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ment of what Jesus promised "some" should see, and satisfactorily explain the passages in question.
Ye Shall Not Have Gone Over the Cities of Israel.
Another passage is cited in support of the above theories, viz.: the spiritual coming on the day of Pentecost or the figurative coming, in the destruction of Jerusalem, etc., and that is Mat. 10:23, "verily I say unto you ye shall not have gone over (or finish) the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come."
In regard to this we answer, that this was spoken to the twelve disciples, when Jesus sent them forth two by two, with a message especially for and exclusively to Israel. We find from Mark 6:30, and Luke 9:10,80 that they returned to the Master, of course, without finishing the cities. And there is no evidence that they ever, in like manner, renewed the visitation preaching the message "the kingdom of heaven is at hand."81 Indeed they could not, for Israel had rejected their King, and the kingdom had become like a nobleman which went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and return.82
But from the force of the word "till" we believe that the message will be renewed (perhaps by the "two witnesses" after the Church is taken away), to the unbelieving Israelites, who shall yet return to their land and restore Judaism,83 and before they shall have gone over the rebuilt cities, the Son of Man shall appear again.
(80) Mark 6:30. And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.
Luke 9 :10. And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.
(81) Mat. 10:7. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
(82) Luke 19:11. And as
they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
12. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
(83) Isa. 40:9. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee upon a high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not No. XII. Gloomy View of the Future.
It is objected that this1 doctrine presents a gloomy view of the future; that "it is the philosophy of despair,"— that it stands opposed to the popular idea, viz.: that the world is growing better, and "if it is true," it is sarcastically said, "we might as well fold our hands and wait for Christ to come."
We candidly think that many who raise these objections have altogether mistaken the spirit and work of pre-millennialists.
We do Not Despair.
We neither despair, nor fold our hands to sleep. On the contrary, we are filled with a lively (Greek—living) hope (1 Pet. 1:3), the most "blessed hope" (Tit. 2:13), while we strive to save some from this worldly, sinful and adulterous generation, which is nigh unto cursing and whose end is to be burned.84
We would not deceive them with the hallucination that they are "growing better," for, as the apostle has said, "we know that we are of God and the whole world lieth in wickedness" (Greek—in the wicked one), 1 John 5:19— and therefore we would tell them in the plain words of Scripture, that they are in the broad way that leadeth to destruction (Mat. 7:13), and that they must repent or perish. Luke 13:3. And further, that this same world, once overflowed by the flood, is now "stored with fire*
*See the Greek.
afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God;
10. Behold the Lord Jehovah will come as a mighty one, and his arm will rule for him: Behold his reward is with him, and his' recompense before him.
11. He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and will gently lead those that have their young.
(84) Gal. 1:4. Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world (age), according to the will of God and our Father.
Heb. 6:8. But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
Mar. 4:1. For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." 2 Pet. 3:5-7.
We rejoice over every one of those, who, by believing the gospel, the good news of the coming kingdom,83 are saved from this awful fate and made "joint heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:16-17) "to an inheritance ... reserved in heaven for us," and "who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time," and who "hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto" us "at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Pet. 1:4-5-13.
Surely this positive conviction of coming doom is a mightier incentive to action than can be the quieting fallacy that things are moving on prosperously and that Even
THE WORLD IS GETTING BETTER
And this is clearly proved by the zeal and faithful work of the ministers, evangelists and laymen, who hold and proclaim this doctrine of the pre-millennial coming of Christ.
It is true that they do not expect the conversion of the world in this present evil age' (Gal. 1:4), but they do believe that a millennial age of peace is coming, and they do strive "in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation," to "shine as lights in the world holding forth the word of life" (Phil. 2:15-16), that they may snatch some brands from the burning (Mal. 4:1; 1 Cor. 3:13-15; Jude 23), to increase the godly company who shall be ready to welcome the Bridegroom.86
*See the Greek.
and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
(85) Acts 14:21. And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,
22. Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them
to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
(86) Mat. 25:10. 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.
11. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12. But he answered and said.
Why, then, should they be so bitterly opposed for proclaiming, this scriptural doctrine? Are they not all mem bers of the body of Christ?87 And, as such, do they not merit the warmest sympathy and prayers of the Church? Shall they be condemned because, like the early Church, they are holding the traditions (or teachings handed down) of the apostles,88 and looking for Jesus?88 God forbid! But let us remember that "we be brethren," strangers and pilgrims (Heb. 11:13), whose "citizenship" is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). And let us speak "the truth in love," be built up in love (Eph. 4:15-16), and "walk in love" (Eph. 5:2), "redeeming the time, because the days are evil."90
The Days Are Evil.
Yes, The days are Evil, and we freely admit that this doctrine does present a gloomy future in the present evil age, for this world of sinners, who are full of unbelief and radically opposed to Christ, His people and His salvation.91 They are rejecting God's gracious entreaties for
Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13. Watch therefore; for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
(87) 1 Cor. 12:25. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
(88) 2 Thes. 2:5. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you I told you these things?
15. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
(89) Phil. 3:20. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Heb. 9:28. So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Also Tit. 2 :13.
(90) Eph. 5:15. See then that ye walk circumspectly, nof as fools, but as wise,
16. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
(91) 2 Cor. 6:14. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15. And what concord hath Christ and Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16. And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their reconciliation,92 and rushing madly on toward the day of wrath. Rev. 6:15-17.
But there is no gloom in the future for those "who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us,"83 and "who have received the Spirit of adoption," become "children" and "heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ . . . For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us." Rom. 8:15-18.
There seems to be a prevailing disposition to balance up the good and the bad in the world by a process of general average, in which the triumphs of art and science, the progress in inventions, discoveries, etc., are counted as moral goodness, and it is concluded that the world, on the average, is growing better.
But this is utterly fallacious and, we fear, a grand deception of Satan.
The Church and the World.
First, there is no such thing as averaging together the true church and the world. There is no possible consanguinity. The one is "from beneath,"—the other "from above." The one "is of this world,"—the other "not of this world." John 8:23. They must not be yoked together, for there is no fellowship, communion, concord, part or agreement between them. They are and always
God, and they shall be my people.
17. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean tMng; and I will receive you,
18. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons.
Eph. 5 111. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
1 John 2:15. Love not the world, neither the things that
are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Also John 14:18-22, 16:33, 17:14, James 4:14, 1 John 5 :19
(92) 2 Cor. 5:20. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin ; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
(93) Heb. 6:18. That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie,