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the earth, must be before the day of the Lord. But what is called the first resurrection is a thousand years
before the period in which these events occur (Rev.xx.7-10): consequently, it must be before the time of the coming of the day of the Lord, both by the whole period of the
ceived a first, a figurative fulfilment, at the first coming of Christ ; in the removal or doing away of the first, the Mount-Sinai dispensation; and the bringing in of the second, the Mount-Sion dispensation; under which his people whom he called and does call, not out of the Jews only, bnt also out of the Gentiles (Rom. ix. 24), are created into one new man in himself.
Secondly. The Holy Ghost by referring to this prophecy in 2 Pet. iii., where he sets before us events which will take place at the second coming of Christ, leads me to conceive, that it will receive a second fulfilment at that second coming; wbile, by its connection with the context, he equally leads me to expect, that the second fulfilment will not be figurative, as the first was, but literal. I find that the earth and heavens in the preceding context are not used in a figurative sense (as they were in the first fulfilment) but in a literal one; and that the destruction noticed in ver. 6, and the water, fire, elements (vers. 5, 7, 10), are not figurative, but literal. Hence, as when the heavens and earth were used in a figurative sense in Isai. Ixv. 17; and when, in analogy therewith, the first fulfilment of the prophecy itself concerning the creation of a new heavens and earth was also figurative ; so when in 2 Pet iii. the heavens and earth, as well as the rest of the things noticed, are not figurative but literal ; the second fulfilment will, I feel assured, be, according to the same analogy of interpretation, literal also. Hence I conceive that a new heavens (in what extent of signification the word heavens is used I know not, as already observed) and new earth will be created in a literal sense, in the place of the present heavens which will pass away, and the present earth which will be burnt up at the second coming of Christ. And I venture to observe, that there may be somewhat of the same relation, as it were, and somewhat of the same comparison as to degree of excellence between the present and the new earth (created possibly, and, if I may so speak, raised from the ashes of the present one); as between the present vile body of the believer, and his glorified body raised from the dust into which his present body will have crumbled. And the declaration that this new heavens and earth will be the dwelling place of righteousness, and that these are the objects towards which the believer's hope aud desire are looking (ver. 13), combined with the description in Rev. xxi. and xxii. relative to the new heavens and earth, lead me to anticipate with (I trust) hope and desire that on this new created, this raised heavens and earth, the raised and glorified King of saints will reign for ever; and his raised and glorified saints will reign for ever with him (Rev. xxii. 3—5), he as their God, and they as his people (xxi. 3). And thus, in all the fulness of its glorious signification, will be fulfilled that promise, Rev. xxi. 5: And he that sat upon the throne, said, BEHOLD, I MAKE ALL THINGS new.”
thousand years, and by the period during which the events (Rev. xx. 7-10) will take place; and, therefore, it cannot be the same as the resurrection of the saints, which will take place at the coming of the day of the Lord. Inference second : The coincidence between the description which the Holy Ghost has here given us of the events which will take place at the coming of the day of the Lord, with that which he has given us of the events which will take place when the Lord sits upon the white throne of judgment, proves to me that the events and time which he describes in each, are one and the same. 1. As in ver. 7, the judgment of ungodly men is noticed; so in Rev. xx. 11, the throne of judgment is set. 2. As the heavens pass away, and the earth is burned up at the coming of the day of the Lord (ver. 10); so the heavens and the earth flee away before Christ, when he sits upon the throne of judgment, and their place is found no more (Rev. xx. 11). 3. As a new heavens and new earth succeed in the place of the present heavens and earth, which will pass away (Tape evocytai, ver. 10) at the coming of the day of the Lord (ver. 13); so a new heavens and a new earth are declared to be in the place of the first heaven and first earth which had passed away, (napn10€, Rev. xxi. 1). The striking coincidence which there appears to me to be in these points between the two descriptions, prove to my mind that they are descriptions of one and the same course of events; and, consequently, that the time of each is the same. Hence I feel assured, that the time of the judgment (Rev. xx. 11-15) will be that of the coming of the day of the Lord, as in 2 Pet. iii. 10. But what is called the first resurrection, is before the judgment by the period of the thousand years, and by the intervening period noticed, Rev. xx. 7-10. Consequently, it must be also equally before the coming of the day of the Lord ; and therefore before the resurrection of the saints, which will take place at the coming of the day of the Lord.
XIX. Jude 14: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, 15 to execute judgment upon all; and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have
ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”.
The persons whom Jude calls these, were the ungodly professors of the Gospel of that age (vers. 4,8,10—13.) From this I collect, that the Lord will execute judgment upon the ungodly professors of that age, and of all other ages, at the time when he comes with his saints. Inference: As the ungodly professors of that age, and of succeeding ages, have died, they must be raised from the dead at the time when the Lord comes with his saints, in order that he may, at that time, execute judgment upon them. But what is called the first resurrection is more than a thousand years before the time when the Lord will execute judgment upon the ungodly (Rev. xx. 12— 15); and, consequently, it must also be more than a thousand years before the time of the Lord's coming with his saints; and, therefore, before the resurrection of the saints, which will take place then. (1 Thess. iv. 14–17.)
XX. Rev. i. : Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
As this passage occurs in the introduction of the Book of Revelation, previous to the directly prophetical part, so it is, I conceive, to be understood, not figuratively, but literally. Viewing it in this light, I collect from its obvious meaning, that not only those who pierced Jesus, but all, both ungodly and godly, will see him when he comes in the clouds; that is, at his second coming (Acts i. 9, 11).
Inference : All who pierced Jesus, and all others, both ungodly as well as godly, who shall have died before he comes, must be raised at the time of his coming, in order that they may see him at that time. Consequently, the resurrection of the ungodly and that of the godly will take place at one and the same time; namely, at the coming of Christ. Therefore, as the time, when the dead small and great stand before Christ upon the throne of judgment, must be the same as the time when they are all raised; it must also be the same as the time of his coming. But what is called the first resurrection, is more than a thousand years before the time when the dead
small and great are raised and stand before him ; and, consequently, it must also be more than a thousand years before the second coming of Christ.
I have thus brought before my reader numerous passages, all of which, I believe, undeniably treat of the second coming of Christ, and the events connected therewith ; nor am I aware that there is any difference of opinion upon this point; so that in appealing to them, I have not had in the first instance to prove that they do refer to the subject under consideration. They all appear to me to harmonize perfectly with one another in establishing these plain points : First, That the resurrection of the ungodly will take place at the time of Christ's second coming, as the resurrection of the godly will. Secondly, That the time of the judgment described in Rev. xx. 11-15, will be that of the coming of the Lord. Thus I find, on the one hand, that if I take these two points and compare them with the passages I have adduced, there is a perfect harmony pervading them all. On the other hand, if I interpret the first resurrection to signify the resurrection of the saints at the coming of Christ, I find such a jar, such a difficulty, such a contradiction to the obvious meaning and inference of each and all of them, that I am obliged to interpret away the plain meaning and obvious inference of them all; and to have recourse to a system of setting up a variety of hypotheses of my own making, in order to remove the otherwise insuperable difficulties which they, one and all, present to the proposed interpretation of the first resurrection; both of which practices are, I feel convinced, highly injurious to the mind which is led to adopt them. My own mind is, therefore, convinced, that the above two points respecting the resurrection of the ungodly, are in accordance with the mind of the Spirit; and that the millennarian interpretation of Rev. xx. 4 cannot be so; but that the Holy Ghost, by the event which he describes as the first resurrection, does not signify the resurrection of the saints at the second coming of Christ; but some event as much before the second coming of Christ, as it is before his sitting upon the throne of judgment (Rev. xx. 11-15).
SOME OF THE ARGUMENTS, ADDUCED IN SUPPORT OF THE
MILLENNARIAN INTERPRETATION, CONSIDERED.
CONTENTS OF THE CHAPTER.
1. The asserted rule of literal interpretation. II. On Zechariah
xiv. III. The assertion that the preposition ex, out of, is used in passages which foretell the resurrection of the saints, examined. IV. Passages which indicate the resurrection of the saints to be distinct from that of the ungodly, do not, however, indicate that the one will take place at a different time from the other. V. The omission of any notice of the resurrection of the ungodly in some passages which treat of that of the saints, does not prove that the former will not take place at the same time as the latter. VI. The
inference from 2 Pet. iii. 8, that the day of the Lord will be a period of one thousand years, not well grounded.
CONTENTS OF THE NOTES. Y. On the preposition ex.-2. On the word resurrection in Phil. iii. 11.
LAA. The word if in Phil. iii. 11.-BB. The order of the events noticed in 1 Thess. iv. 13—18.-CC. On the term day.
As I have seen several arguments advanced, under the idea that they favour the Millennarian interpretation of the first resurrection, and, after having maturely weighed them, feel convinced that they do not afford any real support to it, I shall endeavour in this chapter to bring before the reader both the arguments themselves, as far as I am acquainted with them, and the reasons which lead me to the above conclusion respecting them.
I. It is urged, that we ought to adopt a literal interpretation of the first resurrection in Rev. xx.
Before I consider this argument in reference to the passage itself, I would make a few observations respecting the literal method of interpretation, which Millennarian writers profess to adopt as a general rule. In work of this kind which I have lately seen, the author, upon proceeding to notice Rev. xx. 4, observes,—“It is an admitted canon of interpretation, that when the