Hope of the Morning Star.

1. Its Meaning and Implications.

We are going to take up, the Lord willing, a question (or questions) which of late seem more and more to be dividing those who alike look for the coming of the Lord as near at hand. The question is not, therefore, whether that coming be personal and pre-millennial or not: for, those for whom I write are equally assured that it is both; and the number of those who possess that assurance is, we may trust, becoming greater every day. For those who may still have question even as to this, there are now everywhere at hand abundant means of satisfaction. Nay, they have only, when once inquiry has been awakened with them, to examine their Bibles with a free and honest heart, to find it. They need but to give credit to Scripture for speaking with the same straightforwardness as we use with one another. They need only not to confound Israel and the Church; death or the taking of Jerusalem with the coming of the Son of man, and that in the clouds of heaven, and with all the holy angels with Him. To those simple, and not confused with unnatural interpretations, the word of God will become simple; and the great hope of the Church and of Israel will shine out with unmistakable plainness; nay, with a lustre lighting up every other part.

It is not as to this, at any rate, that we are now to inquire. The question before us is one that will take more attentive consideration to answer. There are apparent difficulties on the face of Scripture itself with that which nevertheless we must accept as the true one; and there are correspondingly objections which require full examination before we are entitled to do so. Especially as they seem to have led many who not long since held it to abandon it for another.

The hope of the Morning Star may sufficiently characterize the view before us. Christ Himself is the Morning Star, and as such promised to the Christian overcomer. The morning star as such precedes the sunrise; does not enlighten the earth, but is lost in the beams of the sun when it arises. In Scripture it is the seal upon the closing page of the New Testament, as the Sun of righteousness is the seal upon the last page of the Old. It is connected with heaven alone; while the Sun in its rising brings heaven and earth together. We hold, as many have held it, that Christ's coming as the Morning Star is the hope of the Christian, and introduces him to the enjoyment of his place with Christ in heaven. The dead saints of all the past are raised; the living are changed and caught up to meet the Lord in the air along with these. And this is the first thing now to be looked for, whatever signs may in fact be given before it of the Lord's approach; as even now there are many.

This "rapture of the saints" necessarily closes what we call the Christian dispensation. The true Church is gone from the earth, and what is left is a mere corrupt profession, now to be spued out of Christ's mouth as utterly distasteful to Him, and which is soon to give up even the profession, and, not having received the love of the truth, to fall under the terrible delusion of Antichrist.

Darkness is then covering the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; and this is the time, and these are the circumstances under which the light begins to break for Israel. The day of the Lord begins amid such utter darkness, and not before we are gathered to Him. As long as the gospel is still going out, Israel are "enemies" (treated by God nationally as such) "for your sake" — that is, for the Gentiles (Rom. 11:28). Now the darkness begins to disperse, and instead of the remnant among them being added to the Church, as in the present time, they "return to the children of Israel" (Micah 5:3): to Israelitish hopes and promises.

Prophecy as to the world, broken off with the breaking off of Israel, begins again, and time, which ceases to be reckoned when she is wholly (though but temporarily) given up as the people of God, now is reckoned again. The "end of the age," which is in fact the last week of Daniel's seventy, brings with it the ability to reckon prophetic times, and thus amid the gloom to calculate the nearness of deliverance. And they will need and value it, while having to endure to the end, to find the promised blessing: for this is "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer. 30:7), Israel's travail-time in which the nation will be born to God, when at last every one written among the living in Jerusalem shall be holy, "when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughter of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning" (Isa. 4:3-4).

Terrible will be the time they come through, "great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matt. 24:21; Dan. 12:1). It is the time of Antichrist, of the abomination of desolation in the holy place: when the world is permitted to show itself in its full character, the restraint upon the development of evil is removed, Antichrist shall replace Christ in the worship of the nations, and the "abomination" in the temple of God in Israel, challenge Him also in His Old Testament character, as well as in His New. The denial that Jesus is the Christ will accompany the denial of the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22).

The end will be delivering judgment by the coming of the Son of man from heaven, as the lightning gleam in the storm of judgment, from east to west over the heavens. The nations assembled against Jerusalem meet with complete overthrow; the leaders in the great revolt against God being cast into the lake of fire, Satan shut up in the bottomless pit; and the saints who have come with Christ to the judgment of the earth taking the place of rulers with Him over it during the thousand years of peace that follow.

Of course, this is not even a proper sketch of what takes place during and at the close of the interval thus indicated between the taking away of the saints to meet the Lord and His appearing in glory with them. The question before us is not of details as to the events that fill up the interval, but of whether it exists at all; whether the rapture of the saints and their return with Christ are separated by any appreciable length of time; whether or not the Church goes through the tribulation; whether the dispensations can so far overlap as to permit of Jewish saints, with hopes and worship corresponding to this, to co-exist upon earth with Christianity and the heavenly hopes that accompany it; whether the calculation of prophetic times is designed for Israel or the Church, or both; whether we are to look for the events or some of them, which admittedly precede Christ's coming in glory, as to take place before we are caught up to be with Him? The last point seems to be perhaps in special contention, one very vigorous writer regularly characterizing the view against which he contends as "Any moment Adventism." But our decision as to this will be best reached as the final result of answers given to the other questions, which manifestly all so bear upon one another as to make the decision of one very much that of all; while yet they constitute so many distinct lines of proof which, if they agree together in what answer they yield, confirm each the other as well as the whole view. They will be, not a threefold, but a fivefold cord, not quickly to be broken.

But before we take up such questions, in seeking answer to which the full strength of the objections made will be seen and tested, let us take into consideration the proof as to the whole which we may gain from a brief review of Scripture.

It is perfectly plain, and is said in so many words by the apostle, that "when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory" (Col. 3:4). It is quite clear, therefore, if we may take Scripture in its full force, that the taking up of the saints to be with Him, as described in 1 Thess. 4, must be before the appearing. This indeed still leaves it uncertain that any sensible length of time elapses between the two. Yet it argues that the Lord's descent into the air to the gathering place for His people is not an appearing. It is so far an unseen stage of His coming, and the rising of His saints to meet Him likewise would be unseen also: for when He appears we shall appear with Him, and "those that sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him."

What is connected with these two phases of His coming it is important to notice. With the first, Christ's reception of us to Himself, and the joys of the Father's house (John 14:2-3). With the second the reward of works, which is in the Kingdom. With the first, thus, the fruit of Christ's work; with the second, the fruit of our own. The order is noticeable. The first is the hope of the Morning Star, Christ Himself the Christian hope, but which leaves the world unblessed. The second is the day-dawn for the world, the "Sun of righteousness”.

The coming of the Son of man, as in Matt. 24, is manifestly the appearing. He comes in the clouds of heaven, with all the holy angels with Him, and the comparison with lightning shows plainly the approach of judgment. Now what connects itself with this in this chapter? First, the "abomination of desolation standing in the holy place" — the Jewish holy place, for when they would see it, those that were in Judea were to flee to the mountains. Secondly, and given as the reason of their flight, "For then shalt be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to that time, no, nor ever shall be." This unequalled trouble is to be as short as severe: for "except those days should be shortened no flesh should be saved, but for the elect's sake these days shall be shortened:" Thirdly, immediately after this, "they shall see the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth" — or "land" — "mourn; and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

Now, here we find, in the last days, a Jewish remnant with some knowledge of Christ it must be supposed, for the exhortation addressed to them implies that they will be listening to His words, and yet so little Christian as to be under the strict law of the sabbath (ver. 20), and liable to be deceived by false reports of His being in the desert or in the secret chambers (ver. 25): just such as those disciples were whom the Lord then addresses. What has become of Christians and of Christianity at a time when this is possible, and when once more the holy place is recognized as in Jerusalem? Yet this is before the appearing of Christ, and some little while before, however grace may limit the time of tribulation spoken of. Does not this look as if Christianity were gone from the earth at this time, shortly before His appearing?

If we look further, this impression deepens. Our Lord has just referred us to Daniel. We find the equivalent of the expression for the first time, Dan. 9:27: "for the overspreading of abomination he shall make it desolate." A better translation would be, "because of the wing of abomination, a desolator;" but for our purpose either rendering may suffice. This is in the well-known prophecy of the seventy weeks, and in the latter half of the last week. At the end of the whole period would come the blessing, for Judah and Jerusalem, of which the angel speaks: for then would be made an end of sins, and reconciliation for iniquity, and everlasting righteousness brought in, and the holy place anointed (not made desolate); and yet according to the prophecy desolation continues up to the very end of this time. The blessing must come, then, suddenly indeed. In Matthew we see how it comes, by the appearing of Christ for them, and as in a moment.

The prophecy in Daniel is an instance of that non-reckoning of time, which has been already referred to as characterizing the present period. The seventy weeks are but 490 years. Sixty-nine of them end (483 years) when Messiah first comes. He is however cut off, and has nothing (so we should read the twenty-sixth verse): He does not bring in the blessing, and a time of confusion follows. Plainly the last week has not been fulfilled, and it is of this last week that the Lord in Matthew speaks. Here the doings of the "prince to come" are described, and it is not Christ, but His total opposite. A comparison of the chapters makes this absolutely plain. From the time of Messiah's cutting off until this prince appears there is only a gap of time, the length of which is in no way indicated to us; but we know that all the Christian centuries have in fact come in in that break. The nation of Israel has been set aside, and the heirs of heaven are being gathered. With the seventieth week Israel again comes into prominence, and time begins once more to be reckoned: but instead of blessing there comes for her a time of unequalled trouble until the last week is run out.

Notice the time from the setting up of the abomination till the full end: half a week of years, "time, times and a half," three years and a half; forty and two months; according to Jewish reckoning, 1260 days. We see how divine pity has in fact shortened the days. These numbers are of importance to us just now as a link of connection with other scriptures which will presently come before us. The covenant also made by this Gentile prince — we should read here "he shall confirm a covenant with the many," (the mass of the Jewish people, ) — which he breaks in the midst of the week, enables us to understand better the sacrificial worship going on in Israel according to such agreement, and the idolatry ensuing: "the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up" (Dan. 12:11).

Thus far it is plain that the prophecies in Daniel and in Matthew throw light on one another. Let us put by their side a third, which links the time of this Jewish distress with the last days of Christendom. I refer to 2 Thess.2 for the full scripture, which with the help of what we have already got, we shall now easily understand. The prophecy of the man of sin has been so long applied to the head of the Romish superstition, that Protestant Christians are very jealous of another application. Yet the apostle makes the revelation of the "man of sin" to be the sign of the "day of the Lord being now present," as the Revised Version rightly gives it, while popery has been fully manifested, for those that have eyes to see, more than 300 years. Moreover the "day of the Lord" leading us to Zechariah's prophecy of Israel's last trouble (Zech. 14), and Zechariah leading us to Matthew and to Daniel, the "abomination of desolation standing in the holy place" is so simply explained by one who "sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God" (Revised Version), that an unprejudiced mind can hardly refuse the identification of one with the other.

Every other circumstance corresponds. We find this man of sin the leader of the grand final apostacy of professing Christians from the faith of Christ (vers. 3, 9-12): God at last giving over to strong delusion those who believed not the truth when it was there, — an awful climax to which everything is surely tending now. Moreover, just as in Matthew the Lord appears at the end of the time of trouble, so here the wicked one is "consumed with the breath of His mouth, and destroyed with the manifestation of His coming" (R.V.).

Thus Christendom is apostate, or apostatizing from the faith at the very time that the company of believing Jews, which Matt. 24 shows us, are suffering in the great tribulation. Jewish and Christian apostacy unite together at the close (1 John 2:22).

Now where, we may ask again, during all this time, are the saints of the present day? Where are the real Christians, when the mass of mere professors have become apostate, and the saints of Jerusalem are plainly once more professors of Judaism? and in that "end of the age" which, as the last broken off week of determined times for Israel, is unmistakably Jewish? The apostle beseeches the Thessalonians "by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto Him," not to be deceived: and we ought now to understand such an appeal.

But this is by no means the full weight of evidence.

The book of Revelation as a whole may be brought forward as proof, the most detailed and elaborate that could be given, perhaps; and can only be rightly understood with what we had already before us. We must look at this, however briefly, or we could have no idea how full the proof from Scripture is.

Revelation is divided, and that by the Lord Himself, into two main parts, "the things that are," and "the things that shall be after these" (meta tauta). "Hereafter" is not sufficiently explicit, and so far misleading: these divisions give us, as we shall see, the "present things," the time in which the Church of God is upon earth; the "things after these," that which begins when the true Church has been removed to heaven, and God's dealings with Israel begin, for their recovery and final blessing.

Each part has a prefatory vision which is the key to all that follows. "The things which thou hast seen" (Rev. 1:19) are the first of these: Christ's own inspection of the Churches (the candlesticks), His witness for Himself during the night of His absence. The candlesticks are seven, the number of completeness; and while they are, in the first place, the, seven Asiatic churches, yet these are clearly representative of the Church at large. Only in this way do the addresses in the next two chapters attain due relation to the universal character of the rest of the book; only in this way do we understand the emphatic call at the end of each address, to every one who has an ear to listen; only in this way, question it however we may, does the Church of God on earth come at all into the prophecy. Moreover, it is anything but a new thing to say that these churches, as successively brought before us here, will be found, by any one who seriously inquires into it, to present the characters of the Church in successive stages of its history to the present time.* Thus we can see how more and more urgently, from the address to Thyatira onwards, as warning or as encouragement, the coming of the Lord is pressed; until to the Philadelphian overcomer is given the assurance of being "kept out of the hour of temptation which is to come upon the whole world, to try those that dwell upon the earth." And then, indicating the way of accomplishment of this, the announcement now is made, "I come quickly." How else should they be kept out of the very "hour" of a universal trial, but by being taken up to meet the descending Lord? After which Laodicea gets a final threatening to be spewed out of Christ's mouth; He, though still knocking, being already outside the door!

{*The proof of this, which it would be an injustice to it to give in the brief way in which would alone be possible here, may be found at length in my “Present Things,” or as part of a larger volume, “The Revelation of Christ,” issued by the publishers of the present paper.}

Thus the "things that are" end, and a new vision begins, with a Voice as of a trumpet calling up to heaven. The scene entirely changes, and the seer becomes in the Spirit afresh. A throne set in heaven is before him; and there are thrones* around the Throne. These thrones have human occupants, who are priests as well as kings, and sing the song of redemption when the Lamb appears (Rev. 5:8-10). Through the scenes that follow they are still in their places round the throne, "all the angels" being seen again round them in an outer circle. Other redeemed ones take their place "before" that Throne, but not "around" it (Rev. 7:11, 15).
{*Not “seats” merely, as in the common version.}

But let us look at the Throne itself: it is a throne of judgment; "lightnings and voices and thunders" proceed out of it. The earth is threatened; nay, but the bow of promise, of the color of new verdure refreshed by rain, assures us that God's covenant as to the earth is not forgotten; rather, it is coming into remembrance, as if anew. This storm is to purify and bless. Heaven's open doors having received the multitudes of heavenly saints, the time of the earth is come; and therefore Israel's. The book of God's counsels as to the future is opened: who can open it? The Lamb! Yes, assuredly it is the Lamb; but notice His character now: "The Lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed to open the book" (Rev. 5:5). Judah's, Israel's, conquering King it is who opens the future now, and this makes doubly clear that that which is to follow concerns the earth and Israel.

Pass on: the lightnings flash and the thunders utter their voice; but four angels stand upon the four corners of the earth to keep back the winds from every quarter, until, as the voice of the interpreting angel declares, they have sealed the servants of God in their foreheads (Rev. 7:1-3). And who, then, are these? "A hundred and forty and four thousand out of every tribe of the children of Israel." Can these be simply symbolically such? No: Judah's Lion is opening the book. The Gentiles are not indeed forgotten: look at the vast multitude out of all nations that, in the next vision, are seen before the throne. Ah, the great throng of the redeemed of all time are they? No, says the interpreting voice again, "These are they that come," not "out of great tribulation" simply, as our common translation has it, but "out of the tribulation, the great one," as it literally reads. They are a multitude gathered out of the time of the end, as we have seen it; and of Gentiles, separate from the multitude of Israel's sealed ones: both joining together in testimony as to the period we have reached. The church-scroll that Peter saw let down from heaven, has been taken up thither again. Jew and Gentile are no more united into one body, but are in different spheres of blessing; the Jew having the foremost place, and becoming the communicator of blessing to the nations round; Israel becomes Jezreel, the "seed of God."

Surely, in all this, it should not be hard to determine the doctrine of Scripture as to the coming of Christ for His saints, or the hope of the Church as the Morning Star.

With the last week of Daniel's seventy, the greater part of Revelation is concerned. What very definitely marks this is the frequent specification of the very time before mentioned, the half week or half-weeks, whichever way we take it, of the last week. It is variously connected (1) with the maintenance of a special Elias-like testimony, the two witnesses, in the time of the end (Rev. 11:3-8); (2) with the flight of the Jewish remnant into the wilderness, and their protection there (Rev. 12:6, 14); and (3) with the "practising" of the Roman "beast," when the little horn seen by the Old Testament prophet has become the 8th head of empire as seen by the New Testament one. Here no essential mistake seems possible. In the i9th chapter, after the marriage of the Lamb has taken place in heaven, we see Him descend with His saints to the judgment of the earth. Here from the closing portion of the book, as before from the beginning of it, we have witness that the taking up of the saints precedes by some time, at least, His appearing with them; but this the other passages that we have examined, not only confirm, but develop fully.

For all this, there are many opposers of this doctrine; and we are now to look at the arguments by which they would substantiate their opposition.

2. The Old Testament and the New; Israel and the Church; and the Relation of Prophecy to Each

Of fundamental importance to the discussion before us is the consideration of the distinctive difference between the Old Testament and the New, and as connected with this, of the unique character of the Church of Christ. And this will be found to involve a special relation in which it stands to prophecy. These are indeed matters which have been often taken up, and it would seem as if apology were due for taking them up again. The necessity for doing so could not perhaps be shown more plainly than in the following quotation from one who takes the opposite position to that for which we are contending here; and for this purpose I introduce it in this place. The writer says: —

"It is a pleasure to quote the following admirable words from Dr. Gebhardt, to confirm what we have stated, that this term 'end' is applied to the present age: 'Christianity is nothing and will be nothing else than the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy,* or the realization of the eschatology of the Old Testament prophets, throughout the whole New Testament time, until the Lord comes — and even on to the final glorification of the world.' Prof. Volck is more definite and to our purpose: 'Since the ascension of Christ we stand in the last days until the Lord comes.' With still greater definiteness, Dr Hobart, another profound student of prophecy, says: 'The whole of the New Testament times is called by the apostles, and by the Lord Himself, the 'end.' It is expressly stated that at His first advent Christ appeared at the end of all preceding ages — an 'end' to be closed up by His second advent. In this sense our whole Age in the New Testament is conceived of as the end of all the ages that went before.’" **

[*Italics ours.

** “The Doctrine of the ages,” p.83}

One can hardly imagine that the words we have emphasized here can be intended by the writer or taken by him who puts his seal so strongly upon them, in the full sense which they would bear for the ordinary reader. "Christianity nothing else than the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy"! All the New Testament, therefore, so far as relating to this, adding nothing even to the Old! Can that be intended? All the mysteries "hidden from ages and generations" and "now made manifest to the saints" blotted out by one stroke of the pen; and the deed applauded by one who would join the apostle in saying, "Let a man so account of us as ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God"! No: we must refuse to believe that this can be really meant in its entirety either by Dr. Gebhardt or the one from whom we quote him.

But that the writer does diminish greatly the character of these mysteries will be evident by another quotation: —

"There is no foundation whatever for the assumption that 'the Church which is His Body' is to be made up of the believers between Pentecost and the Parousia. A new body was not formed on the day of Pentecost. The fact that all Old Testament saints had divine life through faith in Christ made them members of His Body. The special revelation given to Paul, — 'the mystery' revealed through him — was that believers from amongst the Gentiles, without taking a place in subordination to the Jews, as they will do in the Millennial Age to come, are now, in this Age, heirs to the inheritance, members of the body, and partakers of the promise given through Abraham to the sons of Israel. This is the new thing — Israel set aside from national supremacy during the present gospel period, and all nations evangelized in the power of the Holy Spirit. In the next Age these national distinctions will again be resumed."*

{* “The Doctine of the Ages,” p 55.}

Thus we see that the questions connected together at the beginning of this paper are in fact in intimate relation to one another, and that the old contentions still have to be maintained. We may well begin with asking ourselves, Is it the fact that this equality of Gentiles with Jews in the things noted, — things which all believers in Israel already possessed — is the "new thing," the "mystery revealed through Paul?" If so, there must be, it is plain, a large measure of truth in Dr. Gebhardt's assertion that we are living only in the last days of the Old Testament prophets; with this reserve, that Gentiles have a co-equal place with Jews which the prophets did not contemplate. Are we prepared to accept this as the fact?

The three things belonging to the mystery of Christ revealed to Paul which are referred to, are better stated in the original Greek of Eph. 3:4-6 than in the common or revised translations. There is indeed a difficulty in putting it into English that is not awkward or else periphrastic. The most literal would read, "that the Gentiles should be joint-heirs, and a joint-body, and joint-partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel." It is strange enough that in the reference just made (though it is true it is not given as a quotation) the last important words should be omitted, and the "promise given through Abraham to the Sons of Israel" should be substituted for "His promise in Christ through the gospel." No doubt it may be said the promise was always in Christ, and the gospel is the same gospel. Indeed, the last is said, (p. 90;) though proofs of the opposite have been often given. Why should they be disregarded?

The Lord had been preaching the gospel (Matt. 4:23; Mark 1:14-15) from the beginning of His ministry; yet it was only at the time when, being rejected, He charged them that they should tell no man that He was the Christ; that Jesus "began to show unto His disciples that He must go unto Jerusalem and …be killed, and be raised again the third day" (Matt. 16:20-21). Now Paul tells the Corinthians (1 Cor. 15) that precisely that was the gospel he had preached to them, which they had received, and in which they stood, that "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again." Yet the Lord had not even to His disciples mentioned this before; and when He did, "Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him, saying, Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be to Thee."

Doubtless for us there is "one gospel, the only gospel": in that we shall all agree. If any now preach a "different gospel," as the apostle wrote to the Galatians, it is "not another": for there is no other. Doubtless, also, in type and prophecy Christ's death had been foretold, and the glories that should follow; yet, speaking of this very thing, the same apostle tells us, to whom at first it had been so strange and so unwelcome, that "of this salvation the prophets enquired and searched diligently," and to them "it was revealed that not unto themselves but unto us they did minister the things." To us indeed they minister these things now; but how has this ministry been made available to us? The apostle tells us: They are "reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven."

This gospel, then, which is our gospel, has indeed its roots in the Old Testament, and to us ministers its blessings. For all that, it was not the gospel of the prophets' days, though faith might and did realize the goodness of the Lord at all times. Now that it has come, it necessarily stands out as if there were no other; and so the apostle says of Israel, "As concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake" — for the Gentiles (Rom. 11:28). They are treated as enemies, — as having accepted the responsibility of that death which they inflicted, and which the gospel proclaims. Nationally, they are thus enemies; and not until the gospel ceases to go forth, will Israel come to salvation. For, as the prophet is witness, it is when "darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples, that the Lord shall arise upon" Israel, "and His glory shall be seen upon" her (Isa. 60:2). The light of the gospel must have gone from the earth for such gross darkness to exist.

Thus "His promise in Christ through the gospel" would by no means be that to the sons of Israel, but Paul the apostle to the Gentiles it is who claims it in some special sense as his: "my gospel." And it has been long since pointed out that no other besides Paul gives us the doctrine of justification, or the full development of the place in Christ. The promise here spoken of is the blessing flowing out of this, and (although it be true that "if ye be Christ's ye are Abraham's seed,") goes far beyond anything promised to the sons of Israel. It must do so, inasmuch as the place itself is entirely unknown in the Old Testament.

Then as to joint-heirship, with whom are we joint-heirs? No one can have a doubt, who goes to the New Testament for an answer; none can have the least knowledge, who goes to the Old. Abraham was "heir of the world," but is that our measure? No, we are "joint-heirs with Christ;" and it is Paul again who declares this to us (Rom. 8:17). Had the "sons of Israel" ever such an assurance? No, in no wise: we are here again not introduced as Gentiles into Israel's blessing, but, whether Jew or Gentile, into what is immeasurably higher.

Lastly, the "joint-body" is, as we are well aware, the "body of Christ." Scripture, and indeed the apostle Paul again, declares that the Church is Christ's Body, and that "by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles" (1 Cor. 12:13). Thus, while it is true that "all Old Testament saints had divine life through faith in Christ," we may not say, unless in the teeth of Scripture, that this "made them members of His Body": for only the baptism of the Spirit does this. And again, though our author says that "a new body was not formed on the day of Pentecost," yet the Lord Himself tells His disciples that they would be baptized of the Holy Ghost then. What then are we to make of this positive assertion?

If, then, a new body was formed at Pentecost, it was certainly a body unknown to the Old Testament Scriptures, which has nothing of the "sons of Israel," even those converted to God, being the Body of Christ. The only passage for it that has been produced, so far as I am aware, is Isa. 26:19, which reads with the omission of the words supplied by the translators, "Thy dead men shall live; my dead body, they shall arise." The word used here has no plural, but is joined to a plural verb, and is therefore in the revised version, as by Delitzsch and others, taken as a plural, "my dead bodies." Here all semblance of application to what is before us is lost. But if even the singular were to be preserved, and Jehovah really calls dead Israel "My corpse," when He brings her out of her grave, we may well wonder at the boldness that would apply such a term to the Body of Christ; especially when the whole claim of Israel to be this is to be founded upon it. It is hardly worth while to discuss it further.

But the Church of Christ, as indwelt of the Spirit, is also the "House" and "Temple of God"; and here again is what Israel never was, nor any part of Israel. While, if Israel was indeed the Bride of Jehovah, and is to be again married to Him after her long divorcement, as Hosea declares (Hosea 2:16, 19, 20), the similar relationship of the Church to Christ in no wise can make them identical (Eph. 5:32). The latter is part of the "mystery" of the Church; the former, a well-known truth of the Old Testament.

The Church is heavenly; Israel, earthly. If they are identical, then the Church and Israel have no separate interests, and there is accomplished, though in a different way, the same gross confusion as long prevailed, and still prevails very much, among post-millennialists. With them Israel's promises were made over to the Church; in this the Church would be merged in Israel.

Thus the marriage of the Bride of the Lamb takes place in heaven (Rev. 19) before Christ descends with His saints to the judgment of the earth. The Christian book of prophecy, Revelation, is all through concerned with the connection of the Old Testament in this respect with the New. Everywhere it adds the heavenly to the earthly side of the last things; as, conspicuously, in its view of the "thousand years" in the following chapter. There we have no details of earthly blessing. Neither Israel nor the Gentiles come into the scene. But what have we? The reign of the heavenly saints with Christ over the earth, and the defining and limiting the thousand years themselves, giving them their true relationship to the eternity which follows. In connection with all this we find a Jerusalem indeed, but it is the new and heavenly Jerusalem and not the earthly city.

Thus the Church, spite of denials, begins at Pentecost and is complete when the fulness of the Gentiles is come in and it is taken up to meet the Lord in the air. That the Old Testament saints share in heavenly blessing and in the reign with Christ over the earth has always been maintained; but that does not identify the one with the other. On the contrary the epistle to the Hebrews clearly distinguishes between "the church of the first-born ones whose names are written in heaven," and "the spirits of just men made perfect" — Old Testament saints, who as a body have been subjected to death (Heb. 12:23). The Church here has the same relation to other heavenly saints as Israel upon earth to the nations there; and this the words describing it point out.

How impossible, then, that "Christianity" should be "nothing else than the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy," when the fact is that it never appears in Old Testament prophecy! As having place in those mysteries which are characteristic of the New Testament, and which were "kept secret from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 13:35; Rom. 16:25; Eph.3:5; Col. 1:26) it lies hid in a mere gap of time only indicated in connection with the judgment upon Israel. In the prophecy of the seventy weeks, for instance, it comes in between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks; and the only event marked there is the destruction of the city and the sanctuary by the Roman people (Dan. 9:26). In Micah 5 we have what is, no doubt, the fullest statement in this connection, where Israel's judge, the Bethlehem-born ruler, being smitten by His people, this is followed by their being given up "until the time when she who travailed has brought forth: then," it is added, "shall the remnant of His brethren return unto the children of Israel." Here it is certainly implied that the brethren of the King had in the meantime been detached from the nation and its hopes; but what they had turned to in place of these is still not indicated.

There is another reason for this omission: that with Israel the hope of the world is for the same time set aside. Israel it is that is to "blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit" (Isa. 27:6). Good reason is there, then, why with her setting aside time should make no progress. Dates are connected with her; the determined times are upon Daniel's people and the holy city; and the centuries of gathering out a heavenly people go all uncounted.

A striking proof of this is found in Corinthians (2 Cor. 4:4); where Satan is called, not the "god of this world," as the common version has it, but the "god of this age."

Christianity is not reckoned as an "age," among the world-ages, or assuredly this could not be said. A world that has cast out Christ, Israel uniting with the Gentiles to do so, may be still that out of which grace saves, but nothing more. As the Lord said to the Jews that took Him, "This is your hour and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53), so "the age of this world," as the word really is in Eph. 2:2, is "according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." Satan is the "god of this age."

Hence "the end of the age" in the divine sense is, as has been already said, the last week of Daniel's seventy, broken off from the rest, and still to come. And thus also, Christ's death was for us who stand in this gap "the completion of the ages" (Heb. 9:26, Gk.), and upon us "the ends of the ages are come" (1 Cor. 2, Gk.). That does not mean, as Dr. Gebhardt supposes, that we are in the end-times of Jewish prophets, but the contrary; though the spiritual value of those ended ages is surely ours.

The reaping of this spiritual value of the ages past is indeed a thing of the greatest importance to note, for those who are disposed to even Christianity with any promises through Abraham to the sons of Israel. According to the apostle some at least of the prime factors of Israel's history "happened to them for types, and are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages are come." Such words are surely not intended to make us feel that we occupy but a place in the latter days of the Old Testament prophets; but rather that all times previous were intended to minister to the present, as (in some sense) time to eternity; the ages (for us) being completed when Christ died. We are not in any Jewish "end" at all. And though it is true that Abraham sought a "better country, that is, a heavenly", yet our portion as "blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 1:3) is only in contrast with any promise through Abraham to the sons of Israel that can possibly be shown. Abraham himself in this relation is the "heir of the world" (Rom. 4:13), and the sphere of Israel's blessing is distinctly defined in the same way: "The heavens are the heavens of the Lord: the earth has He given to the children of men" (Ps. 115:16).

3. The Resurrection of the Saints and the Great Tribulation.

It is evident from what we have been considering that the writers from whom we have been quoting are involved in the same great error. Overlooking the meaning of the time-gap in which we are, and ignoring or belittling the mysteries which give Christianity its distinctive character, we can be said to be in the "last days" of Jewish prophets, and "partakers of the promise given through Abraham to the sons of Israel." There is but one passage that I know which may seem to assert the first, and that is the quotation of Joel by Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17). But that is quoted to the Jews over whom through Christ's intercession the mercy of God was yet giving time for repentance (Luke 13:8-9), so that if even yet they repented nationally, the times of refreshing would come from the presence of the Lord, and He would send Jesus Christ again to them (Acts 3:19-21). This was soon ended by the rejection of the message.

That "in the end of these days" (of the prophets, Heb. 1:2, Gk.) "God hath spoken to us by His Son" says nothing of our place in them, and no more than Heb. 9:26, which asserts what in reality is very different. The sanctuary could not have been opened for us if the ages of probation had not been actually ended for us; nor could the history of Israel have disclosed its types, if for us the "ends of the ages" had not "arrived."

Yet the "end of the age" has in the prophetic sense not yet arrived (Matt. 13:39; Matt. 28:20): so that we cannot be in it; and the age to come has still a probationary character for men at large. For us the cross of Christ has already manifested the character both of the flesh and the world, and we need nothing else to manifest it. But how important for us to realize the gap in prophetic time in which we stand.

We are now to go in company with some other writers who have given us their refutation — to themselves such — of the views for which we are contending here. If they come to us in fragmentary, and perhaps disorderly fashion, the responsibility is not our own. It is due very much to the lack of seriousness with which the subject seems to be taken up. As Mr. Cameron affirms, "None of the learned students of prophecy in Germany seem to think the modern vagary of a secret rapture of the Church before the end time is reached is worthy of serious consideration." We can but lament the influence which the attitude of these learned Germans seems to have exerted over others in this matter, even when they can afford some brief moments to it. Their language is too often tinged with a scorn which might be spared without injury to their arguments, and which can only impress favourably those for whom the larger part of the argument is the man who uses it. Their method seems to be to gather up a sheaf of statements in denial of what they are dealing with, point them with scripture references, and launch them at the unwelcome doctrine; leaving the point and propriety of the application often to be determined or taken for granted as suits best the temper of the reader. We shall have occasion to point this out as we proceed; but it certainly makes harder the examination of arguments which have often to be first discovered, and perhaps unsuccessfully.

A tract is lying before me of twenty-one small pages, fourteen being taken up with an enumeration of the texts which have the words to show what the Scriptures say as to the question, "Can the Parousia (Coming in Person) of the Lord be separated from His Epiphaneia (Shining upon); or from His Apokalupsis (Revelation)?" The writer (Mr. Robert Brown) cautions us at the outset, "that positive and absolute statements of the Divine Word must of necessity be received before, and must therefore override, all inferences from other passages which seem to contradict them; as such inferences are, of course, merely human."

He concludes with some inferences of his own, which are, of course, as open to question as those of any other, and which we shall take up as such, but in the order which may be most convenient for us, and putting along with them the statements of other writers, as far as they may serve to give completeness to the subject before us.

But in the first place the question in the title of his tract is misleading, and as a consequence the classification of some of his texts likewise. For no one, as far as I am aware, would contend that the coming of the Lord could be separated from His manifestation or revelation. What is contended for is that the coming of the Lord into the air, as announced in 2 Thess. 4, takes place previous to, and in fact some time previous to, His coming on to the earth with the saints He has gathered to Himself before. Both would be His coming; and therefore the merely quoting texts with the word "coming" in them would settle nothing.

But the passage itself declares that those who sleep in Jesus God will bring with Him; when He appears, therefore, they shall appear with Him. That the Thessalonians needed to know, that the dead had not lost their place with Him in that day. How then would this be accomplished? The dead would first be raised and the living then changed and caught up with them. And so they should be ever with the Lord.

It was in fact a new revelation, and so the apostle announces it as what he said "by the word of the Lord." The twenty-fifth of Matthew had shown that the living saints would go forth and meet Him, but had said nothing about the dead at that time. The apostle adds as to the dead. Dr. West indeed declares with his usual strong assertion, that "the word of the Lord" here is nothing but the Lord's "Olivet discourse" (Matt. 24.; 25.). "It corrected the Thessalonian error as to the 'any-moment view'. Paul appeals to it to decide the question. He calls it the 'word of the Lord.' He had it on his table when he wrote both letters to the Thessalonians(!) He uses its very language. The seventieth week covers his own words in 2 Thess. 2:1-8." * But that settles nothing as to what is here. Where is the declaration in the Lord's prophecy as to the resurrection of the sleeping saints? One can only suppose that the gathering together of the elect from the four winds is taken to mean this; but the proof of it must be found, if found at all, elsewhere.

{* Daniel’s Great Prophecy, p.130.}

Moreover the apostle does not speak as if he were citing. In 1 Cor. 7:10, where he does cite, he says, "not I speak, but the Lord." Here it is the phrase used for a special revelation (See 1 Kings 13:2, 32; 2 Chron. 30:12; LXX.): "I say to you," but "by the word" or "a word of the Lord," (for there is no article) — that is, by a revelation.

Our assurance of this will be still more confirmed if we consider that Paul it is to whom especially belongs the revelation of the "mysteries" (Eph. 3:3-9), among which is that of the Church as the body and bride of Christ (Eph. 5:32). Could there be a thing which required less (as we would suppose) a special revelation to make it known to him, than the institution of the Supper of the Lord? It is narrated by three of the evangelists, and as the common feast of Christians was known to every one; and yet, as showing forth in the participation of it the unity of the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 10:17), and thus coming into the special sphere of his commission, it has to be the subject of a special revelation to him (1 Cor. 11:23). It is therefore in perfect accordance with this that the taking home of the Bride (Eph. 5:27) should be in like manner the subject of a special communication. Thus everything unites to refute Dr. West's assertion.

He has more, however, upon the subject of the resurrection of the saints which we must look at as nearly concerning us here. "Its time-point," he says, "is given with the utmost precision in the Scriptures. It is the time-point of the Second Advent for the salvation of the righteous and the destruction of the wicked, even as at the one time-point Noah and his family entered the ark, and the ungodly perished in the flood; and Israel was redeemed when Egypt was whelmed in the sea; and the Church fled to Pella when Jerusalem was destroyed. It is a time-point for both judgment and salvation. Asaph calls it the "shining of the Lord" (Ps. 50:2). Isaiah calls it His 'appearing' (Isa. 66:5) in order to raise the holy dead, deliver Israel, destroy the Antichrist, and bring to victory the Kingdom. Five times in the Old Testament this illustrious Parousia of Christ is described, (1) as the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven (Dan. 7:13); (2) of the Conqueror from Bozrah descending over Edom (Isa. 63:1-6); (3) of the coming of the Lord to Olivet (Zech. 14:5); (4) and to Zion (Isa. 59:20); and (5) in clouds both for Judgment and Salvation (Ps. 1:1-6; Ps. 96:13; Ps. 97. 2-8; Ps. 98:1-9; Ps. 110:1-7; Ps. 72:2, 4, 9-14, 18, 19; Ps. 113:2-17)."*

{* Daniel’s Great Prophecy, pp. 197, 198}

That is not the whole, but we pause here for the present. It is a good specimen of the style of argument on the part of one of the liveliest opponents to what he calls the "Any Moment Theory." One naturally supposes that all these references are to establish the time-point of the resurrection of the saints. That is what he is speaking of; but by a turn which, if we are not to call "dexterous," we must ascribe to his perplexingly involved style, a number of texts which merely speak of judgment and salvation at the appearing of Christ, come to look as if they were proof-texts of what he is seeking to establish; — even the Church's flight to Pella when Jerusalem was destroyed! Let us examine, however, as far as necessary, what he has set before us.

And first as to Noah and the flood, we may frankly admit the application to the coming of the Lord which He Himself makes (Matt. 24:37-41). "The one shall be taken and the other left." But we must handle such things more carefully than Dr. West: "taken" how and for what? Those whom resurrection takes out from among the dead are saints and taken for glory. At the rapture of the living saints, it is the same. In Noah's time, "the flood came and took them all away;" those taken are the judged and not the saved.

When the Son of man comes in the clouds of heaven, there will be a real correspondence with this. When the purification of the earth is in question, as it will be then, "the Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend." But that is neither dead nor living saints. The application here, therefore, fails entirely.

But Dr. West has forgotten Enoch; though, as a living saint removed to heaven before the judgment of the earth, he occupies a sufficiently striking position to attract attention. One who actually prophesied, Jude tells us, of the coming of the Lord, and seems to fill the gap that would otherwise be left in what is really a very striking picture of the times that are at hand. But the application fails Dr. West. If Enoch had been taken away at the time when those shut up in the ark were nearing deliverance, how readily would he have seen and seized so fair an argument.

But Israel was redeemed when Egypt was whelmed in the sea! True; but I see nothing that points in that either to the Coming, the Resurrection, or the Rapture: everything seems to be lacking here that would give even the semblance of proof of what it is cited for. That Israel will be actually delivered from her enemies again when the Lord appears is true, and her former history may typify her latter: but that shows nothing as to the Church or the risen saints.

As to the Church's flight to Pella, we need not waste time in imagining arguments from it, for those who have not ventured upon the task of pointing them out to us. And what does God shining forth out of Zion (Ps. 50) prove as to the time-point of the resurrection of the saints? Is it possible that ver. 5 can be the proof? It is clearly Israel that is gathered, for the psalmist says so; and nothing about resurrection at all.

In Isa. 66:5, the Lord appears to deliver Israel; but there is not even a hint of resurrection or rapture in it. In Dan. 7, the "saints of the high places," as "saints of the Most High" should rather be, if applied to heavenly saints, as I shall not at all deny when judgment is said to be given to them (vers. 18, 22), infers, of course, that they must be risen to reign as such. But nothing is said as to the time of their resurrection further than this. In Isa. 63, there is nothing at all of resurrection or of rapture. In Zech. 11:5, as Dr. West would even himself contend, the "saints," or "holy ones" coming with the Lord are probably only the angels, and thus every trace of resurrection or rapture is removed; and there is none in any of the texts that follow.

There is perhaps no need of question that upon none of these texts cited would Dr. West ground a very serious argument for the precision with which the time of the resurrection is fixed in the Old Testament. His real texts have been given before, and we must now go back to see what they have to say as to the matter in hand. He says: —

"Decisive and clear are the words of the angel, 'At that time,' when Israel is delivered, — 'many shall awake (literally, be separated) out from among the sleepers in the earth-dust; these (who awake at that time) shall be unto everlasting life, but those (who do not awake at that time) shall be unto shame and everlasting contempt' (Dan. 12:2). … It is the resurrection of the holy, and of Israel's holy dead that here is predicted, as in Isa. 26:19, and the non-resurrection of the wicked 'at that time' (Isa. 26:14)."

The translation here given of Daniel is an old Jewish one, not by any means commonly accepted, and yet certainly possible. The application to literal resurrection is in both cases questioned by many, though in Daniel less than in Isaiah; but it would be an unnecessary labour for our present purpose to examine this. The connection in Isa. 26 (which is not history nor historical prophecy, but a song to be sung at a future day,) is not of a nature to give any but the most general idea of the time of the resurrection, and certainly not of the relation of this to the "time of Jacob's trouble." In Daniel, at first sight, it seems otherwise, and that, if it be a literal resurrection that is here, this must be after the tribulation. Yet Auberlen remarks as to this: "To show the causal connection between the behaviour of the individuals during the time of probation and their eternal state — this is the sole purpose for which the resurrection is introduced; as to the chronological relation between the time of distress and the resurrection, not the slightest intimation is given. It is worthy of remark in relation to this point, that the phrase 'at that time,' occurs twice in 12:1, while no time is fixed in verses 2 and 3."* This, of itself, seems a sufficient answer; but we shall see, as we go on that we might admit all that is claimed with regard to the order of time without in the least involving what Dr. West supposes.

{* Daniel and the Revelation: translated by A Saphir, p. 174.}

But let us go on to the New Testament: as to this the same writer says: —

"Ten times this time-point is fixed at the close of the Great Tribulation, and is described (1) as the Lord's coming with His saints, the Holy Angels, for His saints, the holy living and the holy dead — a 'gathering of His elect' universally, involving first of all, the resurrection of the holy who sleep in the dust of the earth, then the rapture of these and the holy living ones, and their meeting of the Lord in the air (Matt. 24:29-31, 40, 41; Matt. 25:1); these scenes followed by the deliverance of converted Israel, — 'these My brethren,' (Matt. 25:40); the judgment of the nations (31-46), and the welcome to the Kingdom; (2) as a time-point for "our gathering together at Christ' (2 Thess. 2:1), 'in the air' (1 Thess. 4:17); (3) as the thief-time (Matt. 24:43); (4) as the coming to judge the World Power (Rev. 6:12-17); (5) as His coming under the seventh Trumpet, to vindicate the holy dead by their resurrection (Rev. 11:15-18); (6) as His coming to reap the holy living (Rev. 14:14-16); (7) and at the thief-time (Rev. 16:15); (8) and after the sixth vial (Rev. 16:12); (9) and to destroy Babylon (Rev. 16:19); (10) and the Antichrist (Rev. 19:11-21); (11) and to enthrone and reward His saints (Rev. 20:1-6) … From Moses to Malachi, and from Matthew to the Apocalypse by John, the resurrection of the sleeping saints is placed at no other epoch than at the close of the 'Tribulation Great,' and of the 'Warfare Great.'"

Again we have a number of passages grouped together, with merely a few words of application to mark his point; otherwise supposed to speak plainly for the view for which he contends : for he uses no argument, takes no pains to remove misconceptions, or meet objections; those who examine them must do the whole work both for him and for themselves. We shall attempt it nevertheless, with the more courage, that it is, at least, an enumeration of all the points that he can make, with great apparent precision. Let us attempt the examination.
(1) The first passages are evidently interpreted for us, and the interpretation becomes part of the proof. The "gathering of His Elect" is made to involve the resurrection of the dead and the rapture of the living. Yet we may question whether it does either, or rather applies to the gathering of the elect nation, Israel, from their long dispersion. In all the first part of the Lord's prophecy here to 24:42, Israel is manifestly in the foreground, as all other details show: in the very next verse to the one in question, the parable of the fig-tree for instance. As for the "deliverance of converted Israel" following these scenes, he can only appeal to the words, "these My brethren," which certainly does not show where the deliverance comes in. There need not be the slightest question that the appearing of the Lord itself marks the deliverance of the Jews at Jerusalem (as Zech. 14:3-5); which makes it natural to speak of the gathering of those scattered afar off. The place of Christians with reference to the coming is shown in the parables (comp. Matt. 13:34-35); but if the appeal to 25:1 is meant to make the "then" with which it commences prove that the rapture of the saints takes place at the time of the appearing, it will not bear the weight of such an argument. The parables are connected by their ends and not by their beginnings. For after this first going forth of the virgins, there is the tarrying of the Bridegroom, the falling asleep, the midnight cry, the rousing and going forth again — all following the "then." Will it be contended that this all takes place at the time of the appearing, instead of giving us a history of centuries? Let Dr. West defend this, if he can. But indeed he has merely indicated a text and left it. The rest here is not in dispute.
(2) The next two references, from the two epistles to the Thessalonians, need nothing to be said, as we have no controversy with the Scriptures, and the argument is not produced. The first epistle we have looked at already.
(3) The third head takes us back to Matt, 24:43, and has nothing to do with either the resurrection or the rapture.
(4) The fourth brings us to Revelation; passing over the decisive passages in the third, four and fifth chapters, as if they had no existence, and bringing us to the "Coming to judge the World-power" (Rev. 6:12-17), to a passage which does not speak of it, but of the alarm in men's minds as thinking of the Lamb's day of wrath as having come.
(5) The fifth again gives us Dr. West's interpretation "to vindicate the holy dead by the resurrection." The last words are his own, and a comparison with Rev. 6:10 may well raise question of them. Yet did this refer in fact to the resurrection of the martyrs (Rev. 20:4), there would not be the least perplexity growing out of this.
(6) As to Rev. 14:14-16 again, it is the interpretation that is taken for the proof, as so often. There are harvests of various character and various times; and there is nothing to show that this is in the tare-field of Christendom. We shall have to look at the parable another time.
(7) The coming as a thief is to the world (1 Thess. 5:2-4), and has in it no hint of the resurrection or the rapture; and (8) the eighth head is as little to the purpose here. Similarly the 9th and the 10th.
(11) One text only remains, and we shall consider it with Mr. Brown, Dr. West giving us no matter of contention really as to it. Our account with him is closed; although there may be something to add a little later: but as things stand we may certainly say that the strength of his argument is in no wise proportionate to the vigor of his language or the number of his texts.

Mr. Brown also contends that his texts prove that the saints are not to be raised before the great tribulation : —

"For they show that the saints are to be raised at Christ's Parousia; and that this Parousia will not take place until Antichrist has come to the end of his career; for they tell us that he is to be destroyed 'with the Epiphaneia' of this 'Parousia' (2 Thess. 2:8), and that the saints only then 'rest,' when Christ Himself is thus revealed, i.e. at His Apokalupsis (2 Thess. 1:7); when only they assume His likeness and are manifested with Him in glory (Col. 3:4; 1 John 3:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:17)."

We have the same peculiar manner of reference to texts that are not examined, as we have had before, the same putting in of words which are not in the texts, the same avoidance of opposing arguments and objections. One would think that our brethren had made a point of not reading the writings of those they are replying to. Think of people having need to refer us 1 Thess. 4, which we have been constantly quoting in behalf of the views in question, to show us that the saints are to be raised at Christ's Parousia! and then our needing to be shown that the manifestation of this Parousia destroys the wicked one. Why, we have been saying so all along; though perhaps without using the Greek word. What Mr. Brown needed to show us is that it is at the manifestation of the Parousia that the saints are raised.

Then he says that they "only then" rest when Christ is revealed; but it is Mr Brown who has put in the "only." The apostle tells the Thessalonians that they will have rest recompensed to them when their persecutors are troubled, putting these things together for the sake of the contrast; and it will be just as true when the Lord Jesus being revealed brings out the contrast, though the entrance into rest might be some time before. The next chapter shows that they were in danger of being led into the belief that their sufferings were a proof that the day of the Lord had come. Why, says the apostle, in the day of the Lord the opposite will be true: your enemies will be suffering, and you will be at rest.

But, says Mr. Brown, "only" at Christ's revelation will they assume His likeness and be manifested with Him in glory! The passage in the first epistle of John does not say when we shall assume His likeness, but that when He appears we shall be in it: for to "see Him as He is" necessitates that. There is again no "only," which is a misleading addition to the text. The resurrection chapter (1 Cor. 15) shows that the dead in Christ are "raised in glory," and 1 Thess. 4 that the meeting with the Lord is "in the air." When we see Him, then, we shall be already in His likeness, and when He is manifested, we shall be manifested with Him. How can the last be made to eke out the proof that we must wait for that manifestation to be changed into His likeness?

"Moreover," continues Mr. Brown," it is expressly stated elsewhere (Matt. 24:29-31) that the Parousia is not to take place till after, although it be 'immediately after, ' that 'tribulation,' while it is likewise stated that the martyrs under Antichrist (i.e. in the great tribulation) are to be partakers of the 'first resurrection' (Rev. 7:13-17; Rev. 20:4-6); and that this resurrection is to take place at Christ's Parousia (1 Cor. 15:23)! Now, as there are only two resurrections, (1 Cor. 15:23-24; John 5:25, 29; Acts 24:15; Rev. 20:4-5), it is manifest that the saints are not to be raised before the ' great tribulation' — a truth which is further confirmed by Dan. 7:21-22, 25, which tell us that Antichrist made war with the saints and prevailed against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the Kingdom."

We have looked at Matt. 24 sufficiently already, and have seen the mistake committed in supposing that the mere occurrence of the word "Parousia" proves anything in the matter. The question as to the martyrs in the tribulation having part in the first resurrection is one of more concern, and the consideration of it may give additional help as to some points which have been already before us.

In the revival of pre-millennial doctrine from its long slumber of centuries, the vision of the first resurrection given to John caused it to be thought that the saints that were to reign with Christ a thousand years were only the martyrs. It was not perceived, as it naturally had not been by the advocates of a "spiritual" resurrection, their predecessors, that there were here, in fact, two companies: first, thrones, upon which persons were sitting, to whom judgment was given; and then a company of martyrs, who alone were seen actually rising from the dead and joining the number of those already reigning.

Moreover these of the second company were not and could not be, all the martyrs that ever were, but specifically those that were slain for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God, and such as had not worshipped the beast, nor his image, and had not received his mark upon their foreheads nor on their hands, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The context shows, moreover, that, since all together make up the first resurrection, all the dead saints that ever were beside must be included in the first company of those already reigning when this company of martyrs are added to them.

Why, then, this strange division, as it might seem, between these two companies? There can be but one answer: it is a chronological division. These martyrs are people who died after the others (the great mass of saints) had been raised or changed and taken to heaven; and must have lived in a brief time at the end only, else no reason could be given for such a company being all martyrs, or at least, to speak within bounds, characteristically composed of them.

But this is again a very striking argument for the view for which I am contending:—the resurrection and rapture of the mass of dead and living saints having taking place before, yet not long before, the time contemplated in the vision. It confirms the truth of their being already in heaven in the fourth and fifth chapters, and agrees with what we find of the Gentile multitude of the seventh, that they had all come out of "the great tribulation." Thus the vision of the first resurrection in the twentieth chapter, instead of being against the view he is controverting, is in fact a remarkable witness for it. It shows the second company to have come into the first resurrection in an exceptional manner, and accounts for the strong way in which it is announced that all together these are the saints of the first resurrection. God's grace has overruled man's sin and violence to bring into it those who might naturally seem shut out.

The argument about two resurrections only, therefore, which Mr. Brown is not alone in advancing, fails entirely here. It is the very passage from which alone he really gets it, which itself makes and accounts for the exception as to it: it still remaining true that in character there are but two resurrections, the resurrection of life, and the resurrection of judgment, as in John 5.

Taking this now with us back to Dan. 12:2, let us notice how the addition to the first resurrection of this supplementary company (largely Jews also, as they necessarily would be) would set aside the difficulty that is made by Dr. West as to the first resurrection coming after the tribulation. It would even help to account for the terms used which express a partial rather than a complete number: "many," but still only a fragment of a larger number.

As for Dan. 7:21-22 being in opposition to the view we are contending for, as Mr. Brown supposes, it is merely what all prophecy shows, that Israel's distress goes on until the Lord's coming ends it.

4. The Tares, the Wheat, and the Harvest.

Mr. Brown brings forward in further proof the Scripture statements as to the end of the age and the harvest; but these we shall better consider as more fully taken up by another writer, B. W. Newton,* to whose arguments I therefore turn. The parable of the wheat and tares will come before us in this connection, and he believes it decisive as to the whole question before us. I think it will be found that all depends as to this upon how the parable is to be explained. But we must go carefully through his arguments which touch many questions and a considerable range of prophetic scripture. He says: — "I have long felt the parable of the tares to be quite conclusive of the question we are considering… Whatever else may be true, the Lord's explanation of the parable must certainly stand. We have in it a period definitely, and I might also say, chronologically marked, commencing with the sowing of the Son of man, and ending with the separation of the children of the wicked one. It is said that this separation shall not take place until the harvest; consequently until the harvest the field has some wheat in it. 'Let both grow together until the harvest.' No words could be more plain than these. They could not grow together until the harvest, if all, or even some of the wheat were gathered in many years before the tares were fully ripened; and they will not fully ripen until the time of Antichrist; indeed, it is expressly said that the tares are to be gathered first; and let it be remembered that not one tare is gathered except by angels sent forth; not one is gathered except at the time of harvest; not one is gathered without being rooted up; that is, taken out of the world. The meaning of the gathering of the tares is not left to our conjecture, but is explained by the Lord Himself: 'As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be at the end of this age. The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom' [this is the explanation of the gathering] 'all things that offend and them that do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire:' this is the explanation of the burning. The wheat and the tares are to grow together until this is done…..

{*"Five Letters on Events predicted in Scripture as antecedent to the Coming of the Lord."}

"How can any one doubt after reading this parable that the saints of this dispensation (for to them alone the name of wheat, as contrasted with tares, belongs) will continue in the world together with the professing visible body until the end of the age, that is the harvest? For it must be remembered that the harvest is not said to be in the end of the age, but that the harvest is the end of the age." (Pp. 18-20.)

This is the whole of Mr. Newton's argument; which he defends, however, at the close of his pamphlet from objections drawn in part from some very natural mistakes as to his doctrine, which will serve to keep us from falling into them, while some of them with his answers we shall have to consider further on.

First of all, as to the "end of the age," a term which we have already considered, and which is of very great significance in relation to the whole matter before us: he guards us from the mistake that he takes it to be "one definite moment, marked by one event, and that the saints remain until it is entirely over and passed away." He regards it "as the name of a certain period, perhaps a considerably lengthened period, during which many events will occur. But this period," he remarks, "must have a beginning, and as soon as ever that beginning comes, we may say, 'the end of the age' has come … I have never said that the saints will remain on the earth until the end of the end of the age."(P. 95.)

One may agree then thoroughly with this, that the saints of the present time will remain upon earth, neither resurrection nor rapture will take place, until the end of the age arrives. The Lord's concluding words in Matthew are alone sufficient proof of this: "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age." Nay, more, they should make us also expect that this would be the precise measure of the time in which we should need such an assurance. When the end of the age arrives, we may infer that the period of the Church's stay upon earth will have reached its limit, and His coming to take us to Himself will be no more delayed.

It has been already shown that the "end of the age" can in no way be taken as the end of the Christian age; for there is no such age: times and seasons are now not being reckoned, but we live in a gap of time, a blank in Old Testament prophecy, which has Israel always in the foreground. Israel it is that is to "blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit "(Isa. 27:6). Israel then being nationally set aside, it is not hard to realize that all is at a stand as far as this is concerned, until she is again taken up.

What, then, must be the significance of times beginning again which are specifically times determined upon Israel to bring her into blessing! Such times we find in Daniel's seventy weeks, which are to end with this, sixty-nine having already passed when Messiah the Prince having come and being cut off, the downfall and ruin of the nation followed, and all was indefinitely suspended. The one week that remains is naturally and necessarily therefore the end of the age, the last seven years of these determined times. The beginning of this period means that God's thoughts have once more returned to Israel; consequently, that the Church period is just at an end. With the beginning, therefore, of the end of the age, the hour strikes for her removal to heaven.

Of all this Mr. Newton has nothing to say. For him the Church and the remnant of Israel are found side by side during at least a considerable time towards the end of the Christian age, as he considers it, — a view which we have to consider presently. We have seen already, however, how differently the whole structure of the book of Revelation speaks. But the Lord's words: "So shall it be at the end of this age; the Son of man shall send forth His angels and they shall gather together out of His Kingdom," show that now the Kingdom of the Son of man is come, and the present time of the Son upon the Father's throne is already over.

But this is the Lord's interpretation of the parable, and not the parable itself, which ends short of any actual coming of the harvest. The householder tells his servants what will take place when the time of harvest shall have come, but this is when he is comforting them for their own impotence in undoing the mischief that has been done. They are not competent to remove the tares that have been sown amongst the wheat: but angel hands shall do it effectually at a future time. The time is future: the action of the parable does not go on to it.

Notice now another thing: the interpretation of the parable is cut off from the parable itself, and begins a second section of the whole series, which is thus divided, as commonly with a septenary series, into four and three. Four is the number of the world, and the first four parables, as spoken in the presence of the multitude, give us the public or world-aspect of the Kingdom in the eyes of men; and not one of them goes on in its action to the end. The three parables which follow (the number being that of divine manifestation) give us on the other hand what is told to disciples in the house; and in them we have the divine side, the secrets whispered in the ear of faith. Thus the parable of the treasure gives us the purpose of God as to Israel; that of the pearl, the Church in its preciousness to Christ; that of the net, the going forth of the everlasting gospel among the nations after the Church period is over.* It is with this second series that the interpretation of the second parable has its place, and thus we come in it to the "end of the age," as in the last parable of the draw-net; for we are in both beyond the present time. The interpretation, therefore, carries us beyond the present, and we must not hastily assume that the gathering the tares out of the Kingdom and casting them into the fire is simply the equivalent of the expressions in the parable itself. Indeed upon the face of them they are not so: gathering into bundles to be burnt is not the same as the actual burning, though it may be preparatory to it; just as again the gathering the wheat into the barn is not the equivalent of the righteous shining forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Mr. Newton even allows this, although he does not carry the difference out sufficiently, as we see by the answer he makes to an objection. The Lord Himself explains, he says, the gathering of the tares [into bundles] as gathering out of His Kingdom all things that offend. And to the objector who urges that "All the tares being burned before the saints are caught up at all, nothing remains to be judged," he answers, "I have never said that the tares would be burned before the saints are caught up. I make a distinction between gathering them into bundles, and burning them."(p. 100.) This is true, but how far does the distinction go? For he says of the gathering, "Not one is gathered without being rooted up; that is, taken out of the world." Thus the objection is not really met: for the meaning would be the same if it were put: "All the tares being rooted up out of the world before the saints are caught up, nothing remains to be judged (on earth)."  Then his only reply would be what follows: "Even if the tares were all burned," (or rooted out of the world), "there yet remain Jews, Apostates, Heathen Nations, to be judged." (p. 100.)

He says again: "'Gathering' does of itself imply removal from the field; for the reason given for allowing the tares to grow with the wheat until the harvest is this, 'Lest while ye gather (sullego, — the same word) the tares, ye root up the wheat with them." (p. 101.) Thus the tares he takes to be really rooted up out of the world as the first thing; then the wheat being gathered into the barn, the field of Christendom is entirely empty.

Before we go on to consider what he says is left in this case as objects of the judgments afterwards, let us see if this idea of gathering as rooting out of the world he in this case warranted.

We are told in the parable that the servants of the householder, as soon as they discerned the tares among the wheat, inquired if they should go and gather them up. Are we to suppose that their question meant, should they root them up out of the world — exterminate them? No doubt, Romanists have attempted to do so, and illustrated the inability to separate the tares from the wheat; but is that what the servants wished really to suggest? Had they no thought but of killing the heretics that had come in among the orthodox? Alas! the tares were found much earlier than the time in which the Christians could have used or thought of using the arm of flesh to accomplish such a purification; and they must have sought it in other ways than by carnal weapons which both our Lord and His apostles so emphatically condemn. Was it not, in fact a rectification of the Kingdom which they desired, rather than of the world? a kingdom which, however easy it may be for us now, primitive Christians would never have thought of identifying with the world, or any portion of the world!

May not this put us upon the track of what the gathering of the tares would mean in the interpretation? Of course, before harvest-time the riddance of the mischief could only be by the hand, and the rooting up would be what would take place. But at harvest-time it would not be so. Reaping would be ordinarily at least with the sickle, and there would not be rooting up at all. Rather it would be a severing from the root that would take place, which might imply a separation from the doctrinal faith, of the heretic from his heresy, but not for good, so that apostasy would be the outcome. Angelic hands might accomplish the severance, — events might take place even which would make it impossible to retain the heresy; the apostasy would be their own. Thus two of Mr. Newton's classes would be one: a thing which Rev. 17 would indicate as probable, and which would naturally lead to the Beast throwing off the woman, and the kings of the Roman earth helping to destroy her. The "strong delusion" of 2 Thess. looks exactly in the same direction, except Mr. Newton has proof that the professing Christians that fall into the snare of Antichrist are not "tares." Certainly the present antichristian systems should furnish followers for the Antichrist to come; and his rise in connection with the great head of the revived Roman empire, must make us think of Romanism and kindred systems as those out of which the great mass of these followers come. Are not these tares, who become apostates? if not, what else?

It is easy to see, then, why Mr. N. should have to speak as he does of the great book of prophecy in the New Testament. "I see comparatively little," he says, "about the judgment on the tares in the Revelation; it appears to me to be concerned almost entirely with the means which lead to the consummation and the consummation itself of Apostasy. But that apostasy is the result not merely of Christianity first perverted and then renounced, it is also the apostasy of man as man ('worship him who made the earth'), and also of the Jew; a threefold combination of Apostasy." No intelligent student of prophecy doubts the combination of other elements with it; but what is this "Christianity perverted, and then renounced," but virtually tares becoming apostates?

Nay, but, says Newton, "I also see that angels and not saints, are sent to the Tares, whereas saints come with the Lord against Apostates." "On the Tares [judgment] is by angels sent forth while they are growing quietly with the wheat.” Certainly in this manner we can make plenty of oppositions, by comparing things that cannot rightly be compared. A wheat-field is, no doubt, a very image of quietness; but one may well doubt whether that is what we are meant to gather from it. And angels come with Christ against the apostates; as Mr. Newton himself says: “ ‘His army,’ i.e. saints and angels.” (p. 93.) As to the exact part each may have in the judgment, Revelation does not seem to say.

But to return to the parable: the binding in bundles must come after the reaping, if the figure is to be preserved. Would one naturally think of it as something to follow death? If so, one can hardly expect to translate it into any distinct meaning. If, on the other hand, the tares (though dead as tares) are still viewed as in the field of the world, then we may imagine a various compacting of men loosened from the hold of their religious systems, in ways that are not pointed out, but which lead them on toward their final doom. The gathering out of the Kingdom of the Son of man, as in the interpretation of the parable, goes, I believe, further than this: for the Kingdom of the Son of man is not local, but over the whole earth. It is a gathering after that of the parable itself, and immediately to judgment.

Mr. Newtons own interpretation is different in so many respects from this, that there would be little profit in proportion to the labour of any extended comparison. For him the end of the age is the Christian age, and although in the tract from which I have quoted, he allows that the "end" may be "a considerably lengthened period," yet elsewhere he charges those with endeavoring to avoid the force of the argument from this parable, who suggest that "the end of the age may mean an indefinitely (?) lengthened period." He replies that it is definitely marked as "the harvest," quotes the interpretation of the parable as if the gathering and casting of the tares into the fire were the whole matter, and asks, "Is Antichrist to arise after this?"

But we shall apprehend his system better when we have reviewed his arguments as to the Jewish and Christian remnants at the time of the end.

5. The Saints in the Tribulation, Who are They?

We have already briefly considered the structure of the book of Revelation, and the evidence that it gives us as to the change of dispensation that is impending. The argument is a connected one of many arguments combined. We have in the first chapter the Lord in the midst of the candlesticks, the Christian assemblies. In the addresses to these which follow in the next two chapters, emphasized in each case by a solemn appeal for our attention, we find what is in fact the history of the Church of God on earth. As they progress from the address to Thyatira onwards, the promise or the warning of His coming is more and more enforced; ending with the threat of Laodicea being spued out of His mouth, and immediately after this a Voice as of a trumpet calls, and the apostle is caught up to heaven.

There he sees thrones around the throne of God, — a throne of judgment circled by the bow of God’s covenant with the earth; and, while the company of kings and priests sing their redemption song to the Lamb slain, he is told that this is Judah's Lion — the King of the Jews — who has prevailed to open the book. We look upon the earth again as the book is being opened; judgments are being poured out upon it; there are saints there still and martyrs; presently a company sealed out of all the tribes of Israel; then an innumerable company of Gentiles also, but who have all come out of the great tribulation; by and by we see the actors in this, — the last beast of Daniel, and the lamb-like, dragon-voiced beast who leads men to worship him; times are reckoned, the half-weeks of the last week of Daniel; and looking on beyond the judgment of Babylon the Great, we see the marriage of the Lamb is come, and presently the Lamb Himself, with a glorious train of saints who follow Him, descends to the judgment of the earth.

Now this is simply the story of Revelation, with scarce a word of comment, and none needed, one would think, to make it plain. Through all this latter part we hear nothing of the Church of God on earth. The Lion of Judah opens the book; the book gives us Jewish scenes, Israel, Jerusalem, the time of Jacob’s trouble, the instruments of it, the false woman and her doom, until after the marriage of the Lamb, He comes with His saints from heaven. Does this fit with Mr. Newton’s views, or Mr. Brown’s, or Dr. West’s, or with that view which they all oppose? What have they to say about it? What arguments do they use against it? I can only speak as far as my knowledge goes, but as far as I know, they use no arguments; they simply ignore it. They give us proofs of their views, or what they conceive proofs, from Revelation, as from other parts of Scripture; but face this long line of witnesses they do not. We have seen what has been so far offered; we are going on still to see what Mr. Newton offers; but it is well to keep in mind how much of positive testimony for the views they are opposing they leave aside.

Mr. Newton hopes he may now assume, upon the warrant of the parables of the Tares and of the Fishes, and the Lord’s parting words in Matthew, that saints marked by the characteristics of the present dispensation will be found on the earth until the end. He urges that their testimony will be most needed, and suffering most glorious in the times preceding the end. He finds that "On all past occasions of destroying judgments, whether on Sodom, or the world at the flood, or on Egypt, or on Jerusalem, some testified and suffered, though all were removed before the threatened judgment fell". He urges also that "all who have thus testified have not been either ignorant of or enemies to the truth peculiar to the dispensation that was closing in; for how then could they have testified at all?"(p. 25.)

He does not notice the Lord’s assurance to Philadelphian overcomers that He would keep them "out of the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (Rev. 3:10), nor that the tribulation to come at the end is "Jacob’s trial," although it may involve others also, as we have seen. He does not understand that the end of the age is not part of the present dispensation, but the time of darkness covering the earth, and gross darkness the peoples, when the light begins to dawn on Israel (Isa. 60), and that God’s testimony for that time is an Elias one (Mal. 4:5; Rev. 11:3-6,) and not that of the Church.

He does not know that he can "find with any degree of accuracy the extent of this testimony"(!), and that on account of that of which he does not know the signification, that "the recorded facts of prophecy have always Jerusalem for their centre;" and he needs to remind us that "a Christian in Jewish circumstances is a Christian still"!

Another strange thing is that he has to go to Old Testament scriptures for the main part of his proof of Christians giving this testimony, and to justify what seems strange in this, he has to refer to Rom. 16:25-26, taking, as many do, the "prophetic scriptures" there, as being those of the Old Testament prophets. (Comp. Eph. 3:5.) He illustrates this by types, however, which we should all admit, and some other passages which show a singular lack of knowledge of the calling of the Church which he says they reveal. But I cannot dwell on this.

From the Old Testament he brings forward Daniel. Here he interprets for us the "wise," who "instruct many" among the Jewish people, without being able to prevent their fall "by the sword, and by flame, by captivity and by spoil many days." This he calls, though we may well doubt it, "the moment of Jerusalem’s ratified desolation," and thinks we can be therefore at no loss to understand them to be "Christ and His servants; nor from that time forward would the Holy Spirit give the name of ‘understanding ones’ to any but those who acknowledged Him and had received His Spirit."

But on the contrary, most commentators refer this to the Maccabees, and with apparent reason. We have not time to argue as to it, it is plain; but proof-text it can hardly be when all depends upon a very questionable interpretation. The "wise" or "understanding ones," with this special meaning forced upon them, are then found by him in the time of Israel’s great tribulation following; and so his point is proved. But to merge Christ among the "understanding ones" is certainly not the way of the Spirit of God; and the presence of Christians depends entirely upon this. On the other hand "the two witnesses" of Rev. 11 would certainly have this character of "wise," while as certainly they are not what we should now call Christians. All here is mere rash assertion and not proof.

That these understanding ones (as illustrated by the witnesses) will be worn out by the Little Horn, (identified at the last with the Beast itself,) is seen in Revelation, and being raised from the dead they will have a heavenly place contrasted with Israel’s earthly one. That these are, in fact, the saints of the high places, of whom Daniel speaks, and who are Mr. Newton’s next and remaining proof of Christians in Jerusalem, we have no need to question. He makes no distinction between "heavenly" and "Christian"; but he must certainly know that those he is opposing do make one, and that for them all that he gives for proof is entirely futile.

This closes his argument from the Old Testament: he passes on to Revelation, which he rightly takes as in its "central part" relating to the same period as (much of) Daniel. Here his first argument is from persons being mentioned "who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus"; and again in Rev. 14: "here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." No doubt there is difficulty in defining in any perfectly satisfactory way what either expression may mean. "The testimony of Jesus" is said, in the book of Revelation itself, to be "the spirit of prophecy" (Rev. 19:10), and this will be found in the saints of those days. There is no excuse for confounding this with Church testimony. "The faith of Jesus’ will be, no doubt, imperfect enough in the darkness of days from which the light of Christianity has disappeared, and the Spirit itself as now known and enjoyed in Christianity. I presume He will be known as Messiah, not in His own proper glory as Jehovah; and this will be the discovery that will bow them in humiliation and repentance, when they look upon Him whom they have pierced. The next text (Rev. 13:7), if parallel with Dan. 7:20, is nevertheless also, as we have seen, of no importance whatever for his argument.

Again, those on the sea of glass (Rev. 15:2) are saints martyred under the beast, and having got victory over him in this way, and the passage in Rev. 20:4-6, which Mr. Newton rightly associates with the former one, shows that such have their part in the first resurrection, and reign with Christ for the thousand years of the Kingdom. All this is very familiar truth to those whose views he is opposing; and he certainly must know it. There is nothing about the Church in either passage.

As a specimen of what a more minute interpretation would give, he adduces Rev. 11. 1, to urge that the worshippers in the temple of God (the sanctuary) must be Christians. In his argument he says rightly enough that the temple consisted of two inner courts, but speaks as though this were proof that for worshippers in it, the holiest of all must be accessible. There is no proof of it whatever. For the priest in Israel the veil was not rent, but he could worship in the temple in the outer holy place, and once a year the high priest went into the holiest. There is absolutely no token of Christian worship: the "clear evidence" of it, of which he speaks, does not exist.

But while all this is to him clear, the witness of the whole book of Revelation, as I have briefly given it, passes absolutely without notice. And yet when he wrote this he must have known quite well that it stood at least to be accounted for.

Of the Jewish remnant of the last days which according to Mr. Newton exists side by side with the Christian one he says: —

"They must have an intermediate standing: not Antichristian, for they would be consumed; not Christian, for then as suffering with and for Jesus, they would also reign with Him, and stand upon the sea of crystal in heavenly glory; whereas they are destined, after having passed through the fires from which the Christian remnant are altogether delivered, to be God’s witnesses on the earth: … I now request your attention to the following passages which show that this remnant is not owned by the Lord, nor has the spirit of grace and supplication poured on it, until after the Lord has appeared, and they have been carried through the day of His judgment" (Pp. 43, 44).

He quotes for this, first, Isa. 10:12, 20-22; of which he says: —

"The passage teaches us that they are not regarded as ‘returning’ and ‘staying themselves’ upon the Lord, until after He has accomplished all His work upon Mount Zion and Jerusalem." (p. 45.)

I can only answer that to me it says nothing of the kind. It does say that in that day there will be no going back on the part of the saved remnant, to repeat the sad story of declension, so often recurring in the past. They "shall no more again stay upon him that smote them, but stay upon the Lord." Then the truth of their return is affirmed: "The remnant shall… unto the Mighty God. For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall return." There is nothing about their only returning after God has accomplished His work. It does not mean that He delivers them in an unbelieving condition, and then they believe. That is certainly not God’s ordinary way of delivering, but to wake up a soul to faith and then answer it. Nothing contrary to that is said here.

The next passage is from Zech. 13: "And it shall come to pass that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined … they shall call on My name and I will hear them: I will say, It is My people, and they shall say, The Lord is my God." This expresses only the full confidence reached as the result of purification; but it is because they are "silver" He refines them. No one ever refined into silver what was not silver; and that is not what is done here.

The third passage, Zech. 12:9 — 13:1, shows undoubtedly that an amazing discovery is made by them when they look upon Him whom they have pierced; and I think that will be, as before said, when they realize their rejected Messiah to be Jehovah Himself. That they own Jesus as Messiah seems clear from the guidance given to them in His own prophecy of the end of the age (Matt. 24); but the "Man, Jehovah’s Fellow" may be yet unknown.

As to what is said about their having to believe nationally, and the nation being born in a day, Zion travailing and bringing forth, he is surely wrong in taking that as new birth, a truth of which as such the Old Testament never speaks. That at the time of their deliverance, the remnant will come to the birth, as the new nation of Israel, is true, and is what is meant by this. The implication that as individuals they were not born again before is unwarranted and false.

Again, the principle is a very simple one, that in the Psalms and prophetic Scriptures, we may take out all that is bright and happy and confident, and apply it to a Christian remnant, while we relegate all that is gloomy and querulous to a co-existing Jewish one. It is a short road to interpretation, but a most unsafe one. The Psalms, for instance, are expressive of the whole education and purification of a Jewish remnant, through all the trials of the latter days, until they are brought into full blessing. Of this the five psalms, from Ps. 3 to 7, are an introductory epitome, which shows this very clearly. But they begin with faith (Ps. 3), the joy of which they can contrast with the restless seeking of "any good" on the part of the ungodly around them (Ps. 4). Here they reason and plead with these, but in the next, as the evil grows more determined, plead against them (Ps. 5), assuring themselves of the distinction God will make between them and the wicked. But the gloom darkens and the shadow falls upon their own souls (Ps. 6). The prevalence of the evil makes them dread divine displeasure, and the confidence they have had changes into a cry for mercy. In the seventh psalm the shadow passes, they can maintain again their innocence as far as their persecutors are concerned and look for divine intervention; which in the eighth is come. *

{* See the volume of the Psalms in the “Numerical Bible” for a full exposition. }

This is only an introduction, of course, but it shows the character of the book, which the arbitrary invention of contrasted remnants completely destroys. All these fruitful exercises become but the wailings of unconverted men; all the expressions of faith belong to another people!

This is indeed a "higher criticism" of a peculiar kind, which by taking texts here and there and applying the moral test, putting in juxtaposition passages of diverse character, from different places, and apart from their context, can make it at least a tedious and difficult thing to expose its unsoundness. And this is made worse by misleading comments scattered here and there throughout, in which truth itself can be so applied as to give apparent countenance to what is error. Who would not agree, for instance, that "to suffer for righteousness’ sake in conscious fellowship of spirit with God, is something very different from suffering penalty under the rebuke of His heavy hand"? But apply this to the case before us, — a remnant of converted people making part of a nation which as such is away from God, and going on to complete apostasy; suffering penalty thus, and involving these in their sufferings, who from sharing their guilt at first have been gradually awakened, with the light increasing for them, but allowed of God for their good to be thoroughly exercised as to everything. Plowed up as to their sin, they find their way amid the promises and threatenings of His word, without firm footing as to the gospel; and in a time of trouble such as never was! These various exercises, the conflicts of faith with unbelief, the many forms of trial, are given for their help, and for the help of multitudes in any similar ones, as poured out in the utterances of the Psalms and prophets. Think of a criticism like Mr. N’s, which ignores these varied and subtle differences, and makes it all a question of the highest Christian communion or of suffering penally! Why the Psalms are a human resolution largely — under the control and guidance of God — of problems of the most difficult character. Are they suffering penally? there is sometimes their perplexity. They reason upon it all round: the clouds break and return; but no: we are to use the scissors, it seems, separate what is not fit for the Christians, and give it to these poor, unconverted Jews! and the practical use and beauty of the Psalms are largely gone for us. How much shall we value the miserable experiences of mere unconverted men!

We may close then with this: for here is the rest of his argument, and we have no interest in following Mr. Newton’s further account of how, according to his thought, a Christian remnant is not found in Jerusalem at the last, which we have not been persuaded exists there at all. But it may not be without profit to have seen how destructive of Scripture at large is this system which makes hypothetical differences which do not exist, only to ignore those that are real and vital.

There is only one more point, therefore, that we need to consider in this connection, and that is his argument from the eleventh of Romans. He says:—

"I would briefly notice these things: —
1. That it speaks of Israel as blinded for a season by the judicial infliction of the hand of God. It is important to notice the judicial character which attaches to their being broken out of their olive-tree. 2. The blindness thus judicially inflicted has never been, and never will be anything more than ‘in part’; that is, it has never rested on every individual in Israel, but there has ever been a seeing remnant. Some, not all, the Jewish branches, have been broken off.
3. The fact of there being a seeing remnant during the blindness of Israel, is a proof that Israel as a nation is still under the infliction of the hand of God.
4. That this judicial infliction cannot be continued after the fulness of the Gentiles has come in."

Thus, he says, "it is proved beyond a doubt that Israel’s Antichristian period (when as a nation they will be emphatically blinded, though there will be even then a seeing remnant) cannot be after the fulness of the Gentiles has come in. Observe, I do not say that as soon as all the elect Gentiles have been gathered in, all Israel will instantly be filled with light and knowledge; but this I affirm that the positive action of the hand of God in blinding them will not be continued after the period which He has been pleased to fix — i.e., when the fulness of the Gentiles shall have come in. Consequently, the period of their deepest and most fatal blinding cannot be after the period which He has fixed for the ceasing of His wrath against them. There can be no seeing remnant in judicially blinded Israel; no election out of Israel, and therefore no Antichristian period to Israel, after the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; therefore all such conditions of Israel must be before the fulness of the Gentiles has come in." (Pp. 63-65.)

Now, I apprehend that the writer has spoiled his own argument. For if he had maintained that, as soon as ever the fulness of the Gentiles had come in, all Israel would "instantly be filled with light and knowledge" that would have been consistent at least. But he could not say so; only that the positive action of the hand of God in blinding them will not continue. But that would seem to infer that there would or might be still a seeing remnant for awhile among them after the judicial blinding was removed. Let us see then what in fact takes place. The beginning of the "end of the age" or the last week of Daniel, shows that the fulness of the Gentiles has indeed come in; it shows also that the judicial hardening of Israel is at an end by this week being the return of times determined upon her to bring in her blessing. Israel is now going to be saved; and as a pledge of this, those now converted are no more brought into the Church, but remain Israelites, grafted back into their own olive-tree.

Yet this is the time of Antichrist, as Daniel and Revelation unite to show us, and the nation that is to be is refined and purified in a furnace of affliction. It is the remnant that becomes the nation, the rebels and apostates being separated and purged out. It is a mistake, surely, to look at Antichrist as a sign of the "nation" being "emphatically blinded," when in fact, it is Israel’s travail-time; and presently it will be found, when the followers of Antichrist have received their judgment, that "he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning" (Isa. 4:3-4). The fulness of the Gentiles having come in, and so the end of the Church-period, is the very thing which allows this truly Jewish remnant to be formed, which is the nation in embryo, and to which Antichrist in Jerusalem is Satan’s power in opposition. The man of sin in the temple of God there, instead of showing that the judicial blinding of the nation is going on, shows that God is taking up Israel once more, and that the determined times are bringing on her blessing.

Christianity and Judaism, hopes heavenly and hopes earthly, the body of Christ in which is neither Jew nor Gentile, alongside of Jews and Gentiles (if the sheep and goats apply to these last), — all this owned of God alike and going on at one and the same time: this is Mr. Newton’s theory; the very statement of which might assure us that it is only theory. Scripture condemns it in every particular.

6. Secrecy, Manifestation, and Signs of Imminence.

All that remains to be considered can be stated in few words. As to the secrecy of the rapture of the saints, it is a point of small importance, reached only by inference, and need not be discussed at all. It is "when Christ our Life shall appear," that "we shall appear, (or be manifested) with Him in glory" (Col. 3:4). Thus we may argue that we shall not be manifested before. But it affects no point of all that we have been looking at, so far as I am aware, however it be decided.

As to the manifestation, or appearing, or revelation of Christ, it is that which is most largely spoken of in Scripture, as we might expect, for various reasons.

1. It is that which connects itself with prophecy and the blessing of the earth. It is the rising of the Sun of righteousness in contrast with the simple heavenly radiance of the Morning Star.
2. It connects thus with the rights of Christ as to the earth, the place of His rejection.
3. It connects with the rewards given to His people, so far at least as these have to do with the kingdom and its displayed glory. And thus we can understand that we are to "wait" for it, as that in which every one will "receive his praise from God." Timothy’s being exhorted to "keep the commandments without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1 Tim. 6:14), while often urged to the contrary, in fact shows how such things are to be taken. The appearing is the goal of responsibility; the time between this and the end of the path here would not affect the matter of the exhortation; and no one would contend that the apostle meant to guarantee that Timothy would live until the appearing.

Signs are all connected with the appearing necessarily, but yet so far as they are manifested, will only be more forcible for those who are expecting to be with the Lord before it. We are not taught that we need them, but are not certainly to ignore what is before our eyes. Times we cannot reckon, inasmuch as we are in that gap of prophetic time in which all Christianity has its place. Our Lord has also given us warning with regard to this (Acts 1:7). In the same passage we find Him telling His disciples that they were to be His witnesses "to the ends of the earth." That this and other declarations implied some lapse of time before His return is undoubted. We must remember, of course, that this did not imply for them what it does for us, and that Augustus Caesar could command "all the world" to be taxed (Luke 2:1). In the parables of the talents (Matt. 25:19) "after a long time" the absent lord returns and reckons with his servants; but it is with the same servants whom he left when he went away. Nothing hints to us as a delay of generations long. We are in other circumstances, in a world that widens no more, looking back over the Church’s history as Revelation has at last unfolded it to us, and finding ourselves certainly near the close, and how near we cannot say. Is there another page yet to be written? We do not know; but certainly of all men that ever lived we should be "as men that wait for their Lord."

A clear view gained of what is prophesied as to the end, with the knowledge of what the Church of God is, and its place amid the dispensations, will make all else clear as to what in this respect may not have been considered.
F. W. Grant.