The Things Which Shall Be Hereafter
Or, God's Testimony About The Future Gathered From Holy Scriptures

by Septimus Sears*

Soon after I tasted something of the preciousness of Jesus, I saw, but in a very dim way, that the present dispensation would give way to a future and glorious one, during which Jesus would personally reign with His saints; but having then but little learned to answer correctly the question of Eliphaz, 'To which of the saints wilt thou turn?' and meeting in print with remarks from some experimental Christians against the study of unfulfilled prophecy, I endeavoured to turn my mind from this subject; besides which, I became so fearfully exercised about my own interest in the blessings of the covenant of grace, that I felt this branch of truth lay very far from me while in a doubting position of soul. That which lay nearest my heart was the making of my own calling and election sure; but, after frequent minor helps towards clearing my election, the Lord at length very mercifully gave me to realise that I was scaled by the Holy Spirit of promise unto the day of redemption. From that memorable period, when, with indescribable softness and gratitude of heart, I could say, '0 my Jesus, Thou art mine, with all Thy grace and power. I am now, and shall be Thine when time shall be no more.'

I have at various times had my mind drawn to search God's Word upon the future, and feel that I have arrived at some certain conviction about what we are to expect in the course of the future history of the world and the Church, and that I ought not to keep back from others what I see to be the clear teaching of Scripture on this subject. I have been encouraged and prompted to the search into these things from consideration of: 

1. The example of the ancient prophets, who foretold the coming of Christ to redeem His Church. They 'enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace' that should come to us; and in prosecuting this inquiry they searched 'what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow'(1 Peter 1:10-11). And it must be obvious to all who read the word with care, that the Jews would not have been so stumbled in Jesus had they taken more pains to understand the predictions of their own Scriptures respecting the promised Messiah. Now they are fulfilled, we feel that such Scriptures as Isaiah 53, and Psalm 22, are more like history than predictions; and doubtless, by the aid of that blessed Spirit Who is promised to show us 'things to come,' we may now arrive, by means of the unfulfilled prophecies, at some certainty about what is to be expected in future. How could we follow the Saviour's directions, 'Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye. when ye shall see all these things, know that it (or 'he,' margin) is near, even at the doors' (Matthew 24:32-33)?  I say, how could we see these things as signs, without searching the Word where they are put down as signs? 

2. The rich blessing in Revelation 1:3.  I have a desire to claim as my own, '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'. I desire to read intelligently, and observe practically, that prophecy of the future in the book of the Revelation, and thus be among those blessed ones; and certainly I am far from envying those who see nothing in the blessing of the Lord here pronounced to make them long after it. 

3. That all Scripture is profitable.  I see that 'all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.'  And, since a large portion of all Scripture is unfulfilled prophecy, it would ill become me to treat that subject as if it were not profitable, when God has said, 'ALL Scripture is profitable.' The Word of God is like a physician's prescription, to be taken properly, every ingredient must be present. One ingredient cast aside, because not liked by the patient, might greatly nullify the good effects of the other drugs. The Scriptures, too, like a full meal scientifically prepared, only contain what is necessary for the building up of the spiritual man. 'That the man of God may be perfect,' he must 'not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.' 

4. I feel bound to seek to preach the whole Word, holding the position of a minister of the Word, and having long been accustomed to do some little in the way of Christian authorship; and I desire to be amongst those faithful and wise servants whom the Lord has made rulers over His household, to give them meat in due season, and thus get the blessing of 'that servant whom his Lord, when He cometh, shall find so doing.' And I feel that this is a 'due season' when this particular portion of meat should be given to the people of God. There seems to be a general spirit of inquiry raised about the future, and this has led to many such fanciful and contradictory interpretations and speculations upon this subject, that some have been ready to turn from it altogether with disgust. Now, I feel, is the time to bring forward 'the law and the testimony' upon this subject, and, by gathering together kindred portions of prophetic Scripture', to echo God's voice in His word to the people of God. I do not claim to be the author of the following pages, but merely the collector of the testimony of the infallible Author of the Holy Word upon these important themes. I wish, too, not to be understood, in the heading of the different sections of this work, as stating some doctrine by Scripture, but as giving, in a few words, the truth gathered out of the Scriptures that follow each numbered sentence. 

5. We should watch the signs.  I have the more desired to get at and to give God's mind upon these subjects, as I see that the minds of many are very falsely excited to think that the day of the Lord is at hand. When the Thessalonians had been 'troubled' by such teachers, Paul was moved to show them there were certain things that must take place before that day arrived, and I feel constrained to point the Lord's people to the 'things that are noted in the Scriptures of truth,' that must take place 'before that great and notable day of the Lord come.' 

It is a sad thing to be wise above what is written, but it is a blessed thing to be wise in what is written, and no doubt the nearer the arrival of 'the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth,' the more need have we to learn from the word of the Holy Ghost the character of the coming flatterer, blasphemer, and persecutor, that we may not be entangled in the meshes of his bewitching flatteries, be any way startled by his miraculously confirmed blasphemies, nor stumbled at his terrible persecutions. 

I trust no Christian reader will look upon this as a merely speculative subject. I am well sure that if the Holy Spirit should give the spiritual reader graciously to read the testimony of God's word about the things which shall be hereafter, they will have upon his heart and ways an experimental and practical effect. 

It will be well to name here, that one thing that was formerly a stumbling-block in the way of my viewing the prophetic Scriptures in their own light was the fear I had of making those Scriptures, that the Holy Spirit often blesses to the souls of God's people now, seem not to belong to them. This stumbling-block has long been removed out of my way by my seeing that the literal future, as well as the literal past, of Israel, is the spiritual present of the New Testament Church. A proof of this we have in comparing Hosea 2:23 with Romans 9:25-26. In Hosea 2:23, it is clear from the whole connection that a promise is made of literal Israel's future restoration, when the Lord will call them no longer Lo-ruhamah: not having obtained mercy: but will 'say to them ... Thou art My people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.' But when Paul quotes the passage (Romans 9:24-26) he speaks of it as fulfilled spiritually, 'not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.'

* Septimus Sears (1817-1877) was for 35 years minister of the gospel at Clifton, Bedfordshire, England. He published and edited the magazines "The Little Gleaner" and "The Sower." This article was published in 1923