By the Reverend William H. Bates, D.D., Washington, D. C.
In the realm of religious thought, the domains of Theology (the doctrine of God), of Christology, Soteriology, Pneumatology, Ecclesiology, have been thoroughly explored, definitely mapped out, if not minutely platted; but is the tract of_ Eschatology — the doctrine of last things — adequately, or even correctly, bounded, as the lines are popularly thought to be run? Bearings have indeed been taken, delimitations have been indicated, demarcations have been traced; but have the procedures been always from authoritative, or sometimes from assumed, starting points? Have the readings of the compass always been determined by an exegesis true to the polestar of heavenly truth, or have they not seldom been miscalculated through the deflective oreide of earthly philosophy or human wisdom?
I. The Judgment of Matthew 25.
The International Sunday-school lesson of October 16, 1910 (Matt. 25:31–46) was entitled “The Last Judgment.” It was regarded as the final judgment, a general judgment, a grand assize, in which all humanity — those then living upon the earth and the rest resurrected from the dead — are to be gathered, their case adjudicated, their destiny adjudged and declared. And it was so treated in all the multitudinous expositions and lesson helps I saw, with possibly an exception or two. But is this correct?
It was my fortune, very soon after entering the ministry, to be elected member of a governing board of the theological seminary from which I was graduated. At commencement I called on a beloved college classmate. He, stepping to his bookcase, took down Dean Alford’s Commentary, “New Testament for English Readers” (pt. 1 of which was first published in 1866), and, pointing to a passage (p. 176) which more than intimated that the judgment of Matthew 25 is not a general judgment, said, “What do you think of that?”
The idea! Not a general judgment! I had never heard of such a thing, or at least had never considered it. So contrary to all I had been taught or had thought, I was incensed enough at Alford — the book I mean — to throw it out of the second-story window! But such a method of exegesis, if summary, can hardly be called satisfactory, or even sane. When, later, I saw Alford’s “Greek New Testament” (3d ed., 1831) and found (p. 179) stiffly taught none other but a general judgment, I thought that maybe in the thirty-five years between 1831 and 1866 more light had broken forth from the Sacred Word upon his mind, and, if so, it would be well for me to get where some of those light-beams would fall on me. Therefore, divesting myself so far as possible of all prejudice or prepossession, open-minded, I proceeded to study my Bible.
1. Is there a general judgment? The first question (others afterward) to be determined was, Is the judgment of Matthew 25 a general judgment?
In a Bible class taught by a justice of the United States Supreme Court, the question was asked, “Who are judged in this judgment?” With a suggestive discrimination that put interrogation points into the minds of all the class, the distinguished jurist answered: “Judgment will pass upon all who are there to be judged.” To a general look of inquiry, a member instantly interjected, quoting Christ’s words from John 5:24, “He that heareth my words and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into [R.V.] judgment.”
Is it so that believers shall not come into this judgment? Why not?
This judgment is, on the face of it, an assize, a trial, an adjudication, the issue undetermined until the case proceeds and is concluded. The question of eternal life is then and there decided. This, plainly, is the record. But the believer already “hath everlasting life,” — an inalienable possession (John 10:28, 29; 6:39, 40, 44, 54). He is “in Christ” (Rom. 8:1), “who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24). Already “crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20), the penalty of his sins was borne on the cross. There he was judged and acquitted. He is “justified from all things” (Acts 13:39). His debts are all paid, and receipted with a carmine seal; and now shall he be brought into court to answer again for those same debts? Nay, verily.
In Lange’s Commentary on Matthew, Dr. Nast is quoted: “According to the view advocated by Olshausen, Stier, and Alford, the judgment here described does not include those that constitute the Church triumphant” (p. 448).
Creswell, in his elaborate work on the Parables, says of the subjects of this judgment: “I declare it to be my belief that not a single Christian . . . . was intended by the Speaker to be comprehended among these subjects.”
So when Professor James Denney, of Glasgow, Scotland, writing upon this October lesson in the Homiletic Review, October, 1910, says: “We [Christians] are not to shuffle out of this solemn scene, as if it did not affect us; when all nations are gathered before the Son of man for judgment we shall be there” (p. 302), he has an exegesis which surely ought to be corrected, i.e. if ours be correct.
Moreover, so far as the record goes, there are no dead people in this judgment! In order to get all the dead there, they have to be read in as the outcome of a general or simultaneous resurrection, for which I find no Scripture warrant whatever. If the Holy Spirit meant ever to reveal the fact of a general resurrection, would he not — if this is a general judgment — of all places put it in here? In Matthew’s whole Gospel three facts of resurrection are mentioned: “In the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven” (22:28); Christ’s own resurrection (28:6); “and the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection” (27:52, 53); but a general resurrection is nowhere so much as even remotely hinted at. To read it in here is simply gratuitous and unwarranted. No dead, therefore, in this judgment.
If there are no living church-believers, and no resurrected dead, in this judgment, then doubly is a general judgment impossible.
2. Is there a general resurrection? And as to a general resurrection at any time: In Rev. 20:5, 6, we read of a “first resurrection,” which is of the righteous dead who “lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years; but the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” Here are, plainly, two resurrections (first, of the righteous dead, and, second, of the wicked dead) with a thousand years between them. We also read in 1 Thess. 4:16: “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.” Here is a “first” resurrection, which is of the righteous dead, and there is no mention of the dead out of Christ. If they are there, they have to be read in, for which there is no call except it be at the demands of an erroneous exegesis. When it comes to unwarranted “reading in,” what limit shall be placed to the proceeding? The logical limit seems to be only the capacity of one’s fertile fancy to conceive. And as to getting rid of these two literal resurrections by the “spiritualizing” process, surely this also is gratuitous and unwarranted.
That which, in my studies, longest stood in my way and presented the greatest (and what for a time seemed an insuperable) difficulty, was John 5:28, 29 —”Marvel not at this, for the hour1 is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
This text is the pièce de resistance of Professor Calvin Good speed, D.D., LL.D., in his “Messiah’s Second Advent” (chap. 1 pp. 11-16), and of general-resurrection believers generally.
I had been told, in my boyhood schooldays, that a comma marks a pause long enough to count one; a semicolon two, a colon three, a period four. Here were certainly two resurrections — to “life” and to “damnation” — with only a comma between them; i.e. to say, they were practically simultaneous, — a resurrection of all the righteous and wicked, and at one time: a “general “resurrection and consequently a general judgment.
The difficulty that seemed so great and insuperable was removed thus: One day I was reading Luke 4:16–21, “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book he found the place where it is written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.”
I turned back to the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah, the passage that Jesus read, and found that he “sat down “at a comma. The next clause is: “and the day of vengeance of our God.” The “year” of grace — the “day” of judgment. That which Jesus read was then “fulfilled” (ver. 21): the very next clause, which he did not read, separated from the other by only a comma (the Hebrew Massoretic zakeph katon, properly the equivalent of our comma), is not yet fulfilled and is yet future. If Isaiah wrote the passage 698 B.C., then up to this year of grace 1913, 2, 611 years have elapsed, and how much time will yet pass before “the day of vengeance of our God,” who can tell? Thus we have the Bible’s own determination of the length of time that may be covered by a comma.
If this little punctuation mark already covers 2, 611 years, with an indefinite number of years yet to come, why should I have any trouble with the thousand years (Rev. 20:4, 5) that are indicated by the comma separating between the resurrections of “life” and “damnation”? So, when the good Professor represents “the resurrection as but a single transaction in which there shall be a simultaneous coming forth of both righteous and wicked” (p. 16), and asks: “Are we not forced to believe that both the righteous and the wicked are raised in the same resurrection?” I answer, No, by no manner of means; far from it. Why should we be “forced” to believe what is not true? A right understanding of Christ’s punctuation punctures this whole general-resurrection eschatology and makes it collapse.
3. Who are, and who are not, subjects of this judgment? “All who are there to be judged,” said the Jurist. Universal mankind are popularly thought to be there. So far as the record goes, however, the personnel of this judgment consists of the judge and his retinue, his “brethren,” and “the nations.” But, as we have already seen, no living church-believers, i.e. those who have “believed” unto “everlasting life,” and no righteous dead, are there. Are there any others who should be excluded as subjects of this judgment?
Christ, in the Great Commission (Matt, 28:19) said: “Go ye, therefore, and teach all [R.V.] the nations, baptizing,” etc. In the judgment scene, according to Matt. 25:32, “Before him shall be gathered all the nations” (R.V.). Who are “the nations”?
The Greek word translated “nations,” ethnos, (which enters into our word “ethnology,”) is used in the New Testament 164 times. It is rendered 93 times Gentiles, 64 times nation, 5 times heathen, 2 times people. My New Testament lexicon gives, for the plural, this definition: “nations or people, as distinguished from the Jews.” In Num. 23:9 we read: “From the top of the rocks I see him,” i.e. collective Israel, and it is added, they “shall not be reckoned among the nations.” Says Alford on Matt. 25:32: “The expression all the nations implies all the nations of the world as distinguished from the elect already gathered to Him, just as the Gentiles were by that name distinguished from his chosen people the Jews” (p. 176). If the foregoing be accepted, then it must be allowed that the Jews are excluded as subjects of this judgment. If the Jews are not in it, if there are no resurrected dead people in it, then the only ones that can be in it, simply and solely, must be the “nations” — “Gentiles” —then living upon the earth.
Thus, to our query, the answer must be: The Gentiles are, and the Jews are not, the subjects of this judgment.
4. Christ’s eschatological discourse. Christ’s eschatological discourse is in Matthew 24 and 25. The disciples ask him (24:3) three questions: (1) “When shall these things be?” i.e. the destruction of the Jerusalem temple; (2) “What shall be the sign of thy coming?” (3) “And of the end of the world?” i.e. the consummation of the aiōn, age, dispensation.
Space does not permit an explication of the answers to these questions. Disregarding the first and passing by the mentioned “signs” that shall have appeared in heaven (24:27–31) and on earth (24:32–51), it must now suffice to say that in the consummation of the age, which involves Christ’s coming again to this earth and his dealing with those upon it, there will “then” (25:1) be a threefold testing: (a) Of profession (parable of the virgins, 25:1–13); (b) Of service (parable of the talents, 25:14–30); and (c) Of the Gentile nations (25:31–46); and this third testing is only, so far as the record goes, on the ground of the Gentiles’ treatment of Christ’s “brethren” (25:40) in what had been previously (certainly in a limited time) transpiring.
What is involved in that “treatment” is a subject of inquiry which cannot — need not — be entered into here. But it should be borne in mind that the treatment is the declared ground of the nations’ judgment. If there is anything else, it has to be read in. And how much has been read in!
5. The “Brethren” — Who? What? Why? But who are the “brethren”? As the Jews are not, and the Gentiles are, the subjects of this judgment, and as all who are not Gentiles are Jews, but one answer seems to be possible, viz. the “brethren” are Jews!
There are many, many prophecies concerning the Jews yet to be fulfilled. If anything seems to be plainly taught in Scripture, it is that there shall yet be a regathering of Israel in Palestine. For specimen prophecies2 take these: Isa. 14:1; Jer. 23:7, 8; Deut. 30:1–6; Isa. 11 and 12; Jer. 16:14, 15; 32:37, 38; Ezek. 36:24–28; 37:21, 22. There is a prevalent practice of visiting upon the Jew very literally all the predicted judgments and denounced curses, but when it comes to the promised blessings, these are, by a “spiritualizing” process, filched away from poor Israel and handed over to the Church! I decline to be a party to any such unspiritual, unscriptural, dishonorable, dishonest, felonious transaction. Give the Jew all that belongs to him, good as well as ill. Some day he will come to his own, and then he will not be the tail-ender of a gluttonous gentilism, but the head of nations (Deut. 28:12, 13). In this regathering will be the time and place of the “brethren.” To make this plain a time consideration must here be attended to.
A prophetic “week” in Scripture is, as is well known, seven years. Sixty-nine of Daniel’s prophetic weeks (9:24) have been definitely and satisfactorily accounted for. “From the going forth of the commandment” — i.e. the decree of Artaxerxes (Neh. 2:1–8)—”to restore and build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince” (Dan. 9:25), was exactly 483 prophetic years, i.e. sixty-nine “weeks.” But what of the seventieth week?
Any one who still keeps the Book of Daniel in his Bible can hardly be absolved from dealing with this matter. For a fairly full exposition of what can now be only a mere reference to the subject, the reader is referred to G. Campbell Morgan’s book, “God’s Method with Man,” the fifth chapter of which treats of “Daniel’s Missing Week,” and the sixth of “The Events of the Missing Week.”
The seventieth week is yet future. Between it and the passed sixty-nine weeks is a time-parenthesis, an uncalendared interval, the present Christian dispensation, the church-age, the length of which no one can tell (Acts 1:6, 7), but at the end of it the seventieth week will begin, in the which seven years events will transpire that are plainly set forth in Scripture.
Among many other things foretold, will occur Israel’s re-gathering and conversion — “and so all Israel shall be saved” (Rom. 11:26)—in connection with which there will be an evangelizing (the Jew will be fully equipped with the languages and money for it) such as the world has never seen — ‘a nation born in a day’! — and a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy (2:28–32) that, I ween, shall make the Spirit-outpouring at Pentecost seem as shower-drops before a mighty rain! This evangelizing must be done by the Jews, for the church will then, as we shall presently see, have been removed from the earth. The Book of Matthew is the Gospel of the Kingdom. The first preaching of that gospel was by John the Baptist, was continued by Christ and his disciples, and ended3 with the Jewish rejection of their King. There came in its place “the Gospel of the Grace of God” (Acts 20:24) —the church’s message to a lost world — which should by no means be confounded with the gospel of the Kingdom. “He came unto his own and his own received him not” (John 1:11). Rejected, crucified, he went away — as a nobleman into a far country “to receive for himself a kingdom and to return” (Luke 19:12)—comes back; his kinsmen, the veil removed from their hearts and minds (2 Cor. 3:15, 16), see, acknowledge, accept him as King, take up and proclaim the interrupted message. Here is the place of the fulfillment of Matt. 24:14, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all [R. V.] the nations” — the Gentiles — “and then shall the end come.” As the Gentile nations treat these evangelizing “brethren” (Zech. 8:13, 23) of Christ, accepting or rejecting their message, so they treat him, and shall be judged accordingly. Thus is seen the relation of the brethren to, and their place in, this judgment scene.
II. The Judgment of 2 Corinthians 5.
While, as we have seen, there are no “believers “in the judgment of Matthew 25, they nevertheless have an accounting or rendering of their own for “the things done in the body” (2 Cor. 5:10). But this is not a krisis judgment, an assize, when doom is decided and declared — no, no, that matter is settled when men “believe” unto “everlasting life” (John 5:24) —but simply a time when desert is determined. Nor is it a “throne” (Matt. 25:31; Rev. 20:11) judgment, but a bema tribunal (“judgment seat,” Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10), which two things should not be confounded.
At the opening of the Seventieth Week,4 “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, and the dead in Christ5 shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together in clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16, 17). This is called the Rapture [catching away] of the Church.
What is revealed in 2 Cor. 5:1–10, and also in 1 Cor. 3:9–15, is of the same persons and for the same purpose, and therefore belongs to, while presenting variant aspects of, the same scene. It is then that “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). It is then that (1 Cor. 3:11–15) the “gold, silver, precious stones” in the superstructure builded on Christ shall “be made manifest,” “revealed by fire,” and the “wood, hay, stubble” material “shall be burned.” The wise and worthy builder “shall receive a reward”; the unwise builder, building unworthily, though building on Christ as a foundation the same as the other, “shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.” Salvation is a gift: rewards are earned. The question here is not at all as to being “saved,” but as to being rewarded. This “judgment” is simply and solely a tribunal of award, and it is for believers only, — those translated from the earth (1 Cor. 15:51–53) when Christ comes for his saints and those “in Christ “raised from the dead in the “first resurrection.” This is a judgment, not upon the believer’s person, but upon his works, awarding rewards therefor.
It may not be amiss to interject here, that this truth, apprehended and appropriated, will beget perfect quietness and assurance in the hearts of those dear Christians who are fearsome and distressed by the question of whether they shall be “saved”; and it is fitted also to produce, yea, what carefulness, yea, what clearing of selves, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, in regard to conduct.
As a specimen of reprehensible exegesis, reference may be made to the common use of the words, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,” in proof of a general judgment, — a wrongful use because of utterly ignoring the context. Take the whole passage (2 Cor. 5:1–10): “For we know that . . . . we have a building of God,” etc. Who are the “we”? Believers and believers only, of course. And in all the verses that follow, except one, there are, a round dozen of times, the very same “we,” and none others; and in the excepted verse (5), “us,” denoting the same persons, appears twice. These are the ones, and none else so far as the record goes, who “must appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” This being so, the general-judgment notion seems to be again most effectually disposed of.
Thus is seen the relation of believers to, and their place in, such judgment as they have.
III. The Judgment of Revelation 20.
There remains to be considered the Great White Throne judgment (Rev. 20:11). This is the final judgment. How this judgment can be confounded with the judgment of Matthew 25:and that one made the last judgment, presents a problem of exegetical obfuscation that is, to me, a psychological puzzle.
1. That is at the second advent of Christ; this “a thousand years “later.
2. That is distinctly and definitely upon the earth (Joel 3:2, 12, R.V.) where “the nations” are; in this, the earth has “fled away” (Rev. 20:11).
3. In that, are the then living nations; in this, the dead, and they are yielded up from the sea, death, and hades (Rev. 20:13).
4. In that, there are no dead; in this, none but the dead.
5. In that, there is no hint of resurrection; in this, all are resurrected.
6. In that, there is a mixture — sheep and goats; in this, all are of one kind.
7. In that, the judged stand before Christ as “the Son of man” (Matt. 25:31); in this, they “stand before God” (Rev. 20:12).
8. In that, there are no “books” of account, but the principle of judgment is the treatment of the “brethren”; in this, “books are opened” and judgment is rendered according to “those things which are written in the books,” in which record there can be for uncounted myriads no possible “brethren “debit.
IV. Summary of Judgments.
The Scriptures teach four judgments, — the first past, the others future:
1. The Judgment at the Cross (John 19:17, 18), in which penalty was executed for sin (Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18), and the believing sinner, because of Christ’s expiatory work in his behalf, is acquitted and comes no more into condemnatory judgment (Rom. 8:1; John 5:24).
2. The Judgment-Seat Tribunal, when Christ comes for his saints, and recompense is made to them — the translated and the first-resurrection believers — for their works (1 Thess.
BSac 70:278 (April 1913) p. 258
4:16, 17; Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Cor. 4:5; Rev. 22:12; 1 Cor. 3:8, 13–15; 2 Tim. 4:8).
3. The Glory-Throne Judgment, when Christ comes with his retinue of angels and saints (Matt. 25:31; Jude 14, 15; 1 Cor. 6:2) to judge the then living Gentile nations (Matt. 25:32–46; Joel 3:2, 12, R.V.; Zeph. 3:8).
4. The Great White-Throne Judgment, when is the second resurrection, that of the wicked dead, and sentence is passed upon them (Rev. 20:5, 11–15).
The first was at Calvary, a.d. 30; the second is in the upper regions to which the church has been translated, and occurs at the undated end of the church-age and the opening of the seventieth prophetic week; the third is upon the earth at the end of that week; the fourth a thousand years later.
V. Eschatological System Complete.
Such is, in brief, our Biblical Study on the Judgment question, in which, because of space limits, much belonging to the eschatological period has, of necessity, been left out. It is believed, however, that this survey has been made from authoritative, not assumed, starting points; that bearings have been determined by the celestial observations; that the lines have been run according to what and to only what is given in the record;6 and that the readings have been true to the divinely given data, the compass-needle not deflected by theological prejudice or philosophical speculation. I formerly implicitly believed in a general judgment, with its prerequisite general resurrection, because I was so taught; but nevertheless the doctrine was always intellectually unsatisfactory because it made of the Scriptures, on this subject, an unintelligible, confused, labyrinthine tangle — left them all higgledy-piggledy, so to speak — while all the while it seemed as though there ought to be a clear-cut, scripturally-consistent system in Eschatology the same as in other Biblical ologies. It is submitted that what is here set forth in outline, presents an intelligible, orderly, consistent, harmonious system of the Bible’s doctrine of “last things.”
VI. A Bit of Contribution to Doctrinal History.
The old Presbytery of Geneva (N. Y.), as it was before the Reunion, presented to, and recommended for use in, its churches a brief Confession of Faith and a Covenant. Becoming pastor of one of these churches, I found that the last of the nine articles taught what I could not stand for, — a general judgment; and of course I could not conscientiously impose it upon any one else. My church adopted another Confession, the last of the seven articles being this: “We believe in the resurrection of the dead, and judgment for all, which judgment, when rendered, awards to the wicked everlasting punishment, and to the righteous life eternal.” And this is here offered as an irenic statement of doctrine that satisfactorily covers the ground, and that all can subscribe to who believe in a general judgment or in judgments at separate times.
When the Committee which prepared a Book of Common Worship for use in the Presbyterian Church presented its tentative report to the General Assembly for consideration, in three places the general judgment was definitely implied. I wrote the chairman of the committee that the book would be unsatisfactory to the great mass of ministers and members of the Presbyterian Church who cannot subscribe to that doctrine, and suggested that such change be made as would render it acceptable to all, inclosing the above statement. He very courteously acknowledged the communication, giving the assurance that the matter would be considered by the committee. It was considered, and the Book, as finally authorized by the Assembly, has the implication eliminated, and accordingly, so far as this doctrine is concerned, it need not be unacceptable to any.
1) ‘This “hour” (hora) is by no means necessarily a 60-minute affair. In this same connection there is an “hour” (John 5:25) which has continued on from that time to the present. My New Testament Greek Lexicon gives, as a definition of hora, this: “a limited portion of time marked out by part of a settled routine or train of circumstances.” In the New Testament, hora is translated 88 times hour, 11 times time, 3 times season (John 5:35; 2 Cor. 7:8; Phile. 15), once high time, once short time, and once instant. This “hour” will of course be long enough for the “train of circumstances” to run its course, be it longer or shorter.
2) For a complete presentation of these prophecies, see the remarkable little book, which every one ought to read, That Jew, by Richard Hayes McCartney (Revell, 50 cents cloth, 25 cents paper).
3) he “gospel of the kingdom” does not thereafter appear in the New Testament. The last occurrence of the phrase is Matt. 24:14.
4) When Judgment events are all massed into one conglomeration, as in the common view, there is little call for questions of order; but when they must be distributed into separate proper times, places, and scenes, the question of order is important and imperative. In Rev. 1:19 John has a threefold commission which indicates the three divisions of the Book: Write (1) “The things which thou hast seen” — those in the preceding part of the chapter; (2) “The things which are,” chapters 2 and 3, the Epistles to the Seven Churches, an unfolding and prophetic portrayal of the church-age; (3) “The things which shall be hereafter” (meta tauta, after these things, i.e. the things of the church-age, or after the churches). Chapter 4 begins, “meta tauta eiclon, after these things I looked,” and lie beheld the events following the taking away of the Church — for the word “church “does not occur again in Revelation after chap. 3:22 — and these are portrayed in chaps. 4–19 and, by comparing Scripture with Scripture, these are plainly seen to be the events of the Seventieth Week. The true Church is taken away, but of course the false, professing-non-possessing church remains. Then follows the evangelizing, the “tribulation” of Christ’s eschatological discourse (Matt. 24:15–29; Mark 13:14r-23; and other passages), and the numerous events, which cannot here be noted, leading up to the Judgment of the Nations at the close of the Week, which ends this dispensation and ushers in the Millennial Age.
5) Not the church saints only, but all “the dead in Christ” of whatever dispensation — those saved by a prospective as well as by a retrospective faith in Him — are in this resurrection.
6) This method is according to what I was taught in a theological seminary that sought to be, and was, distinguished for the Biblical character of its instruction; but a method somewhat different seems to be in vogue there now. In the Auburn Seminary Record for March, 1911, the accomplished and genial “Taylor, Seymour and Ivison Professor of New Testament Theology and Literature “has a paper on “A Problem in the Teaching of Jesus,” i.e. the eschatological problem, from which I, italicizing a clause, venture to quote a few sentences: “A true interpretation of the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, e.g., leaves no room in any general scheme of the future, so far as the words of Jesus are concerned, for any ‘great tribulation,’ of which so much is made in all millennial schemes. The one tribulation of which he spoke was the terrible prelude to the destruction of Jerusalem. It is Matthew, I think, who writes, ‘immediately after the great tribulation ‘and then goes on to depict what seemed to him from the conjunction of these two thoughts in his own mind — the fall of Judaism and ‘the end of the age’ — the final coming of the Son of Man. Let me because of this fact which comes from editing, take up quite another class of passages which I think more nearly present the attitude of Jesus toward the future” (p. 14). I am at a loss to understand on what ground Matthew is to be credited with editing into the record eschatological views contrary to the views of Jesus. I would hardly dare to presume to take such a liberty with Jesus, or with Editor Matthew, either editing in or editing out. Moreover, in addition to the tribulation accompanying the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, a.d. 70, the “great tribulation “of which Jesus is speaking (Matt. 24:21, 29) is in answer to the questions, “And what shall be the sign of thy coming? and of the end of the age [aiōn]”? And if he fulfilled his promise to his disciples (John 16:13) td guide them “into all the truth” and show them “the coming things” (τὰ ἐρχόμενα), John, writing after the destruction of Jerusalem, must have meant the same thing when he spoke of “the tribulation the great” (Rev. 7:14), i.e. unless John edited this into what Jesus showed him, or somebody has been taking editorial liberties with John! Would not that, in these journalistic days, be esteemed a somewhat saffron-hued proceeding?