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world ye shall have tribulation”? The world hate you, and if ye live godly, ye shall suffer persecution, and these (meaning the whole family of the redeemed) have come out of much tribulation. How could those millions who are born or live in this happy period, come out of great tribulation? But where do the advocates of the above system prove their doctrine ? Some pretend to bring the same passages in the Old Testament that the Jews did, to prove their temporal kingdom over the Gentiles, and do not see that much of the Old Testament prophecy was, and has been fulfilled in its typical sense. And it is very easy to show that the passages they pretend to bring in the Old Testament were all fulfilled 1800 years ago.
But, if they had believed in this theory, would not some of the New Testament writers have mentioned this important period ? I remember, when I was but a child, of hearing an old minister of the gospel make a remark like this:-“ All the Old Testament prophecies,” said he, “which were not fulfilled when Christ came in the flesh, are carried into the New Testament, and further explained." I then thought there was reason and propriety in the remark; I think so still, for the two witnesses must and will agree. And where do the believers in this system bring us one word from Christ? Not one. But we can show much to the contrary. The parable of the tares and the wheat carries us to the end of the world; and he expressly says, “Let them grow together until the harvest.”. His prophecy and parables in Matt. xxiv. and xxv. give us a prophecy until his second coming, and not a word about a happy period previously, but much about lo heres, and lo theres, and wicked servants beating and bruising their fellow-servants, and eating and drinking with the drunken, saying in their hearts, My Lord delayeth his coming. Can this be a millennium? No. Too much devil in such conduct as this. Where does Paul, a very prominent writer, give us a hint of these important things? He must have understood the Old Testament as well as some, if not all, of our modern divines. But he, too, has given the
In his epistle to the Thessalonians, he tells us
plainly, “ Then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy by the brightness of his coming,” 2 Thess. ii. In his 2 Thess. i., he tells them of the necessity of patience and faith in all their persecutions and tribulations; which, he says, is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God; and then goes on to show Christ's coming, and destruction of an ungodly world; nothing that looks like a millennium in this, or any part of Paul's writings, before Christ's second coming. Where, then, shall we find it in the New Testament? Perhaps they may say in Rev. xx.; but this chapter can never be given to them until they do away the first resurrection; for all in that chapter is after the first resurrection, and, of course, is after the personal and second coming of the Savior; and all the arguments to do away or destroy the word resurrection are so futile and weak that it needs no argument to refute them; for what could do it in that place might in every other case, and we should be Sadducees at once. James, Peter, and Jude mention the last days in their epistles, and describe them as being very wicked, yet make no mention of a day of the spread of the gospel in this wonderful manner. James speaks of their heaping up treasures for the last days. “ Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth ; and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton: ye have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Can this be the millennium? No! unless proud, earthly pleasure, wantonness, and murder, are the spirit of their millennium. Yet, if it is temporal, this would be the most likely fruits, if we judge of the future by the past; for the greater the temporal blessings, the greater is man's rebellion. Read the second and third chapters of 2 Peter, where he expressly speaks of the last days. “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 ?” &c., agreeing with what Christ said the wicked ministers would be doing when he comes. They would say in their hearts, My Lord delayeth his coming. Can there be this happy time described in the above theory? All must answer, No. Then let this suffice as answer to the above theory, until our opponents prove their own sentiments by the word.
There are many more branches of the above system, but none that I have seen but are liable to the same objections.
I shall now undertake to prove that this reign is in the immortal state, after the resurrection; that Christ will be present with his people, and, of course, personally, and that it will be on the earth.
I. Then I am to prove that it will be immortal after the resurrection.
The present reign is called, in Scripture, a reign of grace; “So might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
This reign has been ever since Christ was in the world, for 1800 years past. We shall now show that this reign must continue until after the resurrection of the dead. See 1 Cor. xv. 23—26; “ But every man in his own order; Christ the first fruits, (resurrection ;) afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have given up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall put down all rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Here we have plain Scripture that the same reign of grace must continue unto eternal life; and, in the other text, until the resurrection of them that are Christ's, and death, the last enemy to the church, is destroyed. Where, then, shall we get in a spiritual or temporal reign? We see evidently there is no change of the reign of Christ in the gospel or grace, from the apostles' days until the time comes when the saints shall possess the kingdom in the immortal state. Paul says, Rom. v. 17, “ For if by one man's offence death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of
grace and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”. Here the saints are promised to reign after the gift of righteousness, (which the righteous Judge shall give all those who love his appearing at that day,) in life, that is, eternal life. See 21st verse. 1 Peter v. 4, 6 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” This must, of course, be in the immortal state, for it fadeth not away:
II. That Christ will be present with his people in a state of immortality, can hardly be doubted when we read such texts as these :- John xii. 24, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there also shall my servant be.” Again, John xiv. 3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am there ye may be also.” So much for Christ's promise to his disciples. And now let us read his prayer to his Father on this point, John xvii, 24, “Father, I will that they, also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory.” Paul says, 1 Thess. iv. 17, “And so shall we ever be with the Lord.” “ For it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” Our text says,
66 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests." Rev. xx. 4, 6, “And they lived and reigned with Christ.” 5 And shall reign with him.” xxi. 3, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
III. “ And we shall reign on the earth,” says our text. Not under its present dispensation, but after it is cleansed by fire; after the wicked are destroyed by fire, as the antediluvians were by water, after the resurrection of the saints, and when Christ's prayer, taught to his disciples, shall be answered, “ Thy will be done on earth, even as in heaven.” When the bride has made herself ready, and married to the bridegroom, he will then move her into
thu New Jerusalem state, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, where we shall reign with him forever and ever on the new earth and in the new heavens; " and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away:
Then the whole earth shall be full of his glory;" and then, as says the prophet Isaiah, liv. 5, “For thy Maker is thine husband ; the Lord of Hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall he be called.”
And then, my dear hearer, if you have had your heart broken off from sin; if you have by faith been united in spirit to the Lamb of God; if you have patiently endured tribulation and persecution for his name,—then you will live and reign with him on the earth, and this earth will be regenerated by fire and the power of God, the cursed destroyed, sin, pain, crying, sorrow, and death banished from the world, and mortality clothed upon by immortality, death swallowed up in victory. You will rise up in that general assembly, and clapping your hands with joy, cry, “ Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is now come.” Then you will be in a situation to join the grand chorus, and sing the new song, saying, “ Thou art worthy, 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, saying, with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." And all who meet in that grand assembly will be then heard to shout, “ Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.” And methinks I can now see every one who loves our Lord and Savior Jezus Christ in this assembly, rising upon their feet, and in one united prayer of faith, crying, “Come, Lord Jesus, O come quickly."