“ORDER OF EVENTS CONNECTED WITH THE APPEARING OF CHRIST AND HIS MILLENNIAL REIGN”
We come to Part 5, which covers from the last line of page 328 to the end of the ‘note’ on page 332.
The destruction of Antichrist and those who are associated with him, is distinguished, both as to time and as to circumstances, from the destruction of those who retain the nominal profession of the name of Christ. Nominal Christians as represented in the parables of Matthew by “Tares” sown among the Wheat, and by “bad fishes” mingled with the good in the gospel-net, are not destroyed by judgments poured on them in the earth, but are removed by holy angels from the earth, that their souls might await in an unseen prison-house and in punishment the final judgment of the great day.
On the other hand, all those who shall be gathered under Antichrist, to serve and to worship him, will be visited with visible judgment here. “Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.” Zech. xiv. 12. They will be trampled in the winepress of the fury and wrath of God here (see Rev. xiv. 19); their bodies will then be revived, they will be cast into Tophet and their eternal torment will begin. See Rev. xiv. 8. The “Tares” will be gathered by angels ; the Antichristians destroyed by the Lord Himself.
The “Tares” will be gathered and removed, whilst the Lord is yet in the air, whither the saints also are to be caught up; the Antichristians will be destroyed after the Lord has descended to the earth. The Antichristians, in revived bodies, will be consigned to their eternal torment at the commencement of the Millennium, whereas all nominal professors will, in a disembodied state, await in punishment the final resurrection and the judgment of the great day.
This is the hour so often referred to in Daniel, when “the stone” shall smite “the Image,” and cause it to become as the chaff of the summer threshing-floor — when “the Beast shall be slain, his body destroyed and given to the burning flame” — when “that determined shall be poured upon the Desolator” — when “he shall come to his end and none shall help him” — when “Michael shall stand up,” and the remnant of Israel be delivered.
That remnant is continually mentioned in the Prophets, but it is sufficient to mention one passage. “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die ; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them : I will say, It is my people : and they shall say, The Lord is my God.” (Zech. xiii. 8, 9.) They are also mentioned as an afflicted and poor remnant, who shall trust in the name of the Lord; but of whom it is said, that He will make them “a strong nation.”
It is no wonder that their hearts should be subdued and broken. They will have witnessed the terrors of the reign of Antichrist — will have seen the plagues of the Revelation poured out upon Israel and the Antichristian nations — will have beheld the heavens darkened — the Lord descend in glory — the graves open — the saints taken — the Day of the Lord come upon Jerusalem — the Heavens and the Earth shaken. They will see, and yet find themselves protected through all these things; delivered — forgiven — and not forgiven only, but accepted in all the preciousness of that Name, which they and their nation had rejected and abhorred. “They will look on Him whom they have pierced,” and He will comfort them, and will say, with fuller love than Joseph said unto his brethren, “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither : for God did send me before you to preserve life. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God.”
Not one ray of light that had been sent to break the gloom of man’s past history, will be absent in that hour of fulness. Every such joy has been typical or anticipative, and points onward to an hour of accomplished blessing, that will then have come. All these joys will be verified then, either in the Saints above, or in Israel below — different branches of “the one family in heaven and in earth.” *
* As an attempt has been made by many to alter the translation of this most important passage, respecting the one family in heaven and in earth, I would earnestly request that my remarks on this text may be read in “Occasional Papers,” vol. i., p.· 31.
There will be many others spared besides the remnant of Israel ; principally among the heathen. Thus it is said, that God will send those who are spared in Israel, “to the isles afar off, which have not heard His fame, nor seen His glory; and they shall declare His glory among the Gentiles.”
There is no reason to believe that the heathen nations will, when the Lord returns, be in any material respect, other than they now are; except that some of them, may become more hardened through intercourse with anti-Christian, or with nominally Christian nations. It is not likely that many more heathen nations will, as nations, assume the profession of Christianity; although many individuals among them may bear the name of Christ — some truly — others nominally.
It is, however, the plain duty of believers to preach the Gospel to every creature ; and to visit, if they can, every land. Right prophetic expectation will quicken, not impede, true missionary energy. Nevertheless, we know that every land will not be visited by the Gospel before the Lord comes, else it would not be said, that there would be regions “that had not heard His fame,” at the hour of His return. St. Paul says, that in his day “the Gospel had been preached IN all the creation” (ἐν πᾶς κτίσις, Col. i. 23); and this was true as soon as it ceased to be confined to Israel, and was preached among men, as men : but Scripture nowhere says that it has been, or will be preached to every creature in the present Dispensation. The Church was commanded to preach it to every creature; but what the Church was commanded to do, and what it has done, are different things.
Although those who are gathered at Armageddon, i.e., the armies of all the Antichristian nations, utterly perish under visible judgment, inflicted immediately by the Lord; — and although all among those nations who have borne the mark of Antichrist will also perish; yet some (those doubtless of youthful age) who have not worshipped Antichrist will be spared. Thus we find it said, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts. (Zech. xiv. 16.)