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of this Dispensation; towards the close of which He informed them that “this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations : and then shall the end come.” And having thus brought them down to“ the time of the end,” He tells them, that the very first intimation of that period will be, the setting up by Antichrist of his image in the temple at Jerusalem, which will then have been rebuilt, to be worshipped. Those who have read my first Volume of “Outlines,” will remember, that in giving an exposition of the “ Visions recorded in Daniel,” I pointed out that there were two "abominations of desolation "mentioned in that book—the one being "the image of Jupiter Olympus,” which Antiochus Epiphanes set up in the temple at Jerusalem, and which is referred to in Chapter xi. 31, and called “the abomination of desolation” in 1 Mac. i. 54, 55, 59; and the other being “the abomination of desolation " here referred to by our Lord, and spoken of by Daniel in Chapters ix. 27 and xii. 11. And as the first “abomination of desolation,” was an idol image : so will the second be ; and as the Book of the Revelation shews, an image of Antichrist himself. For we are expressly told, that Antichrist's co-adjutor, the false prophet, “deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of,” évótlov, under the eye of, or as the minister of, “the beast,” or, Antichrist; “ saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”]
Now our Lord here counsels His disciples, and us through them, that as soon as ever they saw this image set up, all, whether Jews or Gentiles, who might then be in Judæa, were instantly to leave it, and flee into the mountains, not even stopping so much as to take anything with them: for “the great tribulation," so often referred to in the prophetic Scriptures, would then be at hand. “For then," says He, "shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved : but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."
1 Rev. xiii. 14, 15.
And then, having warned them of the many false Christs and false prophets, that would rise up in those days, and through Satanic agency, as I shall prove in another Section, "shew great signs and wonders ; inasmuch that, if it were possible, they should deceive the very elect ;" He tells them, that His coming would be as sudden and unexpected ; and as manifest to all, even as the lightning flash itself“For as the lightning cometh out of the East, and shineth even unto the west ; so shall also the coming,” Tapovola, “ of the Son of man be;" and that this, His coming, would occur, not before, (as so many assert) but after “the great tribulation" itself. For His words are, “ Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the land," i.e., of Israel, where our Lord is to be manifested, (as we shall see,) “ mourn, and they shall see, the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." “But of that day and hour," says He, “knoweth no one," oúdeis, " no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only."
Having thus rapidly sketched the whole period of this Dispensation, down to the time of His second Advent; after the manner of the Prophetic Word generally, our Lord next proceeds to enter more particularly into detail, respecting some of the events, which are to take place at “the time of the end." And first, He refers to the awful consternation
that will be produced in the minds of the persons mentioned under our fourth head. But as the days of Noe,” or Noah,
were, so shall also the coming,” Tapovola, “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,” tapovola, “of the Son of Man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left," &c. These then are the worldly people, who have "settled down" in this world, and have not even professed to belong to the Lord Jesus. This is shewn by the comparison between them and the people, who perished in the flood. For as the people in the days of Noah, not only despised “the longsuffering of God,"l and His repeated warnings and exhortations through His servant Noah, "a preacher of Righteousness :" and thereby rejected the truth preached, as well as the person of him who preached it: so do these, not only despise the longsuffering mercy of God now, and resist the truth preached by His ministers; but in so doing, they reject also the Person of Christ Himself, Who is thus preached to them. And so, at “the end of the age,” while the righteous are “taken” up
into the glory, the wicked are “left” to perish in the deluge of God's wrath, which will then be poured out upon the earth.
And then, having given the disciples an exhortation to watch, and warned them of the dreadful fate of the “evil servant,” who will disbelieve in the speedy coming of the Lord; He, in another beautiful Parable, from verse 1 to verse 13 in the 25th Chapter, sets forth the end of the two classes of persons mentioned under our second and third heads—the Lord's own people, and the professing people of God, who had been possessors of “gifts,” but who had had no grace—having had the Spirit “on” them only, and not in them, as Balaam and Judas, and others had :—a class of persons, whom He had before referred to in the 7th Chapter
of this Gospel; and of whom He had said, “Many will say to Me, in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out demons," dalmóvia ? “and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you : depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.”l
This Parable is as follows :-" Then shall the kingdom of the heavens,” Tôv oúpavwv, " be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh ; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are going out,” oßévvuutab. “But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you : but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage : and the door was shut. Afterwards came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But He answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the son of man cometh."
This Parable describes a circumstance, which no doubt frequently took place in the East; and of which I have given two interesting cases in point in my “Hidden Mystery." The Parable also affords another instance of the wonderful way, in which our blessed Lord made use of the common occurrences of life, for the purpose of grafting upon them the most tremendous and most awful of truths.
The contention of those, who hold that these virgins were all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the
difference between them consisted only in the fact, that the one had understanding of the Prophetic Word, and the other had not, cannot be sustained for a moment : for it not only violates every principle of interpretation, but is utterly opposed to the scope of this, as well as of all the other Parables likewise. If it be asserted, that because all these persons are said to be virgins, that they must necessarily represent believers, such an inference is rebutted, not only by the different ends of each class of persons, but also by the Divine principles enunciated in the Word itself. For there are two principles clearly disclosed by the Word, which, although to an unobservant reader of the Word, may seem to be opposed to each other, are yet perfectly harmonious: because the one relates to God Himself, and the other to man. The one relating to God is, that “God calleth those things which be not as though they were : because to Him “all things,” past, present, and to come, now lie, and ever did lie, “naked and opened"? from all eternity. This principle is revealed in the subsequent Parable of “the sheep” and “the goats”—the sheep having of course ever been “sheep ” in God's sight, and the goats goats; although in men's eyes, this distinction will not be manifested until the end of the age.”
The other principle is, that in the days of “The mystery of the kingdom,” God takes man for the time being upon his own profession; and deals with him accordingly-God's sifting “at the time of the end ” revealing whether that profession be real or not. This principle is illustrated in this parable, as well as in the case of the “wicked and slothful servant," mentioned in the 26th verse. It is in this sense also, that it is said of unconverted professors, “ Let them be blotted out of the book of the living;” and that our Lord says of a true believer, “I will not blot out his name out of the book of life”3—phrases which are explained, in the former case by the context, which runs," and not be written with the righteous :"4 for what had not been written
3 Rev. iii. 5.
i Rom. iv. 17,
2 Heb. iv. 13. * Psalm Ixix. 28 ; Rev. xx. 15.