The Chronology of the End of the World
June 20th, 1973
THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE END OF THE WORLD
Dr. W. A. Criswell
6-20-73 7:30 p.m.
Now, for tonight we are going to look at The Chronology of the End of the World. The chronology of the end of the world: how these things are revealed in the Bible in their chronological, consecutive order when we come to the end of the world. And this concludes our course; this is the last lesson for our semester study in what God has placed in His Bible. And next Wednesday night we are going to meet here, and we have entitled it A Night of Confusions. So if you would like to come—now this has nothing to do with the course at all. If you would like to come, why, you do so and we are going to look at some of the things that have posited for us difficulties; things that are hard to understand or things that were not quite clear. And you will have opportunity to say what you would like to say, and then also, I hope we will take time to underscore further in our Bible.
There is hardly anything more important or more interesting than to take the Scriptures—and what is revealed here, and what is revealed there, and what is revealed here, for hardly any of it is all in one place—to take what is revealed in the Bible and then put it in consecutive order as God reveals it at the end time. Now we must hasten, because we are going to take the clear program of the Lord to the consummation of the age.
First, in Daniel 9:24-27 there is revealed the seventy weeks. And do you remember I told you back yonder in one of these lectures that, without an understanding of the seventy weeks of Daniel, prophecy is absolutely inexplicable? It is a maze and a jungle that has no understanding. So when we are seeking to understand prophecy, we must begin with the seventy weeks. Now, the text means “seventy weeks of years.” So seventy weeks of years: if each of the years is a week, why, that’s four hundred ninety years. Seventy weeks of years, four hundred ninety years, and in that revelation in the Book of Daniel, the Lord reveals to the prophet that there is to be four hundred ninety years in the remainder of time in which God will deal with the Jew until the consummation of the age, until everlasting righteousness is brought in [Daniel 9:24]. So, from the time that that was revealed to Daniel to the end of the world is four hundred ninety years in which God finishes His work with the Jew [Daniel 9:24].
Now, why is it that the revelation is given in terms of God’s dealing with the Jews? It’s going to be four hundred ninety years to the consummation of the age, to the end of the age, seventy weeks of years. Why is it that it has to do only with the Jew? Can anybody answer that question? Because I just bore down on that, world without end, when we were talking about the understanding of the Old Testament and the understanding of prophecy. Why is it that, when this word comes to Daniel, it’s four hundred ninety years with the Jew and not with anybody else? Why is it? Because what? [speaking from audience] Yes, they are God’s chosen people; and its four hundred ninety years God’s going to deal with those chosen people. Now why is it that there’s not something else in there? He’s their time clock, that’s right. Now what else? Yes, that’s right; God’s promise to Abraham. Why else? Why is it that in that promise, in that revelation to Daniel, He is talking about the Jew only? Four hundred and ninety years to the consummation of the age, God is dealing with the Jew. Now why is it? [response from audience] That’s right! The prophets never saw the church; so in that four hundred ninety years the church is not in it.
No Old Testament prophet saw the church. The church was a secret in the heart of God, a mustērion in the heart of God, until the Lord revealed it to His apostles [Ephesians 3:3-11]. So, when this revelation comes to Daniel—he’s not an apostle, he’s an Old Testament statesman. So in the four hundred ninety years you do not have the church; He is dealing with the Jew. Now that is fundamental; that is all-important. When you study the Old Testament, the church is never in it. It was a secret kept in the heart of God until He revealed it unto His apostles. So, when the revelation comes to Daniel, there is to be four hundred ninety years that God is going to deal with the Jew until the end time, until the end of the world, until everlasting righteousness is brought in, as the ninth chapter of Daniel expresses it [Daniel 9:24].
So we divide that up. Now this is just—you’d have to have a book to have this, you can’t write it fast enough and you certainly can’t keep it in your mind. So in that revelation in the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel, quote: “From the commandment to restore Jerusalem,” that is in Nehemiah 2:1, that’s in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, Artaxerxes “Long-Hands,” which would be 450 BC, “unto the Messiah” [Daniel 9:25]. Now seven weeks was for—that’s forty-nine years—for the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Threescore and two weeks—now I’m just quoting the prophecy—is four hundred thirty-four years, so at sixty-nine weeks of years, from the time that that revelation came to Daniel until Messiah, and that’s four hundred eighty-three years. Then it says, “After threescore and two weeks,” after sixty-nine weeks, four hundred eighty-three years, “Messiah will be cut off” [Daniel 9:26]. So 450 BC up to 33 AD makes about 33 AD when the Messiah was crucified.
“And the people of the prince shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” [Daniel 9:26]. Now I’m reading out of the prophecy in Daniel: that refers to the Romans who came in 70 AD, “and he shall confirm the covenant for one week” [Daniel 9:27], seven years; this is the seventieth week which is set apart by itself, the last seven years. “And in the midst of the week he will cause the oblation to cease” [Daniel 9:27]; the last week is divided by two then, “in the middle of the week,” that’s where you get that biblical prophetic number of three and a half years, forty-two months, one thousand two hundred sixty days, a time times and half a time, or a time times and dividing of times [Daniel 9:25, 12:7; Revelation 12:14]. That’s where that time period comes from. That is Daniel’s seventieth week which is cut in half [Daniel 9:27].
Now between the sixty-nine weeks and the seventieth week is the great mustērion, that secret that was kept in the heart of God, this age of grace, this age of the church [Ephesians 3:3-11]. The Jews have been scattered and God’s not dealing with them as such anymore. And the church, the ekklēsia, is being called out. And the Jews shall return in unbelief [Ezekiel 36:24-28]—and they are returning, many of them—and the temple will be rebuilt, and the sacrifices will be commenced.
All right, now let’s take up that seventieth week, the seventieth week of Daniel [Daniel 9:27]. At the end of the sixty-nine weeks, the church age is done; the age of grace is over. God’s people are going to be caught out of this world [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 4:1], and in the seventieth week, God takes up with the Jew again; this is in Luke 21:24 and in Romans 11:25. So first is the rapture of the church—Revelation 4:1 is the end of the churches and they are not seen again nor referred to until the nineteenth chapter of the Revelation [Revelation 19:14]. And the Lord is coming as a thief in the night to steal away His jewels. That is referred to in Matthew 24:43-44, in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, in 2 Peter 3:10, in Revelation 3:3, and in Revelation 16:15. I mention all those passages to show you that the revelation of Jesus coming as a thief in the night is not adventitious or extraneous, but it is in the very heart of the prophetic message, and it is repeated again and again. The Lord is going to come first as a thief in the night; He is going to come to steal away. He has got folks down here in this world. The pearl of price is down here in this world; He gave Himself for that pearl of price, namely His people [Matthew 13:45-46]. He died for us [1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21]; and He is coming to steal away His people [1 Thessalonians 5:2].
Now some of them have bodies in the dust of the ground; and He is going to raise the sainted dead. There’s going to be the resurrection first. When the Lord comes as a thief in the night, the first thing that will happen will be the resurrection of the dead [1 Thessalonians 4:16]. If somebody ever comes and says, “Did you know Jesus is here? The Messiah is come?” Go out into the cemetery and look. And if the dead in Christ are all raised up, boy! the Messiah is here; but if the dead are still down there, somebody is misleading you. The first thing that will happen when the Lord comes as a thief in the night is to raise the dead [1 Thessalonians 4:16]. The second thing that’s going to happen is all of us who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. And we’ll all be caught up—the raised dead and our bodies who are changed—all of us are going to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. That’s in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and in [1 Corinthians 15:51-53].
Then next comes the bēma: when we stand before Christ, each one of us, to receive the deeds, the reward of what we’ve done for Jesus in the days of our flesh [1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10]. And then the second thing, up there in glory will be the marriage supper of the Lamb which is Revelation 19:6-9. So when God’s people are caught up at the beginning of the seventieth week of Daniel [Daniel 9:27], the Lord is done with the Gentiles as such. He is done with the world as such, and He is now going to deal with the Jews as such. And at the beginning of the seventieth week [Daniel 9:25-27], at the end of the sixty-ninth week, all of us are caught out of the world [1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53]; the rapture of the church, we’re taken up to the bema of Christ [1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10]. There, each one of us will be given his rewards. And we’re up there in glory at the marriage supper of the Lamb [Revelation 19:6-9], while the great tribulation is going on down here in the earth [Matthew 24:21]. That is the seventieth week [Daniel 9:27].
Now that tribulation is divided up into what usually is called the tribulation and the great tribulation; three and a half years, forty-two months, one thousand two hundred sixty days [Revelation 11:3]; it’s divided in two [Daniel 9:27]. Then at the end of that seventieth week is the battle, or the war of Armageddon. This is in Isaiah 63:1-6, Revelation 14:17-20, Revelation 16:13-16, and Revelation 19:17-21. The seventieth week closes [Daniel 9:27] with the battle of Armageddon, in the nineteenth chapter of the Revelation [Revelation 19:17-21]. And then, in the midst of the battle of Armageddon, is the open intervention of Christ in human history. That’s when Christ comes openly and publicly. In Revelation 19:11-16, in [Revelation 11:15], Revelation 1:7, Jude 14, Matthew 24:27-30 the Lord comes openly and publicly, visibly, before the whole world with His saints and with His angels, intervening in human history at the Battle of Armageddon.
Then follows when the Lord returns openly and publicly, then follows the preparation of the earth for entrance into the millennium [Ezekiel 39:9-15]. And no one enters the millennium who has not been converted. There is first the judgment of Israel in Ezekiel 20:33-38. No Jew enters the millennium who does not accept Christ as His Savior. And when the Lord comes again at the end of the seventieth week, at the end of the great tribulation, in the nineteenth chapter of the Revelation [Revelation 19:11], the first thing will be the judgment of Israel [Ezekiel 20:34-38]. And the second will be the judgment of the Gentiles [Matthew 25:31-32]. And that’s what we studied about the last time I was here: the great parable, the great revelation, in [Matthew 25:31-46], when all the Gentiles are gathered before the Lord and He divides them, the sheep from the goats, and separates them according to the way that they have received the messengers of Christ, which would carry with it the message of our Lord in the days of that great tribulation [Matthew 24:21].
Now last and finally, we come to the end and the consummation of the ages. First is the millennium. All the Israelites who accept the Lord—and He is going to appear to His people, and they’re going to look at the wounds in His hands and His feet, and they’re going to moan for Him, mourn for Him, such as the great mourning at Hadad Rimmon [Zechariah 12:10-11]—and all of them that turn to the Lord are going into the millennium. And then all the Gentiles who’ve been saved, they’re going, who will accept the Lord; they are going into the millennium [Isaiah 11:10].
Then in that millennium you have Israel and the Gentiles, Isaiah 2:2-4, and Isaiah 19:23-25. And in that millennium, the animal and the vegetable and the mineral creation is going to be remade. That’s in Romans 8:19-23 and Isaiah 11:6-9. And in that millennium, the curse of Genesis 3:17-19 will be removed, “Cursed is the ground for your sake; thorns and thistles will it grow for your sake”; Isaiah 35:1, 2, 5, and 6, and Isaiah 55:12-13. And there will be in the millennium the exaltation of our Savior; Zechariah 4:6-9, in Luke 1:32, Philippians 2:6-11, and Revelation 11:15. He will be King and Lord over all God’s creation [Daniel 2:44, 7:14].
Now, in that last consummation, at the end of the thousand-year millennial period, there will be the last rebellion [Revelation 20:7-10], the great white throne judgment [Revelation 20:11-15]. Now people ask—and this is some of the most difficult things, and so much of it God does not reveal—people ask, “Where in the earth does the rebellion come from? At the end of that thousand years, everybody that has entered the millennium is saved, they’re converted. Where in the earth do these people come from who rebel?” [Revelation 20:7-9]. It has to be the children of the people who enter the millennium. There’s no other explanation. And that is a deduction, that’s a surmise.
Do you remember my saying this: that when I was preaching through the Revelation—and Dr. Ford told me just now as he sat up here by my side, he said, “Pastor, you know, I have bought that big, heavy tome, that big volume of yours on the Revelation.” And he said, “I’m just studying it, just studying it.” You know, I told you that when I started that preaching in the Revelation, I said, “The middle part of it was so difficult, it was hard. I slaved and toiled and agonized over it, it was so hard. But as I studied the middle part of the Revelation, I said to myself, ‘You know, when I get to the end of it, when I get to the millennium and the new heaven and the new earth, oh! it’s going to be easy.’“ I found it just the opposite; there were so many things that were not revealed and that I can’t understand about the end and the consummation of the age. Well, God just didn’t propose to tell us. So this is a deduction, this is a surmise.
Where do these people come from who bring that last rebellion against God at the end of the millennium? [Revelation 20:9]. The deduction is, it has to be the children of the people who are already in the millennium for they are saved, they have all been regenerated. But their children are born and they, some of them, are not saved. Now you’d say, “Isn’t that a strange thing?” Well, you just look around you. Some of the most dastardly and wicked people I know grew up in the finest Christian homes. Isn’t that an awful thing? Isn’t that unbelievable? It’s just something; you can’t imagine it.
You know, I illustrated that to you one time in a message here. And I don’t expect you all to remember everything—I don’t remember myself, so—but I illustrated it. There is one of the great preachers of all time, one of the great preachers of all time, I mean one of the great preachers of all time. And I visited in his home. There were pictures of his daughter, the grand piano was covered with them, the walls covered with them, and he’d talk about that daughter, and talk about that grandchildren—talk about those grandchildren—had pictures of them. Oh, it was just something!
So after our long visit was over in his home, I was in the car with the pastor of the church of the city, and I said, “I want to ask you something, and I’m not probing, I’m not, you know, just vainly curious, but it means something to me. I want to ask you; doesn’t that preacher have a son?” And the pastor said, “Yes, he has a son.” Dr. Ford, you know whom I’m talking about. “Yes, he has a son.” Well, I said, “There’s no picture of his son on the piano or on the wall, and he never mentions him, and he never refers to him.” Dr. Freeman, you know whom I’m talking about? Most of us who are in that, now these preachers, know whom I’m talking about. “He never refers to the boy. Why doesn’t he refer to him?”
“Because the boy turned out to be prodigal, incorrigible, obstreperous in the extreme; and was reared in that great preacher’s home.” Now how do you account for that? You just don’t account for it. There is a, there is a, there is a civil war at the heart of this universe. There is not one will in this universe; there are two wills in this universe. There’s a war going on in your own heart all day and all night. You meet it in the whole creation. And there you find it again: in this millennium, the children of these who have entered into it, many of them share in this last rebellion against God [Revelation 20:7-9].
And then of course, you have the great white throne judgment in Revelation 20:7-15. When the rebellion is squelched, when the wicked dead are raised, when they are all given their rewards—the white throne judgment is not judging whether people are saved or lost, that’s the judgment right now [John 3:18]; we’re either saved now or lost now, not “going to be.” But the resurrection of the wicked dead is in the twentieth chapter of the Revelation, beginning at verse 7. And they are judged, that is, they are given the reward of their works; and they are sent off with the devil and his angels [Revelation 20:7-15]. And then the consummation: the eternity, the new heaven, the new earth, the New Jerusalem, Revelation 21 and 22.
You know, I have been intrigued with one of the great scholars. As I talked to him, I said, “What do you think about that New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven? [Revelation 21:2]. What do you think about it?” And this is his idea, and I have always kind of felt that way, and you know when somebody agrees with you, why, he’s a smart man, he’s a great theologian. The great city comes down from God out of heaven, but that’s just our address, that’s just our home. If you were to write to me, why, you write to it: “Pastor Wally Amos Criswell, at the corner of Glory Square and Hallelujah Boulevard, right across the street from the throne of the great King.” Now that’s just my address. That’ll be something like your address; that’s just the place where you live. But all God’s creation is going to be ours, the whole renovated earth, the whole renovated heavens; no more burned out stars, no more cinders and ashes, no more blasted deserts.
You know, I listened to a statistic on the radio about yesterday, and the fellow was saying that the largest river basin in the world is the Amazon jungle, which is about three million square miles. And the largest desert in the world is the Sahara, which is about four and a half million square miles. Now isn’t that astonishing? Think of the blights on this earth, withered, blasted, ruined. All of that’s going to be changed. The earth is going to be renovated; it will be in its Edenic, primeval form. And the whole universe around us will be ours; and we’re going to live in that city. That’ll be the beautiful city, and we just go out from it.
And you know I have another idea about that: we’re going to be able to travel in the same speed that my mind can travel. Now light travels about one 186 thousand miles a second, 186 thousand miles a second light can travel. And some of those stars are so far away it takes trillions of light years to get there. When you see a star up there, the chances are the light that you’re looking at started from that star maybe 15 billion years ago, or 500 million years ago, or a trillion quadruple billions of years ago. Isn’t that something? Well, if we live here in this beautiful city in the earth, and it took us a trillion years to get out there to our pasture land, to our reservation, to our star—why, it’d be something! But you know what I think? I think when we get up there in heaven that we’re going to be able to travel just as rapidly as my mind can travel. By that I mean this: I am thinking…now I’m walking down the street in Hong Kong and I’m looking at all those shops and those people. Look…now I’m in Rio de Janeiro and I’m on a cable car going up to the top of Sugarloaf and this is the evening, and that’s the most impressive city in this earth. Look . . . I’m now in Tehran, in the rug market there, buying some beautiful rugs. Oh! Look, look! I’m at Mt. Lebanon at junior camp. Just like that! Now, I think that’s the way it’s going to be up there in glory. I think we can travel just like that—from our home we can go anywhere in the universe, just like that. And the whole created world is going to be ours, world without end; to love the Lord and to serve Him, and to be with one another and just to be happy in Jesus.
Well, that ends our course. And as I say, next Wednesday night, if you want to come, it doesn’t have anything to do with the course, we’re through. Next Wednesday night, we’ll have an evening of frustrations, whatever you’d like to say, “This I sure don’t understand.”
Where’d we leave off last time, Deuteronomy? You mean to tell me we’re still in Deuteronomy? We went through Deuteronomy. [speaking from audience] Oh, we just started Deuteronomy, just finished Numbers. Well, I thought we were—dear me! I was getting ready to start with the Psalms. All right, Deuteronomy 4:24, Deuteronomy 4:24. I just put that in there.
- “For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire” [Deuteronomy 4:24]; that’s quoted in the Hebrews [Hebrews 12:29]: “even a jealous God” [Deuteronomy 4:24].
- Now Deuteronomy 5:7-22, that is the second listing of the Ten Commandments. Deuteronomy chapter 5, verses 7 to 22, those are the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are listed in two places in the Bible: in the twentieth chapter of Exodus [Exodus 20:1-17], in the fifth chapter of [Deuteronomy 5:7-22].
Now, Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is possibly the greatest verse in the Bible, according to the Jew. It is called the Shema; shema, “hear,” and it starts off, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy might” [Deuteronomy 6:4-5] and on and on and on [Deuteronomy 6:6-7]. And that’s where you get these phylacteries:
Thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand,
and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
Thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
How many of you ever saw a phylactery? Hold up your hand. There’s a whole lot of you that haven’t. Well, any Orthodox Jew will wear phylacteries. Well that’s as I say, by all means you ought to underscore that, Deuteronomy 6:4-9. I would suppose that’s the greatest little passage to the Jew in the Bible.
All right, Deuteronomy 8:3, Deuteronomy 8:3. The Lord quoted that [Matthew 4:4]: “Man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live,” Deuteronomy 8:3.
Now the next one is Deuteronomy 12:13, Deuteronomy 12:13. We’re never are going to get through, but I’ve got to tell you why I want you to underscore it. “Take heed to thyself,” Deuteronomy 12:13:
Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest:
But in the place which the Lord shall choose in one of thy tribes,
there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.
Well, how does that apply to us? A very simple thing: the offering was your gift to God, your minchah. How do God’s people do? Well, a lot of them do like this: do they bring it to God’s house and let the church and the people and the congregation and you do what the Spirit of the Lord leads you to do? No, here’s what they do: some of their minchahs they give over there; some of them they give over there, and some of them they give out yonder, and some of them they give over there. And they just scatter it all over creation. Well, that’s all right to do over and above what you want to do, “But take heed to thyself that thou offer thy minchah, that thou bring thy gift,” not in just Tom, Dick and Harry’s place, “but in the place which the Lord shall choose, there shall ye bring it” [Deuteronomy 12:13-14]. And of course finally, that choice is made in the town of Jerusalem [2 Chronicles 6:6].
Now let me show you how to have a weak church. It’s very simple to have a weak church: all you have to do to have a weak church is let the congregation give their money to this, and give it to that, and give it to the other, and give it to the other, and give it to the other, and give it to the other, and just scatter it all over creation. And you don’t have to think about having a weak church—brother, you’ve got it inherently! It’s made weak; it’s anemic at its heart and center.
All right, let me show you how to have a wonderful church. If all of God’s people will bring their tithes and offerings into God’s house, right where they belong, you’ll have a wonderful church. And when you scatter it out, you’re going to have a weak church. Now that’s what that passage refers to, Deuteronomy 12:13-14.
All right, Deuteronomy 18:15, Deuteronomy 18:15; this is the promise of the Messiah. Moses says, “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him shall ye hear.” When they went to John the Baptist and said, “Are you Elijah?” he said, “No.”
“Are you the Christ?” He said, “No.”
“Are you that Prophet?” Now that’s what they were talking about. “Are you that Prophet?” [John 1:19-21].
“The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet, like unto me.” That’s the great messianic prophecy from Moses [Deuteronomy 18:15].
All right, our next one is Deuteronomy 32:11, Deuteronomy 32:11. This is one of the most beautiful imageries to be found in the Word of the Lord, Deuteronomy 32:11. “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them up on her wings: So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him” [Deuteronomy 32:11-12], talking about the Lord’s care over Israel. Isn’t that a wonderful thing? The imagery is, of course, just as he says here, these little eaglets in the nest, why, they just like to sit there and let mama feed them forever, just sit there. Well, they gotta learn how to fly; but they like to sit there. So what the mama eagle does is, she tears up that nest and flutters over those young, and pushes them off of a three thousand foot high cliff. Ooh! Ooh! But lest the little things not being able to fly would dash their lives out against the rocks beneath, she spreads abroad her wings, and she flies underneath them, and lifts them up, and then lets them down again; and lifts them up, and lets them down again; until they learn how to fly. Isn’t that a beautiful thing? So the Lord did to Israel, Deuteronomy 32:11.
Now Deuteronomy 33:27, Deuteronomy 33:27, 33:27: “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” That’s a beautiful, beautiful word.
Now, Deuteronomy 34:5, 6, and 7, that is the death of Moses. Moses died there in the land of Moab. He is buried in the valley, over against Beth-peor. He was a hundred and twenty years old when he died: “his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated,” at a hundred and twenty years! [Deuteronomy 34:5-7]. Man, don’t you envy him? Oh, at a hundred and twenty years, he didn’t have to wear glasses. I’m sixty-three and I’m getting to where, without a big print Bible—I preach out of a big print Bible; do you notice that big print Bible I preach out of on Sunday? The reason I use that great, big print Bible is, if I didn’t have it, I’d have to have glasses. I preached out of a little print Bible for years and years and years, and then I graduated to this and preached out of this Bible—one like this anyway, I mean exactly like this—for years and years and years. And now, the last, oh, six months I think it is, I’ve got that big print Bible, but it’s only a New Testament, so I quit preaching out of the Old Testament. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me if I have to have a text out of the Old Testament, because I’m preaching out of the New Testament in that big print Bible. Oh, dear!
Well now, that’s the Pentateuch, those are the books of Moses. Now Joshua, Joshua 2:18-21, Joshua chapter 2, 18 and 21; that is the scarlet line. “Thou shalt bind this scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by” [Joshua 2:18], and verse 21, “And she bound the scarlet line in the window” [Joshua 2:21]. That’s Rahab, the innkeeper. And when I preached that sermon, remember? Started at 7:30 and preached past midnight; I entitled it The Scarlet Thread through the Bible, the scarlet line through the Bible. And that has been published in a book and that’s where that came from. And the spies said, “When we come to Jerusalem to destroy it, you put this scarlet line in the window; and all who are behind that scarlet line will be spared” [Joshua 2:18].
All right, Joshua 5:12, Joshua 5:12, Joshua 5:12; this is just a little interesting thing, “And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.” When they came into Canaan the manna ceased and they lived off of the soil [Joshua 5:12].
Now Joshua 24:15, that’s one of the great, great verses of the Bible. Joshua 24:15, “If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Isn’t that a great one? Isn’t that a good one? That’s one of the great, beautiful, meaningful texts of the Bible.
Now the Book of Judges: Judges 5:23, Judges 5:23. Judges 5:23, “Curse you Meroz… because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.”
Now Judges 13:25, Judges 13:25, Judges 13:25, this is the story of Samson. “And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol” [Joshua 13:25]. Now the reason that I underscore that in my Bible is in this period of grace, God doesn’t just move us at times, He is ours forever [Matthew 28:20; John 15:4]. This is the Pentecostal difference and it’s illustrated in that passage there [Acts 2:1-18]. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon people at sundry times and in sundry places to do certain things [John 7:39], such as here, “And the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson at times in the camp at Dan” [Judges 13:25]. But after Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon all flesh, all of us; young, old, men, women, maids, servants, everybody [Acts 2:1-18]. And all of us can have as much of the fullness of the Holy Spirit as we might let God fill us with; there is no limit to it [John 3:34].
All right, Judges 16:20, this is just the end of Samson. Judges 16:20, “And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him.” That’s the tragedy of Samson.
Now Ruth, Ruth 1:16-17: this is the beautiful, beautiful, beautiful passage, Ruth 1:16 and 17. I wonder, this is just an experiment just to see, as I start quoting that without looking at the Bible; if you can quote it, quote it along with me. This is absolutely one of the most beautiful things—language, sentiment—in all of God’s Word, or in all human history, or in all romantic literature or poetry. Now without looking at it, let’s all see how many of us can just say it together, just come along:
Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; where thou lodgest, I will lodge:
thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
And where thou diest, I will die, and there will I be buried: God do also and more unto me, if aught but death part thee and me.
Isn’t that beyond anything in the earth, the sentiment of that? All right, Ruth 2:4, Ruth 2:4, “The Lord be with you. And they answered him, The Lord bless thee” [Ruth 2:4]. Ruth 4:21-22, Ruth 4:21-22: “Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, and Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David”; this is just showing you how David is introduced in the line of this sweet family.
Now we have time for 1 Samuel; and there are just two of them here. First Samuel 3:1-10, 1 Samuel 3:1-10, that’s a dear, precious story of the calling of little Samuel. Don’t have time to read it, but you ought to put a line by the side of 1 Samuel 3:1-10. Now, verse 20 in 1 Samuel 3, “And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord” [1 Samuel 3:20]. Now 1 Samuel 7:12, 1 Samuel 7:12, 1 Samuel 7:12.
Here I raise Mine Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O, take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
[“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”; Robert Robinson]
There it is. “And he took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us” [1 Samuel 7:12].