("Things to Come" #875.)
I must confess myself to be, in the presence of the writings of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, and John of Patmos—as a little child wandering through the museum, marveling at the Egyptian hieroglyphs, and the Assyrian cuneiform characters, but quite unable to spell them out; imagining, sometimes, that I have the key of the mysteries, but shortly discovering some new form of divine symbology which quite confuses me, and makes me confess that I am but of yesterday, and know nothing!
("And It Was So"#3064.)
As for the future, a large part of Scripture is as yet unfulfilled. Many people try to interpret it, but the man is not born who can explain the book of Revelation. Yet, whatever God has there declared, will be explained by the working out of His Providence.
("The Standard Uplifted in the Face of the Foe" #718.)
Nothing shall induce me to attempt to interpret the prophecies. By God's grace I will be content to expound the gospel. I believe it to be one of the most fatal devices of Satan to turn aside useful gospel ministers from their proper work, into idle speculations upon the number of the beast, and the meaning of the little horn.
The prophecies will interpret themselves by their fulfillment, but no expositor has yet arisen who has been able to do it.
For us to explain the mysterious visions of Daniel and John before they are fulfilled will, I believe, be worse than folly; it will be a guilty waste of energy.
(The Great Mystery #786)
Do not read modern prophetic works, for that is a sheer waste of time and nothing better. Hold off as you would from a serpent, from the idea that the study or preaching of prophecy is the gospel, for the belief that it is so is mischievous beyond conception! So long as the world is reeking with sin, and millions are going down to Hell—let us leave others to prophesy, let us go with anxious hearts to seek after souls, and see if we cannot by the Spirit's power win sinners from going down into the pit!
("Citizenship in Heaven" #476)
I am no prophet. I do not understand the visions of Daniel or Ezekiel. I find I have enough to do to teach the simple word such as I find in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and the Epistles of Paul.
I do not find many souls have been converted to God by exquisite dissertations about the battle of Armageddon, and all those other fine things. I have no doubt prophesying is very profitable—but I rather question whether they are so profitable to the hearers, as they may be to the preachers and publishers.
People have a panting to know the future. And certain preachers pander to this depraved taste, by prophesying for them and letting them know what is coming by and by.
I do not know the future—and I shall not pretend to know. But I do preach this, because I know it: that Christ will come, for He says so in a hundred passages. The Epistles of Paul are full of the advent, and Peter's, too, and John's letters are crowded with it.
The best of saints have always lived on the hope of the advent. I will not divide the church by discussing whether the advent will be pre-millennial or post-millennial, or anything of the kind. It is enough for me that He will come, "In such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man will come."
I think the Church would do well to be always living as if Christ might come today. He may come this moment. Let us always be living as if He would come now, still acting in our Master's sight, and watching unto prayer.
Never mind about the last vials; fill your own vial with sweet fragrances and offer it before the Lord. Think what you like about Armageddon. But forget not to fight the good fight of faith. Guess not at the precise time for the destruction of Antichrist; go and destroy it yourself, fighting against it every day.
Be looking forward and hastening unto the coming of the Son of Man. And let this be at once your comfort and excitement to diligence: that the Savior will soon come from Heaven!