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fall upon those nations who neglect to go up,--viz. that they shall have no rain. And because in the land of Egypt there is no rain, a peculiar and distinct plague is threatened if that nation
up; which again proves it to be a state on earth. (vv. 17-19.) Now previous to this, during that very warfare from the dire effects of which these nations escape, the Lord appears: and his feet stand upon the Mount of Olives." (v. 14.) And not only is the Lord declared to “come,” but “all the saints with Thee.” (v. 15.) Mr. Faber himself admits that the description in this passage, taken altogether, is designed by its preciseness to exclude the possibility of a figurative interpretation.
The parable of the Tares, if properly considered, proves that the Harvest, at the end of the world, (or age, ascov) when all things are gathered out that offend and do iniquity, and the tares are burnt, and the righteous shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father,-I say it proves that this takes place previous to the Millennium. For the Lord declares of the tares and wheat—“Let both grow together till the harvest.” So that if the harvest, when the earth is reaped and the tares burnt up, is after the Millennium, then tares and wheat are mixed together throughout the Millennium; which is directly contrary to the admitted character of its holiness. And if, on the other hand, the tares are first separated, and all which offends gathered out, then the burning is previous to the Millennium.
Again, the marriage of the Lamb is the time when the Lord is finally united to his glorified Church. The resurrection of the saints must necessarily have taken place at that time, and the glorious appearing of the Lord: for it is the same as the coming of the Bridegroom mentioned in the parable of the virgins. But the marriage of the Lamb's wife is in Rev. xix. intimately connected with the period of the final judgment upon Babylon, or the papacy; (See verses 1-8 and their connection with the previous chapter;) and as it apparently takes place immediately after the judgment on the great whore, so it apparently precedes the judgment on the infidel confederacy which burns the whore (see verses 11-21); and the armies on white horses, and in fine linen white and clean, are probably, if we compare verse 8, these same risen saints, who receive "the two edged sword”—“to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people, to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment; (as it is) written-This honour have all his saints. Praise II. I proceed, secondly, to the argument derived from the character of the millennial dispensation.
ye the Lord.*
* Compare Psalm cxlix. from which this is quoted, specially the sentences in italics, with verses 5, 15, 18, of Rev. xix.
Those who oppose the views I have taken object to our considering the period of the Millennium as a New Dispensation. It is not that they call in question the doctrine of a Millennium itself, abstractedly considered; but they conceive that it is to be brought about by the world's becoming generally converted, and the Church therefore progressively gliding into a state of increased spirituality and honour by the instrumentality of those means already in operation. It is supposed therefore, that the millennial state will not differ from the present dispensation in any thing but the universal prevalence of true religion.
But if those who think thus would only candidly weigh the statements made by writers on prophecy, whose expositions in the general they adopt;-and consider to what their own views would necessarily lead them, were they but realized, and carried out to their full extent;—they would perceive, that the millennial state cannot at all comport with various features of the present dispensation, and that it must consequently, in several very important particulars, constitute A NEW DISPENSATION.
Startling as it may appear to some, yet I apprehend it will be found, that the Holy Scriptures would, in part, be rendered inapplicable to the then existing circumstances of men in the flesh: and that there would need some further revelation from God. * And I think it must be allowed, that a state of things which supersedes a portion of divine revelation hitherto enjoyed, and introduces men into a state of things which is the consummation of that revealed, has one grand characteristic of a new dispensation: if not, the introduction of the christian æra was not a new dispensation, but merely a continuation of the Mosaical.
To come however to the point. It is admitted, that Satan will be bound during the Millennium; which, according to those even who spiritualize it, signifies, that his influence will be so restrained, that he shall not be permitted to deceive nor tempt either nations or individuals. What become then of those numerous passages of Scripture, which inform us of his character and power; which warn us against his subtlety and temptations; and direct us to the armour we must use in order to contend with him?
Moreover, with the binding of Satan there will necessarily * To avoid being misunderstood, I would observe, that when I say the Scriptures would be in part inapplicable, I am aware that there are many glorious declarations concerning the divine attributes and conduct, which could never lose their power and influence on a regenerate soul.
cease all the persecution and annoyance which the saints suffer from those who are under his influence, and which more immediately constitutes them a Church militant. All that is written for the comfort of the believer under such circumstances,-the promises set before him to sustain him during the conflict, and the experience of the cloud of witnesses” recorded for his encouragement, will become, comparatively, a dead letter,-a matter inapplicable to the circumstances in which the Church can, for a thousand years, by any probability, be placed.
This will be still further evident if it be considered, that the Millennium is the period of the triumph and rejoicing of the Church; whereas the present dispensation is that of mourning. The Church is the Bride, who, while the Bridegroom is absent, fasts and mourns. (Matt. ix. 15.) A time therefore in which it is supposed the Bride rejoices without the Bridegroom is utterly irreconcileable.
Again, the people of God are now described as "a little flock, and the whole world is said to be "lying in wickedness." But it is admitted, that during the Millennium the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord! all shall know God from the highest to the least; and holiness and righteousness shall every where prevail. The flock of Christ will therefore be the multitude, and not the remnant; and all those admonitions and doctrines (so useful in guarding us against ungodly men, and leading us to live separate and unspotted from the world, and to shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,) will be equally neutralized.
The same may be said in regard to the commandments, and all the preceptive parts of Scripture coming under the denomination of the Law: "knowing this, that the law is not made for the righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers, &c." None can be excited to murder, when he who is the murderer from the beginning, the great destroyer, is restrained.—None can be unholy and profane where all is holiness to the Lord.--None will be practically lawless and disobedient, or have need for any to say to them, “Know the Lord.”
By the same rule, all those statements will be unsuitable, which set forth the Church as consisting of a mixture of good and evil,- like tares growing with wheat, good and bad fishes, wise and foolish virgins, &c. All things which offend and do iniquity will be gathered out; every tree not planted by our heavenly Father will be rooted up; and the entire aspect of the dispensation will be changed.
a 1 Tim. i. 9.
The prophetic parts of Scripture are, alas! too much thrown out of the account in the present day; and thousands, if one may judge from the neglect with which they are treated, would think it no loss to be altogether deprived of them. Then however, their great use will necessarily be superseded; they will truly then have become only “matter of history;” and “they shall fail,” (being accomplished,) as to any immediate need which the Church may have of them. So will it be also in regard to promises concerning the kingdom of our Lord. Surely the kingdom will be already come, when all the kingdoms of this world shall have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. With what propriety then could men any longer be exhorted “to seek,” and to "ay up treasure," and “to hope," for that, which they will already be in possession of?
I forbear to bring forward many other particulars, which would be superseded by our Lord's personal advent, because it would be assuming that for granted, which is not yielded by those with whom I now more directly argue. What I have advanced is sufficient to evince, that the whole character of the Church and of the state of mankind would be so altered, together with their spiritual and religious circumstances, that we should no longer find them portrayed generally in the length and breadth of Scripture; and it would not perhaps be too much to say, that the great bulk of what are called practical discourses, as at present delivered or published, would be entirely unsuited to the condition of mankind.
III. This view of the subject is further strikingly confirmed by referring to the past history of the Church, and reasoning from analogy. Whensoever any great change has been made in its circumstances and condition, it has always been accompanied by a further revelation from God, concerning the dispensation then about to be introduced, and containing also some intimations of the dispensation beyond that. We know but little of the state of worship and knowledge of God existing in the antediluvian world; but, so far as we can judge from what is written, there was after the flood a gradual increase of blessed promises, containing in them much light for the Church, made to Noah, Abraham, and the patriarchs. Moreover, the worship of God assumed under them more ostensibly the character of an ordinance. There were also intimations given of the affliction which the house of Israel should endure in Egypt, and of the deliverance they should experience therefrom. Then came the Mosaic dispensation, attended by a further revelation from Mount Sinai; and which was progressively added to up to the period of the return from Babylon and the building of the second Temple. We know from our Saviour's doctrine, and from the application of prophecies and types of the Old Testament, that much was intimated concerning the christian dispensation, and much also concerning the millennial; yet were they, “whilst under the law, kept shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed." Next came the revelation to the christian Church; the character of which on the one hand is, that life and immortality are brought to light; whilst on the other hand we are assured, “that we know but in part, and see through a glass (or rather, in an enigma) darkly."
Again, each decidedly marked æra in the history of the Church has not only been accompanied by an increase of revelation, but by a disannulling or superseding something going before. How few of the traditions which were in the early Church, and by which it was mainly guided until the giving of the Law, are preserved in the Pentateuch. And how fallen into disuse are the ceremonial and civil law, which formed nevertheless so large a portion of the Mosaical dispensation. These things are indeed by no means unprofitable: many, if not most of them, are still shadows of good things to come; and all serve to reflect light upon the things now possessed. But it is nevertheless evident, that their use is exceedingly different now, to what it was when they existed as ordinances of worship in the Church; and this essential change in the use and application of them it is, that bespeaks us to be now under a dispensation differing from the Mosaical. When therefore a similar difference shall exist in the use of the New Testament revelation, it will be equally manifest that a new dispensation has arrived. Nor will the Scriptures, superseded in the Millennium, be devoid of interest or use; but they will serve in the way of retrospect and memorial:* excepting some very few passages, respecting the little season when Satan shall be loosed and the events which are to follow. At the Millennium then, will be fulfilled more completely, as I apprehend, the prophecy of Joel: “And it shall come to pass afterwards, that Î "will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also
upon the Gal. iii. 23.
c1 Cor. xiii. 12.
* Thus the manna given in the wilderness ceased on the entering of the Church into the promised land; but a pot of it was laid up in the ark as a memorial. Thus also the Lamb of the Passover shadowed forth the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus which was to be; and the bread and the wine are the memorial of the same.