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more or less the evils of the curse; if after, it will be in the immortal state, entirely freed from those evils. The latter is our view. The former, all must allow, who have been at all familiar with the opinions of the church, to be quite a modern notion, especially among evangelical Christians. It cannot claim any respect on account of its antiquity. We will test it, and see what claims it has to regard and favor. The question, therefore, now is, whether the millennium is identified with the personal reign of Christ, or is to precede it?
And it does seem that the settlement of the question of a personal reign, must be deemed a settlement of this point. If Christ is to reign personally on earth, that, evidently, must be the millennium. Or is there to be a millennium, to be succeeded by a personal reign? This would be like having day before the appearing of the sun! like having the bloom and glory of spring amid the chills and frosts of winter! This is too absurd to be thought of. The whole question turns on the character of the anticipated reign. If that reign is to be personal, all must admit that there can be no millennium until its commencement. The Bible has so connected the two, in its plainest descriptions, as to leave no room for doubt. And as a personal reign has been proved, from the Scriptures, the point is, in fact, already established. But as other proofs may be furnished, proofs of a most decisive character, it may be proper to present them, that the question may be placed beyond the limits of rational dispute.
1. The text itself, in the light of the explanation given, affords the strongest proof that there will be no millennium before the personal reign of Christ. The kingdom, whose destiny it pronounces, is to lie in ruins, until he comes to receive it. Surely, there will be no millennium until its restoration !
2. The connection in prophecy between that reign and the millennial state, must prove the identity of the two, beyond dispute. I need present but a passage or two to show this connection, since it can hardly be questioned, so often is it presented on the pages of prophecy. "In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. · He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth." Ps. lxxii. 8. After the destruction of the fourth kingdom of Daniel, it is said, "And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him." Dan. vii. 27. Previous to this possession of the kingdom, it is said that the saints are to be subject to, and oppressed by, earthly powers. So there can be no millennium till the time of possessing the kingdom. Zechariah thus shows the connection: "And the Lord shall be king over all the earth; in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name one. All the land shall be turned as a plain. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited." Chap. xiv. 9—11. These passages show the general character of the prophecy, pertaining to the connection between Christ's reign and the millennial state. All must see their identity.
3. There can be no millennium antecedent to the personal reign of Christ, because the whole space of time to this period is given to earthly kingdoms. The little horn, the last form of the last kingdom, is to "make war with the saints and prevail against them, until the Ancient of days comes, and the time comes for the saints to possess the kingdom." See Daniel vii. This all must allow to be the same power as Paul's Man of Sin, that is to be destroyed by the brightness of Christ's coming. 2 Thess. ii. 8. Surely that millennium would not be of much worth, in which this little horn would be universally pushing, and over which would preside the Man of Sin! I desire not such a state. But this power is to prevail and prosper, until the Ancient of days comes to destroy it. Prior to that, there can be no millennium.
4. The parable of the tares, as given by the Saviour, furnishes a strong argument in favor of our position. As we have the Lord's exposition of it, we can safely depend upon it. The design of the parable obviously is, to show the fact, and the reason of it, that the righteous and wicked are destined to dwell together until the close of probation. 6 Let both grow together until harvest; the harvest is the end of the world." At that time the separation will take place, and each class be conveyed to their respective places of reward. After that, the righteous are to shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. See Matt. xiii. 40—43. There is, then, no place for a millennium between the point of time at which the Lord uttered the parable, to the end of the world, or the time of harvest. During all that space, he has declared that the righteous and wicked shall flourish together in the same field.
5. The parable of the ten virgins furnishes evidence equally decisive in support of the view taken. This parable, without doubt, is intended to teach that the church, half of whom at least will possess no grace, will be in a state of spiritual sleep until the announcement is made, that the Bridegroom cometh. But who can believe that this will be the character of the inhabitants of the millennium ! If Christ does not come until after the millennium, this must be their character ! It will be a millennium, then, of spiritual sleepers, and graceless professors !
6. The duty to watch for his coming, so often enjoined, is inconsistent with the idea of a millennium before Christ's coming to reign. For a thousand years, there could be no watching, either for the signs, or the event itself. There will be no ground to expect a sudden or unexpected manifestation of the Saviour, in that period.
7. A millennium to precede the personal reign of Christ, would be in a state of trial without the essentials of such a state. A state of trial is a state in which moral character is formed, and destiny is chosen. Among the essentials of such a state, are, freedom, temptation to wrong, inducement to right, or counter moral influences. Without these, it would be difficult to conceive of a state of trial. In the millennial state these can have no place, or at least some of them. There will there be no Satan to tempt, no world to overcome, no carnal nature to subdue, no wicked to annoy, no adverse influences to oppose, no sinful examples to influence, no trials to perplex, and no dangers to gather upon the path. All, all, in that state will be on the side of virtue, religion, and the highest enjoyment. Such a state cannot comprise the essentials of a state of probation. And yet it must be so, if it is before the coming of Christ. This must show the absurdity of such a view.
8. It is highly absurd to expect such a state as the Bible describes the millennium to be, in the earth, under the curse, with all incident to it. A quotation or two will show this. I will quote from the millennial chapter, the sixtieth