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JT on Bible prophecy

There is one thing which makes the study of prophecy of such immense practical importance. It is, that we shall be on earth when God's judgments are executed.

Our scriptural hope is to be caught up to meet the Lord, and so to come with him when he comes to execute judgment on the wicked. But we are surrounded by those principles, influences, and systems, which are ripening to that maturity of evil which mankind will reach before those judgments come. God will judge them at the coming of Christ when they are fully ripe.

But has acquaintance with these subjects no tendency to keep us apart from such evils now? Surely it has; and that we might be so sanctified, or kept apart from evil, is one object God has in view in revealing these things to us.

It is not by exciting applications of prophecy to passing events that true edification is secured. The natural mind may feel the deepest interest in prophetic inquiries conducted in this way; but Scripture was not designed merely to instruct us as to what transpires in the arena of political factions, or to occupy our souls with such subjects. "Our citizenship is in the heavens." "Let the potsherds strive with the potsherds of the earth." It is not with such contentions that God's revelation of the future concerns itself.

It forewarns us, in general terms, that wars and rumors of wars may be expected, till the scepter of universal dominion shall be wielded by the Prince of peace. But it is God's judgment, and the approaching climax of iniquity which renders it inevitable, about which prophecy instructs us.

And even as to this, it is because the church will be on earth, amid the desolations of the crisis which is so rapidly approaching, that she receives those revelations respecting it. The church is thus enabled morally and spiritually to judge those things now, which in their maturity of evil God will judge by the righteous retributions of His wrath.

There are three very distinct spheres on which the judgments will fall when the Lord cometh out of his place "to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity": Israel, the nations, and professing Christendom.

If we are to understand why judgment comes upon Israel, we must know what Israel's calling and testimony is, and how it has failed therein.

If we are to discern the grounds of God's righteous judgment upon the Gentile nations, we must be acquainted with His past and present dealings with them, and with their conduct under their special responsibilities.

So also, to understand the guilt of professing Christendom, we must know what the calling of the true church is, what is its testimony, and in what respects Christendom, while assuming the place and claiming the responsibilities of the church, has acted contrary thereto.

There are solemn subjects of inquiry. May our hearts be prepared for them. Much that is brighter remains beyond.

John Thomas (1805-1871)
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