We are all familiar with the short-term mentality of dispensationalism and its frequent (and mistaken) calls for the end. This distracting and embarrassing tendency is not new to our day. It has been a constant feature in dispensationalism since its birth in 1830.
In this article we have the practical conclusion to J. A. Alexander’s postmillennial critique of dispensationalism’s calls for the end. These few paragraphs are remarkably insightful and extremely helpful for Christian living. The article has been slightly edited by Ken Gentry.
Practical Conclusions Resulting from Our Text
The practical conclusion to which these theoretical conclusions point is obvious enough. Let us first of all prepare to die, and thus in the most effectual way prepare to live. This preparation is of course not to be made by needlessly anticipating cares which are appropriate only to the time of actual departure, but by the doing of our present duty, in reliance upon that grace which provides for all emergencies, but seldom grants to one the aid appropriate to another. Having made this indispensable provision for the future, let us cease to look upon our own salvation as the final cause of all that God is doing. Let us look away from our minute concerns to that stupendous whole. of which they form an indispensable though humble part. Instead of feeling and acting as if all must die with us, let us continue, until God shall teach us otherwise, to cherish the belief and expectation of a glorious work yet to be accomplished even here, of which the changes which we now behold are not the end, but the beginning. Let us not shrink even from the thought that unknown evils are yet to be experienced before the good can be finally triumphant. Through the clouds of such anticipations we may still discern the clear sky of better days to come; nay, even in the meantime, we may see the storm and sunshine striving for the mastery, and although we may be forced to say, as one disaster treads upon the heels of its forerunner, “These are but the beginning of sorrows,” we may still console ourselves by looking further off to still remoter changes, saying, “The end is not yet.”
Let this not only solace but incite us. At every new stage of our course, when we axe tempted to imagine our work done, let this word rouse us, “The end is not yet.” Let the same conviction follow through life. Whatever you may seem to have already suffered or accomplished, still remember that the end is not yet; and from the midst of your trials, your perplexities, your errors, your temptations, yes, your doubts of God himself, still force yourselves to look even on the beginning of sorrows as prophetic of their end, and to take refuge from the worst that can befall you, or the cause for which you live, for which you die, in the fixed persuasion that with reference both to labour and reward, “the end is not by and by.” The time, indeed, is coming when the same thing can no longer be said equally of both. Yes, the time is coming when these present light afflictions shall be past, forgotten, “as a dream when one awaketh;” but at no point of your history more truly than at that, will you be justified in saying, as you look forward to the glory that awaits you, “These are but the beginnings of an everlasting life. The end is not yet.”