« הקודםהמשך »
are days in a thousand literal years, a day being put for a year. According to this way of reckoning, a thousand years are put for ?hree hundred and sixty thousand years ; for in that age, a year was reckoned to consist of three hundred and sixty days. It is said, that in this book of Revelation, a day is constantly put for a year. A thousand, two hundred and sixty days, mean so many years, and forty two months, mean as many years, as there are days in so many months, reckoning thirty days to each month, as they then did ; which therefore amount to the same number of years, i. e. one thousand, two hundred and sixty years. Anda time and times, and half a time, i. e. three years and an half, mean as many years as there are days in three years and an half; which are just as many as there are in forty two months ; that is, one thousand, two hundred and sixty years. It is therefore concluded, that these thousand years must be understood in the same way ; that is, that a day is put for a year ; which will amount to three hundred and sixty thousand years.
It is acknowledged that this supposition is supported by some colour of argument and plausibility : But there are objections to it, some of which will be mentioned.
1. It does by no means follow that these are prophetical years, in the sense mentioned, because a day is put for a year, in other places in this prophecy. There may be reasons for putting a day for a year, in other instances ; and yet there be no reason for puting a thousand years for as many years as there are days in a thousand years, in this instance ; and therefore no reason for understanding them so. And a day is not put for a year in every other instance in this book. The dead bodies of the two witnesses are said to lie in the street of the city, three days and an half,* which do not mean three years and an half, as no event respecting them can be made consistent with such a meaning.
2. The number, a thousand years, being repeated so many times in one short paragraph, 'seems to be a reason that it is to be understood literally, for just so many years, and not so many prophetical years. Especially, as there is nothing in this case to lead us to understand it in the latter sense ; but it may as consistently with every thing in this book, and this prophecy in particular, and more so, as will be now observed, be understood literally. And it is farther to be observed, that there is no instance in this book, or in the whole Bible, where a precise number is so often repeated in the same words, that is not to be understood literally.
3. It seems to be out of all proper proportion, to suppose there will be so long a time as three hundred and sixty thousand years of prosperity and happiness, and of great and universal holiness in this world, the habitation of an apostate, sinful race of men ; and but six thousand years of evil times. And this does not appear consistent with this world being represented as an evil world, as it is in the scripture: Or with its being cursed in consequence
* Rev. xi. 9.
of man's rebellion. One thousand years may be an exception out of seven thousand, in which the curse may be mitigated, and in a great measure removed ; and yet, on the whole, or the whole taken together, it may be considered and called, an evil and accursed world, for man's sake. But if there were to be only six thousand years of evil and the curse, and three hundred and sixty thousand years of good and a blessing, it would not, on the whole, be an evil or cursed, but a happy and blessed world.
4. It has been observed, that the natural world is evidently a designed type or shadow of the moral world, especially of the redemption by Christ. And that creating it in six days, and then resting on the seventh, is designed to be a type of bringing the moral world in the work of redemption, to a state of rest ; that there are to be six thousand years in which every thing with respect to redemption and the kingdom of Christ, is to be done and prepared, for a seventh thousand years of peace and rest, and joy in this glorious work. And it will be shown in the sequel, that there are institutions in the Mosaic ritual, which point out the same thing. The Apostle Peter seems to allude to this, when speaking of the coming of Christ, and the end of the world. “ But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise ; but the day of the Lord will coine as a thief in the night," &c* Hence the constant revolution of weeks, consisting of seven days, is an emblem of the revolution of time, which will come to an end, when the world has existed seven thousand years. And there has been a tradition among both Jews and Christians, agreeable to this sentiment.t--Now, this sentiment and tradition suppose, that the thousand years of the Millennium is but one literal thousand years, or the seventh part of the time in which the world is to stand. And as far as there is any weight in them, oppose and overthrow the notion that the world will not come to an end, till it has existed three hundred and sixty thousand years, after the Millennium shall begin.
5. All the ends of such a day of peace and prosperity, of victory, triumph and salvation to the church on earth, and of the so much celebrated reign of Christ with his saints, in this world, will be fully answered in a literal thousand years, so far as it can be
• 2 Peter jü. 8, 9, 10. + “ There is an old tradition both among Jews and Christians, that at the end of six thousand years, the Messiah shall come, and the world shall be renewed, the reign of the wicked one shall cease, and the reign of the saints upon earth shall begin.” Newton's Dissertations on the Prophecies. Vol. 1. Page 490.- And again, Vol. III. Page 410.-" According to tradition, these thousand years of the reign of Christ and the saints, will be the seventh millennary of the world ; for as God created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh, so the world, it is argued, will continue six thousand years, and the seventh thousand will be the great sab. batism, or holy rest, to the people of God: One day being with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”—2 Peter iii. 8.
learned what they are from scripture; or man can conceive them to be ; as much and as fully answered, as they could be in hundreds of thousands of years, or in any supposed length of time.
Satan will be as much defeated, and his kingdom and interest wholly destroyed in the world ; the cause of wickedness, and evil men, will be entirely ruined and lost, and they all banished from the earth. The wisdom, power, grace, truth and faithfulness of Christ will have a proper and glorious manifestation, by introducing such a state, and continuing it as long as is most for his glory, and the best good of his church, though it shall continue but a thousand years. The church may have all the reward and enjoyment in that time, that it is proper or desirable that it should have on earth ; and it may be wisest and best, then to take it 10 a more perfect, happy and glorious state in heaven. A thousand years will be time enough for Christ to show what he can do, in bringing good out of evil, and vindicating his cause and church, and triumphing gloriously over all opposition from earth and hell, and filling the world with his powerful presence and kingdom, with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord; with holiness and happiness. There will be full opportunity in this time, to show and demonstrate, from fact and abundant experience, what is the nature, beauty and excellence of christianity ; that it is exactly suited to form the world into a state of love, union and happiness ; and that all the preceding evils among mankind have been chiefly owing to ignorance or neglect of Christ, and the true spirit of christianity, and opposition to those in life or heart, or both. And this will be tine enough to show, that all means are ineffectual to reclaim man from sin ; and thai this can be effected by nothing but the Spirit of God, poured down in plentiful effusions; and to give a sample and foretaste of the beauty, happiness and glory of the holy society and redeemed church in heaven,
And in this thousand years the work of redemption, and salvation, may be fully accomplished in the utmost extent and glory of it. In this time, in which the world will be soon filled with real christians, and continue full, by constant propagation, to sup. ply the place of those who will leave the world ; there will be many thousands born and live on earth, to each one that had been boro and lived in the preceding six thousand years. So that if they who snall be born in that thousand years, shall be all, or most of them, suved, as they will be there will, on the whole, be many thousands of mankind saved, lo one that shall be lost.*
The only end that can be imagined would be answered by protracting this time of the prosperity of the church in this world, is, that greater numbers of mankind might exist, and be saved. But that this is really desirable or best, all things considered, there is not the least evidence. A desire that more of mankind should be saved than will be saved, in a thousand years of the prevalence of holiness and salvation, in all the fanilies of the earth, never could Pue satisfica : For though three bundred and sixty thousand years
• See Bellamy's Sermon on the Millennium,
should be added, and all should be saved who lived in that time; still, for the same reason that this is desired, it will be equally desirable, and more so, that the time of salvation should be lengthened out yet longer; and so on without end. This reason for making the time longer, that more may be saved, cannot cease ; and a desire of more time, on this ground, or for this reason, is like the four things which Solomon mentions as never satisfied, and say not it is enough. It is most wise and best, that a certain number and proportion of mankind should be saved : And God only knows what this number is, how great, and what proportion it bears to the whole human race. And no man has any reason to think, that this nun.ber will not be completed within a literal thousand years, after the Muilennium commences.
Nor can there be the least evidence from any quarter, that it will not, unless there be evidence that the Millennium contains a longer time ; which is the question under consideration. And it is supposed that no evidence of this has yet been produced, or can be at present : And it is certain, that the salvation of more of man. kind, were the line to be longer, is no reason why it should be longer But this will be best, and most infallibly decided by the event which will take place in due season : Which perhaps cannot be determined with certainty now, or so that all shall be satisfied and agreed in the matter. And it may not be wise to be very conficient on eiiber side of the question.
The evidence has now been produced from scripture, that there is a time coming, in which the cause of Christ shall prevail in this world ; and bis kingdom spread and fill the earth, as it has never yet done ; in which time, the church and people of Christ shall come to a state of peace and prosperity ; when the kingdom of Satan shall be utterly destroyed ; and all wicked men shall be put down, and cast out of the earth, and there shall be none to destroy, hurt or oppose the truth and ways of Christ, or his people : and this happy, glorious day shall last a thousand years.
This is foretold, not by one single prophecy, but is repeatedly and abundantly mentioned in the sacred, prophetic writings, and represented by a variety of strong expressions, and by different similitudes, and in figurative language : and yet all perfectly agree to point out the same thing. And there are many prophecies of the same event, by Isaiah, and in other parts of the Bible, which have not been particularly mentioned.
Nothing has yet taken place in favour of the church of Christ, and in opposition to his enemies, which is in any measure answerable to these predictions. By far the greater part of mankind have been in a state of ignorance of christianity, or of opposition to it, ever since the gospel has been preached to men ; and Satan has had a greater and stronger kingdom on earth, than Christ, most of the time since his ascension. And sin, and real opposition to Christ, in principle and practice, have abounded in every age, even among nominal christians. The overthrow of has actually excited christians to pray for this event, in all ages of the church; and doubtless they will be awakened and stirred up to pray more generally, constantly, and fervently for this important, glorious event, as the approach of it is found by prophecy to be nearer: And it will be introduced in answer to the prayers of thousands and millions, who have been, and who will yet be, cry. ing to God night and day; resolving not to keep silence, or give bim any rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.* For be will be inquired of for this by his church and people, to do it for them.”+
In which it is considered, in what the Millennium will consisi, and
what will be the peculiar happiness and glory of that day, accord. ing to Scripture.
THERE have been, and still are, very different opinions, respecting the Milleonium, and the events which will take place in that day; which are grounded chiefly on the six first verses in the twentieth chapter of the Revelation, which passage has been brought into view, in the preceding section ; but is to be more particularly considered in this.
Some have supposed, that this passage is to be taken literally, as importing that at that time, Jesus Christ will come in his human nature, from heaven to earth ; and set his kingdom up here, and reign visibly, and personally, and with distinguished glory on earth. And that the bodies of the mari yrs, and other eminent christians, will then be raised from the dead, in which they shall live and reign with Christ here on earth, a thousand years. And some suppose, that all the saints, the true friends to God and Christ, who have lived before that time, will then be raised from the dead, and live on earth perfectly holy, during this thou sand years. And this they suppose is meant by the first resurrection. Those who agree in general in this notion of the Millennium, differ with respect to many circumstances, which it is needless to mention here.
Others bave understood this paragraph of scripture in a figurative sense. That by this reign of Christ on earth, is not meant his coming from heaven to earth, in his human, visible nature ; but his taking to himself his power and utterly overthrowing the kingdom of Satan, and setting up his own kingdom in all the world, which before this had been confined to very narrow bounds ; and subduing all hearts to a willing subjection, and thus reigning over all men, who shall then be in the world, and live in that thousand years. And by “ The souls of them which were be headed for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his im• Isai. Ixil 6, 7.
+ Ezek. xxxvi. 87.