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made new. See II. Pet. iii. 13, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, “look for new heavens and a new carth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” Rev. xxi. 5, “And he that sat upon the throne said, behold, I make ali things new.” Now John saw, in Rev. iv. 2, the same throne and him that sat upon it, and in the verse above quoted he speaks as though he had mentioned before,“ him that sat upon the throne.” And as he has not mentioned him in this language, in any other place, we may have strong reason to believe that the time and subject matter, is the same in the 4th chapter of Revelation as in the 21st chapter. Again: we are expressly told that no man could learn the new song, but those who are redeemed from the earth. Rev. xiv. 3. And redemption from the earth is no where spoken of until the resurrection of the body. Christ says, in Luke xxi. 27, 28," And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory, And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your hands for your redemption draweth nigh.” And Paul says, Rom. viii. 23, “Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit: the redemption of our bodies. In this state they can sing, “ for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." It is also a holy song; for they cry, “and rest not day and night, saying, holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” The church in this state are not all holy, they have but a faint view of the holiness of God's character, his law or government : neither could they endure the sight, for when God has seen fit to reveal a small part of his holiness, men have fainted under it. Isaiah_cried out, “Woe is me.” Ezekiel 'fell upon his face, Ezek. i. 28. Daniel's comeliness was turned into corruption, so that he retained no strength. Daniel x. 8. Therefore it is evident that this holy song can only be sung in a state of immortality, when we shall be holy, even as God is holy. This new and holy song will not cease, for they rest not day and night, which proves it to be in the eternal state. And the dress, and crowns of the elders, "clothed in white raiment,” and they had on their heads
crowns of gold,” and they “cast their crowns before the throne, saying, thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power." All proves that the new song is sung after the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ;
for Paul tells us, that a crown is laid up for him which the righteous Judge shall give him at that day; and not only him, but to all them also that love his appearing. So that the elders nor beasts cannot sing this new song until the New Jerusalem is formed, their bodies redeemed from the earth, and they brought into the eternal state of the righteous. It will not be sung until the last child is born into the kingdom-the last enemy conquered—the elect gathered from the four winds of heaven and the cap stone brought forth, when the heavens will ring with this general chorus. “ Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever, and the four beasts will say, amen.”
III. I shall now show the reign spoken of in our text, and the place where.
There is much speculation at the present day on the reign of Christ on the earth, which is promised in his word and in the text. Some have supposed that it would be purely spiritual, by the holy Spirit's influence, when all, or a large share of mankind who then should be on the earth, would be regenerated and become the subjects of his spiritual kingdom, that there will be no tempting devil to. deceive, nor any kingdoms on the earth but what would be subject to Christ's spiritual reign, and the church would enjoy a long sabbath of rest; and the long desired period of some who profess to be the servants of Christ would come; when church and state would be united, and war would cease to the end of the world, and the world would increase in riches, arts and science to an amazing degree beyond any thing we have yet conceived ; thousands would inhabit the earth where there are but tens now, and man would live to a good old age, and nations be born in a day. This theory is the most rational one I have been able to discover, aside from the glorious reign of Christ with his people in a state of immortality.
To the above theory I have many scriptural objections. Although the advocates of this theory call it spiritual, yet a large share, if not all, are temporal blessings of this kingdom,
and are exactly the same that the Jews believed they should possess at Christ's first coming. Again : they must suppose, if this be true, that the rulers of the world must all be christians or professedly so. Then what must we say to Christ's words,“ my kingdom is not of this world.”
And again: “In the 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. show much to the contrary. The parable of the tares and the wheat carries us to the end of the world. And he ex. pressly says, “Let them grow together until the harvest." His prophecy and parables in Matt. xxiv, and xxv. gives 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 millenium? 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 reverse. 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.” II. Thess. ii. In his Il. Thess. Ist chapter, he tells them of the necessity of
But we can
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 millenium 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. 20th chapter. 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 Saviour, 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 Saducees 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 millenium? No! Unless proud earthly pleasure, wantonness and murder, are the spirit of their millenium. 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 II. 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 I. 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 apostle's 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. "I. Peter v. 4, “ 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 pre