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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

417: Augustine: On Pelagius

426: Augustine: The City of God

428: Augustine: Harmony

420: Cassian: Conferences

600: Veronica Legend

800: Aquinas: Eternity of the World

 


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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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STUDIES IN THE

JOHANNINE WRITINGS


Written in Winter of 1944-45

"This did happen round about the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and so our Lord's prediction came true.  The stars fell from heaven."


Daniel Lamont, D.D.
1869-1950

Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology in the University of Edinburgh ; President of the Inter-Varsity Fellowship (1945-46)

Thank you Todd Dennis


(Suppressed Materials Below)

Not published 'for want of paper' until 1950 ; The real reason seems to have been the preteristic contents... For, even upon printing, his section on "Parousia" was suppressed.

"What did our Lord mean by His Parousia, which He foretold was to take place some forty years from the time when He spoke of it?  It was not the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.  That Jewish catastrophe was only to be the sign of His Parousia (Matt. 24:3,30).  His Parousia, in its essence, was something which was to happen in the unseen world.  It was to be in the realm of superhistory (Matt. 24:31).  John in the Apocalypse connects the historical event of the destruction of Jerusalem with the superhistorical event of our Lord's Parousia, as our Lord Himself did, and brings out the meaning of the connection, thus correcting current misunderstandings.  He does not use the word Parousia, perhaps because of these misunderstandings."


Author of "The Creative Work of Jesus" (1925) ; "The Place of Systematic Theology in Preaching" (Expository Times, May, 1923); Christ and the World of Thought (1934); "Christ the Hope of the World" (1936); The Anchorage of Life (1940); "Bunyan's Holy War: A Study in Christian Experience" (1947)


FOREWORD TO UNCENSORED 1956 EDITION.

I count it a great honour to be associated with this memorial volume of one who was a most valued colleague and beloved friend, of whom every remembrance is an inspiration.

I am glad that the task has been undertaken by one who not only was outstanding among his students but is now his successor in the last of his four congregations, for this has ensured that justice be done both to Dr. Lamont's academic and to his pastoral achievements.  It would have been fatally easy for the one to be stressed at the expense of the other, but Dr. Logan has preserved the requisite balance.

As preacher, teacher, and counsellor, Daniel Lamont has left an indelible mark on many lives, and in many others the fragrant memory of a true servant of Christ.  In a conversation a few months ago, one who belonged to the other branch of the United Church remarked to me: "What made me look forward to the Union of 1929 was that it would bring me into the same Church as Daniel Lamont who was, and is, my idea of a modern saint."

This short volume deserves a wide circulation, and it is my hope that it may induce many of its readers to make further acquaintance with the message of Daniel Lamont through the published works mentioned in the Memoir.

- Hugh Watt, Edinburgh


EDITOR'S PREFACE.

The following Studies in the Johannine Writings were originally prepared by the late Dr. Daniel Lamont as a series of twelve Lessons for the Bible School conducted in the pages of the weekly religious magazine The Life of Faith.  They were written in the winter of 1944-45, that is, during the final session of Dr. Lamont's occupancy of the Chair of Christian Ethics and Practical Theology in the University of Edinburgh; but owing to continuing restrictions in the supplies of paper they were not published until the autumn of 1950.  Dr. Lamont had already passed away on 4th May of that year.   Actually only the first ten of the Studies were published, and the last two, in which our Lord's parousia and related themes are discussed, appear now for the first time.

The Editor of The Life of Faith, the Rev. H. F. Steverson, in the issue fo the magazine of 6th September, 1950, announced the forthcoming series of Lessons in these words: "These Lessons represent the eminent Scottish theologian's last contribution to the study of the Scriptures.  They are characterized by all his profound learning and convinced Evangelical faith ; and they are written in a style which even beginners in Bible study will be able to follow.  they present a unique opportunity for study the Word of God under the direction of one of the most eminent scholars of our generation."   ..

- George R. Logan., Helensburgh, 1955

 

X. THE APOCALYPSE : ITS MODE

"What is of most importance for us in our present enquiry is that Jesus did not take (apocalyptic) all literally.  He fulfilled apocalyptic as He did law and prophecy (Matt. 5:17)..  Once instance will suffice.  When He says "the stars shall fall from heaven" (Matt. 24:29), thus using one of the favourite apocalyptic expressions, He means that the God-given lights by which men and nations are guided to live together in safety and peace will go out, as in the memorable modern words: "The lights are going out in Europe."  He means that the moral standards which pagan as well as Christian has hitherto recognized as having their source and sanction in the eternal world are going to collapse, plunging the land into moral darkness and social catastrophe.  People will cease to recognize the difference between right and wrong, between truth and falsehood, between mercy and cruelty.  This did happen round about the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and so our Lord's prediction came true.   The stars fell from heaven." (pp. 146,147)


SUPPRESSED MATERIAL:
 

XI.  THE APOCALYPSE: ITS AIM

The aim of the Apocalypse is generally held to have been the encouragement of the Church to stand fast in a very evil time.  This is partly true, but it seems better to say that its aim was to fill in the lines of our Lord's own apocalyptic predictions, recorded chiefly though not exclusively in Matt. 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.   When the other Apostles had passed away, there was much misunderstanding about these predictions, as John himself more than hints in his Gospel (21:23).  Also in his Gospel (16:13) he reports Jesus as saying that the Spirit would show the disciples "things to come."  In the Apocalypse he fulfils the Lord's words by announcing the visions which came to him while he was "in the Spirit" (1:10). He is able to tell of "things which must shortly come to pass" (1:1).  But he is commanded to do more than write predictions.  "Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter" (1:19).  Past, present, and future were to be within his horizon.  All this would be an encouragement to the Church, but it would be a warning as well.   In the letters to the Seven Churches, warning is as prominent as encouragement, except in two cases, one in the letter to Smyrna (2:8), the other in the letter to Philadelphia (3:7).

We have already seen that John was a man who could discern eternal meanings beneath the outward show of things.  the miracles which he records in his Gospel serve also as parables.  he was a profound seer and his unique gift is exercised in his Apocalypse.  It has been well said that prophetic prediction is foresight based on insight.  John is one of the best illustrations of the truth of that saying.  His visions reveal insight into the past and present as well as prediction.  Indeed the meaning of past and present is disclosed to him before the future opens up before him.  His insight was the foundation of his foresight and the Holy Spirit was the Source of both.   He saw earthly events with the light of the Eternal shed upon them.  this was the characteristic feature of our Lord's whole life on earth.  He measured everything He saw and heard by the measuring rod of heaven, and John, the beloved and silent disciple, who thought more than he spoke, learned better than any other how to look on things with his Master's eyes.   He saw what was happening on earth, as far as an inspired servant of Christ could do it, with the eye of Heaven.

Our view of what to John was past, what was present, and what was still in the future, is partly determined by the date at which we suppose the Apocalypse to have been written.  Unfortunately, there is no unanimity on this question.  Tradition is on one side and internal evidence on another.  In most cases in New Testament criticism tradition favours an earlier date than scholars are disposed to allow, but in this case tradition favours a later date.  That date is towards the end of the reign of Domitian (81-96 A.D.).  On the one hand, there is much in the book itself to suggest that at least the first part of it came from a much earlier date, say about Easter of the year 70.  Jerusalem was captured and destroyed in August 70 and the most natural interpretation of the eleventh chapter is that when it was written Jerusalem and its temple were still standing. It seems impossible to envisage that chapter as coming from a date twenty-five years after Jerusalem and its temple were laid in ruins.  But is there no way of harmonizing the traditional date with that which internal evidence seems to suggest?

There is what looks like a break in the book at the beginning of the twelfth chapter, from which onwards visions are recorded of events, past, present and future, on a larger canvas than in the first eleven chapters.  That matter will be dealt with in our next Study.  Meanwhile, let us assume that there is a break in time between the writing of the first and last eleven chapters.  It may have been a considerable interval, enough to bring the latter half of the book down to the time of Domitian's reign.  Domitian, blasphemous, jealous and sadistic, was the first Roman Emperor to require all his subjects over the world to worship him as a god.  This is the objection which those who hold to the traditional date of the Apocalypse bring against the idea that it may have been written earlier, for there are many fulminations in it against the worship of the beast, the beast being obviously Rome.  But it may be noticed that no reference is made to the worship of the beast in the first eleven chapters, a fact which leaves room for an earlier date for these chapters.  We do not know how long John was confined as an exile in Patmos.  Probably he was banished there during the persecution of Christians which took place over the Empire after the burning of Rome during the reign of Nero.   If his exile in Patmos began about the year 66, he would not likely be set at liberty so long as Nero or Vespasian or Titus reigned.  Domitian began to reign in 81 and it may well be that John gained his freedom and returned to Ephesus at the beginning of Domitian's reign.  For that bloodthirsty tyrant began his reign with the greatest promise, favouring religion and effecting a moral purge in Rome, though he himself from the start was a voluptuary.  It is a striking commentary on the dictum that "power corrupts" to find that both Nero and Domitian began their reigns as well-meaning and popular rulers while later on they became monsters of cruelty who can only be classed as madmen.

John would certainly not be released in the later years of Domitian and the most probable hypothesis is that he was released about the year 82.  As a strong tradition has it that he died in Ephesus in great honour throughout the Church in Asia Minor, it is within the bounds of probability that the second half of the Apocalypse was written by him in Ephesus after Domitian had turned out to be one of the most wicked of tyrants.  It should be noted that in 1:9 John writes: "I John.. was in the isle that is called Patmos," the past tense suggesting that the whole book was brought up to date, with the addition of the second part, some time subsequent to his return to Ephesus.  But the visions he had in Patmos should be held to belong to the earlier date.

If we are right in supposing that the aim of the book is to interpret our Lord's apocalyptic utterances, which so many people in the early Church had misunderstood, we must infer that, to the mind of the Apostle, our Lord's prediction had a twofold reference: first to nearer events, and second to events more remote.  This would help to solve a problem which has always been felt acutely by interpreters.  In our Lord's apocalyptic discourse in Mark 13, we read in verse 30: "Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done."  In verse 32 we read  "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father."  It is hard to reconcile these two verses unless upon the supposition that they refer to different events, the one definitely near, the other in the indefinite future.  John helps us to discriminate between the two.  On the one hand, there is the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple; that was to take place during the lifetime of some who were listening to our Lord's words; and in some connection with that historical event something still more momentous was to take place in the unseen world.  On the other hand, there was an event or series of events to happen afterwards at a time which even our lord professed not to be able to predict.  "That day" and "that hour" are highly apocalyptic expressions and our Lord may quite well have been referring to the day of final judgment, as in Matt. 7:22.  Let us see how John discriminated between the two sets of events.

If John wrote his Patmos visions about Easter 70, he was then writing on the eve of the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple.  The Jewish rebellion against Rome broke out in the year 66, after a civil war in which the Zealots obtained the ascendancy and instituted a reign of terror in Jerusalem and throughout Palestine.  Historians tell us that the six years between 64, the year of the burning of Rome, and 70, the year of the destruction of Jerusalem, were the blackest years in history.   Wickedness and bloodshed abounded in the Roman world and not least in Jerusalem.  When Nero heard of the Jewish rising, he dispatched his ablest general, Vespasian, to quell the rebellion.  Vespasian began his campaign in the year 67 and very soon overran the whole of Galilee.  In the year 68, hearing of the suicide of Nero and of frightful confusion in the Capital, he returned to Rome to restore order there.  For almost two years it seemed as if Rome would perish through internal strife.  There is little doubt that this is what the Apostle means when he speaks of seeing one of the heads of the beast "as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast" (13:3).

Vespasian, having become Emperor when he had healed "the deadly wound" of the Empire, sent his son Titus to complete the work which he had begun against the Jews and which had been interrupted by the troubles in Rome.  Titus arrived in Palestine with 60,000 men of the Roman legions and was at the gates of Jerusalem in April 70, having chosen that time of the year because then the population of the city was immensely increased by the arrival of multitudes for the chief festival of the year.  the city could thus be reduced by starvation if other means failed.  But the other means did not fail,  though famine was one of the worst of the miseries of the unhappy inhabitants.   Jerusalem was stormed in August 70 and the Temple utterly destroyed on the tenth of that month.  It is fairly certain that more than a million Jews perished in the war.  Those who survived, for they were scattered over the world, were now landless, homeless and friendless.  Thus our Lord's prediction was abundantly fulfilled, and no one with any knowledge of the gruesome facts will find any exaggeration in His apocalyptic words.

That was the historical event which our Lord foretold as coming before the generation to which He spoke had passed away.   John, in his Apocalypse, describes the event in apocalyptic figures and interprets it as the coming of the Son of Man in judgment upon His own nation which had cast Him out and had then refused to repent.  The Church at that time had two malignant enemies.  The unbelieving Jews were one of these.  They did their utmost, by secret intrigue and open hostility, to weaken and destroy the Church.    John saw, in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, the death-blow of his enemy.  Titus was the unconscious instrument in the hand of God for the fulfilment of the Divine purpose and of the Lord's prediction.  It is worth considering what would have become of the Christian movement in the last three decades of the first century if Jerusalem and the Temple had continued as a powerful bastion of Judaism against faith in Jesus Christ as the Divine Redeemer of men.  So far as we can see, Christianity would have become a sect of Judaism, having lost all its savor and power.  For it must be remembered that, in the first generation of the Church, Jews formed the most influential element in it and that, so long as the Temple and its sacrifices remained with their enormous religious prestige, those Jewish Christians could be easily tempted to return to their old allegiance or to compromise between the new faith and the old.  Paul's Epistle to the Galatians is a powerful appeal against the compromise which Jewish Christians, seduced by "the Judaizers,"   were disposed to make, while the Epistle to the Hebrews is a rallying-word to those Jewish Christians who, under the propaganda of the Judaizers, had begun to wonder whether it was possible to have a religion without priests and animal sacrifices.  The lure of Judaism was a temptation to Jewish Christians when the first enthusiasm for the new faith had abated, and John reckoned that the destruction of the Temple, involving the cessation of the animal sacrifices, deprived the Judaic lure of most of its force.  One of the two enemies was now out of the way.

The second enemy was the Roman Empire.  It had not always been an enemy.  Paul was glad to be a Roman citizen, for Rome had brought law and order to the Empire and held in check the machinations of Jews against Christians.  For a while the Pax Romana gave the Christian Church a fair field for its missionary enterprise.  But the scene changed suddenly and tragically when Nero had become the incarnation of pride and cruelty and wickedness of every kind.  In the year 64 he accused the Christians in Rome of having fired the city and had them massacred with a sadism which is not exceeded even in these grim days in which we live.  It is nearly certain that it was Nero himself who was the author of the great conflagration and that he looked around for  the most suitable scapegoat.  He might as well have fastened on the Jews, but there were some influential Jews at Court and this seems to have led him to fasten on the Christians.  The story of the foul massacre of the Christians in Rome can hardly bear being told.   They were also persecuted in many parts of the Empire and I have suggested that it was in this persecution that John was exiled to Patmos.  But certain it is that Nero's hideous deed burned itself into John's soul and that the horror of it is reflected in the Apocalypse.

 

XII.  The Apocalypse: History and Superhistory

If we are right about the date or dates when the Apocalypse was written, it was on the eve of the Jewish catastrophe that John had his visions of those "things which must shortly come to pass."   He repeats from his nearer standpoint what his Lord had predicted from His more distant standpoint forty years earlier.  He further interprets some aspects of the predictions of Jesus which could not well have been clear, even to the disciples, when these predictions were first uttered.  The Parousia of Jesus was probably that which had been least understood.  Parousia means Presence, though in our Authorized Version it is rendered coming.  Jesus had foretold that His Parousia would take place within the lifetime of some to whom He was speaking, and it was inferred in some Christian circles that those who were alive when it occurred would not have to pass through the gates of death (John's Gospel, 21:23).  In his Apocalypse, the Apostle corrects that misunderstanding.

What did our Lord mean by His Parousia, which He foretold was to take place some forty years from the time when He spoke of it?  It was not the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.  That Jewish catastrophe was only to be the sign of His Parousia (Matt. 24:3,30).  His Parousia, in its essence, was something which was to happen in the unseen world.  It was to be in the realm of superhistory (Matt. 24:31).  John in the Apocalypse connects the historical event of the destruction of Jerusalem with the superhistorical event of our Lord's Parousia, as our Lord Himself did, and brings out the meaning of the connection, thus correcting current misunderstandings.  He does not use the word Parousia, perhaps because of these misunderstandings.  In 11:8 he is speaking of the last days of old Jerusalem and then goes on to say that when "the seventh angel sounded" (11:15), thus announcing the destruction of the city, there were loud shouts of triumph in heaven (11:15-19).  In this significant passage, note two things: (1) there was given "reward" to departed saints (11:18); (2) when the temple of God was destroyed on earth, the temple of God was opened in heaven (11:19).

By this event in superhistory, John surely means that the saints who had died, many of them in "the great tribulation" (7:14), were now raised to the Presence (Parousia) of Christ, in fulfilment of our Lord's promise (Matt. 24:31), the same promise that John reports in his Gospel (14:3) in non-apocalyptic form.  The Parousia is thus seen to be the completion of our Lord's redeeming work for men.  He needed to pass to glory before He could "prepare a place" for His people and open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.  According to His own word, the Gospel had first to be preached to all the nations (Matt. 24:14), "the end" in that verse meaning  "the consummation."  It should be noted in passing that wherever our Authorized Version speaks of "the end of the world" we should read "the consummation of the age."  That consummation was not only the termination of Israel's spiritual leadership of the world (Matt. 21:43) but also the inauguration of the new age in which the sting of death is removed for the people of God and they pass at once when they die into the nearer Presence (Parousia) of their Lord.

This is a difficult subject as is shown by the immense variety of views which have been held on it.  Among scholars the prevailing view is that either our Lord or His Apostles were mistaken in this prediction of "the consummation of the age" before the close of the generation to which Christ came.  this view I cannot for a moment accept.  Some persist in saying that Jesus predicted "the end of the world" within His own generation.  There is absolutely no foundation for this.  Others persist in saying that Jesus foretold His return to earth in bodily presence within that generation.  This is to misconstrue our Lord's use of apocalyptic forms.  It is turning poetry into prose.  But worse still, it reckons either our Lord, or His Apostles in reporting Him, as having made a serious mistake in predicting something which never happened.  The view which appeals to me has been accepted by some sound scholars and has the advantage of preserving the unity of the New Testament and the reliability of the testimony of the Apostles.  Some ask: "Can you really believe that the departed saints of God were raised up about the year 70 A.D and that since then all His saints at death pass immediately into the Presence of Christ?"  I ask in return : "Is it more difficult to believe that Christ came to take His own folk, who had fallen asleep in Him, home to Himself about the year 70 than to believe that He will do the same thing at some time in the indefinite future?"

"The dead in Christ shall rise first" (1 Thess. 4:16) said Paul, writing before, but in expectation of, our Lord's Parousia.  Here in these verses (1 Thess. 4:13-18) he uses apocalyptic language, but there is good reason to believe that he means exactly the same as John in his Gospel (14:1-3).  Christ will come for His own people as they pass one by one from the earthly scene, but this He cannot do till the age of His Parousia begins.  the fulness of His Presence will be available for His people from that time onwards.

Quite clearly John distinguishes between the reward which has come to the saints at the Lord's Parousia and the Last Judgment.  God's people alone have part in the "first resurrection" (20:6).  Not till the day of the Great White Throne (20:11), which in apocalyptic language is "that day", will the rest of the people be raised to stand before God (20:12).  Then they will be judged "according to their works (20:12,13), a prediction often made by our Lord Himself.  In this whole passage we can discern a distinction within that great multitude of people who have never had the opportunity to know Christ.  They will not all be condemned by the unerring Judge.  He knows all those who would have accepted Christ if He had been offered to them.  There are good and bad heathen.  They will all be judged "according to their works."  Those who are "of the truth" but have never heard of Christ will have their names written in the "book of life" (20:12).  This message of John brings welcome relief to sensitive souls who are concerned about the eternal destiny of those who have never had a real opportunity to accept the Lord Jesus Christ.  God is more merciful than we are, and more just.

Another thing which confirms our confidence in this Apostle is that he does not run counter to his Lord's word.  Jesus said that He did not know when "that day" would come.  John therefore never commits himself to a time prediction of the Judgment Day.  He does not pretend to know what his Lord did not know.  There have been many Christian people in the past, and there are many still, who are not so modest as he.  They profess to be able to tell the year, and sometimes even the day, when the Great Day will arrive.  Few things have given so much sport to the Philistines, or caused so much disillusionment and even unbelief, as those false predictions which have been made regarding the day and date of our Lord's return to earth.  Surely Christians might take a lesson from the great Apostle whose book we are studying, for he took his lesson from his Lord.  "It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master."  The people who undertake to tell when "that day" will come do as much violence to the New Testament as those who hold that the Apostles were mistaken about the "last things."

The question of the Millennium, mentioned only in the Apocalypse (20:2,3), has sorely troubled many good Christian people.  There is hardly any doubt that when John speaks of a thousand years, he means simply a very long time.  He was not a prosaic person.  We moderns of the West are generally so prosaic that we miss the sense.  We need to have a little poetry in us if we are to catch the spirit of those visions of the Seer in Patmos.  In matters of history he predicts two outstanding events, a nearer even which is the Fall of Jerusalem, and a more distant event which is the Fall of Rome.  Jerusalem and Rome were the two arch-enemies, under Satan, of the Churchy in John's day, and therefore they occupy most of his historical horizon.  But he regards them as types of Antichrist and makes it clear that not only they, but also every other nation or movement which sets itself up against the King of kings and Lord of lords, will be broken  in pieces.   He had heard his Lord say the same thing (Matt. 25:31ff).  But he fills in the lines by declaring that, once the Roman Empire is out of the way, there will be an indefinitely long period (1000 years) when the Church of God will suffer much less from Satan and his agents than when it was thwarted by Judaism and harried by Rome.  That came to pass.  After that, he goes on to say, Satan will be let loose "a little season" (20:3).  We are entitled to say that this also has come to pass.  But if we follow the Apostle's example we are not entitled to say that "that day" is coming immediately, though the world situation certainly suggests it.  it is the Christian's task to watch and pray, and it is his privilege and joy to know that all is well now, and will be better by and by, for those who are in Christ.  There is a new Jerusalem awaiting all who love the Lord, but it will come down from God out of heaven.  It will be heaven itself.

There are some apocalyptic scenes in this book which would be understood by the Apostle's contemporaries but of which we have lost the key.  This however does not detract from the greatness of the book or its value for us of today.  The broad outlines stand out clearly, and from first to last there are doxologies and shouts of triumph which have never been surpassed in any literature.   Indeed, the Apocalypse has stereotypes the language of adoration and victory.  This alone stamps the book as an example of triumphant faith in God through jesus Christ in the midst of a time when external conditions looked like making all faith impossible.  Sometimes on a day of thick mist in the Alps, the tops of the giant peaks stand out above the mist, shining in snowy splendour, while all below is shrouded in grey gloom.  but an onlooker from a favourable vantage point in the distance knows that though these look like isolated peaks they are in reality outcroppings of one lofty and massive ridge of mountain.  The ridge is all concealed by the sea of mist and only the loftiest heights appear.  You are entitled to argue from the towering peaks to a high average level of concealed mountain range.  So is it with the Book of the Apocalypse.  The giant heights are there for all to see, and if there is much else which is still in the mist, it is safe to conclude that the invisible parts belong to the lofty range.

Many of the visions, however, are luminous to the faith of any age.  It must suffice to glance at the first vision in the isle of Patmos.  We must imagine, if we can, the state of John's feelings when he found himself an exile on a lone and rocky island, away from his beloved work and friends.  Why had it all come to this?  He could not fail to remember his Lord's promise about His Church that the gates of Hades would not prevail against it.  Now it looked as if those gates were prevailing.  His soul was still riven by the thought of the unspeakable cruelties meted out to the Christians in Rome by a capricious tyrant.  Many of the victims were friends of his own, and his banishment to Patmos was part of the aftermath of the cataclysm in Rome.  Was he condemned to inactivity for the rest of his life?  He must now have been sixty years of age.  It would be quite untrue to say that, even for a short time, he lost his faith, but we may be sure he was bewildered by the events of the time, and in the early days of his exile his depression would be deepened by the moaning of the sea which filled his ears and his soul day and night.

The change came soon.  It may have been the first Lord's Day of his imprisonment, for he could still keep track of the days of the week.  It was the most likely day for him to be "in the Spirit" (1:10).  In the midst of his discomfiture he would recall the joy of that first Lord's Day when the Risen Lord appeared to him and the other disciples.  now the melancholy sound of the sea was transmuted into a voice speaking to him in trumpet tones.  And what was its first message?  "What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven Churches which are in Asia" (1:11).  He was not condemned to inactivity.  He could do something which would be more fruitful for the whole Church than if he had been permitted to continue his work in Ephesus.  He was in the very situation in which he had leisure to see and hear some deep things which are hidden from even the best of men amid the bustling activities of life.  Thus God found His opportunity in the Apostle's extremity.

Then came the vision which is the beginning of the Apocalypse.  There were seven golden candlesticks and One like unto the Son of Man walking in their midst.  Christ was still watching over His Church and He was vested with a strength which nothing could overcome.  His voice was "as the sound of many waters."  "He had in His right hand seven stars," one for every candlestick, it must keep close to Him who never lets the star out of His own right hand.  The Church cannot have the benefits of redemption without the Redeemer Himself.  This message was to be delivered to the Church; and as for the Apostle himself, the message to him was that Christ was the First and the Last.  The Lord of heaven and earth had the first word with His Church and He would have the last word.  These messages John has passed on in the Apocalypse.

-end-

WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID

"He was Whitsuntide personified; as was written of Gideon, 'the Spirit clothed itself' in him"  Dr. F. Crawley

George Logan
"(Lamont's) years at Hillhead included the trying period of the First World War.  In the winter of 1914-15 Lamont delivered to crowded congregations a series of Sunday evening sermons on "The War in its Relation to the Kingdom of God."  With reference to one of these, entitled "The Perils of Neutrality", The Clam Lamont Journal reports:  "The preacher said that this was a conflict which concerned humanity.  The cause demanded the whole soul of Britain.  Moral neutrals were today a danger and disgrace."   In the later part of 1916 he went to France to take charge of the Scottish Churches' Tent which accompanied the gallant 51st Division, and from the spring of 1917, for about a year, he served with marked success as chaplain to the 1st Battalion of the King's Own Scottish Borderers.  It is on record that the hearts of his men leaped to him when he went with them into the front-line trench and shared their dangers amid the bursting shells.  At the termination of his chaplaincy his name was included in a list brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War for valuable services rendered."

"Another work which takes a similar line is Alexander Brown, The Great Day of the Lord (1894). A scholar who was much influenced by Brown was Daniel Lamont, Professor in Edinburgh University, whom I knew. After his death in 1950, a volume of his - Studies in the Johannine Writings - was published in which he maintained that the Parousia took place 40 years after the resurrection of Jesus, that it was not identical with the destruction of the temple and city of Jerusalem, but an event in the unseen world which took place at the same time (and which included the resurrection of the just); since then, believers at death have gone immediately into the Lord's presence, receiving their 'spiritual bodies' forthwith." // F.F. Bruce on Lamont: "A conservative line is also taken by the late Daniel Lamont (a former President of the I.V.F.) in his posthumously published Studies in the Johannine Writings (James Clarke, 1956)." (Quoted in 373 a Proof Set in Stone - Page 256)


BIOGRAPHY

Previously a minister of Hillhead United Free Church in Glasgow, Rev. Lamont was inducted into Park Church on the 7th October 1919. During the period of the War, the congregation had contributed towards the ‘War Relief Fund’ that the Deacon’s Court then distributed amongst various War charities, congregational, local and national.

On September 1925 the congregation celebrated Mr. Lamont’s Semi-Jubilee by presenting him with an Illuminated Address and a bank draft for a substantial sum of money. Miss Lamont, at the same time being made the recipient of a bureau. In June 1926 took a deserved holiday in the form of a tour of the Western hemisphere. In his absence, Rev. J.W. Walker, M.A. of St. Columba Church acted as an Interim Moderator.

While in Helensburgh, Mr. Lamont made valuable contributions to the wider life and work of the Church. Between 1921 and 1927, he held the onerous convenership of the Central Fund Committee of the General Assembly. He also devoted his time to writing, and at the request of the editor, he contributed a volume on The Church and the Creeds (1923) to ‘The Living Church’ Series and two years later published The Creative Work of Jesus, which contained the Bruce Lectures delivered by himself in 1924 in the Glasgow College of the United Free Church.

In 1927, Mr. Lamont the University of Glasgow intimated its intention of conferring upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity and shortly afterwards the General Assembly elected him to the vacant chair of Apologetics, Christian Ethics and Practical Training in New College, Edinburgh. The professorship brought with it the termination of his ministry in Park Church but he was able to continue in full charge until the end of July.

Whilst the Church was being repaired for dry rot in the roof, congregation accepted an invitation from St. Columba to unite worship. This lasted for a few months with the Rev. J.W. Walker (St. Columba minister) and Mr. Lamont officiating in turn, once the roof was fixed the united worship continued however this time in Park Church.

Dr. Lamont preached in the Church on various occasions, and took part in the dedication service for the opening of the Charlotte Street Hall on the 6th September 1939. After his death in 1950, Dr. George Logan who had studied under him at New College wrote a Memoir of his life and edited for publication his Studies in the Johannine Writings. James Clarke & Co. published the two in one volume in 1956.

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