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THE TIME OF THE END.
Brief Expositions of some Scriptures, which relate to the subject.—Matt.
xxiv. and xxv. ; and Luke xvii. and xxi.
The period between the fall of Adam and the second coming of the Lord, is designated in Scripture as “this age : ” while the period between the second coming of the Lord and the final state, is called “the age to come.” As Satan is "the god of this age," aiôvos ;? it is of course characterised as an "evil age," aiôvos : from which Christ came to “deliver us;' and believers are therefore, urged “not to be conformed to " it, ai@vi. “The children of this age," aiôvos, living of course as they do wholly for it, are, therefore, said to be, in this respect, "wiser than the children of light.”! It was the “love” of “this present age," aiôva, that caused Demons to "forsake" the Apostle Paul ;5 and it was “the care of this age," aiôvos, “and the deceitfulness of riches," that "choked the word,” in the heart of the 3rd hearer in the Parable of the sower. That the second coming of the Lord terminates this age, He tells us Himself, when He says, “the harvest is the end of the age," aiôvos;' and that His people will remain on this earth until that period, He also assures us in His final promise to them, just before He left the world, “ Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the age,” aiôvos.8
This period is again divided in Scripture into two partsthe first being the period extending from Adam down to the first coming of the Lord; and the second being the period extending from the first to the second coming of the Lord. The last period is called in Scripture “the last days,” or “the last times : ” because man's day will end with the second coming of the Lord; and the Lord will then have His day, as I have more fully shewn in my first volume of “Outlines." And so, we read, “God, Who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son."'1 And the Apostle Peter, quoting a prophecy, which had its primary fulfilment at the first, and will have its secondary, or exhaustive fulfilment only at the second coming of the Lord, says, “ And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh.”? So again, in his first Epistle, he speaks of “ Christ as a Lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by Him do believe in God.”3 And “ the last day” of “these last days,” or “last times,” will be the day of the second coming of the Lord : when the saints will be raised from the dead, and caught up to meet Him in the air. Hence Jesus says, « This is the Father's will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." And hence the disciples ask, “What shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the age ?”6_these two events being synchronous.
12 Cor. iv. 4.
2 Gal. i. 4.
3 Rom. xii. 2.
These phrases “the last days,” and “the last time,” or “latter time,” also refer to a period of shorter duration, occurring at the close of this Dispensation; during which the progress of the “evil” of “the age will have developed itself into an incarnation of evil“ the man of sin,” “the son of perdition:” who will be "destroyed,” at the end of the age, “with the brightness," or Epiphany, of Christ's “coming." The
1 Heb. i. 1.
? Acts ii. 17; Joel ii. 28, 29.
3 1 Peter i. 19-21.
7 2 Thes. ii. 3, 8.
beginning of this period is referred to by the Apostle, when in writing to his son Timothy, he says, “ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall set in,” ¿VOTÝCovtai. And again, “now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall apostatize from,” ÚTOOTÝCovtai, “the faith."? This is the period referred to by Daniel; which he calls “the time of the end," “ the last end of the indignation,” i.e., against Israel, and “the latter time of” the “kingdom," i.e., of the Gentiles, “when the transgressors are come to the full.'
The Millennium, or the period between Christ's second coming and the final state, is, therefore, called “the age to come.” Thus our Lord said, “The sons,"oi vioù, "of this age,” aiôvos, “ marry, and are given in marriage: but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that age," aiôvos, "and the resurrection of the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage : neither can they die any more : for they are equal unto the angels; and are the sons, vioi, " of God, being the sons,” vioì, “ of the resurrection."4 And again, “whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age,” aiwvi, "nor in the coming one,” èv TỘ Méxlovti. So the Apostle speaks of those, who had “tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come,” uédovos aiôvos. And he tells us, that “unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come”?-having committed it, as we shall see, to the glorified saints in the Millennium, who will then take the place, which the angels now occupy in this Dispensation. This time is referred to by the prophet Isaiah, when, in speaking of the Millennium, he says, “It shall come to pass in the last days," or, as Dr. Young has it, “ in the latter end of the days," or, as Mr. B. W. Newton has it even better still, "in the end of the days," i.e. after
12 Tim. iii. 1.
3 Dan. viii. 17, 19, 23. 4 Luke xx. 34-36 5 Mat. xii. 32.
6 Heb. vi. 5. 7 Heb. ii. 5.
& Heb. i. 14; 1 Cor. vi. 2, 3; Psalm xlix. 14 ; Dan. vii. 22 ; Rev. ü. 26; iii. 21 ; xx. 4.
the conclusion of man's day, and at the beginning of “the day of the Lord,” “ that the mountain of Jehovah's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all the Gentiles shall flow unto it," &c.
The period, however, upon which we have entered, and which I have now to consider, is "the time of the end," using the term rather broadly, as including that period, which will culminate in the revelation of the Antichrist of the last days : but as it would be impossible for me to refer to the whole of the passages which relate to it, (as I have before pointed out, in my Preface to this Volume, that almost every prophecy, which deals with evil, points to the final outcome of it all at the close of this Dispensation,) I shall, in the first place consider several prominent passages of Scripture, which specially refer to the end itself; and I shall then take a rapid glance at the history of our own times, in connexion with “ the time of the end,” as used in the sense before mentioned.
A careful perusal of the Scriptures will shew us, that shortly before the coming of the Lord, there will be no less than six distinct classes of persons upon the earth at that period :— (1) The Jewish nation, as such, still distinct as a nation from all others : a large portion of which will then have returned to their own land, most of them in an unbelieving state; (2) the people of the living God, distinguished from others, as a whole, only by God Himself, and scattered all over the world; (3) a vast number of professing disciples of Christ, in an unconverted state ; many of them being ministers of the Gospel, and having gifts, but no grace; (4) a vast number of worldly people, who make no profession of religion ; but who live for "this present evil age; ” and who have rejected the truth, and make a mock at sacred things ; (5) Christians, once so-called, who have apostatized from the truth, and others, who have joined with them, in rejecting and opposing the Gospel ; and who will then be found worshippers of Antichrist, and his image;
Isaiah ii. 2.
and (6) Mohammedans, and heathens, who have not yet heard of the name of Christ; and who, in the judgment of God, will not, therefore, be charged with the guilt of rejecting Him, as others will, who have had the Gospel preached unto them. All these classes of persons are distinctly mentioned in different parts of the prophetic Word; and each of them is dealt with by our Lord, as we shall see, in a different manner. Keeping this division, then, in view, I shall now briefly consider some few of the more prominent passages of Scripture, which relate to the subject.
We will begin with the Prophecies recorded by St. Matthew, in the 24th and 25th Chapters of his Gospel.
Some expositors of Scripture have asserted, without attempting, however, to furnish any proof of their statement, that the 24th Chapter of this Gospel is Jewish; from which it would seem, from the inferences they seek to deduce from such a misleading statement, that they would have us to believe, that it refers to Israel as a nation only: and does not refer to the Gentiles at all-a statement which I need hardly say is diametrically opposed to the positive and absolute statements of the Scriptures to the contrary. For the last two verses of the previous Chapter shew us, that the Lord had then left Israel altogether; and had told His disciples that that nation, as a nation, would not be “gathered” unto Him until His second coming: for He there says of the nation, as such, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, TILL ye
Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” And then, replying to the question of His disciples, “What shall be the sign of Thy coming," Trapovolas, “and of the end of the age," aiôvos, He says, “When ye, therefore,” believers in Me—a different class of persons altogether" shall see the abomination of desolation,” &c. “Therefore be ye also ready : for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh."
In His reply to the question, of His disciples, our Lord, in verses 4 to 14, describes, in few words, the characteristics