« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
intervenes between the first and the general resurrection'; and that during the same period the saints 'reign with Christ upon earth. During the same period, too, we have seen Satan is to be bound. This period is what is known by the term Millennium. Whether this number is to be taken as the other numbers in this vision, a day for a year, so as to denote a period of three hundred and sixty thousand years, or whether it is to be taken strictly, as it is generally understood, we seem to have no means of ascertaining. But whatever be the space of time intended, it evidently marks off a particular period of the reign of Christ and his saints.
That reign has repeatedly been declared, in the strongest and most unequivocal language, to be an everlasting reign. It will not end, therefore, when the thousand years terminate, - when Satan is again loosed, - when the rest of the dead rise, - and this mundane system, as it should seem, is destroyed. A new epocha in the kingdom of Christ and his saints will then indeed take place; but the kingdom continues, and must continue, “ for ever, even for ever and ever." *
This first period of Christ's everlasting kingdom appears to be its reign on this present earth, over the present continued race of men in the flesh, the nations that survive the destruction of the fourth beast, the nations whom, during a thousand years, Satan is restrained from tempting. What will be the situation of thes nations, and of what nature will be the intercourse between glorified spirits and men in the flesh, and what are the great objects of this new dispensation of the manifold grace of God, except so much as may be gathered from the scattered hints, here and there, that we find in the Scripture prophecies, is beyond the reach of all human conjecture.
We collected from the ancient prophecies, that, in this new world, there would be an arrangement of the nations of the earth, in subordination to the restored nation of the Israelites. * We thought we discovered, too, contrary indeed to all our preconceived notions and what can scarcely yet obtain the serious consideration of many- that a branch of the Levitical priesthood is to be restored, t to serve a new sanctuary which is to occupy the site of Mount Sion and Jerusalem. That though other nations are to share in this priesthood and ministry, I yet a sacred character is stamped generally on all the tribes of Israel, || as they dwell around the sacred mount, in their portions on the Holy Land, and “ do the service in the city,” which is to be rendered in some sort the spiritual metropolis of the whole earth.
But all this pertains to men in the flesh — to nations upon earth. The dominion of glorified saints is paramount to all this : and their priesthood, for it is positively said that they are priests, is not after the order of Aaron, but of Melchisedec. For it is plain that they inherit as joint heirs with Christ; they are, in some mysterious manner partners in his throne, and joint dispensers of the efficacy of that one everlasting atonement, in this its last application to a redeemed world. They are the crowned elders that sit around the King of kings and Lord of lords, – they are the cherubim and seraphim that fly at his command. But exactly " what we shall be” “ does not yet appear;" it is enough, however, to be told, “ that when he shall appear we shall be like him."
* Psalms Ixix. 34, &c.; lxxvi.; Isaiah, xxxiii. 20, &c.; xxxv.; li. 11; liv.; lvii. 14, &c.; Ix.; Amos, ix. 13, &c.; Hosea, ii. 16; ii. 5; ii. 21, &c.; Micah, iv.; Joel, iii. 17, &c.; Zeph. ii. 11, &c.; Jeremiah, iii, 17 ; xxx. 18, &c. ; xxxi. ; xxxii.; xxxiii.; Ezek. xxxiv. 11,-&c.; xxxvi.; xxxvii.; Zech. ix. 13 ; x.
+ Jeremiah, xxxiii. 18; compare ver. 21, 22; Ezek. xx. 40, 41, 42, &c.; compare xxxvii. 26, &c.; Malachi, č. 2, &c.
Isaiah, lxvi. 21. || Isaiah, lxi. 6; Zech. xiv. 20, 21. Compare Ezekiel.
In this reign of Christ and his saints upon earth, the following Scriptures must have their fulfilment:
He raiseth from the dust a poor exhausted' one,'
That he may be seated with his' princes,
* 1 Sam. ii. 8.
† Psalm cxlix. 5, &c.
And I will shake the heavens and the earth,
The Continuation of the History of Christ's Kingdom upon
Earth till after the general Judgment. This fifth monarchy, a heavenly kingdom yet reigning over the earth, is to last, as we have seen, the prophetic period of a thousand years. Then this period closes; not in the destruction of the kingdom, - it is a “ kingdom that cannot be moved," – but in an alteration of its dispensation over the earth. Faint however, indeed, must be the ideas which our minds can hope to receive of these far distant objects, in the dispensation of the worlds to come. These few facts, however, we are told by the Spirit of prophecy.
7. “And when the thousand years are expired, Satar. shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations, which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and
* Haggai, ii. 7.
† Zech. xiv. 5.
1 That a real resurrection of the saints, to reign upon earth, was a common expectation both of the ancient Jews and early
Christians, see Bishop Newton on the Prophecies, and the authors quoted by him, vol. ij. 348.
Magog, to gather them together to battle; the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went upon the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city; and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are,
and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
What the vision seems to say is this,– that at the time predicted, the devil, who had so long been restrained from tempting mankind, will be permitted once more to exercise his hellish arts, and will succeed : — will be able to combine together, in an attack upon the faithful servants of God, the nations that are in the four quarters of the world. And this attack will be like a second invasion of the Holy Land by the Gog and Magog of Ezekiel; that is to say, it may be compared to the last expedition of the fourth empire on that sacred territory.
Difficulties upon difficulties may here, indeed, be started, far, perhaps, beyond the ability of man to fathom or explain! For here surely, if any where, we must own “ we know but in part and prophesy but in part.” There appear, however, as far as I can see, no contradictions or implicated impossibilities in the literal interpretation of this prophecy.
It has been asked, indeed, Is it not stated as impossible that Satan should deceive to their destruction the
and are we not to suppose that all the nations of the earth are at this time brought to the saving knowledge of God? Are they not, then, of the very elect, and is it not impossible that they should be deceived ? Yet, on Satan's release, the nations are again deceived, “ the number of whom is as the sand of the sea ?"