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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
 



 

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 1-1000

070: Clement: First Epistle of Clement

075: Baruch: Apocalypse Of Baruch

075: Barnabus: Epistle of Barnabus

090: Esdras 2 / 4 Ezra

100: Odes of Solomon

150: Justin: Dialogue with Trypho

150: Melito: Homily of the Pascha

175: Irenaeus: Against Heresies

175: Clement of Alexandria: Stromata

198: Tertullian: Answer to the Jews

230: Origen: The Principles | Commentary on Matthew | Commentary on John | Against Celsus

248: Cyprian: Against the Jews

260: Victorinus: Commentary on the Apocalypse "Alcasar, a Spanish Jesuit, taking a hint from Victorinus, seems to have been the first (AD 1614) to have suggested that the Apocalyptic prophecies did not extend further than to the overthrow of Paganism by Constantine."

310: Peter of Alexandria

310: Eusebius: Divine Manifestation of our Lord

312: Eusebius: Proof of the Gospel

319: Athanasius: On the Incarnation

320: Eusebius: History of the Martyrs

325: Eusebius: Ecclesiastical History

345: Aphrahat: Demonstrations

367: Athanasius: The Festal Letters

370: Hegesippus: The Ruin of Jerusalem

386: Chrysostom: Matthew and Mark

387: Chrysostom: Against the Jews

408: Jerome: Commentary on Daniel

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426: Augustine: The City of God

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1586: Douay-Rheims Bible

1598: Jerusalem's Misery ; The dolefull destruction of faire Ierusalem by Tytus, the Sonne of Vaspasian

1603: Nero : A New Tragedy

1613: Carey: The Fair Queen of Jewry

1614: Alcasar: Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi

1654: Ussher: The Annals of the World

1658: Lightfoot: Commentary from Hebraica

1677: Crowne - The Destruction of Jerusalem

1764: Lardner: Fulfilment of our Saviour's Predictions

1776: Edwards: History of Redemption

1785: Churton: Prophecies Respecting the Destruction of Jerusalem

1801: Porteus: Our Lord's Prophecies

1802: Nisbett: The Coming of the Messiah

1805: Jortin: Remarks on Ecclesiastical History

1810: Clarke: Commentary On the Whole Bible

1816: Wilkins: Destruction of Jerusalem Related to Prophecies

1824: Galt: The Bachelor's Wife

1840: Smith: The Destruction of Jerusalem

1841: Currier: The Second Coming of Christ

1842: Bastow : A (Preterist) Bible Dictionary

1842: Stuart: Interpretation of Prophecy

1843: Lee: Dissertations on Eusebius

1845: Stuart: Commentary on Apocalypse

1849: Lee: Inquiry into Prophecy

1851: Lee: Visions of Daniel and St. John

1853: Newcombe: Observations on our Lord's Conduct as Divine Instructor

1854: Chamberlain: Restoration of Israel

1854: Fairbairn: The Typology of Scripture

1859: "Lee of Boston": Eschatology

1861: Maurice: Lectures on the Apocalypse

1863: Thomas Lewin : The Siege of Jerusalem

1865: Desprez: Daniel (Renounced Full Preterism)

1870: Fall of Jerusalem and the Roman Conquest

1871: Dale: Jewish Temple and Christian Church (PDF)

1879: Warren: The Parousia

1882: Farrar: The Early Days of Christianity

1883: Milton S. Terry: Biblical Hermeneutics

1888: Henty: For The Temple

1891: Farrar: Scenes in the days of Nero

1896: Lee : A Scholar of a Past Generation

1902: Church: Story of the Last Days of Jerusalem

1917: Morris: Christ's Second Coming Fulfilled

1985: Lee: Jerusalem; Rome; Revelation (PDF)

1987: Chilton: The Days of Vengeance

2001: Fowler: Jesus - The Better Everything

2006: M. Gwyn Morgan - AD69 - The Year of Four Emperors

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"Many Infallible Proofs:"

The Evidences of Christianity

 

Arthur T. Pierson
1886

CLICK HERE TO READ PDF FILE OF ENTIRE BOOK


CHAPTER III.


THE PROPHECY OF THE RUIN OF JERUSALEM.

"And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when
it is come to pass, ye might believe." John xiv: 28.

One prophecy may be taken as a representative of all, viz., Christ's predictions as to the destruction of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the Jews. Fairly and firmly settle this, that these words were literally or substantially spoken by Christ before his disappearance from among men; and we may safely risk the very fate of the Christian faith upon the issue. For, from this one passage of Scripture, with its parallel passages, (*Matt. xxiv., Mark xiii., Luke xxi. ) may be demonstrated and vindicated the existence of God, his moral government, his general and special providence, the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, and the divine character and mission of Christ. Here, then, is the very field on which to meet candid doubt. But in order to a full and fair proof that history meets at every point the demands of the prophecy, and fills out the prophetic mould, it will be best to call in as witnesses only the professed opponents of Christianity, that it may not appear that the claims of Christ and the gospel rest on the partiality of friends.

Any fair examination of this matter compels us first to ask whether there be a reasonable certainty that these prophetic words were spoken or written before the events occurred. This inquiry is at the very threshold of the whole investigation; to avoid it is to let everything else go unproven. A candid criticism can the less evade the issue, since it is forced upon us by the foes of the Christian religion. Porphyry, in the third century of the Christian era, made a desperate attack upon the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. Finding in the book of Daniel a prophecy that had been most minutely fulfilled, he first admitted with the utmost frankness that in every particular, history had verified the prophecy; and then adroitly turned his admission into a weapon of attack, arguing that a record so exact could be made only after the events: Daniel played the part of a historian in the mask of a prophet. If Porphyry was the first to suggest this easy escape from the argument of prophecy, he was not the last. Voltaire, in modern times, has, in the same way, admitted the wonderful coincidence between those prophecies of the ruin of Jerusalem and the wreck of the Jewish nation, and the actual facts; but dexterously argues that the pretended prophecy was never spoken or penned until after Jerusalem was destroyed.

As to Voltaire himself, any objection coming from such a source has very little weight. A man who could, in a letter to a friend, declare that "history is, after all, nothing but a parcel of tricks we play with the dead," and that, "as for the portraits of men in biography, they are, nearly all, the creations of fancy;" a man who, when asked where he found a certain startling "fact" with which he adorns one of his histories, replied, "It is a frolic of my imagination ! " a man whose motto was, "Crush the wretch!" and yet who called on that same Christ in the dying hour; a man who, after leading the host of sceptics and scoffers, as the boldest of blasphemers, for sixty years, died in agony and remorse so terrible that even the Mareschal de Richelieu fled from his bedside, declaring that he could not bear so terrible a sight, and M. Tronchin affirmed that "the furies of Orestes could give but a faint idea of those of Voltaire;" a man, who said to his attending physician, "Doctor, I will give you half of what I am worth, if you will give me only six months' life," and who, when the doctor said, "Sir, you cannot live six weeks," shrieked, "Then I shall go to hell, and you will go with me!" and soon after expired; such a man does not add much weight to his own objection. If a man does not feel the force of his own argument, others can scarcely be expected to give it much importance; and it is but too plain that Voltaire was not an honest sceptic, but a mocker, a jeerer, a sneerer who, seldom himself in earnest, invented any objection which would serve his purpose. Yet, inasmuch as an objection may be entitled to weight independent of its author, we shall briefly examine as to the date of this prophecy.

If this charge of fraud could for a moment be separated from religion, and looked at with calm, cool judgment, without any bias of prejudice, its inherent absurdity would be very plain. To suppose this prophecy to be written after the event, is to suppose a deliberate imposture of gigantic proportions, palmed off" on credulous dupes, in the sacred name of religion; a compound of hypocrisy, forgery and perjury, such as would disgrace even a monster like Nero. Think of it! A man in league with two others, like himself, lays aplot to prop up the claims of a mere pretender, by secretly preparing a description of an event already passed; and then by a series of lies, inducing men to accept it as a genuine prophecy! Could men, who could do that, have written the gospels? By the confession even of enemies of the religion of Christ, these records abound in the loftiest moral teaching, and the most sublime conceptions of God and duty. There must be some consistency between a man and his work; and the production of these gospel narratives by such abandoned liars, is inconceivable. To believe this requires more credulity than to accept the Christian religion with scarce a hearing of its claims. The supposition of intentional imposture in the production of the gospels must be abandoned as untenable; on its face it contradicts great established laws of human nature; and it supposes the whole body of believers to be imposed upon.

The Jews were very jealous of their sacred trust; considering it their chief advantage, that " unto them were committed the oracles of God. " The greatest care was used in compiling the canon. The claim of a book to a place in the sacred collection was weighed with scrupulous nicety. Many books are to-day among the "Apocrypha," regarded worthy of being bound up with our Old Testament, so pure is their style, so exalted their tone; and yet rejected as unworthy to rank as inspired. How could Daniel's book have found a place in the canon? The Jews must have believed in its inspired character. Had it come forward to prefer its claim after its so-called prophecies were fulfilled, the claim would have been instantly rejected. If the book were offered to the Jewish church as inspired before the events which it foretold, it sustained its claim to prophetic character and divine authority.

Suppose something similar in our day. Let some pious scoundrel who aspires to rank as a prophet try the same mode of imposing on the public. Let him write out a minute pretended prediction of the War of the Rebellion, and attempt to make the world believe that he wrote it by divine foresight a quarter of a century before the war. How long would that pious fraud escape detection! A thousand things would combine to expose such a sham. Its author would have more chance of being cannonaded as a fool or a knave, than of being canonized as a saint. So many features must combine to put upon such a plot even the face of truth, that the detection of the scheme would be morally certain. Men would begin by asking what sort of a man is this, who claims prophetic character? Is he a true man, morally upright; is his word beyond a suspicion? Is he a sane man, mentally sound, and not misled by a delusion? Then if both his mental and moral character were found consistent with his claim, his prophecy would be subjected to microscopic scrutiny, whether it bears the internal marks of such inspired utterances; and even if this test were satisfactorily met, the author would still be required to produce evidence satisfactory to the common mind that his production was written in advance of the events. About matters of this sort we are not naturally credulous. The natural jealousy of human nature makes us slow to concede to others the high rank of prophetic character; and we are more likely to resist the proofs that God has cho&en a certain man as a channel of special revelation, even when the proofs are ample, than to yield our homage to an unworthy candidate, by a hasty admission of his claims. Even if there were those who, within the church, conspired to give such false prophet a seat on the prophetic throne, their own character would awaken a suspicion of their partnership.

The exact year of the production of each of the four gospels cannot be fixed. But the most careful and scholarly modern criticism puts the date of St. Matthew's record at about 38 A. D., and his record of this prophecy is the fullest, as well as the first. Mark wrote A. D., 67 to 69. Luke A. D. 63. John A. D. 96. The siege of Jerusalem under Titus ended September, 70 A. D. The earliest record of this prophecy was therefore in writing more than thirty years before the event, and the later records from two to seven years before. John, the only one of the four who wrote after the event, is the only one who makes no reference to the prophecy , as though caution had been used not to give occasion for the charge that the event had given material for the prophecy.

But a more convincing proof is at hand. The first three centuries were centuries of both persecution and controversy. No weapon, whether sword or pen, that could be used against the cause of Christ, was left untried. Yet, although these prophecies are familiarly quoted by early Christian writers, in support of Christianity, you must wait till the days of Porphyry, when the third century was in its sunset hours, before one writer even questions the genuineness of the prophecy! Controversy sifts, from the grain of fact, the chaff of fiction or fancy; beneath the eagle eye of searching investigation, prompted by hostility, even the corruptions or perversions of truth are discovered. Judge, then, whether a pretended prophecy, never heard of till after the event, would wait for three hundred years to be called in question; while even a reasonable doubt of its genuineness would have supplied its bitter foes with an irresistible weapon against the Christian religion! As well expect a mighty army, under skilled leaders, to hold a walled city in constant siege for three centuries, and not discover weak places where the walls are propped by rotten timbers! God permitted those three centuries of hottest hostility, with mighty foes arrayed against the gospel, in order to show us that the origin of Christianity was surrounded by no mists of uncertainty or delusion. Her enemies, both many and mighty, had to forge other weapons of attack beside the audacious charge of fraud.

Some of the most remarkable of these predictions are even yet in process of fulfillment. For eighteen hundred years since the tall of Jerusalem, the severe test of history has been applied to this prophecy. Christ, with the audacity of one who knew whereof he spake, challenged all the coming centuries to break his prophetic word; for his predictions reached far beyond the ruin of the regal city of David. But, as the procession of years and even the more august centuries pass on, like military leaders lifting their plumed helmets in presence of a world's sovereign, the ages, in their turn, confess the divine character of the prophet, who, so long ago, drew the awful lines beyond which they even yet cannot pass. What shall we say, then, of the crucial test of Time!

In this prophecy may the correspondence be accounted for by accidental coincidence? To answer this proper doubt, consider the law of simple and compound probability. When a single prediction is made, about which there is but one feature, it may or it may not prove true; there is therefore one chance in two of its being fulfilled. For instance, suppose I say, there is going to be a very hot summer it may be hot or it may be mild the chance of fulfillment is rep- resented by the fraction one-half. This is the law of simple probability. If I introduce a second particular, I get into the region of compound probability. For instance, suppose I say, without any scientific law at the bottom of my conjecture, that June fifteenth will be very hot. Here are two predictions; one is that there will be extreme heat; the other, that it will be on a certain day. Each prediction has a half chance of fulfillment; the compound probability is one- fourth, i. e., there is one chance in four that both predictions will be verified. " A compound event has therefore a chance only in the product of its simple ratios." Every new feature added makes the fraction of probability smaller.

In this prophecy, there is no vague general prediction; but a startling array of minute particulars. Our Lord draws the portrait of the coming event in detail; time, place, persons, marked circumstances, all introducing peculiar features which leave no doubt as to our power to recognize the event, if it shall look like its portrait. We find some twenty-five distinct predictions, here, and, on the law of compound probability, the chance of their all meeting in one event, is as one in nearly twenty millions  i. e. the fraction that represents the chance of probability is one-half raised to its twenty-fourth power or about one twenty millionth chance!

And yet every one of those features met in the destruction of Jerusalem and never have combined in any other event! And in selecting examples, we omit all those features about whose exact meaning there is such doubt as to render them unsafe guides, in our investigation. We select only the plainer, bolder outlines which are so strikingly fulfilled as to leave no reasonable question of the correspondence.

One other remark should be made before we enter on the closer study of this particular prophecy. There seems to be in Christ's words a reference not only to the destruction of the city, but to the end of the world; and so closely are these two great events linked in these utterances that it is a matter of doubt to Bible students, where He ceases to speak of the lesser and begins to speak of the greater. But need this seriously embarrass us in studying this question? There is a law of prophetic perspective, which all those who scan the prophecies must understand. In a landscape, a near range of hills may strikingly resemble, in outline, a far more distant range of mountains; so that, although there is vast difference in their heights, and vast distance between their ranges, the same hnes would define and describe them both. So in prophecy; one outline may describe an event, near at hand, and another of greater magnitude on the far horizon. Many words may have designedly a double meaning, referring immediately to some nearer occurrence, and remotely to some other of which that is a type; a reference here on a minor scale and there on a major scale. Or we may call this the law of prophetic shadows, a coming event being foreshadowed by another, the outlines of both corresponding as do shadows and substance.

But this is rather an argument for, than against, the divine inspiration of prophecy, since we have a double prediction, with a double verification. Surely if He speaks, to whom "one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day," we need not be surprised to find him using one outline for events, between which there lies a chasm of a thousand years; since to him such vast ages c-em but as a watch in the night, and all time is but an insignificant tick in the great clock of eternity!

One very marked proof of God's hand both in this prophecy and the history which fulfills it, is found in the very authorities, tvho record the fulfillment. The main account of the destruction of Jerusalem, it it had been written purposely to confirm the predictions of Christ, could not have been more exactly correspondent. Its author was the prince of the Jewish scholars of his day, and a Jewish general who, at first, stoutly resisted the Roman power, holding lotapata, the stronghold of Galilee, for forty-seven days, against Vespasian; in 68 A. D,, he was taken captive, and kept in bonds till Titus succeeded Vespasian in the control of the Jewish war. He was present at the siege of the city, and, after its downfall, went with Titus back to Rome, where he wrote his Annals; and Titus himself was so well pleased with the accuracy of his history that he gave it his formal approval and desired its publication. This historian was of course Josephus. He was certainly a competent witness, being very accomplished as a man, and, about the person of the Roman commander, having every chance for close observation and exact information. Who will venture to accuse a Jew, who lived and died one of the straitest of the Pharisees, of partiality for the crucified Nazarene or his prophecies? God chose an enemy of the Christian faith to hand down to us a most minute record of the fulfillment of this most minute prophecy; so that the leading though unconscious witness to Christ's prophetic character, is one whose testimony cannot be impeached by either Jews or Pagans! Josephus traced no connection between the terrible events he recorded, and the words of the crucified Jesus; for he is constantly striving to find some reason for the fearful judgments which be fell his land and nation. (* Comp. Wars, 754, P. vi. v. iv. where he accounts for the Tuin of the temple by the fact that the Jews had increased the area of its courts by taking in desecrated grounds, etc., etc. )

Who are the other authorities, to be cited in proof that our Lord's prophecy was exactly fulfilled? Tacitus, a Roman and Pagan historian; and Gibbon, the prince of sceptics, the English historian, who, even while writing to prove that the success of Christianity might be accounted for by natural and secondary causes, was, despite himself, compelled to record facts which prove Christ a true prophet. Frederick the Great, on one occasion said to one of his marshals, who was a devout believer, "Give me in one word, a proof of the truth of the Bible." "The Jews," was the laconic, unanswerable reply.

Harmonizing the gospels in one complete record, we find twenty-five distinct predictions, in connection with the ruin of the Jewish capital. We group them for convenience into classes.

I. Predictions as to pretenders to the character of Messiah, i. They would be many; 2. Would draw people to the desert, and secret chambers; 3. Would deceive large numbers, etc.

Before this time there had been no such thing ■in Jewish history. After the crucifixion, false Messiahs multiplied, such as Simon Magus, the Samarian sorcerer; Dositheus, another Samaritan; Theudas, who promised to part the waters of Jordan like Elijah, and Josephus says, "by such speeches deceived many. " The country was filled with impostors who deceived the people and persuaded them to follow into the wilderness, where they should see signs; a great multitude were led to the cloisters of the temple by false prophets. "

II. Predictions of various signal calamities.

I. Wars. At the time when Christ spake, peace prevailed both among the Jews and nations round about. Even when Caligula's order to set up his statue in the temple provoked resistance, the Jews could not believe that war was imminent. And yet Josephus says "the country was soon filled with violence; disorders prevailed in Alexandria, Cesarea, Damascus, Tyre, Ptolemais and all over Syria. " The Jews rebelled against Rome, Italy was in convulsions and within two years four Roman emperors suffered death.

2. Famine, pestilence, earthquake, etc. A famine of several years duration caused suffering in Judea, and there were famines in Italy, pestilences in Babylon, and only five years before the ruin of Jerusalem, in Rome. Earthquakes are recorded by Tacitus, Suetonius Philostratus; and Josephus gives account of them in Crete, Italy, Asia Minor, and one extraordinary, in Judea.

3. Fearful sights and great signs from heaven. Josephus affirms that just before the war, "a star resembling a sword stood over the city; and a comet for a whole year," that a great light shone round the altar; that the massive Eastern gate which it took twenty men to move, opened of its own accord; that chariots and troops were seen in the clouds at sunset; that there was an earthquake and a supernatural voice at Pentecost; that a man named Jesus persisted in crying, 'Woe to the city,' etc.

Tacitus records many prodigies that signaled the coming ruin. Armies appeared fighting in air; fire fell on the temples from the clouds; a loud voice proclaiming the removal of the gods from the temple, and a sound as of a departing host. About the reality and miraculous nature of these signs and sights and sounds, we cannot say; but it is enough that both Jew and Roman were im- pressed with them as real and miraculous.

III. Signs within the kingdom of God.

I. Persecution. Did not Saul make havoc of the church, before he was converted? Were not

Peter and John before councils and in prisons? Was not Paul brought before kings, and he and Silas scourged and put in stocks for their faith's sake? Yet what wonderful power was given, before adversaries, to Stephen, to Peter, to Paul. None of the apostles seem to have died a natural death but John. About six years before Jerusalem fell, there was at Rome a terrible conflagration of eight days, of which Nero was believed to be the author; and to turn the wrath of the people from himself he put the blame of it upon the Christians; thereupon began a persecution which even Pagan pages blush to record. Nero drove his chariot to the imperial gardens between rows of Christian martyrs wrapped in their burning sheets of flame.

2. Mutual betrayal. Tacitus says at first those who were seized confessed their sect, and then by their indication a great multitude were convicted.

3. The gospel to be preached everywhere as a witness. What a work to be done inside of forty years with no printing press to publish the gospel, and no rapid modes of transit to make travel easy; and foreign tongues to be learned! And yet it was done. Pentecost, with its gathered representatives from all nations, hearing and then going back to herald the good news; with its miraculous gift of tongues, doubtless fitting those first preachers to preach in foreign languages; persecution, scattering the whole body of believers, and setting them at work everywhere making disciples; Peter going to the dispersed Jewish tribes eastward Paul to the Gentile world westward our Lord's words were again fulfilled.

Before the city fell, the gospel had been proclaimed in lesser Asia, Greece and Italy north to Scythia, south to Ethiopia, east to Parthia and India, and west to Spain and Britain. Tacitus says that in the time of Nero's persecution, the religion of Christ had spread over Judea and even through the Roman Empire, and numbered so many followers that a vast multitude was apprehended and condemned to martyrdom.

IV. Signs pertaining to the city itself.

1. Jerusalem to be encompassed with armies.

2. The eagles were to gather as round a carcase. When the Roman army drew nigh and surrounded the city, above every floating standard rose the silver eagle. Banners distinguish an army as its insignia; nations are known on sea and land by their flags. The Romans are through history so linked with this symbol that the Roman eagles are as celebrated as Rome herself. How fitting as an emblem ! The eagle or vulture is marked by three things, "strength, swiftness, ferocity." How like vultures swooping down upon a carcase were the Roman hosts so strong, so swift-moving, so ferociously cruel!

3. Destruction was to come as "lightning shineth from east to west." Now, it might have been expected, as the approach to Jerusalem was from the seacoast, that the Roman army would advance from west to east. Yet, as a fact, the approach was from Olivet, on the east, and toward the west; the lightning bolts of war which so soon shattered the fair capital first shot from war-clouds hovering on the eastern horizon, and their direction was westward,

4. "The abomination of desolation standing in
the holy place" was a conspicuous token. Just
what this means we may not decide, but only because these words have more than one possible fulfillment. St. Matthew's record may, by the abomination of desolation, mean what Luke does by the desolating Pagan army, with idolatrous eagle standards, betokening desolation or destruction, and standing on the holy ground nay, hovering over the very sanctuary like unclean birds of prey. The Jews, holding every idol an "abomination," besought a Roman general when he was leading his army towards Arabia through Judea, to go some other way, lest, by the very passage of a Pagan host with Pagan emblems, the land be defiled. Some things favor the reference of these words to an army of zealots and assassins invited by the Jews to defend them against the Romans, and who literally stood in the temple courts and profaned them; or, again, some think the "abomination" means a statute of the emperor set up by Pilate, or of Titus set up by Hadrian, in the holy place,

5. A trench and an embankment were to be made around the city. Nothing seemed more improbable and useless. In all the previous sieges sustained by Jerusalem this had never been done. The situation of the city and the physical features of the country made it seem wasteful of time and strength. The valleys that wound about the city were a natural trench; the hills that round it rose were a natural embankment. Yet Titus, against the counsel of his chief men, actually built a wal/ and trench five miles in circumference around the doomed capital ; and the Jewish historian describes the precise circuit.

6. Great tribulation was to mark the siege. Hear Josephus: " No other city ever suffered such miseries, nor was ever a generation more fruitful in wickedness from the beginning of the world. It appears that the misfortunes of all men from the beginning of the world, if compared to these of the Jews, are not so considerable. The multitude who perished exceeded all the destructions that man or God ever brought on the world."

It was at the Passover, when the nation thronged its sacred capital. Nearly three millions are estimated to have been in the city. The famine was so severe that hunger drove men to eat sandal straps, leather girdles, straw. A mother brought to the maddened assassins who were ready to do any violence to get food, a half-devoured child, and bade them share with her the lamb she had majde ready! As Titus saw the dead thrown over the walls into the valleys, by hundreds and by thousands, he lifted his hands to heaven to protest before God that all this was not his doing. Josephus reckons that 130,000 perished and 97,000 were sold into slavery.

7. The actual destruction of the city.

It was to be leveled to the ground.

Josephus tells us that three massive walls of great strength encompassed the city; and the garrison was ten times, in number, the besiegers. Think of laying such walls even with the ground! Yet, at the last, orders were given to " raze the very foundations," and nothing was left but three towers, and what little wall was needed, as a shelter to the Roman garrison, and as a specimen of the strength of the defences, which Roman power had laid low. The whole circumference was so thoroughly laid even with the ground that nothing was left to show it had been inhabited. Titus said: " We have certainly had God for our helper in this war. He has ejected the Jews out of these strongholds; for what could men or machines do toward throwing down such fortifications as these!" The hope of finding hid treasure moved the Roman army to tear up the very ground, till sewers and aqueducts were uncovered, and a plowshare was used to tear up the foundations of the temple, thus literally fulfilling the prophecy of Micah ( 750 B. C.) "Jerusalem shall be ploughed as an heap."

The temple was to be included in this awful destruction. The prophecy of its demolition is the first link in this chain of predictions. After our Lord uttered in the temple his lament over his people who would not be gathered under his wings, he said: " Behold your house is left unto you desolate!" and immediately departed from the devoted sanctuary. As they left it, his disciples, struck with the strange prophecy that such a house could ever become desolate, called his attention, " See what manner of stones and what buildings are here," i.e., structures even then going on to completion. But he said, with more particular utterance, " There shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down. "

This prediction was very unlikely of fulfillment.

{a.) The walls enclosed over nineteen acres; the east front rose to a height of one-sixth of a mile from the vale, and immense stones, some of them 65 feet by 8 by 10 wrought into its massive structure.

{b.) It was beautiful and sacred, a monument both of art and worship. It rose, like a mount of gold and snow. Its carved portals, alabaster porticoes, and golden sanctuary, won the most rapturous praises from even Pagans. If vandals and barbarians, in the sack of Athens and Rome, would spare the Parthenon and Pantheon, what might not be expected from the soldiers of the first and grandest of Empires! Would they not spare a structure which the proverb said, " If you had not seen, you had seen nothing beautiful?"

{c.) It was built by Herod, a creature of Roman power and patronage, who was more loyal to the conquering nation than to those with whom he was connected, as himself a descendant of Isaac. And he was a deferential and obsequious Roman in spirit, who built cities to perpetuate Caesar's name, and who tried to make Jerusalem a second Rome. To prostrate Herod's fane, was to lay one of Rome's very master-works in ruin.

{d.) And then Titus was mild, humane, cultured, a commander who would not be likely to favor it, who in fact forbade such wanton destruction. The fires were once put out by his orders, but rekindled when his back was turned.

V. Christ's predictions, however, assured the safety of his disciples. " There shall not an hair of your head perish. "

The fact is remarkable enough that in such universal slaughter not one disciple should perish; but more remarkable that it was after the besieging army should surround the city that they were to have opportunity to withdraw. What a strange signal for flight, when the hosts were already cut ting off every escape ! And yet this was Christ's token to his faithful followers that desolation was nigh, imminent. They should yet have chance to flee, if done with haste; there would be opportunity, but it would be short.

Hear again the Jewish annalist: " Cestius Gallus, after beginning siege, mysteriously with- drew, and without any reason in the world, and many embraced this opportunity to depart; a great multitude fled to the mountains." At this crisis, as we learn from church historians of the first century, all the followers of Christ took refuge in the mountains of Pella, beyond the Jordan, and there is no record of 07ie single Christian perishing in the siege! As soon as the armies returned, the city was surrounded by a wall, and all hope of flight was now cut off.

VI. Prophecies respecting subsequent history.

I. The doom of the Jews; they should fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive into all nations.

Even before the city fell, an immense number of deserters, falling into hands of the besiegers, were sold with their wives and children. Nearly 100,000 from Jerusalem alone, were sold into bondage. 6,000 choice young men from Tarichea were sent to Nero, and 30,000 from the same place sold beside. The tall and fine looking were borne to Rome to grace the triumphal entry of Titus: many sent to the public works in Egypt; many more distributed through the provinces into all nations, to be slain by gladiators or by wild beasts. And so it has been from that time until now. The sword is not yet sheathed, nor are the chains of their captivity broken.

2. The doom of the city: To "be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

Here are three particulars: desolation, by the Gentiles, and continued until the Gentile world is brought to the knowledge of the gospel and the Jews are reclaimed.

To this day, the city has been trodden down by the Gentiles; and though the Jews have made desperate efforts to get control of their ancient capital they have never been re-estabhshed yet. About 64 years after their expulsion under Titus, the city was partly rebuilt by the Emperor Hadrian, and a Roman colony settled there. On pain of death Jews were forbidden to enter, forbidden even to look from a distance on the city. The suspicion that the holy place was to be defiled by idol images provoked them to revolt, but they were crushed with awful slaughter. Again, in the time of Constantine, they made a vain attempt to regain possession. At last they felt sure of success; for they had permission from Rome to rebuild. Julian, the apostate, bound to break down faith in this very prophecy, backing up Jewish zeal with Roman arms, wealth and power, undertook to restore the temple and ritual and plant round it a Jewish colony.

To show how strangely this project was frus- trated, let us quote Gibbon, (* 11:436. 9. ) "The vain and ambitious mind of Julian might aspire to restore the ancient glory of the temple of Jerusalem. As the Christians were firmly persuaded that a sentence of everlasting destruction had been pronounced against the whole fabric of the Mosaic law, the Imperial sophist would have converted the success of his undertaking into a specious argument against the faith of prophecy and the truth of revelation. He resolved to erect without delay on the commanding eminence of Moriah, a stately temple which might eclipse the splendor of the church of the Resurrection on the adjacent hill of Calvary; to establish an order of priests and to invite a numerous colony of Jews. At the call of their great deliverer, the Jews from all provinces of the empire assembled on the holy mountain of their fathers; and their insolent tri- umph alarmed and exasperated the Christian inhabitants of Jerusalem. The desire of rebuilding the temple has in every age been the ruling passion of the children of Israel. In this propitious moment the men forgot their avarice and the women their delicacy; spades and pickaxes of silver were provided by the vanity of the rich, and the rubbish was transported in mantles of silk and purple. Every purse was opened in liberal contributions, every hand claimed a share in the pious labor; and the commands of a great monarch were executed by the enthusiasm of a whole people.

"But the Christians entertained a natural and pious expectation, that in this contest the honor of religion would be vindicated by some signal miracle. An earthquake, a whirlwind and a fiery eruption which overturned and scattered the new foundations of the temple are attested, with some variations, by contemporaneous and respectable evidence. This public event is described by Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, in an epistle to the Emperor Theodosius; by the eloquent Chrysostom who might appeal to the memory of the elder part of his congregation at Antioch; and by Gregory Nazianzen, who published his account of the miracle before the expiration of the same year. The last of these writers boldly declared that this praeternatural event was not disputed by the infidels, and this assertion strange as it may seem is confirmed by the unexceptionable testimony of Ammianus Marcellinus. " This philosophic soldier records, that "whilst Alypius urged with vigor and diligence the execution of the work, horrible balls of fire, breaking out near the foundations, with frequent and reiterated attacks, rendered the place from time to time inaccessible to these scorched and blasted workmen; and the victorious element, continuing in this manner obstinately and absolutely bent, as it were, to drive them always to a distance, the undertaking was abandoned." "Such authority," adds Gibbon, "should satisfy a be- lieving, and most astonish an incredulous mind." In a note. Gibbon attempts to explain all this by a long confinement, in the grounds beneath the temple ruins, of inflammable air, exploded by the torches of exploring workmen, etc.

Jerusalem has emphatically been trodden down of Gentiles. Not to speak of the destruction, when Pagan hosts trampled it under foot with the iron hoof of war, for sixty-four years it was occupied only by a Roman garrison. Hadrian's partial rebuilding was designed as desecration. He called it ^lia Capitolina (a name compounded of his own family title ^Elius, and Capitolina, a name applied to Jupiter from his temple on Mt. Capitolinus). To Jupiter Capitolinus he consecrated the new city and built a temple to that Pagan God over the sepulchre of Christ. He set up a statue of Venus on Calvary and the marble image of a swine the peculiar abomination of the Jew, over the gate that opened toward Bethlehem.

The sacred site remained thus more than desolate, and known by its pagan name till Helena, the mother of Constantine, made a pilgrimage to it in 326. Justinian, in the sixth century, repaired and enriched its churches, founded convents, and built a church to the Virgin on Mt. Moriah. But all this, though acceptable to Pope-dom was profanation to the Jews: the city was still trodden down of Gentiles! In 610 A. D. it was stormed and greatly damaged by the Persians, who for a short time held it.

In 637, under Caliph Omar, the Saracens took possession, and for mc-^e than four centuries the Arabian, Turkish or Egyptian Mohammedans continued to tread down the doomed capital. In 1073, the Selzookian Tuiks took it, whose cruelties to Christian pilgrims provoked the first crusade; and July 15, 1099, tl'e crusaders taking it by storm, made it the seal of a Christian kingdom, allowing only ChristiaiiS there. In 11 87 it was conquered by the Egyptian Sultan Saladin. For upwards of half a century it was like a toy tossed to and fro, between Christians and Turks, till 1244, since which date it has remained under Moslem sway, and the very fact of a mosque, crowned with a crescent, rising where the temple stood, is enough to show how profanely even Moriah is still trampled under foot of Gentiles.

We appeal to every candid mind, whether the continued desolation of Jerusalem is not one of the historic marvels, we had almost said miracles. Consider the remarkable preservation of the Jewish nation though scattered everywhere, still keeping their national traits and unity as a people, mingling but not mixing with other peoples consider their religious tenacity and zeal for the ancient city and demolished temple consider their great numbers and vast wealth, one family of Jews controlling enough capital to buy all Judea consider that if any one thought and desire engrosses the Jewish mind it is to be re-established in the city of David and can any human philosophy account for the fact that for eighteen centuries this desolation lasts!

VII. Our Lord's prediction limited the opening act of this drama of the ages to the lifetime of the generation then living.

The days of our years are three score years and ten, and it was seventy years after Jesus was born when Jerusalem was destroyed: or if we take thirty-five years as the average life time of a generation, it was just about so long after these words were spoken when their awful fulfillment began.

VIII. Christ foretold these as days of vengeance (Luke xxi: 22), /. e., of avenging or retributive justice. All should be plainly the judgment of God upon the sin of Christ's rejection and crucifixion. An attentive student of history cannot but see God in history. There is at times such a striking, startling correspondence between the form of sin and the form and even time of its punishment, that men are constrained to say like Pharaoh's magicians: "This is the FINGER OF god!" If the destruction of Jerusalem is to be recognized not as an ordinary calamity but a peculiar interposition of God, in just visitation of the crime committed by the Jews in crucifying his own Son, there will be some features about it which plainly exhibit its retributive character. How is it?

The Jews put Jesus to death at the passover; at the very season of that annual festival, thousands of them were put to death.

They clamored for the release of a robber and murderer that Jesus might be slain; they became the prey of robbers and murderers, in the siege.

They crucified Jesus, outside the walls; and outside the walls they suffered crucifixion in such multitudes that room was wanting for crosses, and crosses for bodies.

They mocked and derided their Messiah, even as he stood helpless before the tribunal or hung in agony on the cross; they were crucified in every conceivable posture, affixed to the crosses in modes so various that it was as though "done in jest."

They reckoned Christ, the faultless one, a malefactor, and their own dead bodies were flung over the walls like the despised carcases of criminals refused an honorable burial.

To convict Christ, they procured false witnesses, who perverted his prophecy of his own death and resurrection into a declaration of the destruction of their temple; and the perjured tes- timony proved unconsciously prophetic the temple was destroyed. From Olivet, Christ uttered the sad prediction, and from Olivet moved the flock of 'eagles' to pounce on the carcase.

Pilate sat in the court of the castle of Antony to condemn Jesus to death; and from that very point was made the last and successful assault on the temple and city.

They intimidated Pilate by pretending great loyalty to Caesar, whom they claimed as their only king; and under his imperial sway their nation was broken into fragments by the very hosts of Caesar.

They rejected the true Messiah with his mighty works as well as words; and lent themselves as silly dupes to the control of Messianic pretenders and false prophets.

When Pilate declared Christ innocent and sought to release him, they assumed all responsibility, saying, 'his blood be on us and on our children,' and that very generation gave their blood for his. Never was there any imprecation more prophetic.

An individual may have his retribution beyond this life, for he lives beyond this life. A nation, however, is a temporal state, and its sins must be avenged, if at all, in this world. "Institutions are mortal: men immortal: the historical temporal judgment is of institutions and of organisms: the final judgment is of individuals, each one giving account of himself unto God."

Can any candid mind consider the crime of the Jews and the calamities that followed exactly in accord with prophetic predictions, and see in these marvellous correspondences no sign that God had their sin in mind in bringing on that very generation such pathetic but poetic retribution?

This wonderful witness to the divine inspiratlon of the gospels also attests the divine character of Christ, whose own words were: "And now I have told you before it come to pass that when it is come to pass ye may believe." He claimed Divine Sonship and Messiahship: and to verify his claim, uttered a prophecy so minute that no chance coincidence can explain it. How may we evade conviction?

As Porphyry did with Daniel even so we may do with Christ, deny his prophetic character, make both the prophecy and the history the fair masks covering the most hideous and devilish plot ever devised to ensnare the credulity of men. We may, in other words, coolly and sneeringly say, "the prophecy was never written till Jerusalem was in ruins." But when men use such an argument as this in answer to such a mighty array of facts and truths, it must be because they feel their cause to be desperate. They violate all the common laws of historic criticism and evidence, for the sake of NOT being convinced. For no adequate motive or reason can be assigned for this wholesale and reckless denial of historical testimony, but a determination to oppose the Christian religion. Here is the argument, unmasked: "If this prophecy was recorded before the event, Jesus Christ must have been a genuine prophet. We are not willing to accept him as such. Therefore these words were not written until after the fall of Jerusalem!"

The same methods will make havoc of all history and all testimony, leaving us certain of nothing all the facts of the past become the fancies of dreamers, or the fictions of liars. We are asked to escape the credulity of faith by running into the trap of more credulous doubt and denial for the sake of disbelieving Christianity, to believe that men wrote the most pure and faultless records known, full of the sublimest moral teachings, and died rather than renounce their faith; and yet were only trying to get others to believe a crucified and dead traitor to be yet alive slyly manufacturing prophecies of events already passed, in order to prop up his claims to divine honors!

When Mephistopheles, in Faust, is asked his name, he says he is the " spirit of negation " or denial! Nothing is easier than to deny what you cannot disprove; and proof, if it had on Mercury's talaria, or the seven-league boots of yore, never could overtake the spirit of negation. Suppose a case: an astronomer announces to-day that he has by means of a new instrument greatly superior to the telescope in power, found inhabitants in the moon. You deny it; pronounce it impossible, because there is no atmosphere in the moon, etc. But Prof. Watson or Peters has said so. You reply, " I don't believe it." It is proved to you that he said so. " I don't believe he is a thoroughly competent astronomer. " It is proved that he is. " I don't believe that he is honest; he is fooling the scientific world; it's a hoax." It is proved to you that he is incapable of trickery. " Well, he is insane. " It is proved he is sane. " Well, his new instrument fools him," etc. How long would it take for truth to come up to such reckless denial? Yet men affect surprise that believers do not run after all the various forms of denial which impeach the truth of the Bible! Infidelity begins this race by a stride so monstrous as to ask us to believe that a man that could write such a book as " Daniel " or the " gospels " could DC a perjured hypocrite, and attempt to concoct a fraud, beside which Jo Smith's Mormon Bible is nothing.

This method of wholesale denial is one of the conspicuous weapons of modern scepticism. Nothing is easier than to discredit a fact or a truth; to confound denial with disproof, and to substitute unanswerable sneers or cavils for answerable arguments. We hold up such a prophecy, and side by side its corresponding fulfillment. A skeptic denies the fulfillment. If we prove the correspondence between prediction and event, he denies the prophecy; it was not written till after the event. We bring witnesses to show that the prediction preceded the event; he denies the truth or competency of the witnesses, claims they were mistaken; or, like Hume and Strauss, assumes miracles of knowledge or of power to be impossible, and asserts that no testimony can establish what is impossible! All argument becomes impossible with such antagonists. Bacon says: " I cannot reason v/ith a man unless we can find a common footing in agreement on first principles."

We have promised our reader to deal with this theme calmly, as a surgeon in the dissecting-room uses the lancet and scalpel, with scientific steadiness of hand. Perhaps we have not done it, but it is because we cannot. The surgeon may be pardoned if his head is hot and his hand trembles as he uncovers the vital organs of his own child to discover disease, especially if it is a living child and not a dead body which he touches with the keen blade!

The gospel of Christ we cannot discuss without deep feeling. All we have, or hope, in this world and the next is bound up with it; he who touches, even with irreverence, this sacred faith, wounds us in the quick of our being; he who insults and assaults it, thrusts his steel into our very vitals. And it is a mystery that any man, whatever his own creed may be, can take delight in demolishing faith in others, and even ruthlessly blaspheming a name that is above every name to them. It is perhaps the mark of current infidelity that it makes its disciples malignant. Were one speaking to an audienceof Mussulmans, why shock them by insulting and blasphemous allusions to their Koran and Prophet? Let him rather calmly conduct them to a better sacred Book and sacred Person if he can. It is no sign that our faith is feeble or our will weak, if, when a man publicly tears the Scriptures to tatters and spits in the face of the Christian's God, and bows in mock homage before the crucified One, we shrink and turn pale. The believer cannot be indifTerent to anything which concerns Jesus of Nazareth.

We have pointed to the burning bush of prophecy with its many branches, wonderfully budding and blossoming into historic events. Well may we remove the shoes from our feet; the place where we stand is holy ground; that glory is the glory of God. If the reader sees no radiant light, let him ask himself whether he is WILLING TO SEE.

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