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saw the New Jerusalem, the holy city coming down from God out
of heaven, prepared as a bride for her husband, to locate in the new
earth, the everlasting home of man; for the tabernacle of God is to
be there forever.

On this point I do not now amplify. My object is simply to pro-
duce Scriptural evidonco that when the Lord appears a second time
these four events will certainly follow in quick succession: — 1st. All
the dead saints shall be raised. 2d. All the living saints shall be
changed. 3d. All nations shall be judged and a final separation
between the good and the bad shall take place. 4th. New heavens
and a new earth shall be created, and the earth shall then he the
dwelling place of Jehovah, the centre of the universe, the throne of
the Eternal, and all things shall be subdued to him. These points
being established, not by reason or argument, but by clear and
unequivocal testimony, we shall in the sequel argue from them as


established points. Meanwhile, we offer the following question to the
consideration of our brethren:— If our Lord personally appear before
the Millennium, what will the Millennium be, and where shall it be
found? And if, according to Mr. Miller and some others, more imagi-
native than learned in prophecy, this event shall be within a few
years; how shall all the promises and prophecies concerning Jew and
Gentile be fulfilled? Do they all simply mean the resurrection and
the glorification of the saints at the coming of the Lord! ! A hint is
enough at present. We have many such to offer in their proper season.

A. c.

If the coming of the Lord be soon — within the present century, for
example — then there will be no Millennium or triumph of Christianity
over its various rivals now in the field. They will rather have tri-
umphed over it. However much real Christians desire the return of
their Master, there are few of them, I think, who would not desire
his gospel to have a freer circulation and a more triumphant career
in the world than it has ever yet had, before the last act of the drama
of human existence on this present earth is finished. In this case,
too, "the kingdom, and the dominion, and the greatness of the king-
dom under the whole heaven," has not been given according to prom-
ise, to the people of the Most High, and very many such promises
have failed. This we can not yet believe. There are some, indeed,
who look for the almost immediate return of the Messiah, and yet
calculate on the conversion of the Jews and of many Gentile nations;
but they will have them converted by sight rather than by faith,
and upon that principle all the world will be converted to the belief
that Jesus is the Christ when they see him coming from heaven in
power and great glory. But such a conversion will not be to salva-
tion, but to condemnation. They shall see him, and wail at his coming.

But still the question returns. Will the Lord come before or after
the Millennium? It is decided that if he come so soon as 1843, 1847,
or 1866, there can be no thousand years' triumph of Christianity,
because the events that are to follow in instant succession upon his
coming preclude the possibility of any further conflict between truth
and error; nay, preclude the increase of the human family, and for-
ever separate the righteous and the wicked. The structure of th-3
earth is changed — new heavens and earth occupy its place — and
instead of being with the Lord a thousand years on this earth, his
people will be with him in a new earth to all eternity! This, then.
is a summary way of settling the whole controversy about the literal
or figurative return of the Lord before the Millennium.

We shall then proceed to the consideration of the second point, viz.
— What are the events which are to precede the coming of the Lord?


In general terms we answer, The fulfillment of all his promises
concerning the destinies of his friends and enemies on this earth; or,
to speak our views in the words of an Apostle, "Him the heavens
shall retain until the times of the atcomplishment of all the things
which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy Prophets from the
beginning of time."

Of these the following are chief specifications: —

1. The downfall of Judaism.

2. The downfall of Papalism.

3. The downfall of Mahometanism.

4. The downfall of Paganism.

5. The triumph of Christianity.

But before we speak particularly of these, we are, from the force of
circumstances, constrained to examine a very notable passage in thv?
Apocalypse, which will be urged by some against our views already
expressed on the resurrection which is to accompany the appearance
of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. (Rev. xx. 1-10.) This
is the Millennium — the mysterious and wonderful passage on which
there have been written a thousand volumes printed, and ten thou-
sand sermons delivered. In ten verses we have one thousand years
six times mentioned under some new circumstance: —

1st. Satan is bound for a thousand years.

2d. He deceives not the nations for a thousand years.

3d. The martyrs and confessors live and reign with Christ a thou-
sand years.

4th. The rest of the dead revive<l not for a thousand years.

5th. They shall be priests of God and Christ, and shall reign with
him a thousand years.

6th. At the end of a thousand years Satan shall be loosed, and the
work of deception shall again commence.

Although we have this Millennium, or one thousand years, six
times named in four periods, we have it only in three distinct con-
nections: 1st. The destruction of Satanic influence for a thousand
years. 2d. The living and reigning with Christ on this earth of cer-
tain saints, confessors, and martyrs, for one thousand years. 3d. The
permission of Satan to revisit the earth after the thousand years are

This Millennium, it is worthy of remark, is to be preceded and
succeeded by a resurrection. The first resurrection precedes and the
second resurrection succeeds it. It is, then, an interval of a thousand
years between two resurrections. Now that the resurrection l)efore,
and the resurrection after, this thousand years, are both figurative
resurrections, and in various points to be contrasted with the literal


and true resurrection, is a proposition which we think can be fully
sustained. This we undertake, however, at this time because of a
somewhat popular misapplication of the whole passage in its principal
bearings upon that resurrection, true and proper, which is to follow
upon the second coming of our Lord. But we shall make the contrast
of the premillennial resurrection with the resurrection, accompanying
the second advent, the subject of a special essay. a. c.

That we may be understood in this antithesis, or contrast between
the literal and the figurative resurrection, we shall call the former
the resurrection of the body, and the latter the premillennial resur-

1st. Before we advance into this subject, while in the portico we
shall define a literal and a figurative resurrection. We have the lit-
eral and the figurative in things natural, moral, and religious. There
are two births, circumcisions, baptisms, marriages, deaths, burials;
and why should there not be two resurrections?

Nicodemus was a great literalist when he asked. How can a grown
man be born again? As great literalists, perhaps", may they be found
who take "the first resurrection" mentioned in the 20th of the apoca-
lyptic visions, to be a literal one. But it is yet too soon to decide.
We first examine, then decide.

We have a minute account of a figurative resurrection of the house
of Israel by the Prophet Ezekiel. The Lord "opened the graves" and
raised from the valley of "dry bones" a living and puissant army.
That was a figurative resurrection. In baptism we are both buried
and raised with Christ — planted in the similitude of his death, to be
raised in the similitude of his resurrection.

The restoration of Israel in Rom. xi. is by Paul called "life from
the dead." "Since you have been raised with Christ, ascend in your
affections," is a part of the beautiful imagery of Paul to the Colos-
sians. If there were two Elijahs, one literal and one figurative, we
need not wonder that there should be two resurrections — a figurative
and a literal one. Now in the book of types and symbols the pre-
sumption is in favor of a metaphorical resurrection, unless something
be connected with it that precludes the possibility or probability of
such an appropriation.

When any cause is almost or altogether dead, whether it be good
or bad, should it suddenly and unexpectedly revive, we would with
Paul think of "life from the dead," or with John call it a resurrection.
Nay. it may yet appear that John has a first and a second figurative
resurrection — one before and one after his thousand years; for if
after a long prostrate, dispirited, and ineffectual profession of the
faith, a great and unprecedented revival should take place, and a


Prophet shoukl call it a resurrpction, might he not, at the end of that
great revival or resurrection of the good spirits of the olden time,
when an opposite class began to rise into power, think of another
resurrection, which in contrast he would naturally call a second res-
urrection? This John virtually does by calling one of them a first
resurrection; and by afterwards speaking of the "rest of the dead"
living again. Whether I have got the true secret of interpreting the
20th of the Apocalypse, the following antithesis may in part demon-
strate. We shall only add that while a literal resurrection has respect
to the body dead and buried, a figurative resurrection in the Christian
religion will indicate not bodies, but souls quickened, animated, and
elevated by the Spirit of God. And that as in the same treatise John
speaks of the death, and of "the spirit of life" reanimating and ele-
vating to heaven the two witnesses, the presumption is that he is as
figurative in the 20th as he was in the 14th chapter of his scenetic
and symbolic representations.

1st. The resurrection of the body is only a resurrection of the
body; tchereas the premillennial resurrection is a resurrection of
souls, and not of bodies. "I saw the souls of the beheaded," says
John, "and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
This is the first resurrection." Now of the body Paul says, "It is
sown a natural body and raised a spiritual body — it is sown a corrupts
il)le body and raised an incorruptible." The premillennial resurrec-
tion is a raising of souls, while the resurrection which immediately
follows the appearance of the Lord, is a raising of bodies.

2d. The resurrection of the body is general — the premillennial is

"All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come
forth." "There shall be a resurrection of the just and the unjust."
These, with other passages of the same significance, apply to the res-
urrection of the dead, as all admit. But in the account of the pre-
millennial resurrection only some will participate in it: for, says
John, "I saw the souls of them beheaded for the testimony of Jesus
and for the word of God, and whosoever had not worshipped the beast
nor his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or
in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand

3d. The resurrection of the body will be accompanied uith the
transformation of all the living saints — the premillennial will not.

No one pretends that all the living saints will be changed when the
first resurrection (as It Is called) transpires; and no one can deny
that Paul says both the living saints shall be changed and the dead
raised, and both ascend togetlier to meet the Lord in the air.


4th. The participants of the resurrection of the saints will live and
reign forever; while the participants of the premillennial resurrec-
tion are only to live and reign one thousand years.

I need not prove that the phrase, "we shall be ever with the Lord, '
applies to the subjects of the "resurrection of the just:' nor need I
prove that the limitation of the life and triumphs of the saints to one
thousand years, precludes the idea of its being an eternal life and
endless reign. If I promise a person a. lease of an estate for ten or
twenty years, it is by common consent understood that those years
expired, his lease and occupancy terminated with that period. Now
as it is said they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years, it
must be understood that that being transpired, the life and reign with
Christ are necessarily completed.

5th. The resurrection of the body, its transformation and that of
the earth, are almost coincident events; while the premillennial res-
urrection is neither accompanied nor succeeded with any such trans-
formations; nay, it is to he succeeded by another resurrection of the
souls of the wicked, called ''the rest of the dead."

"The rest of the dead lived not again till the thousand yeaxs were
expired." Now as the phrase, "they lived a thousand years," inti-
mates that in that sense and state they lived no more than a thousand
years; so the phrase, "the rest of the dead lived not again till the
thousand years were expired," intimates that as soon as the thousand
years were expired they lived again. And, no doubt, this their life
was like that of their predecessors — their spirits lived after the thou-
sand years, as the spirits of the just lived during the thousand years.
It was a resurrection of wicked souls, as the first resurrection was of
souls beheaded for Jesus.

The loosing of Satan and this resurrection are contemporaneous
events — as the binding of Satan and the first resurrection of the souls
of the witnesses, are contemporaneous events. And the peculiarity
of this second figurative resurrection is, that it is not at the ultimate
and final close of time, but at the end of the thousand years. The
spirits that disturbed the just before the first resurrection now appear
in the field again, and encamp against the saints. And this, too.
before the final consummation. For after this second spiritual res-
urrection the souls under Satan, "who live and reign with him," go
out to deceive the nations — to gather Gog and Magog to battle against
the saints — a host as numerous as the sand of the sea.

6th. The resurrection of the dead immediately precedes the destruc-
tion of the last enemy; but the premillennial resurrection leaves not
only Satan, but death in the field, to gain new triumphs, more than
one thousand years after its consummation.


So far from Death, the last enemy, being destroyed before the Mil-
lennium — so far from Satan being forever crushed by the first resur-
rection, it is intimated that he will be loosed, and that he will deceive
the nations and raise a war against the saints even after the thousand
years shall have been fulfilled. Can any one reconcile this with Paul's
affirmation while expatiating on the resurrection of the dead? "Death,
the last enemy, shall be destroyed." "Death is swallowed up for
ever." "Grave, where now thy victory!"

7th. It was before shown that the final conflagration and the new
creation of a heaven and an earth more congenial with the new bodies
of the saints, tvill immediately accompany the resurrection of the
body; while the premillennial resurrection indicates a residence on
the present earth for a thousand years after it is burned up!

These seven specifications of antitheses between the literal and
figurative resurrections may suffice for the present. There are other
points that have occurred to us besides these; but these, we presume
iucontrovertibly show that the Lord can not possibly come in person
before the Millennium; and that with me, at present, is all that I
wish to establish. The events that do accompany, and those that must,
according to the very plainest oracles, precede his personal return,
are such as forbid any one well read, or profoundly attentive to the
subject, to believe or teach the personal coming of the Lord, or a
literal resurrection of any portion of the saints, before the Millen-

This subject is daily assuming more interest. That the coming of
the Lord is near, comparatively very near, is now a popular doctrine.
Protestants are generally, if not universally, in expectation of it.
Hence "the many running to and fro;" the spirit of inquiry now
kindling into a fervor, and the thousand heralds of the anticipation at
home and abroad, calling upon the people to prepare for the sublime
scene. All concur, whatever their theory of his coming, in the opin-
ion that it is to be an awfully grand and glorious event. To Christ's
party, a day of gladness — a joyful and triumphant time; to the oppos-
ing party, a day of terror and alarm — a day of darkness, an era of
vengeance and destruction.

We are glad to see that our brethren are becoming less imagina-
tive and more rational on the subject.

There is still, however, among some of us too much emphasis
placed on the importance of the restoi-ation of the unconverted Jews
to their own land. Some seem to regard a restoration of Israel accord-
ing to the flesh, to the land of Judea, not merely as a consummation
most devoutly to be wished, but as the consummation of the predic-
tions of the Prophets. It becomes us not to question, at this time.


the return of the Jews to Palestine. Such an event is, to a certain
extent, probable. But were it to take place to-morrow, it would not
fulfill the prophecies of the restoration of Israel.

The 11th to the Romans opens brighter scenes to our vision. A
thorough conversion and restoration of Israel to the rank of being
once more the people of God in common with the Gentiles — a resto-
ration of them to "their own olive tree," to a covenant relation to
God, in virtue of the Messiah's triumph, is the burthen of the prophecy.

That the return of Israel to Canaan is not a matter in which the
Christian Church is much interested, and more than the Jews them-
selves, we infer from the following consideration and facts:

1. The return or restoration of Israel to Canaan, is neither prom-
ised nor intimated in any form in the whole New Testament.

2. Unless their ancient temple and religion should be restored, and
the ancient wall of partition between the Jews and the Gentiles were
to be rebuilt, we can discover no great blessing that it could be to
the present Jews to take possession of the desolations of many gen-
erations, the ruined and dilapidated cities, and the poor impoverished
valleys and rocky eminences of Judea.

8. Again, if returned to their own land in the styie of some of the
interpreters, they must have a government and national privileges of
their own — a new monarchy or theocracy, or the Lord Messiah in
person. David was to be their king politically, when a restored peo-
ple. Are we Gentiles prepared for this? Have we not proved already
that he will never revisit the earth till the last day of all time! And
were he to come in person as the son of David to reign in Jerusalem
over the Jews, would we think the Gentiles were at all blessed by
such an event? Would we then be "aH one in Christ Jesus," as Paul
has taught us?

4. But, in the fourth place, we are taught to expect their conver-
=!ion to the Lord to occur rather in their dispersion, than when seated
in their own land; for it is through the mercy of the Gentiles that
they are hereafter to obtain mercy; for, says Paul in this chapter,
"as you in time past have not believed, yet now have obtained mercy
through their unbelief, even so have these also now not obtained
mercy, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy." Does
not this indicate that the Jews are to be converted through the inter-
position of the Gentiles? Again, says Paul, "I would not have you
ignorant of this mystery, that blindness in part has happened to
Israel till the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel
shall be saved;" for "out of Zion shall come the Deliverer, and shall
turn away ungodliness from Jacob."

This fully intimates their conversion. It is still more clear in
the original than in the common version.


This is again farther intimated in another promise still more
plain, because spol^en in the New Testament. Jesus says by Luke,
"The Jews shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away
captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the
Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Were this the
city merely, and not the people, that are trodden down, it would be
difficult to reconcile it with the facts of history ancient and modern.
But that the people, the commonwealth of Israel, has been so trodden
down, all the world knows and attests. But the close of this period
shall come: for blindness in part has happened to Israel (only) until
the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; and then "all Israel shall be

Mr. Ward and his brethren regard the Millennium of the Apoca-
lypse as a comet in the prophetic heavens. His words are —


This is revealed in Rev. xx., and from the first notice of it by
Justin Martyr, has been a stumbling-block to the curious, a sort of
absurd quantity to the prophetic mathematicians; an enigma of mys-
tery, glorious, like Melchisedec among kings, and divine like Elijah
among prophets; but abstruse as the lineage of that king, and unap-
proachable as the chariot of fire which carried that prophet into
heaven. I have no solution of it quite satisfactory to my own mind,
but I have learned to regard it as a comet in the heavenly system,
forming and performing a true and important part in the economy of
revelation; comet-like, of an orbit so eccentric, and a revolution so
diverse among the great doctrines of the heavenly kingdom that no
man has yet been able to measure its pathway, to determine its specific
gravity, or to calculate its period: and seen in one view, its train
on a time sweeps with terrific grandeur over a quarter of the skies,
filling all hearts with dismay and alarm, and seen at another time, it
dashes in among the moons of a planet, as if it would brush them
all away, but absolutely passes off, and leaves them unharmed,
unmoved, unshaken, itself pursuing its inscrutable way among the
starry host of heaven, without any deviation or perceptible change.

Before Justin Martyr we have Barnabas, Clement, Ignatius, Poly
carp, and Hermas, whose writings record their hope of the coming
and kingdom of Christ, as preached in the Evangelists; and I submit
to every devout mind, how little we ought to be affected by any new
view of divine truth, which first appears in the church after tho
middle of the second century; it seems to be safer to expound the Mil-
lennium by the kingdom of heaven, as the apostles and primitive Chris-
tians did. than to open a new doctrine out of Rev. xx., which some
in the third and fourth centuries attempted to do.

This "coDict Millennium," so little understood, it will be noted, is
the only Millennium of which the whole Bible speaks. This is the
Millennium discarded, as I conceive, by this new school, to find room
for an '•eternal" .Millennium.


The difficulty seems to be not about a personal glorious return of
the Lord — not about the creation of a new earth and heaven; but
whether we shall have a verification of the 20th of the Apocalyse in
this world at all, or whether it be a prophecy including an eternal
rest. Either myself or the Millennarians seem essentially to have mis-
taken the subject of the Millennium. Is not the Millennium one dis-
tinct promise? Is it not a new testament — an apocalyptic intimation?
We have but one Millennium in the Divine Volume, and is not that
but once spoken of by inspiration? We have no ''coineV Millennium,
solar, lunar, or feidereal. We have but one Millennium — one thousand
years literal or figurative, which is to be temporal, and not eternal.

The hope of all true Christians is the glorious appearance of the
great God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ. The whole church, antic-
ipating his coming, not for a sin-offering, but for the redemption of
his people, exclaim with one voice, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!"

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 12 of 70)