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> File section  9.

CHAPTERS 19, 20, AND PART OF 21

We are told here that "the conclusion of each of the visions" "has led us to the period called in Scripture the end of the age (Matthew 13:39; chap. 28:20), when the Lord Jesus will come from heaven with His angels, and take His saints to meet Him in the air."

We have here "the results of the Lord's coming, and of the resurrection of the saints, unfolded. I say the results of his coming, and of the resurrection, because neither of these events are themselves described."

273 We have here collected together a whole series of proofs of the evil of setting up a system. There is scarce a statement which is not an exposure of the author's own system, when it is examined.

The first I do not cite as very material, but as shewing the way in which the author is exclusively engrossed with what is earthly and of Antichrist. The last three verses apply to Antichrist,* perhaps we may say the last five. And therefore "the sphere of this chapter is the prophetic or Roman earth." In the chapter the marriage of the Lamb, and the preparation of the church for it, is celebrated. Heaven is opened, and Christ comes forth as the Word of God and King of kings and Lord of lords for universal rule; for I suppose the author will not confine the above titles and the rule announced in Psalm 2 to the Roman or prophetic earth. Yet, though the marriage of the Lamb be sung in heaven, and the Lord come forth from heaven for universal dominion, the author sees nothing but the opposition of Antichrist and the kings of the Roman earth. The Roman earth is the sphere of the chapter. Again, "neither of these events (Christ's coming and the resurrection) are themselves described." This was necessary to the author's system, because of Christendom, whose judgment was to be all settled before Antichrist's visitation, and the author must make Christ come to receive the saints of Christendom. Besides, the marriage of the Lamb had taken place. Now let the reader turn to the chapter, and see what is found there; whether it is merely a result of His coming, or His coming to earth.

{*Here again Antichrist should be the beast.}

"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness doth he judge and make war . . . . And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean." Now I suppose, when heaven is opened, and the armies which are in heaven follow the Lord, it is something like an account of "the event" of His coming. At least it is generally supposed from Scripture that He comes with His saints. "They that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." And it is by the brightness of His coming that Antichrist is to be destroyed. I know not where we have the coming of Christ to earth more or so much described. Surely seeing heaven opened is not a result of His coming.

274 But there are other points here, besides this most extraordinary statement. We read, "The end of the age," "when the Lord will come from heaven with His angels, and take His saints to meet Him in the air." And again, "we should have found His coming with His angels and the gathering together of His saints described: and accordingly these events are not passed over in those parts of scripture which do give the history and end of Christendom. (See Matthew 13.) But this is not the object of the Revelation." Now, first, there is not a word of His coming with His angels in Matthew 13. It is only said the Son of man shall send them forth. But, further, the age ends, and the new age begins when Christ rises up from the Father's throne. His receiving the saints, therefore, cannot be on His coming, because the new age has then begun; and, therefore, it is not and cannot be "at the end of this age." For the new has decidedly, according to the author, begun. (See page 11.) Christ cannot come with His angels to gather His saints without its being actually the new age. And this is not a mere question of time. The two ages are characterised by this difference, God acting for Christ, and Christ invested with His appointed power. This then is clearly totally wrong according to the author's system. The Lord Jesus cannot come in the period called in Scripture the end of that age, because what characterises* it is His sitting on God's throne and God's acting for Him. It is never said in Scripture, "the end of the age, when the Lord Jesus will come from heaven with His angels." Matthew 13:39 says He will send forth His angels.

{*"There is no characteristic so essentially distinctive as this." (p. 11) .}

As to the command in Matthew 28:20, it is quite inconsistent with the prohibition to preach peace by Jesus Christ enforced on the witnesses. They were to go to all the Gentiles (the identical words used for those to be gathered to Jehoshaphat), and in this mission Christ would be with them to the end of the age. But in a vast portion of the world, the centre of all its energies, the Lord will not be with them at all to the end of the age: the Gentile profession of Christianity will be withdrawn.

275 Is it not, too, a curious thing that the harvest only applies to the place where the tares have not ripened to full maturity, and that when they have ripened, then there is no harvest at all?

Or, if "the tares are never guilty of any act of blasphemous rejection of God," and if "they remain to the end quietly growing by the side of the wheat," how do those that were tares in the Roman earth commit an act of blasphemy all at once, and so cease to be tares, or to seek admission into the garners of heaven - strange description as this is of the devil's seed in the earth? These last are to be killed in the earth, while the former are taken out of the earth (before even the Lord comes to judge Antichrist) to an unseen place of torment. And note here the Lord has come* to receive the saints, and has judged the wicked on the earth, before ever He appears to judge Antichrist. It used to be alleged that we, even the saints, must wait His appearing to be caught up to meet Him. But let that pass. He shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing. Now by the appearing or brightness of His coming He will destroy the man of sin. The coming of the Son of man will be like lightning. Now what is this coming and judgment of the quick on earth before ever He appears at all,** carried on by angels? When the last trumpet sounds, the final blow is "administered by the Son of man Himself, returning in the glory of His power" (page 129). In this very chapter heaven is opened after the marriage of the Lamb, for the earthly judgment of Antichrist.*** I do not here enlarge on the Scripture statement that the tares are gathered together first to be burned, which the author always assiduously passes over. But either the Son of man does not appear at all for the judgment of the tares and the rapture of the saints, or He does not come like lightning, appearing for the destruction of Antichrist. For, according to the author, after both tares and wheat are reaped, the apostates are found gathered together against Him.

{*In page 204 it may be supposed He is seen, but it is left uncertain. In page 333, it is strange and distant glory suddenly breaking upon the abyss of darkness beneath. And in page 298 Antichrist has witnessed it. 2 Thessalonians I would set all this order aside. But Matthew 24, which clearly refers to His coming where Antichrist is, supposes it to come as a sudden judgment there, and not as if the Lord had already executed in his sight on earth the most important judgment, and appeared some time before in alarming glory.}

{**That is, according to 2 Thessalonians 2, and Matthew 24, and the like, to destroy Antichrist.}

{***Antichrist has seen it all, and been undismayed by it. It did not come as a thief at any rate on him and his armies. Christ had actually judged all Christendom - had executed His wrath on Babylon, and Antichrist is untouched and undismayed. The stars too have ceased to give their light, the sun and moon have been darkened, because in Isaiah 14 this accompanies Babylon's fall. In Revelation 6 this same event had confounded them all (it was one of those several visions which had reached thus far.) Here, surrounded by kings and armies, the great transgressor remains undismayed. Was there ever the like confusion?

I would recall to the reader a remark already made, that, instead of these two fields, the Scripture speaks of one - the world, where the tares, quiet or not, grow; that in 2 Thessalonians 2 what began in Christendom grows up to the apostasy and the judgment of the wicked; that in Jude the tares of that day are positively identified with the ungodly who speak hard speeches, and perish in the gainsaying of Core. The whole system of the author on this is contradictory of the plainest statements of Scripture, as it is of himself, and of the plain sense of things.}

276 But the truth is, the field is the world in the fullest sense. And nothing can be more absurd or unscriptural than to say that the ripening of the devil's seed makes them cease to be tares. Gathering together the tares in bundles is not taking them out of the earth. It is well for the reader to remember that Scripture never speaks of Christendom at all. It speaks of a certain field called the world, in which Christ sowed good seed and the devil bad seed; but the assertion that when these were ripe, it ceased thereby to be the field at all (though it is admitted there were saints hidden in caves in it) is the most gratuitous assertion possible.

I do not venture beyond the contradictions which are on the face of these statements, because I believe them to be so wholly foreign to Scripture, that the difficulty is to find thoughts common to both, so as to compare them. But I would ask the reader this, Is, or is not, the coming of the Lord to earth connected with the judgment of the Antichristian power of evil in 2 Thessalonians, Jude, Matthew 24, etc.? If it be, the whole system must fall. Christ has come. It is an event not spoken of here, where Antichrist is judged, because it has happened already. He has not only received His saints, but judged all the quick on the professing earth, or Christendom, and Babylon even in the prophetic earth. The brightness of His coming* is a thing past. The lightning has flashed long ago, and the great transgressor remains untouched and undismayed. He is come with clouds, every eye has seen Him - yea, seen Him execute judgment too; and there they are undismayed, ready to confront Him in battle. As to the wailing of the tribes, or the standing afar off Babylon's burning, and all the earth being moved at her fall, this may be reconciled as it can. If these things had happened without the Lord coming in clouds, we might well suppose all this. But it is to be remembered He has come. His coming and receiving the saints without judging the earth I can conceive: but the quick have been judged on earth in all Christendom.

{*The difficulty of summing up these statements is, that there is the greatest confusion and uncertainty in the author's accounts of this coming. "He comes in glory and in divine majesty, seated in the clouds" (p. 204). One would suppose this was when every eye should see Him, as in Revelation 1. So that the brightness of His coming would have taken place. But He comes in the clouds of heaven (Matt. 24) when it is for the destruction of Antichrist. In page 204 of the "Thoughts," it is the harvest of Christendom. There must be then two comings in the clouds of heaven - one for Christendom, and one afterwards for Antichrist, who has seen the other undismayed. The first would be the star-like appearing of page 333. The reader may believe these different appearings if he can.}

277 But here again the system of the author subverts itself in another point. "They [the saints] are evidently recognised in the commencement of this chapter as being above with the Lord in glory." Hence, of course, the Lord had come to receive them, and indeed (as we have seen) to judge the tares also. But Babylon, we are told, was at this very moment judged, the final blow given by the Lord at the moment when He takes His saints to meet Him in the air. Now Babylon was destroyed under the vials. But (page 215) "commission to act is given to Christ as soon as the ministration of the vials ends. He will then quit the throne of the Father." So the Lord has come to take His saints, and has given the final blow to Babylon at the same moment, when He has not left the throne of His Father, and has not yet received commission to act at all. Yet that had passed too, for which "He comes in glory and in divine majesty, seated in the clouds" (page 204).

278 But, further, "They [the saints] are evidently recognised in the commencement of this chapter as being above with the Lord in glory." I do not doubt this. The author quotes verse I as proof. But why not when the same thing almost word for word occurs elsewhere, as chapters 11, 7 and 14, etc.? There it is anticipative. Here they are evidently recognised as being above. I do not see why it proves it in one place, and only anticipates it in the other. We have seen that according to the alleged order of events the saints cannot be yet there.

The truth is, the author cannot get over the fact that the saints are taken away, and that most important events happen before the Lord comes to destroy Antichrist. By making besides, and before that, a judging of the quick on the earth by the Lord, and a judgment of Babylon, which he has elsewhere placed previous to Christ's rising from the Father's throne, he has set aside the plain statements of Scripture as to the Lord's appearing in the destruction of Antichrist, and his own statements as to what essentially characterises the two ages, and made confusion as to the fact itself and the order of prophecy. He has chosen to introduce an unscriptural division of Roman earth and Christendom, and thus rejected Scripture, and his own statements too; and borne an involuntary testimony to a rapture of the saints before the judgment of the day of the Lord, and at the same time shewn his own system to be the mere fabric of his own mind.

We have here again the city Babylon corrupting the earth with her fornication. It was a poor time for the saints to rejoice over her as destroyed now; for, as corrupting the earth with her fornication as the great whore, she has been burned with fire years before. It was the mere local city now that was destroyed. And how had they experienced what the earth was under Babylon and Babylon's mighty king? Under Babylon, the fulness of God's own truth had been fostered in its sphere, and under Babylon's mighty king they had never been at all. They had fled before the dragon into the regions of uncivilised darkness. These regions being Christendom, however, at least they could have fled there if they had pleased. Indeed it surely was so - the earth, which for this turn was not the Roman or prophetic earth, having interfered to preserve Christianity (page 149).

"But the hour of the accomplished glory of Jesus had come. He is described in the verses I have quoted, not as in the actual exercise of this power, for the vision is seen in heaven, but as invested with it in order that it may be exercised; and presently afterwards it is exercised first upon Antichrist, then upon Satan, and then upon these nations which," etc.

279 Now in page 128 the Son quits (at the beginning or end of the three days and a half that the witnesses lie dead) "the throne of the Father, and is invested with the power, the long delegated power, which now is finally taken from the hands of man." "When the seventh trumpet sounds, this scene has passed in heaven."

Page 207, "As soon as He descends into the air . . . His first act will be to judge that which is bearing His name . . . . But after the harvest is over, the vintage yet remains." That is, the judgment of what Antichrist cherishes. Here in page 229 He is seen invested with this power in heaven - the "power with which He is invested for the government of the earth" - clearly therefore the same with that of page 128, just quoted. But then (page 207), "His first act will be to judge that which is bearing His name." But here all this about the harvest is not viewed as the exercise of this power at all. The saints have joined Him. All about Christendom is dropped, and the exercise of this glorious power with which "the Bridegroom will be invested in order that He may prepare this earth, filled though it be with enemies, for the habitation of His bride," is "first upon Antichrist." Would it be believed in this account that all the judgment of Matthew 13 had already been executed on earth since He was invested with this glorious power?

One would think it was some other sort of glory, quite distinct; for He had been invested with the long delegated power; but then when He came into the air, having commission from God, He judges Christendom. Now He is seen invested with glorious power in vision in heaven, and this power is not first exercised on Christendom at all, but on Antichrist, who has been looking on undismayed while Christendom, and even his own second capital, Babylon, has been undergoing judgment by Christ in the other sort of power.

Further, this power (page 299) is in order that He (Christ) may prepare this earth for the habitation of His bride. But then she is never to be introduced into this earth at all, but into the new earth. So that the millennial power which Christ exercises does not prepare the earth for her at all. He has given it up to God the Father. A new earth, the elements having melted with fervent heat, is the scene into which she is introduced. The earth filled with enemies, cleared by His power, though it be to prepare it for her, never sees her in it. Where is it stated that Christ rules the nations with a rod of iron after He has judged Satan? Does the author really believe that Psalm 2 or the promise to Thyatira is the constant character of Christ's government as the Prince of peace? "He does not cease to hold the rod of iron." Let the reader consult what is stated of this in Psalm 2:9, Revelation 2:27, or even chapter 19:15, and see if the author's ideas here of the government of Christ are just, and see if the rod of iron is the character of Christ's sceptre after Satan is bound, and when the earth rejoices in His coming, and reposes under the shadow of that great Rock after all its toils.

280 Here, too (page 301), we find "Him who comes as King of kings and Lord of lords." Before, this was not the event of His coming, He had come before to judge Christendom. The way the author explains this (page 333) is, that Christ first comes as the star. "He will come in glory strictly unearthly and divine." Afterwards, it appears, He will be the sun rising. The first applies to Matthew 13, and the harvest, wherever found, as Revelation 14:14. But in this glory, said to be strictly unearthly and divine, He is the Son of man, once the sower of the good seed, who judges because He is the Son of man, which the Father does not because His glory is strictly divine; and the judgment of the quick is executed on the tares in this distant and unearthly glory. Indeed in this connection He is always particularly called the Son of man, as in Daniel 7, Revelation 14:14, Matthew 13 (I know not whether this is to shew it is strictly divine); whereas in the passage before us (Rev. 19), which is not the starlike visitations, He has a name which none knows but Himself. He is the Word of God, King of kings and Lord of lords - words which do convey glory strictly divine, as John 1 and 1 Timothy 6 plainly shew. It is going a little too far to say He shall come as the Son of God in His own glory, when the passage runs thus - "of him shall the Son of man be ashamed when he shall come in his own glory."

But to continue: I have not much to remark on the pages immediately following. The application of Psalm 96 is evidently wrong, because it is said, "He cometh," and it is clear that at the time spoken of in page 303 the Lord was come in every sense of the word.

281 On page 304 I must remark that the dispensation of the fulness of times is surely not eternity. The heading up all things in Christ for the administration, of that fulness of times, is hardly the period after His having delivered up the kingdom: nor does the administration of the fulness of times or seasons signify eternity. It refers to the inheritance in which we are joint-heirs with Christ, when, having suffered, we reign, having meanwhile the earnest of the inheritance till the redemption of the purchased possession. After that, God is to be all in all, and the Son Himself subject, and not reigning as man.

What follows has been already discussed: only I repeat there is never a hint in Scripture of the heavenly saints sharing the glory of the throne of David with Christ. The statement as to those who are raised to share millennial power is clearly unwarranted if taken as exclusive. "This is the first resurrection," is certainly not merely of those who died under persecution, nor indeed did all the twelve apostles die under persecution, for John himself did not.

The use of Isaiah 65, at the close of page 306, is clearly a misuse of it, as may easily be seen by reading verses 17 and 18; though all recognise that the earthly millennial is not the final state. But of this earthly millennial state - so celebrated in the prophets that the whole earth is to break forth into singing and joy, that they are called to rejoice for ever in that which God creates - we are told, little is said in the Revelation. It is such a time of imperfectness and evil. "The bride of the Lamb" "is kept apart* from the millennial earth, and is not brought from her heavenly elevation into the sphere below, until the millennial earth and heavens have fully passed away." And yet Jerusalem is the "own city" of our system. And "the summit of Zion," "miraculously exalted above the hills,"** "arising from the earth as if to meet the heavenly city resting over it in the heavens above, will be the place where heavenly glory will be first brought into real connection with this earth." "It is this earthly and yet heavenly condition of Zion that" "harmonises truth belonging to the earth with other truths referring to heavenly and unearthly glories" . . . so "that he who can in this sense say that he has come to Zion must mean that he belongs to those whose glory is not of earth merely." Being "of those who, going from one grade of glory (!) to another, appear in Zion before God." I do not exactly see how heavenly glory is brought into real connection with this earth, if it is kept apart from the earth - if heavenly and unearthly glories come down to Zion, and Zion is miraculously exalted to meet the heavenly city.

{*See page 320. What keeping apart means, where we find it called "close . . . systematic relationship to the earth" - "the glory of the saints brought into its closest adaptation to the need of a fallen earth" - it is not easy to see. I am not denying that the heavenly Jerusalem does not descend on the earth during the millennium. But close systematic relationship and being brought into its closest adaptation is a strange way to keep apart. God will gather together in one all things, both which are in heaven and in earth.}

{**The whole church will be there, and I suppose the church is the bride of the Lamb.}

282 As to page 310, the city is not exactly called the bride of the Lamb. She was "prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." She is not said to bear the name of bride. Still, that she retained as a figure all her bridal glory I doubt not, and all the freshest affections of her heavenly Bridegroom. But that is not the point here. In this sense bride is not a temporary name for her. But how, if she do still bear it at the end of the millennium, and on her introduction after the passing away of heaven and earth, and all things being made new, into the new heavens and new earth, is it a temporary name? Is it not the proof that that church, seen in glory as the bride at the commencement of the millennium, continues to be so for ever? We are then told that we do not know "what new worlds may be created." That may be safely admitted, and I suppose that we are ignorant if there will be any at all. But, new worlds created or not, "the new earth will be the centre of the economy and order of creation." Where is this revealed? "And it is as directing this economy, and as mistress of this order, that the church is symbolised by this city, and named, wife of the Lamb." Where is this found? or is government the only reason why the church is called wife of the Lamb? I read that the kingdom will be given up, and the Son subject, God being all in all; so that I see rather the contrary of all this in Scripture; though our eternal blessedness, and the immutable Deity of the Son remain unchanged. But as to the economy and order, it seems quite different, God being all in all. The tabernacle of God is with men. The Lamb is no longer mentioned as to government as such. I see no reason to say that the church ceases to be His bride, His wife. Ephesians 3:21 seems to indicate eternal glory of the church as such. But if a veil is thrown over her relation to the earth, etc., it would have been better, I suppose, not to have said, the new earth will be thus, and the church that, in it.

283 "It will not lose" . . . "the glory which Jesus had with the Father before the world was." Where is it ever said the church is to have this at any time?

I will not here enter into a discussion whether the bride be the highest character of the manifold glories. Children of the Father, the saint knows to be itself a relation full of blessing: it gives the name of nearness to the Father, as that of bride of more especial union with the Son, who has made us to be of His body, His flesh, and His bones. "But one presentation" though this be, surely it is one of singular blessedness. Every possible glory, indeed, is ours: the blessedness that is in God Himself, as far as it can be communicated, for we dwell in God, and God in us; relation blessedness, for we are children; associated blessedness in union with the blessed one, for we are the bride; official nearness and glory, for we are kings and priests; human blessedness, for we shall be perfect men after the image of the second Adam; corporate blessedness, for we shall have joy together; individual, for we shall have a name given which no one knows but he that receives it, and we shall have the fulness of the Holy Ghost dwelling in us, unhindered by these poor bodies, yea, clothed upon by a vessel suited to the power of the divine inhabitant, so as to be able in full largeness of heart to enjoy all this. There is a difference in the sphere of their exercise, no doubt. But when the author says that the name of bride is but one presentation, and that not in the highest sphere, I do not think that the spiritual mind will relish the use of language which certainly means to depreciate this presentation of glory.

Is the bride not the bride of Christ everywhere? And, if she be so in the sphere of His heavenly affections, is she not so in the display of His glory? Is she disowned elsewhere? Is she so kept apart from earth that when she may be, as alleged, on Mount Zion or anywhere else, the Lamb disowns her as such - does not recognise her before these strangers to the heavenly courts?

284 Further, if the name of bride be "but one presentation in one especial sphere (and that not the highest)," how is it that this city will be the home of the affections of Christ? "It will be His spouse - He will trust in her, joy in her, and find her one who responds to His affections, enters into His thoughts, and adorns Him by her excellencies, even in the courts of His highest glory" (page 321).

I really sometimes feel I am wrong in answering statements made to suit the moment, without an attempt at consistency, at the distance of a few pages. I have only to add here - Where is it said that the saints will be in the heaven of heavens?

As to the notes, we have a repetition of what, though just in general as to division, shews the confusion of the arrangement proposed by the author. Chapters 6 to 18 are chastisements from the throne of God, which immediately precede the mission of the Lord Jesus in glory. "But now the time has come for Christ to occupy His own throne,* and to be manifested in the exercise of His own glorious power." In pages 11-13, we find that it is one of two things, either God acting for Christ, or Christ assuming the exercise of the authority of His own kingdom. "As soon as it" (the footstool) "is prepared, Christ will quit the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, and will return in glory." So that there are but the two things, God acting for Christ, and Christ having assumed the power of His own kingdom.

{*The reader will do well to bear in mind that this change is alleged to take place the instant Christ rises up from the Father's throne.}

Now, in chapter 19 the time has come, according to the author, for the latter. The previous chapters were God acting for Christ - what preceded His mission. But in one of these previous chapters, namely, chapter 14, we have had the harvest, or judgment of Christendom (to say nothing here of the vintage) when Christ had come in clouds. Does that precede His mission? We have had in chapters 14, 16, and at large in chapter 18,* the destruction of Babylon, a destruction by the act of Christ,** which takes place at the moment of the rapture of the saints (page 298), and therefore when Christ had left the throne of God and come in the clouds into the air. That is, we have the most important events of chapters 6 to 18 before the time had come, for this is in chapter 19. Or is it alleged that the harvest and judgment of Babylon precede the mission of the Lord Jesus in glory? If so, then it is quite clear that, according to the author, His mission and return in glory does not take place when He quits the Father's throne, but is a subsequent event, relating to His appearing to the inhabitants of earth, and that before His mission and His appearing in glory; and yet, after His having left the throne of His Father, a series of the most important events occur, even all that immediately regard the church, which is exactly what the author so laboriously seeks to deny. I am not recurring here to the judgment of the tares, or the contradictions of the author as to Babylon, and Christ's appearance as the star, and then as the sun. These I have spoken of. Up to chapter 19 the time had not come for Christ to be manifested in the exercise of His own glorious power. Now it has, and Antichrist is judged by the glorious appearing of Christ.

{*I am aware that elsewhere the author states this quite differently - that the vials are God's actings before He gives commission to Christ to act. But I am quoting from page 299. I have met another view of the case in what follows.}

{**I omit chapter 17, because the author would make that the destruction of the system.}

285 But then, before this, Christ had left the throne, and time enough had elapsed since His leaving it to accomplish all the most important events in the Revelation, or indeed I may say in Scripture, as to power and judgment - the harvest, the glorifying of the church, the judgment of the great whore that corrupted the earth. That is, there is an interval full of the most important events between Christ's leaving the throne, and His appearing for the judgment of the man of sin. There is an acknowledged difference between Christ's rising up from the throne of the Father and its consequences, and the manifestation of His coming to destroy Antichrist - between His coming (parousia), 2 Thess. 2:1, and "the appearing of his coming" (2 Thess. 2:8) - on the denial of which the statements in the beginning of the "Thoughts" are founded, and to subvert which the quotation of Psalm 110 is applied.

That the Revelation relates to God's dealings with the earth is in general true, and that hence the marriage of the Lamb, though celebrated, is not described, is also true. But it is celebrated as now come, and there are those that are called to the marriage supper, as well as to the terrible judgment of the supper of the great God. But to say that chapter 14 consists of references elucidated by the chapters which respectively succeed is in many respects incorrect. The harvest is not subsequently described, nor the one hundred and forty-four thousand on Mount Zion, nor the preaching of the everlasting gospel. Even as to Babylon, in the comment on that chapter we were told in general that the events were in order,* though at the same time the announcement of the fall of Babylon was declared to be a prophetic testimony which could even now be used; and as an event it is here stated to be synchronous with the harvest, the catching up of the saints. The statement here is quite an incorrect one, aiming at neutralising as far as possible the importance of the statement contained in chapter 19:1-10, and their place in the book. "Babylon is just alluded to in chapter 14 . . . the description is given after." But she is stated to be fallen in chapter 14, it is not that she is alluded to, but her fall declared.

{*Following each other just in the order in which they are mentioned," (p. 201). It is indeed said, "in all the instances which imply active interference on the part of God." This may seem to modify the statement. But then, what does it amount to? Just a proof of the looseness of the statements made. "In chapter 13 no interference on the part of God is mentioned. Evil appears to reign as if God had forsaken the earth," etc. "But it is far otherwise. God will plead with men both in testimony and judgment: and this chapter 14 reveals" (p. 417, 418). "The character of the events is clear, and their order." (See p. 200.) "A preaching, etc., a testimony against Babylon, and a declaration of its doom - a testimony against the beast, etc. - an intimation that the time is come for the saints to enter into their rest, etc. - the reaping-the vintage." Now, there is no testimony against Babylon at all, but a declaration of her doom as accomplished. But, if instances which imply active interference mean acts of God's unless this fall of Babylon be one, there are, in the whole series, just two, the harvest and the vintage. The rest are intimations, preaching, testimonies. So that the statement really comes to nothing at all, unless turning into a testimony against Babylon what is certainly no such thing, to avoid the subversion of his own system by the plain statement of Scripture.}

286 Here we are told "the wife of the Lamb is similarly alluded to in verse 7," etc. But it is her marriage that is alluded to, and declared to be come, and it is that that is the subject of gladness and rejoicing. And here I would ask the reason of the division proposed. The object is to separate the marriage of the church from the coming forth of the same church in power as following Jesus - one was carried on in heaven, and not described, but only its celebration heard. As to the other, heaven is opened, and Christ is seen on the white horse with the armies in heaven following Him. Now, if anyone be minded to close chapter 19 with verse 10, leaving the connection of it with what follows to the moral perception of the reader, I have not much to object. One gives Christ as Bridegroom; the other, as Judge and King in war (the church having its suited place in each). But then the next proposed new chapter must close with chapter 20:3, because that verse closes in historical order what is resumed in verse 7 in another point of view, and verse 4 takes up again the statements of verses 1-3 under another point of view, as a new vision. The subject is not "strictly consecutive"; for part of the chapter takes up the same period a second time in another point of view. Chapter 19 closes the war judgment of the Son of man, come forth as Word of God, King of kings, and Lord of lords. Chapter 20:1-3, gives the angelic binding of Satan.* Chapter 20:4, begins session in judgment and reigning, not coming in judgment, as in "he doth judge and make war." And though this be interrupted by the loosing of Satan, it is then fire of God out from heaven settles it, not the coming or warring of Christ; and judgment in session is resumed, only above on the great white throne, and of the dead.

{*So that, on the proposed new plan, chapter 19 would be verses 1-10 of chapter 19; chapter 20 would be 19:11 to the end, and 1 - 3 of chapter 20. Chapter 21 would commence verse 4 of chapter 20.}

287 This is the real division in sense. The truth is, that, though convenient for reference, any division into chapters is an evil as to the connection of the meaning, because the Bible was not written in chapters. Thus the first three verses of chapter 20 are to themselves as a subject, and yet follow on chapter 19. They belong rather to chapter 19 than to chapter 20; and yet I judge chapter 19 gives a very complete view of one subject, the double relationship of the church with Christ, so that it makes a very good chapter. Chapter 20:1-3 is connected historically, and not in subject. It is a separate act: verse 4 resumes the subject of chapter 19, i.e., the relationship of Christ and the church - they live and reign - but does not follow historically on verse 3, but, after treating of the same period as verses 1-3 in another point of view down to the end of verse 6,* the chapter pursues then the history farther on. What I have said would easily shew the natural distribution into paragraphs: chapter 19:1-9; verse 10; verses 11-21; chapter 20:1-3 (4-6), 15; chapter 21:1-8; verses 9-27; chapter 22:1-7. Verse 8 begins evidently the apostle's remarks on the visions and communications which were now closed. As to Scripture teaching by recurrence, it is no more than every history that ever was written does.

{*Verses 4-6 are really a parenthesis. The history continues regularly in reading verse 7 after verse 3.}

288 The note on "the marriage of the Lamb is come" requires some remark. Christ's wife had made herself ready. But, like the earthly city Jerusalem, this also is a city as well as a woman. "In either case it is a corporate or collective symbol or title, and admits of being indefinitely extended in comprehensiveness."

Now, what the eternal state of blessedness may be, I do not here decide, or whether the bride of Christ, viewed as the Lamb's wife during the millennial period, retains any special position afterwards. Some passages seem to say so, but there is so little said in Scripture upon it, that I affirm nothing with the light I have.

But the object of this note is to shew that the church, the bride, the Lamb's wife, when married to Christ, was not a bit more complete than Jerusalem when taken up as His by Jehovah. And as this latter earthly city could have many inhabitants year after year added to it, so can the bride, the Lamb's wife, who is called a city, and can have as a corporate or collective symbol a constant accession of inhabitants. But, though the figure of a city is used, is the bride of Christ a place thus adopted of God, whose inhabitants may increase and be added to? Is that the idea we are to form of the Lamb's wife, a city thus owned, so distinct from its inhabitants that others are introduced after the marriage of the Lamb, the city being corporately complete, though many may be added? For I suppose the marriage of the Lamb does not take place until His wife is in some sense complete, "ready." Is this the idea presented in Ephesians 5, of the body of Christ which He cherishes and nourishes as His own flesh? A mere city, having a collective title capable of indefinite extension?

And further, what mean the words "In either case it is a corporate or collective symbol or title"? It is easy to huddle words thus together, so that their distinct meaning is lost. The point here is, that the heavenly Jerusalem, whose symbolical completeness and perfectness is so wonderfully set forth, is just like Jerusalem on earth, as to receiving an accession of inhabitants. To prove this it is shewn that Jerusalem on earth is a city and a woman. In either case a collective symbol or title. How in either case? What is there of a symbol in building up the walls of earthly Jerusalem? How is it in that case a corporate or collective symbol or title? A city has its walls built up: I see nothing corporate or symbolical in that. And when the figure of an enslaved woman is applied to Zion, I see nothing corporate or collective, nor symbolical indeed either: a common figure is used, and that is all. Further, what means "the risen saints as inhabiters of the heavenly city" "are represented" "firstly by a woman," and "secondly by a city"?

289 But the main point is the reducing the bride, the Lamb's wife, when made ready and the marriage come, to a mere city receiving a succession of inhabitants, and not the complete and perfect bride of Christ - His body, presented to Himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing - as Eve to Adam by God. And how is a woman a corporate symbol? It is a symbol of the church, which is a body of people, but represents its unity and completeness, not its capacity of being indefinitely extended. The symbol of a body of people is not a corporate symbol in this sense, but just exactly the contrary.

The Greek criticism which follows is again quite wrong. "Those invited" (Greek oi keklemenoi, Matt. 22:8) has purely a present sense.

The aorist would refer to what had been done in calling them in an historical way, as a fact, as a past thing; the perfect, the present continuous state, though supposing of course that they had been called. They were "those invited" at the table: the aorist would have been used if it applied to what had been done historically during the dispensation. In the best dictionaries you may find the Greek means a guest.* And not only is it an error in general as to the use of the perfect, which is not an historical tense, but the present continuation of the result of a past action, but it is more particularly the case with words of the class in which kaleo stands.**

{*See Liddell and Scott, under kaleo. The same thing is found in the grammars. Matthiae gives examples in Greek such as, I am married; I married; the city is taken; the city was taken, etc. Rost gives analogous statements.}

{**In such perfects the idea of the casual action appears to be almost merged, and they are virtually presents; not however to be confounded with the presents from which they are derived. Of this kind are kektemai (I possess), etc., keklemai (I am called), etc.}

290 It is not then "who have been called" (that would be the aorist), but "which are called," or, the guests. It is not the dispensational title which now attaches to the saints of God; for that would give it the sense of the act of calling, or historical sense, and not the present condition at the time spoken of in the chapter.

And then just see the consequence of this false grammar. "They, as well as those who merely profess the name of Jesus, are 'guests at the marriage supper.'" Now, if they are, in the sense of the chapter we are examining, then the professors who are to be cast into outward darkness are "blessed." And this is just the effect of taking the perfect tense, which speaks of their continuously and actually enjoying the privilege of the invitation, for the aorist, which refers to the historical fact of invitation and acceptance making a guest. The author therefore is obliged to say, "The blessedness of those 'guests' - those of them at least who are duly arrayed." And hence he confounds it with the parable which describes the act of calling.

And the author goes so far as to say, "The saints are here represented, first as those who have been guests at the marriage supper." Now this is most positively and unequivocally bad grammar, as no one can deny who knows what the force of the Greek perfect is. But there is no such exception made. The guests, the called, are blest. I should not have rested so long here on a point of grammar, but that it involves the sense of the passage, and that the English translation is quite right, and the critical remark, and all built on it, quite wrong. The Greek for "those invited" in Matthew 22:8 is not "who have been called," or "have been guests," but who "are." It is not an account of what may have been historically done in past time.

As to "heaven opened." It is clear that the horse was not a symbol of what was to be done in heaven. But "millennial reign" is a little vague, because He hardly reigned millennially before Antichrist was destroyed, and yet He came on the white horse to destroy him. Nor do I think it will be ever found that horses symbolise reigning, but the providential actings of God in the way of imperial power on the earth. The reigning millennially is in chapter 20:14. This is "making war," which is not reigning; for a man does not reign where he makes war. A horse then is power for the earth, but it is not reigning. He was coming moreover, though there be no description of it; for the armies in heaven followed him. We have a statement as to those that are with Him, which shews that they are not angels who are spoken of in the war against the ten horns. They are (chap. 17) called, and chosen, and faithful; which words are all characteristic of the same persons. Besides, they were clothed in "fine linen," which I suppose is hardly angelic clothing: that elsewhere is linon (Greek). In this chapter "fine linen" is used of the righteousness of saints.

291 The distinction between the sword and the rod of iron is a curious one. The sword slays all. It does slay the armies of Antichrist.* But why all? This does not seem necessary, for example, in the church of Pergamos. The use of it in Hebrews 4:12 seems to lead one to suppose that it is not necessary. Here the word is 'smite.' Still, I should think that breaking to shivers like a potter's vessel is something like destruction. That is what is connected with the rod of iron. And where is it found as the shepherd rod of governance?

{*The beast of Rev. 13:1.}

The next note is a mere changing of the passage to meet the author's views. The apostle saw three things: thrones and persons sitting on them; the souls of them that were beheaded; and those who had not worshipped the beast. All are merged by the writer into one. Persons sitting on them "and" the souls, means that the persons sitting were these souls. And the souls, etc., and those who had not worshipped, means the souls, specially those who had not worshipped. And thus there can be no doubt that martyrs alone are spoken of in this passage!

As in other places where particular classes are spoken of, he regards those spoken of as representative bodies. But why do those who have come out of the great tribulation represent those who do not? Or those who have testified against Antichrist* represent those who have not? The author so regards it: that is really all that can be said. And this is the more unreasonable, because the persons mentioned in this verse have been already mentioned as distinct classes (that is, in distinct circumstances previously). In chapter 6 we have those who had been slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they had held, who are given each one a white robe, and told to wait till certain other brethren who should be killed as they were should be fulfilled. Here they are again in chapter 20. We find certain others killed under the beast, celebrated as having gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image (chap. 15:2) according to the warning of chapter 14:9; and we find them again in the verse under consideration.

{*The beast of Rev. 13:1.}

292 Whereas the first words of the verse are quite general for the state all the saints of the first resurrection would be in. I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. Royal judgment was now set in its place, and we know the saints are to be there. If these slain ones might have seemed to have fallen under the power of Satan (as to the body, they might, for there are those that can kill the body till judgment is executed), but they live and reign with Christ when the judgment is set.

The seven churches do not represent all churches. Each church represents a particular moral state. The professing church, or a particular part of it at any given time, may be in that state. Did Philadelphia represent Sardis, or any church in a similar state?

But the special circumstances and position of saints, which the Revelation so carefully brings out, the author of the "Thoughts" is determined at all cost to set aside.

As to Gog and Magog, there is no doubt of course that this is not what is mentioned in Ezekiel. As to the time, it will be evident to one examining it, that Ezekiel (beginning for example from chapter 34) gives the whole history of Israel's return and blessing, but chiefly in reference to external, rather than internal circumstances; because the four monarchies of the image of Daniel 2 are not the subject of Ezekiel's prophecies. And I do not doubt that an interval elapses between the first appearing of Christ in judgment of Antichrist, and His Solomon reign - what I may call, to explain myself, a David reign. But then all that is stated about it here is wrong. The period of the visitation of the Lord in Jerusalem is not His manifestation as Morning Star,* as contrasted with the Sun arising with healing on His wings.

{*If pages 150, 151, and 333, in the "Thoughts," be compared with page 317, it will be evident on the author's system the visitation on Jerusalem cannot be the manifestation as Morning Star, because the judgment of Christendom and Babylon had already taken place by the Lord in this character. It cannot therefore be at Jerusalem what it is described to be in page 533. I do not repeat the comment I have made in the remarks on each of these places.}

293 This last is from Malachi, and applies to His visiting the remnant in Jerusalem. While the proud were called happy, they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, etc., and I will spare them, saith the Lord. "Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked," etc. "For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts." Is it not evident here that the arising of the Sun of righteousness on those that fear the Lord is identified with the judgment on the wicked, in the day that the Lord of hosts shall do this? The wicked being as ashes under the soles of the righteous' feet? Is not this the day of visitation from the Lord - this day that burns as an oven?

And now, where is there anything said of Christ's manifestation as morning star in judgment on Jerusalem? No such thought is found in Scripture, nor anything like it. The morning star is found in two* places in Scripture; in chapter 22 Christ is the bright and morning star, where it has no connection with judgment at all, but makes the Spirit and the bride say Come. And in the promise to the overcomers of the church of Thyatira, when, after speaking of ruling the nations with a rod of iron, it is added as a distinct thing, "And I will give him the morning star."

{*There is besides "till the day star arise in your hearts."}

294 Certainly the idea conveyed by the day star is something before the day, the portion and joy of those that watch for the morning. The day is a thief and a snare to the whole world, though we are peacefully of it. The day, bright and blessed though it be in result, is never spoken of but as terrible in its coming on the world, as we have seen in Malachi of the Sun of righteousness. The star is never spoken of as rising on the world at all.

All the system founded on this is the mere imagination of the author.

As to the nations confederate with Gog, the author believes them "to be the nations which are now occupying the districts in the centre of Asia north-east of Persia - Bokhara for instance." It is curious the effect of living what Lord Bacon calls, in the apexes of divine learning ("inter apices divinae scientia"), especially when mountains of systems are built upon it. The author had no need to go so far north-east of Persia to seek the confederates. If he had taken the trouble to read the chapter in Ezekiel, he would have found it was just Persia itself, and the nations south-west of it: to give them in their Hebrew names (which I do, because then Scripture will direct us), Cush and Phut. All the district about Euphrates and the Tigris is Cush according to the Scripture, and perhaps large districts in Arabia. See Genesis 2:13; chap. 10:7-12.* Further, in Jeremiah 46:9, we find Cush and Phut connected with the Egyptian army, that is, with Mizraim, another son of Ham - Lydians also. Persia, Lud, and Phut, were among the mercenaries of Tyre, Ezekiel 27:10. Cush, Phut, and Lud, are again identified with Mizraim or Egypt; Ezekiel 30:5. Cush, Phut, Mizraim, and Lubim (not Ludim), are again together in Nahum 3:9. Lubim I suppose may be the Lehebim, who with the Ludim (whose territory I do not pretend to decide) were sprung from Mizraim or the Egyptians. Nahum shews that Cush and Phut were naturally connected with Egypt.

{*In more modern times it seems plain that Cush means the African Ethiopia, see Esther 1:1; Ezekiel 29:10.}

295 The fact of the existence of an Euphratean Ethiopia* settled by Nimrod, and an Ethiopia connected with Egypt, is nothing wonderful when we recollect that all these countries were peopled by the descendants of Ham. The Abrahamic descendants of Shem having been seated by the Lord's judgment in the centre of them all by the almost complete extirpation of the Canaanitish race - complete, had Israel been faithful.

{*I do not doubt that this is the meaning of "beyond the rivers of Ethiopia or Cush," Isaiah 18. The power there spoken of as acting in the latter day was beyond the boundaries of the nations then in relationship with Israel, of which the Nile and the Euphrates are taken as the expression.}

Hence, however, it is clear that, instead of the confederates of Gog being the nations to the north-east of Persia, that is, Tartary proper, they are Persia itself, and the nations southwest of it, and perhaps (if we adopt Armenia as the seat of Eden) the north-west. I leave others to determine whether Ethiopia and Libya are to be extended to the countries so called in Africa. The only word which could refer to Tartary is "north quarters," or, more properly, the recesses of the north. But this can hardly be, because he is speaking of countries lying west of the Caspian (for so Togarmah is supposed to be), that is, Armenia and the Caucasian range, and would, if going beyond Togarmah itself, rather mean Russia. Perhaps we should more rightly take it as meaning that Togarmah itself was the recesses of the north. Ezekiel 27 leads one to consider that Meshech, Tubal, and Togarmah, were districts of trade connected with one another: at least they are mentioned in succession: "Many people with him" may of course include Bokhara, or any other country around. On the whole, the district named reaches from the Persian Gulf to Russia, leaving aside the question of Ethiopia and Libya in Africa.

There is another question remains - Gog himself; for we have been considering his confederates. Meshech and Tubal are certainly his dominions. I suppose there is little doubt of the region designated by these words, namely, in general, the country between the Caspian and the Black Sea, though it may go farther into northern Asia and southern Russia* (Gomer had probably a wider range). The only word which remains is "chief prince," or prince of Ross, as some have translated it. The author believes the English translation right; he does not tell us why. The elder Lowth a century ago translated it "prince of Ross" (or rather "Rosh"); the most accurate modern translation does so too. Gesenius gives it as the unquestionable meaning, and adds that without doubt it means the Russians. In the middle ages in the East they had the name of Ross. The English translators have given, as an equivalent translation in the margin, "prince of the chief" (the chief being Rosh in Hebrew). So that the English translation gives both. For my own part, though there may be some difficulty in the accents, and everyone knows how obscure a point that is, I do not see how it is possible to translate it "chief prince." The Septuagint have it as a proper name, Rhos. If it be translated as a word, and not a name, it surely should be "prince of the head, of Meshech, and of Tubal."

{*The countries in general described are just the ancient Scythians and their conquests: for they went as far as Egypt.}

296 The reader may be surprised at the introduction of all this geography, or why the author of the "Thoughts" is anxious for the English translation "chief prince." The reason is this. If Lowth and the other authorities I have mentioned are right, the whole fabric of the author falls together, for this reason - that Russia and her professing Christian dependencies will have been judged already as Christendom, and therefore cannot come here in Ezekiel as still to be judged.

In the next note it is stated that "there are evidently some who stand before the throne whose names are written in the book of life: and they will doubtless be very many." What the word of God says is, "Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire," but not a word of any who were being there. It was the dead only that were there: there is no proof that the saints will die in the millennium. All were judged here according to their works. I know not who should be justified if thus judged. I do not see that Scripture says anything as to the judgment of the millennial saints, if we except some general principle, that corruption cannot inherit incorruption. This judgment of the white throne would not reach those mentioned here. They are there alive in the camp of the saints and the beloved city. We have no account how they are changed to their eternal state; nor need we have.

I have nothing to say as to the sea, but to ask where it is said to mean "barrenness, separation, and the power of death." It is used figuratively for masses of people. In the millennial time I read of the abundance of the seas.

297 The rest of the note is more important. In the new heavens and the new earth, creation, "whatever shall then be known as creation [not of course the present groaning one, for the elements will have melted with fervent heat] will be enjoying glorious liberty, founded on redemption, similar to that which the heavenly city will be enjoying as soon as the millennium commences." That there will be a certain link of circumstances is all very true. But what means "similar"? The creature in us is to be fashioned like Christ's glorious body. I suppose that whatever is known then as creation will not be that. The residue of the note is most singular. The scripture says the creature is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, groaning and travailing until now, and is subjected to vanity, in hope that the creature itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. But, according to the author, it is to be freed from the bondage of corruption, but not brought into glorious liberty. Is not that rather a strange interpretation of the passage? The second reason why it waits with earnest expectation for the commencement of the millennium is, that it will behold in the heavenly city . . . a specimen and earnest of its own future glory. What part of creation does that? This merely means (if it means anything) that the saints on earth then, and of course the elect saints* exclusively, will see in the state of the heavenly saints that they will be in time as glorious as they. Now, I ask any one, is that to be found, or anything about it, in Romans 8, or anywhere in Scripture? It is only an effort to shew that the bride, the Lamb's wife, during the millennium will in the end be no better off than the rest. It may be so, for I will not reason on it here,** and that suffering with Him being the path to be glorified with Him is only a temporary ordinance, as well as the blessing announced to belong to those who have believed without seeing. But certainly it is produced here without any proof, and the passage commented on affords no idea like it at all; for the creature is distinguished from elect saints, who are groaning too. And it is accompanied with the singular assertion that, delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of God's children means that it is delivered from the bondage of corruption, but not into the glorious liberty, but that seeing that in others makes it know that it will be; though, as we have seen, this only applies to elect millennial saints, and certainly not in that sense to whatever is known as creation, if there be anything else.

{*Unless the author means to say that the physical creation will itself have the glory and likeness of Christ, which I suppose need not be reasoned about.}

{**In page 335 the author supposes the possibility of official differences; on the other hand, it is clear that the whole family of the redeemed will be with and like Christ in common Second Adam blessedness, the Son being Himself subject as Second Adam, and head of this blessed family of redemption man, the tabernacle of God being with men, no longer with a separate people on earth, or Himself in a certain sense absent,* or rather we "present in the body, and absent from the Lord." The distinctive honour or official difference of the heavenly Jerusalem, if such there be then, is a subject too large to enter into here, more especially as I have no very positive judgment about it.}

{{*Nor is it even the millennial way of uniting all things, which still as to the saints maintains the distinction of the heavenly glory and earthly glory: for there is glory celestial, and glory terrestrial.}}

298 The millennial state is not a final state, as everyone knows, or it would not be a millennium. But when it is said, "to those enjoying its full blessedness," this can refer only to their circumstances, for they already bear the image of the Lord from heaven. But though it be not final, the statements made here are totally unwarranted by the passage alluded to, and more than unwarranted.