| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 43 - Page 199 of 243 Index | Zoom | |
"Now these things happened unto them by way of ensample; and they are written for
our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come (literally, the ends of the ages
have arrived)" (10: 11).
"Maranatha: the Lord cometh" (16: 22 margin).
"The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly" (Rom. 16: 20).
"The night is far spent, the day is at hand" (13: 12).
"For a yet little while and He that shall come will come and will not tarry" (Heb. 10: 37).
The combined testimony of these passages is clear and definite. Believers at this time
were being exhorted to avoid anything that would entangle or become a weight in view of
the nearness of the Lord's Coming, even to the extent of avoiding marriage. They were
encouraged to hold fast during persecution because it might be `only a little while' and
the Lord would come back and that would mean deliverance. No one would have been
helped to endure the discipline of suffering at that time by being pointed to an event that
is even yet future to us. They might have been pointed to the Lord's strengthening grace
to assist them, but hardly to His Second Advent, if that event was not going to be realized
until some 2,000 years later! The Apostle did not assert that the Second Coming of the
Lord was fixed in the counsels of God to take place in the lifetime of believers then
living, but of its possibility, the only `if' being the `if' of Israel's repentance and
conversion (Acts 3: 19-26), which fact had been proclaimed publicly by the Apostle
Peter. We need to avoid the two extremes of viewpoint, both of which are erroneous:
(1) that neither Paul or the other N.T. writers taught that the Lord's coming was
imminent; (2) that the Second Advent would definitely take place at that time. Let us
remember that what `draws near' can withdraw, if the Lord sees fit and His conditions are
not realized. As with the earthly Kingdom purposes, so with the visible Return of the
Lord, which is so intimately connected with its setting up, this too could be proclaimed as
being `near', if Israel obeyed the Divine command to repent and turn back to God, or to
be withdrawn if they refused to do so.
Paul now states that the prophetic Day of the Lord would not take place until certain
events had first occurred. They are (1) the apostasy; (2) the revelation of the man of
sin, the son of perdition. We must not make the mistake of thinking that a long time
must elapse before this was possible, or that these happenings would occupy a long
period in running their course. The stage was already set in the Acts period for such
conditions to develop. An age that could produce a monster like Nero could surely
produce the wild Beast of Rev. 13: and the episode of Herod in royal apparel, taking
Divine honours (Acts 12:), is only a picture of events that this chapter in the Revelation
also describes. The Apostle wrote:
"Let no man beguile you in any wise: for it (the Day of the Lord) will not be, except
the falling away (apostasy) come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of
perdition, he that opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God or that is
worshiped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God.
Remember ye not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things?"
(II Thess. 2: 3-6 R.V.).
There commences now a passage of Scripture that is exceedingly difficult to interpret.
It has been called by expositors `the little Apocalypse' because it gives much of the
teaching of the Book of the Revelation in compressed form, the reason being that Paul