THE MILLENNIUM: SABBATH OF CREATION
One of the most splendid and exhilarating subjects is a knowledge of the Sabbath of Creation. Mortal man was given seven thousand years after the fall of Adam. Abraham lived about two thousand years after the fall. Jesus lived about four thousand years after the fall. There has now been about six thousand years of mortality. The Millennium is on our doorstop; but, few there will be to enjoy it.
There were to be two major destruction on the earth. The first came in the days of Adam when the children of man departed from the word of God and thought instead to enjoy all the pleasures of the flesh. Only eight people survived—all the family of Noah. The second is to come in fire, famine, and pestilence—destroying most of mankind for a second time.
Before the best of times there will be the worst of times–a cleansing of the earth. At the beginning of the seventh thousand years, there will be a desolation more terrible than has ever been on the earth. “21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Jesus, Matt. 24) “9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” (Isa. 13:9) “5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” (Isa. 24)
After all the natural tribulations, Jesus will return with 200 million immortals to finish cleansing the earth. “16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them…18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.” (Rev. 9)
Anyone who has not been baptized by water and the Spirit by one holding authority from God remains in sin. Jesus is to return “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” (2 Thess. 1:8-10)
I have discussed the desolation to provide you with a comparison with the joy of being part of the Millennium. At the beginning of the Millennium, there will be a resurrection of the righteous—members of the Kingdom of God that endured faithful to the end. “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.” (Rev. 20)
Being part of the Millennium has been the hope of all saints of God. Many have given their lives to obtain a better resurrection. “26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19) There are no blessings in the Kingdom of God without sacrifice. “5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: 6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: 7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: 8 And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.” Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Tim. 2:22)
Possibly the best and most complete dialogue on the Millennium is to be found in the Evening and Morning Star—the official church journal under Joseph Smith. It was communicated for The Evening and Morning Star. The source is not identified; but, the articles should be enlightening to all. The original errors in spelling were retained. Some words were spelled differently in 1834.
MILLENNIUM NO. 1
THE subject of the Millenium has excited the attention of the students of the bible in the different ages of the world. All persons in any degree acquainted with the ancient prophecies have been led to believe, that there was some different order of things to be established in the last days, from what had existed in the former ages of the world; and many have written on the subject, without, however, being able to give much light upon it; leaving it pretty much as they found it, without coming to any certain conclusion, as to the precise features, or character of that peculiar age.
Some have doubted, seriously, whether there were any such period, as that called the Millenium, ever to take place. But a large majority of professed christians, have had a greater or less degree of confidence in the actual arrival of such a period; believing that the things spoken of by the ancient prophets, have never been fulfilled, nor never can, unless the Millenium is brought about in the economy of God. But in what manner it is to be introduced, and by what means, they have been unable to see, or understand.
The fact, however, that a different state of things would exist, from that which had existed, they think, is plainly taught from the following testimonies of the ancient prophets: [Isa. 52:8] Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion. [Jer. 31:34] And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord. [Micah 4:3] And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plow shares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more, [Isa. 11:6-9] The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
From the foregoing scriptures, as well as from many others, a large majority of the professing world, have been led to believe, that the last days were to be days of wonder; that God would do great things for his saints, and rain down righteousness from heaven. In consequence of the general credence given to these testimonies of the prophets, together with many others of like import, the subject of the Millenium has become one of pretty general belief in the religious world; nearly all the sects of the nineteenth century believe in it, and cherish some opinion in relation to it, (which however, are generally favorable to their own prejudices and their own sect.)
There are no writers on this subject, with whom we are acquainted, who have entered into a minute detail of all its parts, as they lie strewed over the face of the ancient prophecies; but have contented themselves with a very limited view of some of them, only. But notwithstanding the general opinion which now prevails in the world, that in the purpose of God such an era will come in the course of human existence, (for so general is the belief in the Millenium, that all the revivals among the sects are considered as a prelude to it, and a kind of foretaste of that day of rest and glory which God has in reserve for the last days,) still, their knowledge of the subject is so limited, that they are unable either to satisfy themselves or others. The opinions of the world on the subject of the Millenium, are nearly as numerous as the sects; each party having an opinion of its own.
Within the last five years, a writer has made his appearance, professing it to be his primary object, to investigate this subject; and actually commenced publishing a paper, calling it the, “Millenial Harbinger.” From his high standing as a man of talents, and a biblical student, from his pen we expected much; but, in this we have been disappointed; for we have received but little; indeed, less than little: we have received nothing.
Whether the Editor has undertaken a task that he is a fraid to perform, or whether he is really ignorant of the subject, we do not pretend to say.–But all those who have read the “Millenial Harbinger,” know, that he has not given it so much as one passing glance. True, Mr. M’Corkle has said something, about something, or nothing; which the public have received through the columns of the Harbinger. How many more articles he may favor us with, yet remains to be found out hereafter. But he has reached the very prominant point, which all writers who write about nothing, generally gain, that is, to cry, False prophets, false prophets, false christs! against some religious denomination, and there stand and, Halloo!
We asked ourselves, when reading Mr. M’Corkel’s production, Who is the better of all this? What good, gentle reader, do you suppose it would do you if a man were to say to you, You will starve to death! you will starve to death! and yet never try to make any provision for your wants, or direct you where you could get any? Mr. M’Corkle has cried, death! destruction! desolation! judgment! but no provision! no way for escape! no hiding place! no city of refuge! And what advantage is all his labor of love to us? for we might as well perish without knowing it twenty years before hand, as with. For perish we must, according to Mr. M’Corkle; for as yet, he has left the world, both saint and sinner without any way to escape the impending danger.
MILLENNIUM NO. 2
WHEN the God of heaven sent a messenger to proclaim judgment on the old world, he provided an ark for the safety of the righteous: when Sodom was burned, there was a Zoar provided for Lot and his family; and when Jerusalem was destroyed, the Savior told the saints to flee out, and they fled, and found safety. And in the last days, when the Lord brings judgment on the world, there will be a Mount Zion, and a Jerusalem, where there will be deliverence. [See Joel 2:32]
What a difference between a man of God, and a self authorized and self constituted messenger! The man of God will no sooner cry, Destruction, desolation, and judgment, than he will tell them of an ark, a Zoar, a Palla, a Mount Zion, a Jerusalem, or some other place which God has provided for them who will hear his voice. But Mr. M’Corkle, like every other messenger, that God never sent, can cry, Destruction, desolation, fire, and judgment, and write very ingeniously about it, but there it ends; with perhaps, a false prophet, or false christ, to finish it; and there the sound dies away. And the world is just as well off, as when he began to cry; with this advantage, perhaps, they have been amused a little, at some creatures folly.
For several years we have been waiting and reading the “Millennial Harbinger,” and finding a little of every thing in it which has been written or spoken of, for the last hundred years, the Millenium excepted; that, as though its Harbinger was ashamed of it, has never as yet been able to find a place in its columns, so as to pay one visit to its friends. How long it will be kept in this solitary situation, remains to be disclosed in futurity; or whether the Editor of the Harbinger was really in earnest when he put MILLENNIAL, on the title page of his paper; or whether he designed to practice a hoax on its readers, time will doubtless bring to light. Or perhaps the Editor understands the subject too well, to let it appear in his paper, believing if he does, that it will sap the foundation of all that he has done, and been doing for the last twenty years.
Let the Editor of the Harbinger, however, treat this subject as he will, and let him in his course be influenced by what motives he may, whether good or evil, the Lord be his judge, and not us. If he acts righteously, he will receive a righteous man’s reward; but if unrighteously, he will be rewarded accordingly; and although he has been lavish in his abuse of some of the members of the church of Christ; and not only some, but all the church has been reproached by him, all we say, is, the Lord judge between him and us, and deal with us according to justice and mercy, and there we leave it.
The subject, however, which the Editor of the Harbinger has treated with neglect, either through fear or ignorance, (for what else could have caused him to offer violence to his proposed object and plighted faith,) is the very one which effects the salvation of this generation. The only thing which God promised to the world, after the great apostasy, which was to corrupt all nations, and defile all the kings of the earth; and terminate in the overthrow of the Gentiles to whom the kingdom of heaven had been given, when the Jews were overthrown, was to return the scattered remnants of Jacob, and gather the house of Joseph; bringing them as he did at the first, and building them as he did at the beginning, & returning to them, (when they were washed and had put away the evil of their doings from before the eyes of the Lord, and had ceased to do evil, and learned to do well,) their Judges as at the first, and their counsellors as at the beginning; and that not by virtue of any previous covenant with the house of Israel, but by one which was to be made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah in the last days which was to be different from all other covenants, made with that people. Though in obedience to covenant made with their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, which God with these three men made, renewed, and confirmed, which covenant was to be fulfilled upon the generations of the thousand years, or Millenium. We know that some careless transcriber, or ignorant translator, has made the Psalmest, say, in the Psalm before mentioned, [Ps. 105:8] a thousand generations; but as their never will be that many generations on earth, the most illiterate may see the mistake. [See the 105 Psalm.]
The house of Israel in the last days, was to be taught by a people of stammering lips and another tongue, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. In former days they had enlightened the Gentiles: in latter days the Gentiles were to enlighten them. They had sent revelations in former times; and in latter times revelations were to go from among the Gentiles. In former days the Gentiles had obtained mercy through them; and in latter times they were to obtain mercy through the Gentiles.
Paul says, in viewing the marvelous dealings of God, [Rom. 11:22] Behold, the goodness and severity of God. By the hand of the Gentiles the Lord had scattered them; and by the hand of the Gentiles he would gather the house of Jacob, and save the house of Joseph, and plant them again in their own land; returning them to their folds, and peopling their waste heritages. They should come to Zion with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads, never to be supplanted, never to be thrown down any more: they should build and inherit; they should plant and eat the fruit thereof. For they should not build and another inhabit; neither should they plant and another eat the fruit thereof. For as the days of a tree, shall be the days of the people of the Lord, and his elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. Their seed was to be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people. Their bones also should flourish as an herb: all that shall see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. [See Isa. Chapters 1, 11, 28, 60, 65, 66, Jer. Chapters 23, 33, Zech. Chapter 10]
There seems to be one error common to all writers on the Millenium, which is this: they think that it is to be brought about by converting the Gentiles; and after all the Gentiles are converted, the Jews will be converted to the Savior also: and thus the world will be brought to see eye to eye, and be of one heart and of one mind and all contentions cease on earth
These, doubtless, were the views of the Editor of the Harbinger; or else he could not have supposed that his paper could contribute in any degree to this end; for had it once entered into his heart, that all the Millenium ever mentioned in the bible was promised to the seed of Abraham; and that unless the scattered remnants of Jacob should be gathered from all countries whither they had been driven, that no such thing as Millenium could ever exist; or that God never promised such an era to mankind on any other ground, than that of gathering the house of Jacob to the land of their fathers; and that predicated on the fact of the Gentiles having forfeited all claim to the divine favor by reason of their great apostacy, and having shamefully corrupted the kingdom of God, and having defiled all the nations of the earth with the wind of their fornication; they, their kings, their rulers and their judges together, until they had denied the Lord that bought them, and brought on their own heads swift destruction, as had done the Jews before them. [see 2 Pet. 2:7]
Surely had the Editor of that paper possessed one correct view on this subject, he would never thought of publishing the Harbinger. But he has, however, evaded the difficulty very easily, by perfect silence. What excuse he will make to his readers for his conduct will doubtless appear by and by; and no doubt but his devotees will receive it, and say, “Well done! brother Campbell is always ready for all men.” And how long the world is to be duped by such an imposition, will be seen in time to come.
The ears of the public are occasionaly saluted from that press, with the great imposition of, Shakerism, and of Mormonism: But why not Mr. Editor, when you are engaged in detecting impositions, say something about the most bare faced imposition ever pawned upon this generation, the Milenial Harbinger? Why not be without respect of persons? The readers of that paper have surely been duped long enough; it is five years old; Mormonism is not yet as old. You ought certainly to begin at the oldest first; and thus show yourself a man of noble feelings; treating all alike.
The readers of that paper should recollect when they are reading it, that it is the Millenial Harbinger. And we would ask them, how long do you think you will have to read it till you understand the Millenium? You are paying the Editor his thousands a year to unfold the Millenium, and to set forth the great things which God has promised to the people of the last days, by the mouth of the holy prophets; but you get a little of every thing, that excepted. But in all this, where is the Millenium? Lying among the prophets, unsought for; and untouched, too! And yet its Harbinger is travelling abroad on the earth.
When John the Baptist came as the Harbinger of the Savior, in six months after, he could say, [John 1:29] Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. But the poor Harbinger, like a widowed dove, can find no mate. It has been five years abroad on the earth, and going up and down on it, but no Millenium yet; not able to point to the place where it, or any part of it is to be found. Let the Editor of the Harbinger be silent about impositions till he corrects his own, and ceases to practice fraud himself.
MILLENNIUM NO. 3
As all writers on the Millenium, up to the present time, have failed to present the subject in a satisfactory point of light, the ground still remains to be occupied by any one who has courage sufficient to undertake it. And should they fail in the attempt, they will only do what great men, (so called) have done before them: indeed, there does not appear to be any great hazard in the undertaking at this time, as a failure would only leave the adventurer in company with the great men of the world, not even the Editor of the Harbinger, and his friend Mr. M’Corkle excepted, whom the Editor helped to sea: but ignorance, that adverse wind, and great draw-back to promotion, has helped to shore again. He seems not, However, to have suffered much in the voyage if he did return as empty as he went; without enriching the literary world with one discovery for he finds himself in the same harbor, in safe mooring with others who have attempted the same voyage and have failed in the attempt. Some indeed hoisted all sail and made as though they would be off the first fair wind, leaving all behind: but after examining their riging and sails they doubted of their sufficiency; and after a little closer examination, they found to their great surprise, that they were entirely wanting in ballast. And after coasting for some time they abandoned the voyage altogether, or until they could increase their ballast; for though they had a great deal of sail, and a little ballast, yet it was found that it was not of the right kind: among whom the Editor of the Harbinger is chief.
In undertaking to present before the public the subject of the Millenium, we do it without claiming any favors, or pleading any excuses. We design to limit ourselves within the limits of the bible, and examine the subject as it has been written by the ancient prophets. If the public should not like the style, let them alter it till it suits them, and if they dislike the statement, our flag is on the outside of the wall, they can have an opportunity of trying their skill and making a better of it.
One thing on this subject is certain, and on which all agree: it is this, that, the Millenium has no existence, nor never had: that, in searching after it, we are searching after a something that the eye of man never saw, nor has any society of men ever enjoyed it. To use the language of Paul, [1 Cor. 2:9] “eye hath not seen it, nor ear heard it,” except by the spirit of prophecy and vision. But though it has no existence, yet it may have an essence; for if it has not an essence, it never will have an existence; and if it has an essence, it is only to be found in the purpose of Him who “calleth things that are not, as though they were:” and all the knowledge we have of this purpose is through the medium of prophecy and revelation. It is one of those subjects which is alone to be found in the bible if any where; and it would be pretty hard to tell how the belief in it should be so general among believers in the bible in the different ages of the world, unless there is something said about it in the scriptures. It must be acknowledged by all, that the prophets have said some things, indeed many things, which if ever fulfilled, would produce a very different order of society from any ever on earth before: an order of society in which the saints of God [Micah 4:4] “could worship under their own vine and their own fig-tree, and there would be none to make them afraid.” Such an order of society has never yet existed; for though the time has been, and now is when a corrupted religion can be tolerated; yet there never was a time, nor is there one now in which the church of Christ can worship undisturbed. Their character, their property, and even their lives are now, as in former days, sought with untiring perseverance by both religious and irreligious, not even reformers excepted. But this period is not only to be marked with this peculiarity, but it is also materially to effect the brutal creation. The lion and the ox are to eat straw together; the bear and the cow to graze the plain in company, and their young ones to lay down in peace: there shall be nothing to hurt or destroy in all the Lord’s holy mountain. The lion will be carnivorous no longer; and all the beasts will cease to prey on flesh and blood; for if they do not they will both hurt and destroy, and the testimony of the prophet fail; for if no such day comes, there will be no Millenium. That day promised to the world by the prophets is to be a time of rest, otherwise they have promised nothing; and there is as much said about the rest for the beasts, as about the rest for man; and there remains the same promise for the brutal creation, as for the rational; for the Lord promised by the mouth of Joel, and on the day of pentecost renewed the same promise by Peter, that in the last days he would pour out his Spirit on all flesh. If that promise is ever fulfilled in its full extent, the Spirit of God will have to be poured out on beast as well as man; for they also are flesh. And if there never should be a time when the Spirit of God is poured out on the beast, there never will be a Millenium. And when that day comes, the Spirit of the Lord, when poured out, will make a great revolution on the irrational creation; changing their nature both as to food and habits; for the God of heaven, by that Spirit with which he garnished the heavens, can also change the nature of both the rational and irrational creations, from one end of heaven to the other. One of the great difficulties in all writers who have written on the Millenium, is, that they have tried to prove by making the language of the prophets all figures and metaphors, that, that which alone can be done by a direct exersion of divine power in the way of miracle, is to be produced upon human principles; endeavoring to prove that all things spoken of by the prophets can be fulfilled without miracles; without an immediate exertion of divine power.–Hence all the phenomenas of the heavens are made to mean some thing about kings and priests; kingdoms and churches; (so says Mr. M’Corkle, Mr Campbell’s help-mate;) and in this he is not alone; for others long before his day, and who had about as much knowledge of the subject as he had, said the same things in effect, before he was born; but no such rules of interpretation of prophecy would ever have been introduced, was not the religious world in a state of apostasy; having the form of godliness but denying the power thereof. But before the Millenium comes, or ever can come, there will be a day of power, not in a figurative, but in a literal sense, as direct as the power which raised Lazarus from the dead, or else it will never come. And there will not only come a day of power, but a day of revelation also; and that as direct from God as those revelations given by Moses and the prophets; by Jesus and the apostles; and not a few only, but line upon line, and line upon line, precept upon precept, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, meaning many, yea, very many revelations; until the knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. For who does not know,that there is not knowledge enough in all the revelations now extant, together with all the human productions in all languages, in the world, to cover the earth as the waters cover the face of the great deep? but a sufficiency of revelations to do this must come, or else the Millenium will never come.
The prophets in presenting what we call the Millenium, and what John calls the thousand years of Christ’s reign on the earth, has shown us an order of things which, when understood, will clearly set forth to every intelligent mind the great apostasy of all the religions of the world; their immense distance from the religion of heaven; the weakness and folly of all the schemes of all ages, since the days of the crusaders, to Alexander Campbell (but he, of all others with his Harbinger, cuts the oddest figure in the world;) an age of incessant revelations, every one knowing the Lord without the need of any teacher: a people of such faith, that it shall be said of the inhabitants, that they are not sick: an age of such power, that the mountains shall flow down and the valleys rise up: crooked things become straight, and rough places smooth: an age of wonder, when the faith of men, like that of Moses, shall make the mountains, not drop water only, but new wine: an age when people shall receive refreshing from the presence of the Lord: an age when there will be so much faith on the earth, that death can have no dominion; but men will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and be caught up: an age when every man shall be his own revelator, prophet, and seer; for all shall know the Lord alike, from the least to the greatest. The day spoken of by Paul when the perfect shall have come, when all prophecies shall have failed; when all former knowledge shall have passed away; when all tongues shall be identified in one: an age when the will of God shall be done on earth as it is done in heaven; and if so, men will have to know as much as angels, or they cannot do the will of God as it is done in heaven. Let a man but for a moment, contemplate this order of things in the light of revelation, as it is justly called by Peter in Acts 3rd chapter, [Acts 3:21] “The times of the restitution of all things of which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began,” and then let him take a peep at Mr. Campbell and his Harbinger, making a mighty noise, saying, Reform! crying, (that is, on the title page of his Harbinger,) Millenium! Millenium!! but if we may judge from what he says on other matters, his Millenium is not to possess one property of the Millenium of the prophets and apostles: his is to be a Millenium without power or revelation, and if so, there never will be one!
With regard to the Millenium, let it be remembered, that, it is worse than vain to conjure up a something in our brain that has no existence else where; for if there is ever such a period it will just be what God promised in the scriptures, and nothing else. Nor would Mr. Campbell be at so great a loss as to have to creep out so dishonorably; if it were not that his statements are directly opposed to the Millenium of the bible.–In his sentiments he follows in the train of his fathers, denying all miracles, all revelations and all the peculiar properties which is to distinguish that age from all others; and should he or any other man establish a Millenium of that description, he will put to silence Moses and the prophets: Jesus and the apostles; and all the inspired writers that ever wrote on it since the world began.
MILLENNIUM NO. 4
THE Millenium is that important period in the economy of God, which will put to the test the theories of all ages, and all generations, when God will try the faith of all living, separating between the good and the evil, and enabling all to discern between the righteous and the wicked; between those who serve God and those who serve him not.
There is no period in human existence about which there has been as much said by the prophets and apostles, as the time of Christ’s reign, which reign was to last a thousand years; which gave rise to the idea of there every being such a period as the Millenium: which term signifies a thousand years. John the Revelator, gives us the following account of it in the 20th chapter of the Revelations, from the 1st to the 9th verse:–And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they that 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 who 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. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were fulfilled. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan 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 Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 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.
In this connection, verse 1 we are told, that an angel come down from heaven: verse 2 and laid hold on the Devil and bound him a thousand years, and that during that thousand years he should have no power to deceive the nations, verse 3rd; and in verse 4 that during that period the saints reigned with Christ; and verse 5, but the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were up. Again verse 6, they who had part in the first resurrection shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Christ a thousand years; verse 7, and when the thousand years are expired, Satan is to be loosed for a little season; verse 8, and he shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth: which proves this fact, at last, that all this is to take place on the earth; that it is on the earth where the saints are to reign with Christ a thousand years. Verse 9, and they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints: so there can be no doubt as to the fact, that this thousand years is to transpire while the saints are on the earth, and their camp is to be invaded after the thousand years are expired, and all this on the earth.
The sacred writers have been exceedingly prolific in their writings on the subject of Christ’s reign: it is every where spoken of and set forth in the most splendid light and that, when that time comes, the saints, yea, all of them, should reign with him. That this reign of Christ is to be an earthly reign, is not only evident from the before mentioned prophecies, but we have a saying of Paul in the 15th chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, which limits it to the earth: see the 22, 23 and 24, verses: For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterwards they that are Christ’s at his coming.–Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and all power. Verse 28; and when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. Here the apostle says, that when all that died in Adam shall have been made alive in Christ, then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to the Father. In verse 28 we are told, that he himself shall be subject to the Father, when all things are put under his feet. After this time there can be no such thing as a reign of Christ distinctly, or separately, and of necessity, Christ’s reign must be before this time: and if so, it must be in time; and if in time, it must be on the earth; for it would be curious indeed for Christ to reign a thousand years in eternity, where there are neither days, months, nor years! Another thing of importance to be remarked, in the sayings of the apostle above quoted, is that it is only the saints who were dead that were to reign with Christ a thousand years. [Rev. 20:4-5] “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 in their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” But the rest of the dead lived not again till the thousand years were finished. That is, the rest of the dead were not raised till the thousand years were finished; and those saints who were raised to reign with Christ the thousand years, constituted the first resurrection. [Rev. 20:5] “This is the first resurrection.”
The apostle seems to have understood himself perfectly when he wrote this 20th chapter of his Revelations, and set forth his ideas so clearly, that none need mistake him.–He says that Christ is to reign a thousand years; (and the very expression, a thousand years, shows that this reign belonged to the earth, and time; for it is only in time where there are days, and times, and seasons, and years: the unseen world and eternity, have no such divisions;) that the saints were to be raised and reign this thousand years with him, and this resurrection of the saints to reign with Christ, was the first resurrection. That in this thousand years, Satan was to be bound, so as not to be able to deceive the nations–and during this thousand years the saints on earth were to spread abroad in the four quarters thereof: yet it is not said that they shall reign with Christ a thousand years; but on the contrary, those who are raised from the dead.
In the 5th chapter of the Revelations from the 8th to the 11th verse, we have the same subject set forth: he says, thus, And when he had taken the book, the four beasts, and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. Here we are told that those who were redeemed unto God out of every kindred, tongue, people and nation, were to reign on the earth: If the question is asked, how long they should reign on the earth? the answer is, a thousand years, or Millenium; so that this important period does not only effect those in time, but those in eternity also.
If John’s account of this subject be correct, all the saints which were redeemed unto God out of every nation, people, tongue and kindred, (and if so they must be from all generations, from the days of righteous Abel down to the second coming of Christ, or else they will not be from every people, and nation,) are to reign on the earth with Christ a thousand years: and this glory they are to obtain through their having part in the first resurrection.
In the first chapter of the Revelations, and 7th verse, John describes the coming of the Savior thus, when he comes to reign on the earth a thousand years: “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.
In all that John has said about the coming of the Savior, he has never told us of any other object he had in coming, but to reign on earth a thousand years; for where he has mentioned the object, this he says is what it is; so that we are not left to conjecture as to the object of the Savior’s coming; for the very same scriptures which tell us of his coming again, tell us also, that when he comes, he will reign on the earth a thousand years, and all those of the first resurrection with him. The matter is fairly settled, that if ever the Savior comes again, he will reign on the earth a thousand years, and all the church of the first born whose names are written in heaven, will at that time obtain a resurrection and reign with him; even all who are redeemed from among men, of every tongue, kindred, people, and nation–and if the Savior does not reign on earth a thousand years, and all the raised saints with him, he never will come the second time.
Let us now sum up what John has said in the Revelations on this subject:
1. He has said that Christ is coming, when every eye shall see him. This could not have been his first coming, for very few eyes saw him at his first coming, much less all.
2. That when he comes, he will come with, or in the clouds: this he did not at his first coming.
3. That when he comes with clouds, they who pierced him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.
4. That all the satins which are redeemed from among men, of all tongues, kindreds, people, and nations, are to be raised from the dead, and those who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and are all to reign with Christ on the earth a thousand years at his coming.
5. That the rest of the dead are not to be raised, or live again, till the thousand years are ended.
6. That during this thousand years, Satan is to be bound so as not to be able to decieve the nations; and it necessarily follows, that all the people who are on the earth during this period, will be saints.
7. That the saints are to become very numerous, and cover the breadth of the earth.
8. And at the end of the thousand years, Satan is to be loosed for a little season, to gather together Gog, and Magog, to battle, and they are to come up on the breadth of the earth,and surround the camp of saints, and fire is to come down from God out of heaven and devour them.
This is what John says, let him mean what he will; and if we are at liberty to believe what he says, the subject is so plain that he that runs may read and understand.
Let it here be observed, that when any of the latter day saints speak of living and reigning with Christ a thousand years, they do not mean by this, that they are to live a thousand years in the flesh; (as some have slanderously reported that they affirm; among whom the wise M. S. C. of Mentor, is principal;) but that they believe, that they shall be raised with the first resurrection, and reign with all the satins, to reign on earth a thousand years, according to the testimony of all the holy prophets since the world began. And he who does not expect this, must expect to be cast down to hell, to suffer a thousand years with the rest of the dead who are not to be raised until the thousand years are ended.
Such is the point of light in which John, the apostle, sets forth this subject: and such the prospects he set before the saints of God in his day; and this is the expectation he raised in them, that though they should have to suffer their entire three score years and ten in the flesh, yet to rejoice; for when the Lord come, they should reign on this same earth a thousand years, as a reward for their sufferings.
Having ascertained the substance of what John says in the Revelations on the subject of the second coming of Christ, and having seen the object for which he is coming, we shall see what the other sacred writers have said about it; knowing this first, that as John wrote by the spirit of inspiration, all others who have written by the same spirit, will write in accordance with him; for as they all understood this subject by the spirit of God, they must all have seen it alike, and understood it alike: this made me the more particularly examining what John had said on the subject of Christ’s second coming; for having got the mind of the spirit which was in John, I have got it as it was in all others who wrote, or understood by the same spirit. Another reason why I was the more particular in collecting together the substance of what John said was,that once having the whole subject before our minds, it would enable us to understand those writers the better, who had not written so fully on this subject as he had; for in our examination of the bible, we have not found any other of the inspired writers who have developed the whole subject as extensive as he has. I do not consider it necessary, however, among believers in the divine authenticity of the bible, to multiply testimony to prove that what John has said is true, nor do I expect that believers in the bible will require this at my hands; for one inspired man having said so once,settles the truth of the question forever, among those who believe that the person was inspired of God when he spake. So that I consider, that the truth of the second coming of Christ to reign on the earth a thousand years with all the saints of Adam’s race, who at that time shall obtain a resurrection from the dead, or who have previously obtained a resurrection, or a translation, is as firmly fixed, as the truth of the bible; for should any man undertake to prove, hereafter, that such a marvelous occurrence will never take place, what would he do? why; he will prove that John had not told the truth! and should he, through some management make it appear that other of the writers have taught differently, he would only prove that the bible contradicted itself, and render the whole system void together: So it will come to this at last, that as John the Revelator has said, that christ is coming the second time to reign on the earth a thousand years, with all the saints, that the second coming of Christ to reign on earth a thousand years, with all the raised saints, is as true as the bible.
I make these observations, that my readers may not suppose that I appeal to the other prophets and apostles to prove what John said, to be true: but to see how all the writers in the bible who have written on this subject, have seen eye to eye as far as they have said any thing upon it. Indeed, if we credit what John has said, we would necessarily expect to find that the other writers also would make some mention of a subject, in which they, together, with all the saints had so deep an interest, that they would not pass in silence a theme which must have laid so near their hearts, as that of their triumph and reward; as the first of their glory, after their resurrection, was to reign on earth with him, for whom they suffered the loss of all things; which hope enabled them to endure affliction without murmuring. It was this hope which made Abraham call himself a stranger and pilgrim on the earth. Paul said concerning this promise, “Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come.–For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” See Acts, 26 chapter, 7 and 8 verses. Surely, Paul would not have us understand, that the twelve tribes served God day and night simply that they might obtain a resurrection from the dead, for he well knew, that there was to be a resurrection of the unjust as well as the just; and they would get a resurrection from the dead, whether they served God or not; but the promise which they all desired to obtain was, that of reigning with the Messiah on the earth a thousand years.
The hope of obtaing the resurrection of the just, or the first resurrection was the great reason why the ancient saints took cheerfully the spoiling of their goods; for on such the second death were to have no power. Paul, in the 1st chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, and 10 verse says, “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him.” This apostle surely understood, that there was to be a dispensation of gathering together, not only the things on earth, (as the Lord has now commenced to do,) but in that dispensation, the things which are in Christ Jesus, which were in heaven, should be also gathered together with the things on earth. If it should be asked, when would the things which are in Christ Jesus, on earth, and in heaven, be gathered together? the answer is at hand,when Christ comes in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory and all the saints with him, to reign on earth a thousand years. And the apostle in the above quotation says, that God had a dispensation, which dispensation, he would do this maraculous thing. So we see that the apostle knew, that there was to be another dispensation to be ushered in, in the last days, under which dispensation of the gathering, God was to do his greatest work.
This important period, which is of all others the most marvelous in human existence, has found a place, either directly, or indirectly, in the writings of a majority of the sacred writers. Both prophets and apostles, in addition to the direct notice which they have taken of it, there are many beautiful allusions to it, such as is found in 104th Psalm, 3 and 4 verses, which reads thus, “Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh on the wings of the wind: who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:” Or, as some have translated it, “who makes winds his messengers, and flaming fire his ministers.” Here the allusion is doubtless to his coming in the clouds of heaven, being revealed in fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel. But not only these beautiful allusions, but the direct references are numerous: some of these from the Savior himself, others from the prophets and apostles. The prophet Isaiah says, in speaking of the glory of the last days, 35th chapter, [Isa. 35:1-4] “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God. Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them who are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear, not: Behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.” Any person who will read this chapter through with care, will see that the coming of the God of Israel, or of their Messiah, here spoken of, has not yet taken place, nor will it be fulfilled till Christ comes in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth. In Daniel, 7 chapter, 13 and 14th verses, the prophet speaks of a night vision, in which he says, “I saw in the night vision, and behold one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom, that which shall not be destroyed.” Here the prophet says, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven; at which time he is to get the kingdom before described: this is to take place when he comes to reign on the earth a thousand years; for until this time there has not a kingdom been given unto the Son of man, on earth, in which all people, and nations, and tongues, have served him; nor will he have such an one, till the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God, and his Christ. It is said in the second chapter of Daniel’s prophecy, and the 44th verse, “And in the days of these kings, shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” Surely this kingdom has never been set up until now; for that kingdom which was established among the Gentiles in the days of the ancient apostles, has been defaced, corrupted, and broken up, till there has not been one society left on the original platform laid down by the apostles; but all have been broken to pieces–nor can it ever break in pieces and destroy all the kingdoms of the world; but on the contrary, the kingdoms of the world have broken it. But from what Daniel saw in his night vision, as before mentioned, the Son of man, when he came to the Ancient of days, recieved a dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, and nations, and tongues, should serve him. This is doubtless the kingdom which God was to set up in the days of the kings there mentioned, not the Roman Cesars as some have supposed, but a race of kings which should arise after the Roman Empire was divided into toes: some were to be strong, and some weak; some iron, and some clay. Here it is plain, that none need mistake, that is, that the Son of man, or Savior of the world, when he came with the clouds, or in the clouds, was to receive dominion, glory, and a kingdom, in which all people were to serve him of every nation, and tongue, and this kingdom which he was to receive at that time, was to be set up, while the kings which arose after the downfall of the Roman Empire, or after this great kingdom was divided, should yet be swaying their scepters; but this was not the kingdom which was taken from the Jews and given to the Gentiles. See Matthew 21st chapter, 43rd verse.–“Therefore, say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you,and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” But a kingdom set up for that express purpose, and doubtless in the last days, preparatory to Christ’s coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, and all the saints with him to reign with them on earth a thousand years, when all people, nations, tongues, and kindreds, on earth or in the flesh shall serve him; not reign with him.
MILLENNIUM NO. 5
IN the 24 chapter of Isaiah, and 23 verse, the prophet, after having described one of the greatest desolations ever pronounced on the head of any generation of men, says, “Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.” We have before seen that this reign was to last a thousand years; and his ancients, before whom he was to reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, gloriously, were all the redeemed from among men, of every tongue, language, kindred, and people. According to Daniel, he was to come to the ancient of days: here he is said to reign before his ancients, that is, all the saints from our father Adam, down; for who could the ancient of days be but our father Adam? surely none other: he was the first who lived in days, and must be the ancient of days. And to whom would the Savior come, but to the father of all the race, and then receive his kingdom, in which he was to reign before, or with his ancients gloriously? Let it here be remarked, that it is said to be in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, where the Lord is to reign before his ancients gloriously. We shall have occasion for this hereafter. Zachariah says in the 14 chapter of his prophecy, and the 5 verse, “And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal; yea, ye shall flee like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come and all the saints with thee.” This corresponds with what John says in the Revelations; for if he brings all the saints with him, they will be of every tribe, tongue, people, and kindred.
That all these passages refer to his second coming to reign on the earth a thousand years, does not admit of a doubt in the mind of the believer in the bible; for there is no other time of his coming mentioned in the scriptures, but his coming first in the flesh to suffer and die for us, and his second coming to reign on earth a thousand years, with all those who obey his will. As to his coming at the end of the earth, or at the final issue of all things, their is no such thing mentioned in the bible, nor is their one syllable said on it in any revelation which is extant; for so far from his coming at the end of all things, all revelations agree that he will be here more than a thousand years before. So that every thing in the bible said about his coming, which does not relate to his first coming in the flesh, relates to his second coming to reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously, and this reign to continue a thousand years, or the Millenium. On the subject of this coming, and this reign, the scriptures abound. In the testimony of Matthew we have the following sayings of the Savior, 24 chapter, 30 verse. “And then shall appear the sign of the son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” In the 26 chapter , and 64 verse, the Savior says to the high priest, “Nevertheless, I say unto you, hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Here the Savior says himself, that he will come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, for the purpose as the prophet Isaiah informs us, that he may reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously–he will therefore come in power and great glory. In Mark’s testimony, 13 chapter and 26 verse, and 14 chapter and 62 verse, we have the same account that is given by Matthew. Luke also, in the 21 chapter of his testimony, and 27 verse gives the same account.
I want it distinctly understood by my readers, that in every instance where the coming of Christ is mentioned, either by the Savior, or the apostles, it has an allusion to his second coming to reign on the earth a thousand years; for it was after his first coming that all the apostles wrote; and surely it was at the time of his first coming that the Savior was here on earth, so that there need be no mistake on this subject. As for any other coming of the Savior, save these two, it has originated else where than in the bible, or any revelation of God to man: it is one of the discoveries of modern times, and modern religionists; for neither Moses nor the prophets, Jesus nor the apostles, had knowledge of any such coming of the Savior. They all knew of two comings: first, his coming in the flesh, being born of a virgin; made under the law; taking upon him flesh for the suffering of death; partaking of flesh and blood because the children were partakers of the same, that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the Devil, and deliver those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. They knew of his being smitten, buffited, scourged, and wounded for our transgressions; bruised for our iniquities; of the chastisement of our peace being upon him, and of our being healed by his stripes. And they also knew of his resurrection, and of his ascension, as well as of his coming again in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, to convince all, to judge all, and to reign on earth a thousand years; and of his bringing all the saints with him, and of his reigning until all enemies were put under his feet; but of any other coming they had no knowledge, or if they had, they kept it to themselves, for they never wrote any thing about it.
We shall now see what the apostles have said about this coming of Christ to reign on the earth where he once suffered; for he promised his disciples that he would come again without sin, for the salvation of them who looked for him.
Having heard the prophets and the Savior give their testimony, let us hear the apostles give theirs. We shall begin with Paul, 1 Corinthians, 4 chapter, 5 verse: he says to his Corinthian brethren, “Therefore, judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” Philippians, 3 chapter 20 and 21 verses; “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence we also look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body that it may be fashoned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
1 Thessalonians 1 chapter 8, 9, and 10 verses: “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God;and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead even Jesus which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 4 chapter 15, 16 and 17 verses: “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 2 Thesselonians 1 chapter 7, 8, 9, and 10 verses. “And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe.” In the 2 chapter of this same epistle, and the 1 verse, the apostle thus exhorts the saints: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.” And again, in the 8 verse of this chapter, he says, “And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” 2 Epistle to Timothy, 4 chapter, 1 verse, Paul thus addresses Timothy; “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and kingdom.” Titus, 2 chapter, 13 verse reads thus, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Savior Jesus Christ.” In the epistle to the Hebrews, 9 chapter, and 28 verse, we have the following sayings: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
We can see by the foregoing quotations, that the second coming of Christ formed a prominant point in the teachings of this apostle; that he kept it so continually before him, that in nearly all his epistles he makes mention of it, though he lived two thousand years before that important period; but notwithstanding his great distance from it, still in his estimation it was none the less important to himself, nor to the saints of his day. It was in view of this coming of Christ that he admonished the saints, comforted those who were in affliction, warned the unruly, encouraged the weak, charged Timothy, exhorted Titus, and sounded his loudest alarms in the ears of a gainsaying world, until he made them tremble. See Acts 24 chapter, 24 and 25 verses. In viewing the foregoing sayings of Paul, we shall find that he has said in substance the same things which John has said in the revelations, so that there can be no doubt that they both viewed the subject in the same point of light.
Paul says that Christ is coming again, and though he does not directly say that he is coming in the clouds, yet he says it indirectly in the 4 chapter of first Thessalonians, 16, and 17 verses, as before quoted: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” So the Lord, when he comes, must be in the clouds, or else the saints who remained at his coming, would not be caught up in the clouds to meet him. This plainly shows that Paul expected he would come in the clouds.
So says John the Revelator, in the 20 chapter of the Revelations, as before quoted. Daniel also in the 7 chapter and 13 verse of his prophecy; and so says the Savior himself: in this point then they all agree.
Paul says, that at his coming they that sleep in Christ shall be raised: so says John.
Paul says that he will take vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gaspel: 2 Thessalonians 1 chapter and 8 verse. John says, that all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.
Isaiah shows in the 24 chapter of his prophecy, that an innumerable train of judgments shall fall on those who have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, and broken the everlasting covenant, until the earth shall be utterly wasted; and all this when the Lord comes to reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously. And in the 35 chapter, as before mentioned, in speaking to Israel of the coming of their God, or Messiah, that he would come with vengeance: “even God with a recompense he will come and save you.” See the 4 verse.
Daniel says, that he will break in pieces and destroy all the kingdoms of the world, and his kingdom shall stand forever. Compare the 7 chapter, 13 and 14 verses, with the second chapter and 44 verse, as before quoted.
From the complete harmony there is among these writers, there can no doubt exist in the mind of any canded person, that they all understood the subject alike, and have written for the benefit of the last days.
James, in the 5 chapter and 7 and 8 verses of his epistle, makes mention of the coming of the Savior. “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruits of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he recieve the early and the latter rain. Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”
Peter, in his second epistle, first chapter 16 verse says, to the saints of his day: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; but were eye witnesses of his majesty.”
Jude also makes mention of his coming in his epistle, 14 and 15 verses, which is a quotation from the prophecy of Enoch, which is not extant at present; but Jude having preserved this item, shows to us thereby that the coming of the Lord was understood at a very early date in the history of the world, and that Enoch also the seventh from Adam was made acquainted with it. “And Enoch also the seventh from Adam prophesied of these, saying. Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints.” Zachariah in the 14 chapter of his prophecy and 5 verse as before mentioned says, that all the saints will be with him. John in the Revelations says, all them that are redeemed from among men are to be with him. Paul says, that his mighty angels will be with him.
All these doubtless refer to the same time and to the same beings, namely, the saints who are at that time to reign with him on the earth, 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.
In addition to what John has said in the Revelations, he has declared the same thing in his first epistle, second chapter and 28 verse. “And now, little children, abide in him, that when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”
In the Acts of the apostles, first chapter 10 and 11 verses, we have the testimony of the heavenly messengers. “And while he looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Gallilee, 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.” In the 9 verse of this chapter we are told that while the apostles beheld, he was taken up and a bright cloud received him out of their sight; and if he comes in like manner as he went, (according to the sayings of the angels,) he will come in a cloud.
The prophet Malachi gives us a corresponding testimony in the 3 chapter of his prophecy, 1, 2, and 3 verses: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: Behold, he shall come saith the Lord of hosts; but who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire and like fuller’s soap. [Paul says, in the first chapter of his second epistle to the Thessalonians, 7 and 8 verses, that he shall be revealed in fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel.] And he shall set as a refiner, and purifier of sliver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”
Some have supposed that the prophet in the above quotation referred to the first coming of the Savior; but at the first coming he did not come suddenly to his temple, neither did he appear in any sense as a refiner’s fire, nor did he purge the sons of Levi, that they offered unto the Lord an offering in righteousness: but all this has to take place when he comes, as prophesied of by this prophet.
David, in the 50 Psalm, doubtless has his eye fixed on the second coming of Christ, when he says in the 3 verse: “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.” No such occurrence has taken place yet, but will when the Lord comes with all the saints, to reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.
MILLENNIUM NO. 6
What proves that David, in this Psalm, had reference to the second coming of Christ is, that in the 5 verse, he says, [Ps. 50:5] “Gather my saints together unto me; those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” Paul says, in the 2 chapter, of the 2 epistle to the Thessalonians, and the first verse: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.” In the 24 chapter of Matthew, when the Savior is speaking of his second coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, he says, verse 31: “And he shall send his angels with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
The prophet Habakkuk, in the 3 chapter of his prophecy, & 3 verse, doubtless alluded to the second coming of Christ: “God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand; and there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations: and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting.” No such wonders as these have transpired yet, nor is there any thing ever mentioned by the prophets to take place that can admit of such a scene but the second coming of Christ.
Isaiah, in the 64 chapter of his prophecy, and first verse, uses very similar language, at least, sufficiently so, to show that they both had the same thing in view:
“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence. As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! verse 3: When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at they presence.” It is necessary to observe, that the prophets speak of things to be accomplished long after their day, as though they had been accomplished at the time they wrote, because they saw them accomplished in the vision of heaven.
The same subject of the second coming of Christ is set forth by the sacred writers in another form.
For instance, Peter, in the 3 chapter of the Acts of the apostles, from the 19 to the 25 verse, had the same subject in view, calling it “the times of the restitution of all things:” he says thus: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heavens must receive, until the times of restitution of all things,which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets, since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things, whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.”
The prophet Joel, in the second chapter of his prophecy, calls it the great and terrible day of the Lord: see from the 28 verse to the close of the chapter which reads thus.
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.–And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall pe turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.–And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” This same passage is quoted by Peter in the Acts of the apostles, 5 chapter, from the 14 to the 22 verse, with a little variation, such as notable instead of TERRIBLE, and saved instead of DELIVERED, &c.
John, in the 6 chapter of the Revelations, calls it the great day of the wrath of the Lamb. The connection begins at the 12 verse, and continues to the end of the chapter. It reads as follows: “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood: and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll [or parted as a scroll] when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond-man, and every free-man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
A close reader of the scriptures will see, that the writers, in the preceding quotations, had in view the second coming of Christ, and the things attendant on that advent. In the quotation from the Acts, the apostle says he will send Jesus Christ who was before preached unto you. He also says that Moses had previously spoken of this, that is, that the time was coming when every soul should be cut off from among the people, who would not hear that prophet that was to be raised up like unto himself, which prophet was Christ: but the time that every soul who would not hear that prophet should be cut off has not come yet; but it will when Christ comes: for this is the uniform testimony of all the prophets that have written of these things. Paul says when he comes, he will take vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the gospel. John says, that all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him, and Peter says, that Moses had testified that every soul should be cut off. So great is the sameness among these writers, their need be no mistake that the times of restitution of all things, spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world began, is the time of the second coming of the Savior.
The quotation from Joel is equally plain; he says that, [Joel 2:30-31] “I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord come;” and at that time their is to be deliverance in mount Zion and in Jerusalem. This is the same in substance as others have said about the second coming of Christ. Paul says, as before referred to, that he should be revealed in fire. Malachi says, when he comes suddenly to his temple, he will be as a refiner’s fire.
Joel here says, that the sun shall be darkened and the moon turn to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. Isaiah says, as before quoted in the 24 chapter of his prophecy and last verse, that the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously. Again, Joel says, that there shall be deliverance in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem; and Isaiah says, that the Lord will reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem. The sameness is so striking that any attentive reader may see that the terrible day of the Lord, spoken of by Joel, and quoted by Peter, is the time of Christ’s second coming.
In the quotation from the 6 chapter of Revelations, the similarity is as visible: John mentions the sun becoming as sackcloth of hair, the moon turning to blood, and the stars of heaven falling, as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs when shaken of a mighty wind. The Savior says in the 24 chapter of Matthew, when speaking of his second coming, 29 verse, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon turn to blood, and the stars fall from heaven,” &c.
It is farther said, in the preceding quotation, that every mountain and island was moved out of their place. Isaiah, in the 64 chapter, as before quoted, speaking of the Lord rending the heavens and coming down, says, that the mountains flowed down at his presence, &c. One more coincidence is, that John says, “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and mighty men, and every bond-man, and every free-man, hid themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us and hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?” This is the same as others have said. Paul says he will take vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel.
Daniel says he will break in pieces and destroy all the kingdoms of the world.
John says, the kings of the earth sought a covert under the rocks and mountains: and in another part of his Revelations, [Rev. 1:7] “All kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” That is, when he comes in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, to reign on the earth a thousand years.
It must be plain to every thinking man, that all these writers in the foregoing passages, referred to the second coming of Christ, and the great and marvelous things there spoken of to be accomplished, are to take place in connection with his second advent and that the great and terrible, or notable day of the Lord, mentioned by Joel, and afterward by Peter, and the times of the restitution of all things spoken of by Peter, as well as the great day of the wrath of the Lamb, all refer to the second coming of the Savior, when he comes to reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.
Every candid reader of the bible, who is not so completely bewildered by the prejudice of education, and in the greatest possible darkness, by reason of false teaching, must see that the second coming of Christ in order to reign on the earth, is by far the most important period in human existence–all the sacred writers have viewed it to be so–heaven, earth, and hell, are to be effected with it–saints, and sinners are deeply interested in it–all the righteous who are sleeping in their graves, fell a sleep in Christ, in view of that glorious and awful day of wonders and majesty–the disembodied spirits of the saints in the paradise of God, are waiting the arrival of that period to receive their glorified bodies, and commence their never-ceasing age of glory by reigning with Christ a thousand years on earth! The prophets, the apostles, Moses, and Jesus, Abel, Enoch, and Abraham, all beheld it afar off and rejoiced in it–The saints above, and the saints on earth are looking and longing for it,–the time when they shall all be gathered together, both the things on earth and the things in heaven, which are in Christ Jesus. Those in heaven to reign with him a thousand years, and those on earth, or in the flesh, to serve him a thousand years in their successive generations. Not only men, both in the flesh and in the spirit, but beasts, reptiles, and birds, are also to rejoice in it: they will cease to hurt and to destroy. The asp, the cockatrice, the lion, the leopard, and the bear, shall all become harmless, the little child shall play unmolested, the weaned child perform its wanderings undisturbed! the calf, the kid, and the lamb, sport in playful mirth, and nothing to make them afraid: the whole lower creation rejoice, and all the heavens be glad! O glorious day, O happy period! rejoice ye heavens, and be exceeding glad O earth! Ye lofty mountains, prepare yourselves to bow respectfully, and prostrate yourselves at the feet of the King of kings, and the Lord of lords; and ye humble valleys wait his advent, that thou mayest be lifted up on high! O earth, roll on, and cease not; bring in haste this day of wonder and glory. O thou time exert all thy powers, and bring it swiftly to our doors! O saints, let your prayers cease not; call upon God day and night, until this day of rest comes, and the heavens and earth rejoice together!
From the foregoing quotations we have learned the following particulars.
1. That Christ is coming again to reign on the earth a thousand years, and that he will bring all the saints with him of every nation, tongue, and kindred, and they shall reign with him.
2. And previous to, and at the time of his coming, the saints on earth are to be gathered together to mount Zion, and to Jerusalem, even all of them, from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other; for there the Lord is to reign before his ancients gloriously.
3. That he will at that time take vengeance on the wicked, even all of them of all kindreds of the earth, for they shall all wail because of him.
Under these three general heads, we design to comprise all that we shall write on the subject of the Millenium in this desertation.
The first in order, then is, that Christ is coming again to reign on the earth a thousand years, and that he will bring all the saints with him of every nation, tongue, and kindred, and they shall reign with him.
There is no fact in the bible that is set forth more clearly, than that of Christ’s coming to reign on the earth with all the raised saints: it has been declared by all the inspired men since the world began; and it has been the expectation of all the saints in every age of the world, that Christ would come, and they should yet reign with him in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem: the ancient prophets propesied of it, and the ancient poets sang of it.–Not as some have said, a spiritual (which might be more properly called imaginary) reign; but literal, and personal, as much so as David’s reign over Israel, or the reign of any king on earth. All the inspired men have said that Christ shall reign over the earth literally; for literally the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ, and he shall reign on the earth. And he will as literally break in pieces and destroy all the kingdoms of the world, as ever one king destroyed and broke down the kingdom of another. Never did Cyrus the Great, (as he is called,) more literally break down and destroy the kingdom of ancient Babylon, than will Christ, the Great King, break in pieces and destroy all the kingdoms of the world; and so completely will he do it, that there will not, from one end of the earth to the other, be an individual found whose word, or edict will be obeyed but his own: so that he will completely break in pieces and destroy all kingdoms. See Daniel, 2 chapter, and 44 verse.
But before we enter particularly into an examination of Christ’s reign, let us see the situation of the world in relation to the government of heaven, at the time Christ was to begin to make preparation for his great and last advent.
That the world, previous to this time, was to wander far from God, and righteousness was so far to depart from the earth and the true principles of the religion of heaven to be so neglected, as to leave the world in a state of apostasy, is pretty generally acknowledged by all who profess much confidence in the bible. This is the testimony of the Savior himself, and I presume, all will agree, that his testimony is sufficient to establish any point: I mean all who believe him to be the Savior of the world. He says, as recorded in the 24 chapter of Matthew, 37, 38, and 39 verses: “but as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
MILLENNIUM NO. 7
Isaiah says in the 60 chapter of his prophecy and the 2 verse, “For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be upon thee.” Any man who will read this 60 chapter of Isaiah will see that he was speaking of the last days, even the days of the coming of the Son of man, the time of the gathering, or the dispensation of the fulness of times, in which all things are to be gathered that are in Christ Jesus, whether they are things on earth, or things in heaven: and it was at this time, that darkness was to cover the earth, and gross darkness the people. But more of this hereafter.
Paul, in the 2 epistle to the Thessalonians, 2 chapter and 3 verse, told that people whom he had besought by the coming of the Lord Jesus, and by their gathering together unto him, that they need not expect the day of the Lord, or the coming of the Lord, until there had been a falling away first. And in his first epistle to Timothy, 4 chapter, 1, 2, and 3 verses, he declares, “that the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared as with a hot iron; forbiding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God had created to be received with thanksgiving of them who believe and know the truth.”
This same apostle, in his 2 epistle to Timothy, has set forth this same apostasy in words so plain as not to be easily misunderstood. 3 chapter, commencing with the first verse, to the close of the 5: “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, unthankfull, unholy, without natural affection, truce-brakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, dispisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
We can see by the last verse in this quotation, that it is the religious world he is speaking of; for others have not a form of godliness. The apostle continues his discourse down to the 4 chapter, and then in a most solemn manner charges Timothy: [see 1 and 2 verse:] “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.” After this charge, he gives the reason why he was thus strict, in verse 3: “For the time will come, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables.” In consequence of the great corruptions of the last days,their exceeding great apostasy, the apostle declares in the 2 chapter of 2 Thessalonians, and 11 verse that the Lord will abandon them to strong delusions, that they may believe a lie; and in the 12 verse for this object, “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
Who can read these declarations of the apostles, and not see that the world, in the last days, when it begins to draw near to the time of the coming of the Son of man, will be in a deplorable condition, led by a parcel of teachers whom God never sent, and themselves full of all corruption and vileness? The apostle does not say that their teachers will not be very learned men, and that it will not be an age when science will be greatly studied, as men call it, nor yet an age of politeness, and of great worldly refinement; but on the contrary we may fairly infer from what he says about there being found boasters, that they will be all this, and a great deal more; but he says that they will not be a people of God. Jesus says that they will be just such a people as lived in the days of Noah; and Isaiah says, that gross darkness will cover them.
There are some thoughts which force themselves on the mind, when reflecting on what the Savior says about the people of the last days being as the people were in the days of Noah. Paul has shown, that the people of the last days were apostate religionists, and their great corruption arose from this thing, that they had apostatized from the faith of the gospel. Now, as we are told that they are just such a people as were in the days of Noah, would it be hazarding much to draw the conclusion, that the people in the days of Noah were apostate religionists, also, and that their fore fathers understood the religion of heaven as perfectly as the fore fathers of this generation? or do not like causes produce like effects?
Another thing of great importance to those who believe in the second coming of the Savior is, that if the testimony of the Savior himself is to be credited, all attempts to convert this generation will be vain; for he says as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of man. Now, if we can find how it was in the days of Noah, we need not be at a loss to tell how it will be with this generation: Let us ask what advantage would it have been in the days of Noah to have gone throughout the land and built up churches? the answer is, it would have, (if the people thus built up believed that they had embraced the religion of heaven,) effectually secured them in blindness until the day of their destruction!
There was but one way for them to escape, and that was, to hear the preaching of Noah, and be gathered as God might have directed him. “And so shall it be at the coming of the Son of man:”
The scriptures abound in warnings and admonitions to the people of the last days, lest they should be overtaken in an hour they expected not, and the Son of man should come and find them sleeping; but notwithstanding all the warnings and admonitions which the sacred writers left on record for their use, they well knew that they would be overtaken at last as by a thief in the night: even when they were crying peace and safety sudden destruction should come upon them; for so great was to be their darkness, that they were not to be able to discern the signs of the times. All the signs of the coming of the Son of man were to pass before their eyes, and still they were not to be able to discern them, nor yet know them to be such, because they were the children of darkness and not the children of light.
No man who believes, can read the prophetic history of the last days without marveling greatly. We are told that before this marvelous advent of the Savior, and as testimony to the world that his coming draws nigh, the sun is to be darkened, the moon turn to blood, and the stars fall from heaven: that there are to be wars, and rumors of wars, with earthquakes in divers places, famines and pestilences; and all this declared by the Savior as well as the apostles, to be to the world for signs, that his coming was at hand; and still, with all this testimony, the sacred writers testify, that they would be in such great darkness, that all these might pass by, and the world be overtaken by the coming of the Son of man as a thief in the night; and what could produce this effect? one thing, and only one, that God had given them over to strong delusions that they might believe lies, in order that they might be damned; because they did not receive the truth in the love of it. Compare first Thessalonians, 5 chapter, from the 1 to the 12 verse, with Matthew, 24 chapter, 29 and 30 verses; Isaiah 24, chapter, 23 verse; Acts, 2 chapter, and 20 verse; Revelations, 6 chapter, and 12 verse. Who can read, understandingly, and not marvel, yea, greatly marvel at the generation of the last days.
Peter, in his 2 epistle, 2 chapter, 1, 2, and 3 verses, has given us the reason of the gross darkness which is to cover the people. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.” The apostle in the subsequent part of the chapter, gives us the terminating point of a false religion, and the full extent of its influence on the minds of men–it reduces them to the level with the beast which perish: “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption.” This is the final result of a false religion: it places its victim in a situation to perish, having first reduced him to a level with the beasts. It matters not how learned he may be, how refined, how polite, how genteel, nor yet how moral, according to the judgment of the world; destitute of the true religion, he is, notwithstanding all this, like a natural brute beast, if Peter’s testimony is to be credited. But let us enquire a little, what will make a man like a beast? we know of but one thing, and that is, being in a situation that he cannot get revelations; for should he have power sufficient with God to get revelations, he can escape any destruction, but without it, he can escape none only by mere accident, or chance, and so it is with the beasts. Nor could nature produce any thing more suitable to describe the situation of a race of men, who do not receive revelations, than the beasts; neither is it possible for a false religion to bring a greater evil on the human family than this, and nothing but a false religion can produce this effect: for there never was a society of people who possessed the true religion, but they received revelations from God, whether they were Jews, or Gentiles, unless they had corrupted it; or at least, if there were any such, we have no account of them; for the bible which we have, never makes mention of any such people.
If religion was ever designed of the God of heaven to be of any use to men, it was intended to bring him into the nearest possible relation to himself, and to give him the highest possible communion with his Creator, that his nature would admit; and any thing, or system, which in any degree prevents mankind from this attainment, is a departure from the pure religion of heaven, and the less of this communion men have, the farther they are from the truth, and when they get so far as not to be able to get revelations at all, they are like unto the beasts, and are ripe for destruction!
These sayings of Peter, when properly considered, taken in connection with what Paul says in his 2 epistle to Timothy, 4 chapter, [verses 4,5] “For the time will come, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn their ears away from the truth, and shall be turned to fables,” may assist us in understanding the peculiar darkness of the generation, who shall inhabit the earth at the coming of the Savior. Peter says, that there shall be false teachers, who shall make merchandise of them, and so bewilder them that they will at last be like the beasts that perish. Paul says, that they will have itching ears, and heap to themselves teachers, who shall turn their ears away from the truth, and they shall be turned to fables. From what Paul has said in the 5 chapter of 1 Thessalonians, 1, 2, and 3 verses, we can see that they were to be in such darkness, that the Son of man was to come upon them as a thief in the night, when they were in the very act of crying peace and safety, notwithstanding the sun, previous to this time, had been darkened, the moon had been turned to blood, and the stars of heaven had fallen. And why was it that they could not discern the signs of the times? why? because, they had had itching ears and had heaped to themselves teachers, and through their influence their ears were turned away from the truth unto fables! false teachers had got them so far from their God, that they were like the beasts that perish, they could get no revelations. Besure they had seen the sun darkened, and the moon turn to blood, and they beheld some thing like stars falling from, or flying in the midst of heaven, but then they could not tell whether this was what was intended by the Savior and the apostles, when they said these signs should appear in the heavens as a prelude to the Savior’s coming; and as none of them had power with God sufficient to get a revelation and know of a truth whether this was the case or not, like the beast which perish, they must stand and perish without power to know the things of God for themselves.
Peter, in his 2 Epistle, 3 chapter, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 verses, speaking of the people of the last days, says: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts and saying, where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
This testimony of the apostle is very decisive: he says that the people of the last days, are to be mockers and scoffers; they are to scoff at the idea of the Saviors coming, saying, “where is the promise of it?” &c.
This will doubtless be after the church begins to come out of the wilderness, and to announce to the world his coming; then will the mockers and scoffers begin to cry, “where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation;” and this because they are willingly ignorant. The apostle, by this expression, seems to suppose that the subject of his coming to burn the world with fire, or to be revealed in fire, as Paul says, was so plainly written that it is wilful ignorance not to be acquainted with it, and understand it. This is a hard saying for those who have been for years trying to find out something about the second coming of Christ, or Millenium, which is the same thing, and yet say they dare not approach it. Peter says they are willingly ignorant of it, the same as to say, that they are unwilling to believe what the scriptures say about it, and want to spiritualize them, or interpret them, so as to make them mean something different from what they say, and are, in consequence of this, in great ignorance, which ignorance is wilful. Isaiah, in the 28 chapter of his prophecy, from the 8th to the 23 verse, gives us a similar account of the last days, the time when God should begin to give revelations to a people of stammering lips and of another tongue, for the benefit of Israel, he says:
“Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: for with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest: and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. But the word of the Lord was unto them, precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which was in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it. For the Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work: and bring to pass his act, his strange act. Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth.”
That the prophet refers to the same people that Peter referred to, I think will not admit of a doubt. Peter said of the people of the last days, that they were mockers, and scoffers, and were to mock and scoff at the coming of the Son of man. Isaiah says that the people of whom he spake, were scorners, and mockers, and they were to mock at the overflowing scourge, saying it would not come unto us. Another fact which puts the matter to rest is, that Isaiah wrote of a people who were to live in the days, when God had decreed a consumption on the whole earth. This was to be done in the last days, at the coming of the Son of man. So that Isaiah as well as Peter, has given the same character to the generation which is to live in the days of the coming of the Son of man.
I shall have occasion for this quotation in another part of this desertation.
I shall now sum up the substance of what is said in the foregoing quotations, concerning the situation of the world at the coming of the Son of man.
1. They are to be false religionists, broken up into parties and sects.
2. Their teachers are to be numerous and of their own making; for they are to “heap to themselves teachers having itching ears.”
3. Those teachers that they heap to themselves, are to be false teachers, and are to make merchandise of the people.
4. They are to be in gross darkness, not able to discern the signs of the coming of the Son of man, however visible they may be.
5. They are to be mockers, and scoffers; mocking at the idea of the coming of the Son of man; mocking and scoffing at the revelations, even the line upon line; the precept upon precept, which the Lord is to give to Israel to cause them to rest, by a people of stammering lips and another tongue, even by the Gentiles.
6. They were to have a form of godliness denying the power thereof.
7. They were to be like the natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, not being able to get revelations for themselves.
8. To crown all, they are to be a people just such as God destroyed in the days of Noah, marrying and given in marriage, being proud, boasters, inventers of evil things; heady, high minded; lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, with an innumerable train of other evils.
Thus the sacred writers discribe the people of the last days, and no doubt but the people themselves will say they are enlightened, very learned, exceedingly polite, remarkably genteel, peculiarly scientific, the greatest of statesmen, the profoundest of polititions, and the best of generations,–truly God seeth not as man seeth.–So differs inspired men and non inspired men in their judgment of mankind.
MILLENNIUM NO. 8
Having seen from the clearest possible evidence, that the world at the time of the Savior’s second advent will be in a state of apostasy, if we can credit the testimony of the Savior, of the prophets and apostles, let us compare the people of the apostasy, with the pure saints of God, and the societies of the last days, with the societies which were built by the immediate direction of the inspired men whom God sent into the world for the purpose of building up his kingdom; and in order to get the subject fairly before us, let us take a view of the kingdom of God or of heaven, as established among men. In the 21st chapt. of Matthew and 43rd verse, the Savior says to the Jews, “Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” From this declaration of the Savior, we learn two things. First, that the Jews had the kingdom of heaven among them. Second, that they did not at that time bring forth the fruits of that kingdom. God by the mouth of Moses had promised to the Jews that if they would obey his voice and keep his covenant that they should be unto him a kingdom of priests, a peculiar treasure above all people; (see Ex. 19 chapter, 5 and 6 verses;) but notwithstanding this promise, the Jews broke the covenant, and did not obey the voice of the Lord; but corrupted and defiled the kingdom of heaven so exceedingly, that in the days of the Savior, he said it should be taken from them and be given to another people, that the fruits thereof might be brought forth.–We are told by the Psalmist David, that so completely did the Jews corrupt the kingdom of God which was among them, that there was none of them doing good, no, not so much as one: they had all gone out of the way and become unprofitable together. See the 14 ps. 2 and 3 verses: also Rom. 3 chapter, from the 10 to the 18 verse. Thus the Jews had corrupted themselves so exceedingly as that all of them had got out of the way, and were considered transgressors before God, and at last became ripe for destruction, and the wrath of God came on them to the very uttermost; the kingdom of God was taken from them, and given to another people, and for the best of all reasons, because they did not bring forth the fruits thereof, and were unworthy to enjoy it.
In order therefore to see from whence the Jews had fallen, let us inquire a little, what are the fruits of the kingdom of heaven, and what was the former condition of the Jews before they had rendered themselves unworthy of the divine favor?
Paul says that the kingdom of God is not meet and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Rom. 14 chapt. 17 verse.–As the kingdom of heaven is a distinct empire of its own, the subjects of it have privileges which belong to none other: this was the case with the Jews before their great apostasy: they were distinguished from all other people. When the Jews were first organized, they were all under the same order of things; their worship the same; the same priest or teacher taught them all; the same prophet prophesied to them all; they worshiped at the same temple; offered sacrifices on the same altar; the same Law-giver directed them all; they all prayed for the same things, with every man’s face toward the same temple. At the times for their great feasts, they all met at the same place and enjoyed their festivities together; among them there was one prophet, one priest, one temple, one altar, one Law-giver, one hope of their calling, one God and Father of them all, who was through them all, and over them all, and in them all, and round about them all; whose glory shone in their temple; whose grace enlightened their minds; whose power guarded their persons, and defended their lands, and whose wisdom guided them by night and by day. The order of things which God established among that people, when attended to, would silence every cavil, allay every contention, put an end to all strife, and bring them to be of one heart and of one mind, seeing eye to eye, having but one desire: in a word, it would have made them one. Such was the real tendency of the kingdom of heaven established among the Jews, and as long as they continued in this order, the fruits of the kingdom were manifest–it brought forth prophets and prophetesses, and a host of inspired men and women; they received revelation upon revelation, instruction after instruction–the angels of heaven ministered unto them, and the power of God was exerted in their behalf. Their prophets could tell what their enemies were doing in their bed chambers–all things were revealed unto them that they were willing to receive, and there was nothing withheld from them that they would receive. Such were the fruits of the kingdom, as established among the Jews; and may we not ask where is the kingdom of heaven and take these fruits away? or were not these the fruits of the kingdom of heaven? Surely every person in the least degree acquainted with the kingdom of heaven as revealed in the scriptures, knows that these fruits are found no where else but in the kingdom of heaven? And who does not know, that if these fruits had continued with the Jews, that they would have continued until this day as the people of God? for who could have overthrown them? for if God was for them, who could be against them? Every thinking man must see, that if the Jews had continued to bring forth the fruits of the kingdom of heaven, that it never would (nay could) have been taken from them; for God could not fight against himself; his power was pledged to them while they obeyed his voice and kept his covenant; it was only therefore their ceasing to bring forth the fruits of the kingdom, that could overthrow them; for where the power, the wisdom, and the presence of God is, there is safety, there is salvation, & there is deliverance–the kings of the earth may set themselves, and the rulers take counsel, the heathen may rage and the people imagine a vain thing, but it is all unavailing, for where the fruits of the kingdom of heaven are, there no power, nor combination of powers can prevail, for God is there. Had the Jews therefore continued to brought forth the fruits of the kingdom of heaven, it never would have been said to them. “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” But when they ceased to bring forth the fruits of the kingdom, God said it should be taken from them.
The apostle Peter in his 2nd epistle, 2nd chapter and 1st verse, traces this apostasy of the Jews to its proper ultamatum, that is, “to deny the Lord that bought them.” Let us inquire a little what a people must do, in order to deny the Lord that bought them? No people could deny the Lord that bought them, who continued to receive the messengers that he sent unto them; for if they received them, they received him who sent them, this was the Savior’s maxim. See Mat. 10th chapter 40th verse. But whenever they rejected the messengers God sent unto them, they rejected him; when they denied them, they denied him. Hence came the Savior’s complaint against the Jews, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickings under her wings, and ye would not. Behold your house is left unto you desolate:” see Matthew, 23rd chapter, 37th and 38th verses. Let the reader notice particularly, that the Savior says, if they had not killed the prophets and stoned them that he sent unto them, he would have gathered them as a hen gathereth her chickings under her wings; but in consequence of their having rejected them, they could not be gathered, consequently, “their house was left unto them desolate.” In the 34th and 35th verses of this same chapter, the Savior says, “Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel, to the blood of Azcharias, son of Barachias whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.” Who can read and not see, that in rejecting the messengers whom God sends unto a people, they reject him, and bring upon their own heads the wrath of heaven? for in so doing they refuse the teachings of heaven, and reject his counsel, and thereby deny the Lord that bought them, and bring upon their own heads swift destruction. Second Peter, second chapter, and second verse.
This was the situation of the Jews when the Savior said unto them: “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” Instead of their being of one heart, and of one mind, receiving and rejoicing in the messengers whom God sent unto them for their edification and benefit, they killed some, and stoned others, and refused–utterly refused, to have an inspired man among them! And instead of their being united in one society, they were broken up into parties and sects, or heresies, which is the same thing. They were Pharisees, Saddusees, & Herodians, with a multitude of other parties & sects, or heresies. Instead of prophets and prophetesses, they had lawyers, doctors, and rabbies; & instead of the pure word of God, they had got the traditions of the elders, and of the fathers, tracts, homilies, &c. &c. And in consequence of these things, the power of God had withdrawn from them, and they were left in darkness to grope their way to destruction; fulfilling the declarations of the Psalmist, that there was none doing good no not one: for though they had much religion, and many, yea, very many societies, still there was not one of them organized according to the order of things established among their fathers by the inspiration of heaven: they had many teachers, but they were all of their own making; for a messenger that God sent, they would not have: them they would stone and kill.
If any rational being will only take the pains to compare the state of the Jews, in the days of the Savior, with their state and condition as organized by Moses through the inspiration of heaven, he cannot but see the force of the Savior’s declaration, that the kingdom of God should be taken from them, and be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Behold them with their prophets, their prophetesses, their judges, their counsellors, their seers, their revelators, with their one temple, and their one altar; the harmony of their worship, the regular order of their priests, their lips keeping knowledge, & the people receiving the law at their mouth, & to crown the whole glory, the ministering of angels, and the power of God with them and round about them, with miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit, I say, let any man contemplate these natural fruits of the kingdom of heaven, and behold what the kingdom of heaven is, when it is not corrupted and defiled, and then compare it with the state of the Jews in the days of the Savior, with their Pharisees, their Saddusees, their Herodians, their lawyers their doctors, their rabbies, their strifes, their contentions, their traditions & their heresies; the power of God having fled from them, his glory ceased to over shadow them, and his angels to minister to them! I say, let any rational being but for a moment view it, and he would exclaim with the Psalmist “There are none of them doing good, no, not one.”
Having taken a brief view of the kingdom of heaven among the Jews, both in its pure, as well as corrupt state, let us look at it in the hands of the Gentiles, to whom it was given after it was taken from the Jews.
We have previously seen that it was to be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof, after it was taken from the Jews. The query is this, did the Gentiles, after they had received the kingdom, bring forth the fruits of that kingdom? and if so, what were the fruits which they brought forth? We have seen that the Jews, before they corrupted the kingdom, brought forth a fruit that was among no other people, even that of inspiration, revelation, miracles, &c. and when that kind of fruit was not found among them, the kingdom was taken from them, and they were condemned to destruction, and this reason assigned, that they did not bring forth the fruit of that kingdom.
Let us follow the apostles, and see the fruit that the Gentiles brought forth, when the kingdom was transferred from among the Jews to them, and we shall see that they brought forth the same kind of fruit the Jews did, before the kingdom was corrupted in their hands, even a host of inspired men and women–prophets & prophetesses, healings, miracles, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost, not only in one church, but in all the churches. The apostle Paul thanked God that the church of Corinth came behind in no gift. 1st Corinthians, 1st chapter, from 4th to 8th verse. “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now, if the church at Corinth came behind in no gift, they must have had all the spiritual gifts ever given to any people, or else they would have come behind in some gift. The same apostle says to the Ephesians, 1st chapter, and 3rd verse, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” Notice here, that the apostle says that they were blessed with ALL spiritual blessings, if so, they also came behind in no gift. Peter, in his 2nd epistle, 1st chapter, 2nd and 3rd verses, says, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of him who hath called us to glory and virtue.” Mark, that the apostle says here, that ALL things were given unto them that pertain to life and godliness, and if ALL things that pertain to life and godliness were given unto them, they were behind in no gift; for spiritual gifts are among the “ALL things which pertain to life and godliness.” But in the 12th chapter, of the 1st epistle to the Corinthians, these spiritual gifts are enumerated and described. The chapter is too lengthy for insertion here, but let the reader peruse it, and he will there see what the apostle meant by the “ALL things which pertain to life and godliness;” the “ALL spiritual blessings” with which the Ephesians were blessed; and the gifts in which the Corinthians had come “behind in none.”
If we can credit these testimonies of the apostles, the case is a very clear one, that the Gentiles, when they received the kingdom of heaven, brought forth the fruits thereof; and that the Jews, previous to the time the kingdom was taken from them, had ceased to bring forth the fruits of the kingdom.–We have seen that the Jews, when the kingdom was given to them, at the first, brought forth a fruit which in latter times they did not bring forth, and that the Gentiles, when they received the kingdom, brought forth the same fruit that the Jews did at first, before they transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, and broke the everlasting covenant: that is, a host of inspired men–apostles, prophets and prophetesses, evangelists, pastors, teachers, healings, gifts, miracles, &c. &c. So it was with the Jews at the first–there were prophets, prophetesses, revelators, seers, healings, gifts, miracles, &c. Who that will look at this subject with any candor, but must see and understand what the fruit of the kingdom of heaven is? for this is fruit which is peculiar to the kingdom of heaven, and to be found no where else but there. Who then will say, that we hazard much in saying, that where these fruits are not found, whether among Jews, or Gentiles, that people are not in favor with God? Let them have what else they may, if they lack these, it is proof direct, that they are in a state of apostasy; for if God (as the Savior testifies) took the kingdom from the Jews because they did not bring forth these fruits, and devoted them to destruction, can he save, redeem and acknowledge another people who are as destitute of these fruits as the Jews were when the kingdom was taken from them? I answer no; unless he is both partial, and a respecter of persons.
We have seen from the most incontrovertible evidence, what the fruits of the kingdom of heaven were, both among the Jews and Gentiles, and what a people must bring forth in order to bring forth the fruits of that kingdom; and as well might a people try to be saved by another gospel, as to palm any thing else upon God for the fruits of his kingdom. In the 11th chapter to the Romans, Paul gives the reason why the Jews did not bring forth these fruits. He says it was because of unbelief, see the 19th and 20th verses “Thou wilt say then, [notice reader that he is speaking to the Gentiles, to whom the kingdom had been given, after it was taken from the Jews] the branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well, because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded but fear.” Notice that the apostle says, that the Jews were cut off because of unbelief. The Savior says that the kingdom was taken from them because they did not bring forth the fruits of it. Now put them both together, and the matter stands thus: If the Jews had not fallen into unbelief but had continued in faith, they would continued to brought forth the fruits of the kingdom; and if they had continued to bring forth the fruits of the kingdom, they would not have been cut off; but when they fell into unbelief, and lost their faith, they ceased to bring forth the fruits of the kingdom, and were in consequence thereof cut off. This must put the subject forever at rest, in every candid mind, and we plainly see that without faith, the Jews could not bring forth the fruits of the kingdom of heaven, that if there were prophesyings, healings, and miracles among them, it was done by their faith, and that whenever they lost their faith these things ceased among them, and they were cut off, and the kingdom of heaven taken from them.