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Church-State Relations and the Book of Revelation
An Introduction to The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming
by James Stuart Russell (1878) // Written by
Todd Dennis, Curator




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070: Clement: First Epistle of Clement

075: Baruch: Apocalypse Of Baruch

075: Barnabus: Epistle of Barnabus

090: Esdras 2 / 4 Ezra

100: Odes of Solomon

150: Justin: Dialogue with Trypho

150: Melito: Homily of the Pascha

175: Irenaeus: Against Heresies

175: Clement of Alexandria: Stromata

198: Tertullian: Answer to the Jews

230: Origen: The Principles | Commentary on Matthew | Commentary on John | Against Celsus

248: Cyprian: Against the Jews

260: Victorinus: Commentary on the Apocalypse "Alcasar, a Spanish Jesuit, taking a hint from Victorinus, seems to have been the first (AD 1614) to have suggested that the Apocalyptic prophecies did not extend further than to the overthrow of Paganism by Constantine."

310: Peter of Alexandria

310: Eusebius: Divine Manifestation of our Lord

312: Eusebius: Proof of the Gospel

319: Athanasius: On the Incarnation

320: Eusebius: History of the Martyrs

325: Eusebius: Ecclesiastical History

345: Aphrahat: Demonstrations

367: Athanasius: The Festal Letters

370: Hegesippus: The Ruin of Jerusalem

386: Chrysostom: Matthew and Mark

387: Chrysostom: Against the Jews

408: Jerome: Commentary on Daniel

417: Augustine: On Pelagius

426: Augustine: The City of God

428: Augustine: Harmony

420: Cassian: Conferences

600: Veronica Legend

800: Aquinas: Eternity of the World




1265: Aquinas: Catena Aurea

1543: Luther: On the Jews

1555: Calvin: Harmony on Evangelists

1556: Jewel: Scripture

1586: Douay-Rheims Bible

1598: Jerusalem's Misery ; The dolefull destruction of faire Ierusalem by Tytus, the Sonne of Vaspasian

1603: Nero : A New Tragedy

1613: Carey: The Fair Queen of Jewry

1614: Alcasar: Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi

1654: Ussher: The Annals of the World

1658: Lightfoot: Commentary from Hebraica

1677: Crowne - The Destruction of Jerusalem

1764: Lardner: Fulfilment of our Saviour's Predictions

1776: Edwards: History of Redemption

1785: Churton: Prophecies Respecting the Destruction of Jerusalem

1801: Porteus: Our Lord's Prophecies

1802: Nisbett: The Coming of the Messiah

1805: Jortin: Remarks on Ecclesiastical History

1810: Clarke: Commentary On the Whole Bible

1816: Wilkins: Destruction of Jerusalem Related to Prophecies

1824: Galt: The Bachelor's Wife

1840: Smith: The Destruction of Jerusalem

1841: Currier: The Second Coming of Christ

1842: Bastow : A (Preterist) Bible Dictionary

1842: Stuart: Interpretation of Prophecy

1843: Lee: Dissertations on Eusebius

1845: Stuart: Commentary on Apocalypse

1849: Lee: Inquiry into Prophecy

1851: Lee: Visions of Daniel and St. John

1853: Newcombe: Observations on our Lord's Conduct as Divine Instructor

1854: Chamberlain: Restoration of Israel

1854: Fairbairn: The Typology of Scripture

1859: "Lee of Boston": Eschatology

1861: Maurice: Lectures on the Apocalypse

1863: Thomas Lewin : The Siege of Jerusalem

1865: Desprez: Daniel (Renounced Full Preterism)

1870: Fall of Jerusalem and the Roman Conquest

1871: Dale: Jewish Temple and Christian Church (PDF)

1879: Warren: The Parousia

1882: Farrar: The Early Days of Christianity

1883: Milton S. Terry: Biblical Hermeneutics

1888: Henty: For The Temple

1891: Farrar: Scenes in the days of Nero

1896: Lee : A Scholar of a Past Generation

1902: Church: Story of the Last Days of Jerusalem

1917: Morris: Christ's Second Coming Fulfilled

1985: Lee: Jerusalem; Rome; Revelation (PDF)

1987: Chilton: The Days of Vengeance

2001: Fowler: Jesus - The Better Everything

2006: M. Gwyn Morgan - AD69 - The Year of Four Emperors

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Christianity As Old As the Creation: Or the Gospel a Republication of the Religion of Nature

'The Deist's Bible'


English Deist Matthew Tindal
(1657 – 16 August 1733)

"If most of the Apostles, upon what Motives soever, were mistaken in a Matter of this Consequence, how can we be certain, that any One of them may not be mistaken in any other Matter ? If they were not inspir'd in what they faid in their Writings concerning the then Coming of Christ; how cou'd they be inspir'd in those Arguments they build on a Foundation far from being so ?" (p. 262)


PAGES 258-263

I have hitherto faid nothing in relation to Prophecies, designing to speak of them at another Season; but since You mention them, I must, as to the Prophecies in the Old Testament, confess my Ignorance, that I do not understand them; and Divines themselves, as far as I can find, are infinitely divided about; interpreting them: And as to those Prophecies, if they may be so call'd, in the New Testament, relating to the Second Coming of Christ, and the End of the World, the best Interpreters and Commentators own, the Apostles themselves were grofly mistaken; there scarce being an Epistle, but where they foretell that those Times they wrote in, were Tempora novijfirma ; and the then Age the last Age, and those Days the last Days; and that the End of the World was nigh, and the Coming of Christ at band; as is plain, among other Texts, from 1 Cor. 10. 11. Rom. 13. 11, 12. Heb. 9. 26. Jam. 5. 7, 8. 1 John 2. 18. 2 Pet. 3. 12, 13. And they do not assert this as a meer Matter of Speculation, but build Motives and Arguments upon it, to excite People to the Practice of Piety, and all good Works ; as Phil. 4. 5. Let your Moderation be known to all Men, the Lord is at Hand. And to the fame Purpose are Heb. 10. 24, 25. 1 Pet. 4.7, 8. 1 Cor. 7. 29. 2 Pet. 3. 11, 12. And tho' they do not pretend to tell the very Day and •Hour, when these Things must happen; yet they thought it-wou'd be during their Time, and continually expected it.

Timothy is charged to keep this Commandment till the Appearing of the Lord. So Paul fays to the Corinthians, Asoft [cor. n. 25. as ye eat this Bread, and drink this Cup, ye do shew the Lord's Death till he comes. And I think, 'tis plain, Paul himself expected to be alive at the Coming of the Lord, L and that he had the Word of God for is. For this we fay unto you ÆyiThes*. if, the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive, and remain unto the Coming of the Lord, Jhall not prevent them which areloc' asleep. ——- The dead in Christ shall rife first. Then we •which are alive, and remain, stall be caught up together with them in the Clouds, to meet the Lord in the Air; and so Jhall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these Words. And there are other Texts to the fame Purpose, as 1 Cor. 15. 51, 52. 2 Cor. 5.4.

2Thcs. 2.3. B. Does not St. Paul suppose, that before the Coming of Christ, Antichrist must appear ?

A. That does not in the least hinder, but he might believe both wou'd happen in his Time ; For, fays he, the — Ver. 7. Mystery of Iniquity does already work. And St. John puts 1 John 2. 18. this Matter out of Dispute, in faying, Little Children, it is the last 'Time ; and as ye have heard that Antichrist stall come, even now are there many Antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last 'time. a pet. 3. 3.4. B. Does not St. Peter fay, There stall come in the last Days, Scoffers —— faying where is the Promise of his Coming ?

A. Saint Peter owns those to be the last Days, and the ib. ver. 9, — Promise of his then Coming he confirms, by faying, God is J3. not stack concerning his Promise, the Day of the Lord will come as a Thief in the Night: What Manner of Persons ought ye to be in all holy Conversation and Godliness, Looking for, and hasting unto the Coming of the Day of God wherein the Heavens being on Fire stall be dissolved, and the Elements stall melt with fervent Heat: Nevertheless we according to his Promise, look for new Heavens, and a new Earth.  B, Does not St. Peter fay, Beloved be not ignorant of this one Thing, that one Day is with the Lord as a thousand Tears, and a thousand Tears as one Day ?

A. This, as in the Margin, seems to be quoted from Psalm 90. 4. where 'tis faid, A thousand Tears in thy Sight, are but as Testerday when it is past. And surely St. Peter cou'd not imagine, that God affected to speak unintelligibly ; and by one Day meant a thoufand Years j and by a thoufand Years one Day ; and refer to this Place as a Proof.


B. Divines are at a Loss how to account for the Apostles so frequently declaring, the End of all Things to be at Hand, and Christ to be then a coming; when our Saviour fays, Of that Day and Hour knoweth no Man ; no, not the Angels of Heaven, but my Father only.

A. Those Divines wou'd not make these Reflections, did they but consider what our Saviour declares to his Disciples, when they came to him privately, faying, Tell us when these Things Jhall be; and what Jhall be the Sign of thy Coming, and of the End of the World. Does he not in Answer to their Question, tell them what those Signs wou'd be ? withal adding, So likewise ye, when ye Jhall see all these Things, know _ ver. 3j, that it is near, even at the Doors. Verily, I fay unto You, This Generation Jhall not pass, till all these Things be fulfill'd. And to assure them of the Truth of what he declares, Heaven — ver. 35. and Earth, fays he, Jhall pass away ; but my Words fta11 not pass away. And his adding, But of that Day and Hour knoweth no Man; no, not the Angels of Heaven, but my Father only ; was not meant to contradict what he just before declar'd, that this Generation Jhall not pass till these Things be fulfill'd; but to warn his Disciples not to be surpris'd as the old World was, when the Flood came, and Jhvept them all away ; Watch therefore, jor ye know not what Hour your Lord will come: But know this, that if the good Man of the House had known in what Watch the Thief wou'd have come, he wou'd have watclfd. And the Apostles agreeable to this Admonition of the Lord, fay, yourselves know perfectly, 2. that the Day of the Lord cometh as a Thief in the Night. And after the Resurrection our Saviour fays to Peter, who asks him concerning the beloved Disciple; If I will, that he John tarry 'till I come, what is that to thee ? And the last Thing his Disciples afk'd him on his Ascention, is, Wilt thou at this Time, restore again the Kingdom to Israel? And the Answer he gave them is very consistent with the Kingdom, even the temporal Kingdom of Israel's being restor'd again during their Lives. And by our Saviour's faying, when the last Supper Avas ended, I will not drink henceforth of the Fruit of the Vine, until that Day I drink it new with you in my Father's Kingdom. They no doubt, believ'd this happy Time was not far off. But,

If most of the Apostles, upon what Motives soever, were mistaken in a Matter of this Consequence, how can we be certain, that any One of them may not be mistaken in any other Matter ? If they were not inspir'd in what they faid in their Writings concerning the then Coming of Christ; how cou'd they be inspir'd in those Arguments they build on a Foundation far from being so ? And if they thought their Times were the last, no Direction they gave, cou'd be intended to reach further than their own Times. And if John the Evangelist, and John the Divine are the fame Person, he must believe what is mention'd in the Revelation, wou'd have happen'd within the Compass of that Age in which he writ. But leaving these Matters to another Time, let us return to the Consideration of those Duties, which Reason shews us from the Nature of God and Man, and the Relation Men stand in to him, and one another.




Werner Georg Kummel

"One of the most important results, full of consequences for the historical investigation of the New Testament, was the recognition, established toward the end of the nineteenth century, that the imminent coming of the rule of God and of the end of the world had been of fundamental importance for the thinking of primitive Christianity.

Naturally this is not to assert that up to that point no one had been aware of the presence in the New Testament of an expectation of the imminent end of things.  Numerous New Testament texts speak too clearly of this fact for it to have gone unnoticed.  Hugo Grotius had already called attention to Paul's conviction that he would experience the final judgment even in his lifetime.

Granted, Grotius drew only chronological conclusions from this exegetical observation.  A century later, however, the English deist Matthew Tindal, in his Christianity As Old As the Creation: Or the Gospel a Republication of the Religion of Nature (1730), made the more inclusive observation that in almost all the writings of the New Testament the conviction existed that the end of the world was near, and that the early Christians had based their ethical admonitions on this conviction.

"But, if most of the Apostles .. were mistaken in a matter of this consequence, how can we be certain that any one of them may not be mistaken in any other matter?"

Tindal therefore identified the expectation of an early end of things as the fundamental view of almost the whole of early Christianity and concluded that because this expectation was not fulfilled, the apostles could have been mistaken also in other points.  When G.E. Lessing published Von Zwecke Jesu und seiner Junger (1778) by the Hamburg gymnasium professor H.S. Reimarus (taken from the unpublished Apologie oder Schutzschrift fur die vernunitigen Verehrer Gottes),  these deistic observations became known in German-speaking lands.

Reimarus' point of view was that Jesus had proclaimed the nearness of the messianic kingdom of the Jews.  However, both because Reimarus presented this point of view in the context of a historical construction that was fantastic and because it was so different from the traditional conception of the preaching of Jesus, that is, a teaching laid down for all time, Reimarus' contemporaries were not convinced that Jesus expected an early end of things.  D.F. Strauss, too, considered it only probable that Jesus expected his own return.




Christianity as Old as the Creation

Christianity as Old as the Creation; or, the Gospel a Republication of the Religion of Nature (London, 1730, 2nd ed., 1731; 3rd, 1732; 4th, 1733), came to be regarded as the "Bible" of deism. It was really only the first part of the whole work, and the second, though written and entrusted in manuscript to a friend, never saw the light. The work evoked many replies, of which the ablest were by James Foster (1730), John Conybeare (1732), John Leland (1733) and Bishop Butler (1736).

Christianity as Old as the Creation was translated into German by J Lorenz Schmidt (1741), and from it dates the influence of English deism on German theology. Tindal had probably adopted the principles it expounds before he wrote his essay of 1697. He claimed the name of "Christian deist," holding that true Christianity is identical with the eternal religion of nature.

Waring states that Tindal's Christianity as Old as the Creation (1730) "became, very soon after its publication, the focal center of the deist controversy. Because almost every argument, quotation, and issue raised for decades can be found here, the work is often termed 'the deist's Bible'."

Unlike the earlier system of Lord Herbert of Cherbury which relied on the notion of innate ideas, Tindal's system was based on the empirical principles of Locke. It assumed the traditional deistic antitheses of external and internal, positive and natural, revelations and religions. It starts from the assumptions that true religion must, from the nature of God and things, be eternal, universal, simple and perfect; that this religion can consist of nothing but the simple and universal duties towards God and man, the first consisting in the fulfilment of the second -- in other words, the practice of morality.

The author's moral system, is essentially utilitarian. True revealed religion is simply a republication of the religion of nature or reason, and Christianity, if it is the perfect religion, can only be that republication, and must be as old as creation. The special mission of Christianity, therefore, is simply to deliver men from the superstition which had perverted the religion of nature. True Christianity must be a perfectly "reasonable service," reason must be supreme, and the Scriptures as well as all religious doctrines must submit; only those writings can be regarded as divine Scripture which tend to the honour of God and the good of man.

Tindal's 'deist Bible' redefined the foundation of deist epistemology as knowledge based on experience or human reason. This effectively widened the gap between traditional Christians and what he called "Christian deists" since this new foundation required that revealed truth be validated through human reason. In Christianity as Old as the Creation, Tindal articulates many prominent facets of deism that held true through the subsequent centuries and still hold true among many deists today:

  • He argues against special revelation: "God designed all Mankind should at all times know, what he wills them to know, believe, profess, and practice; and has given them no other Means for this, but the Use of Reason."



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