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upon the point. In the subsequent pages, I have therefore referred only to such passages as all, I believe, allow to relate to these subjects in general ; whereby I have endeavoured to avoid the necessity of any such previous proof. It will, however, be the less a matter of surprise, that these passages are, with one exception, taken from the New Testament, because, as I conceive, all the difference of opinion upon the subject originates from the interpretation of a passage in the New Testament [Note C].
Feeling convinced, as I have just observed, that this is the true origin of the difference of opinion prevailing in the Christian world, it will be necessary in the outset to call the reader's attention to that passage. “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them : and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their
and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the
[C.1 That the Christian Church, so far as we can gather from the three Confessions of Faith, or Creeds, called the Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian, which were drawn up in the first ages of Christianity, held the doctrine of the Scriptures to be, that Christ would judge all men, both those who have died, and the living at the time of his coming, appears to me evident from the following expressions in the creeds. 1. In the Apostles': From thence he shall come to judge both the quick and the dead. 2. In the Nicene: And he shall come again with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead. 3. In the Athanasian : From whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead; at whose coming all men shall rise again, with their bodies : and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into everlasting life; and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. And, that the Church of England, in her Liturgy, so interprets the Scripture, appears equally evident, not only from her adopting these three creeds, but from the collect for the first Sunday in Advent; in which we find the following petitions: That in the Last Day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty, to judge both the quick and dead (2 Tim. iv. 1), we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, fc. And in that for the second Sunday: That at thy second coming to judge the world (Acts xvii. 31), we may be found, &c. And from the petition in the Litany, that the Lord would deliver us in the hour of death and in the day of judgment, 2 Tim. i. 18. And lastly from the collect in the burial service : And that at the general resurrection, in the last day, we may be found an acceptable people, fc. I bring this forward merely to shew that this was interpreted to be the doctrine of the Scriptures by those who, in the different ages of the Christian church, composed and adopted those creeds.
thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.". (Rev. xx. 4, 5.) Before I proceed, however, to consider it, I would observe: 1. The second coming of Christ has not been described, as I conceive, in the preceding part of the book [Note D]. 2. He is not expressly
[D1 The description in chap. xix. 11 to 21, cannot, I conceive, be understood of Christ's second coming in person, because he is there described as riding upon a white horse ; clothed in a vesture dipped in blood : having a sword going out of his mouth; and having a name written upon his thigh. Now nothing of this kind was the case when he ascended; and consequently nothing of the kind will be the case when he comes in person a second time, for it is expressly declared, Acts i. 11, “ Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven ? this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” As, therefore, it cannot be understood of the second personal coming of Christ; and as the expressions which I have noticed above, cannot, I conceive, be taken in a literal sense at all, but must be understood figuratively, so the coming itself therein described, must, by analogy, be also understood figuratively. In chap. vi. 2, we have the following description : And I saw, and behold, a white horse ; and he that sat on him had a bow, and a crown was given unto him, and he went forth conquering, and to conquer ; which, as interpreted by Mede, Gill, &c. in loco, appears to have prefigured, in agreement with Psalm xlv. 3, 4, the rapid and extensive victories obtained by Christ in the preaching of his Gospel, in the period immediately after that of the Apostles. The description in chap. xix., however, seems to foretell, not only the spreading of the Gospel, at the period signified under the figure of the Word of God going forth upon the white horse ; but also the execution, at the same period, of terrible judgments upon the enemies of his church (vers. 15 to 18), especially in the kingdom of the beast (ver. 19), &c.
To the observations just made, in order to shew that the event noticed xix. Il cannot be the second coming of Christ in person, I might add the consideration of the absurdity which such a view. appears to involve. For in ver. 19, the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies are described as being gathered together ta make war against him that sat on the horse and against his army. Now, if the going forth of Christ seated on a horse, be understood to be a literal personal going forth, then the transaction in verse 19 must also be a literal gathering together and fighting of those there mentioned, against Christ, actually present in person as described. Can we, however, conceive, that this will really be the case? We know the overwhelming effects produced by the manifestation of Christ's giory, or of portions, as it were, of that glory, upon those who beheld such manifestation, some of whom were his own saints, such as in Dan. x. 6 to 9, and at his transfiguration, Mark ix. 6, Luke ix. 32 to 34. We are informed of the appearance of one of his angels at his resurrection, and of its effect upon the guard of Roman soldiers (Matt. xxviii. 3, 4); of the effect of his appearance to Paul and his companions, Acts ix. 347, and xxii. 9_11; and lastly, of his appearance to John himself (Rev. i. 17), the glory of which was so over
said to be personally present and reigning in glory; and those who are noticed in ver. 4 are not expressly said to be in their glorified bodies; nor, indeed, is any reference made to the body at all. 3. The ideas which occur in ver. 4, such as. I saw the souls of them which were beheaded for the testimony of Jesus-living-reigning-with Christ-priests -dead, occur also, as I shall endeavour hereafter to shew, in other passages of Scripture, in reference to the saints in this life. We cannot, therefore, conclude from the mere use of these expressions, that the resurrection here spoken of must necessarily be that of the saints in their glorified bodies; and that their living and reigning with Christ must necessarily be the living and reigning of the saints in glory, with Christ personally present with them. We must both consider the description given us of this resurrection, living, &c. in the passage itself; and must compare it with other passages of Scripture, which, as all agree, expressly treat of these subjects; and, in this two-fold way, endeavour to ascertain whether the resurrection, living, and reigning with Christ, herein described, are the same as the resurrection of the saints at the second coming of Christ, and their living and reigning with him in glory [Note E].
whelming to him, although he was the beloved disciple, and leaned upon Jesus' breast when manifest in his humiliation as man, that John fell at his feet as dead. Can we, I would ask, when we read these accounts, conceive that when Jesus comes in person, in his own glory and that of his father, with all his holy angels, any created being, any worm of the earth, any sinful child of man, will either dare, or be able to make war against him in his person? The very alısurdity involved in this idea would of itself prove to iny mind that the event foretold in chap. xix. 11, &c. cannot be the second, or any personal coming of Christ.
[E] We cannot, I conceive, infer from the word avaotaois being used in this passage, that the resurrection spoken of must be that of the body out of the grave. First, because this word, though generally used in the New Testament to signify the resurrection of the body, is not used exclusively in that sense. In Luke ii. 34, it appears to have no reference to the rising of the bodies out of the grave, any more than aTwois, falling, has to the falling of the bodies of many in Israel into the grave; but falling, rising, sign, appear to be used in a figurative sense, in reference to something which was to affect many of the children of Israel in the present life, in consequence of Christ's coming, in order that the thoughts (or reasonings) of many hearts night be made manifest, ver. 35. So in John xi. 25, where Jesus says of himself, I am the Resurrection and the Life, the avaotaoıs evidently part of
Having made this preliminary observation upon the passage, it will be necessary to bring the whole chapter before the reader, and some of the chief points which we collect from it concerning the first resurrection, the millennial period, and the events which are to follow. I shall therefore present to his view chapter xx. and chapter xxi.
XX. “1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him
up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceivethe nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled ; and after that, he must be loosed a little
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them : and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection : on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
applies to all the resurrection which Christ imparts to his people, both that of the soul in his kingdom of grace, and that of the body in his kingdom of glory. Secondly, Because words, which, in the unfigurative parts of the New Testament, are only used in reference to material objects, are used in a figurative sense in the book of Revelation, in agreement with the figurative character of the book itself. Thus I cannot find the word augue nised in any other book of the New Testament except to express a material candlestick. Yet we are expressly informed in Rev. i. 20, that it is used in a figurative view in this book, and that it did not prefigure a real candlestick but a church. The observation just made, applies, I believe, also, to the words κλινη, ii. 22 ; γυμνοτης, χρυσίον, iii. 18; δειπνεω, ii. 20 ; nipeo Butepos, twor, chap. iv. 4, 6. These words, in other parts of the New Testament, are used to denote a material bed ; nakedness of a material kind; material gold; really supping; real persons called elders, and living creatures ; yet are not used in this sense in that book. So that it cannot, I conceive, be inferred from the use of the word avastaois, that it necessarily prefigures a material resurrection.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 and shall go out to deceive the nations, which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on 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. 10 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. 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life : and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it: and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire: this is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire.-XXI. 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth : for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain : for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful."
From the whole of this part of Scripture we collect, I conceive, the following points :