An Examination of the statements made in the "Thoughts on the Apocalypse," by B. W. Newton; and an enquiry how far they accord with Scripture.

J. N. Darby.

<08001E> 92 File section  4.

After stating that some will be slain in the midst of all this abounding iniquity (the connection of which however with this period is given without any proof at all), we are told that the "altar represents the priestly intercession of Christ. It is the place around which the risen priesthood of Israel* will by and by be gathered, clothed in their garments of glory and beauty," etc. "But here they are under it, in the place of ashes, crying for vengeance." "The holy place is turned into a place of judgment."

{*This point is constantly recurring in the author's statements, and is part of an elaborate system, which makes the Aaronic priesthood of Aaron and his family the type of the heavenly priesthood of Christ and the church during the millennium. Where is the proof of this? It is assumed all through this book. I do not discuss it at length here. There is no proof given of it whatever. Now, it is to me more than questionable if it be true. The proper priesthood of Christ is Melchisedec priesthood Now He exercises it for the church after the type of Aaron; but there is no proof that He will do so during the time of millennial glory. It seems to me rather inconsistent, on the contrary, with His position as Melchisedec on earth judging righteously. During the time of Satan's power and our infirmity in conflict we have, if any man sin, an Advocate with the Father. Not to make good our righteousness, but to maintain us in our position before God in our walk. The question is, whether, during the millennium, where there is no temptation, judgment is not the consequence of sin in that day in the earth, instead of intercession, as regards actual present dealings with it: It certainly ought not to be assumed that Christ exercises His priesthood in a Melchisedec manner on His throne, and after an Aaronic pattern in heaven, at the same time, and about the same things.}

Why does the altar represent the place of the priestly intercession of Christ? Christ intercedes within the veil, not at the altar of burnt-offering. The altar of burnt-offering was not the place of intercession at all. If it had been the altar of incense, there might have been some appearance of reason here, though that is not properly Christ's place; but it is not. As the writer observes, their souls were in the place of ashes under the altar. It is indeed an evident allusion to their having been as burnt sacrifices for Christ: their lives are found under His altar. And how are the risen priesthood of Israel to be gathered there in their garments of glory and beauty? Was it at the altar of burnt-offering that the priests offered their incense and sought blessing? Sin-offerings and bloody offerings of every character were offered there; but that was all. We have indeed seen that this priesthood of Israel, so often repeated, rests merely upon a decidedly bad and false translation of the Greek. I must say it is a painful thing to be obliged page after page to take notice of trains of statements so entirely unfounded and palpably wrong. And what of the system built upon them?

93 It is a curious remark, that the white robes were given to them, but not put on them; but I leave it where I find it. Everyone can judge of it according to the weight it has in his mind.

As to the criticism* "a white robe, and not white robes," I suppose it is correct: but then it is not merely said "to them," which the English reader might suppose, because it is said "to each"; so that, white robes were given to each, or a white robe was given to each, is pretty much alike.

{*I take advantage of the word criticism here to state, that the friend referred to in the "Thoughts" has very kindly communicated to me the information, that, though in Griesbach's Leipsic edition of 1805, and many reprints, the reading "us" in Revelation 5:9 is marked as spurious, this mark is a misprint. That Griesbach really gives it as only a questionable reading. Mr. Tregelles (for his name is now known by the publication of his book) adds, in his communication to me, proofs that "us" is the right reading. I dare say his reasonings are just, though the one ancient MS is against the reading; I have no disposition to dispute it. My objection is not to the reading, which is the commonly received one (the change is in autous), but to building an immense system on it. But as I had been misled by the reprint of Griesbach's edition, I thought it right to correct it. It is no wonder I was, as these reprints, misled by the Leipsic edition, so give it: indeed Mr. T. says, "I used to think he had rejected it." Having corrected the mistake, which I am enabled to do by the kindness of Mr. T., I do not enter further here into the detail of the critical question. No one can deny that the passage is, as to critical readings, in an entangled and unsatisfactory state.}

When it is said, "signs which immediately precede the manifestation of the Lord in glory" - in a general sense it is true: but it is quite clear that the signs in Luke occupy a period - perhaps a considerable period of time - a state of things in which men find themselves, which causes them to look forward with anxiety.

But it seems to me that, as the images here used are drawn more or less from passages whose accomplishment takes place clearly at different periods, the image being generally used for great revolutions, we must take its date as employed here from the revelation itself: and, I apprehend, its coming before the seventh seal is opened proves that it is not the closing act of the mystery of God. Passages in which these images are used will be found in Isaiah 14 where it is connected with the fall of Babylon, which is itself called the day of the Lord,* and, according to the author, precedes the final judgment of the nations. In Joel they are said to come before the great and terrible day of the Lord; in Isaiah 34 they accompany the judgment of the nations in Idumea. Seeing also that, while the objects used as signs are the same, what happens to them (whether intentionally I do not here say) is quite different; that the particular points here are taken in part from Joel, which says it is before the day, in part from Isaiah 34, where it is the accomplishment of judgment on the nations in Idumea; while clearly (the seventh seal not being opened, nor, I apprehend, even the trumpets blown, though this may be differently judged of, but certainly the seventh seal not opened) the final judgment is not executed: - considering all these things, it seems hasty to fix the time by a view of these signs taken from other passages, and quite incorrect to suppose that they are used as happening once in a determinate sole time common to all the passages. Nor are the signs given in Luke at all the same as those in this passage. I have already remarked that Joel says they are before the day, and that the state of men's minds here does not answer to their state at the end.

{*See verses 6, 9, and 10, when the signs are connected with the day.}

94 Further, the writer should not say "events which follow the manifestation of the Lord," because there is not one word about His manifestation in the passage. It may be remarked that the same expressions as to islands and mountains are used as to the judgment of Babylon, in the Revelation itself (chap. 16:20), which, according to the author, is before the day of the Lord on the nations, or the manifestation of the Lord (as indeed is clear in that passage chapter 16:20). The other passages cited from here are Hosea 10:8, and Isaiah 2:19.

As to the rest of pages 80 and 81 I say nothing. I believe, as we all do, that these countries will be the scene of marvellous events. The statements made here, which are given as of "doubtless" events, I do not enter on, as they are more prophecy than interpretation. The only effect is to lead the mind to put far off its own expectation of Christ by statements which not one syllable of scripture is brought to support. I read that political events "must infallibly raise," etc.; that other events "will doubtless dispel," etc.; and that European energies "will doubtless be an era" in the world. So that we may safely put off the Lord's coming till another era is passed. But who will answer for the infallibility of all this, or dispel the doubts which may arise as to it? I might bring as strong arguments against it as for it, but as mere speculation I leave it untouched.

95 Scripture seems to say that Egypt shall not rise into greatness. Nor do I remember there any statement whatever of the glory and greatness of these countries in the latter day. Jerusalem is trodden down of the Gentiles to the end. This may be considered moral perhaps. These countries will be the scene of wars and political jealousies, rumours of wars, nation rising against nation. But it seems to me that Ezekiel 34-37 tends to shew that the land of Israel will not be in prosperity till the Lord restores Israel to it. I should think Hosea 2 tended to shew the same thing; Joel 2 also; and even the accounts given in Daniel. And I would ask, Is there any passage to the contrary? Deuteronomy 32 I would cite as bearing on the same conclusion; and Leviticus 26:33, 34, 40-42 seems to speak very strongly in the same sense. But I do not pronounce on what the wickedness of man may do: only prophecies of this kind, drawn from political events, without one word of scripture, cannot be of any weight. First, the information of the writer may be very imperfect;* and political consequences are so uncertain, that one cannot trust them in divine things. One would like to have a little scripture for them. As to Babylon, concerning which I am sure there are many erroneous statements made by the author, I will consider it when we come to that part.

{*Some of the statements, made in the tracts connected with prophecy, shew the most entire ignorance of the political state of things. Certain acts are attributed to the French, for example, as promoting certain principles, which were done solely to destroy their influence. I do not blame the ignorance at all here, but the pretension to interpret events in this manner.}

I have only to add, as to the note to this page 81) - "the principle of each prophetic book being its own interpreter" - where is this principle to be found? I should judge that the statement of the apostle Peter (2 Pet. 1:20), rightly understood, is the direct denial of this principle. No prophecy of scripture is its own interpreter: you cannot interpret it in taking it by itself. Such is the plain translation: so it is understood by Wahl (though he adds what will interpret it, in which we may not agree with him; but this is his translation). Every one will judge of this for himself.*

{*I apprehend Luther and De Wette translate it in the same sense.}

96 I know not who ever considered the change under Constantine as the real work of the Spirit of God, save as a providential work is.

In page 82 we have a very important principle, which the reader will do well to weigh. "These nations cannot be raised except in direct contravention of His (God's) declared resolve." Yet here "the unhindered progress of human greatness is to reach the final point of its attainment." Surely this serious statement ought to be well borne out by plain and direct scripture. It is not merely blessing, left to man's responsibility, lost, and men acting contrary to God's revealed will. "These nations are declared, in the word of God, to be under His judgments." Now, that man should attempt to act in contravention of God's will is, alas! surely to be expected. But that he is to succeed in raising up whole countries to such prosperity as never was heard of, in direct contravention of God's declared resolve, so that the unhindered climax of man's progressive greatness should be there, where God declared it should not be, and in places which are under His judgment - surely this requires some wonderfully strong proof, to be believed. And let the reader remember that this way of putting it is the author's own, not mine; and that he has not adduced nor alluded to one passage of scripture on the subject. There is nothing at all but his speculations on political consequences, and a system he has framed in his own mind.

I have no doubt that the prophetic and specially the Roman earth is the scene of the greatest events and deepest evil principles of the latter day. But when the author says (page 83), "The great hour of temptation comes only upon the Roman earth (oikoumene - see Luke 2:1), but it is to try or put to the test them that dwell upon the earth," his use of oikoumene is wholly unwarranted. Augustus representing the imperial power of the beast, the habitable earth (for this is what the word means) was given to him; and the pride of man, ignorant as he might be of God's counsels, was prone enough to assume the title. But to use this in order to confine the word to the limits of the Roman earth actually possessed is entirely unwarranted. Is it only the Roman earth, the assurance of the judgment of which is given to all men by Christ's resurrection? (Acts 17:31.) Or is this the meaning of verse 6 of the same chapter? Is it only into the Roman earth that the First-begotten is introduced? (Heb. 1:6). Or is the sound (Rom. 10:18) gone out only into the Roman earth, translated "the ends of the world"? There it is used for Tebel, the world, in its largest Hebrew sense. So the LXX. (Psalm 9:8). We may remark that Romans 10:18, moreover, seems to set "earth" and "world" just in the contrary way to that in which the author puts it. Nor am I aware of any passage which gives ge, earth, a more extended sense than oikoumene. (See Isaiah 24:4.) The contrary is the case, as in those already cited; that is, ge (Greek) is used for eretz (Hebrew), and oikoumene (Greek) for Tebel (Hebrew). There is clearly no possible authority whatever for the use of oikoumene for Roman earth in Revelation 3:10, because it is applied to the empire once in a confined sense (that empire then including the civilised world, which indeed had been given up to it by God). As to the rest of pages 83, 84, the topics found there have been already treated - the candlesticks said to be in the sanctuary, etc.; and (the assertions made in it, though without any proof at all, being partially true) I turn to more important points.

97 As to the order of the book, I have already given what I believe to be the true one: but I would add some remarks on that given in the notes (page 85). In a certain sense chapter 6 is complete in itself; that is, there is suspense, to bring in the sealed ones and the great multitude before going farther. But it is not complete in the sense of closing the order of things treated of, because the seventh seal was not opened; only chapter 7 comes in in parenthesis.

The next division is as unreasonable as it can well possibly be, that is, chapters 7, 8 and 9; because there is a clear and positive series of trumpets divided into two parts - preparatory trumpets, and woe trumpets, which last three are named as going to sound, in chapter 8:13, and are not closed till the end of chapter 11; and the second woe contained in chapter 11 is not said to be ended till chapter 11:14 There is in the meanwhile the little open book; but its introduction merely gives the place and date of its close, viewed in connection with the order of events under the trumpets, as is evident from chapter 11:14. Moreover, in chapter 10 it is stated that the mystery of God would be finished in the days of the seventh angel. And accordingly when he sounds, the kingdom is celebrated - anticipatively, perhaps. Still as a series of trumpets, the detail is closed, though events included under them may be important enough to be detailed elsewhere. So that to put chapters 7, 8, and 11 together, and cut off chapters 10 and 11 from chapter 9 is to subvert the declared order of the passage itself. The object is to identify the witnesses with the period of chapter 13; but with this purpose it is a contempt of the declared order and not a statement of it. In chapter 10 there is no preface of blessing at all, nor any blessing stated. There is a public declaration of right to be accomplished afterwards (to wit, at the seventh trumpet, the sixth being not yet ended), but this is all.

98 Chapter 12 is evidently quite a new vision. The temple being declared to be opened for the first time. Some of it evidently precedes the last three years and a half, and cannot therefore be called a narrative of the same evil period - assuming the three years and a half of chapter 11 to be the same* - which is very far indeed from being proved or as yet attempted to be proved. At all events, nothing is said in chapter 12 of this period, but as a result of something else, of which the greatest part of the chapter treats (chapter 13 being mainly the account of the beast, who has received his throne from the dragon, whose history we have in chapter 12; while in this last we have very little of the period mentioned in chapter 13). As to chapter 14 being read by itself I make no difficulty; though I believe it to be intimately connected with chapter 13 - God's dealings in mercy and judgment in relation with the evil. It has not the form of a distinct vision, more than verse 14. However it may be considered apart, and I have no desire to make any difficulty. Chapters 15 and 16 I agree with - chapter 17, alone, I do not; but then I do not feel any need to enlarge upon it. We shall have the subject before us farther on. Chapter 17 seems the description and relationship with the beast; chapter 18 the judgment, and its effect on others. However, I may pass on.

{*My own present conviction is that there is only one period of three years and a half. No doubt the power to come makes a covenant for a week; but it is on his breaking it that the evil day and tribulation begins. Deception was there before, but it was not the time of Jacob's trouble. This is the last three years and a half of which the Apocalypse treats.}

99 On the two following pages I have not much to say. The statement as to Daniel (page 86) certainly confirms strongly the doctrine that there is a Jewish remnant recognised in Jerusalem at the end; because Jerusalem has "a national existence," and it is clear that the remnant spoken of there are identified with her, and her interests. To say (page 87) that the inroads of the barbarous nations were not destructive agencies from the hand of God, is an assertion that must be left to everyone acquainted with history to judge of. It is curious that one of their chiefs became celebrated as being entitled by public and universal consent "the scourge of God." Nor am I aware how Constantine consolidated human greatness. His own genius stayed the ruin for a time; but the departure from Rome, making a balance between the pagan aristocracy of ancient Rome and the Christianity of the emperor and the East, paved the way very plainly for the dissolution of the empire. But these are not subjects I feel it necessary to pursue here.

As to the note on "Hades followed with him," it seems to me quite unfounded, and beside the object, of the verse; but I do not feel it worth discussing. The next note is more important, and will demand a little more attention. I shall not discuss the difference of language in chapter 20, nor the giving of the robe. Seeing the souls seem to me only to mean that he who had power to kill the body had none over the soul: they were alive still. I do not see that the question of resurrection is treated in either case. The resurrection is never (that I am aware of) treated of in the Apocalypse. There is the single expression "This is the first resurrection," speaking of those who have part in it; but no account is ever given of it at all, either in this chapter, or in chapter 20.

And now as to 1 Corinthians 15:23 - a passage evidently of the utmost importance as to this, and one quite calculated, as here commented on, to produce difficulties in an honest mind. But then there is not one single statement of the author which is not incorrect. We have, Christ "the firstfruits, then those that are Christ's (they that are Christ's), then" cometh the end, etc., when, as we learn from Revelation 20; the final resurrection occurs of those who are written in the book of life. Consequently those who are not Christ's (i.e., manifestly His*) at His coming, do not rise until the last resurrection. If the words first, second, and third had been used, they could not have fixed the order of the resurrection more definitely than it is fixed by the words 'firstfruits' - 'then' and 'then'; 1 Cor. 15:23, 24. The writer then reasons on the Greek word meaning "coming," or else being used in the sense of "presence," as opposed to absence. If used in the latter sense, he argues, there could be no contrast with the third period at the end. "Besides which, nothing can be more clearly revealed than the inconceivable rapidity of the resurrection."

{*This itself is, I judge, a complete misstatement of the text. It is not at all Christ's at His coming, or not Christ's at His coming (i.e., those who are His at that time, or not) as it is used here to make it a part of those that are Christ's who rise at that time - but, they that are Christ's (rise) at His coming, when from absent He is present. I appeal to any one accustomed to Greek, if it be not so.

The Greek words in 1 Corinthians 15:23, to which the common English translation perfectly answers, "Christ the first-fruits: then they that are Christ's at his coming." The end (as we have seen) is after all resurrections of just and unjust are passed.}

100 Now that these three Greek words mean consecutive order is quite clear, that is, as to what is connected with one of them, in respect of what is connected with the other. For example, they that are Christ's could not be raised before Christ; nor the end be before they that are Christ's be raised The order of the events actually named is definite. But they express only the order which exists among the things stated; and if the author means to the exclusion of other intervening things, he is quite wrong. I have not to make even the most unlearned reader travel far to be convinced of this. Look at 1 Corinthians 15:6, 7. "That he was seen of Cephas, then [eita] of the twelve: then [epeita] of above five hundred brethren at once . . . then [epeita] he was seen of James; then [eita] of all the apostles; last of all of me." Now here we have the very same words, with the absolute certainty that Christ was seen by several other parties, which are not mentioned here: as Mary Magdalene; the two that went to Emmaus; once also by the eleven when Thomas was absent; and another time when he was present - of which, at any rate, only one is mentioned - to seven of them, in John 21. This is declared to be the third time to the disciples; and yet He certainly was seen another time, when He ascended; besides the mountain in Galilee, which is perhaps the five hundred spoken of, though only the eleven are mentioned by Matthew. At any rate we have here the absolute certainty, that while eita and epeita give the order of events mentioned, they do not exclude others. Any reasoning founded on this idea is entirely destitute of any force, as the example drawn from this chapter itself proves. Again, we know that many bodies of the saints arose after the resurrection of Christ, whatever became of them afterwards. So that this order does but state the order of the great public acts referred to, but certainly does not exclude others.

101 Further, when the author says, "Then cometh the end, when, as we learn from Revelation 20," etc. Now, why could not he go on with Corinthians 15? For a very simple reason: because there is nothing about the final resurrection at all, but quite another thing, namely, Christ's giving up the kingdom. Now it is quite clear that this does not refer to the judgment of the dead, mentioned in Revelation 20, because He does not then give up the kingdom. For He is to judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom. It is surely wrong to slip over what is stated in the chapter under discussion, and most decidedly misapply another passage, quoted to help the argument out - further, even, not only misapply, but misstate the sense. For there is not one word about the final resurrection of those in the book of life. All that is said about the book of life in that passage is, that those who were not found there were cast into the lake of fire: but not a single word about those who were. The author's statement is, They who are converted during the millennium rise then. Who told him the saints died during the millennium? Death is not destroyed: but where is it said the saints died? Nowhere. And! think there are very strong passages to make us think they will not. At any rate it is in vain to build a great system on passages which say nothing at all about it, as if they did, and to allege that they do - leaving out the very passage treated of, to give us its sense from this other, while it actually speaks of another point, to which the other passage cited cannot apply.

Next as to "coming," or "presence," the word avowedly means "presence": but as by coming a person ceases to be absent, it is so used. Thus, as to the coming of Titus, the apostle says, "I found no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother" (i.e., he was absent); then by his coming he was comforted (i.e., by his presence). As to the words "by my coming to you again," it is a strange passage to quote as not applying to a prolonged presence, as he is referring in the preceding verse to his abiding and continuing. The truth is, there is nothing in the word to fix continuance or not. I may present myself and disappear, and it would be my presence or coming. I may do so, and stay, and it would be my presence or coming. Now I have not the least doubt whatever that presence or coming is used in 1 Corinthians 15 in the general abstract way for the occasion and power of the resurrection of the saints; for this only is spoken of, though we know the wicked will be raised. While Christ is absent, they must remain in their graves: when He comes, when He is present, they that are His will leave them: and this is most certainly not contrasted with another resurrection at all, but with another event - that is, the giving up the kingdom - which will most positively happen after all resurrection, even of the wicked, is over. And this confirms very strongly indeed the general sense of "presence" or "coming," because the contrast is with another thing (which thing quite changes everything from that idea, and puts an end to what it expresses), that is, with giving up the kingdom.

102 There is His own resurrection, His presence, and another event which closes and is in contrast with this, or changes the whole state of things brought in by His presence (to wit, His giving up the kingdom). I do not think anyone reading the passage with intelligence can doubt the justness of what I here say. One thing is certain: the whole statement of the author as to it is wrong. The statement is a general one - that when Christ comes, they that are His will rise. I suppose no Christian doubts it.

In verse 51 the apostle is giving details as to themselves and the dead previous to this act, and does not speak at all of all the dead in Christ, or of the order; but of themselves, of the church, such as he then addressed it - the general principle or manner of their own resurrection. "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment . . . for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." Such is the manner of the church's resurrection. But nothing more is said; and the writer himself believes that there will be another resurrection of saints after this: so that it is clear no principle is involved in applying it to those only of whom the apostle is actually speaking, and going no farther - a most important principle in interpreting scripture.

103 For my own part, then, I have not the smallest doubt that we have (v. 23, 24) the general principle and order - every man in Christ. First, Christ the firstfruits; then His presence comes (for He is now absent), and they that are His are to rise, when He is thus present. Afterwards He is to deliver up the kingdom. Secondly, we have the manner of the church's resurrection, wherein, from many passages, I have no doubt that the saints of the Old Testament will be found. I do not cite them, because I suppose no one doubts it.

There is another very important principle involved here. "There is no redemption apart from union to the person of the Son of God." This sounds well; but while, as a general expression, it might have passed unnoticed as a commonly received truth, that life is in the Son, and of Him we have it, and in Him we have it - still, taken as the accurate basis of an immense system, it is well to estimate justly its value. There is no such thing spoken of in Scripture, that I am aware of, as union with the Son of God. He is our life: and we are said to dwell in Him, and He in us; which is known to us by the Holy Ghost.

But I apprehend unity is spoken of the body - of the head and members. He is the Head of the body. But this is not redemption; nor is possession of life ever said to be this union as His body. For the millennial saints are most certainly not in this, seeing it is His fulness as Head over all things - glorified together with Him when He reigns (to be glorified together with Him being the consequence and reward of suffering with Him, which the millennial saints most clearly will not). That they are redeemed and quickened is most sure; but they are not glorified with Him: those that suffer with Him are. We are His body, His body the church - of His flesh and of His bones - that is, the bride, the Lamb's wife, whom He presents glorious to Himself - "the whole body" (Eph. 4), which makes increase of itself in love, through the gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, "till we all come," etc. In the ages to come He is going to shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness to us, whom He has made to sit in heavenly places in Him. We who have first trusted or pre-trusted are to the praise of His glory. And there is one body. Headship in Adam and headship in Christ may be spoken of in another way. All Adam's children had Adam's life, and the consequences of it; but all Adam's children were not Adam's wife Eve. No one can live before God, but by the life of the Son of God. But it does not follow that all are His body, His bride. I go no farther than to say here, it does not follow. As in the Adam all die, so in the Christ shall all be made alive. They are the two heads - of a sorrowful, and of a blessed system. This happens in one, that in the other. I do not doubt that all saints will rise in virtue of the life-giving power of the Second Adam. That there is universality in this is quite clear to me; but I do not see why this makes union in the sense of the bride. That they will have all spiritual bodies I do not doubt. This cannot be forced to prove that pages 51 and 52 apply to all, because the writer's view is that there is another resurrection at the end. So that either these latter do not partake of the spiritual body, or else the apostle turns in these verses from the general principle to the special mystery of the church's participation in it.

104 As to the order of the resurrection of all who are quickened* in the second Adam being given in 1 Corinthians 15, the answer is, there is not one word about it. There is the general statement - they that are Christ's at His presence or coming; and that is all. We have already seen that the author is obliged to resort from 1 Corinthians 15 to Revelation 20 which says nothing about it, save the fact, that it will be in the time of His presence or coming. The confusion between the doctrine** of the Epistle to the Ephesians and 1 Corinthians 15 is perfectly unwarranted, and very important too.

{*There is the assertion that every man will rise in his own order; but there is nothing at all about the order of all who are quickened. There are two classes named, of which Christ Himself is one; they that are His another: but there is not a word of order amongst these latter.}

{**That is, between the communication of life, and the union of the body of Christ.}

There is another point I would refer to here, that is, the force of the word "in Christ." It is not at all to deny that participation in His life may be included in this word; but it is not its meaning nor force. Thus, "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature" (or, there is a new creation) is affirming that about a Person in Christ, while the expression "in Christ" has its own ordinary meaning.

105 The following passages will shew that, while it is most certain that there must be the life of Christ communicated to be really in Christ, as a saint, and that this implies now being actually a member of His body, the words "in Christ" have not in themselves this force.

Ephesians 1:10, 11: He should gather together in one all things in Christ. Here it is clearly not life, nor union. Colossians 1:17: By Him, (en auto, in Him) all things subsist. 1 Corinthians 11:11: But neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord. Romans 8:9: But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. It is clearly not union with the Spirit, though the Spirit be life. Philippians 1:14: Many of the brethren in the Lord. Galatians 5:6: For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision. Philippians 4:1: So stand fast in the Lord. Philippians 4:2: To be of the same mind in the Lord. Philippians 4:7: Shall keep your hearts and minds in (through) Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19: Glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:21: Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. 1 John 2:24: Ye shall abide in the Son and in the Father. 1 John 2:27, 28: Abide in Him.

The following passages prove that in, and dwelling in, do not necessarily imply union: -

Romans 8:1: No condemnation for them who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15:8: They that have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 1 John 1:4: He that is in the world. 1 John 4:16: He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1 John 5:19: Lieth in the wicked one. 1 John 5:20: And we are in the true one, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 3:6: He that abideth in Him.

The consideration of these passages will shew that being in, dwelling in, are not expressions which necessarily mean union; for they are used where union would be entirely out of place. That these two things go together in our own case, when we are really in Him, is fully admitted. Indeed the very expression "as in the Adam all die, so in the Christ," etc. proves that it is not union; because, though involved in Adam's fall, we are not in union with him, as the church is with Christ; we are not members of his body.

106 As to the following note, in what is quoted from Jeremiah 4:23-27, if parallel, the Lord declares He will not make a full end. So that the symbols most clearly do not mean what they are alleged to mean. And if it is the time that He will shake, etc., how do they hide themselves in caves, etc., seeing once more is the removing of things that can be shaken? Jeremiah and Haggai cannot both apply; because Haggai 2:21 the apostle tells us, means the end; and in Jeremiah, the Lord tells us, He does not.

CHAPTER 7

We have here to deal with some very important points. Some important in themselves, others through the questions raised on them, though of themselves comparatively of little moment.

The general ideas of the way the Gentiles have despised the promises to Abraham, etc., are common to all who hold the personal reign "since the revival of prophetic light." It is the use of them which is here to be enquired into.

The very word "despise," taken with what follows, has a very equivocal force, though it would not have struck me perhaps else. It is not reject, or refuse to admit, but "despise," as something which might be worth our having. And as we read on, the full force of this little word becomes evident, falling in with the earthly character to which Christianity is really reduced always in this book. We are not called upon to own Israel's ancient promises as belonging to Israel, but to blend them into harmony with the new hopes ministered by Jesus and His apostles. These ancient promises to Israel being forgotten, the consequence was that Gentiles Christianity became useless for God's purposes of practical testimony on the earth. And, in fact, before the apostles died, they were boasting themselves against the natural branches of the very tree to which they owed all their own fatness - such is the author's view.

God makes everything work together for good to those who love Him. It was the attempt to lower our Christian privileges to an earthly measure (so constantly and assiduously made in the system of which this book is the fullest expression, and from which the Spirit of God made one instinctively recoil) - it was this attempt, I say, which led my mind to dwell on the highest and blessed source from which our privileges do flow.

107 Now, I would ask, do the apostles blend into harmony the ancient promises to Israel with the new hopes ministered by Jesus and His apostles? Or, while maintaining these hopes, did they confound them with the heavenly glory which belonged to the church? Nay, did Jesus minister these hopes, or did He say that He had many things to tell them, but they could not bear them now, but that when the Spirit of truth was come, He would guide them into all truth, and shew them things to come, glorifying Christ and taking of His things (and all the Father's were His) and shewing them to them? And as Jesus declares, in direct contradiction of the author's assertion, that He could not administer these hopes to them then because of their state, but that the Spirit could (because, being in them, He was a capacity of reception as well as power of revelation) - so the apostle declares that it was the Spirit that did so reveal them. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." "So the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things freely given to us of God." And this (to go no farther in quoting passages on this very important point) was so truly the case, that, precious and blessed as the presence and care of Jesus was, such was the immense difference with the coming of the Holy Ghost, and that to dwell in the disciples, made, that it was expedient for Jesus Himself to leave them.

All this is kept out of sight, and new hopes ministered by Jesus and His apostles brought in together, as if there were no difference. Is this honouring Jesus? Would men think it needful to bring Jesus up to the level of the apostles? They may spare themselves the trouble. His lowliness and humiliation were His glory, His highest and new glory. It is, on the contrary, but despising His own lowly and tender words in that place of humiliation which no living man but Himself could have taken. The Son of God making Himself of no reputation is the eternal wonder of heaven and earth. That Israel's earthly hopes and glory will be accomplished when the church's heavenly hopes are, and that thus there will be harmony, is true. All things in heaven and earth will be gathered together in one in Christ. But they will never be blended. Flesh and blood will never inherit the kingdom of God, nor corruption inherit incorruption. If an eternal state be spoken of, then these are not Israel's ancient promises What is peculiar to and prophetic of Israel, will then be done with.

108 The ancient promises made to Israel were of earthly blessings (as God's people no doubt): but the promises to Israel were of an earthly inheritance, made to them as a people separated from Gentiles. I am not now speaking of individual saints, looking beyond those promises to better things. These were not promises to Israel, but heavenly hopes. And that the hopes ministered by the apostles were different from those promises is clear; for the author calls them new hopes. The question is, how far they are blended. That there may be common things is very possible. No doubt there are. They must be born again. They must be forgiven. And they will have life. But what is the blending of the heavenly and earthly hopes? The olive tree would be referred to; and here it is said that the Gentiles owe all their fatness to it. Now this is merely the sad principle which runs all through this book - namely, reducing the church to the lowest privileges of which it is partaker. Let us consider a little this teaching of the olive tree. The apostle had concluded all under sin without difference, the Jew having only added transgressions under the law: and he had closed the account of the privileges of the saints in Romans 8. Not, it is true, on the ground of the elevation of Christ to be Head of the body (this is the subject of the Ephesians), but on a principle of a headship of Christ going beyond Abraham and David, and extending to a position which answered to that of Adam, the figure of Him that was to come - the new resurrection man. This blotted out the idea of Israel as to distinctive position before God. Lifted up from the earth, He was to draw all men in a new way. God was the God of the Gentiles, as well as of the Jews. The free gift had all men for its object. The consequent blessings are then enquired into, the presence of the Holy Ghost; they were called, justified, and glorified, and never to be separated from God's love in Christ Jesus. This closes chapter 8.

109 But then naturally arises the question - If Jews and Gentiles are indiscriminately admitted by faith, what comes of the promises made to Israel as God's people? This question the apostle answers in chapters 9 to 11, shewing that God had foretold that they would be a disobedient and gainsaying people, as they had in fact stumbled at the stumbling stone. The question, then, here discussed is not church privileges, but how to reconcile their being indiscriminate with the distinctive promises to Israel. And therefore (chap. 11) the apostle asks, Hath God cast away His people? And here he comes entirely on earthly ground: for Israel never were, and never will be, and were never promised to be, a heavenly people: whereas the church, in its higher and distinctive and proper privileges, was a heavenly people, and had Christ's suffering portion for them upon earth. They were sitting in heavenly places in Him. But they were to have a place actually on earth; and here they replaced for a time Israel. But this did not at all set aside the promises to Israel as such: there was no blending of them. A Jew, or circumcision, was nothing now. One displaced the other on earth. In heaven the distinction was unknown. Christ was the Head of the body in heaven, but He was no Messiah of the Gentiles upon earth, though the Gentiles were to trust in Him, so that the apostle could justify himself by the Old Testament.

But then how reconcile these things? God had not cast away His people. First, He had reserved an elect remnant. Secondly, it was to provoke, as He had declared He would, to jealousy, His ancient people; therefore not to cast them off. Thirdly, Israel would be saved as a whole by Christ's coming again and going forth from Zion.

But this last, instead of blending, was preceded by the threat of utterly cutting off the Gentile branches. Now it is quite clear that this cannot refer to the heavenly body of Christ (for it cannot be so cut off), but to God's dealings with them on earth. And this is yet more evident, because the Israelites are said to be graffed into "their own" olive tree, which clearly has nothing to do with the church as a heavenly body, because that is not their olive tree any more than a Gentile's. All were alike here, children of wrath. There was no difference. It was one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus. But there was an administration of promises, and immutable promises, which did naturally belong to them. The Gentiles came in here, inasmuch as, being united to Christ the true Seed of Abraham they come into the promises and blessing of Abraham. But on repentance, Israel down here on earth will be graffed into their own olive tree, where we are now contrary to nature.

110 But all this naturally, and contrary to nature, has no place in our proper church position: all is beyond nature and contrary to nature there. Yea, though we had known Christ after the flesh (and He was seed of David according to the flesh, and Abraham was the Jew's father after the flesh) - but, though we had known Christ after the flesh, we were now to know Him no more, though we recognise His title. "The glory of the Messiah of Israel" will be established, but not on the principles, though both be received by grace, on which the church is set in heaven; because there can be no Israel known there. They have their own olive tree down here, and the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. But in Christ as known to the church there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free; but Christ is all, and in all. The church of heavenly places has put on Christ and knows nothing else.

And it is because the church at Jerusalem did yet as to earth refer to this special place of Jews, according to the mind of God Himself (and not as if it did not enter into the full heavenly privileges itself), according to the sermon of Acts 3 (where the unbelieving Jews are still treated as the children of the covenant which God made with Abraham) that the Pentecostal church has been spoken of as having a Jewish character. It is not that those who composed it did not form part of the heavenly church and body of Christ; but that God (till Jerusalem had rejected the testimony of the Holy Ghost about a glorified Christ, as she had rejected a humble Christ) did not finally cast her off as having no more hope. She had deserved it, indeed; but God answered the intercession of Christ for that nation upon the cross, by the Spirit in the mouth of Peter in Acts 3 (as indeed as a nation He will hereafter, only in a remnant saved by grace) telling them that now, if they repented, He would send Jesus, and the times of refreshing would come. But when He called, there was still "none to answer"; and judgment, though with long patience, took its course. And Paul appears (Col. 1), as minister of the church, to fulfil the word of God, and of the gospel to every creature under heaven; and the full heavenly indiscriminate character of the one body is brought out. Nobody ever dreamed that the Jewish saints were not of it; but they justly discerned the blessed patient dealings of God with His ancient and beloved people - the nation for which Christ died, and for which He interceded - and the full bringing out of the doctrine of that heavenly body which knew no difference of Jew within itself at all, nor Christ Himself after the flesh, while it recognised the truth of all the rest.*

{*And I am fully persuaded that the more spiritual discernment there is, the more it will be perceived that (while there was the same life, and grace, and salvation for all believers, and all were in the church) Paul held a place in ministry proper to himself - a dispensation or administration of the grace of God committed unto him, in which he was quite alone, and none at all like him. He recognised all the rest; but he stood, called independently into an independent place, for a special and distinct service, and peculiar and distinctive sufferings. None other speaks the least like him in his relationship to the saints and churches; while, there is no doubt, he preached the same gospel of salvation. None were the head of a system entrusted to them in the same manner. The special doctrine was Christ among the Gentiles the hope of glory, and the unity of the body the church, with the gathering of all things into one in Christ, and the glory and principles connected with this. It was his gospel.}

111 And further: the doom of the Gentile nations and beasts, though long foretold, will not have its accomplishment till the Gentile church has lost its own place. "Gentile Christianity" as such - as Gentile - became mighty when Peter's testimony was useless at Jerusalem; that is, when the blending down here of Jewish promises and Christian hopes closed Jerusalem's rejection of the gospel, as to practical testimony on the earth. It was as effacing the distinction of Jew and Gentile, and shewing that Israel was cast away for a time from all its hopes, that the testimony of Gentile Christianity was mighty upon earth - not by blending them. That the denial of Israel's earthly hopes has helped on the ruin of Gentile Christianity is most true: because the church thereon looks for earthly place and position, which is only and contrastedly Israel's. It was the attempt to blend them* that did the mischief, and I firmly believe is the grand mischief of this book. Deny Israel's place and glory with Messiah, and the church will become earthly, rise in its own conceits, and finally, as a system down here, cut off. But it was the distinct and unequivocal maintenance of the church's proper and separate place, as sitting in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, which maintained its position for Israel; and not blending them in harmony, when God had temporally replaced on earth one by the other, as He will the latter by the restoration of Israel on a new ground, but as a distinct people on its own promises. And if this be not kept clear, the church actually and practically loses its own place and character, and will not long give its testimony in the earth. It cannot blend itself with Israel's promises, and continue so to do. It is true that the church has taken up the dropped inheritance of the promises down here; but it has taken them up as possessor of a higher and new glorious title, which was no subject of promise - living union with the Lord Jesus as His body, which was no subject of promise - and in accomplishment of a mystery hidden from ages and generations. Israel was judicially blinded to let in the church; as the apostasy and excision will come, and the faithful be in heaven, that Israel may be graffed in again. Is this blending them? The Gentile Christians do not owe all their fatness to the tree. They partake of its fatness, i.e., of the Abrahamic promises. But they owe their highest blessings to their union with Christ - being His own body - a thing never promised to Abraham at all, whatever portion he may be judged to have in it, in his own person.

{*The setting aside the metropolitan order of Jerusalem which had been, as far as it went, the blending of the two systems, and which the author compares with Jerusalem's place in the millennium when this blending will be accomplished, certainly was not what destroyed the power of Gentile Christianity, but, as he himself has stated, set it a going in the person of Paul. The denying the future hopes of Israel, and so blending the earth and heaven in a new popish metropolitan, is quite a different thing from distinguishing the nature of these hopes, and so not blending them. The author has assumed, that not to blend the church's hopes and Israel's, is to deny Israel's; but it is quite the contrary. It maintains them. Whereas, blending them denies what is proper to the church, which is lost when you blend it with Israel: and so does it Israel's too; for each is what it is.}

112 That Paul recognises the old things and the new we all believe; but, as we here find, the writer does not go beyond old things and new of the kingdom. The church, as the body of Christ, does not enter into the new or old in his statement. I do not the least wish to deny the importance of this question; I implore brethren to weigh anxiously this point: they may be assured it is of the greatest practical importance - I mean the distinctness of the church's hopes or their blending with the ancient promises to Israel. The life and spiritual energy of a saint depends on his faith in what is proper to his own dispensation. This is so true, that, if he only believed what belonged to the last, it would not be life to him; it has ceased to be the test of faith to him. To Abraham, faith in Almighty God was living faith: is this (though living faith surely owns it) what living faith consists in now? A Jew, not owning Jehovah, would have failed from the covenant. And it is true of power too. If the Holy Ghost be not fully owned, if the proper heavenly place of the church be not fully owned, no general idea of salvation, however true, will give the power, nor form and guide for Christ's glory those who neglect the former. What is special to the dispensation is the power and testimony of the dispensation, and not what is said to be common to all.

113 We will now turn to Christianity in Jerusalem. It is well for the reader to remember that all that used to be said as to the church being in the tribulation, the blessedness of our being forewarned and prepared for it, the doctrine of Christ's appearing before the church's going up to meet Him in the air (to prove which the "rest with us" when He shall appear was quoted) - all this, I say, which was so much insisted upon, is entirely given up. Many of the disciples of the school still hold it; but the author of these "Thoughts" has entirely relinquished it. A few scattered Christians (and disobedient ones too) may be caught in the storm: but all intelligent and obedient ones will escape it altogether. It is a new testimony, when Christianity is withdrawn, that will be exposed to the malice of Antichrist. This is evidently an important point. The saints well know how much it was insisted on, that they would be there and must be prepared for it. It was urged as one grand delusion to fancy the church would be out of it, whereas God was specially preparing their hearts for it by forewarning them. The mistake (it appears now) was in those who insisted upon it. In page 124 of the "Thoughts" the reader may see that Christianity is withdrawn from Jerusalem. The dragon drives it away into the refuge God has prepared for it out of the limits of the civilised earth (pages 148, 149). The harvest also is reaped in Christendom, and has no reference at all to the regions of the Roman earth, where Christ appears suddenly to destroy Antichrist.

But let us examine these statements. The reader will understand that the answer must be somewhat longer than the statement; because, when a statement is made without any proof - when it is said, that such is manifest from Matthew 24, it does not suffice to say, "It is not manifest," and increase the phrases only by the word "not." It would be quite as valid, but very useless.

114 That Christianity will again exist in Jerusalem is not denied, for it does exist there. But, according to the statement of the author, already referred to (page 124), it will not exist there during the tribulation, or period of the beast's power. So that what he means by His disciples being destined to witness in that city the great hour of Antichristian triumph, it would be hard to tell: on the first sign of that triumph, they are to leave the country. All is mixed up together here, to say the least, in the most confused manner. He (Christ in Matthew 24) "foretells," we are told, "the period of unequalled tribulation." "The Revelation also again and again refers to those who hold fast the testimony to Jesus, and the faith of Jesus, in the midst of similar circumstances to those which Matthew 24 describes." Now would it be supposed that the author held that there would be no Christianity in Jerusalem during the last three years and a half (that is, during the whole period of anti-Christian triumph, or "period of unequalled tribulation")? So that all that in the Revelation refers to the beast's reign, as far as "hopes and testimony of Christianity in Jerusalem" go, must be entirely excluded from all that is said here. The obedient ones, seeing the sign, will be far away. And it- is not to be passed over, that the only definite reference to testimony to Jesus, and faith in Jesus, in the prophetic part of the Revelation, refers to the period of the beast's reign.

And, further, I will assume* with the writer that it is Christians and Christianity that receive the direction to flee from Jerusalem when the abomination of desolation is set up; because then there would be unequalled tribulation, and that "ye" means in Matthew 24 this same body, the church, all through its "last representatives." Does he mean to say that they are directed to flee from Jerusalem because the tribulation is setting in, to be in the very same tribulation elsewhere? Is there any sense in that? And if not, what "evil hour" does he refer to as "that evil hour"? He had spoken of "the great hour of Antichristian triumph." But in Jerusalem they will not suffer from it. They are to flee - not, I suppose, into the identical persecutions elsewhere. So that they will not be in the great tribulation at all. In speaking, therefore, of similar circumstances to Matthew 24, the author must refer to what precedes the day of the beast's power. So that his doings against the saints in Revelation do not apply to those instructed in Matthew: they are fled "into the bosom of uncivilised darkness." Very possibly; but they are not in his power. We may remark that the patience of those who "have the faith of Jesus" is referred only to not worshipping the beast. It is an expression used only once. The expression "faith of the saints" is used in reference to the same thing. And so is "testimony of Jesus" in the only place in which it is connected with any persons specifically. Only here it is the dragon who makes war with them.

{*In point of fact, I believe the church will be gone up on high.}

115 CONTINUATION OF CHAPTER 7

We may set aside, then, the beast's reign as referring to Matthew 24 in connection with the suffering of the saints, on the authority of the author himself. I should have had merely to cite the statement of page 124, that Christianity will be withdrawn from Jerusalem, and the statement here, "Christianity in Jerusalem," if there had not been the greatest ambiguity of statement. First, you would suppose that witnessing in that city did not mean exactly fleeing so as to be secure, on a signal divinely predicted - that when (after taking all those addressed in Matthew as one body, because of "ye") it is stated "the Revelation also again and again refers to some," etc., you would suppose that the statements of Revelation were connected with the same period of Antichristian triumph, and the trial of the same persons. But not at all. Christians are not to be there. It is there said in italics, similar circumstances to Matthew: I suppose to avoid saying the same; because at Jerusalem Christianity will not be to be persecuted. But are they the same persons? Can this be supposed? Does the reader believe that the Lord desires to flee because of tribulation, that these identical persons may be in the same persecution elsewhere? I say same, because similar circumstances can only mean a like persecution - elsewhere, perhaps, but the same thing. But if it be not the same body, why is it introduced here, giving to suppose that it is the same? or why connect them with Matthew 24, where those that listen to Christ's voice evidently get away from under the beast's power? If the statements in the Revelation have anything to do with Matthew 24, how can the faithful ones of the earth at that evil hour (who keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus, and hold fast the testimony to Jesus, and who are in the Revelation described as suffering in patience of faith under the beast's power) be the same as those whose obedience, if they had listened to the voice of Jesus, would have taken them out of his power? It is true the writer does not say here that they suffer in the evil hour, because the contradiction with Matthew 24 would have been flagrant; but if the passages in Revelation are consulted, it is plain. Elsewhere (page 148) he leaves a general idea of suffering because driven out. Be it so; but that is not patience under the beast's reign, who is overcoming them.

116 The truth is, the whole system is so unsound that you cannot put the different parts of it in juxtaposition without its discrepancies being manifest. The expression of them may be avoided; but they are not the less flagrant to those who take the pains to examine them.

One thing is certain, that we have no need to examine the beast's doings in Jerusalem at "that evil hour"; because the Christianity at Jerusalem, of which he speaks here, will not then exist. If any Christians remain, they are clearly (according to the author) disobedient ones, not the faithful ones. Indeed they would spoil all; because the new witnesses would be declaring it was too late for present forgiveness; and these Christians, disobedient though they were, would prove that it was not. And here I would ask in passing (for we must speak of it farther on) how the witnesses in Jerusalem (page 124) can testify of the message of forgiveness through His blood despised and now withdrawn, when elsewhere in Christendom this forgiveness subsists still, and is not withdrawn at all? Nay, when it has been stated that in Antichrist's world, though Christianity be driven out, some scattered saints remain? Is it withdrawn and subsisting at the same time? Can an individual have peace in Russia and its dependencies, perhaps up to the Euphrates, and the testimony of God the other side be, that he cannot? Yet such is the system which denounces as heresy whatever does not submit to its statements. And let us remember that we are here upon the very ground of that assertion - the interpretation of Matthew 24.

However, we may now leave aside the application of Revelation to Matthew 24, as referring to the time when Christianity is not in Jerusalem, and speak of the previous period, when it is alleged to be there. Only we shall do well to remember also, that it is the Revelation we are examining, and that this part of Matthew 24* applying solely to Jerusalem in that evil hour, the Christianity spoken of as referred to in the Revelation, has no place here at all; because it will not exist at Jerusalem during the evil hour.

{*Namely, verses 15-28.}

117 Now first, as to the word "Ye": it is urged as a conclusive proof that all the chapter refers to Christians.

Now, if Christianity be entirely withdrawn from the scene, and that "ye" and "you" mean Christianity, how is it that the words "ye" and "you" are found after the tribulation is come in, and refer to their being involved in its difficulties? "For then shall be great tribulation. Then, if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or lo, there. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert," etc. That is, the "ye" and "you" are continued after Christianity is withdrawn. For it will hardly be denied, that these false Christs, etc., appear in the scene of the tribulation from which the Christian disciples have entirely withdrawn, on the sign given in the chapter, verse 15. And if Christianity be withdrawn, who, on the author's system, are the elect?

But, further, not only is the "you" continued to them in the scene of tribulation, after Christianity is withdrawn, but the character of the warnings is very strange, if it be Christians that are warned. When I say, "Christians," I heed the word very little: it is a human name; and if men please to call Christians the confessors of that time, I do not oppose. On the author's statement of what it is, I do not see how he could refuse it, though he does. But what is material is the church as such now. Does Matthew 24 speak of that as such? Now, what is the warning? It is - not to believe (though, as we have seen, it is hard to understand how they are there, if Christianity be withdrawn) the statement of Christ's being in the desert, or the secret chamber. But how can the church believe that, when it is to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air? It must first believe that Christ has falsified His word, and have fallen from the faith. But I shall be told that that would be true: but that we know how Christians have forgotten the proper hope of the church, and therefore may need these warnings. Let it be remembered, then, that these instructions in Matthew apply only to those who have entirely forgotten the proper hope of the church: which it is impossible to reconcile with what is here said. This is a good deal to say of the faithful of the earth, who "stand like the last representatives of the firstborn on earth, just as Stephen and the pentecostal saints represented it in its early history" - so that the visions of glory in the Revelation seem almost exclusively to belong to them.

118 But let the fact be remembered, that the Lord's warnings here are entirely inconsistent with the church's own hope given elsewhere.

But the truth is, even this resource is taken away here; because what the author is treating of is the revival of clear light on these very subjects, blending in harmony the ancient promises and the new hopes. And whatever the revival of prophetic light amongst us western Christians may do, it is certain that when Antichristianism has brought back the nations of the prophetic earth into their former place, and Christianity is again found amidst Israel and Jerusalem, the expectation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, and of the judgments that will accompany His return, will again form part of the hopes and testimony of Christianity in Jerusalem. But will this clearer light, this more than revival of prophetic light (described in its prophetic character, page 92, as the blending into harmony the ancient promises with the new hopes, which does revive the expectation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel) exclude the church's expectation? If so, surely it is not Christianity. If it does bring this clear blending in, as the apostles and Paul had it (and we are told the disciples, who were the apostles, were so addressed here), then this warning can have no place here; because it is clearly inconsistent with the church's hope. If, on the contrary, it is a revival of Israel's hope of Messiah, and an exclusion of the church's, then the case supposed is one of a believing Jewish remnant, and not the church. I am obliged to put it in this alternative, because the author, in speaking of the revival of prophetic light, and, further, of Christianity at Jerusalem, has not said a word of the church's hope. I may therefore suppose that he takes for granted its power, according to what he approves in page 92. If not that, it is excluded. But in page 96, we are freed from this uncertainty. It is asserted that "they" (i.e., those who are here addressed) "will be freed from the darkness which now broods over Gentile Christianity, and will again combine the new things of the kingdom with the promises made unto the fathers." It is therefore impossible that, thus clearly discerning Israel's hope and the new things of the kingdom, they would be liable to be ensnared by being told that Christ is in the secret chamber; because, with a clear and certain light, they will know that they themselves are to be with the Lord in the air. All reasoning from "the darkness that now broods over Gentile Christianity," which might make a true saint liable to such a mistake, is quite taken away. The truth is, the whole system is a mass of confusion, arising from man's mind dealing with the mighty word of God.

119 Nor is it merely the state of men's mind we are to consider. The Lord, we are told, is dealing with the disciples as the church. Would the Lord, in explaining all to the church, give them warnings which implied the denial or total absence of the church's hope in their minds? Would He sanction that, by not even alluding to it? For the Son of man's appearing is only spoken of as acting on the tribes of the earth, or land. I will not enter into the discussion of the whole chapter here, having now applied myself to the use the author makes of it in this place. I will only add one or two questions. Of what age do the disciples speak, when they enquire about its end? Does the Lord correct the evident Jewish character of the disciples' questions, or answer them on their own ground, which was clearly Jewish in its character? Of what is Daniel treating, when he speaks of the abomination of desolation? Is it of Jews or Christians? Is God's testimony there occupied about the Jewish people, as such, or Christianity? Daniel's people, it is clear. (See chap. 10:14.)

One thing yet remains in this testimony of Matthew 24 and in Revelation. According to the author, Gentile Christians will not be entrusted with this closing testimony in and round Jerusalem. Yet it was people from every nation, etc., contrasted with Jews, who, in Revelation 7, were come out of the great tribulation. Matthew 24 does clearly not speak of Gentile Christians, but Revelation 7 as clearly does, contrasted with Jews, if this be the great tribulation, as the author says.

I have only to remark further on page 97, that I am not aware of any who are spoken of "who shall testify therein,"* unless it be on the chasing the woman into the wilderness But let us note here, that, according to the author, testimony in Jerusalem is over, viewed as testimony of the disciples of Jesus at that time: so that all said of that in the Revelation does not apply to what is directly the beast's reign there.**

{*In Jerusalem. The witnesses are not in question here. The author speaks of them as coming after this testimony.}

{**If, as the writer supposes in the note, page go, the scene from chapters 7 to 13, is Jerusalem, then I need not add "there," because then all the actings of the beast against the saints are confined to Jerusalem. All that is said of the faith of Jesus, or testimony to Jesus, is confined to this; except Babylon being drunk with their blood, which is quite general - the blood of all saints being found there.

The only other case of testimony spoken of is general, chapter 6:9.}

120 But it does not apply to a testimony previous to that reign in Jerusalem, for the patience and faith of the saints in the Revelation is during his reign. And when it is said "escape its plagues," the writer must not think of God's judgments: they escape the tribulation of Antichrist.

But there is another point here. We may travel out of Jerusalem. Now these are the faithful ones of the earth at that evil hour, the enlightened ones, with old promises and new hopes, and so on. But "they see, like their Master before them, the sphere of their earthly service hopelessly closed, and wait in suffering and in trial for the hour now fast approaching of their final deliverance into their heavenly rest." But lo, when I turn to Matthew 24 I find a most active testimony going on at this time. The gospel of the kingdom is to be preached in all the world (if any one choose to translate it "prophetic earth," the argument is only stronger), for a witness to all nations, and then the end is to come. Now, if the sphere of earthly service is hopelessly closed to the faithful ones in that evil hour who had the testimony to Jesus, what is all this preaching in that evil hour? For it is the evil hour; for it is to the end. If the gospel of the kingdom be what we have to preach - the gospel of salvation such as the church has it - how is the sphere of earthly service closed of the faithful ones, the last representatives of the church on earth, just as Stephen and the Pentecostal church? If it be not the gospel the church has to preach to the world, our present gospel, then what are we to say to the subject of Matthew 24?

There is another curious statement in page 96. Gentile Christians being wise in their own conceits, the testimony to Jesus in the scenes (though we have seen that it is not in the scenes, because the word is used of the period of the beast's reign and even of Jerusalem, according to the author with one exception, and Christianity is not there) therein described is not entrusted to them. Now, the branches are to be broken off because of this state. So that we find here the Gentile church, or Christians, in that state which precludes the testimony to be raised up being given to them, and, I add from Romans 11, going to be cut off and a new and other set of witnesses (not the two) raised up out of Israel, who are not to be in this state at all. Thus, the church gets into the state for which it is to be cut off, so that testimony is not given to it, and a new church is raised up out of Israel, after this total decline and disappearance (as far as testimony goes) of the Gentiles - which yet is the church, and is quite out of the state of darkness which broods over us. And yet, as we have seen, they have to be warned against fancying Christ is in the secret chamber, their earthly service being closed; and they wait in suffering and trial the hour of their deliverance. And yet all the while (though coming from nobody knows where) there is an active gospel preaching all over the world, for a testimony to all nations.

121 After the departure of the disciples of Jesus to wait for three years and a half, while another testimony goes on (itself rather a strange position for the faithful ones in that evil hour), that other testimony, the two witnesses, is raised up. Of these we will speak in their proper place. I only add, that I do not believe the hundred and forty-four thousand of the sealed remnant are the remnant - the "but a little remnant" - brought to repentance by the two witnesses in Jerusalem. I make no complaint at all of this statement; merely, I do not agree with it. It certainly seems to me that Revelation 7 speaks of a more general remnant spared of the whole nation, without any reference at all to Jerusalem, or the two witnesses. I see none in the chapter. It seems purposely designed to embrace the whole nation, who are not then there, and to secure beforehand God's elect remnant out of the whole nation, before any wind blew on the earth, or sea, or tree. Whatever came any where, this remnant would be safe. However, I leave this to the judgment of the reader. They are, as the author says, "the preserved of Israel on earth." But then it is clear that a very great part of Israel is not at Jerusalem: Ezekiel 20 proves this; because the rebels of all that band will not enter into the land at all, and there are yet others (Isaiah 66) brought home after Antichrist is destroyed. So, I suppose, Isaiah 27:12. It is reasonable, and I think scriptural (see John 5:43), to suppose that the Jews who rejected Christ, and do so, come under Antichrist: while others who have suffered for their rebellion, but not been in that guilt (i.e., the mass of the ten tribes under Joseph's stick) may be differently dealt with in this particular. Compare Isaiah 28:14, 15. However, I leave this point.

122 As to the church of the firstborn in heavenly glory, "What is remarkable is, that they are all described as having come out of the great tribulation."

The author had said, "No one, I suppose, will doubt that this is the song of all the church of the firstborn." For my own part I do doubt it very much, unless [the] great tribulation be taken as the whole church period. But I will not discuss this here. Taking it as the great tribulation, we are told, "Individually, of course, the greater part of them could not have been there. Yet as represented by their brethren they were there; for the church is one." This is, I must say, a most comfortable way of being in tribulation: to be represented there, and yet get all the blessings resulting from it. That there is sympathy with those in tribulation is true. But to find them celebrated as in it, who had such darkness brooding on them, and were so wise in their own conceits as to be unfit to be there, is a little strong.

But then there is another grave difficulty. None of them were there. On the sign being set up, which was to shew that it would take place, they all escape to avoid it. This "is a commandment too definite and too express to be disobeyed by any who value the authority of Him who gave it." So that no obedient disciple of Jesus was in it. I suppose it will not be argued that Jesus said, Flee, for there will be great tribulation; while He meant that they should be in the tribulation, whether they fled or not. If not, not one was there in it; and yet all the church were there. Well, I confess, this "is remarkable." And not only so, but "the church as a whole will be known as having come out of that dispensation which gains its distinguishing characteristic from the evil hour with which it closes." Yet not one single one of the church will be there. It is an odd expression, "come out of that dispensation." Is it not then after all this dispensation, "the church period"? the church dispensation? And, if so, is this power of Antichrist and the dragon the distinguishing characteristic of the church dispensation - when the church will be giving no testimony at all, the sphere of its earthly service being hopelessly closed? Can that be the distinguishing characteristic of the church dispensation in which the church is not found at all, in which it can given no testimony, and from which it is desired to flee? This will make the reader see why I enquired into these terms at the beginning, and the important effect of identifying the kingdom and the church, and this age or dispensation. It entirely destroys the true character of each.