Even this phase is in the minor strain of the old Hebrew. “They shall look upon Him whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son.” There is a future meeting of the rejected King and His rejecting people, and this time with sorrow for their former conduct, which implies different conduct at this meeting time. And to this agrees the whole swing of the New Testament teaching. Peter says the going away of Jesus is to be “until the restitution of all things.” He is to return and carry out the old plan.
It’s a bit unfortunate that some earnest, lovable people have pushed this phase of truth so much to the front as to get it out of its proportion in the whole circle of truth. Truth must always be kept in its place in the circle of truth. Truth is fact in right proportion. Out of that it begins to breed misstatement and error. Jesus’ coming back is not to wind things up. It is to begin things anew. There will be certain phases of judgment, doubtless, a clearing of the deck for action, but no general judgment till long after. The kingdom is to swing to the front, and bring a new life to the earth for a very long time. Then after that the wind-up.
The gospel preached in the Acts is the “gospel of the kingdom.” They are always expecting it to come. Paul constantly alludes to the Master’s return as the great thing to look forward to, as distinctly at the close as at the beginning of his ministry. The book of Revelation is distinctly a kingdom book, and however it may, with the versatility of Scripture to serve a double purpose, foreshadow the characteristics of history for the centuries since its writing, plainly its first meaning has to do with the time when “the kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.” The King is coming back to straighten matters out, and organize a new running of things. This is the church’s surprise, and a great surprise it will apparently be to a great many folks, though not to all.
The Surprising Jew.
There is a third surprise growing out of this tragic break, the greatest of all—the Jew. The first surprises were for the Jew, the later surprise for the church; this surprise has been and is for all the world. The Jew has been the running puzzle of history. A strange, elusive, surprising puzzle he has been to historians and all others. Not a nation, only a people, flagless, countryless, without any semblance of organization, they have been mixed in with all the peoples of the earth, yet always distinctly separate.
They have been persecuted, bitterly, cruelly, persistently persecuted, as no other people has ever been, yet with a power of recovery of none other too. With an astonishing vitality, resourcefulness, and leadership, they have taken front rank in every circle of life and every phase of activity, in art, music, science, commerce, philanthropy, statesmanship; holding the keys of government for great nations, of treasure boxes, and of exclusive social circles; making their own standards regardless of others, and with the peculiarity of strongest leadership, pushing on, whether followed or not.