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The destruction of the temple necessarily involved the end of the Jewish age, or dispensation ; because the observance of the Mosaic ritual could then be no longer continued. The disciples also rightly connected this event with our Lord's coming, as they knew that all judgment had been committed to him. Mat. iii. 12, xvi. 27, 28, John v. 22, 27. His answer contains the following correspondences.
Coming. False Christs. (4, 5.)
The end. Declarative. (6—22.)
Gathering. (32–46.) The coming of false Christs and false prophets was fulfilled within the specified period, as we read in Acts v. 36, 37, xiii. 6, and 1 John, iv. 1, on which it may be observed, that, though many similar impostors have since arisen, yet, on account of their not falling under the notice of the apostles, they are not included in the prediction. The same observation is applicable to other particulars. The end, 6–22, contains the following correspondences.
Events heard : wars, &c. (6 - )
Reasons. (— 6–14.)
Reason. (21, 22.) As the fulfilment of these events is undisputed, I shall only notice, that the preaching of the gospel, ver. 14, to all the nations of the empire, (olkovjevn) is affirmed in Rom. x. 18, and Col. i. 6, 23.
The end, 32–51, xxv. 1430, contains as follows.
Suddenness. Example. (37–41.)
Servants. Responsibility with respect to occupation. (45–51.)
Servants. Responsibility with respect to diligence. (14—30.) The correspondences of the remaining parts reflect much light on each other. The Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven “ with great power and glory," (xxiv. 30.) "and his coming in his glory" (xxv. 31,) are evidently the same event, reference being made to the former by the adverb “when” in the latter; and, as the former is included in the events to be fulfilled within that generation, xxiv. 34, the same is true of the latter. The gathering in xxiv. 31, and xxv. 32, are partly the same, the latter being the more comprehensive, as including, not only the “elect,” but "all the nations,” (tavra ta eðvn,) to whom the gospel, according to xxiv. 14,-had been preached ; and the etaneous punishment and the etaneous life, ver. 46, fall in with the many threatenings and promises, connected with this period, to be found in other parts of Scripture. The following are some of the plainest.
Ps. i. lviii. xcvii. cx. cxlix.—Isai. i. 20—31, v. 1-7, xxiy--xxvi. lxiv-lxvi.-Jer. xix.-Dan. xii. 1-3,-Joel iii,-Mal. iii. 18,* iv. 1-37 Matt. iii. 7, 10, 12, vii. 19, 22, 23, x. 14, 15, xi. 20—24, xiii. 24–43, 47-50, xvi. 27, 28, xxi. 28—44, xxiii. 33.—Comp. Jer. xix.-Luke xiii. 1-9, 23-30, xviii. 19—30, xix. 11–27, 41-44,-1 Thess. v. 2, 3, 2 Thess. ii. 1—12. See Whitby.1 Cor. iii. 10–15, 2 Cor. v. 10. Comp. Rom. xiv. 10, and Luke xxi. 36.-Rom. ii. 3—10,--James v. 1-9,Heb. x. 26–31, xii. 25—29,—1 Pet. ii. 6—9, iv. 17-19,-2 Pet. iii. 7-13. Comp. Isai. Ixv. 17—25,–Matt, xxiv. 35, and Rev. xxi. 11-Rev. iii. 3, xvi. 15,-iii. 10,—vi. 12–17.-Comp. Isai. ii. 20, 21, and Luke xxiii. 30.Rev. xi. 15—18, xiv. 14–20, xx. 11-15,8—xxii. 11-15. From this general examination of Matt. xxiv. and xxv., it
appears, that they speak of but one coming, which we know to be long past; and, by tracing the terms ocurring in them through other related parts of Scripture, we shall be led to to the same conclusion.
Ilapovola, presence, coming. This term occurs in Matt. xxiv. 3, 27, 37, 39; and also in the following places. Thess. ii. 19, iii. 13, iv. 15, v. 23,—2 Thess. ii. 1-8,21 Cor. xv. 23,-James v. 7, 8,—1 John ii. 28. Comp. 1 Thess. iii. 13, and 2 Thess. ii. 1, with Matt. xxiv. 31.
Epxouai, to come. It occurs in Matt. xxiv. 30, 42, 44, 48, xxv. 6, 10, 13, 19, 27, 31 ; and also in the following places. Matt. x. 23, xvi. 27, 28, xxvi. 64,—John xxi. 22, 23,-Acts i. 9—]1. Comp. with Luke xxi. 27,1 Cor. iv. 5, xi. 26,—Jude 14,-Rev. i. 7, iii. 11.
A corresponding application is made of the following words.
Anokalu ols, revelation. 2 Thess. i. 7,-1 Cor. i. 7.—1 Pet. i. 7, 13, iv. 13. Comp. 2 Thess. i. 7, and 1. Pet. iv. 13, with Luke xxi. 28.
Etipaveta, brightness, manifestation. 2 Thess. ii. 8,—Tit. ii. 13. Comp. as in the preceding.—1 Tim. vi. 14,-2 Tim. iv. 1, 8.
Eripavns, illustrious. Acts ii. 20.
Þavepow, to make manifest; in the passive, to be apparent, to appear. Col. iii. 4,-1 John, ii. 28, iii. 2.
*““ And ye shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked.” As your fathers did, when chastised by the Asssyrians and Babylonians.” Newcome.
+ “ The disciples of the Messiah shall be preserved from the destruction by the Romans.” Ibid.
# There are three reasons against the literal interpretation of 2 Peter iii. 7–13. 1st. The reference, in ver. 2, to the words of the apostles and prophets, in which we'find no intimation of it. 2dly. The reference to a promise of a new heaven and a new earth, immediately to succeed those which should be dissolved, found only in the two last chapters of Isaiah, particularly in lxv. 17; explained in the rest of the chapter to signify Jerusalem and her people. Comp. Heb. xii. 22, and Rev. xxi. 2. 3dly. The reference, in ver. 16, to the epistles of Paul, as “speaking of these things," in which we road of no consumption but that which should destroy the wicked.
♡ “ The resurrection of the dead, which is here mentioned, is one of those strong terrific images sometimes employed by the prophets to denote a total change of affairs, the revival of national prosperity, and of the religious constitution of
Ezek. xxxvii. Isai. xxvi. 19. And, as to the circumstance of a day of judgment connected therewith, we know that this too was made use of figuratively by the prophets, to denote the execution of punishment upon those, who oppressed and ill treated the people of God, or to express God's purpose of bringing about a new epoch of glory for his religion and people. Joel. iii. 2, seq. Zeph, iii. 8, seq.” Hug. All, in fact, relate to the same period.
Luvteleta Tov alvos, the consummation of the age. This phrase occurs in Matt. xxiv. 3, and also in the following places. Matt. xiii. 39, 40, 49, xxyiii. 20.
Telos, the end. It occurs in Matt. xxiv. 6, 13, 14, and also in the following places. Mat. x. 22,41 Thess. ii. 16,-1 Cor. i. 8, xv. 24,2 Cor. i. 13,- Phil. iii. 19,—Heb. ii. 6, 14, vi. 8, 11,-1 Pet. i. 9. Comp. with Matt. xxiv. 13.-1 Pet. iv. 7, 17,-Rev. ii. 26.
'H yɛvea avtn, this generation. This phrase occurs in Matt. xxiv. 34, and also in the following places. Matt. xi. 16. xii. 41, 42, 45, xxiii. 36,Mark viii. 12, 38,-Luke xvii. 25,-Acts ii. 40. Whitby distinctly shews, that it “never bears any other sense in the New Testament than the men
of this age.”
Klentns, a thief. It occurs in Matt. xxiv. 43, and is applied to the same period in the following places. Rev. iii. 3, xvi. 15,—1 Thess. V. 2, 4,-2 Pet. iii. 10.
“Η ημερα εκεινη, that day. This expression occurs in Matt. xxiv. 36, and also in 2 Tim. iv. 8, i. 12, 18; in the two last of which its usage, without an antecedent, shews its current application to a single event. It is called “the day
of God,” 2 Pet. iii. 12.
2 Pet. ii. 10.
i John iv. 17-Acts xvii. 31,-Rom. ii. 16.
The same proximity is expressed in the following passages. Matt. x. 23, xvi. 27, 28, xxiv. 33,—Luke xviii
. 8,-John xxi. 22, 23,-Rom. xvi. 20,---James v. 8, 9,-Heb. x. 37,—1 Pet. iv. 5, 7,-2 Pet. ii. 1, 3,-Rev. i. i, iii
, 11, xxii. 6, 7, 12, 20. And here it is of importance to remark, that the verb meilw, , according to the most able critics, expresses the proximity of every event with which it is connected. Μελλων often means, not only future, but near. There is just such a difference between εσται and μελλει εσεσθαι in Greek as there is between it will be and it is about to be in English.”—Campbell. “Mɛl\w with an infinitive to be about to do a thing.”-Parkhurst. See also Harris's Hermes, in which he calls this form the “Inceptive Present.” This verb occurs 108 times in the New Testament, out of which I shall select the following; because thus proved to be erroneously imagined to speak of still future events.
Coming. Matt. xvi. 27.
Judgment. Acts. xxiv. 25—of the empire, Acts xvii. 31,-of quick
and dead, at his appearing and his kingdom, 2 Tim. iv. 1,-by the
law of liberty, James ii. 12,—of the adversaries, Heb. x. 27.
Dan. xii. 1. Our Lord's citation of this passage here, and of ver. 2 (as already noticed,) in John v. 28, 29, fixes both to this period; and the same remark is applicable wherever an equivalent note of time or an equivalent expression occurs, particularly where both occur together, as in some of the following. The consummation of the age. The harvest. Matt. xiii. 39,—John
iv. 35,-Rev. xiv. 15. The end. Deliverance. Matt. x. 22,—1 Pet. i. 9. Subjugation.
1 Cor. xy. 24. Destruction. Phil. iii. 19. Wrath. 1 Thess. ü. 16.
Burning. Matt. iii. 12,-John xv. 6,—Heb. vi. 8.
xvii. 18, xxiii. 6, 8,--xxiv. 21.
xiv. 7, xviii. 10.-(to wpiua) Rom. ii. 2, 3,-1 Pet. iv. 17,-2 Pet.
ü. 3,-Rev. xvii. 1, xviii. 20. Judgment. (xplois) Matt. xii. 18,—John v. 24, 27, xii. 31, xvi. 8, 11,
Heb. x. 27,—James ii. 13,-2 Pet. ii. 4,-Jude 15.--(rpiua) Matt. xxiii. 14.--John ix. 39. For the time of resurrection and judgment, comp. the previous references annexed to the remarks on
It may possibly be objected, that the word jellw is used to express, not only what is really near, but what is considered as near, though indefinitely distant; that it is thus used in Acts xxvi. 22,-Rom. v. 14,--Gal. iii. 23,-Col. ii. 17,—Heb. x. 1, and xi. 20; and therefore may be so used in the passages, to which I have referred. There is however this circumstantial difference: the time of our Lord's second coming was undetermined, till fixed by himself to the existing generation; and therefore when the verb pellw is subsequently applied to this event or its concomitants, it must be understood with the same limitation. “ We should,” as Professor Lee observes, “ transfer ourselves, as much as possible, into the times in which such declarations are made;" and consider in what manner they would most probably be then understood. Our Lord having so distinctly said, that his coming would be within that generation, “it was," as the same writer observes, scarcely possible, that a day, or even an hour,
Oukovjevn is one of five different words, which are all translated "world,” to the no small misguidance of the English reader. We have no word of corresponding import. It means the inhabited parts of the earth, and is generally applied to the Roman empire ; but, in this one place, it is applied to the spiritual kingdom about to succeed the then existing dispensation, or, by a metonomy similar to that in Luke ii. 1, the subjects of that kingdom.
should pass, without some reference being made to it;" (Dissertations, p. 217, 291.) and hence, when we find it connected, both by the Apostles and by our Lord himself, with “ the consummation of the age," or, as more briefly called, “ the end,” we have no warrant for applying these expressions, when occurring in subsequent scriptures, to any other. In this and in all similar cases, it is more logical to infer the fulfilment from the note of time, than the time from a supposed non-fulfilment.*
There is but one passage, Heb. ix. 26–28, in which the coming of our Lord is called a “ second appearing;" and I have met with but one explanation of it, which I consider as giving its true sense. See Select Sermons by Hosea Ballou, Boston, United States, 1832. This explanation occupies the whole of the first Sermon, and is confirmed by the following arrangement.
but now once, in the consummation of the ages, he has appeared
and, as it is appointed to the men
but, after this, judgment;
to bear the sins of many :
Sin put away. Intention.
T'heir death, once.
Bearing the sins of many.
End, or object : salvation.
by the sacrifice of himself."-See Dan. ix, 24.
“to the men,” (rous av&pwTols) namely, the high priests, referring to ver. 25, where codex 73 of Griesbach and Scholz reads oi apXlepels ELOEPXOvrai, the high priests enter. This however makes but little difference, as a succession of persons is often expressed by a collective singular.
once to die,”—That is representatively in their sacrifices, on the day of atonement "once a year,” (Lev. xvi. 34.) to which special reference is here made. With respect to their annual or daily repetitions, the
* “ If the appearing,” it has been said, “ be carried back, all the circumsances connected with the appearing must be carried back also ; and here the difficulties are insurmountable." The first question to be considered is, whether there is suficient reason for believing the second coming to be a past event. If there is, the circumstances must be carried back, whether we shall be able to surmount the difficulties or not.