Quiet Talks by Samuel Dickey: Gordon, Samuel Dickey - Quiet Talks on the Crowned Christ of Revelation: 45. Three Great Unfulfilled Events

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Quiet Talks by Samuel Dickey: Gordon, Samuel Dickey - Quiet Talks on the Crowned Christ of Revelation: 45. Three Great Unfulfilled Events

TOPIC: Gordon, Samuel Dickey - Quiet Talks on the Crowned Christ of Revelation (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 45. Three Great Unfulfilled Events

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Three Great Unfulfilled Events

Let us take a swift glance at these prophetic books of the Old Testament. It helps to remember the natural way in which these prophetic books grew up. These prophets were preachers and teachers. Here are some people going up to the temple service one day in Jerusalem. As they get near the temple they notice a little knot of people standing yonder at a corner listening to a man talking earnestly. Isaiah, fresh from the presence of God, is talking out of a burning heart to the crowd.

A visitor from another part of the land says curiously to his companion, "What's that?" The other replies: "Oh, it's only Isaiah talking to the people. He is a good man, that Isaiah, a well-meaning, earnest man, but a little too intense, I fear." And they pass on to the temple service. By and by Isaiah stops. The moving congregation scatters. He slips quietly down to his house, and under the Spirit's holy, brooding presence writes down a part of what he has been saying. So there grew up the rolls to which his name is attached.

In some such simple, natural way these prophetic books grew up, always under the Holy Spirit's guidance and control. They are full of intense fire, and of the homely talk of street and market and fireside. There are two sorts of these prophets, the preachers like Elijah and Elisha and those who wrote as well as spoke, and whose names are preserved in these books.

There are seventeen of these little books. They fall easily into four groups. The first group contains those belonging in the time before the nation was exiled. It is a period of about one hundred and fifty years, roughly, beginning in the prosperous reign of Uzziah and running up to the time when the nation was taken captive to Babylon. Isaiah is the most prominent prophet of this period, and with him are Hosea, Micah, and Amos, all of whom may have been personally acquainted; and also Zephaniah and Habakkuk.

The second is the exile group, Jeremiah preaching in Judah, before and during the siege, and to the remnant left behind in the land; and Ezekiel and Daniel bearing their witness among the exiles in the foreign land.

But the full inspiration of the second part is in no wise affected. This rarely Spirit-controlled man modestly or unconsciously withholds his name from his writings. And they are grouped by the old Hebrew compilers with those of Isaiah.

The third group is made up of those who witnessed after the people are allowed to return to their own land again. The writer of the second part of Isaiah probably preached to the people as the opportunity came to return to Jerusalem. [Note: The book of Isaiah falls naturally into two parts, chapters 1-40, and 41-65 The historical allusions in each make it quite clear that these two parts belong in two periods far apart.] One hundred and eighty years intervene between the close of the time stated in Isaiah's first chapter as the period of his ministry and the beginning of the return from exile into which the second part fits.] Haggai and Zachariah stirred up the returned people to rebuild the temple. Joel and Malachi witnessed probably a little later in the same period.

The fourth is the foreign group. Obadiah sends a message to the neighbouring nation of Edom; and Jonah and Nahum are sent with messages to Nineveh. If one will try to make a picture of these people and events by reading the historical books, and then watch and listen as the prophets talk, it will do much to make these prophetic books full of the native atmosphere in which they grew up.

Now there are three things that gradually come to stand out in these prophetic books. Much of what is being said is of immediate application. It refers plainly to affairs being lived out then. Then certain things are plainly fulfilled in the coming of Christ. And again there is a great deal that clearly has never been fulfilled but is still future. It is the latter part that naturally is of intensest interest.

Now in this latter part, dealing with the future, three things stand out clear and sharp above the rest. There is to be judgment upon Israel for their iniquities. The changes on this are rung again and again. And this stands out as much in the preaching of the Captivity time, and of the Return, as before the Captivity. But in the midst of severest judgment there will be a remnant spared. The tree is cut down, but the stump is spared; and there is life in the stump. But above these there stand out these three things.

The first thing stands out big. It is the thing the nation never forgot. The believing Hebrew still clings to it. The wailers at the wall of Jerusalem to-day never forget it. It is this: there is to be a future time of great glory for the nation of Israel in their own loved land. [Note: Isa_2:2-4.] The kingdom is to be restored, but with a glory indescribably greater than ever known. This is the bright golden thread, thick and strong, running through from end to end.

It will come through that spared remnant. The old stump will put out a new shoot. It will be through the coming of a great king, who will prove to be their greatest king, [Note: Isa_11:1-9; Isa_32:1-6.] and will reign not only over Israel, but over all nations as tributary to Israel, with Jerusalem as the capital city both of Israel and of the whole earth. [Note: Mic_4:1-8.] At its beginning there will be a gathering of Israel from among all the nations where they have been scattered. [Note: Isa_11:11-16; Isa_27:12-13.] To assist these scattered pilgrims to get to their own land, the tongue of the Egyptian sea on the southwest is to be destroyed; and the waters of the Euphrates on the extreme east are to be so scattered or dried up that men can walk over dry-shod.

When the great king comes there will be genuine penitence among the people over their past sins, [Note: Zec_12:10-14.] and they will become a wholly changed people. [Note: Jer_31:8-19; Jer_31:33-34.] Israel will be a nation converted by the power of the Holy Spirit through the conversion of the people individually. There will be at this time a resurrection of God's people who have died. [Note: Isa_26:19; Dan_12:2.]

The new reign and kingdom is to be one of great spiritual enlightenment to all nations. [Note: Mic_4:1-2.] There will be everywhere a new, remarkable openmindedness to God and His truth. [Note: Isa_25:7.] And there will be the same visible evidence of the presence of God at Jerusalem as when the pillar of fire and cloud was with them in the wilderness. That wondrous presence-cloud is to be always in view. [Note: Isa_4:2-5.]

This sounds to our ears like the highly coloured visionary dream of some over-enthusiastic Hebrew. Yet this is a calm statement of what is found here. And be it keenly marked, it is a picture which the godly Hebrew of the old time never lost sight of. This is the first thing that stands out in these prophetic pages.

The second thing stands out distinctly. Preceding this wondrous kingdom the earth will be visited by terrible judgments. [Note: Isa_24:1-13; Isa_24:17-20; Isa_2:12-19; Mic_7:15-17.] There is an awfully dark shadow before the blaze of light breaks out. A terrific storm will come before the sun shines out in its new strength. All nations will combine to make war against the Jew. Their forces will be gathered at Jerusalem. [Note: Zec_12:1-9; Zec_14:1-2.] At the head of the coalition will be a power called Babylon. [Note: Isa_13:1-13.] There will come a terrific battle, victory for the coalition will seem assured. The sufferings of the Jews will be indescribable.

Then there will come a day never after to be forgotten. In the midst of the indescribable horrors of that battle, when things are at their worst for the Jew, then comes the deliverance. Suddenly Jehovah will appear out of the heavens, with a great company of holy ones. His feet will stand upon Mount Olivet to the east of Jerusalem. There will be a terrible earthquake, and an equally terrific shake-up of the heavenly bodies. The luminaries, sun, moon, and stars, will be darkened. [Note: Zec_14:1-8.] There will be terrible judgments visited not only upon the earth, but upon the evil spirit powers. [Note: Isa_24:21-22; Isa_27:1.] Repeated emphasis is put upon the judgment to be visited upon Babylon.

All this will sound like a veritable fairy tale to many who are not familiar with this Book of God; the unlikeliest thing imaginable. Yet this is the thing seriously set forth throughout these old prophetic pages. I have given a few references in footnotes. But these few scattered passages of themselves will not give an adequate conception of what these pages hold.

There is all the fascination of a novel, and immensely more and deeper fascination than any novel, in reading these prophetic pages repeatedly in the way already spoken of till their mere contents become somewhat familiar. Then taking paper and pencil, running through again, and drawing off patiently and carefully, item after item of these prophecies plainly not yet fulfilled, and then slowly and painstakingly put them together in what would be a simple, logical order.

It will be helpful, in reading, to remember that it is a common thing with these writers to speak of a future thing as already past. It is a bit of the intensity that sees the thing that is yet to come as already accomplished. And one should discern between the immediate thing that may likely occur in that generation and the far-distant thing. A careful noting of the language will make the difference clear.

This is the second thing that stands out, the visitation of judgments.

Then there is a third thing. This terrible visitation of judgments comes in connection with, and at the close of, a time of great persecution of the Jew by the nations. Jeremiah speaks of it as the time of Jacob's trouble, [Note: Jer_30:7-8.] and the Man of Fire tells Daniel that there will be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time. [Note: Dan_12:1.] This persecution of the Jew, and the visitation of judgments on the earth as a deliverance from it, are connected with the setting up of the Kingdom.

These are the three things that stand dominantly out in these prophetic pages as distinctly-future, the great Jew persecution unprecedented in intensity, the visitation of terrible judgments on the earth, and the coming of a glorious kingdom. And the three are connected. We know that no events have yet taken place that at all satisfy the language used of these three connected events.

This is the simple outline of expected coming events with which the thoughtful reader of God's Word is supposed to be familiar. The reverent student of God's promises and plans and revelations would naturally have all this clear and fresh in his mind as he turns to open the pages of the prophetic book of the New Testament.