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    WHAT THEN IS THE MILLENNIUM?

    Various opinions prevail, of which three have been noticed.HDM 60.2

    1. That it is the endless Sabbath of the world to come, the recreation of this heaven and of this earth, which heaven and earth by the word of the Lord Jesus “shall pass away;” that it is “the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets, since the world began,” in promises, in prophecies, and in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; and, finally, that it is the redemption of creation from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God, for which not only groans the body of the faithful in Christ, but creation itself groans and travails in pain, expecting earnestly the triumph over death, and the recovery of immortality, which Jesus has wrought and purchased, and “in the dispensation of the fulness of times” will make manifest, by gathering “together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth.” 1Ephesians 1:10. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace; good will toward men.” 2Luke 2:14.HDM 60.3

    2. That it is a period of a thousand annual revolutions of the earth about the sun, after the coming of the Lord Jesus in the clouds of heaven, during which the eminently just rise, and reign in the earth with the Lord, over the nations which are spared in the world, especially with the natural seed of Abraham; and in which is enjoyed an undefinable mixed state of society between the living mortals and the risen, the immortal just; not unlike that of Peter, James, and John in the holy mount of transfiguration with the Lord and Moses and Elias. In which thousand years, the earth and heaven are to be renewed with salubrity, fertility, glory, and beauty; the Jerusalem below is to be in the communion of the Jerusalem above; the temple and city are to be rebuilt, enriched, and enlarged; and all nations are to go worship there, until the loosed enemy deceives them to their ruin, in the final dissolution of all things.HDM 61.1

    3. That it is a blessed state of spiritual enjoyment in the flesh of the first Adam, for a period of indefinite bounds, not less than a thousand years, and probably exceeding that time, before the Lord’s appearing in the clouds of heaven, to raise and judge the quick and dead; in which time all nations will be converted, to walk in the obedience of the gospel, and the love one of another, without an enemy to vex the flesh, or to tempt the spirit, or to disturb the beautiful harmony of nature, and the lovely quiet of the heavenly life; until after the thousand years have given birth to an immense multitude of redeemed mortals, and have peopled heaven with a great majority of Adam’s race. Then the enemy, being let loose for a little season, comes into this earthly paradise, misleads the nations by his wiles, and brings them with malice against the holy city in time to meet the vengeance of heaven which is to be poured on the wicked at the coming of the Lord in the clouds to judgment.HDM 61.2

    A fourth view of this subject remains to be stated, as follows:HDM 61.3

    The millennium is past. The language in which it is described is highly figurative and symbolical; and the leading symbol is the binding of the Dragon, that old serpent which is called the Devil. In the twelfth chapter of Revelation, this dragon is, by common consent, taken to represent the pagan administration of this world’s affairs, which was overthrown in the fourth century, and cast down from the supremacy to the footstool of power; therefore, it ought to be taken in the same sense in Revelation 20.; and to mean, not the prince of the power of the air, but the pagan dominion over the earth, which was seized and bound, and has been confined outside of the pale of Christendom, and of civilization, for a thousand or more years, while christian kings sit on the throne of this world’s empire.HDM 61.4

    This fourth view of the subject has more able advocates than it has popular favor; among whom Professor Bush is distinguished in our country, and Lightfoot, and Turretine, and others, in Europe. But, notwithstanding the cogency of the argument from the character of one symbol of the millennium, other symbols compel me to withhold my assent to this conclusion, and to regard the whole scene as lying beyond the confines of this world, as a vision of bliss outside of time, in which the blood of Adam can have no part. Only the spiritual man seems to be there. “I saw the souls of them.” The risen dead cast no shadow, though they live and reign, as kings and priests on the earth, with Christ a millennium. 1Revelation 5:10, and 20:4. Against their intrenchment, or camp, which is also called “the beloved city,” 2Revelation 20:9. in his time, the enemy comes up with an innumerable host, “as the sand of the sea,” in the fearful name of Gog and Magog. But how, think you, this world’s arms, its artillery, and bayonets, would rattle against the defences of a spiritual city, and endanger the saints’ possessions? It is plainly necessary, to carry on a war with souls of the first resurrection, that the assailants must be a spiritual host. That they come from the four quarters of the earth, will not hinder their coming in a spiritual shape; and to come in the flesh and blood would be no better than for the Syrians to contend with the angelic host of chariots and horsemen which Elisha showed to Gehazi in the mountain, when he took. Benhadad’s army blindfold into the midst of Samaria. Silly mortals may imagine such a posse comitatus of this world, to be led on to the attack of the holy city of the saints; but the captain of the innumerable throng is one of more cunning and tact, than to attempt the siege of a spiritual city with a fleshly army; the camp of the first resurrection with sabres, and shells, and rockets. I do not pretend to understand the war; but knowing the one party to be souls, or spiritual bodies of risen saints, and the general of the other party to be an angel fallen, it seems no unreasonable presumption, but quite within the scope of common sense, to conclude, that his men must be like their leader, and his army a spiritual host.HDM 62.1

    This does not clear up the difficulty of comprehending the twentieth chapter of Revelation. It only removes the scene of the events recorded therein beyond this life. The comet is a comet still, whether on this side or that side of the sun; but because we cannot tell its period, or delineate accurately its eccentric course, we do not, therefore, refuse to see and acknowledge the order and beauty and perfect harmony of the solar system. We are admonished, and have occasion in the examination of this portion of prophecy particularly to remember, “that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation.” 12 Peter 1:20. The words “any private” are in the original Greek simply idias, (idiaV,) one’s own, or self: and the admonition is plainer by translating it, No prophecy of scripture is of self-interpretation. The eminent Bishop Horsley takes this view of the text in several elaborate discourses; and its propriety is self-evident; and its application to this chapter twenty of Revelation is alike needful and welcome to the students of prophecy. Many times in the course of the chapter the prophet says, “I saw”—; and while his whole attention was absorbed in one great event, it is plain that another, and still others, at the same instant, were transpiring. He describes them consecutively, while yet they were concurrent; for it is impossible to carry on two trains of narrative in the same sentence. Satan is at large, until the beast and false prophet are slain, and their city is destroyed. Then he is bound and confined, while “the beloved city” is manifested in the earth: for it is in the earth the saints reign; 2Revelation 5:10. Daniel 7:27, “under the whole heaven.” and here Satan returns to assault their city with Gog and Magog in his company: yet the prophet delays the particular description of its coming with glory from heaven, until after Satan’s reunion with the beast and the false prophet; when the apostle describes its coming in glorious state, and its abiding forever.HDM 62.2

    To assist in the contemplation of this prophecy, which is often made not its own self-interpreter merely, but an index of all prophecy, the following parallels are exhibited.HDM 63.1

    1. Synchronism of the Millennium with Daniel’s fifth Monarchy.HDM 63.2

    Daniel’s prophecy is a calendar of the prophecies, as Mede well says: a holy almanac, into which we may look for the day and month and season of this world’s year in the whole course of time. And the time of this world is therein set forth under the image of four metals for its four consecutive seasons; and is further represented by four beasts, which constitute its spring-time and summer, its autumn and winter. All commentators agree, that we live in the last of these four seasons of Daniel’s holy almanac. The New Testament often warns us that ours is the last of the seasons: “this is the last time,” 11 John 2:18. “these last days,” 2Hebrews 1:2. etc. And, for our more particular warning, the last season of the holy almanac is divided into subdivisions, as it were months. The first is of 450 years, during the unity of the fourth empire; the second is of 300 years, after the division of the Roman empire into ten kingdoms; the third is of 1260 years, during the usurpation of the power of the ten in the hands of one, diverse from the ten. The times of these subdivisions are not proportioned to each other, like so many months of thirty days each; but they are subdivisions of the season, made by the prophetic almanac: and every student of the Bible knows, while he reads, that we are living in the last month of the, last season, and in the latter part of the month. It is all in the holy almanac, as plain as noon-day, that we live in the last time, toward the very close of the last season, and of the four seasons. And when the new year opens, it is not the old year renewed and repeated; but it is one eternal spring day. The season, which is to succeed this fourth season, is one of endless duration in glory, immortality, and eternal life. If the holy astronomer does not make this matter plain in the calendar, to every careful reader of his heavenly almanac, no words of mine can.HDM 63.3

    Now the beast of the Apocalypse answers to the fourth season of the holy almanac, and its last month, or wicked horn, to the false prophet of the Apocalypse, which beast and prophet, season and month, terminate together, just as autumn and November terminate together, whether we read in Daniel 7. or in Revelation 19.: and when these two are passed away together, then comes the millennium of the Apocalypse, and also the fifth and endless monarchy of the prophet Daniel; and these two in their commencement perfectly synchronize, and that in Daniel never terminates. The millennium, then, belongs to the eternal state.HDM 64.1

    2. Synchronism of the Millennium with St. Paul’s prophecy of the Lord’s coming in the overthrow of the man of sin.HDM 64.2

    St. Paul foretells the course of events 12 Thessalonians 2. from his day to the coming of the Lord in the end of time, by delineating the apostasy, the obstacle in the way of the revelation of the man of sin; the removal of that obstacle, and the display and reign of “that Wicked, whom the Lord will consume with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming.” By “that Wicked” we understand the false prophet, or wicked horn, and his destruction is in the lake with the beast, at the final coming of the Lord: as seen in Revelation 19:20, and in Daniel 7:7-11 and 23-27. “Daniel’s wicked horn is St Paul’s man of sin, as the church from her infancy interpreted it.” 1Mede, p. 762.HDM 64.3

    3. Synchronism of the Millennium with the seventh trumpet.-Mede.HDM 65.1

    At the sound of the seventh trumpet, the days of the slain witnesses, and of the beast which arose and slew them, and of the nations of this world, all run out together; and the kingdom of our God and of his Christ, the time of the dead that they should be judged, and of the saints that they should receive their reward, small and great, comes gloriously in. 2See Revelation 11:7-19. The reign of Christ is often mentioned in the Apocalypse, of whose advent the choir of angels and presbyters around the throne are wont to sing in triumph over the fall of the beast and of Babylon. 3Revelation 19:1-7. This is the eternal state.HDM 65.2

    4. Synchronism of the New Jerusalem with the seventh trumpet.-Mede.HDM 65.3

    The Lamb’s marriage and kingdom follow close on the destruction of Babylon, with which the seventh trumpet begins to sound.§ 4Revelation 19:6, 7. 21:2, 9. The New Jerusalem is the bride, and therefore herself comes contemporary with the seventh trumpet, when God will “reward his servants the prophets, and the saints, and them that fear his name, small and great, and will destroy them that destroy the earth.” 5Revelation 11:18. This is the kingdom in which Christ will judge the quick and dead at his appearing. 7Isaiah 65:17. Revelation 12. Hebrews 1:12. 2:5. 2 Peter 3:13. The new creation of Isaiah must be taken for the new creation of John; and these may well be supposed to synchronize with that “world to come” of Paul, and again with that of Peter, wherein dwelleth righteousness. What forbids? Common sense requires us to understand, that when this heaven and earth are folded up and changed, and the world to come is manifested by the word of God, the new heavens and earth and Jerusalem at once appear together: for to suppose heavens without an earth, or earth without heavens, or a city without an earth, is monstrous; and likewise to suppose a city without inhabitants, a city rich, compact, perfectly built and full of glory, beauty and joy, but empty of inhabitants, is monstrous. And hence the resurrection of the dead synchronizes to perfection with the coming of the Lord in the end of this world to make all things new, from heaven to earth and to Jerusalem, “the city of the great King.” Therefore, all these events synchronize one with another, and with the sounding of the seventh trumpet, when “there should be time no longer,—but the mystery of God should be finished,“ “and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged.” 1Revelation 11:18. That which follows is the millennium, and it belongs to the eternal world.HDM 65.4

    5. Synchronism of the times of the Gentiles with the royal image.HDM 66.1

    “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.—And then shall they see the Son of man coming with power and great glory.—When ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” 2Luke 21:24, 27, 31. “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: for I say unto you, ye shall not see me henceforth, until ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” 3Matthew 23:38. Jerusalem has been under the yoke of the Gentiles from the days of Daniel, and deliverance is promised in that kingdom of “life from the dead” which Christ will bring with him, and the God of heaven will set up and forever establish in the utter destruction of the king’s image, and the kingdoms of time, by the stone taken from the mountain without hands, 4Daniel 2. in Christ’s second coming.HDM 66.2

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