Folly of Looking Back in Fleeing Out of Sodom
“‘Tis evident that when Christ speaks of his coming; his being revealed; his coming in his Kingdom; or his Kingdom’s coming; He has respect to his appearing in those great works of his Power Justice and Grace, which should be in the Destruction of Jerusalem and other extraordinary Providences which should attend it.”
Jonathan Edwards’s interpretation of Revelation 4:1-8:1 “David Holwerda notes that “even when a prophecy points to a final future event in the eyes of most interpreters, Calvin usually insists that it is already being fulfilled.. The millennial belief assumes that Christ will reign visibly on the not-yet-renewed earth for a limited period of time. But Calvin believes that the… perfected kingdom already exists in Christ, that it is eternal and includes the renovation of the world. Consequently, Christ’s visible appearance can mean only the final revelation of a perfected kingdom”
“And the dissolution of the Jewish state was often spoken of in the Old Testament as the end of the world. But we who belong to the gospel-church, belong to the new creation; and therefore there seems to be at least as much reason, that we should commemorate the work of this creation, as that the members of the ancient Jewish church should commemorate the work of the old creation.” (The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol 2 – “The Perpetuity and Change of the Sabbath” )
‘Tis evident that when Christ speaks of his coming; his being revealed; his coming in his Kingdom; or his Kingdom’s coming; He has respect to his appearing in those great works of his Power Justice and Grace, which should be in the Destruction of Jerusalem and other extraordinary Providences which should attend it.” (Jonathan Edwards; Miscellany #1199)
(On the Significance of A.D.70)
“Thus there was a final end to the Old Testament world: all was finished with a kind of day of judgment, in which the people of God were saved, and His enemies terribly destroyed.” (vol. i. p. 445)
(On I Thessalonians 2:16)
“The ‘wrath is come,’ i.e., it is just at hand; it is at the door: as it proved with respect to that nation: their terrible destruction by the Romans was soon after the apostle wrote this epistle.” (Works, vol. iv. p. 281)
(On New Heavens and Earth)
“We read, That “in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” and the church of old were to commemorate that work. But when God creates a new heaven and a new earth, those that belong to this new heaven and new earth, by a like reason, are the commemorate the creation of their heaven and earth. (“The Perpetuity and Change of the Sabbath” (The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol 2).
“The Scriptures further teach us to call the gospel-restoration and redemption, a creation of a new heaven and a new earth…. (“The Perpetuity and Change of the Sabbath” (The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol 2).
“The gospel-state is every where spoken of as a renewed state of things, wherein old things are passed away, and all things become new.” (“The Perpetuity and Change of the Sabbath” (The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol 2).
“And the dissolution of the Jewish state was often spoken of in the Old Testament as the end of the world. But we who belong to the gospel-church, belong to the new creation; and therefore there seems to be at least as much reason, that we should commemorate the work of this creation, as that the members of the ancient Jewish church should commemorate the work of the old creation.” (“The Perpetuity and Change of the Sabbath” (The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol 2).
“These things [were] are all related by one of the most prudent historians who lived at that very time and that very place, and he says that many were alive when he wrote and could attest to all this.” (Misc. 972)
From The History of Redemption
“Heaven and earth began to shake, in order to a dissolution, according to the prophecy of Haggai, before Christ came, that so only those things that cannot be shaken may remain, i.e. that those things that are come to an end may come to an end, and that only those things may remain which are to remain to all eternity. So, in the first place, the carnal ordinances of the Jewish worship came to an end, to make way for the establishment of that spiritual worship, the worship of the hearts, which is to endure to all eternity. This is one instance of the temporary world’s coming to an end, and the eternal world’s beginning. And then, after that, the outward temple, and the outward city of Jerusalem, came to an end, to give place to the setting up of the spiritual temple and the spiritual city, which are to last to eternity ; which is another instance of removing those things which are ready to vanish away, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” (History of Redemption, p.216)
“The whole success of Christ’s redemption is comprehended in one word, viz,. his setting up his kingdom… Christ’s appearing in those wonderful dispensations of providence in the apostle’s days, in setting up his kingdom and destroying the enemies of his kingdom, which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem. This is called Christ’s coming in his kingdom, Matt. xvi, 28. “Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” And so it is represented in Matt. xxiv.” (History of Redemption, p. 219)
“That coming of Christ which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem, was preceded by a glorious spiritual resurrection of souls in the calling of the Gentiles, and bringing home multitudes of souls to Christ by the preaching of the gospel.” (History of Redemption, p. 220)
“I. The abolishing of the Jewish Dispensation. This indeed was gradually done, but it began from the time of Christ’s resurrection, in which the abolition of it is founded. This was the first thing done towards bringing the former state of the world to an end. This is to be looked upon as the great means of the success of Christ’s redemption. For the Jewish dispensation was not fitted for more than one nation.” (History of Redemption, p. 229)
“In showing how the success of Christ’s redemption is carried on, during this time of the church’s tribulation, I would: Show how it was carried on until the destruction of Jerusalem, with which ended the first great dispensation of Providence which is called Christ’s coming in his kingdom.” (History of Redemption, p. 237)
“This destruction of Jerusalem was in all respects agreeable to what Christ had foretold of it, Matt. xxiv. by the account which Josephus gives of it, who was then present, and was one of the Jews, who had a share in their calamity, and wrote the history of their destruction. Their city and temple were burnt, and rased to the ground, and the ground on which the city stood, was ploughed ; and so one stone was not left upon another, Matt. xxiv. 2.” (History of Redemption, p. 246)
“Jerusalem was like Sodom, in that it was devoted to destruction by special divine wrath; and indeed to a more terrible destruction than that of Sodom. Therefore the like direction is given concerning fleeing out of it with the utmost haste, without looking behind, as the angel gave to Lot, when he bid him flee out of Sodom. If it be inquired why Christ gave this direction to his people to flee out of Jerusalem, in such exceeding haste, at the first notice of the signal of her approaching destruction; I answer, it seems to be, because fleeing out of Jerusalem was a type of fleeing out of a state of sin. Escaping out of that unbelieving city typified an escape out of a state of unbelief. Therefore they were directed to flee without staying to take anything out of their houses, to signify with what haste and concern we should flee out of a natural condition, that no respect to any worldly enjoyment should prevent us one moment, and that we should flee to Jesus Christ, the refuge of souls, our strong rock, and the mount of our defense, so as, in fleeing to him, to leave and forsake heartily all earthly things.” (Folly of Looking Back in Fleeing Out of Sodom)
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
“Throughout American history, evangelicals have vacillated between pre- and postmillennialism. While the Puritans were decidedly premillennial in their views—that is, they knew that Christ’s return could take place at any moment—the revivals of the Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s promoted a sense that God was even now working on earth to establish the millennial kingdom. No less a figure than Jonathan Edwards, regarded by many as America’s premier thinker, believed that the millennium would begin in America. For Edwards’s apocalyptic views, see The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol 5: Apocalyptic Writings, edited by Stephen J. Stein (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977), esp. pp. 27–29..” (Thy Kingdom Come)
“In City of God, Augustine (354-430) viewed the thousand years of Revelation 20 not as some special future time but “the period beginning with Christ’s first coming,” that is, the age of the Christian church. Throughout this age, the saints reign with Christ—not in the fullness of the coming kingdom prepared for those blessed by God the Father, but “in some other and far inferior way.” This position, often called “amillennial,” became the view of most Christians in the West, including the Reformers, for almost 1,500 years.”
“Impressed by New England’s spiritual awakening in the early 1740s, he wrote, ” ‘Tis not unlikely that this work of God’s Spirit, that is so extraordinary and wonderful, is the dawning, or at least a prelude, of that glorious work of God, so often foretold in Scripture…. And there are many things that make it probable that this work will begin in America.” After the Great Awakening, Edwards became more cautious and dated the Millennium (a term he used rarely) somewhere around the year 2000.” (October 12, 2001)
- CHRISTS COMING being spoken of as nigh at Hand. see the next preceeding N. & also . 842. B. 3. ]. Having particularly Considered the sayings of the Apostles, that have an appearance as tho’ They expected Christ’s last coming in their Day; I would now consider the sayings of Christ, which have such an apsect. and to clear this matter the following Things may be observed;
- Christ often speaks of his last coming as that which would be long delayed. Matt. 25. 5; “While the Bridegroom tarried, They all slumbered & slept Luke 20. 9; “A certain man planted a Vineyard. V. 19; After a long Time [c:mg] the Lord of those servants cometh & reckoneth with them”. Matt. 24. 48; –“my Lord delayeth his coming.” so Luke 17. 22. see on this Text in the preceding N. above.
- “Tis evident that when Christ speaks of his coming; his being revealed; his coming in his Kingdom; or his Kingdom’s coming; He has respect to his appearing in those great works of his Power Justice and Grace, which should be in the Destruction of Jerusalem and other extraordinary Providences which should attend it. so in Luke 17. 2 to the End with Chap. 18. 1—8. Christ speaks of the Kingdom of God’s coming; of the coming of the Days of the son of man; of the son of mans being revealed & of the son of mans coming. But yet tis Evident, He has Respect to the Destruction of Jerusalem, by Chap. 17. 37; “And They answered & said unto Him where Lord? [? by c] And He said unto Them, wheresoever the Body is, thither will the Eagles be gathered together.” see also Chap. 19. 13, 14, 15. . so when the Disciples had been observing the magnificence of the Temple, and Christ had said to them, “verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down;” having Respect to the Destruction of Jerurusalem [sic]; The Disciples ask Him, when these Things should be? [c] and what should be the signs of his coming & of the End of the world? [c] by Christs coming, They have plainly a Respect to that Time of the Destruction of the Temple which Christ had spoken of; and therefore there their Question is thus expressed by St Mark, Mark. 13. 3, 4, “Tell us when shall THESE THINGS be? [c] and what shall be the sign when all THESE THINGS shall be fulfilled” and in like manner by St Luke. Chap 21. 7. And Christ has many Things in his Answer agreable to this sense of his Question. In his Answer He proceeds to speak of his coming, & of the Destruction of Jerusalem, both in one. He warns em to beware of others that should COME in his stead; Matt. 24. 4, 5. Then He proceeds to tell em what will preceed [sic] the END: i.e the End of the T which the Disciples enquired after: and tells em what shall be signs of its approach. Matt. 24. 15–21. 28. & more plainly Luke 21. 20—24.
- Tis manifest that the Event <to c> which X sometimes has Respect by his coming, by his Coming in his Kingdom, by the End of the World &c– he did not suppose would be at the Time of the Destruction of Jerusalem. He speaks of that Event as attended with the General Judgment, and all nations being gathered before his Judgment seat to recieve [sic] an eternal sentence, Matt. 25. latter Part; and that this judgmt shall be attended with the general Resurrection of the Dead; Joh. 5. 21, 22, 25—30: and that after this Resurrection & at the End of this world the saints shall neither marry nor be given in marriage, but shall be as the Angels of God in Heaven; Matt. 22. 30. <especially Luke 20. 34, 35, 36:> and that at this Last coming & End of the World, all the wicked of all nations shall be cast into a Furnace of Fire, into everlasting Fire; Matt. 13. 39–42. Chap. 24. 40, 46: and the Righ[teous] shall then be as wheat gathered into Gods Barn; shall enter into the Kingdom prepared for em before the Foundation of the World: shall be received to X to live with Him where He is in his Fathers House in Heaven; & shall shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father, in the Possession of immortal Life. Matt. 13. 30 v. 39. 43. Chap. 25. 34. 46 Joh. 14. 1—3. Chap. 17. 24.
But tis evident that when X spake of the Destruction of Jerusalem, He did not expect that these things would be accomplished at that time. For He speaks of that Destruction that should be of his Enemies, as not of all nations, or the whole wicked world; but as principally confined to Judea: & therefore directs his People that are at[xo c]<in c> Judea when they <shall c:mg> see signs of its approaching Desolation, to flee out of Judea to the mountains; & warns others in other Countreys [sic], not to go into it; Luke 21. 20—22. Matt. 24. 15–17. Mark. 13. 14, 15. He speaks of the great Disadvantage they should be under, who should be with Child, or give suck; & directs em to pray that their Flight may not be in the Winter, nor on the sabbath Day; <Matt. 24. 19. 20 Mark. 13. 17, 18 Luke 21. 23.> But how do those things agree to the Time when they should be as the Angels of God in Heaven <should be received with Christ to heaven and there shine forth as the sun c> He speaks of <this c> Destruction as being by war, by the sword of men, and by the Roman Armies; Luke 21. 23, 24. There shall be great Distress in the Land and wrath upon this People; and they shall fall by the Edge of the sword, and shall be led away Captive into all nations, Matt. 24. 28. wheresoever the Carcass is, there will the Eagles be gathered together so. Luke 17. 37. Matt. 22. 7. But when the King heard thereof He was wroth, and sent forth his armies, and destroyed those Murderers & burnt up their City.
‘Tis said Luke 21. 24, that after the Destruction of Jerusalem the Jews should be led away Captive into all nations, and Jerusalem should be troden [sic] down of the Gentiles. By this it appears that X had no thought, that then the world should be destroyed, all mankind disposed in their eternal state, the Righteous in Heaven & the Wicked all cast into a Furnace of fire.
Luke 19. 43, 44. For the days shall come upon Thee, that thine Enemies shall cast a Trench about Thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay Thee even with the Ground, and thy Children within Thee; and They shall not leave in Thee one stone upon another.
X supposes <that c> the Nations should remain after the Destruction of Jerusalem; and <that the Kingdom of God should be> taken from Them, and given another Nation; Matt. 21. 41, 43; They say unto Him He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other Husbandmen, which shall render Him the Fruits in their seasons.——Therefore I say unto you, The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the Fruits thereof. Luke 20. 15, 16.– What therefore shall the Lord of the Vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy those Husbandmen, and shall give the Vineyard to others. and it appears by the Parable of the marriage suppose<supper c>, that the Gospel should be preach’d to the Gentiles & be gloriously successful among them after Jerusalems Destruction; Matt. 22. 7–10, But when the King heard thereof He was wroth, and He sent forth his Armies, and destroyed those Murderers, & burnt up their City. Then saith He to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they that were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the Highways, and as many as ye find, bid to the marriage. so those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found both good and bad, and the wedding was furnished with Guests. From these things it follows
- That when X speaks of his coming & his coming in his Kingdom &c as being in that Generaton, and before some that were then alive should taste of Death, there is no need of understanding Him of his Coming to the Last Judgment: but He may well be understood of is Coming at the Destruction of Jerusalem; which, as has been shewn, He calls by these names, & which He also distinguishes from his coming to the Last Judgment & consummation of all Things. Yea.
- Tis Evident that He did not suppose, that his coming to the Last Judgment & <the c> consummation of all things, would be ’til a long Time after the Destruction of Jerusalem. The Calling of the Gentiles instead of the Jews is spoken <of c> as what should be principally after the Destruction of Jerusalem; Matt. 21. 41, 43. Luke 20. 15, 16. Matt. 22. 7—10. But this Christ Himself speaks of as a gradual work, in the Parables of the Grain of Mustard seed, & of the Leaven hid in three measures of meal; Matt. 13. 31—33. Luke 13. 19—21. see Mark. 4. 26—32. and Tis very manifest that X did not suppose, that He should come to the Consummation of all things, ’till long after the Destruction of Jerusalem, by Luke 21. 24; where tis said of the Jews that after the Destruction of Jerusalem should be Trodden down of the Gentiles, ’till the Times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled. Tis considerably manifest that X in these words, as in some other things he says in the same Discourse, has his Respect to what is said in the last Chap. of Daniel. In the Great Tribulation He speaks of Matt. 24. 21, 22 He has manifestly in his Eye what is said in Dan. 12.1. And in what he says here of the times of the Gentiles, He has Respect to the Times spoken of Dan. 12. 6, 7; as will be manifest by comparing & observing the agreement. But these Times are there spoken of as very long.” [TS: This number has the largest asterisk beside it. Practically all punctuation, including commas, by the copyist. It is printed as the last item in §44 (Part I) of Misc. Obs., and is printed on pp. 53-57.]
The Success of Redemption from the Resurrection of Christ to the Destruction of Jerusalem
What do YOU think ?