Eschatology—In the Old Testament

In our preceding article we began to call attention to the doctrines known as Eschatology. And we began this series of articles by calling attention to this doctrine as set before us in the Old Testament. We concluded this article by quoting from the Old: Testament Scriptures in connection with the return of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the clouds of heaven and as occurring at the end of the ages. 

The doctrine of Eschatology also calls attention to what is known as the Intermediate State, the state of the soul between the death of the body and its resurrection in the last day. Now it is certainly true that the Word of God does not lay emphasis upon this phase of the believer’s salvation. The Scriptures emphasize our state of final glory in the new heavens and upon the new earth. It is true, however, that the Word of God does teach this intermediate state in very clear language. This is true of the New Testament. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus the rich man opens his eyes in torment and Lazarus is translated, immediately upon death, into Abraham’s bosom. To the murderer upon the cross Jesus addresses the comforting word that he would be with Christ that very day in Paradise. And in II Cor. 5:1 we read: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” And the striking thing about this passage, in connection with the question whether our souls are translated immediately upon death into glory, is the truth that wehave this building of God as soon as the earthly house of our tabernacle is dissolved. The Old Testament Scriptures, however, also teach this truth. We read inProverbs 14:32: “The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.” We may note that the righteous has hope in his death. And in Ps. 73:24 we read: “Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” The psalmist does not teach us in this passage that the Lord will guide us with His counsel, and afterward, much later, receive us into glory. But it is clearly the thought of the inspired writer that as soon as the Lord shall have finished guiding us with His counsel He at that very moment will receive us into glory. The Scriptures surely teach the doctrine of the Intermediate State, does not teach a doctrine known as “Soul-Sleep.” 

On the doctrine of the antichrist, as held before us in the Old Testament, we read in Daniel 8:5-12 and Daniel 11:40ff.:

And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in a fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two-horns: and there was not power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered . . . And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to take away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

We will not call attention to these passages in any detail. A vivid description of the antichrist in the New Testament is recorded for us in Revelation 13. In these passages of Daniel, however, the Old Testament prophet speaks of him. Daniel surely refers to the Old Testament type of the antichrist in chapter 8, verse 9, where we read of the little horn which waxed exceedingly great. This is Antiochus Epiphanes, that Old Dispensational monster of iniquity, who ravaged the holy land, the land of Palestine, desecrated the temple and the holy place, offered swine’s flesh upon the altar of the Lord, during whose reign many of the people of the Lord fled into distant lands. He is the Old Testament type of the antichrist. 

The “millennium,” too, is held before us in the Old Testament Scriptures. Notice, please, that we place the word, millennium, in quotation marks. The premillenarians view this peace reign as occurring upon this earth, before Christ’s final coming upon the clouds of heaven. We believe that this reign of peace shall occur in the new heavens and upon the new earth. Now, however, we do not intend to call attention to this in detail. We merely wish to show that the Old Testament Scriptures. speak of it. We could- call attention to what we read in Isaiah 11:1-9. This passage is familiar to us. We do well to read it. But now we quoteIsaiah 25:5-9:

Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low. And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto ail people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.

In addition to this, the coming of Christ is also held before us upon the pages of Holy Writ in the Old Testament. Of course! He, Christ, is the Hope of the people of God throughout the ages. It lies in the nature of the case that His coming into our flesh and blood should be held before the people of the Lord from the beginning of history. Many passages can be quoted in support of this coming of our Lord. We could refer to Psalms 22, 69, 89 and Psalm 110. Then, there are passages such as Isaiah 53Numbers 24:17-19 and Malachi 3:1-6. The passages, however, which we wish to quote areIsaiah 7:14, 9:6 and Isaiah 59:15-21:

Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel . . . For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace . . . Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no judgment. And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him; and His righteousness, it sustained Him. For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon His head; and He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; to the islands He will repay recompense. So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against Him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith the Lord; My Spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.

Then, there is also this beautiful passage from the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-3:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.

The precursory signs, the signs that accompany and symbolize the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, are also held before us in the Old Testament. We have already called attention to Antiochus Epiphanes, that Old Testament type of antichrist. Besides this precursory sign, wars and rumors of wars characterize the entire Old Dispensation. We are surely acquainted with the wars that were fought throughout the Old Dispensation between the Israel of God and the nations of the world. The enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent marks the ages of the dispensation of the shadows as preceding the coming of our Lord into our flesh and blood. David was forbidden to build the Lord an house because he had shed much blood. How the nations of the world and of darkness fumed and raved against the people of the living God! And these wars and rumors of war continue throughout the New Dispensation. Of course! The coming of Christ can spell only disaster for the wicked world. And it is for this reason that His coming throughout the ages is marked by these wars and rumors of war. But, we will continue with this in our following article.