Last Updated on :Thursday, November 20, 2014












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As to the approaching judgments three things may be affirmed. First, they introduce the millennium. Secondly, they are the precursors or accompaniments of Christ's second appearing. Thirdly, they are connected with a total change of dispensation. Each of these statements I hope to establish by plain and abundant testimony of scripture. It is to the first and second I would now entreat my reader's attention. The proof of the third will more naturally present itself when some other points have been considered.

Judgment has often been executed on the wicked. The deluge, the overthrow of Sodom, the destruction of the Canaanitish tribes, the destruction of Jerusalem, whether by Nebuchadnezzar, or by the Romans, the overthrow of Babylon by the Medes and Persians, as well as other similar events, each affords an instance of the execution of righteous judgment on the wicked. What is it, then, which distinguishes this grand interposition of God in judgment which is yet future from all other judgments such as have been enumerated? The distinction is in this, that the awful judgments which are fast approaching introduce the millennium; and further, that, Christ himself comes in connection with these judgments. Let us look at the evidence of these things in scripture. But earnestly would I remind my Christian readers, that it is not the coming of Christ to earth to execute judgment which is the sum of our hope, but his descent to receive us to himself. So the subject is presented in the New Testament, however needful it may be to be forewarned of Christ's coming to execute judgment also. When he so comes, we shall come with him. Must we not have been previously gathered to him? Certainly.

No passage is more commonly or more justly quoted in proof that there is to be a millennium, than that in which Yahweh promises to His Son to give the nations for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. But turn to Psalm 2, where this promise is recorded, and you will find that it is by the execution of terrible judgments on the wicked that it is to be made good. It is not peacefully, or by man's submission brought about by the gospel and by "grace", that the rightful Heir takes possession of his dominions. We read of a confederacy against him: the nations rage, the people imagine a vain thing; the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against Yahweh, and against His anointed. Their cry is, "Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their cords from us". (Psa. 2:3) True, we learn from Acts 4:25-27 that this confederacy was formed in the days of Pontius Pilate, Herod, and the rulers of the Jews. But then we have intimation in the psalm that there would be a period during which the Lord would laugh at their puny rage. Not as yet interfering in judgment, He would allow them, as it were, to go to the length of their chain, but treat with utter derision their attempts to set aside His purpose, and to order the affairs of the earth after their own hearts' desire. "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; Yahweh shall have them in derision." [Psa. 2:4] But this period of patient endurance comes to a close. It gives place to judgment. "Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure." [Psa. 2:5] God's purpose is irrevocable. Their rage and opposition cannot alter that. "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: Yahweh hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." [Psa. 2:6-8] Thus far the passage is often quoted. But what follows immediately? How are the rights of God's anointed but earth-rejected Son to be established? "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." (Psa. 2:9) Could any language be employed to teach more clearly or impressively that it is by judgments on the wicked that Christ's glorious kingdom will be introduced?

We see thus how it is God's irrevocable decree that His Son shall reign over all the earth, and how vain and puny are all man's efforts to prevent it. Turn to Psalm 96 and you will find all the earth invited to sing a new song unto Yahweh. It is in anticipation of the blessings of his reign that universal anthems are thus demanded. True, that it is by power in judgment that His reign is to be introduced and established; and the psalm before us recognizes this. But universal blessing will attend His reign; and hence the call for universal joy and praise. But it is not the mere execution of providential judgments which introduces this glorious period, and wakes up this universal harmony. No, the Lord comes to judge, and comes to reign. "Say among the nations, Yahweh reigneth; the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before Yahweh: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth; he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth." [Psa. 96:10-13] So also at the close of Psalm 98: "Sing unto Yahweh with the, harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm: with trumpets' and sound of cornet, make a joyful noise before Yahweh the King. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together before Yahweh the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein: for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity". [Psa. 98:5-9] Reader, have you ever considered these passages? It is of the judgment of the great white throne they treat. Then, the existing heaven and earth are to flee from before the face of Him who sitteth on the throne, and no place is to be found for them. Here, heaven and earth are called on to rejoice at the coming of the Lord, at His coming to judgment, as that which introduces the period of His universal reign, and of earth's blessing and delight.

Another passage beautifully depicting the happy days which are yet to dawn on this afflicted and groaning earth, is that well known one in Isaiah 11. Sweet it is (whether the language be understood literally of a change in the brute creation or figuratively of peace and concord among men) to think of the wolf dwelling with the lamb; the leopard lying down with the kid; the calf, the young lion, and the fatling together; and all so gentle, that a little child shall lead them. "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea." [Isa. 11:9] Delightful prospect for this miserable world! But how are these days of peace, and piety, and universal blessing, to be ushered in? By the interposition of One whose lowly grace, and perfect rectitude and holiness, are so touchingly portrayed in the opening verses of the chapter. The Christian can be at no loss to say whose portrait it is with which we are furnished here. But are grace, and lowliness, and perfect faithfulness, the only features presented to us? No, we are told of his acts as well as of his moral excellencies -- acts such as he never performed when he was here before. "But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." [Isa. 11:3,4] The predictions of the millennium follow.

But if we turn to 2 Thess. 2:8, where the apostle seems to quote this prophecy, we find additional instruction on two points. First we find that it is Antichrist, the man of sin, that is intended by the term, "the wicked". Both in the Hebrew of Isaiah 11, and the Greek of 2 Thess. 2 the term is in the singular number, and means literally, "that wicked one".
But without insisting on this, it is enough to notice that in 2 Thess. 2 our English translators have marked that it is some one, or something, pre-eminent in evil that is intended by using a capital letter in the word "wicked". "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit (or breath) of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming." (2 Thess. 2:8) This is the other point here brought out. It is by the brightness of his coming that Antichrist, this wicked one, is to be destroyed. But let us examine a little more minutely the combined testimony of these connected passages.

The apostle informs the Thessalonians that the day of Christ shall not come except there come a falling away or an Apostasy first, and that man of sin be revealed. He had told them of these things when present among them, and now reminds them that they know what hindered the revelation of this man of sin. "The mystery of iniquity doth already work", in his language; "only he who now letteth (hindereth) shall let (hinder) till he be taken out of the way, and then shall that Wicked be revealed." [2 Thess. 2:7] The mystery of iniquity was working then, and would continue to work until, the hindrance being removed, it should issue in the revelation of the man of sin, 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] Thus we have the continued working and progress of evil, from its germ which existed in the apostle's day, to its maturity in this man of sin, who only meets his doom at the coming of the Lord, and by the coming of the Lord. Isaiah takes up the subject where the apostle lays it down, and shows us the blessed results of this glorious interposition, the peace, the concord, the happiness of Messiah's reign the earth full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. The two passages together afford the most conclusive proof of all we are seeking to establish, that the millennium is introduced by judgments on the wicked, and that those judgments attend the coming of the Lord.

My readers will remember the quotations from Isaiah 24, as to the earth being made empty and waste, as to its being utterly broken down, and clean dissolved, and moved exceedingly. It would be well to read the whole chapter. How does it close? What is the sequel to those overwhelming judgments which it teaches us to expect? "Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when Yahweh of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients, gloriously." (Isa. 24:23) The judgments commence and introduce this glorious, universal reign. I say universal for while Zion and Jerusalem are its special earthly center, its blessings will extend to all the earth. Thus, a few verses below the one just quoted, after having again celebrated God's interposition in judgment, making of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin; a palace of strangers to be no city; bringing down the noise of strangers; the prophet thus speaks of the issue, the effect of these judgments. "And in this mountain shall Yahweh of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations" (Isa. 25:6,7). Then in chapter 26:8,9, the righteous are represented as saying, "Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O Yahweh, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my soul have I desired thee in the night: yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early; for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness". Here is the definite, absolute assertion, that it is by God's judgments the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

But what is the peculiar character of these judgments, that they should have such an effect? Let my reader compare this passage with 1 Cor. 15:54, and he will find that these stupendous events are connected with the coming of the Lord, and the resurrection of the saints. 1 Cor. 15, it is well known, treats fully the subject of the resurrection. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order; Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's" -- when? "At his coming". [1 Cor. 15:22-23] The resurrection of the saints, then, takes place at the coming of Christ. But what connection has this with Isaiah 25? We shall see immediately. The apostle declares that we shall not all sleep -- that the living saints shall be changed when the departed ones are raised: "for this corruptible", he says, "must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the, saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory". [1 Cor. 15:53,54] Where is this saying written? In only one place in scripture, and that, Isa. 25:8. We have the awful judgments in chapter 24, and at the end of it, the reign of the Lord of hosts in Mount Zion. Then in chapter 25, we find that in this mountain the Lord of hosts is to make a feast unto all nations, and to remove the vail, the covering. The words quoted by the apostle immediately follow: "He will swallow up death in victory". In a word, the apostle tells us when the prophecy of Isaiah 24 and 25 will be accomplished. "When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, then shall be brought to pass, the saying which is written (in Isa. 25), Death is swallowed up in victory." And when is this corruptible to put on incorruption? When are the dead to be raised? "Every man in his own order. Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." [1 Cor. 15:22-23] Could there be more decisive proof that the coming of Christ, the resurrection of the sleeping saints, and the change of those who are alive, the fearful judgments which are to destroy the wicked, and the commencement of the reign of Christ, are all indissolubly linked together? They all are comprised in, and constitute, the grand epoch to which everything is tending, and with which nothing in the history of man, or of the world, can compare.

Another remarkable testimony to the same effect we have in Isa. 59:12-15. The prophet has been lamenting in the most moving terms the deep and widespread and universal corruption which precedes this interposition of God in judgment. "For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; in transgressing and lying against Yahweh and departing away from our Elohim, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter, Yea, truth faileth and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey and Yahweh saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment." No doubt the prophet has in this passage a special eye to Israel and its moral condition. But what a picture have we here of the state of things existing at the present day! How is it to be terminated? The Lord is represented as interfering. In what way does He interfere? "He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence. So (mark, reader, this word "so") shall they fear the name of Yahweh from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun." ([sa. 59:17-19] Could words more accurately express, could language more emphatically announce, the very position we are seeking to establish? What is that position? That the approaching judgments are what will introduce the millennium. What is the testimony of the passage before us? That all power of judgment and testimony having failed and ceased morally among men, the Lord will himself rise up to execute judgment by power; repaying men according to their deeds, repaying recompence to the islands: thus universal is to be this interposition of God. And what is to be its effect? "So shall they fear the name of Yahweh from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun." (Isa. 59:17-19) From hemisphere to hemisphere is the fear of the Lord's name and glory to extend, as the result of these retributive judgments on the wicked. Had there been no other passage of scripture on the subject, we might have supposed that the testimony of this would have been completely decisive.

But does not this passage shed further light on our present subject? Does it not afford evidence of both the truths we are seeking to establish? Here is the answer: "And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith Yahweh". [Isa. 59:20] This also is quoted in the New Testament. Paul quotes it in Rom. 11:25-26. He has been treating of the temporary setting aside of Israel, but declares that it is only for a time: that "blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob". My readers are most likely aware that before New Testament times the Old Testament had been translated into Greek, and that from this translation, called the Septuagint, many of the quotations in the New Testament are made. This accounts for the verbal difference in many such cases as the one before us. But no one can doubt that the passage quoted by the apostle is the one in question in Isaiah 59. Nor is it possible to evade the proof afforded by the two, that it is at His coming the Lord renders recompense to His enemies and to the islands, so that they shall fear His name and His glory from east to west.



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