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CHAPTER X.

THE PRINCIPLES

OF INTERPRETATION APPLIED, AND THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST SHOWN TO BE PRE-MIL

LENIAL.

“He shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto you: whom the Heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.' These words suggest the theme of this chapter. We quote them here because they state the subject in the plainest and most explicit terms, and because they furnish an invaluable guide for our researches into the predictions concerning the SECOND COMING OF our LORD AND Saviour Jesus Christ.

The subject is one of infinite moment. It addresses itself alike to our personal hopes and interests, and to those of the entire world. It involves the destiny of each individual, and that of all the nations of the earth. It has formed the object of hope and ardent expectation to the pious in all ages. It is the grand epoch for the consummation of the blessedness and glory of all the saints, both of those now with Christ, and of those still alive upon the earth. It is the hour of Heaven's triumph and of hell's discomfiture-of the emancipation of the righteous and of the destruction of the wicked, -of the rescue of this globe from the thraldom of the devil, and of the renovation of all things.

It is to be the commencement of an eternal era, during the first epochs of which the promises of God, which have supported and comforted his believing people in all ages, shall be fully and gloriously redeemed in all their details, and the universal empire of Jehovah consolidated, and for ever protected from the invasion of evil, by the righteous adjudications and the terrible inflictions of vengeance by Jesus Christ, the delegated sovereign of all worlds, on all those of the two orders of God's intelligent creatures who have dared to dispute his sovereignty, and to unfurl, in his mighty empire, the standard of rebellion. Christian reader! it is the hour of your adoption ! the season of your glorious manifestation! and of your participation in the rights, privileges, honors, rewards, renown, and inconceivable delights of “that inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time."* Impenitent reader! it is the day of your everlasting horror and damnation ! " when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire,, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his

* Acts 3. 20.

power, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints and admired in all them that believe.”+

No theme demands your more serious and devout attention ; nor does any require more careful, discriminating, prayerful, and humble investigation. Your hopes, your character, your destiny for eternity, as well as your peace, consolation, and usefulness in this life, depend upon the manner in which it affects you, and the views you entertain relative to it. It is of

* 1 Pet. 1. 4, 5.

† 2 Thess. 1. 7-10.

infinite moment, therefore, that the Scriptural account which God has given of it, by the mouth of his holy prophets, should be understood and believed, instead of the devices of your own imagination, or the explanations of human wisdom.

Peter, in the passage under consideration, asserts some facts, about which there can be no mistake, nor even doubt, viz. that there will be a real personal manifestation of Jesus Christ, in a mission to this world which is yet future ;—that He is now concealed from the eyes of men by having been caught up into the heavens, and will remain so during his continuance there ;—that while He must remain there in accordance (with the plans of God, His advent should be heralded, and thus the world be kept advised, if they will hearken to the cry, that his present absence, the withdrawment of his corporal presence from the earth, is not final and for ever ;-that just as certainly as the Heavens have received, and do now conceal him from the view of men, will they again deliver

up and disclose him to our eyes, and that this event will take place when the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began,” shall arrive.

There can be no questioning these facts by any one who admits as truth supported by sufficient evidence, and receives in the simplicity of faith, the testimony of the apostle. The only point of doubt which can be raised, is AS TO THE TIME of his coming. The date assigned by the apostle is “the times of restitution of all things spoken by all the prophets." We are referred, therefore, directly by the apostle to the prophets, from them to ascertain the time of his coming. That, he declares to be “the times of restitution of all things."

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If, therefore, we can ascertain what is meant by““ THE RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS,” and when it takes place, we shall not err as to the time of thie second advent of Jesus Christ.

In the very threshold of this investigation, however, we are met by the criticisms and the views of those who adopt the spiritual or allegorical interpretation, and who deny the pre-millenial* advent of Christ. The author of a work entitled “Modern Fanaticism Unveiled,” and Mr. Faber, both affirm, in common with the great body of spiritualists in our own day and country, that the second advent of Christ is not to occur till AFTER the Millenium. Of course it is of essential consequence, if possible, to enlist this text in favor of this view. This is attempted by a twofold method : First, the import of the adverb, (wX91) until, is changed ; and SECOND, that of the word restitution. As this is done by criticism, we must for a few moments refer to it.

* The word pre-millenial is here used in order to prevent a periphrasis. In the use of it reference is had to the general opinion both of Millenarians and Anti-millenarians, that a period of a thousand years has been predicted, during which the earth shall enjoy peace and blessedness under the dominion of Jesus Christ and his saints, however they may differ from each other as to the nature and mode of that dominion, or as to the manner of its introduction and establishment. We enter not into the discussion relative to the question whether the Millenium of the Apocalypse, chap. 20. 1-6, has or has not already passed away, agreeably to the opinion of Professor Bush, that zealous and indefatigable Biblical student, who,—affirming the dragon of John, Rev. 12. 9, and Rev. 20. 2, to be the symbols of pagan Rome, and the expressions old serpent, the devil, Satan, to be but synonyms not alphabetical expositions, of that symbol, and that both the symbolical ejections of the dragon had their accomplishment in the overthrow of paganism by Christianity, from the days of Constantine and forward-looks not for a Millenium of triumph and glory according to the opinion of the ancient Millenarians, but for an eternal state of honor and happiness to commence with the introduction of a new dispensation, the kingdom come. The ancient Millenarians, and the modern also, question not the perpetuity of the kingdom of Heaven, although they admit that at the close of a thousand years a great epoch will occur, which shall be marked by the judgment of the wicked dead raised from their graves, the final imprisonment and punishment of Satan for ever, and the adjustment of the kingdom for eternity. Nor does Mr. Bush differ from them in respect of the grand substantial nature of the last and glorious dispensation, if we understand him, though denying the Millenial epoch, as understood either by Millenarians or Antimillenarians. It is not essential to the argument here, to enter into this investigation.

The word until (aygı), as commonly used, denotes the continuance of time, from the period just referred to or spoken of, up to a second, or some other designated period. Thus, when I say, I shall be from home to-morrow until four o'clock, the idea is, I will be absent the whole preceding portion of the day, but at four o'clock will be at home. This is the correct meaning of the original Greek adverb (ungu). Its import in the text is obvious. Christ will be absent, and concealed from us in the Heavens, during the whole period elapsing from that in which the apostle spoke, to that “ of the restitution of all things;" but then He will return, and no longer be hidden from our view. The criticism designed to obviate the force of this, adduced by the anti-fanatical author, is that the adverb (axg) UNTIL, denotes simply duration, and does not imply the idea of termination ; and therefore, should have been translated during, thus making the text mean, “that Christ is to continue in Heaven during,* and to the end of the time of the restitution of all things."

We quote a few passages to show the fallacy of

• Modern Fanaticism Unveiled, p. 207.

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