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Prophetic Expositions, vol. 2

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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.PREX2 38.1

    The doctrine of the world’s conversion will first be examined in the light of Scripture.PREX2 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-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”PREX2 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.PREX2 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 except 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 he 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 it 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.PREX2 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.PREX2 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 by the 7th of April-the fourth day after the passover-to obtain the news of his death, in Judea. From these facts the truth of the fulfilment of the 22nd verse, is established; and also, an additional argument is afforded that Christ’s ministry was seven years.PREX2 41.2

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