The Days of Vengeance
Matthew 24 and 25
By Allen Baily
Old School Baptist Preterist
" The judgment of the
separation of the "sheep and goats" was then, and yet is now - in this time
world, and is yet being experienced by those who are called by grace from
out of the elements of this fallen mass of sinners. It seems to me that
every enlightened child of God should be able to observe this separation
taking place in a similar way as the Apostles were experiencing the
separation in their day"
"...That all things which are written may be fulfilled..." Luke 22:27.
"...For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man..." Luke 17:24- 26.
"...But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be..." Matt 24:57-39.
"... For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.... "... And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your red emption draweth nigh.Luke 22...27-28
"... And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee..." Acts 13:32- 33.
"... Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust..." Rom 15:8-12. ...."
It is said that Thomas Jefferson, being a Deist, as he indeed seemed to be, believed in a "watchmaker" God - that is, he believed that God had created the world and wound it up like a watch, and now it was more or less just running (down) on it's own inertia and momentum. Probably some of his ideas of government, along with Thomas Paine and his Rights Of Man also stemmed from these same ideas, which were becoming popular in that age and were being espoused by many adherents to the French and American revolution and The Age of Reason, because he probably got many of his ideas from this movement, as he was also said to believe that it was the best policy to just leave people alone, and by human reason they would always do the right thing. There may some merit in these philosophies from a civil and political standpoint, but from a Scriptural and spiritual perspective these ideas are clearly repudiated. Try this for example:
"... For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha..." Rom 9:28-29.
"...The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame..." Prov 29:15.
It is good when we can refrain from getting in the habit of tending to conform our beliefs and views of the Scriptures merely to those of any famous theologians, preachers or others that we believe to be otherwise reputable in doctrine, or to any tradition in general unless we are firmly convinced of the truth of their teachings within our own heart and minds - when the counsels of the hearts of all will be made manifest in God's own time, and when everyone shall have their own praise of God. - Even if these views be from those who are and were considered to preach the doctrines of grace or otherwise; but may we receive the analogy of faith as it appears to our own mind and conscience, and how these things fit together in our own mind as the context of them in the Scriptures appears to us. Let every man be persuaded in their own mind of the truth, for if they are not, what good does the truth or at least, their comprehension of it, really do for them? True, we are not warranted to go aside from the Holy Scriptures as the written word of God and drift into vain janglings and mere philosophies of men, whether they be from ancient or modern sources - Neither should we have a disposition to be zealous of those things only as they are received by tradition from the fathers, or from the mere human wisdom of the greats of this world; for without divine inspiration, or the wisdom that comes from above, no one knows any more, or can understand these (spiritual) things more than any did in any age of time; because the "world by wisdom knows not God." And God has ordained that the believer be delivered to the glory of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus through the Gospel by the administration of the Spirit sent down from heaven, and not as it comes from the earthly level.
The writer trusts that we have no undue prejudice (or any personal prejudices) toward those people that were once identified as Israel after the flesh. On the other hand I would not want to exalt that dispensation above the place that it served in God's callings and purpose, as so many seem to do. Because,
"...To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..." Ecc 3:1..."... I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it..." Ver 10
"...Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natur al branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again..." Rom 11:18-23. .
And it eternally stands that "...This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. "...Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved..." Acts 4:11- 12.
The old heavens and earth have passed away with a great noise for the called of Jesus Christ, and they have entered into that rest that remains for the people of God who are made partakers of Christ and His Glory;
"...And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be dest royed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever..."Dan 2:44. "...For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His..." Heb 4:10.
Therefore they labor to enter into this rest, lest they find themselves in neglect of these promises of God, and thereby fall into that unbelief and error of the wicked in departing from the living God. Their experience has taught them that their fleshly nature is prone to this, and like "Murphy's Law", things left to themselves always go from bad to worse, including their own evil hearts of unbelief. They, still in their carnal nature, like the Jews of old have...
"...Committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water..." Jer 2:13. - When they are thus inclined not to trust in the Lord for all things (1st evil), then the 2nd evil follows: They hew out their own cisterns, erect their own idols, serve and praise the creature more than the Creator, etc., etc.
Since I can remember, it has been common to hear the above (opening) text as referring to the "end of time" or to the dissolution of the physical earth, if not the whole material universe. Why God would make such a stupendous revelation to such a worm as mankind, I cannot fathom, and I don't believe that He has. For one reason I believe this, is that I cannot find such a fact presented in the Scriptures, and secondly, because I doubt if man in his present state could contain or even comprehend such information, not to mention that man has no present "need-to-know" basis, just the same as the world's own militaries practice their business. The creation and dissolution of the Universe are no doubt matters of such vast proportion that not even those supernatural beings called angels have no or little capacity to enter into the mysteries thereof, then how or why should or could puny man arise or be brought to the knowledge of the greatness of these things; But if the scripture refers to the events surrounding that period, (that is, the final destruction and the last days of ancient Jerusalem,) then it makes perfect sense within the general context of the above Scriptures.
If the "this generation that shall pass away" in Matt 24 be "that" generation, or the present generation that then existed, (and I believe it was) then the following "day and hour" refers to the same thing; Not the dissolution of the physical universe, or even the material earth is under consideration here. In the same consistent manner to keep the context, the following "days of Noah" also applies. The Jews at that time generally held that at the appearance of the Messiah, his kingdom would take on the nature of a political establishment, (which it already was, of course) where Christ would rule as kings did in ancient times, but in a much more powerful and glorious manner. This is clearly established by the Scripture itself in many places and by secular historians such as Josephus. These rabbinical ideas and teachings seem to have carried right on down through history with the remnant of the culture which calls itself Jewish, and to this day has significantly influenced a great part of the socialist movements throughout the world, The latest being Marxism or communisim. Zionism is closely allied with this philosphy, though Zionists attempt to gloss over this fact.
The doctrines of Judaism are again having a considerable influence upon Chrstiandom in general to the affront of the Gospel of The Lord Jesus. Ah well, now the seducers of this age, at least are more and more showing their true colors, and with the seducers of that age under consideration, are "waxing worse and worse, even to the end" - of those times.
Jesus's "Days of Noah" Matt 24:36, Peter's "Longsuffering of God waited" 1 Pet 3:20, Paul's "Vessels of wrath fitted to destruction" Rom 9:22, Peter's "Longsuffering to usward", 2 Pet 3:9. etc. are equatable in the writer's view. as they principally refer to the near- coming judgment upon the Jewish nation which was culminated in 70 A.D.
This day overtook that generation that persisted in their sins just as the judgment of God did the antediluvian world when that world persished in a flood of waters. Therefore Jesus, Paul and Peter make these comparisons between those judgments and the present ones that are approaching the generation that Paul said "... Both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men..." 1 Th 2:15.
Paul deals with this subject extensively in his letters to the Thessalonians, and to my mind that many, if not most are accustomed to apply to "after times" or times of the far distant future from the apostolic age, but which were actually predictions of those events that would attend the termination of the Law economy, and would usher in in it's fulness the gospel dispensation. The things that John the Apostle deals with in the Book properly called The Revelation Of Jesus Christ also deals with the same things, and spans the relative part of the Old Testament also.
A Falling Away First
It is commonly taught that the "falling away" referred to by Paul concerns the Gentile church, which of course to have any sensible meaning would have to take place in a far-away future from the Apostolic Age; But if the falling away refers to the "falling away" of the Law Economy or to Old Jerusalem which represented her - then to my mind, the whole context of these Scriptures makes perfect sense.
The "Babylon that Is (was) fallen, is fallen", and cried over in a way of rejoicing by the saints in Rev could be no other than the Old Jerusalem which had "become a habitation of foul spirits, dragons and devils" etc. and a perfect description of that reprobate place. Even to describe her as Christ's own testimony against them while he dwelt there confirms this - of that city which represented the center and place of worship of that economy:
"... And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually i s called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified..." Rev 11:8. --
More corrupt than Sodom and darker than Egypt. "... And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee..." Matt 11:23-24.
These dead bodies seem to be the dead bodies of the Law and the prophets, represented in all of the holy prophets that had been murdered by the wicked Jews. Wherefore the Law was now manifested as being fully dead, powerless and therefore of no effect for the natural or fleshly Jew, Jesus having broken down the middle wall of partition between the Jew and Gentile and abolished the requirements contained in carnal and conditional ordinances ordained for those who kept not the Law; Jesus having fulfilled the law and the prophets, and at the same time exposing the unbelieving Jew to the full wrath and fury of the judgment of God that had been accumulating against them. And like the unclean spirit that His presense with His disciples and that of John the Baptist had caused to go temporarily out of them for a season, returned in a seven-fold force after His crucifixion and resurrection to fiercely persecute the Apostolic church of God, and brought to full manifestation the children of the bondwoman in Galatians that was born of the flesh, and therefore, like Ishmael, persecuted the true spiritual children of promise (Isaac), born of Christ's Spirit.
"... Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand..."
When Paul was inspired to write this epistle to the Thessalonians (about the year 66 A. D.) The remains of the old economy was yet standing, (though in a few short years would come to a final end), and as the progress and establishing of the Gospel by the Apostles was continuing throughout the known world at that time, including Jewish and Gentile, and as Christ had foretold that this word must first be preached throughout the world by them, and then (not before) the end of that dispensation would come.
Some think that the coming of Christ here referred to is to take place in a far- away future, because Paul would not have them to be too "soon shaken in mind, as if this "Day of Christ" were at (immediate) hand - Something "at hand" is in present existence and appearance, not just right around the corner, at least in the substance of it. It seems to me, that if Paul was speaking of the "Day of Christ" as Christ coming in "The Last Day Judgment" to judge the whole world of humankind, as it commonly believed by most all, then they as true believers in Christ and His grace to them, would have no reason to fear, for if Christ comes or appears to His people in salvation (as He always does and will continue to do) - That is reason that He says"
"... For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God..." John 3:17-18.
"... Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust..."John 5:45.
For we already have one to judge us in a way of condemnation, and that is the Law. Christ will always appear to them in their deliverence and rejoicing glory in Him as their consumate Savior and not as a Terrible Judge. The judgment for them in this sense is past. I would not apply that judgment that was reserved for the ungodly of this earth, and that was of a dispensational nature, to a judgment that every human creature is yet awaiting for in "A Great White Throne Judgment" at "The End Of Time". If Jesus has died for them and them alone as His elect - If He has exonerated them from all indictments so that none can lay anything to their charge, then pray tell me what is such a (future) judgment all about when they no longer inhabit the shores of time? This is an idea that even The Jews themselves held, and many other religions of this world that are not even connected with Judea-Christian tenents always did and still hold - But mainly, because to my mind, I cannot find it substantiated by the Holy Scriptures, within the highly allogorically and figuatively
written Book of Revelation, or otherwise.
The judgment of the separation of the "sheep
and goats" was then, and yet is now - in this time world, and is yet being
experienced by those who are called by grace from out of the elements of
this fallen mass of sinners. It seems t o me that every enlightened child of
God should be able to observe this separation taking place in a similar way
as the Apostles were experiencing the separation in their day, and which,
from their human and cultural relationships with those they loved in nature,
and caused them such conflict at times that they were made to say (as we too
sometimes are made to say)
"..For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:... " Rom 9:3.
And when they were being brought out of the legalism of the Old Law Covenant, which in their time was then "Waxing old, and therefore ready (but not already vanished)) - away" As it related to those who were and are being called to grace and the glory of Christ's spiritual kingdom not made by hands by works, efforts and merits of men, but through the intercession of Christ's Own Spirit within them, working in them that which is well pleasing in His sight.
For it is " ..Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts., "And the zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall accomplish this" and not the blind natural zeal of unregenerate men.
"...And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. "...And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved... But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come..."
"... And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God..." Mark 16:15-19..."
All of these things were completely fulfilled during the times of the Apostolic Age - that is the 40 year period that followed the ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and when these things were fulfilled according to the Scriptures, the final end came upon the present generation of that dispensation.
"...But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
"...Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed..."Acts 13:45- 48.
"...Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition "... 2 Th 2:1-3.
By rejecting The True Messiah, they had in effect declared themselves to be their own saviors, and thus had usurped Him and His Divine Authority as God, which He had clearly demonstrated before their very eyes (though their hearts were blinded to His glory and Power) and thereby they manifested themselves as an idol that sat themselves in the temple of God, showing themselves and their system to be God (2 Th 2:4) .These things must come to pass, because they were the fulfillment of the word of God, whose word cannot be broken: (John 10:35)
"...And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;
Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you." Acts 13:39-41.
"...What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?..." Rom 9:22-24.
The remainder of this Scripture portion refers to the election of grace and the calling to the glory of the gospel among the remnant of the elect Jews and Gentiles."... Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved..." Ver 27. These were spiritual Jews, who were "... Born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God..." John 1:13.
"... Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 2 Th 2:3-4.
What "day" is the the Apostle here referring to? If the "falling away" is the falling away of that old economy, attended with the final, literal and physical destruction or perdition of that ungodly generation, it seems to me that it all comes to light: Who else (not even the popes of Rome with all of their admitted embodiment of a false Christ ) could better characterize this figure than that present wicked generation, which was at that time the prime movers and persecutors of the true church of God? - Because they yet arrogated to themselves the position of the rulers of the Law, as they sat in Moses' seat; But the Law had now been abrogated by the death of Christ and had become of none effect on believers as a condemning instrument, for they were no longer under the law of works, but under the law of grace and love of Christ; for greater was He that was in them than he that was cast out into the world, where there was to be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth not many days hence.
"... And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth..." Matt 8:11-12.
"... But if I with the finger of God c ast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth..." Luke 11:20-23.
Again, if these Scriptures do not relate to the unbelieving Jews of that generation, then who do they point to? "... And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they a ll might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
This "standing" (of Old Jerusalem" with that economy) and the manifest revelation of her as being "the man of sin" and the "mystery of iniquity" "The Great Whore", whom all the kings of the earth had committed fornication with, whose "merchants were the great men of the earth", and " had waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies" ,Who would " weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more", " who were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, "The fallen Babylon (though had at Paul's writing, not yet fallen) yet attended with power and signs and lying wonder in them that perish in their sins, who received not the love of the truth, which truth in Christ can only save and deliver men unto the knowledge of the True God. Therefore, strong delusion from God against them must prevail, and did unto her final destruction.
"... Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all..." Rev 18:20-21.
"... Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God...John 12:39- 43.
As we look around the religious world today, we could almost say that we can see the same conditions of some time already prevailing as they did in the days of Christ and the Apostles. Could we not make a secondary application to our times to those of the Apostles?
God in in His purpose, as The Scriptures and history shows, had commanded "men everywhere" to repent of their idolatry, which did
to an extent take place within that age and afterward; but times again have changed among civilization seemingly to bring on the return of such a world, and the relapse into gross idolatry - what can our generations expect "but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, that shall devour the adversaries" of righteousness as God has demonstrated from time to time in ages past upon those who were set forth as an example of eternal judgment?
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- 30 Sep 2003
A long, well-intentioned article packed with basic preterist errors. Christ said that all things concerning him in the OT had to be fulfilled (Lk. 24:44) and since the OT deals with the lengthy history of natural Israel, the NT deals with the spiritual fulfillment of that entire history - NOT WITH JUST THE FIRST 40 YEARS OF THAT HISTORY. Preterists' misunderstanding of certain "time statements" has always prevented them from recognizing that critically important fact.
- 03 Oct 2003
Unfortunately, the above persons criticism flies in the face of the "real facts" that over and over again both Christ and His Apostles made it clear that Old Israel was coming to an end SHORTLY. Not to mention Paul emphasizing this by saying over and over that there is no Jew or Gentile anymore, but only one heir and true seed of Abraham--believers in Christ. Israel is NO MORE! lIVE WITH IT!
- 05 Oct 2003
Sorry, chum. The merely typifying OT, natural Israel and all of its merely typifying OT, natural institutions passed away in the sight of God in the spring of AD 30 when Christ, the true, spiritual, eternal and fulfillment Israel rose from the grave. After 40 years of grace the faithless nation and its institutions also passed away in the less-than-spiritual sight of man in autumn of AD 70. Until preterists and dispensationalists recognize those facts they'll continue to misunderstand what really happened in the first century. But at least they have each other for company.
- 05 Oct 2003
Israel is no more? Nonsense! All that earthly minded Bible students can ever think of is the old, natural, temporary, merely typifying Israel. The truth is that Christ rose from the dead as the true, spiritual, eternal and fulfillment Israel, and the believers who are in Christ are also that true and eternal Israel. There no longer was any difference beteen Jew and Gentile after Christ's resurrection in AD 30, and preterists are in error when they make the futuristic claim that the difference between Jew and Gentile did not disappear until AD 70. Preterists can't see that Jesus, the Son of God, opened the way into heaven in AD 30 (see Eph. 2:5,6) and so they make the demeaning, futuristic claim that Titus, the son of the Roman emperor, opened the way into heaven in AD 70. Because of preterists' disdain for complete and consistent Bible typology, one has to wonder whether they even recognize that the slaying of the natural lambs (Ex. 12) typified the slaying of Christ.