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poses. Hence, the Roman armies being chosen or selected by Providence, to execute punishment on the Jewish nation, might with propriety be called God's holy agents, messengers, or angels, to execute his purposes." Once more. By comparing Matt. 22: 1-7, and 13: 36-42, it will be seen that what in one parable is represented as to be done by angels, is in the other represented as to be done by armies. In the one, the Son of Man was to send forth his armies and destroy those murderers (the Jews), and burn up their city; in the other, he was to send forth his angels, who were to sever the wicked from among the just, and cast out the wicked into a furnace of fire. From the above facts, we think it quite possible that the word angels in this place might have been used with reference to the Roman armies. But again. Christ might have alluded to his own immediate disciples. See Matt. 19 28, "Ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Compare this with the commencement of the parable under consideration. "When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory." From this it is plain, that, when Christ should sit on the throne of his glory, his disciples were also to sit on twelve thrones. Well, when was this to be? When the Son of Man should "come in his glory." We have shown that this coming took place at the destruction of Jerusalem. This, then, was the time when his disciples were to sit on twelve thrones. But what throne of Christ's glory was this? We answer, it was not literal, but figurative; it was not temporal, but spiritual. No man, we think, will contend that either Christ's throne, or the thrones of his disciples, were literal thrones. What other throne, then, could be referred to, but the throne of Christ's mediatorial kingdom, under which he rules, governs, and judges men, by the power and influence of the truth, or Gospel, which he preached? And, as the same truth was proclaimed by his disciples, and left upon record by them, hence, they are associated with Christ in the moral government of the world; all which is represented under the figure of their sitting on thrones, and exercising power, rule, and authority among men. But it may be asked, "Were all the twelve disciples present at the destruction of Jerusalem ?" We answer, we have no proof that they were; nor
was it any more necessary that they should be, than it was that Christ should be there personally. At that time the kingdom of God came with power; the Legal dispensation passed away; the Gospel dispensation became permanently established in the earth; and the reign of Christ and his disciples commenced. This reign will continue until it extends over both Jews and Gentiles; until all are gathered into one fold; until Christ has " put down all rule, and all authority, and power." If we allow that Christ, in this parable, by the word angels refers to super-human beings, the objection we are considering is of no force; for we have shown that Christ's coming was not to be personal; and, as there was to be no personal appearance of Jesus Christ himself at that time, so neither was there to be a personal appearance of angels. Besides, we have shown that it was quite possible that all that was meant when Christ is represented as being attended by angels at his coming was that he was to come in the glory of the angels. See Luke 9: 26. "When he cometh in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of THE HOLY ANGELS."
3. It is objected, that," At the coming of Christ, all nations were to be gathered before him; but no such gathering of the nations took place at the destruction of Jerusalem." To this we reply, as we have replied to some other objections, that we have proved by the testimony of Jesus himself that he was to come during the lifetime of some of his own disciples, before the generation in which he lived passed away, and at the time of the overthrow of Jerusalem. We have also shown that at that time he was to reward and punish the professed believers in his Gospel according to their works, punish the rebellious Jews, and receive the Gentiles into the favor of God. It was at this very time that he was to sit upon the throne of his glory, and all nations were to be gathered before him. Now, the sense of the phrase "all nations" must be determined by the fact whether every individual of all nations was gathered before him or not. If every individual of all nations was not gathered before him at that time, then we have a right to conclude that no such gathering was intended or meant. Perhaps the objector may not be aware of it, but the fact is, this objection weighs as heavily against the authenticity of the Scriptures, and the truth of Christ's claims to be a true prophet of God, as it does against the views which we have advocated. On no other view of
the subject than that which admits that all which Christ predicted concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, and the events which were to transpire at that time, was fulfilled, can the inspiration of Jesus and the authenticity of the New Testament be defended. If there was no gathering of the nations at the destruction of Jerusalem in the sense intended by our Lord, then, as his prediction was not fulfilled, as his prophecy has failed, the conclusion is irresistible that he was an impostor, or was deceived himself. Let us, then, seek for the true sense of the expression, "and before him shall be gathered all nations." From the fact that Jesus was not to make a personal appearance at the destruction of Jerusalem, we conclude that the "all nations" spoken of were not to be personally and literally gathered before him. And from the fact that every individual of all nations was not gathered before him at that time, we conclude that no such gathering was intended. The phrase," all nations," occurs twice in the discourse of which the parable of the sheep and goats forms a part, besides in the parable itself. The sense of the phrase in those instances will determine its meaning in the parable. Matt. 24: 9, "And ye (the disciples) shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." Matt. 24: 14, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." We have shown that the end spoken of here was the end of the Jewish age or Legal dispensation, and that the Legal covenant was abolished and ended at the destruction of Jerusalem. Before this time, then,
But, we ask, was it It is true the apostle
the Gospel was to be preached to all nations. preached to every individual of all nations? tells us that the sound of the Gospel had gone out into all the earth, and the words of the apostles to the ends of the world. He also tells us that the Gospel had been preached to every creature under heaven. See Romans 10: 18; Col. 1: 23. But he could mean no more by this than that there had been a general proclamation of the Gospel, or that it had been preached throughout the then known world. Or, perhaps, more properly his meaning is that the Gospel had been preached throughout the Roman empire, including, of course, Judea, as Judea was then a province of that empire. The Roman empire, as it extended over all the then known world, was called the whole world. See Luke 2: 1; Mark 13: 10; Rom. 1: 8. No one supposes that the Gospel was preached to
every individual of all the nations on the globe previous to the destruction of Jerusalem; and we, therefore, conclude that the phrase all nations, in this place, does not signify every individual of all nations. Again, were the disciples of our Lord hated by every individual of all nations of the earth? No; thousands never heard of their names; and of those who had heard of them, of those who had seen and heard them proclaim the Gospel, thousands loved them as they loved the apple of their eye. Now, he who contends for a literal gathering of every individual of all nations before the Son of Man at the destruction of Jerusalem, must also contend that the Gospel was preached to every individual of all nations, and that the disciples were hated of every individual of all nations, previous to that event; all of which is contrary to fact. If it be asked, "What all nations, then, were to be gathered before the Son of Man at that time?" we answer, the same all nations to whom the Gospel was to be preached before the destruction of Jerusalem, and the same all nations who were to hate the disciples of Christ. Well, did such a gathering take place at the destruction of Jerusalem? We answer, Yes. Titus, the Roman general, with his army, invested the city of Jerusalem at a time when the Jews had assembled there to celebrate the feast of the Passover; and multitudes of the Jews, together with vast numbers of the proselytes to Judaism from the different heathen nations, were gathered there to partake of this great national and annual feast. About three millions of people were congregated in the city, and both Jews and Gentiles were represented there. In the sense, then, that Jesus intended, there was a gathering of the nations before him at the destruction of Jerusalem. His prediction concerning it was as literally fulfilled as some similar predictions contained in the Old Testament. See Jer. 3: 19, "At that time they shall call Jerusalem THE THRONE OF THE LORD and ALL THE NATIONS shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem." Zech. 14: 1, 2, "Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoi, Ishall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather ALI NATIONS against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city." These passages need no comment. They show what is the evident meaning of the phrase "all nations," and
in what sense we are to understand our Lord when he says, that "before him should be gathered all nations." We have been thus particular in our examination of the text under consideration because our Lord's discourse, of which it forms a part, has been very generally misunderstood; and because a correct understanding of this discourse is absolutely necessary to a correct understanding of the New Testament scriptures. This discourse may be said to be a key to unlock the whole New Testament. Reader, the subject is before you; read, consider, and reflect.
The next passage which presents itself for our consideration, is
11. Mark 3: 29. But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.
For an exposition of this text, see "On the Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost," Chapter XIX.
12. 2 Thess. 1 9. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
Any person who will carefully examine this text, will see that the persons to be punished, the time, and place, and nature, of the punishment, are precisely the same as in Matt. 25: 46, which we have just considered. The first question to be considered is, Who were to be punished with everlasting destruction? The context shows that they were those who "knew not God, and obeyed not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; or those that troubled the Thessalonian Christians. See verses 6 and 8. But who troubled the Thessalonian Christians? We answer, they were troubled, first, by their own countrymen. See 1 Thess. 1: 14, "For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus; for ye (the Thessalonians) also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews." But, second, they were troubled by the Jews. See 1 Thess. 1: 15, "Who (the Jews) both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us." See, also, Acts 17: 1-8, "Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures; opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered and risen again from the dead, and that this Jesus whom I preach unto you is Christ. And some