So, too, unless a new heaven and a new church were established by the Lord there could no flesh be saved.
It is said in Matthew:
Then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days be shortened no flesh would be saved (24:21, 22).
This chapter treats of “the consummation of the age,” by which the end of the present church is meant; therefore “to shorten those days” means to bring that church to an end and establish a new one.
Who does not know that unless the Lord had come into the world and wrought redemption no flesh could have been saved? To work redemption means to found a new heaven and a new church.
That the Lord would again come into the world He foretold in the Gospels, Matt. 24:30, 31; Mark 13:26; Luke 12:40; 21:27; and in the Apocalypse, particularly in the last chapter. That He is also effecting a redemption at this day by founding a new heaven and establishing a new church to the end that man may be saved…
The great mystery that unless a new church is established by the Lord no flesh can he saved, is this:
That so long as the dragon with his horde remains in the world of spirits into which he has been cast, no Divine truth united to Divine good can pass through that world to men on earth without being perverted and falsified, or without its perishing.
This is what is meant in the Apocalypse by the words:
The dragon was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Woe to those that inhabit the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down unto them having great anger (12:9, 12, 13).
But when the dragon had been cast into hell (10:10),
John saw a new heaven and a new earth, and he saw the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven (21:1, 2);
“the dragon” meaning those who are in the faith of the present church.
In the spiritual world I have several times talked with those who believe that men are justified by faith alone; and I have told them that their doctrine is both erroneous and absurd, and induces upon men security, blindness, sleep, and in spiritual things a night, and consequently death to the soul; and I have exhorted them to discard it; but I received the answer, “Why discard it? Does not the superiority of the learning of the clergy over that of the laity hang upon that sole doctrine?” I replied, “In that case they do not regard the salvation of souls as any object, but the superiority of their own reputation; and as they have adapted the truths of the Word to their false principles, and have thus adulterated them, they are those angels of the abyss, called Abaddons and Apollyons (Apoc. 9:11), who signify those that destroy the church by a total falsification of the Word.”
But they made answer, “What do you mean? By our knowledge of the mysteries of that faith we are oracles, and from it as from a sanctuary we give responses; therefore we are not Apollyons but Apollos.” Indignant at this reply I said, “If you are Apollos you are also leviathans – your leaders the crooked leviathans, and the rest of you the stretched-out leviathans, whom God will visit with His sore and great sword” (Isa. 27:1). But at this they laughed.
To be continued…