Everlasting Contempt

The principal passage in the Old Testament containing the word everlasting, connected with suffering, is Dan. 12:2, "and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." When was this to take place? "At that time." What time? Verse 31, chap. 11, speaks of the coming of "the abomination that maketh desolate." Jesus says, Matt. 24:15-16, Luke 21:20-21, "When ye therefore (the disciples) shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet stand in the holy place, then let them which be in Judea flee to the mountains. And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto." Daniel says this was to be (12:7) "when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people." And he says, "At that time there shall be a time of trouble, such as there never was since there was a nation even to that same time." Jesus says, "for then shall be great tribulations, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time; no, nor ever shall be." And when that was Jesus tells us, "this generation shall not pass away till all these things be fulfilled." The events announced in Daniel are the same as those in Matt. 24, and occurred in the generation that crucified Jesus. The phrase "sleep in the dust of the earth" is employed figuratively, to indicate sloth, spiritual lethargy, as in Ps.44:25;Isa. 25:12, 26:5; 1 Tim. 5:6; Rev. 3:1; "For our soul is bowed down to the dust;" "And the high fort of thy walls shall he bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the dust;" "For he bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he layeth it low; he layeth it low even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust;" "But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth;" "I know thy works; that thou hast a name, that thou livest and art dead." Cruden says that "dust" signifies "a most low and miserable condition." "God raised up the poor out of the dust." (I Sam. 2:8) "Thy nobles shall dwell in the dust." (Nahum 3:18) They shall be reduced to a mean condition."

It was a prophecy of the moral awakening that came at the time of the advent of Jesus, and was then fulfilled. When we come to Matt. 24 and 25 we shall see the exact nature of this judgment. Walter Balfour describes it, "They," (those who obeyed the call of Jesus) "heard the voice of the Son of God and lived." See John 5:21-25-28-29. Eph. 5:14. The rest kept on till the wrath of God came on them to the uttermost. They all, at last, awoke; but it was to shame and everlasting contempt, in being dispersed among all nations, and they have become a by-word and an hissing even unto this day. Jeremiah in chapter 23:39-40 predicted this very punishment, and calls it an "everlasting reproach and a perpetual shame."

Isaiah uses similar language: "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion: put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come unto thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem." etc. Isa 52:1-2. This call was obeyed, and the language of Daniel was fulfilled when "among the chief rulers, also many believed on him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue. For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." John 12:42-43. Those who accepted him enjoyed the eternal life of the gospel, but those who rejected him had shame and contempt. This language is exactly parallel to Matt. 24, 25.

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