Time or Eternity? ™

The end of this dispenation (The Age of Grace)

In The end of the AGE on April 13, 2012 at 8:00 am

God had been laying bare the future to Daniel. As page after page of startling events unrolled, Daniel’s heart was sobered and solemnized. He cries out to God (Dan. 12:8): “Oh my Lord, what shall be the end of these things” How fitting is this question for ourselves. Today the pages of the world’s history are swiftly unrolling. They are red with blood. Kingdoms are rising and falling in a night. Thrones are tottering. Armies are battling in earth, sea and sky. The sons of men are being slaughtered by millions. Civilization is shot through with the barbarism and savagery of by-gone ages. The foundations of human government and society are reeling under earthquake blows. “Men’s hearts are failing them for fear” of the things that are coming upon the earth.” And with Daniel they are crying out “What shall be the end of these things?” There is only one answer. There is only one man who knows what the end will be. That man is—the God-Man. Jesus Christ alone knows the future.

We must come to Him if we would know. So, like them of old, let us sit at His feet and listen to—Christ’s Story of the Age-End.  You remember the story. His disciples had been showing Him the great temple. They had pointed out to Him its lofty pinnacles, its rich adornments, its massive stones. And then the Lord turns to them and quietly says: “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Doubtless they were amazed, and perplexed. I can fancy them saying one to another, “Tomorrow we will go up to the Mount of Olives with Him. There we will sit at His feet and hold sweet communion. Let us ask Him then what He means by this strange remark.” So when they had come to the Mount and the Master was seated, they say, “Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the age.”

The Double Question.

Note that they asked of Him a double question. There is a line of cleavage between the first clause and the second. First, “When shall these things be?” And by “these things” they meant the downfall of Jerusalem, and the overthrow of the temple of which He had just spoken, a disaster which was to take place in less than a half century from that time. Second, they asked Him, “What shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the age?” a dual event which has not yet taken place, and which is separated from the first named catastrophe by almost two thousand years of time. Thus His answer covers events separated by a gap of many centuries simply because their question refers to both. The answer is thus not discordant in its time relations. It is in perfect harmony with the question asked. The same line of cleavage in the disciples’ interrogation appears therefore in Christ’s answer. It cuts that answer sharply in half between the fourteenth and fifteenth -verses of this chapter. The first fourteen verses have to do with the first clause of their inquiry, “When shall these things be?” The remainder of the chapter is His reply to the second clause, “What shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the age?” Let us now note that He -answers the first half by giving the general signs of the present age, and the second half by naming the special signs of the end of the age.

6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled; for all these things must .come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Wars and rumors of wars: nation rising against nation: kingdom against kingdom: earthquakes: famines: pestilences: afflictions—what a marvelous picture is this of the age which has passed since Jesus Christ sat upon the Mount and told this wondrous story! If our Lord had been sitting as a historian now, sketching the centuries that have rolled past, instead of a prophet predicting events to come, He could not have more accurately shown forth the marks of all the age since He first came. We say the marks of the age, not the special signs of the end of the age. For it is the general characteristics of the whole age from His first coining to His coming again that He here gives before He sets forth the special signs which shall mark its end.

Do we not often make a mistake here? When empires rise and fall, when great nations are in commotion and conflict: when giant armies and steel-clad navies await each others’ deadly onset: when gaunt famine devastates whole nations, and wasting pestilence follows swiftly in its wake: when this old globe pulsates under the terrifying throb of mighty earthquakes—when these things come to pass men cry out, “The end of the world is at hand!” Yet of these things Jesus says distinctly that though they shall come “the end is not yet.” They are not the distinguishing marks of the end-time. They are rather the common marks of the whole time since Christ was on earth. Not a single century has fled since He walked the earth which has not been marked by all the characteristic events he mentions here. They are the ear-marks of the whole age, but in no sense the special signs of its end. There must be then some special sign which marks the end. It is some sign which the world has never before seen.

It must be so peculiar to the end that men shall at once know it when it appears as the startling, distinguishing mark that the age-end is now come. “What shall be the sign of Thy coming and of the end of the age,” is their earnest and deeply interested question. So now He proceeds to answer this momentous question, an answer final, decisive, and vital to the whole question of unfulfilled New Testament prophecy.

‘When ye {v. 15) therefore shall see The Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, stand in the holy place {whoso readeth let him understand), then let them which be in Judea flee unto the mountains for then shall be Great Tribulation.”

And now we have come to the crucial point in Christ’s answer. Up from the heart of the chapter here starts God’s great finger-post which points with unerring accuracy to the end. Now Jesus Christ begins to deal with a personality of momentous and tragic importance as the supreme sign of the end-time. And He opens this last act in the great drama of the age-end by citing this strange and mysterious figure. Out from the prophecies of God over which centuries of time had already rolled He causes to emerge this strange figure upon which He puts His finger as one supreme, vital fact which foreshadows and determines the end. “When ye shall see THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION”that is the mysterious phrase with which He brings us face to face with the pivotal-point of the end. What does He mean? He cites it as though it were to them a familiar fact. He says it was “spoken of by Daniel the prophet.” Let us follow the clue He indicates.

The Anti-Christ.

If we turn to the last chapter of the prophecy named (Daniel 12: 11) we will note the interesting fact that centuries before Daniel had asked of the Lord the same question the disciples had just put to Christ: “0 my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” And then God places His finger upon this same strange figure to which Christ has referred and says to Daniel that “From the time that the Abomination that maketh desolate is set up,” until the end shall be a certain period of somewhat over three and a half years. Thus when Daniel asks as to the end God points him to an ominous figure called Abomination of Desolation and tells Daniel that this portentous personage marks the end-time.’ When His apostles ask as to the end Jesus Christ puts His finger upon this very same mark and tells them that when they see “the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet” then the fierce crisis of all history is upon them. So, this mark suddenly revealed in the temple constitutes the crucial mark of the age-end so near at hand, yea, even then begun.

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