Christendom, Its Course and Doom
B. W. Newton
(The following is condensed from a course of Lectures given at Mildmay in 1876)
We but faintly apprehend the fact of the rejection of the Lord by Jerusalem. In the midst of this dark world a circle of light was drawn. Emmanuel stood there, and on Him God rested with the peace of complacency, desiring to gather men and sending forth the invitation—the Gospel of peace—that they, on believing, might be brought within that circle of light; might be accepted according to the infinite value of the merits of the sacrifice and the “sweet smelling savour” presented by Christ on the Cross.
Ponder on those words. All the value of the merits of Emmanuel! Can we estimate it? No! but God does. And that He imputes to the believer! It is the foundation of all our blessing. Take that away, and you lay the axe at everything blessed by God. He looks from heaven and sees the weak and the strong alike covered with the value of the merits of Emmanuel as He estimates them. That is the blessing in which we stand on earth; in which we shall enter heaven and which is to remain upon us through the ages of eternity! Now may we remember this truth connected with Jerusalem’s and the world’s rejection of the Lord, and take our stand by His side as He passes out of the gates of Jerusalem (Matthew 24:1). Try and put yourselves in that relation to Him. The city was behind where ecclesiastical greatness and the greatness of Caesar were; but what are they now to the greatness of Jesus, which that same Mount of Olives will bear witness to on His return in glory with those rejected ones (Zech. 14:4, 5)!?
The disciples had not forgotten His words and could not give up the thought that their Lord was about to manifest that glory. They had wrongly assumed that the desolation then spoken of would be at “the end of the age” when Christ should come in glory. Hence their questions “When shall it be” and “what shall be the sign of Thy coming and of the end of the age?” It was a wrong thought and hard to correct; Christ therefore graciously instructed them concerning the prolonged age of evil that would intervene. They did not deserve it, for they had no right to admire that on which He said desolation should fall. Do you do that? Do you, when you see—in Christendom may be—baronial halls or ecclesiastical structures; do you admire them? They ought to be instinct to your souls with a sense of the world’s distance from God and of the iniquities and idolatries performed in them. Remember, God’s indignation is greater against these structures in Christendom than it was against those in Israel, for the light has been greater and the rebellion greater! Christendom is “the olive branch” that has not continued in God’s goodness, and therefore He says “Thou also shalt be cut off (Rom. 11: 22)!” That is the doom pronounced upon Christendom! Do not let us forget it.
The Lord then instructed them what the course of Christendom would be before “the end of the age”. He postponed the end as it were (vv. 4-6).
Now perhaps some might say “Let them think it close at hand; it is well they should be watchful”. No! God never guides His people by falsehood, and the statement that Christ may be expected immediately is not true. God has appointed certain things first to be fulfilled and we are to bow to His wisdom and meekly to consider all that He has told us. That is what He means by “watching”. It is not merely waiting; but watching the course of events to see when they are fulfilling, that we may know how near we are approaching the end and understand the signs which He tells us will immediately precede the end; otherwise we do not “watch” rightly. So I repeat, “watching” is not merely waiting.
The judgment of God as the righteous Governor of the earth is to be in “famines, pestilence, earthquakes, war, etc.;” yet these are but the “beginning of sorrows”; the premonitory drops! Terrible as may be the providential inflictions from time to time, the real sorrow—the great climax—will be when Revelation 8, 9 and 16, begin to be fulfilled. Then the storm will break. So there will be (1) providential judgments from day to day; (2) more direct inflictions from the hand of God; (3) the manifestation of the Lord in glory. It was a terrible famine that drove the patriarchs into Egypt; but, how contrasted even in the apprehensions of the Egyptians themselves, with the plagues afterwards inflicted through Moses and Aaron, so that the magicians said “This is the finger of God”! Just so will it be with respect to the plagues of Revelation 8, 9. They will all have the character of those in Egypt—direct inflictions from the hand of God! The whole interpretation of that Book has been radically wrong where it has been applied to past providential judgments, instead of seeing that it deals with those that will be inflicted finally to abase the great ones of the earth, never to rise again. The plagues of Egypt admitted of repentance; but when the Lord manifested His glory at the Red sea, there could be no repentance. They sank in the deep as a stone! Just so will it be again. Chastisements, not finally destroying judgments, will first be sent. Men are asked to repent, and if they will not, the Lord will come as a destroying sword. Such will be the climax of the sorrows. All that happens before will only be providential judgments. The climax will not come till then: not until Babylon and Antichrist and Antichristendom have sprung up and displayed the maturity of their fruits of evil! Remember that. How little I fear we remember that God works for His own glory! The danger of every Christian is to be always thinking of himself or of his individual interests, services, etc., as if that were the great object of God’s thoughts. This is a very prevalent thought among Gentile Christians. But God always works for His own glory, which, in other words, is for our blessing; and this we can always trace, though we may not be able always to understand and explain. “God moves in a mysterious way”. His hand is very often involved in mystery, but, the very fact that God is what He is necessitates that, and what He does must be beyond man’s understanding. It is matter for faith; something we can never understand.
Well, He gives instruction as to this and brings it forcibly before the minds of His people, that, as the last great step towards evil and Antichristianism is being taken, Christians may be more than ever arrayed against it and wisely testify against it. That is what God expects of His people—a practical circumcision—and He is effecting it: slowly it may be, by making them feel the blessedness now, not only of being practically separate but also of taking up a distinct place of testimony against it; the painful but honoured place of some spoken of, who “overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; loving not their lives unto the death”. Still, the general condition of things even among the true sons of God—“love waxing cold; lawlessness abounding etc.”—will bring discouragement and cause the hand to hang down and knees to be feeble; but “he that endureth to the end shall be saved” even though his love wax cold! There is great grace in that, though would we wish our love to wax cold?
Verse 14. It does not say the Gospel will be accepted but sufficiently preached as a witness. This of course is not a specific indication of the end, because we could not tell when God may be pleased to consider it has been sufficiently “preached for a witness”. All we can say is, it will not be until the last are gathered in from the Gentile world that are appointed to be—“until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in”—i.e., when Christendom shall have run its course.
Verse 15. Then the Lord answers their second question more specifically as to the “sign of His coming and of the end of the age”—concomitant events observe—for whenever Christ does come, this “age” (man’s day) will end. They needed instruction as to the dispensation they themselves were about to introduce, which we call the Christian dispensation. God appointed that men as men; then Israel as Israel; then the professing Church as the professing Church should be tried; but until they had all manifested their rejection of the Truth and corrupted it, Antichrist was not to arise. So there will be this triple concurrency of departure from God; and the proof that Christendom is arriving at this point is, that an altogether new moral System is being brought to bear on human minds, which will cause rejection of all definite Truth; a setting free from all rules that have anything at all of the authority of God in them!
Nothing can exceed the importance of this question as to the immediate sign of Christ’s coming, for when He comes Man’s day will end. And how plainly it is answered (v. 29)! An unequalled season of tribulation is the “sign”; for you read it is “immediately after this tribulation”.
This opened to me the great vista of prophetic Truth as regards the close of the present Dispensation—the present age—which will be the most important of all; therefore all the light of the prophecies in both Old and New Testaments is concentrated on that period on which we are now entering; leading on to the Millennial Day of glory and blessing, when “Israel shall blossom and bud and fill the face of the world with fruit”. It is to this closing period the Lord directs attention (v. 15), quoting Daniel 9:27 which we should keep an apprehension of steadily in our minds.
I would ask you to turn to Ezekiel 22:17-22, where God is spoken of, not as scattering Israel but as gathering them there for judgment, not for blessing. So that is what we are to expect. Daniel’s prophecies also belong to the time when the Gentiles are exalted and Jerusalem trodden down; but he only gives history respecting them as far as they are concerned with Jerusalem; so that we have no detailed prophecy in Scripture concerning the last 1900 years. No dates, no localities are mentioned; only what is called moral prophecy, which speaks of the Christian apostasy, as e.g., 1 Timothy 4. Scripture gives a good deal of light in that way; but as to historic detail none.
And what will characterize this “unequalled season of tribulation”? Well, one thing will be the presence of Antichrist in Jerusalem “treading down Israel as the mire of the streets (Isa. 10:5-11)!” Isaiah 9:8-10:4 gives a separate section of the prophecy and should be read continuously, containing an account of consecutive manifestations of Israel waxing worse and worse from Isaiah’s day onward; the words being repeated “For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still”; though in chapter 10:4 for the last time, because “the last end of the indignation” is then arrived at, when “God will perform His whole work against Jerusalem”. He calls forth the Assyrian, i.e., Antichrist, as His instrument, etc. (10:5, 6)!” Now that period commences emphatically at the moment when he puts the abomination of desolation in its place; commands Israel to worship it and then begins to tread them down.
Besides this, “the hand of God” will begin to be stretched out against Jerusalem in the outpouring of the vials, etc., as in those awful chapters Revelation 8, 9, 16; the first of which will be upon the men who worship this image (16:2). So you must have the image worshipped before the first vial is poured out. Thus you can easily conceive this will be an unequalled season of tribulation. Well, what a mercy that believers, if there, are allowed, nay commanded, to quit. (Matthew 24:16). Believers may probably be there up to that moment, but I would earnestly advise Christians to think well before going to Jerusalem and the Holy Land. It may possibly be their duty, but it is well solemnly to consider before going, because that Land and City are placed under “days of vengeance” still. The hand of wrath is in a peculiar sense stretched out against them. See e.g., Luke 21:20. I turn to this because I wish to note an error sometimes fallen into of confusing the application of this verse with Matthew 24:15. They are quite different events. Matthew 24:15 is still future; but Luke 21:20 was fulfilled years ago, and refers to the gathering of the Roman armies under Titus when Jerusalem was taken. The “days of vengeance” then began. They were interrupted; suspended; but not over; for there will be emphatically an increased “treading down” at the close! Then the time of Gentile supremacy shall cease; Israel be forgiven, and verse 25 found to correspond with Matthew 24:29.
Verses 21-31. Not one particle of this has been fulfilled. You cannot deny the futurity of these words; and the return of the Lord will not be before but after the “unequalled season of tribulation”, which will mainly be concentrated upon Jerusalem, though not perhaps exclusively. It may be extended to the whole circle of the prophetic earth—the Roman nations. What then have believers to dread? They will not be under the plagues if obedient to the command to quit; nor under those judgments inflicted by the Lord on His blaspheming Antichristian adversaries, for they will be “with the Lord” before He Himself stretches out His hand to smite. The plagues are antecedent chastisements from God, before He sends His Son to give the great final blow. But what they may fear, is the frown and hand of Antichrist in persecution for the Lord’s sake, if they happen to live within the 10 kingdoms. We use no proud language; but surely no greater blessing could be bestowed, than to be strengthened in that hour for testimony against the last great Adversary. So, though the bulk of Christendom will probably be in countries external to these 10 kingdoms—few within its circuit—what an honor to be enabled to witness in the midst of that hour of darkness! So do not speak of the blessedness of being removed first. If you are too weak to stand, God will remove you by death; but He will certainly not take you away by any Secret Rapture of His people. That has been taught as you know; and persons have said it is very wrong to speak of any intervening event between the present moment and the return of the Lord! Now, do Christians really mean that? When the Lord spoke respecting the Comforter, did He not say the effect would be, that they should be persecuted and hated of all nations? Was not that an intervening event? And did He not tell Peter he should die? And in one of the parables He says “After a long time”. Also here He taught them to look for the “budding of the fig-tree” and, that when they should see (not before) the accomplishment of the things He had spoken of, they would know, not the exact day or hour, yet that He was “near, even at the doors!”.
How is it possible to avoid that argument? Only in one way, and that is by asserting that these instructions are not addressed to the Church at all; that they were intended for the 12 Apostles, not for us all, and that they do not represent the Church! Well then, I close my Bible. If that be true, I shall have deceived you. If the Apostles did not receive prospective history for the Church, Christianity is gone! Yet thousands hold that theory! It was taught in the 4th century and called Marcionism, but has been revived in a far worse form recently!
Now will you be roused on these subjects or will you slumber on? I consider a person who ventures to say that by teaching intervening events you hinder the expectation of the Lord’s coming, is as daring as those who advocate water being substituted for wine in the Lord’s Supper. It is sitting in judgment on the Lord. Would the intensity of expectation as to a friend’s arrival from abroad be lessened, because he promised on arriving mid-way to send a message? Consider what is to take place at the Lord’s return. Are believers the only persons respecting whom God thinks? They will be changed and “rest and relief” will come to them; but it will be when “the Lord shall be revealed in flaming fire taking vengeance on His enemies”. 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8 decides the whole question; viz., that the sons of God will not have relief before. But is giving relief the only thing God is going to do then? He will then bind Satan and consign him for 1000 years to the bottomless pit. Is that to be forgotten? He will release Creation from that under which it now groaneth. Is that to be forgotten? He will forgive and restore Israel and make them the centre of blessing to the whole world. Is that to be forgotten? He will take the reins of government from Satan and unregenerate man and give them to Christ as in Daniel 7 and Revelation 11. Is that to be forgotten? Are these things to be made secondary and merely your relief from sorrow to be considered as the prominent thing? Now that is the tone of mind into which persons fall, who turn out of the King’s highway of Scripture into this by-way.
And now let me ask you to consider what the Scriptures do reveal respecting events connected with the Lord’s return. What was it that brought the power of God in destruction at the Red Sea into conflict with the evil power of Egypt? What was it? Why, the deliverance of Israel; for they were to be the means whereby the nations were to be rectified and regulated. That was in the thoughts of God and is still. It was a typical scene at the Red Sea, for it will be a like condition of Israel that will again bring the glory of the Lord to confront the power of earth. Not till Israel has reached its last period of extremity in the jaws of the destroyer; not till then will God intervene. See Joel 3:16; Psalm 83 and 124. I could mention passage after passage.
Until the thought of blotting out Israel is matured, God will be patient; but, when they are about to execute it, Christ will be brought before the Ancient of Days and invested with the power of the earth (Dan. 7:13). That will be a scene enacted in Heaven. No eye on earth will see it, but it is preparatory to Christ being sent to effect the deliverance of Israel, the release of Creation, the binding of Satan, etc. The Day of man will end and the Day of God begin. With that scene “the sovereignty of the world will become the sovereignty of the Lord”. Believers will know when it is near, though not the exact time of the transfer of power to Christ nor the exact moment of His appearance; but as they see “the unequalled tribulation” drawing near its end every day, they will know—those who watch, not others—that He is “near, even at the doors”.
The moment Christ has received that power He will come. There will be no delay. Scripture emphasizes Christ hastening because of the condition of Israel and the imploring cry of “the remnant” in the jaws of the Destroyer. And what will be the condition of the earth in general? Now attend to this. A great part will remain just as it now is—about two-thirds in heathen darkness and Mohammedanism! Generally speaking, there will be little change. Then the 10 kingdoms of the Roman world—those awful kingdoms over which Antichrist will reign—extending from Britain up to the Euphrates; they will be apostate! They will cast off the hand of God and Christ, and become what France was at the time of the Revolution when the Bible was cast into the Seine! These countries will be infidel and cease to be part of Christendom! Then there will also be certain nations retaining the profession of the Name of Christ—Christendom—and besides that, Jerusalem and the Jews, with the armies of these Antichristian nations pouring into the valley of Jehoshaphat for the annihilation of Israel (Joel 3)! That will be the aspect generally! Yet it will be a period when persons will be peculiarly unobservant! Why? Because they will be interested in something absorbing all thoughts. How designing you see is Satan! and God permits it for the testing of His people. There will just have happened a wondrous event. You know how anxious the European nations are to draw together in close contact—to weld themselves together—though under difficulties. And they will finally succeed and be under one federal Head—Antichrist. That is revealed. But why? What are they trembling for and afraid of? Of Asiatic power! It is not a vain dread, for those Asiatic nations will be the means of inflicting the blow which God has appointed. Read Jeremiah 50 and 51 and you will see it. They will rush down on the great eastern centre of the Roman earth—Babylon—and take it; and all the merchants and traffickers of the world shall wail and cast dust on their heads and say “we are utterly ruined”. All this is revealed like a sunbeam in Scripture; and it is to meet this that Anti
Christ will have assembled all his mighty hosts at Armageddon. But before he does that, he turns aside at the request of Moab, Ammon, etc., to assist them in obliterating Jerusalem (Ps. 83)! He will regard that merely as a pebble in his way; but God, having undertaken to defend it (Isa. 31:4, 5), destroys Antichrist when he touches the place which He has chosen for Himself. “Behold, at evening time trouble; but before morning he is not”. He is gone! God intervenes and Christ comes from Heaven to deliver Jerusalem (Joel 3:16) and to pour out His wrath both on those who seek to subvert it and on those who have captured Babylon! The Day of the Lord breaks in all its glory and man’s days are numbered. It is this which will bring the glory of God into collision with the things of earth. “He will rend the heavens and come down”.
Let me turn you to the words of Scripture in Luke 21:24. “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles”; and then there shall be signs in the heavens—the first intimation that “Christ has taken to Himself His power”. They will harm no one. They will be mere signs; but terrifying signs. On earth will be distress of nations with perplexity and the sea convulsed. Indeed, rushing in upon it, is said to be one of the means whereby Babylon will be blotted out just after being taken! Men’s hearts will fail them for fear, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven; for these “signs” will be immediately followed by His personal appearance. But when these things begin to come to pass (i.e., these “signs”) “then lift up your heads for your redemption draweth nigh”.
Now can any words be more simple than these addressed to believers? They will know them to be the immediate precursors of their glorification. They are redeemed already by the price of blood. Their redemption by payment was effected by Christ on Calvary, but he will then appropriate them to Himself. Accordingly, from the air—into which He descends and where all men will see His glory—He will first of all deal from the air with what? With the Antichristian nations? No! But with those who profess to be nearest to Himself—His own kingdom; Christendom—before He touches any other part. And what will He do in respect of that kingdom? He will “gather out of it all that offends and them that do iniquity”—the tares—which will grow together with the wheat till then; but then they are to be separated. So the wheat cannot be taken from the earth till the time comes for the tares also to be removed. Persons have spoken of the “rapture of the saints” and so on; but have altogether set aside the Lord’s words “Gather together first the tares”.
Now what is a “tare”? What does it represent? It does not represent an unconverted Jew. It does not represent a heathen or an antichristian apostate or a Mohammedan. A “tare” represents a professing Christian, i.e., one who professes to be a Christian but who is not really one. So do the “foolish virgins” and the “goats”. They compose what we call the professing Church. Are we to deny this? It has been denied around on every side by prophetic instructors; and much as I value prophetic Truth; dear as I hold it, I would rather set aside altogether the light that has been given the last fifty years, than fall into a train of thought like that! To say that the parables of Matthew do not pertain to the professing Christian is to strike at the root of everything. So you see there are pitfalls to be avoided.
Now what will really happen when darkness is over all the world, for it shall not be night either? “It shall be neither day nor night” is said in Zechariah 14:7! Strange words! All natural sources of light will be withdrawn, but the glory of Heaven will be in close contiguity to earth. The atmosphere of the earth you know, only extends 25 miles from the surface, and Christ will descend into that “in the glory of His Father (of that we have no conception), in His own glory (i.e., His risen saints) and the glory of the holy angels”. All the glory of Heaven will be there! His lightnings will enlighten the world. The world will see and tremble. It will be an awful scene to flesh and blood and terrible to meet. There ought to be a certain awe connected with it. I hold it to be a dangerous condition of soul to speak of the coming of the Lord simply as that which brings peace, rest and joy, without any of the awful concomitant circumstances which are intended to appeal to our evil flesh, just as the mercies of God are intended to speak to that which is spiritual in the new man. There are both in the believer, and God speaks to both. So never take away any part of the testimonies of God! Nevertheless He knows, that however much a believer might be strengthened, it would be too much for him to meet the events of that day in his personal condition with all the weakness of nature in him; therefore we have this comforting verse—a verse of exceeding deep moment which I earnestly press on your attention—(1 John 4:17, margin). “Herein is (God’s) love in dealing with us perfected, in order that we may have boldness in the day of judgment”. Is not that remarkable? Take up the thoughts that when Christ returns and His discriminating judgments are manifested; in order that we may have boldness, what does he do for us? Changes us into His own likeness; that “as He is, so are we in this world!”.
Now many reply “we are what Christ is”. Well, that is judicially true at the present moment, for every believer is viewed in Christ by God now that Atonement has been effected. All whom God accepts under that which Christ presented officially to Him, He treats according to the value of that Atonement; giving them a new Headship and standing in Christ. As every one in Adam representatively (not personally) was in Paradise when he took the downward step and ruined us, so every believer is in Christ as much as he is naturally in Adam—“Our life is hid with Christ in God”. There is a personal condition which we hold here as well as a condition in Christ; and these two things are not to be confounded. If in our personal condition of great weakness, we were asked to behold the terrible sight that will be presented when the Lord shall appear, we should tremble. But the moment He descends into the air, nature ceases in us in the twinkling of an eye, and we become even here complete in glory! Every saint too who has died will rise from the grave bright in the glory of Christ. They will rise glorified, and glorified they will together be taken up to meet the Lord—“after glory receive me (Ps. 73:24).” The whole earth in that way, will “in the twinkling of an eye” be overspread with glory! as is said in Isaiah 26:19 with the dew of lights i.e. of the morning, which glistens. The evening dew has no sun to enlighten it, but the dew of morning is bright and glistering; covering the earth with a garb as of crystal sparkling with brightness. This enables us to think peacefully of that hour, because before any judgments are made manifest, we are to be changed and no natural feelings will remain.
We might be seated in a given room that day. Five true Christians and five nominal ones. The moment the Lord descends into the air, the five real ones would, in the twinkling of an eye, be changed into the likeness of Christ in glory; the other five would remain unchanged. They might be very dear to us. We could not bear the separation unless strengthened; made like Christ and all of nature gone; so that in His mercy, as Christ is, so are we manifestly to be before we quit this world. That is the meaning of 1 John 4:17. Then the moment we have been changed, holy angels will visibly enter that room and separate the unchanged ones from the midst of the changed!
Am I speaking my own words’? No, I am not. They are the Lord’s own words. See Matthew 13:49, “The angels shall come forth and separate the unrighteous out of the midst of the righteous (Dr. Tregelles)”; proving, as in the parable of the net, that the bad fish, representing those ostensibly but not truly converted, will be taken out of the midst of the converted.
It is very important to note the accuracy of Scripture, because when I come to a different part of this gospel, viz., of that which speaks of the Antichristian or heathen countries, there the statement is altered. There the saint is the person taken away and the other left. Compare Matthew 13:49 with 24:40. These two passages stand in direct contradiction; but necessarily so. For suppose a believer were standing among Antichristians or heathen or Jews, the believer would be changed and taken away; the heathen, etc., would not. They would be left. Left to what? If Antichristians, left no doubt to be consumed with judgments. If Jews, they might be left to be converted among the spared remnant; or if heathen, to be converted under Israel. So remember, if believers in that day be associated with professed believers, then the latter will be removed out of their midst: but if in association with heathen and the like, they will be taken to join the Lord in glory as in 1 Thessalonians 4 and return with Him.
And for what is He coming? To deliver Jerusalem! That will be His object, and His saints will surround Him on the Mount of Olives. He will then tread the vintage. See Revelation 14:16-20, where His dealings with Christendom and Antichristendom are contrasted. The “harvest of the earth”, i.e., Christendom—the wheat and tares—is first reaped; but immediately afterwards (v. 18), we find a “vintage” spoken of; the “vine of the earth”; earth’s fairest plant. That which is trained and cultured in blasphemy and infidelity; for Antichrist will plant its roots in Jerusalem and train its branches round the 10 kingdoms of the Roman earth, and then you will see the End. Her grapes are of Sodom and Gomorrah, and they will be cast into the winepress of the wrath of God without the City, in the Valley of Jehoshaphat; the blood for the space of 1600 furlongs (200 Miles)—a river of blood—reaching to the horses’ bridles! Read Joel 3:1-12. Well, that is the end of Antichristian glory! The third part of Israel in the Land and a remnant throughout all the earth will be spared; also the heathen nations; while the saints will be in the heavenly city. So there will be the earthly city (Jerusalem); the New Jerusalem and Heaven itself; answering to the two courts of the temple; the Holiest of All; the Holy Place and the outer court or earthly Jerusalem. That is the Millennial order; not earth made Heaven or Heaven made earth: the ladder of Jacob with Heaven open in glory above, and a perpetual connection between the two. But the Heavenly City never descends into this earth during the Millennium, though it does afterwards into the New Earth.
Just one word more. In reading the Revelation be careful rightly to divide it. Chapter 21:1-8 describes the New Heavens and the New Earth after the Millennium; but verse 9 onward describes the Millennial City over the earth; one proof of which is, that in 22:2 the symbolic trees are said to be for “the healing of the nations”, and there will be no need of that in the New Earth.
One more thought. All believers of every dispensation will meet in the New Heavens and New Earth. Never be tempted to deny that! The “Church of the firstborn” will be complete when the Millennium begins and will rise at the first resurrection; but the “Church of God” will not be complete as a whole, till the last Millennial saint shall be gathered in. There is no salvation out of Christ, no matter to what dispensation they belong. All who are placed under the Blood of Christ are atoned for; quickened in Him; made one with Him; and must be like Him in Glory—the “one family” of the Redeemed. Destroy the unity of the Church in Glory and you destroy the foundation of everything God has taught us respecting the Glory. Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Paul and the saints of every dispensation will be all one in the New Heavens and Earth; one glorified Body; all equally near to God!
This is an outline of one of the thoughts most precious to the heart of God, and as the Apostle says “We use great plainness of speech”. This is true of all that God reveals. He reveals. He does not put a veil over it but withdraws the veil. The hindrance is in the natural obliquity of our minds, which Satan is allowed to increase to our chastisement; and we need God’s gracious intervention to be saved from the sin not only of neglecting but of perverting Scripture, which is sent forth “to guide us to His holy hill and to His tabernacles”.
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