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death" may have the deep signification, in which sense the true believers, who were standing there, shall never experience it.?? This is certainly the signification the same language has in Heb. 2:9,78 and if we understand it likewise in these passages, then we have all eternity for the fulfillment. However we only suggest this. We do not rely upon it, for we believe the word "till” more than intimates that the "some” should taste of death, and that therefore natural death or separation of soul and body was meant.
Peter Saw It.
But now let us mark well what the “some" standing there were to see, and then let us go up the Mount of Transfiguration, and gaze through the favored eyes of Peter, James and John upon the scene which is recorded immediately after the passage we are considering. Behold His face shining as the sun and His raiment white and glistening as the snow, or as the light. See Moses and Elias as they appear in glory with Him, and listen to the communings of this exalted trio. Then bow in silent awe, as the cloud of surpassing glory overshadows them, and reverently listen to the voice of God, the Father, saying "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye
Him.” No wonder that even the favored and beloved disciples trembled with fear beneath this supernatural majesty and effulgent glory. Surely this was I AM79 spanning the centuries and giving these apostles a view of His coming and kingdom.
So they understood it and Peter especially confirms it.
“For," he says, "we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and com
ING of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount.” 2 Pet. 1:16-18.
We cannot tell how much of the future they saw in that enraptured hour, but doubtless they had a specific vision of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in His kingdom and glory.
John Saw It.
We have only to turn to Revelation, where we find that He "which is and which was, and which is to come" permitted John to see (Rev. 1:2, 11, etc.) it most definitely. His enraptured vision swept the centuries. Time, to him, was annihilated and he gazed upon the literal facts. He actually saw them. Thirty-six times does he say "I saw," seven times "I beheld,” and five times "I looked," besides many similar expressions. And he saw the very things mentioned in the passages.
“And I SAW heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and Truth, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire and on His head were many crowns,
and He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called the Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean..
And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
He saw the beast and kings of the earth gathered and taken and cast into the lake of fire. He saw Satan bound, and he saw Christ and His saints reigning for a thousand years. He saw it all in perfect fulfillment of the statements in the passages we are considering. Rev. 19:20.
Paul Saw It.
Paul also saw Christ in His glory and doubtless he saw all that John did, and probably more, for he saw things that it was impossible for a man to utter. (2 Cor. 12:4, margin.) Surely these are an absolute and literal fulfill
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, be cause 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 ; 0 thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift
Gloomy View of the Future.
It is objected that this 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 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 bave 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.
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.
Mal. 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,85 are saved from this awful fate and made "joint heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16-17) “to an inheritance served 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 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 mar riage: and the door was shut.
11. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12. But he answered and said,