How Long,Lord? -- By: Willard Maxwell Aldrich

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 094:374 (Apr 1937)
Article: How Long,Lord?
Author: Willard Maxwell Aldrich


How Long,Lord?

Willard Maxwell Aldrich

The course of events during this age of grace running on into the “end time” preceding the millennial reign of Christ is marked out in the Scriptures by eleven “mysteries” found in the New Testament. The importance of these “mysteries” is at once apparent to the student of the prophetic Word, who would not be ignorant concerning God’s plans for the consummation of the age and the ushering in of His glorious kingdom upon the earth.

A group of three “mysteries” are classified together by Dr. R. T. Chafer1 because they are brought to a close at a time marked by the conjunction “until,” which points apparently to approximately the same time. This paper is written to briefly trace the course of these three “mysteries” and to synchronize their terminations. All other considerations introduced into the paper are incidental to this one end, and so necessarily each “mystery” can be but briefly stated.

As practically every step of the ground to be covered is contested, in so far as it has been treated by other writers, I have found it necessary to proceed very cautiously and to consider the various views on the subject as they arise in the course of the discussion. It will be imperative to define carefully and to insist on definitions once adopted.

Proceeding upon that basis, as a part of the introduction the definition of a New Testament “mystery” is established followed by the precise meaning of “until” as used in the

Greek. The introduction is concluded with a simple outline of the premillennial time schedule which is to be the underlying postulate of the paper. The three events which are to be assumed as true in their order and time relation are so generally accepted by premillennial writers that I will not make any attempt to prove them.

The word “mystery” as employed in the New Testament has a technical meaning quite different from its modern signification, “something in itself obscure or incomprehensible,” and this definition must be ascertained before a proper understanding of the subject as a whole is possible.

In the ancient pagan religions the term “mysteries” meant the secret rites and celebrations only known to, and practiced by, those who had been initiated. There was scarcely one of the ancient deities in connection with whose worship there was not some subsidiary cult of this kind. The most famous were the “Mysteries” celebrated in Eleusis, under the patronage and control of the Athenian state, and associated with the worship of Demeter and her daughter Persephone.

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