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should not experience shame; to the time the house of David was to reign over Israel; to the time the Jews were not to open their mouths because of their shame; to the time those who fell by death should remain in their fallen state; and to the time judgment was not executed.
But the external excellency of the Jews is taken from them; the law covenant is abolished; the priesthood of Aaron and his sons has ceased; the ordinances, and laws, and statutes of Moses are abrogated; the Jews have long since been dispossessed of the land of Canaan, have been driven from Judea, and God has brought upon them a reproach and a shame; the man to the duration of whose life the word forever was applied is dead; David is dead, and has ceased to reign over Israel; the throne of Solomon no longer exists; the Jewish temple is demolished, and Jerusalem has been overthrown, so that there is not left "one stone upon another;" the servants of the Jews have been freed from their masters; Gehazi is dead, and no one believes he carried his leprosy with him into the future world; the stones that were set up at Jordan have been removed, and the smoke that went up from the burning land of Idumea has ceased to ascend; the righteous do not inherit the earth endlessly, and no one believes that the mountains and hills, as such, are indestructible; the fire that burnt on the Jewish altar has long since ceased to burn; judgment has been executed; and no Christian believes that those who fall by death will never be awakened from their slumbers. Now, as these words are used in this limited sense in the Scriptures, why should it be supposed that they express endless duration when applied to punishment?
These words are applied to punishment in the Old Testament eight times only. In the New Testament they are applied to punishment twelve times. So that these words are applied to punishment only twenty times in the whole Bible. In the next Section we shall examine all the passages where they are thus applied.
Examination of all the passages in the Bible where the words ETERNAL EVERLASTING, FOREVER, and FOREVER AND EVER, are applied to punishment.
1. Job 20:5-7. The triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment. Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds, yet he shall perish forever.
This passage needs no comment to show that it has no reference to punishment in a future world. It is only necessary to examine the connection in which it is found to see that it refers to temporal destruction. "Yet he shall perish forever, like his own dung ; they which have seen him shall say, Where is he?.... His bones are full of the sins of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust.”
2. Ps. 95. Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name forever and ever.
This and the text just considered, if we allow them to have reference to a future world, prove not the endless suffering or misery of the persons spoken of, but their absolute and entire annihilation. It is not said they should be endlessly miserable; on the contrary, in the text now under consideration, the punishment of the persons named is said to have been already accomplished. "Thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name," &c. Undoubtedly referring to the Canaanitish nations which God destroyed from off the face of the earth, so that their names should be known no more on earth forever. Indeed, the connection shows this. See the whole Psalm.
3. Isa. 33: 14. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
The context of this passage shows that God was speaking of his temporal judgments on earth; and that these judgments are represented under the figure of fire. "The earth mourneth and languisheth; Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down; Sharon is like a wilderness; and Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits. Now will I rise, saith the Lord; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself. Ye shall conceive chaff; ye shall bring forth stubble
your breath as fire shall devour you; and the people shall be as the burnings of lime; as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire. Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and ye that are near acknowledge my might." See verses 9—13. Then comes in the passage under consideration. Who then were to dwell with "everasting burnings?" “He that wa'keth righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppression, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil.” See verse 15. These, then, were to dwell amid the devouring fire of God's judgments, and dwell safely. They were not to be injured by those fires and judgments which made the "sinners in Zion afraid,” and which surprised the hypocrites with "fearfulness." There is a possibility, then, of a person's dwelling with devouring fire, yea, with "everlasting burnings," in the scripture sense of these phrases, and being entirely unharmed and uninjured. We pity the man who can see in this text the least proof of the doctrine of endless punishment.
4. Jer. 17: 4. For ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn forever.
The prophet is speaking of Judah, and the punishment of Judah. He does not say the anger of God should burn against them through the endless ages of eternity, nor in a future state of existence; on the contrary, the connection shows that this punishment was of a temporal nature. “And thou even thyself shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not; for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn forever."
5. Jer. 23: 40. And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten. Compare Jer 20: 11
Here, again, it is evident that the Jewish people are spoken of God does not say they should suffer this reproach and shame in a future world, nor that they should be made endlessly miserable; nor does any Christian believe that the entire Jewish people are to suffer endless punishment. Few will dispute that this text relates to the temporal punishment of the Jews. The connection makes this perfectly plain. God, after having spoken of the great wickedness of the Jews, says, "Therefore I, even I, will utterly forget you,
and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence; and I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten." For the meaning of the phrase, “Presence of God," see Chapter XIV.
6. Mal. 1:4. The people against whom the Lord hath indignation for
Here, again, it is evident from the context that God's temporal judgments are referred to. It is not said the Lord will be indignant against these people, but "the Lord hath indignation”- that is, they were a people against whom, as a people or nation, the Lord had always been indignant. The people spoken of are the Edomites, who had been the enemies and persecutors of the Jews, for which God had overthrown or destroyed them. "Whereas Edom saith. We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the Lord of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them The border of wickedness, and The people against whom the Lord hath indignation forever." Further comment on this text is unnecessary.
7. Dan. 12: 2. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
This text was once regarded by the great majority of Christians as proof, not only of punishment in a future world, but of the endless continuance of that punishment; but, by the great majority of intelligent Christians, this idea is now abandoned. We doubt whether any intelligent, respectable clergyman of any denomination would dare to hazard his reputation on the assertion that the text has any relation to the concerns of another world. If there is any such one, we are very certain he cannot be induced to manifest his sincerity by going before a public audience and defending such an opinion against the attacks of a respectable opponent. But there may be some who are honestly of the opinion just referred to; and for the benefit of such as may chance to read this book, we will give the text an examination.
The first question to be settled is, Is Daniel here speaking of an event which is yet future? If the view which has commonly been entertained of the text be correct, he certainly must be; for it has
been supposed that he is speaking of the literal resurrection fi om death, and certainly this has not yet taken place. But it must be allowed that Daniel knew as much concerning the time for the fulfilment of his predictions as any person living at the present day can be supposed to know. His own testimony concerning the time, then, will not be disputed. Well, when then does Daniel say his prediction should be fulfilled? The twelfth chapter commences thus: :- "And at that time." At what time? Evidently the time spoken of in the preceding chapter. Well, in the eleventh chapter, he speaks of the "abomination that maketh desolate." See verse 31. And Christ, in his discourse concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, contained in the 24th and 25th chapters of Matthew, fixes upon that event as the time for the fulfilment of what Daniel had spoken concerning the abomination of desolation. "When ye (the disciples), therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, then let them which be in Judea flee to the mountains." See Matt. 24 · 15, 16. Compare Luke 21: 20, 21, "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them, which are in Judea flee to the mountains." In these passages our Lord addresses his disciples as if he expected they would live to see this "abomination of desolation;" and it is also plain that this "abomination of desolation" was the Roman army which destroyed Jerusalem. Again, Daniel, in the 11th, and also in the 12th chapter, speaks of the "time of the end." What end was this? "Evidently the end of the world," say some. We reply Daniel says not a word in his whole book about the end of the world. The phrase "end of the world" does not occur in his writings. What end then was this, and when was it to take place? See Dan. 12: 4—7. "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. Then I Daniel looked, and behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth forever and