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leave you there and melt you. Yea, I will gather you and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof. As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the Lord have poured out my fury upon you." We think there cannot remain a lingering doubt that the furnace of fire was the city of Jerusalem, into which God gathered the Jewish nation, and there melted them in the fire of his wrath. All this took place at the end of the world there described.
But it is said, "The angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked, cast them into the furnace of fire," &c. The word here rendered angels is aggeloi, and signifies messengers. Now, who could have been the messengers, or instruments, of destruction to the Jewish nation? The answer is obvious, and can be but one, namely, the Roman armies. Whenever Christ is represented as coming in power to destroy, or to reward, he is represented as being attended by his angels. Matt. 16: 27," For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." This is declared, in the next verse, to be during the lifetime of some then living. We further learn who these angels are, in Matt. 24: 30, 31. "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven : and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect, from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Now, as the angels, or messengers, in the 31st verse, are said to "gather together his elect," it is evident they performed a different service from those who destroyed. In Matt. 16: 27, it is said, "When the Son of Man shall come with his angels he will reward every man according to their works." Hence, we may look for angels in the company of Christ, who on the one hand administer evil, and on the other good. In Matt. 25: 31, the angels that come with Christ are called holy. See, also, Mark 8: 38, 9: 1; Luke 9: 26, 27. In all these places the coming of Christ with his angels is confined to that generation. In Matt. 25: 34, it is said, "This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled." Thus we see Christ's coming, in attendance with his angels, to award life to one
and death to the other, was during that age. And now for further proof that the Romans were the angels, or messengers, who were to destroy Christ's enemies, the Jews, see 2 Thess. 1: 7, 8, " And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." See, also, Matt. 22: 7, "But when the king heard thereof he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city." It is clear that these passages allude to the destruction of the Jews and their city, by the Romans. They were the messengers of God's wrath, to administer a just retribution to that untoward generation. A close observer of the Bible is aware that the term angel signifies not only good, but evil messengers; or those who execute both good and evil. The word angel is not only applied to human beings, but even to inanimate objects; as in the case of Paul, when he says "There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger (aggelos) of satan to buffet me." 2 Cor. 12: 7. They are also sometimes called holy, not because they are so of themselves, but because they execute God's holy commands. See remarks on angels, in this work.
The same time and end is expressed in Matt. 24: 3, where we are informed that the disciples asked the Saviour what should be the sign of his coming, and of the conclusion of the age (sunteleias tou aionos). He speaks of the end of that age, in verses 6. 13, 14, of the same chapter; and, after pointing them to such signs as would infallibly enable them to discern its approach, he adds, verse 34,
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled." On the strength of this testimony plain, clear, and incontrovertible we say that the "harvest" took place at the conclusion of the Mosaic age; and we further state that there is not an instance in the New Testament in which the Greek phrase, rendered "end of the world," as in the passage on which we are remarking, has any other signification. It should never be forgotten that "the end of the world" (verses 39, 40), at which the harvest was to take place, was not the end of kosmos the world, - said to be the field, but the end of aion, the age, vhich signifies the conclusion of the Jewish state.
The apostle Paul plainly tells us when the end of the world
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aionon was. He says that it happened in his day. the ends of the ages (ta tete ton aionon) are come. " And Christ told his disciples, in Matt. 28: 20, that he would be with them alway, even unto the end of the aionos" (age). Le was with them, by word and in spirit, until the full or complete end had come. And as Christianity may be said to have beg in when the Jewish religion ended, so Christ is said to have appeared at the end of the Jewish age. Paul says, in Heb. 9: 26, “I ut now once in the end of the world (sunteleia ton aionon) hath àe appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." Paul says,
Now once in the end of the world hath he appeared," &c. He here represents the appearance of Christ, and the end of the world, as having already taken place; though the final scene was not then closed. And as the plural is sometimes used, "the ends of the ages," it is evident that they included the period and end of the apostolic age of miracles with the conclusion of the Jewish age. We have now seen that all which is said in the Bible of the end of the world transpired about eighteen hundred years since, and in exact accordance with the time predicted that it should take place. And, lo! even yet do we see people gazing after some dire omen in the heavens, as betokening the sudden ruin of nations, the crashing wreck of empires and kingdoms, in connection with the immediate conflagration of our terraqueous globe. Yea, how many, in this eventful year of our Lord 1843, are trembling, Belshazzar-like, at the most common freaks of nature; as though their last expiring breath was about to take its final leap, and their earthly portions, in common with all terrestrial matter, about to be consigned to one eternal night! Yes, are there not thousands, in these (ought to be) happy United States, whose minds (in consequence of one fanatic brain) are now being wrecked in chaos, on the dreadful thought of the immediate sound of the trumpet's blast, and their consignment to one eternal, lasting doom? Ought these things so to be? Christ said to his disciples, "Watch, therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." But it was certain that he would come in their day, in that generation. And yet people are so palpably blind to daylight facts, that they either will not, or cannot, hear nor understand. Hundreds of years have passed away since the destined period, and yet some in every age are looking, watching, and expecting the sudden end of the universe.
There are other passages in the Bible, not connected with the phrase end of the world, which, by some, are supposed to teach the end of the material universe. Some of them we have referred to in our remarks on the judgment, and also on the phrase last days. But we will now present a few more passages, the first of which is in Rev. 6 12-17. And I beheld, when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair; and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs when she is shaken of a mighty wind and the heaven departed as a scroll, when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places; and the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond man, and every free
man, hid themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains:
many others, hid themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains, calling upon the same to hide them from the face of him that sat upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. It is said the heavens departed, but not the earth; she still stood, notwithstanding her burden of stars, and made a foothold for the four angels, which John soon after saw standing upon her four corners, holding the four winds, that they should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor any green tree. Another difficulty is to be considered. "The heaven departed as a scroll, when it is rolled together." And where was it? The previous verse tells us that the stars (which constitute the literal heavens) had fallen to the earth. Of course the conclusion must be this: all the mighty hosts of the starry heavens rolled together in one confused mass (having lost the power of gravitation), and, finally, lit upon the earth as a resting-place! This conclusion must, of itself, be perfectly ridiculous. Even one of the stars, on a common average, is much larger than the earth, which fact would literally render it impossible!
But, in viewing these passages, and all others of the like kind, in a figurative sense, we have no great difficulty in understanding them. We have before referred to the language of Joel, as quoted by Peter, and applied to the times in which he lived. See Acts 2: 16, 19, 20, "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel. I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come." Peter assures us that this language was fulfilled in his days; yet the earth, the sun and the moon, still remain. Isaiah uses the same language in describing the judgment about to fall upon Idumea. Isa. 34: 4, 5, "And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll; and all their hosts shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as the falling fig from the fig-tree. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven; behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment." The events here described have long since been numbered with the past; yet the heavens and the earth remain. In the text it is said, they called for the rocks and mountains to fall upon them, to hide them, &c. But Jesus uses the same language in allusion to the same horrors which should attend the destruction of Jerusalem