Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

eous which are to shine as the sun, are those christians, : who, after the Jews were destroyed, would experience comparative earthly felicity, and have an enlarged enjoyment, in this life, of gospel peace.” (Notes on Parables.) Such an explanation appears to us, rather a severe reflection on · Christ, for we should judge, that if Christ intended to teach, by this parable, what Universalists say he did, that his own explanation darkened counsel by words. What person, in a candid search after truth, would dream of such doctrines. being couched under the language of the Saviour? None but those, who are intent on establishing a theory in defiance of truth and of correct principles of interpretation, dare obscure and pervert the counsel of God so egregiously. If this parable had reference to what Universalists say it has, then it ought to teach, that after the wicked shall be burned up, the righteous shall shine forth as the sun, and · not " then—at the same time.. ... But must we understand the angels to mean the Roman

army, as the chosen agents of God to purify his kingdom, and that the earth with its “comparative earthly felicity," means the “ kingdom of their Father?” If so, the parable · speaketh not the truth, for the Romans are not only repre.sented as the “abomination that maketh desolate,” but they were not successful in gathering out of the earth all the wicked, nor did they cast all the wicked into the city of Jerusalem at its overthrow. Such interpretation of God's word is without system, and is most objectionable ; for it would disprove the doctrine of a hereafter altogether, and dash out of existence the future and eternal blessedness reserved for the saints of God.

The kingdom of their Father.” In this kingdom the righteous shall shine when the harvest of the world shall have taken place, which will be at the closing up of the gospel dispensation, therefore in the future life. It will be

. .

in that kingdom, which shall not be inherited by “flesh and blood,” therefore the kingdom of glory. (1 Cor. xv. 50.) It will be after the resurrection of the dead, at which time some shall arise to “everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt,” then shall the “ wise shine as the brightness of the firmament,” (Dan. xii. 3, 4,) therefore it will be in the spirit-world. If the righteous shall shine in the kingdom, as referred to in the text, in the future life, “ then,at that very time shall God by the agency of his angels gather out of the limits of the kingdom of his grace, all scandals and workers of iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace, a place fitted for the punishment they deserve. This is the obvious meaning of this Scripture.

“There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.” Luke xiii. 28. This passage has been interpreted to mean the rejection of the Jewish nation from the blessings of the gospel at the time when the Gentiles were called to repentance and faith in Christ. That it cannot have reference to this event, is evident from matter of fact in the case, and that therefore it is alone applicable to the saints of God in the kingdom of glory and to the wicked as thrust out into outer darkness, wailing and in anguish of soul.

At the time when the Jews shall see the patriarchs and prophets in the kingdom of heaven, then shall they be thrust out. If this only referred to faith, and not to a visible sight of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the prophets, then the Jews might have seen them before and after the time of their exclusion from the covenant of the gospel, and not merely at the time when the act of exclusion took place. But since it refers to the final separation of the righteous and the wicked, when the saints of God shall rise triumphant with the prophets and patriarchs with songs of

sublime adoration, then shall the wicked Jews with the unregenerate Gentile see them in the kingdom of heaven, and they themselves thrust out.

The Jews who were excluded from the kingdom of heaven as referred to in the text, were sensible of their exclusion. But this could never be said of the Jews in relation to their exclusion from the gospel. They have never believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, preaching and teaching the gospel of God, therefore they were not sensible of any deprivation of blessings by rejecting the gospel. Because they were rejected of God, for the time being, they did not wail and feel internal anguish in consequence. But this will be when the text shall be fulfilled.

By their being “ thrust out,” we should infer that there was violence used to bar them from the benefits of the gospel against their will, and that too when they were desirous of entering in and enjoying the kingdom of grace. We are yet to learn that the Jews were desirous of the gospel, or that they were thrust back when they sought its blessings. Nay, their rejection of the gospel was willful, and when desirous to enter through Christ the kingdom of grace, they were welcomed and have in all ages found shelter and succour; and the promise is, that there shall yet be a general turning of Israel unto the Lord. So far as access to salvation is concerned God has put no difference between Jew and Gentile-he has broken down the middle wall of partition. But from the kingdom of glory all the unholy and abominable shall be excluded, and “many shall seek to enter and shall not be able.” When God shall descend amid the rending heavens and come to judgment, with the innumerable company of angels, patriarchs, prophets, and the church of the first born, then shall the tribes of the earth mourn, because they are thrust out. At the time when the patriarchs and prophets, and saints of God shall be finally cor

onated in the kingdom of heaven, then shall .ye who are wicked and unreconciled be thrust out, to weep and wail in angụish of soul. This shall be in the future life. .. .." And to you who are troubled, rest with us; when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power ; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe, &c., in that day.” 2 Thess. i. 7–10. .

. . . . . . By Universalists, this Scripture is referred to the destruetion of Jerusalem as the scape-goat to carry away the passages which threaten wrath upon the ungodly. At the time when all this shall take place, the apostles and the Thessalonian brethren had “a rest” promised, which could not have been the case, when the Jewish nation was destroyed. A. C. Thomas says, that “the Thessalonian brethren, and all other believers, were to obtain • rest from persecution, · at the date of the tribulation' noted in the text.” Now,

it should be well known, that the people of God did not enjoy a cessation from persecution at the time Jerusalem was overthrown; though the power of the Jewish people was. broken, yet they fell into the hands of the heathen, and were shockingly tormented and slain for the space of two hundred years—they passed through ten severe and bloody persecutions. So far then the interpretation given by Universalists is wide from the mark.

What propriety was there for Paul to declare unto the Thessalonians the destruction of Jerusalem? What impression could this have on the mind of a heathen people, who knew but very little about Jerusalem, and what they did know had but excited their hatred of the Jews ? For

men to make such strange applications of the word of God in order to avoid its obvious meaning, is rather too ridiculous to receive serious reflection.

The apostle is more precise in stating when this heavy calamity and everlasting destruction shall take place, for he says, that it shall be when the Son of man shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty' angels, in flaming fire. We are bound to understand the coming of Christ literally, unless the connexion should demand a mystical coming. We mighty have understood the first coming of Christ spiritually, as spoken of in many prophecies, as well as to understand the second in that sense at the present day. The apostle had spoken of the coming of Christ in his first epistle in such a connexion as to preclude the probability of misapprehension; and it is but reasonable, that in his second letter he should mean the same thing, as he addressed the same brethren, and desired to console them with the blessings of the gospel. He says; “ For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first,”' &c. 1 Thess. iv. 16, 17. Here the apostle announces the coming of Christ in connexion with the resurrection of the dead, therefore it must be still future and at the end of the world. This affords undoubted evidence of the time when the “ Lord Jesus shall be revealed,” or “ descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel,” and “ with his mighty angels.” All this is conclusive proof in reference to the time, and that it could not be when Jerusalem was destroyed.

This destruction shall take place at the very time when the Lord “shall be glorified in his saints and be admired in all them that believe.”. This same apostle has elsewhere spoken of being made heirs and joint-heirs with Christ, under the condition of being obliged to “suffer with him,

« PreviousContinue »