the place of the Jew immediately after the nationalcollapse, and he will see that it is not too strong anOrientalism to describe the mental darkness, thestupefaction and the misery of a people whom Godhad judged, and who are forced to see every prospectblasted without hope. Such was Israel’s outlook.The sun of Israel’s day had set; and God’s face wasdark with indifference and silence. So dark was thenation’s night that no single star of hope shone in theirsky. Bitter as wormwood and gall was Israel’s disappointment,and utterly lost its faith in God.And worse is yet to come. There was no intelligentChrist Coming in His Kingdom. 307Jew in those days but knew that Christ’s disciples hadbeen foretelling far and wide this fall of the nation andits temple, and asserting that this doom was speciallyto be taken as a proof that Christ was indeed the Sonof God, and had substituted His own mediatorship forthe divine legation of Moses. When this dread eventoccurred, it was a magnificent triumph for the preachersof the Cross. The fall of Jerusalem brought in aspiritual rejuvenescence to the Gospel cause. As amatter of fact, Christ’s star rose in proportion as thestar of Moses set; doing for the Church what theResurrection had done for the disciples. Thus, everyeye observant of the signs of the times, saw” the signof the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” Andthe background of this coming was “the clouds ofheaven,” Again we are face to face with Orientalimagery. The” clouds” are poetry for gloom, fordarkness, for threatening tribulation. Isaiah says: “TheLord rideth upon a swift cloud, and cometh untoEgypt.” Later, Daniel prophecies of the Son of Manunder a similar figure. So the coming of Christ in Hiskingdom was seen over against the darkness of theJewish day, the cloudy prospects of Israel’s personaland national life. He came to His dispensational daythrough the dank and portentous darkness of theheavens-as every new day rises to its strength, breakingthrough the heavy curtains of the night. Salvationis seen only through the clouds of judgement. Calvaryshines brightest against Sinai’s dark and thunderousgloom. If Judaism had not been turned to darkness,the Apostles could not have triumphantly asserted thatChrist was on the Father’s throne, and that all thekingdoms of this world were given into His hand.308 Gathering in the Elect.But with Jewish hopelessness ever growing darker, andthe Church of Christ achieving year by year its destinedsupremacy over every faith, surely it was demonstratedto all eyes that Christ was coming in His kingdom,endowed with the power and glory of the Father.That this is the gist of our Lord’s meaning is witnessedby His remark to the priests and elders at II is trial:”From now, ye shall see the Son of Man sitting atthe right hand of power, and coming on the clouds ofheaven.” How else, we ask, than in the growingspiritual power of Christ and the growing darkness ofthe Judaic sky? Yes, this was one of the bitterestelements in Israel’s cup. The logic of events did seemto chide them with their blindness and stupidity. Itlooked then as if it were possible that they had embruedtheir hands in Messiah’s blood. The brighterwere the prospects of the Crucified, the more bitterlydid “all the tribes of the land” lament over whatpresaged to be the final extinction of Israel’s hope.All this, again, was the fulfilment of the prophecydescribing the Babylonian desolation of the land: ” Forthis shall the land mourn, and the heavens above beblack” aer. iv. 28).The statement that “Christ shall send forth Hisangels with the sound of a trumpet to gather His elect,”would have lost much of its perplexity if” angels” hadbeen displaced by ” messengers.” There is no bettersuggestion than that of Rabbi Lightfoot: Ministrossuos cum tuba evange/ica. The verse is founded uponIsa. xxvii. 13: “A great trumpet shall be blown, andthey shall come which were ready to perish … andshall worship the Lord.” Our Lord delighted to pointto Himself as the fulfiller of all the prophecies of jheAll fulfilled in that Generation. 309ancient Word. At this stage, when the covenantpeople are exhibited as broken and scattered, whatmore appropriate than to show that Christ’s mission isa healing one, and that He gathers” a people for God’sName,” builds up another elect nation out of everyblood and tongue, to dwell in the New Jerusalem whichcomes down from heaven? Here we see the kingdomgrowing around the Person of the ever-present Christ,and promising to fill the earth. It is the dramaticexpression of the truth: “There shall be one Fold andone Shepherd,” “One Lord, one Baptism, and oneFather of all,” with one centre and home for the humanrace. Indeed, we might have limited our comment tothis selection from the prayer in the Didache: “LetThy Church be gathered together from the ends of theearth into Thy Kingdom.”The verses which here follow are simply an emphaticassurance that the disciples will see these thingsaccomplished within the generation. The historicaloccurrences around Jerusalem are to be the signal that” He is nigh “-not, of course, in His visible personality,as is shown by Luke’s substitution of “the kingdomof God” for Christ’s Person. The approximate dateis fixed by the term” generation.” No manipulationcan make “generation” mean other than the lifetimeof those then living; nor” all these things” less thanthe totality of the events before described. So certainis Christ of the nearness of His age, that He affirmsthat His promise is more stable than the foundations ofheaven and earth; and yet, with excessive frankness,He confesses apparent limitations to His knowledge.He knows not” the day nor the hour,” nor even theseason ofthe year. Here again excuse is found for read310Our Lord’s Ignorance of the Day and a double meaning into our Lord’s discourse. Anable writer already quoted, says-” The two declarations,’A II will happen in this generation,” No one knowsthe time,’ are irreconcilable taken as referring to thesame event.” The ignorance professed must thereforeconcern “another day, separated from the former byan unknown indefinite interval.” We are curious toknow by what rule of logic it can be established thatif one is certain of an event occurring within fortyyears, he must be ready to predict the very day andhour. Such a dictum is belied by all experience. If ourJ .ord was, while in human form, commonly subject toour limitations of prevision, then He might from Hisown sagacity, or very well from the prophetic writings,forecast the general date of the end of the dispensation,while confessing that minute exactitude of knowledge,dependent on so many contingencies, was possible onlyto the Infinite, and not needful for His disciples. OurLord’s reserve, however, may not be so much due toany invincibility of ignorance as to a certain naturalimpossibility of reducing the events described to theprecise dimensions of a day or hour, A definite prophecyof the day and the hour, if He could have givenit, would almost certainly have been discredited bymany witnesses, even after the event. Narrators areall at variance as to the hour of the day when thebattle of Waterloo began. How could men haveagreed as to the hour of the coming of that Kingdomwhich Christ said was “among you,” and yet was”about to come,” and to be seen from the date of HisCrucifixion, and yet not till after the abrogation of theMosaic kingdom of God? Had our Lord’s comingbeen a purely personal and local manifestation, theOne Taken, Anotker Left. 311moment might have been foretold. But it was to belike the advent of the summer; and could man orangel fix the hour when summer dawns? It was to belike light breaking in the rosy East: and who but Godcan tell the moment when dawn changes into day?Mechanical arrangements can be measured by theclock; God’s great evolutionary processes cannot befixed to the human eye by smaller measurements thangenerations. No wonder that Christ said, “I cannotfix the day and hour for you.” By that very reticence,or ignorance if you will, He shows that •• the kingdomof God cometh not with observation,” and will scarcelybe discerned by the multitude until it is firmly rootedin the earth.The same spiritual character is given to His comingin the warnings which conclude this chapter. TheOld Testament Kingdom was a geographical quantity;a family and tribal dispensation. Not so the kingdomabout to come. It is to be spiritual, and thuselective, discriminating. Of two neighbours, one willbe carcase for the eagles, the other elect to the kingdom.It will be of no use to say then, “We haveAbraham to father.” One of the same family shall betaken, the other left. The two are severed in theirdestinies, because severed in their spirits. One hearsthe trumpet call-responds, and enters into life; theother stays in old beliefs and sins, and becomes foodfor the eagles or fuel for Gehenna. Destinies aresettled by affinities. God treats us as He finds us-taresor wheat, sensual or spiritual, obedient or contentious:these are the secrets of men’s destinies.Here ends our task with chap. xxiv, It is notprobable that we have satisfied all readers. But let312 What current Interpretations lead to.the dissatisfied remember what a labyrinth of confusionthe chapter becomes in the hands of most interpreters,and how unsatisfactory their expositions have been tomultitudes of our ablest Biblical scholars. We couldreadily fill a page with eminent names whose ultimateverdict is summed up in one or other of two propositions,which we cull from a recent work by a wellknownEnglish critic:-1. Either Jesus was mistaken, because He did 1I0t come asis foretold; or,2. The Evangelists are inaccurate reporters. And they~em so, for” neither question gets a plain response, and bothare partially evaded. The parts comprising the answer arewithout proper connection, and have no perceptible progress,” -Certainly our current expositions justify the chargesmade. Every expositor of the double-reference theorymore or less explicitly acknowledges the-same. – Evenour unconvinced reader will admit that the expositiongiven in these pages is the refutation of such charges,by the comparative readiness with which the discourseresolves itself into an intelligent and relevant answer;the close, consecutive order of its thinking; and thefidelity of the meaning obtained to the most naturalsense that can possibly be put upon the words. Weboldly make the claim that, when properly expounded,the chapter leaves no room for the accusation, eitherthat Jesus was mistaken, or that His answer was misrepresentedby the Evangelists.One word of caution in conclusion. Let us notimagine that this discourse, including chap. xxv., wasintended to cover all aspects of the Second Advent. Itjs simply a clear, orderly, and instructive response to theThe Parable of the Virgins. 313disciples’ questions, meeting their immediate demandswith frank explicitness, It professes to be no morethan an answer to the When? and What is the sign ?of the earthward and temporal aspect of the advent ofChrist’s age or dispensation; and only by its professioncan it be fairly judged.The Parable of the Ten Virgins has been founddifficult to expound by all who have sought for morein it than the one direct and much-needed lesson whichour Lord was endeavouring to impress on His disciples-the need of being prepared for delay in the adventof the Kingdom beyond the moment at which it wouldbe commonly expected. It is not taught that theAdvent will be delayed indefinitely, but simply thatas some like the Tyrannical Servant will find it comesooner than it is looked for, many in the church whoare eagerly wishing for it, will find it delayed longerthan they expected.The parable does not carry us beyond death, normake any direct reference to eternal destinies. Thetime is not in the distant future, but” immediatelyafter the tribulation of those days.” The marriage isthe conscious and historical recognition by the Church,that her day of grace, her dispensational reign on earth,has come; that she is indeed the Bride of Him whosits upon the throne, and is spiritually and corporeallyunited in her life and destiny with her Glorified Head;or, to put it in more official language, it is the formalinitiation of the reign of Christ on earth, the introductionof the Gospel Age or Dispensation. Interpretedon these lines, we remain true to the time, theplace, arid the methods of the Kingdom’s coming, as314 Expectant but S/umberj,zg.·expressed in other Scriptures, and find the parableunfold its beautiful meaning without hitch or strain,and to be rich in practical teaching for all time.The Church and her friends are represented here asin hourly expectation of the Parousia or discernibleconjunction of the Church with her Divine Lard. Yetthe time drags heavily on; the very eagerness of expectationmakes the hours seem longer than they are.In their protracted vigils the friends of the Bride growweary, and at length their heads droop on their breasts,and they drift into a troubled sleep which is brokenonly when certain startling signs are in the air thatthe hour of hope has come. Every reader must admitthat this is a speaking picture of the Apostolic Church.The time is ” midnight “-” The night is far spent, theday is at hand!” Everyone is here patiently waitingfor the Bridegroom’s arrival. Is not that the repeatedlyexpressed expectation of every Epistle, and theattitude of every New Testament Church? TheBridegroom’s coming is unduly delayed. Did it notappear so to the Thessalonians, and those who upbraidedPeter with the long delay? Was not” patience” an oft-commended virtue to those whowaited for the coming? Whatever the bride may be,her friends are slumbering drowsily. Did not theApostles chide the congregations oftheir day becausethey were not half alert? “It is high time to awakeout of sleep.” “Let us not sleep as do others, butwatch.” When at length the clock has struck, it isfound that one-half of the watchers are without oil intheir cruises and their lights going out. Do we notfind that on the eve of the Parousia, one-half at leastof the seven Apocalyptic Churches are needing, likeMissing the Marriage Joys. 315Sardis, “to strengthen the things that remain, that areready to die “-the eye of faith dim and needing eyesalvethat it may see, and the lamp of love going outin a careless and indulgent temperament that hastaken too kindly to the pleasures of the world, andthat compels Christ to threaten a portion of His followersthat they will be treated like His foes?The immediate result of this difference in thepreparation of the heart is a total severance ofexperience between one professor and another. TheBride recognizes that the fulness of her privilege hascome. The really godly portion of the Apostolicgeneration shared so fully in “the unction of theHoly Ghost,” that it beheld the sign of the Son ofMan in the darkened clouds of heaven, and knew thatthe day of H is power had come. When the smoke ofJerusalem’s judgement cleared away, all interestedsaw the Church gathered around the Christ, worshippingHim as seated on God’s throne, and as havingwon a triumphant victory over the evil powers thathad crucified Him. The Church became moreconscious of her own divinity, beheld herself moredistinctly clothed with her Husband’s graces, and feltherself much more a partaker of His heavenly life anddestiny. Now she has come forth from the obscurityof her virgin days; she is no longer confounded withthe beggared Jew, but is seen to pass into the palacesplcndours of her union with the King of kings.Realizing the grand significance of her relation to theEternal One, she knows that the time has come forZion to put on her beautiful apparel and shine withthe light and glory of the Bride of God.The Virgins are those whom the Apocalypse speaks-:316 The Parable 01 the Talents.of as bidden to the marriage supper. The wise arethe happy witnesses of the Church’s glory. Theirexperience is quickened by what their _eyes behold;and they enter in to the more secret joys of their Lord-or, indeed, become an integrant portion of the Bride.Those left outside are those less spiritual friends ofthe Church, who had not eyes to see the Parousia forthemselves, and are consequently self-excluded fromthe festive joys of the Church’s conscious triumph, andmore innerly communion with the Spirit of Christ.They are not shut out of the kingdom so much asexcluded from the triumphant joy of being consciouslyin fel owship with the ever-present Christ, the Husbandof the soul. The parable thus recognizes the seriousdanger of being disappointed at the epoch of theexpected Parousia. Not realizing the Lord’s presenceas they anticipated many of the less spiritual, in theirdisappointment, would experience a positive reactionin their faith, and perhaps drift out permanently intothe outer darkness of unbelief and apostasy. Themidnight might be permanent. There are oportuniticswhich do not readily return.The Parable of the Talents, like that of the Virgins,is barren of any particular notes of time or place thatwill throw light upon its interpretation. We are nottold whether the scene is laid in spirit-life or here; andcommentators wisely make little of its eschatology.Whitby thinks that the parable refers to the Jewishpeople. In this case, it probably expounds the law 01entrance on the Kingdom. Our Lcrd certainly didoften warn the Jews that their final relation to the kingdomwould be determined by the use which they madeThe Parousia not Postponed, anof the truth revealed to them by Moses and theProphets. Faithful use of the oracles of God would fitthem to pass in into the newer arid purer light of theKingdom, whereas abuse of their dispensational giftswould have a totally different issue-the loss of theirdistinctive privileges and rejection into the outer darknessof disappointment and despair.I t is possible, however, that our Lord was narrowingHis thoughts to His own disciples, and unfolding theprinciple on which the honours of His Kingdom wouldbe dispensed. Perhaps He was answering that recentdisputation: “Who shall be greatest>” without recallingpainful memories. They should be mosthonoured who dealt most faithfully with the evangelicaltruths committed to their care. The parable is appliedconcretely in our Lord’s Epistles to the ApocalypticChurches when the dispensational crisis of His comingis at hand. The faithless and slothful are to be blottedout of. the Book of Life, while the loving and diltgentservant is to be made a pillar in the Temple of God,and, it may be, allowed to enter so far into” the joy ofhis Lord” as to” sit down with Him on His Throne.”Against a speedy return of Christ (and also againstthe early existence of this Gospel) much is made of theremark-” Now, after a long time,” But a generation,or forty years, the actual distance of the Parousia, isan unusually long time for an individual to hold wealthin trust for a master; and therefore the par-ible doesnot postpone the Parousia or show that the discipleswere beginning to despair of their Lord’s return whenthis Gospel was written.As to whether the reward is a temporal experience,or is limited to the eternal world, the parable doth not318,,IIThe Shei!'(J and the}’. There is, however, a common feeling among expositorsthat there is a present-world fulfilment, evenwhile their sympathies arc with a ” last-day” interpretation.We humbly suggest that our Lord is thinkinghere only of the broad determining principles by whichmen enter on, or are excluded from, the supremerewards of the kingdom of God–consequently, thatthe parable applies equally to the life beyond and thekingdom here. Indeed, the veil between the temporaland eternal was so thin to Christ that He never thoughtof His kingdom as divided. There is but one Churchand one reward. They who do not enter are in theouter darkness whether here or there.The powerful representation of the Sheep andGoats, with which chapter xxv, finishes, is neither aparable nor the realistic picture of a formal judgementwhich transpires in place and time. It is a highlydramatic setting of some function of judging andseparation which Christ fulfils in the destinies of nationsand of men: but it is difficult to disintegrate the hardstern facts; and consultation of our front-rank expositorsrather adds to the perplexity. It is a commonmistake to assume that this representation is an officialand concrete judgement, taking place at the end ofthe Gospel Dispensation, Lange entitles it, “TheFinal Judgement in its Last Form.” This takes toomuch for granted. It is a remarkable fact that theScriptures know nothing of a last or final judgementof the world. Immediately an expositor is dominatedby the idea that any particular judgement is the lasthistorically, he is on very slippery ground, since everyjudgement whose time is located in the Scriptures isNot the” Last Judgement.” 319described as “about to come to pass;” and not one as” final,” although its results may be final so far as concernsthe fate of individuals. Take the coming of theSon of Man before us, and it is undeniably the sameas that in Matt. xxiv, 30, 31 ; and it was promised tothat generation, and before some of the disciples shouldtaste of death. If this be so, imagine the distortion ofprophetic outlook which takes place when this judgementis wrenched from its true historic setting, andtransported forward to the end of time, and there leftsuspended in the air without a single note as to theworld’s fate beyond that point! In view. then, ofthe demands of faithful exegesis, this judgementscene must take its beginning in the period immediatelysucceeding the downfall of Jerusalem. Thereis no hiatus in our Lord’s discourse, no historicalsketch of the progress and consummation of theMessianic Kingdom, to justify us in postponing thecontents of this scene to any distant day. FollowingBishop Westcott, we feel constrained to say: “Christcame in the lifetime of St. John. He founded Hisimmovable Kingdom. He gathered before Him thenations of the earth, old and new, and passed sentenceupon them. He judged in that shaking of earthand heaven, most truly and decidedly the livingand the dead. He established fresh foundations forsociety and a fresh standard of worth.” 1Another bad mistake is made when local andtemporal ideas are made emphatic. Place and timeare left so indefinite, that if, with Dr. Martineau, in hisSeat of Authority, we insert into the transaction anactual throne planted on the grass, and the people1 “The Historic }’aith,” p. 90.320 Represents /l Continuous Process.dragged from their cities and lands to stand in asweltering mass before a judge upon a certain day,then we utterly misconceive the theological meaningof the picture, and make it, in fact, ridiculous. Thewhole pictorial element is mere dramatic setting, andis present because needful for the disciples’ education,as it is for all eastern and uncultured peoples to thisday. Scientific students of the Scriptures should beable to transcend the spectacular form in which truthis cast, and instinctively discern the essential meaningapart from its ornate covering. Here, then, asinstructed, we are at the entrance of the Christian age.The Son of Man is in authority, so far above principalitiesand powers that even the angels are His servantsin the administration of His Kingdom. As it wasanciently the most common function of the king tojudge his people, so it is the permanent and continuousfunction of Christ, the Son of Man and .. King” ofmen. This work proceeds in no merely local court,with any visible congress of dead or living men. Itsarea is the world, All nations are gathered, as it were,before His throne. God now dwells with men. TheJew is no longer the only” people of His presence.”The times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. The Son ofMan upon the throne initiates the new age of humanity,the age of solidarity in saving privilege, and all thenations are invited to repent. In Apocalypticlanguage: .. An angel is flying in mid-heaven, havingan eternal Gospel to preach unto every nation, andtribe, and tongue, and people.” The Apostles arebusily fulfilling the command: .. Make disciples of allnations.” The result tells speedily both upon thecharacters and the destinies of men. Preaching ChristNot a Judgement of tlte Dead. 321is the shepherding of men into sheep and goats; it isthe severance of destinies into life eternal or condemnation.The Kingdom of God is not an indiscriminateuniversalism. Wherever it comes, it tests andsevers by the fact of accepted or rejected truth, andthe wheat goes to the garner and the chaff to unquenchablefire. Thus, this judgement is no one day’s work,or the mere hasty summation of an exhausted age.Nor is there any place here for the medieval hymnwriter’sTuba mirum spargens sonumPer sepulchra regionum.There is no word here of dead souls; but of livingmen on earth who have made their choice between theKingdom and Gehenna. Hence there is no expressterminus to the judgement scene, no visible beyond ofworld-history. This judgement is a never-endingprocess, a daily settling of men’s destinies accordingto an “everlasting” Gospel and in a Kingdom whichhas no end.From this view-point we can be fairly certain of thelaw or principle of the judgement. We may at oncedismiss the idea that men’s destinies are determinedby their acts ofhospitality to men as men, or that merelynatural humanity can be the condition of salvation.Loath as we are to say a word in depreciation ofcharitable deeds, or to make light of the spiritual valueof pitying love, we are compelled to see that personaland national destinies alike are settled not by this butby the entertainment or rejection of” the brethren” ofthe King. These are a distinctively outstanding class,whose treatment by the sheep and goats is the determiningelement in the destinies of both. Look at the322 The Principle of the Judgement.earthly experiences of these” brethren “-sick and inprison, naked and hungry, strangers in the land oftheir sojourn-do we know any class of Christian menwhom that describes? Certainly it pictures Christ’sEvangelists in the ancient days, especially when theypassed into lands inhospitable to “the truth as itis in Jesus.” Let the dubious reader turn to Matt. x.,and notice how the disciples are sent out to evangelizeand made dependent for their entertainment on thewelcome accorded to their message, and how theirrejection or reception is to seal for judgement or for therighteous man’s reward, because to receive or to rejectthe evangelist is essentially to receive or to reject theLord Himself-and all doubt will be at rest. The lawof judgement, then, is really a synthesis of Wendt’scontradictory findings on the meaning of ourpassage-the attitude of individuals to Christand His Gospel (II. p. 285), and their practical treatmentof His disciples apart from belief in Christ (p.349).1 The disciples as preachers, represent theirLord; their hospitable entertainment in their necessityis practical recognition of their mission and acceptanceof their truth; whatever is done to them is done toChrist. An old Messianic prophecy runs thus: “Thenation that shall not serve Thee will perish.” Thisscene is Christ’s claim to be the Person of thatprophecy, and how true His word has proved the historyof the nations can testify. Only eternity can showhow true it is of individuals.Severe attacks h-ive recently been made upon theveracity of the Gospel narratives. on the ground thatthe Apocalyptic judgements of the Synoptics are out1 .. The Teaching of Jesus.”A self-executing Judgement. 323of harmony with the spiritual self-executing judgementrecorded by St. John. Christ says in the latter, of theunbelieving man: “I judge him not: the word that Ispake the same shall judge him in the last day.” Butdocs not the interpretation for which we plead showthat the two judgements are essentially the same?These goats judge and condemn themselves by theirattitude to the word of Christ. In Matthew our Lordspeaks with dramatic eloquence and prophetic fire;in the quieter narrative of John the self-same truth isspoken by a divine philosopher. Dr. Martineau says,concerning our Lord’s great discourse: ” Had the thingsannounced happened when, and as they are described,they would have borne Him a witness worth preserving.But since the generation vanished, and all thesethings did not come to pass, surely there need be noregret in letting these Apocalyptic leaves drop fromthe blighted tree of Israel’s national life, and lie uponthe devastated soil of Palestine.” We claim, however,that the Messianic teachings of the New Testament aresimple and harmonious-that the prophetic utterancesattributed to our Lord are faithfully reported, and havebeen identically realized in history, so far as this worldis the field of their fulfilment. However damaging theindictment drawn up against the Gospels on the basisof the traditional interpretation, we dare assert that ifthis more spiritual and homogeneous interpretation ofChrist’s prophetic teachings can be substantiated, itwill henceforth be impossible to impeach the veracityof the Gospels’ witness to the Person and work ofChrist. With His fulfilment of the Messianic ideal ofthe Scriptures all stands or falls.-~.–.-~—-ST. JAMES AND ST. JUDE.HAVING considered at length our Lord’s own- – teaching as to His second Advent, we now turnto review the impression made upon certain of Hisdisciples in so far as it finds expression in their epistlesto the Churches. The accuracy of our interpretationof the Master can be put to a very severe, almostinfallible test, by strict compari ‘ion with the teachingof those Apostles who have left us instruction on thequestion. Five of them, and the anonymous authorof the Hebrews (equal to, if not, an Apostle), havewith more or less explicitness expressed themselveson various aspects of the subject; and it will be amarvel if, with the most versatile ingenuity, we canshow that the strictest agreement exists between themall, if in any serious degree we have misunderstoodour Lord. St. John’s brief epistles we have alreadyglanced at and have found the harmony complete.Saints James and Jude, as brothers of our Lord,must naturally interest us; and with no littleeagerness should we consult their pages to seewhat form the primitive belief assumed within theirminds.St. James wrote his epistle between 60 and 62 A.D.,and it is believed was stoned to death by the Sadduceesof Jerusalem soon after, because of his faith in theMessiaship of Jesus. Eusebius has preserved an inSt.James’ Testimony. 325dependent testimony to James’s doctrine in hisnarrative of his death. The Scribes and Pharisees inJerusalem asked him a question concerning Christ.He answered, “Why do ye ask me respecting Jesus,the Son of Man? He is now sitting in the heavens,on the right hand of great power, and is about to lomeon the clouds of heaven.” (B. I I. c. 23). The epistle sowell known to us is quite pronounced for the same viewof the second coming. It was written because theauthor was deeply grieved over a very visible declinein the faith and practice of the Jewish Christiansscattered abroad. Many of them appear to have becomeimpatient, under the unsettled condition ofsociety, on account of the long delay in the coming ofChrist. (i. 3, 4). The state of things existing in theChurch is precisely that foretold in Matt. xxiv, Thelove of many has waxed cold, the spirit of social castehas entered as a dividing wall, and discordant teachingabounds. St. James prescribes diverse remedies forthese evils, but his chief hope manifestly lies in thespeedy coming of the second Advent. To the subjecthe devotes eleven consecutive verses of chap. v. Therich especially are threatened with coming misery.Their wealth has been unjustly gotten, and they havestored it up in vain as “the last days” are upon them.Their crimes have at last entered into the ears of theLord of Sabaoth, and they shall drink of the cup tothe full.Now, this” day of slaughter lJ (v. 5) for these wealthyand wanton Jews is beyond all doubt that deluge ofcalamity which fell upon the race wherever it wassettled, and which had its culmination in the destructionof Jerusalem and the permanent desolation of the326 The Testimony of St. Jude.Jewish Fatherland. This national Gehenna is statedto be the judicial infliction of Israel’s rejected King.Accordingly, it is immanent for St. James. He askshis brethren to be” patient until the parousia of theLord” (vcr. 7); he says” the parousia of the Lord isat hand” (H);” the judge standeth before the doors” (9);and the moral is therefore again, ” Be patient.” Thusdoes our author beyond all question identify theJewish judgement-day of the Apostolic age with ourLord’s parousia. His epistle is a brief but most explicitcomment on our Lord’s great prophecy, andjustifies the interpretation we have given. He evidentlyknew nothing of a distant fulfilment of Christ’spromise, nor was troubled by any hesitancy as towhether the judgement of Jerusalem and the Jewishrace was also the parousia, the advent of Christ’s age,and a happier era for His Church. If St, James wasright, what grounds have we for asserting that up tothe close of the nineteenth century the parousia hasnot occurred?51. Jude, another brother of our Lord, ought to be acompetent witness of the accepted doctrine inApostolic times. The epistle which bears his name israther indefinite on many points of interest to us; butthe doctrine of an impending Advent is there beyondall dispute. The writer’s standpoint is from about A.D.62 and forward a few years. J erusalern does not seemto have fallen, but we have references to the political’turbulence, the sensual immorality, and swarmingspiritualistic speculations which invaded the Churchjust before that crisis. We note the existence of theBalaamite and Nicolaitan vices mentioned in theaddressesto the Apocalyptic churches. In this deTheEve of the Parousia. 327cadent faith and life, Jude sees the fulfilment of aprophecy of St. Paul, concerning” the mockers of thelast time.” That day has arrived, the servants ofSatan are at their sinister employment. and againstthem he quotes a prophecy from the Jewish book ofEnoch-” Behold, the Lord came with ten thousandof His holy ones to execute judgement;” while of hisfaithful brethren he says that they” look for the mercyof the Lord Jesus Christ.” That this impendingjudgement is of an external and catastrophic natureis evident from his exemplary instances. We cannottherefore doubt that the pen of Jude is occupied withthe same dispensational crisis as we have in theGospels and the Apocalypse; nor can we hesitate toadd him to the list of witnesses who testify to a thenimpending and now past parousia.ST. PETER.THE Acts of the Apostles enable us to form a- fairly complete conception of St. Peter’s viewsof the second Advent immediately after our Lord’sascension. On the day of Pentecost we find that hetakes the miraculous gift of the Spirit to be thefulfilment of the Divine promise given by Joel: ,. Itshall come to pass in the last days that I will pourforth My Spirit.” This clearly indicates that theApostle does not think of himself as having enteredupon a new :tge, but as still in the old age of theprophets. We cannot suppose that the phrase “thelast days” applies in any sense to the Christian age,as if it were the last age of the world. The word”days” shows the period to be strictly limited andshort lived; and the connection teaches us that fromthis beginning of last days there continues a period otintense miraculous manifestation which culminates inthe sun being turned to blackness and the moon toblood, as preliminary accompaniments of ” that greatand notable day of the Lord” which is Israel’s lastbecause its judgement-day, the extinction of its lightand life. The point of interest here is that Peterrecognised himself as living in “the last days” of theOld Testament age, and immediately in front of aterrific judgement for his people, which would be amanifestation of Christ’s Messianic glory. DoubtlessSt. Peter’s Speeches. 329he was guided to this conclusion, not only by theenlightenment of the Spirit, but by his Lord’s distinctassurance that” the end of the age” was approaching,and would be finished within a generation, with a judgementof the living and the dead, and the resurrectionof the just. Accordingly, we find his addresses andletters full of that tone of distressed earnestness andapprehension which so dreadful an expectation mustbeget in the heart of one who knows that he will haveto enter on its terrors, even when he believes that forhimself it will end in eternal gain.Again, we are with Peter in Solomon’s porch. Headdresses a rousing appeal to the people to repent andbe converted, with the assurance that the condemningelement in the impending coming will be changed intoabundant showers of blessing (Acts iii. 19). Then heaffirms distinctly that, whether they repent or not, anew dispensation is on the wing, whose special featureis to be that it is “a restitution of all things whichGod has spoken by His prophets since the age began.”A little further on he states that the utterances of ALLthe prophets concern “TH ESE DAYS,” and that theyought to remember the covenant God made with theirfathers, saying unto Abraham,” In thy seed shall allthe kindreds of the earth be blessed.” What does theApostle mean by this” restitution “? Meyer in locolimits the idea to” a restoration of all moral relationsto their original normal condition,” amongst thecovenant people. This suits the “restitution” demandedby John the Baptist, and effected upon many(see our Lord’s interpretation, Matt. xvii. 11); but is toonarrow for the larger vision of the Christian Apostle.It is evident that Peter conceived of this” restitution,”330 The Restiluli01Z of All a complete theological upheaval, involving a returnto the more vital and liberal faith of their illustriousprogenitor, in whose seed, that is Christ, all nationswere to be blessed. This change is all contained inthe abrogation of the Mosaic covenant and the bringingin of the fulness of Gentile privilege in Christ’skingdom. Of course, commentators in large numbers,carried off by their imagination, have gone astray overthis” restitution of all things,” and have conjured updreams of an ideal paradisaical world, which weventure to think can never by any possibility berealised on earth. They overlook the fact that Peterdistinctly limits this restitution to the fulfilment of OldTestament Messianic prophecy, and that our Lord hasalready given us a substantial taste of its meaning intelling us that John the Baptist :’ restored all things”in his preaching, by calling the people from their shamritualistic sanctities to faith and repentance towardGod, and plain honest dealing with their fellow-men.Yet those Utopian dreams might have been lawfulhad they been kept as ideals to be spiritually realised.Christ takes us back beyond Moses to the grandfundamentals and sweet simplicities of the early dayswhen men lived near to God without the help of priestor temple. He makes all men kin, casts down everywall of partition, raises woman to her pristine dignity,makes an end of sin and brings in everlastingrighteousness, reconciles God to man, abolishes thecurse of death, removes the flaming sword that guardsthe gate of paradise, and opens the Holiest of All tomen; and on the Divine side of things puts down allrule and authority and power, and restores the king.dom to the. Father. Thisideal restitution is depictedSt. Peter’s Epistles. 331in concrete form in the New Jerusalem of theApocalypse, the ideal Christian state, tasted in thisworld, perfectly realised in God’s hereafter.A student of St. Peter’s epistles is struck with theconstant presentation of Christianity as the fulfilmentof Old Testament ideals-“the restitution of all things.”The Church is richly clothed in Israelitish garments,and all the Apostle’s prophetic ideas are moulded inthe forms in which the Old Testament prophets conceivedthe future. A quarter of a century after Pentecost,no change of view can be detected, beyond thehurry and passionate earnestness of one who feels thatthe anticipated crisis is at hand. He still believes thatthe age is near its end. Christ was manifest II at theend of the times for you” (1 Pet. i. 20). He says,”The time is come that judgement must begin”;”Christ is ready to judge the quick and the dead” ;”the end of all things is at hand.” Meanwhile theChurch is “expecting and hastening unto” this day ofterrific judgement, ” sober and watchful unto prayer.”But, as in this time of fiery trial some of them willtaste of death (by reason of the Neronic persecutions ?),they are exhorted to fix their hopes especially uponthe heavenly prize. Indeed. the dead in Christ will bemore fortunate than the living. At this critical epochChrist will reveal Himself in His glory to His saints.His descent to judge the dead is to His own only thefulfilment of His promise,” I will come unto you totake you to Myself, that you may behold My glory.”Thus, “the appearing of Christ” in His glorified natureissues in their II praise and glory,” because as GodII gave Him glory” in exalting Him to Heaven, soChrist will share that glory with His people.332 “Tlte Glory A bout to be Revealed.”The Apostle, it should be obser. ed, never once refersby name to the resurrection of the dead. With himthe essential idea in that event is not bodily reinvestment,but the translation of the saved dead from Hadesto Heaven when the Lord, at the initiation of Hissovereign dispensation, appears to show that He is theLord of death by their deliverance. The inheritanceof the risen saint is no millennial reign in earthlysplendours: ” it is incorruptible and undefiled, reservedin heaven, READY TO BE REVEALED IN THE LASTTIME” (1 Pet. i. 4,5). In the strength of this delightfulhope of immediate glorification, Peter lookscomplacently upon the prospect of suffering like hisMaster, certain that he is “a partaker of THE GLORYABOUT TO HE REVEALED” (1 Pet. v. 1) How didhe reach this unbounded confidence in his speedymeeting with his glorified Redeemer? Surely, as wehave pointed out, by the very plain and frequentlyrepeatedassurances of Christ Himself. Could hebelieve anything else who remembered the comfortingwords spoken more than once during the last few dayson earth: “A little while, and ye shall see Me”opsesthe,with spirit and not carnal eyes-Co to dwellwith Me in My permundane glory”? Great emphasisdoes Peter put upon the heavenly character of hisspeedily approaching destiny-Co God hath called usunto His eternal glory in Christ Jesus.”It may be asked, was not this epistle written toolate to be applied to the downfall of the Mosaicdispensation? The date is written on its forehead inthe st:ntence-” The time is come that judgementmust begin at the house of God,” This can refer onlyto the judgement of the covenant people. There isThe Second Epistle of St. Peter. 333no validity in the argument that the epistle waswritten between A.D. 70 and 75, because not untilVespasian became emperor were Christians persecutedfor the name.’ That mayor may not be a fact inRoman law. We must remember, however, that ifChristians were prosecuted on the false pretext ofbeing thieves and murderers, or because of absencefrom the national festivals, it was most natural for themto speak to one another of this as persecution forChrist’s name sake. They knew well that hatred ofChristianity was the moving spring of all their annoyances,inflicted by either magistrates or neighbours,and this epistle does no more than give full expressionto this feeling. We cannot allow that the casualphrase “suffer as a Christian” could not be appliedby Christians to persecutions inflicted under Nero,ignorant as we are of the precise attitude of the Romanlaw, and in face of overwhelming evidence that thisepistle preceded the judgement day of Jerusalem.Even the second epistle bears the marks of havingbeen written earlier than the fall of Jerusalem, andprobably, as Weiss thinks, in the latter days of Nero’sreign. Coming to the second chapter, we find theChurch in the state of disorder and decline prophesiedby our Lord. In chapter iii., we have” the last dayscoffers” as foretold by Paul. Faithful Christians aretaunted with the query->’ Where is the promise ofHis coming?” It seems that the parousia had beenexpected earlier, and that many had grown sceptical.This disappointment was also foretold by Christ.Now, what is the Apostle’s answer? He replies..One day is with the Lord as a thousand years.” It1 Ramsay’s “The Church in the Roman Empire,” pp. 242, 28].334 Tlte Parousia not Postponed.has become the fashion to find here the indicationthat Peter is beginning to feel that the parousia is”indefinitely postponed.” ” Shortly” in propheticusage may therefore mean thousands of years! Onthe same principle, seeing that” a thousand years area; one day,” a “long delay” in prophetic languagemay be intended for only the fraction of an hour! Allthis fooling with Scripture has no excuse, seeing thatthe Apostle is not weaving pretexts for delaying theparousia still further, but is simply explaining thedelay already past. Men are in a hurry to have theirwills accomplished; God can afford to bide His time.He never is too late because time proves too short forHis readiness, nor too soon because time is too slowfor His patience to hold out. .\11 appearance of delaywas due to the Lord’s unwillingness” that any shouldperish,” and not come to repentance (ver, 9). Thereference is chiefly to the Jewish race, and thepossibility of greater numbers being” saved from thatuntoward generation” before the deluge of bloodshould sweep over them. Instead of the Apostleseeking to excuse further delay, he distinctly pledgeshimself as to the nearness of this” day of judgementand perdition of ungodly men.” He threatens themwith It swift de~truction”; .. their judgement now of along time lingereth not and their damnation slumberethnot” (ii. 1-3), while the Christians are withconfidence” looking for and hasting unto the comingof the day of God,” because” the Lord knoweth howto deliver the godly out of trials and to reserve theunjust to the day of judgement.”This judgement about to descend is described as aphysical and temporal visitation. .. Heaven and earthThe ” Elements” on Fire. 335are reserved unto fire “-” the heavens shall pass awaywith a great noise, and the elements shall melt withfervent heat, the earth also and the works that aretherein shall be burned up” (iii. 10). This languagehas its parallel in our Lord’s great discourse and inthe Apocalyptic vision, vi. 12-17, and beyond doubtthe}” all describe the same event. Is it needful to saythat this destruction is not to be taken in a modernscientific sense. As such, it would imply the wreckageof the universe, after a method that cannot happen.The destruction Peter anticipates is one paralleled bythe destruction of the Noahcian world in the flood,which was not cosmic, but only the destruction of thepeople with their earth and heaven, their civilizationand their religion. The passage must be read in thelight of oriental modes of speech. A similar destructiontook place for Idumea in Isaiah xxxiv. 4, 9, 10.This fire is the prophetic fire of every Old Testamentjudgement, and which Christ came” to kindle in theland.” The earth is not the globe, but the landinhabited by the people ready to be judged. Dissolvedand melted signify the total abrogation of the systemsjudged. The elements are not earth, air, fire, andwater, but substantially the same as ” the elements ofthis world,” “the beggarly elements” we read ofelsewhere. The word lTTOLXfLa (elements), carries acovert reference to the heavenly bodies, and in ancientthought these were the abodes of gods or powers thatruled the destinies of men, and by their movements allthe feasts and fasts of religion were regulated. Hencethe term here covers all those religious practices andsuperstitious belief’s which ruled ancient life from thecradle to the grave. The whole scene, as Peter••336 The Cleansing it, is therefore just that fiery renovation of theworld which runs through all Messianic prophecy, andespecially comes to the front in all the New Testamental1usions to the impending judgement of the Judaicage. In the Apocalypse we have seen this fire inprocess of consuming al1 the elementary things ofman’s moral and religious life that cumbered the pathwayof Christ’s coming chariot wheels. It is theshaking out of heaven and earth all the elementaryconceptions which concealed the deep eternal principleswhich cannot be shaken (Heb. xii, 27). It is thejudgement of that God who is ” a consuming fire,” andyet the very gentleness of patience when He works forman’s salvation. Out of the cleansing process came”a new heaven and new earth.” (iii. 13.) The day ofuniversal grace that supervened on the destruction ofthe old Judaic and pagan earth was indeed a blessed” day of visitation to the Gentiles,” drawn all the moreto the sweet and simple faith of the primitive Churchthat its Judaic elements had been consumed in judgementfires, and its adherents had illustrated its virtuesthrough years of blood and fire.The rejection of this interpretation involves theexpositor of Scripture in very serious troubles. TheApostle’s prophecy has been falsified, inasmuch as itdid not happen when he said it should. Either then,it is not to be fulfilled at any time; or else it is to beaccomplished at the end of the Christian age. Thatthe incarnation, the atonement, the ascension and reignof Christ, and the Church’s labours through centuries,are to end in such a disgraceful collapse for theuniverse we cannot believe. It writes” failure” on theworks of creation and redemption alike. It contradictsNo other Interpretation possible. 337the plainest of all Christ’s prophecies, those thatpredict 3. universal victory for His kingdom in thisworld. What becomes of the parables of the mustardseed, and the leaven, in which Christ foretells a slowand gradual but steadily progressive growth of HisKingdom towards universal conquest? It implies thatall through the Gospel age the world will be growingworse in faith and morals, and there be nothing forall our labour beneath the sun but complete physicaldestruction. Indeed, the difficulties are endless; andwhat the advantages are we fail to see.ST. PAUL.THERE is every probability that” the things hard- to be understood” which St. Peter found in theEpistles of St. Paul related to matters we now sumup under the heading .1 eschatology.” Time has nothelped the Church to a solution of these Paulineproblems. The great Apostle is still badly understood,judging by the contradictory verdicts given by criticswho have made a lifelong study of his position. Dr.S. Davidson affirms that St. John’s eschatology ismuch more spiritual than St. Paul’s, while ProfessorSabatier calls our attention to the” profound analogy”between them. Almost all our standard commentatorsconfess that they cannot interpret ourApostle except on the supposition that he wasmistaken in some respects, and partially discoveredhis mistake before he ceased to write epistles. Indeed,it is now the fashion to take the position fromwhich Jowett in his day seemed to shrink-s-” toallow that St. Paul was mistaken, and that insupport of his mistake he could appeal to thewords of Christ Himself.” It will be apparentthat we have undertaken a task of tremendousdifficulty if we mean to show that the Apostledid not err and is neither inconsistent with himselfnor with the facts of history. Such, indeed,is our contention; and it will, we hope, be greatly to-“, – — ———St. Paul at Thessalonica. 339the credit of the preterist theory if we can evenapproximately prove our case.For obvious reasons we shall take up his Epistlesin their chronological order. Happily this leads usdirectly to the heart of St. Paul’s convictions as to theSecond Advent. His statements inFIRST AND SECOND THESSALONIANShave not always the clearness or fulness of meaningwe could desiderate with a view to the settlementof all outstanding controversies, but on certain pointsof moment nothing more need be desired. Muchthat we find puzzling arises from our traditional standpointsbeing so essentially different from the Scriptural,and from the Thessalonians having known Paul’smind so well that elaboration or minute explicitnesswhich we now would gladly welcome was unnecessaryfor their purpose.It is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles that St.Paul’s teaching in Thessalonica shortly before the firstof his Epistles was largely occupied with the Kingshipof Jesus. Much emphasis was necessarily laid on theadvent of the kingdom of God, the impending judgementsconnected with the violent transition of theMosaic age into the Christian, and the new ethicalcharacter of the coming epoch. Apostolic preachingwas pre-eminently a speaking to the times. The NewTestament Scriptures are all strongly impregnatedwith an eager interest in a shortly-expected transformationof the world, and so disproportionally didthis temporal aspect of the kingdom absorb theattention of Paul’s hearers that, on his abrupt flight———— ———–~——~—~—-340 St. Paul to tke Thessalonians.from the city in order to escape the persecutions ofsome venemous Jews, many of them had failed tograsp any sufficient idea as to the accompanyingdevelopment of the kingdom amongst the humanrace beyond the grave. This culpable ignorance orforgetfulness seems to have been the occasion of thisfirst Epistle, and the definite instruction which we findin iv. 13-18. The Second Epistle fullowed shortlyafter, and was perhaps occasioned by some slight misunderstandingof the First. Grouping their teachings,the results may thus be summed :-1. TIle Second Coming is anticipated as a time ofpeculiar judgement (i, 10; v, :3-9). Jesus, for whomthey look from heaven, is described as their Delivererfrom” the wrath to come.” By long habit of thought,most readers attach an exclusively next-world senseto such words, but we can scarcely doubt that the”coming wrath” of Scripture is primarily a temporaljudgcmcnt which was to fall upon the world at theapproaching end of the age-a visible and materialGehenna of fire into which God was about to cast Hisenemies. The apostolic generation justly attachedextreme importance to this impending judgement-day.The heavens and the earth were to be burned up withfire-” sudden destruction ” to come upon that godlessgeneration. I n the face of such terrific adjurations, itwas the delight of those within the Church to rejoicein their own immaculate safety, knowing that” Godhad not appointed them to wrath, but to salvation.”This judgement was to fall with especial severityupon the Jews (ii. 14-16). “Judgement must beginat the house of God,” and this time, the .. wrath isto the uttermost;” i.e. to complete destruction ofThe Coming of a Jewish Judgement. 341their national existence. Faithlessness to thehighest privileges necessarily reaps the severest doom.The Jews had crucified the Son of God; and insteadof seeking a place of repentance during the quarter ofa century which had elapsed, had increasingly persistedin. their sin by an incessant musketry of persecutionwhich almost made it impossible to preach the Gospelto the world. This hatred of the name of Jesus wasto Paul the culmination of Jewish guilt. Their cupwas running over. His divinely-illumined eye saw inthe events transpiring everywhere the token thatGod’s wrath was about to burst upon His faithless peopleand never rest until it had made a final end. Thisdrastic punishment is foretold in plainer form in theSecond Epistle, written a few months later. God isto give His Church some rest, when Christ shallappear and punish the troublers “with aioniandestruction from the presence of the Lord” (i. 6-12).Controversy enough has gathered about these words,but what they plainly say is that” the people of God’spresence” are to be permanently broken off from theenjoyment of their distinctive privileges (Rom. ix, 4)in the age about to come; in other words, the Jewsare to reap the penalty of their Christ-rejection andpersistent persecution of His people in the absoluterupture of the sacred relationship they had so longsustained. Now is it possible to deny that this judgementwas consummated in the age-long destruction ofthe Jewish nationality? Can it be denied that theApostle does, in both Epistles, identify the finaljudgement of the Jewish economy with” the revelationof Jesus Christ from heaven”? Was not Paul’s mind,like the rest of the Apostles’ steeped in the idea of a——- — -342 The Thessalonians in Expectation.judgement just at hand? Did he not even venture toassert to the philosophic Athenians, shortly after heleft Thessalonica, that ,. God has appointed a day inwhich He IS ABOUT TO JUDGE the world by thatMan whom He has ordained”? (Acts xvii. 31). Doeshe not assure the Thessalonians that this day WILLOVERTAKE THEM, though not as a thief, because theyare forewarned and forearmed? And does theApostle not feel it needful to pray that in the hazardouscircumstances just impending the Thessaloniansmay be preserved IN BODY as well as in spirit” untothe parousia of Christ”? Thus we see that Paulapprehends the parousia as near to that generation,as having special importance for the Jews, as involvingbodily dangers for those exposed to its fiery tribulations;and also as a permanent dispensation ofheavenly grace to the Christians who survive itsdislocations. All these are familiar aspects of theparousia in the Scriptures we have examined up tillnow. In nothing does Paul diverge from the teachingof our Lord and the other Apostles.2. The adueut ot Christ is signalised by a resurrectionoj the dead (1 Thess. iv. 13-18). Some of theThessalonians were troubled about the relation of deadbelievers to the coming kingdom of God. It looks asif they had imagined that the kingdom would run aprotracted course on earth before the dead would beraised to share its privileges. We need not wonder attheir mistake, when we consider the confusion of ideaswhich still exists upon the subject of the kingdom.Their error is corrected by the simple statement, “Thedead in Christ rise first.” The new age is institutedfirst beyond the veil; the kingdom of the heavens islV/uTe are those wleo ” Sleep ?” 343opened; death is vanquished, and Hades despoiled ofthe believing dead. Thus opens the grand campaignof the world’s salvation. The cardinal fact of theChristian dispensation is that the Christian dead arefrom the moment of its initiation, in the presence oftheir Lord, and that He and His risen Church are inclose conjuction, dynamically though not visibly, withHis Church on earth. We are” gathered togetherunto the Lord;” we are come unto Mount Zion, thecity of the living God. This is the age of the divineuniversal presence of God in Christ in contrast withthe previous age when the Jews were” tlu people 0.1His presence” and the Temple His only shrine.It seems beyond all question that Paul held andtaught that those who “sleep” are not visibly andconsciously with Christ until their resurrection at thesecond coming. The Lord descends for them fromheaven. They are called forth by His mighty energiesfrom the state of death and caught up to be for everwith the Lord. If then the parousia has not yettranspired, we are letting sentiment run away withjudgement when we speak of the saints as passing intoheaven at death. Scripture uniformly teaches thatthere is no resurrection till the Second Advent, andno living with Christ until the resurrection,Such was our Lord’s own teaching: “WhenI have prepared a’ place, I will come for you,”and only after this coming are they where He is. InThessalonians Paul again and again brackets theparousia and the meeting with Christ, or ” our gathcringtogether unto Him.” No doubt he speaks later onof “absent from the body” as being” present with theLord,” but this was natural, seeing that he knew death:l44 St. Paul to the be the only way to resurrection, and the parousia tobe so near at hand. However, Scripture is not selfcontradictory;and we beg our readers to note andinwardly digest the fact that there is no presence withChrist until this second coming, and then to give thefact its legitimate application to their own beliefs concerningthe dead in Christ.3. The Apostle taught that tltis coming was at hand.It is not necessary to fill this page with a concensus ofpassages in proof. As we have already said, the factis almost universally admitted, and with a franknessthat is often painfully explicit.We limit our attention for the present to that wellknownpassage in which the Apostle certainly impressedthe Thessalonians with the conviction that whenthe Lord descends from heaven some of that generationwill be alive. “We who are alive and remain unto theparousia” does not indeed assert that Paul himselfwill live to see that day, but it plainly means thatsome of them will live to see the abolition of the ageand the birth of its glorious successor. How couldPaul possibly cherish any other belief? Was he notaware of the sayings of our Lord, ” Some of you hereshall not taste of death until you see,” etc. ; “Thisgeneration shall not pass away”? And with thisknowledge it was surely no bold flight for him toprophesy, a quarter of a century later, that some ofthem would live into the day of the Lord.Some, however, say that the Apostle modifies hisviews in his Second Epistle to this Church. So saysJowett; and yet with so little ground that Grotius,Baur, and Ewald assertjthat the Second Epistle waswritten first. Certainly Paul had occasion to moderateII The Comin.t: not Postponed. 345the expectations which his first had helped to excite.It is no wonder that, with their naturally eager andpassionate natures and the unsettled condition of theworld, they read the Apestle’s “soon” as if he hadsaid ., just now,” or within a year. But Paul correctstheir blunder in the plainest terms. He writes, “Don’tthink that the day of the Lord is PRESENT. It is notquite so near. As I told you when I was with you,the mystery of iniquity must reach up to a morehorrible accentuation of profanity, even until a certainman will claim the right of sitting in God’s temple,and receiving the worship due to God alone. Youknow what hinders that blasphemous climax frombeing reached, until it is taken out of the way.” Thereis not the slightest indication here of any undue postponementof the parousia. The evil specified wasalready working. Whatever be our difficulties ofidentification, the Thessalonians had none. Paul hadexplained it all when among them. That fact isenough to condemn all futurist interpretations; forhow was it possible for the Thessalonians to read afuture that is utterly black to the scholars of to-day,unless they can see as far as Archbishop MacEvilly(Roman Catholic), who knows that the Man of Sin isattached to some great apostasy from his Churchlarger than that headed by Luther and Calvin? Inall reason we cannot seek the interpretation in anythingbeyond the apostolic age. Within that field we canhave a choice between a Jewish and a Roman Man ofSin,-for the first, following Tertullian, Whitby,Jowett, Weiss (Bib. Thea.• i. 309), Sabatier, thoughnot quite confident (St. Paul, 119), Godet (Intro. auN. T.), Usteri and Le Clerc, who name Simon of Gioras,346 Tile Man of Sin.and Stephenson, late rector of Lympsham, who(Christ%gy, vol. L) cites proof upon proof that theMan of Sin is Eleazer Thebuthis, first a Jewish Gnostic,then a Christian and rejected candidate for thebishopric of Jerusalem on the death of St. James, thenan apostate, and finally a leader in the Jewish rebellion,possessing himself of the Temple and .aiming atmaking himself the Messiah of the Scriptures; andfor the second following Dr. Lee for Domitian checkedby Nero, or Dollinger, Renan, Farrar, and mostly allthe Fathers, for Nero checked by Claudius-qui claudz!– who was against being personally worshipped asGod. Those familiar with the abominable blasphemiesinvolved in the deification of the Roman emperors willnot hesitate to admit that this climax of iniquity, sointimately connected with the Jewish revolt, is aperfectly adequate fulfilment of Paul’s prophecy. Thatsome contemporary development of evil was beforethe Apostle’s mind is evident by the whole tone of theEpistle, and the evident contrast drawn between thedestruction coming on those who were deluded by theblasphemies of the time and the glory coming to thebrethren by the belief of the truth.Such, however, is the unconscious twist that hascome over r.lany modern minds, that even while thelatest commentator (Denney) admits that theapostasy here referred to is of the Jews, that theTemple is that then standing in Jerusalem, he yetmaintains that “the precise anticipation which thepassage embodies was not destined to be realised.””Inspiration did not enable the apostles to writehistory before it happened.” Here then are more ofPaul’s mistakes! Yet, with the grossest inconsistency,The Coming Misconceived. 347we are told[that alllthis will be substantially fulfilledafter” the fulness of time ;” so that we are to believethat an apostle who could not prophesy over a periodof fifteen years is to be trusted if you will make hisvision stretch over thousands, and that he who couldnot read the already visible signs of his times couldwrite out a philosophy of history and prognosticate theend of all things!The one blunder which underlies all this denial ofthe accuracy of New Testament prophecy, is a verymistaken idea of what is meant by the coming of theLord. Commentators lay stress upon an event, theoccurrence of a moment, the sudden revelation to allarid sundry of a glorified omnipotent Christ, who issupposed by an immediate miracle to abolish evil,transform the physical world, open the burial groundsand bring up the dead to a permanent or at least atemporary sojourn on this earth. All this is exceedinglygross, materialistic, opposed to every reasonableconception of God’s methods, a violation of the law of’continuity so profoundly reverenced by even thediscoverers of these Jewish Apocalyptic ideas. Suchinterpreters are deceived by the strongly orientallanguage in which the Presence is commonly described.But a little calm consideration might show that theprimitive conception of the second coming was notquite so hysterical as it is conceived to be. As Jowettsays, .. The habitual thought of the first Christians wasnot so much a ‘coming’ as a’ presence,’ as its veryname implied.” The distinction is of vast importance.What was looked for was not one miraculous event,but a dispensation-the coming of a kingdom, thepresence of Christ in His sovereign power,-in other348 The Nature of Clm’st’s Presence.words, the age of Christ, the dispensation of His power,the institution of His personal authority in the seenand unseen worlds. Now, this so far as it was anevent, or had a beginning in time, had its sign in thedestruction of the former covenant. From that dayforward, Christ’s age had come in, the King was uponHis throne, the dead had been gathered to Himself,and henceforth His work on earth was to subdue allwickedness to Himself. The language in which thisis described in our Second Epistle may betray thereader into the conception of a visible Christ, warringin some physical way, with some transcendent enemy.But if it were remembered that the most striking figurehere (ii. 8) is simply a repetition of familiar OldTestament phrases which had their own fulfilment inJehovah’s victories over the idolatrous nations of theancient world, it might then be easy to see that Christ’spresence and victory over heathen idolatry imply novisible external pomp and glare of supernaturalaccompaniments, but a spiritual presence in HisChurch, a moral victory over error springing fromHis ascension to the throne of God, and His supremacyover the principalities and powers, and wickedness inheavenliness places which had kept the world inbondage.There is another capital objection against findingthe parousia accomplished in the apostolic age. Theresurrection may, indeed, have taken place, since fromits nature it might be invisible; but, it has been argued,”certainly there was no transfiguration and glorificationof those who were alive and remained to thecoming, as Paul very plainly taught.” Such a transfigurationof living Christians into glorified saints
The Rapture of the Saints. 

without passing through death is one of the commonestideas in eschatology, Well, those who demand itshould consult Dr. Russell’s” Parousia” and see whatcan be said in defence of the notion that it actuallyaccompanied the parousia of those days. Frankly, wemust confess that in our judgement this sign of theparousia was wanting. Perhaps we do not see itbecause long convinced that such a transfiguration isan aberglaube, and a most unhappy one, on apostolicteaching. Could Paul actually mean that at theparousia, whose beginning he most distinctly assertedwas at hand, every Christian on the earth was suddenlyto be rapt away into the heavens? We arc not justifiedin saying that Paul refers only to a few of the moreselect spirits then living in the Church. He eithermeans all Christians, or his words mean nothing.Then how were the promises of a universal reign ofChrist on earth and of His kingdom as” everlasting”to be realized? Why does Paul never in any of hisEpistles frankly congratulate Christians on theirprobable escape from death, but rather distinctly congratulatesthe Corinthians that they and he shall beraised up together from the dead? (I I. vi. 4). Thedifficulties thicken the longer one thinks of it. Is itpossible that at a time when the Church is confessedlyweak the Lord is going to deplete it of its richestblood and either destroy it or leave it helpless? DoesPaul really contradict himself when he sars that fleshand blood cannot see the kingdom of God, nor corruptioninherit incorruption? for what else is an instantaneoustransformation of flesh and blood into a stateof glory? And, if the living at the parousia enter onheavenly glory at the very same moment as the3.50 The Silence of History.believing dead, why should he in Philippians wish todepart (die) rather than abide in the flesh; and whydoes he describe going home to the Lord as being”absent from the body,” or putting off his tabernacle?In short, this idea of” rapture,” though fondly held bymultitudes, involves Paul’s teaching on ” last things”in the most flagrant inconsistencies, and makes ascience of eschatology on any understanding quiteimpossible.Nor is there anything in the silence of history as tothe period about and after the fall of Jerusalem. It isnot usually the Saints who write history, though theydo much to make it; and surely the second-rateChristians who were left after the” rapture” to rule thechurch were competent enough to chronicle so startlingan event as the sudden disappearance of the moreillustrious leaders. As a matter of fact, we have satisfactorytestimony to the deaths of the great apostles;and good reason for the scantiness of church historyof the sub-apostolic age in the martyrdoms whichcontinued from Nero’s reign to Domitian’s. 1Let us look with a little patience at what Paulactually teaches on this matter. Why does he say tothe Thessalonians, “We who are alive and REMAINUNTO the parousia,” and not content himself withsimply” We who arc aiive AT the parousia”? Washe given to tautology of style? Rather was hepregnant and elliptical, and careless of qualifyingclauses which might readily be supplied by his readers.It is therefore next to certain that he had a deliberatemeaning in this word” remain ;” and when it is seen1 Clement to the Corinthians 1. iii. 16; and for additional reasons,Ramsa>”ll “Church in the Roman Empire,” :ld. ed. p. 227.rThe Rapture of the Saints. 351that the parousia is not so much a local and temporaryact as it is a permanent state or relation of Christ toHis Church, the characteristic of the Christian age orthe realised Kingdom of Christ, his meaning appearsto be, “We who are alive and remain living in the ageof the parouJia shall be caught up like them to meetthe Lord.” Everything here depends upon themeaning of the adverb /lILa, translated “together.”This rendering inevitably suggests identity as to time.But while the word may have this temporal reference,it never carries it in the writings of St. Paul, but someother identity, of place, quality, or manner. TheApostle’s meaning can be seen from his repetition ofthe phrase a little further on. In v. 10, ” live togetherwith Him” cannot possibly mean that all Christiansshall begin to live the resurrection life at the samemoment as Christ begins to live it, but shall possesslife of the same quality and in His company. Thus itis to be taken in this passage-predicating a similarresurrection into the company of the saints. Themeaning is the same as in 1 Cor. xv, 51: “We shallnot all sleep” (some of us will be alive when the Lorddescends from heaven, and will not therefore share inthe resurrection which takes place at the last trump),”but we shall all be changed” (from the earthly stateinto the heavenly, as in a moment). This new orderof procedure comes into operation after the resurrectionwhich initiates Christ’s Kingdom in the heavens.Our relation to Hades, which Christ shuts for hispeople, and to Heaven, which He opens, is so radicallychanged at this particular moment that henceforthdeath is utterly transformed. It is no longer a descent,a waiting for the fulfilment of a promised Deliverer, a.~~.52 First Cori1ltltians.state of comparative nakedness, but it becomes aninstantaneous ascent to be for ever with the Lord.The teaching is precisely the same as in the Apocalypse,when, in connection with the resurrection, theproclamation is made, “Blessed are the dead that diein the Lord from henceforth,” because they enter atonce on their rest and the full reward of their works,being immediately caught up into the glory of theLord. This epoch of changed relations consistsessentially in a closer conjunction of heaven and earth.God comes down with more abundant power for theglorification of His people; the life-giving breath of .Heaven bathes the Church more blessedly; and inthis approximation of two worlds we are all ” gatheredtogether unto the Lord,” and are” come unto MountZion, the city of the living God, and the spirits of justmen made perfect” Henceforth Christians do not diein the ancient sense, but are translated without pauseinto the heavenly land. Hades, with its terrors, isswallowed up of victory, and death is but the droppingof a veil, the opening of an eye, the rapture of thequickened soul from time into eternity.THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANStakes us forward a few years into the ever-ripeningexperience of the great apostle, but it shows no abatementin his expectations of the Lord’s parousia.Indeed it shows that this subject had a powerful andpermanent hold upon his mind, and seriously affectedall his thin kings, and toned all his judgements of theevents through which he had to pass. He complimentsthe Corinthians for their faithful “waiting for therevelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” and assures themThe Lord’s Coming a Jewish Judgement. :l53that they will be confirmed in faith” unto the end,”that is until” the day of Christ” (i. 7-8). Now inwhat particular respect were the Corinthians in dangerof being misleci? In favour of believing in theimperative need of being subject to the Jewish law aswell as to the Gospel of Christ. They were at thismoment beset with Judaizing teachers, who werebuilding on another foundation than Jesus Christ.. Here is the danger. But the day of Christ, Paul says,is at hand; it is to be revealed in fire; and the fire isto burn up all that is not of Christ, to the loss andshame of those teachers and their dupes (iii. 13).This judgement is said to be impending-so near thatthe Corinthians are asked to suspend their verdict onthe case between him and his opponents “until theLord come” (iv. 5). And what fiery judgement willmeet the requirements of the case, but the divine visitationupon jerusalem, which is already described inThessalonians as the “wrath of God” and” flamingfire”? That surely was the specific judgement whichsettled the question between Paul and the Judaizerswho were the vexation of his life; and beyond questionthis judgement-day is identified with our Lord’sparousia.How actually near this day of judgement was isseen in Paul’s earnest exhortation (vii. 29-30). Likea good captain, he is ordering the ship to be put intrim because the barometer indicates a storm. ” Thetime is short” till the “instanding distress,” will beupon them. Radical changes are impending, “thescheme of the world is to pass away.” Just as ourLord gave warning as to certain unlucky domesticcircumstances in the hour of His parousia, so doesr-~——–~- ~~~–I 354 ” Then is the End.”Paul. It is better not to marry and not be encumberedwith children in such a crisis, as these impedimentswill bring” trouble in the flesh.” “The ends of theages” were come upon that generation (x. 11). Allthe preceding epochs of the world’s history (ii. 8) werefinding their culmination and final judgement in thoseapostolic days, and giving place to the great ideal ageof prophecy, in which God’s eternal purposes were tobe fulfilled. Such a transition period was necessarilybrimful of “distress,” and demanded the greatestwatchfulness on the part of Christian men, even thoughthey had the promise of special divine protection.When this is the constant attitude of St. Paul and hisrepeated note of warning, we surely are guilty of greatpresumption if we say he was mistaken. And on whatsubject are we to trust the apostolic judgement, if notupon one that affected him so profoundly andconstantly as this?Indeed, our Epistle shows that Christ’s Coming wasa subject which had been carefully thought out by Paul,and an article of prime importance in his scheme ofChristian thought. He tells us, for instance, that atChrist’s parousia the resurrection of the dead takesplace; but before that time all rule and authority andpower opposed to Him have been put down, the lastof His enemies being death-I( then is the end.” (xv.23-26). This whole passage is bristling with insolublepoints to the old interpretation; but it falls easily intoline with what we have found to be the teaching ofthe other Scriptures. The” end” is the only” end”of which Scripture knows anything, for of Christ’sKingdom or the gospel dispensation there is no end.We are standing at the close of the Judaic age. ChristPuting down all Rule, etc. 355has come according to His own parable and taken theKingdom or the Vineyard out of the hands of menwho had usurped it, and claimed a right to itspermanent possession. The New Testament tells usof Jewish dignitaries who must be humbled, of angelsin whose hands the Covenant had been ordained, butwho are superseded when Christ ascends to theFather’s throne j of Satan and his angels in heavenwith whom Christ and His angels fight, and whom Hefinally casts into the bottomless pit. All this work ofconquest comes in between Christ’s death and theresurrection of the dead. Paul speaks of it as if withknowledge which he did not choose to reveal. “Hemade a show of principalities and powers, openlytriumphing over them.” The last enemy to be overcomeis death. This is achieved first by puting downSatan who has “the power of death,” and then byopening the gates of Hades, and leading forth death’scaptives into the heavenly place prepared for them.This grand work of conquest done, the Kingdom is ofcourse by its accomplishment restored to God. Theusurpers of whom we have read in Scripture are alldethroned, and an age begins which knows no sovereignbut the Lord God Almighty, and no mediator butGod’s only-begotten Son.Some reader may demur to our suggestion that thefirst resurrection took place after the close of theJudaic age, on the ground that such an event mustleave its mark on history, while history’s page is blank.This objection presupposes that the resurrection is acarnal re-embodiment. Certainly, it is not. Thebodies with which the saints come forth are” spiritual,”or” heavenly,” or “glorified.” What have such bodies356 The Resurrection do with earth and time and space? The way fromHades to Heaven does not lie through the cities andvillages of this world. No eye of flesh can tracethat passage; no mortal form can intrude upon itsprivacy; its thronging multitudes let no footfall beheard by sensuous ears; no record of such transactionscan be written for the daily press. If menstumble at this, it is because like the Sadducees theydo not know” the power of God,” the multiplicity ofthe bodies He has constituted in this universe, thesecrets of inscrutable wisdom.If we turn to u. 51 we shall there plainly read thatthis resurrection was then immanent. Paul says” weshall not all sleep,” that is, at “the last trump,” thesignal of this deliverance of the dead. If this weretrue, what date within a lifetime was more likelythan immediately after the old dispensation was judgedand done away? Indeed, if we turn to “the lasttrump” in the book of Revelation, we find that it isthe time for the judgement and resurrection of thedead, and that it is also the close of the old dispensation,as witnessed in the overthrow of Jerusalem.Another objection is based on the idea that at theresurrection the living saints are to be caught awayinstantaneously to heaven. Our readers know thatthis opinion is based on a remarkable paucity of proof.Only two passages, or at most three, in Paul’s writingsseem to say anything in its support. The first andstrongest, we have seen, contains no such teaching.Neither does the verse which is now before us. WhatPaul teaches is that from “the last trump” forward,the manner of resurrection is essentially changed.Before this, Hades received the dead, and they waitedChanged in a Moment. 357for the Lord’s appearing to raise them up into Hisheavenly Kingdom; after Hades has been emptied,the saints who die are instantly changed and caughtup to join the heavenly ranks. Therefore it is true, asDean Stanley says, that in this chapter “the wholeresurrection of the human race is represented as oneprolonged fact of which the resurrection of Christ is. the first beginning.” Although our resurrection willnot transpire in the category, ” those who are Christ’sat His coming,” we nevertheless fall into that other,” every man in his own order,” amongst his own band,as the great “change” overtakes him, and with thehappier fortune of being spared waiting in intermediateand imperfect states for the appearing of our Lord.And so it appears that Paul is completely misunderstoodwhen it is asserted that he expected not to diebut to be wrapt away as a living man to Heaven.The new order of immediate transfer into glory at themoment of death, from the occurrence of the Parousiaonward is mistaken for transfer without death at theParousia.Any other interpretation makes Paul’s teachingcontradictory. Flesh and blood which is stained withsin is not to inherit incorruption. He speaks of hisown death, while still thinking that he may live intothe parousia ” and in this same Epistle writes to theCorinthians of their and his own resurrection (vi. 14).It can scarcely be doubted that if he had anticipatedfor himself and his friends such a pleasing escape asthis, his epistles would have contained many jubilantanticipations of such good fortune. Nor can thesilence of the other Scriptures be explained. This” rapture” was no commonplace experience likely to358 ” Maran A tha.”be treated with neglect. Was Peter not aware of it,or why his silence? Was our Lord aware of it, thenwhy did He say” Some of you standing here shall nottaste death until you see the Son of Man coming,” andnot rather-” Some of you shall see the Son of Mancoming and not taste of death”? Such silence mightwell make us suspicious that this doctrine is not taughtby St. Paul, especially when he makes so little of itthat it is only to be deduced from two passagessusceptible of a totally different meaning.As we finish our glance at this Epistle, our eye iscaught by the startling interjection of the two Syriacwords “MARAN ATHA” (” The Lord cometh! “), sosignificant after the imprecation upon Christ’s enemiesand immediately before the solemn benediction whichcloses all. It is probable, as Renan remarks, thatthese were passwords which the Christians used toencourage one another in their hopes. Can thesehopes, universally entertained, supported by theremembered utterances of our Lord, and taughtdirectly by all His Apostles, have been totally delusiveand grossly mistaken as the modern church declares?SECOND CORINTHIANS.The Epistle to which we have now come takes usforward only a very little way, in all probability notmore than a year, into the life of St. Paul. There wasno time for any perceptible change from the views ofthe Second Advent expressed in the First Epistle.But certain interpreters take advantage of the fact thatthis epistle contains no direct allusions to an impendingparousia to more than hint that the Apostle wasbeginning to. discover his mistake. So careful aPaul’s Change, of View. 359student as Sabatier says that” notions maintained tothe end of the First Epistle to the Corinthians disappearor at least are transformed from the Secondonwards. ., The parousia is indefinitely postponed,and makes room for a darker and more sorrowfulperspective.” The author, however, betrays the rashnessof his assertion, again and again, as whencommenting on Philippians he says, ” Paul still expects,as he always had done, the great day of the Lord.”This supposed change of view is based largely onthe notion that Paul till now has been positivelyasserting that he will live to the time of the parousia,and was passionately desirous of so living. Weagain affirm the absence from Paul’s pages of anyassertion that he will be alive at the parousia.As the event was so near, he would not have beenhuman if he had not desired to see it. When, however,he gives expression to his natural desire to live longerin the world, he never once mentions the parousia asthe boundary of that desire, nor gives as his reason thewish to escape from death by a miraculous transformation.If he entertained this passion to the degreecredited to him, it is most strange that nowhere has itfound unmistakable expression. On the other hand,he frequently takes for granted that he shall die. Andstill, when in 2 Cor. i, 8, he writes that he has beennigh to death and goes on to add, ” Death worketh inus,” and “God will raise us up also with Jesus:’ thejudgement of many is voiced in Dean Stanley’s note,”An exception to the general expectation of theApostle.” The Speaker’s Commentary can only avoidthe attribution of change to Paul by asserting thatbeing” raised up with Jesus” here means that he will360 11. Corinthians, V. I -9.always supernaturally recover from his sickness,as if this evasive gloss did not simply add anothermistake to those with which Paul is credited!It is this unfortunate belief in “the rapture of thesaints” which misleads expositors. For years beforethis time, St Paul knew that he carried his life in hishand. Did he not write, “I die daily,” “am alwaysdelivered unto death,” and in the First Epistle declarehis settled impression that “God had set forth theApostles as men doomed to death”? Is not the entireconclusion of chap. iv. occupied with this idea that hisoutward man is perishing? And is not chap. v. abrilliant exposition of how it matters nothing to himthat the earthly tabernacle is dissolving, since in theinward man he is renewed day by day? We do notmean to raise the question as to what becomes ofApostolic inspiration, or whether doctrinal error isconsistent with any form of inspiration worthy of thename. All we care to ask is, Can the Apostle’s writingsbe made intelligible even when the commentator isallowed the assistance of this supposed change in hisconvictions?Let us take as a test this classical passageabout the heavenly tabernacle (v. 1-9). Is therea commentator up to the latest who does notbetray the perplexity which the acute Whitby sofrankly acknowledges: ” I confess it is difficult to givethe clear sense of the Apostle’s words”? ConsultMeyer-usually so lucid-on what a sea of trouble oneis launched! Take Pfleiderer’s or Sabatier’s attemptsto systematize the Apostle’s beliefs, and what confusioncovers the whole subject, although the latter almostseizes the meaning of the present passage! How areThe Heavenly Bod)’. 361we to harmonize the single point that the dead sleepand wait till Christ descends for them with thissupposed later view that” to be absent from the body”is to be with Christ in heaven? Does Bishop Lightfoothelp us by telling us to qualify the one representationby the other? “Asleep and waiting” and yet”with Christ “-who can resolve these contradictionsinto any intelligible idea? What secret can harmonizethe Apostle’s hope to keep his earthly body and bewith Christ with His immediately afterwards expressedaffirmation that to be in the body is to be absent fromthe Lord, and to put off the body is to be with Him?But we must call a halt, and proceed to unfold whatwe believe to be the Apostle’s teaching in this passage.It is in explanation of what he has just said of therenewal of his inward man while the outward man isdying, that he proceeds :_U If this earthly tabernaclewere dissolved, we have a building of God.” Therewould be no room for the questions expositors raise asto when this heavenly body is possessed if only theyhad observed Paul’s conception as to how Christianscome into its possession. He certainly did not holdthe common notion that the future body is a separatecreation into which the naked spirit mechanically slipsat the word of Divine command. With all plainnesshe has taught us that the process is by vital growth,as the seed corn clothes itself gradually for the newfunction it is to fulfil. Not otherwise in any case doesthe Creator make bodies than by organization aroundthe central vital nucleus, which thus comes into relationwith a harmonious environment. The heavenly bodyis therefore a crystallization of heavenly substancearound the soul, conditioned by its ethical spirit, as362 Inward Glorification.the fleshly body comes to bear the impress in itscountenance of the soul which dwells behind it.Nature may well be trusted as God’s prophet in thismatter, especially when Paul distinctly homologatesthis method of being clothed upon. How otherwisecan we construe his statement, “God quickens ourmortal bodies by His Spirit dwelling in us”? Heseems to say that when our bodies are the temples ofthe Holy Ghost there is a quickening process going onwithin, creative of another substantial form, althoughnot occupying space as known to us, so that when theformer is dissolved the “inward man” is found in asuperior body, in a sense derived from the first as toits Wlos or essential form. 1 Did this idea find onlyisolated expression in his writings, we might doubt hismeaning; but have we not the same idea when heuses the analogy of the glorification of Moses in theMount and says that we, looking (mentally) in theface of Christ, are transformed into the same image,from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit, which is theLord? “Glory” is not merely sanctification, buttransformation of our inward manhood by participationin heavenly qualities. The same idea lies in theantithesis of the decaying outward man and the dailyrenewal of the inward. The Apostle faints not beforehis visible decay because conscious that” the more themarble wastes, the more the statue grows,” whilelooking at eternal things. Is not the same truthexpressed again when, a little later on, he writes, ” Hethat hath wrought us for this selfsame thing is God”?1 Baur is the only first-class interpreter who has at allseized a.right conception of the Apostle’s meaning. His remarksare well worth careful study.-St. Paul, II., pp. 265-8.Resurrection already begun. 363The process of” mortality being swallowed up of life”is not one altogether relegated to the future, but hasbeen in continuous process since the Apostle receivedthe gift of that Spirit whose presence is the earnest ofthe full possession of the heavenly form. And thisprocess, of which he has been conscious in himself, theApostle prays his Ephesian brethern may knowexperimentally: “the greatness of God’s power to uswardaccording to His working in Christ when Heraised Him from the dead.” It follows from this conceptionof the glorified body as a PRESENT work ofGod, dependent for its rapidity of growth and measureof glory on the fulness of the Spirit’s power in us, thatPaul may speak of it as a present possession whichbecomes functional in spirit-life at death; or, inhumbler mood, speak dubiously, as when he writes tothe Phillipians, “Not as though I had already attained”(the resurrection of the dead) “or were already perfect,”i.e. in his inward heavenly resurrection form; and,again, may write of it as a body only perfected whenChrist shall appear, and we shall be made like Him inthe fullest degree, because we shall see Him as He isand by the contemplation of His glory be changedfrom” the fashion of the body of humiliation into conformityto His glorious body.” Holding this view,Paul might well say that though his fleshly bodyshould soon be dissolved, as he feared it might fromhis manifold afflictions, he has nevertheless thiscomfort: that by his conscious renewal in the inwardman he has already a heavenly house for the dwellingplaceof his soul. When Paul’s actual teaching is comprehendedwe can understand how Hymenzeus andPhiletus came to teach that” the resurrection was past364 Longing to be Clothed upon.already” (2 Tim. ii. 18). That shows that the resurrectionwas not understood to be a physical resuscitationand earthly appearance of the dead; nor a distantoccurrence at the end of all things, but an unseen andimmanent event, since otherwise they would have beenrefuted by the simple fact that it had not happened.The approximation of this opinion to the Apostle’sown teaching may be guessed from the mildness ofhis rebuke: “Concerning the truth, they have missedthe mark.”The “longing to be clothed upon” of the secondverse is almost unanimously taken to mean that Paulwas anxious not to die, but to be caught away inrapture. With all our heart we say with Baur: “Amere expedient of interpretation.” Why, the Apostlehas just been belittling the effects of death, and nowhe is made to be afraid of it! He is only expressingthe common feeling that the earthly life is burdensome,because man in the flesh is ” subject unto vanity,” andthat in the Christian heart especially there is a strongdesire for a more exalted life, “to wit, the redemptionof the body,” or full adoption into Divine incorruptiblesonship. To” put on over” is not the gross andincongruous idea of covering the earthly body with aheavenly one. Such a conception is utterly un-Pauline,as we shall see. The heavenly body is put on overthe soul by the indwelling Spirit of God from heavenlysubstances, as the seed germ has a new body put overit by the Spirit of God in nature.Verse 3 is made perplexing with various Greekreadings. Alford makes it to read, “seeing that weshall really be found clothed and not naked.” TheRevised Version abides by the Received, and is moreSoul Nakedness. S65hypothetical: “If so be that,” etc. Then a very oldreading, which Sabatier maintains is the original,substitutes “unclothed” for “clothed.” Two falseviews are taken of the Apostle’s meaning. Chrysostom,Calvin, Usteri, and others, take it to refer to spiritualnakedness, the absence of the robe of righteousness.But this is to introduce an idea foreign to the context.Others (Bengel, Billroth, Conybeare and Howson,Weiss,) interpret as referring to the Apostle’s escapefrom death by continuance in the flesh until theSecond Coming. This interpretation makes Paul’sstatement purely personal, or at least only applicableto his own generation : but the kindred reference inRom. viii. 20-25 shows that Paul holds this longing tobelong to human nature, and especially to Christianswho are filled with the Spirit. The interpretation wesubmit is suitable whatever Greek reading be preferred:-” If so be that being completely clothed withthe heavenly body our spirits are not found naked atdeath, and comparatively helpless in that other world,as heathen men believed themselves to be”; or, withthe other reading,” so that being unclothed of the bodyof the flesh we are not naked and helpless spirits.”The longing for being unclothed of the fleshly bodycould not possibly exist if the possession of thesuperior body were believed to be a distant possibility,with a painful interregnum of soul-nakedness. Thusplainly does Paul refute a view of the resurrectionbody which is commonly believed to be his own.Verse 4 is almost universally interpreted as expressingan idea not flattering to Paul’s manliness.Alford actually tells us that the Apostle and his fellowChristians groaned and were afflicted, because not366—–~— ~———–~-At Home with the Lord.willing to divest themselves of their earthly bodies!Surely such a feeling was entirely alien to Paul, as ithas been to every spiritually-minded Christian since.The truth is that he is here repeating the idea just expressedin a slightly different form in order to repudiatefor himself and other Christians the Stoic notion thenprevalent that it was right to long for death, and evencommit suicide if weary of the world. No such selfishand morbid desire to be rid of life is to be found withinthe Christian’s breast.” More life and ful1er ’tis we want “-even that glorious state in which we are equal to theangels of God, being children of the resurrection.Then immediately (ver. 5) he claims that God hasalready been weaving the texture of this heavenlybody within the vesture of the mortal. And this confidencemakes him always of good courage. He is notafraid of death, nor does he shrink from it, because tobe in the body is to be absent from the Lord, and tobe present with the Lord is the consummation of allhis possible desires. Is it not strange that the Apostleshould ever have been understood to be expecting anddesiring to keep his body alixe and to be at home withChrist in it? His meaning is the direct negation ofsuch a thought.To some there is a difficulty in the way Paul couples”being absent from the body” and “being at homewith the Lord,” as it looks inconsistent with hisdoctrine that the dead are not with Christ until theresurrection. The solution is easy when two thingsare kept in view: first, that to the Apostle there is nosuch thing as “rapture” or being present with Christotherwise than by laying aside the body; and secondly,The Gain of Dying. 367that, according to his belief, the interval between hisdeath and the descent of Christ for His dead is so verybrief that, as Delitzsch remarks, he may well pass bythe intermediate state in silence. 1 St. Paul wouldnever have written to the Philippians,” It is better todepart and be with Christ,” “To die is gain,” if hehad believed that he would be as soon with Christ byremaining alive to the parousia ; but knowing thateven if the parousia were come, death was still theonly way into the state of glory, he did not care forhimself how soon death might come, knowing that itwould not find him naked, and therefore in a state lesshappy than he was on earth. IIThe exposition now submitted shows that thispassage is perfectly’ lucid and self-consistent, perplexingas it has been to the multitude of expositors.It will be seen that the Pauline doctrine of theresurrection includes two processes for the Christian:first, the clothing of the spirit with a body of heavenlytexture by the working of the indwelling Spirit, aprocess begun here and perfected by closer contactwith the Lord; secondly, ascent from Hades whenthe Lord descends for His people at the parousia, andafter that event immediate ascent into the heavenlystate in the degree in which the soul is clothed uponwith heavenly essences. The first was already in1 “Psychology,” English translation, p. 510.2 Our latest interpreter (Denney) sees no change in theApostle’s views; but is so far in confusion that he actuallybelieves that the heavenly body is rut on over the body of fleshand blood, and that at this time Pau stands in such contradictionwith himself that he has a “shuddering fear of dying” and hopesto escape “the terrific experience of death.” WaB this Paul’sfeeling about death at any time, and especially when he wrotethat he preferred to die rather than to live on 1368 TIle Epistle to tlu Galatians.process with St. Paul, and it might be near its completionj the second could only be accomplished at theparousia. Long study has convinced us that theentire teaching of the New Testament on last thingsbecomes simple and harmonious on these lines, andwe confidently commend this view to our reader’spatient and prayerful study.THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS.This letter is believed to come at no great distanceafter the Epistles to the Corinthians j indeed, theassertion is sometimes made that it ought to comebefore them. In any case, we can hardly expect tofind further information on the subject of the parousia.There are, however, certain definite references wellworth our attention. In chapter i. 4, we are told thatthe aim of Christ’s sacrifice was our deliverance from”the present evil age.” The contrast before theApostle’s mind is not that of this material world asevil over against heaven as holy, but the idea whichis developed so fully in our Lord’s discourses, of twosuccessive ages in this world-the age of law and sinand the age of grace and everlasting righteousness.We see here that in Paul’s judgement, the Judaic agewas still running, because not yet officially abolished,and the Christian age not yet initiated publicly by thedeposition of its predecessor. It is not needful thatwe should again remind our readers how perfectly thisis in keeping with the chronological standpoint of allthe New Testament writers. The old age had not yetreached its consummation, and the kingdom of Christhad not then externally come.The Old and New Jerusalems. :lG9The only other reference to be noticed is iv. 25, 26.Here Jerusalem and its legal religion is compared toHagar, and said to be in bondage with its children,whereas the Jerusalem which is above is free. Wehave to note again that for Paul at this point the NewJerusalem has not yet come down from heaven; thatis, the gospel age is not yet initiated, the New TestamentChurch has not officially supplanted the Old.It does exist in heaven, it waits for the fulness of thetimes, the moment when there can fittingly be a” restitution” or turning back to the great fundamentalreligious principles of Eden and the days of Abraham jand then, as seen in the book of Revelation, it descends,and the Church officially exists as the one and onlyrepresentative of God on earth. Meanwhile, the seatof the old Covenant is a place of bondage. It imposeson its votaries burdens too hard to be borne j demandsrighteousness without imparting power, as theEgyptians demanded bricks without straw. Hence,in Rev. xi. 8, Jerusalem is said to be spiritually called” Egypt,” and out of it God is about to call his people,by separating them from the outer courts of His temple,i.e., from a legal and ceremonial service inconsistentwith the liberty and universality of true worship in theKingdom of Christ.THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS.This letter proceeds but a very little way before thereader is startled with the ominous rumble of thesounds of approaching judgement (ii. 5, 6, 9, 10). Asin Peter, the Jew is to be judged first j on “the daywhen God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus370 The Epistle to the Romans.Christ, according to my Gospel” (ver, 16). WhatPaul taught as to the time when this judgement wouldtake place can be seen by turning to the addressesspoken at Ceesarea somewhere about the time thisEpistle was written. In his confession before theRoman judge he distinctly announced his faith in animmanent resurrection: .. having hope in God thatthere IS SOON TO BE a resurrection both of the justand unjust”; and a few days later, when asked toexplain the Christian faith more fully, “he reasoned ofthe judgement ABOUT TO COME” (Acts xxiv. 15, 25),and brought it so well home to the immediate interestsof Felix that he trembled. Now, as this resurrectionand judgement are functions which St. Paul held tobelong distinctively to the advent of Christ, it isevident that he was still strong in the expectation ofa parousia close at hand.Nor indeed does the Apostle shrink from committinghimself to this effect before the Roman Church. Inviii. 18, et seq., he speaks of the resurrection as “theredemption of the body from the bondage of corruption,”and contrasting it with the present state, calls it”the glory to be revealed in us.” Well, is this adistant prospect? By no means. He writes: “It isabout to be revealed.” Most translators seem afraidto record it, but so it is written; and the whole toneof the Apostle’s expectations is derived from thisinspiriting belief. He appeals confidently to theChurch’s knowledge of the times and seasons, ” Thenight is far spent and the day is at hand” (xiii. 12)theday of the Church’s salvation, when “God shallbruise Satan under your feet slzortZy” (xvi. 20). Thereference here is externally to the humiliation of the\The Restoration of the jews. 371Jew in the visible destruction of the Mosaic Covenant.That abated Jewish persecutions, ended all weightyclaims to the perpetuity and extension of Jewishceremonial within the Church, and so brought peacefrom “the God of peace.” More profoundly, thebruising of Satan lay in Christ wresting the dead fromhis power, and apportioning resurrection or condemnation,according to His own authoritative will.Death was no longer in Satan’s hands. “I have thekeys of Death and Hades.”There is only one point more to notice in thisEpistle. In most modern prophetic schemes therestoration of the totality of the Jewish race to Palestineholds a conspicuous place. St. Paul is the onlyNew Testament writer who makes the slightestallusion to Israel’s distant fortunes. (Rom. xi.) It issomewhat difficult to determine his precise belief as tothe effect of the Advent on his people. He certainlydoes not teach the restoration of the Jews to Palestine,nor a revivification of Jewish modes of worship. Hesays that Israel is not cast off absolutely and irrevocably.The temporal judgement of the nation does notinvolve the eternal preterition of the individuals whocompose it. Therefore the Apostle sees a hope forIsrael. Its very chastisement is intended by the unchangingGod to be a door of repentance. When theRedeemer returns to Zion to purge the iniquity ofHis people, judgement ought to work salvation forthose who are its witnesses, Seeing the dispensationoverthrown and the Gentiles progressing in Divinefavour through their faith in Christ, Israel will havethe strongest motive to quit its unbelief, and, repenting,will be saved. Thus Paul vindicates God’s faithfulness372 The Epistle to the His people; but beyond asserting that all Israelcan and may be saved if taught by the Providence oftheir times, he does’ not pass. The times of “thefulness of the Gentiles” after the parousia, beforewhich they were only proselytes of the gate ofChristianity, did sec the conversion of many Jews toChrist, but the great mass remained unconvinced.There can be little doubt that such hopes as theApostle cherished concerning Israel were fixed on afuture very near to his own day, in harmony with hisother expectations concerning the parousia and itseffects.THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS.Paul in this Epistle treats our subject in a broaderand more occult way than in any other of his Epistles.He scarcely speaks of the coming of Christ; but histhoughts are big with the Advent and its consequences.It introduces” the dispensation of the fulness of thetimes”: the world’s majority, the full-orbed spiritualprivileges for which the race was created (i. 10). Thisgrand reconciling age is not yet come (ver. 21), butChrist is already exalted to supreme power in theHeavens, and His sovereignty will soon be manifestin the introduction of a dispensation in which theGentiles will be elevated to the fulness of sonlyprivilege. This is the “mystery” hidden from allprevious ages, and made known especially throughPaul himself (iii. 2, 3). This great movement is theunification of heaven and earth, and not merely ofJew and Gentile. God comes down to earth to dwellamong men. He comes into His inheritance (ii. 18),Shadow and Substa1tce 373because the Kingdom is now made subject to theFather; and we come into our inheritance (i. 14),because Christ has opened the Holiest to believers inthe resurrection of the saintly dead, and by the giftof the Holy Spirit without measure to His Church.The days are still evil (v. 16), the SO\ereignty ofChrist not yet manifest; but every sympathetic readerfeels that the Apostle’s mind is filled with the convictionthat the new age” is about to come” (i. 21), and theChurch’s installation as the heir of the world just athand.THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS.This letter is in tone very like that to the Ephesians.Still, we shall find here that St. Paul continues tooccupy the same outlook with regard to the comingand Kingdom of Christ as he did in the earliest of hisEpistles. As we rca.l, we come first upon a statementto which we have already called attention (p. 298) as ex,plaining the sense in which our Lord meant the gospelto be preached in all the world” before the end.” Ini. 23, Paul claims that this work has been fully done,and we cannot doubt that this was to himself one ofthe signs that the parousia was at hand.In chap. ii. 17 we have a remark which clearlyreveals the Apostle’s temporal standpoint at thisperiod. The verse is not properly translated in ourcurrent versions. Referring to certain Jewish ordinanceshe says they are “a shadow of things about tocome, but the body is Christ’s.” It is customary forexpositors to project the emphatic words into thespirit world, because they suppose that Christ’s King374The Epistle to the Colossians.dom had already come in the Apostolic days. Butwe trust we have exposed this fallacy so completelythat our readers will now be ready to agree substantiallywith Meyer: “These things belong altogetherto the age about to come, which will begin with thecoming again of Christ to set up His Kingdom-aKingdom, however, which was expected as very nearat hand.” The reasonableness of the interpretation isevident if only it be remembered that the .,shadows”were still visibly in force, and the christian dispensationnot visibly nor otftcially ushered in. Therefore thebody, of which Mosaic symbolism was the shadow,was not yet come in its full reality.In the 20th verse we have another note repeatedfrom verse 8, which indicates the contrast Paul sawbetween past ages and the coming age of Christ.” The rudiments of the world,” that is, the elementaryreligious fancies of the world, embodied in Jewish andheathen thought alike, are now obsolete and worthlessthings for Paul compared to the fulness of wisdom tobe found in Christ. The Divine sentence was soon tobe passed upon those phases of religious life in theirmost perfect form as centered at Jerusalem. LikePeter, our Apostle believed that “the wrath of Godwas coming” (iii. 6) upon these elementary forms offaith, as systems fruitful only in fostering .. idolatry.”All the adherents of these systems would pass underthe severest judgements, but what to them was deathwould be life indeed to all who were in Christ Jesus.The same epoch would see the manifestation of Christin glory to His saints, and when He appeared thosewho were His would be manifested in a similarheavenly glory (iii. 4). This statement has a doubleNo C1zange of View. 375fulfilment-first, in this life, when Christ being provenLord and King by the judgement of His enemies, Hispeople share approximately in His glory; but chieflyit is fulfilled in the personal glorification of eachbeliever as in putting off the veil of the flesh he attainsto the vision of Christ.THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS.We find ourselves drawing somewhat close to the endof the Apostle’s days, and with the greatest interest wemay well scan this letter to see if the years havemade any change in his views. Very soon (i. 6)we come upon a significant reference to “the day ofJesus Christ.” Then we come upon another (10), andstill another (ii. 16). There are two significant featuresin these references :-lst. The day is one which thePhilippians will live to see; and, 2ndly, it is a day ofmanifestation or judgement. We have already seenthat such is an inseparable accompaniment of theSecond Coming. Christ judges the dead on Hisdescent from heaven; and the tribulation which teststhe faith of His Church on earth, separates the wheatfrom the chaff, and commends or condemns theChristian Teacher whose work is thus put to the test.That this day of Christ is very near in the Apostle’sconviction is placed beyond all doubt by his emphaticstatement (iv. 5), “the Lord is at hand.” What thenabout his supposed expectation and desire that insteadof dying he will be transfigured alive? Now is thetime when these ought to be felt and expressed moststrongly. But what then are we to make of his candidstatement (i. 21) that “to die is gain,” and that his376 The Epistle to tlee Philzppians.own preference is to put off the flesh? Where now isthe supposed “earnest desire” of 2 Cor. v. 2? It isgone from the Epistle to the Philippians-because ithad no existence anywhere. Why, too, is it that “todepart” or die is ” to be with Christ,” if so be that theliving are caught up to be with Christ at the samemoment as those who are dead? These questions cannotbe answered on the usual hypothesis. Nor doesthe answer satisfy, that the dead are nearer to Christthan the living. Paul nowhere teaches that. Thedead wait for Christ till His parousia, when Hedescends from heaven for thcm; and therefore Paulcould not mean that death would unite him to Christbefore the parousia. How, then, is the inconsistencyto be solved? In this simple manner-Paul knewthat the day of the Lord was just at hand, and thatdying was the only way to heavenly glory; thereforedying was better than living, and death that was notfar distant was just in his view equi-distant with thecoming of his Lord to take His saints to glory. Thusnaturally and most consistently does Paul expresshimself, and not otherwise can he be understood.Look now at Paul’s peculiar expressions as to theresurrection. “If by any means I may attain untothe resurrection from the dead ‘? (iii. 11). No seriousobjection need be taken to the view that Paul means”the first resurrection” at Christ’s parousia. Butwhat does he refer to when immediately he adds”Not that I have already attained, or am alreadymade perfect”? Meyer says, it is to ” the bliss of theMessiah’s Kingdom.” Surely, there was no need forPaul to make so obvious a remark, or to leave soabruptly, in words that look so continuous, his formerSanctification and Glorification. 377line of thought. What he really means is-that he isnot yet in a state of ripeness for the resurrection-notyet perfect in his pneumatic form. How natural thisremark is becomes immediately evident when weremember Paul’s doctrine concerning the presentgrowth and possibly perfect developement of thehouse from heaven around the spirit. He wishes tobe perfectly clothed upon at death, so as not to befound naked or only half clothed with his heavenlyform. But he is not prepared to say or take forgranted that this state has been attained; he presseson, however, into the fulness of the self-sacrificingmind of Christ if so be that this prize of the highcalling may be obtained! The process of sanctificationproceeds par] passu with the perfecting of the spiritform.Meanwhile he waits for this Saviour from heaventhisquickening Redeemer whose work it is to changethis body of humiliation for one heavenly like his own(iii. 21). The process of spirit-clothing is continuedinto a long and steady process of glorification, byopen intercourse with the risen Christ. But only” theages to come” will unfold the secret of how much it isin God’s heart to do for His Christian people.THE EPISTLES TO TIMOTHY AND TITUS.The Pastoral Epistles give us the Apostle’s latestconvictions on this subject. We may not find in thoseletters statements as clear and definite as in some ofthe earlier Epistles, but we are not on this account atliberty to conclude that the Apostle’s interest in thesubject is abated, much less that he has altered his378 The Pastoral Epistles.expectations, or indeed to settle anything more thanthat the doctrine is by this time so well understood byhis correspondents that it requires nothing to bewritten in explanation or defence. The nearness ofthe coming is clearly asserted when Timothy isexhorted to fight the good fight of faith “withoutreproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.”In the Second Epistle this admonition is repeated ina form which leaves no mistake as to Paul’s belief: “Icharge thee in the sight of God and of Christ Jesus,who IS ABOUT to judge the quick and the dead, andby His appearing and His kingdom” (iv. 1). Whatmore explicit language could the Apostle use to expresshis constancy to his earlier convictions?The Epistle to Titus contains a passage whichshows that this anticipation was the common attitudeof the Catholic Church of the period: “We shouldlive … godly in this present age, looking for theblessed hope and appearing of the glory of our greatGod and Saviour Jesus Christ” (ii. 12, 13). This versehas two noteworthy phrases: “this present age” (not” world”), by which he means, as in Galatians, ” thispresent evil age,” over which Satan is god. TheApostle’s antithesis is not, as Bishop Lightfoot says,between” this transitory world and the other world ofeternity.” The eternal world cannot well be called”the coming age,” or, as in Heb. vi. 5, .’ the age aboutto come,”-although two of the Apostolic Fathers takeit in that sense. If the Bishop is right, we must concludethat Christ’s mission is to save Christians out ofthis world into eternity and to leave this present worldunder the dominion of Satan, as it was in Apostolictimes. The contrast rather lies between that godlessNot a Personal Manzlestation. 379and idolatrous age, which had so nearly run its course,and the succeeding Christian age, in which the Divinename would be again reinstated in its just authority.This had been long understood in Israel to be one ofthe functions of the Messiah, “the Father of the ageto come,” and is constantly referred to in the NewTestament as the Gospel’s gift to the human racethepromise of the life which now is as well as of thelife to come.The other phrase we wish to notice here is thedecidedly impersonal one in which the Apostle describesthe parousia. Many read into every intimationof the Advent a strictly visible appearance of theperson of the Saviour to the material eye. Thispassage rather intimates that the parousia is not avisible personal manifestation of Christ in this life, butchiefly a mental perception of the signs of Hispresence with His Church and of His Divine supremacyas seated on His Father’s throne. The visibleChrist is the peculiar prize of those who have passedwithin the veil. St. Paul here tells us that what ismanifested is the glory of Christ, which is also the gloryof the great God-the one and only God claiming Hissupremacy over all the races of the earth, and callingupon all nations to worship Him through the oneMediator, Jesus Christ. In short, this epiphany isidentical with the initiation of the Gospel age as aworld-wide dispensation, exalting the glory of God asthe one and only sovereign, and the glory of Christ asthe one and only Saviour of the world.Another very distinctive landmark is found in thesePastoral Epistles. It will be remembered that ourLord intimated to His disciples that one of the im3HOTile Pastoral Epistles.mediate forerunners of the end of the age would be”the love of many waxing cold.” The spirit ofprophecy seems to have kept this fact constantlyin evidence before the Apostolic generation. Paulreminded the Thessalonians that there would be a veryvisible apostacy before the parousia, in “the latterdays” of the age. In 1 Tim. iv. 1-3 this apostacy isdescribed in process as an invasion of Jewish Gnosticism,and in vi. 20,21, as a profane and babbling gnosiswhich had already made some to err. Then in theSecond Epistle he refers again to this well-knownprophecy concerning” the latter days” (iii. 1-9). Inthis passage he is not prophesying of any distantfuture, but pointing out the very evident fulfilment ofthis latter-day prophecy going on before Timothy’seyes. The flood of error was in full spate, and thoseGnostics who were “ever learning” from their intercoursewith demons were gaining the ears of many fortheir marvellous revelations. That this apostacy wasonly a short sharp spell in “the last days” of theJudaic age, and no lingering decline within the Gospelage, as some will have it, is evident from verse 9: “Butthey shall proceed no further, for their folly shall beevident unto all men.” The Apostle hints that theprovidential judgements soon to break out will overtakemany of these servants of the devil, and thatJerusalem’s destruction will sufficiently demonstrateChrist’s supremacy as the Saviour of the world.Such is a brief vidimus of the more salient statementsof St. Paul in his last Epistles. Surely theassertion that he latterly postponed the Second Advent,or lost his interest in the event, will not lift its face fora moment in view of this evidence to the contrary!Tlte Pastoral Epistles. :-J81And yet the disappointing fact is before us that thegreat body of expositors assert that the Apostlelatterly speaks of his death and of going to be withChrist in a manner that seems to contradict his earlyhopes of surviving till the parousia and of then beingtranslated into the heavenly kingdom without tastingdeath.ANONY1IOUS.THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS.WE no sooner begin to read this grand Epistle~ ~ than we discover the temporal standpointof the author. God’s message to men by His Sonwas spoken in “the last of these days.” (i. 1.)That is to say, the days then running were to thisauthor part of a distinctive period near’ the end ofwhich Christ appeared. Christ’s life and death werenot the initiation of a new age, but a sign of the endof the old. As Dr. Davidson says, “this old age hadnot closed when the author wrote; it would closedefinitely when Christ should come again the secondtime (ix. 28). But in the minds of all the saints thenliving His second coming was immanent, and thereforeHis first manifestation is considered to mark theclose of these days.” A similar note of time occursin ch. ix. 26: “at the end of·the ages hath He beenmanifested.” All past time is considered as brokenup into preliminary periods of graduated discipline, inpreparation for the economy which is the culminationof God’s purpose with humanity, and which is to have”no end at all.” But Christ’s earthly life is in the” end” of the last of these preliminary periods, not inthe beginning of the newer age. The apostolicgeneration recognised that Christ had a work to do inthe Heavens before the new age could be formallyThe World to Come. :383introduced. This was in harmony, too, with theteaching of Jewish Rabbis who spoke of ” the presentage” (o/am Izadse/z), and of “the age to come” (o/amIzabba), between which they sometimes placed thedays of the Messiah, that is the period of His manifestation,and the time of the travail-pangs of theage to come (Matt. xxiv. 8). We see then that theauthor regards his generation as living in troubloustimes-the death throes of one age, and the birthpangs of another which supplants it, and faces theGentile as strenuously with its demands as it does theJew.Hence this writer will have much to say to us con-. cerning “the world to come.” In ch. ii. 6, he says,-” the organised inhabitable about to come has notbeen subjected to angels.” He means that the divinegovernment of the world about to be introduced isnot, like the Mosaic government, “ordained by.angels.” (Acts vii. 53; Gal. iii. 19.) The Son of Godwill be the only mediator, and in His hands all powerand authority will be concentrated. This shouldmake clear beyond all dispute that” the age about tocome” means in this Epistle the Christian dispensationas displacing the then-existing Judaistic age, whenangels were the communicating media between Godand men. Accordingly in ix. II we lead of” the goodthings about to come” -which Christ is to introduce.Westcott and Hort reject the” about to”; but even ifright, the” good things” are said to come as “a timeof reformation” upon the abolition of the carnalordinances of Judaism as no longer a part of the divinegovernment of the world. We see too that these”good things” are the opening lip of the privileges of25~84 The Epistle to the Hebrews.the Holy Place to God’s believing people. Judaismwas only the Outer Court, of which Christianity is theHoly Place-the dispensation of God’s presence. Butthis privilege is not really open to men when theEpistle is written, because” the first tabernacle is yetstanding” (8). The Temple’s fall will be the providentialsign that Heaven is opened to the saintly dead,and that God has officially begun His new covenantreign amongst men.The same immanence is re-asserted in ch. x. 1″The law having a shadow of the good things aboutto come.” These good things are-perfect cleansingfrom sin, great peace, a ‘present near approach to God,and immediate entrance into Heaven at death.These came to men only in the divine governmentof the world by Christ. From this point of view, whileJudaism was still in force Christians had only” tastedthe powers of the age about to come” (vi 5), andwould have much larger privileges when the gospelage was authoritatively ushered in. Indeed, it is anote of God’s procedure that the present is always aforetaste of what is yet to come. The best wine is keptunto the last. What we enjoy now is the shadow ofa coming substance, because un.ler God”we are alwaystravelling towards the rising sun, and we meet theshadows before we touch the things themselves.In keeping with this idea of the changing dispensations,we naturally have a contrast between the localJerusalem in which Judaism centred, and the Jerusalemwhich is from above. The passage is one of sterlingeloquence, and is flashing with heavenly scintillations(xii. 18-24). Mount Zion is the spiritual height thatstands over against Mount Sinai; the heavenly J eruTheCity about to Come. 385salem or gospel dispensation which comes down toearth, and brings God in Christ, innumerable hosts ofangels, and the saints who have just entered intoheaven with their perfect natures, into close andintimate communion with’ the Church on earth Inthis sense, even we below are” gathered together untoChrist “-have entered into a fuller and more internalcommunion with the ever-present Saviour. But wehave to notice that this consummation was not thenfully reached. “We seek after the city which is aboutto come” (xiii. 14). The old Jerusalem was about tovanish and leave the New Jerusalem in its place. Thislatter was already constituted in its heavenly form.God had prepared for His Old Testament saints a city(xi. 16) ; but it was only prepared by Christ, for whosecoming they had to wait. “Apart from us Christiansthey could not be made perfect” (xi. 40). They werestill under the disabilities of sin, still partially in thegrasp of Death, until Christ had prepared a place inheaven, founded a heavenly city for their habitation,and raised them up into its glory.Now, if we have interpreted rightly, we ought not. only to hear of this blessed transformation scene, but tofind it accomplished amid the thunder tones of judgement.And indeed the heavy tread of coming doomis heard echoing through the whole Epistle. “To-day,if ye will hear His voice.” “The rest of God JJ is near.The forty years in the wilderness, corresponding withthe forty years between the ascension and the parousia,are now almost gone. The land so often watered, anabringing forth only thorns and thistles, is rejected andnigh unto a curse, and its end is to be burned (vi. s),The Mosaic Covenant waxeth old and is nigh to386 The Epistle to the Hebrews.vanishing (viii. 13). Christians must be increasinglyfaithful as they” see the day approaching” (x. 22).Apostatizers have nothing to look forward to but” acertain fearful expectation of judgement and a fiercenessof fire which shall devour the adversaries.” “Vengeancebelongeth unto God. The Lord will judge Hispeople.” Let Christ’s people maintain their confidence.”For yet a very little while,He that cometh shall come, and shall not tarry (x, 37).”Surely this is positive assertion, the frank committalof an inspired writer to the fact of an impendingparousia. And indeed the quoted prophecy was fulfilledas certainly in its New Testament application asin its original application to the judgement of theChaldeans. Christ did come to judge the world. Hiscoming shook not only the earth but heaven, not onlythe political status of nations but the religious faiths ofmen, and gave us a new earth and new heaven. Nothing,however, that was essential or spiritual in theformer dispensation was destroyed. Christ came tofulfil the law, to preserve and beautify the Holy ofHolies, and to cast down only the outer courts withtheir rudimentary religious observances, and jealousexclusion of Gentile men (xii. 27, compare Rev. xi. 2).Thus did God prove Himself to be a consuming fire;and introduce His Kingdom in its gospel form, asa Kingdom which cannot be shaken, the everlastingheritage of His Son (xii. 28).These notes must have reminded the reader of howmuch there is in common between Hebrews and theBook of Revelation; and indeed renewed the reader’ssurprise at the perfect unity of teaching which existsTIle Agreement of Scripture. 387between all the books of the New Testament. Thereis not so much as a divergent note, not orie sign ofreversed opinion. From Matthew to Revelation theKingdom is about to come, the dead about to rise, andthe judgement of two worlds to proceed. We alsoclaim that these New Testament predictions weremost fully and literally realised in the world’s history,so far as this earth was to be the scene of their fulfilment.Perhaps the Church’s actual experience does not sowell correspond as one might wish; but the fault liesin the Church’s blindness and. spiritual inaptitude.Neither were the spiritual anticipations of the SecondIsaiah completely realised in the post-exilic return.God always prophesies the ideal best, expresses thedesires of His own tender love; but the fulness ofblessing is attained by the Church only when she livesup to her ideal best. Man’s irresponsiveness to thewill of God always lessens, if it does not sometimesquite annul, the blessing which He is able and willing toimpart.It is difficult to realise, in face of this large array ofpositively uniform Scripture testimony as to the timeand nature of the Second Advent, how the presentbelief of the Church can continue to exist. It is especiallypuzzling to understand the position of a rapidly increasingnumber of interpreters who read the Scripturesrightly as to the time of the Advent, and yet assertin one breath Apostolic inspiration and Apostolicfailure to solve one of the simplest elements inthe Advent problem. Those who try to save theauthority of Scripture by interjecting a second anddistant fulfilment on a larger scale cannot possiblysucceed. There is no tlzird advent in the New Testa388Conclusion.ment, nota single whisper of a Coming distant fromApostolic days, not a sign of any Parousia that is notdistinctly mixed up with the tragedy of Jerusalem’sdestruction. The proximate date and the wholehistorical environment are fixed for the beginning oftheChristian dispensation. The plain truth must betold, expositors have turned Eastern poetry intoWestern prose, and camalised the spiritual blessingsof the Advent. Christendom has therefore remainedas blind to the fulfilment of New Testament prophecyas the Jew did to the Old, has precisely repeated hismistake, and thereby justified his unbelief and postponedby centuries the time of Israel’s conversion.In conclusion, we thank every reader who has givenus a patient consideration. We trust the views unfoldedhave been hurtful to none, if not profitable toall. The results to which we have sought to lead ourreaders are fitted to establish their faith in theharmony of the Holy Scriptures, their confidence inthe continued conquest of the world by the preachingof the Word, and to calm their fears of either anycyclonic catastrophe happening on some near day tothe world, or of some lingering and unhappy experiencesfor the Christian between death and glory.Christ is on His throne, claiming the kingdoms of thisworld, and making all things, even death itself, subservientto the final glory of those who love and serveHim. A few short yeal s, and we shall realise howtrue are all the teachings of His Word, and howcertainly He has opened the Kingdom of Heaven toall believers, and made their passage from grace toglory the happy transaction of a moment or thetwinkling of an eye.NOTEWORTHY FINDINGS.]’ T may be well in Closing this volume to bring into~ distinctive array the prominent findings of ourfinished research. These we doubt not will be disappointing,if judged from the standpoint of currentbeliefs in the Church; but we claim that the latter aregroundless inventions, drawn from Scripture onprinciples that are violations of fair and candidexegesis, whereas the following positions are almostliterally the verbal statements of the Word itself.Which is better, time will tell; but already we canventure to say that current methods of interpretationare condemned by their sadly disappointing resultsdatesminutely fixed, prophesies falsified, hopes deferred,new methods of interpretation invented to befalsified in turn, and, on the surface, the wildestliberties taken with the Sacred Word.We submit the following as the teaching ofScripture:-1. The Second Coming of Christ, whatever it maymean, is invariably stated to be near, at hand, withina generation at the most distant extreme. There isno change of language, no modification of this expectation,and the passages which seem to speak of delaydeclare that the apprehension of delay is a delusionwhich will speedily prove itself to have been mistaken.390 Notetoortky Findings.2. The coming of Christ is also the coming of thegreat God, and is equivalent to the coming of theKingdom of Heaven, which is equivalent to theofficial initiation of Christ’s authority, or the gospelage or dispensation.S. The coming of Christ’s Kingdom is the abolitionof the Old Testament kingdom in its corrupted formaspiritual coup d’etat-a change of government, anda decentralisation of the seat of government in keepingwith its higher spirituality and the extension of itsarea. The Kingdom is no longer subject unto angels,but’ entirely in the hands of the Son of God; and itsearthly administration no longer confided to the handsof Jews but given very largely to the Gentiles, whothus come into” the fulness” of spiritual privilege.4. The coming of Christ, as a process and event intime, is not so frequently in evidence as appears to anEnglish reader. The Scriptures lay emphasis on theLord’s parousia or presence as an abiding possessionrather than upon the dramatic episode of a temporalor local approach. For the apostolic generation, theparousia had a twofold sphere of manifestation-firstin the invisible, where Christ appeared personally andlocally to His dead saints in order to exalt them to Hisglory; and secondly, in this world, personally but notvisibly to flesh and blood, except in certain historicalsigns, and by an increase of power and life to Hisstruggling church. All hope of a local and visiblemanifestation of Christ on earth is distinctly forbiddenin the Scriptures j this is reserved for the risen andglorified Saints.4. The presence of Christ has invariably as its sign,NotewortllJl Findings. 391a ‘visible judgement on the Jewish nation in its thenexisting generation. The most evident sign of ” theend of the age” and the presence of Christ in HisKingdom was, as a matter of course, the demolitionof the temple and such a treading down of Jerusalemas made the restoration of temple worship an impossibility.The coming of the Son of Man in His Kingdomwas visible only in this and such other naturalindications as must necessarily accompany a changein the nature of the divine dispensation or spiritualeconomy of the world ..5. There is no prophecy in the New Testament ofany catastrophe to the physical world in connectionwith Christ’s coming. The” end of the age” is totallydifferent from the modern phrase “the end of theworld.” The convulsions which accompany the endare supposed to be physical only by the very blameableforgetfulness that social, political, and religiousoverthrow is invariably expressed in Hebrew literatureby catastrophal images borrowed from the materialworld.6. The Kingdom of Christ is ushered in by one 0these revolutions, begins in catastrophe to the preexistingorder, but itself knows no catastrophe. OfChrist’s Kingdom there is no end. Once introducedit grows like the mustard seed, insinuates itself into thetotal mass like leaven, has incidental struggles withrecrudescent or outlying heathenism (Rev. xx.), butin spite of occasional retrocessions is ever gainingground amongst the human race, until at length itachieves a universal victory.392 Noteworthy Findings.7. The coming of Christ is accompanied by a judgementof the dead as well as of the living. It seemsnatural that when Christ assumes the government ofthe living human race, He should also assert Hissovereignty over the race in spirit life. “He is Lordof the living and the dead.” His appearance is thuspersonal to the great majority of the race-the hostof waiting souls in the unseen. Thus He fulfils Hispromise-” A little while and ye shall see me,” andHis appearance is a judgement, inasmuch as He raisesHis own out of Hades into the place prepared inHeaven, while those left behind realise that they arepermanently banished from His presence.8. We have found, as might be expected, that fromthis first ascension of the dead onwards Christ’s peopleno longer at death, pass downward into Hades. Forthose fully prepared, death is immediate transitionfrom the church below to the church above. There isat the coming of Christ no such rapture of the living,unchanged by death, as has been so long and so constantlyimagined; but from and after His coming, inthe experience of death ripened saints are changed in amoment, caught up to meet the Lord; and at such ahappy alteration in the order of death, well might theexclamation be heard in heaven and joyfully re-echoedon the earth-” Blessed are the dead that die in theLord from henceforth.” Thus death, the last enemy,is swallowed up in victory.9. The resurrection for the Christian now consists inthe spirit being clothed upon with a form from heaven,with superior essences that enable it to find its suitableenvironment in God’s heaven. The soul thus clothedN otewort/zy Findings. 393upon is not found naked in the article of death; thatis, it is not rendered comparatively impotent or madeto experience loss by the dissolution of the fleshlybody. On the contrary, when the consciousness awakesand finds itself centered in a heavenly body, its powersand its joys are enhanced, and by its superior organizationit gravitates upwards into heaven. This tabernacleis the present creation of God’s Spirit dwellingin us. Weare not only sanctified but glorified hereand now as we commune with Christ, by the inwardoperation of the Holy Ghost mystically transformingus into the likeness of the angels of God. To such ahappy transformation few of us like Paul will be willingto believe we have yet attained, but if not perfectedhere we shalf be perfected beyond, and in goodtime pass into the palace of the King, glorious withoutand within.Such are the most notable findings of our enquiry.If in any of them we are mistaken, we shall bethankful to reviewer or reader who will take the painsto enlighten us. If these positions are scriptural, aswe maintain, then we need not add a word as to theegregiously mistaken character of present-day expectationsand beliefs. Like the Jews, we are looking fora Messiah who has come; a veil of the grossestignorance is upon our eyes as we read the Scriptures,and as to all the future our darkness is very great.God grant that the clouds may soon be dissipatedfrom the Church’s sky, and the sun of truth shineout with the clearness of noon-day.APPENDIX.THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS.’VIIAT impression did Apostolic teaching make upon those whoimmediately succeeded them ‘\S teachers and leaders in theChurch? This question cannot fail to be of interest to allseekers after the truth, although we do not look to these successorsas authoritative interpreters ‘Of Scripture, but only as tomen who stood in very intimate relationship with the Apostlesand were therefore in a fair position to understand what theyhad received from the founders of the Church. We surely havegood reason to conclude that the authoritative doctrine onthis matter would be fairly apprehended, and taught withgeneral accuracy. Corruptions are usually of slow and gradualgrowth; and to a careful student the joiniugs of the old stoneswith the new are al ways traceable. In the present case, however,where the truth is mainly as to simple concrete facts oftime and place, beyond which Apostolic predictions of the secondAd vent rarely went, mistake was almost an impossibility.What then do we find was the view of the second Advent heldby those sub-apostolic teachers whose literary remains havecouie down to us ?CLEMENT OF ROME states in perhaps the earliest of thesewritings, at the latest sometime in Domitian’s reign (but Hefelethinks as early as 68 A.D.), that the Apostles went everywhereby Christ’s command, teaching” that the Kingdom of God is athand,” and himself asserts witt. confidence the immediate comingof the Lord, and an impending general resurrection and condemnationof the wicked. In the so-called Second Epistle,which is really a homily, and may not be Clement’s, he exhortshis readers to “expect every hour the Kingdom of God,” as theykuow indeed that” the day of judgement cometh EVEN NOW asThe Epistle of Barnabas. 3D5Ila burning oven.” There is, however, a decided difference oftone between these two books as to the nature of the resurrection.In the epistle the resurrection is spiritual, a new lifespringing suddeuly out of the dissolving flesh, while in thehomily we are told that the flesh itself will have an actualresurrection.THE EPISTLE OF BARNABAS is placed by Weizsacker, Lightfoot,and Ramsay, in the reign of Vespasian, by Renan inNerva’s reign, and by Cruttwell any time between 70 and 132A.D. Here then we find ourselves still in the period covered bythe Revelation of St. John. This writer regards himself as stillliving, like the Apostles, in an “evil age”; it is “the lasttimes,” the” consum illation of trial according to Daniel is come,”and there is need to look into” the things which are near tocome to pass,” and especially” the coming up of the little hornwhich plucks up three horns by the roots “-probably, as Ronansuggests, a reference to the deposition of the FIavian dynasty(Veepasian, Titus, and Domitian,) by the succession of Nerva.GOI!, he says, has not” suffered His people to be without understandingof those things which are to come.” “The Son of Manis SOON to come to judge both the luick and the dead.” Saintand sinner shall see Christ in that day, but apparently thevision is after death in the spirit world; and so far as the Kiugdoniis realised on earth it is not ideally perfect, but has its”evil and filthy days,” amid which Christ’s people shall be saved-probably an allusion to the invasion of the beloved city by theunbinding of Satan in Rev, xx. Barnabas recoguises thisprogramme as already so far accomplished. For the Scripturesaith, ” and it shall come to pass in the last days, that the Lon!will deliver lip the sheep of His pasture, and their sheepfoldand tower, to destruction. And it is come to pass as the Lon!hath spoken.” The Jews are forsaken because they put theirtrust in the Temple and not in the Lon! Himself; and nowGod’s temple is in His people’s hearts. “The day is at handwhen the lawless One will be destroyed. The Lon! is near andHis reward is with Him.” It is evident that this writer seizedclearly the distinctive difference between the 0111 age and thenew-the first as the dispensation of the Temple, and thesecond as the dispensation of the parousia or presence of God396 The Pastor of Hennas.through Christ in Hill people’s hearts. He ill in fullest harmonywith the conception of the Advent which we have found in theNew Testament. For him, the first act of the drama is alreadyfinished in the fall of .Judaism, and the second is in process ofbeing consummated by the destruction of pagan supremacy atthe centre of the world.THE PASTOR OF HERMAS is supposedly the production ofa brother of Pius, Bishop of Rome, and like the foregoing worksWIl.8 long read in maIlY churches as a portion of the SacredScriptures. Zahn and Salmon fix its origin for the year 9fj or97, Ramsay between 100 and 120, and no one will care to namea later date than Cruttwell’s extreme point, 139 A.D. The bookpurports to be a revelation given to Hermas, an elder of theChurch of Rome, in the reign of Domitian. When it touches onthe second coming the language is strictly Scriptnral. ” Christappeared in the last days in the fulness of time.” The greattribnlation is about to come, aeculum hoc per aanguinem et ignemdeperire; but this fiery destruction will only test and purify thesaints. Although this dissolution is not at all material he usesthe usual Apocalyptic images -the heavens, the mountains, theseas are removed; and the structure which displaces Jerusalemis a tower into which faithful Christians are built as stones, asin the Apocalyptic letters they are made pillars in the Templeof God. This Temple is then almost entirely built. The nearnessof the judgement of the Roman world in Domitian’s daysis frequently insisted on. The end will soon be accomplished(cito cOl1aummabitur), and the appeal is strenuously made-” giveheed to the judgement that is about to come upon you.”Seven EPISTLES OF IGNATIUS now hold the field as genuine.This father is.said to have been a disciple of St. John, and wrotehis letters in 108 or 109, just before his martyrdom at Rome.In a letter to the Ephesians he reminds them that “iL is thelast time,” and calli!upon them” to fear the impending wrath,” atthe same time rememberiug that for the Church the powers ofthe devil are destroyed, and their mischief dissolved by theunity of Christian faith-which reminds us of the binding ofSatan in the Apocalypse, and the flood of watery heresies bywhich he attempts to destroy the Church. Ignatius seems tohave had most happy views of the Christian’s state in death andThe Epistles of Ignatius. 397his own immediate prospects. The prophets who had beeneagerly waiting in Hades for the coming of Christ, “had beeuraised up from the dead.” If this be indeed “the first resurrection,”which takes place “at Hill coming” according to St,Paul, then we should expect Ignatius to believe that death tothe Christian is from that point forward, immediate entrance onthe presence of God. And as such he regarded it. His ownapproaching passage through death is .” a rising again to God” ;if his martyrdom is prevented he is “hindered from living,” hisdeath is “entering into pure light,” where being come he isindeed” a man of Ood,”-as if only full born or come into completeadoption by his upstanding from the dead. (Cf Rom. viii.21-23.) In keeping with this, Ignatius says that the gospeldispensation is” the completion of immortality,” an evident referenceto the fact we have found in Scripture that the gospel ageis initiated with a resurrection and entrance upon the heavenlylife. Ignatius also seems to have been strong in his grasp of St.Paul’s resurrection process as begun in the present life, so thatChristians are found at death more or less clothed upon withtheir heavenly body. Refuting Doketism, he says to theSmyrnreans that as these heretics believed in a bodiless Christ, sowould it appropriately happen to themselves at death, ” whenbeing divested of the body they shall be bodiless and demoniac.”This was the condition which was believed to overtake all thedead, whether Jews or heathens, and of which Paul expressesdread. The same view of death is also found in the ACTS OFANDREW, considered by some as belonging to the Apostolic age.The Devil eagerly keeps men captive so that when they die theyshall be naked, while Christ renews the soul with a glorious andimmortal form, and at death it ill found clothed upon. Thesame Pauline view of resurrection is found fully expressed inTHE ACTS OJ’ PHILIP, where the Apostle in the act of dyingprays to Christ :-” Put on me Thy glorious robe and seal oflight, transforming the form of my body into angelic glory, sothat I shall rise ami meet Thee in the air.”POLYCARP has an EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIAl;S in whichthere is a slight departure from the New Testament meaning of” the age about to come.” With him it appears to exclude allreference to the age of grace on earth, and to be confined to the:lOR Sub-Apostolic Religious Literature.unseen kingdom into which the Philippians will be raised andreign with Christ. He writes in the belief that at death this isan immediate experience, for those Christians already dead havegone” to the place that was due to, them from the 1.01′,1,”beinga reminiscence of ” they rest from their labours and theirworks do follow them.”The above may suffice as iIIustratious of the teaching whichimmediately succeeded that of our canonical books. While nodoubt grossly materialistic views of the second Advent were incirculation from the earliest times, it is pleasing to find that theleading teachers of the Church retained the spiritual teaching ofthe Master awl Hi8 Apostles. The harmony is not perfectlyexact, but it is sufficiently etrikiug. Indeed, all the earlierliterature is saturated with references which show that theScriptures were interpreted by the eub-apostolic generation insnbstantial harmony with the views unfolded in this work, onlyas might be expected with an occasional touch of groasuess.Simon Magus and other magical heresiarchs like him arepointed out, as Anti-christ and the incarnation of the Devil ;Doruitian aud other Emperors are said to be warned that St.•John and other tenchers are spreadiug the report that Rome isto be quickly rooted out and the empire broken up ; destructionand perdition are swiftly coming upon society, the world isnear its end, the demons of the temples are already bound inchains, Both Jewish and Christian Sibylline poems are fierywith the imagery of the Apocalypse, all interpreted of Rome,which is called Babyiou, and threatened with speedy destruction-evideucing that in those days there prevailed that view of theMessianic kingdom which we have found ill the Sacred Books.As time advances, error creeps in in the carnal guise which ittakes on in the writiugs of Papias and .Iustin Martyr. Thefalseness comes from a growing inability to interpret writingsthat were essentially Hebrew in spirit and structure, and arigid fixing of them into the formal exactness of Greek andLatiu thought. As Renan truly say>!, in Hebrew thought andlanguage everything is black or white, sunshine or darkness,set down” in a just proportion of materialism and spirituality,01′ rather an indescribable confusion of soul and sense, makingthat adorable language the very synonym of poetry, the pureDegradation of the Doctrine. 399vestment of the moral idea.” When the apocalyptic teachingcame into the custody of Greek and Latin speaking men, it wasmaterialised and even sensualiaed, until in two generations thecurrent doctrine of the second Advent was a thing to be ashamedof. And such are the views which for the most part havecontinued alliong students of prophecy, the earthly and sensualshowing the greatest fitness for survival, although they havenever been able to justify themselves from Scripture withoutresort to artificial methods of interpretation far from complimentaryto the Sacred Word they professed to interpret. Wewho have come into a. purer light owe a debt of gratitude tothose who have pioneered the way back for us to the highlyspiritual and comforting doctrine of our Lord and His Apostles,III no field more than in that of Eschatology is there need for thecry-” Back to Christ,” and in none is the cry as yet so much afaint voice in the unheeding wilderness,BIBLIOGRAPHY.The following Authon may be consulted witb profit, altbougb some of themare not in entire agreement witb the views presented in this work :-ABAUZIT-O” tlu Apocalypse. London, 1730.ALCASAR- Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi. 1614.BLEEK-Vorlesungen ulJer die Apocalypse. 1862.BossUET-L’Apocalypse. 1690.COWLES, Prof. HENRY, Oberlin, U.S.A.-The Revelation tfJoltn.CROSBY, ALPHEUS, D.D., Boston, U.S.A.DESPREZ, l’. S.-The Apocalypse Fulfilled. 1861.DE WETTE-Kuru Erklarung, etc. 1862.DUSTERDIECK-Kritisc~. Exeget. Handb. (Meyer’s Series). 1877.EICHHoRN-Com. in Apocalypsin. 1791.EWALD-Die Joltan. Schriften. 1862.FARRAR, F. W., D.D.-Tlte Early Days of Cltn·stianity. 1882.GEBHARDT-Doctrine of the Apocalyp.’e.GOODHART, C. A., M.A.-Tlte Cltn’stian’s Inlteritana. 1891.GROTIUS, H.-Annotations. 1644.HAMMOND-Annotations. 1653.HAMPDEN-COOK, E., M.A.-Tlte Cltrist Has Come. 1893.HARENBERG-Erkla~ung, etc. [759.HARRIS, J. TINDALJ.-Tlte Writings of tlte Apostle Joltn. 1889.HARTWIG-Apologie der OffenlJarung. 1759.HERDER–Ma~anatlta. 1799.HERIlNSCHNEIDER-Commmtary, etc. 1786.HOOPER, F. J. B., B.A.-7ne Revelation ofJesus Christ. 1861.LEE, S., D.D.-O” Propltecy. 1849.LUCKE-Com. on St. fohn. 1820-32.MAURICE, F. D., M.A.-The Apocalypse. 1861.NEWTON, THOMAS, D.D.–Dissertations, etc. 1754.REI’;AN, ERNKsT-L’Antechrist. 1873.REUSS, E., D.D.-L’Apocalypse. 1873.RUSSELL, J. S., D.D.-The Parousia. 1878.STARK, ROBERT-Order and Course of Divine Revelatiol1. 1851.STEPHENSON, J. A., M.A.-Cllristolog)’. 1838.STUART, MOSES, D.D.-The Apocalypse. 1864.TOWNLEY, ROBERT-Tlte Second Advent. 1145.WARREN, J. P., D.D.-Tlte Parousia. 1878.WILKINSON, W. J. P., of Exeter-·Various Pamphlets.ZULLIG-Die Offen. Jolta,m;s. 1834.If the reader cares to go back to the earlier centuries he will find tnuch to interestin the writings of VICTORINUS, TICHONlUS, LACTANTlUS, and in AUGUSTINE’SCity of God.•!.SHORT INDEX OF SUBJECTS ANDAUTHORS.•Advent, the second, its nature, 115,157,209,291 ; its purpose, 159;never delayed in Scripture, 277,317, 333·Advents, the two, how related, 2.Age, the end of, 2, 25, 149, ISS,177, 229, 282, 287.Age, the Gospel, beginning of, 146;characteristics of, 259, 293.Alford, quoted, 8, 42, 80, 89, 91,95,299·Anti-christ, 131, 140.Apocalypse, related to the Gospels,3; its purpose, 16; two-foldstructure of, 106, 109; M.Arnold’s estimate of, 208;chronological order of, 223; timeoccupied by, 248; trumpets andvials of, how related, 165; dateof origin, 257.Apollonius, 135.Apostacy, angelic, 114,117; of theapostolic Church, 19, 346, 380.Arnold, M., 208.Ascent, Christ’s, 115.Augustine, 216, 224, 234.Babylon, 149, 180, 190.Beast, number of, 136.Beet on the resurrection, 220.Body, the heavenly, when and huwcreated, 361; Baur on, 362.Briggs, Dr., on “near” and “athand,” 9.Bruce, Dr., on the Kingdom, 276;on Matt. xxiv., 287; on “thetimes of the Gentiles,” 297.Colani, quoted, 87, 158.Christ, his divine humanity, 15;his work two-fold, 2; hismediatorial work, 37; his supremacy,38, 172; in the OldTestament, 94; his secondcoming, see Advent; his ignoranceof the time, 310.Chrysostom on Matt. xxiv. 14, 148.Church in bondage to the Law, 62,95,369·Dante on Hades, 36, 104Davidson,A. B.; on the ages, 382.Day, ureat, 01 the Lord. 110; asdarkness, 48, 306.Days of jehovah, 9.Dead, judgement of, 102,202, 225;pre-advent, where? 343.Delitzsch, quoted, 367.Delusion, education by, 8, I I. 19.Denney on Paul’s mistakes, 346; onPaul’s fear of death, 367n.Devil, 113, 116, 205.Dollinger, 91, 177.Domitian, a second Nero. 187.Dorner on Anti-christ, 216; on thetime of the judgement, 223.Ecce Homo, quoted, 223.Election not immutable, 62,402 Short Index oj Subjects and Authors.Elements on fire, 335; of theworld,374·Ewald,I06.Farrar, 130, 217.Fire on earth, 74, 169, 335.Freedom and necessity, 34. ,Fuller, Andrew, on the New Jerusalem,233.Gebhardt, 68, 88, 99, 117.Gentiles, the times of, 90, 304.Gibbon, 183, 192.Gnosticism, 27, 120, 380.God, love and severity in, 27; hisprovidence, 29; faith in, 35; thewrath of, I So, 161, 165.Gog and Magog, 214-Gospels, synoptic compared withthe fourth, 269.Guiness, Grattan, 7, II.Hades, 36, 44, 46; our Lord’sdescent to, 1°3; Christian deadin, 152, 200; saved from, 219;abolished; 228.Heaven, none of the human racein, 56, 164; ready to be opened,332•Heavens, rolled away, 48,306.Ideals, eternal, 87, 97, III, 113.Israel, destiny of, 53, 371.James, St., his death, 324; onsecond coming. 325.Jerusalem, end of, 176, 299;Isaiah’s utopian, 57.Jerusalem, the New, 232; ritualin, 237.Jews, their hatred of the Gospel,62, 177; their final conversion,99; restoration, 371•J ohanan, Rabbi, 64-John’s Gospel, agreement with theApocalypse, 268.Josephus, 64, 65, 98, 124, 126.Jowett on Paul’s mistakes, 338.Judaism and Christianity, howrelated, SS; conflict of, 81; fallof, a Christian victory, 91, 177.Judgement, of the living, 41, ISS;of the dead, 102, 202, 225, 265.Juvenal, ISS.Kingdom, the, in the Synoptics,278; date of its coming, 31o.Last day, 266.Last days, 328.Law and love, 92.Lightfoot, Bp., on “this presentage,” 378.Lightfoot, (Rabbi), on Matt. xxiv.31, 308.Lucan, quoted, 127, 130.Luther, 216.Man of Sin, 345, authorities as tothe, 140.Man-worship, 292.Martensen, quoted, 200.Martineau on the second corning,312, 323; on the sheep and thegoats, 319.Maurice, 68, 118.Merivale, 91, 129, 134, 188.Meyer, on the age to come, 374.Millennium, 212-217.Milligan, Dr. on “three sixes,”137·Minutius, Felix, on Rome’s gods,’92•Morison, Dr., on Matt. xxiv., 284.Mosheim, 177, 184.Mystery of God, 81, 86, 100, 147.Short Index of Subjects and Authors. 403Nation and the Church, 236.Neander on Jewish proselytes, 177.Nero, uS, 135; a second, 189.Parousia or presence, its meaninp,286,347; co-incident with judgementon Jerusalem, 290; a universalpresence, 294; not localnor visible on earth, 302, 379.Paul (St.), supposed change ofview, 358; feelings as to death,375·Persecution” for the name,” 333.Peter (St.), view of second coming,328.Philo on the Mosaic legation, 157.Pliny on consumpt of spices, 183.Plumptre on Demonism, 206.Principalities and powers, 30.Prophecy, Jewish, 69; heathen; 133.Providence, does it discriminate?52.Racial distinctions in the Kingdom,54·Rapture of the saints, 153,220,348.Reign of the saints, where? 210.Renan on the terrors of the Jewishrevolt, 49; want of plan in theApocalypse, IIO; on Nero, 127;destruction uf Jerusalem, 162;Rome a hell, 17I; on Paul, 2II;on Hebrew language, 397.”Restitution of all things,” 329,369.Resurrection, for whom, 207; inwhat form, 211, 355; the first,103; how first, 217; its date, 265;Stanley on order of, 357.Reuss on the Elders, 31.Revenge, the saints’, 46, 81.Righteousness, Christian, II5, 202.Roman Empire, 123; and religion,133-4·Russell, Dr., on measuring theTemple. 87; his l’arousia, 180;on the” Rapture,” 340.Sabatier, quoted, 358, 365.Seneca, on the Roman world, 126;on Jewish influence, 172.Son of Man, ISS.Soul-nakedness, 365.Spirits in prison, 221.Strauss on Gospel discrepancies,148.Suetonius, 126, 129, 189.Tacitus, 33, 124, uS, 131.Tertullian on Christian restraint ofdemons, 206.Titus on Judaism and Christianity,173·Uhlhorn on preparations forChristianity, 173.Virgins, the ten, 313.Vischer, difficulties with Apocalypse,log.Waller, on certain apocalypticsymbols, 88, 89, 95.War and the Gospel, 203.Wendt, on Christ’s after-death appearances,263; on the Kingdom,276; on the judgement in Matt.xxv., 322.Westcott on judgement in the Apocalypseand John’s Gospel, 225;on the last day, 266.Wickliff on Satan unbound, 216.World, destruction of, 227, 230;the old, 231; end of, 282, 335.ABERDEENPRINTED BY GEORGE LESLIE3 ADELPHIBY THE SAME AUTHOR.BECENTLY J?UELIS::HED,Second Edition, Price One Shilling,CHRISTIAN BAPTISM:A Short and Easy Answer to Baptist Objections.”Very clearly written and argumentatively sound.”ChurchBella.”It is terse, practical, fair, and in our judgement conclusive.”-s-Bostot: CongregationaliBt.” A strong, clear, well-written treatise. We commend itvery heartily.”-IriBh Congregational Magazine.” A bright and readable argument. There is nothing equalto it in the same compass.”-Dundee Advertiler.”A brief but acute treatise, in which objections to thepractice of the larger churches are ably dealt with.”-CriticalReview.”An exceedingly able, spirited, and convincing treatise.Our Baptist brethreu will find it rather a hard nut to crack.”OhmtianH6101.” By all meaus get aud master the facts and arguments ofthis little book, which seems to be one of the best of its kindwe have met with.”-Primitive .Methodilt .Magazine.” Mr. BROWN is already and most favourably known as anauthor. He is a clear and incisive writer; he is a clear audalmost unanswerable thinker.”-E3pOlitory Times.”This compact little volume discusses, with great abilityand logical conclusiveness, the Mode and Subjects of UhristianBaptism. We know of nothing better on this question.v->Methodilt Hew Connection .Magazine.” A piece of first-rate reasoning all through, and has thespecial charm of opening up all along the road ~ateways out ofnarrowness into great broad realities.”-DR. JAMES MORISON.”We are delighted with this clever and neatly got-up littlework. The Baptist argument is here traversed from beginningto end, and shown to be untenable. We heartily commend thisbit of first-rate reasllning.”-The Primitive Methodist.” It is refreshing to come on II. book like this on a wellworncontroversy. It is well printed and capitally written.There is a directness and courage in the style that carries thereader on frOID argument to argument easily and pleaaautly.v->Scottish Congregationalist.” This little book it! a strong, clear, concise, acute and conclusivepresentation of this question. For directness, aptness,succinctness and pointedness, we do not know its superior, Theauthor is a scholar, a logician, a theologian, and a powerfulbut courteous adversary. If our Baptist friends can escape sucharguments they cannot be overcome.”-St. LoUM Observer.LONDON: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, KENT, & CO.GLASGOW: W. HOLMES, DU:-lLOP STREET.EDINBURGH: R. W. HUNTER, GEORGE IV. BRIDGE.ABERDEEN: A. & R. MILNE, UNION STREET.

What do YOU think ?

Submit Your Comments For Posting Here

What do YOU think ?

Submit Your Comments For Posting Here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *