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Vol. 1, No. 6
June., 1992

Ruth and Orpah

A Sermon by Glenn Conjurske----Recorded, Transcribed, and Revised

Read Ruth 1:1-18.

The land of Judah was God's land, the land that he had promised to Abraham and to his seed for ever. It was the holy land, the land where God's temple was, the land where God's people were. In the time of famine, the time of difficulty, Elimelech had left God's land and gone to the heathen land of Moab, and there he had died, and his two sons had died. His wife was left alone with her two daughters in law. Now Naomi set her heart to go back to the land of Israel, which was God's land. I'm going to speak of this tonight as returning from the world back to God, back to his land, his temple, his people, his things. I believe what this represents to us is the soul's setting out on the way from the world to heaven, from darkness to light, from Satan to God, from sin to holiness----setting out on that journey the end of which is heaven, salvation, and eternal life.

Now there are two such souls here----Ruth and Orpah----who set out to make that journey. One of them made that journey and reached the land of promise. One of them went a little way on the road and turned back. These represent many souls who set out for salvation and heaven and eternal life. Among all those who set out, there are few who finish. Among all those who begin the race, there are few who finish it. There are many who set out on the journey. There are many that at some point in their life make a determination----“I am going to leave this heathen life; I am going to turn to God; I am going to set out on the journey for heaven and eternal life”----and they actually do set out on the journey, as Ruth and Orpah did, but at some point along the way they turn back.

Now it usually happens that they turn back very near the beginning of the way, and this is what Orpah also did. You know, the further down the road a person goes, the harder it becomes to turn back. At the beginning it's easy to turn back, and this in fact is where most professed converts do turn back. The Bible talks about those who hear the word and immediately with joy receive it, but they have no root in themselves. They believe for a while, and in the time of tribulation or persecution they fall away. When something comes up that they hadn't reckoned on, when it appears to them that the cost is greater than they thought it was going to be, they fall away, they turn back.

Now one of these girls did turn back, and one of them didn't. I want to talk to you about these two girls that set out on the road to the land of promise, and what became of them. Often two people profess to be converted at the same time, and if you would observe these two during the early stages of their professed Christian life, you may not be able to discover any difference between them. They do the same things; they give up the same things; they embrace the same things on the other side; they speak the same language; they sing the same songs. They all pass out tracts, and witness, and make the same kind of plans to serve God, and they go on side by side for a little while, and then one turns back. I can think of examples exactly like that. In fact, I can even think of examples where two persons apparently started out together for heaven and eternal life, and one of them seemed a little more decided and a little more zealous than the other one, and that one that seemed a little more decided and a little more zealous is the one that turned back.

Well, in light of all this you ought to understand that there is some danger involved. You want to make sure that you are inside the narrow gate and on the narrow road. You want to make your calling and election sure. Just because you set out on the road for heaven and eternal life doesn't mean you are going to end up there. Many set out and never finish. Jonathan Edwards said in his time, when they had great revivals and apparently a great many converts, he said that the number of real converts that appear to be holding out after a number of years is about like the number of apples on the fruit tree in the Fall, compared to the number of blossoms that there were in the Spring. Great many blossoms on a tree, but they don't all bring forth fruit. Some of them just bloom and fall away. And by the way, the test of salvation in the New Testament parable that I already referred to, the parable of the sower, the test is bringing forth fruit.

Now let's take a look at Ruth and Orpah. Verse 6 says, “Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.” The motive here for leaving the land of Moab, and setting out for the land of Israel, was bread, and there's nothing wrong with this. This was the motive of the prodigal son when he turned from the far country, left the riotous living, the harlots, and the wasting of his father's substance all behind him, and turned his back on it all. The motive was, “I perish with hunger, and in my father's house is bread enough and to spare.” In other words, God has something to offer you. He has an eternal feast that he's going to spread out before you. He has something to give you. He has bread, something to satisfy the hunger in your soul----and there's not a thing in the world wrong with that being your motive for setting out on that journey to heaven and eternal life. That's the motive God gives you. There's bread in the promised land: let's make the journey----let's get the bread. Bread enough and to spare in my Father's house, and I perish with hunger.

So they set out to get the bread, and it says, “Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah. And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.” (Verses 7-9). Now I used to have a great deal of difficulty with this thing that Naomi did. A lot of other Christians have a great deal of difficulty understanding this. Here is this woman who knows God, and she is setting out to return to the promised land from the land of Moab, and two young ladies want to go with her----they want to forsake the gods of Moab and go to the land where they might learn of the true God, the land where God's house and God's people are. They're going to forsake the heathen people and the heathen gods where they were brought up, and they set out on the road, and Naomi begins to labor with them to turn them back! Now some folks explain this this way: Naomi was just an old dried up, backslidden, bitter Christian, and she had so much bitterness in her heart, and so much unbelief in her heart, that she stood in the way of these girls coming to God. You can think that if you want to. I'm not going to try to explain why Naomi did what she did, but I believe that in the allegorical application which I'm making of this passage tonight Naomi did the right thing. I do it myself all the time.

What! You labor to turn people back? Well, yes, I do. The Lord Jesus did, too. He had great multitudes following him, and he turned to them and began to speak hard sayings to them in order to turn them back. You may see an example of this in the book of Luke, the fourteenth chapter, verse 25. “And there went great multitudes with him.” Now this is the Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ, who came down to seek and to save that which was lost, who came to preach the gospel to the poor, to give sight to the blind, to heal the broken-hearted, and so forth. The Saviour of the world has great multitudes following him. You would think he would rejoice in that fact. You would think he would have encouraged them to come on, and to pursue after him to heaven and eternal life, but it says in Luke 14:25, “And there went great multitudes with him, and he turned and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” He then goes on to press them to count the cost, and not begin unless they are sure they can finish, and tells them further, “whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” All of this amounts to one thing: that when Christ sees these great multitudes following him, he turns to them----doesn't preach encouraging things, doesn't turn to them and preach soft words----he turns to them and preaches the hardest conditions that he could. You must hate your father and mother----hate your wife and children----hate your brothers and sisters----hate your own life also----forsake all that you have----or you cannot be my disciple.

Now why did Christ preach such things? It wasn't because he didn't want the people to follow him truly to eternal life. It was because he didn't want false followers that were only half committed and only half converted. He wanted real ones, or none at all. And therefore he labored to turn them back. He did the same thing in the sixth chapter of John, where he had great multitudes following him, and he turned to them and preached hard sayings, and multitudes of them turned back, and walked no more with him. Then he turned to the twelve, and said, “Will ye also go away?” And Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” He had the true disciples left, and that's what he wanted.

Now Naomi back in the book of Ruth does exactly the same thing. She has these two girls setting out from this heathen land and from these heathen gods to the land of Israel and to the God of Israel, and she begins to labor as soon as they get on the road to turn them back. She says to them, “Go back.” Well, you know it's the same thing that Elijah said to Elisha. “Go back.” I don't want anything here but absolute, whole-hearted commitment. If you want to go kiss your father and mother first, just go back. And to the young man who made the same request in Luke 9:61, the Lord Jesus said, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” So Naomi labors to turn these two young ladies back. I believe she was doing the right thing.

Now she actually succeeded in turning one back. But let's go on. Verse 10----“And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.” And this is the first thing that I want you to see in which Ruth and Orpah were identical: they said to her, Surely we will return with thee. They both said the same thing, and my first point tonight is, TALK IS CHEAP. How many times have you heard sinners making great professions

----“I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest”----and the next thing you know they've turned back. Talk is cheap. In fact, talk is so cheap that I have learned in my years of experience to pay no attention at all to talk. For every real Christian in the world, there are a thousand that can talk the language. Talk is cheap. There are a thousand that can make great professions----say all the right things----make great professions of commitment when they don't have a bit of it in their hearts----make great professions of righteousness and holiness, and they don't have any of it. Talk is cheap. He says, “Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest”----and probably means it, too----and the Lord says one little thing to him, and he turns back. Talk is cheap.

Now you've got these two young ladies both saying the same thing. They're both very decided about it: “Surely we will return with thee,” absolutely. When Naomi had pressed them to go back, they answered, “Surely we will, we're determined, surely we will return with thee, we have made up our minds”----and just a little way down the road, one of these young ladies that was saying “surely we will” had turned back.

Well, Naomi doesn't stop there. She labors a little further to turn them back. Verse 11----“And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? Are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also tonight, and should also bear sons, would ye tarry for them till they were grown? Would ye stay for them from having husbands? Nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me.” Now here you see Naomi doing exactly the same thing that the Lord Jesus did in the fourteenth chapter of Luke. He labored with the people to get them to count the cost. He says, “Which of you building a tower sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it.” “Understand, now, Ruth, understand, Orpah, if you're going to leave this land of Moab and go to the land of Israel, understand that it's going to cost you something. You young ladies want a husband. Where are you going to get one? Where are you going to find a husband in the land of Israel? Who in the land of Israel is going to marry a woman of Moab? These are gentile dogs. You understand? It's going to cost you.” And so she says, “Nay, my daughters, why will you follow me? Go back! Go back and find a husband! Go back and find rest!”

Now these two girls respond again, and you see the second point in which they are identical. Verse 14----“They lifted up their voice, and wept again.” We already read back in verse 9, “Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voice, and wept.” Twice now along this road these two young ladies are equal. And my second point is, TEARS ARE CHEAP. Tears are not as cheap as talk----I'll grant you that----not as cheap as talk, but they're cheap enough.

I believe sometimes tears are an indication of reality. I heard the testimony of a young lady years ago when I was in Bible school, who said that she had been demon-possessed, and for long months she had tried to pray, but the demons wouldn't let her. They would torment her, twist her ankles, and put her in excruciating pain every time she tried to pray. But others were praying for her, and eventually the power of the demons was broken, and she was enabled to pray, and in speaking of this she said, “I knew it was real, because I was weeping, and I hadn't wept for years.” Sometimes tears are worth something, but sometimes they are awfully cheap. They don't prove anything. There are thousands of souls that have wept over their sins, and died and gone to hell. Tears are cheap. These two girls both wept alike, Ruth and Orpah. Both wept and made great professions of commitment, and in a little while one of them had turned back, and the other went on to salvation and eternal life.

Now the third thing I wish to point out is that these two girls were identical for a little while in what they did. I want you to turn back to the seventh verse. It says, “Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her, and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.” Both of them did the same thing. They both set out from the land of Moab. They both left the heathen people and the heathen gods, and they both went on the way. They didn't just think about it. They didn't just talk about it. Both of them actually did it. They both actually set out on the way, and the third point tonight is that ACTIONS ARE CHEAP.

You know, in the New Testament we read an account of Herod the king, who was a wicked man. He had taken his brother's wife. John the Baptist reproved Herod, and said, “It is not lawful for thee to have her.” Herod took John the Baptist and shut him up in prison. Now it says that while John the Baptist was in prison, Herod knew that he was a just and holy man, and he feared him, and heard him gladly, and did many things. ACTION! and it was cheap. You may know that somebody has the truth of God, you may esteem him as a servant of Christ, and hear him gladly, and do many things according to his preaching, and it all be very cheap, and you go to hell at the last anyway.

Talk is cheap, very cheap. Tears are cheap----not as cheap as talk, but still tears are cheap enough. Even actions are cheap----not as cheap as talk, not as cheap as tears, but cheap enough. Now it says that Herod heard John the Baptist gladly, and did many things. This can only have one meaning. It means that when Herod heard John preach, he did those things which John's preaching required. John preached some pretty strict standards, which you can read about elsewhere in the New Testament. Herod heard him, listened gladly, and changed his ways. He reformed his life right across the board. He “did many things,” but it was all cheap. He “did many things” that didn't cost him very much, and all the while he had his brother's wife in his bosom and the prophet of God in his prison. And all those many things that he did weren't worth a straw, because he didn't go all the way. After hearing the greatest prophet that ever walked the earth, after hearing him gladly and doing many things that he preached to him, he died a fearful death and went to hell. He “did many things,” but it was all cheap----didn't go deep enough, didn't go far enough.

Well, Ruth and Orpah were also identical in this, that they both engaged in the same course of action. They both set off from the land of Moab. They both left the heathen gods. They both set out with Naomi, and actually went on the way to the land of Judah. And after all of her tears and all of her talk, all of her great professions, all of her “surely we will go,” and after she actually set out on the way, Orpah turned back.

Well, what am I saying? Am I saying that there isn't any security? Am I saying you can't know if you're going to turn back or not? No, I'm not saying that. The Bible says you make your calling and election sure, and you can. There is one thing I want you to see here about Ruth, wherein she differed from Orpah. It says in verse 14, “And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law, but Ruth clave to her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.” Naomi started to labor to turn the other one back also. “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. When she saw that she was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.” What Ruth had is that she was steadfastly minded to go. It was something that was thought out, the cost was counted, and she was steadfastly determined. I believe there may be room for self-deception here, but I also believe the old proverb speaks true when it says, “Every man knows his own heart best.” You can be determined in such a way that you cannot turn back. Years ago, nearly 25 years ago, I imbibed from the Bible many of the principles that I stand for today. I had just graduated from Bible school, and I was rooming with a young man who had also gone to Bible school with me. He was working as a janitor at a large fundamental Bible Church. I was of course preaching to him the truth that I stood for, and he readily embraced what I was preaching, and went down to the church where he was working and began to preach it to the old pastor there. And the old pastor said to him, “Son, when I was about your age, I used to think that way too, but you'll get over it.” He came home and told me that, and I looked him in the eye and pointed my finger at him and said, “I will never get over it”----and I never did. He did----didn't take him very long, either. But you see, even then there was a difference in the heart.

I believe there was a difference in the heart between Ruth and Orpah also. Ruth had counted the cost, and she was steadfastly determined. You can be that. If you're only playing games at Christianity----doing many things like Herod did, but never going all the way with it----you're likely to turn back in a minute. But if you count the cost, and take all the action that God requires of you, and are steadfastly determined in your heart that you will never turn back, I believe you can make your calling and election sure. I believe God himself will labor to turn you back if you're half-hearted and half committed. God himself will put obstacles in your way. What about these people in the parable of the sower who believed for a while, but when tribulation or persecution arose because of the word, they fell away? God could have prevented any such tribulation or persecution from coming. God could have said, “These poor folks are too weak to bear tribulation or persecution, and I'll just shield them from it.” He could have, but he didn't. He wasn't interested in babying half-converted folks along the way to eternal life----for it would end up being eternal damnation anyway. God didn't baby them. He just let the tribulation and persecution come, and turn them back. He just let the storm beat upon the house on the sand, and let it fall.

I won't accuse Orpah of playing games at it. I think she was serious. She made great professions, and she took action, and she shed tears, but she wasn't steadfastly minded to go forward through thick and thin. Perhaps she hadn't counted the cost, and when she clearly saw what the cost was, she turned back. Whatever her reason was, she did turn back----back to her heathen people, back to her heathen gods, back to sin and damnation.

Let's pray. Father, thank you for this solemn record of Ruth and Orpah. God, paint this picture before our eyes----engrave it on our hearts----one with steadfast determination going forward to eternal life, and one after all her talk and tears and actions turning back to eternal damnation. God, help us to make our calling and election sure. Amen.


Withdraw Thy Foot
by Glenn Conjurske

It is the general character of the book of Proverbs not merely to give us commandments to make us righteous, but to give us advice to make us wise----to teach us how to act in such a way as to secure our own good, sometimes in spiritual and eternal things, but very often in the earthly and temporal. To state the matter another way, the motive given to us for the things prescribed in this book is not generally because it is right, but rather because it is wise----because by attending to these things I will secure my own good. Read almost anywhere at random in the book of Proverbs, and you will find this to be true.

Take one example (the first that met my eye upon opening the book): “These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgement. He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him.” (Prov. 24:23-24). No doubt to say to the wicked, Thou art righteous, is wrong, and he that does so will forfeit the blessing of God, yet it is not the scope of this verse to enforce that, but rather to persuade us that the thing is unwise, and that he that does it will forfeit the good will of the people.

This is exactly the character of Proverbs 25:17, which reads in the English version, “Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house, lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.” It is for your own good, for your own happiness and well-being, that your neighbor should love you. But it is in your power to procure the opposite of his love. You may drive him even to hate you, by putting your foot in his house more than he desires to have it there. He may not be so enamored with you as you are with yourself. Little as you may be able to understand it, he may tire of your company. He may quite rightly resent your invasion of his privacy, your interruption of his plans, and your theft of his time. Social decorum and politeness may keep him from showing you to the door, but the more you keep your foot in his house, the more weary he may become of you, until you have driven him to loathe the very sight of you. Withdraw your foot, therefore, for your own good.

Such is the general scope and meaning of this scripture. But a more detailed exposition and application is called for.

“Withdraw thy foot.” This is a paraphrase of the original, and as strong as it may appear to be, the original is stronger. The first complete Bible printed in the English language (the version of Myles Coverdale, published in 1535) was not translated from the Hebrew original, but from the Latin and German versions. The Latin Vulgate in this verse reads Subtrahe pedem tuum de domo proximi tui, which exactly answers to Coverdale's “Withdrawe thy foote from thy neighbours house,” and this was followed by the subsequent revisions of the English Bible, down to the King James Version. The margin of the King James Version, however, gives a rendering closer to the original: “Let thy foot be seldom in thy neighbour's house.” But this also is a paraphrase.

A more literal translation will be found in the version of Isaac Leeser (Jewish, 1853), which says, “Make thy foot scarce.” This is followed by I. M. Rubin (also Jewish, 1928). The word means to be precious, and is so translated most of the time in the English version. In the Hiphil it is “to make precious,” and this is the form used here, as it is also in Isaiah 13:12, where the English version has “I will make a man more precious than fine gold.” The meaning of this is that the Lord will make men precious by making them scarce, “in the day of his fierce anger” (vs. 13). And this is precisely the meaning in Prov. 25:17. We are to make our foot precious in our neighbor's house by making it scarce. This would be well expressed by “Make thy foot dear” in an old sense of the word “dear”----costly or precious because scarce, as in “Corn and oats were dear that year.” The English word “rare” contains this meaning, and Alexander Harkavy's version (also Jewish, 1936) renders it, “Make thy foot rare.”

“And who is my neighbor?” It may be that some will suppose the advice of this verse to be well taken where it concerns a neighbor, but safely ignored where it concerns a friend. Such is not the case, however, for though the Hebrew word is most often rendered “neighbor,” it also properly signifies a friend. It is used to designate Job's three “friends,” who were certainly not neighbors, for they came to him “every man from his own place,” a Temanite, a Shuhite, and a Naamathite (Job 2:11). These were personal friends, and nothing less. So likewise where the word is used of Hushai, David's “companion” (I Chron. 27:33), and twice where Absalom said to Hushai, when David fled from him, “Is this thy kindness to thy friend? Why wentest thou not with thy friend?” (II Sam. l6:17). Isaac Leeser therefore renders the verse, “Make thy foot scarce in the house of thy friend,” and is followed in this by I. M. Rubin. It is not only in your neighbor's house, then, but also in the house of your friend, that you may be in danger of “wearing out your welcome.”

But understand, I would not pen one line to discourage or dampen real friendship. Just the contrary, in fact. I believe in friendship----warm, personal friendship, close friendship, deep friendship----a real knitting of two souls together in the strong bonds of understanding and confidence and sympathy and love. For years I have defined a friend as someone you can drop in on at any time and be welcome. I am not writing now to dampen or discourage such friendship, but precisely to encourage and preserve it. Suppose you have a friend at whose house you are always welcome, and who is likewise always welcome at your house. Suppose that you have a standing invitation, and a welcome which you cannot wear out. You did not gain such a friendship in a day. There probably was a time (before your friendship was as deep and strong as it is now) when you could have wearied your friend of your company, and if you had done so, you would not likely now have the friendship which you do have. And if such a friendship is only in the process of development, it is your wisdom to withdraw your foot. If you give your friend less of your company than he desires, his desire for it will be strengthened. If you give him more of it than he desires, his desire for it will be weakened. Even if you have a standing invitation, that is a privilege which has been granted to you, not a right to be expected, and privileges which are abused may be revoked.

“Thy neighbor's house.” “Every man is king in his own house,” an old proverb says, and we all feel instinctively that so he ought to be. But you deprive him of his sovereignty when you enter his house without his invitation. He may like your personality and conversation well enough, but he dislikes being deprived of the control of his own house and person. Thus he may tire of your company more quickly at his own house, if you are there without his invitation, or if you stay too long or too late, than he would at your house, or some other place. It is simple wisdom, therefore, to make your foot scarce in your neighbor's house. Go there when you are invited there. Stay a reasonable time. If you go there often, but are seldom or never invited, it is probable that you have done much to wear away your welcome already.

And by the way, it is quite possible to weary your neighbor by your intrusions without ever going to his house, by means of the modern machine called the telephone. There may in fact be more danger of this than of the other. You may instinctively feel a little restraint and reserve about actually putting your foot in your neighbor's house. Indeed, you may even be too lazy to do so. But it is a much easier thing to pick up the telephone.

“Lest he be weary of thee.” This is the only place in the Old Testament where this Hebrew word is rendered “be weary.” Its meaning is to be filled, satisfied, sated or satiated, to have had enough, in either a good sense or a bad.

In a good sense:

“And he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed.” (Ruth 2:4.)

“The meek shall eat, and be satisfied.” (Ps. 22:26.)

“My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness.” (Ps. 63:5.)

In a bad sense:

“The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways.” (Prov. 14:14.)

“I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts, and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.” (Is. 1:11.)

The word is used in both the good and the bad sense in Prov. 28:l9: “He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread, but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.”

It is of course the bad sense with which we have to do in Prov. 25:l7. “Lest he be sated with thee,” the Jewish Publication Society version has it, and I. M. Rubin's, “lest he have too much of thee.” The same word is used in the immediately preceding verse, and the two verses should be taken together:

“Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it. Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house, lest he be filled with thee, and so hate thee.”

It is a simple matter of too much of a good thing. A man may like carrots well enough, but if he is forced to eat them too often, he may soon have his fill of them, and be weary of the things. If they are then still forced upon him, he may in time actually loathe them, so much so that he may never be able to enjoy them again. How much more if some food he never cared for in the first place is thus forced upon him. And it is just the same with human souls. Though some are naturally drawn together, and easily take a liking to each other, others find no such natural attraction. The latter sort may easily tire of each other, and even the former sort may do so if one forces himself too much upon the other.

Yet I believe that friendship can be deepened and strengthened to the point that two souls cannot tire of each other, though they live in the same house. This is obviously the case in a proper marriage, and it is an interesting fact that the bride in the Song of Solomon says of her husband, “this is my beloved, and this is my friend,” (Song of Sol. 5:16), using the same word as is translated “neighbor” in our text. Here is clearly a case where there could be no occasion for withdrawing the foot from the house of this “friend.” We may safely assume that such a friendship existed also between David and Jonathan, for Jonathan, we are told, loved David “as his own soul,” and David said of Jonathan, “thy love was wonderful to me, passing the love of women.” (I Sam. 18:1 & II Sam. 1:26). Men are not known to tire of their own souls, nor, I suppose, of the love of women, either.

But observe: I do not suppose it to be possible for such a friendship to subsist between every two souls on earth, nor (even where it is possible) that it is likely to be quickly or easily established. And until it is established it will remain your wisdom to “Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbor's house, lest he have enough of thee.” You will be wiser to invite him to your own house, leaving him free to come if he pleases, and leave when he pleases. But caution is in order here also. Some folks may feel some kind of obligation to accept such invitations, and at that rate a man may as readily tire of your company at your house as at his own. If you often invite a friend to your house, and are seldom or never invited in return, you may suspect that something is amiss, and might do well not to invite him so often. Friendship and fellowship must be reciprocal, or someone will be weary of it sooner or later.

“And so hate thee.” “What! Hate me? This is not right. It is sin. Folks have no right----my brothers and sisters in Christ have no right----to hate me.” True enough. And you therefore have no right to tempt them or provoke them to do so. If a child has no right to indulge wrath against his father, then a father has no right to provoke his child to wrath. If a man has no right to look upon a woman to lust after her, then a woman has no right to dress so as to provoke him to lust. If your friends have no right to hate you, then you have no right to weary them by putting your foot, uninvited, in their house. In all such matters you must deal with the weakness of the flesh as it is, for your own good and your neighbor's.

But understand, a true saint of God will not be moved to actually hate you, in the strictest sense of the term. “Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” (I Jn. 3:10.) “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in the darkness even until now.” (I Jn. 2:9.) This is one of the lines of demarcation between those who know God and those who know him not. But this is not to say there is no danger when you are dealing with the godly. They are human beings the same as you are. The spirit may be willing, but the flesh may be weak. You may not provoke them actually to hate you, but you may surely weaken their love. You may put an effectual obstacle in the way of the love which might otherwise be. You may cause a cold frost to descend upon the tender bud of fellowship which could blossom into a warm and satisfying friendship, and so destroy the good thing before it has a chance to exist. In the like manner might you destroy the precious flower after it has blossomed forth.

Here is wisdom, therefore: “Make thy foot scarce in the house of thy friend, lest he have enough of thee, and so hate thee.”

Methodist Bishops' Toil & Reward. We are riding in a poor thirty dollar chaise, in partnership, two bishops of us, but it must be confessed it tallies well with the weight of our purses: what bishops! well: but we hear great news, and we have great times, and each western, southern, and the Virginia conference will have one thousand souls truly converted to God; and is not this an equivalent for a light purse? and are we not well paid for starving and toil?----yes; glory be to God! ----Francis Asbury's Journal, Dec. 18, 1808.


Judgement Upon All the Ungodly
by Glenn Conjurske

The Bible is very explicit concerning the fact that when Christ returns to earth he will execute judgement upon all the ungodly----and this fact is fatal to the system of doctrines known as post-tribulationism. The fact of the universal judgement upon the ungodly is denied by some few post-tribulationists, but most of them have apparently never thought so far as to realize its significance, and they simply ignore it. What I intend to do in this article is, first, to prove the universal destruction of the ungodly at the coming of Christ, and then to point out its necessary consequences for the post-tribulational system.

In the last chapter of the Old Testament we read, “Behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven: and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.” (Mal. 4:1-2). I suppose it were needless to attempt to prove that this scripture refers to the coming of Christ, for none doubt it, unless those who are altogether unfamiliar with the prophetic Scriptures. Its teaching is very explicit that all that do wickedly will be utterly destroyed in that day.

In the Lord's interpretation of the parable of the wheat and the tares, we are told, “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father.” (Matt. 13:40-42). The same classes of men, and the same events, are set forth in these two passages. “You that fear my name” of Malachi 4 are “the righteous” of Matthew 13. They shall shine forth in the kingdom after the destruction of the wicked. “All that do wickedly” in Malachi 4 are “all...them which do iniquity” in Matthew 13. They shall be burned up, according to both scriptures. This is a sweeping, unsparing destruction, which leaves them neither root nor branch. Matthew explicitly defines the time of this judgement: “the end of this age” (aijwvn)----that is, the coming of Christ to execute judgement.

Enoch's prophecy, as given in the book of Jude, is strong and explicit: “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgement upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 14-15). We know that the issue of this judgement will be the complete destruction of all of the ungodly. Enoch's prophecy (“the Lord cometh, with ten thousands of his saints”) cannot be fulfilled by anything except the actual and personal coming of Christ, yet there can be no question that the immediate type of its final fulfillment, which followed Enoch's utterance of the warning, is to be seen in the flood of Noah's day. This is often the way of Bible prophecy, to have an eye to both a near and a far fulfillment. Only observe, the near “fulfillment” is never properly a fulfillment of the prophecy, for the terms of the prophecies are never exhausted by those near fulfillments. They are rather to be regarded as types of the actual and final fulfillment. Such was Noah's flood to the prophecy of Enoch, and precisely because of the similarity between the judgement of the flood and the judgement at Christ's coming. Both are a judgement of living men, and issue in the complete destruction of all of the ungodly from off the face of the earth.

Christ himself uses Noah's flood as a type of the coming judgement. “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed”----that is, at his coming again to earth (Luke 17:26-30).

Again, “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away. So shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matt. 24:37-39).

Twice the New Testament tells us that Christ will judge “the quick [the living] and the dead.” All of these scriptures which we have quoted refer to the judgement of the living, those who are alive in the flesh on the earth when Christ returns, and all of these scriptures explicitly teach that that judgement will be executed upon all. There are other scriptures which imply as much, without using the word “all,” such as: “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (II Thes. 1:7-8).

The Old Testament types speak the same thing, notably the flood and the judgement of Sodom, both judgements of the living, and types explicitly applied by Christ to the judgement at his coming. Another type, less explicit than these, but nonetheless clear enough to those familiar with the prophetic Scriptures, is found in Psalm 19:4-6. “In them he hath set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” The sun is a type of Christ in his coming to judge the world and establish his kingdom on the earth, as appears in the fourth chapter of Malachi, already quoted. The day which the sun brings to the earth typifies the earthly reign of Christ, the “kingdom come” for which the saints of all ages have prayed, when the will of God will be done in earth as it is now done in heaven (Matt. 6:10), and “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Is. 11:9). All of this presents the perfect contrast to the present age, which is the age of evil and darkness.

The heat of the sun represents the unsparing judgement of that day “that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be as stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up.” (Malachi 4:1). Returning to the nineteenth Psalm, we see the sun “as a bridegroom”----an obvious reference to Christ, the bridegroom of the church. More: as a bridegroom “coming out of his chamber.” Now the chamber of the bridegroom is the marriage chamber, or as we would say in modern language, the bedroom. The fact that the bridegroom is represented as coming out of his chamber indicates that the marriage has taken place already. The bride has been raptured to heaven and united to her bridegroom. That being done, he comes out of the chamber to execute the judgements predicted throughout the prophetic Scriptures. Those who deny the truths of prophecy, whether it be the pretribulation rapture or the millennial reign of Christ, can find no sense or meaning in these words. If indeed they go deep enough into the text to concern themselves with the matter at all, it must remain a mystery to them why the Lord should represent the sun “as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber.” Types can only be recognized by those who know the truth which they represent. They are as a picture of an individual----readily recognized by those who know the person, but meaningless to all others. The type here speaks of Christ coming to execute universal and unsparing judgement, indicated by the words, “there is nothing hid from the heat thereof,” where most of the early English versions have “none” or “no man” rather than “nothing.” One of the earliest Psalters printed in English (1530), translated by Francis Foxe from the Latin of Martin Bucer, has, “nether is their eny mane that maye hyde hym frome his heate.” The Psalter of George Joye, the former amanuensis of William Tyndale, printed in 1534, has, “there is noman that maye hyde him from his heat.” Myles Coverdale's Bible (1535) has, “there maye no man hyde himself from the heate therof.” The Geneva Bible (1560) has, “none is hid from the heate thereof.” The early metrical Psalters read the same way. Robert Crowley's (1549) has,

And under the heavens that be
so wonderfull and wyde:
There is not one that from his heate
may hym absent or hyde.

Thomas Sterneholde's (1551 edition) has,

No man can hide him from his heate
but he will finde him out.

Indeed, so read the English Psalters long before printing was thought of. The Psalter of Richard Rolle of Hampole, who died in 1349, reads, “nan [none] is that him may hide fra [from] his hete.” His commentary on the place is all wrong, for he explains it thus: “swa he suffirs nan to be that may excuse thaim of the hete of his luf: for he has shewid luf till all, for noman may excuse him, `that he ne is sum tyme stird fra synn to gode”'----that is, in modern English, “so he suffers none to be that may excuse them[selves] of the heat of his love, for he has showed love to all, for no man may excuse him[self], `that he is not some time stirred from sin to God.”' Naturally enough, in his commentary he also refers the bridegroom coming out of his chamber to the first coming of Christ, but however mistaken his interpretation may be, his translation speaks for the truth. The Wycliffe Bible reads likewise, “noon [none] is that hidith hym silf from his heet.” The doctrine of this is a universal judgement, from which none can hide or escape.

We grant, however, that the type, however fitting and beautiful, proves nothing. Nor is there any need: the doctrine has abundant proof without the type. There is, however, one very plain New Testament scripture which gives a striking confirmation to this type. Luke 12:36 says, “And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding, that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.” Neither post-tribulationist nor amillennialist can make any sense of this. Even some pretribulationists have stumbled over it, trying to refer this text to the rapture of the church. In so doing some of the early Plymouth Brethren had the effrontery to suggest that to return from the wedding meant to return to the wedding----an argument worthy of a weaker cause, and totally unnecessary for a pretribulationist. The very terms used in the text suggest that the coming spoken of is not the rapture of the church, though the same kind of watchfulness is enjoined upon the church: “ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, ... that when he cometh and knocketh they may open unto him immediately.” Why is the third person used, if this refers to the rapture of the church? The scene which follows also, in verse 37, evidently belongs to the millennial kingdom: “he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.” Every premillennialist believes that the scene in the next chapter, where “they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God” (Luke 13:29), belongs to the millennial kingdom, and Luke 12:37 certainly seems to speak of the same thing.

Now see where this universal judgement leaves the post-tribulational system. As they believe, at the coming of Christ to execute judgement and establish his kingdom, all of the godly shall be raptured and glorified; and, as we have proved, all of the ungodly shall at the same time be destroyed. Thus, on the post-tribulational scheme, after the coming of Christ there would be no one left on the earth to inherit the kingdom. It will thus be plainly seen that there can be no middle ground between amillennialism and pretribulationism. Post-tribulationism endeavors to stand between the two, but it is a hybrid system, which joins with pretribulationists and all premillennialists in interpreting those scriptures literally which speak of the reign of Christ, but then usually defects to the amillennial position, and spiritualizes many of the scriptures which speak of the reign of antichrist. But as soon as the truth set forth in this article is recognized, it becomes plainly apparent that they have no standing ground. They are forced to get on one side or the other----to abandon all expectation of a literal kingdom of Christ on the earth, or to embrace a consistently literal interpretation of prophecy, which will force them to the pretribulational system.

If there is to be a millennium at all----a “paradise restored,” when the creation itself is delivered from the bondage of corruption----when they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they shall all know him----when they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid----when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more----then there must be men alive in the body after the return of Christ, men who are neither raptured to heaven nor destroyed at the coming of Christ. There must be men who go through the final judgements on this world, and come out alive on the other side of them, precisely as Noah and his sons did in the judgement of the old world----which we know is a type of the judgement at the second coming of Christ.

It was not God's purpose to end the history of the earth at the flood in Noah's day, but only to destroy the ungodly, and purge the earth for the establishment of the new dispensation. Therefore his own were spared through that time of judgement, that they might inherit the earth thus purged. Thus exactly will it be at the coming of Christ to earth again, as every premillennialist knows very well. The godly will be spared through those final judgements on the world, not merely to be raptured to heaven when the judgements are over, but to people the millennial earth (from which the ungodly have all been swept away), as Noah did after the flood. But most post-tribulationists have apparently never thought far enough to realize how utterly at variance their system is with this fact. Some indeed have thought so far, and have been forced therefore to deny the universality of the judgement at Christ's coming.

One such was A. J. Gordon, a well known Baptist leader of the last century. He writes, “In the transfiguration----which is distinctly called `the Son of man coming in His kingdom'----we have a miniature presentation of the millennium. Moses and Elias, who appear with Christ in glory, prefigure respectively the risen and changed saints translated and brought into one company at the appearing and kingdom of our Lord; while the disciples who stand without the cloud and behold His glory are typical of those in the flesh, the Jews and the nations, who will still be left on the earth after the rapture of the saints.” To this I have nothing at all to object. Only I ask, concerning “those in the flesh, the Jews and the nations, who will still be left on the earth after the rapture of the saints,” are they godly or ungodly when Christ appears from heaven? If they are godly, why are they not raptured along with the rest of the saints? Will any of the saints be left behind when the church is raptured? If they are ungodly, why are they not destroyed with the rest of the ungodly? Were any spared outside the ark when the flood came? Will any be spared outside of Christ when he comes to execute judgement upon all the ungodly?

Gordon evidently held that these men in the flesh will be ungodly when Christ returns, but that they will be converted as a result of his coming. So he writes further, “Will the glorified Church hold relation to mortal men still living on the earth? They who deny this, and suppose that the whole human race will be swept from the globe and destroyed at the coming of Christ, quote words of terrific import for such a view (2 Thess. i.7). But if we balance Scripture with Scripture, the conclusion is otherwise. For not only is it taught that the advent judgments fall especially on apostate Christendom (Matt. xiii.40,41), but with equal clearness that Christ's coming issues in the conversion of Israel (Zech xii.10; Rom. xi.26), and through Israel in the conversion of the Gentiles (Rom. xi.12-15; Is. lx.).” In plain English, Gordon denies that Christ will execute judgement upon all the ungodly at his coming. That judgement will fall “especially” upon apostate Christendom, but some part of the rest of the world will be exempt. Ungodly Jews and Gentiles are spared that judgement, and the coming of Christ “issues,” not in their destruction, but in their conversion.

But how can such a doctrine be reconciled with the plain proofs which we have given above that judgement will be executed upon all the ungodly? In the judgement of the living nations at Christ's return, set forth in Matthew 25, we see no goats being turned into sheep. There is not the least hint or possibility of such a thing. The sheep inherit the kingdom, and the goats are consigned to punishment, upon the basis of what they have done previous to his return----how they have treated his brethren in his absence. And to this agree the words of Revelation 22:11-12, where we read, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” When Christ comes his reward is with him, for both the righteous and the wicked, and there will be no changing sides then.

“Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:28), but he will not appear unto salvation to any who are ungodly. Not so, for “all that do wickedly shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.” (Mal. 4:1-2).

But Gordon gives several Scripture references in support of his position. We may pass by those which he gives to prove that the Gentiles shall be converted through Israel. We do not doubt that, only we deny that this shall take place after the advent of Christ. The scriptures which he cites to prove that Israel will be converted as a result of Christ's coming we must examine.

The first is Zech. 12:10(-14), which says, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Meggidon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.” To this we add also the next verse, which is the first verse of the next chapter: “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” There can hardly be any question that what is here set forth is the latter-day conversion of the Jews. But does this take place after the coming of Christ, and as a result of his coming?

For many years, with only the English version before me, I regarded this passage as a plain reference to the second coming of Christ, and would have regarded it as perversity to deny it. A closer examination of the text, however, has indicated otherwise. Everything hinges upon the words “they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.” The Hebrew preposition rendered “upon” I believe ought to be translated “unto.” This is its primary meaning, as given in all Hebrew lexicons. I have found five other places where these same two Hebrew words, “look unto,” are used, and in only one of them is it even possible to refer to a literal looking upon. That one is Numbers 21:9, where we read, “when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” “Beheld” is literally “looked unto,” the same words as in Zech. 12:10. David Baron, a learned and spiritual Jewish Christian (and a post-tribulationist, by the way), uses the phrase in Numbers 21:9 to illustrate that in Zechariah 12:10, and translates it “looked unto” in the Numbers passage.

This place in Numbers, as said, is the only one of the five where it is possible that a literal looking upon could be meant, and there it is no way necessary. The other four places where these two Hebrew words occur together are all in the book of Isaiah, and are as follows:

“Ye made also a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool: but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago.” (Is. 22:11).

“Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you.” (Is. 51:1-2).

“But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” (Is. 66:2).

What reason is there, then, for translating the same two Hebrew words “look upon” in Zech. 12:10? There is no reason that I know of, and there is plenty of reason not to do so. It may be that the translators of Zechariah were influenced in their rendering by the obvious allusions to this verse in Matt. 24:30 and Rev. 1:7, but no New Testament allusion can be reason enough not to translate the Hebrew according to its plain sense. The New Testament allusions obviously refer to the personal coming of Christ, but there is not a word in them of anyone being converted, and many of the best commentators connect this mourning in the New Testament allusions with the fact that those mourning are shut out from mercy, and lost for ever. On Matt. 24:30, for example, Matthew Henry (ammillennial), C. H. Spurgeon (premillennial, but not pretribulational), and A. B. Simpson (premillennial and pretribulational), all explain the verse so. Henry says, “Some of all the tribes and kindreds of the earth shall mourn; for the greater part shall tremble at his approach. ...impenitent sinners shall look unto him whom they have pierced, and, though they laugh now, shall mourn and weep after a devilish sort, in endless horror and despair.” Spurgeon says, “Christ's coming will be the source of untold joy to his friends; but it will bring unparalleled sorrow to his foes: `then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn.' When Jesus comes, he will find the nations still unsaved, and horror will be their eternal portion.” Simpson says, “...after the tribulation He is to come in the blaze of His glory openly and visibly before the eyes of all the world, and as they see Him `all the tribes of the earth shall mourn.' It shall be a day of terror to this godless world and destruction and judgment to the wicked nations that shall be found in opposition to his throne.”

The scripture in Zechariah cannot contradict those several plain and explicit scriptures which affirm that Christ will execute judgement upon all the ungodly at his coming. Yet to translate this verse “look upon me whom they have pierced” does just that, and makes the coming of Christ issue in the conversion of ungodly Jews rather than in their destruction.

The Latin Vulgate took the text in the sense for which we contend, reading aspicient ad me, “they shall look unto me.” The Greek Septuagint evidently meant the same also. It reads ejpiblevyontai prov" meV, “they shall look to me.” The verb used does indeed mean “to look upon,” but it also means “to look” absolutely, and coupled with the preposition prov" can hardly mean anything except “look to.” Indeed, even where the preposition is ejpiv, as it is in Micah 7:7, the meaning can be nothing other than “I will look to the Lord.” Looking upon is out of the question.

Observe, then, the real meaning of this text. First of all, before the “looking” which is spoken of, the spirit of grace and of supplications is poured out upon them. They then look unto him whom they have pierced, and mourn for him. Then the fountain for sin and uncleanness is opened to them. They are converted to Christ. But all of this takes place before his coming. We see these converted Jews in the last half of the seventieth week in Revelation 12. In verse 17 we read, “And the dragon was wroth with the woman [which is Israel], and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” These are those very “Jews,” men “in the flesh, who will still be left on the earth after the rapture of the saints,” of whom A. J. Gordon speaks. Their conversion takes place indeed after the rapture of the church, but assuredly before the second advent of Christ to the earth. They are kept through that hour of judgement, precisely as Noah was in his day. The church will be kept from that hour of judgement (Rev. 3:10)----not kept through it, as Noah was, but kept from it, raptured before the hour of judgement comes, as Enoch was.

In the twelfth chapter of Zechariah, then, what we see is the conversion of the Jews, when they “look unto him whom they have pierced,” before his return in his glory. This is followed in chapter 13 by great judgements in the land, in which two thirds of the people are cut off, and in chapter 14 by the personal return of Christ to the earth, when “his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives.” If they have not turned to him in repentance and faith before his return, it will surely be too late for them to do so then. They will then be the stubble which shall be burnt up.

The other text which Gordon cites is Romans 11:26, which says, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” To turn away ungodliness from Jacob obviously means to save the Jews from sin, as the context explains: “so all Israel shall be saved.” The question is, how and when shall this be done? What, in other words, does it mean for the deliverer to “come out of Sion”? The expression itself seems a little strange, and the more so when we consider that the Old Testament scripture which is apparently here quoted says something quite different. That scripture (Is. 59:20) says, “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob.” This certainly may refer to the coming of Christ. But in quoting the verse, Paul deliberately sets aside the Hebrew, changing “to” to “out of.” And though he quotes the rest of the verse verbatim from the Septuagint, he sets aside its preposition also (“for the sake of”), and uses his own preposition, “out of.” Now we hardly need point out that to come out of Zion is not the same thing as to come to it. The verse as it stands in the Hebrew, and in the English translation in the Old Testament, may very well refer to the coming of Christ. But as Paul alters it in his quotation it evidently refers to something else. He cites the verse in support of his present thesis, to prove that “all Israel shall be saved.” The part of the quotation which proves that point is “shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob,” which is the Septuagint version. But in citing this (under the direction of the Spirit of God as we surely believe), Paul alters the preposition, apparently on purpose to avoid any possible reference to the second coming of Christ. When Christ appears, those who are ungodly will not be converted, but destroyed.

A. J. Gordon's doctrine, then, that ungodly Jews and Gentiles will be converted as a result of Christ's coming, is a mere necessity of his post-tribulational system. Scriptural proof of it he has none. We quite agree with him that there shall be men “in the flesh...left on the earth after the rapture of the saints” of the present dispensation. There must be if there is to be any such millennium as is foretold throughout all of the prophetic Scriptures. But to suppose that any of them will be converted as a result of Christ's advent to earth stands in direct contradiction to all of those plain proofs we have given of the universal destruction which awaits all of the ungodly “when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (II Thes. 1:7-8). To all such the Lord now thunders out his warning: “Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! To what end is it for you? The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?” (Amos 5:18-20).

Christ's return to earth will be a day of universal and unsparing judgement upon all the ungodly. No doubt (as the scripture I am about to quote plainly indicates) many of them will cry to him for mercy then, but it will be too late. The door of mercy will be shut. “When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are; then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets, but he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 13:25-29). The time when this takes place is very plainly indicated, by the time words which I have emphasized, and by the events described. The time, without the slightest question, is the advent of Christ to earth to establish his kingdom. All the workers of iniquity (and this scripture obviously refers to ungodly Jews) will then be excluded, for the door of mercy has been shut, as surely as it was when God shut the door of the ark before the flood.

For many centuries the Lord has spoken in mercy, while sinners have raged and imagined vain things, taken counsel against the Lord and against his Christ, and broken their bands asunder and cast away their cords from them. But “Then will he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure, [saying], yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” (Psalm 2:5-8). The time of his speaking to them in his wrath is plainly indicated as the time of his setting his king upon Zion----the establishment of the millennial kingdom at the return of Christ----and this, by the way, is equally destructive of the ammillennial and the post-tribulational positions. The last verse quoted has often been used to stir missionary zeal, as though this were a promise to convert the heathen. But it is no such thing, but a warning of unsparing and universal judgement upon them, when God sets his king upon Zion. “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” There is no mercy here, and certainly no salvation. And this exactly agrees with all the rest of the prophetic Scriptures of both Testaments. The Psalm goes on, “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings”----now, while the door of mercy is still open. Now you may yet be converted and saved, but then there will not be the least hope of such a thing.

To conclude, if all of the godly shall meet the Lord in the air and be glorified together when Christ comes to receive them to himself (as all post-tribulationists believe), and all of the ungodly shall be judged and destroyed when Christ comes to earth to establish his kingdom (as we have plainly shown), then if those two events occur at one and the same time, there can be no millennium, precisely because there will be no one left on earth to enter into it. But if the rapture of the church and the coming of Christ to establish the kingdom are two distinct events, with a period of time between them, then all is plain and harmonious. The whole church of God is raptured as Enoch was before the judgement is poured out. There follow the seven years of Daniel's seventieth week, during which time the Lord deals with the Jews as the hated and rejected Joseph (already in possession of his Gentile bride) did with his brethren during the seven years of famine, to convict them and bring them to repentance concerning the one main point of their rejection of himself. The spirit of grace and of supplications will be poured out upon them. They will look unto him whom they have pierced, and mourn for him. A fountain will be opened to them for sin and for uncleanness, and “so all Israel shall be saved.” They will be preserved when the judgement of God overtakes all the ungodly, as Noah was in the ark, and will enter the kingdom of God which Christ will establish on earth. Post-tribulationists, then, have but two alternatives: they may go back to amillennialism, or forward to pretribulationism. There is no standing ground between them.

Chats from my Library
By Glenn Conjurske

Moody and Sankey

An old catalog of Morgan & Scott, publishers of Moody's books, quotes C. H. Spurgeon as saying, “There can be no need for us to commend the living, blazing speech of our brother Moody. Who can equal him in natural simplicity, all aglow with holy passion?” I have little inclination to argue with Spurgeon, but those of us who have never heard Moody preach cannot read his “living, blazing speech” into the printed page as Spurgeon could do, and we are likely to be disappointed with

D. L. Moody on paper. Yet understand, Moody was a great man, and a man of God----perhaps the most influential man of God of the nineteenth century----and those who ignore or despise him are lesser men than he was. That there was much to deplore in Moody I would not pretend to deny, but still he is a man worth knowing. His greatness was in preaching, though, not in writing.

There is another difficulty also with some of Moody's books. We are informed by his son-in-law, A. P. Fitt, “All but one or two of his books that were published after 1893 were compiled by me. I came to know his vocabulary and mannerisms of speech so well that I could do him justice and reproduce his true flavour.” We cannot help but regard this as a grave defect. We do not wish to read Moody's vocabulary, nor his mannerisms of speech, nor even his “true flavour,” much less his son-in-law, but Moody himself. And the matter is further complicated by the fact that his English publishers (Morgan & Scott) never dated anything. His American publisher (Fleming H. Revell) did better, though, and we may therefore say with certainty that some of his books were published before 1893. Among these are The Way to God and How to Find It, Prevailing Prayer, To the Work! To the Work!, and Heaven.

These difficulties, however, are abundantly compensated for by a class of books I am about to mention. In the last volume named above, published in 1880, Moody laments that many books had been published in his name in this country, none of them with any authority from him. But these are the very books we wish to see. Wherever Moody went his sermons were taken down in short hand, and often published verbatim in the daily papers. Many of these were afterwards gathered up and published in large volumes. Here we unquestionably have Moody himself----grammatical errors and all----and not his writing, but his preaching. Some of these books are:

Glad Tidings. Comprising Sermons and Prayer-Meeting Talks. Delivered at the N. Y. Hippodrome, by D. L. Moody; New York: E. B. Treat, 1876, 504 pp.

Great Joy. Comprising Sermons and Prayer-Meeting Talks. Delivered at the Chicago Tabernacle, by D. L. Moody; New York: E. B. Treat, 1877, 544 pp.

“To All People.” Comprising Sermons, Bible Readings, Temperance Addresses, and Prayer-Meeting Talks. Delivered in the Boston Tabernacle, by D. L. Moody; New York: E. B. Treat, 1877, 534 pp.

New Sermons, Addresses, and Prayers, by Dwight Lyman Moody; New York & Cincinnati: Henry S. Goodspeed & Co., 1877, 704 pp.

“The Gospel Awakening.” Comprising the Sermons and Addresses, Prayer-Meeting Talks and Bible Readings of the Great Revival Meetings conducted by Moody and Sankey in the Cities of Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Boston and Great Britain, etc., etc., edited by L. T. Remlap [Palmer]; Chicago: J. Fairbanks & Co., 1879, 861 pp.

The Great Redemption; or, Gospel Light Under the Labors of Moody and Sankey. Containing the Sermons, Addresses, Prayer-Meeting Talks, Bible Readings and Prayers,...at the Cleveland Tabernacle, During Oct. and Nov., 1879; Chicago: The Century Book and Paper Co., 1889, 492 pp.

You will notice that all of these sermons are from his early campaigns, up till 1879. I assume there may be such books of his later sermons, but I have never seen any. These volumes of sermons are undoubtedly the best books by Moody. But Moody, like George Whitefield, was primarily a preacher and a man of action----certainly not a deep teacher----and no books by him are likely to equal the books about him. Books about Moody began to appear as soon as he rose to fame. One of these early works is

D. L. Moody and His Work, by W. H. Daniels, published in 1875----a record of his early life and work, containing also a few sermons. Moody's life-long friend and supporter, J. V. Farwell, calls it “very creditable.” In 1877 Daniels published Moody: His Words, Work, and Workers, etc. (the full title filling most of a page). His “words” occupy the prominent place, most of the book being extracts from his sermons.

One of the most valuable books I have on Moody, exceeding all others in the abundance of details which it contains, is A Full History of the Wonderful Career of Moody and Sankey in Great Britain and America, by E. J. Goodspeed, published in 1876 and enlarged the following year. The enlarged edition omits large segments of the original, so that both books are needed to get the whole. It is not exceedingly scarce: I have seen several copies, including both editions. A very similar work (but much smaller and much later) is Recollections of D. L. Moody and His Work in Britain, 1874-92, by J. M. (Mrs. Peter McKinnon), Printed for Private Circulation, 1901. This also is invaluable for its details.

None of the above are full biographies, but several of such appeared at the time of his death. “The Official Authorized Edition” was written by Moody's son, William R. Moody (to whom Moody had committed the task while he yet lived), and published by Fleming H. Revell in 1900. It contains good information, but Will was a little too tame to write his father's life. An old man who graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 1939 once told me emphatically, “Will never did know the score.”

I assume he made reference to his softness towards modernists, which Will, however, inherited from his father. The book is entitled The Life of Dwight L. Moody, has 590 large pages, and over a hundred good photographs.

There also appeared in 1900 The Life and Work of Dwight L. Moody, by his fellow-evangelist J. Wilbur Chapman, also a large and well-illustrated book. In the same year also appeared Dwight L. Moody: The Man and His Mission, by George T. B. Davis, including a biographical sketch of 200 pages, numerous tributes and character sketches by others, and about 50 pages of “Moody's Own Version of Famous Bible Stories,” which could have been dispensed with. The books by Chapman and Will Moody are not terribly scarce, and I have seen several copies of each of them, including some of Moody's in foreign languages. It has also been reprinted by the Sword of the Lord Publishers, but not with anything like the quality of the original. Another inferior modern reprint omits all the pictures. I have never seen but one copy of Davis's, and it was my misfortune that it was newly rebound, and I must therefore pay $17.50 for it. The year 1900 also saw the publicaton of Life and Work of Dwight L. Moody, by A. W. Williams, a book of 416 pages, with numerous photographs, and Life, Work and Sermons of Dwight L. Moody, edited by Richard B. Cook, having 510 pages, more sparsely illustrated, but generally with much better pictures.

As a curiosity I notice Memorial Volume. Life and Labors of Dwight L. Moody, the Great Evangelist, Containing a Full Account of His Grand Career; His Remarkable Traits of Character; His World-Wide Fame as Orator and Philanthropist; Burning Zeal and Devotion in the Cause of Christianity; Including His Brilliant Discourses; Pithy Sayings; Famous Conferences at Northfield; Glowing Tributes to His Life and Labors from the Pulpit, The Press, Etc., Etc., by Henry Davenport Northrop. Chapter titles are of the same character, everything being “marvellous,” “great,” etc. I copied down the title in a book store, but could not bring myself to buy the book. This was no doubt a mistake, but a friend who read the manuscript of this chat presented me with a very fine copy of it. It is a book of about 500 pages, divided in half between the biography and “Mr. Moody's Brilliant and Powerful Discourses,” all “Profusely Embellished with Superb Engravings.” Moody would not have appreciated such a book. Though professing to be copyrighted in 1899, the book can scarcely have been published till 1900, for Moody was not buried until Dec. 26, 1899. A later printing contains a rather large appendix.

There are several small biographies and sketches, including a Life of D. L. Moody by W. R. Moody and A. P. Fitt, published in 1900 while Will was working on the larger life. One of the most valuable of the smaller books is Early Recollections of Dwight L. Moody, by J. V. Farwell, published in 1907. Farwell was then over eighty, and perhaps somewhat in his dotage, for the book is confused in grammar and arrangement. But it contains much excellent material not to be found elsewhere, including many original letters to, from, and about Moody. Moody Still Lives, by his son-in-law A. P. Fitt, subtitled “Word Pictures of D. L. Moody,” and published in 1936, contains much that is of interest, as does D. L. Moody: His Message for Today, by Charles R. Erdman, published in 1928. Paul D. Moody, who was tinged with modernism, wrote My Father: An Intimate Portrait of Dwight Moody, published in 1938. The flavor of this book is not spiritual. Much more to our mind is Why God Used D. L. Moody, by R. A. Torrey, a brief but good sketch. The only copy of this I have ever seen I found in a St. Vincent de Paul secondhand store, and paid a dime for it. Moody's son William published a second complete biography in 1930, a book of 556 pages entitled D. L. Moody. Will's slant is too evident in the pervasive presence of liberals in this book, and in the always favorable treatment which he gives to them and to Roman Catholics. It is easy to get the impression that the book was written on purpose to pique the Fundamentalists.

The names of Moody and Sankey are permanently wedded together, and it would hardly do to speak of the one without the other. Ira D. Sankey was the soloist who travelled with Moody in all of his gospel work, wrote the music for many of the hymns they used, and compiled the hymn books. Though certainly not of Moody's stature, Sankey was also a great man, and a worthy complement of Moody. Sacred Songs and Solos is the hymn book he compiled for use in their meetings. It started out as a small book. I have a very tattered early edition (title page gone) which contains 64 songs with music, and about twenty standard hymns, words only, at the back. But the book grew eventually to contain 1200 pieces. As used books go, this one is not terribly difficult to find, as it continued to sell long after Sankey had died, and many millions of copies were published. Sankey also compiled, in company with Bliss, McGranahan, and Stebbins, six series of Gospel Hymns, later published as Gospel Hymns, Nos. 1 to 6 Complete. These hymn books contain many of the hymns of Sankey, Bliss, Crosby, McGranahan, Doane, Sweney, Whittle, Stebbins, and others associated with Moody's work.

Sankey wrote one book, published in 1906, entitled My Life and the Story of the Gospel Hymns (American edition), or My Life and Sacred Songs (English edition). The “my life” part is a brief autobiography of 45 pages. The rest of the book contains stories about the hymns.

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