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and stimulates us to work with all our might that we may save some.47 Most, if not all, of the evangelists of our day are animated by this doctrine, and surely their work is practical.
Again, Peter says, “We have a more sure word of prophecy*, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed (as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise) in your hearts”;48f and he exhorts us to be mindful of these words. 49 Therefore we are not speculating when we prayerfully study prophecy.
*Gr. We have the prophetic word more confirmed. * See Tregelles' punctuation.
the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6. Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished :
7. But the heavens and the earth, which
are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is Hugsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night: in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12. Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
(47) 1 Cor. 9:22. Το the weak became I weak; that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men,
that I might by all means save some.
(48) 2 Pet. 1:19. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the daystar arise in your hearts :
(49) 2 Pet. 3:1. This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance :
2. That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy. prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Sa. vior.
Perhaps you ask, “Are not these prophecies to be interpreted 'spiritually'? And does not this coming' mean our acceptance of Him at conversion, and the witness of the spirit ? Or does it not mean His reign over the Church?” etc.
No! Not at all. Think a moment. Do you condemn the Jews for rejecting Christ, when He came in such literal fulfillment of prophecy, and yet reject the same literalness about his second coming? This is not consistent, and while we believe Luke 1:31, to be literally true, let us believe likewise in regard to verses 32 and 33.
Luke 1:31-33. "31. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus.
"32. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His Father, David.
“33. And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end."
The inconsistency of accepting literally verse 31, and 'spiritualizing 32 and 33, is clearly illustrated by the following account of a conversation between a Christian mina ister and a Jew:
“Taking a New Testament and opening it at Luke 1:32, the Jew asked: “Do you believe that what is here written shall be literally accomplished,—The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His Father, David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever?' 'I do not,' answered the clergyman, but rather take it to be figurative language, descriptive of Christ's spiritual reign over the Church.'
“Then,' replied the Jew, óneither do I believe literally the
words preceding, which say that this Son of David should be born of a virgin; but take them to be merely a figurative manner of describing the remarkable character for purity of him who is the subject of the prophecy.' 'But why, continued the Jew, 'do you refuse to believe literally verses 32 and 33, while you believe implicitly the far more incredible statement of verse 31 ?' 'I believe it,' replied the clergyman, “because it is a fact,' 'Ah! exclaimed the Jew, with an inexpressible air of scorn and triumph, 'You believe Scripture because it is a fact; I believe it because it is the Word of God.''
And now, dear reader, was not the argument of the Jew candid and forcible? There are symbols, figures or tropes, metaphors, etc., used in Scripture and there are, also, allegories.
But, unless they are so stated in the text, or plainly indicated in the context, we should hold only to the literal
The words of Christ in1 John 7:38 we are told in the very next verse were spoken "of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive.”
The allegory in Gal. 4:24-312 in no possible manner detracts from the literal sense of Scripture, but on the contrary it confirms it. We know that both Hagar and Sarah had a literal physical existence. Mt. Sinai and Jerusalem are literal.
We have a literal Christ, the mediator of the new covenant.3 And so we believe that the Jerusalem which is
(1) John 7:38. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
(2) Gal. 4:24. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gender
eth to hondage, which is Agar.
25. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
26. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
(3) Heb. 12:24. And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
above," of which Sarah is typical-"the heavenly Jeru. salem, 1994 "the new Jerusalem which cometh down out of heaven from God,5 is also literal, tangible and real. How then, are we authorized, from such examples as these (which are most prominent among those cited by Post-millennialists as authority for "spiritualizing'), to do away with the literal sense of Luke 1:32-33, or of the multitude of passages which predict the restoration of Israel, the coming of Christ, or which describe His glorious Kingdom? There can be no warrant for it. It subverts the authority and power of the Word of God, and Post-millennialists, by so doing, open wide the door for skeptics and latitudinarians of all descriptions. There are a portion of the Israelites in the present day who style themselves "reformed” or “liberal.” They likewise spiritualize the Old Testament prophecies and have therefore ceased to look for any literal Messiah. One of them not long since said to the writer "the nineteenth century is the Messiah," and this absurd doctrine is now quite generally preached in their principal congregations. That even Jews should thus join with Gentiles in “spiritualizing” Scripture, is a marvelous sign of the times in which we live. (“When the Son of Man cometh shall He find (the) faith on the earth ?” Luke 18:8.] Why! the same process of spiritualizing away the literal sense of these plain texts of Scripture will sap the foundation of every Christian doctrine and leave us to drift into absolute infidelity, or the vagaries of Swedenborgianism.
What is the purpose of language, if not to convey definite ideas? Surely the Holy Spirit could have chosen words
(4) Heb. 12:22. But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
(5) Rev. 3:12. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from
and I will write upon him my new name.
Rev. 21:2. And I John Saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as
bride adorned for her husband.
10. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
to convey His thoughts correctly. Indeed it is all summed up in the inquiry of a little child, “If Jesus didn't mean what He said, why didn't He say what He meant ?" But we believe that He did mean what He said, and that His words will "not pass away.” Mat. 24:35.
He said that He came “not to destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfill,” and “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Mat. 5:17-18.
Prophecies Literally Fulfilled at the First Coming. If He came and literally fulfilled the prophecies of a suffering Messiah, Psa. 22, Isa. 53, etc., will He not as surely come and likewise fulfill the prophecies of a glorified Messiah reigning in victory and majesty? Psa. 2; 72; Dan. 7: 13-14, Isa. 9; 11; 60, etc. Think of the many prophecies descriptive of a suffering Messiah, which we have seen literally fulfilled, and upon which we rest, as such strong evidence for the truth and inspiration of the Word, to wit:
Isa. 7:14–Born of a virgin.
11:12-Sold for thirty pieces of silver.
11:13–Potter's field bought.
- Garments parted-lots cast. Isa. 53–Poverty, suffering, patience, and death. And many other passages.
All these were literally fulfilled when Christ came. Do not, then, reject the literal fulfillment of those numerous prophecies which describe His future coming, and His glorious reign upon the earth. Namely:--