The Scofield Bible And Dispensationalism
No. 45: A Westminster Standard
1. The Seven Dispensations
Dr. Scofield defines a dispensation as a period of time during which
man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of
the will of God. He teaches in the Scofield Bible that there are Seven
Dispensations: (1) The Dispensation of Innocency: before the Fall; (2)
The Dispensation of Conscience: before the Flood; (3) The Dispensation
of Human Government; (4) The Dispensation of Promise: from the calling
of Abraham until Mt. Sinai; (5) The Dispensation of the Law: from Mt.
Sinai to the cross of Christ; (6) The Dispensation of Grace: from the
cross of Christ to the Second Advent; (7) The Dispensation of the
Kingdom: the Millennium.
"These dispensations are regarded not as stages in one single organic
development, but as distinct and mutually exclusive, or even as opposed
to each other. This practice of dividing the Bible into parts, and
setting one part against the others, means for instance, that in the
Dispensation of the Law there was no grace, and during the Dispensation
of Grace there is no law. The plan of salvation as set forth in the
Bible is one organic whole, revealing a marvellous and profound unity.
It cannot be split up into contradictory parts, much less into seven
mutually exclusive dispensations." (Summarised quotation from The
Millennium by Boettner).
In connection with the Dispensation of Conscience, Scofield says,
"Expelled from Eden - man was responsible to do all known good, and to
abstain from all known evil, and to approach God through sacrifice - -
- the dispensation ended in the judgment of the flood." "Ended" — what
ended ? asks Professor Albertus Pieters in his Candid Examination of
the Scofield Bible. "The responsibility of every man to do all known
good, and to abstain from all known evil ? Certainly not, that abides
today. The responsibility to approach God through sacrifice? That
command continued until the final sacrifice of Christ. The operation of
conscience in the heart of man? By no means. St. Paul refers to it as
operative in his day and there has been no change since."
In connection with the "Dispensation of Promise" we are told that it
ended with the giving of the Law upon Mt. Sinai. "Again we ask,"
continues Prof. Pieters, "In what sense did it end then? and again we
get no intelligible reply. Was the promise revoked? It was not. St.
Paul tells that the giving of the Law had no such effect. "And this I
say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the
law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul,
that it should make the promise of none effect." (Gal. 3:17).
"The entire ‘dispensational scheme,’ therefore," concludes Prof.
Pieters, "when subjected to examination in the light of Holy Scripture,
breaks down completely — yet it is accepted by multitudes today as the
undoubted teaching of the Bible, because Scofield says so."
Some dispensationalists hold that the
sermon on the Mount and most of the Gospels belong to the Kingdom
Dispensation which is yet future. The Book of Revelation after the
third chapter also is said to belong to the future. Thus only part of
the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles are said to be intended for the
Christians of today.
The slogan of Dispensationalists is
"rightly dividing the word of truth." But as one writer, Dr. Murray
quoted by Boettner, puts it, "Dividing the plan of salvation into
dispensations, is not rightly dividing the word of truth, but wrongly
dividing the Word of God."
2. Dispensationalism and the
In its doctrine of the Church, Dispensationalism holds that the Jewish
rejection of the kingdom caused Jesus to postpone the kingdom until the
Second Advent, and to establish the church as an interlude between the
two advents. They hold that the church is in no sense a fulfillment of
the Old Testament but something entirely new and revealed for the first
time to the Apostle Paul and that the Church Age will come to an end in
the Rapture which it is alleged, is the first stage of the Second
Advent. Following the Rapture, Christ and His people are to be in the
air for a period of seven years (the seventieth week, according to
Dispensationalism, of Daniel’s prophecy). At the end of the seven years
there occurs the Revelation, which is the public visible return of
Christ and His people to the earth.
The key text on which this view of the church is based is Ephesians
3:3-7. As to the "mystery" mentioned by Paul in these verses, it is the
mystery which was not revealed as it is now to the apostles, that the
Gentiles were to be partakers of the same spiritual blessings as the
converted Jews. The "mystery" that Paul speaks of was not completely
unknown in Old Testament times, but was not so well known as it is now.
It was not unknown to Abraham for the promise given to him was that "in
thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." The Lord revealed
that Christ was to be given as a light to the Gentiles and His
salvation to the ends of the earth. The emphasis in the passage in
Ephesians must be laid on the word as. The mystery was not formerly
revealed as, that is not so fully or so clearly as under the Gospel.
Stephen before his martyrdom spoke of Christ as being with "the church
in the wilderness." (Acts 7:38). The Lord had a church in the world
since He revealed Himself in His mercy and grace after the Fall.
In regard to the meaning of the Greek word ekklesia translated ‘church’
it is well to keep in mind that in the Septuagint, which was a Greek
translation of the Old Testament and which was in common use in
Palestine in Jesus’ day, the word ekklesia is used about 70 times to
render the Hebrew word qahal, assembly or congregation. This
translation was made in Alexandria, Egypt, about 150 B.C., by a group
of 70 scholars, whence it received its name. Consequently the Jewish
people would have connected the New Testament Church with the assembly
or congregation of Israel as it had existed in Old Testament times - -
- - The glory of the Church under the New Testament dispensation is far
greater than it was under the old. But regardless of the differences
the church in the new dispensation is the continuation of that in the
old, so that we who are Gentiles are, as Paul tells us, "no more
strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of
the household of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles
and prophets, Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all
the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the
Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God
through the Spirit." (Eph. 2:19-22)" (The Millennium by L. Boettner).
"Another serious defect in dispensational teaching is its doctrine that
many portions of the Bible are not meant for the Church age at all,
that is, not for Christians, but that they are intended for a future
Jewish-led kingdom. This follows from their belief that most of
Christ’s ministry was taken up with preaching designed to prepare
Israel for the Kingdom, but that when it became evident that the Jews
would not accept the Kingdom the Church was substituted. This means
that the Lord’s prayer, the Sermon on the Mount, the Kingdom parables,
the Great Tribulation, the Book of Revelation chapters 4 to 19, and
some say, most of the New Testament except the Pauline Epistles, are
"Jewish" and "legal" and therefore do not concern the Church. We point
out, however, that Paul certainly did not make this distinction between
the gospel of Grace and the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Rather, he
identified the two, for late in his ministry he said to the elders from
Ephesus: "Neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might
finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of
the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now,
behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the
kingdom of God, shall see my face no more." (Acts 20:24, 25) (The
Millennium pp. 244-245 by L. Boettner).
Dr. H. A. Ironside, a dispensationalist and an ardent disciple of
Scofield, acknowledges that the dispensational doctrine of the Church
is of comparatively recent origin and that it was brought to the fore
through the writings of Mr. J. N. Darby, the leader of the ‘Plymouth
Brethren,’ who died in 1882.
When George Muller of Bristol came up against the Dispensationalist
doctrines of the Brethren movement, he severed all connection with it.
"The time came," he said, when I had either to part from my Bible or
part from John Darby. I chose to keep my precious Bible and part from
Dispensationalists lay special claim to "rightly dividing the word of
truth." The above is instead a confounding of it, a darkening of it by
a new-fangled exegesis which is alien to it.
3. Dispensationalism and the
The Secret Rapture Theory based on I Thessalonians 4:13-17 teaches
according to Dispensationalism that Christ will descend from heaven to
"the air" raise the righteous dead and translate the living saints who
will be caught away to remain with Christ for a period of seven years
in the air. Of the so-called secret Rapture which is silent and
mysterious, neither the waiting people nor the world is to have a
moment’s warning, the saints being first apprised of it by their
heavenly flight, and the world by the departure of the "missing ones."
A leading Dispensationalist describes it in this way: "Imagine getting
up some morning and your wife is not there, and you call for her, but
there is no answer. You go downstairs, but she is not there. You call
upstairs to daughter asking where mother is, but no answer from
daughter. Daughter too is gone. You ring the police but the line is
busy. Hundreds and thousands are calling up, jamming the telephone
lines. You rush out of doors and bump into the pal of last night’s wild
party. He is white as a sheet. He is out of breath, and he stammers a
few words, and bawls out, ‘My wife is gone. My brother is gone, and I
don’t know where they are.’ Down the streets runs a woman shrieking at
the top of her voice, ‘Someone has kidnapped my baby!’ and in a moment
the streets are full of people, weeping, crying and howling over the
disappearance of loved ones. What has happened? The Lord has come, like
a thief in the night. He has quietly stolen away those who trusted him,
like Enoch, and no one is left behind to warn you any more, to pray or
show you the way." (Rev. Richard W. De-Haan, Radio Bible Class, Nov.
1954). (Quoted in The Millennium p. 172).
Dispensationalists make unwarranted
distinctions between the words Coming (parousia), the Appearing
(Epiphany) and the Revelation (Apocalypse). All these words have
essentially the same meaning. They are kindred terms to describe one
great future event, the second coming of Christ at the last day and are
"That the Rapture is not a secret event is evident from I Thess.
4:15-18. "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we
which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not
prevent (go before) them which are asleep. 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; then we
which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the
clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the
If anyone can make a secret coming out of this Scripture, language has
no significance at all. There is no secrecy here! It is open, visible,
audible; yet it is Christ’s parousia, His coming FOR His saints and not
a subsequent epiphany.
The Parousia, the Epiphania, the
Apokalipsis, the End, all synchronise at one great crisis "at the last
day." The shout, the voice of the archangel, the sound of the great
trumpet, the quaking earth, the passing away of the heavens "with a
great noise" (2 Peter 3:4, 12), the resurrection and translation of
saints, the destruction of sinners will attend the coming (Parousia) of
the Son of Man.
From all the foregoing considerations, the "secret rapture theory" must
be respected as one of the most glaring of errors, and it is one that
has already wrought much mischief. "Let no man deceive you." If they
say, Behold he is in the secret chambers, BELIEVE IT NOT!" (Will the
Secret Rapture Precede the Second Coming of Christ? by Dr. G. B.
4. Dispensationalism and the
70th Week of Daniel’s Prophecy
Dispensationalists hold that after the secret Rapture, the saints will
be with Christ in the sky for seven years. At the end of this period He
shall return visibly with His saints to the earth (commonly called the
Revelation). "This theory," writes Dr. Fletcher, "is a perversion of
Second Coming truth, a delusion of the last days, widely held. Nowhere
does the New Testament teach two future comings of Christ, first for
His saints, and then with His saints. Those who hold this view seek to
harmonise it with the New Testament teaching on the Second Coming of
Christ by asserting that the coming for and with His saints several
years later are not two comings, but two stages of the Second Coming of
Christ. This attempt to justify the theory cannot overthrow the
testimony of the senses that the coming for the saints is a FIRST
second coming, and the subsequent coming with the saints is a SECOND
coming. But this cannot be. He came once, and He will come once more —
and only once more: ‘the second time without sin unto salvation’ (Heb.
If it be asked, where in Scripture is there authority for a seven year
period such as Dispensationalism sets forth as elapsing between the
Rapture and the Revelation, the answer must be: there is none. It is a
period of time imported by inference from Daniel’s prophecy of the 70
weeks, it being assumed that the 70th week has not yet been fulfilled,
that it is the 7th week or the seven years between the Rapture and the
Revelation and that during that time a number of predicted events —
such as the apostasy, the appearance and reign of the Antichrist, the
Great Tribulation, the return of the Jews to Palestine and their
conversion are to occur.
"But there are no grounds" writes Dr. Boettner "either in reason or in
Scripture for inserting a parenthesis of many centuries duration
between the 69th and the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy, a parenthesis
which strangely has already extended nearly four times as long as the
entire period of the 70 weeks themselves. In this prophecy it is quite
evident that the weeks refer to years. The Jews had just completed 70
years captivity in Babylon — years that had run consecutively. Daniel
understood from the prophecies that the time was at an end, and he
besought God earnestly in prayer for their deliverance. It was revealed
to him that 7 times 70 were determined to complete God’s dealings with
Israel as a nation — for their return to their own land, the rebuilding
of Jerusalem and the temple, and until Messiah should come and
accomplish His work of redemption. Certainly the natural inference is
that in this prophecy time runs concurrently as it does in any other
prophecy. Nowhere in Scripture is a specified number of time-units,
making up a described period of time set forth as meaning anything but
continuous and consecutive time. Likewise the 70 weeks in Daniel’s
prophecy are 70 links in a chain, each holding to the others, a
definite measure of the remaining time allotted to the nation of Israel
before the coming of the Messiah.
The correct interpretation of Daniel’s prophecy is, we believe, that
the events of the 70th week were fulfilled during the public ministry
of Christ in Palestine including the completion and abolition of the
Old Covenant. After a further period of grace, some 37 years later, the
final break-up of the Jewish economy came with the destruction of the
temple and the city of Jerusalem and the final dispersion of the Jews."
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people" etc. (Daniel 9:24). The
seventy weeks, weeks of years are 490 years. These 490 years are to the
death of Christ as the remainder of the verse makes clear. It was by
His death that He finished transgression, made an end of sin by His
complete Atonement for it and brought in an everlasting righteousness.
His death is mentioned first as it was to this end that He came into
"And to seal up the vision and prophecy. He came to seal up the vision
and prophecy, all the prophetical visions of the Old Testament, which
had reference to the Messiah. He sealed them up, that is He
accomplished them, answered to them to a tittle; all the things that
were written in the law, the prophets and the psalms concerning the
Messiah, were fulfilled in Him. Thus He confirmed the truth of them as
well as His own mission. He sealed them up, that is He put an end to
that method of God’s discovering His mind and will, and took another
course by completing the Scripture-canon in the New Testament, which is
the more sure word of prophecy than by vision." (Matthew Henry).
"He came to anoint the most holy," that is Himself, the Holy One who
was anointed (that is appointed to His work and qualified for it) by
the Holy Ghost, that oil of gladness which He received without measure
above His fellows: or to "anoint" the gospel-church, His spiritual
temple or holy place, to sanctify and cleanse it and appropriate it to
Himself, (Eph. 5:26), or to consecrate for us ‘a new and living way
into the holiest,’ by His own blood (Heb. 10:20) as the sanctuary was
anointed (Exodus 30:25 etc.). He is called Messiah (v. 25, 26) which
signifies Christ — Anointed (John 1:41) because He received the unction
both for Himself and for all that are His. In order to do all this
Messiah must be cut off, must die a violent death, and so be cut off
from the land of the living as was foretold in Isaiah 53:8." (Matthew
v. 25. "Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the
commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince
shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks: the street shall
be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."
The seven weeks or 49 years are from the publication of the edict to
restore and to build Jerusalem. The restoring and building of Jerusalem
took place "in troublous times." The troubles encountered in connection
with the work are narrated for us in the Book of Nehemiah. The 49 weeks
ended at the end of Nehemiah’s reformation. Then 62 weeks are
mentioned. The 7 weeks and the 62 weeks making 69 weeks or 483 years,
are said to be "unto Messiah the Prince" unto the time of His public
manifestation through the ministry and baptism of John the Baptist the
forerunner of the Messiah, the Prince and King of the kingdom. "The law
and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is
preached and every man presseth into it." (Luke 16:16).
v. 26. "And after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off,
but not for Himself" etc. That is AFTER the 483 years or 69 weeks, that
is in the 70th week — the week embracing the ministry of John the
Baptist which lasted for about 30 years and Christ’s own ministry for
30 years. The 70 weeks or the 490 years as stated in v. 24 are to the
death of Christ. There is therefore no foundation whatsoever in the
Word of God for the Dispensational fantasy that the final week of seven
years is still future, the period between the Rapture and the
Revelation. "This theory" as quoted above by Dr. Fletcher "is a
perversion of the Second Coming truth, a delusion of the last days
In verse 26 we read that after Messiah had been cut off but not for
Himself, "the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the
city and the sanctuary and the end thereof shall be with a flood and
unto the end of the war desolations are determined." The learned Dr.
Gill, the noted 18th century commentator, takes this to be a prophecy
of the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple by the Romans under
the Emperor Titus and to the desolations which ensued.
v. 27. "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week, and
in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation
to cease" etc. In the midst of the week must be therefore about 70 A.D.
the date of the destruction of the city and the temple. With the
destruction of the temple an end was put to the sacrifice and the
oblation, as sacrifices could only be offered in the temple.
"The Romans spoken of in the latter part of verse 26," writes Dr. Gill,
"in order to accomplish their design to destroy the city and temple of
Jerusalem, made peace with many nations, entered into covenant and
alliance with them, particularly the Medes, Parthians and Arminians for
the space of one week or seven years; as it appears they did at the
beginning of this week; "and in the midst of the week he shall cause
the sacrifice and the oblation to cease"; the daily sacrifice of the
Jews and all their offerings; and which was literally fulfilled "in the
half-part" of this week, as it may be rendered, towards the latter half
of it when the city of Jerusalem being closely besieged by Titus, what
through the closeness of the siege, the divisions of the people and the
want both of time and men, and beasts to offer, the daily sacrifice
ceased as Josephus says, to the great grief of the people; nor have the
Jews since the destruction of their city and temple offered any
sacrifice, esteeming it unlawful to do so in a strange land."
Dr. Gill points out that the "week" spoken of here did not immediately
follow the 70 weeks at the end of which the Messiah was cut off. It was
30 or 40 years after this. "The reason" as Dr. Gill observes, "was the
long-suffering and forbearance of God towards the Jews, who gave them
as to the old world space to repent; but His grace and goodness being
slighted, things began to work at the beginning of this week towards
their final ruin, which in the close of it, was fully accomplished."
"And for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate"
or as it is in the margin "with abominable armies," the Roman armies
being abominable to the Jews.
Even until the consummation, until the time appointed by God for their
return to the land, Jerusalem was to be trodden under foot by the
Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
"And that determined shall be poured upon the desolate" or desolator
(margin) — the vengeance will continue upon the Jews until the time
determined when the wrath shall be turned upon those who made them
5. Dispensationalism and the
Dispensationalists hold that the appearance and reign of the
Anti-Christ takes place during the seven year period after the Rapture.
At the end of the seven years Christ returns with His saints, defeats
and destroys the Anti-Christ and his armies in the battle of
Armaggedon, and sets up an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem over which He
rules in person for 1000 years. The reign of Christ on earth at that
time according to Scofield, will be a sitting on the throne of David,
as King of the Jews, literally, strictly and politically understood.
This Futuristic theory of the Anti-Christ propagated by Dr. Scofield is
the Popish view. "Alarmed by the fact that the Reformers were pointing
to the Pope as the Anti-Christ, the Jesuit Ribera at the end of the
sixteenth century, invented or at least propagated futuristic views of
the Anti-Christ, and pointed to a solitary Infidel Anti-Christ who
would appear in the dim future. Ribera’s view soon infected the High
Church party. J. N. Darby caught the contagion, and finally Dr. D. L.
Scofield swallowed the Jesuit’s pill. Thus Ribera succeeded beyond his
wildest dreams, for the attention of thousands of Protestants became
deflected from the Papacy, a future Infidel Anti-Christ was looked for,
and the historic Protestant view handed down by the Reformers was
despised by many. These are the hard facts of history. A Protestantism
saturated with Ribera’s Futurism is not the Protestantism of the
Reformers, nor is it feared by the Papacy." (The Roman Anti-Christ by
Rev. F. S. Leahy).
In the days of the Apostle John there were many antichrists, heretics
who denied either the divinity of Christ or His actual incarnation.
"Even now" he writes "are there many antichrists." He also says,
"Little children, it is the last time: and ye have heard that
Antichrist shall come." (1 John 2:18). According to Matthew Henry the
generality of Christians had been informed of the coming of the
Antichrist. Paul’s 2nd Epistle to the Thessalonians Ch. 2:8-10 made it
clear to them. He is called the Antichrist as though there were none
but he, because he was so eminently above all others. He is, therefore,
called "the man of sin" and "the son of perdition" and the system of
which he is the head "the mystery of iniquity."
The Meaning of Anti-Christ
All the Reformers and all the Churches of the Reformation and the great
body of Protestant interpreters hold that the Pope of Rome or the
Papacy is the Anti-Christ, the word anti-christos being composed of
kristos meaning anointed (Christ) and the prefix anti. "Anti" means
against also instead of or in the place of. "When prefixed to the name
of an individual it indicates an agent who assumes that individual’s
place, and at the same time acts in opposition to him. Thus Rome
herself speaks of Anti-popes. Anti-Christ therefore means one who
pretends to be a vicar of Christ, and assumes to act in His name, but
who is at the same time His rival and greatest enemy." (The Roman
Anti-Christ by Leahy).
In the Smalcald Articles Martin Luther singles out one particular
statement of the Apostle Paul which beyond all doubt labels the Pope as
the Anti-Christ "- - - the Pope raised his head above all. This
teaching shows forcefully that the Pope is the very Anti-Christ, who
has exalted himself above and opposed himself against Christ, because
he will not permit Christians to be saved without his power. This is
properly speaking to exalt himself above all that is called God, as
Paul said, (2 Thess. 2:4) (Smalcald Art 11, art. 4:9-10).
"No one else has ever and will never be able to exalt himself above all
that is called God more than the Pope of Rome, who holds millions of
people at his command and over four thousand priests as agents of his
ambition. He dares to oppose and rejects even the central truth of the
Scriptures. He condemns justification by faith, which is fundamental to
all, the heart of the Gospel. He puts himself against Christ, he damns,
curses this cardinal truth given by Christ." (Who is the Antichrist? by
J. Zacehello, D.D.).
"To submit to the Roman Pontiff, we declare, say, define and pronounce
to be absolutely necessary to every human creature to salvation." (Bull
Unam Sanctam of Pope Boniface VIII).
"If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in
the divine mercy which remits sin for Christ’s sake; or that this
confidence alone is that whereby we are justified, let him be
accursed." (Council of Trent Can. 9.12).
The late Pope John XXIII was no sooner inaugurated in November 1958
than in his coronation address said: "Into this fold of Jesus Christ no
one can enter it if not under the guidance of the Sovereign Pontiff;
and men can securely reach salvation only when they are united with
him, since the Roman Pontiff is the Vicar of Christ and represents His
person on earth."
The Babylon of the Apocalypse
As the Pope is the Anti-Christ, Babylon in the Book of the Revelation
is the Church of Rome. Babylon cannot be the literal Babylon for it was
not built on seven hills, nor was it the Queen of the earth in John’s
time. Even the great Roman Catholic controversialists have been driven
to admit that Rome fits the description of Babylon in the Revelation. "
St. John in the Apocalypse" says Cardinal Bellarmine, "calls Rome
Babylon, for no other city besides Rome reigned in his age over the
kings of the earth, and it is well known that Rome was seated upon
"It is confessed by all" says Cardinal Baronius, "that Rome is
signified in the Apocalypse by the name of Babylon." And the language
of the celebrated French Prelate Bousset, in his Exposition of the Book
of the Revelation is: "The features (in the Apocalypse) are so marked,
that it is easy to decipher Rome under the figure Babylon."
The above quotations from Bellarmine, Baronius and Bousset are taken
from "Is the Church of Rome the Babylon of the Apocalypse?" a classic
by Charles Wordsworth, D.D., Canon of Westminster and later Bishop of
Lincoln, who died in 1885.
"These Apocalyptic prophecies, which describe the Woman who is called
Babylon and is seated on the Beast with seven heads and ten horns do
not concern the older, literal, Assyrian Babylon. The inscription on
the woman’s forehead is Mystery, indicating a spiritual meaning. This
word had been used by the Apostle Paul in his description of the
Mystery of Iniquity opposed to the Mystery of Godliness; and St. John
adopts the word from St. Paul, and applies it to the same object as
that which had been portrayed by that Apostle.
"Again, the Babylon of the Apocalypse is described as a city existing
and reigning in St. John’s age; but the literal, or Assyrian Babylon
had long ceased to be a reigning city when St. John wrote. Therefore
the Babylon of the Apocalypse cannot be the literal or Assyrian
In the conclusion Canon Wordsworth writes: "We have been contemplating
the TWO MYSTERIES of the Apocalypse. The word Mystery signifies
something spiritual; it here describes a church. The first Mystery is
explained to us by Christ Himself. "The Mystery of the seven stars
which thou sawest - - - The seven stars are the angels of the seven
churches and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven
churches" (Rev. 1:20). The second Mystery is explained also: "I will
tell thee the Mystery of the Woman." The Beast that carrieth her, which
bath the seven heads, is described, and the seven heads are expounded
to be seven mountains on which the woman sitteth. (Rev. 17:7.9).
1. The first Mystery is the Mystery of
the seven stars.
2. The second Mystery is the Mystery of
the seven hills.
The first mystery represents the universal church in its sevenfold
fulness, containing within it all particular churches.
The second mystery represents a particular church, the church on the
seven hills, the Church of Rome, claiming to be the church universal.
The first mystery represents the universal church, liable to defects,
but not imposing errors as terms of communion; and therefore, by virtue
of the Word and the sacraments, held together in Apostolic communion
with St. John and Christ, who walketh in the midst of it, and governed
by an apostolic ministry, shining like a glorious constellation in the
hand of Christ.
2. The second mystery represents the particular Church of Rome, holding
the cup of her false doctrines in her hand, and making all nations to
drink thereof. And the voice from heaven cries, "Come out of her, my
people that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not her
The first mystery is a "Mystery of
The second is a "Mystery of Iniquity."
Such is the interpretation of the two Mysteries of the Apocalypse.
"If any minister or member of the Church of Rome can disprove this
conclusion, he is hereby invited to do so. If he can, doubtless he
will; and if none attempt it, it may be presumed that they cannot; and
if they cannot, then as they love their salvation, they ought to
embrace the truth, which is preached to them by the mouth of St. John,
and by the voice of Christ."
"This appeal was just made in a sermon preached by the Canon on Sunday,
April 28th, 1850, in Westminster Abbey, and reiterated in Westminster
Abbey on Sunday, February 16th, 1851. As far as the writer is aware, no
reply has yet been made to it by any member of the Church of Rome. It
is therefore repeated here."
With reference to Paul’s description of the Anti-Christ in 2 Thess.
2:3-8, Dr. Charles Hodge of theological fame says, "This portrait suits
the Papacy so exactly that Protestants have rarely doubted that it is
the Anti-Christ which the apostle intended to describe."
"So strikingly" says Richard Baxter, "does the Church of Rome resemble
Anti-Christ that any one is justified in mistaking the similarity for
"And the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth"
(Rev. 17:9). "And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY BABYLON
THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH AND I
SAW THE WOMAN DRUNKEN WITH THE BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS OF JESUS." (Rev.
The Doom of the Papacy
"As sure as the Papacy has had its glory, so surely shall its doom
come. Paul before closing his prophecy pauses, and in solemn and awful
words foretells the night of horrors in which its career is to end.
"That wicked — whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His
mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming." (2 Thess.
2:8). This day of wrath will be unspeakably great and will mark as one
of the greatest days of vengeance since the foundation of the world.
Paul despatches it in a single sentence; John expands it into a whole
chapter. And in what other chapter of the Bible or of human history is
there such another spectacle of judgement — such another picture of
horrors of awestruck consternation, of loud and bitter wailings and
cries of woe as in the eighteenth chapter of the Apocalypse? The kings
of the earth shall bewail her and lament for her, when they shall see
the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her
torment, saying, Alas! Alas! That great city Babylon, the mighty city!
for in one hour is thy judgment come. (Rev. 18: 9,10).
But this dark scene has one relieving feature. It is a scene that will
not be repeated for it will close earth’s evil days and begin the
hallelujahs of the nations. "And a mighty angel took up a stone like a
great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence
shall that great city Babylon be thrown down and shall be found no more
at all. Rejoice over her, thou heavens, and holy apostles and prophets:
for God hath avenged you on her - - - and in her was found the blood of
prophets and of saints and of all that were slain upon the earth."
(Rev. 18: 20, 21, 24). (The Papacy is the Anti-Christ — p. 128 by Rev.
J. A. Wylie).
6. Dispensationalism and the Millennium
Dispensationalists are Premillennial in their view of the Millennium.
But all Premillennialists are not Dispensationalists. Many noted
Premillennialists expose and reject the particular tenets of
Dispensationalists. According to the Premillennial view Christ will
return to this world, resurrect the righteous dead according to its
interpretation of the "first resurrection" mentioned in Revelation 20,
will reign in person on the throne of David in Jerusalem for a thousand
years, over a world of men yet in the flesh, eating and drinking,
planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage. After the
thousand years are finished the rest of the dead shall be raised. This
the Premillennialists hold is the second resurrection mentioned in
Revelation 20. Christ will then judge the world.
The Post Millennial view (so called because it asserts that the second
coming of Christ is after the Millennium at the great day of judgment)
is that the Millennium shall be ushered in through Christ coming in the
power of the Holy Spirit as He did at Pentecost, blessing the
everlasting gospel of the grace of God in all lands. Dr. A. A. Hodge in
his Outlines of Theology p. 569 shows that although many of the
Christian Jews in the early church, mistaking altogether the spiritual
character of the Messiah’s kingdom, were Millennialists or Chiliasts
(from the Greek Chilias, a thousand), the view generally recognised by
the whole church was the Postmillennial view. It rejected Chiliasm, as
did the great Augustine who was a Post Millenialist. Chiliasm or
Premillennialism, Boettner observes, was in total eclipse for a
thousand years, between the time of Augustine and the Reformation, and
that during the Reformation period and for a long time afterward it was
held by only a few small sects that were considered quite heretical.
The Amillennial view advanced by the German theologian Kliefoth in 1874
denies a millennium in this world. The thousand years or millennium of
Revelation 20 is according to this view the millennium of the saints in
their intermediate state of perfect blessedness. The A-Millennial
millennium is not on this earth but in heaven. The Dutch theologians
Drs. Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck and others popularised this view.
It is now widely held in Holland and in Dutch circles and professedly
orthodox churches in America.
Shall Christ return to this world to
sit on the Throne of David in
"Jesus of Nazareth needed no outward enthronement or local seat of
government on earth, to constitute Him the possessor of David’s
kingdom, as He needed no physical anointing to consecrate Him priest
for evermore, or material altar and temple for the due presentation of
His acceptable service. Being the Son of the living God, and as Son,
heir of all things, He possessed, from the first, the powers of the
kingdom; and proved that He possessed them, in every authoritative word
He uttered, every work of deliverance He performed, every judgment He
pronounced, every act of mercy and forgiveness He dispensed, and the
resistless control He wielded over the elements of nature, and the
realms of the dead. These were the signs of royalty He bore about with
Him upon earth; and wonderful though they were — eclipsing, in real
grandeur, all the glory of David and Solomon — they were still but the
earlier preludes of the peerless majesty which David from afar discried
when He saw Him, as His Lord, seated in royal state at the Father’s
right hand, and on which He formally entered when He ascended upon high
with the word, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth; and
lo! I am with you alway even to the end of the world Amen." (The
Interpretation of Prophecy, P. 236, by Principal Fairbairn).
Christ sat on David’s throne as David’s Son and David’s Lord when the
Father at His ascension said to Him "Sit Thou at My right hand until I
make Thine enemies Thy footstool" (Ps. 110:1). That throne in the glory
of His exaltation He will not vacate in order to sit on a material
throne in Jerusalem. How repugnant the view that would subject the
glorified Redeemer to what is tantamount to a second humiliation! He is
now reigning "for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth," and He shall
through His Word and Spirit graciously subdue the nations of the world
to submit to His sceptre, so that the knowledge of His glory shall
cover the earth as the waters cover the face of the sea.
Shall Christ appear in Person in the
world at the beginning of the
Let us hear what the renowned Puritan divine, Dr. John Owen, the
greatest theologian ever raised in Britain, wrote —"Should the Lord
Jesus now appear to any of us in His majesty and glory it should not be
unto our edification nor consolation. For we are not meet nor able, by
the power of any light or grace that we have received or can receive,
to bear the immediate appearance and representation of Him. His beloved
apostle John had leaned on His bosom probably many a time in His life,
but when He afterward appeared unto him in His glory, he fell at His
feet as one dead." And when He appeared unto Paul, all the account he
could give thereof was "that he saw a light from heaven, above the
brightness of the sun," whereupon he, and all that were with him, "fell
to the ground."
"And this was one reason why in the days of His ministry here on earth,
His glory was veiled in the infirmities of the flesh and all sorts of
sufferings, as we have before related. The church in this life is no
way meet, by the grace which it can be made partaker of, to converse
with Him in the immediate manifestation of His glory. And therefore
those who dream of His personal reign on the earth before the day of
judgment, unless they suppose that all the saints shall be perfectly
glorified also (which is only to bring down heaven to the earth for a
while, to no purpose), provide not at all for the edification or
consolation of the church. For no present grace advanced into the
highest degree whereof it is capable, can make us meet for an immediate
converse with Christ in His unveiled glory." (The Glory of Christ).
7. Dispensationalism and the "
Dispensationalists and Pre-Millennialists hold that the "first
resurrection" in Revelation 20 is to be understood as a literal
physical resurrection. "This notion that the resurrection of the
righteous is to occur a thousand years before the end of the world is
contradicted by Jesus who on four different occasions, said He would
raise up those who believe in Him at the last day. (John 6:39, 40,44,
54). Clearly there can be no other days after the last day." (The
Millennium p. 169).
"The glory and happiness of this thousand years reign of the saints is
to be understood, not literally but spiritually and figuratively
according to the common style of the book. It could not consist with
the happiness of the saints to leave the heavenly mansions and live in
bodies needing meat and drink, nor if their bodies were raised
spiritual and incorruptible would they need any such thing. The dead in
Christ are also represented as all rising together at the last day. And
a proper resurrection is never in Scripture represented as a reviving
or living again of the soul but of the body. The resurrection of the
martyrs’ and confessors’ souls here spoken of must therefore mean, not
the resurrection of these deceased persons, but the remarkable
reformation, deliverance, comfort and activity of the church in their
successors. As Elijah is represented living in John the Baptist and
Anti-Christian Rome is called in the Revelation. Sodom, Egypt and
Babylon on account of her likeness to them in luxury. cruelty, pride
and idolatry, so the ancient martyrs will live in the Christians of
this period, being united to the same Head, members of the same body
and of the same temper, faith, patience, zeal and fortitude and
professing the same Gospel truths." (Prof. John Brown of Haddington).
"The visible kingdom of satan shall be overthrown, and the kingdom of
Christ set up in the ruins of it, everywhere throughout the whole
habitable globe. Now shall the promise made to Abraham be fulfilled
that ‘in him and in his seed all the families of the earth shall be
blessed’; and Christ now shall become the desire of all nations,
agreeable to Haggai 2:7. Now the kingdom of Christ shall in the most
strict and literal sense be extended to all nations, and the whole
earth. There are many passages in Scripture that can be understood in
no other sense. What can be more universal than that in Isaiah 11:9
‘For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the
waters cover the sea.’ As much as to say, as there is no part of the
channel or cavity of the sea anywhere, but what is covered with water;
so there shall be no part of the world of mankind but what shall be
covered with the knowledge of God. It is foretold in Isaiah 45:22, that
all ends of the earth shall look to Christ, and be saved. And to show
that the words are to be understood in the most universal sense, it is
said in the next verse, ‘I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out
of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every
knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.’ So the most universal
expression is used (Daniel 7:27) ‘And the kingdom and dominion, and the
greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the
people of the saints of the Most High God.’ You see the expression
includes all under the whole heaven." (Jonathan Edwards).
The Final Apostasy and the ‘Second
A little before the end of the world, a great part of the world shall
fall away from Christ and His Church. Accordingly we are told that when
the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison
to go forth to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of
the earth, Gog and Magog. Gog and Magog indicate a resurgence of evil
powers, hostile to the church of God. We also read, "But the rest of
the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." (Rev.
"But who are the ‘rest of the dead’? They are the wicked dead who lived
not again until the thousand years were finished. They did not live in
that time. Their views and customs during the thousand years were not
triumphant. They are to live again when the thousand years are past.
Their principles, etc., are to have a resurrection — this is the second
resurrection, but there is no blessing pronounced upon those who have a
part in this resurrection such as is pronounced upon those who have a
part in the first resurrection. The wicked dead now live and reign with
Satan. Here again the resurrection is figurative. Neither the first nor
second resurrection is of the body — they are of souls. There is not a
word in these verses (4-6) which says anything about the coming of
Christ nor about a bodily resurrection." (Rev. D. Beaton, Free
Presbyterian Magazine, Vol. 39, p. 10).
‘They compassed the camp of the saints about and the beloved city.’ (v.
9). "The Church is likened to a military camp. This is a figure
borrowed from the time of Moses and Joshua when the church even
externally presented the form of a military camp. The twelve tribes
with their banners surrounded the tabernacle on four sides. The camp
was in the form of a square; of which the four sides were to be placed
toward the four quarters of the compass. This was a type of the
heavenly city as seen by Ezekiel 48:20 and the city foursquare of
Revelation 21:16. The camp and the city are but different figures of
speech to describe the church upon earth. The Church in heaven will
never be surrounded by enemies such as are pictured to us in Revelation
20 (Revelation Twenty by Rev. I. Marcellus Kik). Commenting on the
statement that fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them,
Mr. Kik says, "Since nothing more is written in this prophecy
concerning an intervening period and the resurrection of the just and
the unjust at the last day, this must be the final destructive blow. It
is the revealing of Christ as described in 2 Thessalonians 1: 7-9,
"with His mighty angels, in flaming fire to take vengeance on them that
know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ"
etc. The chapter closes with an account of the resurrection of the dead
and the judgment of the great day.
8. Dispensationatism and the
Dispensationalists hold that during the seven year period between the
Rapture and the Revelation, which they claim to be the 70th week of
Daniel’s prophecy, a number of predicted events are to occur — such as
the apostacy, the appearance and reign of the Anti-Christ, the Great
Tribulation and the conversion of the Jews. At the Rapture, they
maintain that the church is caught up out of the world to be with
Christ in the air. With the departure of the church the Holy Spirit is
also withdrawn from the world. "The Jews, so this theory holds, are to
be converted at the mere sight of Christ their Messiah on the Mount of
Olives, and through their testimony, whole nations are to be converted.
We must point out, however, that people were not converted at the mere
sight of Jesus at the time of His first advent, and that it is the
particular work of the Holy Spirit to regenerate the soul and give it
new vision and so enable it to turn to Christ. The mere presence of
Christ often had the effect of hardening His enemies rather than
converting them. Dr. David Cooper, a leading Dispensationalist and
President of the Biblical Research Society, says: "The greatest revival
of all ages will occur in the Tribulation — after the Church has been
removed from the earth by Rapture." "It is simply preposterous" writes
Dr. Boettner, "to believe that during the Tribulation Jews without the
Pentecostal presence and power of the Holy Spirit can accomplish the
evangelisation of the world after the Church has been removed."
Alexander Reese, a Premillennialist but not a Dispensationalist, in
"The Approaching Advent of Christ" p. 269, ridicules this
Dispensationalist notion that the Jews will convert the overwhelming
majority of the inhabitants of the world at a time when the Holy Spirit
is in heaven and the Anti-Christ is raging here below."? (The
Millennium pp. 186, 187).
Not only is this notion preposterous and ridiculous, but thoroughly
unscriptural. The scriptures make it clear that it is through the
outpouring of the Spirit of grace and of supplication that the Jews
will be converted and come to a saving knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth
as their Messiah. (Zechariah 12:10). It is the Spirit of the Lord as
the apostle declares, that will destroy the veil that is upon their
heart. (2 Cor. 3:15-17).
Will the Temple be Rebuilt?
Dispensationalists insist that Chapters 40-48 of Ezekiel are to be
taken literally, that their fulfilment will be in the millennial
kingdom, that the temple will be rebuilt and animal sacrifices are
again to be offered. "Doubtless these offerings," says Scofield, "will
be memorial, looking back to the cross, as the offerings under the old
covenant were anticipatory, looking forward to the cross." (p. 890).
In connection with the crass carnality of such views, the Rev. Harold
Dekker writes, "It is one of the plainest universal teachings of the
New Testament that the sacrifices of the Mosaic economy were fulfilled
in Christ and were taken away as vanishing shadows that prefigured the
Paul’s warnings against a return to them are cited: "How turn ye again
to the weak and beggarly elements, where unto ye desire again to be in
bondage." "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ bath
made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."
(Gal. 4:9 & 5:1).
"The Epistle to the Hebrews" says Dr. J. H. Snowden is one long and
conclusive argument that the old ordinances are fulfilled and done away
in Christ, "who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up
sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s; for this
he did once, when he offered up himself." (7:27) (The Coming of the
There will be no further "memorial looking back to the cross" but the
memorial which the Lord Jesus instituted the night in which He was
betrayed and which He commanded His disciples to observe "till He come."
The glorious temple detailed in Ezekiel, chapter 40, etc., is a
symbolic representation of the New Testament Church in her millennial
glory, described in Old Testament language. It is not a literal temple,
any more than the words " this is my body" and "this is my blood" are
to be taken literally. This is the view held by the godly and eminent
divines of the past. Jonathan Edwards says, " A very great and clear
evidence, that the city of Jerusalem, the holy city and the temple in
all its parts and measures, and its various appendages and utensils,
with all its officers, services, sacrifices and ceremonies, and so all
things pertaining to the ceremonial law, were typical of things
appertaining to the Messiah and His church and kingdom, is that these
things are evidently made use of as such, in a very particular manner
in the vision of the prophet Ezekiel: that we have an account of in the
nine last chapters of his prophecy. These there mentioned which are the
same which were in Israel under the law, are mentioned as resemblances,
figures. or symbolical representations of spiritual things. So that God
has in these chapters determined, that these things are figures,
symbols, or types representing the things of the Messiah’s kingdom,
because here he plainly makes use of them as such." (Vol. 2, p. 674).
Is it any wonder that Dispensationalism has been described as among the
sorriest in the whole history of freak exegesis?
Philip Mauro says, "Dispensationalism
may be fascinating as a work of
art, but as a revelation it rests on a foundation of sand. The entire
system of dispensational teaching is modernistic in the strictest
sense; it is modernism, moreover of a very pernicious sort, such that
it must have a Bible of its own (i.e., the Scofield Reference Bible)
for the propaganda of its peculiar doctrines since they are not in the
Word of God."
In connection with the Scofield Bible it has been said; "It
is a matter
of great concern to many Christians that a book should exist, and be
offered for sale, wherein corrupt words of mortal men are printed and
set as positive statements in the midst of the Holy Word of God
Almighty. Is not this an affront before God Himself? ‘Let God be true
and every man a liar’ (Rom.
THE CONVERSION OF THE JEWS
"With the destiny of Israel has always been linked that of the
universal race of man. The casting away of them hath been the
reconciling of the world, and the receiving of them will be life from
the dead." So said the saintly Rev. John Duncan, LL.D., in one of his
addresses on the subject of the evangelisation of the Jews at the Free
Church General Assembly in Edinburgh in May 1860. His profound
knowledge of Hebrew and of oriental languages of which he was
professor, and his love for the Jews, earned him the title of "Rabbi"
The conversion of the Jews to Christ their Messiah is recorded and set
forth in both the Old and New Testaments. "For I would not, brethren,"
writes the Apostle Paul in Romans 11, "that ye should be ignorant of
this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that
blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the
Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved" etc. (v. 25, 26).
"By all Israel here we are not to understand the whole Church of God,
all the elect consisting of Jews and Gentiles. It is true that in Gal.
6:16 and elsewhere, the word Israel is applied in that general sense to
the Church of God. But in this chapter Israel means the nation and
people of the Jews. ‘All’ is used as in many other instances in a
general way and here indicates a very great number, and in a manner the
whole Jewish nation in a full body." So writes the eminent Netherlands
divine, Hermann Witsius D.D. (1636-1708), Professor of Divinity in the
Universities of Utrecht and Leyden.
"They depart from the apostle’s meaning" he continues, "who by ‘all
Israel’ understand the mystical Israel, or the people of God,
consisting both of Jews and Gentiles, without admitting the conversion
of the whole Jewish nation to Christ, in the sense we here mentioned.
Notwithstanding this may be confirmed by the following arguments.
First, the apostle speaks of the Israel, to whom he ascribes his own
pedigree v.1. whom he calls his flesh, that is, his kindred, v.14, and
the natural branches v.21, whom he constantly distinguishes from the
Gentiles; to whom he testifies, blindness has happened. All this is
applicable to Israel properly so called. Secondly, he lays before us a
mystery, but it was no mystery, that a very few Jews were converted to
Christ together with the Gentiles; for we have daily instances of that.
Thirdly, he reminds the Gentiles not to exalt over, or despise the
Jews, from this argument, that, as they themselves were now taken in
among the people of God, so, in like manner, the Jews were in due time
to be taken in again. But if the apostle meant that the body of the
Jewish nation was to continue in their hardness; and but a few of them
to be saved, who, joined to the Gentiles would form a mystical Israel,
the whole of the discourse would be more adapted to the commendation of
the Gentiles, than of the Israelites; and encourage rather than depress
the pride of the Gentiles. Fourthly, as the fall and diminishing of
Israel, v.12, and their casting away, v.15, are to be understood; so
likewise the receiving and saving them, for here the rules of a just
opposition must be observed. But the fall, diminishing and casting away
of Israel are to be understood of the generality of the Jewish nation;
therefore the receiving and saving of Israel in like manner.
"To this restoration of Israel shall be joined the riches of the whole
church, and as it were, life from the dead (Rom. 11:12) "Now if the
fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them
the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?" and v.15 "For
if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall
the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?" The apostle
intimates that much greater and more extensive benefits shall redound
to the Christian Church from the fulness and restoration of the Jews,
than did to the Gentiles from their fall and diminution; greater, I say
intensely, or with respect to degrees, and larger with respect to
As to intenseness or degrees, it is supposed that about the time of the
conversion of the Jews, the Gentile world will be like a dead person,
in a manner almost as Christ describes the church of Sardis, Rev.
3:1,2, namely, both that light of saving knowledge, and that fervent
piety, and that lively and vigorous simplicity of ancient Christianity,
will in a course of years be very much impaired. Many nations, which
had formerly embraced the gospel with much zeal afterwards almost to be
extinguished by the venom of Mahommedanism, Popery, Libertinism and
Atheism would verify this prophecy; but upon the restoration of the
Jews these will suddenly arise, as out of the grave; a new light will
shine upon them, a new zeal be kindled up; the life of Christ be again
manifested in His mystical body, more lively, perhaps, and vigorous
than ever. - - -
Agreeably to which James has said, Act 15:15-17 "And to this agree the
words of the prophets; as it is written, after this I will return and
will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I
will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up; that the
residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon
whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things."
The reparation of the fallen tabernacle of David signifies the
restoration of true and spiritual worship among the Israelites. And
when that shall come to pass, the rest of mankind, who never gave up
their names to Christ. and the nations, upon which His name was
formerly called. but which by their falling away lost the benefit of
the Gospel will then with emulation seek the Lord.
"And what is more evident than that prophecy in Isaiah? The prophet in
Ch. 59:20, 21, having foretold the restoration of Israel, according to
the apostle’s commentary, immediately, in Ch. 60:1 exclaims, "Arise,
shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon
thee," and in v.3 "And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings
to the brightness of thy rising" etc. (The Economy of the Covenants
Book 4, ch. 15).
Rich Gleanings from "Rabbi" Duncan.
At several General Assemblies Dr. Duncan delivered highly animated and
elevated addresses, marked by genius and spiritual power, on the
subject of the evangelisation of the Jews. Six of these addresses from
1857-1867 are given in Rich Gleanings After the Vintage from Rabbi
Duncan, edited by the late Rev. James S. Sinclair, Glasgow. The
following are extracts linked together.
"How miserable, yet how deeply interesting the situation of Israel
after the flesh And how deeply mysterious the procedure of God’s
adorable providence toward them! The spirit of the Lord preserveth
among them the holy books of the law and the prophets, and thus
maintaineth even in the synagogue a constant, though ever resisted
testimony for Christ. They are perpetually conversant with what is
spiritual (for the law is spiritual) though only after a carnal manner,
they themselves being carnal. Wonders (glorious things) are still
before their eyes, but their eyes are not opened to behold them. The
Spirit is present by the Word, a loud reprover, but unheard, for His
saving influences are for a period judicially removed. Christ is
present by the Word, for the whole of the Old Testament is full of Him
— all day long stretching forth His hands to a disobedient and
gainsaying people. (Rom. 10:23). For behold God hath laid in Zion a
stumbling-block and a rock of offence; and whosoever believeth in Him
shall not be ashamed." (Rom. 9: 33). What a lesson does this afford to
us, how insufficient the best means and noblest priveleges are to
benefit a people, unless the gracious presence and inward operation of
the Holy Spirit accompany them! What a warning that we do nothing to
grieve and provoke that good Spirit, especially by refusing to behold
the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ! And as regards the Jews themselves,
how astonishingly has a system of means, fitted and destined to prepare
them for the ultimate reception of the kingdom of God, been, during all
the fierce anger of the Lord, kept up among them! How wide in one
respect and yet in another, how small is the separation between the
church and the synagogue! Let but the veil which is between the face of
Moses, and the heart of Israel, and which has been removed from Moses’
face in Christ, be removed also from their heart, and the synagogue
immediately becomes the church; for if they believe Moses, they will
believe Christ. But remove this veil no creature can; it is the work of
God’s Spirit solely and entirely. God will not give His glory to
another. The residue of the Spirit is with Him and it will be bestowed
in answer to believing, earnest, importunate, persevering prayer. Oh
then pray — pray without ceasing, that the salvation of Israel may come
out of Zion.
"I would call on you to remember the days of old, when Israel was
holiness to the Lord, the first fruits of His increase, at the time
when God left all nations, our own fathers among them, to walk in the
way of their own hearts. How bright was then the beauty over whose
departure for a time, we mourn! He showed not such favour to any
nation, for they had not known His judgments. Think on all the exalted
privileges conferred on them by Him who had mercy on them — the
adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law,
and the service of God. Think that theirs are the fathers; and greatest
of all, that of them, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over
all blessed for ever. Think of our obligations to them. When we were
poor aliens they thought on us, they prayed for us: "We have a little
sister and she hath no breasts; what shall we do for our sister, in the
day when she shall be spoken for?" (Songs 8:8). "God be merciful unto
us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy
way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all (heathen)
nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise
thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge
the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah." (Ps.
67:1-5). Into their olive tree we have been ingrafted and partake of
the root and fatness: on the skirts of a Jew we hang for life
everlasting. "Salvation is of the Jews." Think of the benefit still in
prospect for ourselves, to whom the receiving of them shall be as life
from the dead.
Meanwhile, let us pray, hope, work and wait. Israel waited long for us;
longer for us than we have yet had to wait for him. He waited, for he
had a promise that we should be brought; and so we have been. We also
have a promise concerning him. It cannot fail; and we shall yet receive
him. How glorious shall the consummation be when it comes! The light of
the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun
sevenfold, as the light of seven days, when the Lord shall bind up the
breach of His people, and heal "the stroke of their wound."
O that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When the Lord
bringeth back the captivity of His people, Jacob shall rejoice and
Israel shall sing. Rejoice ye Gentiles with His people, for:
"Be mindful of his grace and
To Israel’s house hath been;
And the salvation of our God
All ends of the earth have