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OF THE THOUSAND YEARS
Of the Seventh Trumpet, and of the other Prophecies of wonderful Events contemporary with it.
Here, Reader, I shall in a few words explain what my opinions are, nor will I much extend my observations on a subject, which was for a long time deemed incredible, on account of inveterate prejudices, and because it is one of the most abstruse and most remarkable of all the parts of prophetic Scripture. In so great a mystery, it will be sufficient to maintain the thing in a general manner, and not to inquire too curiously into the reasons of each particular part; lest while expatiating more freely than perhaps we ought, the saying of Solomon should ring in our ears,—“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin.”
But with relation to this subject, it relies on the irrefragable chain of apocalyptical order, 434which I have demonstrated above; and the agreement of the other Scriptures, especially of the prophetical ones, wonderfully confirms the same. It was so looked forward to by Christians of the age next after the apostles, that Justin Martyr attests, not only that he himself believed it, but that it was believed with the fullest assent by those, who were at that time Christians of the orthodox persuasion, in all things. Which opinion of the first Christians, whether deformed by certain additions afterwards, or improperly or erroneously understood, (as I am inclined to believe,) their posterity after one or two ages rejected. To such a degree, however, was this carried by a progressive ardour of contention, (which you will justly be surprised at, and lament,) before the matter could be proved, that those who could not otherwise get rid of the force of the opposite opinion, built on the foundation of the Apocalypse, chose rather to call in question that most divine prophecy, signed and sealed by all the disciples of the apostles, and their immediate successors, nay, openly and audaciously to undervalue its authority on that subject by their invented presumptions, than to submit and yield themselves up to the force of conviction. Until at length, having contrived a commodious interpretation of that Millennium, (as they then imagined,) leaving the authority of 435 the Apocalypse untouched, they desisted from an undertaking, not easily to be exempted from the crime of impiety, and to be dreaded by their posterity.
But I, Reader, (no longer to detain you in the vestibule,) so explain the whole matter, as to show that I depart as little as possible from the received opinion of the day of Christ’s advent, immediately to follow the ruin of Antichrist: Do thou, then, laying aside all prejudice, weigh the matter in the fear of God, and pardon me, if I fall into any error, with a charitable judgment. Thus, then, understand it.
The seventh trumpet, with the whole thousand days, and the other oracles referring to the same, designate that great day of judgment, יום דינא רבא, of the ancient Jewish Church, celebrated by Christ, and his apostles; not some short space of a few hours, (as is commonly believed,) but according to the custom of the Hebrews, using a day for time indefinitely, a continued space of many years, and circumscribed by two resurrections, as termini. A day, I say, beginning from that first partial, and as it may be termed, morning judgment of Antichrist, and of the other living enemies of the Church, by the glorious appearance of our Lord in a flame of fire, and finishing at length after the reign of a thousand years, granted to the new Jerusalem, 436his most holy spouse on this earth, and the total destruction of new enemies hereafter to arise, _when the great day is declining, and Satan again loosed, by the universal resurrect. tion and judgment of all the dead.. Which things being finished, the impious will be transferred to Gehenna, to be for ever tormented, but the saints to live eternally with Christ in heaven.
This, in truth, is that time of the wrath of God against the nations, and of judging the cause of those who died for Christ’s sake; at which, on the sound .of the seventh trumpet, the elders rejoice with triumph, because by that God would surely “give reward unto his servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to them that fear his name, both small and great, and would destroy them that destroy the earth.”
This is “that day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men,” of which St. Peter having spoken in his 2d Epistle, c. iii. v. 7. immediately subjoins, “But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thou sand years, and a thousand years as one day.” in which same day, indeed, the apostle with his brethren and fellow-countrymen, looks for that new appearance of things to come, of which he afterwards says, “But we, according to his promise, 437look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” Mark! “according to his promise.” But when and where was this promise to be found of new heavens and a new earth, (before John had yet seen the Apocalypse) unless in Isaiah, ch. lxv. 17, and lxvi. 22? Which promise, I should certainly be surprised, if he who had read, could imagine was to be fulfilled any where else than in the present world.
This is that kingdom also, conjoined with the appearance of Christ to judge the world, to which St. Paul alludes in his second Epistle to Timothy, ch. iv. v. 1, “I adjure thee before God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and kingdom.” For after the last, and universal resurrection, from the same authority, 1 Corinthians, c. xv. Christ, after death, the last enemy, has been destroyed, will deliver up the kingdom to the Father, that he may be subject to him who put all things under him. But it is not said that any new kingdom is to commence at that time. The kingdom, then, which is to come, which is neither before the appearance of our Lord nor after the last resurrection, must necessarily be included between both. This is that kingdom which Daniel saw, of the Son of man, when the times of the antichristian horn being completed, or “the times of the Gentiles being fulfilled,” 438(Luke, ch. xxi. 24,) he should appear in the clouds of heaven, when there shall be given to him power, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and tongues, should serve him, or when (as the angel soon after explains it,) “The kingdom, power, and greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High.” Dan. ch. vii. 13, 14, also 18, 22, 26, 27. For, as I have just now observed, this kingdom is not to be after the last resurrection, since at that time the kingdom is not to be entered upon by the Son of Man, but, as St. Paul testifies, to be laid down, and delivered up to the Father. Now as that, the same kingdom, is treated of in both places, as well by John as by Daniel, may be proved from these two arguments. That both begin from the same terminus, namely, from the extermination of the fourth, or Roman beast. That of Daniel, when the beast who acts under the last government of “the horn with eyes,” was given to be slain, and “his body delivered to the burning flame,” Dan. ch. vii. v. 11, 12. 26. That of the Apocalypse, when the beast and false prophet, (that wicked horn of Daniel, having a mouth and eyes like a man) “were taken, and both cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” Secondly, it may be proved from the same session of judgment preceding both. 439For that the one is borrowed from the other, and that both, altogether, refer to the same event, will appear from the collation of the words in the description of each.
|DANIEL, CH. VII.||APOCALYPSE, CH. XX. 4.|
|Ver. 9. I beheld till thrones were set6666So it is rendered by the Septuagint in common with the Vulgate.,||And I saw thrones,|
|Ver. 10. And the judgment was set6767That is, judges, as in the great sanhedrim of the Jews,—to the pattern of which the whole description is conformed.,||And they sat on them,|
And judgment was given to them.
And the saints lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Moreover, I wish to give the reader this admonition: Whatever sound doctrine, generally 440speaking, is delivered by the Jews, whatever by our Lord in the Gospel, or in any part of the New Testament by the apostles, relative to the day of the great judgment, is drawn from this vision of Daniel, namely, the judgment to be perfected by fire—Christ’s coming in the clouds of heaven,—coming in the glory of the Father, with a multitude of angels,—the saints, who are to judge the world, with him,—Antichrist to be destroyed at the brightness of his appearance, &c. So that they who endeavour to throw down the column of evangelical faith, concerning the glorious advent of Christ, neglecting the ancient tradition of the Church, must labour to transfer that prophecy to some other event.
Lastly, that I may come to a conclusion:—This is that most ample kingdom, which, according to Daniel’s interpretation, was foreshown to Nebuchadnezzar in the statue, predictive of four kingdoms. Not that of the stone cut out of the mountain, while the series of the monarchies was still subsisting; (for that is the present state of Christ’s kingdom;) but of the stone when the same monarchies were utterly broken in pieces and destroyed, which became a great mountain, and filled the whole world.
On these subjects, Reader, I have treated, 441but not asserted any thing rashly. I humbly refer the whole matter to be judged of by the Church, from the word of God,—to whose judgment, as it is fit, I willingly submit my opinion concerning this mystery.
Τῶ Θεῷ δύξη.442
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