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THE GREAT PROPHECIES: VOLUME 2
Israel and the Gentiles

by G. H. Pember

   

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Eighth Edition, 1998
506 pgs.
$22.95 USD (hardcover only)
 

This is a book of distinct and conspicuous mark on the exhaustless theme of Scripture prophecy.  It is evident that the conscientious labor and thought of years are embodied in the volume.  While the author shows that he has studied with care the literature of his subject, he has at the same time wrought out an independent scheme of interpretation marked by great comprehensiveness and self-consistency.

George Hawkins Pember was born in 1837.  He was educated at Cambridge University where he took his M.A. in Classics at age twenty-six.  Upon his conversion to Christ, Pember determined to devote his scholastic talents to a close and comprehensive study of the Scriptures for the benefit of God's people.  His penchant for meticulous scholarship, extensive knowledge of ancient cultures, and keen spiritual insight combined to produce works of a quality and depth with few parallels in Christian expository literature.

G. H. Pember died in 1910, leaving a rich legacy of reclaimed spiritual truth, upon which subsequent reformers such as J. N. Darby, Watchman Nee, G. H. Lang, and T. Austin-Sparks would build.

More about the author

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

INTRODUCTION

  1. Proofs of Divine Inspiration
  2. The Seven Dispensations
  3. The Three Lines of Prophecy

THE PROMISES TO ABRAHAM

  1. The Promises to Abraham

THE PROPHECIES OF MOSES, BALAAM, AND AHIJAH

  1. The Covenant of the Restoration
  2. The Blessings and the Curses of the Sinaitic Covenant, or the First Forecast of the History of Israel
  3. The Last Prophecy of Balaam
  4. The Blessings and Curses of the Renewed Covenant, or the Second Forecast of the History of Israel
  5. The Son of Moses (Deuteronomy 32)
  6. The Prophecy of Ahijah

THE PROPHECIES OF DANIEL

  1. The Vision of the Great Image
  2. The Vision of the Great Tree
  3. The Vision of the Four Wild Beasts
  4. The Vision of the Ram and the He-Goat
  5. The Perplexity of Daniel
  6. The Revelations of the Seventy Sevens
  7. The Scheme of the Seventy Sevens Applied to the Elucidation of other Prophecies
  8. The Scripture of Truth, or the Last Prophecy of Daniel

Appendix A: The Days of Israel's Discipline
Appendix B. On the Jewish Application of the Name Edom to Rome
Appendix C: Hosea 11:5
Appendix D: The Desire of Women
Appendix E: The Worship of Satan
Index
 

Preface

We live in an age of abounding skepticism and of waning faith, an age in which ceaseless infusions of Superstition, Paganism, and Humanitarianism, are altogether changing the colour of Christianity. For, on the one hand, the Church, the Priesthood, and the Sacraments, are substituted for the Lord Jesus; on the other, the good things of this world are set forth as the supreme objects of desire; and reform, and the alleviation of poverty, misery, and pain, in the present life, are declared to include the whole duty of man.

Meanwhile, armed millions are standing ready for war, a hurricane of Socialistic blasts is causing society to tremble, revolution is in the air, and grave changes seem to be imminent—changes of the end of which those who are almost frenzied in their eagerness to bring them about seem to have little or no conception, and, apparently, little or no care.

The flood of "modern thought" is spreading in every direction, and, in its wild career, is carrying off old landmarks, sweeping away settled opinions which have made for the peace of the world, and submerging all the lessons of past history. Hence men of ability, or of conceit, are prone to form each his own individual judgment upon every subject; while those of weaker mind usually attach themselves to some leader, and follow him unhesitatingly. In such circumstances, it is not likely that truth would often be met in our streets: nay, what but the direst uncertainty and confusion could be expected, when the world is giving itself up to theories that do not even claim to be founded upon experience, but spring from the dreams of men of various dispositions and aims, or are based upon superstitious religions, and philosophies, which the human race has already tried and found wanting?

Now, it is specially for such a time as this, when all things are in a state of flux and doubtfulness, that God has given us a written Word of Truth, in order that we may learn His unchangeable views, not merely of salvation, but also of political, social, moral, and ecclesiastical, matters. Seeing, then, that so many still choose to call themselves Christians, we should expect this Divine Book to be consulted upon all occasions, and its decisions to be eagerly followed; but alas! the fact is far otherwise.

Many professors in the visible Church make no practical use of the Bible whatever; and, as if to quiet uneasy qualms of conscience, are now assailing it with what they are pleased to call "a Higher Criticism." By this means they are gradually ridding themselves of its bands, and obliterating its teachings—to all those who believe in man rather than God—in misty exhalations of human wisdom and conceit.

Nay, some even of the Catholic party, finding it inconvenient to submit any longer to the two, and often diverse, authorities which circumstances have forced upon them, the Bible and the Church, are beginning to disparage the former, that they may exalt the latter as the only guide and ruler of the world.

But, worst of all, many of those who recognize the Bible as the truth of God are, nevertheless, rushing into lines of action that are opposed to its revelations, and are even preaching as Christian doctrine things which are not to be found in it. In fine, they admit the truth of salvation by Christ Jesus, and a few precepts of virtue or favorite dogmas, but either ignore or distort the whole remainder of the Scriptures.

It is, however, impossible to do the will of God unless we know it. And the knowledge of it cannot be acquired by a mere picking out of texts, which leads to many errors; but only by a steady and prayerful perusal of the sacred books, and by careful attention to the general meaning of a whole book, or, at least, of a whole connected passage, before we attempt to deduce doctrines from its parts.

Of course, the pulpit ought to be our great help in such studies; but, unfortunately, it is not so, except in comparatively rare instances. And before it can be, preachers must cease to give out texts as a preliminary to a string of their own thoughts, which often have but little affinity to Divine revelation. They must rather seek to make their hearers wiser by the exposition of a paragraph or a chapter; by an exposition, interesting because it comes from one who thoroughly understands his subject in all its bearings, and powerful because it is spoken under the immediate influence of that Holy Spirit, Whom the Father is ever willing to give to them that ask Him.

Were such a course adopted, the people of God would be helpfully instructed in serving the apprenticeship for which they are left upon the earth, and in acquiring the knowledge which has been apportioned for us here, and which we must make our own and learn to apply, so far as present circumstances permit, if we would fulfil the destiny that should be ours in the coming age.

For, let it be remembered, that, although salvation, if it be once vouchsafed, is sure, although the Lord’s sheep can never perish, neither can any one pluck them out of His hand; yet we may miss the reward. A man may rob us of it through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. We may be cheated of our prize, if one persuade us to a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, or to anything else that puffs up the fleshly mind, so that we no longer hold fast the Head, Which is Jesus Christ our Lord.

He Himself has warned us to hold fast that which we have, that no one take our crown (Rev. 3:11). For, while the life is a free and inalienable gift, when once bestowed, the crown is conditional, and may be lost. We have no promise that we shall reign with Christ if we merely believe on Him; but only if we suffer, or endure, with Him.

What, then, was it that brought upon the Lord Jesus the contradiction and hatred of sinners, and continual suffering upon earth? It was the fact that His views and teachings—which He never failed to put into practice—being those of God, were found to be distasteful to fallen men, and unutterably opposed to all their desires and aspirations.

But modern Christians are by no means liable to the scorn and hatred with which their Master was assailed; and that, not through any change in the disposition of the world, but because so many of them content themselves with the good news that Christ died for sinners, adding, perhaps, a few moral precepts which are common to the Bible and the best human philosophies, and go no further. They do not strive to make themselves acquainted with the real meaning of all that God has revealed, nor pray to be imbued with its spirit; but are satisfied with a little Scripture copiously adulterated with human opinions.

Or, in other words, they are willing to accept the world’s comments upon the small portion of the Bible which forms their creed; and, consequently, their Christ becomes gradually transformed into something very like the predicted Antichrist. For they unconsciously lose sight of Him as the One Who experienced nothing but opposition and hatred from the world, and is now calling us away from it—the One Who has never once told us to attempt its improvement, but, on the contrary, has bidden us use every effort to save some out of it; Who, indeed, gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil world-age, according to the will of our God and Father. They forget that all His teachings point to the boundless eternity stretching far beyond the horizon of this brief life, and that even His precepts for our conduct here are ever pressed home by the thought of the Judgment hereafter.

And so, they begin to see Him more and more as a mere Socialistic leader, anxious only to reform the abuses and alleviate the suffering of the present world, and to distribute its good things to the many. But this is just what the Antichrist will profess to be: indeed, it is probable that, at first, he will seem to act his part exceedingly well; for he will do so in concert with the Prince of this world, who is the present disposer of its good things. And some Christians may, perhaps, need to be reminded, that he will not be called the Antichrist, but will, in all probability, be regarded as the true Christ.

We have dwelt upon one only of the insidious arts by which Satan endeavors to lead men unawares from the Christ to the Antichrist, from Him Whose Kingdom is not of this world to him whose kingdom is only in it; from Him Who would give men life, even length of days for ever and ever, and fullness of joy at the right hand of God, to him who proffers the opiate-cup, that will bring them present ease and unreal pleasures, until, at last, their senses are restored by a violent shock, and they perceive that they have been precipitated to the depths of Hades. There are, however, also many other Satanic devices, the influence of which can be effaced from the minds of the deceived only by a complete submission to the Word of God, and a careful study of those portions of it which have hitherto been neglected or distorted.

Now, among these despised or misunderstood Scriptures, by far the most conspicuous are the prophecies. And the conduct of most Christians in regard to them virtually amounts to an impeachment of the Divine wisdom. For to God it has seemed right to give us many prophecies: but they are accustomed to toss them aside as inexplicable and useless; while they regard those who strive to expound them as vain speculators. Nevertheless, these revelations are known by believers, who have prayerfully studied them, to be of eminently practical value. And they are appointed by the Great Creator as the sources from which we may draw instruction respecting the true nature of the world, His designs in regard to it, the peculiar temptations and perils with which it besets His people, and the attitude which He would have them assume toward it. The minds of all Christians should be guided by them: they are the oracles of the Living God.

A conviction that such is the case has induced the author of the present volume to devote a considerable part of his life to the study of the Divine predictions, and he now offers to the reader some of the results of his labours, trusting that they may have been directed and blessed by the Supreme Lord upon Whom he has depended for guidance. He has already published a treatise on the same subject, entitled "The Great Prophecies"; but when, some three years ago, Messrs. Hodder & Stoughton apprised him of the call for a fourth edition, he felt that the clear5 light which he had received upon many points made it desirable that the book then in circulation should be superseded by a larger and more comprehensive work. Domestic bereavement and a long illness have, however, intervened, and hindered his progress until now.

In the present volume, he has by no means found it necessary to withdraw or to modify the fundamental principles of interpretation which he had previously deduced from the Scriptures. On the contrary, those principles are now corroborated by such proofs as seem to put them beyond the possibility of question. For instance, "the monstrous gap," as certain Historicists have called it, in the Seventy Sevens, is here shown to have been revealed even in the utterances of Moses.

But as regards details, the additions and improvements are so numerous that more than two-thirds of the book are occupied by new matter.

The general scheme or frame-work of Divine prophecy, which must be obtained from the Old Testament, and without which the interpretation of details cannot be attempted, has been deduced from the predictions of Moses.

The chapter on the Vision of the Great Image contains, probably, the only complete solution that has hitherto been published, although other writers also have suggested the line which has been adopted.

Much space has been devoted to "the Scripture of Truth," the last of Daniel’s predictions; and, although one cannot be absolutely sure of all the numerous details, it is hoped that the general elucidation will be clear to every reader, that the main stream, at least, of the prophecy has been correctly traced from its source, until it loses itself in the great ocean of the Age to Come.

Of course, the prophecies with which this volume deals contain no direct references to the Church, which was unknown in the times of the Old Testament, being a mystery hidden from the ages, until it was revealed by the Lord and His Apostles. And, since there was no true Church in those days, Satan did not then need to alter the nomenclature of Paganism so as to fashion ft into a false Church. Hence those interpreters who persist in finding Popery in the Book of Daniel are mistaken, and land themselves and their disciples in hopeless confusion.

What God has to say of the Church, and of its adversary, the false Church, must be sought for in the New Testament. And if He permit, the writer hopes shortly to publish a second volume on "The Great Prophecies of the Centuries concerning the Church," and a third on "The Great Prophecies of the End." Both of these works are already in progress.

The two charts give a synopsis of the scheme that will greatly facilitate the efforts of the reader to comprehend it. They may be readily connected by means of the Epochs of Israelitish History which will be found in both of them. There is, however, one imperfection against which it will be necessary to guard. It is impossible to convey any idea of the relative duration of each Epoch or Empire by the space given to it upon the chart; for, on so small a sheet, the space must be determined by the number of words that have to be inserted in it. It must, therefore, be understood that the charts represent the exact order of the Epochs and Empires, but do not exhibit the relative periods of their duration.

 
 

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