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Prophetic Expositions, vol. 1

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    XIII. THE MILLENNIUM AFTER THE RESURRECTION OF THE JUST

    The doctrine of the universal triumph of the gospel for a thousand years before the second advent of the Saviour, thus making the reign of Christ on earth as king of saints, purely spiritual, and saying that the Lord delayeth his coming for at least a thousand years, next demands our attention.PREX1 38.1

    The doctrine of the world’s conversion will first be examined in the light of Scripture.PREX1 39.1

    1. It is argued that there must be such a state of universal holiness on earth, and before the second advent, to fulfil such promises as the following. Hebrews 8:11: “They shall not teach every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord; for all shall know me from the least to the greatest.” Again, Isaiah 11:5-9: “And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fattling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Also, Isaiah 2:4: “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-books: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”PREX1 39.2

    It is alleged that these promises can never be fulfilled, if they are not fulfilled before the second coming of the Lord. And that a fulfilment of them implies a state of universal holiness. In replying to this argument, I would remark, it is impossible to fulfil them in this world unless there is an entire change in the constitution of both man and beast. For while man remains under his present depraved constitution, and comes into the world as he does now, there can be no such thing as an universal knowledge of God without instruction. But in that promised state they will need none, but all, from the least to the greatest, will know the Lord without it.PREX1 39.3

    But it is said in reply, by most persons who adopt the theory, “we do not expect that every one will be pious, but the great mass will.” Then you have no right to claim the text in question for the support of your cause; for it proves too much for you, and you abandon it when we apply it to your theory. If it proves aught for you, it proves the universal knowledge and holiness of the human race on earth at that time. The constitution of brutes must be changed. For it is now the nature of “the wolf” to devour “the lamb,” and for the leopard to tear the kid. It is the nature of “the lion” to eat flesh, not straw; and for the cockatrice and asp, to bite, sting, and poison the hand that approaches their den. But it is answered, “We do not expect that it will be literal; but that the wolfish and ferocious passions of the human heart will be subdued; and that these strong expressions are used to represent the great change which will be apparent in human society.” Indeed! And have we not just the same right to the figures, if figures they are, to express our millennium, and the universal peace of the heavenly state, the kingdom of God, under the great Prince of peace? But we are willing, if its shall so please the great Deliverer, that he should bring back Paradise, with all its beasts, birds, and reptiles. And, as we know nothing of that state but what is revealed, if God has revealed the fact that they will be there, and has nowhere said they will not, it will be the part of wisdom to believe God, and not man’s tradition.PREX1 40.1

    The Psalmist, in the eighth Psalm, has ascribed to “the Son of man” universal dominion over all creatures, beasts, fowls and fishes, and declares he was made a little lower than the angels, to have dominion over the works of God’s hands. Paul has taken up the Psalm, in Hebrews 2:5, and onward, and says that it is the dominion of Jesus Christ in “the world to come,” (literally, the oikoumine, the habitable earth to come,) “whereof we speak.” That now, although “we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels,” “crowned with glory and honor,” yet, “we see not yet all things put under him,” It is in the world to come, that the 8th Psalm will be fulfilled; when the kingdom given to man, and prepared for him from the foundation of the world, will be given to the saints, by Christ. All there is in the Bible, is in favor of the restitution of the brute creation; but I know of nothing, from Genesis to Revelation, to contradict it, and say it will not be thus. I have long looked on Mr. Wesley’s argument on this subject, viz., the restitution of the brutes in the new earth, as conclusive and irrefutable, and do so still. The reader will find his view in his sermon on the general deliverance.PREX1 41.1

    If these texts are to be understood in a literal sense, it must carry us forward to a state when there will have been a radical change in the constitution of human nature above what grace can do for it; and a change in the brute creation, such as we are not authorized to expect until the great deliverance from the unwilling vanity to which they are now subjected. That will be, in the restitution which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.PREX1 41.2

    Learn war no more.” This cannot be the spiritual reign of Christ in the millennium, and so sustain that theory; for according to it, there will be at the end of that period such an apostacy from Christ, and array of armies of the nations against the beloved city, as was never known before. The nations, on this hypothesis, will learn war again then. But on our view of the subject, although the wicked in their resurrection will be gathered and brought up around the camp of the saints by the deceptive pretence of a battle, yet not a blow will be struck, but the divine vengeance interpose and execute on them his just judgment. Universal and everlasting peace will prevail among all the inhabitants of the earth, for the meek only shall inherit it forever. This, then, must also be fulfilled under the reign of the great Prince of peace, in a state of glory and blessedness.PREX1 42.1

    2. I object to the doctrine of a universal triumph of the church of God, because it contradicts the express declaration of God’s word.PREX1 42.2

    That word teaches us that the servant is not above his master. “If they have not heard me they will not hear you; if they have kept my sayings they will keep yours also.” The time never was in Christ’s ministry when all the people heard him and received his instructions. Although at times, as in modern revivals, under some strong influences the multitude were moved, and it seemed for the time they were all about to embrace him, yet how soon the same multitude were ready to stone him!PREX1 42.3

    This is a fair sample of human nature, according to the experience of six thousand years. It is all the dependence which can be placed on it. If the Master himself succeeded no better, how can his servants hope to?PREX1 43.1

    It contradicts the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. There were four kinds of ground on which the seed, the word of the kingdom, fell. And from only one of those grounds was fruit received. Universal experience has shown how true the parable is to the facts in the case. Christ has nowhere told us that it will ever be otherwise while the “word of the kingdom” is preached.PREX1 43.2

    The parable of the tares of the field teaches also the same doctrine. The field is the world, the globe with its human inhabitants, where the tares and wheat will grow together until the harvest, or end of this world, (age,) the Christian age which began with John and will end with the second advent of the Saviour. Then, not before, “he will gather out of his (territorial) kingdom (the world) all things which offend, and them which do iniquity, and cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”PREX1 43.3

    3. I object, thirdly, to the doctrine of the universal conversion of the world as the introduction to the millennium, because the Bible throughout represents the universal kingdom of Christ as to be introduced by the violent destruction of the wicked, and the everlasting reward of the righteous.PREX1 43.4

    (1.) The second Psalm is one of the passages often quoted to prove the conversion of the world, as the introduction of the glorious spiritual reign of Christ. “Ask of me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” And here they stop and infer the world’s conversion. Why do they not go on through the passage, and read what he is to do with them when they are given up to him? “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; and shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Is this a promise of the conversion of the heathen? What then would be the language in which their destruction could be expressed?PREX1 44.1

    (2.) The stone is to smite the image, grind it to powder, and the wind sweep it away, before God’s kingdom fills the whole earth.PREX1 44.2

    (3.) In the vision of the four beasts, of Daniel 7, the beast, the last of the four, is to be slain, his body destroyed and given to the burning flame; and then the Son of man come in the clouds of heaven, and there be given him dominion, glory, and a kingdom, to endure forever.PREX1 44.3

    (4.) Anti-Christ, that wicked, that man of sin, spoken of by Paul, (2 Thessalonians 2.,) is only to be destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming. Until Christ comes, Anti-Christ will reign and oppose the saints.PREX1 44.4

    (5.) The kingdom of Christ is not to be universal until the seventh trumpet sounds. Revelation 11:15. The seventh is the last trump, and at it the dead will be raised incorruptible, and the living saints be changed. 1 Corinthians 15.PREX1 44.5

    (6.) The idea of such a state contradicts the declaration of Christ to his church, that in the world she shall have tribulation; as also the doctrine that through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God. It would disqualify those who enjoyed the state, to join the innumerable company of the redeemed who will have come up out of great tribulation.PREX1 44.6

    (7.) I object to such a view of the millennium, because the only scriptural account there is of the thousand years’ reign of the saints with Christ, is, that it will be—PREX1 45.1

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