An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 9 - Prophetic Truth - Page 129 of 223
This most blessed desire was granted him, for in his last epistle, as
he lay under the shadow of execution in Rome he wrote:
'I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I Have Finished my course, I have kept the
faith.  Henceforth ... a crown' (2 Tim. 4:6 -8).
Two further prophetic utterances were made in Acts 20.
The Ephesians would see his (Paul's) face no more.
After his departing 'grievous wolves' would enter in, not sparing
the flock, and from their own selves men would arise, speaking
perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
We therefore gather from this prophecy that with the drawing near of
the prison ministry of Paul and the dispensation of the Mystery, would come a
declension in the then existing Church, which, even if it continued side by
side with the new calling, would be a poor thing and split into divisions --
a prophecy which the state of Christendom about us confirms in a very sad
way.  Any church or company of churches whose ministers could be likened to
wolves must be in a wretched state, for false prophets are likened to
ravening wolves (Matt. 7:15).  These comments are not to be misinterpreted.
The wolves were not going to spare 'the flock', and if we admit the presence
of the evil in existing church life, we must at the same time admit and be
grateful for the good, but this is by the way:
'Behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem' (Acts 20:22).
Paul needed no human imprisonment or a man -made chain, for already,
while ostensibly still a free man, he was bound 'in spirit', and like his
Master, had set his face like a flint to go up to Jerusalem.  The incident of
Acts 21:10 -19 has been misunderstood, as though the passage told us that
Paul was forbidden to go to Jerusalem.  That is not so.  The disciples, it
will be remembered, questioned the wisdom of the Saviour's intention of going
into Judęa again when the Jews had so recently sought to slay Him (John
11:7,8,16).  So, when the disciples at Cęsarea heard the prophecy of Agabus,
they misunderstood it, beseeching Paul not to go up to Jerusalem, but when
Paul had assured them that he was not only ready to be bound, but also to die
at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord, Luke comments:
'And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the
Lord be done' (Acts 21:14),
and it was the will of the Lord that Paul should not only go to Jerusalem but
to Rome also, as Acts 23:11 will show.
Every reference in Paul's epistles to the Coming of Christ, whether
written before or after Acts 28, is a prophecy.  So also the concomitant
references to the Man of Sin and the apostasy that leads on to the Day of the
Lord.  Some of these aspects of the subject will be found distributed under
their several heads, it is not our intention to enlarge upon them here.  What
is called for is a recognition of the fact that the only prophecies of the
Scriptures that impinge directly upon our calling and belong to the period
during which the dispensation of the Mystery is in force, are the references
by Paul in his two epistles to Timothy which give the character of the last