The Great Consumation

by Arthur Carver

A new enquiry into the Doctrine of the Second Advent being an Examination of every relevant passage in the New Testament, Including:—

A searching analysis of the Prophetic Teachings of the Scofield bible Two Phases or One?

The Millennium—the teaching of Christ and the Apostles

The Covenants—Meaning and Fulfilment

The Throne and House of David

The restoration of Israel—How and When?

The rebuilding of the Temple

Judgement Seat of Christ and the Great Judgement

Interpretation of O.T. Prophecy—and Sure Apostolic Example

Revelation 20—A searching Examination and Exposition

Completely New Exposition of the Hebrew Epistle

False Sects—Their Common Basic Error and the Bible's Answer

A Book for every Bible Student and "All who love His Appearing"

This Work has been produced as a Result of the Author's own experience whereby the Traditions he had Received and had Taught for Years were completely shattered by One Thing Alone:—

The Illuminating Power of the Sacred Scriptures in presenting this book to the public the author asks two things of the reader.

First, an open mind

A willingness to consider and weigh an exposition of scripture that may differ from that now held and to honestly search for truth.

Second, an open Bible

This book must be read with the Bible at its side. It is all about the Bible and nothing else, with scores of passages examined and expounded.

Bible Classes and study groups will find abundant material for many months of helpful discussion.

Author's Preface

Another book on Prophecy? On what grounds can this be justified? The answer is fourfold.

The widespread interest in evangelical circles in "the millennium issue", and the absence of a work of exposition of every relative passage in the New Testament in consecutive order.

The challenge presented to the thinking of every Bible student by the ever-increasing number of believers from every denomination ( Anglican, Baptist, Brethren, Pentecostals, etc.,—some of them world-known names ) who have abandoned pre-millennial and dispensational views they have held for years, having become convinced of their unscriptural character, and have embraced the a-millennial view. This is generating a widespread enquiry for "something to read that deals thoroughly with the controversy". It is hoped that this work will help to meet that need.

Personal testimony is often one of the most forceful arguments for Truth. This work, besides being an exposition, is the record of how the New Testament alone, by its inherent authority, can deliver from the tradition of years, and open the heart to the Light of Truth.

The MS was read by about fifteen believers of different groups—Baptist, Brethren, Pentecostal—in various parts of the country. Practically all were traditional pre-millennialists and dispensationalists, and included preachers and teachers of thirty and forty years standing. Apart from three, all acknowledged that the work proved conclusively the falsity of the pre-millennial doctrine and the truth of the a-millennial interpretation of Scripture. Of the other few, only one expressed a dissenting voice, stating that he still held his own view ( "pre-mill., post-trib." was his definition ), but when invited to show where the exposition was wrong, he declined to do so, informing me that "arguing would do no good; people had their views and would not change". How delightful! Bless his dear heart! It was further encouragement to publish.

The book makes no pretence to scholarship. It is not marked by appeals to Hebrew and Greek, nor by a flood of quotations from numerous authors. Rather, the object is to let the N.T. speak for itself. That voice, at least to the author, appears to be so convincing as to be in no need of the buttressing of a multitude of human voices.

Convinced that the views set forth are productive of a more spiritual conception of the Last Things, devoid of the groundless theories and guesswork that characterises so much of some other prophetic schools, it, is the hope of the author that the reader may find, not merely a controversial interest, but also an abiding spiritual blessing.

"Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own Blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen! Behold He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him." Revelation 1:5-7.

Arthur Carver.

Egerton Gardens, London, N.W.4

The End —

Chapter 1

The Field of Controversy

And A Personal Testimony

Division among believers on the doctrine of the Lord's Return centres chiefly around Messiah's Kingdom. Does the Kingdom precede or follow His Return in Glory? Does the Coming inaugurate or consummate the Kingdom? Is His foretold Reign a present heavenly one, or an earthly one, set up after His Return?

Three schools contest the field, and, because of the prominence in the controversy of the "thousand years" passage in Revelation 20, they have been labelled according to their interpretation of the Coming in relation to "the thousand years".


This school holds that Christ, following His return, will set up His literal Kingdom on this earth, and reign in Person for 1000 years. Differing much in details, pre-millennialists are agreed that this universal reign of Christ will be the great day of Israel's glory in the land of Palestine. The literal fulfilment of the O.T. Scriptures referring to the fertility and fruitfulness of the earth and the pacification of the animal creation, is an essential part of their teaching, though there are signs of dissatisfaction amongst thoughtful pre-millennialists today with this "Jewish" interpretation. and an attempt is made to "semi-spiritualise" the O.T. prophecies. Pre-Millennialism teaches that "the Kingdom Age" will be terminated by a great Satanic revolt ( Revelation 20 ), bringing about the final victory of Christ ( they call it "The Second Armageddon" ), and the setting up of the Great White Throne Judgement.


This school denies the literal Kingdom of the pre-millennialists and the idea of a personal reign of Christ to this earth. There will be a future Kingdom, but it will be a moral and spiritua1 one, brought about by the universal triumph of the Gospel. Christ will reign, not in physical presence, but through the triumph of His Truth. It will be the golden era of Christianity, bringing in a day of universal peace. It will close with another period of apostasy and Satanic uprising, which will be crushed by the Advent of Christ, followed by the general resurrection and judgement of all Mankind.


This schoo1 takes a position that must at once commend itself to the serious thought of sincere Bible students. It approaches the two antagonistic schools, Pre- and Post-, and acknowledges that each has a basic scriptural truth. It then points out to both that, because of their inability to see the truth their opponent teaches, they have each followed false trails on other aspects of eschatology and so produced systems that are erroneous. Pre-millennialists contend, "The N.T. nowhere teaches the conversion of the world in this age. Rather, it follows a world escalating its antagonism to God, so that the closing days are as the days of Noah". Post-millennialists assert, "The New Testament teaches the Finality of the Advent, bringing an end to the human story, and the end of the world".

In contending for these views, pre- and post-millennialists have taken up diametrically opposing positions, whereas, in reality, NO CONTRADICTION EXISTS IN THE PROPOSITIONS THEMSELVES. A-Millennialism says to these schools: "You are both right in these teachings. The Advent is Final; and, this Age is to close in apostasy and rebellion. The two themes are taught on almost every page of the N.T." Why then the hopelessly opposing doctrines of Pre- and Post-Millennialism? A-Millennialism provides the clear answer, and shows to both schools that, by adding to these truthful propositions. THE FALSE DOCTRINE OF A KINGDOM ON THIS EARTH, they have been led into their respective brands of Millennialism, antagonistic to each other and both antagonistic to Scripture.

First, pre-millennialists, giving a literal interpretation to the O.T. prophecies of the Covenant Throne of David and the Restoration of Israel, have reasoned thus: "If these things are to be, and this present age knows them not, ending in judgement at the Second Advent, then they must be fulfilled after the Advent". Then, the post-millennialists, also giving an earthly ( though not literal ) interpretation to the O.T. prophecies, argue that, as the Advent will be Final, bringing the end of the world, the Kingdom must precede the Advent, and find its realisation in the triumph of Christianity.

So the theories diverge, a divergence that increases with every detail of the two schemes, because of the fatal idea of an earthly Kingdom. But A-millennialism provides the sovereign remedy by showing that, if the first truths of each school are established ( as above ), then the obvious ground of reconciliation is the great truth of the Present Heavenly Kingdom, set up when God raised His Son from the dead and set Him on Zion's Hill, from whence He is fulfilling in His People all the promised Covenant blessings of the Psalms and the Prophets. This Kingdom does not convert the world, but, through its members still on earth, wars against the Kingdom of evil right to the end, calling out men into the Heavenly Kingdom. The Second Advent will bring its final consummation. Thus, the fundamental truths of pre- and post-millennialism are welded together in one N.T. doctrine of the End. At the same time, the errors of both schools are rejected. The post-millennial idea of a converted world" is held to be without N.T. authority. while the pre-millennial idea of a post-Advent Kingdom on this earth where sin and death still are known, is utterly alien to every line of apostolic writings. Thus A-millennialism, rejecting the errors of both systems, and uniting the truths of both in the unbreakable bond of the Heavenly Kingdom, presents the student with a view of the Advent that commends itself to mind and heart. It is both scriptural and intelligent. Messiah's Kingdom is NOW; the Church of Christ is the supreme and final manifestation of the wisdom and power of God in the redemption of man. In this Church. all the great redemptive acts and Covenants of the Old Economy find their realisation. This is the one great Eternal People of God, on earth and in heaven, reigned over by their Glorious Prince Messiah. The grand panorama of O.T prophecy finds its fulfilment in the incomparable realities of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost through the Gospel of Messiah's triumph over sin, death and hell. We shall show how this is confirmed and sealed by every utterance of those who were anointed of God to expound the meaning of the O.T. Scriptures—our Lord and His apostles.

So A-millennialism proclaims there will be no 1,000 years' Kingdom on this earth, the glorious vision of Revelation 20 finding its fulfilment in the present reign of Jesus Messiah over His People in heaven and on earth. There will be no return to the O1d Economy and earthly Israelitish favour. This age of Salvation is the final Age, terminated by the Advent which ushers in the resurrection and judgement of all mankind—then the eternal age.

The great names in theology have, throughout history, been associated with the A-millennial or post-millennial view—Augustine, Calvin and the Puritans. ( Spurgeon named the first two as "the only truly great men since Paul". "The Golden Age of Theology", he described Puritanism. ) The latter half of the 19th Century saw a revival of pre-millennialism. It might be interesting to ponder how far this resulted from reaction against Higher Criticism. The advocates of this school of "unfaith" leaned wholly ( where they had eschatological views ) to post-millennialism. One of the powerful arguments of evangelicals against them was the literal fulfilment of O.T. prophecies against the great nations that were contemporaries of ancient Israel. The literal fulfilment of these prophecies may have been a powerful factor in influencing the minds of many towards a literal conception of prophecies concerning Israel and the Last Days, and so helped to arouse the strong tide of pre-millennial thought that swept a considerable portion of the evangelical church.

Concurrent with this, an altogether new phase of prophetic teaching came into being within Fundamentalism, known as dispensationalism or futurism. Throughout Church history the Advent had always been regarded as one great climactic event. Whether taught by Christ or the apostles, the event was one and the same, bringing deliverance to the People of God and destruction to the wicked. But the 19th Century saw the rise of a strange new school of thought, resulting from the teachings of J. N. Darby ( Footnote ), founder of the Plymouth Brethren. Literalism in the interpretation of O.T. prophecy was now pressed to extremes, whilst the N.T. became subjected to a system of "dispensationalising" which had never before been heard of. Some parts of the N.T. were the Church, others for "the Jew". The Coming of the Lord was not an event, but a series of events. First, there was event related to the Christian Church, taking it secretly away from this earth. Sections of the N.T. related wholly to this event. There followed "The Great Tribulation" on earth, to which time other portions of the N.T. ( chiefly the larger part of Revelation ) are designated. Next comes the Glorious Appearing of Christ to Israel and the world, ( generally asserted to be seven years after the "first" Second Coming ) followed by certain judgements and the millennial reign. The whole scheme winds up with a further Satanic revolt, another, 'Coming', of the Lord, and the setting up of the Final judgement, at which, only the ungodly appear. To quote Alexander Reese: "This new school arose within the fold of pre-millennialism seeking to overthrow what, since the apostolic age, had been considered by all pre-millennialists as established results, and to institute in their place a WHOLE SERIES OF DOCTRINES THAT HAD NEVER BEEN HEARD OF BEFORE." ( Approaching Advent. p.19 ) doctrines from? ( Footnote )

The amazing way these ideas gained acceptance in evangelical circles is one of the most astonishing events in the evangelical world. The advance was greatly aided by the development of Movements such as the Keswick Convention ( which has been almost entirely Futuristic in its outlook ) and the Advent Testimony Movement ( Footnote ) which is founded on the modern theories. The rise of new evangelical denominations has also helped in the popularity of this school. Movements like the Pentecostal work originated with men who, to a very large extent, were preachers of Brethren eschatology. Adherents of this one Movement are estimated to number nearly 15,000,000, and, although some of its founders and early leaders later abandoned their Futurist views, the teachings remained with their followers.

Today, there is a strong Movement in reverse. The lurid charts setting out the dispensational scheme which were an essential part of the armoury of countless dispensational lecturers in the decades between the world wars, have now well-nigh disappeared. So many prophetic theories have proved to be just flights of fancy and sensational guess work, that many thoughtful students have turned to a fresh study of the Scriptures, with the result that they have seen, not only the foolishness of the extravagances that have characterised pre-millennialism, but also the fundamental error of the whole idea. Such was the experience of the author.

For over twenty years I believed and preached pre-millennialism. What made me a pre-millennialist? Purely and simply, it was human instruction. My youth was cast in evangelical circles where there was great enthusiasm for Advent Testimony meetings, and "The Second Coming" was seldom absent from sermons and conversations. "In the twinkling of an eye" ( Sydney Watson ( Footnote ) ) was early thrust into my hands as "the book of the century", whilst I was made to feel that the one indispensable necessity to a full and proper understanding of Scripture was to possess a Scofield Bible and devotedly study its notes. This I did with all eagerness, so that dispensationalism became part parcel of "the Faith", and an part of true Christianity. To deny it was akin to "modernism", and marked out the offender as of doubtful standing. Thus my mind was closed to true Bible study ( along this particular line ) from early days. Everything was read and judged according to the mould into which my mind had been cast. This is true of multitudes of believers all over the world today. It may be true of you as you read these lines. If so, may the very realisation of this fact lead to the opening of your mind to consider the doctrine set forth in the following chapters.

The years preceding the Second world War were years of contention in evangelical circles on the prophetic question. The older pre-millennial view generally called the Historicist or Protestant Historical view, gained wider acceptance and large numbers of those who had held to the dispensational ideas of a two-phased Advent and a future Great Tribulation with a personal anti-Christ reigning over the world, abandoned them for more traditional Protestant eschatology. This happened to me through the reading of vigorous Protestant literature and that excellent book by Alexander Reese, "The Approaching Advent of Christ" But the central idea of an earthly millennial Kingdom remained, being fundamental to the Historicist school. Had someone. in those days. confronted me with the a-millennial view. and opened the vast field of Scripture that so powerfully presents that truth, I might have embraced it then; but no such help was nigh.

Gradually, however, I began to feel the challenge of Scripture to the position I held. In my constant, consecutive daily reading and study of the Bible, I became forced to ask again and again: "If this Scripture means what it appears to say, then where can the millennium be?" The judgement of Matthew 25 sent many a cold shiver down my spine as I tried to weigh up the idea of nations being judged entire ( Christians, atheists, rationalists, spiritists, etc. ), whilst the final words, "these shall go away into everlasting punishment. but the righteous into life eternal" imposed an almost unbearable strain on my millennial anchor. I remember once preaching on the third chapter of second Peter, dealing with the utter failure of human wisdom and effort, and the inescapable coming doom of this world. The message must have been so faithful to the words of the passage, and my own pre-millennial beliefs so completely negatived, that when I left the platform a thoughtful gentleman approached me and asked, "If what you have said tonight is true, where does the millennium come in?" I always feel a sense of shame when I remember the mental and verbal jugglery I offered as an evasion. I would like to meet that man again and set things right. Other Scriptures continually joined in the attack, and added to my confusion, until I resolved to face the issue and, if possible, settle it permanently. How should I do it? Some time prior to this I had engaged in series of Bible Studies that had impressed upon me as never before, the absolute, supreme authority of the New Testament. Not that the Old Testament is any the less inspired ( I believe it to be verily the Word of God ); but the revelation is progressive, and reaches its fullness in the New. Here, the Truth that had been taught over the centuries in varying form of type, symbol and vision, now bursts forth in noonday fullness: "God, who at sundry times, and in diverse manners, spoke in times past unto the fathers by the Prophets, bath in these last days spoken unto us IN HIS SON." ( Hebrews 1:1 ) HE WHO IS THE TRUTH NOW APPEARS, and declares all the things He has heard of His Father, He begins His ministry with the O.T. in His hand and announces His anointing to preach and expound it. Raised from the dead, He spends the 40 days "instructing them in the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God", consisted of "all things…which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Psalms, and in the Prophets." ( Luke 24 ( Footnote ) )

Returned to His Father, He now pours out the same Anointing Spirit upon the apostles, with the Promise "He shall guide you into all Truth". They engage in their mighty ministries, which, to a very large extent, was simply the exposition and application of the Old Testament. Eventually the records of those ministries—our Lord and His apostles—are gathered together into the body of N.T. teaching. AND IT IS HERE THAT THE CHRISTIAN MUST LOOK FOR HIS AUTHORITATIVE KNOWLEDGE OF THE THINGS OF GOD. His belief in the Old Testament must be governed by the meaning given to it by the New, and by the further revelation of Truth now given. He believes the old couplet:

The New is in the Old concealed,
The Old is by the New revealed.

This decided my course of action. I resolutely put away every other book, and sought, as far as possible, to divest my mind of all I had been taught of things prophetic. I then gave myself to a careful, detailed reading of the whole New Testament. Every passage that dealt with the Return of the Lord, His Kingdom, and Last Things in general, was noted AND WRITTEN DOWN IN A BOOK. Eventually this was completed. I then reread all that had been written down and asked myself "What does this teach?"

I did not have to wait ten years for the answer—not even ten seconds. The answer was immediate, complete and permanent. I saw in a flash that the whole burden of the Scriptures I had gathered together was of One Great, Climactic Event that should bring to an end the Day of Man, and usher in the Eternal Day of God. This present age is only age when God is dealing with sinful man, offering him one ( and only one ) salvation, and, in those who receive that salvation, fulfilling all His Great Covenant Promises in the Kingdom of His Dear Son. When He comes, the door is forever shut. My pre-millennialism was like the barren fig tree—it died from the roots upwards at the sound of the Master's Voice; I didn't even have to wait till the next day—it died immediately. I saw that it was nothing other than the development of the heresy that darkened the Church of later apostolic days the Judaistic belief that God had something for the Jewish race other than the Gospel of His Grace.

This discovery drove me to fresh study of all the passages above referred to. The thrill of that study is still with me. Almost as with conversion, the Bible again became a new book. The pro-Jewish veil which covered my heart for over twenty years, had gone and I now saw everything in its true Christian light. Every Gospel and epistle re-lived, particularly Acts and Hebrews. The earthly Kingdom idea robs the Christian of the ability to see the very heart of the dominant contention of "the Acts", viz., that in the resurrection and ascension of Jesus of Nazareth, God had "set His King upon the Holy Hill of Zion". As for Hebrews, it had always seemed to me a peculiarly disjointed letter. glorious in its individual parts, but lacking a vital, unifying theme. But the key was now in my hands; its whole purpose was to destroy the Judaistic heresies that were threatening the late apostolic Church. viz.. that there could be some Divine provision, other than the Gospel and that God yet had some future earthly plan for the Jewish race, perhaps involving a return to the Old Economy. In an ever-developing treatise showing the exclusiveness and finality of the Gospel, the apostle shatters these ideas. The tragedy is that, in the face of this magnificent epistle ( and the rest of the N.T. ), these very theories are being promulgated today by professed evangelical believers.

The results of that study are found in this book. May it bring to the reader what I found through my discoveries—a satisfaction in heart and mind that I had never known before in the Prophetic Word. Deep down I had always felt somewhat mystified by the ever-changing maze of pre-millennial and dispensational "prophetic identifications". The marvellous assurance with which some of the "great prophetic teachers" could "prove from Scripture just what was going to happen to Russia and Germany and Turkey and the United Arab Republic, etc.", amazed me in earlier years, but in later times gave me a feeling that the Bible was being turned into something of an evangelical Old Moore's Almanack. As for all the contradictory theories, one's mind just couldn't keep up with them. But now they were all gone. "Full Rapture, Partial Rapture, Pre-Trib., Rapture, Post-Trib., Rapture, Mid-Trib., Rapture";…"Church Saints, Kingdom Saints, tribulation Saints, Millennial Saints";…"Kingdom Truth and Church Truth";…"The Revived Turkish Empire";…"The revived Roman Empire";…"The Napoleon-Mussolini-Hitler identification with anti-Christ". All these, and a host of other baseless and useless theories went overboard with a glorious ecstatic splash. In their place was the simplicity of the N.T. revelation, devoid of all this guesswork. The perfect unity and harmony of all the writers were obvious. They did not write of several different Days and several different Events. They all pointed to the one Great Consummation. The Lord was not dishonoured by the thought that Paul was made a custodian of "more advanced truth". ( Perish the thought! ) Paul did not contradict John, neither did Peter live in ignorance of special revelations" made to Paul. The Saviour, Peter, Paul and John had the same understanding of the Coming, and when they spoke they with united voice establishing clearly a doctrine of The End that is entirely free from the vagaries and problems connected with the Futurist scheme of several raptures, several resurrections, several Satanic triumphs, several Judgements and several "Second" Comings.

And so I commend the work to the earnest study of the reader. I trust you will read with an open mind. Some are like the leading Advent Testimony preacher and writer ( known throughout the English-speaking world ), to whom I addressed a letter after listening to two "prophetic" addresses he gave. I sought to show what I considered to be the erroneous teaching, and set out several questions. His reply ( I still have it ) refused to answer any questions or engage in any discussion, his reason being, "I have preached these truths ( ? ) for fifty years, and see no reason to change." If you, good reader, are of the same set mind, it would be better to close the book right away. But may you be as "the noble Bereans". Have your Bible open at your side as you read, and enquire "whether these things are so". Your reward will be great.

The End —

Chapter 2

Popular Millennialism Today

The great bulk of those who follow the millennial theory have only a hazy idea of what the theory involves. This is not an uncharitable judgement but the verdict of experience. When the subject is discussed with evangelical believers, 95% display amazement at the "truths" that are listed to them as part of popular millennial belief as taught by its leading advocates. They have accepted the main idea of a Thousand Years' Kingdom, but the dubious ( and sometimes abhorrent ) associate ideas that are part and parcel of the scheme they are either ignorant of or have never given a thought to. It is expedient, therefore, to list some of these details, so that the reader will know the kind of "Kingdom" the pre-millennialist speaks so much of. I quote from "The Second Coming in relation to the Millennium", an A.T.P.M., publication from the pen of one of the ablest writers for this theory, the late Dr. F. E. Marsh. He says on pages 10 and 11:

"This treatise stands for the teaching that the Millennium is preceded by the personal return of Christ to the earth."

The Millennium will be inaugurated by the personal return of Christ, when He will remove everything that offends, or is a stumbling block. ( Matthew 13:41 )

The Millennium will see the Jews converted to Christ at its inception ( Zechariah 12:10 )

In the Millennium, Jerusalem will be the centre of God's administration ( Jeremiah 3:17 ), and Palestine will be altered in its geographical appearance ( Zechariah 14:4-10 ) and extent (Ezekiel 48)

During the Millennium the land of Palestine and the earth will become more fruitful ( Ezekiel 34:27, etc ).

In the Millennium the animal creation will be delivered into the liberty of the children of God ( Romans 8:20 ). The children of God will have the glory, but creation will enjoy the liberty.

In the Millennium men will learn war no more and will beat their implements of slaughter into implements of agriculture ( Isaiah 2:18; Micah 4:3 )

In the Millennium death will be the exception and life will be greatly increased in longevity ( Isaiah 65:23 ).

In the Millennium, Satan will be shut up in the abyss, therefore the Tempter will not do his fell work ( Revelation 20 ).

The character of the rule in the Millennium will be an administration of righteousness ( Isaiah 32:1; Acts 17:31 )

The Holy Spirit will be poured out "upon all flesh ( Joel 2:28-29 ).

Israel will have great spiritual blessing ( Jeremiah 32:37-41 ).

Nations will be blessed with Israel, notably Assyria ( Isaiah 19:23-25 ).

Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and a new Temple and religious worship will be in operation ( Ezekiel 40 – 47 ).

The Lord will be King over all the earth, and all nations will worship Him (Zechariah 14:9; Isaiah 2:2).

In later chapters Dr. Marsh expounds more fully these features of the Millennium, and we note one or two points. He says: "Unrighteousness will not be tolerated, although it will be, in some quarters, like a slumbering fire waiting to burst out at any opportunity; but it will quickly be quenched by the act of the Lord and those who act for Him" ( page 83 ). On ( page 84 ) we read: "There will be death, and curse, and judgement in the Millennium…Life will be prolonged, that an individual dying a hundred years old will be counted as a child, and anyone dying at that age because of his sin, will be the result of the anathema of God." Again, ( page 85 )"In the Millennium there will be those who yield to Christ ‘feigned obedience’." Again, ( page 86 ) "Israel will be the central nation in the Millennium. The nations will see what Jehovah will do for Israel in the Millennium, and give abject homage to the nation." We are also informed ( page 86 ), "A beautiful Temple will be erected in Jerusalem…described in Ezekiel 40–42, unique and distinct from all Temples ever built." Yet, on ( Page 33 ), the author quotes ( with approval ) the words of Nathanael West, another well-known Millennium: "it is a kingdom spiritual, though of outward form, in which carnal beatitudes have no place, THE BEGGARLY ELEMENTS OF JUDAISM NO HONOUR." In a later chapter, the contradictoriness of this will be shown, as "Ezekiel’s Temple" involves the aforesaid "beggarly elements"

A few statements from other millennial writers will impress our minds with the situation that will obtain in this Kingdom. A present day dispensationalist, Samuel Gorman, thus writes: "It will be a period of restricted evil and improved moral condition…If necessary. men will be made to obey the rules of the Kingdom." "It does not mean there will be no sin in the Millennium, but that there will not be any vicious sin as is evident today…( What is vicious sin? sounds decidedly Romish. )…The attitude of some people towards Christ will be changed, but their hearts will remain unchanged." ( Coming world Ruler. pp. 148–149 )

J. N. Darby. the apostle of modern dispensationalism. Wrote, "Obedience will be paid to Christ’s manifested power, even when men are not converted. When this obedience is not paid, EXCISION TAKES PLACE, so that all is peaceful and happy. I have an impression that piety will decline in the Millennium." ( Collected Writings, vol. II. p.534 )

J H. Brookes. whose writings popularised dispensationalism with multitudes of ordinary readers, gives us this rather alarming prospect: "Though restrained during the Millennium, it ( the flesh ) will manifest its inherent pravity at the first favourable opportunity. like a tiger long caged and curbed, THAT WILL BOUND BACK TO ITS NATIVE JUNGLE WITH UNQUENCHABLE THIRST FOR BLOOD WHEN THE IRON BARS ARE REMOVED." ( Maranatha, p. 490 )

This, then, is the Millennium of popular Adventism today. We may be excused if we exclaim, What a Kingdom! It sounds too much like a post-mortem on this present world, to have any attraction to us. On the one hand, abounding righteousness and peace, combined with harmony in the beast creation, and fertility and fruitfulness in the natural world; but, on the other hand, unregenerate ( i.e., Christ-rejecting ) hearts; "refined" sin; excision ( chilling word! ) inherent pravity and tiger-like passions straining to break their captive bonds. And finally, to complete the picture, the whole thing goes up in smoke, for, according to the theorists’ application of Revelation 20, when the Devil is loosed again "for a little season" he has it nearly all his own way again. In spite of the fact that Jesus Christ has reigned in Personal power and glory on this earth for 1000 years, and the vast majority of earth’s inhabitants have been His subjects, yet at the first opportunity the Devil can completely turn the tables. For, when he is loosed, he goes out to deceive the four quarters of the earth, gathering a legion like the sand of the sea, whilst the saints are but a small, beleaguered camp.

One marvels that godly, spiritual men, with the N.T. in their hands can hold beliefs of that kind. But why marvel? So many of us have held them and preached them for years; what a subtle, deadly power is tradition, whether Protestant or Popish! How prejudiced the human mind is against truth which threatens to dispel long-held ideas!

But let the reader pause here and ask, "Where did the Lord Jesus teach that such a Kingdom would follow His Return? Where did Paul, who "declared the whole counsel of God" ( Acts 20:27 ), preach or write such doctrines?" Further, let the reader ask, "Is this the Kingdom Christ bought with His Blood? Is this the "regeneration" He promised His disciples? Is this the Kingdom where "nothing shall hurt or destroy in all My Holy Mountain"? Is this the time when "no unclean thing is known"? and when sorrow and sighing flee away"? Is this the Kingdom in which saints, who have been ransomed from the presence of sin forever, are to reign? Is this the Kingdom that follows the trump that "swallows up death forever"?"

Enough! The very questions ring out the falsity of pre-millennium We are certain that the only Kingdom to follow the Advent of the redeemer, is the eternal Kingdom of the Father where there is "no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain". And we believe the following examination of the N.T. will afford abundant evidence to substantiate this.

Before we pass to this examination it should be mentioned that our main source of quotations for the teaching we oppose is the Scofield Reference Bible. Probably no single factor has contributed more to the spread of these theories than this. We find no pleasure in having to "withstand to his face" any Christian; our quarrel is not with Dr. Scofield, who, we believe, was a godly man, but with the theories he held and the way he propagated them. The production of this Bible, with its lengthy notes written on almost every page, may have been a successful move from the dispensational standpoint, but from the standpoint of evangelical Christianity we regard it as one of the most retrograde steps ever taken. To multitudes of people, the "notes" have come to have almost equal authority with Scripture itself. They are, to a large section of Christians, what the Douay Bible notes are to the Romanist, and vast numbers are, from earliest years, rendered incapable of openly studying the Word of God on vital subjects because their minds have already been "conditioned" by the teaching they have imbibed through the Scofield notes. We cannot but regard this "Bible" as one of the most unfortunate publications to have burdened the Christian Church, and we trust that one result of reading this work will be that many will see the perversity and falsity of the "Notes", and get back to the sincere reading of the Scriptures, unadulterated by novel theories.

Some modern dispensationalists contradict Scofield on a few details of his scheme. They have done so. because they have seen. in the face of opposing criticism, that the original dispensational position on these particular points have, in fact, given the game away and undermined the whole scheme. So they are ever producing new and novel interpretations to cover the gaping break in their defences. But it does not affect the main contentions of the theory as taught by Scofield. It is simply a little "lovers’ tiff"; the infatuation for this strange, sensational system of prophetical interpretation still casts its spell over large sections of the evangelical church.

The End —

Chapter 3

The Rising Sun of the Kingdom Day

Light From Matthew And Mark

The eminent revivalist and Bible teacher George Jeffreys ( Footnote ) often used to say that in his ministry he had to contend with two enemies the Higher Critics and the Lower Critics. The former robbed the believer of Bible blessing by denying the reliability and authority of Scripture. The latter, whilst asserting the divine authority of the Bible, made much of it of none effect by his teaching that large parts of it had nothing to do with the believer of this age. Such is the outlook of the dispensationalist. According to him, the Church is a parenthesis in God's great Kingdom programme. The Church was only brought in when the Kingdom failed, but , as soon as God can get the Church out of the way ( at the Rapture ). He will revert to the old order, and bring the Kingdom to the forefront again. We cannot help but feel that this comes perilously near to saddling God with the folly Paul refused to be guilty of in "building again the things I destroyed" ( Galatians 2:18 ). Thus, consistent with this theory, we are told that large parts of Scripture deal with this Kingdom, past and future, and, consequently, have nothing to do with the Church. The O.T. comes in for severe treatment along this line; but the New does not escape either. Under the battle cry of "rightly dividing the Word", the dispensational-vivisectionists get busy, and the first to feel the knife is the Gospel of Matthew. He verily becomes the dispensationalists' guinea-pig, so that he eventually emerges from the dissecting theatre a mere skeleton. One often wonders what Matthew will have to say to Dr. Scofield when they meet in another world. Fortunately, Revelation makes it pretty clear that heaven will not lend itself to literary lawsuits.

In speaking to children, I sometimes urge upon them the necessity of taking the right step in life now; I use an arithmetical illustration. The children do their sum; Twice one-two; twice two-four, twice four-eight, and so on to the tenth dimension, reaching 1024. I then do my sum, audibly Twice one—three; twice three—six; twice six—twelve, and so on, until the same sum lands me at 1536. The lesson is obvious. So it is with the fatal errors of the 19th century scheme in its treatment of Matthew's Gospel . Scofield starts off with the assertion, "It is peculiarly the Gospel for Israel" ( RJB. p. 993 ), and, having made this false start, all his future development is a multiplication of this error, until we reach the fanciful interpretations of later portions. In the hands of later dispensational teachers these reach the fantastic stage. The main points of Scofield's scheme are clearly laid down. The Kingdom proclaimed by John Baptist and the Lord is defined as "The Messianic earth-rule of Jesus Christ the son of David" ( p. 996 ). We are taught that "the Jews were never rebuked for expecting a visible and powerful Kingdom ( p 1000 ), and that the Lord Jesus actually offered them this Kingdom. Scofield heads chapter 21 with the words, "The King's public offer of Himself as King", although he has already told us at Matthew 11:28 that the Kingdom had been rejected, and the King now offers, not the Kingdom, but rest and service". This peculiar system is so self-contradictory that Scofield presents us with three offers and rejections: Morally; Officia11y Finally When this final act takes place is a mystery. The Crucifixion and the imprisonment of the apostles ( Acts 4 ) are both listed as rejections, whilst the slaying of Stephen is commented on as "the final trial of the nation". Yet in his note on the final rejection ( p. 1012 ) he adds several Scripture references, Acts 9:15; 13:46; 28:25-28. So, like other points of the scheme, this rejection becomes spread over a long period of years. leaving the reader bewildered.

We cannot but deplore this carnalising of the ministry and mission of the Redeemer. Let the reader ponder the implication of all this theorising, and we will see that it is tantamount to a denial of the central truth of revelation. The inescapable conclusion from Scofield's notes is that, had the Jews accepted the Messiah, the Kingdom could have been set up there and then, WITHOUT CALVARY Lest the reader should think we are misinterpreting dispensationalism, let him face the offensive note Scofield makes on John 12:20-24. The Greeks desire to see Jesus. In response to the apostles' approach, the Lord makes His arresting answer "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit". Note Scofield's words: "He does not receive these Gentiles. A Christ in the flesh. King of the Jews, could be no proper object of faith to the Gentiles, though the Jews should have believed on Him as such. For the Gentiles, the corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die; Christ must be lifted up on the Cross and believed in as a sacrifice for sin, as Seed of Abraham, not David."

The meaning of this is clear. The Cross was no necessity for the Kingdom of the dispensationalist. The Gentiles needed a crucified Saviour, but Jews could have had a Kingdom with a cross-less Messiah. It was only the Jews' crucifixion of the Lord Jesus that made the Cross a necessity for their redemption. Surely, this alone should be sufficient to convince anyone that dispensationalism is a man-made theory from beginning to end, a menace to Fundamental Scripture truth. But it does not end there. This Judaistic profanity is repeated in Scofield's comment on Acts 3:20, where he has the effrontery to state: "The whole people is addressed, and the promise to national repentance is national deliverance;—and He shall send Jesus Christ to bring in the times which the prophets had foretold," Yet, in his comment on Matthew 16:20, he says: "The former testimony ( i.e., Christ for the Jews ) was ended, the new testimony ( i.e., Christ crucified, risen and Head over the Church ) was not yet ready, because the Blood of the New Covenant had not yet been shed." But now, in Acts 3, after the Cross, Resurrection and Pentecost, he saddles Peter with the false charge of preaching the old testimony which had ended two years before!

The whole business is a mass of contradictions that could never have occurred if Matthew's Gospel had been read aright. In approaching this Gospel the important fact to realise first of all is that the N.T. documents were all written primarily for the benefit and instruction of the young Christian Church. THEY WERE NOT WRITTEN FOR OUTSIDERS. Matthew's Gospel was the same, and Scofield's statement "it was for Israel" is false. It is his "twice one are three", landing him into prophetic blunderland. Matthew was written for the young Church to give the Christians of those early years the first authentic, written Life of the Lord of the Church, and the theme presented by Matthew was not of One who offered God-rejecting men an earthly Kingdom, but the transcendent record of One who had come to set up a Kingdom, not of this world, in which the covenants with Abraham and David, embraced in the wider sweep of the New Covenant, would find their fulfilment in the great spiritual, eternal realities secured for His People by the death, resurrection, ascension and mediatorial reign of the King. So the Gospel begins with the announcement, "Jesus Messiah, Son of Abraham, Son of David", and ends with the Royal proclamation that "all power in heaven and earth" is given into the hands of the King, with the commission to His ambassadors to "disciple all nations", i.e., to bring men "from the kingdom of darkness, into the Kingdom of His dear Son."

All this would have been as plain as daylight to the early Christians, who rejoiced in the knowledge that their Saviour was "both Lord and Messiah" ( Footnote ( Acts 2:36 ) ) and that He was now "Israel's Prince and Saviour", bringing to men the priceless blessing of the forgiveness of sins ( Acts 5:31 ).

The second factor essential to the correct understanding of Matthew is the clear principle, so often emphasised in other studies by people who hold dispensational views, but completely overlooked here, that ALL SCRIPTURE MUST SE VIEWED IN HARMONY. Particularly is this so with the portions that treat of the same subjects or events. Only thus can a true understanding be reached. Isolation is a fatal policy in Bible study. So Matthew's Gospel must be read, not detached from the others, but side by side. Especially must the first three Gospels be read in the light of the one written last of all John. To do this with Matthew would mean the death and burial of dispensationalism, with no hope of a resurrection. Before listing some of the points on which John sheds illumination as to the correct meaning of Matthew's record, it will be well to remind the reader of a very, important point in the relationship of John to the other three, viz., that whereas they present to us supremely the Galilean ministry of the Lord ( Jerusalem only comes in. the later sections ), John, from the beginning, centres his record round the testimony of the Lord in Jerusalem. Apart from John 4 in Samaria, and John 6 in Galilee, the scene is always Jerusalem and its environs, and, whilst, in the Synoptics His antagonists are the Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees, in John we are confronted with "the Jews". Surely then, if our Lord had an earthly Kingdom to offer to the Jews, it could not fail to be writ large in John's Gospel. Add to this the fact that John wrote near the close of the first century, when, according to the dispensationalists. every member of the Christian Church believed in the imminence of the Lord's Return, coupled with the setting up of the Kingdom on earth, then we must surely expect overwhelming confirmation from John of the "Kingdom teaching" which our friends say is the marrow and substance of Matthew. But every reader of the Gospels knows that the exact opposite is the truth. We open the last Gospel, and in the first chapter we find that the interpretation of the Baptist's ministry which alleges he proclaimed an earthly Kingdom is completely shattered. The only King he know is "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world" ( John 1:29 ) and the only Kingdom he directs his readers' attention to is one where earthly natural blessings have no place, but the great covenant blessing of the Spirit and Fire is the inheritance of its subjects ( John 1:33 ). Whilst "the King of Israel" is not one at an earthly Jerusalem, but one to whom the "heaven is open", and the angels of God ascend and descend upon Him ( John 1:49 ).

The theory of a Christ who declares authority in an earthly Kingdom of the Jews is destroyed in John 2, where we are presented with a Christ who, at the very beginning sets Himself against established Jewry, and declares that the Throne of His Sovereignty is to be found, not in a carnal application of the Davidic Covenant, but in the destruction of His earthly Temple, and His raising it again in three days ( John 2:19 ).

And the Kingdom He announced in Matthew? was it Scofield's "earth-rule"? Nay, for John records that when a first-century "earth-ruler" came to Him by night to find out the truth about His Kingdom, the Master made the revelation plain, A Kingdom He had indeed, but founded, not upon a carnal interpretation of the Davidic Promise, but on the Divine Son "lifted up" on the Atoning Cross. The only Kingdom the Lord Jesus had for Jew as well as Gentile, was the only one He has ever offered to anyone, entered. not by racial membership, but by being "born from above". And what was the inheritance of this Kingdom? Not "earth-rule" but "everlasting life". We fain would wish that every dispensationalist might learn what Nicodemus learned that night, He would then enjoy the pure sunlight of Matthew's Gospel, instead of delegating it to the twilight of a departed Judaism.

Again, what shall we say of such a highly objectionable fallacy as Scofield's statement that the Lord "never rebuked the Jews for expecting a visible, powerful Kingdom"? One is baffled! It seems utterly incredible that spiritual men, with John 6 before them, could ever propound such nonsense. Read the story and see how He repudiated their idea of an earthly kingdom ( John 6:15 ), and then forever shattered their aspirations along that line as He proclaimed to them "the breaking of His Body and shedding of His Blood" In language so clear that a child can understand, our Lord set forth the nature of the Kingdom He had come to establish. It was a Kingdom of faith ( John 6:29 ); it was a Kingdom of the Bread of Life and the Water of Life ( John 6:35 ); it was a Kingdom for "all that the Father gave Him" ( John 6:37 ): it was the Kingdom of everlasting life, culminating in "the resurrection at the Last Day" ( John 6:40 ); it was a Kingdom known only to those who "eat His flesh and drink His Blood" ( John 6:53 ). And note the result: "they went back and walked no more with Him". Those people saw what Scofield and his fellow dispensationalists, with all their enlightenment, fail to see, that AN EARTHLY ISRAELITISH KINGDOM HAD NO PLACE IN THE MINISTRY AND MISSION OF JESUS OF NAZARETH, and that the only Kingdom He proclaimed was the one that was to find its centre, not in Jerusalem, but in Calvary. And the Kingdom that was rejected in Matthew's Gospel was the very same Kingdom rejected in John 6.

It is outside the scope of this work to deal with all the erroneous statements made by Scofield to bolster up the theory of an Israelitish Messianic Kingdom. We trust sufficient has been said to show its delusive character. Further, we trust the reader appreciates that the Gospel of Matthew is what every other N.T. document is—a message. not to Israel, but to the Christian Church, and in his record Matthew sets forth Jesus as the King of His People, who, by His Life, Death, resurrection and Ascension, brought into being that glorious Kingdom which can never be moved.

Let us now proceed to examine some of his statements. and the first portion we refer to is the Ministry of John the Baptist ( John 3 ). Space forbids detailed analysis, so we content ourselves with outlining the main points. They are most instructive as indicating the whole character of N.T. eschatology, and the relationship of the New Covenant to the Old. Note these features:

His ministry begins with the striking note, REVEALING THE N,T. PRINCIPLE OF THE TRUE INTERPRETATION OF O.T. PROPHECY REGARDING THE KINGDOM. He quotes from Isaiah 40, with Luke making a fuller quotation. Turning to that chapter, we find Israel proclaiming THE FINAL PARDON OF JERUSALEM'S INIQUITY, and the consummation of O.T. hope with God appearing to Judah and Jerusalem ( N.B. vv. 2 & 9 ). Then says the prophet, "Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low…etc." According to millennialists, the geographical face of Palestine is to be altered supernaturally at the Second Advent, this being based chiefly on the prophecies of Ezekiel and Zechariah. But we would point out that we have equally strong language declaring geographical change in this passage But John, filled with the Holy Ghost, repudiates millennial literalism, and guides God's people to the correct interpretation of prophecy by informing us that these lines are to be understood as representative of the great moral and spiritual changes to be wrought by the establishing of Messiah's Kingdom. In Mark's record, the matter is pressed still further by an added quotation from Malachi. The reader can pursue this.

The end of racial and family favour before God. "Think not to say…we have Abraham to our father…God is able of these Stones to raise up children unto Abraham" ( 3:9 ). We feel that here is the strongest possible indication that the Kingdom at hand is to have no connection with national descent. "The axe" of divine purpose is to end all that, and establish the Tree of God'' planting.

The Kingdom John announces is inseparably connected with one of the great offices of the King, viz., "to baptise with the Holy Ghost and Fire" ( 3:11 ). So this great act was to be associated with the Kingdom! But history informs us that it was the act of the Risen Lord, the Head of the Church, on the glorious day of Pentecost. The conclusion is obvious ( unless you have a theory to defend at all costs ), that these offices of the Lord are identical. We shall have more to say on this point when we come to Acts 2.

The Kingdom was to be consummated ( not inaugurated ) with the in-gathering of the wheat and the burning of the chaff.

We ask, what is all this but a message perfectly identical with the main principles of the Gospel taught in the Acts and the epistles? And, as already mentioned, John's Gospel shows us that all these features are associated with "the Lamb of God" and the "lifting up" of the Son.

The next portion of Matthew to engage us is the first preaching of the Lord Jesus ( 4:12-17 ). Like John, He proclaims the advent of the Kingdom: "The Kingdom of heaven is at hand." This, we are told, is in fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecy "The land of Zabulon and Nephthalim…Galilee of the Gentiles…the people which sat in darkness saw great light…etc." ( Isaiah 9:1, 2 ) Turning to that chapter we are immediately impressed with the same line of truth as in the Baptist's ministry, viz., the N.T. principle for the correct interpretation of O.T. prophecy. In this passage the prophet announces that the One who brings light to those in darkness is "the Child born, the Son given, Whose Name is Wonderful, etc.". Further, he informs us that this One takes a Government that shall NEVER END and all this IS IN FULFILMENT OF THE COVENANT WITH DAVID ( Isaiah 9:6.7 ), The irresistible conclusion to be drawn from a straight reading of this passage, and its application in Matthew, is that these great events obtain their fulfilment, NOT IN THE SECOND ADVENT, BUT IN THE GREAT WORK OF THE REDEEMER IN HIS FIRST ADVENT. Indeed, as we shall have occasion to point out from time to time, one of the chief errors of pre-millennialism, particularly the dispensational form, is that IT ASCRIBES TO THE SECOND ADVENT THINGS WHICH THE SCRIPTURES ASSERT HAVE BEEN SETTLED ONCE AND FOR ALL IN THE FIRST ADVENT. According to our understanding of Scripture, the divine centre of all operations relative to the redemption of God's People is the Cross and the Resurrection; but modern theories of the Advent shift it to the future.

The Lord's Prayer — Matthew 6:9-13.

This magnificent utterance of our Lord comes in for rough usage with the Futurist ( Footnote ). He assures us it does not belong to the Christian Church, It is "Kingdom teaching", and is the prayer "the Remnant" will pray during the "Great Tribulation". But we do not fear to suggest that the statement and context have no place whatsoever for dispensationalism. First, let us remind ourselves of a principle previously stated, viz., that no Gospel stands alone. Turning to Luke 11:1-13; we find our Lord taught this prayer to His disciples on at least one other occasion. The truths He taught were so important that He did not mind repeating them. Scofield appends a very long note on this passage, much of which is quite good, but it is all made incomprehensible when he introduces his prophetic bias and writes: "Used as a FORM ( italics Scofield's ) the Lord's Prayer is, dispensationally, upon legal, not Church ground; it is not a prayer in the Name of Christ" ( p 1089 ). But we are satisfied that, dispensationally, it belongs to us, Note the following:

Luke definitely associates this prayer and the attendant teaching with the Gift of the Holy Ghost ( v.13 ). Scofield makes a note on this, in the course of which he makes this preposterous statement: "Save Mary, not one of the disciples but Peter, and he only in the great confession ( Matthew 16:16 ), manifested a spark of spiritual intelligence till after the resurrection and the impartation of the Spirit" ( p, 1090 ). This is as studied an insult as could possible be made. What a pity there were no Brethren assemblies then to teach these poor dull Galileans! And, unfortunately, there is still a good deal of this same spirit of "superiority" existent in those circles today. The writer has some good friends amongst "the Brethren", but, nevertheless, one is often made forcibly and painfully aware of the above-mentioned attitude. The Holy Ghost was given for this age, and this prayer is part of the Christian heritage.

What is this kingdom our Lord instructs us to pray for? Clearly we are told it is "the Father's" Therefore, on the ground of their own theories it cannot be their millennial Kingdom. According to them, the Kingdom set up on this earth is "The Kingdom of the Son", and this is eventually handed over to the Father. Therefore, we have no alternative but to conclude that the Kingdom for whose coming the Lord instructed His disciples to pray, is the eternal Kingdom of the new heaven and earth.

This is further substantiated by its character. We are to pray for a Kingdom where God's will shall be carried out on earth as it is now carried out in heaven, i.e., in absolute perfection. But Millennial writers quoted earlier show that their Millennium is a very long way from that. Caged, tiger-like passions, smouldering fires of rebellion and such like exist in their kingdom, and eventually succeed in a vast overthrow of the will of God. Therefore, we are confined in our conclusion that the Kingdom in view, and the one that is to follow this Christian Age, is the eternal new heaven and earth.

Matthew 7:21-23.

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

Here is our Lord's statement relative to the Judgement. Whilst we do not attempt to dogmatise on eschatological details from this statement, we feel that the whole spirit of it coincides with the view advocated in this work, and is entirely out of harmony with the theories we combat. Note the statements that follow:

The Kingdom of heaven is definitely stated to be a sphere or state that is only entered by a change of heart.

The second statement connects it with the frequent statements of the apostle Paul, who used the same identifying phase "in that day" ( see: 2 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Timothy 1:12, 18; etc. (Footnote)).

The statement is in keeping with the idea of a general Judgement. "In that day" the obedient enter the Kingdom, whilst the false are rejected. The language is almost identical with that of the Judgement in Matthew 25.

The language "depart from Me", seems consistent only, with the final doom of the wicked, and points to the conclusion that the Final Judgement is portrayed. Finally, we note that these great events are to take place "in that Day", indicative of one consummating event.

Matthew 8:11-12.


This great statement of our lord is one of the most arresting He made. Would that every reader could throw away any dispensational spectacles he may have inherited, and see, the statement in its plain simplicity and solemnity. We feel convinced that he would then see it as an embracive summary by our Lord of eschatological views. Note the details.

It was made in response to the first exhibition of saving faith on the part of the Gentile.

The first event is a universal gathering of righteous men, "they shall come from the east and the west". Luke says, from the east, from the west, from the north and from the south" ( Luke 13:29 ). The connection with the New Jerusalem is obvious, where the city has its gates to the four cardinal points. The unity of Scripture forces us logically to the conclusion that our Lord is here speaking of the eternal in-gathering of the redeemed.

Whilst Matthew speaks of "the Kingdom of Heaven", Luke identifies it with "the Kingdom of God". Wise men understand. ( Footnote )

Gentiles and patriarchs sit down together, sharing equally the blessings of the heritage. The basic context teaches it is the heritage of all those who are "of faith". There is no Israelitish Kingdom here. In fact, the children of the Kingdom ( the Jews, through whom the Covenants had been communicated ) are cast out. Race will not count one tittle in our Lord's programme, no matter what fanciful theories about "the poor Jews" are propagated by dispensationalists.

The doom of those cast out is solemnly described: "outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth". Only one event in Scripture fits this—the eternal doom of the wicked. This shatters Millennialism, as, according to them, she doom of the wicked follows the Final Judgement, which, in turn, follows the Millennium. On that basis, this Kingdom cannot be the Millennium. Note too, that the reward of the godly and the doom of the wicked are indicated as occurring at the same time. There is no suggestion of another age of God's dealings with men intervening between the two. This is the united testimony of Scripture.

The Parable Of The Wheat And The Tares — Matthew 13:24-30, & 36-43.

Without doubt, this is, eschatologically, the most instructive of our Lord's parables. Its object is to set forth the final severance of good and evil, true and false, and in so doing it makes a number of explicit statements. Note that these statements are our Lord's own interpretation of the parable, so we are not left to dubious opinions. We assert that these statements are utterly irreconcilable with Millennialism, and teach a view of Last Things in which there is no room for this alleged kingdom to follow the Advent. Note,

The sphere of the parable is this age, when the Word of God, through the followers of the Saviour is preached throughout the world.

Believers of this age are called "the children of the Kingdom". This demolishes the idea of separation of the Kingdom and the Church. Both "saints" are identical.

The time of the parable's consummation is definitely located as "the end of the age", i.e. the age when the Word is preached and believers are gathered. It is the age that begins with the First Advent of the Redeemer, and closes with His Second Advent. This, too, spells disaster for the school we are opposing, particularly dispensationalism. If the events listed in this parable take place at the end of this age, and "this age" is the "Christian age", their theories are gone. So we have a new interpretation from the modern group. ( This is characteristic—dispensationalism is. ever producing new things. ) According to these, "this age" is the rule of Gentile World Power, beginning with Nebuchadnezzar and ending with the destruction of Anti-Christ at the close of the Great Tribulation. What are you to make of a theory that can stretch itself to such evasion when the obvious meaning of Scripture is uncomfortable?

The end of this age is marked by the final divine dealing with both regenerate and unregenerate. "Let both grow together till the harvest…In the time of harvest…gather the tares…gather the wheat."

Christ's Kingdom is purged of everything alien AT THE END OF THIS AGE ( v. 41 ). Therefore, His Kingdom coincides with this age, and does not follow it, as millennialism teaches.

The issue at the end of this age is irrevocable and eternal—"the furnace of fire" and "the Kingdom of the Father" ( Footnote ).

All this is so fatal to dispensationalism that Scofield is obliged to make notes that deliberately contradict our Lord's words. Hear him, on page 1016: "The gathering of the tares into bundles for burning does not imply immediate judgement. At the end of this age the tares are set apart for burning, but FIRST the wheat is gathered into the barn." But THIS IS JUST WHAT OUR LORD DID not SAY. His words are: "Gather ye together first the, tares." Such a deliberate contradiction is, to say the least, regrettable. It pin-points the spirit of bending Scripture to fit a theory entirely out of harmony with true doctrine. For it is evident, as Scofield clearly saw, that if the doom of the wicked precedes, or even coincides with, the reward of the righteous ( as the Bible affirms it does ) when it is the burial service for pre-millennialism. But let the reader be impressed with the clear teaching of the Lord Jesus, which is so plain one marvels why anyone can miss it. He asserts that the end of this age does not introduce a period of Great Tribulation nor of earthly millennial glory, but witnesses the eternal separation of righteous and wicked. The wicked suffer eternal fire, NOT AT THE CLOSE OF THE NEXT AGE ( the so-called millennium ), but at the close of THIS AGE, and their doom is attended ( or followed ) by the shining forth of the righteous, which clearly indicates their eternal reward.

Coming to this last point, we refer to another misleading note by Scofield. On verse 43 he says, "The Kingdom does not become the Kingdom of Father until Christ, having put all enemies under His feet, including death, has delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father…death is not destroyed till the end of the millennium." But this is at complete variance with the words of Christ. Scofield says the Kingdom of the Father commences after the millennium, but the Lord said it is manifested at the end of this age: "THEN shall the righteous shine forth in the Kingdom of their Father." This is identical with, 1 Corinthians 15:24 where we are told that after His Coming, "then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father." So the perfect harmony of our Lord and Paul are demonstrated when we take the obvious meaning of their words.

The Net Parable — Matthew 13:47-50.

The teaching of the former parable is confirmed, and even emphasised. "So shall it be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire." The two classes are clearly named: "the wicked" who "forsake not their way" and "the just" who "live by faith". The time of their severance is stated with unquestionable clarity—when the wicked are sent to their doom. Pre-millennialism asserts this separation takes place 1,000 years before the doom of the wicked, and dispensationalism adds another 7 years to this figure. But the rugged word of the Gospel disowns both, asserting that Mercy and judgement are finalised at the end of this age. Note also, that the pre-millennialist contention that only the wicked appear at the Final judgement is refuted by our Lord's statement.

Matthew 16:27.

"The Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father, with His angels; then shall He reward every man according to his works"

These words of our Lord find their most natural interpretation in the teaching of a general judgement. They turn our thoughts to Revelation 20:13, "They were judged everyman according to their works." The idea of a general judgement is inherent in the context. Our Lord had spoken again of two classes—those who take up the Cross, and those who do not; those who "lose their lives" and those who "find" them. The judgement of "every man" obviously embraces both. The parallel passage in Mark 8:38 reads,.- "Of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed when He cometh in the Glory of His Father with the Holy angels." This confirms that it is not only a time of rewarding the works of the righteous, but the judgement of the works of the ungodly. Dispensationalists have theorised about this "Coming of the Son of Man" and attempt to distinguish it from "the Coming of the Lord". The latter is for the Church, the former for Israel. But this will not do. Scofield himself gives their game away. In his note on 2 Corinthians 5:10 ( "We must all appear before the Judgement Seat of Christ" ) he states: "The Judgement of believers' works…this occurs at the Return of Christ, Matthew 16:27." ( page 1233 ) But Matthew 16:27 definitely speaks of the Coming of the Son of Man, and thus Scofield acknowledges it refers to the Church. And if this is so, then believers are judged "when He comes in the Glory of His Father and the Holy angels" ( The Glorious Appearing ), and not at some separate Bema "set up in the heavenlies" whilst the earth is rocking with the Great Tribulation.

The Regeneration — Matthew 19:28.

"Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the Throne of His Glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

This is an important Scripture in the controversy; we are confident it is fatal to pre-millennialism. Scofield is rather timid about it, making only a brief observation: "the re-creation of the social order and renewal of the earth when the Kingdom shall come." But if we take the plain sense of the statement in the light of the rest of Scripture, the meaning is clear. Weymouth translates, "in the New Creation", and Wesley, in his notes calls it "the Renovation". Only one sphere fits this description—the new heavens and new earth. The disciples were promised their reward for allegiance to Christ. Previous quotations have shown that believers are rewarded "in the Kingdom of their Father", which, even on dispensational terminology, is the eternal age. This passage simply confirms this. The time the apostles' reward is not in this alleged millennium, when all things are not created anew, but are only a large scale improvement on the present order; the time of reward is in "the New Creation". Any doubt is dispelled in the next verse, where the Lord Jesus tells the disciples their reward is twofold, a hundredfold in this life, and IN THE WORLD TO COME LIFE EVERLASTING. The statement is repeated and clarified in Mark's version ( 10:29, 30 ). Note the significant phrase, "this age…the age to come". This is a frequent note in our Lord's ministry, and it is irrefutably clear that the "age to come" is the age of "everlasting life", not earthly millennial rule. If this age and the eternal age were to be separated by another age ( and that, the most glorious mankind has ever known ) , why did our Lord speak in a way that implied complete ignorance of it? We are satisfied the interpretation given above is the correct one, and it agrees with apostolic philosophy on the same issue: "godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."

The latter part of the verse merits our attention. Having, established that the time of the apostles' reward is the New Creation, or the New Heavens and New earth, we are afforded happy illumination as to the true meaning of Scripture terminology. We shall have much more to say on this matter later, but suffice to point out here how our Lord uses these terms. The apostolic reward in the New Creation, the world of "everlasting life", is spoken of as "sitting upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel". We have already pointed out that in the first ministries of both the Baptist and the Master, clear indications were given that whilst, by their very nature, some prophecies would he fulfilled literally, there was another line of prophetic vision wherein earthly terms and names were used to speak of things of a much grander character and infinitely vaster scope. This principle develops through the Gospels until, after the resurrection, and in the subsequent Church record, IT ENTIRELY ECLIPSES THE FORMER LINE OF PROPHETIC DECLARATION. In the Acts and Epistles, Israel, Jerusalem and the earthly throne are FOREVER REPLACED BY THE ISRAEL OF GOD, THE CITY OF THE LIVING GOD, ( Jerusalem from above ) AND THE RESURRECTION THRONE OF JESUS MESSIAH.

Now it is clear in this verse before us, that the Lord Jesus is speaking according to this Divine programme. A carnal interpretation of these words seems to border on the ridiculous. Scofield says, "the Kingdom will be administered over Israel through the apostles, according to the ancient theocratic judgement ( Judges 2:18 )." We confess we are mystified with this "explanation". It sounds so absurd and contradictory. We are told that this kingdom is predominantly Jewish; it is the time of earthly Israel's glory, whilst the Church's inheritance is "in the heavenlies". But the apostles belong to the Church; then what are they doing administering an earthly Kingdom? Paul contrasts the Old Covenant with Israel and the New Covenant with the Church under the terms "the glory that is passing away", and "the glory that excelleth". Do the apostles leave the latter for the former? Also, as we have previously shown, there is sin and rebellion in this earthly Kingdom. Are these apostles, now with Christ, free from sin's presence, to be confronted with it once again? These, and kindred questions should be sufficient to refute this theory that brings no honour to Christ. It has been well termed "Christ's Second Humiliation". We therefore sum up these statements of our Lord briefly as follows:

The time of the reward is "the New Creation".

This is "the age come" of "everlasting life".

It is identical with Christ sitting on the Throne of His Glory. Matthew 25 shows this is when "everlasting punishment" and "everlasting life" are meted to men—the Eternal Judgement.

The reward being in the eternal world, our Lord's words refer to the glory that shall be the eternal heritage of the apostles when they reign with Christ for ever and ever. This is made abundantly clear in the fuller exposition of the theme in our comments on Luke 22:28- 30.

The Request Of James & John — Matthew 20:20-28.

Here the request is made through their mother. "Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand, and the other on the left, in Thy Kingdom."

Our Lord's answer speaks of "His cup" and "His Baptism". If any conclusion is to be drawn from this, the obvious one is that His Kingdom is not an earthly one to be set up in a future age, but one intimately connected with the events now impending—His sufferings and death. In Mark's record ( 10:35-45 ) the phrase "in Thy Glory" is used. On the Emmaus Road our Lord taught that His Glory followed His sufferings, and He had entered into it. In 1 Peter 1:21, we are told, "God raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory", and this, we are told in verse 11, was in fulfilment of the O.T. prophets who spake of "the sufferings of Christ and the Glory that should follow". Reverting to the passage in Matthew, we note that the future Kingdom blessedness is "prepared of the Father". The most natural interpretation is that it refers to the eternal Kingdom of the Father, consistent with Scriptures already examined.

The Cursing Of The Fig Tree — Matthew 21:18- 22.

The reader might query the inclusion of this passage in a treatise on eschatology. Such query is natural and justifiable, as the incident carries not the slightest suggestion of the subject. In language that could not be plainer, we are told that the incident was designed to teach the apostles the necessary and power of faith IN THEIR PRESENT AND FUTURE MINISTRY. But it is remarkable what a man can see in Scripture when he has a dispensationally-conditioned mind. So Scofield assures us that "the withered fig tree is a parabolic miracle concerning Israel", and then adds a further note "cp. Matthew 24:32, 33, a prophecy that Israel shall bud again". This is exegesis reduced to absurdity; firstly, because, if Scofield had taken the trouble to read Luke 21:29 ( the parallel passage he would have read, "Behold the fig tree AND ALL THE TREES." So obviously, it has nothing to do with the Jews. But again, if this fig tree in the incident above did represent the Jewish nation, then Scofield's millennium is withered from the roots up, because Mark informs us that is what happened to it. As for budding again, the Lord Jesus said, "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward FOR EVER." If Scofield is prepared to accept this as fulfilled in the Jewish nation, we will have no quarrel with him, for it is the unanimous verdict of Scripture.

The Parable Of The Wicked Husbandmen — Matthew 21:33-46.

The importance of this utterance is shown in that it is recorded by the three Synoptics. We suggest the following are the main points of its teaching, and they constitute another formidable witness to the truth of the views advocated in this work:

THE UNEQUALLED GUILT OF THE JEWISH NATION. "They beat one, killed another, stoned another. Again He sent other servants, MORE THAN THE FIRST…they did likewise unto them…This is the Heir; come let us kill Him.."

In recent years the writer has been struck by the vivid contrast between the flowery effusions of dispensational preachers regarding the Jewish nation, and the solemn testimony of Scripture. The former never tires of eulogising "the amazing Jew", "The Wonderful Jew", "The apple of His eye", etc.. I have never heard a dispensational preacher charge the Jews with being the guiltiest nation under the sun. This is precisely what the Scriptures do. Their own prophets testified that, had it not been for the faithful Remnant, they would have been as vile as Sodom ( Isaiah 1:9 ). Moses described them as "an increase of sinful men, to augment yet the fierce anger of the Lord." ( Numbers 32:1 ) And the Lord Jesus branded them as worse than Sodom and Tyre ( Matthew 11:20-24 ). This parable emphasises that guilt which, the rest of the N.T. assures us, reached its fullness in the murder of God's Son.

CHRIST, IN HIS REDEEMING WORK, IS GOD'S FINAL WORD OF MERCY TO SINFUL MEN. "Last of all He sent His Son." This, too, is the voice of the N.T. The Life, Death and Resurrection of Christ constitute God's final offer to men. The Second Coming will bring mercy to no one. Read Romans 2, where That Day brings glory, honour and immortality to the believer, but to the unbeliever, Jew and Gentile tribulation, wrath and anguish.

THE IRREVOCABLE DOOM OF JEWRY. "He will miserably destroy those wicked men" ( verse 41 ). "On whomsoever it shall fall, it WILL GRIND HIM TO POWDER" ( verse 44 ). This symbolic language is strong enough to create the conviction that it teaches the end of all distinctive relationships between God and the Jewish people. This has the backing of the rest of the N.T..

THE REJECTION OF THE JEWISH NATION HAS NO EFFECT ON THE PURPOSE OF GOD. They rejected the Chief Corner Stone, but God has set Him in the place of honour, and the building of His Temple goes on uninterruptedly. The reason for this is that God's Building did not incorporate a carnal, unregenerate people, but only those of faith in that nation. So the work will go on in a grander way than ever before, incorporating not only Jews, but also the Gentiles, in one holy Temple. This truth is set forth with unanswerable clarity in the second chapter of Ephesians and 1 Peter 2, as we shall see later.

THE NEW ISRAEL COMPLETELY REPLACES THE OLD. Note our Lord's striking comment: "The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, AND GIVEN TO A NATION BRINGING FORTH THE FRUITS THEREOF." We are satisfied this nation is the Church. Peter, referring to the identical prophecy of the corner-stone, speaks of the Church as a holy nation ( 1 Peter 2:9 ). It is conclusive. Then note what our Lord says: not that Israel is set aside temporarily, whilst the Church becomes the medium of God's purpose, but something much stronger. His language declares that THE VERY THING ISRAEL HAD BY VIRTUE OF THE COVENANTS WAS NOW TO BE LOCATED IN THE NEW ISRAEL. if the reader question this, Ephesians 2 will dispel every doubt.

The Parable Of The Wedding Feast — Matthew 22:1-14.

This parable describes two periods of divine activity. The first is the invitation "to them that were bidden" to come to the marriage feast. Their abominable treatment of the call brings down the wrath of the King, and introduces the second period which sends out the call to the highways. Unquestionably they represent the age of the Law and the age of the Gospel. The point of interest is that both invitations were to the same thing—the marriage feast of the King's Son. There was not one kind of invitation to the first, and a different one to the second. Dispensationalists would have us believe that God was offering men something different in the O.T. and in the early ministry of the Lord from that which He offers in the Gospel. Like spiritual nuclear physicists, they split the mighty atom of the Gospel so that Scofield tells us there are four different invitations—the Gospel of the Grace of God, the Gospel of the Kingdom, the Everlasting Gospel and Paul's "My Gospel". Correspondingly, we take it there are four wedding feasts. What with all this, plus two physical resurrections ( modern theorists even make out one or two more during their idolised "great tribulation and millennium periods" ), two or three raptures and several Judgements, the whole thing becomes a ludicrous arithmetical enigma. The parable closes, as do nearly all those of an eschatological character, with an act of Judgement. The false is cast into outer darkness. The parable describes this as taking place when all the guests have come in to the Feast; in other words, at the close of the age of invitation. We would not labour a doctrine simply from an implication of this kind, but would point out that the tenor of such language is in keeping with the whole burden of the N.T. The blessedness of the righteous and the doom of the wicked are declared at one tribunal.

Marriage In The Future State — Matthew 22:23- 33.

Our Lord's answer to the question of the Sadducees not only silenced them; it silences pre-millennialists also. "In the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." Let us see the reading in other Gospels. Mark records it: "When they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage …" Luke's record is still more explicit, and states the doctrinal position unmistakably: "They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world ( age ) and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given an marriage: neither can they die any more; for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being children of the resurrection." ( Luke 20:35, 36 )

To assert the doctrines of dispensationalism and pre-millennialism in face of this utterance of our Lord is nonsense. They are completely at variance. Look at the statement. First, our Lord is obviously referring to the resurrection of the righteous. Note what He says:

It is identified with the commencement of "that age," which is clearly "the age to come" so frequently referred to by the Master. There is no hint of several resurrections of the righteous; such a thing had no place in our Lord's teaching. We have already shown this is the eternal age.

In "that age", earthly things have passed away. Earthly relationships are gone, and death is known no more. In these respects, the righteous have "become as the angels".

They are "the children of God", i.e. it is the Great Day of the manifestation of the Sons of God ( Romans 8 ) when the purposes of God in His People are fully realised. We have no doubt that this passage of our Lord's earthly ministry is the equivalent of that great pronouncement He makes from heaven: "They shall be His People, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God…there shall be no more death…for the former things are passed away." ( Revelation 21:3, 4 )

All this spells disaster to the theorists. What other conclusion can one reach? The resurrection of the dead ushers in "the age to come", and "that age" is neither one of unparalleled tribulation nor one of earthly millennial glory, for in this latter age ( according to its advocates ) sin and death are still known, whereas our Lord informs us that "in that age" death is no more and men attain to angelic perfection. Let any pre-millennialist examine, if he can, how our Lord could use such language if He knew that this age was to be followed by one wherein sin was still present, rebellion smouldered beneath the surface, and death still takes it toll. Certainly no pre-millennialist would speak in such a strain. How careful they are to "distinguish the dispensations"! We prefer to accept the obvious meaning of the words that "this age" of man, with its trail of sin and death, is to be concluded with the glorious Advent which ushers in the resurrection of the dead and "the age" where "the former things are passed away, and He that sits upon the Throne makes all things new".

The Olivet Discourse — Matthew 24.

No discourse of our Lord's ministry is more arresting and thought-provoking. In the hands of the dispensationalists it suffers indescribably. If ever there was a case of reading into the Scripture something that was never there, surely it is with this chapter. The words of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones are true: "We go to our Bibles with this theory, and everything we read is controlled by it…There is a sense in which it is true to say that you can prove anything you like from the Bible. That is how heresies have arisen. The heretics were never dishonest men; they were mistaken men. They should not be thought of as men who were deliberately setting out to go wrong; they have been some of the most sincere men the Church has known; their trouble was this: they evolved a theory and were rather pleased with it; then they went back to the Bible with this theory, and THEY SEEMED TO FIND IT EVERYWHERE." ( Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, page 11 )

So it is with the Futurists. The theory of a pre-tribulation rapture, followed by the spine-thrilling exploits of "the Jewish Remnant" have become an obsession. They see it everywhere; and, if there is a Scripture that clearly destroys the first part of the theory, then the second part is called into action to save the situation. So with Matthew 24. This rugged statement of our Lord clearly shows His People on earth right to the very end. But Pre-Trib-Rapture theory will not allow that, so "the Remnant" comes to the rescue, and we have the novel interpretation of Matthew 24 which tells us it has nothing to do with the Christian Church; it refers solely to this imaginary Remnant in the days of the "Great Tribulation". And the ground for this amazing exposition? Absolutely none, save the fantastic 19th Century Secret-Rapture theory and its accomplice—the "Jewish" Gospel of Matthew. Against these twin theories are all the mighty facts of Christian exegesis summed up as follows:

For 1,800 years, till Darby appeared, the whole body of Christian expositors, commentators and preachers applied Matthew 24 to the Church. But their new theory says THEY WERE ALL WRONG. Fathers, Reformers, Puritans and all the great multitude of evangelical expositors were blind; according to Scofield, they were groping in Romish darkness ( R.B. p. 989 ). But there is something more dangerous behind this. The implication of this Brethren theoretical dogmatism is that OUR LORD SPOKE IN SUCH A WAY THAT FOR 1800 YEARS ALL HIS FOLLOWERS WERE COMPLETELY MISLED AS TO WHAT HE MEANT. This is not the only serious reflection cast on the Lord by dispensationalism ( Footnote ).

Where is the slightest word from the Lord to state He was addressing the disciples, not as Christians, but as representatives of a future Jewish Remnant. I doubt whether anything more preposterous has been proposed by Christian men. It is not exegesis, but imagination run riot. The writer listened recently to one of the leading dispensational advocates ( Footnote ). In an afternoon address he took Matthew 24 and stated exactly what has been recorded above. In the evening he spoke on John 14, "I will come again". This, with profound inconsistency, he declared was for Christians. Were it not so serious, it would he ludicrous. The writer took the trouble to ask this international speaker what right and authority he had to make this double application of our Lord's teaching WHICH WAS ADDRESSED TO THE VERY SAME MEN ON BOTH OCCASIONS? He declined to reply. No, these men were Christians. They had found "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world"; they were "His sheep"; "His Brethren"; they were "given to Him by the Father", and their "names were written in heaven". When our Lord addressed them He spoke to them as Christian believers, and, through them, TO ALL WHO SHOULD BELIEVE ON HIM THROUGH THEIR WORD" ( John 17:20 ).

We deplore this "shuttlecock" treatment of our Lord's ministry, throwing it about between "Jew" and Christian in this perverted manner.

The identical discourse is recorded in Luke 21. No dispensationalist labels Luke as "Jewish". To meet this awkward situation the Futurists bring in another theory. ( They have an inexhaustible stock of them! ) We shall refer to it shortly.

The apostles spent the rest of their lives preaching "the things which He had taught them" ( Matthew 28:20 ). Where did they ever utter a word that supported this fantastic delusion?

Turn now to the discourse, verse 22 marks off the first section. During that period, there will be false Messiahs, wars and physical signs, persecution, and the spread of the Gospel. Verses 15-21 tell of startling events in Jerusalem and Judea, with a promise of divine help in verse 22. To what does this refer? The dispensationalist transfers all this to some future age, when, the Church having been removed from this earth, the "Jewish Tribulation Remnant" occupies the scene. This lurid "interpretation" gives rise to some queer speculations. Stanton, a modern Teacher in this school, in a considerable volume devoted to "the Great Tribulation", says, "Dispensationalists hold that Matthew 24 speaks of Israel in the tribulation, and not the Church, which THEY BELIEVE TO BE ALREADY RAPTURED, POSSIBLY BETWEEN THE 8th and 9th verses." Can you beat that? What a dispensationalist Sherlock Holmes would have made! The leading authority referred to above expounded this section as follows:


"Nation shall rise against nation." He asserted the idea of the words was "nations against nations", and pressed this "interpretation" further by saying it carded the thought of two blocks of nations forming the great conflicting powers in the Last Days. I leave the reader to judge the character of such "exposition".


"Ye shall be hated of all nations for My Name's sake", was calmly defined as anti-Semitism; and so on. We have said enough to show the system is one of speculative, emotional guesswork, devoid of sober Scripture exposition.

The location of the events described by our Lord is clear. Turn to Luke 21 where the same address is recorded. The section under consideration reaches to verse 24, and Luke tells us that all these things are to he fulfilled IN THE PERIOD THAT PRECEDES THE CONQUEST OF JERUSALEM and the scattering of the Jewish People throughout the Gentile world. Even Scofield acknowledges this took place in A.D.70. Therefore, we unhesitatingly assert that the passage has no eschatological significance whatsoever. To meet this insuperable difficulty, Dr. Scofield invents "two sieges of Jerusalem, one in A.D.70 and the other at the end of the 'Great Tribulation'." His authority? Only his own theory. He further adds, "at that time ( the second siege ) Jerusalem will be delivered by the glorious appearing of the Lord." But neither Scofield nor any of his followers can produce a single word in our Lord's discourse, even in Matthew's record, which states this. But, that this theory is false is conclusively shown by Luke's statement relative to the awful sufferings of A.D.70. "THESE BE THE DAYS OF VENGEANCE, THAT ALL THE THINGS WHICH ARE WRITTEN MAY BE FULFILLED." ( verse 22 ) This tremendous statement corroborates what the rest of the N.T. clearly teaches, that God's dealings with natural Israel ( as a nation ), both in mercy and in Judgement, terminated with the work of the Messiah in His First Advent and the events that flowed from it.

Passing on to the rest of the discourse, we write with reserve. Amongst conservative theologians and expositors there are different views on the passage embraced in verses 27-31. Some regard them as eschatological, others as historical. Dogmatism is difficult. If, however, we take the pre-millennialists on their own ground and regard them as eschatological, verses 27-31 are fatal to their doctrine. His Coming is like lightning; attended by convulsive phenomena in the creation; it brings doom to the ungodly ( tribes mourn ) and deliverance to the righteous ( the gathering of the Elect ).

We proceed to surer ground in verse 35 onwards. Our Lord has now in view "That Day". It is future, known only to God. It is prefaced with a solemn declaration "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away". We feel these words contain more than a strong affirmation of infallibility; they carry the thought that when His words come to pass, they will be attended by the dissolution of the material creation. This is the doctrine of the rest of the Bible, e.g. 2 Peter 3.

To emphasise this, and to teach a doctrine of the future which points, not to a millennium, but a new heaven and earth, our Lord draws attention to "the days of Noah". His Coming will be like the Judgement on the old world. Then the wicked were completely destroyed, whilst the righteous were secured to enter the new earth. Peter, in the chapter referred to above, also draws attention to this old Judgement, and assures us it will find its great anti-type in the dissolution of the present creation. Therefore, we cannot but conclude our Lord is once again teaching what He has taught before, that His Coming will he the final event in world history. It brings about the final deliverance of His elect, the doom of the ungodly, and the passing away of the present physical order, to be replaced by the New Creation.

The Great Judgement — Matthew 25:31- 46.

Beyond question, this is a classic passage. We feel its statements are so plain as to force every dispensationalist into a corner from which there is no escape.

As so often, Scofield's note represents his own theory, not Scripture statement. He says, "The Lord's Return tests the Gentile nations." But our Lord says, "all nations" ( verse 32 ). In his footnote, Scofield elaborates the futurist interpretation. "This Judgement is to be distinguished from the Judgement of the Great White Throne. Here there is no resurrection; the persons judged are living nations; no books are opened; three classes are present, sheep, goats, brethren . . . the scene is on earth" ( R.B. p. 1036 ). All this is pure assumption, typical of the scheme which, in many ways, is simply a system of negations. So often they LOOK FOR THINGS THAT ARE NOT THERE, and conclude that such a passage must necessarily differ from another passage. They seem to be totally blind to the fact that two records of the same event can be very different on incidental details, simply because they record things from a different angle. According to this method, John 14 cannot possibly refer to our Lord's Coming for the Church, as there is no mention of resurrection, the trumpet sounding, etc.. On this basis Revelation 20 cannot possibly refer to an earthly millennium as there is no mention of Palestine, a fruitful earth, nations coming up to Jerusalem to worship, and the host of other things connected with that institution. Press the idea further, and there must have been four different notices set above the Cross, for each. Evangelist records a different statement. But Scofield sees the truth there and comments, "These accounts supplement, but do not contradict each other." Then why didn't he apply the same principle to Scriptures relating to the Lord's Return? The answer is that in one he is maintaining the truth of the Bible, whilst in the other he is advocating a theory introduced to Evangelicalism as late as 1830.

Looking again at this Judgement, we refer to a present day writer. In his book, "Coming World Ruler", S. Gorman reproduces a table from Dr. Graham Scroggie, setting forth the differences between the Judgement Seat of Christ, the Judgement of the Nations ( Matthew 25 ) and the Great White Throne. ASSERTION AFTER ASSERTION IS MADE WITHOUT THE SLIGHTEST EVIDENCE. We confine ourselves to Matthew 25. This is the information given. The Judgement takes place when Christ returns to earth, as distinct from His Coming for the Church. of course, the passage states nothing of the sort, and makes no mention of the earth. We are even told it "takes place in Palestine". Authority? None! The persons judged are said to be "the Gentile Nations", but the passage says "all nations". The ground of Judgement is said to he "the nations' treatment of the Jews". This fanciful idea is based solely upon a carnal interpretation of the term "My brethren". All we need to say is it is completely at variance with the use of the term throughout the N.T. His brethren are His true followers; see John 10:17; Hebrews 2:11, and, in Matthew's own Gospel, 12:49 and 23:8. We know not a "Christ after the flesh". But the crowning perversion of Gorman's interpretation is when we are told that "the issue of the Judgement is entrance into, or exclusion from, the millennial Kingdom." How can men who profess diligence in handling the Scripture, make such a false statement? It is a direct contradiction of our Lord's words, for He tells us with the utmost clarity that the issue of the Judgement is eternal punishment and eternal life.

Thus, a brief examination of dispensationalists' own writings show the erroneous character of their interpretation. A little further enquiry will show its utter folly. How can nations entire appear at the Judgement Bar of God? It contradicts both Scripture ( which teaches "everyone of us shall give account of himself to God" ) and common sense. Scofield gets in a proper tangle and says, "the persons judged are living nations" ( p. 1036 ). How can persons be judged as nations? Absurd! Suppose, e.g., the British nation has been friendly to the Jews ( the theorists of all shades generally turn up true blue on this item ); will the whole of the British nation with its millions of papists, hundreds of thousands of spiritists, thousands of atheists, and millions of "nothing-in-particular", all be set with the "sheep nations" ( as Futurists call them ) and thus enter "into eternal life"? Vice versa, will the German nation, with its large number of true Christians be classed among the goats, to pass into everlasting punishment? The whole conception is such a confusion that even many able dispensationalists acknowledge its insuperable difficulties in advocating their theory.

With relief we look at the passage in its plain setting. We are told, "When the Son of Man shall come in His Glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the Throne of His Glory." Theorists delight in naming His "Coming" as "the Revelation" when Christ comes "with" His saints, as distinct from His Coming "for" them, seven years before. The Lord ignores this and speaks of coming "with His angels". With out doubt it is the Revelation, and the very same event Paul describes in 1 Thessalonians 1:7-10: "When the Lord Jesus shall he revealed from heaven WITH HIS MIGHTY ANGELS, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." This identification makes the matter conclusive, and makes clear that the Judgement in Matthew is for disobeying the Gospel. The language of Matthew is vivid and pictorial, and emphasises another aspect of Gospel truth, that true saving faith is evidenced in doing the works of Christ. The identification with 2 Thessalonians 1 is confirmed also by Paul's statement that the Judgement he speaks of is "everlasting-destruction".

The Throne of His Glory is none other than the Great White Throne of Revelation 20, shown by the fact that both have to do with the same solemn Judgement—the eternal destiny of men. John emphasises the Judgement from the standpoint of "the dead, small and great…judged according to their works", whilst Matthew describes the same event as related to the living, as well as dead. This Judgement is also "according to their works".

In leaving this passage, note the welcome to the righteous: "Come ye BLESSED OF MY FATHER, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." This language is completely out of place with the millennial doctrine. It fits only the teaching that the Advent brings the eternal age. Surely, it is "the Kingdom of the Father" here presented, and relates itself to the eternal redemption of God's People, CHOSEN IN HIM FROM BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD" ( Ephesians 1:4 ), and redeemed by "the Blood of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" ( Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:19 ). And it is the Kingdom of "Eternal life". In face of this pre-millennialism must disappear once and for all.

The Passover Communion — Matthew 26:29.

"I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's Kingdom."

Mark's language is almost identical. Luke says, "till it be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God." The bearing of these words is obvious. The communion service is for the Church 'till He come". Then it will receive its consummation. Pre-millennialism says the Coming brings in the 1,000 years' Kingdom, but our Lord clearly states here that the final communion service, when He comes for His People, introduces us to "the Kingdom of the Father", and even pre-millennialists acknowledge this is the eternal age. Then their cause is lost! Note too, our Lord's use of the phrase "that day". Once again, it is the one great day. THE PROPHECY TO THE HIGH PRIEST. Matthew 26:24. "Hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven." Revelation 1:7 states: "that washed us from our sins in His own Blood…Behold He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him." These two Scriptures are identical. They show what we have already seen in every passage quoted, that His Coming for His People and to judge His enemies is one event.

The Gospel Of Mark

Most of the passages in this Gospel are paralleled in Matthew, and have already been dealt with. One or two points merit consideration. MARK 8:36. "Whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when He shall come in the glory of his Father, with His holy angels." Dispensationalists identify this as "the Revelation". But Matthew 10:32, 33, speaking of the same event refers both to those who are ashamed and those who "confess Me before men". This embraces righteous and unrighteous. Luke 12:8 also states it clearly: "Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of man confess before the angels of God; but he that denieth Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God." Clearly, the implication of these passages is that in the Great Day when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, believers are confessed and the ungodly denied. This is the consistent voice of the N.T. Note, too, in Luke's reference, there follows our Lord's words about the sin against the Holy Ghost, which "hath never forgiveness, neither in THIS WORLD neither in THE WORLD TO COME." ( Luke 12:10 with Matthew 12:32 ) THE OLIVET DISCOURSE. Mark 13. Most of this ground has been covered. Note a few things. "The Elect" are on the earth right till the Glorious Appearing ( verse 27 ). The meaning of this term must he judged by the rest of the N.T. This carries only one meaning—the redeemed of God whom He foreknew, both Jew and Gentile. The strong word regarding the mystery of "that Day". "Knoweth no man, no, not the angels, neither the Son, but the Father." If, as dispensationalists say, the Church is raptured seven years before the Day of His revelation, and Matthew and Mark are referring to the latter Day, then our Lord's words are pointless. If the Revelation is to take place seven years after the Rapture, then "the Remnant" in the tribulation ( or, at least, part of it ) would know exactly the time of "That Day". The futurist position here is another example of the self-contradictory character of their theory. They Unanimously assert that there are no signs to precede the Rapture; all the signs in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 relate to Israel and the tribulation. One favourite catchword is "We are not looking for signs, but listening for sounds." It is frivolous wordplay. So actually, it is the Rapture that is completely dateless; the Revelation Day will be known ( on dispensational grounds ) as soon as the Rapture takes place. Yet these people assert that, as the Olivet discourse is for Jewish Remnant, it is the Revelation Day that is unknown. Where are we? The exhortations to watch and pray, verses 33, 35 and 37, clearly refer to Christians. In view of That Day ( perhaps delayed as suggested in verse 34 ) holiness of life is to be the believers' objective. This is in conformity with the words of Peter, who urges us to "the coming of the Day of God". He then describes the coming physical dissolution. The harmony of these passages is obvious, and their united teaching is that the Christian Church is to watch, work and pray right up to the Day that brings the end of this world and ushers in the world to come.

The End—

Chapter 4

The True Biblical Character of the Kingdom — Advent Theology According To Luke And John


What a fascinating record this is! It is supremely the Gospel with the heart appeal. No other stirs the human emotions like this.

We are impressed on opening it. Here is a writer of method and purpose, such as we might expect from a physician. He informs us immediately of his object—"to set forth in order a declaration of THOSE THINGS MOST SURELY BELIEVED AMONG US." This is arresting. Luke wrote his Gospel about 65A.D. By then the Gospels of Matthew and Mark were circulating amongst the Church all over the world ( Colossians 1:16 ). Paul's letters were also known and apostolic teaching had become established. The doctrines of the Faith held by the Early Church were settled, and so Luke is writing to declare these. We can expect clarity here. If the Early Church believed ( as Futurists assert ) in a secret Rapture, followed by unparalleled tribulation for the Jews, and this in turn followed by another Advent of Christ to earth, we shall find it clearly stated by Luke. And if this Appearing is to usher in an earthly Kingdom, with Christ ruling in Person at Jerusalem, lasting for 1,000 years, where sin and death are still known – then I say THAT LUKE CANNOT FAIL TO DISCLOSE IT. Further, if the prophecies of the O.T. relating to the restoration of Israel were believed by the Early Church to have a literal fulfilment in the Jewish nation, with Throne, Temple and worship restored, then a writer who is setting forth "the things most surely believed" must necessarily say something about these dramatic events.

What do we find? It is probably superfluous to say that you can subject Luke to the finest microscopic examination without finding a trace of these things. What has the theorist to say to this? Usually, he attempts to say that revelation is progressive, and further details of the prophetic programme are unfolded in later Scriptures. We reply with our original contention in this work – that the whole fabric of truth is found in "the words of our Lord Jesus Christ", and, if anything additional can be found it is merely a matter of detail, and not a definite doctrine of the Faith. Above all, no later revelation could possibly be given which is entirely out of harmony with the teaching of the Son of God and "the things most surely believed". We assert that, not only are the above named doctrines of dispensationalism not mentioned in the Gospel that sets out the Faith of the Early Church, but they are utterly irreconcilable with many of our Lord's statements. Particularly is this so with the doctrine of an earthly millennial age interposed between "this age" and the eternal age. Let us now proceed to examine the statements found in Luke relative to the Advent.

The Dawn Of Covenant Fulfilment — Luke 1.

We regard this as one of the greatest chapters in the N.T. Note where it starts—in the Temple, with the Priesthood. The Temple was the great symbol of God's covenant relationship with His People. From this place issues the news of the Divine outworking of His declare purposes, with the tremendous statements recorded in this chapter. Consider them:

"He shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children…etc." This is quoted from Malachi 4:5. Our Lord informs us ( Matthew 17:10-13 ) that John the Baptist was the promised Elijah, and no word of Scofield that he is yet to come will stand with us before the word of the Master. Thus we are already informed of the manner in which O.T. prophecy is to be fulfilled. THE TURNING OF THE CHILDREN ) OF ISRAEL TO THE LORD IS NOT AN EVENT OF A FUTURE AGE THROUGH A LITERAL ELIJAH, BUT COMMENCES WITH THE MINISTRY OF JOHN AND THE ADVENT OF MESSIAH. It is the spiritual conversion of those who repent.

"He hath holpen His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy; as He spake to our fathers, to Abraham and to His Seed for ever." Here Mary expresses spiritual perception of the nature of covenant fulfilment.

"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel. HE HATH VISITED AND REDEEMED HIS PEOPLE; and hath raised up IN THE HOUSE OF HIS SERVANTDAVID, AS HE SPAKE BY THE MOUTH OF HIS PROPHETS…that we should be saved from our enemies... to perform THE MERCY PROMISED TO OUR FATHERS, and to remember HIS HOLY COVENANT" ( verses 68-73 ).

Zechariah, full of the Holy Ghost, announces the era of prophetic fulfilment. Israel's deliverance, the promised mercy, and Covenant blessings are now to be realised. The nature of such blessings is clearly stated in verses 74-79. It is not physical, national or geographical, but spiritual. "Serve without fear…holiness and righteousness…salvation…remission of sins…light in darkness…the way of peace." In other words, the blessings of N.T. salvation.

Having seen this striking feature of Luke's first chapter, we can now rightly approach a statement millennialists try to capitalise for their doctrine:

Luke 1:32-33.

"The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the House of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end. "

Millennialists regard this as a bastion for their faith, although, surprisingly enough, Scofield makes no comment on it, except a brief reference to it in a note in Matthew. We are told here is proof that Christ will establish an earthly Kingdom, and will reign in person at Jerusalem. But we must politely remind millennialists that the verses state no such things. What is stated is:

He will inherit a Covenant Throne;

Reign over Israel;

Possess an endless Kingdom.

To say that these things will take place on this earth in a literal, physical manner is assuming the very thing that has to be proved. This is a recurring characteristic. At the time of writing this I am in correspondence with a leading Futurist preacher and writer. His last letter has put this very thing to me ( it is one of the few things they can bring from the N.T. ). He asks, "Are the five things in verses 30-31 literal? Why, then, make verses 32-33 to he spiritual?" It may sound plausible, but in reality it is lamentable, and shows ignorance of N.T. principles. Some words of Scripture are obviously literal and natural—it is the only sense that can be applied to them. Others are obviously spiritual, e.g. our Lord "opening the prison" and hundreds of others. Then there is the third class that may be literal or spiritual-, we need a Guide to instruct us just what is the true understanding. Now where these apparently problematic Scriptures ARE MADE THE DEFINITE SUBJECT OF EXPOSITION IN SOME OTHER PART OF THE WORD OF GOD, then there is the infallible explanation of their meaning. So it is with this pronouncement of the angel. This theme of the Throne of David and Messiah's reign over Israel is one of the great notes of the N.T., and we contend there is only one way to interpret this theme, AND THAT IS BY THE GENERAL CONSENT OF THE TEACHING OF THE N.T., PARTICULARLY THE INSPIRED EXPOSITION OF THE O.T. BY THE APOSTLES.

Therefore, if the rest of the N.T. teaches that this line of O.T. prophecy is to receive its fulfilment in the greater realities of the Gospel, then the carnal interpretation of Gabriel's announcement is groundless, and pre-millennialism is "a thing fondly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture."

We are happy to state that the N.T. furnishes an abundant answer., We turn to the Acts of the apostles as the great library of O.T. exposition. We prefer to believe what the apostles said concerning O.T. prophecies than ten thousand other teachers. We do not propose dealing with the Acts now—that will come later. But we will draw the reader's attention to the theme under consideration—the Covenant Throne and Kingdom, and point out that it is the subject of three major declarations in the Acts:- Peter in Acts 2, Paul in Acts 13 and James in Acts 15. What is the position there? WE CHALLENGE ANY MILLENNIAL ADVOCATE TO FIND IN ANY OF THESE INSPIRED EXPOSITIONS A SINGLE STATEMENT RELATING THEM TO AN EARTHLY JERUSALEM – CENTRED KINGDOM TO BE ESTABLISHED IN A FUTURE AGE. On the other hand, statement after statement by the apostles asserts that it is in the resurrection of Christ and the subsequent ingathering of Jew and Gentile into one Kingdom that the great Kingdom – Covenant promises find their fulfilment. We shall fully establish this later, but to settle our position in regard to Luke 1:33, we will look briefly at the classic passage in Acts 13, and confine ourselves to its main assertions. This is Paul's first recorded sermon preached to Jews and proselytes ( verse 43 ) in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia. An analysis of the sermon will be given in the exposition of the Acts.

"David their king…Of this man's seed hath God, according to His promise, RAISED UNTO ISRAEL A SAVIOUR, JESUS." ( verses 22, 23 )

We ask the reader, what could such a pronouncement mean to Jews, who, believing the O.T., cherished a double hope, viz., Messiah's Kingdom and the resurrection? We answer – only one thing, that in the resurrection of Jesus was the fulfilment of the Kingdom promise to David. In other words, the apostle was asserting in the clearest terms that the Divine Monarchy was Co-incidental with the Risen Saviour-hood of Jesus.

That this was so is confirmed by the second declaration: "We declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the father, GOD HATH FULFILLED THE SAME UNTO US THEIR CHILDREN in that He hath raised up Jesus again." What was the promise made by God? It could only be the promise of a Man to sit upon the Throne a David – the heart of the great Covenant. The pre-millennialist says the promise will be fulfilled at the Second Advent, to a literal Israel. Paul asserted God HAD ALREADY fulfilled it in the resurrection of Jesus. We prefer to stand with Paul. The reader will see the same error again – ascribing to the Second Advent that which God says has been fulfilled in the First.

To set his meaning beyond all doubt, the apostle enforces his word with a quotation from the Messianic prophecies: "As it is written in the second Psalm, 'Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee'." This is one of the most vivid of Psalms. Its theme is the enthronement of God's Anointed in answer to the violent opposition of His enemies. This is announced in verse 6: "I have set My King upon My Holy Hill of Zion." This is followed by the decree whereby God secures the enthronement: "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee." Now, unless one has a mind forever seeking "deep dispensational mysteries", this is capable of only one meaning. The setting of God's King upon His throne in fulfilment of the Davidic Promise was celebrated by the decree of begettal; AND WE HAVE THE INSPIRED WORDS OF THE APOSTLE TO TELL US THAT THIS TOOK PLACE WHEN GOD RAISED HIS SON FROM THE DEAD. Nothing could be plainer; but "theory-blindness" is such a fatal thing that it leads Scofield to defy this apostolic interpretation. Note, however, that he completely by-passes this great sermon of Paul's. NOT A SINGLE NOTE! We cannot wonder; it would test the ingenuity of the most thorough-going pre-millennialist to reconcile Paul's indisputable interpretation of the O.T. with his scheme of things. But Scofield does make a note on Psalm 2. He identifies God's wrath ( verse 5 ) with the scattering of the Jewish race, but chiefly with the future tribulation "immediately preceding the return of the King". Then speaking of this return, he identifies verse 6 as "the establishment of the rejected King upon Zion" ( i.e. earthly Jerusalem ). This deliberate contradiction of the apostle is deplorable. Scofield contemptuously dismisses the view of the Kingdom we are advocating as "a legacy in Protestant thought from post-apostolic and Roman Catholic theology" ( R.B. p. 989 ), We think we have shown that this eschatology was the fundamental theme of apostolic preaching; but it would not he very difficult to relate Scofield's theory to some of the pernicious "prophetic" teachings connected with false sects and movements that have arisen during the past 100 years. Deeper still, evidence is accumulating that the origin of these theories was not Plymouth but Rome; the master-mind behind this anti-Protestant scheme was not Darby but Jesuitry".

To clinch the matter, Paul presents to his hearers a Scripture from Isaiah: "I will give you the sure mercies of David" ( Isaiah 55:3 ). As to the location of this prophecy, there is no possible room for doubt. Is it the Second Advent? Hear what the apostle says in preface to the quotation: "As concerning that HE RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, now no more to return to corruption" ( verse 34 ). So this great Scripture stands as an impassable barrier in the pathway of every pre-millennialist. We are sure the unbiased reader will find it so.

So we return to Luke 1:32, 33. The chapter in which it is found has already prepared us for a spiritual realisation of O.T. prophecy, as has been shown. Now, THE ONLY MEN WHOM GOD EVER ANOINTED AS INSPIRED INTERPRETERS OF THE O.T. – THE APOSTLES – HAVE SHOWN US HOW TO UNDERSTAND THOSE PROMISES RELATING TO THE KINGDOM. ( Footnote ) Thus, Gabriel's announcement is clear; Christ received His Throne when He rose from the dead, and began His reign over the new Israel, which shall last for ever. ( Far different from the pre-millennialist's kingdom which, after a brief thousand years, collapses in confusion and rebellion. ) In closing this portion, note the parallel between Luke 1:32 and Acts 13. "He shall be called the Son of the Highest," corresponds with "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee". "The Lord God shall the Throne of His father David," is almost identical with "I will give you sure mercies, of David". "He shall reign over the House of Jacob for ever," corresponds with "God hath raised unto Israel a Saviour Jesus".

Luke 9:26.

"When He shall come in His own glory, and in His Father's and of the holy angels." This passage has already received attention. It is quoted here as an added point of interest. Dispensationalists rejoice in "rightly dividing the Word". This, to a large extent, consists of separating into different categories all things that bear different names, titles or terms. Thus, the Kingdom of God differs from the Kingdom of Heaven; ( Scofield lists five distinctions [p. 10031. ) The Day of Christ is different from the Day of the Lord, etc., etc.. I wonder do they apply this principle to this text, and give us three "Comings"? One "In His own glory", another "in His Father's", and a third "of the holy angels". It sounds absurd—but it is as consistent as some of the "right divisions" made by Futurists.

Luke 12:35-38.

Once again we have a Scripture relative to the Judgement and the Kingdom, teaching the view here advocated. The subject is "salvation" ( verse 33 ). The Lord's reply to His questioner emphasises a fundamental truth of Scripture, "This is the Day of Salvation." A door is shut and people plead for admission to late. The Day of Salvation is over. What happens then? There is Judgement. The lost are cast to their doom. Then the Kingdom appears whose inhabitants are the righteous of ancient Israel and the great gathering of Gentiles from the north, south, east and west. Note our Lord's teaching; when the door of the Day of Salvation is closed, only doom follows. The delusion of the dispensationalist that when the Day of Grace ends there will be another Day of Salvation via Jewish Remnant evangelists ( perhaps even greater than this present age ) finds no place in the words of the Saviour. Note too, that here is no millennial Kingdom that precedes the judgement of sinners, but only a Kingdom that FOLLOWS their doom.

The Days Of Noah: The Days Of Lot — Luke 17:22-37.

What did our Lord believe as to the character of His Return? Was it to be a two-phased event? Was there to be a great era of salvation after He had come for His People? We have already given the answer a score of times, but here is a passage that should settle the matter once and for all. In verses 26-28, our Lord indicates that the days preceding His Return will witness a world identical in character with the world before the Flood, and the cities of the plain before the great catastrophe engulfed them. Verses 27, 28 and 29 describe the exact nature of His Coming; note carefully our Lord's words.


"The same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and DESTROYED THEM ALL."

"EVEN THUS SHALL IT BE in the Day when the Son of Man is revealed."

If, in the light of these statements of our Lord, men can still talk about a two-phased Coming and a millennial Kingdom, then words have ceased to have any intelligible meaning. To say our Lord held these ideas is totally inconceivable in the face of this language. No dispensationalist would talk like this. He would be accused by his fellows of getting his terms and exegesis all mixed up. In fact, he would probably be excommunicated if he belonged to certain fellowships. But there was no confusion with our Lord. It is His constant testimony; and it is the unbroken witness of every N.T. voice. As the judgement of the Flood sealed the irretrievable doom of all the ungodly, whilst the righteous were secure; and as the Lord delivered just Lot on the very day that the fire engulfed the ungodly, SO IT WILL BE AGAIN. In the great Day of His Revelation, His redeemed people be gathered to eternal safety and peace, whilst the ungodly shall perish in the fearful judgement that shall wrap the world in flames.

The Olivet Discourse — Luke 21.

This has been covered already. All that needs to be referred to is the closing passage in Luke's account. It consists of our Lord's warning to His followers of the menace of both the prosperity and adversity of the world ( verse 34 ), "lest that Day come upon you unawares". Note that it is one day, not several days. It is the same for godly and ungodly, for, says our Lord, "as a snare shall it come on ALL THEM THAT DWELL ON THE FACE OF THE WHOLE EARTH" ( verse 35 ). This Great Day of His Advent bursts simultaneously upon all mankind, bringing the awful Day of His wrath. But believers who watch for the Saviour "escape all these things", not because they have been raptured to heaven seven years earlier, but because they have been "accounted worthy to stand before the Son of Man". It concurs with all we have so far considered, that, before the judgement falls on the wicked, the righteous are gathered home.

The Apostles And The Kingdom — Luke 22:28-30.

"I appoint unto you a Kingdom as My Father hath appointed unto Me; that ye may eat and drink at My Table in My Kingdom, and sit on twelve thrones judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel." Dispensationalists and pre-millennialists contend for a literal interpretation of this passage. We reject such as absurdly impossible, and contend for the interpretation that shows the reward of the Master's servants in His Kingdom consummated in the eternal world. Our grounds are as follows:

The whole language is highly figurative—"eat and drink at My Table" is hardly literal. Surely, no Futurist would argue for that. How can men in glorified bodies, who have been "with Christ" for nearly two millenniums, descend to physical feasting on a literal earth? Obviously, the words are a figure of the unending bliss that shall be the lot of His servants in another world. Likewise we conclude that the other part of the promise is figurative of the kingly reward that shall he the portion of the apostles in the completed Israel of God.

Our previous considerations have shown conclusively that the only Kingdom that follows this age is the eternal one. This Scripture must he seen in the light of all the others, e.g. at end of this age the righteous shine forth in the Kingdom of their Father ( Matthew 13 ).

Of the apostles to whom these words were addressed, two subsequently wrote letters to their fellow, Christians. In these they spoke of the joys and rewards they were looking forward to "according to His Promise". Peter wrote two letters, and John three, plus Revelation. If a kingly position in an earthly Israelitish Kingdom was to be their reward, we would find it referred to, and probably fully expounded in these writings. What do we find? Not a single word! On the contrary, their whole hope is of the presence and glory of Christ in the eternal Kingdom. Listen to what they say; first hear Peter:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ which, according to His abundant mercy bath begotten us again to a living Hope, TO AN INHERITANCE INCORRUPTIBLE, AND UNDEFILED AND THAT FADETH NOT AWAY, RESERVED IN HEAVEN" ( 1 Peter 1:3 ). This cannot be a millennium; that corrupts, is defiled, and fades away.

Hear him again. Was he looking for a throne in an earthly Jerusalem? Nay, rather something infinitely greater: "Nevertheless we, according to His Promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness" ( 2 Peter 3:13 ).

And John: "It doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear we shall he like Him" ( 1 John 3:2 ). "Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own Blood, and bath made us KINGS AND PRIESTS UNTO GOD. Behold He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him" ( Revelation 1:5-7 ).

From these we conclude that the apostles placed no such interpretation on our Lord's words as pre-millennialists give them. And we feel safer with the men who knew.

The idea of reigning in a Kingdom touched with sin and mortality is repugnant to the whole of the N.T., AND EVEN TO DISPENSATIONALISTS' OWN CONTENTIONS. We are told the millennium is the time of Israel's exaltation; the Church has a higher heritage, even a heavenly glory. But the apostles are members of the Church, not an earthly Israel. The whole of the N.T. testifies that "their reward is in heaven". Then what have they to do with an alleged lower order? We prefer to believe that the Israel where they reign with Christ is THE ONLY ONE THEY EVER IDENTIFIED THEMSELVES WITH AFTER PENTECOST, viz., the Israel of the New Covenant.

For further proof that the apostles understood our Lord's words to refer to the new heaven and earth, see comment on 2 Peter 3:13.

The Gospel Of John

John's Gospel is not marked by much eschatological teaching. His avowed purpose, as expressed in chapter 20 verse 31, did not call for it. Hence the omission of large parts like the parables and Olivet discourse. Nevertheless, as the consummating happenings in God's programme are inseparably linked with the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, there are a number of tremendously important statements. We have already dealt with Kingdom teaching in this Gospel, and its shattering blow to the dispensational theory. "The King of Israel" of 1:49 was none other than "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world". And the kingdom of God was via "the Lifted-up Son" and "New Birth". In chapter 4 we find the Messiah ( verse 25 ) Who, in Matthew goes only to "the lost sheep of the House of Israel", going out to find one of these "lost sheep" among the Samaritans, and, through her finding many more ( verse 41 ). We are introduced into the significant phrase ( repeated later ) "the hour cometh and now is". A new era was being born, and the old was passing away. Its mark was "neither in Jerusalem … but in spirit and in truth". To us the meaning is clear. The day of the earthly, localised and literal was past. God's purpose henceforth had no geographical limitations. The ultimate for His People was, not a millennium, but "fruit unto eternal life".

We turn now to some pregnant statements.

John 5:25-29.

"The hour is coming, AND NOW IS, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live…

…The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation."

We cannot over-emphasise the importance of this passage. It is striking as it sets thoughts in pairs. We read of two great hours, one "now is", the other "coming"; two great voices; two kinds of "dead"; two "risings of the dead", and two authoritative works of the Son of God – to give life to execute Judgement. We shall have no difficulty in showing that these two contrasting lines of utterance are identified with the two great periods of human existence as stated again and again in the N.T., viz. "this age" and "the age to come". And, as the "age to come" involved in this passage is without any question the eternal age, this Scripture is a powerful testimony against millennialism. Look again at these "pairs". " First, the two "great hours", One, "coming and now is" is indisputably the era introduced by "the hour" of the first advent of the Lord Jesus. The other "hour" is when "the graves" give up their dead. It is the resurrection, and out Lord affirms there is only one such hour. The two "hours" of pre-millennialism are figments of human imagination.

Then consider the "two voices". The first, which the Lord assured us was speaking then, was the voice of the Son of God calling men to "life". It is the complement of verse 24, and those who hear pass "from death unto life". The second voice is in the future; it is the awful voice that calls forth all that are in the graves to the Judgement of God. Notice whom it calls forth in that "one hour". "the good", and "the evil". No thousand years separates them, and in that same "hour" they both receive their appointed portion. Again the perfect harmony of the Scriptures. Notice than the two classes of "dead". In verse 25, those who are spiritually dead, now in this age; but in verse 28, the physically dead, "those in the graves". Likewise they experience two resurrections, the first to the present possession of everlasting life, and the second to the Judgement Bar of God where the eternal destiny of men is allotted. As we shall have much more to say about this in connection with a later Scripture, we leave it there; but we are sure the keen reader will see the truth of our Lord's words, and their conclusive testimony on a vital issue in the millennial controversy. In fact, we are bold to say that had men carefully considered this statement of our Lord, the whole business would never have arisen; the millennium would never have been heard of. We trust to offer conclusive proof of this later on ( has it not been offered already? ). finally note in this passage our Lord's two offices. The first is "to give life". This is stated twice, in verses 21 and 26. It refers to the first "raising", i.e., to present spiritual life. Secondly, "to execute judgement". This also is stated twice, in verses 22 and 27. Once again we see millennialism completely excluded. In this age of the Gospel our Lord is the Giver of Life. But with its close He assumes His awful office of Judge, and, as verses 27 and 28 show, all mankind appears before His Bar. A millennium is excluded.

The Last Day

This significant phrase is used several times by the Lord in connection with the resurrection. We find it four times in John 6:39, 40, 44 and 54. Again, it is used by Martha in exactly the same way in 11:24.

Once more, in the plain, obvious meaning of the words we have an insuperable barrier to pre-millennialism. Our Lord's words are not merely difficult for that school to interpret; they are fatal to their scheme. In each of these verses the Lord is speaking of the resurrection of the Just, and declares it will take place "at the last Day". To His Jewish hearers, the meaning would be crystal clear because of two things. First, they understand from their prophetic Scriptures ( e.g. Isaiah 25; Hosea 13:14 and Daniel 12 ) that the Great Day of Israel's final deliverance and Messiah's Glorious Appearing would be ushered in by the resurrection of the dead. Second, as Alexander Reese points out, quoting from Plummer, "the Jews divided time into two ages, the Messianic Age and that which preceded it. This was a fundamental idea in Jewish eschatology, and it was adopted by our Lord and His apostles." ( Approaching Advent, p. 53 ) that is true, and our Lord adopted it simply because it was true. But Reese was a pre-millennialist, though violently opposed to dispensationalism; so he tries to argue that the future age is that of the millennium, with its leaven of sin and death. But such an idea is foreign to the O.T. conception of the Messianic Kingdom, as will be more clearly shown in a later section. The Kingdom was to be an everlasting one, where death was no more and no unclean thing could enter. It was a pity Reese could not see the force of his subsequent arguments, wherein he shows the identity of Paul with our Lord, by the former's use of the phrase "this age and the age to come". For "the age to come" of Paul was definitely the eternal age wherein all God's purposes are to be realised. And so it is with our Lord; the Last Day is THE LAST DAY, and nothing less. If it refers solely to a resurrection of believers prior to a Kingdom on earth which is to last for 1000 years and then be followed by the LAST Great Assize ( even if this should be only for the unregenerate ) then by no stretch of imagination can it be intelligently called THE LAST DAY. It might be THE LAST-but-ONE, but it is certainly not the Last Day. We are certain that every reader who approaches this Scripture with an open mind having no theory to advocate, and no long-held tradition to defend at all costs, must see that in this pregnant phrase our Lord taught that the day of the resurrection of His People COINCIDES WITH THE LAST DAY OF TIME, and is followed by the eternal age. The writer has been amused times without number at Gospel meetings and Christian rallies, at the blissful inconsistency of the folk against whose doctrines with work is directed.

Hear them sing with Pentecostal enthusiasm,

"When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound
And Time shall he no more."

Then, so often, follows a message in which the preacher informs us that after the Trumpet has sounded Time will go on at least for another 1,000 years; and all the people say "Amen!"

But we are certain the old hymn is correct. The Trumpet does bring the end of Time, for it sounds AT THE LAST DAY.

What a mix-up the dispensationalist is in here. Until recent years the followers of Darby agreed that the resurrection of Israel's righteous dead occurred at the same time occurred at the same time as the resurrection of the Church. But this presented inescapable difficulties which shattered their theories. Present day advocates have seen this, so they have conveniently adjusted the theory to meet the situation. They now teach that Israel's righteous dead are not "in Christ" and so are raised at a later date, probably at the close of that wonderful era which solves so many problems, "The Great Tribulation". What delicate problems, however, are posed by this evasion. Take, for example the man involved in the last quoted Scripture, Lazarus. He had died during the Israel Age". His appointed lot ( dispensationally speaking ) was this "end-of-the-tribulation resurrection". But he was raised and, as far as we know, survived into the "Church Age". So he now gets transferred to the pre-tribulation resurrection. And what about others? It is quite feasible that there were others who followed the Lord during the earlier part of His ministry, but died before Pentecost. So they never became "Church saints". Yet the Lord had said He would "raise them up at the Last Day". Which "Last Day" would they qualify for? The whole business is so absurd, that is it a relief to return to the sober truth already considered. We embrace the sublime faith of Martha and believe that our brethren of faith of every age will rise AT THE LAST DAY. And the location of that Day is infallibly settled by the majestic answering word of the Master, "I am the Resurrection." It is when He appears.

There remains but one objection to meet. The millennialists might argue that our Lord refers only to the resurrection of believers; so THE LAST DAY is a term applicable only to the Last Day of this age. But this subterfuge is shattered by another Scripture. Whilst the ones already quoted deal only with believers ( the subject matter of our Lord's discourse being His work for those whom the Father had given Him ), there is another use of the term in John's Gospel which is decisive. Dealing with the ungodly our Lord says, ."He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth Him; the Word that I have spoken the same shall judge him AT THE LAST DAY." ( 12:48 )

That is the end of pre-millennialism and dispensationalism. Alexander Reese, so clear and convincing when he deals with dispensational error, flounders in uncertainty when trying to bolster up pre-millennialism. In the section dealing with the Last Day, he omits this last-quoted Scripture, but makes dubious recognition of it in a foot-note. His remark is unintelligible: "The expression 'Last Day' occurs again in John 12:48, but it is of significance that nothing is said of resurrection. It refers to the generation of unbelievers who survive the Advent, which is viewed as near." ( Approaching Advent, p. 53 )

This is sheer imagination, and the weakest thing in Reese's valuable book. There is nothing in the text or context about "the Advent viewed as near"; nothing about this company of unregenerates who "survive the Advent". And, as for Reese's assertion that nothing is said about resurrection, he is guilty of the very thing he condemns in dispensationalists—argument simply from omission. In any case, how does he imagine there will be a judgement ( the subject of the text ) without a resurrection? No! setting aside all theories we have the clear statement of the Lord that believers would be raised at THE LAST DAY, and Christ-rejecters will come to Judgement AT THE LAST DAY. In other words, when our Lord spoke of THE LAST DAY, that is exactly what He meant. It is the day that ends Time, and ushers in Eternity. Why is it pre-millennialists like Reese cannot see it? Simply because their theories will not allow them to.

John 14:2, 3.

"In My Father's House are many mansions … I go to prepare a place for you … I will come again and receive you unto Myself."

These are the only words in John's Gospel that actually state the Second Advent; and in these sublimely tender words of the Saviour, the comfort of His People throughout the centuries, there is enough to refute the millennial idea. Simply and clearly He tells us that He has gone to the Father's House to prepare a place for His People. Their place is THERE, not in a Kingdom on this earth. He is coming again to receive us "unto Himself". What for? To bring us to earth to reign for a millennium? No! "That where I am there ye may be also." He is in heaven, the Father's House, and it is to that eternal abode He will gather His People. Thus shall they be "forever with the Lord". The sweet heavenly music of the passage is unbroken by any discordant notes of a doubtful millennium.

"My Father's House" is surely identical with "My Father's Kingdom". And we have already seen from Matthew 26:29 that the communion service finds its grand consummation in "My Father's Kingdom". This is at the coming of the Lord Jesus—the very same coming referred to in John 14. All this is shattering to pre-millennialism, but very comforting to those who delight in the sweet unity of the Gospel writers.

Summary Of Our Lord's Teaching

Having completed the examination of the teaching of our Lord during His earthly ministry, we feel sure the issue has been made perfectly clear. We have seen that the Advent and its vast attendant happenings were no minor part of that ministry. Rather, that Day was the grand climax to which a large part of His utterances were directed. He sets it before His hearers in a manner calculated to illumine the mind and solemnise the heart. We have seen that here are no darkly-veiled mysteries, but an embracive, detailed setting forth of the events connected with the Great Consummation, in language so clear and plain that "the wayfaring man need not err therein'. To suggest that our Lord would speak otherwise betokens lack of both wisdom and reverence.

What, then, have we discovered? If we adopt a dispensationalist attitude and look for "significant omissions", the result of our labour is clear. There is no statement of a "pre-tribulation Rapture", no word about a "two-phased Coming", no sentence about distinguishing between the "coming of the Lord" and the "coming of tile Son of Man", no announcement of a series of resurrections and judgements, no mention of an earthly Throne of David, no pointing to a thousand years' reign on earth, with a further Satanic outbreak; in fact, NOTHING AT ALL ABOUT THE VERY THINGS DISPENSATIONALISTS ARE FOREVER TALKING ABOUT. We put the obvious question: "If all these things, which form the marrow and substance of Futurism, are part of the Doctrine of Christ, why is it they are nowhere to be found in a plain reading of the Master's words?" Can it be because they are, after all only the innovations of mistaken men?

When we look at the positive side, the results are just as clear, and the conclusions equally destructive to the 19th Century prophetic theories. They can be summarised as follows:

There are only two Ages from the time of Messiah's Advent, "this age" and "the age to come"; The end of "this age" is accompanied by the severance of the righteous and the wicked to their eternal portion ( e.g. Matthew 13 ); The "age to come" is the age of "ever- lasting life", where there is no marriage, sin or death ( Luke 20:36 ), but the "righteous shine forth in the Kingdom of their Father" ( Matthew 13 ); The "end of the age" is attended by "The judgement", "The Throne of His Glory", and "the furnace of fire"; It is, indeed, "The Last Day" of Time for both saint and sinner; The only event. set before Christians, for which they are to watch is the Son of Man appearing in His Glory; There is but one appearing when He comes in the threefold glory of Himself, His Father and the holy angels; this Appearing will be as the Flood of Noah and the Sodom Judgement, bringing destruction to all the ungodly, but deliverance to the saved; There is only one physical resurrection of "all that are in the graves", only one Judgement, and only one future Kingdom – the Kingdom in which O.T. saints and the redeemed from north, south, east and west enjoy everlasting bliss, "eating at His table" and reigning on thrones; From this Kingdom, every evil thing has been forever banished.

Such then, are the teachings of the Lord Jesus. There is no room in them for millennialism of any kind. It was the unanswerable challenge of this teaching that shattered the writer's traditional belief in the eschatology of Brethrenism, and showed an earthly millennium to be a useless mirage. We have pleasure in presenting the same challenge to the reader. All we ask is, that he should honestly endeavour to divest his mind of the theories he has been taught for years regarding the Coming of the Lord, and then come simply to the reading of the four Gospels. Let him listen to the Beloved Master; examine all He said on this momentous subject. We are confident that not one in ten thousand would ever discern there the intricate system of Comings, resurrections, judgements and Kingdoms which adorn the Temple of dispensationalism. This temple has been reared upon ideas as mistaken as filled the minds of the apostles in the Holy Mount; as for us, the voice from Heaven speaks once again: "This is My Beloved Son; hear ye Him."

The End —

Chapter 5

Apostolic Teaching

Testimony to Jerusalem

Amongst the novel ideas introduced into the Christian Church by dispensationalism is the peculiar notion that the teaching of the apostles after Pentecost was different from the teaching of the Lord Jesus. Broadly speaking, their theology is expressed thus: "Our Lord taught Kingdom truth; Church truth is found in the teaching of the apostles." Listen to some of their own words. Dr. Scofield asserts: "The mission of Jesus was primarily to the Jews…expect, therefore, a strong legal and Jewish colouring up to the Cross…The sermon on the Mount is Law, not Grace . . . THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE ARE TO BE FOUND IN THE EPISTLES, NOT THE GOSPELS" ( R.B. p. 989 ).

We contend against this novelty as a gross misapprehension of Scripture. It is antagonistic to the unanimous voice of the Christian Church all down the ages. Of this idea, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in dealing with the Sermon on the Mount, says: "There is no teaching in the Sermon on the Mount which is not also found in the various N.T. epistles…There is nothing so dangerous as to say that the Sermon on the Mount has nothing to do with modern Christians" ( "Studies", p. 16/17 ).

Hear a modern dispensational writer: "Christ revealed a few things about the Church, but the main body of Christian truth is found in the epistles, not the Gospels" ( Stanton, "Kept from the Hour", p. 60 ). "Paul was used to reveal the mystery of the union of Christ with His Church ( Ephesians 3:3 ), and the mystery of the Indwelling Christ" ( same ).

We wish to write charitably of fellow-Christians, but in all kindness, we cannot but characterise the above statements as bordering on profanity. Have not these men read John 6, 10 and 15? Here, under the figures of eating and drinking His Flesh and Blood, the Shepherd and the Sheep, the Vine and the Branch's, the Lord taught the fullest unity between Himself and His People; and as for the Indwelling Christ, are these people blind to the unparalleled teaching of ( beside John 6 ) John 14? "He shall give you another Comforter…He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" ( verse 17 ). "He that loveth Me shall he loved of My Father…and we will come and make our abode with him" ( verses 21, 23 ). And what about the matchless words of John 17, "that they all may be one, as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, THAT THEY ALSO MAY BE ONE IN US…I in them and Thou in Me" ( verses 21, 23 )?

Will anyone dare dispute that Paul never taught a greater indwelling than that?

Now this insidious theory is particularly applicable to the coming of the Lord. On this issue the "Kingdom and Church" segregation policy is pursued to the full. The distinction between the teaching of the Lord and that of the apostles is rigorously advanced. So, before proceeding to the actual teaching of the apostles, it would he pertinent to bring before the reader a very important element that unites the teaching of the Lord Jesus to that of the apostles. We ask the reader's earnest consideration of the following:

On the night of His betrayal, the Lord Jesus directed the minds of His disciples to the promised Gift of the Holy Ghost. The physical presence of the Lord would be replaced by the indwelling presence of the Spirit. Among the offices He would perform would be that of the Inspired Teacher. Now observe how the scope of His teaching is clearly defined:

"He shall testify of Me" ( John 15:26 ). "He will guide you into all truth…He will show you things to come" ( John 16:13 ). We feel that the sensible interpretation of this is that the Holy Spirit would show the true meaning of things which, as yet; they had not properly grasped, and that this applied especially to future things such as the Coming. But then notice our Lord's qualifying words: "He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you" ( verse 14 ). Clearly, our Lord states here that the guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit would not be different from the doctrine He had taught them, but would simply be an illumination of their minds to the great truths He had declared, some of which they had but dimly apprehended. That this is so, is scaled by His other statement: "He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance WHATSOEVER I HAVE SAID UNTO YOU" ( John 14:26 ).

Is not this perfectly clear? Scofield and his disciples tell us to expect different teaching from the apostles from that which is found in our Lord's ministry. But the Lord Jesus tramples on this deception, and tells us that the ministry of the apostles WILL BE A CONTINUATION OF HIS OWN. Through the illumination of the Spirit, they will apprehend the full glory of the things He had taught them, and thus be qualified to "preach the Gospel to every creature…teaching them to observe ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU." ( Matthew 28 ).

And such is exactly the case. The teachings are one, and we are sure that the perfect harmony, nay, identity, of the two ministries, is an overwhelming testimony to the views advocated in these pages.

We shall begin our examination of apostolic teaching with the Acts. We remind ourselves that the author is the writer of the third Gospel. His opening words confirm what we have said above. He introduces his second book by saying, "The former treatise have I made of all that Jesus began both to do and teach." So this record is simply what Jesus CONTINUED to do and teach through His servants. Here then are the truths the apostles presented to their hearers, and in which the first Christians were instructed. Need it be said that we shall search the pages of the Acts in vain for any trace of those peculiar ideas that we have from time to time listed as part and parcel of the dispensational scheme? Tabulate them—Secret Rapture, Jewish Tribulation, two or three resurrections and judgements, a 1,000 years Kingdom, etc., etc.; then read the Acts and see how many times they are mentioned. It is necessary to impress this point, for if these things were "surely believed" by the Early Church, some reference to them would be found in the many magnificent expositions of Christian doctrine found in this book. Dispensationalists are fond of "significant omissions". Well, there are enough here to satisfy them for a lifetime—and to shatter the delusion they propagate.

Dispensationalists may counter with two arguments. Firstly, they may contend that the Acts is an historical record, not a doctrinal treatise. We answer "It is both". Let the reader peruse the great addresses recorded therein, and he will find some of the finest doctrinal treatises in the N.T. The second argument is that these "truths" ( Tribulation, Remnant, Kingdom, etc. ) relate chiefly to Israel, and therefore it is not to he expected they would find a place in the teachings that accompanied the establishment of the Christian Church. There are several answers to this evasion, but the surest is that the whole setting of early Christianity was against the background of the nation of Israel. The latter appears on every page; her leaders are confronted again and again, at Jerusalem, Caesarea and Rome. The charges brought by them against the apostles relate entirely to the relationship of the latter to the things of Israel. Now we ask this all important question: is it conceivable that if the apostles held the doctrines of pre-millennialism, with all the glories the hold out for Israel ( let the reader examine the multitudinous notes of the Scofield Bible on this point to get some idea of the extent ) that they would never have uttered a word regarding them in their thirty years contact with the nation? To ask the question supplies the answer. The apostles no message to give Israel other than that which they had for the Gentiles—repentance and faith, with a present salvation foretold by the prophets, and a Judgement Day to come. And it is for the doctrines of first century Christianity, as opposed to the theories of the 19th century, that these pages contend.

We now proceed to examine the statements in the Acts relative to our subject, coming first to Acts 1:6.

"When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him saying, 'Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel?' "

We feel this Scripture requires care rather than dogmatism. We observe that the Lord refused to gratify the spirit that prompted the question, thus counselling the student to a watchful approach. We discern no such attitude in Scofield's approach. He tells us ( p. 1147 ):

"Forty days the Lord has been instructing the apostles 'of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God', doubtless, according to His custom, teaching them out of the Scriptures. One point was left untouched, viz., the TIME when He would restore the Kingdom to Israel; hence the apostles' question."

We wonder when will men learn to look carefully at what the Scripture actually says, and not indulge in flights of imagination, jet-propelled by their beloved theories? That Christ had LEFT ONE POINT UNTOUCHED is pure conjecture, born of a prophetic obsession. But there is a still more dangerous conjecture in Scofield's statement, for he assumes, without a shred of evidence, that our Lord's forty days' instruction "in the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God", involved teaching that a future earthly Kingdom, with Israel supreme, would be established by Christ. THERE IS NOT THE SLIGHTEST HINT THAT THIS WAS SO. On the contrary, the whole tenor of our Lord's post-resurrection ministry is a rebuttal of this carnal idea. Once again we ask the reader, search carefully through the records of our Lord's ministry during those forty days ( recorded in the four Gospels ), and see if you can find any trace of "the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel" according to the idea of pre-millennialists. The search will he futile. Then why draw a conclusion about that ministry which is completely unsupported by what the Spirit saw fit to record?

The finest summary of that ministry is found in the matchless 24th of Luke, including the Emmaus story. I believe it was Russell Lowell who said that, if ever any story carried in itself unquestionable evidence of divine inspiration, it was this one. Luke 24 must he a nightmare to futurists. Look briefly at some of the things it affirms:

Verses 25, 26

The theme of "all the prophets" was "that Christ should suffer these things, and enter into His Glory". The Messianic glory was not something following the Second Advent, but something that immediately followed His Great Atonement.

Verse 27

Going right through the O.T., "Moses and all the prophets", our Lord spoke only "of Himself". He said not a word about the Jewish nation. What a contrast to futurists who see "the Jew" on every page.

Verse 44

A striking statement: "These are the words which I spake unto you WHILE I WAS YET WITH YOU, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and in the prophets and in the psalms, concerning Me." Here our Lord affirms that the great prophetic promises of the O.T. HAD NOW BEEN BROUGHT INTO FRUITION, and this was in line with His own earthly ministry.

Verse 47

Shows that the great blessing for Israel was, not an earthly Kingdom, but the forgiveness of sins. This was to he accompanied with the wonderful blessing of "the Promise of the Father" ( verse 49 ). This was the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. How was this "the promise of the Father"? I suggest what seems the most rational interpretation throughout the O.T., there was a great line of prophetic promise of a Day when God would visit His People with the fullness of His Spirit. It was spoken of as "waters", "rivers", "showers" and "floods" ( see Isaiah, Ezekiel and Joel ). The WHOLE BODY OF THESE PROMISES CONSTITUTED THE "PROMISE OF THE FATHER", and this was now to be the portion of the New Israel.

This, then, was the substance of the forty days' ministry. But a further point emerges; at the close of this momentous ministry, He sends them forth "into all the world". He defines clearly what their ministry is to be; "teaching them…all things whatsoever I have commanded you" ( Matthew 28:20 ). When we turn to the Acts, we are assured they had faithfully preached "the kingdom of God" ( 20:25; 28:23-31 ). We have no option but to conclude that this apostolic ministry was based on what He had taught during the forty days—and what He had commanded them to preach. Then where, in the whole of the teaching of the apostles, is there any declaration that earthly Israel was to be restored to a Kingdom of unparalleled splendour? The absolute silence can be fairly interpreted on no other ground than that our Lord gave no such teaching, and Scofield's assertion that He did so, and "left only one point untouched", is a dispensational dream.

In the light of this, what is the correct understanding of Acts 1:6? We feel the following is the most. satisfactory, and the fairest in the light of the rest of the apostolic record. The Forty Days' ministry of O.T. exposition, Messiah's sufferings and glory, the fulfilment of the promised blessings for Israel, and worldwide evangelisation, was over. Very evidently, the Lord HAD MADE NO REFERENCE TO THE NATION OF ISRAEL, and hence the apostles, being Israelites, full of the zeal of their fathers, were puzzled. Probably they remembered His statement that "the Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to another nation." It may be that the identity of this nation had not yet been properly grasped by them, as it was after Pentecost. ( Footnote ) Hence their question, asked as Jews not yet fully emancipated from earthly ideas, as to whether Israel was to return to her former glories. The Lord's answer was gentle and suggestive, evidently intended to TURN THEIR HOPES AWAY FROM AN EARTHLY KINGDOM TO THE GREAT TASK THAT LAY AHEAD, "to receive power…to be witnesses…unto the uttermost part of the earth." The whole incident is crowned by the Ascension of the Lord, and the "two men" proclaiming the great Hope, "This same Jesus shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." This was to be the object of their hope as they evangelised the world—not an earthly Kingdom, but the heavenly Advent.

We wonder if, in the minds of the apostles, this incident and teaching represented a strong parallel to part of the Olivet discourse. It is worthy of consideration:



1. This Gospel of the Kingdom.

"The things of the Kingdom of God".

2. Preached in all the world for a witness.

Witnesses to the uttermost parts of the earth.

3. Then shall the end come.

This same Jesus shall so come. — Acts 1:11.

We have already referred to this text in the above section. It only remains to observe that we feel it teaches that the Lord's Coming will he physical and visible. Dispensationalists love to stretch it to all sorts of wild meanings that are not in the text. We believe that when drawing teaching from an incident or parable, it is wise to discover the main principle intended—and leave it there. Attempts to extract "further truth" usually result in extravagances. In an earlier chapter, the writer referred to meetings addressed by an eminent dispensational teacher. At one meeting, the text before us was the theme. This "stretching" process was adopted, so the thought was presented that "as Jesus ascended from His own, not from the ungodly, so He will come just for His own." The reader will see the obvious manoeuvring to fit the Scripture to a theory. The writer put this question to the speaker: "Why not press the 'analogy' still further? The Lord ascended from just a small group of His own, not the whole company. ( There were, at least, over 500—1 Corinthians 15:6 ) Therefore, He will return to only a small company." There was no reply. This same speaker also dwelt on the thought that "as He went in a cloud, so He will come in clouds", and quoted in support, "Behold He cometh with clouds". The writer sought to remind this gentleman that, had he completed the text ( Revelations 1:7 ), it would have dispelled his "Coming-only-for-His-own" idea, for John added, "and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him." Clearly, if Acts 1:11 is the Coming for the Church, and Revelations 1:7 is quoted to support "the cloud idea", then Acts 1:11 and Revelations 1:7 are one and the same event, incorporating saved and unsaved.


We now come to the greatest day in God's dealings with men since He "triumphed gloriously, and threw the horse and his rider into the Sea". The unparalleled glory of this Day will never be rivalled till

"He comes in Power and Glory from on High".

With the coming of the Redeemer into this world, the great Messianic Covenants began to be fulfilled, as shown in Luke 1 and the first ministries of John and the Saviour. The Kingdom was "at hand". On the Cross the Covenant was scaled with the King's own Blood, and the foundation laid for "the Kingdom which cannot be moved"; "the Kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world", and secured by the Blood of the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world".

When He rose from the dead, the Great Proclamation of the Kingdom was made. As already shown, the Divine Decree had set the King upon the Holy Hill of Zion. Now the next great act in the establishment of the Divine Kingdom is to take place.

Two years earlier, in that crisis hour of Revelation, when the Lord announced His Messiah-ship, the building of the Church, and the ministry of that Church to open the doors of the Kingdom of Heaven ( Matthew 16 & Mark 9 ), He made a transcendent promise. Listen to His words:

"There be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the Kingdom of God COME WITH POWER " ( Mark 9:1 ).

The Day of Pentecost was the fulfilment of that promise. The Covenant enthronement of the King which had taken place in heaven was confirmed on earth by THE INAUGURATION OF THE KINGDOM IN A MIGHTY DISPLAY OF ROYAL POWER. Listen to what Peter says. After declaring ( verses 30,31 ) the Resurrection was the fulfilment of the Covenant to set a Man on David's Throne, he followed with this thrilling statement:

"Therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the Promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear … therefore, let all the House of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Messiah" ( 2:33, 36 ).

This is nothing else but a declaration that Pentecost was a mighty demonstration on earth of what had already taken place, in heaven; the Kingdom had indeed "come with power".

Let us now consider further this great event. First, verses 16-21.

A pet theme of dispensationalists is that the Church does not appear in O.T. prophecy. Scofield, apparently troubled by alarming N.T. assertions, qualifies it by adding the word "corporately" ( p. 71 1 ). it is difficult to decide what he means. it appears to be an attempt to obscure the force of the N.T. application of O.T. prophecies to the Church. Here is one, in this magnificent passage, where Peter identifies the first great event in the Pentecostal Church with O.T. prophecy. Indeed, one of the outstanding characteristics of the Acts is how the apostles, under the promised illumination of the Spirit, continually identified the events of early Church with the great Kingdom prophecies of the O.T. Coming to this passage we turn to Scofield's notes, and are immediately struck with the confusion of dispensationalism's "rightly dividing the Word". In a Footnote he says, "A distinction must be observed between the "Last Days" when the prediction relates to Israel, and "the Last Days" when the prediction relates to the Church." Then he adds: "The Last Days as related to Israel are the days of Israel's exaltation and blessing, and are synonymous with the Kingdom Age."

But in one statement Peter jettisons both these ideas, for in quoting and applying Joel's prophecy, he

Identifies Israel's Last Days with the Church; and

He informs us that the promised blessing, far from being for a future age, was being fulfilled now in the Church.

We have indicated before that the N.T.. teaches that "The Last Days" are this final age of Time, when God, having spoken in various ways in former ages, now speaks in His Son. This is His Final Voice; He has no other, therefore, these must, of necessity, be "the Last Days".

Turning to the prophecy itself we behold the irreverent mix-up of dispensationalism. The first twenty-seven verses of Joel 2 are divided into sections by Scofield, with relative headings. These inform us that the events described are.

Preparation for Armageddon ( verses 1-10 );

The Battle ( verse 11 );

Repentance of the Remnant ( verses 12-17 ); and

Appearance of the Lord to Israel ( verses 18-27 ).

Then comes verse 28: "It shall come to pass AFTERWARDS, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh, etc.". This means after the events previously described in the chapter. But how can this be? These events, according to Scofield, are yet in the future. But Peter asserts that the outpouring that comes "after" them happened ( or began happening ) on the Day of Pentecost. Therefore, logically, the events prophesied in Joel 2 cannot have any reference to future experiences of earthly Jewry because they relate to God's dealings with them before Pentecost.

But futurists are not put off with such apostolic simplicity; they are after "the deep things"; and there are plenty of theories round the corner to meet any emergency. So we are given some wonderful information by Dr. Scofield: "Joel 2…has a partial and continuous fulfilment during the last days which began with the first advent of Christ; but the greater fulfilment awaits the last days as applied to Israel" ( p. 932 ).

So now you have it. If we read the N.T. aright, the Church of Jesus Christ is the most wonderful thing God ever produced in His dealings with fallen mankind. It is the great object of His wisdom, love and power. But not according to Dr. Scofield. Has God given His Spirit in blessing to the Church? Well, says Scofield, it is only a country village revival compared with what Israel will get in the millennium. The Church may have the "droppings" but "the showers" are for, the poor Jews".

We have before had cause to refer to the God-dishonouring character of dispensationalism. Here it is again. Not only so, but it is an insult to apostolic understanding of the O.T. According to his contention, Dr. Scofield understood the O.T. better than Peter, for, when the latter expounded the Joel prophecy, HE GAVE NOT THE SLIGHTEST HINT THAT IT REFERRED TO A BLESSING FOR THE JEWISH NATION IN A FUTURE AGE, when actually, this was the real meaning of the Scripture. In fact, according to Scofield, Peter was guilty of a glaringly false appropriation of Scripture blessing to which he had no right. Dispensationalists, valiant in their defence of Israel, constantly assert, "THAT blessing has nothing to do with the Church; it belongs to Israel." Well, here is such a case. Scofield most carefully sets it out as the blessing that follows the Tribulation Armageddon and the setting up of the millennium. And here is Peter, "pinching" what belonged to Israel, and bringing it forward 2,000 years. Moreover, he excludes all possibility of any Jewish fulfilment because in verses 19-21 he asserts that this blessing is to continue ONLY DURING THIS DAY OF SALVATION ( "Whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved" ) which will end with the Day of the Lord and the winding up of this present creation.

We put it to the reader that Peter's explanation leaves no room for any earthly millennium.

The Davidic Covenant—Acts 2:29-36

An interesting feature of the O.T. to which we would like to draw the reader's attention is that of the double line of Messianic prophecy. As the prophets saw the vision of the glory that was to come, the truth came in two ways. Sometimes it was of the King and His Kingdom, whilst at other times it was of Messiah's People, sharing in the Covenant blessings. And when we come to N.T. Scriptures that expound the O.T. prophets, they often take up both lines in order that by the double application, they may enforce the truth of their message. We see this in Acts 2. In the first section, already dealt with, Peter deals with a prophecy from the line that describes the blessing of Messiah's People. Then he turns to the theme of Messiah Himself, and it is of the same arresting character as the first. As in the first section the apostle declared that God's Covenant blessings for His People were now being fulfilled, so in the second section HE LEAVES HIS HEARERS IN NO DOUBT THAT THE GREAT MESSIANIC COVENANT WITH DAVID WHEREBY HIS THRONE WOULD BE EVERLASTINGLY SECURED HAD BEEN FULFILLED IN THE PESURRECTION OF JESUS MESSIAH.

This is the only logical meaning of Peter's address; otherwise it makes complete nonsense. We invite the reader to come to this Scripture with a mind divested of preconceived ideas and theories. Let him try and place himself amongst the crowd of Israelites who listened to Peter, "devout Jews out of every nation under heaven". Let him try and identify himself with the passionate hopes that dwelt in, the hearts of these men—the greatest hopes that had ever throbbed in a human breast, viz., that God would conquer death and establish an everlasting Kingdom where He would dwell with His People; and these hopes were all centred in the triumph and enthronement of God's promised Messiah. These were the people to whom Peter addressed these electric words:

"Let me speak freely unto you of the patriarch David…Being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath unto Him that, of the fruit of his loins He would RAISE UP Messiah to sit on His Throne, HE, SEEING THIS BEFORE SPAKE OF THE RESURRECTION OF MESSIAH" ( Acts 2:30, 31 ). Then comes the great announcement:

"This Jesus hath God RAISED UP", ( verse 32 ). "Therefore, let all the House of Israel know assuredly that GOD HATH MADE THAT SAME JESUS, WHOM YE CRUCIFIED, BOTH LORD AND MESSIAH" ( verse 36 ).

What possible meaning could these words have to that vast Jewish crowd other than that in the RAISING UP of Jesus of Nazareth, God had fulfilled His oath to David to RAISE UP Messiah to sit on His Throne? If Peter did not mean this, then he was an awful blunderer in the use of words, and needed a long course of instruction in the art of public speaking. But we have no doubt ( neither had his Jewish hearers ) that this is precisely what he intended to convey. What does Dr. Scofield say about it? Here are his words: "Peter shows from Psalm 16 that David himself understood that the dead and risen Christ would fulfil the Covenant and sit on His Throne" ( p. 1150 ). But of course, Scofield meant He would sit on the Throne 2,000 years after the resurrection. Such pitiful distortion of Peter's words is a poor way to play about with Scripture; it is akin to Modernism. But, lest there should be any doubt in the mind of the reader, the simple thing to do is to note other statements by Peter on the same subject. In Acts 5:30, 31, he declares to the Jewish Council,

"The God of our Fathers RAISED UP Jesus … Him hath God exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."

This is clear declaration that Jesus has already ascended His Throne, and Israel's only hope is in Him. It is NOW, not in a future age, that he gives repentance to Israel.

Then again, listen to Peter on his appearance before the Council ( Acts 4 ). Having asserted once more that Jesus is Israel's Messiah, enthroned by His resurrection, he enforces His message by quoting Psalm 118:22: "The stone the builders rejected is become the headstone of the corner." Thirty years later he confirmed that this is the true ( and, as far as he knew, the only ) interpretation of this prophecy, by applying it once again to the resurrection and the Church ( 1 Peter 2:7 ). But dispensationalists cannot be satisfied with apostolic exposition of the O.T. Scripture. Obsessed with the alleged future glories of the Jews, they must manifest a superior knowledge to that of the apostles, and give these Scriptures "a larger fulfilment". So we are not surprised to find that Dr. Scofield had a better understanding of this psalm than Peter. He makers this pronouncement: "Psalm 118 looks beyond the rejection of the Stone ( Christ ) to His final exaltation in the Kingdom." To make his meaning clear, he adds "verse 22" ( p. 6,57 ). Now Psalm 113:22 is this very verse about "the Stone" which Peter says has already received its fulfilment. Again, in a note on 1 Peter 2, Scofield says: "To Israel, AT HIS SECOND COMING, He is 'the headstone of the corner'." But Peter affirms it is to the Christian Church He is "the Headstone of the Corner". The position is simply this: you either believe Peter or Dr. Scofield. We are happy to be on Peter's side.

The Second Apostolic Sermon—Acts 3:18-26.

Here is another declaration of foremost importance. Before looking at. its meaning, we give consideration to Dr. Scofield's interpretation. It is a classic example of the erroneous character of the whole system he represents. He opens his remarks with the statement "The appeal here is national, to the Jewish people AS SUCH, NOT INDIVIDUAL, as in Peter's first sermon." Now with all due respect to Dr. Scofield's sincerity as a Christian, it would be difficult to find anywhere a more grossly misleading interpretation of Scripture. THERE IS NOTHING AT ALL IN THE SERMON THAT CONSTITUTES EVIDENCE FOR SUCH A REVOLUTIONARY ASSERTION, but there is a tremendous deal to refute it—and a whole host of Scripture elsewhere. This idea of "Israel" is a dreadful obsession with futurists. He is looking for it everywhere, and of course, as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones ( previously quoted ) says, "he finds it everywhere".

But a moment's consideration will dispel the delusion. The sermon is identical, in its substance, with that in chapter 2. It opens with the same address, "Ye men of Israel", and likewise presents the facts of Christ's death and resurrection. It then calls for repentance with the promise of the remission of sins. The appeal was "to be converted", and was addressed to "every soul", with a view to "turning everyone of you from his iniquities". To make this an appeal TO THE JEWISH NATION AS SUCH, with a view to bringing about national repentance and the establishing of an earthly Messianic Kingdom, is pure assumption originating in a mind obsessed with a theory that obviously will not square with the plain meaning of Scripture. Not only is no trace of this idea found in this passage, but THE WHOLE CONCEPTION 1S ABSOLUTELY ALIEN TO THE WORK AND MINISTRY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, OF WHICH THE APOSTLES WERE NOW THE REPRESENTATIVES.

Where, in the name of truth, were they ever commissioned by the Lord to preach national repentance to the Jews, and where were they ever instructed to offer these Jews, guilty of the murder of the Son of God, a Messianic Kingdom? If they did such a thing, THEY WERE PLAINLY DOING SOMETHING THEY WERE NEVER COMMANDED TO DO. Their task was to "disciple all nations", not to offer a Kingdom to one nation. The outpouring of the Spirit was given them, not to Judaise the redeeming work of Christ, but to proclaim it "to the uttermost part of the earth". And, whilst they were to "begin at Jerusalem", they had but one message—not an earthly Kingdom, but "REPENTANCE AND REMISSION OF SINS IN MY NAME". But there is yet a further point, plainly stated by Allis in his excellent work, "Prophecy and the Church" ( page 40 ), where he says:

"This involves them in a serious difficulty. For if the offer of this kingdom had already been postponed for the entire Church age, what right had Peter to offer it practically at once to Jews whose hands were red with the Blood of their Messiah, and on exactly the same terms as those on which it had been offered them some three years previously? If this is the meaning of Peter's exhortation there was really no postponement of the Kingdom offer…If this is the meaning, then Scofield's statement that 'the second preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom is yet future ( Matthew 24:14 ) during the great tribulation, and immediately preceding the coming of the King in glory', cannot be accepted as correct. For Peter preached it shortly after Pentecost; and, unless we are to hold that this offer was again withdrawn, we must regard it as still in force during the entire Church age. Furthermore, if the only condition for the establishment of the earthly Davidic Kingdom was the repentance of the Jewish nation, then conceivably the Church age might have been terminated practically at its very beginning by that repentance. Yet Paul tells us expressly that this conversion is dependent on something quite different: that it will not take place until 'the fullness of the Gentiles be come in'."

In view of all these facts, the theory of an appeal to national repentance must be discarded as repugnant to everything the Gospel involves. But we must differ radically from the theorists on other points in this passage. In verse 19, Peter promises, on repentance, "times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord". Scofield interprets this as "seasons in which,—through the appearance of Messiah in His Kingdom, there shall occur blessed rest and refreshment for the People of God." This appears to be nothing less than word-spinning, The following verse adds, "and He shall send Jesus Christ". So the seasons of refreshing do not occur subsequent to His Second Advent, but before. They are those gracious seasons of blessing that have come to this earth through men believing this Gospel. In fact, this is exactly what Peter says in verse 26. "Unto you first God, having raise up His Son Jesus, SENT HIM TO BLESS YOU, in turning away everyone of you. from his iniquities."

Further Scofield "exposition" of the passage states: "The promise to national repentance is national deliverance; 'and He shall send Jesus Christ', to bring in the times which the prophets had foretold." Now this latter phrase is not in the Scripture; it is Scofield's own imaginative completion of the apostle's statement, and is a regrettable perversion of what Peter actually did say. Instead of declaring that if the Jews repented, God would send Jesus Christ to usher in an earthly Kingdom ( a statement too absurd for words ), Peter definitely told them that He must remain in heaven "until the Times of Restitution of all things spoken by the prophets", i.e., until the great events of this age, foretold by the prophets, should come to pass; and this included the. ingathering of the Gentiles. But observe once again the inconsistency of dispensationalists. Elsewhere, they are vigorous in their insistence that "kingdom blessings" must follow the salvation of the Gentiles. In his notes on Acts 15 ( to be considered in due time ) Scofield asserts concerning the "out-calling" and the LATER conversion of the Jewish nation, "this is the Divine purpose for this age". Then how could Peter possibly have conceived the idea ( and preached it ) that the Kingdom could have been established before the Gentile world had even heard the Gospel? Our answer is that the idea was non-existent in the first century. In fact, it was non-existent for the following eighteen centuries, till J. N. Darby kindled the light that hitherto had never been seen on land or sea ( except in the land of Jesuitry"? ).

No! the "times of refreshing" are the Gospel blessings of this age. As to "the Times of Restitution of all things spoken by the prophets", what did the prophets speak of ? In this passage Peter clearly indicates they spoke of THIS AGE. Moses foretold the cutting off of Israel for their refusal to hear ( verse 23 ); verse 24 assures us that they "foretold of THESE days", and the blessings of the Covenant are urged as available now ( verse 25 ). The greatest blessing foretold by the prophets was deliverance from sin and iniquity ( verse 26 ). ( See Micah 7:18-20, where this very blessing is declared to be "the truth to Jacob and the mercy to Abraham, which God had sworn to the father." )

But the vision of the prophets extended beyond the blessings of this age. They reached to the new heaven and earth ( Isaiah 66:22 ); they foretold a time when war and the curse should be forever removed; nothing would hurt or destroy in all His Holy Mountain, and everlasting joy would be the portion of His People ( Isaiah 35 ). This picture is nothing short of the eternal age. The "Times of the restitution of all things" have begun in this glorious age of Messiah's reign over His People, and will he consummated at His Glorious Appearing when He shall destroy the Last Enemy. Then will be the eternal world of joy. But to say the Millennium is such a time is nonsense. Sin is there, death is there, sorrow is there, only feigned submission on the part of many, subterranean rebellions that Fowl with tigerish ferocity; the iron rod smites them down, but the volcano erupts' at last for the Devil's great hey-day. To call THAT "the restitution of all things" is credulity of the most incredible kind.

The End —

Chapter 6

The Throne and the House of Israel

Paul's First Recorded Sermon — Acts 13:14-48.

The main features of this passage were presented when dealing with the subject of the Davidic Throne, introduced in Luke 1. We may gather some further confirmation of our position by a closer look at this address. The first necessity is to draw the reader's attention to Galatians 1:

"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the Grace of Messiah unto another Gospel; which is not another, but there be some that trouble you and would pervert the Gospel of Messiah. But though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."

What was this Gospel Paul had preached, and was now being perverted? The answer is that it was the Gospel preached in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia, the central place of his Galatian ministry. So the preaching in that place assumes prime importance; it behoves us to understand it clearly. As previously stated, Scofield ventures not a single note; but he prefixes a heading:— "Theme; justification by faith" ( p. 1166 ). This is a complete understatement; whilst justification by faith is the CLIMAX of the sermon, the SUBSTANCE is a declaration of fundamental doctrines, upon which the final appeal is based. To see only the appeal, and miss the main structure of the message, is poor Bible teaching.

Consider the theme and argument of the apostle.

He summarises the history of Israel with its culmination in the Davidic Kingdom and the divine will relating thereto.

He then asserts that God had fulfilled His promise to David and accomplished Israel's deliverance in the resurrection of Jesus: "Of this man's seed hath God, according to His promise, raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus" ( verse 23 ).

He then summarises the ministry of John the Baptist, and his announcement to Israel that Messiah had come.

He then declares the meaning and purpose of Messiah's Advent and work: "To you is the word of THIS salvation sent" ( verse 26 ). Obviously, Paul is stating that the salvation of Israel, as portrayed by the prophets and the Covenants, is now being offered them. It is not an earthly, political deliverance, with national supremacy, but Gospel salvation. This was the "Grace of Messiah" referred to in the Galatian quotation above.

He then proceeds to state the central facts of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and announces to his hearers the meaning of them. In the plainest of terms, which had but one meaning for the Jews who listened to him, he declares that

God had fulfilled His Covenant promise: "We declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God HATH FULFILLED the same unto us their children in that He hath raised up Jesus again." Note, Paul does not say simply a guarantee that God would fulfil the Covenant at a later date ( as Futurists say ), but he states emphatically, "God HATH…"

Lest there should be any misunderstandings, HE QUOTES THE VERY PSALM WHICH EVEN DISPENSATIONALISTS ACKNOWLEDGE IS A PSALM OF THE SETTING UP OF THE KINGDOM—Psalm 2. Turn-to this psalm and what do you find? Simply this: that the verse Paul quotes ( "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee" ) follows verse 6, and is said to be the decree establishing the event recorded in verse 6. What is that event? Here it is, for every pre-millennialist to read: "I have set My King upon MY Holy Hill of Zion." If this does not mean that Paul was telling these people that by the resurrection God had set His King on Zion's Hill, then we had all better give up the English language as a meaningless jargon. One thing is certain; however pre-millennialists may twist and stretch these words, the Jews addressed by Paul that day understood what he meant.

Even that is not all. To make things doubly sure, Paul declares that the resurrection had resulted, not only in the fulfilment of the Throne Promise to David, but has also brought into operation all the Royal provisions for the subjects of the Kingdom: "And as concerning that He raised Him from the dead…He said on this wise, 'I will give you the Sure Mercies of David'." ( verse 34 )

What is this but an unqualified assertion that, from His Throne, Jesus Messiah is dispensing to His People the Covenant blessings of His reign? And where is this prophecy recorded? Isaiah 55, which has been well-described as "the most vivid Gospel chapter in the O.T.".

"How everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters…Seek ye the Lord while He may be found…Let the wicked forsake his way . . ., etc., etc.". These, and many others of the great Gospel words that have been sounded forth by Gospel preachers down the centuries, are the marrow and substance of Isaiah 55. And it is THERE, in the very heart of this "Gospel Chapter" that the promise is given of "the sure mercies of David". No wonder Paul asserted the resurrection was the fulfilment of the Covenant promise.

Then comes the glorious application of Paul's message: "Be it known unto you, men and brethren, that by this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, and by Him all that believe are justified from all things" ( verses 38-39 ).

So this was the Gospel Paul preached. That Jesus of Nazareth was Israel's Messiah; this was proved by the resurrection; by this, God had, set His King on Zion's Hill; from that Throne He is now dispensing the "sure mercies of David". These are not carnal, political comparable blessings David spoke so much of in the "salvation" ( verse 26 ), "forgiveness" ( verse 38 ), "justification ( verse 39 ), and "eternal life" ( verse 46 ). ( Space does not permit elaboration; but let the reader go through the Psalms and see how these were the very things in which David exulted. He will then have no difficulty in understanding what "the sure mercies of David" are; any ideas of "millennial blessings" will be scattered to the four winds. )

Finally, note that, when the Jews rejected the word, Paul turned to the Gentiles, and preached to them THE VERY SAME MESSAGE HE HAD PREACHED TO THE JEWS ( verses 43 and 46 ).

This was the message that was being perverted in Paul's day. History is repeating itself, and today the perversion comes from people so intensely evangelical.

The First Church Council — Acts 15.

Of this passage Scofield says: "Dispensationally, this is the most important passage in the N.T." For once we are of practically the same mind as the doctor. But we are convinced this passage is the Waterloo of Futurism and pre-millennialism. IT WAS THIS PASSAGE, with its inescapably clear teaching, THAT CONSTITUTED THE FIRST MAJOR CHALLENGE TO THE AUTHOR CONCERNING THE THINGS HE HAD BEEN BROUGHT UP TO BELIEVE.

I well remember the many times I read this Scripture and thought, "What an awkward customer James is; why didn't he express truth in proper dispensational terms?" Repeatedly the challenge was shelved; what hiding places I sought. I tried to dismiss it with the evasion "Great teachers hold to its dispensational character; they must be right; time will give me a clearer understanding." Being a regular reader of the Acts, I was coming to this passage frequently; the challenge would not be silenced. "How could James speak like this if he believed the Church was a parenthesis in the Kingdom plan of God?"

Well, understanding came at last—understanding that brought a flood of light on the whole of the Bible, and the results are found in these pages. May the reader be made to feel the tremendous force of this Scripture in the same way.

One of the grand features of Acts is the gradual separation of the hearts and minds of the apostles and their followers from all distinctively Jewish prejudices and ideas. This was done in several ways.

Practical experiences ( e.g. Acts 8 and 11:20 ).

Divine revelations ( Acts 10 ).

By the Holy Spirit's Illumination of O.T. Scriptures.

Some of the latter we have already seen; we now reach the crucial point in this development.

The Christian Church, originally almost all Jewish, had now witnessed a vast accession of Gentiles through the missionary work of Paul. There was still a powerful Judaistic element at Jerusalem, and they raised the problem of the relationship of these Gentiles to the Old Covenant. They demanded submission to the Law and circumcision. The First Council was called to meet the situation, and the threat of division was completely destroyed and the issue satisfactorily settled. Two things produced this result:

The testimony of Peter and Paul;

Something, perhaps even more forceful, viz. an application by James of an O.T. prophecy as a result of remarkable divine illumination.

This declaration by James demands the honest consideration of every student; here the battle is decided. If James meant what the dispensationalist asserts, then we can have no more contention with them; it is settled that, after the "Church age" Christ will return and re-establish the Davidic Monarchy on earth. But if this interpretation is not true, and the one we contend for is correct, then pre-millennialism is shattered beyond recovery. The "future Kingdom of Israel's glory" is but one of the many myths that have encumbered the Christian Church.

Here, then, are the crucial words:

"Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His Name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return and will build again the Tabernacle of David that is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up; that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom My Name is called."

We confess that, since the day we discarded our dispensational spectacles, the statement is so plain we are amazed that anyone could stumble over it. In fact, WE CLALLENGE DISPENSATIONALISTS to DISPROVE THAT FOR 1800 YEARS NO TEACHER IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH DID STUMBLE OVER IT AS THEY NOW DO. But stumble they will, and it serves to illustrate how men will juggle with words until they have fitted them to accommodate a theory they are intent on upholding at all costs. I am reminded of the old man in the Bible Class. It was inevitable he would discover in the passage under consideration, a meaning different from that agreed by others. That day they had reached the verse, "And David danced before the ark". Everyone agreed it could mean only one thing. But the old man was not to be outdone so easily; he found a "deeper suggestion". The text implied, not one dance, but two. David danced first, and the ark danced after him. He would have made a first-class dispensationalist. This "deeper meaning" is an ever-recurring feature of their system. Is a N.T. explanation of an O.T. passage a stumbling block to their theory? Then push it forward to the distant future, and locate it in the "future Kingdom age". This is the escape here; BUT IT WILL NOT DO, AND IT EXPOSES THE FALSITY OF THE SYSTEM.

Consider what James says. First, he summarised the record of Peter and Paul with the statement that "God had visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His Name." Secondly, he asserts the validity and divine nature of this event by telling the Council it was in perfect agreement with the teaching of the prophets. Then thirdly, in the most natural and logical way, he did what every dispensationalist would do when contending for the Scriptural character of any procedure—he gives his bearers "chapter and verse" to prove it. And the statement that the inspired apostle quoted to "clinch" his case was as dramatic a word as it was possible to repeat:

"I will return and build again the tabernacle of David. . ., etc.".

In other words, to prove his case, and at the same time repel the pro-Jew tendencies of those who had threatened the unity of the Church, James states, WITHOUT ANY OPPOSITION, THAT THE GREAT PROPHECIES OF THE O.T. WERE NOW BEING FULFILLED IN THE ESTABLISHMENT AND SPREAD OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.

We contend that this is the only sensible understanding of James' words, and they express a doctrine of vast importance which is confirmed right throughout the N.T., viz. that in the great work of the Gospel whereby God is gathering men of every nation, according to the prophecies of the O.T., He is building again the tabernacle of David. The Royal Kingdom of the son of Jesse had crumbled in the dust with the apostasy of Israel, until it was nothing but a booth in the wilderness. But the burden of prophecy was glorious in its wondrous sweep; that lowly booth was to be built again, and its extent was to be "to the uttermost part of the earth", embracing all nations. This was to be realised in the One to Whom the Throne would be given by an everlasting covenant. That One had come, and by His resurrection and ascension had obtained the Kingdom. "All power in heaven and on earth" was His. What a sovereignty! And so, when His ambassadors, commissioned from His Royal court went forth to declare to Jew and Gentile the "glad tidings, that the promise made unto the fathers, He bath fulfilled the same," and multitudes bowed in submission to David's Greater Son, the apostles, taught by the Spirit, saw the indisputable signs that ',the booth" of David was being built again into a Kingdom greater and grander than David or Solomon ever knew.


But what do these people say in their last desperate defence? Scofield's notes supply the answer, as follows:—

The taking out from among the Gentiles a People for His Name is the distinctive work of the present church age.

"After this" ( i.e. the out-calling ), "I will return". "The verses which follow in Amos describe the final re-gathering of Israel."

"I will build again the Tabernacle of David". i.e. the re-establishment of the Davidic rule over Israel.

What are we to say of such an "interpretation" of this passage? Even in his dispensational days, the author was conscious of a sense of uneasiness at such "stretching". Today it appears what it really is—a travesty of exposition, with words ceasing to have a settled meaning. Look at the statements again. James says, "To this ( the calling of the Gentiles ) agree the words of the prophets, as it is written . . ." Then follows the Scripture quotation. Now by every common sense rule of understanding the meaning of sentence, THE SCRIPTURE QUOTED MUST REFER TO THE EVENT WHICH PRECEDES IT, AND IN CONNECTION WITH WHICH IT IS QUOTED. Yet the theorists, driven by the exigencies of their system, assert IT HAS NO REFERENCE AT ALL to the event mentioned, but refers to the Second Advent and the future destiny of Israel. We ask: Where in the whole realm of Scripture controversy is there to be found another instance of such treatment of Scripture language? Look at every other quotation of the O.T. in the N.T., and it refers to the event that provoked the quotation. Dispensationalists make this one the grand exception; their "manipulation" of this passage is worse than that of Luke 23:43 by the American sects that advocate "soul-sleep"—"Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise." This most wondrous word of grace is degraded by these isms into "Verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise."

So do the followers of Darby treat this magnificent witness of the first Christian Council.

But not only is this "interpretation" a grave misuse of language, it is an insult to the intelligence of the apostle, for it alleges that JAMES QUOTED A SCRIPTURE WHICH HAD NO REFERENCE TO THE PROBLEM UPON WHICH HE WAS CALLED TO ADJUDICATE. The problem faced by the Council was an urgent, practical one, viz. what to do about vast numbers of Gentiles who had become their brothers-in-Christ. To assert that James tried to settle the issue by quoting a Scripture that was 2,000 years ( perhaps more ) distant in its application, and, in any case, HAD NO REFERENCE TO THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, is the gravest possible reflection on the mentality of the apostle.

To quote Allis once again: "It is hard to believe that James would have beclouded the issue by quoting a passage from the O.T. which had no bearing upon the question under consideration. If James was a good dispensationalist, he would have said something like this: "Brethren, what you say may be perfectly true, since the Holy Spirit has blessed your labours among the Gentiles. But you must remember that the prophets have nothing to say about the Church, so we cannot appeal directly to them." " ( Prophecy and the Church, p. 148 )

It might be well also to refer to Allis's comment on the phrase "I will return" ( 15:16 ). He points out that this has no reference to the Second Advent ( which dispensationalists see everywhere ), but is used frequently in Scripture as an idiom for "again", in the sense of "doing it again". it is rendered thus 49 times. Thus, the simple meaning of Acts 15:16 is that it is an emphatic way of stating "I will build again".

We feel confident in this interpretation of this important passage ( in line with all the great expositors of Christian history ). It necessitates no straining of the apostle's words to it a pet theory; it casts no aspersions on James' wisdom and expository ability; it takes the words just as they are, applying them as James did, and IT PRODUCES A DOCTRINE IN CONFORMITY WITH THE REST OF N.T. TEACHING.

The Judgement Day — Acts 17:31.

"He hath appointed a Day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained."

Until dispensationalism came along just over 100 years ago, every Christian expositor and preacher understood this statement to refer to the Final Judgement Bar of God. But once again a new interpretation came along. We have previously quoted Dr. Marsh's outline of the millennium and its attendant "facts". Among them, it was stated that the millennium would be an administration of righteousness, and this text was then added as "proof". So the Day of Judgement here is the millennium! Blessed millennium! It is simply marvellous what you can put into it.

Adhering to the historic meaning, we would say that, whilst we would not press for any doctrine simply from this verse, nevertheless it carries a strong implication that there will be one General Judgment of mankind. The thought of a series of judgements for separate classes of people, separated by one or more dispensations, is completely absent. Surely, if Paul believed in a Great Judgement for the lost only, separated from the judgement of Christians by over 1,000 years, he would have used different language! Moffatt's rendering is impressive: "He has fixed a Day on which He will judge the world justly by a man whom He has destined for this."

The End —

Chapter 7

The Hope of Israel — And The Gentiles

The Last Years of Paul

We come now to a phase of Paul's life, the importance of which cannot he over-estimated. His missionary journeys are over. He is now a prisoner, and, in a remarkable way, an unparalleled opportunity is; given him to bear witness to the leaders of the Jewish nation. Here we behold the perfect union of the Divine Will and the human consecration, for it was the great longing of the apostle to pour out his soul to his fellow Israelites. The epistle to the Romans was probably written about this time, and chapter 9 testifies to the passion of Paul.

It is in this section of Acts that we find some of the finest utterances ever made by Paul. By the very nature of things, by the solemnity of the occasions, the things he says will be of first importance. He is fully aware of the prophecies of the Lord Jesus concerning the coming doom of Jerusalem and apostate Israel. He seems to sense that the day is drawing near, and that his voice may be God's final message of mercy before judgement falls. We would like the reader to pause and ponder this fact, and to realise that THE GREAT UTTERANCES OF THE APOSTLE ARE ALL SET AGAINST THE BACKGROUND OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL—A NATION FACING COMING DOOM.

What does he say to these people? Did he speak of any of those things which dispensationalists state are the great plan of Jehovah for earthly Israel? Did he speak of those things which are taught on page after page of "The Scofield Bible" as the glorious future heritage of this nation? WE WILL SEARCH HIS MESSAGES IN VAIN FOR THE SLIGHTEST SUGGESTION OF ANYTHING ALONG THESE LINES.

What he did preach is as clear as day. As we shall examine his statements we shall bear him declare that it is no new religion to which his life has been devoted, but the fullness of "the worship of the God of my fathers" ( 24:14 ); the theme of his ministry is "none other things than those which Moses and the prophets did say should come" ( 26:22 ); whilst the great Hope that fills his heart, and which he preaches to all men, is the very Hope that rings through the O.T. Covenants.

These two features, THE SILENCE and THE SPEECH of the apostle, CONSTITUTE AN OVERWHELMING PROOF OF THE CASE WE ARE PRESENTING. If there is to he a future earthly kingdom of unparalleled glory for Israel, then the complete silence of Paul during these years when he was bearing witness to the Jewish nation, is completely inexplicable. Arguments about his distinctive "Church" testimony are puerile and empty, for on our second point, he had a good deal to say about Israel and her Hope, and the inescapable conclusion from all he said is that the Covenants and promises are now being realised in the blessings of the Gospel of Christ.

We turn to the first statement. — Acts 24:14-15.

"Believing all things which are written in the Law of Moses and in the prophets; and have hope toward God, which they themselves allow, that there shall be A RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD, BOTH OF THE JUST AND THE UNJUST."

The teaching of this statement is clear:—

Paul's teaching was identical with that of the O.T., and found its consummation in "the resurrection of the dead". Note Paul makes no suggestion that the O.T. resurrection is any different from the "Church resurrection", either in point of time or its issue.

It is to be A RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD ( not a series ), of both just and unjust. This statement destroys every theory of several resurrections of the dead. Both just and unjust are raised in the one resurrection. To attempt to explain Paul's statement as meaning "there shall be a resurrection of the just and a resurrection of the unjust" is desperation born of a groundless theory. His statement is clear. Let no man so try to make him say something else. Certain it is, that no dispensational preacher would ever preach in such terms. Though he be a "Church witness" how carefully will he weigh his words so that they "distinguish the dispensations". But Paul sets his eschatology out very simply and very plainly.

This statement of the resurrection would remind every Jew of Daniel's prophecy of the resurrection, "some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting contempt" ( Daniel 12:2 ). This speaks nothing of a millennial kingdom, but of the eternal state. This is the burden of Paul's language.

Before King Agrippa — Acts 26.

Here is a record as thrilling and majestic as anything in the Acts. We consider verses 6 and 7:

"And now I stand and am judged for THE HOPE OF THE PROMISE MADE OF GOD UNTO OUR FATHERS, unto which promise, our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, HOPE TO COME; FOR WHICH HOPE'S SAKE, King Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews."

We feel the very writing of these words, with their unmistakable meaning, sets another unbreakable seal on our case. What is Paul on trial for? "THE HOPE OF THE PROMISE OF GOD MADE UNTO OUR FATHERS." But he was on trial for the Gospel of Christ! Exactly! And the only sane conclusion possible is that they were one and the same thing. Could any statement make it plainer, that in the resurrection of Messiah, and in His Gospel, the glorious promises made to Israel of old were now being realised? How can men close their eyes to this? If the Hope of the Promise was a resurrection that ushered in a golden age for earthly Israel, and Paul preached THAT, would he have been hounded to trial by the Jewish leaders? Of course not. But it was because Paul taught that these Covenant Promises were now being fulfilled through the resurrection of Jesus Messiah. Paul did not preach a different Hope from that promised in the O.T., but he DIFFERED COMPLETELY FROM THE JEWS IN HIS INTERPRETATION OF THE O.T. PROMISES. And the tragedy today is that we have thousands of so-called evangelical preachers who side with the apostate Jews. They look for the very same thing that Paul declares "blinded the minds" of his enemies ( 2 Corinthians 3 ).

The dispensationalist says that Israel's Hope is still future; THAT IS THE VERY ERROR PAUL OVERTHREW when he said to Agrippa, "unto which promise, our twelve tribes…HOPE TO COME." But he continues, "For which Hope's sake I am accused." The very Hope Israel cherished for some future date had already been realised ( in a grander way ) in Jesus Messiah. Hence Jewish hatred.

Paul follows the above with his memorable challenge to the King. "Why should it be thought a thing incredible, that God should raise the dead?" The sequence of thought is clear. The great Hope of the O.T. is the Hope of the Christian in the N.T., and both are to be fully realised at the resurrection of the dead. ( it seems that Paul referred here, not so much to the resurrection of the Lord, but to the resurrection of mankind. ) This inevitably leads to the conclusion that the manifestation of the Kingdom and the eternal age are one.

One other verse in Acts 26 merits notice, verse 22.

"I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than Moses and the prophets did say should come, that Christ should suffer and that He should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the Gentiles."

Reader, listen to this voice of the chained apostle. In one sentence he summarises the whole of his ministry. It was this—the exposition of the O.T. Scriptures, and the contention that they received their fulfilment in the Gospel blessings that flowed from the resurrection of Jesus Messiah. NEVER ONCE DID HE HINT THAT THEY WERE TO HAVE ANOTHER FULFILMENT IN A FUTURE AGE IN AN EARTHLY ISRAEL-DOMINATED KINGDOM. We contend that this is an insuperable difficulty in the way of pre-millennial theories. Dispensationalists are fond of "significant omissions". Nothing could be more significant than this. Let any futurist preacher expound O.T. prophecy ( as Paul was constantly doing ), and we are soon deluged with portrayals of Israel's alleged coming glory. "The Kingdom", "The Remnant", "The Monarchy", "The Rod of Iron", "Israel-Evangelism", and all the dispensational stock-in-trade are scattered with lavish bounty. But when Paul expounded these Scriptures, SUCH LANGUAGE WAS NEVER ON HIS LIPS. On the contrary, be affirmed that "the sure Mercies of David" and "the promise made of God unto the fathers., had been fulfilled in Gospel realities. Dispensationalist evade by saying Paul was not concerned with the Kingdom, but with the Church. What rubbish! Two things silence this cavil. First, the fact already listed—that all these statements of Paul were made against the background of the Jewish nation, AND DEALT SPECIFICALLY WITH THEIR GREAT HOPE. Secondly, are not these same dispensationalists jealous for the same Church that Paul was devoted to? Yet how loud are they in their eulogies of "the Kingdom". Why wasn't Paul the same? We need not voice the answer.

The Final Witness — Acts 28.

We now come to the tender and moving scenes of Paul's final preached ministry. Antioch, Jerusalem, Caesarea and all the other scenes of witness are gone forever, and he is now in Rome, the prisoner of the Lord, for the Gentiles ( Ephesians 3:1 ). The outward man is perishing, but the flame of spiritual passion burns brightly as ever. His first approach, after fellowship with the brethren, was to the Jewish leaders. And at Rome, we find exactly the same message preached as at Antioch and Jerusalem. Three statements call for consideration.

"FOR THE HOPE OF ISRAEL I AM BOUND WITH THIS CHAIN" ( verse 20 ). It might seem wearisome to reiterate what we have already said so many times. But the same truth keeps coming before us as we pursue our way through the Acts. Here it is again. The apostle was bound for the Gospel; but he says he was bound "for the Hope of Israel". Well, what is the problem? Obviously, they are one and the same thing. The only Hope Paul knew for Israel, was the Hope found in the Gospel—the same Hope he preached to the Gentiles. IF PRE-MILLENNIALISTS HAVE SOMETHING DIFFERENT FOR ISRAEL FROM THAT WHICH THE GENTILES HAVE RECEIVED, GOD HASN'T.

"He expounded and testified the Kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the Law of Moses and out of the prophets" ( verse 23 ).

Three items are listed here:—

The Kingdom;


The Law and the Prophets.

According to Paul, these three are all embraced in one. The only Kingdom Paul knew was the one described in the O.T.; and that Kingdom was not an earthly one but a present Kingdom established by the death and resurrection of Jesus. This Scripture is similar to Acts 20:24, 25, where Paul declares his ministry to be "the Gospel of the Grace of God…preaching the Kingdom of God." The dispensational distinction between the Gospel of Grace and the Gospel of the Kingdom was unknown to Paul—and every other preacher before 1830.

"Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles" ( verse 28 ).

The Jews again reject the message of the Kingdom, so Paul pronounces the judgement, and declares that salvation is now offered to the Gentiles. So the message the Jews rejected was "this salvation of God". We have already noted the same phrase in Acts 13:26. The words of the Lord are further demonstrated, "the Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof."

So the sum total of Paul's message to these Jews was that the promised Kingdom of the O.T., with its King in Zion, its Land of Peace, its Sure Mercies, its endless glory is now realised in the Salvation of God with Jesus Messiah on Zion's Hill, the Heavenly Canaan, the true Home of His People, the forgiveness of sins and the Holy Ghost their present heritage, and the glory of the everlasting city their secured portion.

Having finished this ministry to the Jews, Paul now holds "open house" for all who will listen. The record finishes on a superb note: "Preaching the Kingdom of God and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ" ( verse 31 ).

To summarise his teaching, we note the following:—

The Kingdom of God, the Gospel of the Grace of God, and "the things concerning the Lord Jesus" are all one.

This Kingdom is the one taught in Moses and the Prophets, therefore it is not a future one for earthly Israel, but a present one through the Gospel.

The message of this Kingdom is "the salvation of God".

It is in this Kingdom that "the Hope of Israel" is realised.

The proclamation of this Hope to the Gentiles shows plainly that the only hope of Jew and Gentile is the Gospel.

The End —

Chapter 8

Elect Citizens Of An Elect Kingdom

Apostolic Teaching In The Epistles — The Doctrine Of Romans

Our examination of. the Gospels and the Acts have shown us conclusively that the doctrine of an earthly millennium, and the additional peculiar theories of J. N. Darby and his followers', have no place therein. We now turn to the epistles to see whether the Christians of the first century were instructed in The Last Things in the same way as thousands of believers are taught today, or whether the teaching they received from the apostles was exactly the same as the latter received from the Lord. Dispensationalists assert vociferously that it is in the epistles we must look for "Church truth". This would lead us to expect radically different statements regarding the Coming and its attendant events, from those found in the Gospels. And surely, those master teachers, the apostles, will distinguish the "two comings" with crystal clarity, and will locate the millennium so vividly ( as the 'moderns' do ) that none shall he misled.

Well, the examination has been conducted with much prayerful thought, and here are the results.

The Teachings Of Paul.

Let us first remind ourselves of the man: Hebrew of the Hebrews; a passionate lover of Israel. if ever there was any God-ordained hope for his race, it would not have been hidden from him, and, though the "greater hope of the Church" would have occupied first place, it is certain the former would find considerable mention. Moreover, he was an expositor of the O.T. second only to his Lord. Neither Darby nor Scofield were in the same street. He understood its covenants and promises, and their fulfilment was the basis and substance of all his ministry. We can be certain that his interpretation of the O.T. is the correct one. He warns us of the possibility of "having a veil over our hearts", so that we miss its true meaning. Eschatology tool formed a considerable part of his ministry. His reasoning with men was ever enforced by the things that belong to the next world, and he lived and spoke as one over- shadowed by the judgement. So we may rest assured there will be no ambiguous statements; his writings will not require straining of words to fit them into the divine scheme; and it will not require cleaver ingenuity to fathom their meaning and sort them into their different categories. We can look for plain statements that carry their meaning so clearly that all may learn the things of God. This is precisely what we have found. Not a prophetic jig-saw requiring careful sorting out in order to fit into an intricate scheme, but plain statements that are perfectly identical with the teachings of the two sections of the N.T. already considered. We turn first to

The Epistle To The Romans

It is outside the scope of this work to deal fully with the question of Israel—natural and spiritual. Of course, as it is inseparably related to the millennium question, it has to be touched upon. But we wish to restrict ourselves as much as possible to things eschatological. Therefore, we will not deal with some statements of Paul in the earlier chapters, but will content ourselves with just mentioning these Scriptures; the reader can ponder them himself.

Romans 2:27, 28. "He is not a Jew which is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: but HE IS A JEW WHICH IS ONE INWARDLY, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit. "

Romans 4:13, 16. "The promise that he should be HEIR OF THE WORLD was not made to Abraham or to his seed through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith…therefore it is of faith that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed, not to that only which is of the Law, but to that WHICH IS OF THE FAITH OF ABRAHAM."

Now to our main theme.

Romans 2:5-10.

"After thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up of unto thyself wrath against the Day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God: WHO WILL RENDER TO EVERYMAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to them who by patient continuance in well doing…eternal life: But unto them that…do not obey the truth…indignation and wrath…OF THE JEW FIRST."

This powerful statement is a strong challenge to all forms of pre-millennial doctrine. We are introduced to "the Day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God". Only obstinate prejudice will dispute that this is the Final Judgement, the Great White Throne. NO other event will fit this solemn description,. And we are confronted with the very same fact that has met us many times before, viz., both righteous and wicked appear at the same bar, and the issue is eternal destiny.

Then we note the unmistakable reference to rendering "to every man according to his deeds". This identifies it clearly with that Coming of the Son of Man so often spoken of in similar terms in the Gospels. The obvious conclusion is that the time when the Son of Man comes to reward His saints is also the time of the General Judgement. The emphasis on "deeds" does not contradict the doctrine of Grace. Paul is dealing with the conduct of men as the evidence of their heart-state, whether obedience to God or disobedience. Thus, in That Day, those who have believed will receive judgement unto eternal life according to their works, whilst those who have not believed will receive judgement unto damnation according to their works. But be sure of this, this verse teaches it is the one Great Judgement Day. This is confirmed by another verse in this epistle, which we might profitably consider here, Chapter 14:10, 11:

"For we must all stand before the judgement Seat of Christ, for it is written, 'as I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God'."

Is, this a different Judgement from the first one? Of course not! Paul would not refer to two judgements in the same letter ( both incorporating "every man" ) without the slightest hint that they are entirely different. ( The Romans did not have a Scofield Bible to help them make this distinction. ) Moreover, their identity is made clear, for this Judgement Seat of Christ at which believers stand, is also the place where every knee bows and every tongue confesses. Now the application of this O.T. Scripture in this connection is very striking. Every Futurist ( unless determined to escape at all costs from the corner into which the Scripture forces him ) will agree that the time when "every knee shall bow", is at the Great White Throne. It is a favourite quotation with every dispensational Gospel preacher as he seeks to rouse the wicked to repentance. What then? Why, simply this, that Paul identifies THIS UNIVERSAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF GOD'S GLORY WITH THE JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST. Where, then, is the futurist contention that the latter occurs 1,007 years before the former? And where is the pre-millennial doctrine that the "glorious millennial age separates the two judgements"? The answer is that they are non-existent in the eschatology of Paul. And this is further emphasised in the other reference to the Judgement Seat of Christ in 2 Corinthians 5:10, where the apostle refers to a judgement for "deeds done in the body, whether it be good or bad". This language is striking similar to Romans 2:5. Further we note Paul concludes his reference in the Corinthians letter with the words, "knowing therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men". What can this mean, but that the judgement Seat of Christ is not only the time when the believers are rewarded, but also the time when the ungodly shall know "the terror of the Lord". In other words, the Great White Throne.

Whilst referring to 2 Corinthians 5, may we press one further thought. The chapter seems to fall into three sections: verses 1-9, the ever-present fact of death; verses 10-11, the judgement that follows; verses 12-21, the earnest witness of the Christian, in the light of the foregoing, telling them of the reconciling death of God's Son. This, then, is Paul's doctrine, under three headings:

A life of dedicated service for the souls of men;
The solemn fact of death;
The Judgement.

There is no place in this outlook for a supposed Kingdom into which righteous and unrighteous enter, over which the saints are said to reign. It had no place in Pauline theology.

Now let us revert back to Romans 2:9 Its closing words should rouse every pre-millennialist to one of the central delusions of his theory, viz. the conversion of the Jewish race at the Second Advent. This appalling doctrine ( as we have shown in Acts, utterly contrary to all that Paul preached ) proclaims "salvation by sight". Read the profusion of books and pamphlets by those obsessed with this theory telling men of this false hope for Jewry. "The Jews will be saved at the Second Advent," they say. But Paul gives it the lie, fully and finally, in this verse. Listen to his inspired words about that Great Day. "Wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man the doeth evil, OF THE JEW FIRST." Our Lord said it would be more tolerable for Sodom in the Day than for the Jews; Paul confirms it here. Then away with this anti-Christian theory produced by pre-millennialism.

The Redemption Of The Body — Romans 8:18-23.

The theme of Romans 8 is the complete deliverance of the believer from the law of sin. Paul treats it in two Phases. First, in this present life, the believer enjoys, through the power of the Spirit, the blessing of adoption and sonship. The second phase is in the future, which he calls "the Manifestation of the sons of God". It is of paramount interest to ask when this takes place, and the answer is very clear. Paul tells us that "the manifestation of the sons of God" is attended by three things.

"The redemption of the body";

"The Glory revealed in us";

"The whole creation delivered from the bondage of corruption".

It is indisputable from this passage that these things all occur at the same time. The redemption of the body brings about the manifestation of the sons of God, displaying the "glory that shall be revealed", and it is then that the whole creation is delivered. Once again we have the death sentence on dispensationalism and pre-millennialism, for only the introduction of the eternal age can meet this situation. Dispensationalists agree that the redemption of the body takes place at the "Rapture". But when we think of "the glory that shall be revealed in us", we are automatically reminded of Paul's other statement in 2 Thessalonians 1:10 "When He shall come to be glorified in His saints". But the latter is in a context which dispensationalists apply to "The Revelation". We agree with both these—but unlike our opponents, cannot see a vestige of evidence that the two events are separated by a period of years. On the contrary, Romans 8 shows they are one and the same thing; and when these things take place, "the creation is delivered from the bondage of corruption". THIS STRIKING STATEMENT CAN REFER TO NOTHING ELSE BUT THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH. It is quite out of keeping with the popular millennium which, as previously shown, is a mixture of good and evil. But the Language of Paul INDICATES A TIME WHEN CORRUPTION IS NO MORE. It is the time spoken of in Revelations 22:3, "There shall he no more curse." This is confirmed in the passage itself, for Paul tells us that the renewal of the natural creation is into "the glorious liberty of the children of God". The translation of believers at "the redemption of the body" will be into His own sinless likeness; and such is the change in Creation, that Paul speaks of.

All this is a perfect repetition of the truth we have seen all along. The "redemption of the body" occurs at the Coming of the Lord. Paul assures us also that at the same time occurs "the glory revealed" and the removal of the curse from creation. We are left with no alternative but to conclude that the Coming of the Lord ushers in the eternal age. Even Scofield heads this passage, "The Creation, delivered from suffering and death, kept for the sons of God." Plainly, Scofield recognises the event to which the apostle refers, but he ignores the fact that it occurs at the completion of the believer's redemption. HIS THEORY COMPELLED HIM TO DO THIS.

God's Salvation And The Two Israels — Romans 9, 10 and 11.

Here is a fascinating section of Paul's writings. It is his largest statement in the epistles on the subject of Israel. We observe briefly in passing that he says nothing at all, in this lengthy discussion, of the great themes of pre-millennialists when they speak of Israel—Tribulation, Kingdom, Monarchy and Millennium.

It is not within our scope to deal fully with the Israel question, nor even to expound these chapters fully. But as the identity of Israel in the purposes of God is a fundamental issue in the millennium controversy, it is essential to touch upon the main points of teaching, we are very happy to do so, for it seems so clear to us that if you stand where Paul stood in these chapters, you will not have the slightest interest in pro-Jew prophetic theories, nor in pre-millennialism.

Let us note first of all, the dispensational attitude to this portion, as expressed by Dr. Scofield. He heads it as follows: "Parenthetic. The Gospel does not set aside the Covenants with Israel." How these people love their parentheses! But really, there is no parenthesis here. ROMANS 9 IS A DIRECT CONTINUATION OF THE SUBJECT THAT HAS GONE BEFORE, culminating in the great declarations of chapter 8. That subject is God's Full Salvation, relating to Jew and Gentile ( see chapters 2, 3 and 4 ). In chapter 8 Paul reaches the climax in his declaration that in the Gospel, the great eternal, predestinating and electing purposes of God were being fulfilled ( verses 28-34 ), and that no power in heaven, earth or hell could sever His People from "the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord".

Naturally, many would then raise the question of Israel's relation to the great purpose of God, in view of the general hostility of the Jewish nation to the Gospel. This problem Paul now deals with. I propose setting out in clear sections the successive points in Paul's treatment of this subject, as contained in Romans 9.

The apostasy of Israel is a great distress to Paul. He was prepared even to be "separate from the Messiah" if it would bring about the salvation of his fellows. This is the only longing he has for them. He expresses no "earthly hope".

He recounts the great privileges of Israel ( verses 4, 5 ). Truly, as the Lord Jesus said, they had been "exalted to heaven". Do not forget His following word: "thou shalt be cast down to hell" ( Matthew 11:13 ).

The apostasy of natural Israel had not in any way affected the purpose of God, for the simple reason that THAT PURPOSE WAS NOT IN THE SINFUL NATION, BUT IN THE TRUE ISRAEL OF GOD. Here are the apostle's words, we would that they should sink deeply into the mind of every dispensationalist:

"Not as though the Word of God hath taken none effect, FOR THEY ARE NOT ALL ISRAEL which are of Israel" ( 9:6 ).

We press these words as one of the central statements of the N.T. on the question of Israel. Do not be misled by dispensational statements which are directly contrary to what the apostle states. Take, for example, Scofield's notes on these very verses. He says, "the distinction is between Israel after the flesh, and Israelites, who through faith are also Abraham's spiritual children. Gentiles who believe are also Abraham's spiritual seed; but here, the apostle IS NOT CONSIDERING THEM, but only the two kinds of Israelites." But this is untrue, for Paul, continuing the argument, says in verse 24, "even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, BUT ALSO OF THE GENTILES."

The principle upon which God has based the carrying out of His Purpose has always been that of election. It had operated through the natural seed, and is now finding its expression in the Jews-Gentile spiritual Israel ( verses 9-18 ). What light this throws on "the elect" as dealt with elsewhere! They figure in the great Olivet discourse of the Lord. The exigencies of the dispensational theory demand the fantastic application of the term to the imaginary Jewish Tribulation Remnant. Paul despises such trifling, and informs us that the Jew and Gentile of God's Israel are His Elect.

In the two Israel's are exhibited the mercy and the judgement of God ( verses 19-24 ). Tremendous verses these! Surely, amongst the most solemn in Paul's writings; yet, nevertheless, the truth of God. Of this we are fully persuaded. Jeremiah was sent to the Potter's House for instruction ( Jeremiah 18 ). He saw a vessel marred on the wheel. The potter destroys it and makes another vessel of the clay. Paul now gives us the true meaning of this incident, and the avowed Divine purpose to "do with the House Israel as this potter". Here are the apostle's words:

"What if God, willing to shew His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy which He had fore prepared unto glory, even us whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles" ( verses 22-24 ).

What is the meaning? We can see only one. Whilst a few verses earlier Paul had mentioned Pharaoh, it is obvious from the context that Paul is now referring to another when he contrasts "the vessels of wrath" and "the vessels of mercy". They are two entities that had been connected with God's great purposes; and the whole of this chapter, and the use of Jeremiah's figure, show indisputably that Paul is here referring to THE NATURAL ISRAEL AND THE SPIRITUAL ISRAEL. These are the two vessels that had been in the hand of the potter. "The vessels of mercy prepared unto glory" are the true Israelites, Jews and Gentiles. THE ONLY PEOPLE FOR WHOM GOD HAS PREPARED GLORY IS THIS PEOPLE. And what of natural Israel? Let every Christian obsessed with these pro-Jew theories, let all these prophetic teachers and writers who pour out their effusions about "Israel's wonderful future", etc., etc., ponder these solemn words of Paul: "the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction". And this is the unanimous testimony of the whole Bible to the Jewish race. Prophetic theorists may throw their hats in the air about the Jews, but let them think of this, that GOD NEVER SAID A GOOD WORD ABOUT THIS RACE. HE PRONOUNCED UPON THEM THE MOST-SOLEMN AND TERRIBLE VERDICTS EVER PASSED ON A RACE OF HUMAN BEINGS. Listen to this:

"Ye are risen up in your fathers' stead, an increase of sinful men, to augment yet the fierce anger of the Lord toward Israel" ( Numbers 32:14 ).

We could multiply this testimony against the Jewish race a hundred fold, but space does not allow. But it is all summed up in the testimony of the Lord Jesus that THEY WERE WORSE THAN SODOM ( Matthew 11:23 ).


Here is a wonderful section. We pointed out in our comments on Acts 15 that James, like a true preacher, enforced his statements with "chapter and verse". We noted his remarkable quotation of O.T. Scripture. Now Paul does the same. He quotes three Scriptures:

Hosea 2:23: "I will call them My People, which were not My People; and her beloved which was not beloved."

Hosea 1:10: "And it shall come to pass that, in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not My People, there shall they be called the children of the Living God."

Isaiah 10:22: "Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved."

We have previously drawn attention to a serious matter in Bible exposition on the part of dispensationalists. It is utterly distasteful to us to charge fellow Christians with deliberate perversion of Scripture; nevertheless, the occasion calls for nothing else. It demonstrates more than anything else the falseness of the system we oppose. We refer to Dr. Scofield's notes on these passages. They are as follows:—

Hosea 2:23: He heads this passage, "Israel, the adulterous wife, to be restored." Then his Footnote states…"Israel is the wife of Jehovah…not to be confounded with the Church and Christ…Israel is to be the restored and forgiven wife of Jehovah, the Church the Virgin Bride of the Lamb…Israel, Jehovah's earthly wife ( Hosea 2:23 ); the Church the Lamb's heavenly wife" ( R.B. p. 922 ).

For bald, unashamed perversion of Scripture, it would be difficult to find anything to beat that. It is as bad as Modernism. Paul quotes this verse and says, in the plainest of language, it refers to "us whom He hath called, Jews and Gentiles"; in other words, the Church. But Scofield charges Paul with error, and says it has nothing to do with the church; it is earthly Israel.

Hosea 1:10: Listen again to this profanity—the heading over this verse is "The future blessing and restoration of Israel." Then, in the Footnote he adds, "The promise of verse 10 awaits fulfilment."

And this is the teaching that has flooded evangelicalism! Talk about deceiving the elect! Paul asserts that Hosea 1:10 applies to the present Israel of God's Election, Jew and Gentile. Without a blush, Scofield says, "Paul is wrong; the promise has not been fulfilled, and it does not refer to the Church but to the Jews."

But it is not only Paul who is thus branded by Scofield. Peter is insulted too, for he likewise quotes this very passage from Hosea, and with Paul applies it to God's Israel, "the peculiar people", called out in this present age( 1 Peter 2:10 ).

Isaiah 10:22: We have exactly the same thing here. Scofield's heading states "The Vision of the Jewish Remnant in the Tribulation," and his Footnote says it refers to "the final destruction of all Gentile world power at the Return of the Lord in Glory" ( R.B. p. 722 ). Paul says this Remnant is the present one, according to the election of Grace. Scofield says no! it is the future Jewish Tribulation Remnant.

Surely, this is at the very heart of the controversy! ( Footnote ) Here are O.T. Scriptures dealing with the all-important theme of Israel's restoration to union with God. Pre-millennialism, and especially dispensationalism, depend for their existence upon a literalistic earthly interpretation of such O.T. Scriptures. Dr. Scofield, the acknowledged champion of dispensationalism, asserts that these passages are literal, earthly and Jewish, and must not be confounded with the Church of Christ ( R.B. p. 922 ). Thus he proves his pre-millennialism. But the apostle Paul, who laboured under the terrible handicap of not possessing a 20th Century Reference Bible, rejects Scofieldism completely, and teaches that these Scriptures find their fulfilment in the Israel of the Church. Reader, take your choice: Scofield or Paul ( and Peter ). As for us, the issue is clear. Brought up on the leeks and garlics of Futurism, we bless God when we "tasted of the good corn of the land". Since then, our soul has delighted in feasting at the apostolic table, and never once have we "turned back in our hearts to Egypt".

This quality of setting up a rival interpretation to that given by the inspired apostles is a characteristic of the school whose theories we are opposing. IT IS A SURE MARK OF ITS UNSCRIPTUPAL CHARACTER. Throughout the centuries, true Bible Protestantism has waged her warfare against the System that has set up "tradition and Scripture" as the rule of faith. Today, within the ranks of the evangelical Church; we have an insidious form of this evil: and hundreds of thousands of believers, armed with their Reference Bibles, have soaked up its notes, headings and footnotes with such credulity that they have come to regard these "traditions of men" as of equal authority with the Scripture itself. If this work can help enlighten some of these good people, and deliver them from these speculations, we shall deem ourselves well rewarded for our labours.

Let us now return to Romans 9. We refer once more to the verse quoted from Isaiah 10, "a remnant shall be saved". The reader might note the strange words that follow this prophecy. "The consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness. For the Lord of Hosts shall make a consumption, even determined in the midst of the land." Moffatt renders it ( transferring the setting to the middle of chapter 28, which, remarkably enough, gives the great prophecy of Christ as the Foundation Stone of the Church ) as follows:

"Destruction is decreed, a flood of retribution, for the Lord of Hosts will carry out DOOM FIXED AND FINAL OVER ALL THE WOPLD."

Dogmatism on such a difficult passage is not expedient, but the strong implication is that the fulfilment of the prophecy of the Salvation of the Remnant ( clearly the Christian Church ), who have believed on the Sure Foundation Stone, will culminate in a world-wide catastrophe; in other words, this age of Jewish-Gentile salvation will close with the great Day of God's universal Judgement. As such, it is in harmony with all the Scriptures previously mentioned.

We conclude our brief analysis of Romans 9 with the last thought declared by Paul:

The end of all relationship between God and Israel was Christ ( verses 30-33 ). In these verses Paul states that Israel had missed all that the Law and the Prophets foretold, chiefly because they failed to see that all the Promises were to he realised in Messiah. Messiah had come, offering them not an earthly Kingdom, but a spiritual one through His Flesh and Blood. This they stumbled at ( how significant is this Phrase in the fight of John 6:61—'doth this cause you to stumble' ). But this very thing at which the Jews stumbled—the spiritual, Cross-kingdom—becomes the Head Stone of the corner in the great Temple of the New Israel. Once again this great prophecy is quoted ( verse 33 ). We draw the reader's attention to the repeated quotation of this prophecy, and/or its great fellow-prophecy of Psalm 118:22, "the Stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the Head Stone of the corner." Here they are:

By our Lord, Matthew 21:42, when He declared the Kingdom is to be taken from the Jewish nation and given to the new spiritual Kingdom. The quotation of this O.T. passage which the apostles apply to the Church, conclusively proves the Church is the Nation.

Peter, Acts 4:11, before the Council, when he tells the Jewish leaders there is no salvation for any, including Jews, but through the Name of Jesus Messiah.

Paul, in Romans 9. It follows immediately on his quotation of O.T. prophecies which show the Church is the Restored Israel. The obvious meaning is that Jesus Messiah is the Great Corner Stone in the new Zion, the Church.

Peter, in his first letter, 1 Peter 2:6-8. This is a remarkable passage, for Peter quotes the two prophecies together, and the whole context of the passage is that the Church of Christ is the New Israel. Hosea's prophecies are quoted, as in Romans 9. The conclusion is inescapable, that the Stone at which the Jews stumbled, became the Great Stone in the True Temple of the Lord.

Surely, none can resist the overwhelming testimony of this great chapter? We can only hope that the reader will give it his open-minded thought. It may upset all you have been traditionally taught. It may threaten things you have held dear. But may you value Scripture truth above all this. We are sure you will then see what we have seen.

Romans 10.

As the theme of chapter 9 was THE UNBROKEN PURPOSE OF GOD CONTINUED IN THE NEW ISRAEL, in this chapter the theme is that NATURAL ISRAEL'S ONLY HOPE IS IN THE GOSPEL. Here we have an extended exposition of "the Hope of Israel", for which, later, the apostle was "bound with this chain".

The chapter opens in an identical manner with chapter 9—the intense longing of the apostle for the salvation of Israel. Where is the salvation to be found? The whole of this chapter holds out not the slightest hint of a special salvation in a future age. The only hope for the Jews is the Gospel that has brought Salvation to the Gentiles, AND THIS HOPE IS LIMITED TO THIS AGE. To prove this, Paul adopts his habitual form of argument—the exposition of O.T. Scripture. In these Scriptures that he quotes, Paul shows that ALL THE O.T. PROMISES OF BLESSING, SALVATION AND RIGHTEOUSNESS FIND THEIR FULFILMENT NOT IN EARTHLY MATERIAL BLESSINGS IN A FUTURE JEWISH KINGDOM, BUT IN THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD JESUS. It almost seems monotonous to keep repeating this fact again and again—and yet again. But we have to do so, for the simple reason that this is the repeated line of argument in the N.T. Yet, in spite of this, as often as the argument occurs, so often is it flagrantly rejected by futurists. On almost every page of the N.T., the covenant promises to Israel are quoted, and applied by the apostles EXCLUSIVELY TO THE CHURCH OF CHRIST. But, with a blindness that outdoes the blindness of the Jews, the dispensationalist REPLACES THE APOSTOLIC INTERPRETATION WITH HIS OWN NOVEL 19th CENTURY INTERPRETATION, DEMANDED BY A THEORY THAT WAS NEVER HEARD OF IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH UNTIL THE RISE OF FUTURISM POPULARISED A JESUIT INVENTION.

In this chapter Paul destroys Jewish nationalistic hopes by quoting four O.T. Scriptures and applying them to the situation obtaining through the preaching of the Gospel. But Scofield stubbornly resists the apostle again. His hostility to Paul's teaching of the O.T. brands his Reference Bible as a deplorable publication. That admirable body, the British and Foreign Bible Society, has as its object, "the publishing and circulation of the Scriptures without note or comment." We have always felt an admiration for this principle; such admiration is increased a hundred-fold when we see the "red text subjected to such anti-apostolic perversion as fills the notes, footnotes and headings of this unfortunate "Bible". "Why do ye transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?…Thus have ye made the commandments of God of none effect by your tradition" ( Matthew 15:3-6 ).

Here are the Scriptures Paul quotes:

Deuteronomy 30:12-14: "Who shall ascend into heaven; who shall descend into the deep? The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart."

What illumination was given was given to the apostles by the Holy Ghost! The whole of the O.T. is lit up with the glory of Christ and the Gospel of His salvation. So Paul goes back to the ancient words of Moses, and informs us that this great chapter promising blessing and life to Israel, FINDS ITS REALITY IN THE UNSPEAKABLE BLESSING OF THE GOSPEL OFFERING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

But Scofield has greater light than Paul, and he tells us the chapter does not refer to the Gospel at all, but is ( what he calls ) the Palestinian Covenant which will have its fulfilment at the Return of the Lord to restore the glory of the Jewish nation.

Isaiah 52:7. Paul introduces us to this ECSTATIC CHAPTER which describes the awakening of Zion. Let the reader turn to the chapter. Jerusalem is delivered ( verses 1-2 ). Her redemption is without money ( verse 3 ). She is brought to the knowledge of God ( verse 6 ). There is shouting and singing ( verse 8 ). The waste places break forth into joy ( verse 9 ), and the blessing becomes universal ( verse 10 ). But what arrests us is, the manner in which this glorious work is accomplished. it is graphically described in Isaiah's incomparable language:

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth."

In order to avoid any possibility of misunderstanding what this means, the apostle, by the Holy Ghost, tells us this great verse describes the preaching of the Gospel in this present age ( Romans 10:15 ). So the picture of Isaiah 52 is of the awakening of spiritual Zion, through the advent of redemption and the preaching of the Gospel. The fact that it is immediately followed by chapter 53, the greatest chapter in the O.T. on the Atonement, is conclusive proof of this. But Scofield repudiates this. To grant it would mean the end of his theories, and they must be saved at all costs; so a superior interpretation is given. Accordingly, we have the heading, "Vision of Jerusalem in the Kingdom Age." So the "beautiful feet upon the mountains" are not the preachers of the Gospel of Grace ( though Paul says they are ) but Jewish messengers of that mongrel millennium where sin and death shall still be found, and which will end in a colossal exhibition of the power of Satan. What profanity!

Isaiah 65:l-2: "I was found of them that sought Me not…But to Israel He saith all day long I have stretched forth My hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people."

This repeats the distinction we have already seen; between the rejected nation and the New Israel. Paul assures us that the objects of divine favour here are those who believe the Gospel. But had Paul lived to possess a certain Reference Bible, he would never have made such a blunder, because the heading of Isaiah 65 would have informed him that it had nothing to do with the Church, but was "the answer of the Jewish Remnant".

Anyway, I suppose it is easy to dump every inconvenient Scripture over into the future, where there is no one to test the accuracy or otherwise of your prediction. And, in any case, the dispensationalist can take comfort in the fact that it is proverbially difficult to prove a negative.

Deuteronomy 32:31: "I will provoke them to jealousy with them that are no people, and by a foolish nation will I anger you." This is a repetition of all that has gone before. The "no people", as in Hosea, is the New Israel. How they provoked the sinful nation to anger is seen on almost every page of the Acts.

Such is the teaching of Romans 10. The whole substance of the Law and the Prophets is realised in the death of Messiah and the Glory that followed. And in that great triumph, now proclaimed by the Heralds of Zion, is Israel's only hope.

The Truth Re-Asserted. — Romans 11.

We saw that in chapter 9 Paul developed the theme that the purpose of God was being carried out through the spiritual seed, and that this People was the restored Israel of O.T. prophecy. In chapter 10 he shows that the great prophecies in the O.T. of coming blessing for Israel are realised in the Gospel, which is Israel's only hope. Now in chapter 11 he recapitulates both these themes. Verses 1-10 re-assert the truth of chapter 9, that the purpose of God operates now, as always, in the Remnant, the True Israel. In this section, two statements form the central points of the apostle's doctrine.

GOD HATH NOT CAST AWAY HIS PEOPLE. This assertion follows the closing verses of chapter 10, where Paul has described the reprobate character of Israel. That the apostasy of natural Israel had not affected the purpose of God in any way is clear from the following facts:

The conversion of Saul. Scofield, in his note, lists this as an evidence that God had not cast aside the nation of Israel. it has no such meaning. Paul uses his conversion as an evidence AS TO THE WAY GOD IS CARRYING OUT HIS PURPOSE OF BLESSING—not by a national restoration, but by the salvation of those who believe the Gospel.

GOD CANNOT CAST AWAY HIS PEOPLE, BECAUSE HIS PEOPLE ARE THOSE WHOM HE FOREKNEW. Who are they? The answer is perfectly clears Paul does not use the term to mean one thing in chapter 8 and a different thing in chapter 11. And in the former chapter, there can be no argument that "the people whom He foreknew" are "those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose" ( 8:28, 29 ). They are those who are "in Christ Jesus our Lord" ( verse 38 ). THIS IS THE PEOPLE HE FOREKNEW, AND WHOM HE HAS NOT CAST AWAY.

Throughout the history of Israel's wickedness, God's People was not the nation, but the Remnant who believed the Living God. This is illustrated by Elijah's day, and is carried on still, says Paul, in present Remnant according to the Election of Grace. This Remnant, he plainly tells us in chapter 9:24, is composed of Jews and Gentiles—the Church. Scofield flatly denies this, and says ( p. 1205 ), "During the Church age, the Remnant is composed of believing Jews. "The Remnant, according to Scofield, are only Jews, and he says ( same page ), "the chief interest in them is prophetic…during the Great Tribulation." But the man who certified that the Gospel he preached was not of man, nor received of man, says that the Remnant is the present day body of Jew and Gentile—and he gives not the slightest hint that its chief significance is prophetic or eschatological. Paul or Scofield? That is the question this controversy poses. The reader must surely have observed as we proceed through the Scripture, that it is a question of accepting either

What the Bible says, or

The theoretical interpretation ]placed upon it by dispensationalists. You cannot have both. A modern dispensational writer exclaims: "If only men would let the Scriptures speak for themselves!" ( Stanton, p. 268 ) Well, if that happened, dispensationalism would expire at once. Like the barren fig tree it would perish from the roots upward at the sound of the Master's voice. It did in the writer's own experience; and we are sure the reader will not fail to see that our examination of Scripture produces that ever-recurring feature of the words of the Lord and Paul and Peter being constantly contradicted by the notes of Dr. Scofield.

We pass to the second statement of Paul, viz.,

THAT ALL THAT WAS PROMISED TO ISRAEL IS NOW REALISED IN THE CHURCH OF CHRIST. We solicit the reader's earnest attention to another of those dynamic statements of the apostle, found in verse 7—"What then? Israel bath not obtained that which he seeketh, but THE ELECTION HATH OBTAINED IT." We contend that a man who used such terms could mean only one thing—that what "the election" had received was precisely what Israel had sought from O.T. prophecy, yet had missed because of her blindness to the true meaning of prophecy. That this is the meaning is abundantly clear from the statement that follows, "and the rest were blinded", with the quotation from Isaiah. Moffatt's rendering is most forceful:

"And the rest have been rendered insensible."

Could anything be clearer? Israel, obsessed with the literal, earthly fulfilment of O.T. prophecy ( as their present-day dispensational counterparts are ) were "rendered insensible" to the true meaning of those grand predictions. And when one tries to reason with dispensationalists today, apart from a few exceptions, one realises how true is Moffatt's translation. Note too, that Paul gives not the slightest hint that God will ever "bring Israel to her senses" in any other way than through the Gospel of His Son.

In his comment ( p. 1204 ), Scofield says, "That the Christian now inherits the distinctive Jewish promises is not taught in Scripture." The answer, in view of Paul's statement ( and the rest of the N.T. ), is that there are no such things as "distinctively Jewish promises". But, that the O.T. Covenant promises are now being realised through the Gospel of Jesus Messiah, is written on every page of the N.T.

Surely, verse 7 is Paul's way of stating what His Lord had stated before him: "The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof" ( Matthew 21:43 ).

In the second section of chapter 11, the apostle re-asserts the arguments of chapter 10, that Israel's only hope is in the Gospel. Like the apostle, we would emphasise this truth. THE ONE, ONLY, and FINAL HOPE OF ALL MEN, JEW AS WELL AS GENTILE, IS IN THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD. Dispensationalists are fond of branding a-millennialism with the charge of "modernistic", and even infidel tendencies. Take a writer already quoted, Stanton, in "Kept from the Hour". On page 163, he describes the "spiritualising" of Scripture as the road to apostasy, and marks it by three steps—Literalism to Post-tribulationism, then to a-millennialism, and then to Liberalism, finishing by saying, "There are men who have trodden this pathway, although, fortunately, most are arrested in their course and do not reach the apostasy which is the natural outgrowth of the principle of interpretation they have adopted." This fanatical outburst is in keeping with the spirit of sensationalism that is a prominent characteristic of so much that is produced in the name of dispensationalism. Did men like Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, Dr. T. T. Shields, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Philip Mauro and a host of other stalwart Gospel men, who taught the "spiritual" view of prophecy reach this apostasy?

But to this "Judge Rutherford-like" charge, a-millennialists may well reply that they are not guilty of the folly of dispensationalism WHICH REPUDIATES THE FUNDAMENTAL DOCTRINE OF THE N.T., THAT THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY HOPE THAT GOD OFFERS MEN, WHATEVER THEIR RACE, The greatest exponent of that gospel, when dealing with the Jews, knew nothing of the pro-Jew inventions of the 19th century. Consider what he says in the section before us:

In verses 11-15 he contrasts "the fall" and "the fullness" of Israel. They had fallen, but this had brought in the great era of Gentile in-gathering. The apostle hoped that this latter would "provoke them to jealousy", i.e., to an earnest searching of this mystery. This, in turn, would lead to their "fullness". By this, the obvious meaning from the context is that Paul hoped that there would yet come a turning to Messiah among the Jews. The "fullness" of Israel is simply the fullness of Gospel blessing, as foretold in the O.T., which would be theirs on repentance. This is conclusively proved by verse 14, where Paul speaks of their salvation; and this "fullness" would be "life from the dead". From the death of literalism and Judaism, into the life of the Spirit and the resurrection.

The apostle then pursues this truth further under the figure of the Olive Tree. Note the facts he clearly states:

Gentiles have been grafted with Jews into the one Tree.

Unbelieving Jews have been cut off.

In this double act is demonstrated the goodness and the severity of God. It is a repetition of the truth stated in chapter 9—the vessels of wrath and the vessels of mercy.

There can be a restoration of Israel, BUT ONLY BY RE-GRAFTING INTO THE OLIVE TREE through faith in Christ ( verse 23 ).

Thus, the only restoration Paul speaks of is through the Gospel, AND IN THIS PRESENT AGE.

Then comes the climax of the message, and with it another exhibition of the errors of dispensationalism. It is simply marvellous how these people see the Second Advent everywhere. If the Scripture talks about a return, or coming back or fullness, then it is the Second Advent. They are obsessed with it. But the writer, oftentimes, has no thought of this theme in his mind. He is dealing with the first Advent, and the glorious results that flow from it. We have previously remarked on this characteristic of passing over to the Second Advent what the Bible relates to the first Advent. No wonder Mr. Spurgeon once said, "I feel like saying to some well-meaning brethren, 'Ye men of Plymouth, why stand ye gazing up into heaven, get on with your work'." So we point out to the reader that in these verses Paul has no thought of the Second Advent. It is not in his mind at all. in fact, it is incongruous to his theme. The whole of the chapter ( and the previous two chapters ), asserts THE GREAT TRUTH THAT THE FULLNESS OF THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS IS REALISED IN THE GOSPEL, AND IT IS IN THIS GOSPEL, AND NOTHING ELSE, THAT ISRAEL HAS ANY HOPE.

Thus he reminds his readers of "the mystery", which is the same "mystery" as he deals with in Ephesians, viz. that Jews and Gentiles are to be fellow-heirs in the Temple-Kingdom of God. The blindness of Israel had led to "the fullness of the Gentiles", which is nothing more nor less than the Gospel, and the fullness of blessing it had brought to the nations. Yet Israel's blindness had been only "in part". Many in the nation had believed, and Jew and Gentile together shared in the "fullness". They shared "the root and fatness of the Olive Tree" ( verse 17 ).

The result of this "fullness" is declared in verse 26—"And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, there shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob."

This Scripture is the one straw that futurists cling to from the writings of Paul to try and support their theory of a national Jewish conversion after the close of this age. The simple fact that in the whole of Paul's preached and written messages this is the only text they can quote to support their contentions, is enough to lead the thoughtful student to conclude that their interpretation of it must he very dubious. "A text that stands alone will not stand for long."

That this text can have no reference to the earthly nation of Israel and the Second Advent is clear from the following:

To he consistent literalists, you have to swallow an awful pill, for, if "all Israel" are to be saved ( Paul makes no qualification or limitation whatsoever ), then you have to believe the ridiculous idea that every Jew of every age is to be saved. Some "to get round this by the theory that it refers only to "the Remnant". The makeshift character of such is obvious.

It is entirely out of accord with the theme of the whole chapter. This, as we have shown, is that God's Redeeming purpose operates, not in an apostate nation, whose sins were worse than Sodom's, but in "the Election", the True Israel. THIS IS THE ONLY ISRAEL THAT SHALL BE SAVED COMPLETELY.

It is false to the statement itself. The verse has no reference to the Second Advent, but, consistent with the whole argument of chapters 9, 10 and 11, it deals with the glorious fullness resulting from the redeeming work of Messiah. Paul has shown how God is carrying out His great purpose of "calling the People whom He foreknew". It is by "grafting them into the Olive Tree"—the whole company of the redeemed. "And SO," says Paul, "all Israel shall he saved"—i.e. "in this manner". "So" has no reference to time but to the method of God's operation. So the text, instead of teaching a national salvation for Jewry after the Second Advent, utterly demolishes the idea by avowing that the whole Israel of God is to be saved in one way only—by grafting into the one Olive Tree.

Again, we show that it is the Gospel and its results that are in view, for, when the apostle speaks of the Deliverer coming out of Zion, he shows it refers to the death and resurrection of Christ for he immediately follows with this conclusive statement:

"For this is My Covenant unto them WHEN I SHALL TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS" ( verse 27 ).

We shall be discussing the Sin-removing Covenant later. Suffice to say here that the whole of the N.T. asserts that it was enacted at one place and one only—the place called Calvary. The relegating of this Covenant to some future date, on a nationalistic basis, is as profane a piece of eschatology as was ever put forth. The N.T. spurns it as offensive.

God's Israel shall be saved—every member. Isaiah's great prophecy, quoted here, has been fulfilled. The Redeemer has come to Zion, and by His Great Sin-Atoning Covenant has turned away ungodliness from His People.

As for natural Israel, their position is once again summed up in verse 23. Two sections are set before us. The nation itself has been demonstrated to be the enemy of the Gospel, the enemy of God; but the election within the nation is "beloved for the fathers' sakes, and that calling is without repentance." Verse 31 sets another seal that it is NOW, not in the future, that they are to "obtain mercy".

And so the apostle concludes with his great doxology of "O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God." The whole of this song of praise magnifies the great eternal purpose of God in the redemption of His People. It is significant that in this utterance which embraces the present and future wisdom of God, no suggestion is made of a millennial restoration of earthly Israel. The matchless accomplishment which occasions this burst of apostolic praise is the great electing purpose of God that has culminated in the grafting of Jew and Gentile into the One Living Olive Tree, and this is the fullness "of all things, which are of Him, and through Him, and to Him; to Whom he Glory for ever."

The Mystery Of The Prophets — Romans 16:25-26.

We close our examination of Romans with a look at its concluding verses. "Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my Gospel, and the preaching Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and BY THE SCRIPTURES OF THE PROPHETS, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith."

What more blessed word could Paul use to wind up the theme he has so vividly developed throughout the epistle? That theme we have seen so clearly. Against the awful background of the wickedness of the whole Gentile and Jewish world ( chapters 1-3 ), he sets the Divine Remedy—the Gospel. That Gospel was the subject of God's Covenant with Abraham ( chapter 4 ), and it has brought salvation and the life of the Spirit to the redeemed people whom God has elected and called ( chapters 5-8 ). But who are these elect? Chapters 9-11 have supplied the answer: they are the Remnant of Faith, Jew and Gentile, composing the Living Olive Tree. But not only is this so; the apostle has clearly demonstrated by his quotation of the prophetical Scriptures that this is the very thing the prophets proclaimed when they spoke of the restoring of Israel to Covenant relationship with God. The whole witness of the Law ( 10:6-8 ) and the prophets ( chapters 9, 10 and 11 ), was to the fullness of blessing that was to be realised in the Gospel, AND IN THAT ALONE.


Moffat's translation is fine: "Revealing the secret purpose which, after the silence of long ages, has been disclosed and made known ON THE BASIS OF THE PROPHETIC SCRIPTURES."

In view of this, where is the absurd contention of the dispensationalist that the Church does not appear in O.T. prophecy? Where is the ridiculous idea that the teaching that the Church is the True Israel foretold by the prophets, is a relic of popery? ( Scofield ) One could wish that all the literature that teaches these anti-apostolic and anti-Protestant theories were kindled to a massive fire on "Plymouth" Hoe, and the ashes buried in the Eddystone deeps. One could not wish for a more "poetic retribution".

The End —

Chapter 9

The Coming Great Victory

The Corinthian Epistles

The Coming of the Lord formed a vital part of the Corinthian testimony. The manner in which they held the Hope is clearly shown at the opening of the epistle, where we read:—

"Waiting for the Coming ( ajpoka>luyiv apokalupsis—Revelation ) of our Lord Jesus Messiah: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the Day of our Lord Jesus Messiah."

Of these verses, Alexander Reese rightly observes: "Nobody holding a secret Coming of Christ and a pre-tribulation rapture of the saints as the immediate hope of the Church, could have written these words." ( Approaching Advent, p. 137 )

It is so obviously true as to hardly need comment. The Hope of the Corinthian Church was of the Glorious Unveiling of the Messiah. This was to take place "at the End", and was to be the Great Day of Messiah's triumph. There is no need to engage in mental twists to invent several "ends", several "Days of Messiah", etc. They did not exist in the apostle's mind, and we recommend a straightforward reading of the verses in order to obtain their true meaning.

We come now to a Scripture which suffers as much as any from dispensational misrepresentation. We refer to:—

1 Corinthians 3:13.

"Every man's work shall be manifest: for the Day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of which sort it is."

The subject introduced is the trial of believers for "works done in the body". All are agreed thus far, but then comes the division. Dispensationalists assert this judgement takes place some years before the Glorious Revelation of Christ, and that another 1,000 years elapse before the wicked are brought to Judgement. We know the popular idea. The Church is raptured into the presence of Christ; the judgement Seat of Christ is set up ( somewhere in the heavenlies!? ) and His Eye of Fire will try the believers' works.

That this interpretation has no foundation we will show, first, by correcting the poor rendering of the A.V. Consider some modern renderings:—

Moffatt:— "The Day will show what it is, for THE DAY BREAKS IN FIRE, and the fire shall test the work of each."

Weymouth:— "For the Day of Christ will disclose it, because THAT DAY IS SOON TO COME UPON US CLOTHED IN FIRE."

Young's Literal:— "The Day shall declare it, because in fire it is revealed."

The positive truth of these statements is that the Day in question is one that breaks in awesome fire. The idea of a secret rapture IS UTTERLY FOREIGN TO THE VERSE. Even Darby in his new Translation, points out that it is THE DAY that is revealed in fire. Now this is fatal to the theorists. We have already quoted one of them as saying, "if only people would let the Scriptures speak for themselves." Nothing could he more desirable here. We will let them speak, and immediately two other Scriptures sound out the message of "the Day revealed in fire".

"When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels IN FLAMING FIRE" ( 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 ).

"Looking for and hasting unto, the Coming of the Day of God, wherein the heavens BEING IN FIRE . . . " ( 1 Peter 3:12 ).

Here are three Scriptures, all speaking of the coming Day that is "clothed in fire". We cannot escape the conclusion that it is GOD'S VOICE IN THE SCRIPTURES, GIVING US ONE OF THE GREAT IDENTIFYING MARKS OF THAT DAY, so that all may understand what it involves. There are not three "days of fire". They are one and the same, so marked out by the Spirit that the simplest believer may understand the true nature of the Day of His Coming. What then are we told by these Scriptures?

The Day of Fire that brings the believer to judgement is the very same Day when the Lord Jesus is revealed with His mighty angels. But in this latter Scripture, the apostle follows by saying: "taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power." So the Day of the believers' judgement is the Day when the wicked are sent to their doom.

And this same Day, according to Peter, sees the passing away of the heaven and earth. This, he assures us, is what the believer is looking for. The Day of the believer's deliverance ushers in, not a millennium, but the eternal world.

The revelation with the mighty angels links us with Matthew 13 where the angels come forth to sever the wicked from the just, to bring each to their eternal portion. THE VOICE OF SCRIPTURE IS ONE—AND THE FIERY DAY OF WHICH IT SPEAKS IS ONE.

Judging The World — 1 Corinthians 6:2.

"Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world. "

This is a verse on which the dispensational mind runs riot. What pictures they conjure up of the saints exercising their judicial power ( not forgetting that delicious "rod of iron" they will wield ), in the millennium. The thoughtful reader will surely see that this is merely reading into the text what one wishes to find there; the text itself says nothing of such ideas. In fact, the statement in the following verse, seems to exclude the possibility of such interpretation: "Know ye not we shall judge angels?" This is hardly millennialism. The judgement of angels ( Jude 6, 2; Peter 2:4 ) is clearly at the Last Great Day. If, therefore, any conclusion is to he drawn from these verses, the most reasonable seems to be that "the judgement of this world" is located with the events that bring about "the judgement of angels". The manner of the believers' participation in these events is something only hinted at in the Scriptures ( e.g., Matthew 12:41, 42 ), and we leave it there.

The World's Closing Hours — 1 Corinthians 10:11.

Here is a most arresting statement, and one entirely out of harmony with millennial theories. We quote:

"They are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."

Scofield's margin alters to "ages". When we look at modern renderings the force of the statement is irresistibly:

Moffatt: "Whose lot has been cast in THE CLOSING HOURS OF THIS WORLD."

Weymouth: "To us, upon whom the ends of the ages have come."

Young. "To whom the ends of the ages did come."

Intelligently, there can be only one meaning to these words, that THIS AGE OF THE GOSPEL IS THE FINAL EPOCH OF TIME, IT ENDS THE "AGES", and is followed by the eternal world. This is the only logical understanding of such a statement. How can this age be "the end of the ages" and "the closing hours of this world", if it is followed by an age of tribulation, and then by a glorious age when God deals with men on "Kingdom principles", and this in turn is followed by another age or "little season" of Satanic revolt? This conception makes nonsense of Paul's words. No pre-millennialist would ever write or preach of this age as "the closing hours of this world". How could he, when he believes there are to be many more "hours" for this world after the close of this age, "hours" in which some of the most transcendent events in the whole human drama will be enacted? Thus, to speak of this age as "the end of the ages" and "the closing hours of this world", in face of the marvellous future programme of THIS WORLD mapped out by dispensational guesswork, would be an insult to intelligence. But the Scripture is plain. THIS AGE OF GOD'S MESSIAH AND SAVIOUR IS THE FINAL ACT IN THE GREAT DRAMA OF THE RACE. THE STORY OF THIS WORLD AND ITS SIN WILL END WITH THE GLORIOUS ADVENT OF THE REDEEMER. THE CLOSING HOURS OF THIS FINAL AGE WILL EXPIRE IN THE GREAT CONFLAGRATION THAT LEADS TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NEW HEAVENS AND EARTH.

The Apostle "Born Out Of Due Time" — 1 Corinthians 15:8.

Before coming to the main teaching of this great eschatological chapter, it is necessary to look at verse 8. The apostle has declared the fundamental of the Faith, "He rose again the third Day, according to the Scriptures." He then lists the witnesses who saw Him "alive after His Passion". He concludes with himself: "Last of all, he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time."

Now, who would ever conceive that, lurking in such a simple statement, was the great mystery of "the future conversion of the Jews" and the "millennium". The thing is so foolish as to appear like an irreverent joke. But when you have a "dispensational mind" you can see wonderful things that no one ever saw for 1,800 years. Hence his wonderful "vision" into this verse. We have already referred to the similarity between dispensationalism and popish "tradition"; it manifests itself here again. We are acquainted with "seed-germ" theory popularised by Romanists like Newman. To the charge that the popish doctrines such as Mariolatry, Invocation of Saints, Purgatory, etc., are not found in Scripture, the rejoinder is made that the "seed-germ" of these "truths" is found in the Bible, and the "development" of them is through "Catholic Tradition". Dispensationalists come perilously near this insidious thing. The "Kingdom Plan" obsesses them to such an extent, that they see the "seed-germs" of this doctrine everywhere, and the "traditions of Plymouth" soon provide the "development".

Here is Scofield's "exposition" of this verse: "Paul thinks of himself here as an Israelite whose time to be born again, had not come, nationally, so that his conversion by the appearing of the Lord in Glory was an illustration, or INSTANCE BEFORE THE TIME, of the future national conversion of Israel" ( p. 1226 ).

We cannot but protest at two things here. First, this DEBASING OF SCRIPTURE EXPOSITION. We understand exposition to be the clear explanation of WHAT THE SCRIPTURE ACTUALLY SAYS, NOT READING INTO SCRIPTURE A PET THEORY. This futuristic example seems like turning the Scripture into a "prophetic puppet-show". Secondly, we cannot but he alarmed at the implication of this "theorisation". Obviously, if the "due time" for every Jew to be "born again" ( Scofield's own words ) is at the establishment of this future Kingdom, then Paul AND EVERY JEW CONVERTED IN THIS AGE are being robbed of their rightful inheritance; they are getting only God's second best. They are, indeed, as Weymouth and Moffatt respectively render the phrases "untimely birth", or "abortion". Our hearts repel this suggestion—and the theories that have produced it. We feel the plain meaning of Paul's words is clearly stated by Allis:

"The natural and obvious sense of the phrase, as indicated by the words which immediately precede, 'and last of all He was seen of me also', is that Paul WAS NOT THINKING OF HIMSELF AS A JEW, BUT AN APOSTLE. All who had been apostles before him had become disciples of Jesus during His earthly ministry, and had also been eye witnesses of His resurrection. To qualify Paul to he an apostle, a special post-ascension appearance of the Lord was necessary. AS AN APOSTLE, THEN, Paul was 'born out of due time'. And the use of this expression suggests, on the one hand, a very special act of grace of which Paul was the recipient; on the other hand, perhaps, neglect on Paul's part to avail himself of the opportunity which may well have been his to know, accept and serve Christ when He was on earth, as those who had been apostles before him had done." ( Church and Prophecy )

Surely, this is the true understanding. Paul was writing not about his Jewish extraction, but his apostleship, and he wrote in such a way that Christian scholars and ordinary folk understood him uniformly for EIGHTEEN HUNDRED YEARS. Then along came Darby, Scofield and Co. to show they were all wrong.

The Resurrection of The Dead. — 1 Corinthians 15.

We come now to the great N.T. treatise on the resurrection. Its importance in this controversy leads us to give the most earnest attention to what the apostle states. Note first that Paul gives no indication that a "dispensationally-trained mind" is an essential for understanding what he has to say. Nay, rather, he informs us that in the Corinthian Church there were "not many wise". Generally, they were the "foolish things" ( 1:26-27 ). So expect plain statements, free from ambiguity, to be interpreted in the ordinary, accepted sense that common men understand them. The first statement is a trenchant one.

"In Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order; Christ the first-fruits; afterward, they that are Christ's at His Coming. Then cometh the End, when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom of God, even the Father. " ( verses 22-28 )

Dispensationalists make a lot out of the phrase "in his own order", endeavouring to make it mean a whole series of resurrections that cover a period of over 1,000 years. It is stretching words to a meaning that cannot be sustained. If such an idea was in the mind of the apostle, it is inconceivable that he should terminate the "order" of resurrections with the raising of Christ's own at His Coming, when he would have known ( according to dispensationalism ) that there would be at least two more resurrections of the righteous, viz. at the close of the Tribulation and at the close of the millennium ( for we are assured by some Futurists that there will be death, even for the righteous, in that Kingdom ). And, more emphatically, if Paul believed in this series of resurrections, he certainly would not have stated that the raising of Christ's people would be followed immediately by "THE END". Who ever heard a dispensationalist talk like that?

Simply, as taught generally in the Scripture, we take the words to mean that the resurrection of the dead will be accomplished in two great sections. Moffatt uses the word "division" in place of "order". Daniel 2:2, John 5:29 and Acts 24:1 unanimously teach one resurrection of the two "orders". So Paul is stating that, "at His Coming", the dead will be raised "in their own order". As the subject of the epistle is the believer's calling and Hope, he refers only to their "order", but the fact that he declares that this is immediately followed by "the end" is evidence that the resurrection of the other "order" ( the wicked dead ) is also accomplished at this time; this conforms to Paul's clear teaching in Acts 24:15, and the rest of Scripture referred to.

The immediate impression gained from these words is that the Advent of Christ, bringing about the resurrection of His People, ushers in the events that wind up the affairs of Time. There are no other ages to succeed the Advent; it is followed not by "the Tribulation" nor "the millennium", but by "THE END". ( Footnote )

On the word "then", Weymouth makes this note: "The 'then' of the Authorised Version is only a correct translation in the sense of 'next in order'. The Greek word denotes sequence, not simultaneousness."

Lest there should be any doubt on this point, Paul adds another sentence which clarifies the matter beyond dispute. "The End" which immediately follows the resurrection of Christ's People, is attended by another event, the "delivering up the Kingdom to the Father". Now this is interesting from two standpoints. First, from the dispensational standpoint. They assure us that the Kingdom here spoken of is the "millennium". Scofield describes it as "the Davidic Monarchy in His own Person…which has for its object the restoration of the Divine Authority in the earth, which may be regarded as a revolted province of the great Kingdom of God" ( p. 1227 ).

But if this Kingdom is delivered up immediately following the resurrection of the Church saints, the thing is an utter contradiction, for, according to their theory, this Kingdom COMMENCES at least seven years after the resurrection and lasts for 1,000 years. Yet Paul says it is delivered up to the Father as soon as the dead in Christ are raised.

But the problem is seen to he no problem at all when viewed from the angle of truth that this book advocates. For we assert most confidently that the Kingdom delivered up after the resurrection of the saints is not an imaginary millennial one, BUT THE PRESENT KINGDOM OVER WHICH THE LORD JESUS MESSIAH REIGNS NOW, AS SHOWN SO CONCLUSIVELY IN THE ACTS. There is no difficulty to prove this, if we note what Paul says:

The reign of Messiah operates to "put down all rule, authority and power" ( verse 24 ).

His reign will be marked by the putting of all His enemies under His feet ( verse 25 ).

The last of these enemies is death ( verse 26 ).

So the conquest of death is the final triumph of the reign of Messiah. This is the vital point. IT TELLS US THAT THIS KINGDOM IS ONE THAT THIS KINGDOM IS ONE THAT IS CONCLUDED BY THE COMPLETE OVERTHROW OF DEATH. Therefore, its dominion must have been in the era preceding that event. Now if we can fix the time when Death is overthrown, the whole question is settled; and there is not the slightest difficulty with this, for, in the glorious peroration that concludes this chapter, Paul tells us exactly when the Last Enemy is destroyed. In verses 51-53 he describes the transcendent event of the resurrection or the saints. Then in verse 54 he declares: "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, THEN shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."

Here is a statement so plain that "the foolish" in Corinth could understand; and, unless the veil of pre-millennialism is over the heart, it can he understood today. THE TIME WHEN THE PROPHETIC SCRIPTURES OF THE DESTRUCTION OF DEATH ARE FULFILLED IS WHEN THE TRUMPET SOUNDS AT THE GLORIOUS ADVENT OF THE REDEEMER, AND HIS PEOPLE ARE RAISED TO GLORY.

Therefore, if the destruction of death, the Last Enemy, takes place at this great event, then the Kingdom which lasts until such victory must have enjoyed its dominion in the age that culminates with the Second Advent. In other words, it is the present age of Messiah's Kingdom. And, as this was the unassailable teaching of the preaching in the Acts, 1 Corinthians 15 is complete confirmation of the truth.

We conclude our examination of these verses by quoting Moffatt's rendering: "Then comes the End, when He hands over His ROYAL POWER to God the Father." And is here anyone, with the Book of Acts open before him, who dares deny that that Royal Power is the Power He possesses NOW, bestowed on Him at His resurrection and ascension. when the King was set upon the Holy Hill of Zion, and ALL POWER in heaven and earth was given unto Him?

All this is in conformity with what our Lord Himself taught. At the end of this age, it is the Kingdom of the Father in which the righteous shine ( Matthew 13:43 ). So, as shown in our exposition of Paul's words, Messiah's Kingdom, which is handed over at the Kingdom of the Father. MUST coincide with this age. THIS IS THE UNANIMOUS TEACHING OF THE WHOLE N.T., AND WE PREFER IT A THOUSAND TIMES TO THAT COMPLEX, SENSATIONAL SYSTEM THAT REQUIRES AN EXTRAORDINARY ELASTICITY IN SCRIPTURE IN ORDER TO STRETCH IT TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF EVENTS AND AGES NOT FOUND IN THE N.T.

The Great Hope Realised — 1 Corinthians 15:50-54.

We come now to some of the greatest sentences in all literature. We feel, at the very outset, as they ring in our ears, that their incomparable majesty and the inherent note of absolute, complete and final victory is entirely out of harmony with the wretchedness of pre-millennial ideas portrayed by the theories we are combating. To read these latter ( the Kingdom where sin continues, death the great enemy still prowls, and finally an ocean flood of devilry engulfs the earth ) grates and jars upon every spiritual nerve that feels the quickening of Paul's matchless words. Reader! What is Paul describing? An introduction to this strange "millennium", or the final triumph of God's redeeming purpose in His people? Surely, there is only one answer.

Look first at the introductory statement: "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, neither corruption." We see in this verse an epitome of all that is to follow. The great Christian apologist states his case precisely and comprehensively, and in succeeding verses elaborates and details this master-statement. What does it say? In a fascinating parallelism, Paul proposes two entities:

The Kingdom of God; — Incorruption.

In their location here, they are identical, and in that very combination he propounds the doctrine of the N.T. concerning Last Things. Need we say that it completely excludes pre-millennialism? The age that follows this life is "the Kingdom of God", and this, we are told, is a world where "flesh and blood" are no more, and where "incorruption" is the state of being. The most elastic imagination pre-millennialism ever produced cannot reconcile that with the order of things in their beloved Kingdom. The only sphere that meets this description is the eternal state. It corresponds to our Lord's words in Luke 20:35: "They that obtain that world, and the resurrection, neither marry…neither can they die…they are equal unto the angels."

The striking similarity of the statements amounts to identity, and both speak of the eternal age.

Having introduced his great subject, Paul proceeds to unfold it. First, he answers the problem posed by the statement. If "flesh and blood" and "corruption" cannot inherit the eternal world, where is the doctrine of the resurrection of the body? ( For, let it be clearly understood, the subject matter of this chapter is the physical part of the human personality, not the spirit; hence the difference in terms used—immortality, not eternal life. It behoves Christians to distinguish between the two, but it is beyond the province of this work to enter into that. )

Paul's answer is crisp and clear: "Behold I show you a mystery." He now declares plainly something that had been only partly declared before. "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…" He proclaims the transcendent event that is to take place when God's final call comes to His People at the Advent. The corruptible bodies of those who have cried "in Christ" will be raised incorruptible glory, whilst those who live to see that Day will be divinely changed in the moment of translation into His Presence. The warfare of the redeemed will be over; they shall be "forever with the Lord". Having thus described the event, Paul draws our attention to three features of it which add yet another proof to the long line already listed as we have turned the leaves of Scripture, showing that the Advent ushers in the eternal age. These are the items:

"IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE". We propose making only a brief observation on this statement, just to correct a dispensational misrepresentation. What a song they make over ''the twinkling of an eye". They charge opponents with things never suggested, e.g. take G. B. Stanton, previously quoted in "Kept from the Hour". This ultra-dispensationalist seeks to warn his readers of the dangers of "over-simplification". ( This, in spite of his appeal to "let the Scriptures speak for themselves"; evidently he thinks it necessary to urge his readers not to "take just what it says", but search for deeper dispensational teaching. ) He says: "Over-simplification may border perilously close to the rocky pitfalls of unsound doctrine." Sounds terrific! I wonder what it would have sounded like to the "not many wise" Corinthians? He then proceeds:—

"If the Coming of the Lord for His saints, His Return to earth with His saints, the Day of the Lord, the Day of Christ, the resurrection of the just, the judgement of the wicked nations, the judgement Seat of Christ, the marriage Supper of the Lamb, and the other notable events associated with Christ's Coming, must all occur at one time, and that 'in the twinkling of an eye', great is the complexity and confusion of such a programme."

Such a sweeping miss-statement is typical. But who said all these things occurred "in the twinkling of an eye"? According to our reading of 1 Corinthians 15:52, it is the miraculous change of the believers' bodies into the glorified state that occurs thus. This, and this alone, is what the apostle describes as happening so amazingly.

THE LAST TRUMP. What a fascinating phrase this is! And what a bogey to pre-millennialists! If ever there was a case of verbal jugglery, it is when these men attempt to deal with this illuminating phrase. We would point out three things on this Trump, with other attendant details. ( This will take a fair amount of space, before we bring the reader to the third feature of the passage under review. Let this be kept in mind. ) Here are the three features:

It seems to us that the specific purpose of the apostle in using this phrase was to EXPRESS FINALITY, The term is pregnant with the thought that the end of the divine programme is being announced. Had Paul been dealing with an event that was to occur long before the end of God's programme, with many other events of phenomenal importance to follow, we feel sure he would have used some other term in relation to this event.

Remember the man who uses the phrase; an Israelite indeed. Perfectly acquainted with all the trumpets of Israel's history, and the manifestation of Divine purpose associated with them, his employment of such a phrase here, seems to us to have only one logical meaning, viz. that it signalised the final, consummating manifestation of divine power in the story of His People. We would point out too, that Paul would be well aware of our Lord's use of the Trumpet in His Olivet address: "He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and shall gather His Elect." Would Paul have used His phrase if he knew very well that seven years later ( according to dispensationalists ) another Trumpet was to sound?

The trumpets appear in Revelation. This book was written some years after Paul's letter, but Reese's words might be pondered in this connection: "We must remember, moreover, that Paul was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and He was capable of forestalling a matter revealed more fully later." ( Approaching Advent, p. 74 )

We are sure the Corinthian Christians understood exactly what Paul meant. His words could have only one meaning for them. After all, they did not possess a 20th Century Reference Bible, or Synopsis, to guide them through the intricate maze of "The Pauline Mystery Church", "The Mystery form of the Kingdom", "The restored Davidic Monarchy", etc. So they would undoubtedly be impressed with the fact that the Advent and the resurrection were to usher in the end of Time. And when, later, they received the Lord's teaching regarding the Last Day ( John 6 ), they would automatically and logically identify the two phrases as referring to the same event—and coinciding with the end of Time.

The main cause of dispensational panic over the Last Trump is the section in Revelation that deals with the sounding of the last of the Seven Trumpets. And well they might panic, for the obvious truth, when we are consistent with the unity of Scripture, is that the Trumpets are one and the same. If we "let the Scriptures speak for themselves", then plain John Ploughman, with his limited mathematics, has no difficulty in seeing that when there are seven trumpets to sound in the Divine Programme, the seventh must necessarily be the Last; and as there cannot be two "Lasts", Paul and John must agree. Surely, the Spirit Who inspired the Scripture knew what terminology He was adopting? We believe these various and varying phrases are used in order that the Spirit might give us a sure guide in locating the time of the events described. That this is so, is surely confirmed by the fact that for 1,800 years the whole body of sound commentators and expositors understood these Scriptures in this way. Then came the 19th century, with its flood of new sects and new theories, among them Dispensationalism. Fantastic new interpretations were given to a whole host of Scriptures in order to popularise the new theories; and especially does this apply to the Book of Revelation which, by one of the most remarkable freaks in the history of Scripture exegesis, is subjected to wholesale transportation. Nearly four-fifths of the Book is said to have no reference to this age, and to describe events in a future period on this earth when the Church is no longer here. So, the Trumpets get this peculiar treatment, and are said to operate years after Paul's Last Trumpet has sounded. Listen to what S. Gorman says in "Christ's Second Coming—two phases or one?": "To connect the Last Trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15 with the last trumpet of Revelation, which is not called THE LAST TRUMPET, although it is the last of the seven, is without any warrant from the Scriptures."

We feel that the only thing about that statement which impresses the reader is the vain attempt of the author to avoid self-contradiction. John's Trumpet is the last of the seven; nevertheless, it is not "The Last", simply because the actual phrase "the Last" does not occur. For shallowness of argument, that would be difficult to beat. Apply such a principle to Scripture interpretation generally, and what a mess one would land in. If one Scripture does not contain the exact word another contains, then it must refer to a different event! This is verbal extravagance of the worst kind. In John 7:37 we read, "in the last day of the Feast". In Leviticus 23:24, we read, "On the eighth day". According to Gorman's principle, these two must be different days, but we have no doubt he identifies them. In Revelation 20:4 we read, "They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years". in Luke 1:33 we read, "He shall reign over the House of Jacob for ever". Obviously, "a thousand years" and "for ever" are totally different terms, so, on Gorman's principle they must have reference to different things. Yet, as a dispensationalist, he would be the first to say they refer to the same thing. Glorious inconsistency! Such specimens could be listed ad lib. But We proceed to "how briefly that Paul's Last Trump and John's Seventh Trumpet are one of the same. As the trumpets sounded round Jericho for six days, and then the last sounded on the seventh day, bringing victory to God's People and destruction to His foes, so John's trumpet sounds with like effect. I wonder have men like Gorman ever considered this O.T. picture of the Last Trump? If they had, it might have saved them from another fruit of their great obsession, the Tribulation. They are loud in their protestation that this is the time of the wrath of the Lamb. They cannot bear the thought that Christians can in any way face this, so, whatever the cost, they have to get the Church off the scene before this era starts. Listen to Gorman again: "The Last Trump of 1 Corinthians 15 has nothing to do with the wrath of the Lamb, as revealed by all the trumpets of Revelation, but instead is connected with the Blessed Hope of the Church…there is not the slightest reference to this trumpet having anything to do with the nations of the earth and the wrath of God."

This is the well-known futurist "argument from omission". Because certain events are not mentioned, the event is a different affair. The ridiculous character of such argument could be demonstrated time and again, for oftimes when Scripture deals with one event a number of times, the picture of it differs according to the standpoint from which the particular writer is describing it. If we followed Gorman's principle, we could just as well say 1 Corinthians 15 could not possibly be describing "the first phase" of the Advent, for it says nothing about "The judgement Seat of Christ", "Reward of the saints", "Marriage Supper of the Lamb", etc. Further, when our Lord said, "I will come again and receive you unto Myself" ( John 14 ), what "phase" of the Advent was this? For there is no mention here of a resurrection, etc., etc.—the multitude of things dispensationalists connect with the "first phase". No! Sound exposition of Scripture is not guided by "omissions". Where there are clear identifying factors, the only reliable conclusion to come to is that the two records are simply different presentations of the same event. And as the Scriptures show that the Coming of the Lord is a Hope to the believer and a terror to the ungodly, so the Last Trump sounds the dual note. That it can do so is apparent.

I have no doubt that Gorman and his fellow dispensationalists have often joined enthusiastically in Bliss's famous hymn, "Hold the Fort". They are probably aware of the incident that prompted its writing. During the American Civil War, a beleaguered Union force had withstood a long and terrible siege by the Southern Army. They were relieved in the nick of time by the Northern forces under Grant, who, from a distant hill, signalled the desperate garrison, "Hold the fort; I'm coming." Now there can be no doubt that when the bugler of Grant's relieving force sounded the call for advance, the trumpet produced a twofold effect; rapturous joy filled the delivered camp, whilst terror struck their foes. Had any member of that beleaguered number written the story subsequently, he would have referred only to the former effect, whist the later historian would describe the two. That is probably what we have here. Paul speaks of the Last Trump as it affects the City of God ( see Revelation 20:9 ). He is not concerned about the opposing forces. But Revelation, dealing with the outworking of God's purposes both to His People and to His foes, gives a comprehensive view of the great event, with its triple effect—ON THE CHURCH, THE WORLD AND THE HEAVENLY HOSTS. Thus, for Gorman to add, "All Christians are saved in Christ from the wrath of God" is superfluous. They are as much delivered from it if that deliverance takes place just before the judgement falls ( as with Noah and Lot ), as if it takes place seven years before. And a-millennialists believe as definitely as futurists that no believer shall know the wrath of God.

Look, then, at the features that clearly identify the two trumpets.

We have already shown that the Last Trump ushers in "the Kingdom of God", with its state of incorruption, and that this is nothing less than the eternal age. When the seventh trumpet sounds, we read: "The Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever."

The Last Trump brings about the resurrection of the saints of both Old and New Testaments. ( Paul's quotation of the prophets shows this. ) And in Revelation 11 we are told that when the seventh trumpet sounds, it brings "the time of the dead to be judged", and the time to give their reward TO THY SERVANTS THE PROPHETS, AND TO THY SAINTS, AND TO THEM THAT FEAR THY NAME."

The Last Trump inaugurates the time when Messiah's Kingdom is absorbed into the eternal Kingdom of God. So, when the seventh trumpet sounds, there comes into supremacy the everlasting Kingdom of "Our Lord and His Christ", and the time when "The Lord God Almighty shall take His reign".

The Last Trump sounds at the end of this age. And our Lord informs us that at the end of this age the wicked are sent forth to their eternal doom, while the righteous shine forth in the Kingdom of their Father. And when the seventh trumpet sounds John tells us the righteous are rewarded, whilst "the wrath of God" "destroys them that destroy the earth."

We have previously shown that the very phrase, "The Last Trump" is pregnant with the thought of the end of Time and this present world order. So, in Revelation 11, the present order gives way to the eternal Kingdom of God. "The Kingdom of the world ( R.V. ) is become the Kingdom of our Lord…and He shall reign for ever and ever."

The Last Trump coincides with the Coming of the Lord. In Revelation 11, the A.V. states, "Which art, and wast, AND ART TO COME". But modern versions omit the last phrase. The R.V. renders it "which are and which wast". "Art to come", which, 'the Coming One", is omitted. The reason is obvious. When the seventh trumpet sounds, as with the Last Trump, He comes, and is no longer the Coming One.

These marks of identity are so clear as to leave no doubt that Paul and John are writing of the same event. The eternal character of the issue of John's trumpet is an insuperable barrier to dispensationalism and pre-millennialism, whilst it is a certain mark of its identity with Paul's Last Trump.

We now return to the main part of our discussion, and consider the third feature of Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 15:—

THE FULFILMENT OF O.T. PROPHECY. "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting, O grave, where is thy victory."

Not only is this superlative utterance the crown of this magnificent chapter, it is the crowning overthrow of dispensationalism and pre-millennialism. Plainly, Paul states that when Christ comes for His own, and they are translated into His Presence, THEN are the GREAT CONSUMMATING PROPHECIES OF THE O.T. FULFILLED. It is so clear, that the blindness of "Bible students" to the truth is something we just cannot fathom. Now the two prophecies Paul quotes are from Isaiah and Hosea, two of the great Restoration-of-Israel prophets. Here is the classic passage from Isaiah, every sentence of which vibrates with holy expectancy and triumph. We set it out under the subjects expressed:

THE UNIVERSAL BANQUET. "In this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto ALL PEOPLE a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined" ( verse 6 ).

THE CURSE REMOVED. "And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations" ( verse 17 ).

THE DESTRUCTION OF DEATH. "He will swallow up death in victory " ( verse 8 ).

THE PERFECT, ETERNAL BLISS OF THE REDEEMED. "And the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of His People shall He take away from off all the earth " ( verse 8 ).

GOD DWELLING WITH HIS PEOPLE. "And it shall be said in that Day, Lo, this our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His Salvation" ( verse 9 ).


It is so clear it hardly needs comment, and in the light of this statement, dispensationalism is seen in all its absurdity. The predicament of these people in face of Paul's eschatology is described by Reese:

"The reader may ask what explanation Darbyists give of this fundamental difficulty in 1 Corinthians 15:54, and how they attempt to reconcile their theories with this Scripture. As a rule, they have nothing to say about it; they pay it the perpetual compliment of leaving it alone…So far as I am aware, no Darbyist writer has ever honestly faced the question." ( Approaching Advent, p. 64-65 )

Well, since then, a critic of Reese's book has attempted to stop the gaping breach in the dispensational wall, and hold back the flood of truth. G. B. Stanton, in his "Kept from the Hour", rushes to man the broken down defences; and what does he do? Well, he just jettisons the whole body of official dispensational teachers as "traitors", and plunges out into a new line of defence. This is characteristic of the school. Does the Scripture present an event which clearly embraces Jew and Gentile, O.T. and N.T. saints, the Rapture and the Glorious Appearing together? Then the answer is simple. Just produce another "Coming" or another "resurrection" and the problem is solved. Thus Stanton. All established dispensationalists had taught that the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 embraced saints of both O.T. and N.T. For example, Scofield states: "The 'first' resurrection, that 'unto life' will occur at the Second Coming of Christ, the saints of the O.T. and the Church age meeting Him in the air" ( R.B. p. 1228 ).

But in his desperate rescue attempt, Stanton throws Scofield, Darby and the rest to the flood, by asserting that O.T. saints do not share in the resurrection of Christ's Coming. Dealing with 1 Thessalonians 4, he says:

"There are several parts to the glad anticipation of verses 16 and 17. There is resurrection: 'the dead in Christ shall rise first'. This is evidently not a general resurrection of saints from both testaments. Israel, though redeemed, is never said to he 'in Christ'." ( p. 87 )

Again: "At the Rapture, the dead in Christ are raised and caught up to heaven; at the Revelation, O.T. saints are raised." ( p. 267 )

So there you have it. The resurrection of the righteous goes "all-American". It is on the "never-never". So much down, and the rest in easy stages. There is a resurrection before the tribulation, at the end of the tribulation ( and, possibly, one or two during it ), another during the millennium—and who knows where else? Probably, as other dispensational writers see the problems of other Scriptures, they will do the same as Stanton and meet it with yet another resurrection.

But enough! This flippant defiance of the plain statements of the Word is wretched beyond words. When men get the dispensational spectacles on they almost get to see things as Joseph Smith did when he got his Angel Moroni spectacles on. It carries its own condemnation. Paul speaks of the resurrection at His Coming, and states as plainly as it is possible for words to express it, that this resurrection is the one proclaimed in the O.T., and for which the O.T. saints longed. But this means death to dispensationalism, and Stanton is quick to see it ( at least, we grant him that ), which Scofield did not; so he has no qualms about it; he just throws Paul out of court. The apostle says: "When the Last Trump sounds, the great Israel prophecies of resurrection are brought to pass." Stanton says: "You are wrong, Israel is not raised until seven years after the Last Trump."

We have shown repeatedly, this abhorrent feature of dispensationalism, of deliberately setting aside the apostolic declarations in the interest of a theory. Here it is in its worst form. The reader will draw his own conclusions.

Referring again to Alexander Reese, he remarks: "It will be seen therefore, that Paul, so far from detaching the resurrection from the Kingdom and the conversion of Israel, takes his stand with Isaiah, Daniel and the Lord Jesus, in linking them up inseparably…The Coming Jehovah-Jesus is the Hope of both Israel and the Church." ( p. 64 )

True ( except the dubious idea of national Israel ), but the pity is that Reese fails to see that this tremendous passage condemns not only the dispensational theories he so vigorously and successfully opposes, but also the pre-millennialism to which he unfortunately clings. Reese's critic, Stanton, sees this and uses it as an argument to dispose of Reese's application of this Scripture. For, on page 234 of his book he points out that Revelation 21:4 cites the same O.T. prophecy, BUT RELATES IT TO THE ETERNAL STATE. He then asks, quite rightly, "at what time does the resurrection occur in the light of Revelation 21:4?" Well, we dare to suggest the answer has been given many times already in this work; an answer that is destructive of both Stanton's dispensationalism and Reese's pre-millennialism. The fact that Isaiah's prophecy is applied by Paul to the Coming for the church, and in Revelation to the inauguration of the eternal age, shows, as so many other Scriptures have shown, that they are co-incidental. Both the "great Tribulation period" and "the millennium" are myths.

Reese certainly should have seen this; for he emphasises the R.V. of Isaiah 25:8: "He hath swallowed up death FOR EVER"' Does not that suffice?

In concluding our examination of this deathless passage, we might briefly refer to verse 55: "O death, where is thy sting; O grave, where is thy victory." This is quoted from Hosea 13:14. Scofield heads the passage of which this verse is part, "The ultimate blessing of Israel in the Kingdom." Paul says it is fulfilled in the Church. To accommodate Dr. Scofield, it is only necessary to identify the two as one. As the whole of apostolic literature does this, we happily consent.


The Corinthian epistle concludes with intriguing words: "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema—Maranatha." ( 16:22 )

The literal meaning, as given in Scofield's margin, is "Accursed; the Lord cometh." Again we remark, such a brief statement cannot be made the basis of doctrine. But its tenor and implications will be in accord with true doctrine. We ask, to which doctrine does this text lend its support? We can only conclude that the import of the words is that the curse of God rests on all who love not the Lord Jesus, and this curse is made final and operative at the Coming of the Lord. We cannot see any other consistent meaning. If this is so, it is only in perfect harmony with the whole of the N.T., which clearly teaches that the final doom of the ungodly is settled and executed at the Advent.

The Second Corinthian Letter

Eschatology occupies only a small part of this letter. Nevertheless, we are given three very wonderful chapters in which precious truths are brought before us. We refer to chapters 3, 4 and 5. The best approach would he for the reader to read these three chapters through, that he might feel the impact of the spirit that permeates them. The apostle deals with three vital topics:

The Contrast between the old economy and the new. Chapter 3.

The inspiring Hope of the resurrection. Chapter 4 to 5:8.

The future judgement.

Let any dispensationalist or pre-millennialist deal with these topics, and what would you have? Read their books, listen to their addresses, and you would find them filled with distinctions between Israel and the Church, the Kingdom age that follows the resurrection, the different judgements, etc. But read Paul, and what do you find? It is no prejudiced judgement to say that in the whole of this long statement, dealing with these three vital subjects, there is nothing at all to indicate that the apostle entertained such ideas. To argue that Paul was presenting "Church Truth" only, is a useless and pointless evasion. It is similar to, and as meaningless as, the stock excuse of the man-in-the-world as he seeks to explain away the facts of divine creation. "Oh, evolution explains that." To say that Paul would not mention these "great prophetic truths" when dealing with topics inseparably related to them, is a regrettable reflection on the apostle's mentality. No, we remember in our pre-millennial days how the silence of the apostle on these things ( when the situation cried out for a word from him ) was acutely embarrassing. Of course, it is clear now. For a man of Paul's calibre and understanding, silence could mean only one thing—he knew nothing of these things. Look briefly at the topics discussed here:

The Old Economy And The New

This is not the place for full analysis of the chapter. In beautiful terms the temporal character of the Israel economy is contrasted with the eternal character of the Gospel. We draw attention to just two verses ( 14, 15 ):

"But their minds were blinded: for UNTIL THIS DAY remaineth the same veil, untaken away in the reading of the OLD TESTAMENT; WHICH VEIL IS DONE AWAY IN CHRIST. But unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart."

The obvious meaning of this passage is that the Jews in reading the O.T. Scriptures, were blind to their true meaning. Why? Because they looked for exactly the same thing that pre-millennialists are looking for—an earthly fulfilment of the prophecies concerning the Kingdom and the nation of Israel. We showed that this was the very blindness they were charged with in the Acts when Paul presented to them the truth of the spiritual fulfilment of the Kingdom prophecies in the resurrection of Messiah. And the final note on this blindness is very clear:

"Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away" ( verse 16 ). The veil over Israel is not removed at the Second Advent, but NOW, when Israelites turn to the Lord. The truth is the same as expressed in Romans 11:15: "the receiving of them is life from the dead".

The Resurrection

In the end of chapter 4 Paul sets this glorious hope against the trials of this present life. And to what does he relate the resurrection? Not the "glories of the millennium", but simply the eternal state. He contrasts the present "light affliction", not with the privileges ( ? ) of the "rod of iron rule" in the millennium, but with "the exceeding and eternal weight of glory"; whilst the objects that fill the believer's vision are not Jerusalem with its literal Throne of David and such like, but "the things that are eternal".

This truth is emphasised and elaborated as we pass into chapter 5. The "eternal house in the heavens", "immortality", and "at home with the Lord", are the goal of the Christian, and he is assured that "it is for this self-same thing" ( nothing less ) that "God hath wrought us" ( verse 5 ).

Why cannot the pre-millennialists see the simplicity of truth as here presented? Whilst they talk about the reward of reigning with Christ on this earth, the natural physical splendours of this millennial earth, the apostle is utterly and absolutely silent upon such things, and talks only of the ETERNAL STATE AS FOLLOWING UPON THIS PRESENT LIFE OF SUFFERING AND TRIAL.

He knew of nothing in between.

The Judgment

We have already dealt with this verse ( 5:10 ) in commenting on Romans 2. We repeat that the language of the passage is more in keeping with a general judgement than a special judgement for believers only. Verse 11 says, "Knowing therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." As dispensationalists are so keen to absolve believers from the terror of the Lord, this must refer to the unsaved; whilst further down the chapter Paul speaks of beseeching men to he reconciled to God. And all this in the light of that Bar at which ALL MUST APPEAR, AND EVERYONE RECEIVE THE THINGS DONE IN THE BODY, WHETHER GOOD OR BAD.

We say then, that the things testified in these chapters weigh heavenly, in favour of the position we present.

The End —

Chapter 10

The Great Parousia

The Thessalonian Letters

We now pass to these letters, returning later to the prison epistles of Paul. These two letters are favourite pastures for the dispensational shepherds, where they seek to feed the flock an the "green" food of "the two phases", "tribulation escapism", "the reign of anti-Christ" and the kindred teaching of this theory. So we approach these epistles, as we have done the previous ones, to see what was the clear testimony of one who "shunned not to declare the whole testimony of God".

We are met, at the outset, with a gracious statement. Describing the work of grace in these converts, the apostle tells how the great joy of their hearts was "to wait for His Son from heaven, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come" ( 1 Thessalonians 1:10 ). Added meaning is given in modern renderings to the latter phrase:

R.V. "Which delivereth us from wrath to come."

Weymouth "Even Jesus our Deliverer from the wrath to come."

Young "Jesus, who is rescuing us from the anger that is coming."

Moffatt "Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come."

Although this is a general statement, somewhat like the phrasing of the Apostles' Creed, yet we suggest that the impact on our minds as we read this text is of a Coming completely in line with the view we have presented throughout. Paul makes not the slightest attempt to "distinguish the dispensations", but speaks of "the Coming of the Lord" and the "wrath to come" in one breath. Unless one is biased by a rigidly held theory, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Thessalonians were taught to look for the Coming of the Lord as something associated with the Wrath of God. The Coming would deliver them from IT, but it would engulf the ungodly. Unquestionably, this is "the Great Day of His Wrath", and is clearly shown from the N.T. on occasion after occasion, to be the Day when the wicked are gathered to Judgement for their eternal doom. So the Thessalonians believed that "in that Great Day", when the ungodly would be visited with "the wrath to come", they would be "delivered" by the Coming of the Lord. The fact that this statement follows after "whom He raised from the dead" shows that the Coming of the Lord, linked with the Day of Judgement, is the next Great Day ( in the divine economy ) that follows the resurrection. And this is the constant witness of Paul, in preaching and in writing.

The Believer's Reward.

"What is our Hope, or joy, or Crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His Coming?" ( 1 Thessalonians 2:19 )

Dispensationalists are divided on the question as to when believers are rewarded ( and on much else ). At the "Rapture" or at "the Revelation", or some time in between. We have not seen it necessary to follow the dispensationalists in their internal controversy on this point, but we make brief reference to it here. Obviously, this Scripture identifies the day of reward with the "Coming", which all futurists say is "the first stage". So much for those who thus locate it. But others are equally adamant that it is at the Day of the Lord; and Scripture supports this. The "Fiery Day" of 1 Corinthians 3 clearly proved that. Our Lord's words asserting "Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just" ( Luke 14:14 ), indicate the reward is at the resurrection of believers; the "first stage". To reconcile these two views is the simplest of tasks—just identify the two days as one; and as Scripture does this, we are happy to do the same.

Caught Up In The Clouds — 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

This is the Magna Carta of dispensationalism. The doctrine of a secret rapture at least seven years before the Glorious Appearing is such a peculiar invention THAT NOT ONE SINGLE PROOF TEXT WHICH STATES THIS CAN BE PRODUCED FROM THE WHOLE OF THE N.T. This should be sufficient to warn every student of Scripture, for the assured doctrines of the Faith have a far different basis from that. They rest on a substantial number of proof passages, supported by the general tenor of the rest of the Bible. But HERE IS A DOCTRINE THAT CANNOT PRODUCE A SINGLE TEXT THAT CLEARLY STATES IT. The nearest our friends can get to it is the Scripture before us; but we shall soon see that such an idea is foreign, both to the language adopted by the apostle, and the theme of the whole context.

It will be well to point out first of all that the Coming of the Lord so graphically described in these verses is said by futurists to be the Coming FOR His saints, as distinct from His Coming with His saints some years later. But in chapter 3, verse 13, Paul prays that these Thessalonians may be established unto "the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ WITH all His saints". Now, not even a dispensationalist would attempt the fantastic claim that 3:13 represents a different Coming from 4:15. Then what becomes of this alleged distinction between the Coming FOR and Coming WITH? Like most other matters in this theory, it has existed only in the minds of the theorists. He will come "with" the dead in Christ, and "for" the living saints.

Now the subject introduced by the Thessalonian letter is the ( parousi>a ) Parousia of the Lord Jesus, this important word being used at least six times in the two letters, and it is essential to a right understanding of the apostle that we interpret this word correctly. Those against whom we contend endeavour to give the word simply the meaning of "presence", to distinguish it from the Glorious Appearing. Thus they attempt to make out that His ( parousi>a ) Parousia is that secret Coming when He catches away His People into His Presence. That the word contains this meaning of "presence"' is not disputed, but it is certain it also carries a much larger and stronger meaning. We recommend the study of the excellent chapter in Alexander Reese, wherein he deals fully with modern discoveries of ancient manuscripts, and the researches of scholars into the use of this very word ( parousi>a ) Parousia which occurs in them. The conclusion is clear, that the primary meaning of the word is ARRIVAL, it being so used of the arrival of Kings and Emperors in the early days of Christianity, particularly when that arrival related to the inauguration of some great event or era. Thus writes Reese:

"When we open the epistle to the Thessalonians, we know for certain that Paul, in speaking of the ( parousi>a ) Parousia of the Lord, is referring to the arrival, nay, the arrival in triumph, of Christ the Lord. The humble believers in Thessalonica, when they witnessed the imposing parousi>a parousia of the emperor or his representative, and when they read the words of the apostle about the ( parousi>a ) Parousia of their Lord, would remember with joy that their Emperor, Jesus the Messiah, will have His ( parousi>a ) Parousia which will be an over powering manifestation of divine power and glory, full of joy for the righteous, full or terror for the impenitent and the ungodly, AND OPENING UP A NEW ERA." ( p. 145 )

Thus, what is described in 1 Thessalonians 4 is not a secret rapture that occurs without the world knowing it is happening, but A MAJESTIC AND OVERWHELMING SCENE. The very phrases used imply that. Consider Way's rendering of verse 16:—

"The Lord Himself, WITH A REVEILLE CALL, WITH THE SHOUT of an archangel, and with THE CLARION CALL OF GOD, shall descend from heaven. "No less arresting is Rutherford's version: "WITH A CRASH, at the ARCHANGEL'S CRY, at the TRUMPET OF GOD, THE LORD IN HIS MAJESTY will descend from heaven." The whole passage flames with the splendour of the Glorious Appearing, and the scathing words of Reese concerning the doctrine of a secret rapture can he understood; he says:

"The suggestion of Darby, backed by the vigorous efforts of Kelly and others, to prove from this passage that a secret coming, a secret resurrection and a secret rapture are portrayed, followed BY THE RISE AND REIGN OF ANTI-CHRIST is among the sorriest in the whole history of freak exegesis." ( p. 146 ) And his other statement: "it is as pure a myth as ever entered the brain of man." ( p. 148 )

The revision of dispensational theories by modern teachers in the face of the truth of Scripture, has shown itself on this point also. So now, many teach that the ( parousi>a ) Parousia is an extended period in the whole time from the rapture to the revelation. It is an obvious artifice to get out of the tight corner that the obvious meaning of Scripture has forced them into. It savours of the Seventh Day Advent theories to cover up the blunders of Miller's false prophecies in 1844; when the foretold event failed to transpire, the novel idea was launched that Christ had really come, not to earth, but "to the sanctuary", and this "coming" would embrace a period from that time until His actual manifestation. Futurism produces a similar subterfuge; they change the ( parousi>a ) Parousia from the crisis Scripture declares it to be, and turn it into a prolonged process. But the very words before us are pregnant with the idea of CRISIS, and so is all Scripture. "As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the Coming ( ( parousi>a ) Parousia ) of the Son of Man be" ( Matthew 24:27 ). "The lawless one, whom the Lord shall…destroy with the brightness of His Coming ( parousi>a )" ( 2 Thessalonians 2:8 ).

That the ( parousi>a ) Parousia of the Lord and His Glorious Appearing are one and the same event, is confirmed by the teaching of chapter 5. Having spoken of the resurrection and translation of saints at His Coming ( chapter 4 ), Paul, proceeds to speak of "The Day of the Lord". The followers of Darby assert this is a different Day from the ( parousi>a ) Parousia of chapter 4, and has nothing to do with the Church. The absurdity of such a construction stares one in the face, when one notes the following:

If this Day of the Lord has nothing to do with the believer, why is it Paul went to such lengths to give the Christian a detailed description of the event, and of the CONDUCT THAT SHOULD MARK THEM IN VIEW OF ITS ARRIVAL? If Paul believed, with these theorists, it is safe to say he would have informed the Thessalonians that they had nothing to bother about the Day of the Lord, but to wait for the Rapture. The Day of the Lord, we are told, concerns Israel; but here is the apostle giving searching and challenging counsel concerning it to Gentle Christians! And, as Alexander Reese pertinently remarks, he did so, "not merely to arouse their interest in a subject of prophetic enquiry, but to prepare them mentally and morally for its coining."

The very close association of "the ( parousi>a ) Parousia of the Lord" and "the Day of the Lord" in this section of Paul's letter, and the manner in which Paul mentions the two, are a clear indication they are identical. Perhaps the unnecessary chapter division at this stage has helped to mislead some; remove this and read the passages consecutively, and it is easy to see Paul is dealing with one event. Had it been otherwise, there surely would have been some indication when he refers to the coming of the Day of the Lord, that it was to he separated from the ( parousi>a ) Parousia by at least seven years. But no such word is given; rather, having dealt with one aspect of the Coming, he now proceeds to deal with other. He has shown its impact on the Church; now he deals with its impact on the world.

An understanding of the cause of Paul's dealing with this subject helps make the issue clear. The Thessalonians were troubled with two problems; first, the believing dead. Would they miss the glorious ( parousi>a ) Parousia of which Paul had taught them when he preached in their city? Paul answers that in chapter 4, and it will be well to point out, in view of oft-repeated statements by dispensationalists, that Paul is not making a statement regarding the Coming that had never yet been made known, and which was to antedate the Coming spoken of in the Gospels by at least seven years. All he was doing was DEALING WITH A DETAIL OF THE LORD'S COMING, viz. the lot of the holy dead. He does not say, "I would not have you ignorant concerning the rapture of the saints," but "I would not have you ignorant concerning them that sleep."

The second problem of the Thessalonians concerned the living, and their relationship to the Coming. There might have been a dual concern here. With life so uncertain, they might not live to see the Coming, and thus be in a position to give rise to the first query. On the other hand, it might relate to the tribulation through which the church was passing, and they desired to know whether in this they were to see a sign of the approaching Advent. Was it possible to locate, at least with some accuracy, the date of the Advent? Paul answers in a twofold way. First, the time of the Advent is not theirs to know; his letter would not be taken up with that. Secondly, their position is secure in the Lord. That Day will come upon the world unsuspectingly, "as a thief in the night", and will bring "sudden destruction". But "God had not appointed them to wrath, but to obtain salvation" ( verse 9 ), and so that Day would bring them final deliverance. That this is the clear meaning is emphasised by modern renderings.


"Of the time and circumstances of our Lord's Coming, you have no need to be told. We can tell you more exactly than you have been told already—'The Day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night'…But you are not creatures of the darkness that the Day of the Lord should surprise you as thieves are surprised."

WAY renders it:—

"But, on the question of the time, the precise date of the Coming, my brothers, it is not necessary for you to be informed in my letter. You yourselves know perfectly well that the Day of the Lord, as comes a robber in the night, so cometh."

We repeat that, if the Coming of chapter 4 was one that preceded the Coming of chapter 5 by years, and that the latter "has nothing to do with the Church, Paul was just wasting words writing as he did. In fact, it was worse; it was a literary effort that would have shamed a schoolboy, for the theorists would have us believe that Paul wrote of two separate Comings, yet he wrote in such a blundering way that for 1,800 years not a single Christian teacher recognised this "Tremendously important truth". Until Darby, Kelly, Scofield and their fellows came along, not a single Christian teacher, out of the thousands God had given His Church, understood what Paul was getting at. We quoted earlier Scofield's awful insult to the apostolic band that prior to Pentecost, not one ( with the possible exception of Peter, and at that only once ) "manifested a spark of spiritual intelligence". It is not uncharitable to conclude that this is also the judgement passed by dispensationalism on the great army of preachers, teachers, expositors and commentators, who, for eighteen centuries lived without the light that came from Plymouth; at least, as far as the Second Advent is concerned.

We will return later to relate these Scriptures to the millennium doctrine, but now let us look at the second epistle.

The coming and the day of the lord.

What was stated in the first letter is fully confirmed in the second. Both spell irretrievable ruin to the doctrines against which we contend. We set forth, first, the two great statements the apostle makes on the Advent.

"And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fibre, taking vengeance on them that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who will be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power, when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and t be admired in all them that believe" ( 1:7-10 )

"Now we beseech you brethren, by the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled…as that the Day of the Lord ( R.V. ) is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means; for that Day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that Man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;…And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His Coming"( 2:2-8 )

The first essential is to understand the reason for the writing of this letter. The Thessalonian Christians had been deceived by a false message purporting to have come either from Paul or from the Spirit of God, that the Day of the Lord had come. The words "at hand" have that meaning as shown by modern renderings Weymouth says "is now here", and Moffatt "is already here". Paul now writes to correct this error. Before examining his statement, let us remind ourselves of the interpretation given by dispensationalists to "the Day of the Lord". The earlier teachers identified it as the Day of the "revelation". They were emphatic that, whereas the "Coming" was always represented as a day of brightness and glory, the "Day of the Lord" was always full of gloom, darkness and judgement. Later teachers saw the problem of this identification, so Scofield defines it as "that LENGTHENED PERIOD OF TIME, beginning with the Return of the Lord in Glory, and ending with the purgation of the heavens and earth by fire, preparatory to the new heaven and earth." ( R.B. p.1349 ) This contradicts the previous view of "darkness, gloom and judgement", for the new interpretation would include the most glorious day the world has ever known—the "millennium". 'It is obviously an interpretation stretched to fit in with the difficulties of a theory that leaks in a thousand places. That the Day of the Lord is a period of Time we will not dispute; but that it is a combination of three periods ( The Glorious Advent, the Millennium, and then the final destruction of creation, with the final judgement set up ) is gross extravagance generated by unscriptural speculation. Of course, even Scofield's interpretation has been stretched further by present-day theorists, and "the Day" now commences not at the "revelation", but at the beginning of "the great tribulations". Space is precious, but we must draw the line somewhere in seeking to follow the vagaries of these ever-changing speculations; hence this is not the place to try and sort out these folk. We are satisfied that the historic interpretation that "the Coming" and "the Day of the Lord" are the great Day of His Appearing, is correct. ( Footnote )

Now to consider Paul's statements; the second one first. In correcting the error of the Thessalonians, what does he say? Had he been a Darbyite, one sentence would have been sufficient, viz. "It is absurd to think the Day of the Lord has arrived, as the Church must be raptured seven years before this takes place." Of course, he does not say this, and yet, THIS IS JUST WHAT THE THEORISTS TRY TO FASTEN ON PAUL. Here is the exposition of Gorman, afore-quoted: "Deceivers had taught the people that the persecution which the Thessalonica Church was experiencing was the tribulation of the Day of the Lord, the pouring out of the Lamb's wrath ( note: these phrases are not found in Paul—they are Gorman's own dispensational terms ) and were thereby robbing them of the comfort of Christ's Coming to the air for His own, as set forth in Paul's first letter to them. In the passage under consideration he showed them the things that must come to pass, and that the Day of the Lord was not now present BECAUSE THEY HAD NOT BEEN GATHERED ( RAPTURED ) UNTO HIM." ( Italics Gorman's ) This fantastic exposition is a glaring example of the theorists' reading their own minds into the words of the apostle, FOR THIS IS PRECISELY WHAT HE DID NOT SAY. It is a serious thing to misquote the apostle simply to bolster up a novel theory. This particular writer has been, in years past an evangelist, holding campaigns. Suppose in a certain town he had gathered together band converts, instructing them thoroughly in the mysteries of "the rapture", "the tribulations, "the Day of the Lord", etc. Then a few months later, these converts write asking him if it is true that "the Day of the Lord" has now come. Would Gorman have written as Paul did? I trow not. He would simply have rebuked them for their folly in forgetting the dispensational truths in which they had been instructed, and would have told them plainly ( as his writings do ) that the Day of the Lord had nothing to do with the Church—they would be raptured years before.

No! what the apostle actually did tell the Thessalonians was that the Day of the Lord could not possibly have arrived, because IT WAS TO BE PRECEDED BY TWO EVENTS and ATTENDED BY TWO OTHER EVENTS. For clarity, we quote modern renderings; the R.V. has been quoted, now see others:

Moffatt: "With regard to THE ARRIVAL OF THE LORD JESUS, AND OUR MUSTER BEFORE HIM, I beg you brothers, not to let your minds get quickly unsettled…that the Day of the Lord is already here."

Weymouth: "But with respect to the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our being gathered to meet Him, we entreat you brethren, not readily to become unsettled in your mind…through fancying that the Day of the Lord is now here."

Each version continues its statement along the lines of the A.V. regarding the precursors of the Day. Here then is the plain statement of the apostle. He tells those early Christians that the proof that the Day of the Lord has not come is, not that they have not been raptured ( how ridiculous! Paul had not been either! ), BUT THAT TWO EVENTS MUST FIRST TAKE PLACE, viz. the great apostasy and the rise of the man of Sin. Further, he cites two great events THAT APE TO TAKE PLACE AT THE DAY OF THE LORD, viz. the Coming of the Lord Jesus, and OUR GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM. Paul does not say that the Day of the Lord could not possibly have arrived because the saints are to be raptured some years earlier ( as Gorman tries to make him say ), but links the Coming of the Lord and the gathering of His People WITH the Day of the Lord in such a natural manner ( there being no dispensationalists to bother about then ), as to convey their complete identity. THAT IS HOW CHRISTIAN EXPOSITORS READ PAUL'S WORDS FOR 1,800 YEARS, and, unless one's mind is obsessed with 19th century theories, this is just how it reads today.

But the explanation given by Gorman and his fellows involves implications which exhibit the fantastic character of the business. For, if these Thessalonians had been taught by Paul, both in his ministry and his first letter ( as these people assert ), to look for a secret coming of the Lord some years prior to the Day of the Lord, when they would all be translated into the presence of the Lord, then for them to harbour the delusion that the Day of the Lord had arrived meant that they were also deluded into believing that the whole Thessalonian Church had been left behind to face "the great tribulations". And yet Paul had told them the Coming was "a comforting hope"! Futurist writers delight in pouring forth most vivid and terrifying pictures of what happens on earth after the saints have been "raptured". Engines left driver-less, plunging to disaster; control stations, deprived of Christian engineers, in utter confusion, etc., etc. Well, they had not these things in Thessalonica, but undoubtedly this "secret rapture" would have caused a tremendous deal of awkwardness there; but the wonderful thing is, according to dispensationalists, that nothing like this took place because the whole Church had been left behind! ( At least, that is what we must conclude if the "futurist" Thessalonians thought the Day of the Lord had come. ) But worse than that; these people communicated their fears to Paul, which means they even believed the great apostle had been left behind! Surely such implied nonsense serves to show the folly of the theory, and demonstrates clearly that the Thessalonians HAD NOT THE SLIGHTEST IDEA OF ANY 'COMING' THAT WAS TO PRECEDE THE DAY OF THE LORD.

Another thing; if these Thessalonians had been thoroughly instructed by Paul on "dispensational truths" they must have had some acquaintance with the whole futurist programme, including secret rapture, re-gathering of Israel to Palestine, rebuilding of the Temple, rise of anti-Christ, etc. But the second letter to these people was only a few months after the first. (Scofield agrees with this dating.) Now, if the first letter taught them of "the Rapture", whilst all these startling events were to take place after it, and before the Day the Lord ( the revelation ), then their fear that the Day of the Lord had come was fantastic in the extreme. For we are faced with THE AMAZING IDEA THAT THE THESSALONIANS IMAGINED THAT ALL THESE BREATH-TAKING EVENTS HAD COME TO PASS IN THE SPACE OF A FEW MONTHS, without their even knowing they had happened! Was there ever a doctrine proposed for Christian consumption which so taxes credulity?

We assert unhesitatingly that "the Coming of the Lord" and "the Day of the Lord" in these two epistles are one and the same event. This makes plain common sense of Paul's words, and delivers from the nonsense above described. But we also advance the following positive reasons:

The use of the word (parousi>a) Parousia is made in connection with both events. At His (parousi>a) Parousia, the Lord Jesus musters His Elect ( 1 Thessalonians 4:15 ). At the same ( parousi>a ) Parousia, He slays the anti-Christ ( 2 Thessalonians 2:8 )—"Whom He shall slay with the brightness of His ( parousi>a ) Parousia."

The Coming of 1 Thessalonians 4 is marked by one important event—the raising of the righteous dead. This is one of the great sign-posts of the prophetic Scriptures, pointing to the correct location of events. We have already shown that this event takes place at the Day of the Lord. Thus the days are one.

The complete absence from these passages of counsel on the part of the apostle to distinguish the two. Had they been so widely different as the theorists assert, Paul could not have failed to differentiate between them. It would have been characteristic of him to have done so. Not only does he not do this, but he relates the two together in such a way, and in the very same sentence, that it is practically impossible not to see that he is speaking of one event ( 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 ).

The teaching of the other passage in the second letter. This introduces us to the vital topic of THE BELIEVER'S REST, or, to quote Baxter, "The Saints' everlasting rest".

Verse 7 reads: "And you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven. . . etc. "

We particularly draw the reader's attention to this verse, as it is ONE OF THOSE SHATTERING STATEMENTS THAT SMITES BOTH DISPENSATIONALISM AND PRE-MILLENNIALISM WITH H-BOMB EFFECT. In the writer's experience of discussion with pre-millennialists ( the few who are willing to discuss the subject open-mindedly ), no weapon produces a more marked effect than this passage. It is mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. We note first, that "rest" is not a verb in the original, but a noun. See the modern translations:

Godspeed renders it: "When on that Day He comes to be honoured in His People, and wondered at in all who believe in Him."

Moffatt gives: "When He comes to be glorified in His saints, and marvelled at in all believers on that Day."

Weymouth: "To recompense with rest you who suffer affliction — rest with us at THE REVELATION THE LORD JESUS FROM HEAVEN."

The plain principle of true Scripture exposition is to note what SCRIPTURE ACTUALLY SAYS, NOT TO TRY TO SQUARE IT WITH A THEORY. Well, what does this say? The answer is plain as a summer sunrise:— The DAY OF REST AND DELIVERANCE FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD COMES WHEN THE LORD JESUS IS REVEALED FROM HEAVEN; in other wards, the Day of the Lord.

Can you wonder that this tremendous statement on the Advent is passed by completely by Scofield? A stoney silence is all he can muster in the presence of the most vivid apostolic declarations regarding the Coming. We suggest the silence is Scofield's most effective "utterance" on the subject and is a devastating answer to his own theories. For these theories are once again completely at logger-heads with Paul. He points the suffering Christians to a Hope that will be realised at the Day of the Lord; but the disciples of the 19th Century invention knew better, and point men to a day some years earlier which has nothing to do with the Day of the Lord. This obvious meaning of the apostle is confirmed by verse 10, "When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe on that Day."

And what is this Day when the Lord Jesus becomes the great object of the admiration and wonder of His glorified people? Paul's answer is devastatingly clear. "When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, IN FLAMING FIRE, TAKING VENGEANCE ON THEM THAT KNOW NOT GOD…WHO SHALL BE PUNISHED WITH EVERLASTING DESTRUCTION…etc."

Nothing could possibly be clearer. Language is almost exhausted in making it plain. The Day when His People enter their rest, and join in the universal admiration of their Lord, is the very same Day when He comes for the destruction of His foes. And yet, IN THE FACE OF SUCH A DECLARATION, there are people who still say that the Day of the believer's rest is some years before the Day of the Lord! Such credulity is so staggering that we cease to wonder at folk swallowing the silly legends of Joseph Smith's Mormon revelations.

We have seen the ruinous effect of Paul's words on dispensationalism; let us now see how the same applies to pre-millennialism. We take up 1 Thessalonians 4 once more, adhering simply to its plain statements and WHAT THEY SAY. Four features mark it:

The Coming of the Lord in royal splendour, with a SHOUT, VOICE AND TRUMPET.

The resurrection of the righteous dead occurs.

The translation of the living saints.

An eternal state is introduced, for we are told that His People are "for ever with the Lord".

Now it is clear that this is a perfect parallel to the grand finale of 1 Corinthians 15. There is no need to detail those items; the reader will see they are identical with the above. Now we have already seen that the scene described in 1 Corinthians 15 brings in the Kingdom of God, with the overthrow of the Last Enemy. Logically, we can do no other than conclude that in this passage, with its identical picture, Paul is describing the same thing, and that this Coming of the Lord ushers in the eternal age. When we come to chapter 5, this is confirmed by the use of the striking phrase, "The Day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night" ( verse 2 ). Now pre-millennialists say that this Day introduces the 1,000 years Kingdom. But there is an insuperable barrier to such an idea. In his second epistle, Peter uses this identical phrase, and, by no system of theorising, can there he any differentiation between Paul's "thief-in-the-night" day, and Peter's. The latter is only duplicating the former. And here is the all-important point; what happens on this Day that comes like a thief? Paul says, "sudden destruction cometh" ( 1 Thessalonians 5:3 ). The pre-millennialist says this is the destruction of the Gentile world power, prior to the ushering in of the millennium; this is guess-work, not interpretation. We believe Peter was a better interpreter of Paul, and he tells us that "the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up" ( 2 Peter 3:10-13 ). And remember, these words are by a writer who was inspired by the same Spirit as inspired Paul. Further, in the second Thessalonian letter, Paul himself speaks of the destruction as being "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord".

This then is clear; through the Spirit Paul tells us that the Day of the Lord brings deliverance to the People of God, and destruction to the ungodly, whilst Peter through the same Spirit tells us it brings destruction of the whole present world-order, inaugurating the new heavens and new earth. WHERE THEN IS THE IDEA OF AN EARTHLY KINGDOM FOLLOWING IMMEDIATELY ON THE DAY OF THE LORD?

Three other points in the second letter require attention.

We are told ( 1:5 ) that the time of the believer's rest is in the Kingdom of God. There is no need to go over this point again, as we have shown a number of times that phrase points to the eternal age.

The second point we note shows the pre-millennial idea to be utterly untenable. It is the description of "the Day". Here we are presented with the unmistakable picture which renders location of "the Day" possible of sound judgement. We are told it is the Day "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, IN FLAMING FIRE." So once more, we are face to face with the gear Fiery Day; and there is ONLY ONE SUCH DAY, THE DAY THAT BRINGS THE END OF THIS PRESENT WORLD AND PREPARES THE WAY FOR THE ETERNAL WORLD. This, then, is the Day upon which the hopes of the believer are fixed; his rest is linked with that Day, and, as Peter relates, he is "looking for, and basting unto, the Coming of the Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire…etc." ( 2 Peter 3:12 ).

Our third point of note is another of the divine fingerposts pointing "him that readeth" the sure way of interpretation. We refer to the judgement of the wicked. All Scripture locates this as one of the closing features of Time, so the order of events involved in the Last Things is clearly seen in their relation to this one event. It is brought before us in this passage, and we are assured unmistakably that the doom of the ungodly is executed at the Day of the Lord. Paul's words are final in their solemnity:—

"Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction."

And when does this take place? The answer is equally final:

"When He shall come to be glorified in His saints."

The unity of Scripture is complete. As the Lord Jesus taught that at the end of this age the wicked are cast into the fire, and the righteous shine forth in the Kingdom of their Father, so Paul teaches that at His Coming the righteous shall receive their eternal rest, whilst the wicked are punished with everlasting destruction. Thus the Great White Throne is not an event occurring over 1,000 years after the Coming of the Lord, but is coincident with it, and the "glorious millennium" is an empty dream.

One further word on this point. This passage details two classes of people at the Coming—the righteous who obtain rest, and the wicked who are destroyed. Then where, we may well ask, are the vast multitudes of semi-converted, and unconverted ( the 'sheep nations' ) who are supposed to enter the millennial Kingdom to provide material for the ultimate Satanic revolt? It is absurd. If the wicked are banished from the presence of the Lord at His Coming the millennium of popular Adventism is likewise banished. And, as it never existed in the eschatology of Paul, its disappearance from present day Christian belief would be a profitable loss.

The End —

Chapter 11

Paul’s Later Testimony

Having examined the earlier writings of the apostle fairly fully, we have been impressed with the complete absence of any teaching of an earthly millennium. Shall we find anything different in his later writings?

When we turn to these letters, we notice at once that, strangely enough, the Advent does not figure so prominently as in the earlier writings. Nevertheless, there are several important passages that relate to the eschatological question, and we turn first to:


This interesting phrase meets us in verse 10 of the first chapter.

"That in the dispensation of the fullness of times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are in earth; even in Him."

The main reason for referring to this Scripture is the interpretation given to it by Dr. Scofield. He says: "This, the seventh and last of the ordered ages which condition human life on earth, IS IDENTICAL WITH THE KINGDOM COVENANTED TO DAVID, and gathers into itself under Christ all past times."

According to this, the dispensation of the fullness of times is the millennium. This blessed millennium! It is everywhere; it fills the vision of the pre-millennialist, and is a veil upon his heart in the reading of the Scripture, as surely as the earthly conception of Messiah's Kingdom was a veil upon the Jewish hearts. The absurdity of this interpretation is evident for the following reasons.

There is not the slightest indication anywhere in the Ephesian letter that "the millennium" was in Paul's mind; he says nothing about it, gives no hint that he believes in it, but rather speaks in terms that are contrary to the idea. Therefore it is pure assumption to assert, WITHOUT A SHRED OF EVIDENCE, that Paul is referring to the "millennium". It is simply a case of projecting one's own opinion into the reading.

The words used are pregnant with the thought of the eternal age. True, some commentators regard this present Gospel age as "the fullness of times", in the sense that this is the closing age of Time. We agree with this latter phrase, but feel that the force of this particular text is not so much the last age of Time, but the "fullness of age" that follows Time. We think the whole suggestion here is the final gathering of all in Christ, in the ultimate union of heaven and earth.

The verse preceding the one quoted confirms this. Of this "gathering together in one all things in Christ," the apostle says "having made known the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself." Two things are stated in this verse:—

That "the gathering together" is the revelation of "the mystery of His will". Now what is this mystery made known to believers? To say it is the millennium is ridiculous. Paul never said a word about this idea in his writings.

And what is the purpose God hath purposed concerning His redeemed people? It cannot possibly be "the millennium", for even millennialists acknowledge it is but a temporary phase which must give way to some greater. Surely, the whole revelation of the N.T. is that His Will and His purpose for His people in Christ is one thing—and one thing only—the eternal world where God and the Lamb shall reign for ever. THIS, AND NOTHING LESS, IS THE DISPENSATION OF THE FULNESS OF TIMES. The reason why Scofield gives his interpretation to this phrase is obvious; his theories demand it, and so the plain sense of Scripture must be by-passed in order to arrive at the millennial Kingdom; for it is clear that if all things are to he gathered together into Christ in the eternal age, there is no place for a millennium on this earth following this present age, to serve as a kind of poor specimen sample of what is to come.

Consider another passage in Ephesians 1:—

"According to the working of His mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also IN THAT WHICH IS TO COME; and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be Head over all things to the Church."

What is the teaching of this superlative passage? Surely, we may correctly list it as under:

When Christ was raised from the dead He was exalted to the position of power and authority that had been foretold.

The phrase "put all things under His feet" is Messianic, from Psalm 8, and quoted in 1 Corinthians 15. As in that passage, this Ephesian statement shows that THIS SUBJECTION IS NOW. His reign is a present one.

The conclusion, therefore, is that His present exaltation is the fulfilment of O.T. predictions of Messiah's reign.

His exaltation is of the highest possible kind, "far above all". If the Father has now exalted Him to the highest place in the universe, the conception of Him taking an earthly throne is, to put it mildly, grossly irreverent. He would then be exchanging the greatest for something immeasurably lower.

This exaltation is plainly declared to be for "this age" and the "age to come". We bow before the obvious meaning of this Gospel and Pauline phrase; there are only two ages, viz. this age of grace and the coming Kingdom of God—Eternity. Paul KNOWS OF NO AGE BETWEEN. We will not quarrel with him, but accept his statement, and abandon as a human invention the idea of another ( or more than one ) to intervene.

Gospel Resurrection And The COMMONWEALTH Of Israel.

Chapters two and three contain statements of prime importance in this controversy. Whilst not strictly eschatological, they have a powerful bearing on the subject because they deal with matters fundamental to the question under consideration. Consider first verses 1-8. Most readers will know them by heart. "You hath He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins…etc. "

Reader, have you pondered the meaning of these words as related to the Messianic Covenant? We are told that believers have been "quickened from death ( in sin ) and raised up and made to sit in heavenly places in Messiah Jesus." Think of it! "Resurrection"; "raised to Messiah's Throne"; "sharing His Reign"! So, without controversy, the present administration of Grace is here described as a resurrection and ascension to kingly power in Messiah's Kingdom. Romans 5:17 is identical: "They which receive abundance of grace…shall reign in life by one, Jesus Messiah." The passage is so powerful, it needs no exposition; we will let its own native force impress itself upon the reader, and thus prepare him to see the classic passage ( Revelation 20 ) in its true N.T. light.

The next passage ( verses 11-22 ) is vital. Inseparably related to the whole issue we are discussing is the question of the identity and composition of the Church, and its relationship to the O.T. Covenants and Promises. For, if the restored Israel of prophecy finds its location in the Church of Messiah, and the Glorious Covenant Promises are being inherited NOW by the Body of Christ, then pre-millennialists have been chasing an illusion in looking for an earthly Kingdom. And we have no doubt that the passage about to be considered teaches us this truth with crystal clarity. Indeed, it is so clear that ( as in similar situations ) Dr. Scofield avoids any attempt at explaining the trenchant statements of chapter 2. They are as gunpowder to the matchwood of pre-millennialism, so he refuses to handle them. But for us they are a spiritual delight, teaching doctrine that is in such complete harmony with the N.T. message advocated in this work that no passage is of simpler exposition. We are certain of this; Paul would have found it utterly impossible to have written in this strain had he believed there was yet to be a fulfilment of O.T. promises in the Jewish nation subsequent to the earthly history of the Christian Church. Consider now the rich statements as Paul unfolds to these Ephesian Christians the consequences of their "resurrection from the dead" ( verse 5 ) and exaltation to "live and reign with Christ" ( verse 6 ).

First, he lists five things that characterised them before this great experience ( verse 12 ):—

They were "without Messiah";
They were "aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel";
They were "strangers from the Covenants of Promise";
They were "without Hope";
They were "without God".

Then comes the overwhelming announcement: "But now, in Jesus Messiah, ye who sometimes were far off, ARE MADE NIGH BY THE BLOOD OF MESSIAH." The meaning is inescapable, and fully explains Scofield's ominous silence. What could he say in answer to Paul's unqualified assertion? What can any dispensationalist say ? These people ( Ephesians ) once "far off" from the great Messianic blessings, had now become subjects of Messiah's great Blood Covenant; this was the Covenant promised by the prophets ( Jeremiah 31:31; Hebrews 10:16 ). And the effect was to "make them nigh", i.e. the things that Paul had listed as not belonging to them were now theirs through Blood Redemption. Thus these Christians had a new standing.

They were "in Messiah".

They had become members of the Commonwealth of Israel, which conforms to the teaching of Romans 9, 10 and 11.

They were now inheritors of the Covenants, which agrees with Paul's exposition of the Gospel, that it was "the Hope of the Promise made of God unto our fathers" ( Acts 26:6 ).

They now shared "the Hope of Israel". And as Paul has described the Gospel as "the Hope of Israel" ( Acts 28:20 ), the unity of Scripture is again seen.

They were now "the people of God". Enough has been said on the prophecies of Isaiah and Hosea regarding this. Suffice to say that Paul's repetition of this line of prophetic realisation only makes the position clearer.

Having thus made the position of these Gentiles in relationship to Israel so clear, the apostle goes on to elaborate the doctrine still further in the convincing language of verse 19 following. Note the points he emphasises:—

They are "fellow citizens with the saints". This means they share the same heritage as the saints of the O.T. The segregation of saints into different categories—O.T. saints, Church saints, Tribulation saints, millennial saints—is a product of dispensational imagination. It was unknown to Paul.

They are of "the Household of God". This is the great family of faith, the seed of Abraham, and Gentiles are now in the same family as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

"Built upon the foundation of the, apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner Stone." We rejoice in this wonderful statement, which plainly declares that this great union of Jews and Gentiles in the one Commonwealth, one Household, was the united teaching of APOSTLES AND PROPHETS, and the central theme of this teaching was that Jesus Messiah is the Chief Corner Stone. The recurrence of this great prophecy is arresting; we have already drawn attention to its several appearances in the N.T. Here it is again, and IN EVERY CASE IT HAS ONLY ONE APPLICATION—THE CHURCH. Dispensationalists assert it applies to the Kingdom ( millennium ). We agree it is "the Kingdom", but as Peter and Paul say "the Church" we have no option but to conclude the Church and the Kingdom are one; and twenty-seven books of the N.T. say "Amen".

"A Holy Temple in the Lord". All that the old economy represented with its great central focus, the Temple, was now realised in the great anti-type—the Temple of living stones. This is the final Temple of Jehovah on this earth, and the dispensationalist interpretation of Ezekiel that would set up another Jewish Temple, with all its sacrificial paraphernalia, is another abhorrent feature in their system. Paul spurns such carnality, and delights only in this spiritual temple, wherein the Spirit of God dwells.

"In whom ye also are builded together" ( verse 22 ). How would these Gentiles interpret this phrase? It is probable they had come to know the decree of the First Council ( Acts 16:4 ), and the profound announcement of its president, James: "I will return and build again the tabernacle of David…and all the Gentiles upon whom My Name is called." Paul's statement would surely recall these words, and the voices of James and Paul would speak the same message to the Ephesians. They speak the same to us. "In whom ye also are builded together" ( verse 22 ). How would these Gentiles interpret this phrase? It is probable they had come to know the decree of the First Council ( Acts 16:4 ), and the profound announcement of its president, James: "I will return and build again the tabernacle of David…and all the Gentiles upon whom My Name is called." Paul's statement would surely recall these words, and the voices of James and Paul would speak the same message to the Ephesians. 1. They speak the same to us.

THE MYSTERY — Ephesians 3.

Here is a statement that has been worked to death by the dispensationalists. Their "mystery Church" doctrine has produced a mystery that was never in the mind of Paul. Here is Scofield's note on Ephesians 3. "The mystery hid in God was the Divine purpose to make of Jew and Gentile a wholly new thing – the Church…The revelation of this mystery…was committed to Paul…in his writings alone we find the doctrine, position, walk and destiny of the Church" ( R.B. p. 1252 ). We repudiate this gross misinterpretation of the passage on the following grounds:

Have dispensationalists never read the letters of Peter and John? The fact they may use different terms does not alter the fact that the great truths of the Church are taught as definitely as in Paul's writings. And the same applies, in a similar ( smaller ) way, to James and Jude.

Paul does NOT say that this revelation was made SOLELY to him. Listen to his words: "It is now revealed UNTO HIS HOLY APOSTLES AND PROPHETS BY THE SPIRIT." So others shared the revelation he had received.

Paul does NOT say the Church is the mystery, but ONLY A CERTAIN THING ABOUT THE CHURCH, viz. "the fellow heir-ship of Jew and Gentile".

Paul's claim of a revelation of "the mystery" is qualified; and we draw attention here to a bad misquotation of the Word by dispensationalists. We do not wish to say anything just to offend, but we simply record this fact. Although we have listened to many dispensational preachers, the writer has never heard one of them quote Ephesians 3:5 correctly. THE QUALIFYING MIDDLE PHRASE IS ALWAYS OMITTED. They quote, "which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men", and stop there. A modern dispensational champion previously quoted, is guilty of the same error. Stanton writes: "Unto Paul was given the privilege of revealing the mystery, in other ages not made known, but now revealed by the Spirit." ( Kept from the Hour, p. 60 ) But this is a deliberate perversion of Scripture. You remember Stanton's previous statement: "if only people would let the Scriptures speak for themselves." But when the Voice does not suit him, HE MAKES IT SAY SOMETHING ELSE to square with his theories. Now what Paul actually wrote is, "which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men AS IT IS NOW REVEALED BY HIS HOLY APOSTLES AND PROPHETS THROUGH THE SPIRIT," which is far different from what Stanton and the futurists quote. For Paul's words obviously mean that the revelation had been made known in former ages, but not with the same clarity as was now manifest in the Gospel. Of course, this is shattering to dispensational theories, hence their use of the guillotine on this awkward Scripture. Scofield again makes no comment on this phrase. His silences are eloquent. After all, he has already committed himself to the delusion that "the Church, corporately, is not in the vision of the O.T. prophets", neither was it known to the prophets that "consequent upon Messiah's rejection, the N.T. Church would be called out" ( R.B. p. 711 ). So when Paul states that the revelation given to him AND TO THE OTHER APOSTLES was only a clearer understanding of the revelation made known to previous prophets, Scofield gives him the cold shoulder.

The passage, then, is abundantly clear. Ignore the chapter division and read chapters 2 and 3 together. We have already seen that chapter 2 teaches that the Gentile Christians were joint inheritors with Jewish believers of the blessings of the Commonwealth of Israel. And this is the "mystery" Paul speaks of as he develops his great theme. It had not been clearly revealed in previous ages. The prophets had seen the coming day of Gentile blessing, and this was always connected with the vision of Messiah's Kingdom, e.g. Psalm 2, Psalm 72, Isaiah 19:23- 25; 2:2 and chapter 60. But just what position the Gentiles would have in relation to Israel was not clearly seen. The Gospel makes the revelation complete; there is to be no distinction at all; no Jewish supremacy, but an equal share in the Kingdom of Messiah and all the Covenant blessing. This is sealed and settled by Paul's words in verse 6: "That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs…AND PARTAKERS OF HIS PROMISE IN MESSIAH BY THE GOSPEL." Surely, nothing more need he said? The salvation of the Gentiles does not bring them into some mysterious new body which has no relation to Messiah's Kingdom; it makes them fellow-heirs with believing Jews in the glorious Messianic Promises, which are realised, not in some future age, BUT IN THE GOSPEL. ( Footnote )

This teaching is so self-evident in this grand epistle, that we see no need to labour the point. One interesting thought, however, may help. Paul says that this "mystery" had been made known unto him and the other apostles "by revelation". How did this revelation come? We suggest it came along the lines indicated by the N.T. We read: "Then opened He their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures" ( Luke 24:45 ). Couple this with a verse we have referred to earlier on, and the matter becomes clear: "According to the REVELATION OF THE MYSTERY which was kept secret since the world began, but is now made manifest, and BY THE SCRIPTURES OF THE PROPHETS, ac- cording to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations, FOR THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH" ( Romans 16:26-27 ).

The apostles were devoted and diligent students of the Scriptures, and none more so than Paul. It was as they studied the Scriptures of the prophets that the revelation came. The Spirit showed them the true meaning of the promises of the Kingdom of Messiah. The vivid pictures of righteousness, peace, prosperity, fertility and triumph, came to life, and they saw them realised in the conquering Death, Resurrection, Ascension and Enthronement of Messiah Jesus, and the Gospel of Grace that flowed from that Victory. The "Mystery" was now made plain; the "Church" was no parenthesis ( what a debasing idea! ), but the great purpose that had been bid in God, and purposed eternally in Messiah ( Ephesians 3:9-11 ). The "parenthesis" had been the age of limited, localised manifestation of God and His purpose in the nation and religion of Israel. But that was all gone forever; "the unsearchable riches of Messiah" ( verse 8 ) had been revealed, and "the manifold wisdom of God was being displayed to the. whole universe by the Church of the Living God" ( verse 10 ), and this wondrous display was to continue to all eternity, bringing everlasting glory to God through Messiah Jesus ( verse 21 ).


Very little of an eschatological nature appears in these letters, and we draw attention to but a few verses.

Our Citizenship — Philippians 3:20- 21.

This, the apostle tells us "is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body."

This simple statement lends itself to none of the careful discriminations of dispensationalism. "Heaven is the only thought of the apostle, at eternal home that the Advent brings the believer. making him like his Lord, and this is attended by self". The burden of this language seems to be in the overthrow of all sin and the curse at the Advent.


"Believers of this age are in the Church, not the Kingdom; the two are entirely distinct." Such is the cry of the dispensationalist. But they must have read Colossians 1 with their eyes shut, for in verse 18, Paul assures the believers that "He is the Head of the body, the Church." But in verse 13 he informs them what had happened when they became "members of His body". "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son."

So these people were in the Church, and also in the Kingdom. Had Paul been alive today, what a lecture he would have had from certain quarters for mixing up his terms so hopelessly.

Further, note the preceding verses: "Hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." The logical interpretation of this seems to be that the N.T. saints were sharing the same inheritance as the O.T. saints. These latter were "the saints in light", or, as Hebrews puts it, "the spirits of just men made perfect" ( Hebrews 12:23 ).

One other verse remains, Colossians 3:4: "When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in Glory."

This too, is just a plain simple statement of the Advent and its consequences for the believer. Paul says "in glory". We think this phrase is more intelligently identified with the eternal state than with the strange mixture called "the millennium".


Little of an eschatological nature is found here. The few passages referring to future things are quoted, not so much to prove any particular view of prophecy, but simply to point out the entire absence of any millennial idea in these closing writings of the apostle.

1 Timothy 6:12, 14 and 19.

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…Keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ…the King of kings, and Lord of lords…laying up in store a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."

According to this, believers are looking for "His Appearing" or "Epiphanea". It is then they are to he rewarded. It is clearly the Day of His Glorious Appearing, thus disposing of the idea that Christians have been "raptured" away seven years earlier. We feel too that the sense of the passage presses one's mind with the thought of the "eternal age". It is this "eternal life" in the "age to come" that is set before Timothy as the all absorbing Hope. Not the faintest shadow of a suggestion of an earthly millennium preceding eternal age is present in this letter.


The first thing that impresses us in the reading of this epistle is the recurrence of the phrase "in that Day". We find it in 1:12; 1:18 and 4:8. Consistent with the rest of the N.T., it is the great Day of His Appearing. Our Lord spoke of it in the Olivet discourse: "But of that Day, knoweth no man" ( Matthew 24:36 ). Peter tells us it is the Day for which Christians are looking, and unto which they hasten ( 2 Peter 3 ). Whilst in 2 Thessalonians, Paul assures us it is the great fiery Day of revelation when the saints receive their eternal rest. So from this epistle, we learn that THAT DAY ( The Day of the Lord ) is the Day when believers are rewarded. But in 2:10- 12 Paul indicates that this Day brings in the eternal age. His words are: "That they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory…If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." Surely the truth taught here is that the, reign of saints in Paul's theology was not an earthly millennial reign, but one in eternal glory. This is confirmed in striking words in 4:18: "And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His HEAVENLY KINGDOM; to whom be glory for ever." The whole spirit of these passages is alien to the idea of an earthly millennial reign; they vibrate with the conviction that the apostle knew of only one Kingdom where the saints would be rewarded, and would reign; with Christ—in eternal glory.

The last chapter of this epistle gives us some powerful statements. Consider verse 1: "I charge thee, therefore, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His Appearing and Kingdom, preach the Word. "

This verse must be unpleasant reading for the dispensationalist. With a delicate nicety he weighs out his words and abhors any misapplication of terms. The judgements are strongly distinguished, and anything implying a general judgement is eschewed; the Kingdom has no relation to believers, their heritage being in the Church; they look not for a "Coming King" but a "Coming Lord". As for His Glorious Appearing, it has nothing to do with the Church, whose hope is the secret rapture. But in this verse alone Paul rides rough-shod over all these "triumphs" of modern exegesis. First, he introduces a judgement of "living and dead", with no hint of a distinction between saved and unsaved. The argument that he is writing to Christians proves nothing; the state and doom of the ungodly figure prominently in the context ( 3:1-9; 4:3-4 ). Then he gives no hint of a secret rapture, with a "Judgement in the heavenlies", whilst the earth is rocking with the great tribulation; this judgement is introduced by the Glorious Appearing. This is the Judgement Timothy is to appear at, not an imaginary one seven years earlier. Far from the Kingdom being outside the concern of the Christian, it is set before Timothy ( and every believer ) as something to spur him on in his ministry; it is a Kingdom in which he has vital interest, the manifestation of which coincides with the Glorious Appearing, and brings about the great Judgement. These rugged statements of the apostle from his prison cell, challenge every dispensationalist to re-examine his patchwork scheme. None of his peculiarities have any place in the hope cherished by Paul. His doctrine was simple—one appearing, one judgement, and one issue—eternity.


Only one passage requires our attention; it is superb. "Looking for that Blessed Hope, and the Glorious Appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" ( 2:13 ).

Of this trenchant verse, Alexander Reese pithily and powerfully remarks: "A man half asleep can see that modern scholarship's contribution at Titus 2:13 spells the ruin, the irretrievable ruin, of Darbyists' comforting programme of the End." ( Approaching Advent, p. 129 )

Attempting to get over this formidable obstacle, dispensationalists follow their policy of "rightly dividing" the Word, and split the verse in two, separating "the Blessed Hope" and "the Glorious Appearing". Such a thought never occurred to a single Christian expositor till Darbyism proclaimed this discovery. But the "discovery" is as worthless as scientists' Java man, recently proved to he a hoax. Modern translations annihilate the futurist idea. Consider them:

Moffatt: "Awaiting the Blessed Hope of the appearing of the glory of the great God and Saviour Jesus Christ."

Weymouth: "Awaiting fulfilment of our Blessed Hope—the appearing in glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ."

Conybeare: "Looking for that Blessed Hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ."

To assert, in face of such statements, that the Church is raptured away from this earth seven years before the Glorious Appearing demonstrates to what lengths men will go to support a comforting theory. But the language of the apostle reduces it to an empty shibboleth. In the plainest possible language he tells every Christian that the Blessed Hope for which we are looking is the Glorious Appearing; and this is what every other N.T. writer tells us, and what every Christian believed until the Scofield Bible turned the Second Advent into a system of speculative controversy. Consider the great statement again: "The appearing in Glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Messiah." It links us at once with the great Messianic Hope of the O.T. "Lo, this is our God, we have waited for Him, and HE WILL SAVE US: this is the Lord: we have waited for Him, we will be glad in His salvation" ( Isaiah 25:9 ). Isaiah points to the great Hope of Israel, and Paul chained for the Hope of Israel, points the Church to the same great Hope.

Note, too, its bearing on the millennium question. Again Paul gives no hint of such an age following the Appearing. Rather, he sets it in contrast to "this present age" ( verse 12 ), conveying the implication that "the age to come" ( the eternal age ) is ushered in—the testimony of the rest of Scripture. We feel, as with former passages, that the eloquent language of the apostle conveys a conception of nothing less than the complete and final display of the glory and triumph of the Kingdom of God. It corresponds to Matthew 25, "When He shall sit upon the Throne of His Glory." We have already seen that this event is attended by the Final Judgement. It corresponds to 2 Thessalonians 1, where Paul points believers to the Great Day when the Lord Jesus is revealed in flaming fire with His mighty angels; this, too, is the Day of the doom of the ungodly. Further, note its identity, with Acts 2:20: "To usher in the Day of the Lord—that great, illustrious Day" ( Weymouth ). "Before the great and gloriously appearing Day of the Lord" ( Darby ).

Now it is clear from the Pentecostal message that this day is the Day that closes the age of salvation, Peter stating ( verse 22 ), that this is the age when "whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved." This salvation continues right unto the great and glorious Day. But millennialism tells of a great day of salvation to follow that great Day—a theory in flat contradiction of all that the N.T. says about that Day.

We present it to the reader, that the clear meaning of this great statement in Titus, and those associated Scriptures, is that the Glorious Appearing, which is the Hope of the Church ushers in an Age of Glory that sha1l never be dimmed by any alleged temporal millennial Kingdom—even the eternal Day of the Kingdom of God.

The End —

Chapter 12

The Exclusiveness And Finality Of The Gospel

Epistle To The Hebrews

Our examination of the Scriptures brings us now to a very interesting section of the sacred writings, viz. those epistles addressed to the Jewish section of the early church. We have already shown ( in Acts ) that Paul presented the same message to both Jew and Gentile; the Gospel had destroyed all racial distinctions. But dispensationalism is blind to this evident truth, and once the word "Jewish" comes in, then look out for expository acrobatics. Hear, then, Dr. Scofield's introduction to this section. He says that these writings "differ in important aspects from Paul's epistles," and goes on: "The Jewish-Christian writings deal with the elementary things of the Gospel, while to Paul were given the revelations concerning the Church, her place in the counsels of God, and the calling and hope of the believer, as vitally united to Christ in one body." We are almost left speechless at this grotesque statement. One is inclined to wonder whether Dr. Scofield ever read the Hebrew epistle—to say nothing of the others. We scorn this fallacy of setting the writings of the N.T. in contrast one with the other; we see and feel the absolute, essential unity of the writers, both as to the subject and teaching. Further we reject utterly, totally and finally the foolish assertion of the "elementary" character of these epistles. Hebrews an elementary treatise? What next? Is the man serious, or indulging in an irreverent joke? We assert that in the Hebrews and Peter's epistles are the very same truths that fill the other writings. Salvation through the foreordained Lamb; the inexpressible Glory and eternal Deity of the Lord Jesus; the essential One-ness of Christ and His Brethren; the vital union of God with man through the New Covenant; the glory of the Church as the Holy Nation, the heavenly Jerusalem; these are just some of the truths dealt with.

In introducing the Hebrew epistle, Scofield is even more dogmatic in his blindness, stating "Church Truth does not appear." The reason for such an outrageous statement is seen when he states that the epistle deals with "the whole sphere of Christian profession…to warn and alarm a mere professor." Tied to his Brethren view of eternal security, the strong warning passages of Hebrews puzzle Dr. Scofield, so he saves his theory by the invention that "Church Truth" is not found in Hebrews. But, had he grasped the true purpose of Hebrews, viz. to shatter Jewish ideas that there was something else for that race other than the Gospel ( see succeeding pages for fuller exposition ), he would not have made such a blunder. But then had he seen the truth of the Hebrews message, it would have shattered his pre-millennialism ( which, after all, is a "Christianised" form of the Jewish delusion ). Caught on the horns of such a dilemma, Dr. Scofield gives us the notes above mentioned. We count them as worth less than nothing.

Church Truth does not appear? Then what, indeed, are the Atonement, the Ascension, the Holy Ghost and His miraculous Gifts, the Rest for the People of God, the Great Melchizedek Priesthood of the Lord Jesus, the Immutability of the Divine Counsel for the Heirs of Promise, the completeness and permanency of the New Covenant, the eternal sameness of the Lord Jesus, and a hundred other things? Are not these "Church Truths"? Or would Dr. Scofield class them as "Kingdom Truths"? The dispensationalist is tempted to speak of the "significant omissions" from Hebrews. "The Body" and "the Bride" are not mentioned—as if truth is dependent on using the identical word every time a doctrine is dealt with—surely, nothing more childish could be advanced. Dispensationalism would put the Holy Ghost in a verbal strait jacket as He seeks to inspire the sacred revelation.


Many Jewish things are dealt with, but NOT A WORD is said that would lead us to infer that there will be a resumption of God's dealings with the Jewish race in a future age. In fact, the very opposite is declared. The great truth proclaimed is that the Jewish Law has been superseded by the Gospel; the earthly priesthood has given way to the heavenly one of the Lord Jesus; the Tabernacle and Temple were only shadows of Realities in heaven, and will never have place on earth again; the sacrifices have been forever done away in Christ's all-consummating Sacrifice; and the idea of a millennial-restoration of them is a dangerous delusion; the earthly Canaan has disappeared, and the heavenly country is the object of all true believers' hopes; Jerusalem and Zion have given way before their great anti-types; and the Covenant Promise are now being fulfilled in the glorious spiritual Kingdom which can never be moved.

This, if words are to have their plain meaning, is the unmistakable teaching of Hebrews, and we affirm that THIS HOLY EPISTLE IS AN INSURMOUNTABLE BARRIER IN THE PATH OF THE PRE-MILLENNIALIST AS HE TRIES TO PRESS TOWARDS HIS GOAL OF A LITERAL RESTORATION AND KINGDOM OF ISRAEL; whilst, to the dispensationalist, it is A TRUMPET BLAST THAT SHATTERS HIS ANTICHRISTIAN DREAM OF A RESTORATION OF THE CARNALITIES OF JUDAISTIC RELIGION IN A FUTURE "MILLENNIAL TEMPLE". This latter aspect of the theory is one that brands it as antagonistic to the central theme of the Gospel—the Finality of the Atonement. No more regrettable teaching has ever been coupled with the name of Evangelicalism, and no more powerful refutation of it has ever been penned than the very epistle we are now to consider.

Purpose of The Epistle

It is written to the Jewish section of the first century Church. The difficulties created by this body are displayed in the Acts. Their chief fault was that they failed to apprehend clearly the absolute completeness of the Gospel. It needed, according to them, the addition of Moses. This epistle answers that delusion by showing the absolute exclusiveness of the Gospel. It is God's one, only, and complete provision for man; all that ever went before is swallowed up in it, and nothing can ever come after it. The key words are "better" and "perfect". The essential truth of the epistle is summed up in the magnificent statement:

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims ON THE EARTH…God having provided some better thing for us that they, without us, should not be made perfect." ( 11:13 and 40 )


The theme of the exclusive completeness of the Gospel is demonstrated in six sections, as follows:

The Finality of the Person and work of Christ ( Chapters 1 and 2 ).

The final realisation, in the Gospel, of the two great O.T. types of the Rest for the people of God, viz. Canaan and the Sabbath ( Chapters 3 and 4 ).

The finality of the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus, inaugurating the everlasting King-priesthood after the order of Melchizedek ( 5:1—8:6 ).

The finality of God's Covenant relationship with His people through the operation of the New Covenant, secured by the death of the Redeemer ( 8:7 to end of chapter 10 ).

The finality of the great Hope of the Messianic faith in the provisions of the Gospel. The Promised Land realised in Mount Zion, City of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem ( 12:22 ), and the Kingdom promises fulfilled in "the Kingdom which cannot be moved" ( 12:28 ). Chapters 11 and 12.

The practical outworking of these truths. They lead the Christian "outside the camp" of literalistic aspirations and fix his hope on "the city to come" ( chapter 13 ).

Having seen the purpose and compass of the epistle, excluding the possibility of a future age of salvation for either Jew or Gentile, we proceed to examine some of its great passages in each section. Both in letter and spirit they are alien to any idea of an earthly millennium.

Section 1.

GOD'S FINAL VOICE. There can be no other meaning to the great opening statement:

"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son." This verse declares two things:


THE AGE OF GOSPEL TESTIMONY IS THE FINAL PHASE OF GOD'S DEALINGS WITH MEN. "These last days". The whole tenor of this phrase is to impress the readers that these days of Gospel witness are the last days of God's redemptive work for man. Nothing but eternity follows.

THE SUPER-ANGELIC INHERITANCE. Verse 4 is arresting. It tells us that the One who was God ( the brightness of His Glory and the express. image of His Person ), after He had accomplished the work of redemption, obtained an inheritance more excellent than anything known by the angels. What is that inheritance? The rest of the chapter supplies the answer. At first, this portion seems rather strange—just a succession of disjointed statements; but closer consideration supplies the meaning. The writer quotes a succession of O.T. Scriptures. ( We regard this manner of quoting as being a strong testimony to the Pauline authorship. ) Now the important thing to note is that these Scriptures embrace some of the greatest "Kingdom" passages in the O.T. Look at them: Psalm 2 ( so often quoted in the N.T. ), Psalm 97, Psalm 102, Psalm 45, Psalm 110 and, to crown it all, 2 Samuel 7—THE GREAT ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE COVENANT WITH DAVID. What does this mean? We can see only one intelligent answer, viz. that the apostle is informing his readers ( as he did his hearers in Acts 13 ) that the inheritance the Lord Jesus received on His ascension to the Majesty on high, was nothing else but the everlasting Kingdom covenanted to David.

THE GREAT SALVATION. Hebrews 2:3. Following immediately on the Kingdom statements listed above, the apostle asks, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" The question was most pertinent. Probably these Jewish readers still clung to hopes of an earthly Israel Kingdom. They still looked for a literalistic fulfilment of O.T. prophecies. But the apostolic warning is trenchant. THE KINGDOM IS NOW; the promises are realised in the ascended Messiah; and, if this is not embraced, God has nothing else for them. So the great salvation God offers men is nothing less than entrance into this glorious Kingdom—joint-heirs with Messiah. And this is in conformity with the preaching of the Acts. In the great Kingdom-Covenant address at Antioch, Paul declared, "Men and brethren…to you is the word of THIS SALVATION sent." That is, salvation into the Messianic Kingdom Paul was proclaiming. And in the last chapter of the Acts we have Paul's ministry to the Jewish leaders in Rome. He expounded "the Kingdom of God, out of the law of Moses and the prophets." Then, when they rejected his preaching of the Kingdom, we have his arresting words: "Be it known unto you, therefore, that THE SALVATION OF GOD is sent unto the Gentiles" ( Acts 28:28 ). What perfect harmony in all the Scriptures; and how "great" is "this salvation" which comprises such an inheritance. The unanimity of the Scripture is emphasised further in verse 3, where the apostle asserts that this great Kingdom salvation "began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him". What nonsense this makes of dispensational ideas that the message of the apostles was different from the message of the Lord. Paul asserts they both preached the same thing—even this "great salvation". And, after all, the central declaration in "this great salvation" is John 3:16, which was uttered by our Lord at the beginning of His ministry, when, according to Scofield and his school, the King was declaring the news of the Kingdom. When will they jettison their spectacles and see the true Kingdom the Saviour preached?

We will not spend time over the rest of Hebrews 2, but here again we have the apostolic practice of quoting a succession of O.T. passages, and applying them to the Church. The reader might look them up, and see once more how the true principle of O.T. interpretation is established.

Section 2.

THE REST OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD. The theme of chapters 3 and 4, where we have brought before us the two great O.T. types of that Rest—Canaan and the Sabbath. Pre-millennialists are loud in their claims that the possession of Canaan ( according to O.T. covenants ) will yet be a literal fact. They also make much of the "Millennial Sabbath" that the earth will yet enjoy. But we cannot but be impressed that, when the apostle refers to these great features of O.T. experience, he makes no application of them to a future period on this earth. On the contrary, the whole tenor of these chapters indicates that BOTH THESE EXPERIENCES WERE TEMPORARY, AND WERE TO OBTAIN THEIR REALISATION IN THAT GREAT SALVATION WHICH SHOULD BRING THE PEOPLE OF GOD TO THEIR ETERNAL CANAAN OF REST, WHERE THEY WILL ENJOY THE SABBATH THAT SHALL NEVER END.

Note the following assertions of the apostle:

The same Gospel ( i.e.,…the message demanding faith ) was preached to O.T. people as well as New ( 4:2 ). This accords with Romans 10—faith was the essence of Mosaic teaching.

Verses 6 and 7, chapter 4, show that God's provision of rest for His People had been fulfilled in neither the Sabbath nor Canaan. The rest still "remained".

The rest for those who believe is both present and future. "We which have believed do enter into rest" ( 4:3 ) and "There remaineth therefore a rest to the People of God" ( 4:9 ). The N.T. presents both aspects of our salvation.

Reverting back to chapter 3, note an extremely significant word in verse 6: "Messiah, as a Son over His own house; WHOSE HOUSE ARE WE." Clear, is it not? The Church is "Messiah's House". This accords with Ephesians 2, where, as already shown, Gentile believers are said to have been incorporated into the Commonwealth of Israel and the Holy Temple of the Lord. The phrase is also a powerful reminder of the announcement to King David: "The Lord telleth thee that He will make thee a house…He shall build a house for my name" ( 2 Samuel 7:11-13 ). This latter statement is followed by the words quoted in Hebrews 1, "I will be to Him a Father." The testimony is irresistible; Paul is making the strongest possible attestation that in Jesus Messiah the Throne Covenant with David is realised, and in the Church of Jew and Gentile is realised the building of the House of David. And this is exactly what the First Council stated in Acts 15. Perfect harmony.

Section 3.

We pass now to the third section of the Hebrew letter, and we are introduced to one of the most fascinating items of N.T. teaching—the Melchizedek priesthood of the Lord Jesus. It is another hammer blow smashing the "shamrock" of pre-millennialism.. First, we note to the reader that the phrase "a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec is recorded five times, with illuminating context. Here they are:—

5:6. What a striking introduction to this subject, for here the great Melchizedek promise of Psalm 110 is quoted in conjunction with the great Throne Covenant Psalm—Psalm 2. We wonder what further evidence any intelligent person can desire to demonstrate that the great Kingdom declarations of the second Psalm are already fulfilled in the resurrection of Messiah? It is quoted again and again throughout the N.T., and every time it is applied to the present enthronement of Jesus Messiah, WITH NEVER A HINT THAT IT APPLIES TO A FUTURE REIGN ON THIS EARTH. How men can maintain belief in an earthly reign at an earthly Zion in the face of this is something I cannot fathom. Let such men cease from their criticism of tradition-blinded Romanists; to us, the two appear to have much in common. Take, for example, Dr. Scofield's comments on Psalm 2, "Thou art My Son, etc." This verse, he says, "refers to the establishment of the King upon Zion," meaning the alleged future millennial Zion; and, on the great declaration of Psalm 110, Scofield remarks that it "looks to the time when Christ will appear as the Rod of Jehovah's strength, the Deliverer out of Zion, and the conversion of Israel ( p. 655 ). This conversion of Israel is an obsession with dispensationalists; they see it everywhere. But the great apostle reveals no such "understanding" of these great psalms. It is evident he had been instructed in a completely different manner from Scofield, Darby & Co., because, writing to Jews, he states in the plainest possible words that BOTH THESE PSALMS—one about the Everlasting Kingship and the other about the Everlasting Priesthood—had ALREADY obtained their fulfilment in the Person of the resurrected Messiah.

5:10. This second quotation is in conjunction with the statement that the Lord Jesus had become the author of eternal salvation to them that obey Him. This, too, is conclusive. Pre-millennialists expatiate on the great manifestation of salvation that shall be seen in their millennium. It is an anti-Christian theory, crushed again by this word of the apostle, which shows it is NOW, DURING THE MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD OF THE LORD JESUS, that eternal salvation is offered.

6:20. Of great significance is this quotation, for it follows a glorious passage in which the apostle presents to us the wonders of the Covenant with Abraham. The obvious meaning here, is that it is NOW, not in a future age, that our heavenly Melchizedek mediates the blessings of the promise made to Abraham and his people.

7:17. The context of this quotation points us to the old Law and priesthood, and the whole point of the argument is that that phase of God's dealings with men was purely temporary. It was "imperfect" and "carnal", and was to be everlastingly superseded by "another priest, made after the power of an endless life". And yet, in the face of this, evangelical men have dared to propound the anti-Christian nonsense of an earthly millennium which will witness the Divine recognition of a REVIVAL OF THE OLD LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD. It is difficult to write calmly when confronted with such monstrous perversion of N.T. truth.

7:21. The last quotation of this phrase relates to the "unchangeable priesthood" of the Lord Jesus, whereby "He is able to save to the uttermost".

We propose now to deal more fully with the fascinating subject introduced to us in the remarkable figure of Melchizedek; and the first thing we point out is that the FIRST MENTION OF JERUSALEM IS IN CONNECTION WITH THIS MAN. How wonderful! Centuries before this city became the metropolis of earthly Israel, it was the centre of spiritual worship of the true God, in the dark ages of the post-flood era. Ponder this thought! Why, when Abram was called from heathen Ur, to be the inheritor of God's promises, was he brought to the land of Canaan? I suggest the answer is in the fact that here, in this land, in the city of Salem, reigned Melchizedek, "King of righteousness and King of Peace" ( Hebrews 7:2 ). To this man Abram came, to be confirmed and taught further in the knowledge of the God Who had called him. Of Melchizedek, Paul makes the mysterious affirmation, "made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually" ( 7:3 ). What can be the meaning of this profound statement, except that, in some remarkable way, Melchizedek was a manifestation of the Great Anointed King-Priest? I feel sure we have confirmation of this in one of the most remarkable utterances that fell from the lips of the Master: "Abraham rejoiced to see My day, AND HE SAW IT, and was glad" ( John 8:56 ). Surely, the strong suggestion in the combination of all these Scriptures is that this transcendent experience in the life of the patriarch occurred when he stood face to face with Melchizedek. It was here the true measure of God's promise to Abraham was made known to him, and lifted his soul to look, not for an earthly country, but "an heavenly", and the "city whose Builder and Maker is God".

Let us weigh, also, the events associated with this historic scene. We read in Genesis 14:8 that Melchizedek "brought forth bread and wine, for he was priest of the Most High God. And he blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the Most High God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand."

In contemplating this passage we feel a mixture of awe and sacred joy. The words seem to enshrine the fullness of divine revelation to Abram. The reader is no doubt aware of the remarkable factor in the N.T. that ascribes a spiritual knowledge and experience to Abraham far in advance of that which, on the surface, appears in the O.T. In fact, the experience is of entirely N.T. character. He saw Messiah's Day; he foresaw the resurrection ( Hebrews 11:9 ) he saw that the true Hope of the believer is the Heavenly city ( Hebrews 11:10-16 ); and he believed the saints would inherit the new earth ( Romans 4:13 ). Now the question arises, how did he become possessed of this vision and understanding of things which mark this age of grace? Surely, the evidence points clearly to his memorable meeting with the great proto-type of the Son of God. The bringing forth of the bread and wine, with the accompanying divine blessing suggest an inevitable application, for it was on the night when He engaged in His High Priestly prayer for the blessing of His followers, that our Lord also brought forth bread and wine. And when He did this, He assured His disciples that it was a witness to the inauguration of the great New Covenant. This Covenant, foretold by the prophets, and foreshadowed by the lesser covenants of former ages, was to embrace all that had been promised by God to His People; it was to bring blessing to all the tribes of earth, for, issuing from this Covenant He commanded them to preach "to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, repentance and remission of sins in His Name." The Great Day of Messiah had come, with blessing that should reach the whole world; AND JESUS MADE THE STARTLING AFFIRMATION THAT TWENTY CENTURIES BEFORE, ABRAHAM HAD SEEN THIS GLORIOUS DAY OF HIS POWER. Note, it was not just "Messiah" but "Messiah's DAY" that Abraham saw.

When did he see it? Surely, it was when the great Type of Messiah's King-Priesthood brought forth to Abraham the very same symbols as did Messiah when He instituted the Covenant. God had promised Abram His blessing ( Genesis 12:2 ) but now to Abram is made the revelation first, as to how that blessing will be realised, and secondly, the extent of it. For, in the symbols of the Covenant which Melchizedek produced, there was foreshadowed the sacrificial death of Messiah in order to seal the Covenant, whilst in the blessing pronounced by the King-priest, in the Name of the Possessor of Heaven and earth, Abram grasped the wonderful truth that he was to become the inheritor, not merely of a strip of country named Palestine, but of the whole world and the heavenly country. In other words, the new heaven and new earth, which the N.T. assures us is the only heritage God has for His People. This great line of truth is further opened up by Paul in the epistle to the Galatians, where he assures us the Gospel was preached to Abraham, and the whole magnificent scheme of divine blessing and heritage would be realised, not through the nation of the Jews, but through Christ the Spiritual Seed.

So it was here, in this meeting with the King of Salem, that Abram learned the great truths of divine covenant blessing through Messiah, upon all who partake of Abraham's faith ( Galatians 3:6-9; Romans 4:13-25 ). I press this truth upon the reader, because herein, in the very origination of those covenants that mark the O.T., we find the key to the question as to the true nature of the Covenant promises of God, and the identity of the Israel of God destined to inherit them. The truth is clear; the Covenants are for the seed of Abraham in Christ, and the sphere of fulfilment is not an earthly Canaan ( the carnal idea that veiled the minds of the Jews who murdered the Son of God, and sought to do the same with Paul ), but in the Canaan brought before us in the glorious full light of N.T. revelation.

But let us revert, for still clearer understanding, to the thought with which we opened this meditation on Melchizedek. We stated that here we have the first mention of Jerusalem. Long before that city ( or its Jewish counterpart ) became the earthly city of God, the city of the King-priest was the centre of true spiritual worship. BEFORE THERE WAS A LAW, A NATION OF ISRAEL OR ANY EARTHLY COVENANT, THERE WAS A SALEM WHERE MEN WORSHIPPED AND SERVED THE LIVING GOD UNDER THE RULE OF THE KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PEACE. And we affirm that HERE IS THE JERUSALEM UPON WHICH THE HEART OF GOD IS SET, AND IN WHICH ALL HIS GREAT PROMISES AND PURPOSES WILL BE REALISED. When, centuries later, God brought the earthly Israel into the land of Canaan, it appears that the house of Melchizedek was no more. Had it been swept away in the deluge of Canaanitish iniquity? Did that land, in ancient times, witness a slaughter of God's People like the 13th Century slaughter of the Albigenses that blotted out the witness on the French slopes of the Alps? We do not know; but the blessing of Melchizedek had passed to Abraham and his seed, and in this spiritual remnant God continued to witness of His truth. So, when this nation, enshrining in its number the elect remnant, came into the land, they became centred at THE VERY CITY WHERE MELCHIZEDEK HAD BROUGHT BEFORE ABRAM THE SPIRITUAL NATURE OF THE COVENANT, AND THE UNIVERSAL AND ETERNAL CHARACTER OF THE BLESSING HIS SEED WERE TO INHERIT. Thus, this earthly Jerusalem was "the place where God chose to put His Name" because it represented the righteousness and peace of the Kingdom of Melchizedek, AND WOULD SERVE AS A TYPE OF THE REAL JERUSALEM, OVER WHICH THE GREATER MELCHIZEDEK WAS TO REIGN, viz. THE JERUSALEM WHICH IS FROM ABOVE.

And it is to this Jerusalem, the N.T. unerringly points us. Let the reader, especially those schooled in the carnal Jewish theories of dispensationalism, ask themselves the question, "Where, in the whole of the N.T., is to be found the slightest hint of a promise of restoration and unparalleled blessing for earthly Jerusalem, THE CITY STAINED WITH THE MOST COLOSSAL GUILT EVER LADED UPON ANY CITY ON THIS EARTH—THE MURDER OF GOD'S SON?"

Then in face of the overwhelmingly impressive silence of the N.T. let them ask again: "To which Jerusalem does the N.T. point as the Hope and Home of the redeemed, and the city in which the great purposes of God will be achieved?" Straight comes the answer from Paul: "Jerusalem which is from above, which is free, the mother of us all" ( Galatians 4:26 ). Straight comes the answer from Hebrews: "Ye are come to the City of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" ( 12:22 ). Straight comes the answer from John the Seer: "I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven…Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them" ( Revelation 21:2 ).

Why did God love the gates of Zion and the City of Jerusalem above all others? Let dispensationalists seek to answer this, with their carnal views of this bloodstained, idolatrous city. Was there ever anything in a literal city that the Almighty Spirit could love? The absurdity of such a materialistic idea should be apparent to any Biblical mind immediately. No! The love of Jehovah for Zion ante-dated the Jewish city by centuries at least; because, before ever there existed such a city, the Salem of God where Melchizedek reigned in righteousness and peace was the object of His eternal affection. Whether the Salem of Melchizedek was a literal city, or a fellowship of those who served the Living God under his reign, we know not; probably it was the latter, although it matters not. THE ALL-IMPORTANT FACT IS THAT THE EARTHLY JERUSALEM WAS BUT A TEMPORARY SYMBOL OF THE TRUE JERUSALEM WHEREIN THE REIGN OF GOD HAD BEEN KNOWN IN FORMER AGES, AND IN WHICH, AFTER THE PASSING OF THE EARTHLY CITY, THE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PEACE OF GOD WERE TO BE ETERNALLY MANIFESTED UNDER THE REIGN OF THE GREATER MELCHIZEDEK. And we are assured by the writer to the Hebrews that this great phase of the Divine purpose toward man is NOW BEING WORKED OUT. THE GREAT MELCHIZEDEK IS ON HIS THRONE; and, coupled with the quotation from the second Psalm which speaks of David's throne, WE HAVE THE INVINCIBLE TEACHING OF THIS EPISTLE THAT THESE TWO THRONES ARE IDENTICAL.

Raised from the dead to the place of omnipotent power ( Matt. 28:18 ) where all principalities and dominions are subject to Him, the great Melchizedek-David, Jehovah-Jesus, reigns over the heavenly Jerusalem, administering the great Covenant which secures to all the true seed of Abraham the universal and eternal blessings promised to their father, and confirmed to him by the first Melchizedek. Then where, we ask, in the face of all this, is there any room for a return to the types, shadows and carnalities of that earthly system which, this same epistle assures us, are forever done away in Christ? Surely, dispensationalism and pre-millennialism are nothing else but a dismal dream—a Jewish nightmare—out of which we pray that sincere Christians shall awake, "and Christ shall give them light".

Section 4.

The New Covenant. In chapters 8, 9 and 10 we come to the heart-warming subject of the New Covenant. Dispensational hands have been laid upon this Sacred instrument in an endeavour to make it fit in with their Grand Jewry scheme of the End; but we are confident a brief perusal of the Holy Spirit's exposition of this Covenant, through the apostle, will shatter the theories of those who proclaim a Hope for natural Israel other than the true Hope of Israel preached by Paul. Before considering anything, we invite the reader to read through these three inspired chapters, and honestly ask himself what trace of teaching he can find there of a nationalistic or Jewish character. Where does the apostle MAKE THE SLIGHTEST SUGGESTION OF RELATING THIS COVENANT TO THE JEWISH NATION AND A FUTURE EARTHLY KINGDOM? The thought is utterly repugnant to every line in Hebrews 8, 9 and 10. The whole tone and spirit of the apostle's words are that the New Covenant and its blessings were secured completely by the death and resurrection of Messiah, AND NOT BY HIS SECOND ADVENT. It relates solely and entirely to the people who are redeemed by His Blood, and is eternally operative on their behalf, AND ON BEHALF OF NO ONE ELSE. Earthly possessions and racial heritage have absolutely no part in it.

Now consider the covenant, introduced to us by Jeremiah:

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers…which my covenant they brake" ( 31:31 ).

Thus, the New Covenant is set in direct contrast with the one made at Sinai. Consider the latter, made under the awe inspiring conditions that marked that great epoch in human history. It is recorded in Exodus 19. It was proposed by God through Moses, on the latter's first ascent of the Mount. The terms were: "If ye shall obey My voice indeed, and keep My Covenant, then ye shall be a PECULIAR TREASURE unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine. And ye shall be unto Me A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS, AND A HOLY NATION" ( verses 5, 6 ). Notice, there was no promise of earthly territory. Moses then came down and presented the Covenant to the people, receiving the response, "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord." The terms of the contract being thus agreed, God then gives to Moses the words and judgments of the Covenant, chief of which were the Ten Commandments. Moses descends again, gives the Law to Israel, with the repeated response, "All the words which the Lord hath said, we will do" ( Exodus 24:3 ). The matter was then written, and sealed with the Blood of the Covenant, which was sprinkled on the people. THUS WAS INAUGURATED THE COVENANT BETWEEN GOD AND THE NATURAL SEED OF ABRAHAM, UNTIL THE COMING OF THE SPIRITUAL SEED ( CHRIST ), IN WHOM THE NEW COVENANT WOULD BE MADE, TO FULFIL THE PROMISES MADE TO ABRAHAM IN THEIR ETERNAL, HEAVENLY CHARACTER.

Now, reader, note the comments Scofield makes relative to these things; they serve to exhibit the twist that the dispensational outlook gives to so many great passages of Scripture. In his note on Genesis 12, he states: "For Abram and his descendants, it is evident that the Abrahamic Covenant made a great change. THEY BECAME DISTINCTIVELY THE HEIRS OF PROMISE. That Covenant is wholly gracious and unconditional The descendants of Abram had but to abide in the land to inherit every blessing. In Egypt they lost their blessings, but not their covenant. The dispensation of promise ended when Israel RASHLY ACCEPTED THE LAW. Grace had prepared a deliverer ( Moses ), provided a sacrifice for the guilty, and by Divine power brought them out of bondage; but at Sinai they exchanged grace for Law" ( R.B. p. 20 ).

Now this is a perfect specimen of dispensational "exposition", but it is shocking theology. It would be difficult to find such an accumulation of errors in so small a compass. This statement, early in the Scofield Bible, should be a warning to all of the delusions that fill its notes. Let us list the errors of this flagrant "de-theology". First, Scofield says that Abraham's natural seed became "distinctively the heirs of promise". How any Bible student can make such a statement in the face of Romans, Galatians and Hebrews is impossible to understand, for the repeated assertion of these writings is that "THEY WHICH ARE OF FAITH, THE SAME ARE THE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM", and "IF YE BE CHRIST'S, THEN ARE YE ABRAHAM'S SEED—AND HEIRS ACCORDING TO THE PROMISE" ( Galatians 3:7, 29 ).

Again, we get the amazing nonsense that "the descendants of Abram had but to abide in their land to inherit every blessing." So all the blessings promised to Abraham could have been inherited by his natural descendants if they had resided permanently in the land of Canaan! Was there ever such a preposterous misconception of the great divine plan for human redemption as this? The blessings promised to the Father of the Faithful ( so the N.T. tells us ) were that he should be "heir of the world" ( Romans 4:13 ), "the father of many nations", and the inheritor of "the heavenly country" ( Hebrews 11 ). And all those blessings we are assured, were to come, not through an earthly nation remaining in a small strip of territory, but through THE ADVENT OF THE GLORIOUS SEED OF ABRAHAM CHRIST JESUS.

The further statement of Scofield that "in Egypt they lost their blessings" is an effrontery to the plain words of Scripture. The Psalmist declares, "God sent a man before them, even Joseph" ( Psalm 105:17 ), whilst three times in four verses Joseph himself affirmed it was God who sent him down to Egypt ( Genesis. 45:5-8 ). And when old Jacob was fearful of going down to Egypt, God graciously appeared and counselled him, "Fear not to go down into Egypt" ( Genesis 46:3 ). Scofield endeavours to pervert the obvious implication of this verse by appending the note that this was God's permissive, not His directive will. This, of course, is Dr. Scofield's personal opinion, dictated by his theories; but it is out of accord with the whole spirit of Jehovah's words to the patriarch, for He deliberately prefaced His counsel to Jacob with the Divine imprimatur, "I am God, the God of thy father." Perhaps the crowning error of Scofield in the passage under consideration is that "the dispensation of promise ended when Israel RASHLY ACCEPTED the Law". What ground had he for stating that Israel's act was a rash one, with the implication that it would have been better for them not to have done so, and that God did not wish them to accept it? It is utterly absurd. It was God Who proposed the Law to the nation, WITH THE GREAT INDUCEMENT TO ITS ACCEPTANCE IN THE PROMISE THAT THEY SHOULD BE HIS PECULIAR TREASURE. We do not feel that the following words are too strong a condemnation of this gross misrepresentation of Scripture.

"It is the most aggravated impiety and irreverence to teach that God, having proposed to men a covenant, a Law, that they could act rashly in giving heed to His proposition and accepting it…The Mosaic Law was God's commands—was His Law, and had the Jews failed willingly to accept it, this would have been rebellion." ( Dr. Charles Rankin, quoted by Philip Mauro in "The Hope of Israel", p. 53 )

No, Israel did not act rashly, but came to a place of great possibility. This, however, was not realised, because at the first instance of testing, they violated the Covenant, and thereby FORFEITED ALL RIGHT TO THE BLESSING GOD HAD PROMISED UNDER IT. Because of this, God declared He would make a New Covenant with Israel; and THE CHANGED CHARACTER OF THIS COVENANT WAS CLEARLY INDICATED IN THE SPIRITUAL AND MORAL BLESSINGS THAT WOULD BE THE SUBSTANCE OF THE COVENANT—the laws of God written in the hearts and minds of men. All who had vision to see would discern that this New Covenant had nothing to do with nationality or earthly territory, but was to deal WITH THE UNIVERSAL PROBLEM OF SIN. And when at last, the Great Atoning Substitute arrived at the hour to which the purposes of God had moved, He proclaimed to His followers, as representatives of Israel and Judah, that His sacrificial Blood was the seal of the long-promised Covenant. Calvary, then, was the inauguration of this New Covenant, which is described in Hebrews 13:20 as "the everlasting Covenant". Let us note its man features.

WHEN EXECUTED. Clearly, it was at the Saviour's death.

WHEN OPERATIVE, AND BY WHOM ADMINISTERED. The passages in Hebrews under consideration are crystal clear. It is administered by the Lord Jesus NOW, IN HIS GREAT MELCHIZEDEK-DAVID OFFICE, AND HAS NO REFERENCE AT ALL TO HIS SECOND ADVENT. "NOW he hath obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much more also He is the Mediator of a better Covenant" ( 8:6 ).

WITH WHOM IT WAS MADE. The prophet had said, "with the House of Israel and the House of Judah," and the dispensationalists, holding on to their bald literalism, try to insist that this phrase demands another "making" of the Covenant with the earthly nation at the Second Advent. Our reply is simple. First, as already emphasised, the apostle gives no hint of such a cleaning to the prophet's words, and, once again, we prefer Paul to anyone else. Second, Paul quotes this very phrase in Hebrews 8; his exclusive application of the Covenant, including this phrase, to the work of Calvary, shows that he in no way understood the phrase in the far-fetched manner taught by the literalists. Thirdly, the apostles, on the night of the Lord's betrayal, were representatives of those houses according to the flesh; but they were more than that; they were of the "Remnant according to the Election of Grace", and, as such, representative of the true Israel of God, the nation to whom the Kingdom of God was to be given, according to our Lord's own words.

Israel and Judah were terms suggesting the division of the Kingdom; the New Covenant was to be made with a united people, made one by the great Mediator of the Covenant. That Kingdom, which can never be moved, was inaugurated by the Blood Covenant of its King. It is the "Kingdom of His dear Son," and all who are born into it comprise the spiritual Israel, and partake of the New Covenant. This is made clear in Hebrews 10:14-18, where we are told, "By one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that He had said before, This is the Covenant I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them." Clearly, the meaning of those words is that the Israel and Judah with whom the Lord has made this New Covenant is comprised of those who are sanctified by the Blood of Christ.

THE BLESSINGS OF THE COVENANT. These are clearly stated to be "the forgiveness of sins and the knowledge of God". These are the present experience of believers. But dispensationalism cannot be satisfied with plain apostolic exposition, so Dr. Scofield asserts that the great blessing of this Covenant is that "it secures the perpetuity future blessing and conversion of Israel" ( p. 1297 ). It is simply marvellous the things Scofield could have taught Paul, had he had the opportunity. But, devoid of such instruction, the apostle never thought of any of those carnal Jewish interpretations of O.T. Covenants and Promise. To the apostle, the great mystery of Gentile salvation had been fully revealed, viz. that THEY WERE TO BECOME EQUAL MEMBERS WITH NATURAL BELIEVING ISRAELITES IN THE ISRAEL OF GOD. The Covenants of the O.T. had been swallowed up in the Everlasting Covenant sealed by Messiah's own blood. Hereby, the nation in whom the promises made to Abraham and David were to be fulfilled, had been constituted. And the apostle, conscious that this Israel-Gentile Kingdom was the consummation of the redemptive plan of God, had no thought of looking for another Kingdom which would replace this superb nation in a succeeding age.

The provision of the New Covenant was for "an eternal inheritance" ( 9:15 ), and it was THIS, and THIS ALONE, that absorbed the ministries of the men of the N.T. Of the theories of modern "Covenant expositors" they said nothing, and this silence, together with their whole positive testimony on the other side, should be sufficient to turn Christians from carnal theories. This New Covenant is the Everlasting Covenant which brings everlasting glory to God and His Christ ( Hebrews 13:20, 21 ), and it can never be superseded by another; neither can an old covenant, which was but a figure of the one to come, be revived. This former covenant has "vanished away" and all its attachments are gone forever, swallowed up in the heavenly, eternal realities of the Calvary Covenant. Under the old, there was a nation, a temple and a religion. The unquestionable affirmation of Hebrews is that they have gone—replaced by those things OF WHICH THEY WERE BUT A PATTERN. The nation has given way to "the holy nation", "the Kingdom which cannot be moved" ( 12:28 ); the temple has been replaced by the "holy temple in the Lord" ( Ephesians 2:21 ), such a company of believers now testifying, "Whose house are we" ( Hebrews 3:6 ); whilst the ceremonies of the Jewish religion have gone forever, replaced by the spiritual ministry of Christ and His People. We are convinced we are on unassailable N.T. ground when we assert that the idea of a return to the old is utterly repugnant; YET THIS IS THE CONTENTION OF MODERN DISPENSATIONALISM. In fact, it is an integral part of their scheme. And it is precisely here that we come face to face with ONE OF THE MOST REPULSIVE FEATURES OF THE SCHEME, for we are told that in this earthly millennium. THERE IS TO BE A REVIVAL, not only of the political and economic structure of literal Israel, BUT ALSO OF CARNAL RELIGION.


Now the reader is undoubtedly aware that, amongst the prophecies of the O.T., there is a section that deals with the rebuilding of the Temple at Jerusalem, and the restoration of the ceremonies and sacrifices of the earthly religion. We refer to Ezekiel, chapters 40-46, where we have a description of a vision given to the prophet fourteen years after the destruction of Solomon's Temple ( 40:1 ). It gives in detail the pattern of a Temple which he was "to show to the House of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern" ( 43:10 ). He was to "write it in their sight that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them" ( verse 11 ). Now, in keeping with their literalism, and their ideas of a future restored glory for earthly Israel, theorists locate this Temple as one yet to be built at Jerusalem for the millennial age. As Philip Mauro pertinently remarks, "The millennium becomes the convenient and promiscuous dumping place for all portions of Scripture which offer any difficulty." ( Hope of Israel, p. 114 ) Footnote

Now we repudiate this fantastic interpretation as a dangerous and anti-Christian delusion, antagonistic to everything Paul teaches in Hebrews 9 and 10; yea, antagonistic to the very heart of the Gospel of Christ. Because, as a cursory glance will show, an essential part of Ezekiel's vision was the description of the animal sacrifices to be offered in this temple. They are listed and described in chapters 40, 42 and 43; and, we are told, sacrifices are to be offered once again in the dispensationalists' millennium. WE ENTER OUR LOUDEST PROTEST AGAINST THIS JUDAISTIC BETRAYAL OF THE GOSPEL. Every page of the N.T. is a trumpet blast against such an unholy idea. One simple question settles this matter: What ended the old system and abolished animal sacrifices in God's relationship with men? Was it the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies? No! It was the great sacrifice of Calvary. THAT wiped away all types FOREVER, and to teach that when that great victory is consummated at His Glorious Advent, God will honour a revival of the old Jewish types IS A DEGRADATION OF THE GOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT AND AN INSULT TO THE DYING REDEEMER. However Christian teachers can possibly entertain such an idea is an unfathomable mystery; it demonstrates the amazing power a false pet theory can exercise over the minds, even of godly men. Let every dispensationalist who reads these lines, ponder the matter, and ask himself this question: "Can you honestly conceive of the Son of God, the King Eternal, reigning over His universal Kingdom, manifesting the mighty triumph of His Redeeming sufferings, yet presiding at services with smoking altars, human priests, and the blood of slaughtered animals poured out for cleansing from sin?"

We know of nothing more repulsive ever suggested in the name of Fundamentalism, and nothing more calculated to bring it into disrepute; it is fit only for a superstitious papist. The repeated affirmations of Hebrews that the old sacrifices were "figures of the true", "could not make perfect", and were only "until the time of reformation", "are taken away", and that God "had no pleasure in them", should forever destroy these Jewish legends of the Last Days.

Scofield, evidently uncomfortable over the business, endeavours to evade the implications of his theory by commenting thus on Ezekiel 43:19: "Doubtless these offerings will be memorial, looking back to the Cross as the offerings under the Old Covenant were anticipatory, looking forward to the Cross. In neither case have animal sacrifices power to put away sin" ( p. 890 ). This is desperately poor evasion—but no dispensationalist can think of anything better. There are two fatal objections. First, the passages themselves refute the idea they are "for a memorial", i.e., if one holds to bald literalism. They are definitely affirmed to be "sin offerings", "trespass offering", etc. The whole five Levitical offerings are detailed, and are stated to be for the purpose of cleansing of the house, and making reconciliation for the House of Israel ( 40:32; 42:13; 43:27; 45:17 ).

Second, is it intelligently and seriously put forward that the work of the Son of God on the Cross will need animal sacrifices to perpetuate its memory and meaning? Outrageous! All who have ever held or taught such a monstrous idea should hang their heads in shame and publicly repent. THIS IS A DOCTRINE OF A GOD WHO WALKS BACKWARDS! A God Who is worse than the apostate Jews who patched up their rent veil after Calvary's consummating Judgment. A God Who goes back on His Son's victorious cry, "It is finished!" But enough! This wretched teaching is the product of minds infatuated with Jewish traditions which, by an ingenious concoction of Jesuitry, had been injected into Protestant, evangelical thought in the 19th Century. We cast it back to its nether origin.

There is a further thought on this subject: If this daily slaughter of animas is to take place in this alleged "millennium", where is the wonderful dispensationalist picture of the glorious peace and tranquillity of the natural creation? We are constantly regaled with ecstatic word pictures of this Kingdom where "the lion and the lamb lie down together" ( actually, the Scripture says, 'the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb' ) and nothing shall hurt or destroy in all His holy mountain? But if the theorists are to be taken seriously, countless numbers of little lambs will not have the chance of cuddling up to a benevolent old Leo; Levitical priests will deprive them of that happy experience; and as for nothing hurting or destroying, the sacrifice of countless animals dispels that delightful anticipation. But how can there be this animal slaughter, if the "Whole creation is delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God"? No! We reject the abomination completely, and feel that every spiritual mind must do the same. With saintly Rutherford we believe

"The Lamb is all the Glory of Immanuel's Land."

Before leaving the subject, one further word may be needful. Speaking to a zealous and able advocate of dispensationalism, regarding these alleged millennial sacrifices, and presenting objections along the above line, the only answer received was, "Well, what interpretation can you give?" There is no doubt that honest dispensationalists are extremely worried over Ezekiel's Temple; it bristles with difficulties as far as their theories are concerned. As for the correct interpretation we are convinced the true picture can find only one logical realisation—viz. the eternal realities of the New Covenant. One thing is absolutely certain; the N.T. establishes without any doubt that the types of Tabernacle and Temple have gone forever, and all that they foreshadowed is unalterably realised in that "habitation of God, through the Spirit", the Church of His Redeemed People. The theologians of the N.T. know of no other Temple, and we reject the spurious interpreters who would seek to overthrow them. Consider just one particular of the vision that supports our position. In chapter 47, the prophet describes a unique feature of the Temple, viz. the waters that flowed therefrom. No other Temple had been marked by such a feature, and surely, the most reasonable understanding of the scene indicates a spiritual event. What is that event? We believe there is a N.T. Scripture to help in the understanding of the vision. Our Lord, on one occasion, made the great promise that those who came to Him and drank, should experience "rivers of living water" flowing from their being. He affirmed that this was "as the Scripture hath said" ( John 7:38 ). Now, as a matter of fact, there is no such statement in the O.T. How then can we regard our Lord's words as finding their basis in the ancient Scriptures? We believe there is a clear and logical answer, viz. that those O.T. Scriptures which speak of promised divine blessings under the symbol of waters, are not literal ( in the sense of referring to physical rivers at an earthly Jerusalem ), but are pictorial representations of the rivers of blessing that were to flow from the Church of Christ consequent upon the coming of the Holy Ghost. This is confirmed by the words of John following the above statement of our Lord: "This spake He of the Spirit which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given". Thus the Lord Jesus was already giving His disciples a guide as to the correct understanding of how the O.T. prophecies were to have their fulfilment—not in earthly, physical blessings to the Jewish people, but in heavenly spiritual blessings for the new Israel. And this undoubtedly applies to Ezekiel's vision. Let the dispensationalist indulge his fanciful imaginations of a future literal temple ( I wonder how many of them really do believe it ), we delight in that mighty river which burst from the Holy Temple on the Day of Pentecost, and now fills the world, having brought healing and life wherever it has gone.

It is of powerful interest to know that the above application of truth had a profound influence over the mind of a man who, by vast numbers of Christians, was regarded as the outstanding Bible teacher of his generation—Dr. G. Campbell Morgan. In his earlier ministry he had held dispensationalist views, but in later years abandoned them as unscriptural. In his excellent "Hope of Israel", Philip Mauro gives an exposition of Ezekiel's Temple in accordance with the non-millennial view. Pursuing the thought that the river from the Temple became a reality on the Day of Pentecost, Mauro then presents a powerful argument that the gathering of the disciples which experienced that visitation was held, not in "the upper room", but in one of the courts of the Temple. And so, within the precincts of the old Temple, there flowed forth from the New Temple, the Divine River. Mauro then records that, before he published this view he had come to believe, he decided to submit it to a competent teacher for his consideration. He sent it to Dr. Morgan, and received the reply that he ( Dr. Morgan ) had never before considered this, but now, having given it much thought, was convinced it was the true explanation of the Scripture. The writer of this work remembers the comments on daily readings that Dr. Morgan used to contribute to "The Christian" during the middle thirties, and how, when the reading was on Acts 2, the comment followed exactly the above line. This was years before the author came to see the truth of the spiritual nature of O.T. prophecy, but when that took place, memory recalled the words of Dr. Morgan. We would that every dispensationalist would give the same open-minded thought to this question as did this eminent bible teacher, because, without bitterness we state quite candidly that the greatest difficulty we have encountered when seeking to present our conviction of truth, is that of the closed mind, and traditional prejudice. Just at the time of writing this, the author had written to a leading Baptist evangelical minister, prominent in dispensational circles; I had listened to an address in which the whole gamut of futurism had been given, and had written to this preacher putting forward some interesting facts for his consideration. Included in these was the fact of Dr. Campbell Morgan's abandonment of these theories for the non-millennial view. The good man replied and ascribed Dr. Morgan's change of view to "his dotage". (?)

In a recent publication, "A new heaven and a new earth", by Archibald Hughes, there is quoted ( p. 123 ) a letter from Dr. Morgan to the Rev. H. T. Wright, Baptist pastor, Brunswick, Victoria, in which he stated: "I am convinced that all the promises made to Israel have found, are finding, and will find their perfect fulfilment in the Church. It is true that in the past, in my expositions, I gave a definite place to Israel in the purposes of God. I have now come to the conviction, as I have just said, that it is the new and spiritual Israel that is intended."

That hardly sounds like dotage! This letter was written in 1943, two years before Dr. Morgan's death. A gentleman with whom the writer of this work became friendly ( strangely enough, a leader of a Brethren assembly ) tells how he also received a letter from Dr. Morgan about the same time, expressing the same views. This gentleman, convinced of the error of Brethren eschatology, and seeing the truth of non-millennialism, had written to Dr. Morgan telling of his convictions.

Thus we conclude our treatment of the New Covenant. It is clear to us that if we accent THE EXCLUSIVE INTERPRETATION GIVEN BY CHRIST AND THE APOSTLES, pre-millennialist theories are impossible. The old is gone forever; the New abides in everlasting glory.

Section 5.

THE GREAT HOPE OF FAITH. Hebrews 11 and 12. We now come to one of the greatest chapters in the Bible—chapter 11. Together with chapter 12 it presents A NEW TESTAMENT INTERPRETATION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT WHICH IS THE MOST POWERFUL CONDEMNATION OF THE PRE-MILLENNIAL METHOD OF INTERPRETATION THAT COULD POSSIBLY BE WRITTEN. The theme of this section is the Great Hope upon which the faith of the men of the old economy was fixed, with the clearest possible teaching that this Hope is REALISED IN THE GOSPEL AND ITS CONSUMMATION IS IN HEAVEN.

Let us begin with chapter 11, and we note that in this incomparable survey of the history of the Remnant, the writer, addressing natural Israelites, develops the history of the Remnant IN RELATION TO THE HERITAGE THAT WAS THEIRS ACCORDING TO THE PROMISE OF GOD. And the amazing thing is that he deliberately ignores the earthly Canaan and the earthly Jerusalem ( which are the perpetual theme-song of dispensationalists ) and utters not a word to support the modern theories of a revived earthly Kingdom of Israel—not a word. On the other hand, the whole burden of the chapter is the tremendous truth that the heritage upon which the hearts of the patriarchs were set, as a result of the divine promise, WAS NOTHING ELSE BUT THE HEAVENLY CANAAN WITH ITS SPIRITUAL POSSESSIONS. No man who believed in an earthly millennium could possibly have made the statements found in this chapter. We feel their import is irresistible. Consider first, verse 10—a dynamic verse:

"For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God." This follows the statement of verse 9, "heirs with him of the same promise". The meaning is inescapable; the patriarchs, living in that far-off age, had a clearer understanding of the fullness of the divine promise than the prophetic speculators of the 19th and 20th Centuries, because, as the verses teach, they understood that the HERITAGE OF THE EARTHLY CANAAN WAS ONLY A TEMPORARY AFFAIR, THE HEART OF THE PROMISED HERITAGE BEING THE ETERNAL CITY OF GOD. They were not looking for Canaan, even whilst they lived there—their eyes were on the heavenly Canaan. Relate this Scripture to the Kingdom passages of Matthew's Gospel, and the matter is settled beyond cavil. There, as we saw, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sit down in the Kingdom; the contextual evidence was conclusive that only the eternal age could fit the description. Now the matter is decisively settled, for Hebrews 11 leaves no escape from the conclusion that the Kingdom inherited by the patriarchs is nothing less than the eternal Land where all men of faith shall at last gather. Look at verse 13 onward:

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." What does this verse mean, if it does not teach that the ancient patriarchs had no concern with an earthly inheritance? Like N.T. Christians, they were "strangers and pilgrims on the earth". Why? The next verses answer as clear as daylight. "They that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country…they desire a better country, THAT IS, AN HEAVENLY, wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; FOR HE HATH PREPARED FOR THEM A CITY."

Dare any dispensationalist dispute the unanswerable statements of the apostle? What country did they desire? The answer is, "the heavenly". What city is to be the centre of their heritage? Is it the earthly Jerusalem? Again the answer is clear, "God hath prepared for them a city."

An interesting practical demonstration of the reality of this heaven-centred faith is found in the early Church. The reader will be acquainted with the amazing outburst of divine benevolence amongst the first Christians, so that "as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them at the feet of the apostles" ( Acts 4:34-35 ). Now this was a remarkable thing. What Jew would sell his land? The Law forbade it: "The land shall not be sold for ever" ( Leviticus 25:23; see also Numbers 36:7 ). Naboth refused to sell his inheritance even to the king ( 1 Kings 21 ). Yet, here were these Jews selling the land they had inherited from their fathers. Why? In the light of Hebrews ( and the rest of the N.T. ) the answer is simple. They saw that the earthly heritage had passed away forever, and their inheritance was in "the heavenly country". ( An amusing sideline query prompts itself. One cannot but notice that many of the "Brethren" are well-to-do, with good earthly possessions. A friend of mine used to say they had a favourite text, 'Godliness is profitable unto all things.' I wonder does the dispensational earthly inheritance' theory bear any relationship to it? )

To get back to the chapter, we notice the concluding verses: "These all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."

These two verses alone state two great truths which, of themselves, are sufficient to sweep away the shibboleth of pre-millennialism. First, whatever the saints of the O.T. received, IT WAS NOT THE PROMISE. Now, what did they receive? The answer of Scripture is emphatic, that Israel of old received every bit of the earthly possession that God intended them to have. We need to emphasise that, for dispensationalism, ever propounding theories in direct contradiction of the Scriptures, asserts that Israel has never received all the land God promised them, and therefore, the millennium is necessary for the fulfilment of the promise. Scofield says: "The nation has never yet taken the land under the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant, nor has it ever possessed the whole land" ( p. 250 ). This is utterly false. Hear the Scripture: "AND THE LORD GAVE UNTO ISRAEL ALL THE LAND WHICH HE SWARE UNTO THEIR FATHERS; AND THEY POSSESSED IT, AND DWELT THEREIN" ( Joshua 21:43 ). Reader, will you believe this clear, unequivocal statement of Scripture, or the perversion of Scofield? Consider again the assertion of Scripture: "And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms, from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt" ( 1 Kings 4:21 ). And again: "Blessed be the Lord that hath given rest unto His People Israel, ACCORDING TO ALL THAT HE PROMISED: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise" ( 1 Kings 8:56 ).

So then, Scripture asserts that Israel received all the earthly land God had promised. Now if that was so, what was it the faithful Remnant received not? The answer is plain; it was the eternal inheritance which is the possession of all the children of faith. This is "the better thing" God has provided for saints of both Old and New Testaments, and they will be "made perfect" together, when the Great Mediator of the New Covenant comes in glory to usher in the new heaven and earth. This "united perfection" of God's Israel is the second truth stated in the closing verses of Hebrews 11, and is the concerted testimony of the whole N.T.

This union of the saints is further emphasised in one of the most beautiful descriptions in the N.T. It is found in Hebrews 12:18-24, with added confirmation in the remaining verses of the chapter. Ponder these sublime words:

"For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, that burned with fire, nor unto blackness and darkness and tempest…But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the City of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. And to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the Blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel. "

This beautiful and instructive passage is, we submit, an epitome of the whole of the N.T. teaching on the subjects dealt with in this controversy. The theories of dispensationalism and pre-millennialism are a jangling cacophony compared with the matchless music of these words, and the truths they convey; a thoughtful reading of it must surely convince all of the true nature of the Church of Christ—its identity with the glorious promised Kingdom of O.T. prophecy, and the finality of the Second Advent, as brought out in the closing verses of the chapter.

The reader addressed by Paul is assured that he bears no relationship to the Old Covenant, but his place under the New has brought him to the blessings and glory of Zion, the City of the Living God. The clear meaning is that under the New Covenant are to be fulfilled the promises of blessing to Zion and Jerusalem. As the Old had given place to the New ( the carnal to the spiritual ), so the earthly had given place to the heavenly; and the Jerusalem of promise and glory was not the disobedient, murderous city of Palestine, but the Heavenly City, identified on earth with the Church of the Firstborn. And these blessings are being experienced NOW, through "Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant". And who is it that partakes of this glorious heritage? Emphatic indeed is the answer: it is those who "have come to Mount Zion", together with "the spirits of just men made perfect". This latter phrase can mean only one thing—the saints of the O.T. as represented by the list in Hebrews 11. So it is clear as words can make it, that the heritage of both Old and New Testament saints is the same, and is realised, not in some imaginary millennium, but here and now, some on earth and some in heaven. Soon, the perfect, everlasting union of these two groups will come, when He will finally shake heaven and earth. This great shaking began when the Lord came to earth; truly, heaven and earth were shaken then, and "the God of heaven set up His Kingdom which shall never be moved." The apostle tells us that this Kingdom is the possession of His People NOW ( verse 28 ). It has nothing at all to do with the Jewish race, nor a future age on this earth. According to dispensationalism, there are going to be innumerable shakings in the future. There will be "the first resurrection and the rapture", followed seven years later by the shaking of "the revelation", with the tremendous shaking of "the great tribulation" in between. Then, at least 1,000 years later, comes the final shaking. But Paul will have none of this guess-work. God's final shaking of the powers of this world is by the establishment of His Kingdom through the Gospel, and this will reach its consummation when "our God" becomes "a consuming fire" at the final Great Day. Again we point out the complete harmony of all N.T. writers on this theme. Witness is borne on every page to the truths for which we contend, whilst the opposing theories are nowhere to be found.

Having thus concluded our examination of the leading themes of the Hebrew epistle, we just return briefly to refer to three passages which merit a separate consideration. The first is

Hebrews 6:1-2:—"The principles of the doctrine of Christ…the resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgment." Paul is here stating some of the primary truths of the Faith, and includes "the resurrection of the dead". Had Paul been a good dispensationalist he would have been careful ( as they are ) to state "resurrections", because a series of resurrections is an integral part of their scheme. But Paul's use of the singular, whilst not advanced as a conclusive proof, is nevertheless, strongly suggestive that in the eschatology of the apostle, there was only one resurrection. His following statement of "eternal judgment" is also interesting. Literally, it is "the judgment of the ages", with Weymouth rendering it "the Last Judgment". Surely, the strong implication is that the great resurrection of the dead ushers in the final, general judgment of mankind, whilst the silence of Paul as regards any millennial Kingdom to intervene between the resurrection and the Last Judgment is very impressive and more so when one realises that such silence characterises every statement made regarding the Last Things. Evidently, this alleged kingdom was not part of the primary doctrine of Christ as taught by the apostles; so we feel justified in taking Paul's statement just as it stands, acknowledging that in his mind the resurrection of the dead is followed by eternal judgment, wherein righteous and unrighteous will receive their due. The second statement we refer to is

Hebrews 9:26-28. "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after that the Judgment." The natural implication of these well-known words is that the next event for all humanity, following the crisis of death, is "the judgment". The statement breathes the spirit of a general resurrection to judgment. That no millennial kingdom is in the apostle's thought is evident from two other phrases in these verses. "But now, once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin." Weymouth gives it, "at the close of the ages", and all modern versions agree; even Scofield gives in the margin, "the consummation of the ages". Relating this to verse 28, where we read, "He shall appear the second time, without ( or, apart from ) sin," a clear conclusion is forced upon us. This Gospel Age, wherein the great Covenant Atonement is being administered, is the closing age of human sin. It brings the record of transgression and rebellion to a close. On the Cross, "He put away sin" ( note the significant phrase ), and, although it continues to manifest itself in the world that denies His triumph, there is coming a Day when that Great Triumph shall obtain universal manifestation; when the Son of God shall forever separate all sin from His Kingdom, and shall need to deal with it no longer. And when will that be? The pre-millennialist says, "At the close of the 1,000 years." But Paul shatters that miserable delusion by stating unequivocally that it is when He comes "for those who look for Him". So note closely the inescapable implications of these oft-quoted verses. There are presented to us three things: the Close of the Ages, the judgment, and the complete abolition of sin. And Paul affirms that all these scenes are enacted, not over a long period of time, but at the coming of the Lord. So once more we have the Coming of the Lord set before us, NOT JUST AS AN INCIDENT PREPARING THE WAY FOR UNPRECEDENTED SCENES OF DEVILRY ON THIS EARTH, FOLLOWED BY TIMES OF UNPARALLELED PHYSICAL BLESSING, BUT THE GREAT CONSUMMATING EVENT IN THE WHOLE STORY OF MANKIND IN THIS PRESENT WORLD. The third statement we draw attention to is

Hebrews 10:25-31. In these verses the Hebrews were exhorted "not to forsake the assembling of themselves together" and a powerful impetus was given to this call by the words, "and so much the more as ye see THE DAY approaching. " What Day? It is the common phrase of the N.T., carrying its obvious implication that there is ONE GREAT DAY in the future programme of God, not several as dispensationalists affirm. Let the reader note how Paul follows on to warn his readers of "the fearful judgment" and the "sore punishment", etc. that will be meted out in "the Day", when men "fall into the hands of the Living God". The connection is so obvious, the unbiased mind cannot miss it. It is the one Day, to which believers look forward as the Day of their Redemption, and in which unbelievers will experience the vengeance of God. Scofield seeks to evade the plain implication of the passage by separating it into two, and calling the latter ( the judgment section, from verse 26 ) a "Parenthesis". What a wonderful thing this "parenthesis" is in Scofield's hands; it affords a remedy for every scourge that threatens the body of dispensationalism. Does a passage link the blessing of the believer, and the doom of the unrighteous in THAT DAY? Then call the latter a parenthesis and the situation is saved. A fitting name for Scofield's production would be The Parenthesis Bible.

Thus we leave Hebrews. One note vibrates right through—the Great Salvation, the hope of the O.T. as well as the N.T., and THE ONLY HOPE THAT HAS EVER EXISTED IN THE PURPOSE AND PLAN OF GOD. It sounds out a constant warning to all, especially Jews, of cherishing a hope of any Kingdom, House or Heritage, other than the provision of the Gospel. Thus it stands as an inspired condemnation of the fundamental principles of pre-millennialism.

The End —

Chapter 13

Behold He Cometh!

Peter, Jude & John — The Epistles of Peter

The perusal of the Acts brought to our notice the preached messages of the apostle to the circumcision. Their theme was that the great Covenant promises made by God to Israel were now being fulfilled through the work of Messiah and the Gospel.

Did Peter have any other message to declare when, in later years, he wrote to Jewish believers? If there is to be a future restoration of literal Israel, Peter will surely have something to say about it. We may legitimately expect him to say something about it in its relationship to the Church. Especially if, as dispensationalists assert, "the immanency of the Lord's Coming was the Hope of the early Church". Need it be said, at the out­set, that we shall search in van through the writings of Peter for a single word on those subjects so dear to the dispensational heart. In fact, he seems to set about the task of de­liberately dispelling those ideas by stressing the heavenly, eternal inheritance as THE ONLY HOPE THAT GOD OFFERS TO MEN. Consider relevant passages.

1 Peter 1:3-7.

He addresses Jewish readers as "the strangers scattered abroad", or, as the margin reads, "sojourners of the Dispersion". To what does he direct their thoughts? Let the reader note the unanimity of the testimony of the N.T. writers for, as Paul repeatedly declared that the substance of his message was THE HOPE OF ISRAEL, realised in the resurrection of Messiah, so Peter affirms his theme to be THE LIVING HOPE, BEGOTTEN BY THE RESURRECTION. He describes this hope without the slightest hint that any other hope existed; nay, rather, he writes in such terms as to ex­clude the possibility that God has provided something else for a section of the human race. Scofield's assertion that the New Covenant secures the future conversion and blessing of natural Israel is utterly at variance with the language of the apostle to the Jews. Peter declares three things about this Hope.

A LIVING HOPE. "Begotten again to a living hope by the resurrection". This is in contrast to the carnal hopes of the Jew of his day of a future kingdom of Jewish supremacy. Theirs is a dead hope, buried forever by the murder of God's Son. This is the CORPSE DISPENSATIONALISM SEEKS TO RESURRECT.

A HEAVENLY HOPE. "Incorruptible, undefiled, that fadeth not away, RESERVED IN HEAVEN. " If there is any statement that makes nonsense of pre-millennial ideas, surely it is this. These people are forever talking about believers returning to this earth with Christ at His Coming, and sharing in the thousand years' rule. But that Kingdom is corruptible, defiled by sin and fades away in a disaster as great as, or greater than, marks the present age. Peter has never heard of it, and directs his readers, not to this earth, but to heaven.

AN ADVENT HOPE. The apostle clarifies the consummation of this Hope. It is to be "in the last time" ( verse 5 ) and "at the appearing of Jesus Messiah" ( verse 7 ). Moffatt renders the former phrase "at the last hour", whilst Weymouth gives it as "at the end of the age", with the qualifying footnote, "at a last season". We are sure that, if men had never heard of the dispensational theory, they could put only one possible construc­tion upon Peter's words. There is only one Hope given by God to men, viz. that begotten by the resurrection of Messiah. That Hope is to be consummated at the "Revelation" ( Apokalupsis ) of Messiah, not seven years before. But this is identified as "the last time" or "the last hour", reminding us of 1 Corinthians 10:11 ( Moffatt ) "the closing hours of this world". The inheritance to which this event brings God's Elect is none other than the heavenly, eternal one. So, here we have the Coming of the Lord, the Revelation, the Blessed Hope, and the eternal age, all identified together, No future age separates them, and Peter's triumphant declaration brands pre-millennialism as a lifeless Jewish theory.

The Ministry of O.T. Prophecy. — 1 Peter 1:10-12.

Dispensationalism maintains that the Church does not appear in O.T. prophecy; it is simply a parenthesis in the plan of God for the Kingdom. We have seen the falsity of this idea in repeated statements of the apostles already considered. Here is another. We never cease to marvel that men can make such statements in the face of declarations such as Peter makes here. Consider what he says:—

The theme that absorbed the hearts and minds of the prophets was nothing else than SALVATION THROUGH MESSIAH ( verse 10 ).

The tenor of their prophecies was "the grace that should come unto you" ( verse 10 ).

They prophesied through "the Spirit of Messiah".

The scope of their prophecies was "the sufferings of Messiah and the glory that should follow" ( verse 11 ).

In those four statements we are informed that the whole theme of Messianic prophecy was the Gospel. There is not the shadow of suggestion that the prophets spoke of a future earthly Jewish Kingdom. But such an admission shatters pre-millennialism, so once again we have one of those extraordinary interpretations offered us in order to give a millennial flavour to the prophets. Peter lists the prophetic message as "the sufferings of Messiah and the glory that should follow". And, say the theorists, this latter phrase refers to the Second Advent and "the Kingdom". One holds one's breath at such "exposition" of Scripture, and, in all charity, can characterise it as nothing less than an insult to common sense.

We advance a proposition with which all true Bible students must surely agree, viz. that correct exposition is governed by three things:

1. The plan sense of the statement itself;
2. The obvious meaning of the context;
3. Relevant statements in the rest of Scripture.

Apply these principles to Peter's statement. First, what is the obvious sense of "the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow"? Intelligence offers one answer—that the glory was that which followed in sequence after our Lord had endured His sufferings. In other words, the "glory" was His resurrection, ascension, and ministry on the Throne. But to say, as dispensationalists do, that this "glory that followed" Messiah's sufferings is the Second Advent, which is at least 2,000 years after, is about as ridiculous a statement as we have come across. Why do they resort to such evasion? Simply to save their theory of the millennium; for, if the "glory that should follow" is that of the Ascended Lord, then, obviously, THESE GLORIES ARE THE SUBJECT AND SUBSTANCE OF O.T. PROPHECY, and the interpretation that locates them in some future earthly kingdom is palpably false.

Secondly, the context crushes this extravagance, for in the sentence that follows we are told, "unto us they did minister the things WHICH ARE NOW REPORTED UNTO YOU BY THEM THAT HAVE PREACHED THE GOSPEL." Could reason desire any further evidence? Unless one casts an unpleasant reflection on the mentality of the apostle it is obvious he is telling us that "the glory that followed" Messiah's sufferings was the royal Glory of King Jesus proclaimed in the Gospel of His grace to rebellious men.

Thirdly, view the statement in the light of other N.T. Scriptures.

Luke 24:26: "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His Glory?"

Acts 3:13: "The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…hath GLORIFIED His Son." These are the words of the same Peter.

Hebrews 2:9: "We see Jesus, CROWNED WITH GLORY AND HONOUR." And now let Peter have the final word.

1 Peter 1:21: "God raised Him from the dead and GAVE HIM GLORY." There is no need to say any more.

We have already commented on the "Rejected Stone" prophecies, so we refrain from referring to it again, and the same applies to the "My People" prophecies from Hosea ( all quoted in 1 Peter 2 ). We conclude our brief look at this epistle with mention of some interesting verses in the last two chapters.

1 Peter 4:13: "Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." Here is another assertion that God's people are rewarded at the time when He comes in Glory—not at some secret rapture. The same thought is clear in

1 Peter 5:1: "A witness of the sufferings of Messiah, and also a partaker of the Glory that shall be revealed." Note too, verse 4: "When the Chief Shepherd shall appear ye shall receive a crown of Glory." This reminds us of Matthew 25, when He sits "on the throne of His Glory" and as the Chief Shepherd "sets the sheep on His right hand". We observe, also, verse 10: "The God of all grace hath called us unto His ETERNAL GLORY." No thought of "millennial glory" with Peter; his sights are on eternity.

Second Epistle of Peter

We are greeted with an arresting statement in the opening verses. "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Messiah." ( verse 11 )

Messiah's Kingdom is Peter's subject. What does he say about it? If he believed with futurists that it was to be of 1,000 years duration, set up on this earth, with Jewry on top, then all we can say is, it would have been better if he had never taken up his pen to write counsel for Christians, because his words are so phrased as to preclude the possibility of the above ideas. But we are satisfied Peter was both intelligent and intelligible, and wrote just what he believed. That belief is clear from this verse. Messiah's Kingdom is an eternal one, inhabited, not by the motley conglomeration that is to inhabit the pre­millennial delusion, but by those who are the subjects of eternal election ( verse 10 ). As to when the Kingdom is to be manifested, Peter, in common with all N.T. writers, indicates it is to be at "the Coming in power of our Lord Jesus", and this latter event ushers in "the Day" which is the great Day of prophecy, the everlasting Day when His Kingdom becomes universally supreme.

We come now to one of the great classic passages of N.T. eschatology, a passage that writes DOOM in letters of flame over the temple of pre-millennialism. We refer to 2 Peter 3.

How men can read this chapter and yet believe the Coming of Christ is to be followed by an earthly millennium, will ever remain one of the insoluble mysteries of the workings of the human mind. One thing is absolutely certain; no pre-millennialist, particularly the dispensational kind, would ever have written this chapter. The whole terrific burden of the chapter, stated in clearest of terms, is of THE ONE GREAT EVENT OF UNIVERSAL DIMENSIONS THAT WINDS UP THE HISTORY OF THIS EARTH, AND THAT THIS EVENT COINCIDES WITH THE COMING OF THE LORD. Of course, such an idea is anathema to our opponents, and anyone who preaches with phraseology and assertions such as Peter uses, is marked down for a heresy hunt. It is as plain as words can make it, that the apostle knew nothing of this strange doctrine, and, of course, that is in no way peculiar, for as we have gone through the N.T., we have not come across anyone else who knew anything of it.

Let us examine this passage; in our pre-millennial days, we found it an awful problem. What a tiresome fellow Peter was to write this way! We used to feel like a monk wearing his horse-hair shirt for the first time. What mental twists we used in order to get round these awkward corners! We feel a sense of shame as we recall some of those occasions.

The subject matter of the apostle's dissertation is clear, "The Last Days" and "the Coming of the Lord". Even Scofield heads the section beginning with verse 4, "The Return of the Lord generally disbelieved". Now what does Peter tell his Christian readers about the Coming of the Lord? The following facts are undeniable:

THE COMING OF THE LORD IS TO BE A CATACLYSMIC EVENT SIMILAR TO THE FLOOD. The Judgment of the flood is the basis of argument, and this application of the O.T. judgment to the Coming of the Lord CORRESPONDS PERFECTLY WITH THE STATEMENTS OF OUR LORD in His own eschatological utterances: "as it was in the days of Noah". But it is a paralysing blow to pre-millennialism, whose advocates assert the Coming will bring to the world its golden era. Peter affirms it will bring total destruction.

IT IS LOCATED AT THE DAY OF THE LORD. It is too plain for an honest man to question, that Peter speaks of the Coming of the Lord and the Day of the Lord as one and the same event. In verse 4 he speaks of the Coming, and proceeds to point out things attendant upon its delay. Then in verse 9 he stresses the certainty of it by avowing, "The Day of the Lord will come." This is a shocking mix-up of terms to the futurist; what an hour's instruction from a Reference Bible would have done for Peter! But we have no doubt the latter would have observed that, whilst he might be out of harmony with these 20th Century notes, he was not perturbed, for the simple reason he was in perfect harmony with the rest of the N.T.; and he actually calls in his "beloved brother Paul" as his witness ( verse 15 ).

IT CO-INCIDES WITH THE JUDGMENT OF THE UNGODLY. In verse 10 we are informed that the Day of the Lord brings about the final fiery conflagration. But verse 7 assures us this fiery day also brings about the DAY OF JUDGMENT AND PERDITION OF UNGODLY MEN. Now, unless one is prepared to accuse the apostle of complete ignorance of the meaning of terms, or sheer stupidity in the use of them, only one conclusion is possible, viz. that the Day of the Lord ( which we have already shown to be identical with the Coming in the mind of Peter ) is the Day that introduces the Final Judgment. Pre-millennialists assert this judgment takes place at the close of the millennium. Peter, never having heard of such an institution, locates it at the Coming and the Day of the Lord—and he has Paul and the Saviour to support him.

IT COMES AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT, verse 10. This phrase is surely a guide­post to the student. The Spirit's repeated choice of this description proclaims that "the wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err". Used by Christ ( Matthew 24:43 ), Paul ( 1 Thessalonians 5:2 ) and John ( Revelation 3:3 ), it bears witness that the Coming of the Son of Man, the Day of the Lord, and the Coming of the Lord are identical. That Coming will burst suddenly upon an unsuspecting world, bringing disaster to the ungodly.

IT IS ATTENDED BY THE DISSOLUTION OF HEAVENS AND EARTH. We have already shown from the words of our Lord and Paul, that the Coming will be attended by the final conflagration. Here the matter is incontestably sealed. "But the Day of the Lord will come, as a thief in the night, IN THE WHICH the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat." There is no escape from this statement. The teachers whose views we are opposing say the Day of the Lord ushers in the millennium—earth's most glorious age. But the Holy Spirit, through Peter, contradicts this, and dogmatically asserts the Day of the Lord brings the total destruction of this sin-cursed earth. Even S. Gorman, treading very warily in his attempt to "futurise" the 6th Seal of Revelation 6, timorously suggests a connection between the events that follow its opening and the events described by Peter. ( See "Coming World Ruler", p. 90 ) But if this is so, Gorman shatters his own theories for, according to this, the passing away of the present cosmos takes place at Revelation 6.

Peter was well acquainted with the phrase "the Day of the Lord" in the O.T. Scriptures. According to dispensationalists, it is the great Day that precedes Israel's exaltation in the millennium. Let the reader ask himself: Is it credible if Peter believed this, he would have stated so positively that the Day of the Lord would witness the destruction of the earth? He gives not a shadow of a hint that any of the alleged glories of Israel accompany or follow the Day of the Lord; nay, rather, he expresses himself in such a way as to exclude such a possibility. There is only one conclusion; Peter held an entirely different view of O.T. prophetic terms from those held by the modern school of Adventist teachers.

THOSE WAITING FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD ARE TO LOOK FOR THIS GREAT CATASTROPHE. With characteristic consistency, Peter goes on to declare that the coming dissolution should ever be prominent in the believer's outlook. As he walks the pilgrim pathway, waiting for the Coming of the Lord, he knows he is to anticipate the destruction that will attend that event. In fact it is to inspire him to holiness: "What manner of persons ought ye to be, in all holy conversation and godliness, LOOKING FOR AND HASTING UNTO THE COMING OF THE DAY OF GOD, WHEREIN THE HEAVENS, BEING ON FIRE, SHALL BE DISSOLVED."

We again ask the question: Could Peter have used such language if he believed that over 1,000 years before this occurrence, the whole Christian Church would have been translated into the presence of Christ, to share in a visible reign on this earth? It is an etymological absurdity. Note, too, that the associating of the Day with holiness, identifies it with 1 John 3:3, where His Appearing is stated to be the purifying hope of the believer. The two are one.

AT THIS TIME, BELIEVERS ARE FOUND OF HIM IN PEACE, WITHOUT SPOT AND BLAMELESS ( verse 14 ). This phrase undoubtedly refers to the appearing of the saints in the presence of Christ. In common with the rest of the N.T., Peter places this at the same time as the other events mentioned in this passage.

THE COMING OF THE LORD INTRODUCES THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NEW HEAVENS AND EARTH ( verse 13 ). This is the only prospect Peter can hold out to his readers—for the reason there is none other. An earthly millennium, with temple, ritual, Levitical feasts, sacrifices, etc.? Peter had never heard of it, and points men up­ward to the new order. And, NOTE THE AUTHORITY PETER QUOTES FOR HIS ESCHATOLOGY; none other than the Lord Himself: "According to His Promise". This means that what Peter was now teaching was based on the words of the Lord Jesus; THE NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH WAS THE SUBJECT OF HIS PROMISE. Then away with pre-millennialist contentions that our Lord spoke about a millennium! Peter here confirms what we saw in our examination of the Gospels, that the Kingdom the Lord Jesus spoke of was the eternal age.

PETER AFFIRMS THAT ALL THIS IS IN HARMONY WITH THE TEACHING OF PAUL ( verses 15-16 ). The words "even as our beloved brother Paul…hath written unto you" seem to suggest the Hebrew epistle, addressed to natural Jews. The words, "as also in all his epistles" indicate that what was found in this passage by Peter is common to the eschatological teaching in the rest of Paul's writings. What a crushing rejoinder to those who attempt to find in Paul a "secret rapture of the Church" over 1,000 years before the final end! We have already shown that Romans 2 teaches a general judgment at the Advent; Romans 8 identifies the Coming with creation's deliverance, whilst Romans 9, 10 and 11 show that the Coming completes the elective purposes of God in the human race. 1 Corinthians 15 declares the Advent brings the final destruction of death, and the "End" of all human rebellion; Thessalonians I and II proclaim the deliverance of the righteous and the destruction of the wicked in everlasting condemnation at the Advent, which is heralded "in flaming fire".

So Paul and Peter are in perfect harmony—in fact, they never had a cross-word ( except Galatians 2 ), until dispensationalism appeared on the scene. To accept these plain statements as they stand saves one from an immense amount of mental theological juggling. There is no need to spin out words in an attempt to find some explanation as to why the apostles never mention a future glorious age on earth, with restored Jewish supremacy; or to attempt high-flown theories about one writer dealing with the hope of "a heavenly people", whilst the other deals with "the future of the cosmos". Both deal with the same subjects, and say exactly the same things. And this we are sure of; whether the reader agrees with all the details of the exposition given in these pages or not, he must agree with the main contention, urged again and again, with overwhelming supporting evidence that the apostles, moved by the Holy Ghost, couched their eschatological concepts in terms which can only logically be construed as completely repudiating the idea of an earthly millennium following this Gospel age. And the CROWNING ACT IN THIS REPUDIATION IS THIS THIRD CHAPTER OF PETER'S SECOND LETTER. His language makes any idea of an earthly millennium a grotesque absurdity. Yet even here, the blind infatuation of theorists with their beloved millennium, makes them try to rescue their "dream age" from the oblivion to which Peter's words would consign it. Some have suggested that the revelation of it had not been made known to him. What colossal nonsense! Four mountain peaks bar any attempt to escape by such a dangerous route. First, there is Peter's claim that he was teaching Pauline eschatology, and no dispensationalist would say that Paul knew nothing of the millennium. Secondly, there is the fact of Peter's wonderful understanding of O.T. prophecy. If the prophets had taught so clearly ( as pre-millennialists affirm ) the glorious millennium, no one would have seen it more clearly than Peter. But even, time he opens His mouth to quote ( and interpret ) O.T. prophecy, he shuts the mouths of all pre-millennialists. See Acts and 1 Peter. Thirdly, Peter always had in mind our Lord's glorious promise to him and His fellow apostles: "In the regeneration... ye shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. " If ever there was a revelation of a millennium on this earth, it was there—if we bow before the god of ultra-literalism. But Peter saw no such meaning in the words. He remembered the promise of the Lord and wrote, "We, ACCORDING TO HIS PROMISE, look for a new heaven and a new earth." Divine revelation showed Peter THAT HIS THRONE AND KINGDOM WAS IN THE NEXT WORLD, NOT THIS. Fourthly, the escapist evasion of the futurists ignores the all-important fact that Peter was writing under inspiration; the Holy Ghost certainly knew whether or not there was to be a millennium.

Before leaving this passage, there is one further argument which has recently been put forth by these folk to try and get a millennium into this passage. The writer met it with one of his former pre-millennial colleagues. Quoting verse 8 ( "But beloved…one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." ); this contender for the millennium said, "It is as if Peter was saying, 'now before you jump to conclusions about the words I am going to say, remember that a thousand years is nothing with God, and He can fit in such a period between the beginning of the Day of the Lord and the new heavens and earth'."

One is stunned into silence when confronted with arguments of this nature. What can you say to people who juggle about with words like that? Talk about rabbits out of the hat—these people can bring their millennium out of anything and nothing. But in all seriousness, if this is the kind of argument needed to support belief in a doctrine, and if this is the kind of Scripture "exposition" required to bolster up a belief, no greater condemnation of the millennium idea is needed. Can anything demonstrate more clearly the terrible fact that, when men are determined to hold on to a religious theory, they will do all sorts of violence to texts in order to read their pet view into them? Let no one wonder at the extravagant perversions of Scripture propagated by false sects, when the Word of God is treated in the above manner by evangelicals. We are absolutely and actively opposed to modernists and their creed of "unfaith". Nevertheless, in some respects, we have come to see how they feel when, in the words of one of their most outspoken leaders to­day, evangelicals were castigated as "those who rummage round the dustbins of so-called Biblical prophecy". Interpretations like the one quoted above are calculated to provoke such scathing criticism. The statements of Peter show that no such abstract idea had any place in His mind when he penned verse 8. Two things will destroy this fantastic attempt to make Peter a pre-millennialist. First, he declares with dogmatic directness that the Day of the Lord is an unbroken time of judgment for this world, culminating in the dissolution of the cosmos; note His words: "in the which the heavens shall pass away". To suggest these words leave room for 1,000 years of glory for this world, is extravagance run riot. It is equal to anything Pastor Russell or Mormon Joe Smith ever claimed from Scripture. Secondly, Peter's use of the phrase "a thousand years" has nothing whatsoever to do with a possible future dispensation for mankind. He is dealing with the scoffer's sneer that thousands of years have passed without the promised intervention of God. The scoffer says, "You have been talking about His coming for a couple of thousand years; where is it?" The apostle answers in a twofold way, first by stating that similar sneers had received an awful answer by the sudden destruction of Noah's day; and second, by affirming that, with the eternal being of God, there is no such thing as time, one day being as a thousand years, and vice versa. To press this obvious statement out of its contextual meaning and try to make it teach an earthly millennial age, seems to me to be just about the sorriest thing in theorised exegesis.

Note too, that in emphasising this fact of God's timelessness as overshadowing His apparent delay, the apostle argues that the purpose of this delay is "salvation", i.e. the Coming of the Lord is delayed that the longsuffering of God might lead many more to repentance. With the Coming, the longsuffering of God ends, and the day of salvation is forever closed. This, of course, agrees with all Christ taught on this important subject. Where, then, is the dispensational theory that after the Coming of the Lord there is to be a colossal scale salvation, something more magnificent than has ever been seen in this "age of salvation"? It is another Romish myth.

So we complete our examination of Peter's message. It is identical with Paul's and our Lord's; and all of them were completely unaware of that which forms such a large part of modern prophetic teaching—an earthly millennium.

We will now glance at the brief reference in the writing of Jude, and then come to the final N.T. witness—John.

The Epistle of Jude

This letter, dealing with the rise of apostate teachers within the Church, has a distinctly eschatological background. Marked by rugged statements, it seems clear they hold nothing of either the letter or spirit of dispensationalism. Jude writes in a manner that precludes those theories. Note, first, His reference to the coming judgment of angels, which takes place at "the great Day" ( verse 6 ). He immediately links it with the judgment of the sinners of Sodom and Gomorrah. There follows a strange reference to the body of Moses, and whilst, with this the main point evidently is the authority of the devil, it is significant that the archangel, at whose trump the resurrection shall take place, is introduced. There seems to be the suggestion that the raising of the bodies of the saints will be closely associated with "that great Day". This is strengthened by another remarkable statement in verse 14, where the judgment of the wicked is definitely connected with the Day when "the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints". This is awkward for Futurism, for its advocates affirm that the execution of judgment upon the ungodly will be at least 1,000 years after the Lord comes WITH His saints. Jude is no friend of millennial eschatology. There is also some light here on the matter of the Lord coming WITH His saints. Futurists say this is seven years after the "Rapture". But, in 1 Thessalonians 4, we are told that, when the Lord comes for His people, "them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring WITH Him". So this one Coming is both FOR and WITH His saints; FOR the living, and WITH the dead in Christ. Thus, when Jude speaks as in verse 14, we take the obvious meaning that he is quoting the prophecy of Enoch in the terms of Pauline eschatology. This leaves us with the conclusion which the whole of the N.T. has previously led us to—that the Coming of the Lord for the deliverance of His People also brings the doom of the ungodly, and ushers them to the judgment of men and angels. We suggest too, that this is the spirit and tone of the closing part of the epistle. "The last time" ( verse 18 ), "the mercy of Christ unto eternal life" ( verse 21 ), and "the fire" ( verse 23 ), from which sinners are to be rescued, are all mentioned in such a way as to give no inkling of dispensational theories. The whole tenor of the epistle is undoubtedly this:— the Great Day of judgment is the pre­dominating event of the future; it will occur when "the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints"; in view of this believers strive to turn men to repentance to save them from eternal fire. As for themselves, this appearing of the Lord, bringing doom to the ungodly, will be the Day of mercy, ushering them into the age of eternal life. Then it is they are "presented faultless before the presence of His Glory" ( verse 24 ). To us, this text bears a strong resemblance to Matthew 25, where the Son of Man "sits upon the Throne of His Glory", and His sheep are pronounced faultless, with the welcome into the eternal Kingdom. The phrases used, and the whole tone of the writings, stamp them so clearly as being identical, that only an obsession with an intricate theory can prevent a man seeing this.

So Jude lends the weight of His testimony to the overwhelming witness of the N.T. writers that the Coming of the Lord is one grand consummating event.

The Epistles of John

We come now to the closing writer of the N.T. A fairly exhaustive examination of the other writers has failed to reveal any inkling of a millennial Kingdom; rather, their emphatic statements, continually repeated, have served to completely cancel out any such idea. Shall we find any support for the view in the writings of the last of the apostles? It is in one of His writings that the famous passage, on which the 1,000 year Kingdom teaching has been built, is found. We might logically expect that, if this particular passage is intended to convey the popular millennial theory, support for it will be found in the other writings of John where Last Things are mentioned. We turn, therefore, to His epistles for light.

Strangely enough, the passages relating to the Coming of the Lord are few and short; we list them hereunder, and it will be seen, at the first reading, that John held no intricate theories concerning the Advent. We find no mention of several phases, resurrections, judgments, etc. but all is couched in such simple, artless terms as to convey the immediate impression that, to the apostle, the Coming of the Lord was the one Final concluding event in the relationship of God and man. Dispensationalism certainly seems to have been non-existent in the mind and thought of John when he wrote His letters. Look at these passages from the first epistle:

"Little children, it is the last time ..." ( 2:18 ).

"And now, little children, abide in Him; that when He shall appear ( ejpipa>neia—epiphaneia ), we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His Coming" ( 2:28 ).

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear we shall be like Him; for we shall see him as He is" ( 3:2 ).

"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment" ( 4:17 ).

In these brief statements we have John's doctrine of the Advent. Reader, which view does John seem to imply from these words? The involved theories of two ( or even three ) advents, three ( or four ) resurrections, and several judgments? or the view advocated in this work of one great Advent which ushers in the Final Events? A brief consideration will make it clear that John was no dispensationalist in the modern sense.

It is evident, first of all, that John knew of only one advent, and he calls it "the ejpipa>neia—epiphaneia" or manifestation. It is the term used in 1 Thessalonians 2:8, 1 Timothy 6:14, Titus 2:13, and other passages, and refers to the great Day of His manifestation in glory. A secret coming was a conception foreign to the mind of John. Of this Appearing, John says several things. First, it will be the time when some believers will have confident joy whilst others will be ashamed. Again, it is the time when those who are the sons of God will share His likeness. In other words, it will be the manifestation of the sons of God ( Romans 8 ). But, as we saw in considering this latter chapter, this manifestation takes place at the time when the whole creation is delivered from the bondage of corruption. Finally, John intimates that this time when the believer has confidence at His Appearing is the Day of Judgment. This last phrase must be very disconcerting to the dispensationalist. He is so careful to distinguish the various judgments of His scheme, that one will never hear a preacher of that school speaking in a general sense of "the Day of judgment" in relation to the believer; they are meticulously careful to use the term "Bema" or "Judgment Seat of Christ". But the clear implication of John's words confronts the open-minded reader—there is A DAY OF JUDGMENT, and it is here the believer must appear. It is necessary, too, that this statement be viewed in the light of John's other writings. And it is from his pen the graphic pictures of the Judgment come in the Revelation. Revelation 11:18 and 20:11 portray that solemn event; and when John, in his epistle, speaks of "The Day of Judgment", it is inevitable that we should identify it with the Day he describes so vividly in his apocalyptic letter.

Such is the view of the Coming presented to us in these epistles, and when we turn to the first quoted verse above ( 2:18 ), no room is left for doubt. Twice the apostle tells his readers this "is the last Time". This Gospel Age is the final phase of God's dealings with men in time; beyond it is the eternal age. This statement, in various forms, has been made by our Lord, Paul and Peter; now John speaks in the same voice.

Thus, we are confident we have set before the reader the UNITED AND UNANIMOUS TESTIMONY OF ALL THE N.T. WRITERS. Not one of them has said a single word about "two phases of His Coming". Not one has uttered a word about the Lord Jesus reigning on this earth at the city of Jerusalem. Not one has written a syllable about a millennium on this earth when the ancient prophecies of Israel's blessing are to receive a literal physical fulfilment. Their whole testimony has been to point men to the eternal world, the heavenly heritage of all saints, and the one grand event that ushers in this final glory.

It is now left for us, in the light of all we have seen, to face the final message of Scripture, in which the Advent figures so prominently, and in which occurs the classic passage which is the chief ground of millennial hopes. Thus we turn to The Revelation.

The End —

Chapter 14

The Great Unveiling

Patmos Visions Of The End

The true expositor of God's Word is ever conscious of a sense of incompetence and insufficiency. He deals with the Ark of the Testimony, and dare not put his hand to it without fear and trembling. This sense is deepened when one faces the closing book of Scripture. We cannot share the smug satisfaction with which some prophetic "authorities" have pronounced their well-nigh infallible interpretations, clearly notifying all and sundry that the last word has been spoken. We share Mr Spurgeon's feelings in regard to the Apocalypse; he regarded with concern the spate of books that appeared in his day, claiming to be the true interpretation of the Revelation. He points out, in his lectures to students, that it was the one book on which John Calvin wrote no commentary, and warns men of spiritual bankruptcy when they prefer an hour's Bible study over an obscure passage in the Revelation to teaching a class in the Ragged Schools. Yet, of course, the study of this book is absolutely essential, and so we come to it; it only behoves us to exercise the greatest care, particularly in those impressive visions John records, and then to advance our conclusions with the required measure of reverent reserve.

We assert right away that the surest ground for doctrinal belief is found in the first chapter. Here, we have not entered the sphere of apocalyptic vision; here are definite doctrine, statements, and, surely, we can see the mind of the Spirit in this. BEFORE ENTERING ON HIS DESCRIPTION OF THE GREAT EVENTS VEILED UNDER THE SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE APOCALYPSE, JOHN GIVES US A CLEAR PRESENTATION OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE ADVENT HE HELD IN COMMON WITH THE OTHER APOSTLES. THE SUBSEQUENT VISIONS MUST ALWAYS BE SEEN IN THE LIGHT OF THE UNVEILED TRUTH OF CHAPTER ONE. We are confident that the doctrinal position of this chapter coincides with that set forth throughout this work. Consider some of the statements.

"Jesus Christ, who is the Faithful Witness, and the First-begotten of the dead, and the Prince ( R.V. Ruler ) of the Kings of the earth" ( verse 4 ).

The supremacy of the Lord Jesus over all earthly powers is here asserted to be a present fact—not something to be realised in a future millennium.

"He hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father" ( verse 6 ).

We present this verse as a GOVERNING FACTOR in the interpretation of other passages in this book. Note John's clear declaration that the priestly kingship of believers is something which exists by virtue of their partaking of the atoning Blood, and is not something they are to inherit in a future dispensation. Even as the Lord Jesus is now exercising His Priest-King office after the order of Melchizedek-David, so His followers are KINGS AND PRIESTS NOW. This is of first-rate importance, and should impress itself on the mind of the reader. It is NOW "He hath made us to be a Kingdom of priests" ( R.V. ).

Discussing this issue with a group of able pre-millennial teachers, the writer asked them to produce a single verse from the N.T., apart from Revelation 20, that declared there would be an earthly Kingdom age to intervene between this Gospel age and the eternal age. Only one offered to attempt to provide such evidence, and claimed to give two appropriate verses. Strangely enough ( and yet, not so strange ) they were both from the Revelation, viz. 2:26, "To him will I give power over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron," and 5:10, "And we shall reign on the earth."

Surely, on the very face of it, to be able to quote only these verses, and none other, is of itself, a powerful evidence of the bankruptcy of pre-millennialism in the court of the N.T. In any case, both Scriptures bear another interpretation, which utterly discounts the strain put upon them by futurists. The first is based on the prophecy of the second Psalm, and we have already shown that this is being fulfilled in the present dispensation. Christ is ruling NOW; this is confirmed by His words to the believer, "even as I received of My Father" ( verse 27 ). The promise to the believer is not one of helping to stamp out evil during a future millennium ( a strange conception, in any case ), but of sharing the "all power" of Christ in this present age when He is receiving the heathen for His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession. ( See also Psalm 110 ) But, even suppose it referred to a future event, it would be equally well interpreted if it was credited to the believer's association with Christ in the final Judgment of the wicked, whereby he wields the rod of iron, and shatters the wicked as a potter's vessel.

The second verse quoted is simply an uninformed appeal to the faulty rendering of the Authorised Version. A glance at the Revised, and other modern renderings, would have silenced this pre-millennialist before he opened his mouth. The R.V. reads: "And made them to be unto our God a Kingdom of priests, AND THEY REIGN ON THE EARTH." The reign of the saints is, as shown by Revelation 1:6, A PRESENT FACT, NOT A FUTURE HOPE. Even now, "THEY REIGN IN LIFE, BY ONE CHRIST JESUS" ( Romans 5:17 ). This reign will last forever, receiving its universal manifestation in the new earth of the eternal age, not in an imaginary millennium, where threats of rebellion disturb the serenity of the redeemed.

Following this verse which asserts the present reign, John announces the Advent in arresting words—

"Behold, He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindred's of the earth shall wail because of Him" ( verse 7 ).

It is impossible to escape the plan doctrine in this assertion. Surely, there could not be a more devastating answer to dispensationalism and pre-millennialism than this sentence. Where is the Secret Rapture? Where is the two-phased coming? Where is the "tribulation" and the earthly Kingdom prior to the doom of the wicked? The answer is clear; they were unknown to Johannine eschatology. The only Coming John knew was the one described here, and it is totally out of harmony with the teaching of Darby, Scofield & Co. Let it be noted that John was addressing believers when he says that THE NEXT GREAT ACT OF DIVINE INTERVENTION, FOLLOWING THE REDEMPTION OF HIS PEOPLE, is to be, not a secret Rapture, BUT THE ADVENT IN THE CLOUDS OF GLORY, VISIBLE TO ALL MANKIND. "Every eye shall see Him." And the Coming, instead of ushering in an era of peace, is greeted with universal wailing. To plain readers this latter phrase conveys but one thought—it immediately links itself with the other N.T. statements which describe the doom of the unrepentant as "weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth". What then, have dispensationalists to say to this statement of John's? Can they produce another remarkable interpretation? Of course they can; there is no limit to their expository inventions. The writer recently confronted a thorough-going futurist with this verse, and was met with the astounding reply that this wailing would be the fulfilment of Zechariah 12:11-14, where we read of a weeping in Jerusalem, consequent upon the outpouring of God's: Spirit. Scofield, also, heads the section in Zechariah, "The repentance of the Remnant." So we have the amazing theology of Futurism that this wailing in Revelation 1:7 is the weeping of repentance on the part of that remarkable "Tribulation Remnant" which a certain section of 19th Century Adventism invented. This Remnant is the wonder-prodigy of dispensationalism, and the pungent comments of Alexander Reese ought to make every futurist examine his beliefs.. He writes:

"Marvellous is the Remnant in the hands of a thorough-going dispensationalist. Are there martyrs for God's Word and Christ's Gospel still in the disembodied state in heaven, after the secret rapture and resurrection? ( Revelation 6:9 ) the Remnant or its converts will account for them. Are there saints ( Paul's and John's name for Christians ) in the Tribulation at the End? Again the Remnant's converts fulfil all that is asked of them. Are there Elect ( the term used by our Lord and His apostles for the saved of this dispensation ) to be mustered at the Last Day? The Remnant, with its imprecatory Psalms and the Sermon on the Mount accommodates itself to the situation. It meets every emergency, solves every difficulty, carries every weight." ( Approaching Advent, p. 112 ) His further scathing remarks are in no way out of place when he writes of dispensationalists whose theories have "necessitated and created the two-headed, two-tongued monstrosity in Israel and Christendom at the End-time—a half-converted, half Christian Jewish Remnant, which at one and the same time evangelises the nations—and invokes the curses of heaven upon them; which cleaves to the imprecatory Psalms—and uses the Lord's Prayer, some of the beatitudes and the Missionary Commission of Matthew 28; which knows nothing of present peace, forgiveness and deliverance, yet converts untold millions to Christ; which is sealed against death—and has many thousands of martyrs who are so fortunate as to enter heaven and attain the highest blessings; which is nebulous in its knowledge of full salvation—and becomes the nursing father to the glorious martyrs of Revelation 7." ( Approaching Advent, p. 115 )

We understand the wailing of Revelation 1:7 in the same way every commentator understood it before J. N. Darby, arrived with his incredible theories. We see in this verse John's description of an Advent which brings deliverance to the righteous and eternal disaster to the ungodly. It should be noted, also, that this pronouncement of the Appearing of Christ is enforced by a solemn decree: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord which is, and which was, and which is to come, THE ALMIGHTY." What is the implication of this? Surely, nothing less than the truth that the Coming so solemnly announced in verse 7 ushers in the Great Day OF GOD ALMIGHTY. The suggestion is so strong as to force the conclusion.

The importance of this verse in the introduction to the Apocalypse should not be overlooked; IT IS THE SPIRIT'S GUIDEPOST TO THE TRUE DOCTRINE OF THE ADVENT. Addressing the Churches of his day, John his only one Coming to point them to as the Hope of every blood-bought believer; it is not secret, nor separate from the Glorious Appearing, but identical with it. He comes in the clouds of heaven, visible to all mankind, and brings in the Final Great Day. IT IS SUCH A COMING THE FOLLOWING VISIONS OF PATMOS EXPOUND. It his no "series of Comings", nor a Coming that ushers in a Kingdom age where sin smoulders and erupts. It is the same Coming as in the Gospels and Epistles. John points in exactly the same direction as Peter and Paul, and their Great Master.

Another suggestive statement is found in verse 9, where John describes himself as "a brother and companion in tribulation and in the Kingdom and patience of Jesus Messiah " Obviously John regarded himself as a member, not only of the Church, but of Messiah's Kingdom, thus again intimating that the latter was a present, not a future establishment.

We now proceed to the visions of Revelation. Full exposition is impossible—and unnecessary. We propose dealing only with those portions that clearly portray the End, and in this our task is plain. There are several passages that so clearly describe various aspects of the Final events that if we treat of these, we shall apprehend the true teaching of Revelation relative to the question discusses throughout this work. There is, of course, no need to remind the reader that the futuristic theory that in Revelation from the beginning of chapter 4 onwards has nothing to do with the Church Age, but deals with events after the Church has been "raptured to the heavenlies", is completely discountenanced. It is a 19th Century fable, "a thing fondly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture." Neither do we accept the extravagant application of some of the visions to certain historical events, is advocated by varying schools of historicist interpretation. Whilst we believe the book is historical, we do not believe its visions are consecutive, neither do we feel they deal with a succession of comparatively minor events in the history of Europe, is certain expositors have sought to prove. We refer in interpretation that might be called "Spiritual historical", i.e. the main message of the visions is spiritual, unfolding the great spiritual dramas that have been enacted, and will be enacted, in the great conflict between God and Satan. These events may embrace great movements in earth's history, or may be events occurring in the spiritual realm. We commend such expositions is Hendrickson's "More than Conquerors".

Having said this, we turn to some of the relevant passages.

The Sixth Seal — Revelation 6:12-17.

We feel convinced that only the great consummating event of the Advent coincides with the awful picture even under the symbols of this passage. Dr. Scofield's interpretation that it represents "Anarchy" is pathetic. This is no picture of human anarchy, but of AWFUL, UNIVERSAL, AND FINAL JUDGMENT. The identifying marks of this portion, fixing it upon the Advent, are manifold. The signs in the heavenly bodies, the shaking of earth and heaven, and then their passing away; the terror and wailing of earth's inhabitants, and the vengeance of the Crucified One, all proclaim that here we have a fearful a description of the Day when He appears, "taking vengeance on them that know not God". And the issue is clinched beyond doubt by the concluding verse, which states that this is none other than "THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH". This is the Final Day of Judgment, when the ungodly shall receive their eternal sentence. The futurist dodges this by contending that verse 16 states "the wrath of the Lamb", and this Day is entirely different from the Final Day of God's wrath. Surely, nothing more puerile could be advanced. How many Days of Wrath ( Great Days ) are there to be in this calendar of prophetic guesswork? Have not these Bible students learned one of the elementary truths of Revelation that God and the Lamb are one? Look at chapter 7, where the Blood-washed throng are before the Throne and the Lamb; salvation is to "God and the Lamb" ( verse 10 ); they have "washed their robes…in the Blood of the Lamb, and are before the Throne of God" ( verses 14, 15 ). So it is throughout the Book, and in the final visions we see "the Throne of God and the Lamb" ( 22:3 ), whilst in 21:22, "God and the Lamb are the temple of it". Frankly, we ale utterly weary of this lamentable by-play on words, whereby, when a different phrase is used, prophetic theorists imagine some different event to be in view. Let them be consistent; in chapter 20 we read of "the book of life", but in 21:27 we read "the Lamb's book of life". Two different books? Absurd! Yes, and so is the dispensational contention that the wrath of the Lamb is something different from the wrath of God. In any case, 6:16 shatters them to pieces when it states, "the face of Him that sitteth on the Throne, and the wrath of the Lamb."

We present, therefore, the conclusion that the picture of this vision is of an event that accords with the clear statements of the rest of the N.T. We have seen repeatedly that the message of Christ and His apostles points to an Advent that is attended by cataclysmic happenings, bringing this present world to an end. Such is the message of this vision; the affairs of this age are wound up by the Great Day of His wrath.

Then, in conformity with the rest of N.T. teaching, there follows in chapter 7, an indescribably sublime record of the lot of the righteous—the multitude which no man can number of all nations: I take this to refer to the whole Israel of God; it is one great company, the roll-call of the "Tribes" having been "heard" by-John ( verse 4 ), then, when he "looks", he beholds, not a company of literal Jews, but a host out of every tribe and nation—the Israel of God, the "My People" of Isaiah and Hosea, They are set before us in striking contrast with the company of chapter 6; These latter face awful vengeance; they have "come out of great tribulation". These cry to be "hid from Him that sitteth on the Throne"; they "are before the Throne of God". These suffer "the wrath of the Lamb"; but they are "led and fed by the Lamb at the living fountains of water".

What shall we say of the crowning absurdity of dispensationalism that this company of blood-washed saints are a company of people saved after the Church has been taken from the earth, and that THIS HOLY PASSAGE WHICH HAS THRILLED AND COMFORTED THE PEOPLE OF GOD ALL DOWN HISTORY, really has nothing to do with the Christian Church? We shall add nothing to what we have already said; this wretched treatment of this sublime passage creates such strong feelings in us that we fear lest we should speak unadvisedly, like Moses of old. But let every reader be warned of a system of theorising that would filch from the Christian Church the power and glory of such a passage is Revelation 7, and apply it to some imaginary crowd of "tribulation saints", of which neither the apostles nor the Great Head of the Church ever uttered a syllable.

The passage requires a further emphasis. We have here a picture of the ransomed of the Lord entirely out of accord with pre-millennial theories. They join in an everlasting song ( verse 12 ); they are "before the Throne of God", and they "serve in His Temple"; they "hunger and thirst no more", and the Lamb leads them "to fountains of living water". To us, the state described is plainly identical with Revelation 21 and 22, and can be nothing less than be eternal state. There is no idea of a millennial Kingdom where saints are supposed to suppress sinners with a rod of iron. Such a thought is completely antagonistic to the scene of unalloyed and undisturbed holiness wherein the blood-washed ones enjoy the presence of their God in the passage before us. From their tribulation the redeemed enter into that eternal state which is the Hope and Home of the Israel of God.

The Seventh Trumpet. — Revelation 11:15-19.

To us, there is no question that this scene also introduces the Last Things. Its distinguishing features are too numerous to leave any reasonable doubt. And we also contend that the description is such as to give no indication of an earthly millennium; rather, it presents forcibly the view of the End which this work has sought to show, is the unanimous testimony of Scripture. Note the details stated in this passage.

It is inaugurated by the sounding of the Last Trump, and we have already shown its identity with the Last Trump of 1 Corinthians 15.

It witnesses the passing away of this world system and its powers, with the manifestation of the Everlasting Kingdom of God.

It is the Kingdom of THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY—the very same Kingdom Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 15, which succeeds the handing over of "the Kingdom of the Son". So clearly, it is no earthly time-limit Kingdom.

It is the time of the visitation of the wrath of God on the nations of earth. That this wrath is not merely in earthly, temporal judgment, is made clear from the statement immediately following, that it is "the time of the dead, that they should be judged."

Following the judgment of the ungodly it the time of the raising of the dead, comes the rewarding of the saints. So this latter is located at the judgment of the wicked. This is entirely out of harmony with pre-millennialism, but fully consistent with the rest of Scripture.

The heavenly Temple is opened, whilst the present earthly order passes away in earthquake, etc.

We submit, therefore, this is another passage which contains no sentiment of pre-millennialism, but breathes the spirit of the doctrine we advocate.

The Double Harvest. — Revelation 14:14-20.

This chapter contains several visions of the end-time; the last bears a relationship to our theme. It is in harmony with the teaching of Christ on similar matters. The picture is of the harvest, and the obvious message of the vision is that the harvest is of a twofold character. There is a reaping unto glory; there is also a reaping unto wrath. A reaping of harvest grain by the Son of Man, and a reaping of the vintage for the winepress by the angels. The picture irresistibly recalls the parables of Matthew 13 where the end of the world is likened to such a double harvest—the angels sever the wicked from among the just, consigning the former to doom whilst the latter are gathered to the heavenly Kingdom. It is not wise to press too much from the apocalyptic visions in view of the varied interpretations, but we cannot help but feel that the whole tenor of this vision supports the view so clearly presented in the rest of the N.T. that the end of this age brings the final harvest of both righteous and ungodly. Scofield's heading to this passage is, "Vision of Armageddon"—a theoretical assertion without a vestige of support from any other passage of Scripture that depicts Last Things under the fibre of the harvest.

The Great Day Of God Almighty. — Revelation 16:12-21.

The 6th and 7th vials bring us again to the Final Things. The 6th vial prepares for "the Great Day of God Almighty", and the 7th pictures the Day itself. This terribly solemn phrase can have but one intent—to impress our minds that we are confronted, not with incidents in the development of Time ( Man's day ), but with the One Great Day to which all time has moved and at whose arrival Time shall be no more; it is the final consummation of all things temporal; the story of sin and rebellion is over; it is THE GREAT DAY OF GOD ALMIGHTY. To say that any other day ( such as the beginning of the "millennium" ) is this day is a contradiction in terms. Only one day can possibly merit such description—the Final Great Day of God's reckoning with this world. There are other identifying marks of this Great Day. The naming of the Day is followed by the reminder of the Coming of the Lord as a thief, with the call to His people to watch ( verse 15 ). The message is inescapable; the Great Day is not seven years, or 1,007 years after the Christians have been removed from the earth, but the awe-inspiring event for which they are to watch and prepare. This is the same counsel as given by Paul, Peter and the Lord.

Again, we read of "a great voice out of the Temple of heaven saying, 'It is done'." It reminds us of "the Lord Himself shall descend FROM HEAVEN, with THE VOICE of the archangel." The thunders, lightnings and earthquake, accompanied by the passing away of the islands and mountains, and the hail out of heaven, all proclaim the Day of Judgment when the ancient destructions of Sodom and Gomorrah and Babylon will receive a final, universal repetition.

All these passages which introduce us to the Final Things give no hint of a future age on this earth as told as by pre-millennialists. The picture is the same all the way through the N.T., of one awful, consummating Day, wherein the purposes of God, both in redemption and judgment, reach their finality.

Thus have we travelled the path of the N.T. It has been a plan path, like the way of holiness, clearly seen by the simple. Like the path of the just, it has shone more and more, leading us to the PERFECT DAY, THE HEAVENLY ZION. The imaginary millennium has nowhere cast its shadow. All that remains is to examine the passage which the blindness of literalism has made the basis of Fundamentalism's greatest blunder.

The End —

Chapter 15

Problems of Pre-Millennialism

Moral, Spiritual & Biblical

One characteristic of false views on any subject is that more problems are created than are claimed to be solved. So it is with the false interpretation of prophecy by pre-millennialists. So, before we present our view of Revelation 20, we feel it expedient to list some of the problems raised by the theory we oppose. We classify the problems in two sections; first, those arising from the earthly interpretations of the vision of Revelation 20, and, second, general problems of the theory. We will deal with the latter first and show how pre-millennialism PRESENTS NUMEROUS IDEAS WHICH ARE ENTIRELY FOREIGN TO BOTH LETTER AND SPIRIT OF THE N.T., consideration of which must surely lead every thoughtful student to cast the theory to its rightful place in the limbo of Jewish legends and literalistic sensationalism. We list these problems as follows:

According to this theory, the Second Advent leads to a TEMPORARY ARRESTING OF EVIL. But is this in accord with the picture presented by the whole of the Bible? A thousand times, no! The whole witness of Scripture is that the Advent is the FINAL judgment on all evil. IT NEVER GIVES THE SLIGHTEST HINT THAT, AFTER THE RETURN OF CHRIST, SIN AND REBELLION WILL CONTINUE TO EXIST. The whole of the O.T. testifies that the Advent of Messiah will display a Kingdom WHOSE GLORY WILL NEVER DECLINE, BUT WILL BE FOREVER AND EVER, AND WILL ETERNALLY INCREASE IN SURPASSING SPLENDOUR, e.g. "Thy sun shall no more go down…for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended" ( Isaiah 60:20 ). This is the whole tenor of prophecy. As for the N.T., there is no purpose in troubling the reader with the repetition of Scripture after Scripture which assert unequivocally that the Advent brings the end of all evil. Even pre-millennialists give themselves away sometimes when they seriously consider the Advent, minus the millennial spectacles they have manufactured from Revelation 20. Let me give a pointed example. Canon Faussett, in his exposition of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 ( Jamieson, Faussett & Brown Commentary ), seems to forget his pre-millennial views. ( In his comments on Revelation 20 he gives the usual pro-Jewish dogma, stating, 'As the Church began at Christ's ascension, so the Kingdom begins at His Second Advent.' The folly of that statement we have shown dozens of times. ) Carried beyond his pre-millennialism by the irresistible truth of 1 Thessalonians 4, he comments: "Jesus is represented as a victorious king, giving the word of command to the hosts of heaven in His train FOR THE LAST ONSLAUGHT, AT HIS FINAL TRIUMPH OVER SIN, DEATH AND SATAN." How admirable! What a perfect exposition! No opponent of pre-millennialism could have presented a stronger case. The obvious question arises: Why, in the face of this, assert ( as Faussett does ) that 1,000 years after this "FINAL TRIUMPH", Christ will need to gather "the hosts of heaven" once again for another "last onslaught" in order to obtain another "final triumph"? What absurdity! Were it not so serious, it would be laughable, as we see such able expositors get themselves all tangled up in the millennial net. Alexander Reese quotes these words of Canon Faussett, and then tries to extricate himself and the Canon from the confusing dilemma into which these words have forced them. In his admirable chapter on "the Porousia", in which he flays the futurist theory of two Second Advents, he quotes Faussett to show the ridiculousness of the Darbyist theory of a secret rapture based on 1 Thessalonians 4:16. But Reese is a pre-millennialist, although one seems to detect all through his fascinating book a lurking suspicion of the weakness of the foundation on which millennialism rests. So, when he quotes Faussett, he sees clearly the obvious anti-millennial implication of the exposition, and, in a desperate attempt to save the situation he gives us this rather amusing footnote: "Lest the word 'final' should be misunderstood, I remark that Canon Faussett held ARDENTLY to the Kingly rule of Christ following the Advent in Revelation 19:11 and 1 Thessalonians 4." ( Approaching Advent, p. 142 )

How delightful! Nothing must be allowed to undermine this wonderful millennial Kingdom! Not even the acknowledged declaration of 1 Thessalonians 4. But, like two schoolboys caught in the farmer's tree, Reese and Faussett have given the whole game away. It is useless to throw the stolen apples over the wall when they are caught "in the act".

The second problem of pre-millennialism is the resurrection of evil. These folk assert that the Kingdom of 1 Corinthians 15 over which Christ reigns is their millennium. As shown when dealing with that Scripture, it is not so. But suppose we take their theory; what then? We are told that Christ reigns till He puts all His enemies under His feet, THE FINAL ONE BEING DEATH ITSELF. In other words, His reign closes with the complete subjugation of every anti-God power and principle. Then in the next breath, they tell us that at the close of this reign, WHEN EVERY FOE SHALL HAVE BEEN DESTROYED ( not merely held in check ), a little season ensues wherein THE FOES OF GOD ARE ABLE TO GATHER FOR A GREATER REBELLION THAN EVER BEFORE. Marvellous! Satan produces the greatest miracle in the story of the human race. He outdoes the resurrection of Christ, for, when every foe had been destroyed by Christ, he is able to resurrect them again; when Christ has conquered and destroyed His very Last Enemy, Satan can bring Him to dread conflict once again; when Christ has brought the race, and everything connected with it, under His sway, the Devil can turn the tables and bring all under his leadership once more. Search the whole of heretical literature, and see if you can find anything more repugnant to the Christian mind than that. Reader, do you believe such nonsense? Mr. Spurgeon, in addressing his ministerial conference on one occasion, said, 'I trust that if any of you err from the Faith and take up with new theology, you will be too honest to pray for power from God to preach this mischievous delusion. If you should do so, you will be guilty of CONSTRUCTIVE BLASPHEMY." We feel almost the same shudder when we are confronted by the above profanity of pre-millennialism.

Added to the temporary arresting, then the resurrection of evil, there is the millennial concept of THE FORCEFUL SUPPRESSION OF EVIL. This idea of Christ and His saints rooting out "non-vicious" sin, and smiting the rebellious with the rod of iron; keeping in check the "tiger-like passions" of unregenerate men—and eventually failing to do so ( the end is Satan's rebellion and triumph ) is utterly repugnant and opposed to every concept of the N.T. Reader, we ask again the question we have asked a number of times: Where, in all the writings of the apostles, and the words of the Lord Jesus, do you find such an idea? The presentation of the whole N.T. is that the Coming of the Lord is such a vast, all-consuming display of heavenly glory, that before it ALL EVIL FLEES FOREVER, AND ALL ANTAGONISM CRIES TO BE HIDDEN IN EVERLASTING SHAME. But pre-millennialism would belittle and debase this mighty Advent, by telling us that evil is not abolished, but just subjected to a major adjustment. 'Much of millennial submission to Christ will be only on the surface; in fact, it will be an age of surpassing hypocrisy. Whilst the wolf lies down with the lamb, the wretched beast is only waiting and scheming for the day when "his passions" can be unleashed and his fangs plunged into the helpless creature. A rule of force keeps him in check. Whilst the wilderness blooms and blossoms, and all appears a veritable Paradise, yet the rod of iron hangs over all. In fact, the millennial hill, in reality, covers a smouldering volcano, and eventually there comes the infernal eruption.

If this idea of a Kingdom of Christ in visible glory following His sin-destroying Advent affords satisfaction to anyone, we are speechless with amazement. To us it is revolting. From the resplendent pictures in Scripture, we look for an Advent whose glory shall forever blast away all evil. We look for an everlasting reign of Christ where His Glory shall never be dimmed by EVEN THE SHADOW OF REBELLION: WHERE THE SPLENDOUR OF HIS PERSON AND THE INEFFABLE GLORY OF HIS ALMIGHTY SACRIFICE SHALL EXERCISE ABSOLUTE AND UNDISPUTED SWAY OVER THE HEARTS OF EVERY MEMBER OF HIS KINGDOM FOR EVER AND EVER. Once on Calvary's Tree, He dealt with sin by the omnipotent weapon of His out-poured Blood. Shall He then, when He comes as the Scripture says, 'apart from sin', take up another weapon—an infinitely lesser weapon—to deal with His dreaded foe? Perish the thought—and the man-made dogma that breeds it.

This stamping out of evil in Christ's Kingdom by a rod of iron rule, i.e. by force, is a false concept. Christ has told us that "in the end of this age, the Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity" (Matthew 13:41).

The pre-millennial doctrine affords the basis for the delusion of a "second chance", and carnalises the salvation of God. Amongst the headaches of pre-millennial theories, one of the worst is the question of the inhabitants of this "castle-in-the-air" Kingdom. We have already quoted leading pre-millennial writers on this matter, showing that this kingdom is occupied by a mixed multitude. In his notes on Micah 5, Scofield comments: "In the morning of the kingdom, which is set up in power…there is world-wide preaching to Jew and Gentile…and the unrepentant will be broken with His rod of iron" ( p. 950 ). This is a futurist fairy tale, and leaves us bemused and befogged. We had thought that ALL Israel ( meaning Jews, according to the theorists ) were saved at the Glorious Appearing. But now this delusion is shattered by the theorists themselves, because in this wonderful kingdom, the Jewish super-evangelists' first job will be to convert their fellow Jews, as well as Gentiles. Where will it all end? On the other hand, we have one of the more modern dispensational writers ( Stanton in "Kept from the Hour" ) trying to sort out this Chinese puzzle by saying, when discussing who will inhabit this kingdom, "nor shall the unrighteous, for those not killed by the tribulation judgments shall be destroyed by the brightness of His Appearing" ( p. 269 ). Again he says: "There are indications that the unrighteous shall in no wise inherit the Kingdom of Christ. God shall purge from among Israel all the rebel Jews ( Ezekiel 20:38 ). The tares are rooted out from among the wheat and burned with fire, and this before the righteous shine forth in the Kingdom of their Father." So one writer contradicts the other in this welter of carnal guesswork. Not only so, but this last writer also contradicts himself, for, on the next page ( 270 ), he speaks of UNBELIEVERS in the millennium, quoting Revelation 20:7-8: "Those who succumb to this final Satanic delusion are not redeemed men." Out of all these "Old-Moore-like" speculations, the obvious teaching is that there are considerable numbers of unregenerate people who enter this Kingdom. If we take the dispensational interpretation of Matthew 25, whole nations irrespective of redemption through the Blood of Christ, but simply because of alleged friendliness to the Jews during "the tribulation", enter into this kingdom. The position then, with which we are confronted, is that multitudes of people who have LIVED IN DELIBERATE REJECTION OF THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD DURING THIS AGE, NOW HAVE ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY OF SALVATION ( ? ) THROUGH "ANOTHER GOSPEL", viz. "the beautiful Gospel of the Kingdom" ( Scofield, p. 949 ).

One thing that evangelical Christianity has always set its face against is the error that men who have rejected the Gospel of Christ in this world will receive another chance of salvation in another world. But lo, and behold! here is the very thing itself, under a slightly different guise. That men who have refused God's salvation in this age should have an opportunity of salvation in another age, after the Return of Christ, is not one whit different in principle from men receiving another opportunity after death. Yet, evangelical preachers, particularly those of the Brethren body, who so strongly preach against the latter, tenaciously hold the other as Bible truth. The only redeeming feature of these men is that, generally speaking, whilst they preach present salvation to the general congregation, they reserve these "spider-spun" theories for their own classes and conferences. The writer has frequently told them: "Mercifully, when you preach the Gospel, you preach in flat contradiction to, and condemnation of, the doctrines involved in your prophetic theories."

The whole burden of Scripture is that THIS ( the age of grace ) is the Day of Salvation. The whole theme and challenge of the Hebrew epistles ( written to Jews ) is that GOD HAS NO PROVISION FOR ANY MAN OTHER THAN THE GOSPEL OF HIS GRACE. So pre-millennialism is not only a delusion, but a danger.

Following closely upon the last problem, is one closely associated with it, viz. the physical and material aspect of the inhabitants. Stanton ( above ) is perplexed by it. He asks, "Who then, shall populate the millennium? Can immortal beings marry and beget children?…Will men who have put on immortality own property, ploughing their fields and cultivating their vineyards?" ( p. 270 ) If it were not for the seriousness of the issue, one would be convulsed with laughter at the ridiculousness of the ideas posed by such questions. Are these men so blind that they cannot see the foolishness of teachings that raise such problems? "Human folly, how far wilt thou go, when priests lead thee by the nose?" So queried Mr. Spurgeon in one of his scathing denunciations of ritualism. We trust we shall be excused if we ask, "Believer, how far in folly wilt thou go, when dispensationalism leads thee by the nose?" In this millennium there will be the queerest mixture ever known. Glorified saints will return from heaven to mingle with "earth-dwellers"; resurrected saints who have attained to angelic stature ( Luke 20:36 ) will dwell with ordinary men, who will, presumably, have to carry on daily occupations. According to literalistic interpretations of O.T. prophecies, there is gong to be building of houses and planting of vineyards. Will the glorified saints join in this? Enough! We once saw a film attempting to portray in exaggerated literalistic manner the Negro's conception of heaven; saints and angels joined in "fish-frys" and such things. We are reminded of it by this aspect of pre-millennialism.

Closely allied to this is the problem of death in the millennium. We have previously shown our Lord's refutation of this idea, when He stated that the age that follows this present Gospel age is one where death is unknown ( Luke 20:36 ), and Paul announces the truth that death is swallowed up FOR EVER at the Advent of Messiah ( I Corinthians 15:54, quoting Isaiah 25:8, R.V. ). But the pre-millennialists affirm there will be death in their kingdom. For this starting and extravagant idea, their sole support is a peculiar, isolated text in Isaiah: "There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner, being an hundred years old, shall be accursed" ( 65:20 ). Upon such a statement, and that alone, IS BUILT UP THE REVOLUTIONARY IDEA THAT DEATH SHALL EXIST IN THE KINGDOM OF ONE WHO HAS SWALLOWED UP DEATH FOREVER! Is it any wonder that pre-millennialism was rejected by Bible scholars for many centuries and is being rejected again by ever-increasing numbers of Christian men? Millennialists' opinions are divided on this "death question". Some think it applies to righteous and unrighteous—and if this text did refer to physical death ( and did refer to a millennium ) such a conclusion might be reached, for, as the death of unrighteous men during the millennium is accepted by those who hold the theory, the statement of the text that the child died could be construed as support for the belief that death is known among the righteous also. But if this is so, when are they raised? because, according to pre-millennial interpretation of Revelation 20, the only resurrection following the establishment of the Kingdom is that of the ungodly for the Final Judgment. Others, however, hold that death will affect only the unrighteous. All sorts of problems arise here. First, this lonely proof text says nothing about the death of the sinner; again, if Jewish evangelist are busy during the Kingdom age, may there not be some "death-bed conversions"? If so, then the righteous die. Again, if only sinners die, then the righteous live right through the millennium, and as many entered it as grown men ( according to teaching on Matthew 25 ), then we shall see mortals living to an age beyond Methuselah's. That of itself poses another question: Will such people continue forever in their mortal state, or will there be another divine manifestation ( of which the Scripture gives not the shadow of a hint ), conferring immortality on these remarkable "Millenarians". Yet again, when these unrighteous people die during this millennium, will the immortal saints who are everywhere watching over this Kingdom be in attendance at the burials? What a thought! So we could go on with these questions suggested by this queer theory. There is a simple answer to them all—let the reader accept the inescapable fact that the N.T. teaches that the Advent brings the complete abolition of death, and ushers in the eternal age, and these stupid problems will never arise.

Another problem is that of God's redeemed people, who have been delivered from the presence of sin at the Advent of the Saviour. Hear even the pre-millennialists orate on this particular point! But what they preach from the pulpit in an evangelical meeting is contradicted by the theories they propagate in their classes and their books, for, according to them, the saints will once again be brought into contact and conflict with the accursed thing. For, according to most of this school, the main occupation of the saints during the millennium will be putting down rebellion and stamping out "pockets of resistance", with the rod of iron. We do not relish this prospect. According to the O.T., we had been led to expect a Kingdom where "no unclean thing passes over it," where the ransomed obtain "everlasting joy upon their heads, and sorrow and sighing flee away" ( Isaiah 35 ). As for the N.T., every picture it presents to the believer is that the Coming of the Lord ( or previous death ) brings him to his heavenly citizenship ( Philippians 3:20-21 ), where all the inhabitants

"…see His face
And never, never sin.
And from the rivers of His grace,
Drink endless pleasures in."

Coupled with this problem of sin is the problem of war. The Kingdom of the theorists is brought to an end with a gigantic war, involving the four quarters of the earth: "The Second Armageddon" they call it. But the Kingdom foretold in the O.T. ( upon which the millennial idea is based ) is one of which it is said, "Neither shall they learn war any more" ( Isaiah 2:4 ). The attempts of the pre-millennialist to get round this are amusing ( or pathetic ), and recall an incident in the writer's experience at the time he came into conflict with his former colleagues through his rejection of pre-millennial teaching formerly held. It was at a Christian rally; the preacher was an exceedingly able man, and a powerful advocate of the literalistic school. ( He has since gone to be. with the Lord, and we thank God for the memories of vigorous Gospel witness together in the Birmingham Bull Ring, before the rejection of pre-millennialism secured the writer's exclusion from the old fellowship. ) The substance of his address on this occasion led on to the Second Advent, and he pressed it home with a peroration that concluded with the words of Isaiah, "And they shall learn war no more." Whether it was that he caught sight of me at that moment ( he knew I was present ), or whether my thoughts made a powerful telepathic protest to his mind, I know not, but he paused for a moment after the quotation, and then added, "For the period of His reign." Exquisite!

Lastly, the question is prompted: "If the devil is banished from the earth, and rendered completely powerless to tempt earth's inhabitants, what possible power is there to prevent everyone from coming to repentance?" We are told that the deliberate enemies of God are destroyed at the Advent, and only those sympathetic to the Kingdom ( even though unconverted ) enter it, joined, perhaps, by distant heathen who had never heard the Gospel. Suppose these "sympathetic unregenerateves" enter the Kingdom. There will be no devil to deceive them; all the glorified forces of heaven and earth combine to draw them to surrender to the King; and, greatest of all, He Himself in all His indescribable glory will dwell among them. ( The Glorified Christ among unregenerate mortals; what a conception! ) Surely, no human heart will be able, let alone willing, to resist this overwhelming and unhindered display of divine power, righteousness and love. But we are solemnly assured that it will be so, and not just a few here and there, but on such a scale that when the deceiver is unloosed again, he finds a numberless army ready to follow him. Of all the wild creations produced by the human mind in the name of theology, this would be difficult to beat. We invite the reader to reject it finally and forever.

From these general problems, we turn now to those created by the pre-millennial interpretation of Revelation 20. Obsessed with their literalistic ideas of an earthly, material fulfilment of O.T. prophecies, they have excitedly grasped at this passage as giving a N.T. setting for their theory. To borrow Alliss's phrase, "It is the frame which fits the picture of O.T. prophecy." They remind us of the official "Yard" men in many of the Sherlock Holmes stories. The crime presented no difficulty to them; it was as clear as daylight what had happened and who was the guilty culprit. They proceeded with their triumphant arrest; then came the snags; things did not fit so easily as they first suspected; in fact, it soon became apparent that their certain solution was impossible, and was simply the result of impetuous superficiality. So it is with pre-millennialists and Revelation 20. One or two apparent ideas in the passage have seemed to provide just the situation they need to back up their views of the O.T. prophecies. Their excitement at this discovery has paralysed their powers of spiritual investigation, with the result that they fail to see that there are numerous factors in the vision THAT SIMPLY CANNOT BE SQUARED WITH THE EARTHLY INTERPRETATION THEY GIVE IT, and, indeed, show their interpretation to be rashly superficial and false. A careful reading of the passage will convince the thoughtful student THAT THERE IS NOTHING IN THE BURDEN AND SPIRIT OF THE WHOLE VISION TO SUGGEST ITS IDENTITY WITH SCENES OF EARTHLY, MATERIAL and NATIONAL PROSPERITY; the whole scene vibrates with the greater reality of spiritual conflict and triumph, and is a fitting counterpart to those classic O.T. passages which describe the complete triumph of Messiah and His People over their tyrant foes, e.g. Psalm 2 and Psalm 110, which, as we have already seen, are the ground for repeated apostolic expositions of the reign of Christ and His redeemed. As with the general tenor, so with the details; the pre-millennial interpretation of these bristles with difficulties, whilst some are utterly impossible. We consider them now.

There are factors which even pre-millennialists have to acknowledge are symbolic; the key and the chain are certainly not literal. Then why insist the 1,000 years must be literal? Many millennialists also acknowledge the symbolic character of Scripture numbers. There is no doubt with us that "thousand" has a symbolic meaning in Revelation. The "ten thousand times ten thousand" of Revelation 5 is surely typical of the vast host of the redeemed. The 144,000 of chapters 7 and 14 are clearly typical ( unless we surrender to Seventh Day Adventism or Millennial Dawnism ). So is the "one thousand, six hundred" of 14:20, where the river of blood six feet deep and two hundred miles long is clearly a figure. W. J. Grier quotes Bishop Wordsworth as saying that the number 'one thousand' is used more than 20 times in Revelation, "not once, as I believe, is it used literally. It is employed as a perfect number." ( The Momentous Advent, p. 83 )

There is no statement the thrones John saw were on earth.

The next feature seems to cancel out the idea of earthly thrones, for John is careful to note that he saw "souls". This seems to point to the intermediate state. Not saints in their glorified bodies, but "spirits of just men made perfect" ( Hebrews 12:23 ), come before the Seer's vision. It connects with 6:9, where he had previously seen the souls under the altar. They also had been slain for the Word of God, and there is much to support the view that they represented the martyrs of the O.T. Church. Now John sees them, with the martyred company of the N.T. Church, enthroned with Christ.

The company specifically named by John is a grave objection to the pre-millennial view, particularly futurism. We are told it consists of the martyrs and those who have resisted and overcome the Beast. Dispensationalists identify these latter as a company on earth after the rapture. Is the millennial reign to be limited to this company, FROM WHICH THE WHOLE CHURCH IS EXCLUDED? An effort is made to get over this difficulty by quoting verse 6, "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection", and contending that the whole Church, being in the "first resurrection" is referred to in this millennial rule. The manufactured character of such an argument is self-evident. John's words in verse 6 are not given to vastly enlarge the company of verse 4, but simply to describe their character. The concluding phrase of verse 5 emphatically states that the reigning of the select company named in verse 4, IS the first resurrection, not a fragment that contributes towards it.

The doctrine of at least two separate physical resurrections from this passage demands a view of the resurrection totally unsupported by the rest of Scripture. The unanimous testimony of the Word is to A resurrection.

"There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust" ( Acts 24:15 ).

"A day in which He will judge the whole world" ( Acts 17:31 ).

"The hour is coming in which ALL that are in the graves shall come forth…" ( John 5:28 ).

One of the fatal objections to the pre-millennial interpretation of Revelation 20 is that it demands ideas which are entirely out of accord with the plan, definite statements of the rest of Scripture. This, alone, is sufficient to rule it out of court.

The complete absence of millennial ideas from this passage. Writings of the pre-millennialists teem with descriptions of their prophetic utopia. Humanity, the animal race and the natural creation, all join in forming a vast pro-Jewish Co-operative Society, producing prodigal fertility, amazing longevity, and universal pacivity. But John records nothing of this. We do not press such absence as a fundamental objection, but it is at least suggestive. After all, if we followed the dispensational method of "notable omissions", our argument would be conclusive.

The startling fact that at the close of this period, Satan finds on earth, ready to hand, such a vast body of responsive material to raise a universal rebellion seems to us to utterly shatter the idea that this 1,000 years has been the one so vividly portrayed for us by the fanciful descriptions of futuristic writers. The figures employed "four quarters of the earth", "as the sand of the sea", contrasted with "the camp of the saints", and "the beloved city", seem to indicate a staggeringly overwhelming numerical superiority of Satan's forces. And we are asked to believe that this amazing state of affairs comes to pass after Christ has reigned in person and glory at Jerusalem for 1,000 years. Read dispensational literature with its glowing pictures of practically the whole world converted; no devil, no temptation, no "vicious sin" ( S. Gorman's foolish phrase ), the whole earth "filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea". And then, when the devil is given the smallest chance, he upsets it all, and completely reverses the whole situation! Was there ever anything so fantastic and outrageous as that, put forward for Christian consumption? How incredibly gullible can men become when their minds are obsessed by false theories! We are convinced the whole conception is so ridiculous that we doubt whether those who propagate it really believe it.

The identifying of Satan's host with Gog and Magog immediately connects it with Ezekiel 38 and 39. The writer of the Apocalypse lives in the realm of Scriptural symbolism, and his symbols are not a variation of their use in other parts of the Bible. The use of them and their meaning elsewhere, is a clear clue to our understanding of them in Revelation. So with this phrase. The pre-millennialist is hard put to it to reconcile these two portions of Scripture. The prophet adopts language which points to the complete destruction of Gog and Magog, and futurists identify this with the destruction of the anti-Christian powers at the Glorious Appearing. Then how can Satan raise up these mighty powers again after another 1,000 years? Dr. Scofield feels the awkwardness of the situation ( as well he might ) and tries to meet it by stating: "The whole prophecy belongs to the yet future Day of Jehovah, and to the Battle of Armageddon, but includes also the final revolt of the nations at the close of the Kingdom age" ( p. 883 ).

The reader will see at once the "elastic" interpretation of Dr. Scofield. He is forced to locate Ezekiel's destruction of Gog and Magog at the Glorious Appearing, but because his theories demand an interpretation of Revelation 20 that presents Gog and Magog in full activity once again, 1,000 years later, he advances the nonsensical idea that Ezekiel's message really embraces two destructions, with the age of Israel's glory in between. This is not Scripture exegesis, but the regrettable shuffling of the Bible passages like a pack of cards, in order to pull off a plausible trick. No! it is clear that the prophet's message is one of unqualified gladness for the people of God; when Gog and Magog have been overthrown, God dwells among His people, His eternal purposes are realised, AND GOG AND MAGOG WILL NOT RISE TO TROUBLE THEM A SECOND TIME.

We have already stated that John's reference to these evil powers is a guiding principle for the correct understanding of his vision. It is set there to show that THE 1,000 YEARS REIGN PRECEDES THE DESTRUCTION OF THE ANTI-GOD POWERS, AND AS THIS LATTER COMES TO PASS AT MESSIAH'S GLORIOUS APPEARING, IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE 1,000 YEARS IS A PERIOD THAT COMES BEFORE, NOT AFTER, THE SECOND ADVENT.

The description of Christ's people as "a camp" and a "City", encompassed by gigantic foes is graphic. It suggests a Church beset by vast forces of evil, this accords with a strong line of teaching throughout the N.T. regarding the Church in the closing days of time. But it is absolutely impossible for it to refer to the close of this supposed millennium, for, with all that is gong to happen then ( according to its advocates ) the people of Messiah will have an overwhelming majority, with His enemies but isolated remnants—especially after "the rod of iron" has rooted out and smashed the "vicious" ones. If we listen to the theorists, this Kingdom will be inhabited by the countless host of the redeemed; then there will be the "numberless multitude of tribulation saints"; then we must not forget the whole race of earthly Israel; and to crown it all, the millennium itself will be the time when the Spirit will be poured out upon all flesh, and those wonderful Jewish evangelists will convert the vast majority of the "heathen in the outlying parts of the earth". So we have this vast accumulation of millions upon millions of Messiah's subjects—and expanding for 1,000 years, whilst the straggling remnant of Satan's followers who dare to show themselves, are "smashed in pieces like a potter's vessel". Then, WONDER OF WONDERS, HELL OUTDOES ALL THE MIRACLES OF HEAVEN, for "in a little season", everything is completely reversed; Satan's followers become a vast, unnumbered multitude ( where he gets them from, no one knows ), whilst the universal Kingdom of Messiah is reduced to a beleaguered camp! Has anyone ever heard of such a mass of self-contradiction as that?

This vast insurrection at the close of the 1,000 years is followed by a universal judgment, at which ALL stand before God, and those whose names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life are cast into everlasting fire. This is another guide-post to the location of this vision, for it has been shown a score of times and more, in these pages, that the fiery doom of the wicked is everywhere affirmed to be executed at "the end of this age", at the Glorious Appearing. It is the testimony of Christ ( Matthew 13:50 and 25:41 ), Paul ( Romans 2:5 ), Peter ( 2 Peter 3:7 ) and John ( Revelation 1:7 ). Therefore, the interpretation of Revelation 20 which places the destruction of the wicked 1,000 years after the Glorious Appearing ( and entirely unrelated to it ) contradicts the rest of Scripture, and must, of necessity, be false. On the contrary, the conclusion is forced upon us that "the 1,000 years" and "the little season" must precede the Advent.

Verses 8-9 describe the FINAL CONFLICT WITH THE FORCES OF EVIL. Here God forever puts an end to human and Satanic rebellion. THIS CAN BE NOTHING LESS THAN THE GREAT DAY OF GOD ALMIGHTY. There cannot be two such days, especially two days separated by 1,000 years of divine glory. To say that an event of divine destruction of God's foes, followed by an age of universal divine triumph, and this in turn followed by another act of divine vengeance, is the great Day-of God Almighty is the extreme of absurdity. The Great Day is the ONE GREAT DAY THAT GOD ALMIGHTY HAS APPOINTED FOR THE FINAL ACT OF VENGEANCE ON ALL HIS FOES. Now, in Revelation 16:14 this very Day is introduced, in conjunction with the thief-like Coming of the Lord Jesus. It is the same Day as Revelation 20:8-9, and this conforms to everything else in the N.T. about That Day. It is typified by the judgment of the Flood and Sodom; these figures were employed by Christ, Peter and Paul to tell us that the Day when God shall execute vengeance on ALL that know not the Gospel is the Day of His Appearing. Therefore, an interpretation of Revelation 20 which locates the final judgment of God upon evil at a time entirely different from the Coming of the Lord, is a false one.

Thus, our examination of the pre-millennial conception of Revelation 20 has shown it to be without foundation. It is nothing but a wild conclusion, drawn from a purely superficial reading of the passage, without any consideration of the clear, indisputable teaching of the rest of the N.T. Nay, more, it is an interpretation that flatly contradicts the repeated eschatological statements of Christ, Paul, Peter and John. Therefore, we have no hesitation in rejecting it as a figment of human imagination.

The End —

Chapter 16

The Thousand Years Reign

Having seen the absolute untenableness of the popular idea of this passage, we now turn to it believing it can only teach a view of Truth that s in perfect accord with all that has been taught in the rest of the N.T. The Christ Who speaks in Revelation by picture and symbol is interpreted by the Christ Who speaks in plain precept in the Gospels. Blinded by a bald literalism, the Jews of our Lord's day completely misunderstood the character of Messiah's Kingdom described in the ecstatic pictorial language of the prophets; may we be delivered from a similar evil as we consider the Bible's final picture of the conflict with, and overthrow of, the powers of evil.

The vision of John embraces six clear features, and it is in the locating of these in their true Scriptural setting that the understanding of the vision lies. They are:—

A Mighty Conquest of Satan by One Come Down from Heaven. When does this take place? Our only answer must come from the rest of the Bible, and the plain truth that confronts us is that THERE IS NOT A SINGLE VERSE IN THE N.T. WHICH TELLS US THAT THE SECOND ADVENT IS THE TIME WHEN SATAN'S POWER IS OVERTHROWN. On the other hand, every statement upon this subject relates it to the ministry, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Here is a line of truth we have emphasised before; we do so again. It is a false teaching to ascribe to to the Second Advent that which the N.T. ascribes to the First. The message of the N.TT is that the Second Advent simply brings into eternal display THOSE MIGHTY VICTORIES SECURED BY OUR LORD IN HIS GREAT REDEMPTIVE WORK ON CALVARY—whether of salvation or judgment. We commend to our readers the following passages. In Luke 10:18 our Lord declares that through His ministry ( in Himself and His apostles ) Satan has fallen like lightning from heaven. In Matthew 12:29, our Lord announces that He has bound the strong man ( the devil ), and has commenced to exercise His kingly power by spoiling him of his goods. And note that He precedes this statement by affirming that the Kingdom of God has come among them. So the reign of Messiah and the binding of Satan are clearly linked in this word of the Lord. We have already shown how that Kingdom "came with power" on the Day of Pentecost, and what a spoiling of Satan's House followed:— the Gospel of Messiah's triumph and reign went out to the whole world, and Satan was unable to deceive the nations and arrest it. Again, in John 12:31 our Lord declares that the Cross brings about the judgment of this world and the casting out of Satan, whilst in Revelation 1:18, the Risen Lord proclaims that His Sovereignty extends, not only over heaven and earth, but also the realms of Hades and Death, where once Satan held sway. This triumph over Satan's power's referred to in Hebrews 2:14, where we are assured that the death of the Saviour "destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil".

So we conclude from this first feature of the vision that it relates, not to future scenes on this earth, but a past overthrow of Satan's power in the unseen, spiritual world; even the great triumph of the Cross, when "He spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in IT" ( Colossians 2:15 ).

A Reign of Christ that is Limited in Duration, and Which Closes with The Final Overthrow of All His Foes. What does the rest of Scripture say on such a point? It certainly does not tell us that the Second Advent will be followed by a Kingdom that lasts only for a period of time; rather, Matthew 25 emphatically declares that His appearing is followed by a Kingdom that had been prepared from the foundation of the world, AND IS OF ETERNAL DURATION ( Matthew 25:46 ). Luke 1:33 states:— "He shall reign…for ever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end." Where then, is this Kingdom which covers a limited period of time? The answer once again, is that it was established at the FIRST ADVENT. Listen to the words of the Lord Jesus. "A certain nobleman went into afar country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return…And it came to pass, that when he was returned, HAVING RECEIVED THE KINGDOM ..." ( Luke 19:12-15 ). This is followed by an account of the destruction of his foes who had refused to ACCEPT THE UNSEEN KINGDOM. The return did not confer the Kingdom; it had already been received; it simply brought about its manifestation and the destruction of its enemies. The same truth has already been seen in 1 Corinthians 15:24-26, where the apostle shows that the Coming of the Lord, bringing about the destruction of the Last Enemy, death, is the consummation of Messiah's present reign, before the handing over of all power to the Father. The whole burden of the sermons in the Acts is the same—Psalm 2 and Psalm 100, comprising the great David-Melchizedek kingdom, have been fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus Messiah, and He will reign in the heavens until all His foes are His footstool and until the times of the restitution of all things spoken by the prophets.

So, once again, we are pointed, not to the Second Advent, but the First. The Kingdom that lasts for a specified period of time is affirmed by Scripture to be the Kingdom established by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

Believers, in a Spirit State, Share in The Glorious Triumph and Reign of Messiah. The passage makes an earthly millennial rule a most ridiculous idea. John does not see men in immortal bodies reigning on this earth, but "souls" of witnesses who had died for the Lord Jesus. They are "with Christ".

What does the rest of the N.T. say about the relationship of Messiah's people as "kings and priests"? The unqualified answer s that it declares it is THE PRESENT POSITION OF THE REDEEMED. They are NOW, through Calvary's Blood, "kings and priests unto God" ( Revelation 1:6 and 5:10 ). So once more we are pointed by the language of this vision, not to events of a future age, but to the glorious facts of redemption as they operate in this present age in the relationship of the Lord and His redeemed. Other Scriptures that confirm the present heavenly reign of believers with their King are Ephesians 2:5-6, Romans 5:17, etc. John's vision shows that death makes no difference to the followers of the Lord Jesus; in another world they enjoy the blessedness of "living and reigning with Him"; and this united exaltation of saints in heaven and on earth in the one New Jerusalem is vividly asserted in Hebrews 12:22-24.

The Two Resurrections. We come now to what we feel is the central key to the correct understanding of the vision; a feature that leaves no room for any reasonable doubt that the literalistic interpretation is false, and the one we present is indeed true, at any rate in its main burden.

We are introduced to two resurrections; this must immediately arrest our thought and challenge enquiry. Literalists, ignoring the rest of Scripture, immediately jump to a conclusion. "People who jump to conclusions usually land on their heads." This is true here, for these people reach a conclusion that CONTRADICTS THE PLAIN ASSERTIONS OF THE REST OF THE N.T. They interpret the words as meaning there will be two physical resurrections of the human race, separated by an age of at least 1,000 years ( dispensationalists, according to the extravagance of their guesswork, make anything up to four resurrections, but we will here deal with the more sober-minded pre-millennialists ). THIS IS NOT THE DOCTRINE OF THE N.T., WHERE, AS ALREADY SHOWN, ONLY ONE PHYSICAL RESURRECTION IS TAUGHT. The Lord Jesus: "THE HOUR is coming when ALL that are in the graves shall come forth…" ( John 5:28 ).

Paul: "There shall be A resurrection, both of the just and of the unjust" ( Acts 24:15 ).

Therefore, we are constrained to examine the phrase in Revelation 20 more carefully, not with superficial impetuosity. Of course, pre-millennialists attempt to forestall any other interpretations by their well-known argument. Usually, they call upon Dean Alford to help. Reese does; so does Stanton on page 154 of his book, where he quotes: "If the first resurrection is spiritual, then so is the second, which I suppose none will be hardy enough to maintain. But if the second is literal, so is the first."

But this is not logical argument at all; it is simply "jumping the queue", and assuming the very thing that has to be proved ( a characteristic stamped on almost every article one reads by a pre-millennialist ). The fact that this argument comes from such a revered writer as Dean Alford, makes it none-the-less fallacious; the history of theology bears eloquent witness how the best of men can follow entirely false trails. The Bible abounds in passages where one part is literal and another spiritual. Take just one example, Isaiah 40:3: "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness…every ( valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low…" Now none can dispute that the first part was fulfilled literally in the voice of John in the wilderness of Judæa; but was the second part fulfilled literally? There is not an advocate of the theoretical school who would be so foolish as to contend this. But more pointedly still; in the very chapter we are considering, we read of "the second death". Dean Alford and all pre-millennialists would agree this is spiritual and eternal; then the "first death" must be spiritual? But no pre-millennialist would say that. So their argument collapses around them. The fact is that, whether any Scripture is to be interpreted literally or spiritually, or whether it is partly both, MUST BE DETERMINED, NOT BY FIXED LAWS OF HUMAN REASON, BUT BY THE MANNER CLEARLY INDICATED IN THE BIBLE ITSELF.

So it is with this particular passage. We must not subject it to a rigid rule we have created in our own minds, but examine it in the light of any other Scripture that expresses a similar thought. In this, fortunately, WE ARE NOT LEFT TO GROPE IN THE DARK, FOR THERE IS ONE OTHER PASSAGE IN THE N.T. WHICH SPEAKS OF, AND UNERRINGLY DEFINES, THE TWO RESURRECTIONS. And wonderfully enough, these words were spoken by the Lord Jesus and recorded by John. We refer to the classic passage in John 5. Here are the decisive words:—

"The hour is coming, AND NOW IS, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live." ( The next phrases describe the nature of the life the Son of God gives in this "resurrection". )

"Marvel not at this:— for the hour is coming when ALL THAT ARE IN THE GRAVES shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation"( verse 29 ).

Could anything be more conclusive? We are certain the honest enquirer will find it impossible to entertain any doubt. We have the authority of the Lord Jesus ( which cancels out any human presumption ) that, FROM THE TIME OF HIS FIRST ADVENT TO THE FINAL DAY OF HUMAN HISTORY, THERE WILL BE TWO RESURRECTIONS. The first began with His coming, and consisted of the raising of those dead in sin to everlasting life, whilst the second was its complement—the resurrection of "the Last Day" when the bodies of men, in which they had either served God or served sin, would be raised for the Final Judgment.

So the key to Revelation 20 is in our hands—placed there by the Lord Jesus Himself. The "first resurrection" has nothing at all to do with the Second Advent, but is the outcome of the redeeming work of the First Advent. The very language John uses is in keeping with this. According to pre-millennialists, the "first resurrection" is an event that precedes the setting up of the millennial Kingdom, when saints "live and reign with Christ". But this is not what the passage says. It speaks of "they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years," then says of that event, "This IS the first resurrection" ( not "this follows the first resurrection ). The first resurrection is the place of life and triumph, in association with the risen, reigning Messiah, into which His great salvation has brought His people. And this is the emphatic teaching of Ephesians 2.

Then, consider further the identifying marks of "the first resurrection" which John lists in verse 6. Note how he clearly points to three things that characterise those who share in it, as follows:—

"Blessed and holy is he that hath part…"

"On such the second death hath no power."

"They shall be kings and priests of God and of Christ."

Reader, what is it that makes men "blessed and holy"? What is it delivers them from "the second death"? And what is it that makes them "kings and priests"? Is it the Second Advent and the so-called millennium? A thousand times, No! The thunderous answer of the whole of the N.T. is that it is the Grace of God in the Salvation of the Gospel that accomplishes this work. Therefore, we assert with all confidence, that the triumphant vision of Revelation 20 has nothing to do with a supposed future reign on this earth, but describes the present Kingdom of Messiah.

So another feature of this vision indisputably locates it as following the first Advent work of the Redeemer.

THE SATANIC GATHERING OF GOG AND MAGOG. We have already covered this, and shown how it points decisively to the fact that the Second Advent, wherein God's foes are destroyed, is the culmination, and not the inauguration of this vision. The 1,000 years precedes the Advent.

THE FINAL JUDGMENT. This judgment, bringing the eternal doom of the wicked, must also be seen in the light of other Scriptures. There is no need for us to repeat them; we have examined them scores of times, and every one testifies that this event occurs at the time of His Glorious Appearing. The judgment is identical with Matthew 13, Matthew 25, John 12:48, 2 Corinthians 5, 2 Thessalonians 1, 2 Peter 3, and a host of others.

Here, then, are six clear signposts in the vision. They all point unerringly in the same direction, and inform us that the subject of the vision is the great redeeming work of the Saviour, and its consequences both unto salvation and judgment. The Kingdom it portrays is not an earthly one following the Second Advent, but the present Kingdom of Messiah, whose final, eternal triumph will be manifested at His Glorious Appearing, with the destruction of every anti-God power, and the eternal doom of the ungodly.

To sum up, the message of this chapter is, as in other visions of Revelation, to encourage the people of God in their conflicts with evil all down the ages. It was written for the saints of John's day, who were passing through the fires, and it is for all in each successive age. Chapter 19 has shown how God will deal with the visible forces of evil—the political and religious forces that array themselves against God's people. The vision of chapter 20 shows how God has dealt with the arch-enemy himself. The opening words declare how his power and authority has been destroyed by the One Who came down from heaven. The age of Gospel light begins, and nations that sat in darkness are now to see the glorious light. But, though the devil's power has been broken, and he no longer holds the nations of the earth under his absolute sway, his forces will everywhere oppose the advance of the truth, and the Gospel heralds carry the message at grave loss, even of life itself. But this does not affect the divine triumph in any way, for, the devil's power of death having been destroyed, the martyred ones only enter on a more glorious life where they share in the heavenly reign of their Messiah-King. In a fuller sense than the believers on earth, "they reign in life with One Christ Jesus" ( Romans 5:17 ). By the "first resurrection" they have been made "blessed and holy", "priests of God and of Christ", and are "delivered from the second death". And this "first resurrection" goes on for 1,000 years, i.e. the whole of the Day of Grace; nothing can overthrow Messiah's Kingdom; His people go on in His triumphant reign, for the devil is bound. "The rest of the dead lived not again until the 1,000 years were finished." The wicked are here in view. These have refused "the voice of the Son of God" which brings life, and so they "live not again", i.e. know nothing of the first resurrection. And this state continues until "the second resurrection". There s no "second chance" in the intermediate state. Their souls are imprisoned in Hades; but they have not escaped God, for, having scorned the "first resurrection", and died "in their sin", they await the "second resurrection", when body and soul will be reunited in the resurrection unto the Great Judgment. Then death and hell, body and soul, are cast into the Lake of fire. The words of the Lord Jesus are fulfilled; God has "cast both body and soul into hell".

But before this final scene, comes the little season of satanic release. The burden of the passage seems to indicate that the closing days of this age are to be marked by powerful and aggressive opposition to the Cause of God. It seems to suggest something that embraces the whole world; a massive union, of world-wide dimensions, arrayed against the people of God. This final manifestation of antagonism to God is destroyed by the Glorious Appearing.

Such is our understanding of the passage. We do not profess to have given an interpretation that answers every difficulty and solves every problem; perhaps that is impossible; but at least we feel it is an interpretation that most fairly analyses the phrases of the passage itself, and delivers us from extravagant ideas that find no support in the rest of Scripture. It interprets the passage, not by means of theories in our own minds, but by the infallible standard of other plain Scripture statements. We commend it to the prayerful and careful consideration of the reader.

The End —


A Warning and a Challenge

The False Sects

We feel that overwhelming evidence has been advanced in the foregoing pages, sufficient to convince any open-minded reader that pre-millennialism is not the doctrine of the N.T. It is impossible to deny that the apostles never preached it, and their writings had not a word to say to Christians about it. Pre-millennialists are passionately fond of quoting the early Fathers to bolster up their theories; we are not interested in such arguments. The foundation upon which the whole contention of this work rests is, not the Church of the Fathers, but the Church of apostolic days. Whatever men taught in the second and third centuries, it is clear that the men of the first century had no word to say about a temporary Kingdom to follow the Advent, where sin, death and the curse would still be known. There is no more hint of it than of Peter's Roman pontificate.

But there is another fact of present-day Christendom which challenges the thinking of every evangelical Christian. The apostolic prophecy that "in the Last Days some shall depart from the faith" ( 1 Timothy 4:1 ), is finding a powerful fulfilment. The thought in the prophecy seems to be, not a complete abandonment of the profession of Christ, but a departure from the true body of evangelical doctrine for a false creed which still professes the name of Christian. This is exactly what we are witnessing. This is the day of the "isms" What a deluge of them, all teaching varying theories. Yet, with all their variations, there are certain common characteristics, as follows:— first, they all arose in America round the middle of the last century; next, they all claim to be the exclusive possessors of truth, teaching peculiar dogmas never held by the main bodies of believers throughout the centuries; again, all agree in more or less branding the Christian Church in general as in grievous error, or even the great apostasy. Chief among these sects are the Christadelphians, Jehovah Witnesses ( millennial Dawnists ), Mormons ( Latter Day Saints ), and, to a lesser extent, Seventh Day Adventists.

But there is one other common denominator in all these groups, which should serve as a clear warning—they are all propagators of the doctrine of pre-millennialism. Nay, rather, it would be more correct to say that pre-millennialism is the foundation on which they stand, and is the great head-up of their prophetic schemes. It fills their pamphlets, magazines, lectures and every other facet of their propaganda machines. It is either the great age of the Witnesses when they reign in triumph with Russell, Rutherford and company, or the Christadelphians exclusively share the Israelitish world state with the patriarchs, etc. Millennium, millennium and still more millennium, is the great party-cry of the spurious sects of this age, and it should be a jolting blow to every Christian who has believed this theory to seriously reconsider the subject. And dare we add to this list that particular brand of pre-millennialism which had such great popularity in some evangelical circles between the two wars—British-Israelism? This fervent, nationalistic, Briton-American-Jew theory, which has produced some of the most senseless and ludicrous "interpretations" of prophecy that the brain of man can invent, is another' product of this literal-carnal interpretation of Scripture that gave rise to pre-millennialism. They have their own brand of "the kingdom". It will be the great day of John Bull, Uncle Sam and Solly Lyonstein, with "Rule Britannia" as the national anthem. Footnote

Earnest Christian men have sought to stem this subversive flood by contention on the great doctrines of the Faith, e.g. the Deity of Christ. But, whilst seeking to repulse the enemy on the broad front of the fundamentals, the very same men have built a bridge for the enemy in a more obscure part of the field, along which the battalions of anti-Christian sects have poured their forces. I am convinced that the doctrine of an earthly millennium, with its anti-Gospel implications, has made a serious breach in the ramparts of Truth, and has contributed in a powerful measure to the success of these alien armies in capturing so many professing Christians into their ranks. In a word, pre-millennialism is seen today, as never before, to be charged with danger to the great evangelical message of eternal salvation. It has practically sold the pass to the sects of these Last Days. Surely, it is not without significance that, as these sects arose in the early middle part of last century, so within evangelical Christianity there appeared something NEVER BEFORE HEARD OR TAUGHT WITHIN ITS RANKS, viz. DISPENSATIONALISM, the MOST EXTREME FORM OF PRE-MILLENNIALISM. So, assault upon Truth has been twofold: the spurious sects without, and Jewish literalism within.

It is virtually useless for believers to enter into controversy with followers of these sects, whilst they hold to pre-millennialism. This theory is not incidental to their creeds—it is the great idea upon which their schemes are built, particularly Christadelphianism and Jehovah Witnesses. To meet them and acknowledge that their central contention is Truth, is to destroy your own position at once. It is like meeting a Roman Catholic by saying, "Oh yes, I believe in purgatory!" It is not the extravagances of these sects that constitute the menace, but the MAIN, CENTRAL DOCTRINE OF AN EARTHLY KINGDOM FOLLOWING THE ADVENT; and on this vital question evangelicals who propagate this same idea are responsible for creating an atmosphere conducive to the development of these heresies.

The great antidote to all this is the doctrine of the Second Advent contended for in this work. Let the Christian realise the truth of the doctrine here presented, and he has the answer to all these modern delusions. A-millennialism spells the doom of Christadelphianism, Millennial Dawnism, Joe Smithism, Seventh Day Adventism—and British Israelism—and any other false philosophy that thrives on the delusion of pre-millennialism. Is not this a challenging and sobering fact? Does it not speak convincingly that it is the Truth of God? If this Truth SHATTERS WITH ONE BLOW all these last day heresies, does not this witness that it is indeed The Rod of Jehovah?

What have Pre-millennialists to say in answer to this damning indictment of the literal earthly kingdom theory? Generally, they attempt one or two evasions. First, they vigorously attempt to exonerate themselves from "the extravagances" of doctrine taught by the sects. This is merely side-stepping. It would not require much research to show that evangelical pre-millennialism has, in a large number of cases, been guilty of disastrous extravagances that have dishonoured the names of some leading men of God. But, apart from that, the matter of extravagances is not the point at issue. It is the central doctrine of an earthly kingdom to follow the Advent. THIS, irrespective of details, is the delusion upon which the sects are built; and it is THIS that de-Protestantises a large section of evangelicalism.

But they also attempt another evasion. A case in point illustrates it clearly. Recently, the author attended on some good ministry by an excellent preacher. Then, one Sunday, in both morning and evening sermon, he contended for the pre-millennial doctrine. He did not seem to welcome discussion after the service ( "We must agree to differ" was the position adopted ) so I wrote to him on some relevant points, including a reference to the "strange bed-fellows" ( the above-named sects ) he companied with. In a brief reply, he stated he had neither time nor inclination to enter into controversy on the question of prophecy. ( Strange! after two sermons in one day contending for pre-millennialism! ) But he could not miss the opportunity of "strange bed-fellows", so he counter-charged by asking: "What about the company a-millennialists have, such as Lord Soper and the modernists?" As this is representative of pre-millennialist defence, it was necessary to show its foolishness. I wrote, putting two questions to him. First, did he understand what an a-millennialist is? One has heard such ludicrous definitions, as: "He doesn't believe in a millennium"; or, "He believes we are in the millennium now." What puerility! An a-millennialist is one who believes that the historical covenants with Abraham, David and Israel have found their fulfilment in the Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Messiah and the matchless blessings of the Gospel flowing therefrom. He believes that the predestinating purpose of God in the salvation of men has been realised ALWAYS ( Old and New ) in one People and one only—"The Remnant according to the Election of Grace". He believes the Advent will bring salvation to no one ( contrary to pre-M. error ), but will bring all to the judgment of God and the Eternal Divide.

The second question was: "As a Christian preacher, you should not make a charge without evidence to substantiate it; will you, therefore, give one reference from Lord Soper's writings or utterances where he states he believes the a-millennial view of Scripture?" I received a brief reply from this good brother stating that he did not intend to reply to my points, but would go on preaching what he believed. I refrained from further correspondence; of what use is it, when an opponent will not allow his views to be brought to the light of Scriptural discussion?

No! to speak of Soper and modernists as a-millennialists is an utter absurdity, based on ignorance. Some modernists may have some vague form of post-millennial belief; but even that is not the doctrine taught by evangelicals who hold post-millennialism. It is simply a quasi-religious-socialistic philosophy they hold, entirely divorced from any question of inspired Bible prophecy. They could scrap these views at any time without affecting their modernism one iota. But our charge against pre-millennialism and the false sects is an entirely different matter. IT IS THE FACT OF THIS CENTRAL DOCTRINE OF A POST ADVENT EARTHLY KINGDOM, which is absolutely fundamental to all of them—and without which they would collapse. It is not a question of an individual here and there holding certain views similar to pre-millennialism, but MILLIONS, BOUND TO THE CASTIRON SYSTEMS OF THESE POWERFULLY ORGANISED SECTS by the anti-Christian doctrine of a personal reign of Christ over a kingdom on this earth. Then let all who read these lines, cast off this carnal delusion and take up the great sword of Truth—the message of the Everlasting HEAVENLY Kingdom of our Glorious Lord, whereby they may smite these Satanic heresies of the Last Days, and call men, not to carnal millennial blessings, but to the eternal heritage in Heaven of the Israel of God.

The End —

So we conclude…

There is much more we would like to say, but space forbids. We have presented our case in what we conceive to be true Bible-Protestant manner, viz. to protest strongly against error, and vigorously present the positive truth. If any readers feel some of our statements are on the strong side, we would reply as Spurgeon did when someone attempted to rebuke him for too much humour in some of his expressions: "If you knew how much I keep back, you would not criticise me." We have been delivered from a theory imposed on us by tradition. We now see it to be error, and, In its dispensational form, a dangerous error. An error that nurtures the parasitic growths of false sects and poisons the true vine of apostolic Truth with insidious theories of "salvation after the Advent", "revived Judaism" "another Gospel", etc., etc. As a veteran Brethren missionary (similarly delivered) said: "It s heresy, brother. Unconscious heresy, maybe, but heresy nevertheless." So we are compelled to raise our voice against it. We have no doubt some will be offended. We do not wish this, and our strong statements have not been directed to this end. We desire only the edifying of men in the Truth. But we must make our protest in uncompromising terms. We recall the momentous words of Spurgeon in his memorable attack on the Church of England baptismal service and the doctrine of baptismal regeneration:—

"If I should provoke song to hostility—if I should, through speaking what I believe to be truth, lose the friendship of some and stir up the enmity of more, I cannot help it.

The burden of the Lord is upon me and I must deliver my soul."

In some small measure we have felt like that. The reader must now make his judgment in face of the case we have presented. We have not dealt with isolated texts, nor a few difficult passages. We have traversed the whole range of the New Testament and set forth its united and unanimous testimony. It was the irresistible force of this massive accumulation of Scripture Truth that compelled the author to renounce pre-millennialism as error. Reader, what is your answer?

Now, having borne our testimony, we commit it to the Everlasting God, giving praise to Father, Son and Holy Ghost for the matchless privilege of serving in the Kingdom of His Truth.

The End —