Joseph Emerson.

Lectures on the Millennium online

. (page 3 of 16)
Online LibraryJoseph EmersonLectures on the Millennium → online text (page 3 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

pear with additional evidence under the next

During the Millennium, 39


During the Millennium war will be un-

The cessation of war will greatly distin»
guish the Millennial period from all othersc
From the beginning of the world to the
present day, a great part of the business of
mankind has been to injure, and to destroy,
one another. A great part of the history
of the world, is a history of wars and fight-
ings. No art was ever more closely studied^
or more vigorousi}' practised, than the art of
Mar. Both the study and the practice com-
menced before the flood. There were then
mighty men, men of renown, giants in wick-
edness, and giants in war. Nay, the earth
was filled with violence. And this is the
grand reason, that God assigns, for bringing
a flood of water upon the earth to drown the
world. But the flood, tho it cleansed the
earth from that horrid generation, did not
w^ash from the human heart the lust of war.
Very soon after that tremendous judgment,
the flames of war were rekindled, and raged
with perhaps as much fury and devastation,
as ever. Nimrod is celebrated as a mighty
hunter before the Lord; and doubtless he was
no less distinguished, as a warrior. ^♦Aiid
the beginning of his kingdom was Babel and
Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of
Shinar." In the days of Abraham, there was
a war, in which nine kings were engaged,
four kings against five. But there is not
time to be particular. Many ponderous fo-

40 State of the World

iios might be filled, without exhausting th6
subject of war. It is probable, that scarcely
a year has elapsed, since the days of Abra-
ham, that has not been marked, and disgrac-
ed, by war. Tho the slaughter and devasta-
tion, occasioned by persecution, have been so
tremendous and horrible, yet we may regard
it as inconsiderable, compared with whathas
been effected by war. If persecution has slain
its thousands and its millions, war has slain
its tens of millions and its hundreds of mil-
lions. If rivers of blood have been shed by
the persecutor's sword, oceans of blood have
been spilt by t!ie weapons of war. It is
probable, that more have been slain by war,
multitudes more, than all the vast myriads of
the human race, that now inhabit the world.
Bv war the earth has been transformed into
an Aceldama, a field of blood; into an amaz-
ing and horrid Golgotha, a filthy and loath-
some place of sculls. Like Ezekiel's valley
of vision, it has been full of dead men's bones;
it has been drenched, and soaked, with human
gore; it has been fattened, with the carcasses
of men. shame to men! of all ferocious
beings, the most ferocious — of all furies, the
most furious and dreadful. No other ani-
mals have ever been known thus to prey upon
theirown species. The tender heart is ready
to exclaim in the language of Cowper,

**0h for a lodge in some vast wilderness.
Some boundless contiguity of shade,
Where rumor of oppression and deceit.
Of unsuccessful and successful war,
Might never reach me more."

During the Millennium. 41

And the Christian with melting heart, and
streaming eyes, lifts a supplicating voice to
Heaven, **Ho\v long, O thou God of peace,
how long shall the sword devour? How long
must our ears he tortured with the sound of
wars and rumors of wars? How long shall
man he suffered to discharge his wrath aiid
vengeance, against his brother man? against
his brother, who is of one flesh and blood with
himself. O thou God of peare and mercy,
scatter thou the people that delight in war."

Such cries have long been ascending, like
fragrant incense, before the mercy-seat, and
have entered the cars of him that heareth
prayer. An answer of peace is granted, a
sweet assurance, that these woes shall have
an end. •'The Lord will give strength lo his
people; the Lord will bless his people with
peace." <*He maketh wars to cease unto
the end of the earth, he breaketh the bow,
and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth
the chariot with fire." "The mountains
shall bring peace to the people, and the little
hills by righteousness. He shall judge the
poor of tiie people; he shall save the needy,
and shall break in pieces the oppressor— In
his days shall the rigliteous flourish; and
abundance of peace, so long as the moon en-
dureth." <*He shall judge among the nations,
and shall rebuke many people; and they
shall beat their swords into ploughshares and
their spears into pru'iing-hooks; nation shall
not lift up sword against nation, neither shall

42 i^'tate of the World,

they learn war any more." "Tlie wolf also
shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard
shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and
the young lion, and the fatling together^ and
a little child shall lead them. And the cow
and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall
lie down together; and the lion shall eat
straw, like the ox. And the sucking child
shall play on the hole of the asp, and the
weaned child shall put his hantl on the cock-
atrice-den! They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain.'^ '<And in that day
will 1 make a covenant for them with the
beasts of the field, and with the fowls of
heaven, and with the creeping things of the
ground; and I will break the bow, and the
sword, and the battle, out of the earth, and
will make them to lie down safely."

The above passages are from the Old Tes-
tament. There is one upon this subject in
the New Testament, that appears more strik-
ing, than any in the old, tho it may not have
been generally regarded, Rom. 16:20, <<And
the God of peace shall bruise Satan under
your feet shortly. By making peace, and
promoting peace on earth, the God of peace,
or the Prince of peace, will bruise the ser-
pent's head. Tho this passage might have
some reference to the triumphs of the gospel
of peace in the days of the Apostles, yet no
doubt its ultimate and more important re-
ference was to the Millennial day, when "the
meek shall inherit the earth and delight them-
selves in the abundance of peace."


The saints will rule the earth; — will possess
the earth, — The wicked will cease.


DuRiJVG the MilJennium, the saints will rule
the earth; or in other words, all rulers will be

This has never been the case, since men
began to multiply upon the earth. There
have indeed been some pious kings and rul-
ers, as Melchizedeck, Joseph, Job, Moses^
Joshua, some of the Judges, Eli, Samuel,
David, Solomon, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Heze=
kiah, Josiah, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach,
Abednego, and Nehemiah. But these are
only a few, a very precious few, of the an-
cient kings and rulers. And scarcely any,
except these few, have left any evidence of
their having been good men. It is doubtful
whether one twentieth part of the kings and
rulers, mentioned in the Bible, were truly
virtuous. The rest were evil, enemies to
God; and a great part of them have been iy-
rams, oppressors, murderers, enemies to their
own people, enemies to mankind, proud,
haughty, licentious, covenant-breakers, im-
placable, unmerciful, infernal monsters in the
shajie of men — of men, adorned with the en-
signs of royalty, some of the greatest pests
and most dreadful plagues, tliat ever the

44 State of the World

wrath of God commissioned to scourge a
wicked world.

Look at the kings of God's ancient people.
^«Surely,"we may be ready to exciaim/«6urely
these must have been all righteous. Favor-
ed and distinguished, as they were, by vari-
ous privileges, and pressed, as they were, by
obligations the most weighty, solemn and af-
fecting, they must have been all good men,
haters of covetousness, ruling their people in
the fear of God." No, my brethren, they
were not all good men. Most of them were
far, very far indeed, from righteousness.
There is no reason to think that a quarter of
them wevQ righteous. Of the twenty kings
that ruled over Judah, not more than four or
five were good men, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hez-
ekiah, and Josiah. It is doubtful, whether
we ought to add Manasseh^ for tho he repent-
ed, and died a saint, yet for the greater part
of his reign, he was the most wicked of all the
Jewish kings; and it was for his sins, more
than for those of any other man, that such
tremendous vials of wrath were poured out
upon that nation. Tho as an individual, he
could be pardoned, and saved, yet, as the
head of a nation, he could not be forgiven;
but the people must suffer for the sins of their
king— sins, in wiiich they were partakers.
It is doubtful, therefore, whether Manasseh,
sometimes styled by way of eminence, wzcfeetf
Manasseh, sliould be ranked among the pious
kings of Judah, Of the nineteen kings of

During the Millennium^ 45

the Ten Tribes, not one of them has left the
least evidence of having been a good man.
Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, was the first|
and he set an example of wickedness for his
successors, which they were but too careful
to follow. Every one of them, except Hoshea,
walked in the ways of "Jeroboam, the son of
Nebat, who made Israel to sin." And the
Hoshea seems to have granted free toleration
in religion, without compelling his subjects
to worship idols, like his predecessors, yet
I there is very little reason to doubt, that he
was himself a wicked man, and an idolater.
!Now if we add David and Solomon to the
four or five pious kings of Judah, we shall
have six or seven pious kings of the stock of
Israel; only six or seven, out of forty -two;
only one seventh,or at most, one sixth part of
the whole. And now I would ask the impar-
tial historian, what nation, that has been
ruled by as many as forty-two kings, or half
that number, has ever been favored by so
large a proportion of those that were pious?
What a dark, and gloomy, and horrible pic-
ture does this present of the royal families of
the earth. Surely none of their descendents
can have much cause to boast his royal blood.
Cut, if through the telescope of prophecy, we
take a view of future ages, the prospect
brightens; and a picture of royalty is pre=
sented, as lovely, as it is splendid.

Here I would just remark, that I use the
iword royalty, in accommodation to the Ian-

46 State of the World

gua,e;e of Scripture. I am very far from
thinkin.e^, that all human governments, dur-
ing the Millennium, will be monarchies. In*-
deed it is by no means clear, that there will then
be a single king or emperor upon the face of
the earth. It is very conceivable, that the
word kings 9 as used in prophecy, may mean
no more, than presidents, governors, and
other officers, exalted from time to time from
among the people.

But, tho we do not know what will be the
form or forms of human governments during
the Millennium^ yet we do know, that there
will be human governments, and we know
what will be the character of the rulers.
They will be all good men. "Because of thy
temple at Jerusalem," says the inspired
psalmist, <*kings shall bring presents unto
thee." And concerning Christ, it is said,
<«The kings of Tarshish and of the isles; the
kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts, yea
all kings shall fall down before him; all na-
tions shall serve him." In another place it
is said, "So the heathen shall fear the name
of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth
thy glory." Again, "All kings of the earth
shall praise thee, O Lord, when they hear
the word of thy mouth; yea they shall sing
in the ways of the Lord; for great is the glo-
ry of the Lord." By the mouth of Isaiah,
God has promised to his church, <«And kings
shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queenS
thy nursing mothers; they shall bow down to ^^

During the Millenniuiru 47

jthee with their face toward the earth."

'«And the Gentiles shall come to thy light,

and kings to the brightness of thy rising —

iAnd the sons of strangers shall build np thy

walls, and their kings shall minister unto

thee^ — Thou shalt also suck the milk of the

Grentiles, thou shalt suck the breast of kings —

[ will also make thy officers peace and thine

exactors righteousness." In Daniel we read.

But the saints of the Most High shall take

le kingdom, posse^is the kingdom forever,

ven forever and ever. — And the kingdom

md the dominion, and the greatness of the

lingdom under the whole heaven, shall be

jiven to the people of the saints of the Most

ligh, whose kingdom is an everlasting king-

lom; and all dominions shall serve and obey

lim." In the eleventh chapter of Rev. we

'ead, ^*And the seventh angel sounded, and

here were great voices in heaven, saying

The kingdoms of this world are become the

Ungdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and

le shall reign forever and ever." In the

wentieth chapter of the same book, im-

nediately after the account of the confine-

nent of Satan, the revelator observes, "And

saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and

udgment was given unto them; and I saw

he souls of them that were beheaded for the

itness of Jesus, and for the word of God,

nd which had not worshipped the beast,

either his image, neither had received his

ark upon their foreheads, or in their hands^

48 State of the World

and they livxd, and reigned with Christ a
thousand years." The people will be so
perfectly satisfied with the conduct of their
rulers, that they are represented as taking
part in the government; and all will be trans-
acted so perfectly according to the will of
Christ, that they are represented as reigning
with him. This wonderful passage will be
more particularly considered hereafter.


During the Millennium, the righteous
will possess the earth.

Hitherto the righteous have possessed but
a very small proportion of the earth, or of
earthly goods. They have indeed been but
a small part of mankind; so that, if they
had been as wealthy as the wicked, they
would have possessed but a small part of the
earth. But it does not appear, that the
righteous have generally been as wealthy as
tlie wicked. Very few Christians indeed
have been rich; the great majority of them
have been poor. There appears to be some-
thing in the possession of great worldly
wealth, peculiarly unfavorable to embracing
the religion of Jesus. It is natural for the
poor to look up to the rich, and to pay them
homage, as a kind of superior beings. It is
no less uatural—it is perhaps even more nat-
ural, for the rich to look down upon the
poor. Now it is peculiarly hard for those
who receive such homage and adulation,
and thus look down upon others, to be-

Dunns the J^rdlennium, 4ft


Gome bei^gars, to bow the knc«, to bow the
soul to Jesus, to prostrate themselves before
the meek and lowly Savior, the humble and
devSpised Galilean, who was scourged, ins^ilt-
ed, crowned with thorns, mocked, and spit
upon. But beggars they must be, or tlA^y
cannot be ('hristiuns. They must beg-^
they must beg f(>r life, to this same despis-
ed, abliorred Galilean. For if they will not
ask, they cannot receive. In order to find
acceptance, the rich must prostrate himself
as low as the meanest beggar. Under a
sense of his own vileness and guilt, he must
cry with the poor publican, that did not dare
to lift up so much as his eyes to heaven,
•'God be merciful to me a sinner " It will
Bot avail for him to say, "God be merciful
to me, because I am rich, and increased in
goods; because I am honora|>.le; because lam
highly distinguished, and highly esteemed
among men." No, he must cry, **God, be
merciful to me a sinner." And tho Chris-
tians often find it a great and delightful priv-
ilege thus to beg and plead; yet there is
scarcely any thing, tliat is more contrary to
the natural iieart. Self-righteous, and self-
suiScient, the natural man is ashamed to beg.
And this pride, this self-righteousness, this
self-sufiiciency, is extremely apt to be in-
creased by riches. The love of money, the
inordinate love of money, is the usual con-
comitant of great riches; and this we know
Is the root of all evil. The parable of the

50 Slate of the World

rich man, recorded in the 12ih of Luke, is
suited to teach us the danger of wealth,
"The ground of a certain rich man brought
forth plentifully. And he thought wiihiii
himself, saying, What shall 1 do? because I
have no room to bestow nij fruits. And he
said, This will I do; 1 will pull down my
barns, and build greater, and there will 1 be-
stow all my fruits and my goods; and I wiii
say to my soul. Soul, thou hast much goods
laid up for many years, take thine case, eat,
drink, and be merry. But God said unto
him, Thou fool! this night thy soul shall be
required of thee; then whose shall those
things be, which thou hast provided? So is
lie that layeth up treasure for himself, and is
not rich toward God.'* Christ was poorf
he had not ^x! ere to lay his head. The apos-
tles we?e p'jor; they knew what it was to
suffer need. And we arc expressly iijforni-
cd, that ii) the days of the apostles Christians
were generally poor. ^*For ye see your call-
ing, brethren, how that not many wise mt?ii
after the flesh, not many mighty, not many
noble, are called." And so it has been
from that day to the present.

Do not misunderstand me, my brethren.
I would by no means imply, that a ricij man
cannot be a good nmn, lie is certairdy un-
der very great and peculiar obligations to be
good. And some rich men have been good.
Notwithstanding all the diffirijlties and temp-^
tations, with whkfr they have been caikd

During the Millennium, 51

to strug.^'ie, some rich men have been
good. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, those
distinguished patriarchs and saints, they
weie rich; Joseph also, and Job, and Dan-
iel, and Zaccheus, and Joseph of Arimathca,
and others But notwithstanding these no-
ble examples, and others in later ages, that
have been scarce!)' less laudable, ti?ere is
reason to believe, that a vast proportion of
tlii" opulent have belonged to the synagogue
of Satan, and died in their sins.

But it wiil not be thus in the Millennium.
The earth will then belong to the righteous.
The preceding proposition may furnish an
argument in proof of this. If all the rulers
are to be pious men, we may reasonably
conclude, that a great proportion of the
wealthy and honorable of the earth will
also be pious.

That the righteous shall possess the earth,
seems to be clearly intimated in the promise
made to Abraham, after he had offered up
his son Isaac. **In blessing I will bless
thee, and in multiplying, I will multiply thy
seed, as the stars of heaven, and as the sand,
which is upon the sea-shore; and thy seed
shall possess the ^?ii^. of his enemies." Pos-
sessing the gate of their enemies is consider-
ed as implying, that the seed of Abraham
shall possess the cities of their enemies — the
cities, formerly possessed by their enemies.
This passage however merely shows, that
the seed of Abraham shall possess what liad

52 State of the World

belonged to tlieir enemies. There are sev-
eral other passages, that most clearly show,
not only that the righteous shall possess the
gate of their enemies, and possess the earth;
but likewise sliow by what right, they shall
come into possession. The righteous shall
possess the earth by inheritance — by the
right of another. One of the most striking of
these passages is Rom. 4: 13. "For the promise
that he should be the heir of the world, was
not to Abraham, or to his seed through the
law, but through the righteousness of faith."
Tlds passage, which very few have probably
considered with the attention it deserves,
clearly implies, that the seed of Abraham, his
spiritual children, those who become such by
the righteousness of faith, shall inherit the
"World. There are several olher passages,
that declare, or imply, that the saints shall
inherit the earth. Ps. 25:12,13. **What
man is he thai feareth the Lord? him shall
he teach in the way that he shall choose; his
soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall
inherit the earth." By his seed here, we
are doubtless to understand his spiritual
seed. In many instances it seems impossi-
ble, that it can be true, except as applied to
spiritual seed. Doubtless every real Chris-
tian may be considered, as the parent of
spiritual children. Every real Christian is
a member of the spiritual Zion; and all that
are born into Christ's kingdom, are the
children of Zion. Accordingly we read

Burins: the Millennium, 55


^'As soon as Zion travailed, she brought
forth her children.*' There is no difficulty
therefore in supposing, that the promises in
the twenty -fifth Psalm above quoted, extend
to the spiritual seed of him that feareth tlie
Lord. There are many other instances in
the bible, where by the seed of the rigliteous^
we are to understand their spiritual seed;
and, if 1 do not exceedingly mistake, there
are some instances, in which by the seed of
the wicked, we are to understand their spir-
itual seed, or the wicked in succeeding ages»
But to return to the subject. In Is. 54:3. it
is said to Zion, «For thou shalt break forth
on the right hand and on the left, and thy
seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make thy
desolate cities to be inhabited." Ps. 37. *«For
evil-doers shall be cut off; but those, that
wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the
earth — -But the meek shall inlierit the earth,
and shall delight themselves in the abund-
ance of peace — -The righteous shall inlierit
tlie land, and dwell therein forever — Wait
on the Lord and keep his way, and he shall
exalt thee, to inherit the land.'' They that
now wait upon the Lord shall inherit tlie
earth, not in their persons, but irj their seed.
In the same sense we may understand Matt,
5^.5, "Blessed are the meek; for they shall
inherit the land,'^=^ I will add but one more

*If these Lectures were not designed principal!, for the
■TinlearDed, I sliouUJ think it proper particularly to consider'
the note of Dr. Campbell upon tlus passage.

54 State of the World

passage upon this topic. Is. 60:21. <<Thy
people aJso shall be all righteous; they shall
inherit the land forever, the branch of my
planting, the work of my hands, that 1 may
be glorified."


During the Millennium, the wicked will
cease from the earth.

Hitherto the world has been exceedingly
infested with evil-doers. Before the flood,
almost all mankind were wicked. And since
the flood, they have been very little better.
In some respects no doubt, they have been
worse. Evil men and seduceis have waxed
worse and \ft)rse; and have become more wise
to doevil than their antediluvian progenitors.
But the earth will not be thus infested and
polluted forever. Several passages seem
very clearly to prove that the earth shall be
purged from the ickcd. Fs.37: 10,35.36.
<«For yet a little while, and the wicked shall
not be, yea, thou shalt diligently consider
his place, and it shall not be." We can
hardly suppose, that this means merely that
the wicked, then upon earth, should shortly
die. In this sense it might have been said
with equal truth, <*For yet a little while, and
the righteous shall not be." Rut is it not
manifest, that the inspired penman meant
to assert something of the wicked, wiiicli
was not equally true of the righteous? It is
immediately added, «<But the meek shall in-
herit the earth, and sliall delight themselves

During the MiUennmirie 55

in the abundance of peace." Does not this
Imply, that the righteous shall enjoy peace-
abie times on earth, after the wicked ate cut
off-— that tliey sliall delight themselves in the
abundance of peace, when there are no evil-
doers to molest, or make them afraid? Again?
«*I have seen the wicked in great power,
spreading himself like a green bay tree; yet
lie passed away, and lo, he was not; yea, f
sought him, but he could not be found."
Here the passing away of the mighty wick»
ed, an event, that was future, and then about
three thousand years distant, is represented
as past. This is a case by no mean^ singular
in prophetic scripture. Several otiier jias -
sages declare, or imply, that the wicked
shall be cut off from the earth. Ps. S7:l,2,
9,14,15,20,22»28,34: <*Fret not thyself be-
cause of evil-doers, neither be thou envious
against the workers of iniquity: for they
shall soon be cut down like the grass, and
wither as the green herb — For evil-doers
shall be cut off; but those that wait upon the
Lord, they shall inherit the earth — The wick-
ed have drawn out the sword, they have
bent their bow to cast down the poor and^

1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Online LibraryJoseph EmersonLectures on the Millennium → online text (page 3 of 16)