Comment: The Christian Connection

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The Christian Connection

Spurgeon was one of the most widely read men of his era. He had a photographic memory and one of the largest personally held theological libraries in the British Empire. He wrote extensive reviews of books saw 67 volumes of sermons published; in fact he remains the single most published author in terms of volume in English history and has more material currently in print than "any other Christian author living or dead.

"If I read the word aright, and it is honest to admit that there is much room for difference of opinion here, the day will come, when the Lord Jesus will descend from heaven with a shout, with the trump of the archangel and the voice of God. Some think that this descent of the Lord will be post-millennial—that is, after the thousand years of his reign. I cannot think so. I conceive that the advent will be pre-millennial; that he will come first; and then will come the millennium as the result of his personal reign upon earth.

(The Treasury of David and Matthew: The Gospel of the Kingdom) and his other writings reveal that he consistently and clearly not only affirmed a historic or covenantal premillennial position; he also rejected the salient tenets of the amillennial, postmillennial and dispensational premillennial schemes. He was not known for an abundance of preaching on eschatological themes, as he himself admitted:

You will bear me witness, my friends, that it is exceedingly seldom I ever intrude into the mysteries of the future with regard to the second advent, the millennial reign, or the first and second resurrection. As often as we come across it in our expositions we do not turn aside from the point, but if guilty at all on this point, it is rather in being too silent than saying too much.

Paul does not paint the future with rose-colour: he is no smooth-tongued prophet of a golden age, into which this dull earth may be imagined to be glowing. There are sanguine brethren who are looking forward to everything growing better and better and better, until, at the last this present age ripens into a millennium. They will not be able to sustain their hopes, for Scripture give them no solid basis to rest upon. We who believe that there will be no millennial reign without the King, and who expect no rule of righteousness except from the appearing of the righteous Lord, are nearer the mark. Apart from the second Advent of our Lord, the world is more likely to sink into pandemonium than to rise into a millennium. A divine interposition seems to me the hope set before us in Scripture, and, indeed, to be the only hope adequate to the situation. We look to the darkening down of things; the state of mankind, however improved politically, may yet grow worse and worse spiritually.

We expect a reigning Christ on earth; that seems to us to be very plain, and put so literally that we dare not spiritualise it. We anticipate a first and second resurrection; a first resurrection of the righteous, and a second resurrection of the ungodly, who shall be judged, condemned, and punished for ever by the sentence of the great King. I think that the Word of God teaches, and teaches indisputably, that the saints shall rise first. And be the interval of time whatever it may, whether the thousand years are literal years, or a very long period of time, I am not now about to determine; I have nothing to do except with the fact that there are two resurrections, a resurrection of the just, and afterwards of the unjust,—a time when the saints of God shall rise, an after time when the wicked shall rise to the resurrection of damnation.

In another instance Spurgeon wrote directly against the Dispensational teaching regarding the distinction between Israel and the Church while yet maintaining his own eschatological position stating, "we shall at once profess our attachment to the pre-millennial school interpretation, and the literal reading of those Scriptures that predict the return of the Jews to their own land."[23] That Spurgeon sees the Church and Israel united "spiritually" there can be no mistake.

Spurgeon strongly indicates his belief that the church would go through the tribulation, being preserved and protected by the power of God.

Israel's place in the kingdom was viewed by Spurgeon to clearly be by God's grace and a fulfillment of prophecy. There would be a national conversion and Israel would enter into God's salvation as a member of the church.

Jews have a great deal to do with this world's history. They shall be gathered in; Messiah shall come, the Messiah they are looking for—the same Messiah who came once shall come again—shall come as they expected him to come the first time. They then thought he would come a prince to reign over them, and so he will when he comes again. He will come to be king of the Jews, and to reign over his people most gloriously; for when he comes Jew and Gentile shall have equal privileges, though there shall yet be some distinction afforded to that royal family from whose loins Jesus came; for he shall sit upon the throne of his father David, and unto him shall be gathered all nations.

While Spurgeon views the millennium as the culmination of God's promises to the church, both the Old Testament and New Testament church, he still maintained that Israel as a nation would have a distinct and special role and even perhaps have some of the Old Testament forms of worship restored to functionality.

Spurgeon consistently and clearly taught to the following key points:

Israel as a nation will come to faith in Christ. Israel will have a national or geo-political identity. The political system will be a monarchy, "a king shall reign" Israel will be in the Promised Land. The borders will correspond to the promises given to Abraham and David. Israel will hold a special place among the nations in the millennial kingdom. However, Israel remains spiritually part of the church. There will be a national prosperity that will be the admiration of the world That the prophecies of the Old Testament should not be handled in a non-literal fashion