THE Divine judgment of the 70 years' Servitude to Babylon fell in 606 B.C., which was the third year of King Jehoiakim, and the year before the accession of Nebuchadnezzar. The Jews refused to bow to the Divine judgment thus inflicted upon them, and in the ninth year of the Servitude they revolted (597 B.C.). This brought upon them the judgment of the Captivity. The Babylonian army again captured Jerusalem, and all "save the poorest sort of the people of the land" were deported to Chaldea. Jeremiah in Jerusalem, and Ezekiel among the captives, gave repeated warnings that continued impenitence would bring down a still fiercer judgment But, misled by promises of help from Egypt, the Jews again revolted in the tenth year of the Captivity; and, in fulfillment of prophetic warnings, their city was destroyed and their land laid desolate. "The Fast of Tebeth is still observed by the Jews of every land in commemoration of the day from which the era of the 70 years of "the Desolations" was reckoned, namely, the tenth day of the tenth month in the ninth year of King Zedekiah (589 B.C.). See Ezekiel 24:1, 2, and Kings 25:1. Both the 70 years of the Servitude and the 62 years of the Captivity ended in 536 B.C., when the decree of Cyrus permitted the Jews to return to their own land. That decree expressly authorized the rebuilding of the Temple. But though the words of a Persian king were regarded as divine, that decree was thwarted by the local authorities in Judea until the reign of Darius Hystaspes. The explanation of this strange fact is that God would not permit the rebuilding of the Temple until the era of the Desolations ended.
The year in use both with the Jews and the Chaldeans was one of 860 days, the calendar being corrected by intercalation. And that this is the prophetic year is made plain both in Daniel and Revelation, 42 months being the equivalent of 1260 days. Now 70 years of 360 days contain 25,200 days; and the period between the 10th Tebeth 589 and the 24th Chisleu 520, when the foundation of the second Temple was laid (Haggai 2:18), was exactly 25,200 days.
It is very commonly assumed that Daniel's prayer of chapter 9 of his prophecy had reference to the 70 years of the Captivity, and that the 70 weeks were to end with the coming of Messiah. These blunders discredit many a learned writer. For there was no 70 years' captivity, and the period "unto Messiah the Prince" was not 70 weeks but 7 and 62 weeks. Daniel 9:2 states explicitly that it was the years of the Desolations that were the basis of the prayer and of the prophecy; and, as we have seen, these were prophetic years of 360 days. The era of the weeks was to date from the issue of a decree to rebuild Jerusalem. History records one such decree, and only one, viz. that of the month Nisan in the 20th year of Artaxerxes. And 69 sevens of prophetic years (173,800 days), measured from 1st Nisan, 445 B.C., end upon that fateful day in Passion week when, for the first and only time in His ministry, the Lord was publicly acclaimed as the Messiah the Prince. (Nehemiah 2; Luke 19:37 ff. Mark the words of verse 42: "If thou hadst known, even thou in this day, the things that belong to thy peace!")
But what then of the 70th week? Here it is that all this has an important bearing on the main subject of the preceding pages. As early as the clays of Hippolytus, bishop and martyr, the belief prevailed that the fulfillment of Daniel's last week belongs to the future. And such was the view of Julius Africanus, "the father of Christian Chronologists." This, moreover, is entirely in keeping with the Lord's words in the synagogue of Nazareth; and it is definitely established by His words recorded in Matthew 24:15, with reference to Daniel 9:27. It is certain, moreover, that the 70th week has not been fulfilled in the past. For the 70th week begins with the covenant between the Jews and their last great patron, who becomes their last great persecutor. In the middle of the week he violates his treaty with them; and the latter half of the week (the 42 months, or 1260 days, of Daniel and Revelation) is the period of the Great Tribulation, which is to be followed immediately by the awful portents of the "Coming of the Son of Man," foretold in Isaiah 13:10 and Joel 2:31. (Matthew 24:29, and see verse 27.)
As already noticed, there will be a prolonged interval between those awful portents and the actual "Coming of the Son of Man." This is evident from the Lord's words in verses 36-44. And yet that Coming might have taken place within the lifetime of those to whom the words were addressed. But, as I have sought to show in preceding pages, all this has reference to Israel; and its fulfillment is in abeyance because of Israel's rejection during this Christian dispensation. The "Second Sermon on the Mount" will be fulfilled in every jot and tittle of it. But to throw it into hotch-potch with the distinctively Christian revelation entrusted to His Apostles after "the change of dispensation," modifying the language of both in the vain effort to make them harmonize — this displays neither spiritual intelligence nor reverence for Holy Scripture.1

"Is the Church the Bride of Christ?" Let us begin by correcting our terminology. In the Patmos visions we read of "the Bride, the Lamb's wife"; but "the Bride of Christ" is unknown to Scripture. The first mention of the Bride is in John 3:29. In a Jewish marriage the "friend of the bridegroom "answered to our "groomsman." His most important duty was to present the bride to the bridegroom. And this was the place which the Baptist claimed. His mission was to prepare Israel to meet the Messiah, "to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1:17).
With the close of the Baptist's ministry, both the Bride and the Lamb disappear from the New Testament until we reach the Patmos visions. In Revelation 21 the Angel summons the Seer to behold "the Bride, the Lamb's wife"; and he showed him "the Holy Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God." The twelve gates of the city bear the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, and in its twelve foundations are "the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb." And the foundations are "garnished with all manner of precious stones. For "it is the city that hath the foundations, whose builder and maker is God," (Hebrews 11:10) the city for which Abraham looked, when he turned his back upon the then metropolis of the world.
These Apostles of the Bride are not the Apostles who were given after the Ascension for the building up of the Body of Christ — the Apostles of this Christian dispensation, chief among whom was Paul. They are the twelve Apostles of the Lord's earthly ministry to Israel, who shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). They are the Apostles of the Lamb. And "the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb" are the temple of this city; and the Lamb is the light thereof. Every part of the description and of the symbolism tends to make it clear that this city represents a relationship and a glory pertaining to the people of the covenant. And now we can understand why it is that it is called the Bride of the Lamb, and never the Bride of Christ. For, the mystery of the Body having now been revealed, Christ is identified with the Church which is His Body, whereas His relation to Israel is entirely personal. What relation, then, does "Jerusalem which is above" bear to us? No need here for guessing, and no room for controversy, for on this point Scripture is explicit; "the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is our Mother" (Galatians 4:26, R.V.). We know that most of the Fathers were obsessed by the false belief that the Jew had been cast away for ever; but even this seems inadequate to account for their claiming the bridal relationship and glory for the Church of this dispensation.
There are two reasons for refusing to believe that the Church is the Bride. First, because Scripture nowhere states that it is the Bride, and secondly, because Scripture implicitly teaches that it is not the Bride. The question, Is A the wife of B? may be answered in the negative, either by pointing to C as his wife, or by indicating a relationship between A and B which is incompatible with that of marriage. And in both these ways Scripture vetoes the Church-Bride theory. For it teaches that the Bride is "our Mother," and that the Church is the Body of Christ.
The 5th chapter of Ephesians, moreover, ought to be accepted as making an end of controversy on this subject. The marriage relationship is there readjusted by a heavenly standard. If, therefore, the Church were the Bride, we should find it asserted here with emphatic prominence. But it is the Body relationship that is emphasized. Christ loved the Church, and the Church is His Body; therefore a Christian is to love his wife as his own body. In the 81st verse the ordinance of Genesis 2:24 is re-enacted for the Christian with a new sanction and a new meaning.1 The "great mystery" of verse 32 is not that a man and his wife are one body, for such a use of the word "mystery" is foreign to Scripture. And moreover, the Apostle says expressly, "I am speaking about Christ and the Church." And the last verse of the chapter disposes of the whole question' "Nevertheless, though man and wife are not one body, yet because Christ and the Church are one body) let every one of you love his wife even as himself."
By a strange vagary of exegesis the Apostle's words in 2 Corinthians 11:2 are sometimes appealed to in support of the Church-Bride theory. Dr. Edersheim cites this passage to illustrate the position of groomsmen (or "friends of the bridegroom") at a Jewish marriage. Besides their other functions, they were, he says, "the guarantors of the bride's virgin chastity."2 And the Apostle uses this figure to express his "jealousy" — his solicitude, for the Corinthian Christians.


THERE are three different words used in the Greek Testament in relation to the Lord's Coming.
Parousia means primarily "presence" (see 2 Corinthians 10:10; Philippians 2:12), and it is used of any person's arrival (see, e.g., 1 Corinthians 16:17; 2 Corinthians 7:6, 7; etc.). In secular use it applied specially to any state visit. In the following passages it is used of the return of Christ: Matthew 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 8; James 5:7, 8; 2 Peter 1:16; 1 John 2:28.
Apokalupsis ("revelation" or "manifestation") is used of the Advent in 1 Corinthians 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:7, 13.
Epiphaneia ("appearing") occurs in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 (brightness); 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13.
And the verb phaneroo ("to appear or be manifested") is used in Colossians 3:4; 1 Peter 5:4; 1 John 2:28; 3:2.
The attempt has been made to apportion these words to the several future manifestations of the Lord Jesus Christ. A reference to the passages where they occur will enable the Bible student to judge whether this distinction can be sustained; or whether the words do not rather indicate different phases or aspects of the various "Comings" foretold in Scripture.


IF the commonly received exegesis of Philippians 3:8-14 be correct, we are faced by the astounding fact that the author of the Epistle to the Romans and of the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians — the Apostle who was in a peculiar sense entrusted with the supreme revelation of grace — announced when nearing the close of his ministry that the resurrection was not, as he had been used to teach, a blessing which Divine grace assured to all believers in Christ, but a prize to be won by the sustained efforts of a life of wholly exceptional saintship.
Nor is this all. In the same Epistle he has already said, "To me to live is Christ, and to have died is gain "; whereas, ex hypothesi, it now appears that his chief aim in life was to earn a right to the resurrection; and that death, instead of bringing gain, would have cut him off before he had reached the standard of saintship needed to secure that prize! For his words are explicit, "not as though I had already attained."
Here was one who was "not a whit behind the chiefest Apostles"; who excelled them all in labours and sufferings for his Lord, and in the "visions and revelations" accorded to him; whose prolonged ministry, moreover, was accredited by "mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God." And yet, "being now such an one as Paul the aged," he was in doubt whether he should have part in that resurrection which he had taught all his pagan Corinthian converts to hope for: for to them it was he wrote the words, "we shall all be changed."
Such is the exposition of the Apostle's teaching in many a standard commentary. And yet the passage which is thus perverted reaches its climax in the words, "Our citizenship is in heaven, from whence we are looking for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of His glory."
"Our citizenship is in heaven " here is the clew to the teaching of the whole passage. The truth to which his words refer is more clearly stated in Ephesians 2:6 - God has "quickened us together with Christ, and raised us up with Him, and made us sit with Him in the heavenly places in Christ." More clearly still is it given in Colossians 3:1-3: "If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth. For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God."
Ephesians and Colossians, be it remembered, were written at the same period of his ministry as Philippians; and in the light of these Scriptures we can read this chapter aright. To "win Christ" (ver. 8), or to apprehend, or lay hold of, that for which he had been laid hold of, or apprehended (ver. 12); or in other words, to realize practically in his life on earth what was true of him doctrinally as to his standing before God in heaven — this is what he was reaching toward, and what, he says, he had not "already attained."
The "high calling" of ver. 14 is interpreted by some to mean Christ's calling up His own to meet Him in the air (a blessing assured to all "who are alive and remain unto the Coming of the Lord"); but this is not in keeping with the plain words — God's high calling in Christ Jesus, i.e. what God has called us (made us) to be in Christ.
If this passage refers to the literal resurrection, then the words "not as though I had already attained must mean that, while here on earth, and before the Lord's Coming, the Apostle hoped either to undergo the change of ver. 21, or else to win some sort of saintship diploma, or certificate, to ensure his being raised at the Coming. These alternatives are inexorable; and they only need to be stated to ensure their rejection.
One word more. If the Apostle Paul, after such a life of saintship and service, was in doubt as to his part in the resurrection, no one of us, unless he be the proudest of Pharisees or the blindest of fools, will dream of attaining it. In fact we shall dismiss the subject from our minds.

EXCLUSION from the millennial kingdom, we are told by some, will be the penalty imposed on Christians who lapse into immoral practices. And in proof of this we are referred to such passages as 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5; etc. This assumes, however, that "the Kingdom of God" is merely a synonym for the millennial kingdom, an error which is exposed by the very first passage in which the phrase occurs in the Epistles. In Romans 14:17 we read, "The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." This reminds us of the Lord's words to Nicodemus. The world and its religion is the natural sphere, but the Kingdom of God is spiritual; and none can enter it, none can see it, without a new birth by the Spirit. This is a truth of present and universal application. 1 Corinthians 15:50, which refers to the future, is a still more decisive refutation of the error. There we read that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God"; that is, can have no place or part in it. But, as we all know, "flesh and blood" — men in their natural bodies — will be in the millennial kingdom. Then again we recall the exhortation of 1 Thessalonians 2:12, "that ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory." This is explained by Thessalonians 1:5, "that ye may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God" — a reference not to the future state, but to the place and calling of the Christian here and now. It is akin to the exhortations of Ephesians 4:1 (R.V.), "I beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called." For it is a present truth, and a fact of practical import, that the Christian has been "translated into the kingdom of the Son of His love" (Colossians 1:13). As a matter of fact, it is extremely doubtful whether the millennial kingdom is ever referred to in these Epistles of the Apostle Paul.
This scheme of exegesis, moreover, would teach us to acknowledge an "evil liver" as a Christian. But as 2 Timothy 2:19 tells us, the Divine seal has two faces: "The Lord knoweth them that are His" is the Godward side of it; the other, which is to govern our action, is "Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." But, we are told, the "incestuous person" in Corinth was a Christian. The inspired Apostle so decided; but to us it is not given to read the Godward face of the Divine seal, and we are bound to judge others by their profession and conduct. To acknowledge as a Christian any one who is living in open sin is to be false to the Lord. Our responsibility is to act on 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 and similar Scriptures. But if every penitent has a claim upon Christian sympathy, surely one whom we have regarded as a fellow believer ought to be treated with unbounded patience and pity and Christian love. And let us not forget that there are sins more heinous than immoral acts. Some of the "unfortunates" of the streets may be nearer the kingdom than are men of high repute in the Professing Church, who are patterns of all virtue, but who deny the Deity and atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 21:31). The doom of Sodom will be more tolerable than that of devout Capernaum (Matthew 11:23, 24).
What do the writers I am criticizing mean by "reigning with Christ"? Are all the many millions of the elect to sit on separate thrones? The Lord's words in Matthew 19:28 are clear. And some commentators refer to those words as explaining the first clause of Revelation 20:4. But is it not equally clear that in the latter clause, as in Romans 5:17 and 2 Timothy 2:12, the word is used in the secondary sense of "living royally" with Christ, or (as Grimm gives it) "to denote the supreme dignity, liberty, blessedness, which will be enjoyed by the redeemed "? And thus the word will be fulfilled for all; unless indeed we are to jettison the truth of grace, and make our heavenly calling and its blessings depend on merit. Certain it is that some will have special honours and rewards; but this truth does not conflict with the other.
In this closing section of the Apocalypse there is no element of historic fulfillment. The scheme I am criticizing assumes that "the first resurrection" is that of the "Coming" of Paul's Epistles: to me it seems certain that it is called "the first," with reference to the general resurrection of the 5th verse. And the language of verse 4 clearly indicates that it is the victims of the Tribulation who will have part in the first resurrection; for the redeemed of the present dispensation will have already passed to heaven in fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52. And it is not a matter of opinion, but of faith based on the Divinely-given words, that at that Coming of Christ none of His people will be left behind — "we shall not all sleep, but we shall ALL be changed."
Instead of accepting any of these theories, albeit they are suggested by a true spiritual instinct, let us seek to realize the responsibilities of our life on earth in view of the supreme solemnities of the judgment-seat of Christ.