[CONTINUED FROM PAGE 139.]
BROTHER BEEBE: – In pursuing this subject in the order I proposed, my next point is, to show some scriptural testimony in favor of a future judgment of the wicked.
I shall select but a few of the passages pointing out such an event. I will commence with Acts 10:42: “And to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and the dead.” If he is ordained to be the Judge of the dead, I think it a consistent conclusion that this judgment will not take place until they hear his voice and come forth. If you say by the quick here we are to understand those made spiritually alive, and by the dead, those in a state of unregeneracy, I would ask you to reflect a moment, and consider, whether this would not place both those classes at the same bar.
Acts 17:31, I also refer to: “Because he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men in that he hath raised him from the dead.” This passage I think cannot be made to harmonize with your views without wresting the words from their plain import and connection. In the first place the expression, Because he hath appointed a day, must mean some period then future, and therefore cannot be construed to mean the gospel day, or dispensation, which the Apostle refers to as then present, and as contrasted with the period going before, by the expressions, But now commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent. Besides the expression, hath appointed a day, clearly designates a specific set period, a day, for this object. And who are to be judged on that day? The world – not the saints. Again, how does the fact of God’s having raised Christ from the dead, give assurance unto all men of this judging the world on a set day, except on the ground that his resurrection from the dead, is a sure pledge of the resurrection of the dead? – Consequently the judgment must be subsequent to that event. If we take Rom. 2:12 & 16, in connection with the above text, we shall find that the appointed day, is a day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ. And brother Beebe certainly will not contend that the secrets of men of the world are judged in this life, that every secret thing of the wicked is in this life, brought into judgment.
In reference to Acts 24:25, I will simply ask brother Beebe, what Paul could have meant by a judgment to come, if it was not a future or final judgment?
Heb. 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment,” demands some attention. I am aware of the turn you attempt to give this text; namely, that the appointment unto men to die, was to die in trespasses and sins; or to die unto the law. In reference to the first of these ideas, I would ask, did it remain for the appointment to take effect in reference to a single individual of the human family, to become dead in trespasses and sins, when this text was written? Certainly not, all that died in Adam and come into the world, in this sense, dead. How then in reference to this death, can it be said, “It is appointed unto men once to die?” Or has brother Beebe adopted the idea that infants come into the world pure, and that they die when coming to years of discretion by contracting the disease of sin? In reference to the other idea, that of dying unto the law, I will only remark; 1st. That the word men is here clearly used as denoting the species universally, and certainly all mankind do not become dead to the law; and 2nd. That the experience of the children of God shows that their death to the law is in consequence of the judgment had in their case, the judgment therefore in this case precedes the death. No, my brother, the plain import of the text points to that appointment contained in the decree, Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And the judgment being after this shows that it must be beyond this life. But you may say, that as it is appointed unto the saints, in common with others, the above construction of this text, would involve the idea, that they also shall be judged beyond this life. Not so. It is true, that in reference to their relation to Adam, the saints were in the same condemnation; the Apostle therefore notices this fact, in order to show their redemption from it through the substitution of Christ. For the very essence of his argument here, is, that as this appointment to death and judgment stood against all, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, (not all,) and unto them that look for him, (by faith,) shall he appear a second time, without sin unto salvation.” His one offering then was as a substitute, to meet the judgment in their stead, to deliver them from it, and even from death as a penal evil. Hence when he comes a second time, it will be without sin, not to bring to remembrance again their sins; but, unto salvation, to the full experience of their salvation. One other scriptural testimony to this point I will notice; namely, Rev. 20:11-15. There is much diversity of opinion, and much absurdity afloat relative to the thousand years reign spoken of in the preceding part of this chapter, and which the judgment spoken of in the passage above quoted, shall succeed. – Of that thousand years reign I shall not express any opinion, save to notice certain facts stated in the account of it. 1st. This is expressly declared to be the first resurrection. 2nd. John saw as having part in it, those that “were beheaded for the witness of Jesus,” and those that “had not worshipped the beast, nor his image, neither had received his mark, &c.” These of course must include all those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. See Rev. 13:8. 3rd. It is declared that these lived, &c., by which I understand that they had been raised to life from the dead; else, what can be meant by that which immediately follows; namely, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished?” In reference to this judgment, John declares that he, “saw the dead, both small and great, stand before God, &c.,” and the “dead were judged out of those things written in the books, according to their works.” Now these dead thus judged were such as had been in the sea, and in death, and hell; and certainly they cannot be men living on the earth, and who are only dead in trespasses and sins. Now, my brother, I do think that on a calm reconsideration of this whole subject, with the proofs in favor of a future judgment, you will abandon the notion, which you perhaps took up and advocated too hastily.
But it is not alone in reference to your rejection of the idea of a final judgment, that I dissent from your editorial under consideration. Your quotation of, or rather reference to several texts of scripture, applying them to the coming of Christ in the destruction of Jerusalem; and thereby representing all those several comings of Christ spoken of in the New Testament, to have received their accomplishment in his judgment upon that city and people, must receive my decided dissent. On this point you are sustained by the expositions on Hebrews, by our esteemed and talented brother Klipstine; but though he or you or an angel from heaven advance the idea, if it is not according to the doctrine taught in the New Testament, I am required not to receive it. But to the point, you say, page 111, col. 2. He went to receive a kingdom, leaving with his saints the kind assurance that he would come to them again – that he would associate his little flock with him in that kingdom – that it was needful for them that he should go away, but that he would return before some of them should taste death. In these extracts connected as they are with these words – to take vengeance on the Jews, to break up and forever abolish the temple worship, &c., you clearly intimate that the promises of Christ’s coming, &c., contained in the following texts in connection with others, are all to be referred to the one period, and all received their accomplishment when Christ poured his vengeance on the Jews. The texts are these, Luke 20:29,30; John 14:18-28; Matt.16:28; and Mark 9:1. Now, if the promises contained in these texts, of Christ’s appointing to his Apostles a kingdom; of seating them upon twelve thrones; of Christ’s coming to them again after his crucifixion; of the Son of Man’s coming in his kingdom, and of the kingdom of God’s coming with power, &c., received not their accomplishment until the destruction of Jerusalem, and if till then the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles was not broken down; then the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost, and upon the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius, and the account we have of the church at Jerusalem, and of the planting of churches among the Gentiles, and of all that is contained in the Acts of the Apostles, and the death of all the Apostles, except John, all took place before these promises were verified, before the kingdom of God came with power, and of course all was under the legal dispensation. I do wonder if brethren Beebe and Klipstine will insist on a position so inconsistent, a position which with one sweep takes from us all pattern, all example, all apostolic authority for a gospel church, and its order, when freed from the bondage of the law by the overthrow of the legal dispensation, to borrow brother Klipstine’s expressions. And if the Apostles were not seated upon their thrones, and Christ did not come in his kingdom, until after the death of all but John, who alone lived until Jerusalem was destroyed, I would ask what power that was which the Apostles were to tarry for in Jerusalem, until they were endowed with it from on high. See Luke 24:49.
There are also other texts which you, by your extracts, apply with equal indiscrimination to the taking vengeance on the Jews, and which I am about to show, clearly relate to future comings of our Lord Jesus; as in this passage, Nor was that coming, nor those signs to be deferred, &c., but should take place when he should descend with a shout as he went up, and come to be admired by all who waited for his appearing, but to take vengeance on the Jews, &c. I find but one text which speaks of the Lord’s descending with a shout, that is, I Thes. 4:16,17, which reads thus, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive, and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, &c.” Now, if anything like what is here declared took place at the destruction of Jerusalem, or has taken place from that day to this, I am ignorant of the history of it. The expressions, The Lord himself shall descend from heaven, can mean nothing less than his personal coming, such as the two men in white apparel told the Apostles should take place, when they said, “This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner, as you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11. Their seeing him go into heaven, was a personal, or bodily going into heaven; in like manner was he to come again. Such an event I have no idea took place when Jerusalem was destroyed. His coming then, as in several other instances, was only in his power. By the expression, come to be admired by all who waited for his appearing, I know not to what you can allude, except it be II Thes. 1:10, which reads thus, “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, [not by them,] and to be admired in, [not by,] all them that believe.” I would ask brother Beebe to tell us what this text, or what the persecution this church was enduring (see vs.4,) had to do with the destruction of Jerusalem, or what that event had to do with this Gentile church which was not situated even in Asia? Or how he was at that period admired in all them that believe, when he was then, and for many years after, suffering, in them, persecution throughout the whole Roman empire. In the expressions, Destroy his enemies by the spirit of his mouth, and consume them by the brightness of his coming, you must have had reference to II Thes. 2:8, and thereby applied that prophecy to the destruction of Jerusalem. The text reads thus, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy by the brightness of his coming.” – Now notice that, that man of sin, that son of perdition, that Wicked whom the Lord shall consume and destroy, was not revealed when the Apostle wrote this epistle, and there was a let which must be taken out of the way before he could be revealed, and also a falling away first, &c., verses 4-7. But certainly the Jewish nation and their wickedness also, had been fully manifested at that time; and of course this scripture had no relation to the destruction of that people. Other texts which you refer to, I will pass by. Hence it appears manifest that you referred on the one hand, to declarations and promises which relate to Christ’s coming to his disciples from the dead, and his coming in the person of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost; and on the other hand, to texts which contain direct declarations concerning his coming to destroy that Wicked, the anti-christ among the Gentiles, and concerning his personal coming, when the dead in Christ shall be raised, and those saints alive shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and shall be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air; and the whole you have applied to the one event, his coming in the destruction of Jerusalem, thus making that period and that event the center point of nearly all of the New Testament prophecies. If you and brother Klipstine are correct, I would like to be informed whether we have any good authority to expect any further coming of Christ, excepting as he has been coming in the preached gospel for the last eighteen hundred years. I know of no promise of his coming, which may not as consistently be made to apply to that favorite event of yours, and brother Klipstine’s, viz: his coming in the instrumentality of the Romans in his judgment upon the Jews, as some of those promises you have so applied, or as the promises in the Epistle to the Hebrews may be made so to apply.
I should have liked to take a more particular notice of brother Klipstine’s confining the application of the Epistle to the Hebrews to those Jews residing in Jerusalem or Judea, and particularly his so confining that precious ground of consolation to the heirs of promise, the spiritual seed of Abraham at large, contained in Heb. 6:13-20. And your views of Matt.24. Not that I do not believe the prophecy contained in that chapter, had a particular application to the events connected with the destruction of Jerusalem; but that I also believe it, like several other prophecies, had a two-fold reference and that its ultimate accomplishment has not yet taken place, in answer to that part of the disciples enquiry relating to the end of the world. Also the idea advanced both by you and brother Klipstine, that the breaking down the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles, and the freeing of the gospel church from the bondage of the law, was accomplished in the destruction of Jerusalem. But I will let them for the present pass, excepting I will just say in reference to this latter point, that the Apostle ascribes the abolishing of the law contained in ordinances, and the partition wall, to the crucifixion of Christ. See Eph. 2:13-17; and Col. 2:13-23. If not so, and your views are correct, why does Paul charge the Galatians with being bewitched in submitting to circumcision?
Centreville, Fairfax Co., Va., Aug. 24, 1841.
Signs of the Times
Volume 9, No. 19.
October 1, 1841