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spiritualize all those prophetic declarations which foretell Christ's
reign in glory, how can we blame the Jews for adopting a similar
mode of interpreting other predictions not more clear and less numer-
ous? The very fact of such prophecies, as, A virgin shall bring
forth a son, etc., being ever fulfilled, renders their accomplishment a
more glorious display of that divine attribute, which Jehovah claims
as peculiarly his own, and in proof of which he even appeals to
prophecy. The legitimate conclusion from the literal fulfillment of
prophecy in times past surely is, that predictions concerning the
future will have a similar accomplishment. That as in Calvary Christ
really made his soul an offering for sin, so will he really reign in
Mount Zion and before his ancients gloriously. (Isa. liii. 10; xxiv. 23.)

VI. To those who oppose the literal interpretation of the passages
in Scripture which refer to the approaching Advent of our Lord, it
must appear singular, that there is not in the Gospels or Epistles
the slightest reference to such a period of peace and purity, as the
Old Testament prophecies everywhere represent, as still to be enjoyed
on earth. Yet in the New Testament, so interwoven are the intima-
tions of the coming of our Lord, and resurrection of the saints, with
all reference to the Millennium, that if these events are placed after
that happy time, then undeniably there is not the most distant allu-
sion to it. If Paul refers to the Millennium when the sons of Abra-
ham shall be grafted into their own olive tree, it is, when the Deliv-
erer shall come out of Zion. (Rom. xi. 26.) If Peter alludes to it,
as the times of restitution, it is, when the Lord shall send Jesus
Christ. (Acts iii. 20.) If the same Apostle refers to the Millennium,
when the promise of God, uttered by the prophet Isaiah, should be
fulfilled, of new heavens and a new earth, when Jerusalem shall be
created a joy, and her people a rejoicing, (Isa. Ixv. 17, IS,) still with
these new heavens and new earth our views are again directed to the
coming of the day of Cod, which day of the Lord will come as a thief
in the night. (II. Pet. iii. 8-13.)

VII. On the supposition that Christ was not to return till after the
Millennium, it would appear surprising that he should not have
included that long term of holiness and happiness among the signs
which shall precede bis coming. (Matt, xxiv.) After the world has


for thousands of years been torn by dissension, and been the scene
of every wickedness, such a lengthened period of universal purity
and peace must have proved a very notable sign. But the words
'•immediately after the tribulation of those days," (Matt. xxiv. 29, 30.)
prove that the coming of the Saviour shall precede the commencement
of the Millennium, and therefore its existence couid not have been
given as a sign of his approach.

VI II. When the disciples asked, (Acts i. 6,) "Lord, wilt thou at
this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (and this question
was put after their understandings had been opened, that they might
understand the Scriptures, Luke xxiv. 45) our Saviour did not reprove
them for cherishing expectations inconsistent with his design, as he
did on occasions when this was really the case; but on the contrary
gave them every reason to believe that their hopes were well founded.
This also proves that at the period of his ascension, the Apostles did
expect that he should personally restore the kingdom to Israel.

IX. The Jewish church, overlooking the series of predictions which
related to Christ's humiliation, and fixing their attention only on
those which foretold his exaltation, expected with perfect unanimity
from Dan. vii. 14, and other prophetic passages, that the Messiah
would come as a glorious king to reign in the midst of them; ignorant
that he must first suffer many things. The ancient Christian church
did in like manner understand the passages of the Old Testament,
now adduced by those who advocate a literal translation, as signify-
ing the real, personal, and glorious advent of the Messiah. This
strong fact is proved by the writings of St. Barnabas, Justin Martyr,
Irenaeus, Cyril of Jerusalem, Tertullian, etc.

It has been justly remarked by an anonymous writer on another
subject, that "those who lived nearest to the Apostles, must have
best known the minds of the Apostles. If then a Romanist and Prot-
estant differ as to the meaning of a text which is the basis of any
particular doctrine, let the point in dispute, whenever it is practicable,
be referred to the decision of the primitive church."

X. In the New Testament there are three noun substantives used
to signify the advent. Apokalupsis, revelation; Epiphaneia, appear-
ance; Paronsia, coming, or presence. The first occurs I. Cor. i. 7; II.
Thess. i. 7; I. Pet. i. 7. The second occurs II. Tim. i. 10, in relation
to our Lord's first coming in the flesh, and in relation to his second
coming in the following texts: I. Tim. vi. 14; II. Tim. iv. 1-8; Tit.
ii. 13. The third, Parousia, occurs four times in Matt, xxiv.; I. Cor.
XV. 23; I. Thess. ii. 19; iii. 13; iv. 15; v. 23. It is used for the
coming or presence of St. Paul with the churches, II. Cor. x. 10, Phil,
i. 26; ii. 2. For the coming of Antichrist, II. Thess. ii. 9; the coming
of Stephanus, I. Cor. xvi. 17; the coming of Titus, II. Cor. vii. 7. A


review of these passages will satisfactorily prove that these words
are used to signify the second personal coming of our l>ord; nor does
it appear that any of these words is ever used to denote the spiritual
or figurative appearance of any person. It is remarkable, too, that
the word Epiphaneia was particularly employed by the Greeks to
denote the appearance of their gods with circumstances oi outward
splendor. Now the coming of our Lord to destroy the man of sin
previous to the Millennium, in II. Thess. ii. 8, is expressed Dy the
union of two of the above nouns, te epiphaneia les varottstas autou,
by the bright shining of his coming: and if neither of these nouns
can singly denote a spiritual advent, much less can they when con-
joined; and if each of them, when employed separately means a per-
sonal manifestation and presence, much more must they when united.
Since, therefore, the glorious coming of Christ takes place at the
destruction of Antichrist, and since this destruction occurs by the
unanimous consent of the church of God in all ages before the Mil-
lennium, it follows that Christ comes in glory to judge the world
before that period.

XI. When the Lord and his Apostles would inculcate the necessi-
ty of watchfulness upon those who profess to acknowledge him as
their Master, the language is remarkable. They do not address them
in such words as these, "Watch, for death is hastening;" "Be ready,
for shortly you must leave this earth" — but thus do they warn them:
"Watch, therefore, for ye know not the hour your Lord doth come. '
"Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of
Man cometh." In fact, death is a subject to which the Lord and his
Apostles but seldom refer, and which they do not bring forward as an
incentive to watchfulness and preparation. The coming of the Lord,
the second and glorious appearing of the divine Saviour, this 't is
which they urge upon us, and by the consideration of which, in con-
nection with the events which are then to take place, they endeavor to
overcome the inherent slothfulness of our nature, and stir us up to
activity in the work of God, and to watchfulness over our hearts and
spirits. For thus doth the Lord himself caution us: "Take heed to
yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeit-
ing and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come
upon you unawares; for as a snare shall it come upon all them that
dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye, therefore, and pray
always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things
that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luko
xxi. 35-37).

XII. The first event which distinguishes the advent of our (..ord
(Matt. XXV. 31), is, that he shall then sit on tlic throne of his qlory.
If it is not till the advent that he shall tluis sit on the ihrone of his


glory, it necessarily follows, that he is not now sitting on that throne.
Accordingly, he himself assures us (Rev. iii. 21), that the throne
where he now sits, is that of his Father (in heaven); and his words
necessarily imply, that his session on his own throne is yet a future
event. If we further inquire what is the identical throne on which
Messiah, the Son of Man, shall sit? we find an answer in the well-
known prophecy of Isa. ix. 7: "He shall sit upon the throne of
David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and establish it." Confirm-
atory of which, are also the words of Gabriel to his virgin mother
(Luke i. 32): "The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his
father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever."
Unless, then, we identify the throne of David with that of the Eternal
Father, which would be blasphemy, we must acknowledge that the
session of Messiah on his own throne, is a distinct event, and be-
longing to anocher period.

The judgment in Matt. xxv. 31, commences, therefore, when the
Son of Man sits upon the throne of his father David. Now, is any
light thrown upon the chronology of this stupendous event by other
passages of Scripture? In Matt. xix. 28, will be found the follow-
ing remarkable words, spoken by our Lord to his Apostles: "Verily,
I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration,
ichen the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall
sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." In the
parallel text of Luke xxii. 28, 30, there is to be found the additional
circumstance that it is in the kingdom of our Lord that this promise
is to be fulfilled: "Ye are they which have continued with me in my
temptations, and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath
appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table, in my
kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. '
Now, the precise time when this kingdom of the Son of Man shall bs
established, is manifest from Dan. vii. 13, 14, wherein the prophet
sees the Messiah brought near to the Ancient of Days, and there was
given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, na-
tions, and languages, should serve him. And that this event coin-
cides with the beginning of the Millennium is generally acknowledged
as a main and leading principle of prophetic chronology, even by the
opponents of literal interpretation. We read of no other kingdom
given to the Son of Man than the one mentioned in this passage of
Daniel, and the corresponding texts of the Apocalypse; and at the
close of the dispensation of the kingdom, we learn that he delivers
it up to the Father, that God may be all in all. (I. Cor. xv. 24.)

The following is condensed from twenty-seven essays under the
above title, published in 1841 to 1843. during the excitement produced
by Wm. Miller preaching that Christ would come in August, 1843:


Of all future events, that of the coming of the Lord in power and
glory, is the most soul-subduing, enrapturing, and transcendant. In
one sentence, it is "the blessed hope." The church has been praying
for it, and the whole creation groaning and travailing in pain for it
for almost two thousand years. "Behold, he tometh in the clouds of
heaven, and every eye shall see him. They also that pierced him,
and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him." Then will
"heaven's eternal arches ring" with shoutings of glory, and honor,
and blessing, and praise, while his enemies will be confounded with
terror and clothed with shame.

But when shall tl;is most joyful hope be consummated in vision!
When shall the Lord come! Whether shall it l>e before the triumphs
of Christianity over Paganism, Mahometanism, Papalism, and Athe-
ism, usually called the Millennium, or after this moral victory? This
is the great question now in debate. My method of deciding it
embraces in its philosophy as a primary evidence the events that ars
clearly and incontrovertibly declared to be concomitant with, or atten-
dant upon his (-oming. These decided, and the question is, in my
opinion, settled on the clearest and safest foundation. To discover
and substantiate these, is the burthen of the present essay. Of neces-
sity, therefore, this essay must consist mainly of testimony from
which we may argue again.

The points to which I solicit attention are four: —

1st. The probability of the personal return of the Lord to this

2d. The certainty of it.

3d. The mariner of it.

4th. The events then to be expected.

The probability of his return is argued from two facts: — 1st. It is
the place of liis nativity. "And thou Bethlehem of Judah art not the
least of the cantons of Israel; for out of thee shall he come — or in
thee shall he be born, who shall become Governor of my people Israel. '
"The Word that was in the beginning with God, that was God," "by
whom all things were made," became human flesh in the city of David,
and was born of a daughter of Eve, in Asia, 1,836 years ago. It is
human to love the place of one's nativity. And especially is it pleas-
ant for one who has been raised to great honor and authority, and
who has been long unknown to the place where he first saw the light
of heaven, to revisit the scenes of his childhood, and re-survey the
humble horizon which once bounded his views of the universe, and in
which he first learned to know himself. No wonder, then, should
our Lord delight to stand at "the latter day upon this earth," not far
from the Mount of Olives, whence to heaven his earthly friends and
relatives saw him triumphantly ascend.


But there is a second fact that adds much to the probability of his
return: He has much property in this earth. All things in it, on it,
and connected with it, are his. "The earth is the Lord's and the
fullness thereof" — "All things were made by him and for him, and
he is before all things;" and by him all things are preserved, for he
upholds all things by his all-powerful word. "The Lord has created
all things for himself" — "For thy pleasure they are and were created."
Where the treasure is the heart is. Where one has much property
he has much thought and much attachment. Our Lord has much
property here. The earth, the sea, the air — the kingdoms, animal,
vegetable, mineral, are his. The Devil will not for ever usurp the
territory of Christ's present kingdom; nor retain the field, the theatre
of war, on which he and our Messiah in single combat fought the first
battle, when first Satan felt the sharp two-edged sword that proceeded
out of his mouth. He will take the field and drive the usurper down
to eternal ruin. The earth is, moreover, dear to the Lord; because
the ashes of all his saints, a few only excepted, are in it. Abraham,
Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, etc. have their sepulchres with us to this
day. From such considerations and facts we infer the probability of
his return. But to the second point, the certainty of his return: —

1st. The types under the law indicate his return. The Jewish High
Priest entered the most holy place once a year. He presented his
sacrifice there before Him that dwells between the cherubim. Mean-
time, the people anxiously expected his return after he had for them
made an offering and prepared a place. He ultimately returned to
the door of the tabernacle and blessed them that looked for his return.
So says Paul; Christ was once offered to bear the sin of many, and
to them that look for him (as the Jews looked for the return of the
High Priest) shall he appear the second time, without a sin-offering,
to salvation, having made his offering within the vail.

2d. He promised to return. Matt. xvi. 27, "The Son of Man shall
come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he shall
reward every man according to his works." So also speaks the parable
of the Sheep and the Goats (Matt. xxv. 31); so also the parable of
the Nobleman going into a far country to receive a kingdom and
return (Luke xix. 11-23). And, without a figure, in his valedictory
he says, "I go to prepare a place for you, and will come again and
receive you to myself, that where I am there you may be also" (John
xiv. 3). This is excelled only by Acts i. 11, "Men of Galilee, why stand
you gazing up to heaven? This same Jesus who is taken up from
you into heaven, shall come in like manner as you have seen him go
into heaven." The certainty of his return being now as definite and
plain as our language can make it, we shall now hear something of


3d. The manner of liis returning. In one word, we are informed,
(Luke ix. 2G,) that he will <ome in his own gloiy, his Father's glory,
and in that of the holy angels. Well did Paul say, "Ix>oking for
that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God, and our
Saviour Jesus Christ." In awful majesty God as lawgiver descended
on Mount Sinai. (Ex. xix.) "On the morning of the third day there
were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud upon the mount, and
the voice of a trumpet exceeding loud, so that all the people that wad
in the camp trembled." "And all the people saw the thunders and
lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking,
and the fire blazing up into the midst of heaven; and they removed
and stood afar off." Such was the glory of the Lawgiver. But when
he appears as a Judge, "a fiery stream issues and goes before him,
thousand thousands of angels minister to him, ten thousand times ten
thousand stand before him, and the books are opened. Earth and
heaven shall flee away, and there is found no place for them. Our
God shall come, and shall no more be silent, but speak out. A fire
shall go before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about
him. He shall summon earth and heaven. The Lord shall descend
with a shout, the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.
His voice shall be heard by every ear, dead and alive, in the whole
universe— all that are in their graves shall hear it and come forth."
But we hasten to the four great events attendant on his coming: —

1 He will raise all the saints.

Some Millennarians say only some of the saints, and quote Daniel
and John in proof of it. Daniel, alluding, as they think, to the second
oi premillennial coming of the Lord, says, "And many of them that
sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake— some to everlasting life,
and some to everlasting shame and contempt." And John says, ' I
saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the testimony of Jesus
and for the word of God, and who had not worshipped the beast,
nrither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads
01 in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand
years The rest of the dead lived not again till the thousand years
were finished. This is the first resurrection." From these two
Prophets some infer that there will be only a portion of the saints,
as described by John, who shall share in the first resurrection, and
that the remainder will sleep a thousand years to the second resur-
rection In opposition to this view we assert that all the saints will
be raised whenever the Lord appears in person. Some of our proof
will be found in the following Scriptures: I. Thess. iv. 16, "The Lord
hlmsell shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the
archangel, ana with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall


rise first" — not a part of the dead, but the dead in Christ, shall rise
first. "We are here definitely assured that when the Lord himself (or in
person) descends, the dead in Christ shall rise. The import of the
term first, in its proper place, shall appear. A second proof we have
from the same source. I. Cor. xv. 23, "All shall be made alive— they
that are Christ's, at his coming." Not some of them, but "they that
are Christ's," shall be made alive — not before nor after, but at his
coming. This does not look like a part, a thousand years before
another part. A third proof we have in the 52d verse of the same
chapter: "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump
the dead [saints] shall be raised incorruptible." If these, which are
but a sample, will not demonstrate that all the saints shall be raised
not before, nor after, but at the coming of the Lord, a thousand repe-
titions of them in various forms would not. But in the second place.

The living saints shall be changed immediately upon the raising
of the dead saints.

Our proofs are found in the passages already quoted: I. Thess. iv.
15, "We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord,
shall not anticipate them that are asleep. 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." From
this statement we learn that the dead in Christ shall rise at the sound
of the trumpet; and while it yet sounds, the living saints shall be
changed in a twinkling, and shall with them ascend to meet the Lord.

From the 15th of Corinthians we learn this mystery: "We shall
not all sleep, but uie shall all be changed in a moment — the dead shall
be raised, and the living shall be changed." Again, to the Philippians
he says, "Our citizenship is in heaven, whence also we look for the
Saviour the Lord Jesus, who shall change our humble body into a
form like to his own glorious body, according to the working by which
he is able to subdue all things to himself." The transformation of
the living saints is, then, as evident and certain as the resurrection
of the dead, at the coming of the Lord.

A third event that shall accompany the coming of the Lord, will be,
the judgment and final separation of the righteous and the wicked.

Hitherto we have spoken only of the resurrection and transforma-
tion of the saints at the coming of the Lord. But we might have also
connected with these two grand events the resurrection of all the
wicked. Our Lord himself is first witness here. He says (John v.
39), "Marvel not at this— for the hour cometh in the which all that
are in their graves shall come forth: they that have done good, to the
resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection
of condemnation." Then cometh the general judgment; for this is


connected with the second coming (Matt. xvi. 27), "For the Son of
Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his holy angels, ami
then he shall reward every man according to his actions." The
rewarding of all mankind is here connected with the coming of the
Lord in glory. .Vgain (Matt. xxv. 31), "When the Son of Man shall
come in the glory of his Father, with all his holy angels with him,
then shall he sit on the throne of his glory; and before him shall be
gathered all nations, and he shall separate them as a shepherd sepa-
rateth the sheep from the goats," etc. Rev. xxi. 12, "Behold, I come
quickly and my reward is with me, to give to every man as his works
shall be." Indeed, the general and final judgment of the human race
is almost universally spoken of in conjunction with the coming of the
Lord in person. There yet remains a fourth grand event: —

The structure of the material universe shall be changed, and new
heavens and a new earth created.

In the 102d Psalm we have this promise, "The heavens shall per-
ish — they all shall wax old as doth a garment, and as a vesture thou
Shalt change them." Therefore, according to the promise, we look for
new heavens and a new earth: for, says Peter, quoting from an old
Prophet, "The heavens and the earth that are now are reserved unto
fire, against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men."
In the day of the Lord "the heavens shall pass away with a great
noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also,
and the works that are therein, shall be burned up." But He that
sits upon the throne says, "Behold I create all things new" ( Rev.
xxi. 5); and accordingly John saw new heavens and a new earth.
And from that point in the heavens where the saints of the Lord
assembled around their Master during the general conflagration, John

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 11 of 70)