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Lord. Righteousness will also then prevail among the nations, just as iniquity abounds now: for Satan will no longer go forth to deceive the nations, but will be restrained ;u and there will be an admirable administration of godly justice and government;" the consequence of which will be universal peace, and a prevalence of true religion and worship. And whatever may be the result to men in the flesh at the termination of the Millennium, we are quite sure that the resurrection Church will not be affected again by any pricking briar or thorn, in the way of sin, temptation, or trial. They have put on incorruption; they are delivered into the glorious liberty of the sons of God;-—nothing shall enter into the holy city (whatever there may be without) which defileth, or which loveth or maketh a lie. a
I have mentioned the latter circumstance, because there certainly will be a great apostasy after the Millennium, when Satan is again loosed for a little while; and it would appear that even during the Millennium, there will be a coercive power exercised over the nations. That it will commence in this way is evident from its being written, that the Lord “will send forth his angels and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend and do iniquity;">b that the sinners shall be consumed out of Zion;o that the saints shall tread down the wicked, who shall be as ashes under their feet;">
:"d and that the world shall be so brought into subjection under Israel, that the nation and kingdom that will not serve them shall perish.e But it would seem also, that during the whole period of the judgment the Lord will rebuke strong nations afar off;f that he will rule in the midst of his enemies;s and specially it is promised to him that overcometh, that he shall have power over the nations and rule them with a rod of iron;"—the rod of iron being, as I apprehend, always emblematic of coercive authority.*
* There are one or two eminent types of the same thing. For example, the Lord Jesus cleansing the temple with a scourge, shows how it shall be when he comes to set up universal worship, and make the house of God really "the house of prayer for all nations.” And the reign of Solomon, which is generally considered a type of Christ and the Church triumphant, evinces the same thing of the millennial rule itself. For of the prosperous and glorious rule of Solomon it was nevertheless complained, that his yoke was heavy which he put upon the nation: (1st Kings xii. 9:) and possibly that generation, which shall immediately succeed the Millennium, may make the same complaint of the rule of Christ and the saints.
u Rev. xx. 3. v Isa. i. 26; lx. 17, 18. w Ps. xlvi. 9; Isa. ii. 4; Mic. iv. 4. Ps. xxii. 27; Isa. xi. 9; Hab. ii. 14; Zech. xiv. 20, 21; Mal. i. 11. y 1 Cor. xv. 50-52. 2 Rom. viii. 21. Ezek. xliv. 9; Rev. xxi. 27. Matt. xiii. 41. c Ps. civ. 35. d Mal. iv. 3. e Ps. xlvii. 3; Isa. lx. 12. Mic. iv. 3; Isa. ii. 4. Ps.
h Rev. ii. 27.
I will only in conclusion offer a remark or two on the amazing apathy, not to say opposition, manifested by some professors of religion in regard to the resurrection state, because the theatre, in which the glory of Christ will be more immediately exhibited, is to be this globe, in its renewed state; and because there may still be men in the flesh on the earth. I pray God they may none of them come under the rebuke of those of whom it is written,—“Yea, they despised the PLEASANT LAND, they believed not his word; but murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord." But I would also affectionately, yet solemnly, admonish such, that if the things I have written are supported by God's word, their minds are not in unison with the mind of the Spirit. Angels desired to look into the proceedings of Christ when he came to suffer upon earth: and shall we not desire to behold him and be with him, when he comes to reign on earth? Many prophets and righteous men desired to see the days of the Gospel dispensation:k and shall we have no longing for that most glorious of all dispensations on earth? Shall “the whole creation groan for it?'—shall “the earnest expectation of the creature wait for it?"-shall “the Spirit and the bride say Come?" and shall there nevertheless be christians in whom there is no earnest expectation, no groan or emotion of desire?Ah! it must be because their expectation is not the expectation of the creature;—and their hope does not accord with that of the Spirit and the bride.
But some may still object, that they cannot reconcile their minds to the notion of being on earth again, and of being placed within the possibility of again beholding sin, and probably of witnessing the last apostasy. Dear brethren, suffer the word of exhortation. Our happiness must always be proportioned to our conformity to the will of God. It is the want of subjection and conformity in our minds to his revealed will, that prevents any from finding pleasure from those scripture testimonies I have adduced. Only consider what has already happened. When Jesus rose from the dead and sojourned on earth during forty days, occasionally communing with his disciples; did this take from his happiness? was it a second cup of suffering? or did it render his mind carnal? Or those saints, who came out of their graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy eity: were they rendered miserable, by being thus brought again upon earth, and among men, who, to say the least, were still imperfect-still in sinful flesh--still liable to sin? The Church has ever thought it an eminent distinction and honour conferred upon those saints: just as the Scripture declares him "blessed and holy,” who hath part in the first resurrection. But if their blessedness in Paradise was interrupted by this resurrection, instead of an eminent honour, it was an evil. We may just as well argue, that it shall be a misery to be again in the body, (considering that our temptation has been in the flesh,) as to snppose it a woe to be brought again on earth, because it has been the scene of iniquity. And if any should reply, “But our body will be changed;"-I answer, So likewise the earth will be renewed.
i Psalm cvi. 24, 25.
* Matt. xiii. 17.
Once more, let me ask, are those angels who attend the steps of God's children whilst warring in the flesh;-of whom it is written, that “they are all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation;"l_are these, I ask, rendered less happy owing to the office assigned them? Alas! they must witness much that is perverse and sinful in their charge; and often, when they go into the presence of our heavenly Father,m must have a sad account to render. But though their joy is increased over every sinner that repenteth, I cannot think their happiness is ever interrupted: and for this reason (which equally applies to the resurrection saints,) that they are doing their Lord's will, assured that all will tend ultimately to his glory; and in this conformity to his will, and confidence as to the result, they must be continually blessed. I repeat, therefore, we want a holier mind to enter into these things aright; and then we shall be ready to cry with the Psalmist_“Remember ME, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people! O, visit me with thy salvation!that I may see the glory of thy chosen!-that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation!—that I may glory with thine inheritance!” (Ps. cvi. 4, 5.)
The Pre-millennial Advent and New Dispensation.
I have now gone through those subjects* which I consider are capable of demonstration, leaving the obscurer, and consequently more disputable, prophecies of Daniel and St. John; though I consider the expositions supplied by Mr. Cuninghame to be in the main correct. The great point to be now ascertained in prophetical inquiry is, whether the second advent or appearing of the Lord Jesus is to take place at the commencement of that period which we call the MILLENNIUM, or after it. For it must not be supposed that the difference between those who are called Millennarians and those opposed to them consists in the manner or details of the kingdom of God. We may be mistaken in some of the subordinate particulars, and there are points on which it would be presumptuous to pronounce with confidence, until events enable us to judge more clearly; but that which forms the great criterion whereby the general truth and accuracy of either system may be tested is the time of the advent. If the appearing of Christ, or even the resurrection of the saints, is previous to the Millennium, then they are wrong who suppose the Millennium to consist only in an improved state of spiritual things, similar to what we now witness when religion prevails in any place. But if there be no resurrection, neither any appearing of Christ at the commencement of it, then the millennarian hope, which I have decidedly embraced, falls to the ground; and the adjustment of historical facts and dates will be the only remaining points of any moment between writers on prophecy.
1 Heb. i. 14.
m Matt. xviii. 10.
* Five of the author's Essays are omitted in this reprint.
The discerning reader will have noticed, in the course of these Essays, many arguments which go to prove that the appearing of Christ is pre-millennial; and I will here admonish him of one consideration, which to my own mind is quite conclusive, and which alone renders the notion of Christ's coming after the Millennium irreconcileable with the general tenor of Scripture. I have shown, that the apostles always speak of the coming and kingdom of Christ as an event nigh at hand, and drawing rapidly onward; so that we should ever be on the look out and watchful for it. But those who deny that he comes before the Millennium do deliberately contradict the Scriptures in this respect, and say—“You have no need to watch for or expect him; for Christ to a certainty comes not for a thousand years; and it will be time enough, when the Millennium is past and Satan is again let loose, to think of preparing for the day of God.” Such is the real tendency of these opinions; and being clearly opposed to the tenor of divine revelation, they must be so far wrong.
I would now, by way of summary, briefly show that whatever event we look forward to, connected with the ushering in of the Millennium, the coming of Christ is connected with it. I will next urge an argument drawn from the consideration of the different character of the millennial dispensation, as compared with that under which we live; and then pass on to a final argument drawn from analogy.
I. If we look to the restoration of the Jews, whatever view we take of that event, we are assured that then shall the Lord appear in his glory. For indeed their house is only left unto them desolate till they shall say-Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Daniel xii. 1-3, shows further, that a resurrection from the dead takes place at the time of the deliverance of his (Daniel's) people.
If we look to the destruction of Antichrist, it is to be by the brightness of the Lord's coming; (2 Thess. ii. 8,) in regard to which, be it observed, the expression made use of in the original for brightness (612vuz,) always has a reference, when applied to Christ, to his glorious appearing; and the word translated coming (Tepovo) means always a personal advent. This being the case, either the Lord appears at the beginning of the Millennium, or Antichrist continues to reign throughout the Millennium. The same thing is shown in Daniel vii
. 20—22; the Little Horn (which is admitted by all to be Antichrist) prevails against the saints "until the Ancient of days comes and judgment is given to the saints of the Most High, and the time comes that the saints possess the kingdom.”
If again we regard the mystical dates of Daniel, which terminate (as all agree, with only one exception that I know of*) at the beginning of the Millennium; it is expressly declared to Daniel—“Go thou thy way till the end be, for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of THE DAYS. So that at the end of those days which are to elapse before the Millennium Daniel is to rise from the dead, in order to have his part or lot in the glory then to be revealed. And if a resurrection is to take place, then of course Christ is to appear; for when the saints come, it is in company with Christ their head.
We will next consider that glorious and peaceful rest shadowed forth by the Feast of Tabernacles, the antitype of which is to be enjoyed at the final restoration of the Jews, when every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree. Now in Zechariah xiv. is described a great warfare among the nations against Jerusalem; and every one of the nations that continues after that warfare is required to go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD OF Hosts, and to keep the feast of Tabernacles. (v. 16.) This description of their going up, and annually, and to keep this festival, shows that it takes place on earth. There is afterwards described a punishment which shall
* This exception, it is true, is Mr. Faber, who in order to avoid the admission of the pre-millennial advent, (to which his own reasonings would otherwise lead him) makes the 1290 days of Dan. xii. 11, and the 1335 days of verse 12 each separate periods of years, and thus interposes a space of 1335 years yet to elapse before the Advent!