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    Chapter One. Temporal Millennium

    The doctrine of a temporal millennium, or of the world’s conversion, is not taught in the word of God. We learn this, 1. From the explicit declarations of Scripture; and, 2. From the great chains of prophecy, or prophetic outlines of this world’s history. Many writers and speakers quote largely from the prophets to prove the doctrine; but their views do not harmonize with the direct declarations of the word of God. Hence, their expositions are wrong. The scriptures quoted are fully accepted; they are all right; but the construction put upon them is another thing. One plain declaration of Scripture is sufficient to overthrow a whole theory, and to demolish volumes of human reasoning, if they conflict with it.RDAC 11.1

    An eminent theological scholar, Prof. Finney, made the doctrine of the world’s conversion one of necessity, as based on the attributes of Deity. Thus: The majority of mankind has been wicked in the past, and if the present dispensation should close soon, or if the majority of future generations should also be wicked, the ultimate number of the wicked would greatly overbalance the number of the righteous, and so the majority of mankind would be lost. But to say that the majority will be lost is to say that God’s plan of salvation is deficient in power or benevolence; for infinite power could save the majority, and infinite benevolence would save it. Hence, God’s attributes are a sufficient guarantee that the majority will be saved. For, we can only judge the attributes of Deity by their manifestation; and, if he should fail to save the greater number, malevolence, and not benevolence, would predominate in his character.1See “Discussion on the Second Advent Near,” by Fitch, Mahan, Cowles, etc., p. 5.RDAC 11.2

    I scarcely know how to characterize this argument in correct terms, as it involves the character and government of God in the most serious consequences. For,RDAC 12.1

    1. If it proves anything, it proves universal salvation. For if the benevolence of God must be measured by the proportion of the saved and the lost, there could be none lost, as his benevolence is infinite, and he has no malevolence to claim its share.RDAC 12.2

    2. To say that if a majority is lost, it is proof of a deficiency in the divine plan, is to say that the number saved must be according to the number embraced in the plan; and therefore the plan could not embrace all.RDAC 12.3

    3. It directly denies the free agency of man, making it necessary for God to save a majority, without regard to their choice or willingness to be saved. Or,RDAC 12.4

    4. It makes the character or nature of the plan of salvation contingent on man’s acceptance of it. That is, it is benevolent if a majority accepts it; if not, it is malevolent. And then, if man is free to choose, he has it in his choice to make God benevolent or malevolent, and so make the attribute of the Creator to depend on the action of the creature!RDAC 12.5

    5. It denies the infinity of God’s benevolence by making it a question of degrees. For, according to that argument, if the majority is saved, his benevolence would predominate; but if the majority is lost, his malevolence would predominate. And, of course, if the number of the saved and of the lost were about equal, it would be impossible to determine the character of God!RDAC 13.1

    And the argument actually charges the worst of these conclusions on the divine government; for the Scriptures plainly say that the number of the saved will be to that of the lost as the few to the many. But the benevolence of God, and the love of his Son, are determined, not by the number that will come, but by a provision of free salvation for all, so that whosoever will, may come, and have eternal life. The Saviour said, “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.” So the failure to be saved is in their wills, not in the divine plan. If men will not accept the offer, it does not show any want of love in Him by whom the offer is made; it shows only their folly and hardness of heart.RDAC 13.2

    This subject may be conclusively settled by an examination of a few points of the testimony plainly set forth in the Scriptures. We shall quote only such as are unmistakable in their import.RDAC 13.3

    1. The way to life is narrow, and few find it; but the way to destruction is broad, and many walk in it. Matthew 7:13, 14. There is not an intimation in the Bible that the way to life will ever become so wide that all will walk therein, and the way to destruction so narrow that few or none will find it. See also Luke 13:23-27.RDAC 13.4

    2. The redeemed shall come out of great tribulation. Revelation 7:9-15. The Saviour said to his disciples, “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” John 16:33. Paul said, “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22. The Scriptures nowhere present another company, who enter into the kingdom of God through ease and worldly prosperity.RDAC 14.1

    3. The Saviour did not promise his ministers that all should believe their word. He did not lead them to expect that they should meet with the favor of the world, more than he had met with it. But he said, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own.” And, “The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; and if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” John 15:19, 20. And again, when the Jews reviled him, he said to his followers, “If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household.” Matthew 10:25. Who dares to rise above his Lord and say he shall be exempt from persecution? Who desires to be free from the sufferings of his Master? The Scriptures say that the Captain of our salvation was made “perfect through sufferings;” that he was partaker of our infirmities; that “in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest.” Hebrews 2:10-17. But they also teach, in the clearest manner, a necessity that we should suffer affliction or tribulation with him in the gospel. To this, his followers are appointed. 1 Thessalonians 3:3. It is consequent upon a godly life. 2 Timothy 3:12. It is the way to the kingdom. Acts 14:22. It stands connected with blessings in this life, and in the life to come. Mark 10:29, 30. It is necessary to try or prove our faith. 1 Peter 1:7. It works patience. Romans 5:3. It yields “the peaceable fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12:11. It works “for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17. It is the realization of Christ’s sympathy for his members. Hebrews 4:15. It is the measure of Christ’s affliction filled up for the church. Colossians 1:24. It is the fellowship of his sufferings in which we are made conformable to his death. Philippians 3:10. And it is the partaking of his sufferings. 1 Peter 4:13. And it will all be counted as his own in the day of his coming. Matthew 25:40, 45. According to the commonly received view of the millennium, not one of the above gospel truths will apply to that state. That age will need another gospel. It is a dangerous doctrine, calculated to destroy the piety of the believer by turning his heart toward a state of ease; a state free from trials, from endurance, from persecutions, from chastisement, from temptation, and from all that pertains to Christian watchfulness and forbearance. The influence of such a belief is already apparent in the worldly mindedness, slothfulness, and self-exaltation, of the body of professors of the present day, by which they arc acting out the cry of “peace and safety,” for the last days. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3.RDAC 14.2

    4. The gospel was not expected to convert the world, but to call out of the world a people to glorify God. “Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” John 15:19. “God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.” Acts 15:14.The saints of God are redeemed “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” Revelation 5:9.RDAC 15.1

    5. The Saviour taught that wickedness would prevail on the earth till his coming, or to the end of the world. In Matthew 13:24-30, is the parable of the tares of the field, which is explained inverses 37-41, wherein it is shown that the tares, the children of the wicked one, and the wheat, the children of the kingdom, will grow together till the harvest, which is the end of the world; and the reapers, the angels of God, will make the separation at the coming of Christ. See Matthew 24:30, 31. And the same subject is presented in Joel 3:9-16, where the nations of the earth are called to prepare for the battle of the great day; verse 13 says, “Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.” Compare Revelation 14:14-20.RDAC 16.1

    6. The last days will be days of peril. This could not be so if the church was to have her triumph in this world, or if the world was to be finally converted. When speaking of his coming and of the end of the world, the Saviour said, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:12-14. In this chapter we notice, 1. Before the end comes, iniquity will abound. 2. Endurance will be necessary even unto the end, which could not be the case were the world converted. 3. The gospel will not convert all nations, but is for a witness unto all nations. And this it is, wherever it is preached, whether people believe its testimony or not. 4. In verse 24, is predicted that, before that day, false christs and false prophets shall arise, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. 5. In verses 42-50, it is shown that even some of the servants of God will become slothful and wicked, and not be prepared for the coming of Christ, but finally have their portion with the hypocrites.RDAC 16.2

    Said Paul, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5. And this agrees with what the Saviour said: “Iniquity will abound, and the love of many will wax cold.” And Paul further says, in verse 12, “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Thus, in the last days, perils and persecutions will befall the true followers of Christ, because the great mass of them that profess godliness, or have its form, will deny its power. This is a most decisive testimony, and would forever settle the question, had we no other evidence to present.RDAC 17.1

    And Peter also said, “There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming?” 2 Peter 3:3, 4. How could these scoffers arise and deny his coming, and how could such perils exist, if all were converted long before his coming?RDAC 17.2

    Our Saviour has given Scripture examples on this subject, so plain that we need not be mistaken. “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot: they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” Luke 17:26-30.RDAC 18.1

    These are all plain, definite declarations. They heed no studied argument to show their force as applied to this question. The only mystery is that any will offer their “expositions of prophecy” to sustain theories in conflict with such plain statements.RDAC 18.2

    And there are yet other New Testament proofs on this subject, in regard to which there will perhaps be as little difference of opinion among the generality of believers in the Bible as upon the foregoing positive testimonies. It is generally held by all Protestants that the rise of the Roman apostasy marks the revelation of the “man of sin;” and of his end, Paul says, “whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8. And so “that wicked;” the man of sin and son of perdition, “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped,” will not be destroyed before the coming of Christ. This fact is destructive of the doctrine of the millennium.RDAC 18.3

    Again, it must and will be admitted that the seven trumpets of Revelation, chapters 8-11, reach to the end of this age. Events under the seventh trumpet prove this: such as the anger of the nations; the coming of the wrath of God; the time that the dead should be judged, and of giving reward to the saints. But the last trumpet introduces a woe upon the earth, and not a blessing; the anger of the nations, and not peace; and it is easily proved that the seven last plagues, in which “is filled up the wrath of God,” Revelation 15:1, are poured out under this trumpet. This point cannot be evaded by allowing a period of apostasy after the millennium; for the man of sin exists from the “falling away” to the Saviour’s coming; and the three last trumpets are all woe trumpets, and not the last alone. See Revelation 8:13; 9:12; 11:14.RDAC 19.1

    Some suppose that because the heathen will be given to Christ, and the uttermost parts of the earth, that he will therefore convert them. But they seem to forget that Christ is yet to put off the robes of his priesthood, and to put on “the garments of vengeance.” Isaiah 59:17. They do not consider that “the day of salvation” will close, and “the great day of his wrath” will come. Revelation 6:16, 17. The Saviour ascended on high as a priest or intercessor, and is there to sit at his Father’s right hand till his foes are made his footstool. Psalm 110:1. And then will Psalm 2:8, 9 be fulfilled, which reads, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Surely, no conversion is contemplated in this text. They are given into his hands to be destroyed, or broken, and dashed in pieces. This will be when the great day of his wrath is come; when the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, will endeavor to hide from his presence. Revelation 6:15-17; when he shall be revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8.RDAC 19.2

    Thus the intercessory work of our Saviour does not contemplate the conversion of the world as its finality, but it will close with the giving of his enemies into his possession, and making them his footstool, or putting them under his feet. And he will come as King of kings and Lord of lords (of the kings and lords of this world), to destroy them and their armies. Revelation 19. Then, instead of looking for a time of peace when the Lord has not said peace, it would be better to listen to the admonition to be wise, and serve “the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.” Psalm 2:10-12.RDAC 20.1

    We believe in the triumph of the truth, in the triumph of the church of Christ; but not by mere numbers, nor in this present state. The saints will shout their triumph when this mortal puts on immortality. 1 Corinthians 15:51-55. They will sing their song of victory on the sea of glass before the throne of God. Revelation 15:2, 3; 4:6.RDAC 20.2

    The proofs given on this subject are plain and decisive, and sufficient to establish the truth in the minds of all who bow to the authority of the Scriptures. Having this fable of the world’s conversion removed from our minds, we shall be better prepared to inquire concerning those things which are coming on the earth. And we shall find, when we look at the great outlines of this world’s history as given in the chains of prophecy, that they confirm the view we have taken in these pages.RDAC 21.1

    Some may not realize the necessity of an argument on the millennium in a work the avowed object of which is to meet the theory of the Age to Come. But the two theories are almost precisely alike; the main difference being this: the common and popular view of the millennium is, that it is before the second advent; while the Age to Come teachers quote the same scriptures, draw the same conclusions, and give the same general outline of events, only placing it after the advent. Every scripture, reason, or argument, presented in these pages against the millennium, is of equal force against the Age to Come. Let us test this on one point: Quite recently (1872), I heard a preacher, of the Age to Come, quote Matthew 13:39-41, and correctly apply it to the second advent. But here we notice that “the harvest is the end of the world,” or age, this gospel age; and when Jesus commissioned his disciples to preach the gospel, he promised to be with them “to the end of the age;” Matthew 28:20; that is, as long as the gospel should be preached. It is at his coming, at the harvest, the end of this age, that he will reward every man according to his work. The “future age” is beyond the time of the preaching of the gospel; beyond the Judgment; beyond the harvest; beyond the time of giving reward. As we remarked of the millennium, so we say of the Age to Come, it will need another revelation materially differing from the Bible. It must have a gospel with its broad way leading to life; and the narrow way to death so hedged up that it will not only be unpopular, but difficult to walk in it!RDAC 21.2

    Another idea: the same preacher who applied Matthew 13:39-41 to the advent of the Saviour, placed the Judgment message of Revelation 14:6, 7 in the future age. But after that message there are two other messages given, one of which warns against the worship of the beast, though they all profess to believe the beast power will be destroyed at the advent! And in this chapter, the “harvest of the earth” is reaped after the messages are given. And so, according to that doctrine, we have the harvest at the advent, the three messages after the advent, and the harvest after the messages!RDAC 22.1

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