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Church-State Relations and the Book of Revelation
An Introduction to The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming
by James Stuart Russell (1878) // Written by
Todd Dennis, Curator





The Book of Revelation: an exposition based on the principles of Professor Stuart's Commentary, and designed to familiarize those principles to the minds of non-professional readers (1885)

The Parousia

A Critical Study of the Scripture Doctrines of Christ's Second Coming, His Reign as King ; The Resurrection of the Dead ; and the General Judgment

Israel P. Warren
(Second Edition)


Christ yet to come;: A review of Dr. I.P. Warren's "Parousia of Christ."

Also By Warren:

Sunday School Commentary : Gospel & Acts

Donated and Autographed by Joseph Henry Thayer (1828-1901)

Born in Boston, studied at the Boston Latin School, and graduated from Harvard College in 1850. He studied theology at Harvard Divinity School, and graduated from Andover Theological Seminary in 1857. He first preached in Quincy, Massachusetts, and then served as pastor in Salem beginning in 1859. From 1862-1863 he also served as the chaplain for the 40th Massachusetts Volunteers. He was on the faculty of the Andover Theological Seminary from 1864-1882. From 1882-1884 he was an instructor at Harvard Divinity School, and in 1884 he succeeded Ezra Abbot as Bussey Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation. His chief works were his translation of Grimm's Clams Novi Testament (1887, revised 1889); a Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament, and a New Testament bibliography, published in 1890.

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Israel P. Warren

(1st Edition 1879)

Christ yet to come: A review of Dr. I.P. Warren's "Parousia of Christ."

"The Spirit is Ever Greater than the Material"

"Of the doctrine thus presented, I desire to remark in review: 1. That it is to be regarded neither as a praeterist nor a futurist view ; rather does it include both.   If it be affirmed that the Parousia began at the ascension, it is not meant that it is not also a fact of all time coming ages. 

"I ask especially that I may not be represented as saying that the resurrection is "past already," or that the day of judgment occurred at the destruction of Jerusalem.  The Parousia, including under it Christ's reign as King, Life-giver, and Judge, is not an event, but a dispensation.. The past, present, and future meet in one grand whole."

"Christ's judgment seat, the accuser, the evidence, the law, and the verdict, are all in man's own heart." (p. 378)




It is with the utmost diffidence that I give this book to the 
public. The peculiar nature of the subject, the wide diversity 
of opinions concerning it among Christians, and the oft-ex- 
pressed sentiment that any one who pretends to much confi- 
dence as to what the Scriptures design to teach us in relation 
to it betrays a lack of mental sobriety, if not of sanity, might 
well deter men of far greater professional ability than myself 
from anything so rash. But having, after many years of study 
begun under the most painful perplexities, attained certain 
views of the subject which afford great satisfaction to my own 
mind, I cannot resist the feeling that others similarly perplexed 
may possibly be equally relieved by a statement of those views 
and the grounds on which they are based. That feeling has 
been much strengthened by the favor with which some articles 
on the Parousia published a year or two ago in the Christiait 
MiKROR were received, and the very frequent requests since 
made that they might be printed in a more permanent form. 

I am not vain enough to expect that all, perhaps not even 
many, will accept the views here set forth. Some will reject 
them outright, without investigation. Many others will stand 
in doubt, or more actively oppose them, because in a few re- 
spects — matters of form and costume chiefly — they differ some- 
what from the more commonly accepted views. Still, I venture 
to crave a candid hearing from all, and an unprejudiced com- 
parison of the positions taken with the Scriptures, "whether 
these things are so." And if there be a seeming of presumption 
in venturing to publish any views on such a subject, let this be 
my apology, that God has taken many ages and used many 
builders in rearing up the edifice of Christian truth, and though 
all may not be master builders, yet each one, even the humblest, 
may bring his brick, which the great Proprietor will find a place 

One or two remarks I maybe permitted to make as to the prin- 
ciples of interpretation which have guided me in this inquiry. 

The first is to have primary regard to the ideas and modes of 
speaking current among the Jews in Christ's day. Says Prof. 
Stuart, in his Letters to Channing, "Nothing is clearer to my 
apprehension than that God, when he speaks to men, speaks in 
language which is used by those whom headdresses." Having for 



fifteen hundred years been trained under the expectation of a 
coming Messiah and of what he would do for them and the 
world, their language concerning him had to a considerable 
extent become technical and special. Of course, our Lord and 
his apostles conformed to the usage of their countrymen, and 
"we can know their meaning only by making ourselves for the 
time being one with them. It is the violation of this principle, 
T cannot doubt, which has led to most of the confusion apper- 
taining to the common views of eschatology. What sort of 
knowledge would be gained of our own times by writers living 
two thousand years hence who should utterly ignore our pecul- 
iar theories and phrases in politics, philosophy and religion, 
and persist in interpreting them according to the ideas that 
should prevail at that time ? 

Further than this, I have not believed that any peculiar 
modes of interpretation were requisite. I have never seen any 
reason why the Bible should not be read precisely like any 
other book, — I mean, of course, if there be only a reverent 
recognition of its Divine origin, and a deep spiritual sympathy 
with its sacred themes. Its meaning is that of its words, in 
their plain historico-grammatical sense modified only by the 
figures of speech common to all languages, and the local 
Jewish usage above referred to. All peculiar theories of 
symbolism, and type, and double sense, and the like, which 
seem contrived to fit the Scriptures to opinions already formed 
rather than to be safe guides to their formation, lam obliged to 
regard as both unwarranted and mischievous. 

With this, it has seemed to me, there should be joined 
a reasonable degree of hermeneutical independence. Protes- 
tants, at least, believe not only in the right but the duty of pri- 
vate judgment. While fully recognizing the claims of authority, 
and deferring, as is most proper, to the opinions of scholars, 
and especially to the statements of venerable creeds and formu- 
laries, I cannot forget that these have not, in fact, been infal- 
lible guides, but that notwithstanding them doubt, diversity, 
and distrust still envelope the whole field of eschatology. Is 
there not a better guide for a simple inquirer after truth to be 
found under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit in the con- 
victions of plain common sense, — the syneidesis of every man, 
to which the great apostle strove to commend himself and his 
teachings in the sight of God ? 

I shall welcome from every source whatever light will serve 
to correct any error into which I may have fallen, and give to 
the church a deeper and more fruitful knowledge of the Divine 
teachings as to the coming and kingdom of our Lord. 

PoBTLAND, January, 1879. 



Page iii. 



Chap. I. The Term and its Signification, 9 

Chap. II. The N'ature of the Parousia, 17 

Chap. III. The Time of the Parousia, 25 

Section 1. Testimony of Christ, 25 

1. Its precise date not disclosed, 25 

2. But very near, 26 
Section 2. Testimony of the four Disciples, 31 
Section 3. Testimony of Paul, 34 
Section 4. The testimony weighed, 41 

_ 1. Eemoteness never asserted, 42 

The language simple, 43 

How understood by those who heard it, 48 

How understood by the primitive churches, 51 

The logical requirements of the language, 58 

Section 5. Objections to this view, 55 

1. The Parousia did not in fact occur, 55 

The physical phenomena did not occur, 58 

The resurrection and judgment did not occur, 58 

A visible coming did not occur, 61 

The Man of Sin was not revealed, 65 

The Scope of the Parousia, 73 

The Costume of the Parousia, 80 

The Imagery of Inauguration, " 80 

The Imagery of Destruction, 89 




Chap. IV. 

Chap. Y. 

Section 1. 

Section 2. 




The general view, 100 

Chap. I. Christ's Accession to the throne, 103 

Chap. II. His coming in his kingdom, 106 

Chap. III. The Kingdom like a grain of mustard seed, 112 

Chap. IY. Persecution, 116 

Section 1. By Judaism, 121 

Section 2. By Paganism, . 125 

Section 3. The Binding of Satan, 127 

Section 4. GrOg and Magog, 137 

Section 5. Resurrection of the Martyrs, 143 

Section 6. Judgment of the Dead, 153 

Chap. Y. The agfe of Conquest, 159 

Growth the law of progress, 161 

1. Affirmed by Christ, 161 

2. Confirmed by History, 162 

3. Illustrated by Geology, 163 
The several Stages of Progress, 165 

1. Christianity is to become universal, 165 

2. Christianity is to become the sole religion, 166 

3. Christianity is to be greatly intensified, 167 

4. Christianity is to pervade all forces, 169 
Chap. YL The Consummation, 171 
Chap, YII. The Perpetuity of Christ's Kingdom, 176 

1. Declared to be without end, 179 

2. Given to Christ as his reward, 183 

3. Given to him as his inheritance, 184 

4. Is the reward of his saints, 184 

5. Implied in his eternal priesthood, " 185 

6. Further change denied, 185 
Chap. YIII. The End of the World— 2 Peter 3: 3—13, 188 

1. This language not scientific, 192 

2. No annihilation of the universe, 193 

3. Will not cease to be the abode of man, 194 

4. Refers to the Jewish aion, or dispensation, 199 

1. It was to pass away, 199 

2. With a great noise, 199 

3. With grand physical phenomena, 200 

4. Was for the time "reserved," 200 



5. Was to occur at the Parousia, 

6. Was to be expected and watched for, 

7. The elements were to be dissolved, 

8. Identical with Rev. 6 : 12-17, 

9. The teachings of Reason and Science, 
Chap. IX. The New Jerusalem, 

1. Was expected soon, 

2. Correspondence with O. T. prophecies, 

3. Relations to the rest of the world, 

4. The wicked remaining outside, 



Chap. I. The Anastasis, 

Section 1. The testimony of science. 
Section 2. The testimony of the Scriptures, 

1. The three-fold nature of man, 

2. Relation between soul and spirit, 

3. The psychical man, 

4. Examination of 1 Cor. 15 : 35-53, 
Section 3. Relation to regeneration, 
Section 4. The time of the resurrection, 













Chap. II. 

Section 1. 
Section 2. 

Evidence from man's constitution, 

Evidence from his immortality, 

Evidence from the nature of a resurrection. 

Evidence from the nature of Christ's office, 

Christ's declaration to Martha, 

Analogy of the germinating seed, 

Christ's reply to the Sadducees, 

The Transfiguration, 

The promise of being with Christ, 

Expectation of the early Christians, 

Rom. 8: 18-25, 

2 Cor. 4: 14—5: 10, 

Relation to the Parousia, 
The Prepared Place, 
Rising of the Dead in Christ, 

Section 3. The change of the Living, 

1. They do not all sleep, 

2. They are changed instantaneously, 




3. They are caught up into the air, 266 

4. Are with the risen dead, 265 

5. Both events are at the Parousia, 267 
Contrast with the traditional view, 267 

Chap. III. The Kesurrection Life, 273 

1. Probable preservation of the human form, 273 

2. Probable preservation of the features, 274 

3. Conditions of society realized, 275 

4. Present relationships continued, 275 

5. The heavenly world near to us, 277 

6. Yet higher than the present, 278 

PART ly. 


General Statement, 281 

Section 1. Costume of the Judgment, 282 

Section 2. The Time of the Judgment, 284 

Objections to the common view, 285 

1. Evidence from the nature of Christ's Office, 286 

2. Evidence from the nature of man, 287 

3. Evidence from the nature of probation, 288 

4. Evidence from the language of Scripture, 288 
Section 3. The Awards of the Judgment, 295 
Future Punishment, 295 


Summary of the doctrine, 297 

1. Neither a praeterist nor a futurist view, 298 

2. It harmonizes the words of Scripture, 298 

3. It conserves all essential truths, 301 

4. It imparts to them increased meaning, 302 


aebhardt on the "Coming," 304 

Dollinger on the Man of Sin, 304 

Grotius on Gog and Magog, 311 





The term employed in the New Testament to de- 
note the second coming of our Lord is, in the original, 
The Pakousia. "What shall be the sign of thy 
Parousiaf' Matt. 24: 3. "So also shall be the 
Parousia of the Son of Man." Matt. 24 : 27, 37, 39. 
It will be our first endeavor to ascertain its exact 

How the word came to be used in this special 
application is not known. I am not aware that the 
Jews had ever been accustomed to apply it to the ap- 
pearance of the expected Messiah. It is found but 
twice in the Septuagint (2 Mace. 8 : 12 ; 15 : 21), and 
there only in its ordinary secular meaning. In the 
New Testament, it first occurs in this inquiry of the 
four disciples on the Mount of Olives. They had 
now become in a degree familiar with the idea that 
their Lord was about to leave them for a time and af- 
terwards return, and that he would then set up the 


kingdom they were looking for, and reward therein 
his faithful friends who had followed him unto death. 
Matt. 16 : 27, 28. Their conceptions were indeed 
very imperfect, but such as they were, they awoke in 
them the highest expectation, and prompted to un- 
seemly rivalries for the foremost place in its honors. 
Contrasting, then, that eagerly expected period with 
the brief duration of his present stay with them, they 
seem to have fondly named it The Presence^ as im- 
plying that he would thereafter permanently remain 
with them, and admit them into an intimacy of inter- 
course and of relations surpassing all they had before 

It matters little, however, in what way the word 
came to be used by the disciples in this sense, for it 
was immediately sanctioned and confirmed by Christ 
himself. Thrice does he employ it in the same sense, 
in the discourse that follows. Like the lightning 
which fills the whole heaven with its splendor, and 
like the deluge which surprised the old world in the 
midst of its business and its pleasures, " so likewise," 
he declares, "shall be the Parousia of the Son of 

The signification of the word is the Being with^ or 
the Presence. It is derived from the compound verb 
Trdpei/ui^ from napd with, and £i/u to be. Instances 
of the use of this verb in the New Testament are the 
following : " There were present at that season some 
that told him of the Galileans." Luke 13 : 1. — Cer- 
tain Jews who ought to have been here before thee." 
Acts 24: 19. — " I verily * * have judged already as 


though I were present,'''' 1 Cor. 5 : 3. — " I beseech 
you that I may not be bold when I am present^^ etc. 
2 Cor. 10 : 2. — " I told you before, and foretell you as 
if I were present the second time." 2 Cor. 13 : 2. — 
" I desire to he present with you and to change my 
voice." Gal. 4: 20. — The word paronsia is twice 
translated presence in our version. " His bodily 
presence is weak." 2 Cor. 10 : 10. — As ye have always 
obeyed, not as in my presence only but now much 
more in my absence. Phil. 2 : 12. — If the translators 
had been uniform in their renderings, they would used 
the same word in the following instances. "I am 
glad of the coming (the presence^ of Stephanas 
and Fortunatus and Achaicus." 1 Cor. 16 : 17. 
" God * * comforted us by the coming (^presence} of 
Titus ; and not by his coming (^presence') only." 2 
Cor. 7 : 6-7. " That our rejoicing may be more 
abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you 
again " (by my presence again with you). Phil. 1 : 26. 
The only remaining instances of its use in the New 
Testament are the following, in all which it refers to 
what is called Christ's second coming. "Christ the 
first fruits, afterward they that are Christ's at his 
coming" (in his Presence}. 1 Cor. 15 : 23. — "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" (before our Lord Jesus Christ in his 
Presence}. 1 Thess. 2: 19. — "At the coming (in the 
Presence} of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his 
saints." 1 Thess. 3: 13. — "We which are alive and 
remain unto the coming (the Presence} of the Lord. 


1 Thess 4 : 15. — Preserved blameless unto the coming 
(the Presence') of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thess. 
5 : 23. — " Now we beseech you, brethren, by the com- 
ing (the Presence') of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 
Thess. 2 : 1. — " And shall destroy with the brightness 
of his coming" (his Presence). 2 Thess. 2: 8. — "Be 
patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming (the 
Presence) of the Lord. The coming (^Presence) of 
the Lord draweth nigh." Jas. 5 : 7, 8. — " We made 
known to you the power and coming (^Presence) of 
our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Pet. 1 : 16.—" Where is 
the promise of his coming?" (^Presence). 2 Pet. 3 : 4. 
— "Looking for and hasting [unto] the coming 
(^Presence) of the day of the Lord." 2 Pet. 3 : 12.— 
" We may have confidence and not be ashamed before 
him at his coming " (in his Presence). 1 John 2 : 28. 
It is important to observe that in all the instances 
thus cited the word is accompanied in the original by 
the article the^ which in Greek is distinctive and em- 
phatic, — implying that it is, in some sense, a special 
and unique presence, to be distinguished from all 
others. Accordingly, we find that the term is never 
applied to his first advent, when he dwelt among men 
in the flesh. That was indeed a coming to men, a so- 
journ with them, but it is never called The Parousia. 
Nor is the word " second " ever joined to it, as if im- 
plying that there was a first. We often speak of the 
" second advent," the " second coming," etc., but the 
Scriptures never speak of a "second Parousia." 
Whatever was to be its nature, it was something pe- 
culiar, having never occurred before, and being never 


to occur again. It was to be a presence differing 
from and superior to all other manifestations of him- 
self to men, so that its designation should properly 
stand by itself, without any qualifying epithet other 
than the article, — The Pkesence.* 

*This view of the meaning of the word is sustained by the 
most eminent scholars. 

"Parousia; properly, the being or hecoming present: i. e. (a) 
presence. 2 Cor. 10: 10 — (b) a coming, advent, — etc." — Lexicon, 
sub voce. — Dr. Bobinson. 

'* Here again our translation misleads. Parousia means not 
coming ; it means presence, being present, as is plain by refer- 
ring to its root, pareimi, I am present. The taking of all these 
things so as to be seen is of itself complete proof of the 
presence (not ocularly visible presence, but presence in the 
scriptural sense) of Christ." Bib. Sac. Yol. xi. p. 455.— Pro/. 
M. Stuart. 

"The word Parousia (presence) is the ordinary expression 
for the second coming of the Lord. — With the classic authors 
parousia commonly signifies presence; it has the same meaning 
sometimes in the N". T., in the writings of Paul (2 Cor. 10: 10; 
Phil. 1 : 26 ; 2 : 12 ; 2 Thess. 2:9); in other cases it is used in the 
sense of advent, and once (2 Pet. 1 : 16) the incarnation of the 
Kedeemer as applied to his first coming." Yol. ii. p. 228. — 

" Not the brightness of his coming, as very many commenta- 
tors, and the English version, but the mere outburst of his 
presence shall bring the adversary to naught." Compare 2 
Thess. 2:8.— Alford. 

" The inquiry involves three questions. 1. When shall these 
(things) be, and what the sign when they shall happen? 2. And 
what the sign of thy presence f " Com. Matt. 24 : 3. — Dr. Hales, 
quoted approvingly by Bloomjield. 

" Porro quaerunt, quodnam presentiae Christi futurum esse 
signum?" (They ask what shall be the sign of Christ's 
presence?) Com. Matt. 24: 3. — BosenmuUer. 

" As Christ's first sojourn with humanity was also an appear- 
ing, the future manifestation is often distinguished as his ' glo- 


From this view of the word it is evident, I think, 
that neither the English word "coming" nor the 
Latin " advent " is the best representative of the 
original. They do not conform to its etymology; 
they do not correspond to the idea of the verb from 
which it is derived ; nor could they appropriately be 
substituted for the more exact word, '' presence," in 
the cases where the translators used the latter. Nor is 
the radical idea of them the same. " Coming " and 
"advent" give most prominently the conception of 
an approach to us, motion toward us ; " parousia " that 
of being with us, without reference to how it began. 
The force of the former ends with the arrival ; that of 
the latter begins with it. Those are words of motion ; 
this of rest. The space of time covered by the action 
of the former is limited, it may be momentary ; that 
of the latter unlimited, — continuance that may be 

rious! appearing, in contrast to the state of humiliation in 
which he first came to earth ; or its permanence is empliasized in 
contrast with the shortness of his former visitation, for the 
word translated coming in the text just cited properly signifies 
presence." Hist. Ch. Theology, p. 190. — Dr. Beuss, Prof, in the 
Protestant Theo. Seminary in Strasburg. 

" Jesus described this judgment on Jerusalem in the symbolic 
language of prophecy as connected with his (invisible) presence, 
and bade his disciples await his coming and recognize it in that 

event. His presence, which he called in prophetic language a 

coming on the clouds of heaven, would consist in the manifes- 
tation of his divine interposition in human affairs as the 

exalted protector of his church. This wicked one Christ will 

destroy, etc., — i. e., he will execute judgment on this man of 
sin as he will also on Jerusalem ; both alike will be the effect of 
his presence (parousia)." — First Age. Yol. II. pp. 71, 96. — Dr. 
Dollinger, Prof, of Eccl. History in the University of Munich. 


eternal. So in respect to place ; a coming implies an 
arrival at some locality ; a presence may be universal, 
"wherever two or three are met." The promise of 
the Lord's coming to men, therefore, is not the same 
thing as a promise of his presence with them. The 
one implies nothing more, necessarily, than a single 
manifestation, a visit however short ; the other implies 
a stay with them, relations of permanence ; not the 
performance of a single act, but rather a dispensation 
including within it many acts, and covering a long 
period of duration, possibly eternal. 

It may be thought that I make more of this dis- 
tinction than is needful, but I am persuaded otherwise. 
Had our translators done with this technical word 
" parousia" as they did with "baptisma," — transferring 
it unchanged, — or if translated using its exact etymo- 
logical equivalent, presence^ and had it been well 
understood, as it then would have been, that there is 
no such thing as a " second Presence," I believe that 
the entire doctrine would have been different from 
what it now is. The phrases, " second advent," and 
" second coming," would never have been heard of. 
The church would have been taught to speak of The 
Pbesence of the Lord, as that from which its 
hopes were to be realized, whether in the near future 
or at the remotest period, — that under which the 
world was to be made new, a resurrection both spirit- 
ual and corporeal should be attained, and justice and 
everlasting awards administered. There would have 
been no difficulty in conceiving that that Presence be- 
gan to be near at the time when in the primitive age 


it was expected, in that existing generation, and would 
continue long enough for everything to happen under 
it which prophecy connects with it. And even now, 
if we could get rid of the limiting and localizing 
ideas implied in a coming, and substitute for them the 
universal and eternal possibilities of a presence, I 
believe that nine-tenths of the difficulties attending the 
subject would disappear, and we should easily return 
to those simple views which made the Parousia to the 
apostles and primitive churches a perpetual spring of 
activity and hope and holy joy. 

But we are anticipating. There are other terms 
which are not unfrequently applied in the New 
Testament to the same event, but not in the same 
distinctive way as the one we have considered. Such 
are djiox61u(pL(i, translated revelation in 1 Pet. 1 : 13 ; 
appearing in 1 Pet. 1:7; coming in 1 Cor. 1 : 7 : — 
imipdvEta, rendered appearing in 1 Tim. 6: 14; 2 
Tim. 1 : 10 ; 4 : 1, 8 ; Titus 2: 13 ; and brightness in 2 
Thess. 2 : 8 : — iXeuacQ, translated coming in Acts 7 : 
52. It is not necessary to dwell upon either of these, 
for they are used only incidentally and in an ordinary 
way which throws no special light upon the nature of 
the event itself. The great diversity of signification 
given them by the translators shows that they saw 
nothing technical or distinctive in them. 



The work of salvation is represented in the Scrip- 
tures, — doubtless in condescension to our human 
conceptions, — as having been the object of consulta- 
tion and covenant between the Persons of the Trinity, 
before the creation of the world. The Divine Logos, 
or Son, is said to have offered himself for it^ perform- 
ance, consenting to the temporary relinquishment of 
his divine honors, and to the humiliations and suffer- 
ings involved in taking a human nature, living a hu- 
man life, and dying an ignominious and most painful 
death, thereby making an atonement for sin which 
would render pardon possible. This offer the Father, 
as the representative of eternal law and justice, is said 
to have accepted, and in return for it to have given the 
world thus redeemed to the Son, to be in a peculiar 
sense his own, to be possessed, governed, and disposed 
of by him for its own salvation and the manifestation 
of his glory. " Therefore will I divide him a portion 
with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the 
strong, because he hath poured out his soul unto 
death." Isa. 53 : 12. " I will give thee the heathen 
(the nations) for thine inheritance, and the uttermost 
parts of the earth for thy possession." Ps. 2: 8. 
" There was given him dominion, and glory, and a 



kingdom, that all people, nations and languages 
should serve him." Dan. 7 : 14. " We see Jesus, 
who was made a little lower than the angels, for the 
suffering of death crowned with glory and honor." 
Heb. 2: 9. "Who for the joy that was set before 
him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set 
down at the right hand of the throne of God." Heb. 
12 : 2. " Who being in the form of God, thought it 
not robbery to be equal with God* but made himself 
of no reputation (Gr. kaurbu ixiucoasu, emptied him- 
self)^ and took upon him the form of a servant, and 
was made in the likeness of men ; and being found 
in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became 
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 
Wherefore also God hath highly exalted him, and 
given him a name (i. e. a rank or dignity) which is 
above every name," etc. Phil. 2: 6-11. See also 
Matt. 11 : 27 ; 28 : 18; John 3 : 35 ; 5 : 27 ; 1 Cor. 15: 
25-28 ; Eph. 1 : 20-23. 

This dignity — called often by a single term, his 
" glory," — involved several functions which we usually 
consider as distinct. In our day we divide govern- 
ment into three departments, the legislative, judicial, 
and executive, but this is a device unknown in early 
times and absolute monarchies. The Hebrew kings 
sat on their thrones in the gates of their cities, and 
" executed judgment and justice " for their people. 
2 Sam. 8 : 15 ; 15 : 2 ; 1 Kings 3:9; Isa. 32 : 1. In 
the Old Testament, God is everywhere styled both 

a More exactly, "thought not his being equal with God a 
thing to be held fast." Alford translates it, "deemed not his 
equality with God a matter for grasping." 


King and Judge, and the records of his will are 
termed interchangeably his laws, his statutes, and his 
judgments. " The verbs," says Hengstenberg, "which 
signify to judge^ in the Shemitish languages have for 
the most part the secondary meaning to reign, because 
in ancient times both functions were usually confined 
to one person."^ Thus Christ the King^ according to 
Scripture usage, signifies also Christ the Judge^ the 
two supreme offices being conjointly and inseparably 
exercised by him in his administration over this 
world. See also Isa. 11 : 4, 5 ; 42 : 4 ; John 5 : 22, 
26, 27 ; Matt. 25 : 31-46. 

In addition to these and transcending all the func- 
tions of an earthly monarch, our Lord in his kingdom 
was to have the prerogative of giving life to the dead. 
His kingdom was to extend over a realm of moral 
death — a domain of souls " dead in trespasses and 
sins." Their entrance into it was to be by a new 
birth, called variously a " re-generation," a " new cre- 
ation," a '^ resurrection from the dead," etc. John 1 : 
12, 13 ; 3:3; Rom. 6 : 4-11 ; Eph. 2 : 5. This new 
life should pervade the whole nature of man, the 
physical as well as spiritual. Redemption was to be 
co-extensive with the fall ; the resurrection the com- 
plement of regeneration. "I am," said Christ, "the 
Resurrection and the life." John 11 : 25. When his 
work of grace should be completed, man would stand 
restored in all the elements of his nature, " delivered 
from the bondage of corruption into the glorious lib- 
erty of the children of God." Rom. 8 : 21. 

«^ Christology of the O. T., I. p. 295. 

20 • THE PAR0U8IA. 

The supreme dignity of our glorified Lord, then, 
was to involve the threefold offices of King, Life-giver, 
and Judge. Their administration, further, was to be 
unique in this, that they were to be a government of 
grace, having in it the special provision of pardon for 
the guilty, which feature we designate by the term 
mediatroial, — accomplishing thus what else would be 
impossible, the harmonizing of equity with pardon, 
enabling God to " be just and the justifier of him that 
believeth in Jesus." 

This recital of the familiar truths involved in the 
revealed Plan of Redemption will, if I mistake not, 
lead us to the true idea of the Parousia. It is the 
presence of Christ in this world in the exercise of his 
mediatorial offices. In this view, it is the complement 
and the contrast of the first advent, when he came in 
the flesh. It is for the completion of the work which 
he then began. It is for the harvesting of the seed 
then sown. Matt. 13 : 37-43. The former, according 
to the nature of its work, was temporary f this is to be 
permanent. That was associated with memories of 
sorrow, humiliation, and death ; this with the promise 
of perpetuity, and glory, and blessedness. The one was 
a day of "visitation" to men (Luke 19 : 44); the other 
of " abode " with them. John 14 : 23. What better 
term for such an abode could be devised than one 
which includes all the ideas of grace and joy involved 

a The phrase in Heb. 2: 7, 9, "made a little lower than 
the angels," should undoubtedly read "made lower than the 
angels for a little while.'' Most authorities agree in this, though 
Alford dissents. See his note on the passage. 


in the exercise of liis great offices, the Parouaia^ — a 
blessed and eternal Presence with them ? 

This Presence, it may be remarked further, I under- 
stand to be a literal one. The expression " Christ's 
literal presence, or coming " is often taken as meaning 
nothing less than a material and visible one, so that 
the denial of such a coming is thought to be a rejection 
of the doctrine of his literal coming. This is wholly 
unwarranted. It might as well be said that to deny 
that God is a material and visible being is to deny his 
literal existence. The Parousia is a literal presence, 
as truly as when Christ says, "Where two or three are 
gathered together in my name, there am I'm. the midst 
of them." It is not a figurative one, not one existing 
constructively or as an object of thought, but a true, 
actual presence, as real, though not under the same 
conditions, as when he was here in the flesh. 

It is also d^ personal presence. The same unwarran- 
ted restriction of meaning is often given to this phrase, 
as if Christ could not be personally present unless 
subject to the senses of sight and touch. How often 
after his resurrection did he render himself invisible 
to his disciples while he was with them. By a personal 
presence I mean that Christ is here himself in propria 
persona^ not merely by the official work of the Spirit, 
nor by any representative whatever. 

Whether, in point of fact, that Presence ever will 
be a visible one with a visible initiation or " coming " 
and an external sensuous kingdom, is, at this stage 
of the discussion, premature tg inquire. What I have 
said is sufficient to show that that question is not one 


that at all involves its essential nature, the time of its 
occurrence, or the purposes for which it was ap- 

The view we have thus gained of the nature of the 
Parousia suggests to us also what is meant by Christ's 
coming. For though, as already remarked, this noun, 
iXeuac(;^ (coming) is used but once in the N. T. (Acts 
7 : 52), and that not in reference to his second coming, 
yet the verb to come {sp-^oum^ rjxco) is very frequently 
employed in that signification. But we are to remem- 
ber that this is the coming of a divine heing^ who al- 
ready possesses omnipresence, and cannot therefore 
be said to come and go in the same sense as when 
applied to finite creatures. It is an instance of that 
anthropomorphism which is every where used in the 
Scriptures, and without which it would be impossible 
to form any conception of God or of his acts. 

That omnipresence, as a personal attribute, belongs 
to Christ will not be questioned by any who believe 
in his deity. Even when dwelling among men in his 
flesh he could say, "Where two or three are gathered 
together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." 
Nay, he directly affirmed that at the same moment 
when he was visibly present, talking with those about 
him, he was also in heaven. " No man hath ascended 
up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, 
even the Son of man, who is in heaven." John 3 : 13. 
Much more, then, may it be affirmed that in his glori- 
fied state he possesses this prerogative of deity, and 
can no more come in the sense of a literal approach 
than he can depart, leaving some portion of the uni- 
verse empty of his divine essence. 


The only conceivable sense, then, in which Christ, 
in his divine offices of King, Life-giver, and Judge, can 
come to men, is that of manifestation. God came 
down on Mt. Sinai when the phenomena of the cloud, 
the thunder, and the earthquake appeared there which 
manifested his presence. " In Scripture language," 
says Stuart, " God comes whenever he proceeds to do 
or execute any purpose of his will in respect to man. 

But we are never authorized to suppose an actual 

and visible coming^ except by symbols. God is always 
and everywhere present, and cannot come and go in 
the literal sense." Bib. Sac. IX. p. 340-1. See Gen. 11 : 
5 ; 18 : 21 ; Ex. 3 : 8 ; Numb. 12 : 5 ; 22 : 9 ; Ps. 68 : 
7 ; Isa. 64 : 3. So says John, " Christ came by water 
and blood" (1 John 5:6); that is, he was manifested 
as a Saviour to men by the water and blood which is- 
sued from his heart when pierced by the soldier's 

a " Christ said to the Jewish rulers, at his condemnation, that 
hereafter they would see the Son of man come in the fullness 
of his divine power. Thus his presence, which he called in 
prophetic language ' a coming on the clouds of heaven,' would 
consist in the manifestation of his divine interposition in human 
affairs, as the exalted Protector of his church. This they 
would behold, of course, only with the eye of faith, for he had 
already told them they would then first see or recognize him 
when they acknowledged and honored him as Messiah." — Dol- 
linger. First Age of the Church, Vol. II. p. 71. 

*' Christ is said to come whenever he makes manifest his glory 
as King of the Kingdom of God, in enhanced splendor before 
the eyes of all. This he did, in its initial stage, during his life 
on earth, but yet much more after his exaltation to heaven, in 
the destruction of Jerusalem, for example, in the fall of heath- 
endom, and in the reformation of the church ; and it is the task 


It follows from this that, while we are permitted to 
conceive and to speak of but one Parousia of Christ, 
there may be man^ comings. These are to be re- 
garded as specific events under a generic dispensation. 
Several are so designated in the Scriptures, and many 
more might equally well be. Among them were the 
Spirit's work on the day of pentecost, the judgment 
upon Ananias and Sapphira, the conversion of Saul, 
the various deliverances of the apostles from prison, 
the overthrow of Jerusalem, the destruction of the 
man of sin, the conversion of Constantine, etc., and 
generally, the happy death of believers, the conquests 
in the work of missions, revivals, etc.^ 

of an exact exegesis to determine with regard to every place in 
the N. T. (where this is demanded) in what sense precisely 
there a coming of the Lord is spoken of." — Van Oosterzee, Yol. 
II. p. 578. 

* In this view, it was exactly in the spirit of the old Hebrew 
diction that Mrs. Howe, in her " Battle Hymn of the Republic," 
referring to the uprising of the nation to put down rebellion 
and slavery, wrote : 

'^ Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord, 
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are 

He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword ; 

His truth is marching on. 

"I have seen him in the watchfires of a hundred circling 

camps ; 
They have builded him an altar in the evening dews and 

damps ; 
I can read his righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps ; 
His day is marching on." 




The first of the inquiries addressed by the disciples 
to our Lord on the Mount of Olives, respecting his 
promised Parousia was as to the time of its occurrence, 
"TeU us when shall these things be ?" Matt. 24 : 3. 
His answer is very full and explicit. Indeed, it may 
be said that on no subject whatever is the language of 
the New Testament more abundant or more decisive. 

1. Its precise date was not to be revealed, nay was 
unknown even to himself. "Of that day and that 
hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in 
heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." Mark 13 : 
32. The exact moment was not among the things com- 
mitted to him to be disclosed to men. While here in 
the flesh, his own divine attributes of omniscience 
and almighty power which, as the eternal Son of God, 
he had equally with the Father, were in a state of abey- 
ance. He had "emptied himself" (Greek, ixipojcrsp^ 
Phil. 2:7.) and taken the form of a servant, — acting 
and speaking in that state of humiliation only through 
the Spirit (Matt. 12: 28; Acts 1 : 2; Heb. 9: 14), 
as it was given to him by his Father. John 3 : 34 ; 
5: 19,30; 8: 28 ; 12 : 49. 



But this language should not be pressed to convey 
a meaning not warranted by it. It is very often cited 
as showing that nothing was intended to be known as 
to the time, and therefore as reproving all those who 
repeat the inquiry of the apostles. Dr. Hodge refer- 
ring to it says, " Neither the early Christians nor the 
apostles knew when the second advent of Christ was 
to take place." Com. on Rom. 13 : 11. And Dean 
Alford: "The time of his own coming was hidden 
from all created beings, nay, in the mystery of his 
mediatorial office, from the Son himself." I submit 
that this is altogether too sweeping an assertion. In 
the very verse next preceding he had told the disciples 
when it should be with sufficient definiteness for all 
practical purposes, — sufficient to incite them to watch- 
fulness and preparation for it ; and he here only fore- 
stalls an idle curiosity as to the exact day and hour^ 
which, if disclosed, would tend to interfere with the 
duties of that time. In a similar manner, after his 
resurrection, he refused to answer their inquiry whether 
the time had arrived in which he would restore the 
kingdom to Israel, saying, "It is not for you to 
know the times and seasons" * — i. e. the precise 
dates, "which the Father hath put in his own power." 
Acts 2 : 7. 

2. But though the exact day and hour were not to 
be stated, he still assures them that the event was very 
near. This declaration was made in many ways, and 

a "As Meyer observes, kairos (translated seasons) is always 
a definite, limited space of time, and involves the idea of tran- 
sitoriness." Alford. See also Tittman's N. T. Synonymes. 


repeated with emphasis, and many solemn admonitions 
that it should be remembered and watched for, making 
it one of the most certain and impressive teachings in 
the New Testament. 

The very first public utterance that he made, after 
entering upon his ministry of preaching, was to repeat 
the announcement of his forerunner, John, in the wil- 
derness, " The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matt. 
4 : 17. The coming of that kingdom was the same 
thing as the coming of its king. So when giving his 
twelve apostles their commission, he says, " As ye go, 
preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" 
Matt. 10: 7. He adds, (ver. 23) "Verily I say unto 
you, ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till 
the Son of man be come." 

Matt. 16 : 27, 28. "The Son of man shall come in 
the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he 
shall reward every man according to his works. Verily, 
I say unto you, There be some standing here which 
shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man 
coming in his kingdom." In the corresponding passage 
in Mark it is, " till they have seen the kingdom of God 
come with power." And in Luke, "till they see the 
kingdom of God." It has been maintained by some 
that this prediction was fulfilled in the transfiguration, 
which occurred six days afterward. But this is a most 
unnatural explanation. The purpose of it was to 
comfort his disciples under his announcement that he 
was about to be put to death, and their expectations 
of honor and place in his kingdom to be disappointed ; 
— that they must deny themselves and take up the 


cross, as he had done, and be willing to lose life itself 
if they would preserve it. Yet he would not have 
them discouraged, for their Lord would, after his 
death, speedily return in the glory of his new kingdom, 
which would thenceforth be established in power. He 
would then be invested with the office of administering 
judgment and reward, and would repay his faithful 
servants for all they had done and suffered for his sake. 
Such is the manifest import of this grand promise, 
vrith which nothing can be more incongruous than the 
idea that they should be permitted merely to witness 
a change in his personal appearance, which would con- 
tinue but an hour or two, and which they must be 
careful not to tell of. How absurd to call this a re- 
warding of every man according to his works ! Besides, 
it seems little short of trifling to pretend that our 
Lord should so solemnly, and with the formula of 
weightiest emphasis, declare that there were some 
among all the persons standing about him who would 
not die within a week 1^ 

*"Tliis declaration refers in its full meaning, certainly 
not to the transfiguration which follows, for that could in no 
sense (except that of being a foretaste; cf. Peter's own allusion 
to it. 2 Pet. 1 : 17. where he evidently treats it as such) be named 
the Son of man coming in his kingdom ; and the expression 
'Some of them shall not taste of death' indicates a distant event, 
— but to the destruction of Jerusalem and the full manifestation 
of the kingdom of Christ by the annihilation of the Jewish 
polity." Alford. 

"It has reference to a gradual or progressive change, the in- 
stitution of Christ's kingdom in the hearts of men and in society 
at large, of which protracted process the two salient points are 
the effusion of the Spirit on the day of pentecost and the de- 
struction of Jerusalem more than a quarter of a century later." 


John 21 : 21, 22. "Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, 
Lord, and what shall this man do ? Jesus saith unto 
him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to 
thee?" This is not, indeed, an express declaration 
that John should live till the time of his coming, but 
that meaning is implied in it.* The other apostles 
so understood it, and the prediction in this sense was 
verified, John, according to the testimony of all an- 
tiquity, having survived the destruction of Jerusalem. 
Euseb. Eccl. Hist. iii. 23. 

Matt. 24 : 34. "This generation shall not pass till 
all these things be fulfilled." It has been said that 
the word "generation" does not necessarily denote a 
period equivalent to the average duration of those 
living at one time, but that it sometimes signifies a race 
or hind ; so that the meaning here may be that, not- 
withstanding the threatened overthrow of the nation, 
the Jewish race should survive and continue till the 
end of time. But this is foreign to the whole scope 
of the passage. The topic under consideration was 
the time of the Parousia. Jesus likens it to the near 
approach of the summer after the budding of the 
spring, and immediately adds the words before us, as 
if to reiterate the idea in the strongest terms. Besides, 
though the English word, generation, may sometimes 
have the sense claimed, there is no instance in the New 
Testament of such use of the original word, yeved. It 

a "The words must be accepted as expressing not merely 
what he could do, but what he intended to do." Archbishop 
Trench, Studies, p. 189. 


occurs forty-two times, and invariably in its ordinary 
sense of the men of this age, or those now living.^ 
Z^ Matt. 26 ; 6f . "Hereafter" (Gr. from this time) 

"shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand 

of power and coming in the clouds of heaven." 

Luke 22 : 69. "Hereafter" (Gr. from now) "shall the 
Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of 
God." In these passages the qualifying phrases of 
time are very explicit, not signifying, as the English 
"hereafter," some indefinite period in the future, but 
one commencing at that very moment ; — immediately, 

^ " Not withstanding the dissent of some, the phrase can 
only mean ' this very generation,' ' the race of men now living.' " 

"Ejus setatis homines." Rosenmuller. 

'*It is neither more nor less than equivalent to our mode of 
expression when we say, ' There are those now born who will 
live to see these things fulfilled.' " Bobinson. Bib. Sac. 

" 'Not,' says De Wette, ' this generation of the Jews, not this 
generation of the apostles (Paulus), but exclusively, the genera- 
tion of men now living.' His explanation is doubtless correct.' ' 
Stuart, Bib. Sac. IX. p. 455. 

"Unless we forge a meaning for the word in this place which 
is not only unexampled elsewhere, but directly contradictory to 
its essential meaning everywhere, we must understand our 
Lord as saying that the contemporary race or generation, i. e. 
those then living, should not pass away till all these prophecies 
should be accomplished." J. A. Alexander. 

"We can understand nothing else by 'this generation' than 
the contemporaries of Jesus and his disciples." Keil. 

"This generation of living men." Geikie. 

"Genea (generation) is not used in the sense of nation in any 
one passage, either in the New Testament or of profane writers." 

"The generation of persons then living with Christ." Ben- 
ham in Bib. Cyc. 


John 16 : 16. "A little while and ye shall not see 
me, and again a little while and ye shall see me ; because 
I go unto the Father." This and similar phrases in 
the discourse can only have one import, as Alford 
terms it, "the great Revisitation in all its blessed 

These declarations of our Lord were accompanied 
by the most solemn warnings to his disciples to be con- 
tinually prepared and watching for his coming, for it 
would take place suddenly and, to those not thus watch- 
ing, unexpectedly. Matt. 24 : 42-45 ; Mark 13 : 33 ; 
Luke 21 : 34-36. Of like import are the parables of 
the servant left in charge of a household (Matt. 24 : 
45-51); of the ten virgins (Matt. 25 : 1-13); and of 
the talents (Matt. 25 : 14-29). It seems to us little 
else than mockery to address such admonitions to those 
who, upon the theory that the Parousia is still future, 
would have gone to their graves at least twenty cen- 
turies before the prediction would be accomplished. 


Such were the teachings of the Master himself. If 
now we turn to the apostles whom he commissioned 
to complete the sacred volume, we find as one of the 
most conspicuous facts that they had understood him 
as affirming the near approach of the Parousia ; that 
they frequently spoke of it, and derived from it their 
most constant incitements to fidelity, and their most 
precious consolations and hopes. 

Three of those who inquired concerning it on the 


Mount of Olives were James, Peter, and John, and 
these, with Jude, are the only ones of the twelve whose 
words have been preserved to us in writing. A simple 
citation of their language will strikingly illustrate 
how habitually and how fondly they recurred to the 


Jas. 5 : 7, 8, 9. " Be patient therefore, brethren, 
unto the coming (Parousia) of the Lord. Behold 
the husbandman waiteth, etc. ; be ye also patient, 
for the coming (Parousia) of the Lord draweth nigh. 
Behold the Judge standeth before the door." 


1 Pet. 1:5. " Who are kept by the power of God 
unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time," 
(about to be disclosed). 

1 Pet. 1:7. " That the trial of your faith— might 
be found unto praise and honor and glory at the ap- 
pearing (d,Tcox(ihj>pcc:^ of Jesus Christ." 

1 Pet. 1 : 13. " Be sober, and hope to the end for 
the grace that is to be brought unto you." (Alford 
says the original " expresses the near impending of 
the event spoken of ; q. d. ; ' which is even now bear- 
ing down on you.' ") at the appearing (d;raxa/y^rc) 
of Jesus Christ." 

1 Pet. 4:5. " Who shall give account to him that 
is ready to judge the quick and the dead." 

1 Pet. 4:7. " But the end of all things is at hand; 
be ye therefore sober and watch unto prayer." 

1 Pet. 4 : 13. " That when his glory shall be re- 


vealed (Gr. in the apocalypsis of his glory) ye may be 
glad also with exceeding joy." 

1 Pet. 4 : IT. " For the time is come that judg- 
ment must begin at the house of God." (Gr. it is 
the time of the beginning of the judgment). 

1 Pet. 5:1. "A partaker of the glory that shall 
be (Gr. is about to be) revealed." 

1 Pet. 5:4. " And when the chief Shepherd shall 
appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth 
not away." 

2 Pet. 1 : 16. " We made known to you the power 
and coming (Parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ." 

2 Pet. 3: 10-12. "The day of the Lord wiU 

come as a thief in the night Seeing then that all 

these things shall be dissolved, what manner of per- 
sons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and 
godliness, looking for and hasting [unto] the coming 
(Parousia) of the day of God," etc. 


1 John 2:18. " It is the last time." Alford says, 
" Verse 28 shows that it is the coming of the Lord 
which is before the mind of the apostle." 

1 John 2 : 28. " Abide in him, that when he shall 
appear we may have confidence, and not be ashamed 
before him at his coming." (Gr. in his Parousia). 

1 John 3:2. We know that when he shall appear 
we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." 

Rev. 1:13. " Things which must shortly come to 
pass. The time is at hand." 

Rev. 2 : 5, 16. " I will come unto thee quickly." 



^ Rev. 2 : ^5. " Hold fast till I come." 

Rev. 3: 3, 20. "I will come on thee as a thief. 

Behold I stand at the door." 

Rev. 22 : 12. Behold I come quickly, and my re- 
ward is with me." 


Verse. 14. " Enoch prophesied saying, The 
Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints." Vs. 
24. " Unto him that is able to keep you from falling 
and to present you faultless before the presence of his 
glory," etc. 


In citing the abundant testimony of this great 
apostle, who, though not with the others who heard 
our Lord's words on the Mount of Olives, yet received 
the gospel which he preached by direct revelation 
(Gal. 1 : 12), we begin with the earliest of his 
epistles, — 1 Thessalonians, — which should be read in 
connection with Acts 17 : 1-10, as showing the 
circumstances attending the founding of the Thessa- 
lonian church. The great theme of his preaching 
there had been the speedy coming of Christ to estab- 
lish his kingdom among men. This appears from the 
complaint made by his enemies to the Roman author- 
ities, that he and his followers were turning the world 
upside down — " saying that there is another King — 
one Jesus." With this agrees his own statement, — 1 
Thess. 1: 9, 10. "Macedonia and Achaia * * shew 


of US what manner of entering in we had unto you, 
and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the liv- 
ing and true God, and to wait for Ms Son from 
heaven.'" That Jesus was the appointed King of men 
and that he was about to come from heaven to assume 
his throne are plainly the leading topics thus indica- 
ted. We do not wonder that with backs yet bleeding 
from the scourging they had suffered at Philippi, 
Paul and his companion Silas should have taught 
thus. They made Christ's own words in Matt. 16 : 
24-28 their text, and their preaching, as he says, and 
as it well might be from an eloquence so fired and so 
illustrated, "was in power, and in the Holy Ghost, 
and in much assurance." Ch. 1: 5. From the seed 
sown in that three weeks' ministry sprang up a church 
whose faith and zeal won from him the most honora- 
ble commendation, and was, as he assures them, 
known and certified to throughout all Greece. Ch. 
1: 8.^ 

With this key-note of his preaching harmonize all 
the allusions to the same subject with which the two 
epistles to this church abound. 

1 Thess. 2: 19. "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?" (his 

*"The great burden of his message to them was the ap- 
proaching coming and kingdom of the Lord Jesus." — Alford. 
"If we were asked for the distinguishing characteristic of the 
first Christians of Thessalonica, we should point to their over- 
whelming sense of the nearness of the second advent." — 
Howson. Life and Epp. I. p. 327. 


1 Thess. 3 : 13. " To the end he may stablish your 
hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our 
Father, at the coming (Parousia) of our Lord Jesus 
Christ with all his saints." 

1 Thess. 4 : 15. " We which are alive and remain 
unto the coming (Parousia) of the Lord."^ 

1 Thess. 4 : 17. " Then we which are alive and re- 
main shall be caught up together with them in the 
clouds," etc.^ 

1 Thess. 5:2. " Yourselves know perfectly that 
the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the 

1 Thess. 5: 23. "I pray God your whole spirit 
and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the 
coming (Parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ." 

2 Thess. 1:7. " And to you who are troubled rest 

a "Then beyond question he himself expected to be alive, 
together with the majority of those to whom he was writing, 
at the Lord's coming." — Alford. This author styles the usual 
explanation that by "we, the living," is meant "such as 
should be alive at that day," an evasion, and insists that in the 
word we, " Paul includes his readers and himself. That this 
was his expectation we know from other passages, especially 

from 2 Cor. 5: 1-10." " Certainly the proceeding of the older 

interpreters who thought Paul spoke in the plural only conver- 
sationally, without really meaning to say that they themselves, 
he and his readers, might be still living at the occurrence of 
that catastrophe, is decidedly to be rejected." — Olshausen. 

''Here Paul evidently reckons himself among those of 
whom he considers it possible, and a thing to be desired and 
hoped for, that they may live to witness the advent. The 
strange evasions by means of which the fathers and others 
sought to make out that Paul nevertheless is not speaking of 
himself, are justly set aside by Lunemann." — Auberlen, in 
Lange's Com. 


with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from 
heaven," etc. (Gr. in the apocalypsis of the Lord 
Jesus from heaven). 

2 Thess. 2 : 1-12. This passage, so often quoted to 
disprove the speedy coming of Christ, will receive 
distinct notice hereafter. 

2 Thess. 3:5. " The Lord direct your hearts into 
the love of God, and into the patient waiting for 

The other epistles of Paul we note in their usual 

Rom. 8 : 18. " The sufferings of this present time 
are not worthy to be compared with the glory which 
shall be revealed in us." (Gr. is about to be re- 

Rom. 13: 11-12. "And that knowing the time, 
that now it is high time to awake out of sleep ; for 
now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 
The night is far spent ; the day is at hand."* 

1 Cor. 1 : 7-8. " Ye come behind in no gift, wait- 
ing for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who 
shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be 

* " A fair exegesis of this passage can hardly fail to recog- 
nize the fact that the apostle here as well as elsewhere (1 Thess. 
4: 17; 1 Cor. 15: 51), speaks of the coming of the Lord as 
rapidly approaching." — Alford. "Most modern German com- 
mentators defend this reference. Olshausen, DeWette, Philippi, 
Meyer, and others, think no other view in the least tenable ; 
and Dr. Lange, while careful to guard against extreme theories 
on this point, denies the reference to eternal blessedness, and 
admits that the Parousia is intended. The opinion gains 
ground among Anglo-Saxon exegetes." — Middle, in Lange' s 


blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." The 
meaning is that the Corinthians were not inferior to 
any other church in their ardent and waiting expec- 
tation of the approaching Parousia.** 

1 Cor. 3 : 13. " Every man's work shall be made 
manifeJit ; for the day shall declare it, because it shall 
be revealed by fire." Literally, " It — the day- — is be- 
ing manifested in fire." The verb is in the present 
tense, as if denoting an event now in progress or just 
about to occur. 

1 Cor. 4:5. " Therefore judge nothing before the 
time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to 
light the things of darkness, and will make manifest 
the counsels of the hearts." An apparent allusion to 
the work of the Revealer predicted in Malachi 3 : 2-5. 

1 Cor. 5:5. " Deliver such a one unto Satan for 
the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be 
saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." 

1 Cor. 7 : 29. " But this I say, brethren, the time 
is short ; it remaineth," etc.^ 

1 Cor. 11 : 26. " For as often as ye eat this bread 

*"It may be asked, Were the Corinthians looking for 
Christ's second advent as an event likely to occur in their day, 
and which some of them might be expected to witness ? This 
question must be answered in the affirmative." — Poor, in 
Lange's Com. 

♦'Alford translates this, "The time that remains is short, 
— literally the ' time is shortened henceforth ' ; i. e. the interval 
between now and the coming of the Lord has arrived at an ex- 
tremely contracted period." — "The 'time' is not to be taken 
for the earthly lifetime of individuals ; the context rather points 
to the period of time from thence onward until the second ad- 
vent." — Kling, in Lange's Com. 


and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till 
he come." This passage is relied upon by many as 
showing that the Parousia is still future, else our 
practice of observing the Supper should cease. This 
will be considered hereafter.* 

1 Cor. 15: 23. Christ the first fruits; afterward 
they that are Christ's at his coming." (Gr. in his 

1 Cor. 15 : 51, 52. " We shall not all sleep, but we 
shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of 
an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall 
sound," etc.^ 

1 Cor. 16 : 22. " If any man love not the Lord Je- 
sus Christ let him be anathema. Maran atha." i. e. 
the Lord cometh.*^ 

8^ "The showing forth is addressed directly to the Corin- 
thians, not to them and all succeeding Christians ; the apostle 
regarding the coming of the Lord as near at hand, in his own 
time. " — A Iford. 

^"We all, viz., as in 1 Thess. 4: 15, who are alive and re- 
main unto the Parousia of the Lord, in which number the 
apostle firmly believed that he himself should be." — Alford. 
"To take the term 'we' as a sort of generalization by which 
he did not intend literally to denote himself and his contempo- 
raries, but only those living at the time of the advent, and who 
belonged to an entirely different period, and so, as equivalent 
to ' we Christians,' i. e. those who shall then be alive, is entire- 
ly arbitrary. It is unquestionable that the apostle, although 
opposed to all fanciful expectations and designations of time, 
regarded the second advent as near, and hoped to survive it." 
— Kling. 

cThe thought, 'The Lord comes!' is calculated to 
heighten the force of the preceding thought ; Be ye quickly con- 
verted, for the time of decision is near at hand!" — Olshausen. 


Phil. 1:6. " He which hath begun a good work in 
you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."^ 

Phil. 2: 16. "That I may rejoice in the day of 
Christ that I have not run in vain, neither labored in 

Phil. 3 : 20. " Our conversation is in heaven, from 
whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus 

Phil. 4:5. " Let your moderation be known unto 
all men. The Lord is at hand." 

Col. 3:4. " When Christ, who is our life, shall ap- 
pear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." 

1 Tim. 6 : 14. " Keep this commandment without 
spot, unrebukeable until the appearing (epiphaneia) 
of our Lord Jesus Christ." 

2 Tim. 4: 1. "I charge thee before God and the 
Lord Jesus Christ, who shall (Gr. is about to) judge 
the quick and the dead at his appearing (^epiphaneia) 
and his kingdom." 

2 Tim. 4:8. " There is laid up for me a crown of 
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, 
shall give me at that day ; and not to me only, but 
unto all them also that love his appearing." 

2 Tim. 4 : 18. " The Lord shall deliver me from 
every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heav- 
enly kingdom." 

Titus 2 : 13. "Looking for that blessed hope, and 

»" This assumes the nearness of the coming of the Lord." 
— Alford. 

^"The words assume, as St. Paul always does when 
speaking incidentally, the ' we ' surviving to witness the coming 
of the Lord."— ^Z/ord. 


the glorious appearing (epiphaneia) of the great God 
and our Saviour Jesus Christ." 

Heb. 9 : 28. " Unto them that look for hun shall 
he appear (Gr. be seen), the second time, without sin 
unto salvation." 

Heb. 10 : 25. " And so much the more as ye see 
the day^ approaching." 

Heb. 10: 37. "For yet a little while, and he that 
shall come will come, and will not tarry." The ex- 
pression in the original is very peculiar. The words 
translated " a little while," are a sort of double super- 
lative, denoting the smallest possible time. Alford 
translates them a "little little while." He thinks 
that Paul had in his mind a similar expression in the 
Septuagint of Isa. 26 : 20, which in our version is 
rendered "for a little moment." Nothing could ex- 
press more forcibly the idea of the speediness of the 
event referred to. Yet, as if that were not enough, 
the same thing is repeated in the negative form, — 
" and will not tarry." 


I have thus cited or referred to above seventy 
instances in which our Lord and his apostles spoke 
directly or indirectly of the time of that great period 
named the Parousia. The casual reader, not familiar 
with the customary phraseology of the apostolic age, 
may not have always recognized the allusion to that 

*"The shortest of all designations of the Lord's com- 
ing."— ^Z/or^. 


period, but a careful study of the passages will not 
leave any doubt on that point. What now is the con- 
clusion to which they bring us ? 

1. Let it be noted that in none of these passages, 
nor in any other of either Testament, is there any 
affirmation that the Parousia was distant. Nearly 
two thousand years have passed since that time, and 
if the Parousia is still future, it must then have been 
far off, — how much more than two thousand years we 
cannot say. Is it not remarkable that, if this were so, 
no intimation of that fact should at any time have 
been made ? Is it not wonderful that among at least 
fourscore allusions to the event, and the time when it 
was expected, not one of them should have hinted at 
the truth, — if such was the truth ? Is it not passing 
strange that in stating their expectations and hopes, 
and urging the powerful motives which centered in 
that event, not one should have uttered a word, or be- 
trayed the trace of an impression in his mind, that the 
time was more than twenty centuries distant ? Nay, 
take this assumed fact — say of twenty centuries — and 
carry it back and lay it along side the utterances 
quoted, as a supposed explanation of what their authors 
meant : — "at hand," "before some standing here taste 
of death," "this generation," "from now," "quickly," 
"the time is short," "we who are alive and remain 
unto it," "a little little while," etc. Is that, I cannot 
help asking, a proper way of understanding inspired 
words ? I need not ask the learned only ; I appeal to 
every plain man of common sense. Do these phrases 
mean twenty centuries or more ? Can they mean that 


by any reasonable interpretation ? Had we been among 
the hearers of our Lord or the apostles, could we have 
possibly understood their words in such a meaning? 

2. The testimonies I have considered are, most of 
them, expressed in simple^ plain words. They are not 
clothed in figurative language or presented only 
through pictures and symbols, like many others used 
in prophecy. "Ye shall not have gone over the cities 
of Israel till the Son of man be come." "Some 
standing here who shall not taste death till they see 
the Son of man coming in his kingdom." " The 
Parousia of the Lord draweth nigh." " I come quick- 
ly." " The Lord is at hand." " In a little little while, 
he that shall come will come and will not tarry," etc. 
Nothing can be more direct, literal, positive. Mathe- 
matical terms are not less ambiguous. Says Prof. 
Reuss, "All these representations are clear and simple ; 
they have nothing equivocal about them ; there is not 
a word to suggest that there is any hidden meaning, 
any mental reservation, reducing their value merely 
to that of parable or figure. It is evident that the 
narrators, who serve as our guides, took every word 
literally, and had not a shadow of doubt in reference 
to the matter." Hist. Ch. Theology, p. 214. Why 
then should we not receive them in the same way ? 

3. It is certain that those who heard the words of 
our Lord on the subject understood him as teaching 
the near approach of the Parousia; that they them- 
selves expected it; and of course that when they 
referred to it they meant to be understood in the same 
way. This is now conceded by nearly all commenta- 


tors. The following statements may be added to 
those already cited in connection with the particular 
passages. Says Prof. Stuart, " Tholuck and most of 
the late commentators in Germany suppose that the 
apostles expected the speedy advent upon earth 
a second time." Com. on Rom. 13: 11. "The 
Messianic kingdom begins by means of the second 
coming of Christ, which Paul regarded near." Meyer. 
"All the writers of the New Testament consider 
Christ's advent as near ; in fact the whole doctrine 
would not have the slightest practical significance un- 
less the longing after the second coming of Christ 
were each moment alive, and therefore continually 

deemed possible." Ohhausen^ on 1 Thess. 4 : 15. 

" That St. John, like the other apostles, expected the 
coming of Christ as nigh at hand is a certain fact." 
Ubrard, on 1 John. " All the apostolic exhortations 
and consolations are so clearly connected with the 
prospect of the personal return of the Lord, that 
whosoever contradicts this last thereby takes away the 
roof and cornice from the structure of the apostolic 
theology." Van Oosterzee. Hist. II. p. 581, " Cer- 
tainly the apostles do all of them express often 
enough the expectation of the coming as near, — a 
living hope and longing expectation." Auherlen in 
Lange's Com. 1 Thess. 4: 17. — There can be but 
one reasonable conclusion from these facts. For the 
apostles were inspired men, expressly commissioned 
to teach what they had received from the Lord. The 
language I have cited from them was written under 
the guidance of the Holy Ghost, who was promised to 


" teach them all things, and bring all things to their 
remembrance whatsoever he had said unto them." 
John 14 : 26. If they, so taught and so guided, un- 
derstood that the Parousia was at hand, then we must 
so understand it, or relinquish the belief of their in- 
spiration altogether. 

It is curious, though not pleasant, to observe by 
what methods those who deny that the Parousia has 
taken place endeavor to escape this conclusion. 
Whenever these passages are approached, the first 
thing is to concede that in words they teach that doc- 
trine. The language is sufficiently plain and explicit. 
Instead, however of accepting their obvious meaning, 
and making less clearly taught truths conform to this, 
they begin to look around for some way to avoid its 
force. Some boldly say the apostles were mistaken. 
Thus Mr. Barnes : " I do not know that the proper 
doctrine of inspiration suffers if we admit that the 
apostles were ignorant of the exact time when the 
world would close, or even that in regard to the pre- 
cise period when that would take place theg might be 
in error.''' Com. on 1 Cor. 15 : 51. Inspired men 
in error I And that not about matters outside of 
religion, but about the very things they were com- 
missioned to teach, and which they made the very 
" roof and cornice " of their theology ! We cannot 
conceive of it. The suggestion shocks all our ideas of 
inspiration and of the infallibility of the divine 
Word. Rather would we say with Stuart : " It is 
incredible that the apostles, if enlightened by super- 
natural influence, should not have been taught better 


than to lead the whole Christian church to a vain and 
false hope about the appearance of Christ, which when 
frustrated by time and experience would lead of 
course to general distrust in all their experiences and 
hopes." Com. on Rom. 13 : 11. — And then, what of 
the Lord himself ? Was ITe in error also ? 

Not a few writers, hesitating apparently to say out- 
right that Paul was mistaken, seek to weaken the 
force of his statements by intimating that they are 
found chiefly in his earlier einstles^ as if the growing 
wisdom of his later years had corrected, or at least 
abated, the fondness of his former expectations. Says 
Olshausen^ " Paul seems in later times not only to 
give up the hope of living to see Christ's second com- 
ing himself (compare Phil. 1 : 23 with 1 Thess. 4 : 
16, 17), but also to have dwelt less in his teaching on 
the near approach of the outward kingdom of God, 
and to have presented in stronger relief its spiritual 
aspects." So Alford : " I find in the course of St. 
Paul's epistles that expressions which occur in the 
earlier ones, and seem to indicate expectations of his 
almost immediate coming, are gradually modified, 
disappear altogether from the epistles of the impris- 
onment, and instead of them are found others speaking 
in a very different strain of dissolving and being with 
Christ, and passing through death and the resurrection 
in the latest epistles." Proleg. 1 Thess. Granting 
this, what then? Was not Paul as truly inspired 
when he wrote the earlier as the later epistles ? He 
must have been over fifty years old when the very 
first — 1 Thess. — was written ; he had been preaching 


the gospel nearly or quite twenty years; shall his 
words be discredited because of either youth or inex- 
perience ? Are not the epistles to the Thessalonians 
as much the word of God as that to the Philippians ? 
Even if he had said less of the Parousia in his later 
than in the earlier years, does it follow that it was be- 
cause his opinion was different ? I have suggested a 
special reason why he made the subject so prominent 
at Thessalonica, and that is enough to account fully 
for any such supposed difference between these and 
the later epistles. Besides, I question not only the 
hypothesis but the alleged fact itself. If Paul's im- 
prisonment was in A. D. 62-65 then the later epistles 
were those addressed to the Ephesians, Philippians, 
Colossians, and Philemon, and latest of all to Timothy 
and Titus. But where in all his writings are there 
stronger expressions of his hope and expectation than 
in Phil. 4: 5; Col. 3: 4; 2 Tim. 4 : 1, 8, 18; Titus 2 
13 ? Equally decided are the passages quoted from 
the Hebrews, though both Alford and Olshausen 
doubt the Pauline authorship of that epistle. 

More reprehensible even than these is the opinion 
avowed by Olshausen that our Lord purposely used 
language calculated to mislead his hearers, for the sake 
of the moral effect to be thus gained. The Parousia, 
though not to occur for more than sixty generations, 
''in its great leading events is immediately associated 
with the present, and thus great impressiveness is given 
to the entire portraiture without its treading too closely 

upon the truth'' "Had the Redeemer intended to 

say that his coming was yet very distant" — which ac- 


cording to this author's view was the exact truth, — 
"such a statement would have entirely destroyed the 
ethical import of the prophecy, viz., the incitement to 
watchfulness which it was designed to produce ; and 
if, on the other hand, he had so expressed himself as 
to say nothing at all about the time when these things 
would come to pass, this total silence would have been 
no less paralyzing in its influence. But the represen- 
tation given by the Lord was so framed as to act in a 
two-fold way, first, to keep before the mind the con- 
stant possibility of his coming, and secondly, to show 
the impossibility of fixing upon a precise period." 
Com. on Matt. 24 : 36. That is to say, neither silence 
nor the exact truth would have had the best " ethical 
influence ;" so our Lord purposely used ambiguous and 
misleading words for the sake of inciting his disciples 
to watchfulness! What, 1 cannot help asking, must 
be the straits of a theory which makes necessary so 
shocking an invention as this ! 

Schott, Bloom field, and others seek to solve the diffi- 
culty by "a middle course," supposing that Paul did 
r. ot intend to teach that the near approach of the Par- 
ousia was certain^ but only possible. "By speaking 
obscurely, he doubtless meant to express no certain 
expectation on the subject ; for though he was himself 
inclined to think that some then alive should witness 
the coming of Christ, or at least, that it was not far 
distant, yet he was well aware that it was not permit- 
ted to him to know the times and the seasons which 
the Father had reserved to himself ; so we find that 
he sometimes refutes those who expected the Lord's 


return to be close at hand and gladly anticipated it. 
And as the apostle at the time when he wrote this 
epistle was not yet advanced in life, he might very 
well entertain the opinion that he should perhaps live 

to see that day." Bloomfield. 1 Thess. 4 : 15. 

Surely this is to empty the solemn admonitory words 
of Paul of half their meaning. The Parousia only 
mai/ be near; which implies, of course, that it may 
not. The "ethical" benefit of the expectation may 
be gained, and at the same time his credit as a prophet 
will be saved if it turns out to be a mistake ! Does 
the Holy Spirit guide men into such double dealing 
as that? Besides, is this a true representation of the 
facts ? Does Paul speak " obscurely"? Does he intend 
to affirm a bare possibility P Let the reader glance 
again over the passages I have cited, and point if he 
can to one which betrays the slightest doubt. On 
the contrary, language could not be more forcible in 
urging upon his readers the absolute certainty of the 
great event foretold, and their duty to " stand fast, 
and hold the traditions they had received" from him ; 
while his fervent prayer was that the Lord would 
"direct their hearts into the love of God, and the 
patient waiting for Christ." And I add, as before, 
even if the apostles did deem it only "possible," was 
the same thing true of Christ himself ? Are his words, 
prefaced so often with his " verily, verily," uncertain? 
But the most common and perhaps plausible meth- 
od of escaping from the obvious language of our 
Lord and his apostles is by resorting to the theory of 
a double sense. These prophetic utterances, it is said, 


had two meanings ; first, the apparent one which was 
fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem ; and second- 
ly, within and beyond this, a higher one, which awaits 
fulfillment at the end of the world. This is what 
Dean Alford calls " the pregnant meaning of proph- 
ecy," and which he applies to our Lord's great 
discourse in Matt. 24th and 25th as follows : — " Two 
parallel interpretations run through the former part 
as far as verse 28 ; the destruction of Jerusalem, and 
the final judgment being both enwrapped in the 
words, but the former, in this part of the chapter, 
predominating. Even in this part, however, we can- 
not tell how applicable the warnings given may be to 
the events of the last times, in which apparently 
Jerusalem is to play so distinguished a part. From 
verse 28 the lesser subject begins to be swallowed up 
by the greater, and our Lord's second coming to be 
the predominant theme, with, however, certain hints 
thrown back, as it were, at the event which was im- 
mediately in question ; till in the latter part of the 
chapter and the whole of the next, the second advent, 
and at last the final judgment ensuing on it, are the 
subjects." Com. Matt. 24: 3. 

Of the correctness of this theory as a principle of 
sound exegesis, I shall say but little. It is entirely 
unsatisfactory to my mind, and has been strenuously 
controverted by some of our ablest commentators. 
My objections to it may be stated briefly. 1. There 
is no proof of such double sense in the Scriptures. 
They no where assert anything of the sort, and give 
no example of an inspired person resorting to such a 


mode of interpretation. 2. There is no warrant for it 
in the ordinary laws of language, except when a 
writer is professedly employing parables, riddles, or 
allegories. 3. The secondary and so called higher 
sense is wholly indeterminate. No one can tell where 
it begins or ends, or how much is included in it. Ob- 
serve in the very example proposed by the learned 
Dean, how exceedingly indefinite are the metes and 
bounds of the two senses ; indeed, how the mind of 
the reader must flit back and forth from one to the 
other, making his imagination his only guide, and 
confessing as he does, " We cannot tell how applicable 
the warnings given may be " to the latter. 4. The 
principle is unsafe. Scripture thus interpreted be- 
comes susceptible of any and every meaning which 
theory or fancy may invent. Witness the innumera- 
ble extravagances which have been put forth on this 
subject of the second advent, all based on the as- 
sumption that the Scripture language means some- 
thing over and beyond what it seems to mean, — 
extravagances which have done so much to bring the 
whole subject of eschatology into contempt, and to 
dishonor the word of God. In the present case, it is 
enough to say that neither the Lord nor his apostles 
ever speak of but one Parousia, and never assign any 
other time for it, primary or secondary, than that 
existing generation. If there is to be another, to oc- 
cur at some distant era still future, that fact must be 
gathered from some other source than their recorded 

4. The primitive Christians, who had themselves 


heard the preaching of Christ and his apostles, under- 
stood them as teaching its near approach. That such 
was the case with the church in Thessalonica is noto- 
rious. " As matter of fact," says Alford, " the apostles 
and ancient Christians did continue to expect the 
Lord's coming after that generation had passed away." 
— " This constant expectation of our Lord's coming, 
when he shall be revealed in his glory unto all, is one 
of the characteristic features of primitive Christianity." 
Kling, in Lange's Com. 1 Cor. 1 : 7. Gibbon, whose 
testimony as historian on this point need not be ques- 
tioned, says, " In the primitive church * * * * 
* it was universally believed that the end of the 
world and the kingdom of heaven were at hand. The 
near approach of this wonderful event had been predic- 
ted by the apostles ; the tradition of it had been pre- 
served by their earliest disciples, and those who under- 
stood in their literal sense the discourses of Christ him- 
self were obliged to expect the second and glorious 
coming of the Son of man in the clouds before that 
generation was totally extinguished which had beheld 
his humble condition upon earth, and which might still 
be witness of the calamities of the Jews under Vespas- 
ian or Hadrian." Dec. and Fall, ch. XY. 

I ask, then, how could such an opinion have obtained 
such an acceptance if it had not in fact been taught by 
Christ and the apostles ? Error might, indeed, spring 
up here and there in various ways, but whence this 
universal belief? It is often alleged that Paul wrote 
the second epistle to the Thessalonians to correct that 
opinion, and declare authoritatively that the Parousia 


was not "at hand." If so, why had not the correction 
proved effective, both among the Thessalonians and 
elsewhere ? — for, from the very earliest date, this epistle 
was received as of undoubted inspiration in all the 
churches. There is but one way of accounting for 
this indisputable fact. The whole Christian church 
could not have been brought to receive as one of its 
fundamental articles of faith a doctrine which had not 
come to them from the very fountain of all authority. 

5. That the declarations of our Lord and the 
apostles, which I have cited, mean what they seem to 
mean as to the near approach of the Parousia is evident 
from the connection in which they standi and the pur- 
poses for which they were uttered. That doctrine is 
rarely or never advanced in the way of a general di- 
dactive statement, but always as having an important 
bearing for encouragement, incitement, or warning, on 
some present exigency, in which the very stress of 
the passage lies in the fact that the Parousia was near. 
When Christ told his disciples that he would come in 
the glory of his Father to reward every man according 
to his works, and added, that some of them should not 
taste death till they had seen it, — what was it but to 
console them with the prospect of a speedy compensa- 
tion for their sufferings ? Take away this element of 
speediness, and the promise is robbed of its meaning. 
So with waiting and watching for his coming. I 
submit that it is impossible for any person to be in 
such an attitude of expectancy toward any event 
which is indefinitely distant. Let the reader try it 
for himself. Let him conceive of any great occurrence, 


however full of weal or woe, that is to happen two 
thousand years hence, and see if he can, by any practice 
upon himself, come into such a state that he can truly 
say that he is waiting or looking for it, or expecting 
it. How could Paul be confident that He who had 
begun a good work in the Philippians would perform 
it for more than twenty centuries to come? What 
would be the force of such admonitions as, " Let your 
moderation be known to all men ; the Lord will come 
two thousand years after you are all dead " ? " Grudge 
not one against another lest ye be condemned ; the 
Judge, some ages hence, will stand at the door"? 
"The end of all things is far off; be ye therefore 
sober and watch unto prayer " ? 

I insist that it is this very element of nearness 
which imparts to this entire body of eschatological 
utterances their significance. They were not given 
to be dry didactics about the future, but solemn 
warnings or inspirations to courage, hope, and joy, for 
present use. To be such they must be drawn from 
events not very far remote. Such is the nature of 
man that he is and can be but feebly impressed by 
what is far distant in space or time. Olshausen 
clearly recognizes this fact in his remark already 
quoted : " Had the Redeemer intended to say that 
his coming was yet very far distant, such a statement 
would have entirely destroyed the ethical import of 
the prophecy, viz.: the incitement to watchfulness 
which it was designed to produce." Without it, " the 
whole doctrine would not have the slightest practical 
significance." This is certainly true, but we cannot 


admit the monstrous inference he derives from it, 
that our Lord purposely used language calculated to 
mislead his disciples for the sake of that influence. 
Why did not the learned author see that the very al- 
ternative he states is a proof that the event was not 
far distant? I believe that it is just this, or at least it 
is one of the causes, which have made the " gospel of 
the kingdom " so ineffective in modern times, com- 
pared with what it was in the time of the apostles. 
Let the Parousia, as a now existing fact, be preached 
with as much earnestness as they preached it as an 
anticipated fact, — in other words, that Christ has 
come, that he is now upon the throne of his kingdom, 
ruling, judging, and rewarding men according to their 
works, with his mighty angels attending him to do his 
will, and by the new-creating energy of his provi- 
dence and Spirit making " all things new," and I 
believe that the event witnessed on the day of pente- 
cost, and even greater, would speedily follow. 


There are objections to the foregoing view which it 
is my duty to consider. 

1. The first is that so understood the prediction 
was not fulfilled ; the Parousia did not take place in 
that generation. Says Alford : " All these prseterist 
interpretations have against them one fatal objection, 
—that it is impossible to conceive of the destruction 
of Jerusalem as in any sense corresponding to the 
Parousia in St. Paul's sense of the term." " The 


destruction of Jerusalem is inadequate as an interpre- 
tation of the coming of the Lord here. He has not 
yet come in any sense adequate to such interpreta- 
tion ; therefore the prophecy has yet to be fulfilled." 
Proleg. 2 Tim. sects. 24, 28. In reply it may be 
remarked : — 

First, that as a principle of interpretation this is 
unsound and unsafe. If the words of our Lord, ac- 
cording to the established and undoubted laws of 
language, do say, that the Parousia should be in that 
generation, then that was his assertion. If not ful- 
filled, it may discredit his truthfulness, but it does 
not disprove the fact that he said so. Failure to pay 
a note of hand when due, does not prove that pa3^ment 
at that time was not promised. The learned dean 
himself strenuously contends for this principle in other 
places. Often things are said in the New Testament, 
to be done " that it might be fulfilled " (rV« 7[)j]pcod^7j) 
which had been spoken by a prophet, when on com- 
paring the event with the alleged prediction we find 
it impossible to see Jioiv one was the fulfillment of the 
other. Yet Dean Alford insists that we must so ac- 
cept it, whatever the difficulty. He will not permit 
us to evade the force of the words by a hair's 
breadth. "Such a construction" he says, (that it 
might be fulfilled), "can have but one meaning. If 
such meaning involves us in difficulty regarding the 
prophecy itself, far better leave such difficulty in so 
doubtful a matter as the interpretation of prophecy 
unsolved, than create one in so simple a matter as the 
rendering of a phrase whose meaning no indifferent 


person could doubt." Com. Matt. 1 : 22. This is a 
weighty observation, and most worthy to be remem- 
bered. Had the author himself observed it, he would 
not have tried to get rid of the meaning of this 
prophecy of the Parousia, which is affirmed by a 
multitude of phrases no less simple, no less impossible 
to be doubted by any indifferent person, than the 
one to which he referred. 

Second. It is not, I submit, competent for any un- 
inspired man to say what is and what is not an "ade- 
quate " fulfillment of prophecy, against the pointed in- 
dications contained in its own language. There cer- 
tainly did happen in that generation an event or 
cluster of events, which, considered in their own na- 
ture and in their relations to the history of mankind 
past and future, surpassed in importance every other 
that can be named, save only the death of Christ. 
That great spiritual and civil establishment, the He- 
brew theocracy, which created at once a religion and 
a state, founded by the direct appointment of Jeho- 
vah amid the visible splendors of Sinai, and hallowed 
by a duration of sixteen hundred years, — an institu- 
tion represented in Christ's time in the grandest city 
and most august temple in the world, — was suddenly, 
and with such horrors as never attended any like 
catastrophe, overthrown, and in place of it was set 
up another theocracy, a spiritual kingdom, which from 
that hour, like the stone cut out without hands, en- 
tered upon a career of development and conquest 
which shall one day fill the whole earth ; whose capital 
shall be a "New Jerusalem " ten thousand times ex- 


ceeding the old one in splendor and power, into which 
the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and 
honor ; whose temple shall be the Presence of God 
and the Lamb, and where Jesus shall reign forever. 
Who shall say that such an event, or cluster of events, 
was " inadequate " to the most exalted conception of 
the language employed by our Saviour ? We call it, 
indeed, for convenience sake, the " destruction of Je- 
rusalem," from one of the incidents embraced in it, 
but it is a great mistake to suppose that that bare 
physical event, — which in itself may or may not have 
been more important than that of other cities before 
or after, — was all that we mean by it. And with all 
respect for this great commentator, I must beg leave 
to say that, precisely in the same way that he has 
done, might a rabbi of our Saviour's own day have 
disproved the fact of his first advent. Had not all 
the prophets declared that the Messiah should come as 
a mighty and triumphant king ? And was the poor 
Galilean who stood bound before Pilate, forsaken by 
his nearest friends, and scornfully rejected by the very 
people whom he claimed as his subjects, that king? 
"It is impossible," Caiaphas might have said, "to 
conceive of this Jesus as in any sense corresponding 

to the prophetic descriptions of our Messiah. He 

has not come in any sense adequate to those descrip- 
tions; therefore, this is not the Messiah, and the 
prophecies have yet to be fulfilled ! " 

2. Another objection of a similar character is, that 
the Parousia was to be accompanied by stupendous 
physical phenomena^ which did not occur in that age. 


The sun and moon should be darkened ; the stars 
should fall from Heaven ; the Son of man should be 
seen coming in the clouds with power and great glory ; 
he should be attended with his mighty angels, and 
with the great sound of a trumpet; the heavens 
should pass away with a great noise, the elements 
melt with fervent heat, the earth and the works that 
are therein should be burned up ; and a new heaven 
and a new earth created. Because all this did not 
happen in that generation, therefore, it is alleged, the 
Parousia did not take place. 

Now I freely concede that the prophecy was not 
fulfilled in the physical sense of these terms. I admit 
fully the incompatibility between it and any such ful- 
fillment. What then is the inference? The same 
that every one makes, that the language on the one 
side or the other must be taken in some modified sense 
that will obviate this contradiction. Which shall it 
be ? On the side of the prediction, the language, as 
we have seen, is simple, direct, plain ; it is scarcely 
susceptible of a figurative meaning ; it is repeated in a 
great many forms, more than fourscore times ; and we 
know what meaning it bore in the minds of those who 
uttered and those who heard it. On the other side, we 
find the language poetic, symbolic, in itself absolutely 
incapable of being taken literally. The stars to fall 
from heaven, — the uncounted millions of mighty suns 
to leave their constellations and galaxies and take 
their flight to this little earth ? Impossible ! The 
moon to be turned into blood, — a vast globe of clotted 
gore ? The sun turned into darkness f The elements, 


— earth, air, fire, and water — to melt 9 The heavens, 
— the emptiness of infinite space showing to us only 
the reflected blue of the sunlight — to be rolled togeth- 
er as a scroll ? Certainly not. In their very nature 
all these expressions are figurative. They must, be- 
cause of their appropriate symbolism, or of ancient 
prophetic usage, be understood as referring to great 
moral changes on the earth, just such as we have de- 
scribed as connected with what is called concisely the 
"destruction of Jerusalem." I shall endeavor to 
show, hereafter, that such was their well-known pro- 
phetic usage, as familiar to and as incapable of being 
misapprehended by the Jews of Christ's time as their 
commonest dialect on religious topics, and in that 
sense they were all most signally fulfilled. 

3. It is objected further, in the same line, that the 
Parousia of Christ was to be accompanied by the 
resurrection of the dead, the day of judgment, the end 
of the world, etc., and as these did not occur in that 
age, the Parousia itself could not have taken place. 
This is probably the most formidable objection that 
has been or can be urged against the views I have 
maintained. But the difficulty, to my view, lies in 
the restricted ideas which we have been so accustomed 
to give to the Parousia, limiting it without warrant to 
a brief time, as a single day, or a point in duration. 
The word itself, as I have already shown, conveys no 
such limited meaning; rather does it denote relations 
of permanence with men, — an abiding Pbesence, 
which, beginning with the overthrow of the ancient 
dispensation, its sacred city and its temple, once the 


dwelling place of Jehovah but now "left to them 
desolate," is to last as long as the Messiah reigns ; 
long enough for the spiritual conquest of the world, 
for the resurrection and the judgment ; long enough 
to find its most glorious realization in the New Jeru- 
salem, which John himself represents to be "the 
tabernacle of God with men, in which he will dwell 
with them, and they shall be his people, and God him- 
self shall BE WITH THEM and be their God." 

4. It is urged that the view I have presented is in- 
consistent with Acts 1 : 11, which, it is said, teaches 
that Christ's second coming was to be a visible and 
bodily one^ which certainly' has not as yet taken place, 
and must therefore be still future. " Ye men of Gali- 
lee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven ? This same 
Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall 
so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into 
heaven." Adventists and Millenarians generally rely 
upon this passage in support of their views, with 
great confidence. 

The meaning of this declaration depends on the 
phrase " in like manner," — Greek, hon tropon. I can- 
not deny that many able commentators give it the 
signification above mentioned. Prof. Hackett says, 
" The expression is never employed to affirm merely 
the certainty of an event as compared with another. 
The assertion that the meaning is simply that, as 
Christ had departed so also would he return, is contra- 
dicted by every passage in which the phrase occurs." 
Alford : " To be taken in all cases literally, not as im- 
plying mere certainty." And Prof. Alexander ; " The 


Greek phrase, hon tropon, never indicates mere 
certainty or vague resemblance, but wherever it occurs 
in the New Testament denotes identity of mode or 

It may perhaps be deemed presumption for me to 
call in question the critical opinion of scholars like 
these, but as they themselves appeal to the other pas- 
sages where the phrase occm-s, we may venture to accept 
the appeal and judge for ourselves. The expression 
occurs elsewhere in the New Testament four times, viz. 
Matt. 23 : 37; Luke 13 : 34 ; Acts T : 28 ; 2 Tim. 3 : 8. 

The first two instances may be regarded as identical. 
" O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, — how often would I have 
gathered thy children together even as — hon tropon — 
a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye 
would not ! " Now I submit to my readers whether 
our Saviour meant to say that he had longed to gather 
the wayward people of Jerusalem under his sheltering 
care, in an " identity of mode or manner " with that 
in which a hen broods over her chickens. Surely not. 
Undoubtedly more is meant than the simple certainty 
of the act ; it implies equal tenderness and faithfulness, 
but it does not imply an exact resemblance in the form 
of it. 

The next passage occurs in Stephen's rehearsal of 
the scene between Moses and the Egyptian in the desert. 
" Wilt thou kill me as — hon tropon — thou didst the 
Egyptian yesterday?" Here again I ask, was the mind 
of the inquirer fixed on the mode of the apprehended 
killing, or on its certainty as a fact ? Was he solicitous 
to know whether it was to be done with staff or dagger, 


and the body buried in the sand, or simply whether 
it was to be done, without reference to manner ? The 
latter, most certainly. The force of the comparison 
rests in the anticipated repetition of the act, not its 
identity of form. 

The remaining passage also relates to an incident 
in the life of Moses. " Now as — hon tropon — Jannes 
and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist 
the truth." These are the traditional names of the 
magicians who imitated in the presence of Pharaoh 
the miracles wrought by God's servant. Ex. 7 : 11, 22. 
But surely it will not be alleged that the false teachers 
whom the apostle condemns opposed the truth pre- 
cisely in the same way that the magicians did, viz., by 
changing rods into serpents and the waters of the Nile 
into blood. The point of comparison in Paul's mind 
was in the fact of opposition, possibly with the further 
idea of malice and evil design, but it could not have 
meant to include the outward form or method of pro- 

Besides these instances in the New Testament, the 
same phrase is several times found in the Septuagint. 
Gen. 26 : 29. " That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we 
have not touched thee, and as — hon tropon — we have 
done unto thee nothing but good." Isa. 33: 4. 
" Your spoil shall be gathered like the gathering of 
the caterpillar, as — hon tropon — the running to and 
fro of locusts shall he run upon them." 2 Mace. 15 : 
39. " As — hon tropon — wine mingled with water is 
pleasant and delightful to the taste, even so speech 
finely framed delighteth the ears of them that read 


the story." In these again, as in the former instances, 
the point of the comparison is in the similarity of the 
results, and not in any identity of the outward act. 

Instead, then, of this Greek phrase meaning what 
is alleged in every place where it occurs, we find in 
fact that it never means that ; that such meaning, if 
put upon it, would be absurd and impossible. It 
must have been by inadvertence, without an actual 
examination of the point, that the eminent scholars 
named gave their opinion as they did. We take the 
liberty to offset them by the statement of another 
equally eminent, whose competence as a critic of the 
Greek none will question, the late Professor Crosby of 
Dartmouth College. " In reading this passage we are 
in danger of attaching more force to the expression 
in our version, ' in like manner as,' than the original 
words — hon tropon — require. These words have no 
necessary reference to the particular manner in which 
a thing is done.'''' Sec. Advent, p. 15. 

It turns out then in this case, as in not a few others, 
that the materialistic aspect of this passage is due 
rather to its peculiar rendering in our English version, 
than to the exact meaning of the original. Had our 
translators been uniform in their renderings, giving 
the phrase here precisely as they did in every other 
instance in the New Testament, that aspect would not 
have appeared.* 

* This will be more apparent if the several passages be shown 
side by side. Two of them present the comparison in the nat- 
ural order. 

Luke 13: 34. 
How often would I have gath- as a hen doth gather her brood 
ered thy children together under her wings. 


And does not the passage itself bear upon the face 
of it that it is not to be so interpreted ? " He shall 
so come in like manner as ye have seen him go." But 
he departed, as the narrative implies, under the same 
physical form that he had worn ever since his resur- 
rection. He had been conversing with his disciples 
in his usual manner. There is not the slightest inti- 
mation that, so long as he remained visible, there was 
any other than his usual aspect. As he went up " a 
cloud received him," and that was all. But is that 
the way he is to come again ? — that the fulfillment of 
the sublime language in which his return is elsewhere 
set forth, " in the glory of his Father," " with his 
mighty angels," the " flaming fire," " the voice of the 
archangel and the trump of God ? " Insist upon it 
that exact " identity of form and manner " is meant, 
and you place this text in irreconcilable contradiction 
with every other which describes the ineffable majesty 
of his appearing. 

4. But the objection most frequently and most 
confidently urged is derived from the language of the 
apostle in 2 Thess. 2 : 1-12. We give the essential 

Acts 7: 28. 
Wilt thou kill me as thou didst the Egyptian yes- 

terday ? 
The other two place the second part of the comparison 

2 Tim. 3: 8. 
Now as Jannes and Jambres so do these also resist the 
withstood Moses, truth. 

Acts 1 : 11. 
This same Jesus — as ye have so shall he come, 
seen him go into heaven, 


part of the passage in Alford's translation. "But 
we entreat you, brethren, in regard of the coming of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together 
unto him, — in order that ye should not be lightly 
shaken from your mind nor troubled, neither by spirit, 
nor by word, nor by epistle as from us, to the effect 
that the day of the Lord is present. Let no man de- 
ceive you in any manner, for [that day shall not 
come] unless there have come the apostasy first, and 
there have been revealed the man of sin, the son of 
perdition," etc. 

Such is the language which it is so often said, ex- 
pressly contradicts the doctrine of the near approach 
of the Parousia. We ask the reader to note on the 
very face of it how far it is from justifying the state- 
ments which have been based upon it. " He warns 
them against the expectation of the speedy advent of 
Christ."^ " We find that he sometimes refutes those 
who expected the Lord's return to be close at hand 
and gladly anticipated it."^ " This interpretation (of 
the speedy advent of Christ upon earth a second time) 
was formally and strenuously corrected in 2 Thess. 

What then was the error which these Thessalonians 
held? Our English version has it, "that the day of 
the Lord is at handy The true reading, however is, 
is come. " Not only the nearness but the actual pres- 
ence and commencement of the day," says EUicott. 

« Hodge Com. on 1 Cor. 15 : 51. 

^ Bloomfield in loc. 

<^ Stuart Com. on Rom. 13: 10. 


"Is present," says Auberlen.* He adds, "The apos- 
tle does not intend generally to put far away the ex- 
pectation of the last day. We are merely not to let 
ourselves be surprised by the cry, 'ffere it is now!^^^ 
Alford says, " Is present, not is at hand. St. Paul 
could not have so written, nor could the Spirit have 
so spoken by him. The teaching of the apostle was, 
and of the Holy Spirit, in all ages, has been, that the 
day of the Lord is at hand. But these Thessalonians 
imagined it to be already come, and accordingly were 
deserting their pursuits in life, and falling into other 
irregularities, as if the day of grace were closed." 

The expectation of the speedy coming of the Lord, 
then, was not the error into which these Christians 
had fallen, nor which the apostle here corrected. On 
the contrary, in this very chapter he reiterates the 
command to " stand fast and hold the traditions which 
ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle," 
i. e. to be in the attitude of " waiting for his Son from 
heaven," which he had preached to them at first, and 
so forcibly enjoined upon them in his former letter. 

But the "falling away" and the "man of sin" 
must precede the Parousia. How can that be made 
consistent with the theory of his speedy coming? 

This epistle was written in the year A. D. 53. Je- 
rusalem was destroyed in A. D. 70. Assuming this 
to have been synchronous with the Parousia, we have 
a period of seventeen years during which these events, 
on the theory I maintain, must have occurred. 
What was there in that period at all answering to the 

^ In Lange's Com. 


description of those things contained in this chapter? 
First the "falling away," — Greek, the apostasy. In 
the original, the article prefixed shows it was some 
known and definite event, one that had been before 
spoken of, and which the Thessalonians would recog- 
nize, needing no other designation than ''Hhe apos- 
tasy." Now we find in Matt. 24: 10-12 that this 
was one of the very things which our Saviour 
expressly said should precede the destruction of Je- 
rusalem. "Then shall many be offended," i. e. 
caused to stumble or apostatize, " and shall betray one 
another and shall hate one another. And many false 
prophets shall arise and shall deceive many. And be- 
cause iniquity shall abound the love of many shall 
wax cold." And that such a defection actually oc- 
curred among the infant churches during this very 
period is a matter of history. Tacitus, in describing 
the persecution under Nero, says, " Those who con- 
fessed they were Christians were first brought to trial, 
and after that a vast multitude of others in conse- 
quence of their testimony,''''^ Frequent allusions are 
made in the later epistles, written from A. D. 55 to 
A. D. 65, to the dangers of such an apostasy. See 
especially the second epistle to Timothy, the epistle to 
the Hebrews, chaps, iii, vi, and xii, the second epistle 
of Peter, and the epistles of the Apocalypse to the 
seven churches of Asia. Who can doubt, then, that 
the apostle who had preached to the Thessalonians so 
fully the coming of Christ, as predicted in this dis- 

* Primo correpti qtrt fatebantur, deinde indicio eorum multi- 
tude ingens. Annalxv:44. 


course in Matthew, had told them of this great defec- 
tion, of which he now reminds them again, as "the 
apostasy " which must precede that coming, an event 
whose occurrence in those very seventeen years is as 
clearly established in history as that of the wars and 
famines and earthquakes that were mentioned in the 
same connection."^ 

Secondly the " Man of Sin," called also in verse 8, 
"that Wicked," (Gr. 6 ''Apo/uoc:, the Lawless One). 
In attempting to show whom Paul meant by these ap- 
pellations I would speak with becoming diffidence, 
where the ablest commentators of every age have been 
so much puzzled. Apart from that fact, however, I 
confess it does not seem to be such an unresolvable 
mystery. Three things I think ought to concur in 
the solution. 1. The man of sin must be a person.^ 
It seems to me very unnatural to suppose that Paul 
meant to designate in such terms a mere abstract prin- 
ciple of evil, such as a heresy in doctrine, or a long 
succession of evil doers, like the popes. 2. He must be 
one in such position and holding such relations to the 

*It is surprising what assertions the most eminent writers 
often make under the influence of a pre-accepted theory. Thus 
Olshausen, who denies the fulfillment of this prophecy before 
the destruction of Jerusalem, says, "The persecutions of that 
period were not so violent as to drive many away from the 
faith, and from the first glow of love." (Com. on Matt. 24: 11- 
13). Yet among these persecutions was that of Nero, A. D. 
64r-68. If he deems this not a "violent" one, it would be inter- 
esting to learn his idea of violence. 

^ They — the early fathers — all regard the Adversary here de- 
scribed as an individual person, the incarnation and concentra- 
tion of sin." Alford. Prolog on 2 Thess,, 53. 


Thessalonians as to be an object of apprehension to 
them personally. What can be more improbable than 
that Paul, writing a brief letter to these friends of his 
on matters of the most practical character, should in- 
terpose among its affectionate counsels a formal 
prophecy of some disastrous event that should hap- 
pen in distant ages and lands, — if the papacy, at least 
five hundred — ^if something even now future, two 
thousand years after their day, and with which they 
had no more to do practically than we have with what 
may happen in Ethiopia twenty centuries hence ? 3. 
He must be, nevertheless, one whom for some reason 
it would be unsafe or improper to name more definite- 
ly, — who might be referred to only under these enig- 
matic terms, which, however, the Thessalonians would 
readily understand, on recalling what the apostle had 
said to them the year before when he was present 
with them. 

Taking these, then, as our clew, we are conducted 
at once to the emperor Neko, as the monster in whom 
all the probabilities of the case meet. He was a per- 
son whose character and acts fully entitled him to be 
called the " Man of Sin," and the " Lawless One." His 
imperial dignity and resistless power over both Rome 
and the provinces made him one to be eminently feared 
throughout the empire ; and being such he could not 
be spoken of in any but the most guarded terms on 
penalty of treason. And the sequel showed that there 
were good reasons why the Thessalonians should be 
admonished of the perils impending over them under 
his reign and over all the churches. Nero ascended 


the throne the next year after this epistle was written, 
and ten years later broke forth in the most terrible 
persecution against the Christians recorded in history. 
Well might the prophetic pen of the apostle warn that 
beloved infant church of the dangers which lay just 
before them, and bid them strive by the cultivation of 
their own faith and steadfastness to prepare themselves 
for it, rather than run into extravagances of joy as if 
already entering on the experience of promises which 
could not be fulfilled for almost a score of years to 

Assuming this, then, to be the right solution of this 
much controverted passage, it ceases to be in the 
slightest degree opposed to the doctrine I have main- 
tained of the early manifestation of the Parousia. I 
am confident that this interpretation cannot be refuted ; 
I am sure that it is both natural and probable. The 
very coincidences in time, personal characteristics, acts, 
and effects are, to say the least, striking ; not only 
not tending to disprove the speedy coming of the Lord, 
but falling in exactly with the scope of the predictions 
concerning it as first given by Christ himself, and 
afterward repeated by all the apostles.^ 

We regard, then, this part of the true doctrine of 

^•It was the common view of the Fathers that by saying "the 
mystery of lawlessness doth already work," Paul meant N"ero. 
So say Victorinus, Hilary, Chrysostom, Jerome. Augustine and 
Theodoret also mention it. — A great many moderns have fol- 
lowed this view, — Lyranus, Erasmus, Gagney, Guilland, Cornel- 
ius a Lapide, etc. Dollinger, " First Age of the church" Yol 2. 
p. 61. Note. 

''For a fuller exhibition of the view thus presented the reader 
is referred to the Appendix. 


the Parousia as demonstrated. If the declarations of 
our Lord and of his apostles, repeated in numberless 
instances and in the greatest variety of forms, express- 
ly and incidentally, positively and negatively, during 
the whole period from before the crucifixion to the 
very eve of the downfall of Jerusalem, always affirm- 
ing the near approach of the Parousia, never in a sin- 
gle instance saying or implying that it was to be far 
distant, can establish any truth on immovable founda- 
tions, they have established this. Whatever else about 
the Parousia is unrevealed or obscure, it is not this 
particular of the time, — I mean of course within the 
specified limits of that " generation." Not the fact of 
the Parousia itself is more clearly asserted than this 
concomitant of it. Not that fact is made more use of 
" for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruc- 
tion in righteousness," than this element of its speedi- 
ness. If any other things in or about the doctrine 
seem inconsistent with this they must be modified to 
harmonize with it, not it with them. If there be a 
foundation text in all the Bible where we can build 
the superstructure of doctrine securely, it is those 
words of the Lord : — 

"Verily I say unto you, This generation 

FILLED. Heaven and earth shall pass away, 



It has been already intimated that much of the dif- 
ficulty of reaching any consistent view of the Parou- 
sia has arisen from the impression that it was to occupy 
only a brief space of time, rather than a long period. 
Perhaps our English version has strengthened if not 
created that impression, by uniformly translating the 
Greek preposition £v, in this connection, by at^ a word 
that we apply rather to a point of time than a pro- 
longed duration. To say that something shall occur 
at Christ's coming conveys a perceptibly different 
shade of meaning from saying it shall take place in or 
during his presence. Yet a mere glance at a Greek 
Concordance will show that the instances in which the 
word elsewhere means and is rendered in are at least 
ten times as numerous as where it means and is trans- 
lated at. Why the translators always gave it this com- 
paratively infrequent signification, in this connection, 
does not appear. 

This protracted duration of the Parousia is a fact 
of so much importance, that it deserves particular 

If we wished to measure the breadth of the ocean, 
we should carefully determine the exact positions of 
points known to lie upon its shores, or to be included 


within its expanse. Having the longitude of New 
York and the longitude of Gibraltar, it is not difficult 
to compute from these with great accuracy the dis- 
tance between them ; in other words, the dimensions 
of the space intervening. So there are certain things 
which it is expressly declared shall take place in or 
during the Parousia (iv zjj naftouaia') that, if we mis- 
take not, will no less surely guide us to a correct idea 
of its duration. 

1. The first, as all know, was the establishment of 
the new "kingdom of heaven." The old theocracy 
founded by Moses was to pass away, and be succeeded 
by a new one of a more comprehensive sway and a 
higher glory. " They shall see the Son of man com- 
ing in his kingdom." Matt. 16 : 28. " Ye shall see the 
Son of man sitting on the right hand of power and 
coming in the clouds of heaven." Matt. 26 : 64. 

2. A second thing to occur in the Parousia was 
the destruction of Jerusalem. Matt. 24 : 27, 34. Let 
it be observed that this prediction is not in that part 
of the chapter which many suppose refers to the day 
of judgment, but in that which is universally conceded 
to relate to the overthrow of the temple and city. 

3. The destruction of the Man of Sin. " Whom the 
Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth and 
shall destroy with the brightness of his Parousia." 
2 Thess. 2 : 8. If the view I have presented of this 
personage be accepted, — the view which generally pre- 
vailed among the early Fathers, and is confirmed by 
some of the ablest historians of modern times, — we 
see a literal fulfillment of the promises in the events 


of the same great catastrophe. In the midst of the 
siege of Jerusalem, and in the very flush of his power, 
Nero was suddenly hurled from the throne he disgraced, 
and died like a dog in one of the sewers of Rome. If 
we take the more common Protestant view of the Man 
of Sin as denoting the papacy, the argument becomes 
still stronger. Its overthrow certainly has not yet 
arrived, and we are already almost nineteen centuries 
distant from the generation in which the Parousia 

4. In his epistles to the seven churches in Asia, 
which constitute the introduction to the Book of Rev- 
elation, John announces the repeated warnings of the 
Lord of his speedy " coming " to try and reward them 
according to their fidelity. The word parousia is not 
indeed used in this case, but it will scarcely be denied 
that the " coming " so often mentioned was identical 
with it. The familiar imagery used by Christ himself 
of that event, on the Mount of Olives, is employed. 
" Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall 
see him, and they also which pierced him ; and all 
kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him." 
There can be no doubt, as it seems to me, that reference 
is made here to the persecutions then impending over 
the churches, "the hour of temptation which shall 
come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon 
the earth." In that great trial Christ declares that he 
will " come " to them with searching severity, to detect 
and punish the unfaithful, to strengthen and comfort 
his true children, and to reward those who were stead- 
fast unto death with the crown and throne of victory 


in heaven. The nature of the promise indicates the 
time of its fulfillment, viz., that persecuting era of 
Rome which began with Nero about A. D. 64, and 
ended with the accession of Constantine in A. D. 306. 
5. In Christ's consolatory words to his disciples in 
view of his approaching departure, he spoke of certain 
" comings " which cannot be assigned to any particular 
date, but are to be repeated in the personal history of 
individuals in all ages. I do not mean to intimate 
that these are the same thing with the Parousia, in its 
general signification, but they do denote what shall 
occur under the Parousia, and are particular and 
special manifestations of it to individual believers. 
" If a man love me he will keep my words ; and my 
Father will love him, and we will come unto him and 
make our abode with him." " If I go and prepare a 
place for you, I will come again ^ and receive you unto 
myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." When 
Christ enters into such relations to one that loves him, 
it is an apocalypse of himself to that soul as Lord and 
King, in power and glory. And when he comes to 
the bedside of him who has fought a good fight and 
kept the faith, and in his divine strength as the risen 
and reigning Lord, makes him a partaker of the victory 
he achieved for all his people, and bears him away to his 
throne and home in his Father's house, it is to make 
him a sharer in the glory of his Parousia. They are 
the fruits of that great and blessed Presence of the 
Lord which was to the apostles ever the source of so 
much hope and joy. 

^Dean Alford says this refers to "the great Bevisitation in all 
its blessed progress." 


6. The Parousia in express terms was to embrace 
the resurrection of the dead. " Every man in his own 
order ; Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are 
Christ's, at his coming" — (Gr. in or during his Par- 
ousia). 1 Cor. 15 : 23. I need spend no time to 
establish this connection between the two, it being a 
truth universally recognized that one of the objects of 
Christ's coming in his Parousia was to be to raise the 

7. Finally, the Parousia, in like manner, was to 
embrace the general judgment. Matt. 25 : 31-46. I 
think, indeed, that that sublime consummation, like 
the Parousia itself, has a wider scope than is implied in 
the usual materialistic conceptions of it. But this, at 
least, is certain that it is to embrace the whole family 
of mankind ; that there never has been and never will 
be one to whom it is not appointed to "stand before 
the judgment seat of Christ to receive the things done 
in his body, according to that he hath done, whether 
it be good or bad." 

Here, then, is a predicted event which was to em- 
brace within it, at least, the seven specific things men- 
tioned. This, be it observed, is not a matter of infer- 
ence, but of express divine assertion. Its two termini 
are the destruction of Jerusalem and the day of judg- 
ment. And the question now recurs, how can these 
two, with all that lies between, be included in one 
term, if you do not make that term one of vast breadth 
and comprehensiveness ? Insist upon it that the Par- 
ousia means some point of time, some "day" or "hour," 
in the ordinary sense, and you create a difficulty 


which I know not how to solve. Insist that it not 
only means such point of time, but that that " day " 
is still future, and you contradict the most express 
and oft repeated words of the Lord and of all his 

Something, at least, must be done to harmonize these 
testimonies of the divine word. We cannot take up 
the overthrow of the temple, the founding of the new 
kingdom of the Messiah, the destruction of the Man 
of Sin, and the disciplinary " coming " of the Lord to 
the seven churches, and carry them forward into the 
future, as events which are still to take place. We 
cannot reach forward to the resurrection and the 
judgment and carry them back to the generation when 
Christ was on earth in the flesh. The grand programme 
of the world's history under the administration of our 
Lord, with its mighty procession of centuries and ages, 
refuses to be thus narrowed down to a single point. 
The powers of the mind revolt at such an attempt, 
under the pressure of any theory, to do violence to 
their intuitive convictions. You may resort to the 
h3^pothesis of types, making those primitive events the 
types of the greater ones in the future ; you may 
invent the doctrine of a double sense, under which, 
when one thing is said another thing is meant ; or you 
may devise some other solution, but you must do 
something. For myself I freely say, that, having re- 
flected much upon all these ways, and having tried in 
vain to feel satisfied with any other, I can find none 
which seems so simple, so accordant with common 
sense, so perfectly able to meet all the conditions of 


the problem, and to exalt and honor our Lord himself, 
as that which regards the Parousia as covering a vast 
period of duration, beginning with the generation 
when he was on earth, and lasting long enough to 
include all those great events which are to make up 
the history of time. 

We find thus, independently of the meaning of the 
word and of the declared time of its occurrence, 
evidence in its predicted duration confirming the view 
I have advanced as to its nature. The Parousia is 
not something pertaining to a point, but to a vast 
space of time. It is not an event, but a dispensation. 
Like the ocean expanse, embosoming within it widely 
distant mountain ranges whose tops alone appear above 
the surface, its shores are the boundaries of time. 
It may be studded with myriads of particular events 
called comings,^ like the isles of the sea, but they are 
all within the one common ocean. To say that because 
this or that great event has not yet happened — even 
to the resurrection and the judgment — the Parousia 
itself has not begun, is as if a voyager at Hawaii 
should say that, because he has not yet reached Hong 
Kong, he has not therefore yet embarked upon the 

a Says the learned Vitringa, " Venire dicitur Cliristus in nubi- 
bus coeli, quoties gloriam majestatemque suam in singulari- 
bus gratiae, severitatis, et potentiae suae effectis demonstrat, et 
se ecclesiae quasi praesentem exhibet." (Christ is said to come 
in the clouds of heaven as often as he shows forth his glory and 
majesty in the particular operations of his grace, severity, and 
power, and exhibits himself to the church as if present). 



How, then, can the views now exhibited as to the na- 
ture, the time, and the duration of the Parousia, be made 
to harmonize with the representations of the Scriptures 
of the manner in which it should take place. It is de- 
clared that it should be attended with sublime physical 
phenomena ; the darkening of the sun and moon, the 
fall of the stars, the burning of the world, the pass- 
ing away of the heavens with a great noise, etc. Did 
all these things happen eighteen hundred years ago? 

In order to answer this inquiry, it is necessary to 
consider what was the meaning of this language in the 
prophetic Scriptures, and in the usage of the Jews of 
Christ's day. 

These representations are of two kinds, referring to 
two distinct things, identical indeed in time but 
wholly different in their nature ; viz. the establishment 
of the new kingdom of heaven^ and the abolition of the 


Christ was to come for the purpose of establishing 
the new kingdom of heaven, and of being inaugurated 
as its King. How should this event be fittingly set 
forth to the apprehension of mankind ? 


The idea of divine manifestations to men had been 
familiar to the Jews from the earliest times. To 
Abraham and Lot, to Isaac and Jacob, God appeared, 
usually in a human form, — the "Angel-Jehovah" — 
speaking, eating, and in one case even wrestling, after 
the manner of men. To Moses in the desert he reveal- 
ed himself in the burning bush. These, however, 
were, so to speak, private manifestations. Impressive 
as they were to the individuals that received them, 
they were confined to their personal experience, and 
could have had no wide effect upon the world at large. 
It was necessary, therefore, in order to establish his 
special government over a nation, and insure from 
them the reverence and obedience due to him as their 
King and Lord, that he should make a public, visible 
demonstration of his existence, and power, and majesty. 
That demonstration took place at Mt. Sinai. 

Every circumstance that could add to its sublimity 
was gathered around the scene. The people, by a three 
months' journey, were led apart from the rest of man- 
kind into the highest, most secluded recesses of the 
mountains. There, in a broad ravine, shut in on all 
sides by lofty granite peaks gray with time and splin- 
tered and seamed by the storms of ages, they were 
commanded to prepare for a personal interview with 
their God. Three days are spent in sanctifying them- 
selves for the great occasion. Around the base of the 
huge precipice which God was to make his throne, a 
line was drawn, beyond which none might pass on pain 
of instant death. It is for an inspired pen alone to 
describe what followed : — 


" It came to pass on the third day in the morning, 
that there were thunders and lightnings and a thick 
cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet 
exceeding loud ; so that all the people that was in the 
camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people 
out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at 
the nether part of the mount. And Mount Sinai was 
altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended 
upon it in fire, and the smoke thereof ascended as 
the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked 
greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded 
long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and 
God answered him by a voice." Ex. 19 : 16-20. 

The narrative does not state by whom the trumpet 
was blown, but elsewhere we learn that Jehovah was 
attended by a countless retinue of angels. In Deut. 
33 : 2, it is said, " He came with ten thousands of his 
saints," i. e., holy ones. " From his right hand went 
forth a fiery law for them." The Septuagint has here, 
" At his right hand the angels with him." In Ps. 68 : 
18 we read, " The chariots of God are twenty thousand, 
even thousands of angels ; the Lord is among them as 
in Sinai, in the holy place." To the Galatians Paul 
says the law was "ordained by — i. e., through the 
medium of — angels," (ch. 3 : 19); and to the Hebrews 
that it was "spoken by angels." Ch. 2 : 2. 

This scene was doubtless the most awe-inspiring that 
ever addressed itself to the eye of mortals. " So ter- 
rible was the sight," said Paul, " that even Moses said, 
I exceedingly fear and quake."" Heb. 12: 21. It in- 
vested the theocratic system then established with a 


sanctity and authority transcending all human enact- 
ments. Often was it referred to by their teachers as 
bringing the nation under the most solemn obligations 
to obedience, and at the same time, as conferring on 
them the highest honor. " Ask now," said Moses, " of 
the days that are passed, which were before thee, since 
the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask 
from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether 
there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, 
or hath been heard like it. Did ever people hear the 
voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as 

thou hast heard, and live ? Out of heaven he made 

thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee, 
and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire ; and thou 
heardest his voice out of the midst of the fire." Deut. 
4 : 33-36. The proto-martyr Stephen, in that recita- 
tion of the nation's history which so cut them to the 
heart and maddened them to murder, charged upon 
them that notwithstanding they had received the law 
" by the disposition of angels," God's ministers at 
Sinai, they had failed to keep it. And Josephus de- 
scribes even the able but impious Herod, while engaged 
in a war with the Arabians who had murdered his 
embassadors, as stimulating the ardor of his soldiers 
by reminding them that they had received their law 
through the ministry of angels, who might be regard- 
ed as God's embassadors to mankind. Ant. 15: 5. 3. 

Here, then, was the source of that peculiar imagery 
which ever after was wont to be used in describing the 
divine manifestations to man, and sometimes even of 
the ordinary operations of Providence. The Lord 


comes in the clouds, amid lightnings and thunders ; 
angels in their shining ranks attend him ; the moun- 
tains shake at his presence ; and his awful voice is 
heard uttering law and judgment for the world. A 
remarkable example of this diction occurs in the 
eighteenth Psalm, the superscription of which informs 
us that it was a commemorative offering of praise for 
the Psalmist's deliverance " from the hand of all his 
enemies and from the hand of Saul." " He bowed 
the heavens and came down, and darkness was under 
his feet. And he rode upon a cherub and did fly ; yea 
he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made 
darkness his secret place ; his pavilion round about him 
were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At 
the brightness that was before him his thick clouds 
passed, — hailstones and coals of fire. The Lord also 
thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his 
voice, — hailstones and coals of fire." Of course, we 
are not to understand that all this actually occurred 
in a literal or material sense ; it is simply the portrayal 
of almighty power interposing for the deliverance of 
David. The real methods in which this was done are 
shown in the history, which makes no mention of any 
thing supernatural. It is, in a word, the language of 
costume, the full force of which consists in its convey- 
ing the idea of irresistible supreme power. 

It is a curious fact, worthy of mention here, that 
this inauguration of Jehovah as the peculiar sovereign 
of the Hebrews has been made the pattern after which 
earthly kings have ordered the ceremonies of their 
own coronation. Arrayed in royal vestments, with a 


brilliant retinue of grandees, and an imposing display 
of his troops, the new sovereign comes forth, with a 
herald blowing a trumpet before him, and the shouts 
of the multitudes crying, "God save the king." See 
the story of the accession of Solomon (1 Kings 1 : 
38, 39), and of Jehu, 2 Kings 9 : 13. Even in modern 
times, the like ceremonial is observed at the coronation 
of British sovereigns, — the blowing of the trumpet by 
the Garter king-at-arms proclaiming the enthroning 
of the new monarch, and publishing his titles and 
dignities to the world. 

It was in terms thus hallowed by association with 
the founding of their own divine monarchy, and 
familiarized to the Jews as the technical phraseology 
denoting the accession of kings to their thrones, — the 
court language of inauguration, so to speak — that 
Christ described his coming to men in his kingdom. 
The one event of their past history most memorable 
and sublime was the type of the one event of the 
future to which they were taught to look forward with 
the intensest interest. The Lord Jesus Christ, now 
exalted to his promised throne, should appear in the 
clouds of heaven with all the holy angels, resplendent 
in flaming fire like the lightnings of Sinai, with a 
shout, the voice of an archangel and the trump of God. 
And as the Hebrew nation had been gathered in solemn 
expectation around the mountain to receive their 
King, so before Christ should " be gathered all nations" 
(Matt. 25 : 32), to receive law and judgment at his 
mouth. The grand type-scene which introduced the 
old dispensation lent its glories to grace the grander 
antitype that should introduce the new. 


And not only thus was the inauguration of a King 
suggested, but that of One in all respects equal in 
power and glory to himself. It was claiming not only 
the throne, but all the attending insignia which had 
bowed the nation in awe and fear at the foot of Mt. 
Sinai. If the sublimest phenomena known to nature 
could indicate the rank of Him whose coronation they 
graced, the throne of Jesus should be no whit inferior 
to that of Jehovah. He who in his own person is the 
equal of the Father, should be also equal in power 
and glory, " that all men might honor the Son even as 
they honor the Father." 

Was there then to be, in addition to this high sym- 
bolic signification, a fulfillment of this language in a 
literal sense ? I think not. 

For first, there is no evidence that, at this period, 
such was its recognized meaning. We have no reason 
to suppose that the four disciples who heard our Lord's 
words on Olivet so understood him. They were 
familiar with the fact that language like this was con- 
stantly used by their prophets as mere costume — the 
drapery under which divine manifestations were set 
forth. Compare Ex. 34 : 5 ; 2 Sam. 22 : 10-12 ; Ps. 
50:3; 97:2-5; 104:3; Isa.l9:l; 64:1, 2; Ezek. 
1: 4; 10: 4; Dan. 7: 13. They knew that God's 
deliverance of David from his enemies was not attend- 
ed by actual earthquakes, an awful form seated on a 
flying cherub, surrounded by dark clouds from which 
shot forth mingled hail and fire. They knew, in a 
word, that all this had come to be figurative language, 
used to exalt men's impressions of the divine majesty. 


When applied by our Lord to his coining, its signifi- 
cance lay in the fact that he was to appear as their 
long expected Messiah, in a glory befitting his exalted 
character, and not less worthy of reverence than He 
whose throne had been established amid the sublimi- 
ties of Sinai. 

So with the apostle Paul. If he had understood 
that the day of the Lord was to be introduced by a 
visible appearance of Christ in the clouds, why did he 
not remind the Thessalonians, who thought the day 
had already come,^ that such appearance had not taken 
place ? Adventists who are now looking for it make 
the fact that no visible coming has yet occurred a proof, 
to them absolutely conclusive, that the Parousia is 
yet future. Why did not Paul reason in the same 
way when he wished to prove the same thing, unless 
because neither he nor those to whom he wrote had 
any expectation of the kind ? 

We are not to forget that the whole Mosaic economy 
was but a type and prophecy of the new kingdom of 
heaven, which was to be established by the Messiah.^ 

*It is to be remembered that the phrase "is at hand," in 2 
Thess. 2: 2, is in the original " has come." "These Thessalon- 
ians," says Alford, "imagined it to be already come." 

*> " It necessarily results from the nature of prophecy, that the 
kingdom of the Messiah should be represented by metaphors 
taken from the Mosaic dispensation, and that the facts as well 
as the persons of the former should receive the names of the 
latter, which were connected with them by an internal resem- 
blance. This mode of representation is founded in the fact that 
the Mosaic economy was ordered with distinct reference to the 
Christian dispensation, and prefigures it." Hengstenberg's 
Christology. Yol. I, p. 231. 


This is shown at great length in the epistle to the 
Hebrews. The tabernacle, its rites, its furniture, and 
its ministers, were all " figures for the time then pres- 
ent"; "shadows of good things to come." And through- 
out the whole, the method of teaching was from the 
literal to the figurative, from the material to the 
spiritual. The sacrificial lamb pointed to the Lamb 
of God that was to take away the sin of the world ; 
the ministering priest to Him who offered himself once 
for all ; circumcision to regeneration ; the sprinkling of 
the victim's blood to sanctification by the Holy Ghost ; 
the Sabbath to the " rest that remaineth ;" the taber- 
nacle to the perfected church in which God shall dwell 
forever. Never is the relation otherwise. The material 
type is never fulfilled in a material antitype ; bloody 
rite has no bloody rite as its counterpart ; no Christian 
altar answers to Hebrew altar, no earthly Jerusalem 
to the Jerusalem that then was, and was in bondage 
with her children. And so, by all the principles of 
analogy, as the ancient ritual dispensation was in all 
its parts symbolical of the new, which is spiritual, so 
its inauguration with material splendors ought to find 
its fulfillment in one that is spiritual. To look for 
one appealing to the senses is to reverse all the laws of 
progress and development in God's revelation to man. 
But we have something on the point even more 
definite than this. Christ was once " demanded of 
the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come." 
Luke 17 : 20. He answered them, " The kingdom of 
God cometh not with observation," or as it is in the 


margin, " with outward show." * " Neither shall they 
say ' Lo there !' — you are not to expect it in one local- 
ity or another ^ — for behold the kingdom of God is 
within ^ you." It is in the hearts of men that you are 
to look for its coming ; it is a spiritual not sensuous 
kingdom, such as you anticipate. This clear and 
explicit language ought to dispel those gross and carnal 
views which look for an imposing temporal kingdom, 
established in some earthly locality, and inaugurated 
by grand sights and sounds, to make men stare, but 
to win no hearts with the majesty of enthroned truth 
and love. 


The coming of our Lord in his Parousia was not 
only to inaugurate the new dispensation — the kingdom 
of heaven — but to abolish the old. The old, indeed, 
had been intended as a preparation for the new, out 
of which the latter, in the fullness of time, was to 
unfold, as the perfect flower from the bud which had 

*"So that its progress may be watched with the eyes." Rob- 
inson's Lex. sub voce. " None shall be able to point here or there 
for a proof of its coming." Alford. "What attracts observa- 
tion." Bloomfield. "Every thing that excites observation." 

^ " The Saviour withdraws the kingdom of God wholly from 
the local and phenomenal world, and transfers it to the world 
of spirit." lb. 

^ There is a difference of opinion among commentators 
whether the words entos humon mean within you or among you. 
The sense is substantially the same either way. 


inclosed and protected it. But now, through the 
grossness of the nation's heart, it had become the chief 
hinderance to the new, — its stony prison instead of its 
fostering womb. Therefore it became necessary that 
the former should be utterly destroyed, which could 
be effected only by destroying the temple which had 
been its shrine, and the city and nation which clung to 
it with an idolatrous reverence. Hence a second class 
of imagery used in describing the event, derived from 
those natural phenomena, which, among unscientific 
people, have always inspired most awe and fear. 

Foremost among these are eclipses of the sun and 
moon. To this day, millions of men go into agonies 
of terror when these happen. Showers of falling 
meteors, or as they are popularly called, shooting stars, 
are of the same class, and the recent discovery of the 
fact that these are periodical proves that they must 
have been of frequent occurrence before the Christian 
era. Earthquakes are the terror of every age. Fierce 
tempests have ever prevailed, especially in warm 
climates, in which, amid the incessant flashes of light- 
ning and roar of thunder, it needs no stretch of imagi- 
nation to believe that the heavens are passing away 
with a great noise and the elements melting with fer- 
vent heat, while the dense masses of whirling clouds 
seem to be the rolling together of the firmament like 
a scroll. And then the clearing up that follows ! — the 
sun bursting forth in new splendor from the depths of 
the serene blue, and the freshness and fragrance and 
peace that breathe over the smiling landscape prompt 
the admiring exclamation, " Behold new heavens and 
a new earth !" 


Now we can make no greater mistake than to inter- 
pret the imagery in the Bible derived from these sources 
after the methods of thought which prevail in our 
day.^ Remember that the Jews were Orientals, born 
under the brilliant skies of the East, and living many 
centuries before the birth of what we call science. 
They looked upon and spoke of natural phenomena 
as they appeared to the senses. With them the blue 
concave of the sky was a solid crystalline sphere called 
the " firmament," the sun, moon, and stars were fixed 
in that firmament, like gems in their sockets, and 
revolved with it once a day. The earth was a vast plain 
built upon solid foundations, and surrounded upon its 
outer margin by the floods. The rains descended 
through windows in the firmament ; earthquakes were 
the shaking of the pillars on which the earth rests ; 
volcanoes were the flowing down of the mountains 

* When all the books of the New Testament were written by 
Jews and among Jews and unto them, and when all the dis- 
courses made there were made, in like manner, by Jews and to 
Jews and among them, I was always fully persuaded, as a thing 
past all doubting, that that Testament could not but every 
where taste of and retain the Jews' style, idiom, and rule of 
speaking. And hence, in the second place, I concluded as as- 
suredly that in the obscurer places of that Testament (which 
are very many) the best and most natural method of searching 
out the sense is to inquire how and in what sense those phrases 
and manners of speech were understood, according to the vul- 
gar and common dialect and opinion of that nation, and how 
they took them by whom they were spoken and by whom they 
were heard. For it is no matter what we can beat out concern- 
ing those manners of speech on the anvil of our own conceit, 
but what they signified among them in their ordinary sense 
and speech." Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. vol. 11, pp. 3, 4. 


under the wrath of God. The oriental mind, grasp- 
ing these phenomena with a vivid imagination, 
wrought them into many forms of glowing imagery 
to denote whatever was grand or terrific. The Jews 
were not alone in this, but the same thing was true of 
all the Eastern nations, Greek, Egyptian, Persian, 
Indian, — of all indeed that have left us a literature. 

But we, in these western lands and in modern times, 
have become as highly philosophical and practical. 
We have trained ourselves to look beyond appearances, 
and investigate ultimate principles and facts. We 
have learned astronomy and geology. We know that 
the sky is not solid ; that the heavenly bodies are not 
luminous disks fastened to it ; and that the earth is 
not a plain and has no foundations. To us nature 
and the universe are totally unlike what they were to 
the ancients. We neither conceive nor speak of them 
in the same way. Our words are scientific, literal ; 
after the reality and not the appearance. For us then 
to interpret ancient language like our own is to plunge 
into endless incongruity and error. It would be like 
painting the ancients themselves in modern costume, 
and making them talk like Prof. Huxley.^ It is to 

*"The walls of the chapel [in the church of Santa Maria 
Novella in Florence] were to be filled from top to bottom with 
compositions. They are representations of biblical events. 
That is to say, the names of the different pictures are so called , 
but in truth we are looking at groups of known and unknown 
Florentine beauties and celebrities, men, women, and children, 
placed together just as circumstances demanded, in the cos- 
tume of the period, and in a manner as if that which the picture 
signified had occurred a few days before in the streets of Flor- 
ence, or in one of the most well known houses. Rembrandt 


repeat the folly which condemned Galileo for heresy 
because he asserted that the earth moved, and has 
done so much to make scientific skeptics in our own 
day. It is only when we let the sacred writers speak 
in their own way, and understand their words as they 
and their contemporaries did, that we shall learn the 
truth, as the Holy Spirit designed to give it. 

Such were the sources of the imagery which the 
Hebrew prophets had always been accustomed to 
employ in predicting the divine judgments upon cities 
and nations. Look at the thirteenth chapter of Isaiah, 
which is entitled " The burden of Babylon," and 
observe in what language the destruction of that city 
is described. " Behold the day of the Lord cometh, 
cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the 
land desolate ; and he shall destroy the sinners thereof 
out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constella- 
tions thereof shall not give their light ; the sun shall 
be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not 
cause her light to shine. — I will shake the heavens, 
and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the 
wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his 

fierce anger. Behold I will stir up the Medes 

against them," etc. 

makes Mary sit in a stable representing a Dutch cow-house of 
his time, while Raphael gives her accommodations in old Roman 
walls, such as he daily passed by." Grimm's Life of Michael 
Angelo, vol. 1, p. 87. 

Of the same school was the genius that painted Abraham's 
servants, in their pursuit of the robbers who had carried off Lot 
and his family, as armed with muskets ! I have seen a picture 
representing Christ's resurrection, showing an old fashioned 
Yankee meeting-house with steeple and bell standing near by. 


Take the twenty-fourth chapter, which is a predict- 
ion of the earlier capture of Jerusalem and the devas- 
tation of Palestine, by Sennacherib. " Behold the 
Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, 
and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the 

inhabitants thereof. The earth is utterly broken 

down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved 
exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a 
drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage, and 
the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it ; and 

it shall fall and not rise again. Then the moon 

shall be confounded and the sun ashamed, when the 
Lord of hosts shall reign on Mount Zion, and in Jeru- 
salem, and before his ancients gloriously." 

Still more striking is the announcement, in the thirty- 
fourth chapter, of the divine judgments upon the land 
of Idumea. " All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, 
and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll ; 
and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off 
from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig-tree. 
For my sword shall be bathed in heaven ; behold it 

shall come down upon Idumea," etc. " For it is the 

day of the Lord's vengeance and the year of recom- 
penses for the controversy of Zion. And the streams 
thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof 
into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burn- 
ing pitch ; it shall not be quenched night nor day ; the 
smoke thereof shall go up forever." 

Nor was language like this confined to one prophet ; 
it was the common usage of all. See how Ezekiel — 
ch. 32 — threatens Pharaoh, king of Egypt, with an 


overthrow by Babylon. " And when I shall put thee 
out, I will cover the heaven and make the stars there- 
of dark ; I will cover the sun with a cloud and the 
moon shall not give her light. All the bright lights 
of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set dark- 
ness upon thy land, saith the Lord God." 

The prophet Joel denounces a plague of locusts 
upon Palestine in the following terms, (ch. 2). ''Blow 
ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy 
mountain ; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, 
for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand. 
— — The earth shall quake before them ; the heavens 
shall tremble ; the sun and the moon shall be dark, 
and the stars shall withdraw their shining. And the 
Lord shall utter his voice before his army," etc. And 
the same prophet, speaking of the period immediately 
before the Parousia of Christ, employs similar language, 
which Peter on the day of pentecost quotes and 
expressly declares has reference to the events then 
transpiring. " This is that which was spoken by the 
prophet Joel. It shall come to pass afterward that I 

will pour out my Spirit, etc. And I will show 

wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and 
fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned 
into darkness and the moon into blood before the great 
and terrible day of the Lord come." Joel 2 : 28-31. 

With these words of the grand old prophets, then, 
ringing in our ears, let us go out with the disciples to 
Olivet and listen to the Master, a greater prophet than 
they, as he describes to us that Parousia which was to 
be initiated by the destruction of the beloved city 


and temple and nation. From our infancy we have 
been taught these words of doom, and have heard them 
read in the synagogue service, with the record of their 
fulfillment, as the prophetic vernacular for the over- 
throw of wicked cities and nations. A half hour ago 
we heard him pronounce those awful words upon that 
guilty generation ; and from the olive-clad slopes we 
look yonder upon that glittering pile of marble and 
gold of which he has said there shall not be one stone 
left upon another. And when, in answer to our 
astonished inquiry as to the time and the signs of the 
catastrophe, we hear him say, " The sun shall be dark- 
ened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the 
stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the 
heavens shall be shaken " — what is it but the familiar 
language of prophecy telling us that like as Babylon 
and Egypt and Idumea, so Jerusalem and the Hebrew 
nation shall be overthrown? Will any thought of 
sensible, material phenomena occur to us, any more 
than in connection with those ancient judgments on 
wicked nations, — especially when the same voice imme- 
diately adds : " Verily I say unto you, this generation 
shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled ?" 

So with the language of Paul, the disciple of Gam- 
aliel and learned in all the Jewish law, when he 
assured the Thessalonians that " the Lord Jesus shall 
be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in 
flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not 
God." So with the kindred language of Peter, the 
apostle of the circumcision, writing to churches of 
converted Jews, that " the heavens shall pass away 


with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with 
fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are 
therein shall be burned up," '' — what was all this but 
the phraseology customarily applied to classes of 
events which had many times before happened, and 
which were then about to be repeated? And now 
looking back upon it after a lapse of more than 
eighteen hundred years, what difficulty have we in 
saying that it was all fulfilled in the overthrow of the 
sacred city and nation, and of that renowned system 
of institutions which for fifteen centuries had borne 
the impress of divine authority, any more than the 
similar denunciations against Egypt and Babylon and 
Idumea and other oppressors of God's people ? We 
do not argue that because the sun, moon, and stars 
were not extinguished and the earth dashed out of her 
orbit, on that night when Belshazzar was slain, there- 
fore Babylon was not then taken and its destruction 
is still to be looked for. Why should we reason thus 
in regard to that more stupendous judgment which 
came upon the city which had crucified the Lord and 
become the bloody persecutor of the saints ? 

I shall doubtless be told by those who have been 

» He sets forth the destruction of that cursed nation and their 
city in those terms that Christ hath done (Matt. 24) and that 
the Scripture doth elsewhere (Deut. 32: 22-24; Jer. 4: 23,) 
namely as the destruction of the whole world, the heavens pass- 
ing away, the elements melting, and the earth burned up. And 
accordingly, he speaks of a new heaven and a new earth, from 
Isa. 65: 17 — anew state of the church under the gospel among 
the Gentiles when this old world of the Jews' state should be 
dissolved. Lightfoot on 2 Peter. 

98 THE P A no U SI A. 

accustomed to more sensuous interpretations of the 
Scripture that I am detracting from the awful gran- 
deur with which they invest the coming of the Lord. 
But it seems to me far otherwise. For is not the 
spiritual ever greater than the material ? Did the 
angels who sang over the creation of the world deem 
the birth of one little babe in a herdsman's stall at 
Bethlehem an event of less magnitude, or less worthy 
to be celebrated with heaven's highest anthems ? 

" 'Twas great to call a world from nought ; 
'Twas greater to redeem." 

To blot out the sun and stars ; to display a shining form 
amid the clouds ; to shake the heavens with crashing 
thunderbolts ; to let loose the imprisoned fires of the 
earth and melt it again to ancient chaos, is but to exer- 
cise a physical omnipotence, the lowest form of power, 
but to set up a kingdom of holiness in the hearts of a 
sinful race, a kingdom of ideas and principles regnant 
over the free wills of men, which in the face of every 
motive natural to the corrupt heart, or originating in 
an evil world, or urged by the prince of darkness, 
holds on its conquering way from age to age, subduing 
not only individual souls, but opinions, customs, laws, 
philosophies, and all the forces that move society and 
the world, is to exert a grander power, an omnipotence 
of a higher nature, and ampler resources, and a more 
god-like beneficence. It is only because we are so 
much creatures of sense, and have attained to so little 
spiritual discernment, that we are ever most impressed 
with outward glare and noise. 

Let me refer to an event of our own day. A plain 


man, in a quiet apartment, takes his pen and in a few 
simple words makes four millions of slaves free ! 
How does the whole world thrill with the sublimity of 
that act of justice I Gather all the grand physical 
phenomena of these eighteen centuries, — all the eclipses 
and star-showers and volcanic eruptions and earth- 
quakes and tempests, and how much less do they all 
together signify than this ! How much less thought 
of and talked about ; how much less have they affected 
the destinies of men and of nations ; how much smaller 
the space they will occupy on the page of human 
history ! No, — thoughts, principles, truths, are alone 
sublime. If we had a spiritual language which was 
the pure efflux and fitting expression of spiritual ideas, 
we should never have had to come down to matter 
and sense to find words to set forth the glory of Christ's 
Presence among men. Let us not, because we are 
thus compelled, insist that the material and sensuous 
is greater than the spiritual. No outward event of 
history was ever so sublime as the inauguration scene 
at Sinai. And yet says the apostle, " If the ministra- 
tion of death written and engraven on stones was glo- 
rious, so that the children of Israel could not stead- 
fastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his 
countenance, which glory was to be done away, how 
shall not the ministration of the Spirit — the introduc- 
tion and carrying forward of the spiritual kingdom of 
Christ — be rather glorious?" 



Thus was Christ's Parousia to be commenced among 
men. He who first came in the flesh in a state of 
humiliation and suffering, to die a shameful death as a 
sacrifice for sin, was now to come a second time in 
glory and establish henceforth his abiding Presence 
with his people. And the whole course of human 
affairs thereafter, both prophetic, as delineated in the 
Scriptures, and providential, as developed in the 
history of the church and the world, was what should 
occur under that Presence. 

The outline of that history is, I conceive, comprehen- 
sively sketched in the closing part of our Lord's great 
discourse on the Mount of Olives. Having stated so 
fully the signs and the time of his coming he proceeds 
to describe the purpose of it, in other words what 
shall he when he comes. 

I beg leave to protest here against the treatment 
to which this discourse is so generally subjected by 
severing the concluding portion, in Matt. 2f: 31-46, 
from the rest, and interposing between the two an 
interval of time of unknown ages. The reason for 



this, of course, is because it is assumed that the latter 
portion relates solely to the general judgment, at the 
end of the world. But no assumption, I submit, can 
warrant a procedure which is a violation of the very 
plainest principles of interpretation. The unity of 
every discourse ought to be presumed unless there are 
8ome clear proofs that the author intended otherwise. 
Nothing of the sort appears here. So entirely are all 
marks or indications wanting of a change from the sub- 
ject with which our Lord began, that of the numerous 
commentators who insist that the change was made, 
almost no two agree as to the place of it. 

Besides, the subject in its very terms continues the 
same, viz., the coming of the Lord in glory, nor is 
there the least intimation that it is not that coming 
the date of which should be in that existing genera- 
tion. Nay, the concluding portion of the discourse 
is expressly linked to the former portion by the con- 
jiective words "when" and "then," which forbid 
the supposition that two eras are intended. " When 
the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all 
the holy angels with him, then shall he sit," etc. 
Compare similar expressions elsewhere. " If I depart 
I will send the Comforter unto you ; and ivhen he is 
come, he will reprove the world of sin," etc. Will 
not that be at the time of his coming ? "I will come 
by you into Spain." " And I am sure that when I 
come unto you I shall come in the fullness of the 
blessing of the gospel of Christ." Rom. 15 : 28. Had 
the apostle different periods in his mind when he wrote 
this ? Surely not. Without the supposed necessity, 


derived from the language employed, of referring this 
part of it to the future, no one would have thought, on 
exegetical grounds, of thus treating a discourse which 
has throughout the most logical and closely compact- 
ed structure. I trust it will be shown that even such 
application of it does not render that treatment neces- 

Christ's Presence then in the world, beginning in 
that generation and set forth under imagery so im- 
posing, was to be the presence of its King. " Then 
shall he sit upon the throne of his glory." The phrase 
" to sit upon " is the appropriate one to denote acces- 
sion to power, as when we familiarly say of a monarch, 
" He ascends the throne." It is not that he assumes 
that dignity to perform a single work only, viz., the 
judgment, but it is to begin a reign which it is else- 
where declared shall have no end. This is that " king- 
dom of heaven " which had been so long and so fondly 
anticipated ; the one described by Daniel, whose sub- 
lime prophecy, we cannot doubt, was the prototype of 
the scene here depicted by Christ himself. " I saw in 
the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man 
came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the 
Ancient of days and tliey brought him near before 
him. And there was given him dominion and glory 
and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, 
should serve him ; his dominion is an everlasting do- 
minion which shall not pass away, and his kingdom 
that which shall not be destroyed." 



This is expressly affirmed to have taken place at 
his ascension. Mark 16 : 19. " After the Lord had 
spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, 
and sat on the right hand of Grody It was the well- 
known expression employed in the second Psalm to 
signify the exaltation of the promised Messiah to his 
royal dignity as King in Zion. The same fact was 
affirmed by Peter on the day of pentecost (Acts 2 : 
33), and by Stephen as revealed to his direct vision 
immediately before his martyrdom. Acts 7 : b^). In 
the epistles also it is repeatedly declared. Heb. 1 : 
3. " Who — when he had by himself purged our sins 
sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." 
Heb. 10 : 12. " This man after he had offered one 
sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand 
of God, from henceforth expecting till his enemies 
be made his footstool." Heb. 8:1. " We have such 
a high priest who is set on the right hand of the 
throne of the Majesty in the heavens." Heb. 12 : 2. 
" And is set down at the right hand of the tlnrone of 
God." 1 Pet. 3 : 22. " Who is gone into heaven, 
and is on the right hand of God ; angels and authori- 
ties and powers being made subject unto him." Phil. 
2 : 9-11. " God hath highly exalted him, and given 


104 THE PAR0U8IA. 

a name which is above every name ; that at the name 
of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, 
and things in earth, and things under the earth ; and 
that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is 
Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Eph. 1 : 20- 
23. " 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 world 
but also in that which is to come ; and hath put all 
things under his feet, and gave him to be the head 
over all things to the church, which is his body, the 
fullness of Him that filleth all in all." 

These and many more passages of a similar charac- 
ter clearly establish the fact that Christ's actual as- 
sumption of his throne took place at the time indica- 
ted, viz., within that generation. In other words, his 
reign then began. 

Hence it follows that we are not to look for another 
beginning of it in the future. Whatever enlargement 
there may be of it, whatever new accessions of power 
and glory, they will not be the introduction of a new 
kingdom, but epochs in one already established. 
There is but one kingdom of Christ ; that has begun, 
and is not to be begun again. 

It follows further, that the place of his throne, the 
capital — so to speak — of his kingdom, is in heaven. 
The language I have cited, it seems to me, is entirely 
incompatible with the idea of a visible, temporal reign 
of Christ on earth. We do not indeed know where 
heaven is ; if locality is to be predicated of what is so 


purely spiritual ; it may be near to or remote from the 
earth ; but so much at least is certain that it is in the 
invisible sphere. Heaven, the right hand of God, the 
majesty on high, the heavenly places, are not in this 
world of sense. It is in them that Christ is en- 
throned ; there he is set down forever. He will not 
change that throne for one in Jerusalem; he will not 
remove from the invisible and celestial sphere to a 
visible and terrestrial one. 



It has been shown in a previous chapter that the 
word coming can only be used of a divine being in 
the sense of manifestation. The accession of our Lord 
to his throne, at his ascension, was speedily followed 
by that wonderful event which first disclosed to men 
his kingly power, and initiated among them his visi- 
ble kingdom. 

"Next to the appearance of the Son of God on 
earth," says Neander, "this was the greatest event, as 
the commencing point of the new divine life, proceed- 
ing from him to the human race, which has since 
spread and operated through successive ages, and will 
continue to operate until its final object is attained, 
and all mankind are transformed into the image of 
Christ." P. & T., p. 18. 

The day of Pentecost, — the day which commem- 
orated the giving of the law at Sinai, and the institu- 
tion of the first kingdom of heaven — had come. Je- 
rusalem was full of people, — not its own citizens alone, 
but from all parts of Palestine and surrounding coun- 
tries, who had come hither to attend the national festi- 
val. Suddenly a sound is heard, as of a mighty tem- 
pest, filling the city with alarm, and causing a vast 
concourse to run together. Lambent flames descend 



and rest on the heads of the apostles, and with loud 
voices they speak in languages they had never learned. 
It was a stupendous phenomenon, and no wonder the 
thoughtful were amazed and were in doubt, saying 
one to another, " What meaneth this ? " Then Peter, 
filled with the Holy Ghost, stands forth and explains 
the event. " The days are come," said he, " predict- 
ed by Joel ; the Spirit of God is poured out ; the won- 
ders in heaven and signs on the earth appear, mark- 
ing the close of the old age and the beginning of the 
new ; Jesus, whom ye crucified, has ascended to his 
throne, and hath shed forth this which ye see and 
hear ; that all the house of Israel may assuredly know 
that God hath made him both Loed and Messiah." 
How thrilling these words, addressed to that awe- 
stricken crowd! Three thousand were convinced, 
and accepted, on the spot, their manifested king. 

A few days afterward, the lame man, lying at the 
Beautiful Gate, was healed ; and the apostles being 
called to account for the fact again referred it to the 
power of the risen and glorified Jesus, and besought 
the people to repent, that the days of refreshing, of 
which this was but a twilight gleam, might fully come, 
and the Lord might return in his power to bless them 
and all nations. Being released from their confine- 
ment, they seek again the society of the believers, and 
together sing the second Psalm, the coronation anthem 
of the Messiah, who was thus manifesting himself in 
power as the Saviour and King of men. 

But another and different exhibition of that power 
was needed amid these beginnings of the Messianic 


days. We have seen that Christ was to reign in the 
two-fold capacity of king and judge ; not merely to 
bestow blessings upon his friends, but to destroy and 
punish his enemies. Just then happened the sad 
episode of Ananias and Sapphira, by which was shown 
that the newly enthroned Lord whom they worshiped 
was arrayed in frowns for the false and disobedient, 
and that no scheme of sin could deceive his omnis- 
cience or presume on his indulgence. 

Thus, then, it was that Christ began to come in his 
kingdom. A new power began to be felt among men, 
confounding the politicians and rulers of that day, — 
one which no decrees could arrest, no cunning plots 
could circumvent, no force could resist. That power 
made itself visible and tangible, not indeed to the out- 
er senses of men, but to their spiritual apprehensions, 
producing effects which all the eclat of his bodily 
presence and of his innumerable miracles wrought in 
the flesh had failed to achieve. Still as yet no out- 
ward kingdom was set up. The converts did not 
leave the national synagogues or temple ; they kept 
the feasts, observed the seventh-day Sabbath, circum- 
cised their children, and were in all visible seeming 
Jews, still under the forms of the ancient aion^ and 
still accustomed to expect and to speak of the aion to 
come. One more great event was requisite to com- 
plete the Lord's advent, to establish his Parousia, and 
give a visible inauguration of his kingdom. 

And such event happened, just as he had said it 
would, in that generation. Jerusalem, the city of 
David, the capital of the Jewish state, with its sacred 


temple, the shrine and sanctuary of the Jewish church, 
was laid low. A siege, the most bloody that the pen 
of history was ever called to describe, attended with 
horrors which no pen could adequately depict, yet in 
its minutest details singularly fulfilling a long line of 
ancient prophecies, — a siege in which, according to 
Josephus, a million and a quarter of people perished, 
ended forever the ancient dispensation, both as a civil 
and religious system. Then it was that the Christian 
church, emerging from the ashes of the old theocracy, 
and armed alike with miraculous power, and the faith 
and zeal of that martyr age, went forth on its appoint- 
ed mission to subdue the world to her King. Then it 
was that the kingdom of God came with power, and 
Christ came in his kingdom. The world looked with 
dismay upon that tragedy, and though many were too 
blinded by ignorance and unbelief to discern its full 
import, yet ever^ eye did see it (Rev. 1:7); and since 
then, for eighteen hundred years, the gaze of the world 
has rested upon it, as the clear showing forth of the 
awful majesty of Christ, the rejected King of the 
Jews, yet none the less the Lord, the Judge, who thus 
came to men in the glory of his Father, and began 
among them that kingdom which is ultimately to sub- 
due all other kingdoms and fill the earth with his 

In this view of the matter, there is no difficulty in 
the fact that the apostles and others who lived in the 
period between the day of Pentecost and the over- 
throw of Jerusalem spoke of the coming and king- 
dom as still future. It was so in its outward and 


most imposing aspects ; but in its germ and principles 
it had already commenced. Both forms of speech, 
therefore, were not inappropriate. " This is that 
spoken of by Joel," said Peter, "the sun shall be 
turned into darkness, and the moon into blood," yet 
twenty years later he could also say, " Nevertheless 
we, according to his promise, look for new heavens 
and a new earth." Though the new kingdom " came " 
at the Pentecost, it was also still to " come " at the 
grand catastrophe which abolished the old. This is 
precisely the same paradox that attends any statement 
of the relations of Judaism to Christianity. It will 
be admitted by all that the latter was to succeed and 
supercede the former. When, then, did the Jewish 
institutions cease? We answer when Jerusalem it- 
jself was destroyed. Till then, its sacrifices, its ritual, 
its festivals, its whole code, ceremonial and civil, were 
continued. When did Christianity begin? Forty 
years before, we also say, for then began its promul- 
gation, its worship and its sacraments. In absolute 
doctrinal strictness, we might affirm that Judaism, as 
a divine institution, expired with the crucifixion and 
resurrection of Jesus, in whom all the ancient types 
were fulfilled, and that Christianity began at precise- 
ly the same moment. But to outward view and to 
popular apprehension, the two for a time co-existed. 
The beginning of the new overlapped the close of the 
old ; devout men observed both alike, receiving both 
circumcision and baptism, celebrating the passover 
and the Eucharist, keeping the Sabbath and the Lord's 
day, meeting in the synagogue service, yet not for- 


saking the assembling of themselves together as be- 
lievers in Jesus. Paul himself paid his Nazarite vow 
in the temple, and claimed to be a Pharisee ; James 
addressed his epistle to the twelve tribes scattered 
abroad. By themselves and by the heathen around 
them, the Cliristians were generally regarded as Jews, 
until persecution compelled them to separate, and 
form distinct organizations of their own.*^ So then, 
the fact that it was customary for the apostles in that 
day to speak of the coming and kingdom of Christ as 
still future,^ though very near, is no proof at all that 
ill its higher significance it had not already taken 
place. It is only because the destruction of Jerusa- 
lem made that fact open and palpable to all the world 
that the grand epoch was popularly referred to that 

It is proper to add also that in this sense of man- 
ifestation, the coming of Christ may be regarded as 
progressive. Every new disclosure of his kingly pow- 
er among men is a new coming to them. It is in this 
sense that we are taught to pray daily, " Thy kingdom 
come," not implying that in reality it is not yet estab- 
lished, but asking that it may come more and more 
until its ultimate triumphs are secured in its universal 
supremacy over the earth. 

* Neander's Planting and Training of the Church, p. 37. Gib- 
bon's Decline and Fall, chapter xvi. 

^Dr. Craven, in Lange's Com. on Revelation, pp. 93-100, 
makes this a principal argument in support of his theory, that 
the kingdom of Christ — the true Basileia — has not yet been es- 
tablished upon earth, but is still future. 



•' It is," said the Lord, " like a grain of mustard 
seed, which indeed is the least of all seeds, but when 
it is grown it is the greatest among herbs, and becom- 
eth a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge 
in the branches thereof." " It is," said he again, " like 
unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three 
measures of meal till the whole was leavened " (Matt. 
13 : 31-33). " It is," once again, " as if a man should 
cast seed into the ground, and should sleep and rise 
night and day, and the seed should spring up and 
grow, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth 
forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, 
after that the full corn in the ear " (Mark 4 : 26, 28). 
Similar in its import was Daniel's prophetic descrip- 
tion — " A stone cut out without hands, which became 
a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." 

That the manifested kingdom of Christ at its be- 
ginning corresponded to these predictions is a historic 
fact. Six-score obscure persons, — men and women — 
meeting daily in a secluded upper room in Jerusalem, 
were all it could boast of on the morning of that mem- 
orable Pentecost. 

For a long time also, though the number of the be- 
lievers was much increased, yet the very fact just men- 



tioned, that they did not formally separate themselves 
from the national worship, kept them in a good degree 
of obscurity. The acute though skeptical Gibbon 
dwells upon this as one reason why they so far escaped 
the malice of the pagans. " By the wise dispensation 
of Providence, a mysterious veil was cast over the in- 
fancy of the church which, till the faith of the Chris- 
tians was matured and their numbers were multiplied, 
served to protect them, not only from the malice but 
even from the knowledge of the pagan world. The 
slow and gradual abolition of the Mosaic ceremonies 
afforded a safe and innocent disguise to the more early 
proselytes of the gospel. As they were, for the greater 
part, of the race of Abraham, they were distinguished 
by the peculiar mark of circumcision, offered up their 
devotions in the temple of Jerusalem till its final 
destruction, and received both the law and the proph- 
ets as the genuine inspirations of the Deity. The 
Gentile converts who, by a spiritual adoption, had 
been associated to the hope of Israel, were likewise 
confounded under the garb and appearance of Jews> 
and as the polytheists paid less regard to articles of 
faith than to the external worship, the new sect which 
carefully concealed or faintly annoxmced its future 
greatness and ambition, w«.s permitted to, shelter itself 
under the general tele3:a.tyDn which was granted to an 
ancient and cele]pii?a/^:ed people in the Roman empire."^ 
These facts^ §iriMngly illustrate the saying of our 
Lord that ^^^e kingdom of God cometh not with ob- 

a Declia^ m!^ Fall, ch^l^. xyil;. 

114 THE PAB0U8IA, 

servation " (Luke 17 : 20).* And they serve also to 
show the error of those who deny that the true king- 
dom of the Messiah was that which was begun at the 
Pentecost. That kingdom, they say, is still future ; 
it is to commence after the conquest of the world to 
Christ has been completed, and to be a millennium of 
rest and peace. In this view of it there is to be no 
period of infancy and weakness ; it is to be ushered 
upon the world at once in its noon-day splendor. But 
such is not the description which Christ himself gives 
of its earliest stage. Like all things having life it be- 
gins in the germ ; it is developed by an inward law of 
its own, and attains its full strength and glory only in 
its maturity. 

« Ajate, p. 89, a. 



Scarcely had the new kingdom of heaven been 
planted before it was attacked by persecution. If its 
weakness shielded it for a time from foreign foes, it 
did not avert the malice of its enemies at home. As 
its corner stone was laid in the death of its Founder, 
so its superstructure was built up and cemented in 
the blood of his followers who laid down their lives 
for his sake. 

This feature of the kingdom had been long predic- 
ted and was one of its distinguishing characteristics. 
" The kings of the earth," said David, "set themselves, 
and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, 
and against his anointed, saying. Let us break their 
bands asunder and cast away their cords from us '* 
(Ps. 2: 2, 3). "They will deliver you up to the 
councils," said Christ, " and they will scourge you in 
their synagogues. And ye shall be brought before 
governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony 
against them and the Gentiles. And ye shall be hated 
of all men for my name's sake ; but he that endureth 
to the end shall be saved" (Matt. 10: 17). "We 
must, through much tribulation, enter into the king- 
dom of God " (Acts 14 : 22). " Yea, and all that will 
live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution " 



2 Tim. 3 : 11). Hence another proof that the institu- 
tion set up at the day of Pentecost was the true " king- 
dom of heaven " that should be inaugurated at Christ's 
coming. If that kingdom is still future, — the king- 
dom of the so-called millennium — it can never be a 
persecuted one, for, by the supposition, the enemies of 
its king are then all destroyed. 

The prophetic history of these persecutions is given 
us in the book of Kevelation. We cannot pretend to 
fathom all the mysteries contained in that portion of 
the sacred volume, nor is this the place to enter into 
the many controverted questions which have been dis- 
cussed respecting it. After many years study of it, 
I have come very decidedly to the conviction that the 
general view of its contents and of the mode of its in- 
terpretation presented us in the Commentary of Prof. 
Stuart, is, with some modifications, the true one. No 
other which I have seen seems so consonant with 
sound reason, and with the true principles which 
should guide in the exposition of prophecy. I believe 
it is growing in favor among the ablest scholars both 
in Europe and America.* 

The leading design of the Revelation, according to 
this view is thus stated. " John wrote to console and 
admonish and encourage the churches, then bleeding 
at every pore under the glittering weapons of a blood- 
%irsty tyrant. And what does he do in order to ac- 

a As one of the most recent instances of this fact, I may name 
the learned and eloquent Professor Edward Reuss of the Prot- 
estant Theological Seminary at Strasbourg, to whose able work 
on the "History of Christian Theology in the Apostolic Age," 
I have several times referred. 


complish his purpose ? He assures the churches that 
this dreadful contest is not always to continue. Ere 
long victory will perch on the banners of the cross. 
The church will not become extinct by all which ty- 
rants can do, but will rise from its ruinous state, will 
expand, will fill the world with its triumphs, and pros- 
trate in the dust all who lift up a hand against it. To 
crown all, he looks with a prophetic eye through the 
vista of distant ages, and sees that the setting sun of 
the church militant, and the old age of the world in 
which it dwells will be glorious ; and finally that the 
new Jerusalem will be her abode through ages that 
have no end. Short indeed, and mere outlines, are 
the descriptions of all that belongs to the distant fu- 
ture. But they serve to finish the picture which John 
had begun, and thus to complete the measure of con- 
solation and encouragement which he designed to 
administer." Vol. 1, pp. 207, 208. 

Before I attempt to illustrate this view of the Rev- 
elation in its application to the subject before us, let 
us glance for a moment at the records of actual his- 
tory as to the persecutions which have in fact been 
waged against Christianity. 

Those persecutions have sprung, for the most part, 
from three sources, Jewish, Pagan, and Mohammedan. 
I do not include the dissensions which have arisen with- 
in the Christian body, between different branches or 
sects, which, though resulting too often in bloodshed, 
cannot be designated as assaults upon Christianity 
itself. Nor would I be understood as comprehending 
every local or casual outbreak of hostility which has 


been encountered by the gospel in its progress during 
these eighteen centuries. The classification is general, 
yet embracing within it all that has sufficient impor- 
tance to be named in such a connection. 

The first of these persecutions was waged by Ju- 
daism, the ancient and now apostate theocracy, which 
blinded by spiritual pride, and eagerly looking for a 
sensuous kingdom which should restore its former 
prestige, rejected and attempted to destroy the real 
kingdom which God had promised. I need not dwell 
upon its details ; they are recorded in the New Testa- 
ment, and are familiar to all readers. Beginning with 
the crucifixion of its own Messiah, this malignant per- 
secutor pursued the infant church with relentless 
hostility for forty years, till its career was cut short 
by its own retributive destruction. 

The second was inflicted by Paganism, then en- 
throned on the seven hills of imperial Rome. The 
ancient policy of the mistress of the world toward 
different religions had been one of toleration, and no 
sect was molested by law so long as it did not inter- 
fere with the public peace. ^ But this policy under 
the lawless cruelty of the emperor Nero was abandon- 
ed. Detected in his wanton crime of setting the city 
on fire, he meanly sought to avert odium from himself 
by charging the crime upon the Christians, and pro- 
ceeded accordingly to let loose upon them the most 
fearful outrages. From that time till the abdication 
of Diocletian, A. D., 303, historians commonly reckon 

^Mosheim, Ecc. Hist., 1, 1, 8. 


ten such persecutions,* in which both at Rome and in 
the provinces every effort possible was put forth to ex- 
tirpate the new religion, but in vain. The heroic 
constancy of the sufferers proved the most effective 
preaching of its doctrines, and it soon passed into a 
proverb that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of 
the church. 

The third general assault upon Christianity was 
from Mohammedanism. The founder of this great 
religious power, indeed, both inculcated and practiced 
toleration. He recognized Christ as a true prophet, 
and the Scriptures as a revelation from God, and 
though his faith was propagated by the sword, yet its 
violence was turned against pagans and idolaters 
rather than against Jews or Christians.^ Even the two 
great Saracen empires of the Caliphs in the East and 
the Moors in the West, though often at war with the 
Christian nations, had little ability to molest the church 
as a whole. So long as Rome, now professedly at least 
a Christian empire, maintained its power, Christianity 
was safe under its protection. It was not until the four- 
teenth century, upon the rise of the Ottoman Empire 
of the Turks, who captured Constantinople and over- 
ran the larger portions of Asia and Europe, that the 
Crescent acquired domination over the Cross. Thence- 

*" The ancient history of the church does not support precise- 
ly this number, for if we reckon only the general or more severe 
persecutions they were fewer than ten ; but if we include the 
provincial and more limited persecutions, the number will be 
much greater than ten." — Mosheim Ecc. Hist., 1, 5, 4. 

^ See this subject fully treated in Gibbon's Decline and Fall. 
Chapter II. 

120 THE PAR0U8IA. 

forward the scenes of the ancient persecutions were 
renewed ; the most inhuman cruelties were practiced 
upon those who were denounced as infidels and dogs. 
They were robbed, were sold into slavery, and 
butchered without mercy, until the name of Turk 
became the synonym of all that was feared or ab- 
horred throughout Christendom. 

Taking then as our guide these known facts in the 
actual history of persecution, let us see what light 
they throw upon the interpretations of its prophetic 
history as given us in this book. 


The Jewish persecution is represented by our Lord 
in his discourse on Olivet as preceding the destruction 
of Jerusalem. We cannot doubt that the same predic- 
tion, in an expanded form, is set forth in the Apocalypse, 
chaps, vi.-xi. Nor is this conviction at all shaken by 
the objection that the book may have been written 
after that catastrophe. This is a question in regard 
to which there are and doubtless will continue to be 
different opinions. It is freely acknowledged that the 
weight of external testimony is in favor of the later 
date ; while the internal evidence seems even more 
decisively to point to the earlier one, viz. A. D.^ 67, 
during the reign of the Emperor Nero. But even 
conceding the former opinion, I see nothing in it to 
forbid the reference of this portion of the book to the 
period of the Jewish persecutions. If the object of 
the writer was to console the churches then suffering 


under the tyrannies of Domitian, he might well do 
so by first depicting the overthrow of their earlier 
enemy in Judea. In other words, the scope of a book 
in the main prophetic does not preclude occasional 
passages which are retrospective. In this way the 
course of God's dealings with the foes of his church 
may be exhibited as a whole, and the scenes of the 
future become doubly impressive in the light shed 
upon them from the past. 

But for myself, I feel compelled to give a prepon- 
derating weight to the internal evidence of the date 
of this book,^ which as already remarked, would fix it 
in the reign of Nero, and before the destruction of 
Jerusalem. In chapter vi., the red horse, symbolizing 
war, the black horse, famine, and the pale horse, pes- 
tilence, are the counterpart of the same woes described 
in Matt. 24 : 6, 7. The souls of the martyrs disclosed 
under the fifth seal as lying at the foot of the altar are 
the victims of the cruelties enumerated in Matt. 24 : 
9-13. The opening of the sixth seal presents to us 
the same phenomena, the darkening of the sun and 
moon, the falling of 'the stars, etc., which are set 
forth in Matt. 24 : 29, 30. The sealing of the hundred 
and forty-four thousand is the gathering of the elect 
in Matt. 24: 31. Chapters viii and ix are a vivid pic- 
torial representation in detail of the " great tribula- 
tion " that should come upon Jerusalem and Judaea 
immediately preceding the overthrow of the city. We 
are not to look, of course, for minute correspondences 

* See a well prepared summary of the argument by Dr. J. M. 
Macdonald in the Bib. Sac, Vol. 26, pp. 457-486. 



in single events. It is picture and symbol throughout, 
designed to teach us in general the fearful humiliation 
and destruction of the power which had persecuted 
the church and set itself in array against her King. 
The seventh trumpet in chapters 10 : 7 — 11 : 15, brings 
us to the consummation when the mystery of God 
should be finished, and the new kingdom of the Mes- 
siah, which is to be supreme over all the kingdoms of 
the earth is established, and which is to continue for- 


The striking correspondence between our Lord's 
discourse in Matthew and this portion of the Apoca- 
lypse will be most apparent by arraying the two side 
by side. 


6 And ye shall hear of wars and 
rumors of wars: see that ye be 
not troubled: for all these things 
must come to pass, but the end is 
not yet. 

7 For nation shall rise against 
nation, and kingdom against king- 
dom: and there shall be famines, 
and pestilences, and earthquakes 
in divers places. 

8 All these are the beginning of 


3 And when he had opened the 
second seal, I heard the second 
beast say, Come and see. 

4 And there went out another 
horse that was red : and power was 
given to him that sat thereon to 
take peace from the earth, and 
that they should kill one another : 
and there was given unto him a 
great sword. 

5 And when he had opened the 
third seal, I heard the third beast 
say. Come and see. And I beheld, 
and lo, a black horse; and he 
that sat on him had a pair of bal- 
ances in his hand. 

G And I heard a voice in the 
midst of the four beasts say, A 
measure of wheat for a penny, 
and three measures of barley for 
a penny ; and see thou hurt not the 
oil and the wine. 

7 And when he had opened the 
fourth seal, I heard the voice of 
the fourth beast say. Come and 

8 And I looked, and behold, a 
pale horse : and his name that sat 
on him was Death, and hell fol- 
lowed with him. And power was 
given unto them over the fourth 
part of the earth, to kill with a 
sword, and with hunger, and with 
death, and with the beasts of the 



9 Then shall they deliver yovi 
up to be afflicted, and shall kill 
you : and ye shall be hated of all 
nations for my name's sake. 

10 And then shall many be of- 
fended, and shall betray one an- 
other, and shall hate one another. 

11 Anl maiiy false prophets 
shall rise, and shall deceive many. 

12 And because iniquity shall 
abound, the love of many shall 
wax cold. 

13 But he that shall endure 
unto the end, the same shall be 

21 For then shall be great trib- 
ulation, such as was not since the 
beginning of the world to this 
time, no, nor ever shall be. 

22 And except those days should 
be shortened, there should no flesh 
be saved : but for the elect's sake 
those days shall be shortened. 

29 Immediately after the trib- 
ulation of those days, shall the 
sun be darkened, and the moon 
shall not give her light, and the 
stars shall fall from heaven, and 
the powers of the heavens shall 
be shaken: 

30 And then shall appear the 
sign of the Son of man in heaven : 
and, then shall all the tribes of 
the earth mourn, and they shall 
see the Son of man coming in the 
clouds of heaven with power and 
great glory. 

31 And he shall send his angels 
with a great sound of a trumpet, 
and they shall gather together his 
elect from the four winds from 
one end of heaven to the other. 

31 "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 : 

32 And before him shall be 
gathered all nations : and he shall 
separate them one from another, 

9 And when he had opened the 
fifth seal, I saw under the altar 
the souls of them that were slain 
for the word of God, and for the 
testimony which they held : 

10 And they cried with a loud 
voice, saying. How long, O Lord, 
holy and true, dost thou not judge 
and avenge our blood on them, 
that dwell on the earth ? 

11 And white robes were given 
unto every one of them; and it 
was said unto them, that they 
should rest yet for a little season, 
until their fellow-servants also 
and their brethren, that should 
be killed as they were, should be 

(The sounding of the seven 
trumpets, chapters viii and ix.) 

12 And I beheld when he had 
opened the sixth seal, and lo, 
there was a great earthquake ; and 
the sun became black as sack- 
cloth of hair, and the moon be- 
came as blood : 

13 And the stars of heaven fell 
unto the earth, even as a fig tree 
casteth her untimely figs, when 
she is shaken of a mighty wind. 

14 And the heaven departed as 
a scroll when it is rolled together : 
and every mountain and island 
were moved out of their places. 

2 And I saw another angel as- 
cending from the east, having the 
seal of the living God: and he 
cried with a loud voice to the 
four angels, to whom it was given 
to hurt the earth and the sea, 

3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, 
neither the sea, nor the trees, till 
we have sealed the servants of 
our God in their foreheads. 

4 And I heard the number of 
them which were sealed: and 
there were sealed an hundred and 
forty and four thousand of all the 
tribes of the children of Israel. 

15 And the seventh angel 
sounded; and there were great 
voices in heaven, saying, The 
kingdoms of this world are be- 
come the kingdoms of our Lord, 
and of his Christ; and he shall 
reign forever and ever. 



as a shepherd divideth his sheep 
from his goats : 

33 And he shall set the sheep 
on his right hand, but the goats 
on the left. 

34 Then shall the King say unto 
them on his right hand, Come, ye 
blessed of my Father, inherit the 
kingdom prepared for you from 
the foundation of the world : 

etc., etc. 

16 And the four and twenty 
elders which sat before God on 
their seats, fell upon their faces, 
and worshiped God. 

17 Saying, We give thee thanks, 
O Lord God Almighty, which art, 
and wast, and art to come; be- 
cause thou hast taken to thee thy 
great power, and hast reigned. 

18. And the nations were an- 
gry, and thy wrath is come, and 
the time of the dead, that they 
should be judged, and that thou 
shouldest give reward unto thy 
servants the prophets, and to the 
saints, and to them that fear thy 
name, small and great; and 
shouldest destroy them, which de- 
stroy the earth. 

Upon this subject the language of Dean Alford is 
very explicit, and all the more convincing from the 
fact that he holds to the later date of the composi- 
tion of the Apocalypse. 

" The close connection between our Lord's prophetic 
discourse on the Mount of Olives and the line of 
Apocalyptic prophecy cannot fail to have struck every 
student of Scripture. If it be suggested that such 
connection may be merely apparent, and we subject it 
to the test of more accurate examination, our first im- 
pression will, I think, become continually stronger that 
the two being revelations from the same Lord con- 
cerning things to come, and those things being, as it 
seems to me, bound by tlie four-fold ' Come ' (^ipxou) 
which introduces the seals to the same reference to 
Christ's coming, must, corresponding as they do in or- 
der and significance, answer to one another in detail, 
and thus the discourse in Matt. 24 becomes, as Mr. 
Isaac Williams has truly named it, 'the anchor of 
apocalyptic interpretation^'' and I may add the touch- 
stone of apocalyptic systems." Com. vol. iv., p. 249. 



The second great class of persecutions waged 
against the Kingdom of Christ was that of Paganism. 
The delineation of it is believed to have been made 
in Rev., chapters xii — xx. 

The principal characters engaged in this tragedy 
are portrayed with wonderful power. First there ap- 
pears a great bloody-hued, seven-headed Dragon, 
horned and crowned, whose sinuous tail sweeps over 
a third part of the heavens, dislodging the stars from 
their spheres. That there may be no doubt as to who is 
intended by it we are told that it represents " that old 
serpent called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth 
the whole world." He is the prime instigator of the 
persecution. Next there arises out of the sea a hid- 
eous Beast, of monstrous form, armed with whatever 
is terrible of horns and fangs and claws, to whom the 
Dragon, his patron, gives " power and a throne and 
great authority." He is the symbol of a king clothed 
with irresistible might, and yielding himself to be the 
agent and instrument of Satan in the bloody work 
he is about to initiate. An enigmatical designation, 
calculated to conceal its meaning from the enemies of 
the Christians, yet of easy solution by " him that hath 
understanding " of the cabbalistic use of the Hebrew 
numerals shows him to be the reigning emperor, 
NERO-CjESAR.^ a second monster, less formid- 

* See an account of the Gematria or " Science of figures," as 
used by the Jewish Rabbis, in Geikie's Life of Christ, vol. 1, 


able in aspect than the other, but endowed with in- 
fernal cunning and wonder-working skill, springs out 
of the earth and joins the Dragon and the Beast in 
their conspiracy against the saints of God. He is evi- 
dently the symbol of the Pagan religion, with its 
splendid array of priests and augurs and magical rites 
with which the established cultus of the empire holds 
captive the minds of men. 

Well may we shudder at such a trio of foes arrayed 
against the church, and to read that " it was given un- 
to him (the Beast) to make war with the saints and 
to overcome them ; and power was given him over all 
kindreds and tongues and nations. And all that dwell 
upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are 
not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain, from 
the foundation of the world." 

That the Neronic persecution corresponded in 
atrocity to the fearful array here described needs no 
proof to any who understand the history of those 
times. Our present purpose does not require us to 

pp. 256, 570. "In the Book of Revelation the name of the Beast 
is veiled from common eyes by the mystical number 666, but 
the reason for its being so becomes very apparent when we find 
that it is a cypher for the letters of the name of Nero." Thus 

N R O N K S R 

50 + 200 + 6 -f- 50 + 100 -f 60 + 200 = 666. 
"Neron Kesar (Nero the Emperor), was apparently the name 
by which the Christians of Asia spoke of the monster. Thug 
the coins of Asia bore the legend, NERON KAISAR, the form 
of the mystic number. There are inscriptions at Palmyra in 
which Nero's name and dignity are written exactly as in the 
cypher in the Apocalypse. — De Vogue's Syrie Centrale, etc., 
1868, pp. 17, 26." 


dwell upon it at length. For a summary view the 
reader is referred to what we have said respecting the 
" Man of Sin," (ante, p. 69) and to the note upon 
that passage in the Appendix. 

The next six chapters of the Apocalypse describe 
the defeat of these enemies, and the punishment of 
the persecutors. In chapter xvii is given a vision of 
Rome itself, under the figure of a scarlet-robed harlot 
riding upon a scarlet colored beast covered with blas- 
phemous titles, and drunken with the blood of the 
martyred saints. A prophetic dirge laments her 
hastening downfall, while a rejoicing chorus in heaven 
exults over the retribution, and the approaching mar- 
riage of the Lamb. Then appears the conquering 
Messiah, the Word of God, followed by the armies of 
heaven, while the Beast and his allies prepare their 
final assault upon him. These are overcome and cap- 
tured, the beasts are cast into hell, and all their hosts 
slain. Then the Dragon himself, the arch instigator 
of the whole, is seized and bound in the abyss, and a 
thousand years of rest for the church, and triumph of 
the martyrs ensue. 


What, then, are we to understand by the binding of 
Satan for a thousand years ? 

It has been commonly assumed that it means that 
abolition of all moral evil and suffering, which, in the 
last age of the world, is to follow the final triumph of 
Christianity. As the introduction of sin and its woes 


is ascribed to him as the original tempter, so, not un- 
naturally, his confinement in chains is taken to sig- 
nify its extinction, and the restoration of paradise to 
the world. Hence the word millennium^ derived from 
the thousand years here spoken of, has come to be 
synonymous with that blessed age, the era of univer- 
sal holiness and happiness. But a more careful ex- 
amination of the passage in its connection shows that 
this is an error. 

1. In the first place, it is not Satan in his general 
character, so to speak, as the prince of all evil, that is 
the subject of the prophetic narrative ; it is solely in 
his capacity as a persecutor. For this alone is he in- 
troduced upon the scene ; it is to symbolize the qual- 
ities of a persecutor that the hideous characteristics of 
his person are portrayed, and it is this work which 
throughout the sketch he is represented as doing by 
means of his agents, the Beast and the False Prophet. 
Consistency, therefore, requires that the confinement 
he now suffers should be taken in the same special 
and restricted sense.* 

2. There is nowhere the slightest intimation in the 
scriptures that the cessation of Pagan persecution was 

^ "Satan thus exerting himself by the power of the heathen 
Koman empire, is called the great red dragon in Scripture, hav- 
ing seven heads and ten horns, fighting against the woman 
clothed with the sun, as in the 12th of Kevelation. And the ter- 
rible conflict there was between the church of Christ and the 
powers of the heathen empire before Constantine's time is there, 
in verse 7, represented by the war betwen Michael and his 
angels, and the Dragon and his angels." — Edwards' Hist, of Re- 
demption, Period III, part 2. 


to result in the immediate introduction of the latter- 
day glory. There is, or at least may be, a long 
period between the day when Christianity became too 
strong to be successfully assailed from without, and the 
day of its universal triumph, — a period, on the whole, 
of prosperity, of growth, of great activity in spreading 
the gospel among men, but not one at all answering 
to the idea of perfection and rest pertaining to her 
consummation in glory. That glory is described in 
chapters xxi and xxii — the New Jerusalem established 
upon the new earth, in which the Lord God and the 
Lamb are to reign forever. 

3. The state of the world during the thousand years 
of the binding of Satan is not that predicated of her 
latter-day glory. Even at the close of that period 
there remain nations in the distant parts of the earth 
who have never been brought into subjection to Christ. 
Nor are these merely few and insignificant, as if not 
worthy to be taken into the account ; they are a vast 
multitude, " whose number is as the sand of the sea." 
But if any one thing is emphatic in the description of 
the latter-day glory, it is that of its absolute univer- 
sality. " He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and 
from the river unto the ends of the earth." " All 
kings shall fall down before him ; all nations shall 
serve him " (Ps. 72 : 8, 11). " From the rising of 
the sun even unto the going down of the same, my 
name shall be great among the Gentiles ; and in every 
place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a 
pure offering, for my name shall be great among the 
heathen, saith the Lord of hosts " (Mai. 1 : 11). It is 


absolutely certain that such a state of things as that 
cannot co-exist with the still unconverted and multi- 
tudinous nations that survive the period here desig- 

4. The thousand years is a limited period ; that of the 
latter-day glory is to be without end. Whether those 
thousand years are, as we believe, to be understood 
literally, or, putting a day for a year, as denoting 
three hundred and sixty thousand, or, more generally 
still, a long period simply, they are in either case in- 
consistent with the duration which is predicated of 
the final glory. The proofs of that perpetuity will be 
adduced hereafter. By no principle of interpretation 
can we make the two identical in their continuance. 

I cannot accept then the common view that the 
millennium of the Apocalypse is the same thing as the 
ultimate day of glory and rest to the church. In en- 
deavoring to show affirmatively what it does signify, 
let me advert once more to the marks of unity which 
connect this passage with what had gone before. 

Let it be observed that all the personages men- 
tioned here are the same that had figured in the pre- 
ceding chapters. The leading character is still the 
great Dragon, the deceiver of the nations, who by his 
arts persuaded them to worship the Beast and to unite 
in warfare against the church. The martyrs again 
appear, who had been beheaded for the witness of 
Jesus, and who had not worshiped the Beast nor his 
image, neither had received his mark upon their fore- 

On the other hand, while the topic and the persons re- 


main the same, there is an incompleteness of thought 
in the antecedent narrative which needs supplementing 
here. The inspired seer had described the defeat and 
doom of the Beast and the False Prophet, with all 
their host. But what, the reader instinctively asks, is 
to become of him who instigated all that mischief, the 
greater sinner behind all whose mere tools they were ? 
Is he to escape wdth impunity ? It will be but slight 
consolation to the churches, then bleeding and crushed 
in his cruel toils, to know that Nero shall be over- 
thrown, if their greater enemy be still at liberty to fo- 
ment new persecutions and harass them not only 
without mercy but without end. 

And this I take to be the significance of the repre- 
sentation which follows. It is the comforting voice of 
Him for whom they have suffered, responding to their 
cry and saying, " No, he shall not go free ! Not only 
in the grand consummation is he to be utterly de- 
stroyed, but even now the end of his bloody career 
draweth nigh. He shall be arrested, shorn of his 
power, bound in chains, and shut up in the bottomless 
pit, the St. Helena of the universe, for one thousand 
years, while the martyred victims of his malice shall 
arise from their dishonor, and ascend to thrones of 
special dignity and glory, as favored participants in 
the triumph of their King." 

The binding of Satan, then, I cannot doubt, denotes 
the cessation of Pagan persecution against the church. 
And if that view be correct, it is not difficult to as- 
sign an approximate date to which it is to be referred. 

In the year A. D. 324, Constantine the Great, by 


the defeat of Licinius, the emperor of the East, became 
sole monarch of the Roman Empire. He had many 
years before this embraced Christianity, — according 
to Eusebius, in consequence of the remarkable vision 
he had seen of the radiant cross in the sky accompan- 
ied by the legend, " By this conquer." As early as 
A. D. 315, he had persuaded Licinius to joi nhim in a 
general edict proclaiming toleration to Christianity, 
an edict, however, which was little regarded by the 
eastern king, who subsequently relapsed into heathen- 
ism and came into open conflict with Constantine,^ in 
which he was defeated and soon after put to death. 
Constantine, now attaining the sole imperial dignity, 
issued a new proclamation reaffirming the edict of tol- 
eration, and exhorting all his subjects to " imitate 
without delay the example of their sovereign and to 
embrace the divine truth of Christianity." From that 
time this edict was " received as a general and funda- 
mental law of the Roman world. ''^ ^ 

This law granted a free and absolute power to all 
Christians and others to follow that religion which 
they preferred; enacted that the churches and lands 
which had been confiscated by Diocletian should be 

^■"Tlie Christians formed the nucleus of Constantine's party 
when the relation between him and Licinius became loose. 
Hence for this very reason, Licinius sought to obtain a more 
decided party by renewed attention to the religion of the pagans 
and by persecution of the Christians. Accordingly, the struggle 
that arose between Licinius and Constantine, A. D. 323 was at 
the same time a struggle between Christianity and heathenism . 
Licinius was defeated and Constantine openly professed the 
Jhristian faith, though he still put off baptism." Guericke. 

^ Gibbon Decline and Fall, chap. XX. 


" restored without dispute, without delay, and without 
expense ; " and established numerous regulations to 
guard the tranquillity of his Christian subjects, and 
secure enlarged and equal rights of conscience to all. 
Such a law, enforced by the authority and example of 
an illustrious conquerer and sovereign, changed the 
religious aspect of the empire. Paganism, though not 
absolutely forbidden, fell into disfavor ; its power to 
injure was wrested from it, its imposing worship faded ; 
in many cases its temples were despoiled and its wealth 
bestowed upon the church ; and to crown all, a new 
city was founded on the beautiful Bosphorus which 
thenceforth was the Christian capital of the empire 
and of the world. 

This remarkable event was regarded by the 
Christians of that time, and by Constantine himself, 
as the fulfillment of the very prophecy before us. 
Accordingly not only was the well-known Idbarum^ 
composed of the first two letters in the name of our 
Lord, placed upon the standards of the army, and 
impressed upon the imperial coins, but a public mon- 
ument was set up, bearing a representation of the 
emperor, with the cross over his head, and under his 
feet Satan in the form of a serpent falling headlong 
into the abyss. "For," says Eusebius, "the sacred 
oracles in the books of God's prophets have de- 
scribed him as a dragon and a crooked serpent ; and 
for this reason the emperor thus publicly displayed a 
painted resemblance (cera igne resoluta) of the dragon 
beneath his own and his children's feet, stricken 
through with a dart and cast headlong into the depths 


of the sea. In this manner he intended to represent 
that concealed adversary of the human race, and to 
indicate that he was consigned to the gulf of perdi- 
tion by virtue of the trophy of salvation placed above 
his head."'^ 

Perhaps no event in the annals of history was ever 
more memorable than this. " This revolution," says 
Pres. Edwards, the elder, "was the greatest revolu- 
tion and change in the face of things that ever came 
to pass in the world since the flood. Satan, the 
prince of darkness, that king and god of the heathen 
world, was cast out. The roaring lion was conquered 
by the Lamb of God in the strongest dominion that 
ever he had, even the Roman Empire."^ " This rising 
significance of the cross," says Schaff, " was a faithful 
symbol of the extraordinary change in the empire. 
The Grseco-Roman heathenism surrendered after a 
three hundred years' struggle to Christianity, and died 
of incurable consumption. The ruler of the civilized 
world laid his crown at the feet of the crucified Jesus 
of Nazareth. The successor of Nero, Domitian, and 
Diocletian, who had done their best to exterminate 
the pestilential sect, appeared a few years after the 
last and most bloody persecution, in the imperial pur- 
ple at the council at Nice, as protector of this very 
sect, and took his golden throne at the nod of bishops, 
many of whom still bore the scars of persecution. 
The despised religion which for three centuries, like its 
Founder in the days of his humiliation, had not where 

»De Yita Const. Lib. 1, cap. 40. 

''Work of Redemption. Period III, part 2. 


to lay his head, was raised to sovereign authority in 
the state ; entered into the prerogatives of the pagan 
priesthood ; grew rich and powerful ; built countless 
churches and altars out of the stones of idol temples 
to the honor of Christ and his martyrs ; employed the 
wisdom of Greece and Rome to vindicate the foolish- 
ness of the cross ; exerted a molding influence upon 
civil legislation ; ruled the life of the people, and be- 
gan to control the general course of civilization."* 

Such seems to have been the event disclosed to the 
apostle in Patmos under the symbol of the binding of 
Satan. It was the one single promise, little estimated 
by us who live in these late days of prosperous ease, 
but which to the martyrs and confessors, companions 
of John in " tribulation and in the kingdom and pa- 
tience of Jesus Christ," was pregnant with most joy- 

^Bib. Sac. vol. XX. p. 788. 

" It is not necessary to do more than enumerate the acts of 
Constantine's ecclesiastical legislation in order to see the vast- 
ness of the revolution of which he was the leader. In the year 
after his conversion was issued the edict of toleration. Then 
followed in rapid succession, the decree for the observance of 
Sunday in the towns of the Empire, the use of prayers for the 
army, the abolition of the punishment of crucifixion, the en- 
couragement of the emancipation of slaves, the discouragement 
of infanticide, the prohibition of licentious and cruel rites, the 
prohibition of gladiatorial games. Every one of these steps 
was a gain to the Roman empire and to mankind, such as not 
even the Antonines had ventured to attempt, and of those bene- 
fits none has been altogether lost. Undoubtedly, if Constantine 
is to be judged by the place which he occupies amongst the 
benefactors of mankind, he would rank not amongst the sec- 
ondary characters of history, but amongst the very first." 
Stanley's Eastern Church, p. 293. 


ful import, that pagan persecution should soon be 
ended. The bloody dragon who was preying upon 
them should be cast down from his throne. The very 
cross itself, the detested symbol of his enmity, should 
become the trophy of victory over him. It may be 
objected that this comes far short of our ideas as to 
what this long looked for thousand years was to be. 
True, pagan persecution ceased, and yet the centuries 
which followed were anything but an era of prosperity 
to the church. Ignorance, superstition, and barbarism 
settled like a pall upon the nations, marking these as 
the Dark Ages of the world. The papacy usurped 
secular power, and took up in its turn the bloody 
weapons of persecution which had fallen from heathen 
hands. The Bible became a sealed book even within 
the church, and true religion fled for safety to moun- 
tain fastnesses and inaccessible valleys. Was this, 
I shall be asked, with contemptuous surprise, the 
millennium^ And my answer must still be in the 
affirmative,^ reiterating my former remark that the 

»See Bush on the Millennium, in which nearly the same view 
is advocated that have here presented. 

" We are disposed to think that the period in question is 
not meant to be literally and chronologically one thousand 
years. The number is put indefinitely ; it points to a time when 
Christianity had triumphed over paganism. Heathenism had 
been destroyed in the Roman empire. This leads to the an- 
cient view, viz. : that the period is past, not future. It will be 
observed that the Beast and the False Prophet are both de- 
stroyed. Chapter xx. Now the Beast cannot mean the papacy, 
as has been often assumed. It refers to the heathen power 
which was opposed to Christ and his religion. Hence the mil- 
lennium began after the abolition of paganism in the Eoman 
empire." Davidson, Introd. Yol, 8, p. 630. 


surprise expressed proceeds from a wholly wrong 
assumption of the nature of the period in question, 
confounding it with that era of universal rest and 
glory which is to follow sooner or later after the last 
great persecution, when not only shall Satan be bound 
in chains, but when he, and death, and Hades, with 
all enemies of the now triumphant kingdom of 
Christ, shall be cast into the lake of fire. 
What then was to be that last persecution ? 


The thousand years have expired, and Satan is loose 
again. In the distant regions of the earth, — the land 
of Gog and Magog, — are mighty nations, with a popu- 
lation innumerable " as the sand of the sea." These he 
stirs up against the saints. They leave their barbarous 
homes, invade the Christian territory, surround its 
capital and the beloved city, Jerusalem, — but are 
destroyed by the lightnings of heaven. What is this 
but a graphic description of the rise, the conquests, 
and the ultimate overthrow of the Ottoman Empire, 
the great monarchy in which Mohammedanism, the 
rival religion to Christianity, enthroned itself and 
undertook the conquest of the world? 

Magog was the second son of Japheth (Gen. 10 : 2), 
and the name seems to have been borne also by the peo- 
ple descended from him. He and his brothers are 
generally regarded as having settled in the northern 
regions of Asia beyond the Euxine and Caspian seas, 
and become the progenitors of the various tribes 


bearing the general designation of Scythians. " Jewish 
tradition, as preserved by Josephus and Jerome, extend- 
ed the name (Magog) to all the nomad tribes beyond 
the Caucasus and the Palus Mseotis, and from the 
Caspian sea to India, thus including the Tartar and 
Mongolian tribes, as well as those more properly 
belonging to the Scythians."^ In the prophecies of 
Ezekiel are recorded a series of denunciations against 
this people in which Gog appears as their prince or 
ruler, and Magog as the designation of their country. 
Ezek. 38 : 30. 

This vast region, the inexhaustible hive of the north- 
ern barbarians who from time immemorial had been 
the terror of the civilized world, was the original source 
of the Turks, who began to figure in history in the 
sixth century. As early as A..D. 545, a Turkish 
invasion overspread the continent from the Euxine 
sea to China, but their power lasted only about two 
centuries. From time to time they appeared again 
amid the commotions of the East, and in 1206 they 
composed a part of the empire of the Great Mogul, 
Zingis Khan, who reduced to his sway nearly all Asia 
and a large portion of Europe. In the year A. D. 1299 
Athman or Othman, one of their chieftains, invaded 
and plundered the Christian province of Nicomeda, in 
Asia Minor, and twenty-seven years later obtained 
possession of its capital, the beautiful city of Prusa, 
now Broosa. The lives and property of the Christians 
were ransomed on the payment of thirty thousand 
crowns in gold, and the city converted into a Moham- 

»W. L. Alexander, in Kitto Bib. Cyc. 


medan capital. " From the conquest of Prusa," says 
Gibbon, " we may date the true era of the Ottoman 
Ijmpire.'^^ This was in the year 1326, one thousand 
and two years from the promulgation of the imperial 
edict of Constantine. 

It is difficult at this day for any who are not thorough- 
ly familiar with the history of the East to understand 
what the Ottoman Empire was in its relations to 
Christianity. Turkey is now, emphatically, " the sick 
man," holding his very throne by the sufferance of 
Christian nations. But three centuries ago it was 
something very different from this. The following 
description taken from the learned history of Richard 
KnoUes, published in 1603, at the time when that 
empire was in the hight of its prosperity, will show 
how it was regarded at that time. 

" There stept vp among the Turkes in Bithynia one 
Osman or Othoman, of the Ozugian tribe or familie, 
a man of great spirit and valor, who b}' little and little 
growing vp amongst the rest of his countrymen and 
other the effeminate Christians on that side of Asia, 
at last, like another Romulus, tooke vpon him the 
name of a Sultan or King, and is right worthily 
accounted the first founder of the mightie empire of 
the Turkes, which, continued by many descents direct 
ly in the line of himself even vnto Achmet who now 
reigneth, is from a small beginning become the greatest 
terrour of the worlde, and holding in subjection many 
greate and mightie kingdoms in Asia, Europe, and 
Africke, is grown to that height of pride as that it 

^ Decline and Fall, cliap. Ixiv. 


threatneth destruction vnto the rest of the kingdoms 
of the earth, laboring with nothing more than the 
weight of itselfe. In the greatnesse whereof is 
swallowed vp both the name and empire of the Sara- 
sins, the glorious empire of the Greeks, the renowned 
kingdoms of Macedonia, Peloponessus, Epirus, Bulga- 
ria, Servia, Bosnia, Armenia, Cyprus, Syria, Egypt, 
Judea, Tunes, Algeirs, Media, Mesopotamia, with a 
great part of Hungarie, as also of the Persian King- 
dom, and all those churches and places so much spoken 
of in holy Scripture (the Romans onely excepted), and 
in brief, so much of Christendom as farre exceedeth 
that which is thereof at this day left. So that at this 
present, if you consider the beginning, progress, and 
perpetual felicitie of this the Othoman Empire, there 
is in this world nothing more admirable or strange ; if 
the greatnesse and lustre thereof, nothing more magnifi- 
cent or glorious ; if the power and strength thereof, 
nothing more dreadful and dangerous ; which, wonder- 
ing at nothing but the beauty of itself, and drunk with 
the pleasant wine of perpetual felicitie, holdeth all 
the rest of the world in scorne, thundering out noth- 
ing but still bloud and warre, with a full perswasion 
in time to rule over all, prefining vnto itself no other 
limits than the vttermost bounds of the earth, from the 
rising of the sun unto the going down of the same." ^ 

The same writer, at the close of his history of 
Othman, speaks of him as the founder of the empire 

" Of a poore lordship he left a great kingdom, hav- 

^■Geiierall Historie of the Turks. Preface. 


ing subdved a great part of the lesser Asia, and is 
worthily accounted the first founder of the Turks' 
great kingdom and empire. Of him the Turkish 
kings and emperors ever since have been called the 
Othman kings and emperours, as lineally of him de- 
scended, and the Turks themselves Osmanidae^ as the 
people or subjects of Othman or Osman, for so he 
is of the Turks commonly called."^ 

That the Turkish empire has ever been hostile to 
Christianity is one of the most familiar facts of his- 
tory. In 1460, under Mahomet II, Constantinople 
was captured with terrible slaughter, its people mur- 
dered or sold into captivity, its churches burned or 
converted into mosks, and the city of the first Chris- 
tian emperor made the capital of Islam. In 1517 the 
Holy Land was overrun, and Jerusalem itself, " the 
beloved city," taken. For more than three centuries 
it has maintained its sway over the lands where the 
Saviour and his apostles taught and died, and has ex- 
ercised a pitiless despotism over all their followers. 
The market places of her cities have been public marts, 
where Christians of both sexes and of all ages have 
been sold into perpetual slavery. Confiscation, op- 
pressive taxation, and open robbery, have despoiled 
them of their goods, and the murder of an unbelieving 
dog has been esteemed as a service to Allah and his 
Prophet. It is only within the present generation, 
under the growing influence of the western kingdoms, 
that its hostility has at all abated, and a toleration 

"^ Id. p. 177. 


of the Christian faith has been reluctantly conceded. 
And now as we write, it is professedly as an oppres- 
sor and persecutor of Christians that it has apparently 
been brought to the last extremity by Russia. There 
are undoubtedly elements of worldly ambition lying 
underneath the contest, but even this ambition points 
in the same direction, to recover from the grasp of the 
invader that city which was founded by the first 
Christian emperor, and for more than a thousand 
years was the capital, or one of the capitals, of the 
Christian world.^ 

Upon the destruction of this third great persecuting 
power, it is predicted that " the devil that deceived " 
these nations shall be cast into a lake of fire and brim- 
stone, where the Beast and the False Prophet are " — 
his former allies in enmity to Christ, — " and shall be 
tormented day and night forever." That is, bearing 

^ I take the liberty of saying here, that I advance the foregoing 
theory as to the power intended under the mystic names of Gog 
and Magog, with very great diffidence, ratlier because I can not 
find any considerable weight of authority for it among the com- 
mentators than because of any lack of self-evidencing indicia 
in the theory itself . The name "Magog," so certainly belonging 
to the region whence the Ottoman Turks originated ; the time of 
their introduction upon the scene, almost an exact 1000 years 
from Constantine's edict suppressing Roman persecution; their 
vast numbers; the nature of their conquests, viz. the "breadth 
of the land," i. e. the Christian territory; "the camp of the 
saints," i. e. the fortified Christian capitol; and "the beloved 
city," Jerusalem — all these constitute a series of circumstantial 
coincidences with the known facts too remarkable to be acci- 
dental. What other theory can be named embodying so many, 
and those not fanciful or conjectural, but in strict accordance 
with the plain testimony of history ? 


in mind still the part that he has been acting hitherto, 
persecution by hostile nations against Christianity 
shall forever cease. That we are drawing near to 
that period seems very probable. The persecuting 
empire of Mohammed is already in its dotage, and 
any serious attempts to renew its ancient assaults on 
Christianity would infallibly lead to its prompt ex- 
tinction as by " a fire from God out of heaven." The 
Christian nations have become the mightiest in the 
world. No anti-christian power, Pagan, Buddhistic, or 
Mohammedan could withstand their united forces for 
a day. On the other hand Christianity has become 
itself the aggressor, and with weapons not carnal, the 
Bible and the appliances of Christian civilization, is 
going forth on its career of conquest which, according 
to all present appearances, must in a few centuries, not 
to say a few years, embrace the whole family of man. 


During the thousand years of the binding of Satan, 
there should take place what is described by the Seer 
as follows : 

" And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and 
judgment was given unto them ; and I saw the souls of 
them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and 
for the word of God, and which had not worshiped 
the beast, neither his image, neither had received his 
mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands ; and 
they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 


But the rest of the dead lived not again until the 
thousand years were finished. This is the first resur- 
rection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the 
first resurrection : on such the second death hath no 
power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ 
and shall reign with him a thousand years." 

The first statement in this passage is of the most 
general character. It is as if the apostle had at first 
but a glimpse of a scene which he did not understand. 
He saw thrones, persons sitting upon them, and judicial 
or royal (for ruling and judging are synonymous) 
dignity given to them. Then, as if a clearer view was 
afforded him, or an explanation added, he expands that 
outline statement into the fuller one succeeding. This 
being the case, we may understand the connective "and" 
in the sense of " even " — " to wit." The same well 
known usage of the Greek conjunction appears again 
near the close of the verse. 

The persons here referred to are the martyrs of the 
preceding period of persecution, viz., those who had 
been " beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the 
word of God." The remaining language probably 
includes also the others who had been equally faithful 
in refusing obedience to the Beast at the peril of their 
lives, though they were not actually put to death. 
These — the martyrs and confessors — and no others are 
the subject of the passage. The assumption which is 
often made that all the pious dead are included, is 
entirely without warrant from the passage itself, and 
tends to involve the whole in inextricable confusion. 

These " lived and reigned with Christ a thousand 


years." Various opinions have been advanced as to 
the nature of this resurrection. 1. Some understand 
it literally of the resurrection of the body ; the martyrs, 
as the reward of their constancy, being raised to glory 
a thousand years before the general resurrection. 
Millenarians generally add to this the idea that this 
first resurrection extends to all the righteous dead, and 
that the place of their reigning is to be here on earth. 
But I see no ground for either of these beliefs, either 
in the language before us or in the eschatological 
teachings of the Scriptures in general. 2. Whitby 
and other post millenarians regard this not as a resur- 
rection of i\iQ persons of the martyrs, but of their prin- 
ciples and spirit. " It may," says Archbishop Whately, 
" signify not the literal raising of dead men, but the 
raising up of an increased Christian zeal and holiness : 
the revival in the Christian church, or in some consider- 
able portion of it, of the spirit and energy of the noble 
martyrs of old (even as John the Baptist came in the 
spirit and power of Elias) ; so that Christian principles 
shall be displayed in action throughout the world in 
an infinitely greater degree than ever before." * This 
theory seems to me more inadmissable than the former. 
The bare reading of the passage suggests its inadequacy, 
and almosts compels the inference that it was resorted 
to, not because it was the natural and obvious import 
of the text, but because it was the most plausible way 
out of the difficulties caused by the many erroneous 
assumptions made as to the general scope and design 
of the book. Most undeniably, the reward vouchsafed 

a Essays on the Future State. 


to those martyrs and confessors was something personal 
to them, which made them " blessed and holy " in an 
eminent degree. 

That reward lies upon the face of the passage, and 
so plainly that I marvel it could ever be mistaken. 
Judicial dignity was given to them ; they reigned with 

They livedo that is, they reigned. We take the two 
words here as synonymous, the and being the kai epexi- 
getical or explanatory, so well-known to commentators.* 
It is a use of the word often occurring in the Scrip- 
tures. Robinson instances Matt. 21 : 5 — " an ass, 
that is, a colt." 1 Cor. 15 : 24 ; James 1 : 27 ; 3 : 9, 
" God, that is, the Father." Matt. 13; 41. " Things 
that offend, that is, them which do iniquity." Rom. 
1: 5. "Grace, that is, the apostleship," etc. 

The word live often has the signification to be 
blessed, i. e. to live emphatically, to have life in an in- 
tensified degree. Rom. 10 : 5 ; Gal. 3 : 12. " He that 
doeth these things shall live in them." 1 Thess. 3 : 8. 
" Now we live if ye stand fast." Luke 10 : 28. " This 
do, and thou shalt live.'' Heb. 12 : 9. " Shall we 
not be in subjection to the Father of spirits and 
livef The idea, then is, that these faithful witnesses 
for Christ, whom their enemies supposed they had ut- 
terly destroyed, still lived, i. e. they were exalted to 
a high state of felicity. Then, as if to be more ex- 
plicit, it is added, " They reigned with Christ." In 
other words, their living consisted in the honor of par- 

«^ Winer's N. T. Grammar, p. 458. 


ticipating in the administration of the kingdom with 
Christ the king. 

This is something more than "entering the king- 
dom," "seeing the kingdom," "inheriting the king- 
dom," etc., which is promised to all believers. Every 
loyal subject of a monarch may share in the happiness 
flowing from his reign, its peace, prosperity, security, 
and glory. But not all are elevated to princely rank 
in it, and made participants in the government itself. 
This special honor is reserved in Christ's kingdom for 
the martyrs and confessors who had been faithful unto 
death. In our loose way of quoting the Scriptures, 
we have become habituated to cite these extraordinary 
promises as if pertaining to all Christ's people. We 
doubt, however, if an instance can be found in which 
this dignity of kingship in heaven is not predicated 
solely of those who, like their Master, reach it by the 
way of suffering and death for his sake. " Inter feras^ 
per erucem, ad coronam.^^ • 

This peculiar reward of the martyrs is often men- 
tioned elsewhere. When the two sons of Zebedee 
petitioned for princely thrones on either hand of 
Christ in his kingdom, his reply was, " Ye know not 
what ye ask ? Are ye able to drink of my cup and 
share in my baptism ?* You are aspiring to the re- 
served honors of those who suffer as I am to suffer ; 
who for my sake go to the cross and the bloody tomb. 
To ask for the former is to ask for the latter also." 
Said Peter at another time, " We have forsaken all 
and followed thee ; what shall we have therefore ? " 

a Matt. 20:22. 


Jesus' reply was " Ye which have followed me," — and 
the connection shows that he meant it in the same 
sense of self-denial and suffering, — "in the regenera- 
tion, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of 
his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judg- 
ing the twelve tribes of Israel." Matt. 19: 27-29. 
In Rom. 8: 16, 17, the two grades of heavenly bless- 
edness for the two classes of the saints are distinctly 
specified. " The Spirit itself beareth witness with our 
spirit that we (all Christians) are the children of God. 
And if children heirs, heirs of God — and joint heirs 
with Christ if so be that we suffer with him, that we 
(Christ and his martyrs) may be also glorified togeth- 
gr." So Peter, "Beloved, think it not strange con- 
cerning the fiery trial which is to try you — but 
rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's suffer- 
ings, that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be 
glad also with exceeding joy." (1 Pet. 1 ; 12, 13.) 
Accordingly, it passed into a saying Qoyo^') among 
the early Christians, which Paul emphatically declared 
to be a true one, " If we be dead with him we shall 
also live with him ; if we suffer we shall also reign 
with him." 2 Tim. 2: 12. In Revelation 1 : 5, 6, John 
ascribes praise to Jesus Christ " who is the faithful 
witness (Gr. Martyr) the First begotten of the dead, 
— who loved us — and hath made us kings and priests 
unto God and his Father." He is addressing his 
" companions in tribulation and in the kingdom and 
patience of Jesus Christ." And to those among the 
churches who were faithful in that time of persecu- 
tion, Christ sent the special promises, " He that over- 


Cometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him 
will I give power over the nations, and he shall rule 
them with a rod of iron ; as the vessels of a potter 
shall they be broken to shivers, even as I received of 
my Father," — i. e. he shall share in my royal authori- 
ty, as predicted in the second Psalm. " To him that 
overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, 
even as I also overcame and am set down with my 
Father in his throne." Rev. 2 : 26, 27 ; 3 : 21. 

This reigning with Christ shall continue a "thous- 
and years," evidently the same thousand as that of 
Satan's confinement.^ Not that it shall then termi- 
nate, but that period is mentioned in order that the 
two may stand in contrast with' each other. As dur- 
ing the mart3^r age Satan was reigning in the Beast 
and False Prophet, and the saints were humiliated and 
oppressed, so now for a thousand years he shall be 
humiliated and they shall reign. This reigning was 
the "judgment that was given to them," and the ful- 
fillment of the words of Paul in 1 Cor. 6 : 3, "Know 
ye not that we shall judge angels ? " It is undoubt- 
edly a figure taken from the triumphal honors decreed 
to illustrious conquerors and their generals, in which 
their vanquished foes were shown in dungeons or 
dragged in chains behind their victors. 

a "The identity of this period of a thousand years with that of 
vs. 2, 3, which was unaccountably denied by Bengel, if it might 
otherwise be a matter of doubt and were not determinately 
fixed by the whole context, at all events is established by verse 
7, where the thousand years cannot be conceived different from 
those in verse 3, and as little from those in the immediately 
preceding verses in vs. 4-6." Hengstenberg, vol. II, p. 337, note. 

150 THE PAR0U8IA. 

" This is the first resurrection." Not of the body, 
for there is not a word said of this, and historically, 
we know that nothing of the sort took place at any 
time within the period referred to. The persons whom 
John saw were the souls of the martyrs, and it was 
these that lived and reigned. The word anastasis 
does not, of itself, imply a corporeal resurrection ; its 
literal meaning, as will be shown hereafter, is the sec- 
ond or future life. The place where they lived and 
reigned was " with Christ " — i. g., in heaven, not on 
earth. The meaning is. This is the peculiarly glorious 
and blessed after-life^ succeeding the murderous blow 
of the Roman executioner, which shall be enjoyed by 
those who remained faithful till death. 

It is called the first resurrection, not in point of 
time^ but of rank and honor. This use of the Greek 
word is very common. It is translated chief in Matt. 
20 : 27 ; Mark 6 : 21 ; 10 : 44 ; Luke 19 : 47 ; Acts 
13 : 50 ; 16 : 12 ; 25 : 2 ; 28 : 7, 17 ; 1 Tim. 1 : 15 ; 
etc. In Luke 15 : 22, it is the best. 

Hence in the original this resurrection is denoted 
by a phraseology differing from that which is applied 
to the resurrection of mankind in general. It is lost 
sight of in our English version, but it is a peculiarity 
of too much importance to be rightfully disregarded. 
The latter is usually styled simply the resurrection of 
the dead ; that of Christ, and his martyrs the resur- 
rection/row OT from out of the dead. So in the Vul- 
gate, the resurrectio a or ex mortuls is distinguished 
from the resurrectio mortuorum. See Rom. 8 : 11 ; 
10: 7; Eph. 1: 20; Heb. 13 : 20; 1 Pet. 1 : 3,21. 


It implies that out of the whole number of the depart- 
ed there shall be those who attain a peculiar honor, 
one which they do not share in common with the rest. 

Being thus the most exalted state of future reward, 
it became the object of intensest desire on the part of 
persecuted saints. It was this, Paul says, which ani- 
mated the martyrs of the former dispensation. They 
were " tortured, not accepting deliverance that they 
might obtain a better resurrection." Heb. 11 : 35. 
Even for himself he declared that he made it the ob- 
ject of his most strenuous eifort, " to know Christ and 
.the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his 
sufferings^ being made conformable to his death, if by 
any means he might attain unto the resurrection of 
the dead " (Gr. "the resurrection which is from 
among the dead)." " Not," he adds, " as though I 
had already attained, either were already perfect," — 
he had not yet won the martyr's crown by his death, — 
*' but I follow after if that I may apprehend — pressing 
toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of 
God in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3 : 10-14. 

It was the same inspiring hope that actuated the 
Christians of the succeeding centuries, and led them 
to seek the bloody crown of martyrdom, the pledge of 
the crown of victory above. " I beseech you," wrote 
Irenseus to his friends, "that you show not an un- 
seasonable good will towards me. Suffer me to be 
food for the wild beasts, by whom I shall attain unto 
God. For I am the wheat of God, and I shall be 
ground- by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be 


found the pure bread of Christ."^ Such as attained 
this coveted honor were distinguished in painting by the 
aureole surrounding their heads, in token of the celes- 
tial crown which they had won. " It was conceived," 
says Mosheim,'' " that they were taken directly up into 
heaven and admitted to a share in the divine counsels 
and administration ; that they sat as judges with God, 
enjoying the highest marks of his favor, and possess- 
ing influence sufficient to obtain from him whatever 
they might make the object of their prayers." To the 
same effect testifies the sneering Gibbon."^ " It is not 
easy to extract any distinct ideas from the vague 
though eloquent declarations of the Fathers, or to as- 
certain the degree of immortal glory and happiness 
which they so confidently promised to those who were 
so fortunate as to shed their blood in the cause of re- 
ligion. They inculcated with becoming diligence that 
the fire of martyrdom supplied every defect and ex- 
piated every sin ; that while the souls of ordinary 
Christians were obliged to pass through a slow and 
painful purification, the triumphant sufferers entered 
into the immediate fruition of eternal bliss, where in 
the society of the patriarchs, the apostles, and the 
prophets they reigned with Christ and acted as his as- 
sessors in the universal judgment of mankind.""^ It is 

»Epist. ad Komanos. 

^Com. vol. I, p. 136. 

c Chap. XYI. 

^ " Certatim gloriosa in certamina ruebantur, multique avid- 
ius turn martyria gloriosis mortibus quaerebantur quam nunc 
episcopatus pi avis ambitionibus appetuntur." Sulp. Severus 
1: 11. 


true that not a few ideas savoring of superstition and 
extravagance came to be attached to the boon of mar- 
tyrdom, yet they grew out of the teachings of the 
Scriptures already referred to, and show the interpre- 
tation which in that age was given to passages re- 
garded in modern times as obscure. 


The last five verses of this chapter are almost uni- 
versally assumed to be a description of the General 
Judgment, at which the whole family of man will be 
judged, at the end of time. A careful study of the 
passage, however, in its connection, will disclose rea- 
sons for doubt as to whether that is its true import. 
Some very able scholars have taken a different view 
of it.^ 

1. In the first place, such an understanding of it 
impairs the uniti/ of the narration. It can scarcely 
be denied that these verses are closely connected with 
the preceding, and therefore with all that portion 
of the book beginning with Chapter XII. If so, 
then we are to presume that they relate to the same 
general subject, viz : the overthrow and punishment of 
the persecutors of the church. It was not within the 

"Grotius regards it as describing "the punishment of some 
antecedent to the General Judgment, as the glory of the mar- 
tyrs precedes also that judgment" — quorundam ergo poena 
judicium illud ultimum antecedet, sicut martyrum gloria ante- 
cedet idem judicium. — He applies the happy New Jerusalem 
state which follows to the flourishing period of the church be- 
tween Constantine and Justinian. 

154 THE FAB U8IA. 

design of the author here to discuss the condition or 
character of the human family, as such. Why, then, 
should the course of the prophecy be interrupted or 
turned aside to set forth the ultimate destinies of the 
race ? Not that the doctrine of a General Judgment 
ib not true, but simply it was not relevant to the matter 
here " ^ hand. As in so many cases, it is the costume 
and phraseology employed and not its position or rela- 
tions in the discourse that has led to its being referred 
to so different a topic.^ But for these, it may safely be 
said such a reference would never have been made. 
We have already seen how indispensable it is in pro- 
phetic interpretation that we keep clearly in mind the 
sources of the imagery employed, and the understand- 
ing they would have of it to whom its constant 
recurrence in their own Scriptures made it familiar. 

2. The source of that imagery is plainly in Daniel 
7 : 9-11. Indeed the very great similarity between 
that entire chapter of the earlier prophecy and this 
part of the Apocalypse is recognized by all commen- 
tators. There, too, was a hideous persecuting wild 
Beast, the prototype, with variations, of the Beasts of 
Revelation, who made war with the saints and pre- 
vailed against them, until he was arrested by the 
avenging interposition of heaven. There, too, was a 

a "An unseasonable comparison of Matt. 25 : 31, et seq, where 
we find the righteous and the wicked united in one scene of 
judgment, and where the due distinction was not made between 
the substance and the dramatic form, has here been productive 
of much confusion, and has led to the dead being generally 
viewed as all the dead without exception." Hengstenberg 
Apoc. vol. ii, p. 376. 



judgment scene exhibited not less majestic or sublime 
than the one before us. Let the two be placed side 
by side, that the striking resemblances between them 
may be the more apparent. 

DANIEL 7:9-11. 

I beheld till the thrones were 
cast down, and the Ancient of 
days did sit, whose garment was 
white as snow, and the hair of his 
head like the pure wool: his 
throne was like the fiery flame, 
and his wheels as burning fire. 
A fiery stream issued and came 
forth from before him : thousand 
thousands ministered unto him, 
and ten thousand times ten thous- 
and stood before him: the judg- 
ment was set, and the books were 
opened. I beheld then because 
of the voice of the great words 
which the horn spake : I beheld 
even till the beast was slain, and 
his body destroy^, and given to 
the burning flame. 

REVELATIONS 20: 11-15. 

And I saw a great white throne , 
and him that sat on it, from whose 
face the earth and the heaven fled 
away; and there was found no 
place for them. And I saw the 
dead, small and great, stand be- 
fore God; and the books were 
opened: and another book was 
opened, which is the book of life; 
and the dead were judged out or 
those things which were written 
in the books, according to their 
works. And the sea gave up the 
dead which were in it ; and death 
and hell delivered up the dead 
which were in them: and they 
were judged every man according 
to their works. And death and 
hell were cast into the lake of fire. 
This is the second death. And 
whosoever was not found written 
in the book of life was cast into 
the lake of fire. 

In each of these cases we have the throne and One 
sitting upon it in resplendent majesty, the vast multi- 
tudes standing before it, the opened books of remem- 
brance, the judgment, and the casting of the condemned 
into retributive fire. Now we know, because the 
interpreting angel positively assures us of it, that 
the first refers to the destruction of Daniel's Fourth 
Beast, in other words, to Antiochus Epiphanes, the 
great Syrian persecutor of the Jews, the prototype of 
Nero and the persecuting emperors of the Christians 
at Rome. Why should not the second have a like 
application to the latter ? What else could they of the 
Seven churches, mostly Jewish in birth and education, 
and familiar from their childhood with the prophetic 
imagery of their Scriptures, understand by it? 


3. The judgment here described is a judgment of 
the dead only ; the General Judgment is to embrace 
both ''Hhe quick and the dead.'''' Acts 10 : 42 ; 2 Tim. 
4 : 1 ; 1 Peter 4 : 5. The latter is to be preceded by 
the instantaneous change of the living into the 
immortal state (1 Cor. 15 : 51 ; 1 Thess. 4 ; 17 ; Phil. 
3 : 21), and by the resurrection of the dead. John 5 : 
28, 29. But nothing of this kind is mentioned in 
connection with the judgment before us. It is not the 
living nor the risen that are judged, but those who are 
dead. Four times is that term applied to them, as if 
to emphasize the fact, and distinguish this from that 
yet more comprehensive scene when the entire race of 
man are to receive their trial and award. 

What, then, is the import of the passage ? 

As already remarked, I regard it as an integral part 
of the prophecy relating the overthrow and punishment 
of the persecutors of the church. The key to it is 
found in the fifth verse of the chapter. "But the 
rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years 
were finished." We had been told the doom of the 
Beast and his allies, and the humiliation and binding of 
the Dragon whose servants they were. Next, we were 
shown the glorious reward of the martyrs and those 
who had proved faithful in this hour of great trial, — 
the blessed resurrection, the thrones, and the crowns 
to which they had attained. But what of "the rest of 
the dead " — viz. those who did worship the beast, and 
did join the deceived nations in their attack upon 
Christianity ? 

This clause of the fifth verse is evidently a paren- 


thesis interposed in the description of the martyrs, 
for the momentary purpose of contrasting their state 
with that of the others. The narration goes immedi- 
ately on, finishing that description, recounting the 
irruption and overthrow of Gog and Magog, and then 
taking up the subject so briefly hinted at and setting 
forth the doom of " the rest." 

These, it is said, "lived not [again] until the 
thousand years were finished." The word " again " is 
without authority and should be omitted. Not that 
they were not in existence all this time, but that they 
did not have the blessed resurrection-life attained by 
the martyrs. Nor is it meant that they did so live 
after the completion of the thousand years. The des- 
ignation of a time before which a thing was not done, 
does not of itself imply that it was done after that 
time. Instances of this mode of speech are very 
common in the Scriptures. 1 Sam. 15 : 35, " Samuel 
came no more until the day of his death." Isa. 42 : 4, 
" He shall not fail nor be discouraged till he have set 
judgment in the earth." Matt. 5: 18, "Tz7Z heaven 
and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise 
pass from the law." Rom. 5 : 13, " Until the law, sin 
was in the world." Matt. 1 : 25, "And knew her not, 
till she had brought forth her first born son." * 

This then was the judgment of the dead, — those 

*"Helvidius abused greatly those words of St. Matthew (1: 
25) ' He knew her not until she had brought forth her first born 
son,' thereby gathering against tlie honor of the Blessed Virgin, 
that a thing denied with special circumstances doth import an 
opposite affirmative, when once that circumstance is expired,^* 
Hooker V. 45, 2, quoted in Wordsworth Apoc. p. 67. 


who had been concerned in the persecutions of the 
church either as partisans or the victims of Satan. 
They are called " the dead " par eminence, to distin- 
guish them from the martyrs who " lived " par emi- 
nence. The universality of the judgment corresponds 
to the universal dominion of Rome at that time ; the 
phrase "the whole world" (rjyv ohoufievrjv oXr^v) of which 
Satan was the deceiver (Ch. 12 : 9), being the well 
known designation of the Roman Empire. Luke 2 : 
1 ; Acts 11 : 28 ; 17 : 6 ; 24 : 5. These, with Death and 
Hades — ^personifications before shown as connected 
with persecution (Ch. 6 : 8) — and all whose names were 
not found in the register of the faithful, are cast into 
the lake of fire. This was the second death, contrasted 
again with the life of the martyrs, which was the first 

The import of this passage, then, as a whole, is very 
simple. God will destroy the persecutors of his people 
and reward the latter according to their fidelity or the 
opposite. It is a prophecy having special reference to 
the age in which John wrote ; and while the general 
principles involved in it apply to all ages, its immediate 
and direct fulfillment was among the things which it 
was announced at the opening of the book must 
" shortly come to pass." 



Thus far we have come in the history of the King- 
dom under the two-fold guidance of Prophecy and 
Providence. The Parousia continues ; Christ is pres- 
ent in his kingdom among men, and is steadily carry- 
ing forward the government which is in his hand 
toward the consummation. 

That consummation is described generally in the 
glowing visions of th^ ancient prophets, and in nu- 
merous passages from our Lord's own sayings and 
the writings of the apostles. I shall presently speak 
of these more particularly. Suffice it to say here, that, 
while expressed in general, often symbolic, terms, it 
will be one equaling all that the most ardent hopes 
of man have ventured to anticipate. Indeed, it is 
expressly declared that neither the senses nor imagina- 
tion of man are adequate to conceive of the glorious 
reality. Though the "thousand years" of Rev. 20 
refer to another event, it is by no means to be under- 
stood that the world is not to have its millennium^ in 
the sense usually denoted, of universal peace, rest, and 

The question now is as to the methods by which 
that period is to be introduced ; and in respect to this 
there are two theories. 

159 - - 



The first is that it is to take place suddenly; ushered 
upon the world by a grand visible appearing of Christ 
in the clouds of heaven, to destroy by his judgments 
all the wicked, and with glorious power and majesty 
set up his kingdom upon the earth. This is the view 
advocated by Adventists and Millenarians generally. 
For myself, I know of nothing to warrant it, or even 
to give it plausibility. As to any such "coming" of 
Christ, the Scriptures are silent. His real Parousia 
began eighteen hundred years ago, and we know noth- 
ing of any other. Or, if it did not, I can see no ground 
for expecting it now. In the elaborate calculations of 
prophetical arithmetic, which are so often advanced' to 
prove its present near approach,! have no confidence. 
The " times " and " days " of Daniel and the Apocalypse 
have nothing to do with the subject, relating to things 
wholly and long ago past. The principle on which 
these periods, whatever they are, are converted into 
"years," has no sufficient authorization. * The date 
or dates from which it is customary to reckon them, are 
both uncertain in themselves and irrelevant to the 
matter in hand. The events in which it is expected 
they will issue, such as the arrest of the course of hu- 
man affairs, the sudden end of this mundane sphere, 
the penal destruction of the unconverted, the confla- 
gration of this globe, and the establishment of an 
earthly kingdom at Jerusalem or elswhere in which he 
will reign bodily and visibly for a thousand years — all 
this seems to me without warrant from Scripture, to 

aSee Prof. Cowles's Dissertation appended to his Commentary 
on Ezekiel and Daniel, p. 450. 


be derived from it only by violating the most obvious 
and fundamental principles of interpretation, and in 
direct contravention of what is positively taught us 
as to the true history and destiny of this world. 

The other, and what I deem the true, view is that 
the consummation is to be reached by development, 
under the operation of established laws, and may, 
therefore, require many years, perhaps centuries, for 
its attainment. 

1. For, first, our Lord has expressly asserted this 
to be the mode of progress in his kingdom. We have 
before cited some of his words on this subject. " It 
is," said he, " as if a man should cast seed into the 
ground, and should sleep and rise, night and day, and 
the seed should spring and grow up^ — first the blade, 
then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." " It is 
like a grain of mustard-seed, which when it is sown in 
the earth is less than all the seeds that be in the earth, 
but when it is sown it groweth up and becometh 
greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches, 
so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the 
shadow of it." Mark 4 : 26-32. " It is like leaven, 
which a woman took and hid in three measures of 
meal till the whole was leavened." Matt. 13 : 33. In 
other words, development from within, growth from 
its own divinely implanted law of life, is the mode of 
that kingdom's advancement. We do not mean that 
there is not a constant providential superintendence 
over it, guarding and guiding it, and above all a con- 
stant ministry of the Holy Spirit, quickening its life, 
and supplying ever new vital forces, but that all this 


is under the normal law of the Kingdom. Now, it 
seems to me in the highest degree unreasonable to 
assume that Christ is going to violate or ignore this 
principle which he has himself so clearly enunciated, 
and by a sudden interference, with miracle and violence, 
arrest this established course of things and introduce 
another. He will not devastate the growing field, and 
instantaneously create a crop. He will not throw 
away the " stone cut out without hands," and let down 
from heaven the mighty mountain which is to fill the 
whole earth. To do so is to confess his own law of 
growth a failure, or to manifest a capriciousness of 
plan and purpose inconsistent with the character of 
Him " with whom is no variableness nor shadow of 

2. What was thus asserted in principle as the law 
of growth in Christ's Kingdom, has been confirmed in 
fact. It is now two thousand years, nearly, since that 
kingdom was first established, and during all this period 
the vital forces implanted in it have been working ; 
and it is these, under the fostering care of God's 
providence and Spirit, which have resulted in what we 
see to-day of the majestic prevalence and power of 
Christianity. Never has there been any sudden inter- 
vention of extraordinary force in its behalf, to remove 
obstacles, to save from disasters, to destroy enemies, 
or to impart miraculous powers. All pretenses of 
that sort recorded in medieval legends or the lives of 
the saints, are myths, unworthy of a moment's serious 
attention. Read the Acts of the Apostles, the gen- 
uine writings of the Christian Fathers, the records of 


authentic history, and you discern in them the operation 
of the same spiritual forces, and only the same, which 
we see at work in our own day. From the scenes of 
the day of Pentecost which ushered in the new King- 
dom, to the Reformation under Luther and Calvin 
and Knox, and the revivals attending the preaching of 
Edwards and Whitefield and Wesley, and our own 
Moody and Sankey, the story of salvation has ever been 
one and the same. Men have been sanctified through 
the truth. Through the foolishness of preaching God 
has saved them that believe. The Lord has daily 
added the saved to the church. And what has been 
we have every reason to believe will be, save that there 
may be increase in the rate of progress. Nations, by 
and by, will be born in a day, nevertheless, they will 
be horn as they always were, — as individual souls are 
— by the Spirit of God, through belief of the truth. 
There never has been any other mode of spiritual 
conquest for the kingdom of our Lord, and there is no 
warrant for believing there ever will be. 

3. This fundamental law of the spiritual kingdom 
of Christ, receives strong confirmation from the demon- 
strations of science in respect to the physical history 
of the globe. The crust of the earth has been sub- 
jected to innumerable changes in the long lapse of ages. 
Systems of rock-formations have followed systems, 
each with its distinctive fossils, vegetable and animal ; 
every point of the earth's surface has been again and 
again alternately submerged under the ocean, and 
elevated above it; climates the most diverse have 
prevailed, including even torrid arctics and frigid 


tropics ; races of plants and animals, ranging from the 
humblest seaweed to the California pine, from the 
microscopic ocean shell, through successive tribes of 
mollusks, fishes, saurians, and mammals, have come 
into being, have lived and died and become extinct. 
Man, the present lord of creation, is but "of yesterday," 
the youngest, as he is the highest, of these works of 
God. Yet this immeasurable series of changes, affect- 
ing both the earth and its inhabitants, has been wrought, 
as is now well established, by natural causes, ordained 
by the Creator indeed, but working each slowly and 
progressively according to its own law. Theories of 
catastrophes and " cataclysms " changing suddenly the 
condition of the globe, or of its flora and fauna, except 
to a very limited extent, are now almost wholly dis- 
carded. Says Sir Charles Lyell, than whom there is 
no higher authority on these matters, " I see no reason 
for supposing that any part of the revolutions in 
physical geography — indicate any catastrophe greater 
than those which the present generation has wit- 
nessed." * And Professor Dawson, " In all the lapse 
of geological time there has been an absolute uniform- 
ity of natural law. The same grand machinery of 
force and matter has been in use throughout all the 
ages, working out the great plan. Yet the plan has 
been progressive and advancing, nevertheless. The 
tmiformity has been in the methods ; the results have 
presented a wondrous diversity and development." ^ 
Now, I concede that this is not proof that a similar 

* Antiquity of Man, p. 287. 

^ Story of the Earth and Man, p. 3. 


law of progress prevails in God's spiritual kingdom, 
but it certainly creates a strong presumption in its 
favor. It is the same God who worketh all in all. 
He is not restricted in time, as man is ; he can take 
enough for all he desires. He has eternity for his 
working day, and needs no coups de main^ no sudden 
surprises, for the accomplishment of his vast designs. 
Invisible in his own being to the eyes of his creatures, 
he is invisible also in the methods by which he acts ; 
making it his glory "to conceal a matter," till the 
grand results thereof are matured and may be exhibited 
in their perfection and beneficence to his admiring 

In hinting at the course of this progressive develop- 
ment, — for I can do no more — we have but little help 
from revelation. Prophecy while so full and impas- 
sioned in describing the consummation itself, gives but 
the merest glimpse of the several steps or stages that 
are to lead to it. I venture to suggest only the follow- 

1. Christianity is to become universal throughout 
the earth. This implies, first, that its territory and 
population are to become known to Christian nations. 
In this view, the career of discovery, which may be 
dated from the time of Columbus, has been closely 
allied with the advancement of the gospel. In these 
four hundred years, a new continent has been found, 
explored, colonized, and to a large extent christian- 
ized. The discovery of the Cape of Good Hope and 
of the passage to India, has opened all Southern and 
Eastern Asia to the knowledge, the commerce and 


the religion of Europe. Captain Cook sailed round 
the world, and made known the innumerable islands 
of the Pacific, where, since then, nations of cannibals 
have been raised from the deepest degradation, and 
made living witnesses of the transforming power of 
the gospel. Even Africa, so long hermetically sealed 
and hopelessly bound in the fetters of fetichism and 
slavery, is now revealing its mysteries, and showing 
us new missionary fields, inviting immediate occupa- 
tion, of the most promising character. And, in gen- 
eral, I think it may be safely said, in view of the 
vastly improved methods of navigation and travel, the 
spirit of scientific inquiry, the enlarged demands of 
commerce, and the increase of missionary zeal 
throughout all branches of the Christian church, that 
within less than fifty years, the entire territory of our 
habitable globe will have been explored and opened 
to the access of the gospel. 

2. Christianity is to become the sole religion of 
mankind. It is even now the only one which is mak- 
ing any progress in the world. All the old systems 
of the East, though still holding in their embrace a 
majority of the race, are fast sinking into decrepitude, 
and wherever they come into contact with Christianity, 
are falling before it. Mohammedanism sleeps in its 
fatalistic sensualism, with no power to resist the en- 
croachment of Western nations. Brahminism finds 
its Vedas convicted of false science and philosophy, in 
the presence of the Christian Scriptures. Buddhism, 
Confucianism and Sintism can no longer shut them- 
selves away from the light behind the barriers of 


national exclusiveness. The grosser forms of idolatry, 
prevailing among savage tribes, all yield at the ap- 
proach of the gospel borne to them from the lands of 
civilization. Look the world over, and we can find 
no system of false religion propagating itself as in 
past ages, none aggressive as against other systems, 
none even holding its own against the progress of 
Christianity. Here, too, we risk little in the prophe- 
cy that a single hundred years from the present time 
may see the latter the only religion of the world 
recognized as true. 

3. Christianity is to be greatly intensified in power. 
It is to bring those who are subject to it to a higher 
plane of experience, a more intelligent devotion to 
Christ's service, a more symmetrical and perfect type 
of character. It is to make conquests among the un- 
converted, gathering them in rich, continuous harvests 
into the kingdom of the Lord. Children of pious 
parents are to grow up into Christ from their birth. 
Revivals are to be multiplied with a power and per- 
vasiveness such as the world has not before seen. 
Sectarian dissensions in the church are to diminish in 
bitterness, and Christian love and unity show their 
blessed fruits, removing what has for ages been one of 
the chief hindrances to the advancement of the truth, 
and increasing the power of the church a hundred 
fold for conquests over infidelity, and all intrenched 
and organized forms of evil. To a student of reli- 
gious history, the progress which has been made dur- 
ing the last hundred years in all these respects appears 
no way inferior to that which has been witnessed in 


all the other departments of the world's career. It 
has been a century of revivals, such as no former age 
has known. In our own country, vast as has been the 
growth of population, the increase of evangelical 
churches, both in numbers and membership, has been 
in a still larger ratio. It has been the era of missions, 
which, from the humblest beginnings, have now belted 
the globe with their stations and their churches of na- 
tive converts. It has introduced a new age of benev- 
olence, teaching that no man liveth to himself, that 
Christianity is, in its essence, the following of Christ, 
the Master, in his work of saving men. It has, we 
doubt not, elevated the standard of individual Chris- 
tian character, and promoted through society as a 
whole a more intelligent faith and a purer morality. 
Vast as are the evils that remain, numerous and gross 
as are the crimes which shock us, they are still less 
prevalent, as compared with the population, than in 
any former age that can be named since the time 
when an inspired pen drew that awful portraiture in 
the first chapter of Romans of the state of society in 
the capital and mistress of the world. In a word, the 
gospel is beginning to mature its fruit; and it only 
needs such pentecostal outpourings of the Spirit as 
we have already seen some small earnests of, and as, 
we believe, are soon to be multiplied beyond all 
precedent, to give it an intensity as well as spread of 
power, that shall, ere many centuries pass, bring the 
whole population of the globe within its saving 

4. Christianity become thus universal and potent 


in its sway over men as individuals, is to pervade all 
the forces that mold human character and affect the 
condition of the world. Among these forces are 
government, law, education, science, art, philosophy, 
commerce, fashion, domestic economy, employments, 
etc. We have only to conceive of all these as made 
thoroughly Christian, as they will when men them- 
selves become such, to see that under them this will 
become literally a "new world." What mighty 
wastes of all that constitutes the world's life, through 
war, and oppression, and lust, and robbery, and crime 
of all sorts, will be stayed ! What inconceivable in- 
crease of all that will tend to make it purer and better, 
will accrue ! How rapid will then be its progress in 
subduing the wildernesses, enlarging the habitable 
area of the earth, multiplying wealth, increasing the 
means of living and the average duration of life, ele- 
vating the tastes and the pleasures of mankind, enno- 
bling their aspirations, in a word, uplifting the family 
of man, and realizing for him the rapturous predictions 
of the prophets as to the latter-day blessedness and 
glory of the earth ! We have no doubt that it is in 
precisely this way that those predictions are to reach 
their fulfillment. The earth itself is to be regenerated 
morally and physically, the latter through the former. 
God is going to make new heavens and a new earth, 
but he will do it not by sudden miracle, but by the 
hands of the renewed and sanctified inhabitants of 
the earth. He is to be in the hearts of men as the 
new Creator who makes all things new. It is thus 
that his tabernacle is to be with them, and he will 


dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and 
God himself shall be with them and be their God. 
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, 
and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor 
crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the 
former things are passed away. 



" Then cometh the end, when he shall have deliv- 
ered up the kingdom to God, even the Father ; when 
he shall have put down all rule and authority and 
power. For he must reign till he hath put all enemies 
under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed 
is death." 1 Cor. 15 : 24-26. 

The word end — to zeXo^ — may signify either the 
termination of a thing, or its consummation, that in 
which ifc eventuates. Instances of the latter meaning 
are the following : Matt. 26 : 28, " Peter went in to 
see the end," i. e. the result or outcome of the proceed- 
ings. Rom. 6 : 21, " The end of those things is 
death." James 5 : 11, " Ye have heard of the patience 
of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord," i. e. the 
issue which God gave to his trials. 1 Peter 1: 9, 
"Receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your 
souls." Also 2 Cor. 11 : 15 ; Phil. 3 : 19 ; Heb. 6:8; 
1 Pet. 4: IT; etc. 

I take it that this is the meaning of the word in 
this place, as denoting the issue or consummation of 
Christ's reign as King. We shall presently see reasons 
which forbid us to understand it in the other sense, — 
that of cessation. It was the object of the apostle in 
this sublime chapter of the resurrection, not to say 



how long Christ would reign, but what should be its 
result, the climax of all his victories over sin and hell. 
As death is the consummation of all the evils that can 
happen to man on earth ; as all sin and pain and woe 
precede and find their culmination in this, so the saving 
power of Christ reaches equally far, and having over- 
come all other woes delivers him at last from the 
power of death itself. 

To appreciate fully this language of the apostle we 
must recur, as in former cases, to the conceptions of 
the Jews as to the origin of sin and death. Whatever 
modern skepticism may say on the subject, the devil was 
a very real being in their system of belief. It was in 
his temptation of our first parents that sin originated, 
and death as the fruit of sin. From that time, he is 
represented as having a kingdom on earth antagonistic 
to the kingdom of Jehovah. Matt. 12 : 26 ; Luke 11 
18. He is called " the god of this world," (2 Cor. 4 
4), and " the prince of this world," John 12 : 31 ; 14 
30 ; 16 : 11. Other evil spirits subject to his authority 
are called " his angels." Matt. 25 : 41. He is " the 
prince of the power of the air, the spirit that worketh 
in the children of disobedience." Eph. 2 : 2. He is 
the leader of " principalities and powers, the rulers of 
the darkness of this world, spirits of wickedness in high 
places." Eph. 6 : 12 ; Rom. 8 : 38. In this capacity 
of the prince of evil he is ever active in inciting to 
sin. He filled the heart of Ananias and Sapphira to 
lie to the Holy Ghost. Acts 6:3. He prompted 
Judas to betray his Lord. John 13 : 2. He instigated 
the hostility of the Pharisees to Jesus. John 8 : 44. 


He afflicted men with disease, evil possessions, and all 
kinds of suffering. Acts 10 : 38. And as his crown- 
ing terror, he had the "power of death" by which he 
kept men all their lives in bondage. Heb. 2 : 14. 

Now, in conformity with these representations of the 
power and malevolence of Satan, we find that the 
work of Christ as King and Saviour is described as 
the defeat of Satan and the destruction of his kingdom. 
The first grand prophecy of the future was that the 
seed of the tempted and sinning woman should bruise 
the tempter's head. When Jesus began his works of 
mercy, he cast out devils. When the Seventy return- 
ing from their mission reported the wonderful fact 
that they had power to do the same, their Master 
exulted in spirit as already witnessing the downfall of 
the enemy's kingdom. " I beheld," said he, " Satan 
as lightning falling from heaven." Luke 10 ; 18. It 
was his to " bind the strong man, and despoil him of 
his goods." Matt. 12 : 29. It was " for this very pur- 
pose that he was manifested, that he might destroy the 
works of the devil." 1 John 3 : 8. Nay, even the last 
and most dreaded power of the great adversary should 
be wrested from him. Jesus himself died " that through 
death he might destroy him that had the power of 
death, and deliver them who through fear of death 
were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Heb. 2 : 
14, 15. 

It is precisely the same truth, then, I cannot doubt, 
which is meant to be asserted in this chapter of the 
resurrection. This is the end, the consummation, 
when the reigning Messiah shall have wrested from 


Satan his usurped kingdom over man, and delivered it 
to the Father from whom it was stolen, having put 
down (Gr. brought to nought) all rebellious rule, 
authority and power. For by the scope of his appoint- 
ment as Messianic King, he must reign till he hath 
put all enemies under his feet ; the last, the supreme 
one of all is death. 

From the Jewish — which is, too, the Bible — stand- 
point, then, no more pregnant prophecy of the coming 
era of holiness and blessedness could have been uttered 
than the subjugation of the kingdom of Satan, the 
putting down of all evil rule, authority, and power. 
It will be in truth a millennium, not of duration but 
of glory, of which the far inferior thousand years of 
his binding in the abyss, that ended his one work of 
making war on the church, were but a faint type and 
pledge. That was to end persecution ; this will end 
all his devilish work on earth. That ended his career 
for ever as a foe in arms, reeking with the blood of 
the saints ; this will end it in his whole character and 
capacity as an enemy of God and his kingdom on earth. 

I will not presume to imagine what this world will 
become when sin is destroyed, and when all its inhab- 
itants and all its forces shall become holy to the Lord. 
Under the inspiration of such a theme, the prophets 
labored with raptures unutterable. Language was all 
too poor to set forth the wonders that beamed upon their 
ecstatic vision. All sublime imagery, all grouping of 
what was beauty to the eye, and melody to the ear, of 
what was grateful to sense, and inciting to expectation, 
and assuring to hope, was used by them, and when they 


had said all, it remained to add that " eye hath not 
seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the 
heart of man the things which God hath prepared for 
them that love him." 

So shall be accomplished the Kingly function of 
the Lord under his Parousia. It is a work begun at 
his ascension, carried forward through the snccessive 
ages of persecution, conquest, and victory, and then 
perpetuated in a reign of righteousness and blessed- 
ness for ever. I hope to show that his associated 
works as the Life-Giver and Judge are comple- 
mentary and auxiliary to this, the three together con- 
stituting the work of that Parousia which he promised 
to his people, and which he bade them make their 
inspiration and their hope. 

"Earth, thou grain of sand on the shore of the 
universe of God ; thou Bethlehem amongst the princely 
cities of the heavens ; thou art and remainest the loved 
one amongst ten thousand suns and worlds, the chosen 
of God ! Thee will he again visit, and then thou wilt 
prepare a throne for him, as thou gavest him a manger 
cradle. In his radiant glory thou wilt rejoice, as thou 
didst once drink his blood and tears, and mourn his 
death. On thee has the Lord a great work to com- 

» Presselj quoted by Geikie, Life of Christ vol. 2, p. 608. 



The views I have advanced in the preceding chap- 
ters will be objected to on the ground that they omit 
all mention of the Resurrection and General Judg- 
ment, as related to the consummation of Christ's 
Kingdom ; also, as being inconsistent with the com- 
monly received doctrines of his ultimate surrender of 
that Kingdom to the Father, and the end of the pres- 
ent world. The first two of these topics I have pur- 
posely deferred for consideration by themselves ; the 
remaining two may appropriately be considered here. 

The doctrine of the surrender by Christ of his 
Kingdom to the Father is stated by Dr. Hodge, thus : 
"That dominion to which he was exalted after his 
resurrection, when all power in heaven and earth 
was committed into his hands — this kingdom which 
he exercises as the Theanthropos, and which extends 
over all principalities and powers, he is to deliver up 
when the work of redemption is accomplished. He 
was invested with this dominion in his mediatorial 
character, for the purpose of carrying on the work to 
its consummation. When that is done, 2. e, when he 
has subdued all his enemies, then he will no longer 
reign over the universe as mediator." * 

a Com. 1 Cor. 15 : 24. 



This is surely a remarkable doctrine. That so great 
a change should take place in the relations of the Per- 
sons of the Godhead to each other and to man ; that 
the work of redemption, founded in such a sacrifice 
and carried forward under the administration of the 
Holy Spirit, should like a human undertaking have run 
through its career and be ready to vanish away, is one 
that tasks all our powers to conceive of. That a reign 
so august should cease at the moment of victory ; that 
a throne should be abandoned just when it becomes an 
undisputed one ; that a kingdom should be given up 
when it has attained universal peace and rest, are pro- 
positions, to be received indeed if sufficiently revealed, 
but in support of which we certainly have a right to 
demand the very clear testimony of God's word. 

It is no less astonishing that such a truth, if it be a 
truth, is supposed to be taught in but a single passage 
of the Scriptures. Christ himself, when so fully pre- 
dicting the events of his Parousia, gives not a hint of 
the kind. The Seer of Patmos caught not a glimpse 
of it in all the grand apocalypse disclosed to him. 
None of the apostolic writers, save one, makes the 
slightest allusion to it, and he only in a single inciden- 
tal remark while discussing another topic. Of course, 
all this does not disprove its truth, but it does excite 
our surprise, and warrant a very careful examination 
of the passage supposed to teach it. 

That passage is the one before considered in part in 

1 Cor. 15 : 24, 25, 28. *'Then cometh the end, when 

he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even 

the Father. — For he must reign till he hath put all 



enemies under his feet. — And when all things shall be 
subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be 
subject unto him that put all things under him, that 
God may be all in all." 

I have already adduced reasons, which seem to me 
demonstrative, for understanding the "kingdom" here 
mentioned, not of Christ's own received by him at his 
ascension, but of the usurped but now subdued king- 
dom of Satan. I submit that this view better har- 
monizes with the apostolic subject and course of 
thought, which are Christ's victory over the Prince of 
death, thereby obtaining a new resurrection life for his 

The declaration "He must reign till he hath put all 
enemies under his feet," does not imply chat he will 
not reign after that. See remarks on this mode of 
expression on page 157. 

The translation of the 28th verse, in our version, 
does not conform to the order of the words as they 
stand in the Greek, — tots xal a'jTO^ 6 ulb^ dKOTayrj- 
aeTac. The emphatic word is rors, then^ making prom- 
inent the time referred to. This is qualified by xat^ 
also, connecting it with the previous time, and showing 
that what is affirmed shall be true then also as it had 
been before. The victorious Messiah will still hold a del- 
egated throne as he had previously done, his kingdom 
having been received from his Father. Dan. 7 : 14 ; 
Luke 19 : 12 ; 22 : 29 ; John 5 : 22, 27 ; Eph. 1 : 20-23 ; 
Phil. 2 : 9-11 ; Heb. 1:4; Rev. 3 : 21. But our com- 
mon version renders xac as if connected with vtb^, 
the So7i also, i. e. as well as the " all things," — which 


makes the passage imply that his authority had not 
before been a delegated one ; that the subordination 
then first takes place, which we know is not the truth. 
This subjection, then, after his victory over Satan, no 
more implies a surrender of his kingdom to the Father 
than it ever had done. It was from the first a king- 
dom given to him, held in subordination to the Father's 
will ; and such, even after his last crowning victory 
over his enemy and man's, it will continue to be. 

While the passage, then, in its terms, does not, on 
careful examination, teach the alleged doctrine of 
Christ's surrender of his kingdom, there are many 
other facts which absolutely forbid such an interpre- 

1. It is often and with the utmost emphasis affirmed 
that his kingdom is to be without end. 

" The God of heaven," said Daniel, " shall set up a 
kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the 
kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall 
break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and 
it shall stand for ever." " There was given him 
dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, 
nations, and languages should serve him : his dominion 
is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, 
and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." 
Dan. 2 : 44 ; 7 : 14. " Unto us a child is born ; unto 
us a Son is given ; and the government shall be upon 
his shoulder. * * * Of the increase of his govern- 
ment and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne 
of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to 
establish it with judgment and with justice from hence- 


forth even for ever.*' Isa. 9:6, 7. "He shall be 
great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest ; and 
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." Luke 1 : 32, 33. The author of the Epistle to 
the Hebrev^^s quotes from the XLVth psalm and 
expressly applies to Christ in his mediatorial kingdom 
the words of David, "To the Son he saith. Thy 
throne, O God, is for ever and ever." Heb. 1 : 10. 
In the Apocalypse, John blends with his salutation to 
the churches the solemn doxology, " Unto him that 
loved us, and hath washed us from our sins in his own 
blood, * * * to him be glory and dominion for 
ever. Amen." Rev. 1 : 5, 6. At the sounding of the 
seventh angel, which signalizes the very epoch before 
us, when " the kingdoms of this world are become the 
kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ," — even in 
that moment of supreme victory, it is declared, not 
that his dominion shall now be surrendered, but that 
" he shall reign for ever and ever." Rev. 11 : 15. 
And in the New Jerusalem state, which is universally 
conceded to be subsequent to the grand consummation 
and the delivery of the kingdom to the Father, we 
find the Son still on the throne, shedding the light of 
his glory upon the redeemed, and receiving their wor- 
ship for ever. " The Lord God Almighty — and the 
Lamb are the temple of it." " The glory of God did 
lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof," etc. 
Rev. 21 : 22, 23. 


It is not, of course, to be supposed that these passages 
are overlooked or disregarded by those who believe 
in the surrender of Christ's kingdom, and his ceasing 
to reign as Mediator. Their idea is that after that 
event, when the redeemed of earth are all gathered in 
safety into heaven, ancl all sin is put down or destroyed, 
when God alone will " rule with majesty serene and 
undisturbed," * Christ will then be, in a subordinate 
sense, " head and sovereign " ^ over his people ; and 
that it is this fact only which is intended to be taught 
in the passages quoted. Viewing the state of blessed- 
ness which they will have attained in heaven after 
death and judgment and the ending of all sin and all 
the powers of sin as a " kingdom," still under Christ's 
immediate care, that this kingdom will never end, — 
which is simply saying that the happiness of the 
redeemed will be eternal. But while this is an un- 
doubted and glorious truth, it does not seem possible 
to make it that which these passages mean to affirm. 
If we can understand the nature of a mediatorial 
kingdom, — a kingdom of grace, wherein are exercised 
the divine prerogatives of giving the Spirit, interces- 
sion, pardon, and justification, — a kingdom, having 
indeed its throne in heaven at the right hand of the 
Father, but existing and carried forward here on earth, 
— the kingdom of heaven among men, — it is this king- 
dom that is referred to in these predictions of its 

Look again at the language. It was the kingdom 

»Kling, in Lange's Com. 1 Cor. 15: 1-28, p. 318. 
* Hodge, Com. on 1 Cor., p. 330. 


that was to be set up " in the days of these kings," 
and that "should break in pieces and consume" all 
earthly kingdoms, that should stand for ever. This, 
most surely, was the mediatorial kingdom, the con- 
quering and subduing kingdom, and it is of this that 
the perpetuity is affirmed. Is not "the increase of 
his government and peace " something to be realized 
in time ? Does not the " throne of David " represent 
his kingdom among men, and the "house of Jacob," 
his universal earthly church ? The throne which 
belongs to the Son for ever and ever — is it not one 
which, according to the argument in Heb. 1 : 8, per- 
tains to him as Mediator ? Surely, there can be no 
doubt on this point. Indeed, we know of nothing in 
all the range of the Scriptures, apart from this solitary 
text, which warrants or suggests any such distinction 
between Christ's reign as Mediator, and that which is 
to be given him after delivering up the kingdom. Is 
it, — and we ask with the utmost deference for the 
judgment of the eminent theologians who have main- 
tained it — any thing more than a device for reconciling 
these passages with the assumed finite duration of his 
earthly kingdom, involved in the greater assumption 
of the finite duration of this world where it is to be ? 
In the closing visions of Isaiah, which are universally 
held to relate to Christ's kingdom, the blessedness and 
glory of that kingdom are set forth under the figure 
of "new heavens and a new earth," — and the descrip- 
tion which follows shows that reference must be had to 
a state of things on earth. Isa. Q^ : 17-25. It is then 
added that that state of things shall be perpetual. 


Isa. 6Q : 22, 23. " For as the new heavens and the 
new earth, which 1 will make, shall remain before me, 
saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name 
remain. And it shall come to pass that from one new 
moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, 
shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the 
Lord." There can be no question, surely, of the 
meaning of this prophecy. The church of God, the 
spiritual and holy seed of Abraham constituting a new 
Jerusalem, shall mtiintain his worship from age to age, 
in which all the living family of man shall engage, 
having ever before them, as typified in the ceaseless 
burnings of the Vale of Hinnom, the punishment of 
the wicked. *' They shall remain before me^ saith the 
Lord"; language excluding the idea of a termination. 
" The idea is," says Mr. Barnes, " that the state of 
things here described would be permanent and 

Besides these express testimonies to the perpetuity 
of Christ's kingdom, there are other considerations 
of scarcely less weight. That kingdom he received 
as a reward for his humiliation and sufferings in the 
work of redemption. " Wherefore, God hath highly 
exalted him, and given him a name that is above every 
name ; that at the name of Jesus every knee should 
bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and 
things under the earth ; and that every tongue should 
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God 
the Father." Phil. 2 : 9-11. But is that reward to 
cease the moment in which the work for which it is 
bestowed is completed ? "Are not the gifts and calling 


of God without repentance ? Shall he so soon grow 
weary of honoring his Son ? Shall the obedience of 
his people be crowned with eternal rewards, and the 
obedience of his Son unto death, even the death of the 
cross, be crowned with only a temporary dominion and 
glory ? And shall he cease to be Lord and King at the 
very time that every knee shall bow to him and every 
tongue confess that he is Lord ? Shall that kingdom 
which he first purchased with his own blood, and then 
secured to himself by putting down all rule and all 
authority and power opposed to his reign, be surren- 
dered at the very moment when every tongue shall 
confess that he is the rightful sovereign of the 
universe ? " * 

It is, perhaps, anotlier form of the same truth which 
is given in the statement that Christ was "appointed 
heir of all things." Heb. 1 : 2. Compare Matt. 11 : 
27 ; 28 : 18 ; John 17 : 2, 7, 9, 22. That is, he received 
from the Father the created universe, to be possessed. 
and governed by him, as a son receives a patrimony 
from his father. What else can be denoted by this 
figure than his perfect and perpetual right to that 
which he inherits ? If the father takes back what is 
thus given, he disinherits his son. Is Christ then, 
the moment he comes into full and undisputed pos- 
session of his kingdom, to be disinherited? Is the 
temporary occupancy thus implied all that is meant, 
— a tenure which, as compared with the eternity which 
follows, is barely for a moment ? 

Further ; it is the participation of the honors and 

• Van Valkeiiburgli, in Am. Bib Rep. Oct. 1839, p. 442. 


the felicity of this kingdom which is to constitute the 
blessedness of the redeemed. They are to be " joint- 
heu's with Christ ;" to " sit with him in his throne ;" to 
"reign with Christ ;" to be partakers of the glory given 
him by the Father, etc. Rom. 8 : 17 ; Rev. 3 : 21 ; 2 
Tim. 2 : 12 ; John 17 : 22. What, then, is to become 
of their reward if this kingdom is transient, — if it is 
to be surrendered to the Father and be held by Christ 
himself no more ? 

It is to be remembered, also, that Christ's office as 
Priest is expressly declared to be eternal. Nothing 
can be more certain than that this office pertains to 
him as Mediator, and its exercise is one of the functions 
of his mediatorial kingdom. It implies that its admin- 
istration is based on the great sacrifice offered by him 
for sin, the presentation of that sacrifice before his 
Father's throne in behalf of his people, and the sover- 
eign act of justification bestowed on them because of 
their acceptance thereof by faith. But these priestly 
offices of the Redeemer are never to cease. He is "a 
priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek." He 
" ever (Tiavrore) liveth to make intercession for them." 
" The Son who is consecrated forever more," etc. 
Heb. 6:6; 7 : 17, 21, 25, 28. And in the New Jeru- 
salem itself, "the river of the water of life," the emblem 
of the eternal blessedness of the saints, " proceedeth 
out of the throne of God and the Lamh,^^ — a recogni- 
tion of the priestly character of the Redeemer as the 
everlasting source of life and salvation to men. 

I will cite only one more passage bearing on this 
topic, which it seems to me is of itself absolutely 

186 tht: parousia. 

decisive against the common view. In the twelfth of 
Hebrews, the apostle is warning his brethren in the 
most solemn manner against the rejection of the gospel. 
He reminds them of the doom of those who rejected 
the Mosaic dispensation at Sinai, — a dispensation inaug- 
urated by lightnings and earthquakes in token of the 
awful presence of Jehovah. " The whole mount 
quaked greatly." Ex. 19 : 18. But the new dispen- 
sation of the Messiah is grander than that because 
more abiding. This he proves from a passage in 
Haggai 2:6. " Yet once more I shake not the earth 
only, but also heaven." And this phrase he says, 
" yet once more " — iu drra^ — indicates a change — 
fierd&eacv — (literally, a passing away) of those things 
that are shaken, as of things that are made, that 
those things which cannot be shaken may remain." In 
other words, the divine arrangement is to be changed 
but onee^ i. e. when the Mosaic gives place to the 
Messianic, — of course, then, the latter is to continue 
unchanged. " Wherefore," he adds, " we receiving a 
kingdom which cannot he moved, let us have grace 
whereby we may serve God acceptably and with godly 
fear." We cannot well conceive any thing more deci- 
sive than this. Not only the terms themselves but 
the argument requires the perpetuity of Christ's king- 
dom. To affirm that another metathesis will take 
place, by which it shall come to an " end," in the sense 
of a termination, seems to us to be, if any thing can 
be, an explicit contradiction of the inspired word of 

The conclusion which we have now reached will 


doubtless be assailed with yet more confidence from 
another quarter^ It will be held to be inconsistent 
with the doctrine, supposed to be revealed in the 
Scriptures, of the end of the world. That certainly 
cannot be an everlasting kingdom on earth, if the earth 
itself is to be destroyed, and the duration of man upon 
it in the present order of things is to cease. Let it 
not be considered improper, then, to inquire what the 
Scriptures really teach us on this subject. 



The phrase is not unfrequently found in the New 
Testament. Matt. 13 : 39, 40, 49. ^'The harvest is 
the end of the world." Matt. 24 : 3, '^What shall be 
the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world ?" 
Matt. 28 : 20, *'Lo, I am with you alway, even unto 
the end of the world." Heb. 9 : 26, "Now once in 
the end of the world (Gr. Avorlds), hath he appeared 
to put away sin." 1 Cor. 10 : 11, "They are written 
for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world 
(Gr. worlds) are come." 

The original word here translated world is ahbvy 
which, as all who are tolerably conversant with Jew- 
ish phraseology know, has no reference to the earth as 
a planet. It is properly a designation of time^ nearly 
corresponding to our word age. The Jews regarded 
all time as divided into successive periods to which 
they applied this term, such as that which preceded 
creation, the ante-diluvian, the one covered by the 
duration of the Mosaic theocracy, and that in which 
the Messiah was to reign. This is probably its mean- 
ing in Heb. 1:2; "By whom — Christ — he made the 
worlds, i. e., he established and carried through the 
orderly succession of the ages."^ The last two of these 

* Tayler Lewis's Six Days of Creation, pp. 353, 355. 



periods are most frequently mentioned in the Scrip- 
tures. Living, as the sacred writers did, under the 
Mosaic dispensation, they denominated its period as 
"the aion that now is," and that of the Messiah, then 
future, as "the aion that is to come." The two to- 
gether, covering the whole duration of the future, came 
to be equivalent to that duration, in other words, 
everlasting, — as in the declaration, "Whosever speaketh 
against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, 
neither in this world (^aion) neither in the world(azon) 
to come." Matt. 11 : 32. When, passing the boun- 
daries of time, they wished to speak of eternal things, 
as of the retributions of the righteous and the wicked, 
or of the existence of God, they intensified the idea by 
reduplications of the same word. "To him be glory 
for ever and ever" (Gr. through ages of ages). Gal. 
1:5; Phil. 4 : 20 ; 1 Tim. 1 : IT ; 1 Peter 5 : 11. 
"They shall reign with him forever." Rev. 22: 5. 
"The smoke of their torment ascendeth forever." 
Rev. 14: 11; 19: 3; 20: 10. In Epli. 3: 21, the 
expression is still more remarkable. "Unto him be 
glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all 
ages, world without end," — Gr. "through all gener- 
ations of the aion of the aions," e/c r.daa^ rac yzvefn; 
TOO auduoc^ rwv alwvwv.^ 

When our Lord and his apostles, therefore, spoke of 
the "end of the world," they used the word, we can- 
not doubt, in the sense that was customary in that day, 

* See an able and most valuable exhibition of the import of 
this word in Prof. Tayler Lewis's "Six Days of Creation," pp. 


the only sense in which it was possible to have 
been understood by those whom they addressed. 
The parable of the tares, like nearly all the others de- 
livered by our Saviour in that stage of his ministry, was 
designed to teach the contrast between the coming 
kingdom of heaven and that under which they had 
hitherto lived. Of the latter, all were reckoned as 
subjects who were of the seed of Abraham, whether 
strictly righteous or not. This was the one ground of 
pride and self-confidence among the Jews that con- 
stantly hindered their reception of the gospel. John 
had to dash it in pieces in those fearful words, "Ye 
brood of vipers — think not to say within yourselves, 
we have Abraham to our father." A large part of 
the Sermon on the Mount is directed to the same end. 
So with these parables. In the field which God had 
first sown by Moses with good seed, the tares were 
then growing with the wheat, and in that closing por- 
tion of the age greatly outnumbered and choked it. 
But in the end of that age, i. e., under his own new 
kingdom of heaven, a different law would prevail. 
None could be a member of that kingdom but by a 
new birth, higher than any earthly pedigree. John 
3 : 3. Not saying, "Lord, Lord," would make one a 
subject of it, but doing the will of God. Matt. 7 : 21. 
All others would be gathered out of his field, and cast 
like a fruitless tree or winnowed chaff into the fire. 
This was what Malachi had predicted of the times of 
the Messiah (Matt. 3 : 2, 5 ; 4 : 1) — and John, when 
preaching the near approach of the kingdom. Matt. 
3 : 7-12. To the same effect was the parable of the 


drag-net. And the time and the signs when this great 
change should take place, — when the old imperfect 
Jewish aion should be superseded by the new spiritual 
aion to come, were what the disciples inquired about, 
on the Mount of Olives, after Christ had uttered his 
denunciations against the city and temple, which they 
evidently understood as referring to that event. It 
seems to me plain that no reference could have been 
intended by them to the destruction of the earth as a 
planet, or its discontinuance as an abode for mankind, 
and no doctrine of that sort is taught by the phrase 
they used. 

On the other hand, taking the Greek word which 
was used by the sacred writers when they meant to 
speak of the earth, either as a planet, or as the abode 
of man— ;^6(T/ioc— we find no "end" any where asserted 
of it. Matt. 4 : 8, "All the kingdoms of the world." 
13 : 35, "From the foundation of the world." Luke 
11 : 5, "From the beginning of the world." John 
17 : 5, "Before the world was." Acts 17 : 24, "God 
that made the world and all things therein." Rom. 
1 : 8, "Your faith is spoken of throughout the whole 
world," etc. I repeat it, of the world in this sense 
— xoa/io^ — no end is ever asserted or implied. There 
is no such phrase as the end or completion of the 
x6(T/jLo^.^ And yet it is in this sense of the term world, 
that the phrase is commonly understood. A predicate 

*In 2 Pet. 3 : 6 the word is applied to the antediluvian ''world," 
which it is declared perished (apoleto) in the deluge. Obviously 
it was not the earth as a planet, but its inhabitants, that was 


which belongs solely to one word is without any war- 
rant transferred to another of entirely different mean- 
ing, simply because both are unfortunately represented 
by the same English word "world," and from this un- 
authorized combination, is made to teach an idea which 
probably never entered the thought of any inspired 
author whatever. 

There is, however, a remarkable passage in 2 Peter 
3 : 3-13, which is constantly referred to and relied up- 
on as teaching the doctrine before us beyond all ques- 
tion. "The heavens and the earth which are now, by 
the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire 
against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly 
men. — The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, 
and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the 
earth also and the works that are therein shall be 
burned up. — The heavens being on fire shall be dis- 
solved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat." 

In endeavoring to ascertain the meaning of this im- 
portant passage, it may be remarked : 

1. That we are not to interpret the language 
according to the revelations of modern science. Geol- 
ogy and Astronomy have taught us many facts as to 
the nature and history of our globe and of the material 
universe, of which the ancients were wholly ignorant. 
They supposed the earth to be a vast plain resting 
upon immovable foundations, (2 Sam. 22 : 16 ; Job 38 : 
4 ; Ps. 101 : 5 ; Prov. 8 : 29 ; Isa. 24 : 18 ; 40 : 21 ; 51 : 
13; Jer. 31 : 37 ; Mic. 6 : 2); the heavens a "firm- 
ament " or solid expanse, to which the sun, moon, and 
stars were fastened as luminous disks, and from which 


they might be detached and fall to the ground like 
the leaves of autumn. Gen. 1: 7, 17; Isa. 42 : 5 ; 
Job 37 : 18 ; Rev. 6 : 13, 14. The idea that these were 
worlds or heavenly bodies, in our sense of these terms, 
had then probably never entered the mind of any man 
except, possibly, some speculating student of the stars. 
Hence, I cannot accept the translation given by Alford 
of the word "elements," as "the heavenly bodies." 
Peter most assuredly knew nothing of any such bodies, 
and could not have meant to express such an idea. 

2. The passage cannot mean that the material 
universe, or our earth and its skies, is to be annihi- 
lated. For the "new heavens and the new earth," 
which the apostle says were promised to succeed, are 
certainly the same material world as the present. 
That promise is in Isa. 65 : 17-25, which upon any 
reasonable interpretation is clearly something that is 
to be realized on this existing earth. " It could not 
be demonstrated from this phrase (burnt up)" says Mr. 
Barnes, " that the world would be annihilated by fire ; 
it could be proved only that it will undergo important 
changes. So far as the action of fire is concerned, 
the form of the earth may pass away, and its aspect 
be changed ; but unless the direct power which created 
it interposes to annihilate it, the matter which now 
composes it will still be in existence. Whether it is 
God's purpose to annihilate any portion of the matter 
he has made, does not appear from his word." * 

It is sometimes alleged that stars have disappeared 
from the visible heavens,-some apparently in a blaze ; 

"Notes, 2 Pet. 3:10. 


as if on fire, from which it is inferred that the same 
thing may not improbably happen to our sun and his 
attending planets. To which I reply ; granting the 
phenomena as described, they prove nothing. Recent 
astronomy reveals vast numbers of periodic stars ; — i. 
e., those revolving about each other, or about a com- 
mon center, and undergoing in consequence incessant 
variations in brightness, some even at times becoming 
and remaining long invisible. These alternations, in 
some instances of immense periods so that there is a to- 
tal disappearance for many centuries even, are no proof 
of their passing out of existence. And as to the appear- 
ance of blazing, as if on fire, we need but to look at 
our own sun, which for unknown ages has literally 
been thus on fire, glowing in the flames of incandes- 
cent hydrogen, yet it is not consumed and gives no 
indication that it ever will be.'^ 

3. As little, I think, does the passage mean that 
this world as an abode for man, in the natural order 
of things, is to be destroyed. In this sense of the 
term world, — xoa/w::, — as already remarked, the 
Scriptures never speak of an " end " of it. 

We should not forget that both the author of this 

* Humboldt protests against the hypothesis of destruction, — 
of the actual combustion of the stars which have disappeared. 
"That which we see no more," he says, ''has not necessarily 
ceased to exist. — The eternal play of apparent creation and 
apparent destruction does not prove the annihilation of matter; 
it is a pure transition towards new forms, determined by the 
action of new forces. Some stars which have become obscure 
may again suddenly become luminous by the renewal of the 
same conditions which, in the first instance, developed the 
light." The Heavens, p. 367. 


epistle and those to whom it was addressed were Jews^ 
whose conceptions of the earth and its history were 
derived from the Old Testament Scriptures. To the 
Jews, this was the one Book, — we might almost say the 
onli/ book of instruction on all subjects whatever. It 
was their manual, not only of theology and morals, but 
of history and science and law and poetry. They read 
and taught it to their children (2 Tim. 3 : 14, 15); 
they heard it read in the synagogues every Sabbath 
day. Luke 4 : 16 ; Acts 13 : 27 ; 2 Cor. 3 : 15. Its 
language, its figures of speech, its way of conceiving 
and representing things, were imbibed with their 
mother's milk, and were as familiar as their own ver- 
nacular speech. Of the speculations of oriental or 
Grecian philosophy few knew any thing whatever. 
Of course, I do not mean to say that Inspiration might 
not impart to a Jew new truths, but even these he 
would express necessarily in modes and terms with 
which the nation was familiar, and without which he 
could not be understood. It seems to me self-evident, 
then, that the proper clew to the meaning of Peter's 
language is to be found in the Old Testament, and in 
what we know to have been the prevailing opinions of 
the Jews in that age. 

Turning then to the older Scriptures, we find their 
language in respect to the duration and destiny of the 
earth, directly opposite to the assumed meaning of this 
passage. Ps. 78 : 69. " He built his sanctuary like 
high places, like the earth which he hath established 
for ever." Ps. 93 : 1. " The world also is established 
that it cannot be moved." Ps. 104 : 5. " Who laid 


the foundation of the earth, that it should not be 
removed for ever." Ps. 48 : 6. " He hath established 
them — for ever and ever ; he hath made a decree which 
shall not pass." Eccl. 1 ; 4. " One generation passeth 
away and another generation cometh, but the earth 
abideth for ever." Even in those places where the 
comparative transitoriness of the universe is used to 
highten by contrast the eternity and immutability of 
God, the implication is the same. Ps. 102 : 26, 27. 
" They — the earth and the heavens, — shall perish, but 
thou shalt endure ; yea all of them shall wax old like 
a garment ; as a vesture shalt thou change them and 
they shall be changed, but thou art the same, and thy 
years shall have no end." The meaning is that God's 
eternity shall exceed the most eternal things. So with 
the words of Christ, Matt. 24: 35. "Heaven and 
earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass 
away." It is duration intensified by outrunning 
the ideal types of unchangeableness. It would be a 
sorry anti-climax to ascribe to the divine existence and 
promises a duration only exceeding what was confessed- 
ly transient. 

We have a remarkable confirmation of this view of 
the Old Testament teachings in the writings of Philo. 
He was a learned Jewish philosopher of Alexandria, 
of the priestly family of Aaron, born a few years 
before Christ. His writings exercised a wide influence 
over the opinions of the Jews. One of his works is 
an elaborate treatise on " The Incorruptibility of the 
World," by which he means the perpetuity of " the 
heaven and the earth and all that is therein." We 


cannot here follow his peculiar course of reasoning, 
which he professes to base upon the Scriptures, 
especially Genesis I, but his conclusion is pertinent 
to our topic. 

" Therefore we are naturally led to conclude that 
the whole earth will not be dissolved by water, which 
its bosoms contain ; nor again will fire be extinguished 
by the air, nor again the air be burnt up and con- 
sumed by fire, since the divine law has placed it as a 
boundary to keep all these elements distinct from one 

He represents Moses as saying in Genesis that the 
world was created indestructible ; that days and 
nights, and seasons and years, and the sun and moon 
which measure time, ^" having received an immortal 
portion in common with the whole heaven, continue 
forever indestructible." 

He argues that if the world is to be destroyed, it 
must be by some other efficient cause, or by God. 
Not the former, for there is nothing which the world 
does not surround and contain. " On the other hand, 
to say that it is destroj^ed by God is the most impious 
of all possible assertions ; for God is the cause not of 
disorder and irregularity and destruction, but of order, 
and beautiful regularity, and life, and of every good 
thing, as is confessed by all those whose opinions are 
based on truth." Sect. 16. 

We may assert then with confidence, that the very 
impressive language of Peter could not have been taken 
by a Jew of that day as .teaching the end of this 
material world. It would be an idea of which he had 


never heard, one whicli he would think contradicted 
the Scriptures themselves, and which in the estimation 
of the most learned men of the nation was absolutely 
" impious." 

And yet the same phraseology, understood in another 
sense, was perfectly familiar. Take, for instance, the 
prophecy by Isaiah of the overthrow of Idumea for 
her enmity to God's people. Its resemblance to that 
used by Peter will appear the closer if we suppose, as 
is altogether probable, that he and his brethren read 
from the Septuagint version. I give the two, literally 
translated, side by side. 

ISAIAH34:4, 9, 10. 

AH the powers of the heavens 
shaU be melted, and the heaven 
shaU be roHed wp like a scroll.— 
And her land shall be on fire like 
pitch, night and day, and shall 
not be extinguished for ever. 

2 1'ETER3: 10,12. 

The heavens shall pass away 
with a great noise, the elements 
being biirned shall be dissolved. — 
The heavens being on fire shall be 
dissolved and the elements being 
burned shall melt, and the earth 
and the works in it shall be burned 

So, elsewhere, whenever the Lord appears to chas- 
tise wicked men and nations, his presence and the 
effects of it are set forth in similar language. Ps. 46 : 
6. "The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are 
dissolved ; I bear up the pillars of it." Nahum 1 : 6. 
" The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the 
storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. The 
mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and 
the earth is burned at his presence, yea the world and 
they that dwell therein." Isa. 24 : 19. " The earth 
is utterly broken down ; the earth is clean dissolved ; 
the earth is moved exceedingly." All this language, 
read habitually in private and in the synagogues, 
taught the Jews the terrors of God's judgments upon 


wicked nations, but never for a moment the literal 
end of the world. Could Peter, without a word of 
explanation, have used it in a different sense ? 

4. I understand, then, his reference to have been to 
the well known Jewish idea of ''Hhe aion that now is;" 
in other words, to the system of the Mosaic dispensa- 
tion as already explained. Let the following particulars 
be noted. 

(1). That aion, or world, was to pass away. It 
was to be destroyed totally and forever. So with " the 
hieavens and the earth " in Peter. Prof. Stuart well 
objects to the common idea of a reconstructed earth, 
to arise from the ruins of the old one after it shall 
have been dissolved and purified by fire. " This new 
heaven and new earth are not to be constructed by 
fitting up and vamping anew the old and worn out 
systems. The first heavens and earth pass away.'*'* 
Com. Apoc. 21 : 1. 

(2). That aion was to perish with a great noise. 
There was to be the " great sound of a trumpet," and 
the wail of ''all the tribes of the earth," the "falling 
of the stars from heaven," and the shaking of " the 
powers of the heavens." Matt, 24: 29-31. There 
was in literal verity the terrible crash of a burning 
city, the overthrow of palaces and temples and walls, 
the despairing cries of the dying, and the triumphant 
shouts of the victors. Taken both figuratively and 
literally, no single word could better describe the over- 
throw of the Jewish temple, city, and nation, with all 
their venerated and once divine institutions than that 
used by Peter — ^oc^r^dov. 


(3). That aion was to expire amid the same sort of 
physical phenomena described by Peter, — the wonders 
in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath, blood 
and fire, and vapor of smoke, the extinguished sun and 
moon, etc. (Acts 2 : 19, 20). Who can doubt that 
all these have the same signification in both cases ? 
What clearer demonstration, therefore, that the events 
of which these are the concomitants are the same ? 

(4). For the time being, that aion was ''^reserved 
unto jirey The word translated reserved is, literally, 
treasured up^ something kept for a certain time or 
use. Now, this was precisely what John was commis- 
sioned to preach, — that the old dispensation was just 
going to give place to the new kingdom, and the old 
fruitless trees, the worthless chaff of the old threshing 
floor, were then to be given to the fire. The parable 
of the tares shows the field, with its mixed crop of 
good and bad, spared for a little while unto the harvest 
at the " end " of " this aion," when the tares shall be 
gathered and burned in the fire. Matt. 13 : 40. The 
drag-net shows the wicked at "the end of this age" 
cast into the furnace of fire. In both of the particulars 
-that the end of each world was to be "fire," and that 
each for a brief space longer was treasured or kept for 
that destination,-the parallel between the two is per- 

(5). Both the " aion" that now is and the " end of 
this world " should be at the Parousia of Christ. 
Matt. 24 : 3. 2 Pet. 3 : 4. That " the day of the 
Lord," in verse 10, was the thing which the scoffers 
derided when they asked where was the promise of 
his Parousia, is too obvious to need proof. 


(6). They were both, therefore, in like manner 
near, and objects for watching and expectation. It 
was because it had not already come, Peter says, that 
the scoffers derided the expectation of it. Nevertheless, 
he says, it will surely come, and bids his readers to be 
looking for and hastening it. As heretofore remarked, 
this implies the near approach of the event, for it is 
impossible to be watching and waiting for what is 
thousands of years distant. 

(7). The dissolving of '''the elements ^^ mentioned 
by Peter points to the same event as the end of the 
aion. The original word-^ro;;^£?'«-occurs elsewhere in 
the New Testament five times, and in all with nearly 
the same meaning. Two of them are in Gal. 4 : 3 and 
9. " We, when we were children, were in bondage 
under the elements of the world." " How turn ye 
again to the weak and beggarly elements whereunto ye 
desire again to be in bondage ?" This clearly refers 
to the imperfect rites and doctrines of the Jewish law. 
Alford saj'S, "All the enactments peculiar to the law, 
some of which are expressly named, verse 10." The 
next two instances are in Col. 2 : 8, 20. "Beware, 
lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain 
deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments 
of the world, and not after Christ." "If ye be dead 
with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why as 
though living in the world are ye subject to ordi- 
nances," etc, "Ritualistic observances," says Alford. 
The only remaining instance is Heb. 5 : 12, "Ye 
have need that one teach you again which be the first 
principles of the oracles of God." Here the reference 


is not to the Mosaic law, but to the elementary truths 
of Christianity, though the same idea of what is rudi- 
mentary and imperfect is still implied. Now Peter 
says that in the Parousia, or day of the Lord, the ele- 
ments shall be dissolved. What can this be but that 
the imperfect ritual and doctrinal system of Judaism, 
to which the early Hebrew converts were once in 
bondage and were ever trying to go back, should be 
wholly abolished ? They were the chaff and stubble 
of the old system, which should be burned up at the 
introduction of the new and higher kingdom of Christ. 

(8). TJie events attending the end of the aion 
seem to be described by the Apocalyptist in Rev. 6 : 
12-17, in language almost identical with that of Peter. 
" Lo there was a great earthquake, and the sun became 
black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as 
blood, and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even 
as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs when she is 
shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed 
as a scroll when it is rolled together, and every moun- 
tain and island were removed out of their places." I 
cannot doubt that this refers to the same subject, — the 
distresses that were to come upon Jerusalem and Pal- 
estine before and at the destruction of the city; but 
whether this interpretation be accepted or not is not 
important here. That the language does not describe 
the end of the world is clear from the fact that a long 
series of events in human history is represented as 
following after it. 

I do not, then, find the doctrine of the end of the 
world, either as a planet or as the scene of human life 


and probation, taught in the Scriptures. As read 
from the standpoint of the sacred writers and of 
the times in which they lived, and with conceptions of 
the divine arrangements such as they had been taught, 
we find only intimations of moral revolutions which 
were to introduce the new kingdom of Christ, attended, 
indeed, with unparalleled sufferings on the part of the 
guilty nation who refused to receive him as their King, 
but not implying changes in the structure of the 
physical universe, or any end, however remote, of the 
duration of a kingdom inaugurated in a manner so 

And with these conclusions from Scripture harmon- 
ize, we believe, both reason and science. Often has 
the question thrust itself upon our thought, why should 
this world cease ? It is a theater which affords to the 
higher orders of intelligence the grandest displays of 
the divine wisdom and goodness. " We are made a 
spectacle to the world [the universe] — to angels and 
to men." " Into these things the angels desire to 
look." Neither the efficacy nor the glory of the cross 
of Jesus will ever cease. The sacrifice for sin here 
offered was " offered forever." Heb. 10 : 12. The 
priesthood he assumed was an unchangeable one. The 
divine Comforter who is given to renew and sanctify 
souls is to abide with us for ever. John 14 : 16. If 
the existence of man, as shown by his creation, was 
"good" (Gen. 1 : 31,) — a work over which "the morn- 
ing stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted 
for joy "(Job 38 : 7) — ; if there is joy in the presence 
of the angels over one sinner that repenteth ; if it be 


a source of satisfaction to the heart of the Saviour to 
see of the travail of his soul, and to bring many sons 
unto glory ; why should that which so fills the universe 
and its Creator with joy ever be brought to an end ? 
Let it have continued six thousand years, or a million 
times six thousand, is there any conceivable reason 
why it should not be continued still as long again ? 
If the preceding period brought joy and glory to God, 
will not the succeeding one ? Will the Creator ever 
be weary of creating souls ? Will the Spirit ever tire 
of new-creating? Will heaven be too full of the 
redeemed ? Will the universe be too full of happiness ? 
Rather, let us enlarge our conceptions of the scale of 
Jehovah's working, and of the magnitude of the king- 
dom which he has established in his Son ; and let our 
raptured ascription be " unto Him that is able to do 
abundantly above all that we ask or think, according 
to the power which worketh in us, — unto Him be 
glory in the church by Christ Jesus through all gen- 
erations of the aion of the aions.^^ Eph. 1 : 20, 21. 

Nor do I know any thing in science opposed to this 
conclusion. It is often argued, indeed, that the future 
dissolution of the earth by fire is made probable by 
the fact that it was once, in a by-gone geologic age, a 
molten mass, and that the numerous volcanoes still 
evince the existence of liquid fires within it. But 
God's works are progressive, and there is no reason to 
suppose that the processes by which the earth was 
brought from primeval chaos to be a mundus, — a 
world of order and beauty for the abode of man, are 
to be repeated, in this later stage of its existence. 


Doubtless the earth contains within itself forces 
adequate to its own dissolution, if such were the order 
of nature or of God. But so might the autumn, if 
God willed it, arrest its fruit-maturing work and go to 
blossoming again. So might a man, by miracle, enter 
the second time into his mother's womb and be born. 
But because nature has had her births is she never to 
be sure of her maturity ? Is it her law to go back- 
ward ? Is there to be a reversed Genesis written at 
the close of the Revelation? 

But our business, at present, is theology not natural 
science. It is to ask what is taught by the Bible, not 
by astronomy. Even if it shall ultimately be made 
probable, as a deduction of the nebular hypothesis, 
that the earth, by the process of cooling, will cease to 
be habitable, as the moon is supposed to be already, it 
would prove nothing to the purpose. Of such a theory 
the sacred writers could have known nothing, and 
therefore asserted nothing. That result, if conceded, 
must be at such a distance as to be practically infinite. 
There is no evidence that since man was placed on 
the earth the temperature of this planet has dimin- 
ished by a single degree. Doubtless there was a time 
when a tropical climate reached far towards the poles ; 
so there was a period when the polar ices extended 
near to the tropics. Astronomical cycles are, in such 
an inquiry as this, equivalent to eternities. Concede 
in regard to them whatever you will, — whatever in 
the progress of science may be ultimately demonstra- 
ted, it will still remain true that the Bible affirms 
nothing concerning them, and that, if not in the 


strictest mathematical sense, yet in the spiritual and 
practical one, the earth, this home of man, the theater 
of redemption and salvation, "abideth for ever," and 
that of the kingdom of the Messiah there shall be " no 



The revelation which the seer on Patmos was com- 
missioned to make to his brethren of the seven 
churches, to show unto them " things which must 
shortly come to pass," closes with the vision of the 
New Jerusalem. Our survey of the work of Christ 
as King would not be complete without a brief inquiry 
as to the import of this city, and its relations to his 

That the New Jerusalem is a symbolic representa- 
tion of the Christian church, or the spiritual kingdom 
of the Messiah, in some aspect of it, is universally 
believed. But when we ask in what aspect, and in 
what supposed period of it, we find a great variet}^ of 
opinions. Some regard it as a symbol of the church 
in the millennium, or latter-day glory. Some, among 
whom is Alford, assign it to the period after the Gen- 
eral Judgment, as " descriptive of the consummation 
of the triumph and bliss of Christ's people with him 
in the eternal kingdom of God. This eternal king- 
dom is situated on the purified and renewed earth, 
become the blessed habitation of God with his glori- 
fied people."' Some suppose it to be a representation 
of heaven. 

It seems to me that if we bear in mind the objects 



for which, and the circumstaDces in which, this book 
was written, together with certain indications which 
are given in the description itself, we shall find a clew 
to its import which we may accept with some firm 
confidence that it is the ct^rrect one. Let us remem- 
ber that at that date the church, or visible Christian- 
ity, was relatively small and feeble. The eighteen 
centuries of history which have familiarized it to us 
in its vast extent and power had not yet existed. It 
was, at that moment, under the ban of the Empire 
which ruled the world. Its adherents were few and 
poor and weak. It was a question whether Christian- 
ity itself was not on the point of extinguishment, as 
a light divinely kindled, indeed, but unable to sur- 
vive in the murky atmosphere and under the fierce 
tempests of a hostile world. We can readily imagine 
the misgivings which might have crept over the minds 
of the suffering saints as they contemplated these 
things,-the secret question which would steal into their 
thoughts whether they were not throwing themselves 
away ; whether it would not turn out that they were 
following a delusion which would soon come to nought ; 
and whether, therefore, it would not be wiser for them 
to make peace with their persecutors, submit them- 
selves to the authority of the Emperor, and be restored 
to ease and comfort. In such circumstances, what 
could be more potent to reassure their faith than the 
lifting by a divine hand of the curtain of the future, 
and showing them in a grand scenic picture what the 
church of Grod was to be when seen as a whole^ as out- 
lined in the plan and purpose of its Lord. So Moses, 


before his death, haying forfeited his right to enter 
Canaan, was yet, in order to strengthen his faith and 
confirm his joy in the fulfillment of the promise to his 
people, permitted to ascend the lofty mountain-top and 
look off thence upon the goodly land in its length 
and breadth, that he might for once feast his eye with 
the anticipated beauty and glory of that which had so 
long filled his thoughts, and been the goal of all his 

If this view of the purport of this vision be correct, 
it will suggest to us the error of making the heavenly 
city symbolic of auT/ particular period in the history 
of the church. I would rather see in it that church 
as a whole ; its foundations already laid in the " twelve 
apostles of the Lamb," and its completion to be 
reached only in the grand consummation of the future. 
It does seem to me, however, that it is the church on 
earth that is meant, and not in the heavenly world. 

1. This appears to be required by the designations 
of time which are expresslj" given in connection with 
it. Not to insist upon the general statement in the 
title of the book, that it referred to things which 
" must shortly come to pass," we find the same decla- 
ration repeated immediately after the description of 
the city, and with manifest reference to it. " And he 
said unto me, these sayings are faithful, and true, and 
the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to 
shew unto his servants the things which must shortly 
— ^v rdyBt — be done." Ch. 22 : 6. I cannot think 
that this phrase can justly be applied to what should 
be thousands of years distant. If language was 


designed to communicate an intelligible idea, it must, 
if not otherwise qualified, be that idea which its terms 
naturally signify, and these certainly imply that the ful- 
fillment, at least in its beginning, was then near at hand. 
2. The language under which it is described shows 
its correspondence with prophecies which we know 
related to Christianity as a whole, or the coming king- 
dom of the Messiah. The new heavens and the new 
earth must be the same that were predicted by Isaiah 
(ch. 65 : 17 ; 6Q : 22), which most certainly had that 
reference. Says Mr. Barnes, " There can be no doubt, 
I think, that this refers to the times of the Messiah. — 
It is adapted, not only to comfort the ancient afflicted 
people of God, but it contains most important and 
cheering truth in regard to the final prevalence of true 
religion, and the state of the world when the gospel 
shall every where prevail." The city itself is identical 
with the temple and city seen by Ezekiel, as is appar- 
ent, not only from the general cast of it, but from the 
numerous minute resemblances in the two descrip- 
tions. Compare its quadrilateral shape ; the three gates 
on each side bearing the names of the tribes of Israel ; 
the river flowing out of the sanctuary ; the vital effi- 
cacy of its waters ; the trees growing on either side ; 
their monthly yield of fruit ; their unfading leaves, 
with life giving qualities ; the name of the city, 
denoting the dwelling place of Jehovah,^ etc. " All," 

^For the ever open gates, tlie bringing in of the wealth and 
glory of the Gentile nations and kings, the absence of sun and 
moon, their places being supplied by the Lord himself, etc., 
the pattern seems to be Isa. 60: 11-19, — one of the most 
remarkable of the prophecies relating to the Messianic times. 


says Prof. Cowles of the former, " every several thing, 
provides for the great central fact, and adjusts itself 
around that living truth — Jehovah dwelling forever, 
and forever nianifesting himself among his chosen; 
he their God, and tliey his people. Prophetically, it 
looks doivn the Christian age to its great central truth, 
— the Lord by his divine Spirit making his abode 
through all ages in the hearts of his children." 

So, also, the promises given to the happy inmates of 
the city, — tears wiped away (compare Isa. 25 : 8); no 
more death (ibid.); no more sorrow nor crying (Isa. 
65 : 19); all things made new ; (Isa. 65 : 17). Surely, 
it ought not to be doubted that this later prophecy, 
evidently so minutely modeled after the earlier one, 
meant the same thing. It was not a servile imitation, 
but an embellished and emphasized repetition of it, 
which every reader familiar with the inspired language 
would recognize at once, and accept as a renewal and 
confirmation of the blessed assurances given therein. 

3. The relations of this city to the rest of the 
world imply its co-existence with the present order of 
things. The nations^ and their kings still remain. 
Ch. 21 : 24, 26 ; 22 : 2. It may be questioned what is 
the precise meaning of the " nations " here. The 
original — r« i(%r^ — is the well known Jewish phrase 
denoting the Gentiles. When standing without qual- 
ification, it almost always has that meaning. For 
example, see Acts 15 : 3, 7, 12, 14, 17, 19, 23. Many 
of the ablest expositors (Ewald, deWette, Bleek, 

■■The words ''of tlie saved," in our English version, are 


etc.) 9 so understand it in this place. The words "in 
the light " of it are, properly, " through its light " — 
did Tou (pcoTo^ — as denoting the instrument or means 
by which they are enabled to walk. Thus interpreted, 
the sentiment is the same as in Isa. 2:2; 60 : 3 ; viz. 
that the church of God should be an instructor of the 
Gentile nations in the truths of religion. Nor is the 
idea essentially different if the phrase be not confined 
to the Gentiles, but made of general application. 
Alford translates the passage " And the nations shall 
walk by means of the light of it." The same thing 
is implied in the leaves of the tree of life being for 
the healing of the nations. What nations remain to 
be healed in heaven, or after the day of judgment? 
The ever open gates must denote the Ireeness of sal- 
vation to all who will accept the offers borne to them 
by the church. Isa. 60 : 9. The gifts brought by 
kings and by the nations must denote the glad homage 
which the world, subjected to Christ, shall offer to his 
cause and kingdom, which is so vividly portrayed by 
Isaiah. Ch. 60 : 3-16. 

"See barbarous nations at thy gates attend, . 

Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend ; 

See thy bright altars thronged with prostrate kings, 

And heaped with products of Sabaean springs ! 

For thee Idumea's spicy forests blow, 

And seeds of gold in Ophir's mountains glow. 

See Heaven his sparkling portals wide display 

And break upon thee in a flood of day !" 

All this varied imagery fitly describes the perpetual 
office of the church to be a herald of salvation to the 
world (ch. 22 : 7), and to receive from it in return 


the grateful homage due to it and to the Lord who 
dwells within it. 

4. It is declared that without the city are " dogs, 
and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and 
idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." 
This is usually understood of the fact that the wicked 
are confined in the place of punishment. It may be 
that such Avas the intended meaning, but it seems 
more natural to refer it to their exclusion from the 
church here on earth, a meaning parallel with that of 
Gal. 5: 19-21. The word "without" apparently 
denotes the territory round about the city, and the 
persons named represent, as Stuart remarks, ''the lead- 
ing characteristics of the heathen persecutors." The 
figure suggests the condition of the church, under the 
indwelling protection of the Lord, safe within its angel- 
guarded walls, while its malignant and unclean foes 
are driven away into the outlying regions of sin and 

But while the immediate design in the description 
of the New Jerusalem is to show forth the glory and 
felicity of the church of God on earth, when viewed 
as a whole, there seems also to be a tacit reference to 
the further glory of its eternal reward in heaven. 
For the blessed kingdom of Christ includes both 
worlds, the earthly as the vestibule and pledge of the 
heavenly. The earthly would not be complete with- 
out the heavenly. " If in this life only we have hope 
in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." It is 
the church in its perfected holiness and crowned with 
the hope of heavenly immortality that constitutes the 


city of God the object of his delight, and the temple 
in which he will dwell, whose name is " the Lord is 

Thus viewed, the inspired vision of the New Jerusa- 
lem stands before his people in all ages as their encour- 
agement to faith and service. It bids them never be 
faint-hearted ; never to be weary either in suffering or 
doing. As the builder with brick or stone needs to 
look often at the plan of the edifice upon which he 
labors, that he may catch the inspiration of its sym- 
metry and beauty, so may the Christian worker here 
behold the end to which all his toil and pains are 
directed. Christ is building his church, the capital of 
his kingdom. However slow the progress, whatever 
enmities or obstacles may hinder, it is ever going for- 
ward, and the gates of hell shall never prevail against 
it. Blessed are all they who work with their Lord in 
this undertaking. Blessed are they who see its glories 
by faith, and desire to share them. Thrice blessed 
they who are washing their robes, that they may have 
right to the tree of life and may enter in through the 
gates into the city. 



The reign of Christ as King is over a realm deliv- 
ered from death. The one great fact in which his 
whole redemptive work is founded is, that man is a 
fallen being. Death hath passed apon all men, for 
that all have sinned. Rom. 5 : 12. It is not alone 
that they are guilty because of their transgression of 
God's law ; it is not alone that they have forfeited his 
favor, and come under condemnation. The race has 
lost by sin the power of self recovery. The vital 
impulse to holy feeling, purpose, and action has been 
destroyed, and unless replaced by a divine power not 
inferior to that of the first creation, cannot be kind- 
led again. Hence the oft repeated Scripture testimony 
that men, in their fallen state, are dead^ — "dead in 
trespasses and sins." Rom. 6 : 2. Eph. 2 : 1, 5. Col. 

It was, then, one of the chief functions of the glo- 
rified and reigning Redeemer to give life to a world 
lying in death. "I am come," said he, "that they 
might have life." John 10: 10. He is declared 



emphatically to be "the Life," (John 1 : 4) i. e., having 
in himself the concrete office and power to impart it 
to men. " As the Father hath life in himself, so hath 
he given to the Son to have life in himself " (John 
6 ; 26), i. e., to be a new source of life to all who 
should receive him. And in this capacity, under 
numerous suggestive figures, he offers himself to man- 
kind. " I am the bread of life." John 6 : 48. '' I 
will give my flesh for the life of the world." John 6 : 
51. " The water that I shall give him shall be in him 
a well of water springing up into everlasting life." 
John 4 : 14. " As the Father raiseth up the dead and 
quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom 
he will." John 5 : 21, etc. 

It is in this office of Life-Giver that Christ styles 
himself the Wvaozaac^^ — the Resurrection. That 
office must be co-extensive with the ruin which had been 
wrought by sin, and this included the bodies as well 
as souls of men. Man's whole nature, the corporeal 
as well as spiritual, had fallen under the power of 
death, and must therefore be reached by the new life 
which Christ came to impart. Hence that sublime 
declaration addressed to the weeping sisters of Beth- 
any, and through them to all the bereaved in all time ; 
" I am the Resurrection and the Life ; he that believ- 
eth in me even though he have died (dnod^dvr^ — past), 
shall live, and he that is alive (in the flesh) and believe th 
in me shall never die." John 11 : 25, 26. 



It is not within the design of this work to dwell 
upon the doctrine of regeneration. It is one of the 
usual topics of religious truth, which are familiar to 
all. I pass this by, then, and proceed at once to the 
other great work of Christ as Life-giver, viz. the Res- 

The word itself — dudcFzaaii:, standing again — sug- 
gests the primary idea involved in it. The act of 
dying nearly always occurs in a recumbent posture ; 
man lies down in death. To stand up again, therefore, 
would naturally express the idea of a restoration to 
life, a second life occurring after death. 

Assuming now the fact of such a second life, and 
waiving for the present the question of the time when 
it commences, our first inquiry will be as to the nature 
of that life. What will it be? — or in other words, 
what will live again F 

1. It will be the spirit of man, his intellectual and 
moral nature, that which was made in the image of 
God, and by virtue of which he is enabled to have 
communion with God, and become a citizen of heaven. 

2. It will be, in some sense, the bodg of man. 
This is one of the distinctive doctrines of Christianity. 
The future existence of the soul was taught even by 



the heathen sages but most of them knew nothing of 
the resurrection of the body/'^ As already remarked, 
the salvation provided for man by Christ extends to 
all the elements of his being. The invisible, post- 
mortal world is not like that described by the poets, a 
realm of umbrce — pale, passionless ghosts, but one in 
which man's whole nature has place, with room for all 
its purified capacities and activities to expatiate in and 
to grow forever. 

But a deeper and more important question here 
arises, viz : What is the body ? 

Of course, we recognize under this term that natu- 
ral structure of bones and flesh and blood, which is 
common to man with the brute creation. It is a mass 
of solids and fluids, with their chemical properties, de- 
rived originally from the earth and destined to return 
to it. This, in ordinary speech, is what we mean by 
the body. But is this all ? A fruit is, in common 
acceptation, the mass of pulpy or farinaceous material 
gathered, commonly, around the germ^ to serve as tem- 
porary food for the young plant that is to spring from 
that germ. In more exact speech, the germ alone is 
the real fruit ; the rest is matter auxiliary to it, de- 
signed to meet its wants in the initial stage of its ex- 
istence, and after that, if not thus absorbed, to decay 
and cease to be. Is there, then, within this natural 
body, a germ, or elementar}^ principle, not identical 
with a vegetable seed but analogous to it, which, in 

* Perhaps the Egyptians should be excepted, whose practice 
of embalming the dead seems to point to the hope of another 


strictness of speech is the real body, and to which this 
mass of earthly materials sustains a temporary rela- 
tion, subservient to present uses, but destined when 
those uses are completed to drop into dissolution and 
be, in this form, no longer existent ? 

This question, it will be perceived, is one of faet, — 
present fact. It does not now look forward to the dis- 
tant future to inquire what will be then, but it asks 
what is true of the body of man now, in its present 
earthly life. Such a question belongs, obviously, in 
the first place, to science — that department which we 
call biology ; and in the second place to revelation, so 
far as the latter has spoken in regard to it. 


On this question, then, we interrogate science, in 
the persons of several of its most distinguished inter- 

Dr. Mark Hopkins, than whom we have no more 
reliable authority, at least in this country, in describ- 
ing the present physical constitution of man, says 
(Outline Study of Man, pp. 251, 2) :— 

" The body, then, will not consist merely of the mat- 
ter of which it may be composed at any given moment, 
and which is constantly changing, but of that in con- 
nection with the or ganific power that has been in it from 
the first, has wrought its changes, has caused it to be 
such a body rather than another, and given it its iden- 
tity, so that we say we have the same body while not a 
particle of the same matter remains. How far this 


individualized force may be preserved in its identity 
vi^henitis separated from the matter of the hody^ so that 
it may again re-appear^ perhaps, according to the doc- 
trine of the correlation of forces, under some other 
form, it is not for us to say. Certainly, it is not the 
least marvelous feature of our present state that there 
are types that are constantly preserved, while yet hav- 
ing such a wonderful variety under them. And as 
the tj^pes are preserved, so there is no absurdity in 
supposing that, in some way unknown to us, each indi- 
vidual force^ that which is really the body^ may be pre- 
served. The preservation of this type by generation 
after its kind seems natural because we are accus- 
tomed to it, but is really as mysterious as would be the 
continuity of the individual force. At any rate, we 
have here a separate, necessitated form of movement, 
that builds up and maintains organization, and we call 
the force thus building, together with the resulting 
organization, the Body." 

We gather from this language the following propo- 
sitions : 

1. The body does not consist of matter only. 

2. It has in it from its first existence an organific 

3. In this force consists the bodily identity. 

4. It is this which builds up and maintains the 
material organization. 

5. This force, and the organization it builds up, 
together constitute the body. 

6. This organific force may exist when separated 
from the matter of the body ; at least, there is no 
absurdity in supposing it. 


The venerable ex-President does not go further in 
describing this "organific force." He does not say 
what it is, nor does he give it a name. His opinion 
is valuable in that it substantiates the fact of its exist- 
ence, while we look elsewhere for fuller information 
as to its nature and qualities. 

President Noah Porter, of Yale College, is more spe- 
cific. Recognizing the three-fold nature of man as 
consisting of body, soul, and spirit — (Tco/ia, (puyfj., 
Tn^eufia—he attributes the organific force to the psyche, 
or soul. "The term soul," he says, "originally signi- 
fied the principle of life or motion in a material organ- 
ism. It was pre-eminently appropriated to the vital 
principle or force which animates the animal body, 
whether in man or the lower animals. Traces of this 
signification may be distinctly discovered in the three- 
fold division of body, soul, and spirit, in which the 
soul occupies the place between the corporeal or mate- 
rial part, and the spiritual or noetic. This interme- 
diate part was sometimes called the animal soul, and 
was believed to perish with the bod3\"* 

Dr. P. proceeds at length to argue that the soul 
(psyche) is the elementary principle of bodily life. 
"It originates the bodily organism and actuates its 
functions." The argument is one of great interest, 
and seems to be conclusive, but is too long to quote 
here. He next answers the objections that may be 
adduced, of which we need mention only one, viz : 
the view thus advanced is inconsistent with the doc- 
trine of the soul's immortality. When the body dies 

» Human Intellect, p. 6. 


its vitality ceases : if the soul is the same thing as the 
vital force, it must cease likewise. Dr. P. answers this 
objection thus : 

"That the soul begins to exist as a vital force, does 
not require that it should always exist as such a force, 
or in connection with a material body. Should it re- 
quire another such body, or medium of activity, it may 
have the power to create it for itself^ as it has formed 
the one which it first inhabited ; or it may already have 
formed it in the germ^ and hold it ready for occupation 
and use as soon as it sloughs off the one which connects 
it with the earth. These are possibilities, it is true, 
but they are sanctioned by sufficient evidence to set 
aside the objection which we are considering. They 
permit the only theory of the souVs continued existence 
in another state which is consistent with the facts of 
our present being.'' p. 39. 

This elaborate work of the learned President is now 
the text book of ps3^chical science in our highest 
educational institutions, and may be accepted as un- 
questionable authority. From the language above 
cited we may deduce several more propositions, both 
confirmatory of and additional to those before stated, 

7. The organific force of the body is the soul 

8. The soul may have the power to create for itself, 
when necessary, another body than the material one, 
as a medium of its activity. 

9. It may have already formed such another body, 
in the germ, and may be holding it ready for occupa- 
tion and use as soon as it slouarhs off the material bodv. 


10. These two possibilities are the only ones on 
which the soul's immortality can be based, consistently 
with the facts of our present being. 

Whether the soul exerts its organific force in form- 
ing and molding the body directly, or through the 
medium of this other body, Dr. P. does not say. Nor, 
assuming that such second body already formed and 
held ready for future occupation is a fact, does he give 
us his ideas as to its nature or qualities. It is however, 
by the supposition, immortal. It does not die with the 
animal bod}^, but is to be its vehicle and abode after 
the soul by death has sloughed off the latter. It 
would seem, therefore, of necessity, to be non-atomic- 
i. e. not made up of atoms or particles like those 
which constitute matter, but of some such nature as 
the imponderable elements, light, magnetism, elec- 
tricity, etc. 

But these points, in regard to which President Porter 
expresses no positive opinion, are definitely pronounced 
upon by the latest biological science taught in Germany, 
as reported by Rev. Joseph Cook. In his thirteen 
lectures on Biology, he describes the discoveries which 
have recently been made in the arcana of life with the 
aid of the microscope, abundantly sustaining the doc- 
trine of Pres. P. as to the soul being the source of the 
vital force. He claims also that it has been made 
certain that the soul does dwell in such an ethereal, 
non-atomic body as the President suggests. This fact 
he states in separate propositions, among which are 
the following : 

" The late German philosophy holds the view that 


the soul must be conceived as a property or occupant 
of a fluid similar to the ether. 

" This fluid, however, does not, like the ether, con- 
sist of atoms. — It is Ulrici's view that the soul is the 
occupant of a non-atomic ether that fills the whole 
form, and lies behind the mysterious weaving of the 

" This non-atomic fluid is absolutely continuous with 

" Its chief center of force is in the brain. 

" But it extends outward from that center, and per- 
meates the whole atomic structure of the body. 

" The soul, as an occupant of this ethereal enswath- 
ement, operates in part unconsciously, and in part con- 

" It co-operates with the vital force. 

" It is not identical with that force. 

" It is the morphological agent which weaves all liv- 
ing tiss^ies. It spins nerves. It weaves the muscles, 
the tendons, the eye, the brain. It arranges each part 
in harmony with all the other parts of the organism. 

" So far as the ethereal enswathement of the soul is 
non-atomic, it is immaterial. 

" This non-atomic, ethereal enswathement of the soul 
is conceivably separable from the body. 

" It becomes clear, therefore, that even in that state 
of existence which succeeds death, the soul may have 
a spiritual body. 

" The existence of that body preserves the memories 
acquired during life in the flesh. 

" If this ethereal, non-atomic enswathement of the 


soul be interpreted to mean what the Scriptures mean 
by a spiritual body in distinction from a natural body, 
there is entire harmony between the latest results of 
science and the inspired doctrine of the resurrection." 
These conclusions are not, according to Mr. Cook, 
mere theories, or as President Porter terms them, pos- 
sibilities, but demonstrated facts of science. "We are 
following," says he, "haughty axiomatic certainty. In 
clear and cool precision, science comes to the idea of 
a spiritual body. We must not forget that this con- 
clusion is proclaimed in the name of philosophy of the 
severest sort. The verdict is scientific ; it happens, 
also, to be biblical. Is it the worse for that ? * * 
"In every leaf on the summer boughs there is a net- 
work which may be dissolved out of the verdant por- 
tion, and yet retain as a ghost the shape which it gave 
the leaf from which it came. In every human form 
growing as a leaf on the tree Igdrasil, we know that 
network lies within network. Each web of organs, 
if taken separately, would have a form like that of 
man. There might be placed by itself the muscular 
portion of the human form, or the osseous portion, or 
the veins, or the arteries, and each would show the 
human shape. If the nerves could be dissolved out 
and held up here, they would be a white form coinci- 
dent everywhere with the mysterious human physical 
outline. But the invisible nervous force is more ethe- 
real than this ghost of nerves. The fluid in which the 
nervous waves occur is finer than the nervous fila- 
ments. What if it could be separated from its envir- 
onment and held up here ? It could not be seen ; it 


could not be touched. The hand might be passed 
through it ; the eyes of men in their present state 
would detect no trace of it ; but it would be there. 

"Your Ulricis, your Lotzes, your Beales, adhere un- 
flinchingly to the scientific method. The self-evident 
axiom that every change must have an adequate cause 
requires us to hold that there exists behind the nerves 
anon-atomic ethereal enswathement for the soul, which 
death dissolves out from all complex contact with mere 
flesh, and which death thus unfettering without dis- 
embodying leaves free before God for all the devel- 
opment with which God can inspire it." * 

* In adducing the testimony of science to the present exis- 
tence of * 'the spiritual body," it maybe thought that some re- 
ference should be made to the phenomena of what is called 
"spiritualism," as offering confirmatory evidence to the same 
effect. Those phenomena, making large allowance for impos- 
ture and illusion, I should not be disposed to deny. The testi- 
mony of thousands of eye-witnesses of unimpeachable veracity 
establishes beyond a doubt that there is a residuum of fact un- 
der these manifestations which can be best explained by the 
presence within the human body of an occult, invisible, ethe- 
real force, which, in special circumstances, reveals itself to the 
senses and produces abnormal and marvelous effects. If the 
existence of a spiritual body, like that described by Mr. Cook, 
be ascertained from independent sources, or if it be merely 
assumed as a hypothesis, it will certainly harmonize with 
those observed facts. But the whole subject is still so unde- 
termined, and there is such a mass of deception and falsehood 
connected with it, that it can as yet scarcely be referred to in 
proof of anything. The most which it seems to me can be said 
at present is, that'the phenomena referred to point in the same 
direction with those described in the text. 



Is the fact thus affirmed by science as to the pres- 
ent existence of a spiritual body within the material 
body, the investiture and medium of activity of the 
soul, confirmed by the teachings of the Scriptures ? 

1. In favor thereof, we have, first, an express re- 
cognition of the threefold nature of man, in which 
that doctrine is founded. 1 Thess. 5 : 23. " I pray 
God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved 
blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 
The precise distinction between these is thus stated by 
Alford : " The spirit is the highest and distinctive 
part of man, the immortal and responsible soul in our 
common parlance ; the soul (psyche) is the lower or 
animal soul, containing the passions and desires which 
we have in common with the brutes, but which in us 
is ennobled and drawn up by the spirit" — pneuma. 
With this most commentators substantially agree. Dr. 
Hodge thinks that there are in man " only two sub- 
jects, or distinct separable substances, the soul and the 
body." In this, however, he stands nearly alone. 
Dr. Hopkins says, " We find three departments of 
force clearly distinguishable from each other, and 
suppose that the apostle Paul was justified as a philos- 
opher in calling them Body, Soul, and Spirit." Dr. 
Candlish, in a sermon entitled " Life in a Risen Sav- 
iour,'' says, "The spirit is that higher principle of 
intelligence and thought peculiar to man alone in this 
world, to which we now usually restrict the mind or 


soul ; the soul, or that lower principle of animal life 
with its instincts, selfish and social, its power of volun- 
tary motion, its strange incipient dawn of reasoning, 
which common alike to man and beast is so great a 
mystery in both ; and the body made to be the material 
organ and instrument of either principle, the higher 
or the lower — these three in one, this trinity, is our 
present humanity." Quoted in Lange's Com. on 1 
Thess. 5 : 23. Similar are the words of EUicott on the 
same passage. He describes the psyche as " the sphere 
of the will and the affections, and the true center of 
the personality.'' 

2. Next, we have the relation between the soul and 
the spirit indicated in Heb. 4 : 12. " The word of God 
is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged 
sword, piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and 
spirit^ and of the joints and marrow^ Not the divi- 
ding or separation of the soul from the spirit, but the 
piercing through of the soul and the spirit. The figure 
is that of a sword so sharp and driven with so much 
force as to penetrate through the bones of the limbs 
into the marrow within them. So the spirit lies within 
the soul, the inmost, or, what is the same thing, the 
highest principle of his nature, -that which bears the 
image of God and is capable of fellowship with him. 

3. We have this lower or animal soul, the psyche^ 
giving character to persons who suffer themselves to be 
actuated by it in spiritual things. 1 Cor. 2 : 14. 
" The natural — Gr. psychical — man receiveth not the 
things of the Spirit of God ; for they are foolishness 
unto him, neither can he know them because they 


are spiritually discerned." Nothing can be better 
than Alford's explanation of this. " The animal man, 
as distinguished from the spiritual man, is he whose 
governing principle and highest reference of all things 
is the psyche, the animal life. In him the pneuma or 
spirit, being unvivified and uninformed by the Spirit 
of God, is overborne by the animal soul with its desires 
and its judgments, and is in abeyance so that he may 
be said to have it not." — Again, Jude 19. The mock- 
ers, who walk after their own ungodly lusts, are 
declared to be " sensual — Gr. psychical, — having not 
the spirit — pneuma " — " We have," says Alford, " no 
English word for (;^ the sel- 
fish man, the man in whom the spirit is sunk and de- 
graded into subordination to the subordinate 'psyche. ^^ 

Now, in regeneration this perverted state of the 
nature is reversed. The pneuma, or spirit, which in 
the unregenerate man was dead or dormant, is quick- 
ened. The word of God, sharper than any two-edged 
sword, pierces through the intellectual and emotional 
nature — the psyche^ — into the spirit and rouses it to 
life and activity. The spirit of God touches it and 
brings it into rapport— commumon— with himself. It 
derives thence strength to cast off the bondage of the 
psyche, and assume its proper place as the controlling 
power over the man. Soul and body alike are brought 
under its dominion. Henceforward the work of sanc- 
tification proceeds, the lower nature becoming more 
and more obedient to the higher, until the true har- 
mony of man's constitution which had been destroyed 


by the fall is restored, and' a divine order, peace and 
purity reign throughout. * 

Thus it follows that the resurrection, in the case of 
the righteous, is but the consequent and completion of 
regeneration. The ethereal, non-atomic body, being 
now the abode of a psyche which has been subordi- 
nated to the pneuma., becomes itself the suitable abode 
and instrument of the regenerate nature and is hence- 
forth, in the strictest sense, a spiritual body. Says 
Prof. Reuss, "Paul more frequently places the resur- 
rection in close and direct relation with the mystical 
ideas of faith and regeneration. In this aspect of it, 
men in whom the germ of the new spiritual life is 
already present and active have alone the prospect of 
a part in the second resurrection, which is finally to 
vanquish death and chase away the terrors of the 
tomb. The physical resurrection of the future is in- 
separably linked to the spiritual resurrection of the 
present. * * * If this is the adequate expression 
of the thought of Paul, it would be no less true to say 
that the resurrection is already virtually accomplished 
in the regeneration. The future return to life after 
the death which awaits us all will be only the conse- 
quence of this first palingenesis." ^ 

It follows, also, from the same premises that, in the 
case of the non-regenerate, the resurrection is one to 
confirmed sin and its dire accompaniments of "shame 

^■See the chapter on Conversion to God, in Heard's "Tripar- 
tite Nature of Man," pp. 201-221. 

^ Hist, of Ch. Theology, vol.11, pp. 194-196. 


and everlasting contempt."" The new body, wrought 
and actuated by the unrenewed psyche^ has become 
psychical^ like the animal body ; nay as much more so 
as its nature and capacities enable it to be. If the 
resurrection body be something already existent with- 
in us, generated and growing there as a part of our 
very nature, like a germ within its fruit, and taking 
on its character according to the character of the 
vital elements which dwell in it, then the resurrection, 
i. e., the emerging of that body from the decaying 
matrix in which it was formed and its standing up — 
anastasis — in a new and independent life of its own, 
is a natural event, as truly as death itself, and must 
take place with the wicked as well as the righteous. 
Our doctrine provides both for the fact and the 
results of that resurrection. To the believer in Christ, 
that natural event becomes a blessed one, through 
grace— the gift of God. Eph. 2:8. To the unbeliev- 
er, it is a beginning of the immortal career of a being 
in whom the pneuma is forever dead, and which has 
lost henceforth all power of regeneration. ''If," says 
Dr. Bushnell, in respect to the future condition of the 
lost, "we talk of their final restoration, what is going 
to restore them, when the very thing we see in them 
here is the gradual extinction of their capabilities of 
religion ? Their want of God itself dies out, and they 
have no God-ward aspirations left. The talent of in- 
spiration, of spiritual perception, of love, of faith — 
every inlet of their nature that was open to God, is 
closed and virtually extirpated. This is no figure of 
speech, that merely signifies their virtual obscuration ; 


it is a fact. By what, then, are they going to be re- 
stored ? Will Glod take them up, as they enter into 
the future life, and re-create their extirpated faculties 
of religion ? Will the pains of hell burn a religion into 
their lower faculties, and so restore them ? * * * 
A living creature remains, — a mind, a memory, a 
heart of passion, fears, irritability, will, — all these re- 
main ; nothing is gone but the angel life that stood 
with them, and bound them all to God." * 


When, then, does this spiritual body emerge from 
the body of time and sense, and enter into its new, its 
resurrection life ? 

As we approach this inquiry, it is impossible to 
suppress the feeling of sadness that arises from the 
thought that this event so full of both joyful and sol- 
emn anticipations has come to be almost universally 
regarded as far distant. The comfort under sorrow, 
the impressive admonitions against worldliness and 
carelessness, which would else have been imparted by 
it have thus been in great measure lost. The tie 
which connects it with the present life and renders it 
a rational and natural event has been sundered, and 
we are forced to look upon it as a stupendous and in- 
comprehensible miracle. As on the kindred topic of 

* Sermons for the New Life, pp. 183, 4. The discourse enti- 
tled "The capacity of religion extirpated by disuse," is one of 
the most eloquent and impressive portraitures of the condition 
of a man who has lost thepneuma, and become wholly psychical. 


the time of the Parousia, by pressing the mere costume 
of the inspired Word to the obscuring of its import as 
determined by the plainest laws of interpretation, the 
resurrection has been robbed of its power for present 
use and relegated to those shadowy regions of the 
future where it stands not as an impending reality, 
but at most as a subject of curious, half-skeptical 
speculation. Shall it be possible to restore it to that 
place in our faith where it was such a star of hope to 
the primitive Christians, while they waited amid the 
discomforts of this earthly tabernacle for " the house 
which is from heaven " ? 

Holding in abeyance, then, for a little while the 
traditions we have been taught, let us see whether 
God's word on being carefully interrogated will not 
give us a better view of this great subject. 

We answer the proposed inquiiy unhesitatingly, 
AT DEATH. Not simultaneously with all the family 
of man, in some supposed far-off epoch at the end of 
the world, but with each individual at the close of 
this mortal life. 

1. This is shown in the very constitution of man as 
taught us by science. It is a direct corollary from 
those facts which we have seen affirmed by our highest 
authorities on psychology. When Presidents Hopkins 
and Porter, with the cool precision of philosophers, 
tell us of the three-fold nature of man ; of the organ- 
ific force which builds up this animal frame ; which 
may exist separately from it ; which may have already 
formed for itself another body, held "ready for occu- 
pation and use as soon as it sloughs off the one which 


connects it with the earth," they are in fact teaching 
the doctrine of the resurrection at death. Mr. Cook 
may be a poet, but the savants whose long and patient 
labors with the scalpel and microscope he reports to 
us are something more. Who shall gainsay their 

2. It is only upon the assumption of the resurrec- 
tion at death that man's immortality can be shown to 
be probable or even possible. President Porter says 
expressly, that the present existence of the spiritual 
body ready for occupation and use at that time 
"permits the only theory of the soul's continued exist- 
ence in another state which is consistent with the 
facts of our present heing.^^ I know it has always 
been customary to talk of " disembodied souls," but 
who has ever shown such a thing to be possible? 
There is no evidence that a soul separated from a 
bodily organism can maintain a conscious existence. It 
certainly can have neither force nor consciousness here 
unless such connection be preserved, and that too in a 
healthful condition. " Pure reason," says Prof. West- 
cott, " cannot suggest any arguments to establish the 
personality of the soul when finally separated from the 
body, and for us personality is only another name for 
existence. — Reason points to death as a phenomenon 
absolutely singular, which closes life so far as we know 
it, and tahes away the conditions of our life. But if 
a single experience [the resurrection of Christ] can 
show that these conditions are not destroyed, but sus- 
pended as far as we observe them, or modified by the 
action of some new law : that what seems to be a dis- 


solution is really a transformation : that the soul does 
not remain alone in a future state, hut is still united 
with our body, that is, with an organism which in a 
new sphere expresses the law which our present body 
now expresses in this, then reason will welcome the 
belief in our future personality no less than instinct." * 

Coupling this dependence of the soul upon a cor- 
poreal organism for its conscious personality with 
the postponement of the resurrection, when such 
organism will be restored, to the far distant future, 
we come necessarily to the absolute extinction of the 
soul at death. The intervening space between the 
two events is a total blank. I am aware that many 
men of eminence, and even some entire denominations 
of Christians, have accepted this as an article of their 
faith. To my own mind, scarcely any thing could be 
more shocking. Have all the past generations of man 
perished in this abyss of nothingness ? Have none of 
the race of Adam, Enoch and Elijah alone excepted, 
reached heaven ? Is there no better hope for ourselves 
beyond this life than that of slumbering till the 
unknown and distant era of the resurrection in the 
dreamless sleep of the grave ? 

I will not stop to adduce the testimonies of the 
Scriptures, of which there is such an abundance, to 
refute what Calvin calls this " crazy idea " — delira- 
mentum. These will sufficiently appear in other con- 
nections as we proceed. Rather should the assumption 

*The Gospel of the Resurrection, by Brooke Foss Westcott, 
D.D. RegiuB Professor of Divinity, Cambridge, England, pp. 


be rejected which involves such a conclusion. There 
is no such intervening period between death and the 
resurrection. A strictly disembodied state of the soul 
is inconceivable. Science and Scripture alike assure 
us that " we shall verily be found clothed, not naked." 
2 Cor. 5 : 3. Alford's rendering. 

3. This fact furnishes the only ground upon which 
the resurrection itself is conceivably possible. A con- 
tinuous personality/ only can live again — (wcardvat. 
God can create a new being to succeed one that was 
laid in the grave ages before ; but such creation is not 
a resurrection. Nor does the animal body supply the 
indispensable continuity. It perishes ; it ceases to 
be. The chemical elements which once entered into 
it are indeed still in being, but they alone do not con- 
stitute a body. They never made what Dr. Hopkins 
calls " that which is really the body.'* There must be 
with these " the organific power that has been in the 
body from the first, has wrought its changes, has 
caused it to be such a body rather than another, and 
given it its identity ^ Says Prof. Westcott, "We can- 
not understand by body simply a particular aggregate 
of matter, but an aggregation of matter as represent- 
ing in one form the action of a particular law, or 
rather the realization of a special formula. The same 
material elements may enter into a thousand bodies, 
but the law of each body, as explained above, gives 
to it that which is peculiar to and characteristic of it. 
— There is nothing unnatural in supposing that the 
power which preserves man's personality by acting 
according to the individual law of his being, in mold- 


ing the continuous changes of his present material 
body, will preserve his personality/ hereafter by still 
acting according to the same law in molding the new 
element, so to speak, out of which a future body 
may be fashioned." * If this continuous personality, 
then, be not preserved, there can be no resurrection. 
Whatever may be the value of the speculation as 
to what constitutes hodily identity, it is intuitively 
certain that there must be a personal identity, else 
the person raised is not the person that died. It is 
also certain that personal identity requires a personal 
continuity, the survival after death of that psyche^ 
with its spiritual body, which is, as Alford says, " the 
center of the personal being, the ' I ' of each individ- 

4. But our chief reliance as to this consummate 
fact of our existence, must be upon the testimony of 
the Bible. We take, then, first, the primary fact 
already adverted to that Christ attained his office as 
" the Resurrection and the Life," immediately upon 
his ascension. It is an inseparable part of his great 
Messianic dignity and work which the Father gave to 
him as the reward of his sufferings. In its spiritual 
department, so to speak, that of giving life to dead 
souls, we know that he entered upon that work even 
before his death. " The hour is coming, and now is.''' 
John 5 : 25. Is it not altogether most reasonable to 
believe that shortly after he began, too, that other de- 
partment, whose hour also " cometh,"— l'/y;f£r«^— when 
all that were in the graves should heai his voice and 

* Gospel of the Resurrection, p. 144. 


come forth ? Is it likely that he would be solemnly 
invested with an official function which was to lie in 
abeyance for unknown ages? 

5. With this harmonizes his declaration to the sor- 
rowing family at Bethany. To their view, the resur- 
rection was far away-too far to be a source of comfort 
under their grief. " I know that he shall rise again," 
said Martha, " in the resurrection at the last day. 
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life ; 
he that believeth on me even though he have died 
yet shall he live ; and whosoever liveth and believ- 
eth in me shall never die." True, this does not say 
in terms that her hope was too remote, but it certainly 
leaves it to be inferred. In Christ, that which they 
deemed far distant was a present reality. The prom- 
ise and potency of it was already embodied before 
them. "Whosoever believeth in me," — (and the words 
show that he had reference, not to the dead Lazarus 
alone, but to all believers in all time)-is made present 
victor over death and the grave. No meaning less than 
this is at all commensurate with the tender and solemn 
interest of this occasion. 

6. Take, next, the analogy employed by the apostle 
from the germination of a seed. Nothing can be more 
unmistakable or beautiful than the lesson taught as. 
" That which thou so west is not quickened except it 
die." The death and the quickening are in immedi- 
ate succession. Dig up a sprouting kernel of corn, 
and see the new shoot springing up directly out of the 
old decaying seed. And it is only while the old 
still remains, though decomposing, that the germina- 


tion is possible, Sever the germ from its matrix, and 
wait till the latter wholly disappears, and no power of 
quickening remains. 

It has been said that "wheat found in an Egyptian 
mummy has been made to grow after its vital ener- 
gies had lain dormant three thousand years." ^ Con- 
ceding the somewhat questionable fact, it only con- 
firms our position. Even in that case, the seed was 
"not quickened until it died." It had been deposited 
in a position where light and moisture were excluded, 
so that the maceration and softening requisite for the 
liberation of the germ and its first supplies of food 
could not take place. There being no death, there 
could be no resurrection. To make the case really 
parallel to the supposed distant resurrection, let the 
wheat have died and been decomposed three thousand 
years ago, and then let it be attempted out of the 
slight impalpable dust remaining, if any, to efPect 
germination and a new life. None can doubt what 
the result would be. 

It may be said that God will give the new spiritual 
body, as it pleaseth him. True, but so he giveth the 
new body of the wheat, and "to every seed its own 
body." This, however, does not prove that he dis- 
penses with natural laws in so doing. Such laws rule 
over all the other processes of life, its conception, its 
birth, its growth, its decay, — why may they not over 
its close, and the transition to a new life after death ? 
" The corporeal renovation of human nature," says 
Isaac Taylor, " may properly be regarded as an estab- 

^Bib. Sac, vol. II, p. 618. 


lished part of the great order of the material and sen- 
tient universe, or as a natural transition.^ Is not that 
one of the lessons designed to be taught under this 
very figure of the germinating seed, a process utterly- 
inexplicable to human understanding, yet recognized 
by all as taking place under one of the most familiar 
and unchangeable laws of nature ? 

7. The reply of our Lord to the question of the 
unbelieving Sadducees as to the woman who had had 
seven husbands, directly asserts that the resurrection 
was a present fact. Luke 20 : 27-38. Observe the 
present tense of all the words. The Sadduces deny 
that there is any resurrection, not will be. They ask, 
in the resurrection, whose wife is she ? His reply de- 
scribes a present condition, — they neither marry, nor 
are given in marriage ; they cannot die any more ; 
they are equal to the angels, and are the children of 
God, being the children of the resurrection. Would 
that have been the form of the language if our Lord 
had meant to teach a resurrection in the distant future 
only ? 

But more than this, he expressly affirms that the 
resurrection had taken place in the case of Abraham 
and the patriarchs. '' That the dead are raised — 
iyecfjouTOi — (it is the word specially used to denote 
the raising of the 5oc?y) Moses showed at the bush, 
when he called the Lord the God of Abraham and the 
God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not 
the God of the dead, but of the living," — i. e., of the 
risen. He professes to prove to the Sadducees the fact 

* Physical Theory of Another Life, chap. 12. 


of a resurrection — avdcrraac:: — from the then present 
condition of these patriarchs, as having already at- 
tained it. The very point of the argument fails if 
at that time the anastasis with them had not taken 

In the same conversation, while correcting the erron- 
eous notions of his questioners about the condition of 
the departed, he says, "Neither can they die any 
more : for they are equal unto the angeW'' — laaYjeXoc, 
The connection shows the reference to be not to the 
knowledge, or power, or rank of angels, but to their 
subjective condition. The dead do not marry, or con- 
tinue the corporeal life of this world (compare 1 Cor. 
6 : 13), but are like the angels. What, then, accord- 
ing to the current opinion of the Jews, was the condi- 
tion of the angels ? Let the learned Professor Louis 
Mayer, of the German Reformed Theo. Seminary, of 
York, Pa., answer. ''The ancients had not the mod- 
ern philosophical idea of spirit ; they conceived spirits 
to be incorporeal and invisible, but not immaterial, 
and supposed their essence to be a pure air or a subtil 
fire. — When the ancient Jews called angels spirits^ 
they did not intend by that term to deny that they 
were indued with bodies. If they affirmed that spirits 
were incorporeal, they used the term in the sense in 
which it was understood by the ancients, that is, free 
from the properties of gross matter. — In the Scrip- 
tures, angels always appear with bodies and in the hu- 
man form, and no intimation is anywhere given that 
these bodies are not real, or are only assumed at the 
time, and then laid aside. It was manifest, indeed, 


to the ancients, that the matter of these bodies was 
not like that of their own, inasmuch as angels could 
make themselves visible and vanish again from their 
sight, but this experience would create no doubt of 
the reality of their bodies ; it would only suggest to 
them that they were not composed of gross matter. 
— I do not mean that the fact that angels always 
appeared in the human form is a proof that they 
really have this form, but that the ancient .Tews be- 
lieved so." * 

An apparent confirmation of this belief is found in 
Paul's glowing description of the spiritual body, in 1 
Cor. 15 : 40. " There are celestial hodiesy It does 
not seem possible, as many have supposed, that he 
meant by these the starry or planetary worlds, — the 
" heavenly bodies" in an astronomical sense. The 
ancients certainly knew nothing of such bodies ; nor 
is there any fitting comparison between these and the 
bodies of men. Many of the first commentators, 
therefore, — Meyer, de Wette, Alford and Stanley, — 
understand here the bodies of angels. Dr. Poor, the 
translator of Kling's Commentary on 1 Corinthians 
(in Lange) adopts this view. "All the accounts given 
of the angels imply the possession of a material vehi- 
cle, more subtil and glorious than that of man, capa- 
ble of visibility or invisibility, at the option of the 
spirit within." 

When our Lord, therefore, told the Sadducees that 
the departed are " as the angels," or " equal to the 
angels," how certainly would they have understood 

« Am. Bib. Rep., vol. 12, p. 371-2. 


him to mean that they have bodies like theirs. Not 
those which, as in this life, lay the foundation of mar- 
riage and these earthly relations, but such as the 
angels have, divested of animal passion, ethereal, 
celestial, spiritual. Could they have supposed he 
meant disembodied spirits, of whose subjective state 
they could have formed no conception ? 

8. The scene of the Transfiguration presents to us 
not only our Saviour in his transfigured body but 
Moses and Elijah in glorified bodies, who " spake of 
his decease — (literally departure) which he should 
accomplish at Jerusalem." At the conclusion of the 
scene, the disciples who had been present were com- 
manded to "tell the vision to no man until the Son of 
Man be risen from the dead." It is added that they 
carefully observed the command, " inquiring with 
themselves what is the rising from the dead." Can 
we question that whatever other purposes this event 
was designed to serve, one was to teach them some- 
thing about the resurrection ? Did they not behold 
an exemplar of what He was to be after that approach- 
ing decease, attended by the glorified law-giver and 
great prophet of their nation in their risen state, so 
that when their Lord should have ascended and become 
lost to their mortal sight, they might comfort them- 
selves and the bereaved church with the assurance 
that he still lived, and that all his faithful saints who 
had gone before lived with him ? And in all their 
anxious inquiries as to the nature of the resurrection, 
must not their ideas have taken shape and color from 
this vision? Moses and Elijah had risen, — one who 


had died on Horeb, and the other who had been trans- 
lated without dying, but now in the same subjective 
state, the same spiritual bodies, appearing as the type 
and promise of what all his people should be. 

9. In accordance with this foreshadowed promise 
of the glorified state of his saints after death, Christ 
declares expressly that thei/ shall be with him. " If I 
go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and 
receive you unto myself that where I am there ye may 
be also." " I will that they also whom thou hast 
given me be with me where I am., that they may behold 
my glory." John 14 : 3 ; 17 : 24. But Christ ascended 
to heaven in his resurrection body. Wherever and 
whatever heaven may be, it is a sphere adapted to the 
abode of such a body. How then can his people be 
with him., if they too are not in such a personal condi- 
tion of being as to be adapted to that place ? Com- 
munion of intercourse, in this sense, seems possible 
only when there is a community of state. We cannot 
here have intercourse with our departed friends, and 
our Lord himself told the disciples that it was expedient 
for them that he should go away from them. The 
separation is the result of our different conditions of 
existence. So in heaven itself, how can his people see 
him, drink the new wine of the kingdom with him, 
walk with him in white, sit with him in his throne, and 
the like, if he have the glorified body of his Messiahship, 
and they remain still disembodied spirits ? We may 
be told that we do not know enough of the nature of 
either body or spirit to affirm its impossibility, which is 
true. But all that we do know, and all the probabil- 


ities which are discernible in respect to it go to show 
that if not an impossibility, it is at least an incongruity 
not to be received but upon decisive proof, — which 
here we have not. 

"Our present body," says Prof. Reuss, "has its 
seat in the soul ; that is, in the natural play of certain 
animal, sensuous powers ; the future body will have 
the spirit as its vital principle, and will be in its sub- 
stance heavenly. The mortal element will, so to 
speak, be absorbed by a more powerful element, 
namely, life. 2 Cor. 5 : 4. This idea springs again 
out of that of fellowship with Christ, which recurs 
constantly as the fundamental idea of the whole system. 
In truth, if our resurrection is a consequence of this 
fellowship, it follows that the conditions of the one 
will be in harmony with those of the other. We 
shall bear the body of the heavenly man, — of Christ 
glorified, — as we now bear, (and as he himself bore) 
the body of the earthly man, — the first Adam." Vol. 
II. p. 198. 

10. We find, therefore, that the actual expectation 
of the apostles and primitive Christians was that the 
resurrection was near. The coming of the Lord might 
even be in their life-time, in which case, there would 
be an instantaneous change in his living people to fit 
them to be with him. " Behold, I shew jow a mystery; 
we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed 
in a moment in the twinkling of an eye at the last 
trump ; for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall 
be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed." 1 
Cor. 15 : 52. " The dead in Christ shall rise first ; 


then we which are alive and remain shall be caught 
up together with them in the clouds," etc. 1 Thess. 
4: 17. A full consideration of these passages is 
deferred for the present. I refer to them now to show 
merely that whatever Paul understood to be the process, 
so to speak, of the resurrection, he expected that he 
and his brethren would live till it should occur. How 
is it possible to give any consistent meaning to his 
words on the supposition that he viewed it as many 
ages distant? 

11. It was this hope of a resurrection at death 
that cheered the apostle under the trials of the present 
life. In Rom. 8 ; 18-25, he gives us a vivid picture of 
the whole creation groaning and travailing in pain 
together. He adds, " And not only they but ourselves 
also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we 
ourselves do groan within ourselves, waiting for the 
adoption, (i. e. the full results of it, — for the adoption 
itself we have ; verse 15) to wit, the redemption of our 
hody.'" Observe, it is not waiting for death, which 
would be a release from the body, but for the recovery 
of this body from the bondage of sin, corruption and 
pain under which it once suffered,— in other words, for 
the incorruptible and glorious body of the resurrection 
life. This hope, so ardent, by which the apostle adds, 
parenthetically, we are saved, does not lie in his mind 
as one that is to be realized only after he has lain 
thousands of years in the grave. As a matter of fact, 
such was not his hope, nor is it the hope of other 
Christians ; nay, I maintain as heretofore, that it is a 
downright impossibility for any body to be in the 


attitude of waiting, with expectation and desire, for 
what is as such a vast remove from him. 

12. A fuller statement of the same hope is given 
in that most remarkable passage, 2 Cor. 4 : 14-5 ; 10. 
The apostle, as before, is speaking of the consolations 
which sustained him under his present trials. " Know- 
ing," says he, " that he which raised up the Lord 
Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus and shall present 
us with you," i. e. to his Father in glory as the fruits 
of his work of redemption. Compare Jude 24. " For 
which cause we faint not, but though our outward 
man — the body — perish, yet the inward man — the 
spiritual life — is renewed day by day. For our light 
affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a 
far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while 
we look not at the things which are seen, but at the 
things which are not seen ; for the things which are 
seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen 
are eternal." Most surely he refers here to a felicity 
then awaiting the saints, and not something which is 
to be reached only after thousands of years delay. 

He then proceeds more distinctly to describe this 
glorious hope. Using the familiar figure of a house to 
dwell in, he exhibits the contrast between the present 
and the future bodies. The one is an " earthly " 
abode, to be occupied while we live here ; the other is 
" in the heavens." The former is a " tabernacle " — 
axjvo(: — frail and transitory; the latter an "edifice — 
ocxodo/jLTju — of God, not made with hands and eternal." 
"We know," says he, " that if the one were dissolved, 
we have the other" — ^xofiev — we have it now ready 


and waiting for us, and not in the distant ages of the 
future. Ai^F^ remarks, after Meyer, " The present Alfc 
is used of the time at which the dissolution shall have 
taken placeJ^ Is it possible to understand him as 
meaning that there will be a vast period of duration 
between the two in which the poor naked soul shall 
" have " neither ? 

" For in this " — our earthly house, — " we do groan, 
earnestly desiring to be clothed upon" — (the figure 
becomes mixed, being partly that of a house, and 
partly that of a garment), " with our house which is 
from heaven." The meaning is that we have an earnest 
desire to put on that new body, without a dissolution 
of the old ; i. e. without having to encounter the pangs 
of dying. Then he throws in an incidental remark, 
having reference, probably, to those whom he had 
combated in his first epistle as denying that there is 
any resurrection. "Seeing that," — (our translation 
reads, " If so be that," — which seems scarcely intelli- 

NAKED." "The sense," says Alford is this; "For I 
do assert again that we shall in that day prove to be 
clothed with a body, and not disembodied spirits.'' 
This seems to be a direct, positive, explicit declaration 
of the apostle that men do not exist after death as 
disembodied spirits. 

He then proceeds, taking up anew the Christian's 
longing ; " For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, 
being burdened," — we groan heavily or deeply — " not 
that we would be unclothed but clothed upon, that 
mortality might be swallowed up of life ;" i. e. we do 


not desire to be divested of a body, but that our new- 
abode, like a garment, might be put on over the old 
one ; that what v^as mortal in the latter might be 
absorbed (another figure, incongruous with the other 
two but very expressive) by the immortal. Indeed, 
he adds, to this very result — the losing of the mortal 
in the immortal God has been working, viz., in our 
regeneration and sanctification, the first fruits of which 
he has already vouchsafed us in the gift of the Spirit. 
Therefore, he repeats the confidence before expressed, 
that whether that wish could be fulfilled or not, he is 
ready to accept the alternative of putting off the body 
and passing to his immortal state by death, seeing 
that it would take him to the presence of his Lord. 
" Wherefore," he says, " we labor that whether pres- 
ent " in this mortal body, " or absent " in the immor- 
tal body, "we may be accepted of him." 

Glancing now through this remarkable and extended 
passage ; observing its striking figures, and endeavor- 
ing to discover precisely how the subject lay in the 
mind of the apostle, I cannot resist the conviction that 
he viewed the resurrection in a manner very unlike 
that of the traditional theory ; that he believed the 
assumption of the spiritual body would immediately 
follow the demission of the natural body ; not occur- 
ring therefore simultaneously with the whole family of 
man, nor at some distant "end of the world," but 
successively, as individuals live and die, through all 
the ages of time ; — coeval therefore in its beginning 
and duration with the Parousia under which it was to 



Thus far, we have considered the Anastasis sub- 
jectively, as relating to men themselves, — the nature 
of the immortal body and the time when it is assumed. 
I now pass to inquire into its objective relations to the 
kingdom of Christ, and especially to the Parousia 
under which the resurrection occurs. 


In that supreme hour of most intimate and tender 
communion, in the upper room of the last supper, our 
Lord for the first time disclosed to the disciples some- 
thing of the future blessed state of his people. Here- 
tofore he had spoken mostly of their duties and trials 
on earth, and only in the most general terms of the 
rewards that should follow. But he is now about to 
leave them. The sad fact is announced, and the gath- 
ering shadows of the mysterious tragedy and the 
dreadful bereavement already fall heavily upon their 
hearts. Beyond the tomb, as their thoughts in antici- 
pation go with their departing Lord, they see little to 
cheer them. Sheol, the place of the dead under the 
earth, with its insatiable demands (Ps. 89 : 48 ; Prov. 
30 : 16) and its barred and locked doors (Job 17 : 16 ; 



Rev. 1: 18) was to a ,lo\v the ideal of all that was 
gloomy, even though the later teachings of the Rabbis 
had mitigated somewhat the terrors of the ancient 
views. Compare Luke 16 : 19-31 with Job 10 : 21, 
22; Eccl. 9: 10. It was, then, a new truth, trans- 
cending all they had ever conceived of, when, instead 
of the dark under-world whither past generations had 
gone, he pointed them upward to the glorious dwelling 
place of God. "In my Father's house are many 
mansions — I go to prepare A place for you. And if 
I go and prepare a place for you, I will eonie again and 
receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye 
may be also." 

To that place, therefore, he went at his ascension. 
He entered not into the holy places made with hands, 
which were the figures of the true, but into heaven 
itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. 
Heb. 9 : 24. There he sat down upon his new throne, 
where henceforth he was to reign forever. We need 
not ask too curiously just where that place is. Possibly 
the relations of the spiritual to the material are not 
such as to permit an answer. If we were required to 
form a conception on the subject, we should be inclined 
to locate it in near proximity to the earth itself. I 
cannot think of any other world, amid all the suns and 
stars, visible or invisible, in which we can have so deep 
an interest as this, where the cross was set up, where 
the Spirit dwelt with men, where was the outer and 
visible kingdom of heaven. Says Isaac Taylor, "Our 
conjecture is that within the field occupied by the visi- 
ble and ponderable univei*se, and on all sides of us, there 


is existing and moving another element, fraught with 
another species of life — corporeal indeed, and various 
in its orders, but not open to the cognizance of those 
who are confined to the conditions of animal organiza- 
tion ; not to be seen, not to be heard, not to be felt by 
man." » If we may adopt such a conjecture as this, 
we may feel that even here in the flesh, heaven is not 
far away from us. Were the veil of sense rent away, 
and we could see as the young man did who was with 
Elisha in the besieged city, we might behold ourselves 
surrounded with its inhabitants and its glories. " Ye 
are come," said the apostle, " unto Mount Zion, the 
city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and 
to an innumerable company of angels, to the general 
assembly and church of the first born which are written 
in heaven." Heb. 12 : 22. 

What the preparation was that Christ made in the 
place to which he ascended for the reception of his 
people, we do not fully know. One thing, however, 
we may confidently assert, that, by entering it himself 
in his risen state, he fitted it to be a resurrection world. 
It is not a place of disembodied spirits. He himself 
is not there as such a sjnrit, but in that glorious body 
which is the exemplar and the pledge of the glorified 
bodies of his saints. The common idea that it is a 
world of pure spirits— disemVjodied, incorporeal, naked, 
— has no warrant in either reason or Scripture. What- 
ever, therefore, was necessary to the freest communion 
between him in this glorious incarnate state and those 

» Physical Theory of Another Life, chap. xvii. The entire 
chapter is worthy of being read in this connection. 


who are to " be with him," — whatever of structure and 
scenery and organization and even adornment was 
required to make it a fitting world for their abode and 
felicity, that, we may be sure, he provided. 

The resurrection, then, in its complete idea is not 
merely a new existence in the spiritual body, but the 
reception of the risen saint into this " place prepared '* 
for Christ's people. Of the former all are partakers. 
" There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the 
just and the unjust." Acts 24 : 15. The latter belongs 
only to those who by faith in Christ become one with 
him ; members of his body ; quickened together with 
him, and made to sit together in heavenly places in 
Christ Jesus. 

This work of receiving his people into his prepared 
place is that which Christ as the Life-giver performs 
in his Parousia. " If I go and prepare a place for you, 
I will come again and receive you unto myself^ that 
where I am there ye may be also." It is described in 1 
Cor. 15, as subdivided into three stages, of which his 
own resurrection and ascension is one. Christ the first 
fruits, next the dead in Christ, and thirdly those who 
should be alive at his coming. 


" The dead in Christ shall rise first." The first act 
of the glorified Life-giver is to receive into his heavenly 
kingdom those of his own people who had deceased 
from earth prior to his coming. 

There are three different phrases by which those 


here meant are designated. In 1 Cor. 15 : 23 it is 
" they that are Christ's." In 1 Thess. 4 : 14, " them 
that sleep in Jesus," and in verse 16, "the dead in 
Christ." The primary reference, undoubtedly, is to 
departed Christians. The apostle had preached to the 
Thessalonians the near approach of the Parousia, with 
all the blessed hopes connected therewith, so that it 
was an object of the liveliest expectation among 
that people. But some of the believers meanwhile 
had died, and it became a question of deep anxiety 
with the survivors as to whether these would have any 
share in the expected glories. To meet this anxiety, 
Paul expressly says that those who should be alive at 
the Parottsia should not precede those who slept. For 
as Christ himself had died and risen again, so God 
would bring those that slept in Jesus — (Ellicott trans- 
lates " those laid to sleep through Jesus ") with him. 
It is very clear that in this case departed Christians 
only are referred to. 

By parity of reason, however, I cannot doubt that 
all the pious dead of the former dispensation are 
included in the same promise. For these all belonged 
to Christ. Though they had not known him in the 
flesh, yet they had seen him in the types appointed to 
represent him, and had accepted him by faith." 
" Abraham," said Christ, " rejoiced to see my day, and 
he saw it and was glad." The fathers, in the wilder- 
ness, drank of the Spiritual Rock, which was Christ. 
1 Cor. 10 : 42. And collectively of the saints of the 
former age, it is said, "These all died in faith, not 
having received the promises, but having seen them 


afar off, and were persuaded of them and embraced 
them." Heb. 11 : 13. 

All those, therefore, who through faith in Jesus 
were sleeping in hope, should attain their completed 
resurrection at his Parousia. Let as note the recorded 
steps of that great transaction. 

" The Lord himself shall descend from^ heaven with 
a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the 
trump of God." 1 Thess. 4: 16. In the parallel 
passage in 1 Cor. 15 : 52 only one of these particulars 
is mentioned, — " at the last trump ; for the trumpet 
shall sound." I cannot doubt that this is the same 
thing that is described by Christ himself in Matt. 24 : 
30. " They shall see the Son of Man coming in the 
clouds of heaven with power and great glory ; he shall 
send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet." I 
have already given my reasons for regarding this lan- 
guage as the costume under which Christ's assumption 
of his new kingdom is presented (see pp. 80-89); and 
also as being fulfilled, or beginning to be fulfilled, as 
was expressly declared it should be, in that existing 
generation (pp. 25-72). To assume that any other 
event or period is intended is utterly without warrant. 
Besides, the immediate connection shows that the 
apostle referred to a near event. He was expecting 
that both himself and his brethren would live to see 
it, and describes what should happen to those that did, 
founding thereon those earnest words of comfort and 
warning which are contained in the chapter following. 

" And the dead in Christ shall rise first." This is 
not the " first resurrection " mentioned in Rev. 20 : 5 ; 


as Ellicott says, " not with any reference to " that, 
" but, as the following then — inecra — siiggests, only to 
the fact that the resurrection of the dead in Christ 
shall be prior to the assumption of the living." I 
understand by this, that the first act of Christ in his 
kingly glory, was to bring into his '^ prepared place " 
the whole number of the pious dead who had departed 
before that event. They had indeed survived death 
and were existing in the ethereal and immortal bodies 
which they had then put on, but they had not been 
received into the " many mansions " appointed to be 
the final abode of the blessed, and which had been 
"prepared" for their reception only when Christ 
ascended thither in his own resurrection body. In 
this blessed assumption to his own dwelling place, was 
their resurrection complete. The former was indeed 
a resurrection from the grave ; the latter alone, was a 
resurrection to everlasting life. 

Where, then, if the departed saints of the elder 
time had risen from the dead, but had not been received 
to the Christian heaven, had they been ? We answer, 
In Hades, 

Hades, — in Hebrew, Sheol, — was in the belief of 
the Jews the place of the departed, where they were 
detained while awaiting the final judgment. The 
clearest view of it given us in the New Testament is 
in our Saviour's narrative of the Rich Man and Laz- 
arus, a narrative which must be regarded as confirm- 
ing it, in its main features, as a reality. Hades was 
a place of happiness or suffering according to the 
characters of its inmates, but both these, with the 


place itself were regarded as temporary, the one to be 
succeeded, after the judgment, by the final blessedness 
of heaven, the other by the lake of fire which is the 
second death. 

It has been the opinion of many interpreters, 
especially in the Roman and Anglican churches, that 
Christ at his death visited this world of the departed 
— as it is expressed in the Apostles' Creed, "He 
descended into Hell." His purpose in so doing is 
described to have been to announce to the souls 
detained there the completion of his work of redemp- 
tion, and then gathering his saints unto him, to burst 
the gates of that waiting place and ascend with them 
to his throne in glory. This theory is founded chiefl}' 
on the two passages occurring in 1 Peter 3 : 19 ; 4:6. 
It is probably alluded to in the ancient hymn of the 
" Te Deum," " When thou hadst overcome the sharp- 
ness of death, thou didst open the kingdom of heaven 
to all believers.*' 

Whether this theory in all its details be accepted or 
not, the conclusion of it harmonizes remarkably with 
what I have conceived to be the meaning of this res- 
urrection of the departed saints at Christ's Parousia. 
To this the apostle seems to refer in describing the 
incomplete state of these saints in Heb. 11. " These 
all, having obtained a good report through faith, re- 
ceived not the promise,''^ i. e., says Alford, "The Pkom- 
ISE, by eminence, the promise of final salvation." — 
"God having provided some better thing for us, that 
they without us should not be made perfect." Alford 
continues, "We must understand by the expression 


something better than they had, viz : the enjoyment 
here of the fulfillment of the promise, which they never 
had here, and only have there since Christ's descent 
into Hades and ascension into Heaven." — " The writer 
implies, as indeed, ch. 10 : 14 seems to testify, that 
the advent and work of Christ has changed the state 
of the O. T. fathers and saints into greater and per- 
fect bliss ; an inference which is forced on us by many 
other places in Scripture, so that the result with regard 
to them is, that their spirits, from the time when Christ 
descended into Hades and ascended up into Heaven, 
enjoy heavenly blessedness." So likewise in Heb. 
12 ; 23. " 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 gen- 
eral assembly and church of the first-born 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." Such was the 
place prepared by the ascended Redeemer for his peo- 
ple ; such the society to which it admits them ; there 
already was the church of the first-born, — the spirits 
of the just perfected in the glorious bodies of the res- 
urrection state,with Jesus himself, the mediator, in his 
risen body still bearing the marks of that great sacri- 
fice which signified better things than the blood of 


" Then we which are alive and remain [unto the 


coming — Parousia — of the Lord: verse 15] shall be 
caught up together with them in the clouds to meet 
the Lord in the air." 1 Thess. 4 : 17. " We shall not 
all sleep but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in 
the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump." 1 Cor. 
15: 51-2. 

The bearing of this passage on the time of the Par- 
ousia I have before discussed. See pp. 34-36. That 
Paul included himself and the Thessalonians as among 
the "living" at that time, most commentators now 
admit. The Greek word translated "which remain'* 
—of 7T£pd£(7r6j^£POi—ssijs Ellicott, "is simply and purely 
present. — At the time of writing these words St. Paul 
was one of the 'living' and 'remaining,' and as such he 
distinguishes himself from the 'sleeping' and naturally 
identifies himself with the class to which he then be- 
longed." It is affirmed of these : — 

1. That they shall ^'not sleep.^'' That is, they shall 
not, as those before them, descend into Hades, there 
to wait for Christ's coming. They shall pass directly 
to his presence, without going through that interme- 
diate place. Is not this the meaning of Christ's words 
to Martha, " He that liveth and believeth in me shall 
never die .^" We should remember what death was to 
the apprehension of a Jew ; how drear and forbidding 
the dark under-world into which it would introduce 
him, to have any realization of what such a promise 
would be to him. It does not mean that the body 
would not be put off in the ordinary course of nature, 
but that this would no longer be death. It would be 


as the apostle termed it, "to depart and be with 
Christ." Henceforth 

"There is no death; what seems so is transition." 

"By the death of Christ," says Alford (2 Tim. 
1 : 10), "Death has lost his sting, and is henceforth of 
no more account ; consequently, the mere act of natu- 
ral death is evermore treated by the Lord himself and 
his apostles, as of no account (compare John 11 : 26 ; 
Rom. 8 : 2, 38 ; 1 Cor. 15 : 55; Heb. 2 : 14), and its 
actual and total abolition foretold ; Rev. 21 : 4." 

2. That they shall be changed instantaneously. 
This appears still to be in contrast with the state of 
the sleepers. A long time elapsed after they dropped 
the natural body, before they arose from Hades into 
the light and blessedness of heaven. But Christians 
who live in and under the Parousia shall pass thither 
directly. The change shall be "in a moment, in the 
twinkling of an eye." Observe : it is not said that all 
shall be changed in the same moment ; that it shall be 
simultaneous with the whole body of Christians who 
shall live under the Parousia. It could not be, in 
fact, because all do not live at the same time. Gen- 
eration shall succeed generation through all the ages. 
Each individual, as he completes this life of probation 
shall, when the Lord calls him, pass at once to his 
"place" in the many mansions. 

**One gentle sigh his fetters breaks; 

We scarce can say, 'He's gone!' 
Before the willing spirit takes 

Its mansion near the throne." 


3. That they shall be caught up in the clouds into 
the air. Of course this is at the time of the change. 
The form of speech is apparently taken from the trans- 
lation of the prophet Elijah. As he did not die but 
was caught up in a chariot of fire and cloud into 
heaven, so Christians will be rapt away in glorious 
cloud chariots, — "the clouds forming the element with 
which they would be surrounded, and in which they 
would be borne up to meet their coming Lord. The 
transformation specified in 1 Cor. 25 : 52, 53, will nec- 
essarily first take place, upon which the glorified and 
luciform body will be caught up in the enveloping 
and up-bearing clouds." Ellicott. Need it be said 
that these are not the clouds of our material atmos- 
phere ? The expression "into the air," conforms evi- 
dently to popular apprehension, as when we speak of 
going up to heaven. Says Ellicott, "The air, as de 
Wette well observes, marks the way to heaven^ 

4. This change of the living shall be, — that is he- 
gin to be, — at the same time that the sleepers in Christ 
are taken up to the presence of the Lord. "Caught 
up together with them ; i. e., says Ellicott, " we shall 
be caught up with them at the same time that they 
shall be caught up." Paul had just before said that 
those who were living at the time of the Parousia 
should not precede the sleepers ; so now he says the 
sleepers shall not precede the living. Those from 
Hades, these from time ; the former after long waiting, 
the latter instantaneously, shall experience the full 
power of the resurrection, being ushered together into 
the presence of the glorified and now coming Messiah. 


5. Both these events shall be at his coming in his 
Parousia. The risen dead and the changed living 
shall be caught up together to meet him in that com- 
ing. The apostle adds, " So shall we ever be with the 
Lord." This shall be the fulfillment of his promise 
and of his prayer, that they whom the Father had giv- 
en him should be with him where he is to behold his 
glory. John 17 : 24. 

It is scarcely necessary to say that this grand series 
of events occurs wholly in the invisible world. The 
coming of Christ with his angels, the blowing of the 
trumpet, the ascension of the risen sleepers, the instan- 
taneous change of those living under the Parousia 
and their assumption to meet the Lord in the air, — all 
these are spiritual events, above the sphere of sense. 
Their indices appear here in the changed aspect of 
death to Christ's people, the radiant peace which fills 

"The chamber where the good man meets his fate," 

and in the dear remains which we so tenderly lay away 
in the earth whence they were taken, but their occur- 
rence as facts lies within the veil, to be first seen by 
the Christian only when the Saviour comes to him, to 
receive him to himself. 

I am very sensible how far the view I have given 
above of these difficult passages differs from the tra- 
ditional doctrine of the resurrection. Differs in form, 
I mean ; for I trust it is not inferior to it in its deep- 
est significance and force. We may, perhaps, be helped 


to a clearer estimate of its merits by glancing for a 
moment at the chief features of this traditional doc- 

It is founded, as all know, on the literal acceptation 
of the scripture language in its baldest, most material 
sense. Of the signification of that language as used 
by the Jews in Christ's day, of their belief respecting 
death and Hades, and of the relations between those 
who lived before and after Christ's own death and 
resurrection, no account seems to be made. The body 
is this material frame, of bones and flesh and blood. 
Christ will come in the clouds of our atmosphere, with 
an angel blowing a trumpet, and with a loud voice 
will address the generations of the dead and bid them 
come forth out of the graves. Let a learned divine 
and poet of the last century describe to us the scene 
that shall follow. 

"Now monuments prove faithful to tlieir trust 
And render back their long committed dust; 
Now charnels rattle ; scattered limbs and all 
The various bones, obsequious to the call, 
Self-moved advance ; the neck, perhaps, to meet 
The distant head ; the distant head the feet. 
Dreadful to view ! see, though the dusky sky- 
Fragments of bodies in confusion fly. 
To distant regions journeying, there to claim 
Deserted members and complete the frame. 
The severed head and trunk shall join once more, 
Though realms now rise between and oceans roar; 
The trumpet sound each vagrant mote shall hear, 
Or fixed in earth, or if afloat in air. 
Obey the signal wafted in the wind. 
And not one sleeping atom lag behind. 
So swarming bees that, on a summer's day, 


In airy rings and wild meanders play, 

Charmed with the brazen sound their wanderings end, 

And gently circling on a bough descend." 

The Last Day, by Dr. Young. 

This gross, mediaeval conception of the resurrection 
has doubtless been more or less modified in our own 
day. President Dwight, for instance, discarded the 
idea that the resurrection body is the same as this mortal 
body, either in the particles that compose it or the 
constitution, arrangement, and qualities of its elements. 
" Reason," says he, " decides with absolute certainty 
that a constitution which involves in its nature decay 
and termination cannot belong to a body destined for 
the residence of an immortal and ever vigorous mind." 
This was a vast innovation upon the ancient opinions. 
Had the learned President followed out his own 
reasonings, we can hardly doubt that he would in like 
manner have rescued the remainder of the doctrine 
from its repulsive materialistic aspects. 

It is still generally held that the resurrection is to 
be simultaneous, at the far distant " end of the world," 
at the visible appearance of the Lord in the clouds to 
judge both the living and the dead. All this, as 
before said, is built up on the mere costume of descrip- 
tions relating to events which I have endeavored to 
show are now long past. The only coming of the Lord 
in the clouds that men were bidden to expect, they 
were also bidden to look for in the generation then 
existing. The only end of the world ever spoken of, 
was that which the apostle declared to be at hand. 1 
Pet. 4 : 7.^ 

» " The apostles, it is urged, looked for an immediate * end of 


The theory of a far distant simultaneous resurrec- 
tion involves difficulties of the very gravest magni- 
tude. It necessitates a belief in the extinction of the 
soul at death, or in the existence of a world of disem- 
bodied, naked spirits. The former of these is ahke ab- 
horrent to all the instincts and hopes of men, and con- 
trary to all the teacliings of the Bible. The latter, as 
I have tried to show, is opposed to all we know of the 
nature of man, and all we know of the nature and 
state of the heavenly world. It is inconsistent, more- 
over, with the very idea of a resurrection as involving 
the continuation of personality. It destroys that bond 
of vital union with Christ, our risen and glorified 
Lord, out of which our resurrection comes as a direct 
consequence. That union, as Prof. Reuss says, is "the 
fundamental idea" of the apostle's doctrine of the res- 
urrection. '' The theory," he says further, "of a uni- 
versal and simultaneous resurrection is in fact taken 
from Judeo-Christianity, and harmonizes but ill with 

the world,' and the event shews that they were in error. Yet 
to any one who really penetrates below the surface of the first 
age, it will be equally evident that the ' end of the world ' was 
expected and that it really came. It is possible that the apostles 
themselves, like the prophets in earlier times, did not realize 
the mode in which their expectations would be fulfilled; it is 
certain that many who heard them affixed false and chimerical 
interpretations to their teaching ; but in the light of Christian 
history their written words were fully accomplished. The 
destruction of Jerusalem is ' the meeting of the ages ' [1 Cor. 
10: 11] the death of the 'old world' and the birth of the 'new 
world.' The Lord ' came ' when the acknowledged center of 
* the people of God ' was desolated. A spiritual and universal 
presence [Parousia] was substituted for a material and local 
presence." Westcott, p. 218. 


the system of Paul which rests upon wholly different 
foundations. We shall not be astonished to find the 
religious consciousness of the apostle shaking off at 
times the fetters imposed upon it by this doctrine, 
and seeking a solution more in accordance with the 
premises of his own system. Thus the present life, 
which is represented as a temporary sojourn in a body 
which binds us to earth, is called absence, a separation 
from our true home which is with Christ. To be 
parted from this body is to be joined to Christ ; it is 
to find the home for which our hearts sigh. By these 
same terms the idea of an intermediate state is set 
aside ; there is no more room for it ; but the idea of a 
universal and simultaneous resurrection is rendered 
untenable also^ Vol. II, p. 198. In like manner the 
late Prof. E. T. Fitch of Yale College says, "The res- 
urrection of the body spoken of in 1 Cor. 15, is not 
the re-animation of the organized body that was laid 
down in the grave, but rather the gift to the soul of 
a far different body like that of the glorified Jesus, 
not of flesh and blood as before, but fashioned glori- 
ously, such as Christians who remain alive at the com- 
ing of Christ will receive by miraculous change. 
Hence, it is not so obvious as might at first appear 
that these spiritual bodies of the saints are not given 
to them at death.^'' N. Englander, vol. XXV. 

And says Prof. Reuss, " A natural consequence of 
what has been said as to the intimate connection be- 
tween faith and the resurrection is, that there can be 
no interval between the present life and the future, — 
between death and the resurrection in the gospel sense 


of the latter. If faith is the cause of life, the effect 
must follow wherever the cause exists and operates. 
If the bond between the cause and effect could be 
broken, the cause would remain forever dead and 

It is very possible that we shall be warned of the 
danger of entertaining the views here advanced, from 
the condemnation pronounced by the apostle upon 
Hymenseus and Philetus, "who concerning the truth 
have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already, 
and overthrow the faith of some." To this it will be 
sufficient to reply that the doctrine they taught was 
very different from ours. They understood the res- 
urrection to be merely man's escape from ignorance 
by faith in Christ, which was consummated in baptism.* 
The real doctrine of the resurrection they denied 

*Tertullian described it as " ignorantise morte discussa, 
velut de sepulcro veteris hominis eruperit ; — exinde ergo resur- 
rectionem fide consecutos cum Domino esse cum eum in baptis- 
mate indueiint." Quoted in Alford. 



There are certain practical inferences suggested by 
the foregoing views which, though not sufficiently- 
established by positive scripture teaching to be regard- 
ed as doctrine, seem to be highly probable, and fraught 
with much that is both comforting and admonitory in 
the anticipation of the future life. 

1. The first is that the spiritual body, the ethereal 
investiture of the psyche or soul, having its germinal 
existence in the present body and emerging therefrom 
with the soul at death, retains in the resurrection state 
the present human form. The authorities cited by 
Mr. Cook as having demonstrated its present existence 
teach that it has that form now ; that could it be dis- 
solved out of the animal structure, as the osseous and 
muscular system, the veins, the arteries, and the nerves 
might be, it would be every wliere coincident with the 
human physical outline. P. 225. In the scene of 
tlie transfiguration, not only Christ himself but Moses 
and Elijah evidently had that form. The Saviour 
appeared in it to St. John in Patmos. Even the angels 
are always represented in the same manner. "We 
assume," says Mr. Taylor, " that the apparent import 
of some passages and phrases of Scripture tends to 
suggest the belief that the die of human nature, as to 

13 273 


its form and figure, is to be used again in a new world. 
Partly on the ground of inferences from general prin- 
ciples, and partly on the strength of particular asser- 
tions, we suppose that the fair and faultless paradisaical 
model of human beauty and majesty, which stood forth 
as the most illustrious instance of creative wisdom — 
the bright gem of the visible world — this form, too, 
which has been borne and consecrated by incarnate 
Deity — that it shall at length regain its forfeited hon- 
ors and once more be pronounced ' very good,' so good 
as to forbid its being superseded ; on the contrary, 
that it shall be reinstated and allowed, after its long 
degradation, to enjoy its birthright of immortality." ^ 
2. The second inference, in the same direction, is 
that having the human form, that spiritual body will 
wear, sufficiently at least for recognition, the features 
of the present body. President Dwight, in his sermon 
on the resurrection, says, " That the body will be the 
same, in such a sense as to be known, appears suffi- 
ciently evident from the Scriptures. Mankind will 
know each other in the future world, and their bodies 
will be so far the same as to become the means of this 
knowledge." Vol. IV. pp. 434, 5. Here, then, we 
find an answer to the question so often wrung from" 
bereaved and sorrowing hearts, " Shall we know our 
friends in heaven ? " — a question forced upon them by 
the defectiveness of our traditional ideas of the resur- 
rection. It is impossible to frame a definite concep- 
tion of a disembodied spirit. Form and features are 
the result of extension, and that is a property of 

* Physical Theory, Chapter xi. 


matter. The attributes of spirit are thought, feeling, 
volition, but these do not constitute personality. 
There is nothing in such case for the imagination, the 
creative faculty of the mind, to lay hold of and shape 
into a conception which it can think of, much less 
can view as corresponding to an actually existing being. 
Therefore, to ordinary apprehension the heavenly 
world is a realm of shadows, and the broken heart 
turning back from its cheerless emptiness cries out 
piteously for any evidence that the dear departed can 
ever be known. But if the soul goes forth not un- 
clothed but arrayed in its glorious spiritual body, 
bearing the known and loved features of this life with 
their expression only intensified by the perfection they 
will have attained in putting on immortality, then the 
recognition will be even more easy than here on earth. 

3. So, thirdly, the conditions are realized upon 
which society/ becomes possible. As the risen saint 
can '' be with " his risen Lord, so risen saints can be 
with each other. There can be intercourse and com- 
munion between them. They can together worship 
and serve. From the East and the West they can 
come and sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob 
in the kingdom of God. Heaven becomes a commu- 
nity ; its inmates members of the family of Christ, one 
in him as he is one with the Father. 

4. It does not seem impossible or improbable that 
the relationships of the present world, in their spiritual 
aspects at least, may be continued in the resurrection 
life. Have not the words of Christ in reply to the Sad- 
ducees been pressed beyond his intended meaning? 


In that life " they neither marry nor are given in mar- 
riage, but are as the angels." But that is not saying 
that the effects of this first of all earthly relations do 
not continue. The work of probation was very largely 
wrought out through these very relations. The mother 
is often as truly a mother to her son's spiritual as to 
his earthly life. Husband and wife who were really 
united in love, and for twenty, forty, and sometimes 
sixty years lived together in the most intimate of all 
ties, — working together in the common tasks of life, 
and sharing together in all its outward experiences, 
become so molded to each other and assimilated in 
all the elements of their being, that they are spiritually 
one. It is a species of violence even to conceive of 
all this so done away as to render these two persons 
no more or different towards each other in the heavenly 
state than towards any others. So. with the difference 
of sex. In it, probably more than any one thing of 
time, are the causes which determine human character. 
How is it possible that a retribution which consists in 
the fruits of an earthly probation should show no cor- 
respondence to these earthly peculiarities? How can 
it be true that " whatsoever a man soweth that shall 
he also reap," if the reaping do not bear some distinct 
and recognizable marks of the sowing ? 

In the doctrine of the spiritual body, then, as now 
exhibited, we see a ground for anticipating the contin- 
uance, in all their spiritual aspects and results, of the 
present relationships of life. We do not believe that 
all the pure loves, the tender sympathies, the sweet 
companionships of time, which give to life here its 


chiefest enjoyments, are to perish with the expiring 
breath. We cannot reprove as unfounded the yearn- 
ing of the mother for the meeting with her little one 
at the portals of the heavenly mansions. Rather is it 
the very inspiration of Christian hope which sings : — 

" She is not dead, — the child of our affection — 

But gone unto that school 
Where she no longer needs our poor protection 

And Christ himself doth rule. 

*'In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion, 

By guardian angels led, 
Safe from temptation, safe from sin's pollution, 

She lives whom we call dead. 

"Day after day we think what she is doing 

In those bright realms of air ; 
Tear after year her tender steps pursuing, 

Behold her grown more fair. 

" Thus do we walk with her and keep unbroken 

The bond which nature gives, 
Thinking that our remembrance though unspoken 

May reach her where she lives." 

So with all the other ties of nature. Because they are 
such we believe them to be immortal. Were there no 
other proof of this, the very fact that our Lord liim- 
self was born into these human relationships and sanc- 
tified them by his divine experience would be to us a 
pledge of their perpetuity. He will no more cease to 
be the Son of Man, than he can cease to be the Son 
of God. 

6. In fine, we may conclude from all these consid- 
erations, that the heavenly world is much nearer to us, 
not only in space and time but also in its essential 
nature, than we have been wont to imagine. Though 


it be a spiritual world, it is yet a world of substance. 
If its inhabitants are in part human beings glorified, 
is it too much to infer that its scenery, its employments, 
its joys, are those of earth glorified? Is there no 
meaning in the description of a heavenly city, with 
streets and houses, and a river of life, and fruit bear- 
ing trees, and white robes, and palm branches of 
victory, and harps, and vials of odors, and all manner 
of precious stones, and the bread and the new wine of 
the kingdom, of which the Lord will partake with his 
people ? For disembodied spirits, indeed, having no 
element to connect them with a material universe, all 
these can have no appreciable meaning. But to those 
who have been made like to Christ in his resurrection 
body, they may all be as real as that body itself. They 
give us glimpses of a world having substance and 
color and warmth ; a world that we can think of ; with 
pleasures and businesses that we can anticipate, 
instead of formless shadows and mirages as unsubstan- 
tial as the fancies of a dream. 

6. At the same time, we have a substantial basis 
on which to build those conceptions of a life higher 
than this of earth, which it is reasonable to expect in 
heaven. For as the spiritual body excels the fleshly 
in all the elements of beauty and strength and capacity, 
so we may believe that its separate experience both 
active and passive will be immeasurably superior to 
that of the present life. Mr. Isaac Taylor has drawn 
out the supposed particulars of such a condition in his 
" Physical Theory of Another Life," a work in which 
the boldest conjecture is mingled with the most careful 


philosophy, in sketching the consequences which may 
be conceived to follow the substitution of a spiritual 
for the present animal body. They are, to state them 
in our own words, 1. An enlarged power of mind 
over matter, such as shall enable one to move at will 
through the physical universe. 2. A direct percep- 
tion and knowledge of all the facts of that universe. 
3. An intuitive knowledge of the interior nature and 
properties of all matter. 4. A perfect memory. 5. 
The power of incessant mental activity. 6. The 
power to carry on many processes of thought at the 
same time. 7. An intuitive perception of abstract 
truth, however complicated. 8. The power of exact 
infallible utterance, in other words, a perfect language. 
9. The body a perfect instrument and servant of the 

I could not, if I attempted, develop the consequences 
of such a supposed series of facts as constituting, in 
part, the elements of the spiritual life, as this learned 
and able author does. I refer to them as giving us 
hints which we may use, and add to at our pleasure, 
in our endeavors to make that life real, and so an 
object of stimulating hope and rational expectation. 
To that end we need two things-that the world which 
is to be our final home shall be something higher than 
this, and at the same time shall not be wholly unlike 
this. While thus satisfying our most ardent anticipa- 
tions, it will wear also aspects of familiarity that will 
make it a liome to us. It will promise us society, 
scenes, occupations, and even service, like those to 
which we had been trained while fitting for that 


world, only transfigured in glory and joyousness as 
becomes the dwelling place of the Lord. 

"For doubt not that in other worlds above, 
There must be other offices of love ; 
That other tasks and ministries there are 
Since it is promised that His servants there, 
Shall serve Him still." — Trench. 



In his Parousia, Christ was to exercise the functions 
of a JUDGE. '' It is he which was ordained of God to 
be the Judge of quick and dead." Acts 10: 42. 
" The Father judge th no man, but hath committed all 
judgment unto the Son, that all men should honor the 
Son, even as they honor the Father." John 5 : 22, 23. 
This, indeed, is one of the prerogatives pertaining to 
him as King. That sovereign authority which gives 
law to his moral universe, guards also its honor and 
applies its sanctions. We have seen (p. 19) that in 
the Old Testament usage the two words signifying to 
reign and to judge are nearly synonymous, and often 
used interchangeably. But it is more in accordance 
with modern usage to conceive of the two as distinct, 
understanding by the latter the execution of law, and 
in general, the maintainance of the principles of jus- 
tice and righteousness among the subjects of his king- 



The form under which this part of our Lord's 
administration is presented to us, like most other mat- 
ters in eschatology, is to be found in the Old Testa- 
ment. Says the learned Joseph Mede, " The mother- 
text of Scripture whence the church of the Jews 
grounded the name and expectation of the G-reat Bay 
of Judgment^ with the circumstances thereto belong- 
ing, and where unto almost all the descriptions and 
expressions thereof in the New Testament have refer- 
ence, is that vision in the seventh of Daniel, of a ses- 
sion of judgment when the fourth beast came to be 
destroyed ; where this great assizes is represented after 
the manner of the great Synedrion^ or Consistory of 
Israel, wherein the " Pater Judicii " had his " Assess- 
ores" sitting upon seats placed semi-circle-wise before 
him, from his right hand to his left. ' I beheld,' says 
Daniel, (verse 9,) Hill the thrones or seats were pitched 
down ' (viz. for the senators to sit upon ; not ' thrown 
down' as we of late have it) 'and the Ancient of 
Days (Pater Consistorii) did sit,' etc., ' and I beheld 
till the Judgment was set' (i. e. the whole Sanhedrim) 
^ and the books were opened.' Here we see both the 
form of the judgment delineated, and the name of 
judgment expressed, which is afterwards yet twice 
more repeated, Ver. 21, 22, 2Q. From this descrip- 
tion it came that the Jews gave it the name of Yom 
Din^ and Yom Dina rahba., the ' Day of Judgment,' 
and the ' Day of the Great Judgment ' ; whence, in the 


epistle of St. Jude, (ver. 6), it is called xfnac;; fitydhi^ 
■fjfxipar., the judgment of the great day. From the 
same fountain are derived those expressions in the 
Gospel, where this ' day ' is intimated or described ; 
' The Son of man shall come in the clouds of heaven.' 
' The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father 
with his holy angels,' forasmuch as it is said here 
(ver. 1) ' Thousands and thousands ministered unto 
him,' etc., and that Daniel saw (ver. 13), 'One like 
the Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven, and 
he came unto the Ancient of Da^^s, and they brought 
him (or placed him) near him,' etc. Hence St. Paul 
learned that 'the saints shall judge the world ' because 
it is said that ' many thrones were set,' and (ver. 22) 
by way of exposition, that ' judgment was given to the 
saints of the Most High.' " Quoted in Bush's Anas- 
tasis^ pp. 279, 80. 

In his own description of the judgment (Matt. 25 : 
31-46), our Lord somewhat modifies the form. The 
Judge is here the King sitting in majesty upon his 
throne. A vast retinue of angels attend him and wait 
to do his bidding. His heralds, with sounding trum- 
pets, summon the nations of mankind into his pres- 
ence. Their deeds are tried by the fundamental law 
of the kingdom, — the law of love, — of which the King 
himself in the days of his humiliation had been an 
exemplar. Those who have obeyed that law are 
received to the place of favor on his right hand and 
admitted to the honors and felicities of his kingdom, 
while those that have failed in that obedience are ban- 
ished from his presence to the prison prepared for the 
King's enemies, there to be punished for ever. 


Such is the costume under which the grand and 
solemn truth of the judgment is presented to us, and 
like that which invests the coming of Christ, it is 
specially adapted to promote the ethical purposes to 
be served by that truth. Nothing could be more awe- 
inspiring; nothing better fitted to awake in every 
being who is to stand at that tribunal that reverent 
fear of the Lord which is " the beginning of wisdom." 
If, however, we seek to fit it into a system of doctrine 
covering the whole field of eschatology, and especially 
to adapt it to the doctrine of Christ's Parousia and 
kingdom, it is necessary for us to go somewhat behind 
this costume and learn, if we can, more exactly what 
is signified by it. 


Popular apprehension assigns it, like the second 
coming and the resurrection, to the distant future. 
Not that this fact is any where expressly asserted in 
the Scriptures. It seems to be an inference drawn 
from the figure employed of a judicial session, after 
the manner of the great Sanhedrim, or of an oriental 
court where a monarch in the presence of his grandees 
dispenses his favors and his frowns towards his subjects. 
As the judgment is to extend to the entire family of 
man, so the whole are conceived of as standing together 
before the Judge, which implies, of course, that it must 
be after all have lived. The same impression has been 
strengthened by the phrases, the " end of the world " 
and " the last day." So that really a mere incident in 


the costume, or form under which the majestic truth 
has been presented to our conceptions, has been taken 
as a literal representation of fact. The Judgment as 
the grand event which is to adjust for every individual 
the results of life, — the retribution for all its guilt, the 
reward for all its virtue, the source of all hope and 
comfort under its toils and trials, and of all admoni- 
tion against its weakness and wrong-doing, is shorn of 
its power as an impending reality and made little more 
than a name. " Because sentence against an evil work 
is not executed speedily^ therefore the heart of the sons 
of men is fully set in them to do evil." Eccl. 8 : 11. 
There are, however, very grave difficulties of a pos- 
itive kind attending the theory which places the gen- 
eral judgment far away, at the so-called end of the 
world. For by that supposition, large numbers of 
mankind are not judged until long after probation has 
closed and after they have been for ages in heaven or 
hell. Take the apostle Paul, who had so longed to 
depart and be with Christ. We cannot doubt that his 
holy longing was gratified by the cruel edict of Nero 
full eighteen centuries ago. All this time, Paul has 
been with his Lord, enjoying the blessed resurrection 
of the martyrs, and ascending from grade to grade in 
the endless progression of glorj^ and felicity. Are we, 
then, to believe that after so long a period, — nay, as 
much longer as from now to the end of the world, — 
he is to be recalled from his martyr's throne and crown, 
to come and take his place by the side of Judas who 
equally long ago went " to hi* own phice," and with 
those who will have died but yesterday, before the 


judgment seat, to give account of and to receive for 
tlie deeds done in the body ? Surely not. All our 
ideas of fitness revolt from such an incongruity. The 
eternal blessedness of those who having died in the 
Lord rest from their labors is not to be broken in 
upon afterwards by such a proceeding. Whatever 
theory of the judgment involves such a conclusion must 
be wrong. 

So with its assumed simultaneousness, — where but 
in the mere costume of the prediction is it to be found ? 
Human life and probation are not simultaneous ; if the 
judgment is to be, a portion of men must be judged 
before they live, or another portion long after, — which 
involves the inconsistency just noticed. 

Let us see if a careful inquiry into the Scriptures 
will not discover a more reasonable view than is invol- 
ved in either of those suppositions. 

1. The office of Christ as Judge is an essential 
part of his office as King, and cannot be separated 
from it. If he now reigns over mankind as their moral 
ruler, he must in that very fact be taking cognizance 
of their moral conduct as obedient or disobedient sub- 
jects. He must, in the nature of things, approve the 
former and disapprove the latter. He may, in order 
to allow time for a probation, suspend for a while the 
administration of the proper rewards of their conduct, 
but even this is a judicial act, performed by a present 
judicial authority in present exercise. The details of 
the judgment, — the time, place, and manner of it, — are 
within his discretion and ordered by his supreme wis- 
dom, but the fact of it is one already existing, because 


he has already entered upon his supreme office as 
King. This must have been the meaning of his 
emphatic assurance to his disciples that before some 
of them standing by him tasted death they should see 
him coming in the glory of his Father with his angels, 
and then he would reward every man according to his 
works (Matt. 16 : 27, 28), i. e. would begin an admin- 
istration of reward, as each individual should finish his 
probation and depart thence to appear before his throne. 

2. The nature of moral conduct and of man as a 
moral being is such as to imply a virtual judgment, 
self registered in every act performed by him, which 
judgment is simply declared and confirmed at the bar 
of God. He who sins, in so doing places himself under 
condemnation. Whatever is fearful in being in that 
relation toward God and his law is already incurred, 
save only that for a time, while here in the flesh, he is 
in a world where he may repent and find pardon. This 
is what Christ himself says, " He that believeth not 
has been judged already " — qd-rj xixpirac. John 3 : 18. 

Already, too, has this judgment been pronounced 
upon him. His conscience is the representative of 
God, and in his name speaks instantaneously of his 
guilt and punishment. And with what appalling dis- 
tinctness and power this is sometimes done we all know, 
— how it blanches the cheek, and paralyses the limbs, 
and conjures up nameless shapes of terror to haunt the 
soul and fill it with " a certain fearful looking for of 
fiery indignation that shall devour the adversaries." 
Thus all the elements that can enter into the final sen- 
tence exist already. They may be intensified by future 


sin, and they may, — thank God, — be blotted out by 
repentance and the cleansing blood of Christ, but these 
do not alter the fact that the present character itself 
determines the present state. It needs no formal trial, 
as in human courts, to ascertain justice. Christ's judg- 
ment seat, the accuser, the evidence, the law, and the 
verdict are all in man's own heart. 

3. It is implied in a state of probation that the 
results of it shall be entered on at the close of that 
period. In the present life man is in the forming stage 
of his being. Law in its strict requirements is made 
subservient to Grace. Life and death, heaven and 
hell, are held out to him for his choice, while instruc- 
tion and entreaty and the discipline of Providence and, 
above all, the ministry of the Holy Spirit are given 
that he may be won to the love of God. Now all this 
implies that when the end of such a state is reached, 
its results are expected at once to follow. Both reason 
and Scripture are silent as to any second probation 
beyond this life. Why then should there be any delay 
in entering upon the due rewards of probation ? Why 
should the good man who has toiled and suffered for 
Christ's sake, — who has finished his course and kept 
the faith, — be made to wait for the crown of righteous- 
ness laid up for him ? Why should the sinner who 
has exhausted hope and become ready for " his own 
place," be kept from going to it ? What end of justice, 
— what requirement of government, calls for delay for 
thousands of years before the end for which every thing 
else was but preparation should be reached ? 

4. The current language of our Saviour and the 


apostles in relation to this subject seems to teach that 
the judgment period, or '' day " as the Jews termed it, 
was then about to begin. Take, first, the great judg- 
ment scene described in Matt. 25: 31-46. " 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," etc. But in the previous part of this dis- 
course it is repeatedly and explicitly affirmed that that 
coming should be in that generation ; and the words 
" when " and " then " link the judgment with it in 
most express terms. I can make no meaning of this 
language if it does not teach that the tribunal at 
which all nations should be gathered was to be estab- 
lished within the period mentioned. So with the 
earlier declarations just quoted. " The Son of man 
shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels, 
and then shall he reward, — i. e. begin to reward — every 
man according to his works. — There be some standing 
here who shall not taste of death till they see the Son 
of man coming in his kingdom." The same idea runs 
through all the writings of the apostles. Of the 
numerous passages heretofore cited to show that they 
regarded the Parousia as near, not a few mention the 
judgment particularly as then to be initiated. " He 
hath appointed a day in the which he will — (Greek, is 
about to) judge the world in righteousness by that 
man whom he hath ordained." It is not the simple 
future tense of the verb that is here used, but a phrase 
made with the auxiliary verb fjtiUoj^ signifying " to he 
about to do or suffer any thing, to be on the point of^'* 
— rRobinson). It implies that the event to which 


reference was made was very near. The same word 
is employed in 2 Tim. 4:1. "I charge thee before 
God and the Lord Jesus Christ who shall — is about 
to — ^judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and 
his kingdom." 1 Peter 4:5. ••' VV' ho shall give account 
to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead." 
This phrase is stronger than the preceding ; it denotes 
that all things are prepared and waiting for the event. 
Compare Acts 21 : 13 ; 2 Cor. 10 : 6 ; 12 : 14 ; 1 Peter 
4:17. " For the time is come that judgment must 
begin at the house of God," — literally, " It is the time 
of the beginning of the judgment," a declaration which 
Alford expressly acknowledges as referring to the 
destruction of Jerusalem which was then near at hand. 
And in all those passages which speak of Christ's 
coming as a ground of joy or hope or fear, there is an 
implied recognition of it as the time when he will 
reward his faithful friends and punish his and their 
enemies, — in other words as the time of the judgment. 
The servants who had received the talents were to 
watch because they knew not at what hour their lord 
would come to call them to account for their trust. 
" Judge nothing before the tim.e," said Paul, referring 
to the estimates in which the Corinthians were hold- 
ing their different teachers, " until the Lord come who 
both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, 
and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts ; and 
then shall every man have praise of God. — Henceforth 
there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which 
the Lord, the righteous Judge, sliall give me in that 
day, and not to me only but also to all them that love 


his appearing.— Be patient, brethren, unto the Parousia 
of the Lord ; stablish your hearts for the Parousia of 
the Lord draweth nigh. — Grudge not one against 
another lest ye be judged — xtn&r^re ;— behold the Judge 
standeth before the door. — Behold I come quickly and 
my reward is with me to give every man as his work 
shall be." Rev. 22: 12. 

Instead, then, of mere inferences drawn from the 
figures under which it is described or from the mis- 
understood import of the Jewish phrase of " the last 
day," I adduce these numerous express statements that 
the Judgment, so called, or that period in which Christ 
was to possess and execute the office of a Judge over 
mankind, and administer the appropriate rewards for 
their conduct, disciplinary in the present life and penal 
in the life to come, was to hegin^ at least, with the begin- 
ning of his kingdom in the generation then existing. 
And to this have conformed the facts of history. It 
was but a brief space before the first Christians had 
evidence that their ascended Lord was a judge as well 
as a king. Even among their own number, two who 
had seemed to be disciples and were perhaps receiving 
special credit for their zeal, were unmasked by a more 
than human discernment and smitten in sudden death 
for their hypocrisy. It was the beginning of that win- 
nowing process which the Baptist had said should 
niark the dispensation of the mightier One who should 
come after him. By a similar infliction, the Cyprian 
sorcerer, Elymas, was taught his temerity in resisting 
the preaching of Christ's word bj^ his apostle. Mean- 
while, during that long period of forty years from the 


ascension, the tempest of divine justice was gathering 
over the guilty city and nation once called the Lord's, 
which when at last it was executed struck the nations 
with awe, and has ever since stood forth in blazing 
light on the page of history as the great judgment 
from heaven upon the people who had crucified their 
own Messiah. And so it has been in all the ages. 
Rome, first the chastiser of persecuting Judaism, 
becoming herself a persecutor, was chastised in turn. 
Nero, the bloodiest of all her emperors, died like a 
dog in a sewer, and the monsters who succeeded him 
perished mostly by violence amid the execrations of 
mankind ; the barbarous northern hordes at last over- 
running her teritory, plundering her capitol, and parti- 
tioning out her empire as lawful plunder. A priest 
who usurped temporal authority and, as vice-gerent of 
the Almighty, claimed the right to make and unmake 
kings at his pleasure, and who in the pride of his 
power shed the blood of the saints not less abundantly 
than his pagan predecessors, is in turn thrust from his 
throne and made to drink the cup of humiliation which 
he had so often commended to others' lips. A nation 
whose capitol witnessed a St. Bartholomew's day, and 
whose supreme assembly sought by a decree to legislate 
God out of existence and voted death an eternal 
sleep, is made to feel the horrors of a revolution at 
whose recital the cheek turns pale. A great Republic 
which boasted of her Christianity while holding four 
millions of souls in iron bondage, is arrested in her 
guilty boasting, and taught on a thousand bloody 
battle fields that the Christ whom she professed to 


worship was He whose office it was to break every yoke 
and let the oppressed go free. Do we need other tes- 
timony than the record of history itself to prove that 
there is a King enthroned over men, — ruling the 
nations with a rod of iron, and dashing in pieces like 
a potter's vessel ? Says Van Oosterzee(vol. II, p. 801), 
" That the history of the world is a continued judgment 
of the world, is acknowledged by all who attentively 
and believingly observe it." 

Thus for nearly two thousand years Christ has been 
the Judge of the living. At the same time he has 
also been the Judge of the dead. In the history of 
individual souls, the present life is a season of proba- 
tion, a dispensation of mercy and grace from his 
throne. But it is appointed unto men once to die, 
and after this the judgment. In the invisible world, 
the judgment seat is ever set, and as the multitudes 
of men pass out of time they find themselves before 
that tribunal. They do not wait for ages before they 
are called to their account. Forthwith, as the scenes 
of eternity open on their view, they see the throne, 
the Judge, and the books ; forthwith do they hear the 
sentence, ''Come ye blessed of my Father," or "De- 
part ye cursed." In other words, whatever under 
these figures is signified of judgment and eternal 
award is realized without delay. These go away into 
everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life 
eternal. Then begins the career of retribution which 
is to have no end. No subsequent judgment in some 
far distant cycle of duration is to break in upon it, to 
repeat a transaction which has already been fully per- 


formed. The door of the prison house once closed 
will never be opened again ; the children once safe in 
the many mansions of their Father's house will go no 
more out forever. 

And this, we believe, is the " Day of Judgment," — 
well designated as the Day of the Lc)rd, and the Great 
Day. It is the day which began when Christ took his 
seat on his throne, and will last as long as his throne 
endures ; that is, for ever. Is it objected that the 
word "day" implies a more limited period, something 
analogous to an ordinary solar day ? But this is the 
very word chosen by inspiration to represent the great 
geologic periods of the creation. Says Prof. J. J. 
Owen, " The phrases 'end of the world,' 'day of judg- 
ment,' 'day of the Lord,' and the like, are not to be 
compressed to an inconsiderable period of time like 
our day of twenty-four hours, bvit in the very nature 
of things, must be referred to an indefMitely prolonged 
period, the length of ivhich is knotvn only to God. It 
in called the day of the Lord because it refers to a 
period definitely fixed in the counsels of eternity, and 
not because it is embraced in the limits of a common 
day. Thus in Gen. 2 : 4, the work of creation is re- 
ferred to as performed in a single day, whereas we are 
told in the preceding chapter that God was employed 
six days in the creation of the heavens and the earth. 
These days were probably great time periods, and yet 
we are not misunderstood, nor do we use language im- 
properly when we speak of the day of creation. In 
like manner the process of the resurrection and final 
judgment may embrace long extended periods of time 


and yet be properly referred to as the day of the Lord, 
the day of judgment, or still more concisely, the hour 
'when all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of 
the Son of man and come forth." Bib. Sac, Vol. XXI, 
p. 369. So likewise. Prof. Van Oosterzee says, "It is 
self-evident that the imagery in which the last judg- 
ment is presented in holy Scripture admits of no literal 
explanation, and on that account all opposition to the 
reality of the fact b}^ reason of the plastic form of its 
description arises, if not from malevolence, at least 
from misconception. Even in the Middle Ages it was 
readily granted — 'totum illud judicium, et quoad dis- 
cussionem et quoad sententiam, non vocaliter sed 
mentaliter perficietur.' — Th. Aquinas. ^^ * 


I have already spoken of the blessed resurrection 
state of the righteous, a state which it seems superflu- 
ous to say will be eternal. Lest any untrue inference 
should be derived from an omission of that subject, I 
will venture a very few words here as to the punish- 
ment of the wicked. 

Upon this awful subject the Scriptures give us but 
little specific information, and it were presumptuous 
to be wise above what is written. The terms which 
are used to describe it are probably figurative, designed 
to convey an idea of the fact and of its severity, rather 

■That entire judgment, both as respects the investigation 
and the sentence, will be performed not in audible words but 
in mental processes. 


than its precise nature. The leading idea of it is ex- 
clusion from the "place" prepared by Christ in his 
Father's house for his people, and banishment into 
the "outer darkness, where are weeping and wailing 
and gnashing of teeth." Of the locality, and the phy- 
sical conditions of that abode we can af&rm nothing. 
Of the mental sufferings attending such a state ; of 
the pangs of conscious guilt, rejection from God's 
favor, the extinction of hope, the torture of ever un- 
satisfied desire, and the like, we may form some con- 
ceptions, but have no measures by which to estimate 
their amount. It is enough to say that the soul will 
be lost. Further than this it would seem best to leave 
the subject beneath the awful veil of darkness under 
which it is enshrouded in God's word. 

On one point, however, I cannot deem the teachings 
of the Scriptures to be doubtful, and that is as to the 
perpetuity of future punishment. Whatever possible 
meanings the phrases may sometimes have which de- 
scribe it, I cannot resist the conclusion that they are 
designed to teach us that in this connection they mean 
endless duration. If the Scriptures were professedly 
to set about affirming that doctrine, I know not how 
they could do it more explicitly than they have done. 
It is not alone in single terms or in direct assertions ; 
it is implied in a great many phrases and incidental 
utterances which are often even more convincing, if 
possible, than the more positive forms of speech. Let 
it be remembered that our Lord himself is our princi- 
pal instructor on this subject, and that the most fear- 
ful imagery and the most appalling language were 
spoken by his own gracious lips. 


I may say one thing more. The decisions of the 
judgment are represented as final. I can find no hint 
of another probation after this present life, — a second 
probation for those who may be supposed to have had 
no "fair chance" in this. If any such there have been 
or may be among the inhabitants of time, they will 
most surely be fairly dealt with by a merciful God. 
With him we may safely leave them without attempt- 
ing to find for them a grace that is nowhere promised, 
or a new probation of which Christ the Saviour has 
never told us. 

Our doctrine, then, may be concisely stated, — The 
Parousia of Christ is his abiding presence 


OFFICES OF King, Life-giver, and Judge. Those 
offices are three in their aspect only, as relating to dif- 
ferent departments of his administration ; in reality, 
they are one, constituting that "glory" which he re- 
ceived of the Father in reward for his humiliation and 
sufferings. The Parousia commenced when, after his 
ascension to his throne, he began to "come" or be 
manifested to men in the mighty acts performed by 
him. His three-fold offices are executed simultan- 
eously, running parallel with each other through all 
time. Their consummation will be the complete re- 
storation of this world to holiness and happiness. 
Their duration will be forever. 

298 THE PAB0U8IA. 

Of the doctrine thus presented, I desire to remark 
in review : 

1. That it is to be regarded neither as a prceterist 
nor a, futurist view ; rather does it include both. If it 
be affirmed that the Parousia began at the ascension, 
it is not meant that it is not also a fact of all the com- 
ing ages. If it be spoken of as the object of future 
expectation, it is not meant that it has not also begun 
to be enjoyed already. I ask especially that I may 
not be represented as saying that the resurrection is 
"past already," or that the day of judgment occurred 
at the destruction of Jerusalem. The Parousia, in- 
cluding under it Christ's reign as King, Life-giver, 
and Judge, is not an event, but a dispensation. If it 
began at the ascension, it is to reach also into the far 
distant future, is to be, in fact, everlasting. Viewed, 
indeed, as a whole, it may with great propriety be 
spoken of as still future, for these two thousand years 
since the ascension, in comparison with the ages yet to 
come, are but as the first ray of the morning to the 
long, bright summer day. Nevertheless the morning 
has dawned^ the Day-Star has risen, though the day 
in its consummate glory is still before us. Or to re- 
peat a figure already used, — we have set forth upon 
the illimitable ocean of Christ's reign ; let it not be 
said that because we are as yet scarcely out of the 
harbor, we have not therefore left the wharf. 

2. It is a view which harmonizes, as none other do 
with which we are acquainted, all the teachings of the 
Scriptures. Why is it that just now, as in fact has 
been true more or less during the whole Christian 


period, the Christian church is so divided in opinion 
on this subject ? The answer is, because the Scrip- 
tures themselves seem to teach two or more contradic- 
tory things about it. They affirm the nearness of 
the Parousia, and bid men to live expecting and 
watching for it, and yet say it was to be at the end 
of the world, and to be accompanied by the resur- 
rection and general judgment. Now the two parties 
choose each their own class of teachings, and fail to 
bring into harmonious relations with it the others. 
Adventtiss choose the nearness, which is (or was) a 
truth, and then compel themselves to look for the 
"end" and all the dread phenomena of the winding up 
of human affairs as immediately impending events. 
Futurists, shrinking from the latter inference, deni/ the 
nearness, and defer the Parousia to the distant future. 
So with respect to the millennium. The Pre-millena- 
rians are most surely right in holding that Christ was to 
come to set up a kingdom on earth, and reign over it as 
the Messiah, but are just as surely wrong in saying 
that that kingdom has not yet been set up and there- 
fore the coming is future. Post-millenarians are cer- 
tainly right in holding that the kingdom was estab- 
lished on the day of Pentecost and is to grow till it 
reaches its grand millennial glory, but are just as 
clearly wrong in holding that Christ was not to come 
till that consummation had been reached, and then 
not to reign over it, but to judge the world and imme- 
diately surrender the kingdom to the Father. Now the 
Scriptures cannot, when rightly interpreted, teach both 
these opposites ; they cannot so contradict themselves. 


There must be some way of harmonizing them, and this 
is what I have attempted to find. Take the Pre-millen- 
arian doctrine (which seems to me least distant from 
the truth) and enlarge its conceptions of the Parousia 
both ways, carrying it back to the pentecost and 
onward into the future indefinitely ; and then make 
the resurrection and judgment not single events but 
coincident parts of one grand dispensation under the 
reign of Christ the King, and the seeming contradic- 
tions are nearly all reconciled. Or take the Post-mil- 
lenarian doctrine, and let it accept the scenes at the 
day of pentecost, which it acknowledges to have been 
a coming of Christ, as the beginning of the Parousia, 
then let it similarly associate with it the resurrection 
and judgment as parts of the dispensation, and discard 
the unwarranted idea of Christ's giving up his throne, 
and we come again nearly to the same result. The 
past, present, and future meet in one grand whole. 
All the varied passages of Scripture drop into place in 
entire harmony. We have no longer need of invent- 
ing a theory of double sense*; of supposing the inspired 
writers mistaken; that the primitive church was 
required to expect and to watch for events then thous- 
ands of years distant ; that these thousands of years 
are what the Scriptures mean by "quickly," "at hand,'* 
etc. Is not, I cannot help asking, a theory which 
comes into the midst of these conflicting opinions and 
parties, and with a wider range than either compre- 
hends them both, conserving what is true and correct- 
ing what by reason chiefly of its narrowness is erron- 
eous, reducing all to a substantial harmony, — is it not 


self-evidently to be accepted as in the main the true 

3. And this result, let it be observed, is obtained 
not by any sacrifice of the great truths which enter 
into the substance of the doctrine, but only by modifi- 
cations of the accessories of time, order, manner and 
costume. The facts of the second coming of Christ, 
of his reign as King, of the resurrection of the dead, 
and the universal judgment, are fundamental in the 
gospel system ; they constitute those " powers of the 
world to come " which enforce its demands upon every 
human heart. I would not yield for a moment to any 
teaching which rejected or weakened their solemn 
import. In my judgment, the views now advanced do 
neither. It can not detract from the Parousia that it 
is held as a dispensation rather than a transient event ; 
that its date was A. D. 30 rather than A. D. 1880, or 
any other more remote. It cannot weaken its signifi- 
cance that it was spiritual and invisible, save only in 
the mighty works attending it, rather than visible, 
amid the clouds, with the crash of an expiring universe. 
It does not detract from Christ's kingly glory that he 
reigns by his Spirit and providence over a kingdom of 
redeemed souls, rather than over a visible organization 
whose capital is at Jerusalem. It does not take from 
the majesty of that kingdom that it is to be without 
end, rather than surrendered by its king as soon as he 
attains undisputed dominion. It does not make the 
resurrection any the less momentous that it occurs 
when the earthly life ceases, rather than after a slum- 
ber of ages in the grave. It does not diminish the 

302 THE PAB0U8IA. 

solemnity of the judgment that the soul stands forth 
with before the great white throne, rather than waits 
for that ordeal till the end of time. The facts invol- 
ved in all these things are unchanged. The joyous 
promises they imply to Christ's people are undimmed. 
The solemn admonitions they afford to those outside 
his kingdom are not weakened. Life, death, proba- 
tion, retribution, time, eternity, are all words of 
unabated meaning. Is it not worth while, then, to 
consent to such easy modifications in non-essentials — 
the mere drapery of the doctrine — as shall allow of a 
harmonious adjustment of the facts ; the bringing of 
all that is essential into a symmetrical body of truth 
which may command the acceptance of all who receive 
and love God's word, and will be more than ever before 
the power of God unto salvation ? 

4. Nay, I am not willing to rest the matter there ; 
I must insist that these views give a greatly increased 
meaning and force to all the truths involved in them. 
They make the Parousia not a matter of expectation 
only but a present fact. Christ has come. He is 
already on his throne. He is ruling men now. He is 
separating them, — by his Word and Spirit and Provi- 
dence — as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the 
goats; he is giving life to dead souls by regenera- 
tion ; and the blessed resurrection life to his people 
when the earthly life is no more ; he is pronouncing 
the sentence " Come ye blessed" or " Depart ye 
cursed " to those who having finished probation stand 
before him in judgment. Could our eyes be opened 
as those of Elisha's companion were in the besieged 


city, we should see all these as present facts. They 
would not lie so remote from us, beyond the horizon of 
the future, as to have lost half their solemn signifi- 
cance. That we cannot now see them, — that we are 
still in the flesh, — does not alter those facts or rob 
them of their tremendous import. 

Nor, let us remember, is that sight far distant from 
any of us. A very few days more, and the scene in 
all its unspeakable grandeur will burst upon our vision. 
It is but the cessation of this fluttering breath, the 
hushing to rest of this throbbing heart, and all that 
we now reason of and speculate about will break upon 
us as matters of knowledge and experience. Then, 
according to his prayer and promise, shall we be forever 
with the Lord ; and let us not count ii a vain expecta- 
tion, too, that we shall be like him, for we shall see 
him as he is. 


A few typographical errors in the preceding pages escaped 
the notice of the proof reader, the correction of which will be 
obvious without special mention. On page 100, 3d line from 
bottom, Matt. 23 should be Matt. 25. 


" An unprejudiced comparison of the passages in which 
the seer speaks of the coming of the Lord shows that he 
understood any personal revelation or energetic self- 
affirmation of the exalted Christ as a coming of the Lord. 
Sometimes it is preliminary and refers to individual 
churches or members of churches; sometimes it is final 
and relates to all men ; at one time it is a manifestation 
mainly of judicial chastisement, and at another of gracious 
olessings. Only from the connection can it be decided 
which of these meanings is intended in the particul^* 
case. Every personal energetic interposition of the Lord 
in the outer or inner life of the church is as really a coming 
of the Lord as his second advent will be." Gebhardt, on 
the Doctrine of the Apocalypse, p. 270. 

DR. DOLLTNGEe's VIEWS OF 2 THESS. 2 : 1-12. 

After my remarks respecting the " Man of Sin " were 
written, (pp. 65-71) I had the pleasure of falling in with 


the work of the distinguished Dr. Von Dollinger entitled 
"First Age of the Church." He is known as the chief 
leader in the recent " Old Catholic " movement, and is 
probably the prince of living ecclesiastical historians in 
Europe. He gives the same views that I have done in 
respect to this personage and the scope of the chapter in 
which he is described ; and affirms also that it was held 
for substance by most of the early Fathers of the church. * 
I quote some extracts. 

" The epistle is commonly supposed to have been 
written in A. D. 53. Claudius was then on the throne. 
His step-son Nero, Caligula's nephew, who had been 
brought up under the care of a dancer and a barber, was 
already married to the emperor's daughter, adopted into 
the Claudian family, and proclaimed by the senate, 
' Prince of the youth,' (Princeps Juventutis. See Eckhel, 
Doctr. Num. viii. 371, seq.,) a title then officially desig- 
nating the heir to the throne. It was well known that 
his mother Agrippina would only allow him and not 
Britannicus to succeed. Claudius had already commend- 
ed him to the people by an edict, and declared in a let- 
ter to the senate that in case of his death Nero was of age 
to reign. Nero took his uncle Caligula more and more 
for a model, of whom Josephus says that only his sudden 
death delivered the Jews from extermination. Ant. 19. 
1. And he soon surpassed his model. His reign corres- 
ponded to the apostle's expectation; on the throne he 
was really the Man of Sin, exalted over all gods and all 
sanctuaries. That he outdid all that the world had yet 

*St. Augustine declares; "Ceterum, imperium Romanum 
et Keronem in illo loco Pauli intellexere J. Chrysostomus, 
Cyrillus, TertuUianus, pluresque a/iipa   




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