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Christ,” &c. The Apostle Peter is here urging the Jews to invite the return of Christ with its attendant blessings, by that repentance and obedience which were essential as a preparation for this great event, — an event so glorious, and so blissful to all true believers.
4. JUDE. — 20, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, (21) Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. ... (24) Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (25) To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”
5. JOHN. — 1 John ii. 28, “ And now, little children, abide in him ; that when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. (29) If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. (iii. 1) Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be : but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
Rev. i. 1, " The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass ; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John : (2) Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. (3) Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein ; for the time is at hand.”
Rev. iii. 11, “ Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”
Rev. vi. 9, “ And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: (10) And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth ? (11) And white robes were given unto every one of them ; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”
Rev. xxii. 6, “ And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true. And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. (7) Behold, I come quickly ; blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. ... (10) And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book : for the time is at hand. (11) He that is unjust, let him be unjust still : and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still : and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (12) And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me to give every man according as his work shall be. ... (20) He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly: Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
Is it not wonderful that such explicit declarations at the beginning, in the middle, and at the close of the Book of Revelation, have not prevented commentators from looking so far down in the vista of ages for the antitypes of St. John's visions ? One would suppose, that the mere comparison of v. 10 of the last chapter with the passages in the Book of Daniel upon which it appears to be founded, might have secured them from this error. The language to Daniel was,
Wherefore shut thou up the vision, for it shall be for many days.” — viii. 26.
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end : many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” — xii. 4.
" And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things ? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel ; for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. ... But go thou thy way till the end be, for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” — xii. 8, 9, 13.
How striking is the contrast between this and the language to John : “ Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book : for the time is at hand." Yet Daniel prophesied only about 600 years before John ; a priority quite unimportant in estimating the remoteness of events thousands of years off. How could the difference between 2,000 and 2,600 years, or between 3,000 and 3,600, make events immediate to the Apostle, which were very remote from the Prophet? But some may perhaps say, “A thousand years are with the Lord as one day ; so that events at the distance of 2,000 years would be only two days off, and hence might be spoken of as close at hand.” Yes, with the Lord; but not with men, for whom the Scriptures were written. Besides, according to this calculation, events at the distance of two days from John, would have been at the distance of only about two days and a half from Daniel. The difference would be simply that between day after to-morrow morning and day after to-morrow evening.
Is it not also strange, that Rev. xxii. 11 has been so often applied, as an important proof-text, to the eternal condition of men, when it is evident from the connection, that it refers to the brief period then intervening before Christ's Second Coming ?
So far as our present argument is concerned, it obviously makes no difference, whether the Book of Revelation was written in the time of Nero, or in that of Domitian.
VI. In passages guarding against or exposing certain errors, all implying a general expectation of this kind. Of these errors, we notice the following :1. Too immediate an anticipation of these events.
2 Thess. ii. 1, “ Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, (2) 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. (3) 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 ; (4) 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. (5) Remember ye not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things ? (6) And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. (7) For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [hindereth] will let [hinder), until he be taken out of the way. (8) 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 : (9) Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, (10) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish ; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (11)
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: (12) That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (13) But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth : (14) Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (15) Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. (16) Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, (17) Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.”
The original in v. 2, for “ is at hand,” is évéotnkev, is instant or already present, — a word differing essentially in its force from those which our Translators have elsewhere rendered "is at hand.” It is unfortunate that they have not observed the distinction; for the Apostle everywhere teaches that the day of Christ is at hand, but nowhere that it is already present. This preterite is used elsewhere in the New Testament only in the participle, where it occurs five times, and always with the translation, in our version, "present." The practical character of the latter part of the extract shows that the “man of sin,” “the son of perdition,” the “ Wicked,” to be “revealed,” was not the Pope, but some enemy to the faith, or hostile power, which would arise in the times of the Thessalonians themselves, — the same apparently with the “ Antichrist,” whom the Apostle John, at a subsequent period, recognized as having already come.
The agitation among the Thessalonians, which the