"Behold He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him and they also that pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen." Revelation ch. 1: 7.
IN previous chapters we have considered the coming of the Lord Jesus in relation to His redeemed people, the Church; and in relation to His chosen people, the children of Israel. His coming will be no less vital to the great Gentile world. We are living in " the times of the Gentiles." From the day that Nebuchadnezzar took Zedekiah and his people from Jerusalem to Babylon, the Gentiles have been predominant. But the day of the Gentile is to have an end when, "the times of the Gentiles" are fulfilled.
No less is this man's day. God manifested in the flesh has been rejected, the whole basis of Divine Government has been refused. With the cry " We will not have this man to reign over us," man rebelled against his lawful King. Man's day began in the Garden of Eden, it was prolonged by his rejection of the Lord Jesus. But man's day too is coming to an end. There is to be a " Day of the Lord, " attested by prophets and apostles, indubitably asserted by our Lord Himself. Man is busy heaping up iniquity, filling his cup of sin and woe, vainly striving to bring order out of the chaos of his own making. He is so blinded to his own pitiable condition as a rebel against the will of God, that he vainly supposes his civilisation and surface culture are evidences of advance, while he is oblivious to the fact that sin still holds him in chains. While man persists in his delusion the hand of destiny pursues its course until the midnight hour shall strike!
Let us imagine the world without a single disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ in it. The religious folk left behind will certainly be quite at home with the world. Their adulation of civilisation and culture will be still unrestrained, and perhaps even then there will be some amongst the ranks of the ordained who will be boldly declaring the best is yet to be. But there will be no disturbing of the world conscience. It was once my privilege to listen to a lady as she expressed her appreciation of a notable Scottish preacher. She assured me that she always enjoyed his preaching because it never disturbed her. Whether the preacher himself would appreciate the compliment is doubtful, but preaching that does not disturb the conscience of individuals or nations will be the feature of the pulpit. Sin will be without restraint. The Scriptures will probably be without any appeal and few indeed will heed them to profit. Business will flourish, and at first there will be nothing to interrupt international harmony. Men will probably feel that at long last a better day has dawned. How soon they will be delivered from such a delusion!
In Daniel 2 we have the record of Nebuchadnezzar's dream and Daniel's interpretation of it. The image was a symbol of Gentile dominion until that time when the stone carved out without hands should strike the feet of the image and it should crash to the ground. The toes of the image were representative of ten kings, and Daniel declared, " In the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never he destroyed." The toes symbolised the last phase of Gentile dominion to come to an end, evidently, by some dramatic collapse. The stone does not symbolise the first advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, for no empires were overthrown at His coming, nor was the Roman Empire in two, much less in ten parts. What if that stone has yet to smash the world government of Gentile domination?
In Revelation 17: 12 the ten horns symbolise ten kings who are to " receive authority with the Beast." The Beast is Antichrist, and the ten kings are doubtless the same as symbolised by the ten toes of Daniel's image.
In all probability the last phase of Gentile dominion will see a revival, in some form, of the Roman Empire. If in the past such an idea has seemed an idle speculation, we know to day it is the cherished ambition of Signor Mussolini who is arousing Italy to a great conception of its place as the heart of the Roman Empire. He is warning his countrymen that England and France are dying nations, and that the future is with Italy. Seldom indeed is he reported in the English Press without a reference to his ideal of a far-flung Empire. Great Britain, with her huge interests in the Mediterranean, is fully alive to the significance of his aims. What has been so remarkably mirrored in Scripture is being moulded in our generation.
The ten kings with one consent, confer their authority on Antichrist. He will have supreme power. As we have already seen, it will be under his aegis that the chosen race will be reunited in " the pleasant land." The covenant of seven years, which Antichrist will, in all probability, make with God's people, will be broken half way through that period, and under Antichrist the Gentile kings will lead their armies against Jerusalem. It will be a huge army at the command of Antichrist, and suggests a correspondingly strong defence on the part of Israel. In the valley of Megiddo the armies of Antichrist will be gathered ready for the march on Jerusalem. It will he a terrible siege, and God's people will experience a time of tribulation which will indeed be " "Jacob's Trouble." It will not be until the moment of their final extremity that the Lord Jesus Christ will come to the aid of the people of His love. But that He will come we may be sure. With minute topographical detail, allowing of no misunderstanding, Zechariah declares (14: 4), " And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south."
On that day when the Lord comes to reign over the earth, "every eye shall see Him." Some years ago I was much impressed by a speech in which the truth of the Second Coming was vehemently discounted. In particular, it was urged how impossible it would be for every eye to see Him. Many have felt that difficulty, doubtless, and in this matter our faith is soon straitened. But in " The Times " of January 8th, 1927, there was a report of a telephonic message from New York by wireless, in which the speaker said, "Yesterday we signalled, today we speak: tomorrow we shall see. What now shall separate us? Is the day too far off to foresee when airships and aeroplanes and radio shall make of the whole earth but one place and when, by the miracle of wireless telephony and television, the Commonwealth of nations shall take counsel together--Homeland and Dominions and Colonies --over a table as wide as the world, brought face to face in sound and sight over all the great oceans between? The declaration that every eye shall see Him can no longer be scouted. Have we wisdom, divinely inspired, to believe that in like manner every impossibility conjured up by our minds will be exploded?
It will certainly be a wonderful " Day of the Lord," as Gentile armies are scattered before Him, and the house of Israel is reconciled to Him. There may be some anticipation of the events of that day in the entry of our Lord into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass. The evangelists seem to have been impressed in different ways with the reception accorded to Him. Matthew tells us that those who went before hailed Him. Luke says those who came after hailed Him. Mark declares that both those that went before and those that came after hailed Him. John sees only those who came out of the city to praise Him. As our Lord comes to Jerusalem on this great day of triumph, the Old Testament saints who went before and the New Testament saints who came after Him, will be praising Him, for when He comes, He will come with all His saints. And the chosen people, broken, persecuted, afflicted, will welcome Him with a joy beyond words to describe.
It will be the commencement of a glorious era. Satan will be bound and Antichrist destroyed, and the Lord Jesus will be the unquestioned ruler in the world He died to redeem.
But we who rejoice in the in the hope of this great consummation must remind ourselves on our knees that it will he a day of great sorrow, a day of terrible judgment for those who have rejected Christ. When this great truth of His Coming bursts into flame in the heart, the same light, that brightens our hope, also reveals the darkness of the abyss into which the world is crashing. " Is it nothing to you all ye that pass by?"
Solemnly must we resolve that, at any cost, and every cost, men must be warned. There can be no trifling with such an awful judgment facing the world. Let us think of those about us, let us kneel and have a deep passion for their souls. Let us be faithful watchmen, that their blood be not upon our heads. If only the professing Church were impassioned with such a message and such a spirit the world might believe it!
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