(from “No Millennium Without Christ,” 1887)
Those who think that in St. Matt. and Mark the Saviour refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, are compelled to “interpret” Matt. xxiv. 30, of Titus and his armies:— “They shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” They call this “prophetic language,” as though “prophetic language” were a totally different language from all other language. And so it must be if the coming of Titus was indeed the “lightning” of Matt. xxiv. 27, which “cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west“! But surely this very interpretation condemns itself, and the whole system which is built upon it! For if verse 30 “then shall they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,” means the coming of Titus with his armies, then in Matt. xxvi. 64, Jesus must have meant the same when He said to His judges, “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” And He must have “spoken blasphemy” and been “guilty of death,” because He made Himself equal to Titus!
Such treatment of Scripture stands self-condemned; for it leaves no room at all for any future advent of Christ, in a prophecy which was an express answer to the Question, “What shall be the sign of THY coming?”
Again, Jesus said (Luke xxi. 28) “Lift up your heads for your redemption draweth nigh.” But in what way was the coming of Titus a ground for such a lifting up the head, or for such a looking for redemption!
And, note further, that this lifting up of their heads is caused by no spread of gospel light and peace amongst the nations. On the contrary, there is the greatest “distress of nations with perplexity,” “and then” — the very next thing is (verse 27) “THEN shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
Even when Jesus does speak about the preaching the Gospel, He particularly informs us that it is only “for a witness to all nations” (Matt. xxiv. 14, and Mark xiii. 10), and not for the conversion of all nations.
And when He speaks of the setting up of “the Abomination of Desolation” (Matt. xxiv. 15, and Mark xiii. 14), He refers to the Prophet Daniel. But it is clear from Daniel xii. that this must be still future, for speaking of that same time of trouble the interpreting Angel says to Daniel (xii. 1) “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: AND AT THAT TIME THY PEOPLE SHALL BE DELIVERED.” Well, at the time when Titus came, Daniel’s people were destroyed! and if that can be interpreted to mean “delivered” then language may mean anything and nothing, and there is an end of the whole matter!