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Since this Tract was sent to the press, I have seen an article on prophecy in the Edinburgh Theological Magazine, at the head of which is placed my Pamphlet on the prophetic arrangement of Mr. Irving and Mr. Frere.
The writer of the article commences his observations by repeating in substance, three times over, the objection of Nicodemus, "How can these things be?”—To such questions our answer is short and simple—“In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen”* how these things can be. He next supposes that we hold the general conflagration at the commencement of the Millennium. Now I will tell him that we hold no such thing. The conflagration of Sodom was not general, with respect to the promised land, of which it was a part, (see Gen. xiii. 10.) Nor do we believe that the conflagration which we learn from Dan. vii. 11, and Rev. xix. 20, is to destroy the body, or territories of the fourth beast, the mystic Sodom, is to be a gene. ral one, extending over the whole earth. It is probable, however, that the fire of our Lord's coming, while it destroys the beast, may have a purifying efficacy over the atmosphere of the whole earth; thus changing the heavens, and fitting the earth for its new state of beatitude. There is nothing in this contrary either to Scripture or sound philosophy. The reviewer next brings forward what may truly be called the crux of the millenarian system, viz. the loosing of Satan after the 1000 years. And here I will fairly acknowledge my inability to answer him. I remark, however, that the real question is not how we can make this moral phenomenon to consist with human reason, and carnal notions of congruity, but whether it be actually revealed? It is a great mystery that sin entered heaven, and hurled from their celestial thrones some of its principalities; but it is revealed, and I feel in myself, and see in this reviewer, the effects of this celestial revolution before man had a being,
* Gen. xxii. 14.
and therefore, though it be obscure, I believe it. In like manner it is revealed that there shall be a last defection among the nations living under the new Jerusalem dispensation; and I have before my eyes the fact of a similar defection among the children of Israel, in the matter of the golden calf, only a few weeks after the awful displays from mount Sinai, at the giving of the law. Finding this deep mystery revealed in the word of God, I with simplicity believe it; not daring, as many do, to set my own vain carnal reasonings and ignorance against the testimony and wisdom of God. But I shall here again tell the reviewer, that he utterly mistakes our scheme (whatever some may have said, for whose crudities we are not responsible,) in supposing that the apostate nations of Gog and Magog, can only be the wicked raised from the dead. *
The next mistake of this reviewer, is his supposing that our doctrine interposes between Christ's coming and the judgment, at least a thousand years. We, on the contrary, believe the whole thousand years to be included in the judgment, which begins with the resurrection of the just, and the destruction of Antichrist; and ends with the destruction of Gog and Magog, and the universal resurrection of the human race. We believe, that in the majestic procession of the various acts of judgment, which, like all the other works of God, is not to be over in a natural day, but to have various progressions and germinations, the glorious righteousness and spotless holiness of God are to be manifested before the eyes, and for the instruction unto righteousness of all creation.
The reviewer next reasons against our views of a resurrection of the just before the unjust; and asserts, that the doctrine of the Bible is, that the resurrection of the just will be the destruction of death, and the end of all things. This, indeed, is bold assertion, in the very teeth of Rev. xx. 4, 5. As for his argument from 1 Cor. xv. 23, 24, it will be time to bend to its force, when he shall have critically examined, and luminously set before us the exact meaning of the Greek text, particularly of the particles of time eeta afterwards, and yta then, taken in mutual connection. I observe, that the last of them, when it occurs in the same sentence with the first, as in 1 Cor. xii. 28, has the same force, and a like signification; therefore, as the first in chap. xv. 23, means an interval, (as we already know,) of eighteen centuries, so may the second, or sta in ver. 24, signify a long period of at least 1000 years. Besides, that it signifies sequence in time, not immediate, but considerably distant, is plain from its being employed in Mark iv. 28, to express
* The restored nation of Israel however will not share in this apostasy, as they are mentioned as the party invaded, Rev. xx. 9.
the intervals between the appearance of the green blade of the corn and the ear, and also the full ripe grain.
When, on the other hand, identity in time is meant, the Greek particle used, is not Esta but tots, as every one knows. And even Macknight, whom no one will suspect of Millenarian views, but who is generally an exact critic and expositor of the letter, sees that the words in ver. 23 and 24, imply a succession in the order of the resurrection. He renders the first clause of ver. 23, “But every one or too idew Tajputs in his proper band; for taua denotes a band of soldiers, a cohort, a legion.” And he adds, “Seeing the Apostle affirms, ver. 22, that all men shall be made alive by Christ, and in this verse, that every one shall be made alive in his own band; also seeing we are told in 1 Thess. iv. 15, that the righteous who are alive at the coming of Christ, and who are to be changed, ver. 51, of this chapter, shall not anticipate them that sleep, it is probable, as was observed in the preceding note, that they will not be changed till the righteous are raised. Their change, however, will happen before the resurrection of the wicked, who, as they are to awake to shame and everlasting contempt, will be raised, I think, last of all.” To the above reasoning of Macknight, let me add only one observation more from myself. Since it is declared, that every one of the dead will be raised in his own band, tagua, and since the righteous and wicked are buried promiscuously, it necessarily follows, that they must be raised, not at the same moment, but at distinct and successive points of time; and the idea of succession being thus forced upon us, we conclude there must be two resurrections, one of the just, the other of the unjust; and what is the interval of time which shall separate the two, we can learn only from the word of God.
Our Lord himself also speaks, in Luke xx. 35, of the resurrection, in such language, as to imply the truth of the doctrine we have endeavoured to prove. His words are, as the clause has been strictly rendered; They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that age, και της αναστασίας της εκ νεκραν αnd of the resurrection FROM AMongst the dead, shall neither marry nor be given in marriage. * It is quite evident that he here speaks of the resurrection, as a privilege peculiar to some, and not common to all. In like manner, in Luke xiv. 14, he mentions a peculiar resurrection of the just, ανταποδοθησεται σοι εν τη αγαστασει Twy doxalcev; and let the reader here mark well the change of ex
* While I am writing these remarks, the words of the twelve, Acts vi. 3, occur to my recollection, as affording an example of the same Greek form of expression, Επισκεψασθε ουν, αδελφοι, αιδρας εξ υμων μαρτυρούμενους επτα, “Look ye out FROM AMONGST you, brethren, seven men of honest report." See also Rev. v. 9.
pression in the Greek. The meaning of these words is not, as in the former case, “thou shalt be rewarded at the resurrection FROM AMONGST the just,” but “at the resurrection of the just," i. e. the whole body of the just. So also St. Paul, when in Philip. iii. 11, he mentions, that to attain to the resurrection is the great object of his ambition, uses not the expression Ex tn avastat! Twv vargar which would signiły, “to the resurrection or the dead” (GENERALLY); but his words are Eu Thotarastaen ter vergær to the resurrection FROM AMONGST the dead."
Now, seeing that the just rise when Christ comes, and the rest of the dead, together with all who die during the Millennial reign, not till the end of the Millennium, it follows, that with respect to them, the last enemy will not be destroyed till the end of that dispensation., . The objection of this reviewer, founded on the words, “the last enemy that shall be destroyed, is death,” is thus deprived of all its strength.
Having thus examined the weight of the reviewer's arguments, against the Millenarian scheme, in rather a hasty manner, I proceed to remark, that his reasoning all proceeds upon a foundation, which I believe to be utterly unsound. He supposes that there are several advents of Christ mentioned in the New Testament, and particularly, that he was announced as coming at the destruction of Jerusalem. Now, I know of no text which speaks of his coming at that catastrophe, and however general this idea may be among modern expositors, I believe it to be altogether destitute of Scriptural foundation. As for the text, Matt. xvi. 28, so learned a person as this reviewer, certainly cannot be ignorant, that the ancient church gave it an entirely different explanation. This reviewer either is, or ought, before he ascended the chair of criticism, to have made himself acquainted with what the eminently profound and learned Bishop Horsley has written on the subject of our Lord's second coming, in his first volume of sermons, and he cannot but know, or ought to know, that the bishop also entirely rejects the idea of a coming of the Lord at the destruction of Jerusalem.