Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

The Church —
and God's Ways with Israel and the Earth

C. H. Mackintosh

The Church forms no part of the ways of God with Israel and the earth.  The Church does not belong to time, but to eternity.  She is not earthly, but heavenly.  She is called into existence during an unnoticed interval — a break or parenthesis consequent upon the cutting off of the Messiah.  To speak after the manner of men, if Israel had received the Messiah, then the seventy weeks or four hundred and ninety years would have been fulfilled; but Israel rejected her King, and God has retired to His place until they acknowledge their iniquity.  He has suspended His public dealings with Israel and the earth, though most surely controlling all things by His providence, and keeping His eye upon the seed of Abraham, ever beloved for the father's sake.

Meanwhile He is calling out from Jews and Gentiles that body called the Church, to be the companion of His Son in heavenly glory — to be thoroughly identified with Him in His present rejection from this earth, and to wait in holy patience for His glorious advent.

All this marks off the Christian's position in the most definite manner possible.  His portion and his prospects, too, are thus defined with equal clearness.  It is vain to look into the prophetic page in order to find the Church's position, her calling, or her hope.  They are not there.  It is entirely out of place for the Christian to be occupied with dates and historic events, as though he were in anywise involved therein.  No doubt, all these things have their proper place and their value, and their interest, as connected with God's dealings with Israel and with the earth.  But the Christian must never lose sight of the fact that he belongs to Heaven, that he is inseparably linked with an earth-rejected, Heaven-accepted Christ — that his life is hid with Christ in God — that it is his holy privilege to be looking out, daily and hourly, for the coming of his Lord.  There is nothing to hinder the realization of that blissful hope at any moment.  There is but one thing that causes the delay, and that is, "the long-suffering of our Lord, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" — precious words these for a lost and guilty world!  The salvation is ready to be revealed; and God is ready to judge.  There is nothing now to wait for but the gathering in of the last elect one, and then — oh! most blessed thought — our own dear and loving Saviour will come and receive us to Himself to be with Him where He is, and to go no more out forever.

Then when the Church has gone to be with her Lord in the heavenly home, God will resume His public actings with Israel.  They will be brought into great tribulation, during the week already referred to.  But at the close of that period of unexampled pressure and trial, their long-rejected Messiah will appear for their relief and deliverance.  He will come forth as the rider on the white horse, accompanied by the heavenly saints.  He will execute summary judgment upon His enemies, and take to Himself His great power and reign.  The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.  Satan shall be bound for a thousand years; and the whole universe shall repose beneath the blissful and benignant rule of the Prince of peace.

Finally, at the close of the thousand years, Satan shall be loosed, and permitted to make one more desperate effort — an effort issuing in his eternal defeat and consignment to the lake of fire, there to be tormented with the beast and the false prophet throughout the everlasting ages.

Then follows the resurrection and judgment of the wicked dead, and their consignment to the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone — tremendous and appalling thought!  No heart can conceive — no tongue can tell — the horrors of that lake of fire.

But hardly is there a moment to dwell upon the dark and awful picture, ere the unutterable glories of the new heavens and the new earth burst upon the vision of the soul; the holy city is seen descending from Heaven, and these seraphic sounds fall upon the ear, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.  And He that sat upon the throne, said, Behold I make all things new".

O beloved Christian reader, what scenes are before us!  What grand realities!  What brilliant moral glories!  May we live in the light and power of these things!  May we cherish that blessed hope of seeing the One who loved us and gave Himself for us — who would not enjoy His glory alone, but endured the wrath of God in order that He might link us with Himself, and share with us all His love and glory for ever.  Oh! to live for Christ and wait for His appearing!

High in the Father's house above
My mansion is prepared;
There is the home, the rest I love,
And there my bright reward.

With Him I love, in spotless white,
In glory I shall shine;
His blissful presence my delight
His love and glory mine.

All taint of sin shall be removed,
All evil done away;
And I shall dwell with God's Beloved
Through God's eternal day.

From The Lord's Coming, by C. H. Mackintosh.

The Church — and God's Ways with Israel and the Earth