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God on earth is the Christian church under the gospel dispensation; and that this kingdom is to become universal by the conversion of the world of mankind to Christ. It is asserted, without fear of successful contradiction, that there is not a single text in the Bible which authorizes us to look for such an event; but there are a multitude of texts which declare the contrary.
I can but regard the doctrine of a temporal millennium as a dangerous error, and as such I feel myself solemnly bound to use my faithful endeavors to drive it away. It is dangerous, not in itself, but in its influence ; man may, or may not, believe it, and yet his salvation not be necessarily affected by his opinion. But the direct tendency of the doctrine is, to lull a sinful world to sleep, while they are looking for the universal conversion of the world and the thousand years of the spiritual reign of Christ. And thus the day of the Lord may come on them as a thief. While they are crying “ peace and safety ;" " the coming of the Lord is far distant;" “ the world is yet to be converted, and I shall of course be brought in,” &c., sudden destruction may come on them.
I admit, if such a doctrine is taught in the Bible, we are bound to believe it, and also to teach it; and are not responsible for the consequences. But wo to that man who dares to teach it, and thus lull a perishing world to sleep, if that book does not sanction it! But where, I ask, is such a doctrine found in all the word of God.? Shall I be told, in the twentieth chapter of Revelation ? It is not found there. The doctrine of the resurrection is not more clearly taught in all the Bible, than in that chapter; and any argument which would prove that a mystical resurrection, instead of a literal one, is there taught, would prove the same fact respecting every other text in the Bible which relates to the resurrection of the dead. But that portion of the word of God shall now be investigated.
THE RESURRECTION-GOG AND MAGOG.
In pursuing the investigation of the twentieth chapter of Revelation, it will be necessary to examine other parts of the Bible where the doctrine of the resurrection is taught, and show the agreement between them and this chapter.
1. The time when the resurrection will take place. Job xix. 25, 27. “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at THE LATTER DAY upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself; and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.”
From this text we learn-1. That the resurrection will be at “ THE LATTER DAY.” 2. That it will be when the “ Redeemer stands upon the earth"
Again, Isa. xxvi. 19, 21, we are taught that the resurrection will take place when the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity. From Daniel xii. 1, 2, we learn that it will be when Michael, the great Prince, stands up for the deliverance of his people; and when the wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn
many to righteousness, as the stars, forever and ever. 1 Cor. xv. 52. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, the dead shall be raised, incorruptible.” From the above texts, we learn that the resurrection of the just, at least, will take place at the end of the world, when the Lord Jesus Christ comes to be glorified in his saints.
2. The order of the resurrection. Daniel xii. 2. “Many of them which sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." In this text a marked distinction is kept up between the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked. 1. The resurrection is not at first general, but “many shall awake.” 2. The righteous, or those who come forth to everlasting life, will come forth first. This text, therefore, teaches the doctrine of two distinct resurrections.
The Savior has also taught us, (John v. 28, 29,) that there shall be a “resurrection of life," at which time they that have done good shall come forth from their graves. There shall also be a " resurrection of damnation;" at which time they that have done evil shall come forth. Paul also taught, (Acts xxiv. 15,) that there should " be a resurrection of the just," and a resurrection “of the unjust.” (1 Thess. iv. 16.) He taught that the righteous should "rise first.” 1 Cor. xv. 22, 24, is also a text in point. “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; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end," &c. In this text, the apostle asserts the resurrection of
all who died in Adam, and gives two distinct periods at which they will rise, after the resurrection of Christ, the first fruits. 1. The resurrection of all who “are his at bis coming ;" implying, that all who are not his will not have part in this resurrection. 2. “Then cometh the end,” when all his enemies are to be destroyed, and the mediatorial character of Christ cease.
Having thus briefly shown that two distinct resurrections, that of "the just” and “the unjust," are foretold in the holy Scriptures, and that the former is to take place at the second appearing of Christ, and the latier at a subsequent period ; the way is open to enter on the examination of the twentieth chapter of Revelation.
1. The first scene which there presents itself, is, a mighty angel descending from heaven, haying the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand. “He laid hold of the devil and bound him, 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 until the thousand years are finished.” There are two marks by which the angel above named is determined to be Jesus Christ. The first is, he has the key of hell, or the bottomless pit. (See Rev. i. 18.) The second is, he has power to bind the devil, and restrain his influence. This also is the peculiar work of Christ.
2. The next scene is the souls of the martyrs, and finally of all who had not received the mark of the beast, or his image; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. This is said to be “the first resurrection.” “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the
thousand years were finished.” It is difficult to conceive how any doctrine can be more distinctly stated, than that of two resurrections is in this passage. But what construction is to be put on the period named-whether it is to be understood literally, or as a prophetic number representing 360,000 years, or yet as an indefinite period, it is difficult to determine. But the probability is, that it denotes an indefinite period. For as “ time will be no longer," when the seventh trump sounds, duration will be unmeasured ; all will be eternity beyond that event.
But it is still objected, “ The Revelator says, they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.'" Again, “ They shall be priests of God and of Christ; and shall reign with him a thousand years." Hence, it is argued, their eternal state of blessedness could not have commenced with the thousand years, for they were only to be priests to God and Christ, and « reign with him a thousand years.” May not the meaning of the above text be, that the righteous shall live and reign with God and Christ, or with Christ in his perfect mediatorial character of God and man, during that period, before the final resurrection and judgment; when he, Christ, shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power, and also have destroyed death, when “the Son himself shall become subject," and God “ be all in all ?”
To illustrate this point, 1 Cor. xv. 22, 28 may very properly be introduced. We are there taught that after the resurrection of the just, " He must reign until the end,” or final resurrection. And after that event, together with the final judg