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The sacred writers bear their united testimony, that at some period the Jews will welcome their Messiah as their Deliverer, their King, and their God. When Jesus closed his public ministry at Jerusalem he said, " Behold your house is 'left unto you desolate. For I say 'unto you, ye shall not see me 'henceforth till ye say, Blessed is he 'that cometh in the name of the 'Lord."e When he comes to destroy the wicked, can it be possible that the objects of his vengeance should say, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord?" Jesus foretold the signs of his future coming, saying, "There shall be 'distress of nations with perplexity, 'men's hearts failing them for fear 'and for looking after those things 'that are coming upon the earth;" assuring them of the personal coming of the Son of Man in a cloud with power and great glory. And when
these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.f No predictions could be delivered in plainer language than those which related to Christ's sufferings; yet it is said, that his disciples " understood none of these things." The above prophecies relative to his premillennial coming are equally plain; and why do we not understand them? because these thing do not comport with ourpre-conceived opinions. Many people argue upon probabilities and opinions generally received; and, by figurative interpretations, misrepresent some of the plainest passages of revealed truth. And as all the prophecies, recognised by the apostles as fulfilled, have been accomplished literally: is it not reasonable to expect that those which remain unfulfilled, interspersed among the former, will also have a literal accomplishment?
To the Editor of the Investigator. Sir, Your Correspondent Abdiel seems to be in some doubt about the time of the Conflagration, whether it will be before or after the Millennium. On this subject he has some "difficulties," and my Inquiry after Prophetic Truth has produced in his mind some "perplexity." He remarks, that I generally contend for, and adopt, the literal system of interpretation; yet having denied a pre-millennial conflagration, I am driven to the
following inconsistencies.—I discover in Rev. xx, 11 the dissolution of the heavens and the earth at the time of the conflagration. I make the new heaven and earth in 2 Pet. hi (and by a necessary implication the burning which precedes them) a figurative description ;—and yet 2 Thess. i, 7,8, which to him appears a plain and literal description and seems to be understood so by me, I make pre-millennial! See chap, vi, p. 116 and chap, ix and
e Matt, xxiii, 38, 39; See also Isa. lii, 7; Zech. xii, 10, xiii, 9; Rom. vi, 25, 26. f Luke xxi, 25, 28. * Investigator, Vol. I, p. 232 in the note.
By }rour permission I will endeavour to remove the " difficulties" of Abdiel, and I hope convince him that I am driven to no "inconsistencies." I do not say my view of the prophecies has no difficulties; but relative to the Conflagration I have none. Your worthy Correspondent has evidently misunderstood me. By the term "the Conflagration" I understand the fire which shall consume this world at its consummation. This will be after the Millennium.—Rev. xx, 11. But by this admission I am driven to no "inconsistencies." I admit there will be a consumption of the enemies of Christ by fire at his coming before the Millennium, because it is said, '' He shall come in flaming fire ." but it is not to take vengeance on the globe, but "on them that know not God and obey not the Gospel." The pre-millennial fire at the second Advent will be literal fire, which will destroy a large portion of Christ's enemies; but it will not affect the earth. God knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and he invites them to go into their secret chamber, refuge, hiding place, pavilion, &c. "Come my people, 'enter thou into thy chambers and 'shut thy doors about thee: hide * thyself as it were for a little rno'ment, until the indignation be over 'past."g I have looked attentively at all the texts that are adduced to prove "the rapture of the saints" before the pouring out of the indignation upon the wicked; and they appear to me utterly inapplicable. I feel confident that the living saints will not be changed until the last trump or general resurrection: for there will certainly be some deaths
in the Millennium.11 Therefore it will not be until the second resurrection, or last trump, when that saying can be brought to pass— "Death is swallowed up in victory, "i*
The sound of each of the seven trumpets is ascribed to an angel. But the trumpet that shall raise the dead, is " the voice of the Son of Man," John v, 25—29, and not " the voice of the archangel," which in Scripture is distinguished from "the trump of God."J Though the angels will be with Christ when he comes in the clouds of heaven, "with a great sound of a trumpet," yet their employment will not be to sound the trumpet, but to gather the elect from the four winds.k The Scriptures never ascribe the sounding of the last trumpet to an angel; but they say, "The Lord shall be seen over them,—and the Lord God shall blow the trumpet."1 There is no more evidence that the seventh trumpet is the last, than that the trumpet that sounded on Mount Sinai is the first. If the seventh trumpet be the last, and, as some assert, began to sound in 1792, it has been sounding 40 years without effect; for Christ is not come, the dead are not raised, the living saints are not changed, nor is the saying brought to pass which is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory."
In regard to the passage in 2 Pet. iii, I have no " difficulty," "inconsistency," or "perplexity." I understand verses 10, 11, 12, as a literal description of the conflagration at the close of the Millennium, when all this mundane system will pass away and the visible heavens and the earth will be so utterly destroyed, that there will be found '' no place
To the Editor of the Investigator. Sir,
I have to request your insertion of the few following remarks on the reply to " Qusesitor" on "the Gift of the Holy Ghost," which appeared in No. VIII of the Investigator.
The Writer of this article, who lays great stress on the change from the general expression in the prophecy of Joel "all flesh" to "your sons and your daughters," appears not to have noticed, that in the following clause there is another change from the second to the first person—" and 'on my servants and on my hand'maidens will I pour out of my 'Spirit, and they shall prophesy."
In the subsequent address of Peter he seems also to overlook the force
of the expression—" even as many as the Lord your God shall call." The application of the term "afar off" to the Gentiles in Eph. ii, 13, appears to me very forcible; and the fact of the Gentiles receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is indisputable. Your Correspondent seems not to remember, that "the middle wall of partition" between Jews and Gentiles is broken down, and that through Jesus we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
The remarks of Etc rwv a^e\(po)v on 2 Cor. i, 21, 22, appear singularly inappropriate, since Paul is actually addressing a church that "came behind in no gift :"a and consequently he could not mean to speak of himself and Timothy as distinguished from them in that respect. In the 21st verse indeed he seems to guard against the very error, into which your Correspondent has fallen, by saying, "He that hath established us with you in Christ and hath anointed us, &c." Likewise in the Epistle to the Ephesians i, 13, 14, Paul expressly speaks of those to whom he is writing as having After they believed been "sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise."b It is worthy of remark, that the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, in which such copious mention of spiritual gifts is made, is addressed, not only "unto the Church of God which is at Corinth/' but "to all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus our Lord." This subject has a length and breadth and depth and height, which none at first sight have a conception of, and I would recommend your Correspondent not too hastily to sit down content with a Church, which, from not possessing her endowment of " apostles and prophets and evangelists and pastors and teachers, is in a childish state, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine ;"c—neither to be afraid to look the state of the Church in the face; though, by a comparison of what it is with what it should be, every minister should be convicted of short-coming;—since the only possibility of remedy is in seeing the danger.
1 Cor. 1, 7.
I would conclude with a question or two on the following sentence.— "With regard to those of whom it 'is said, "these signs shall follow 'them that believe/' be it remem
'bered, that all the world was pagan'ized at that time, and that pagan'ism in all nations is a system 'of pretended wonderful miracles. 'Now arguments with superstition 'are useless. It was therefore ne'cessary that very plain matter-of'fact evidence, which would at once 'carry conviction to the outward 'natural senses, should demonstrate 'who were true believers in that * Gospel which the eleven were 'commissioned direct by the Lord 'to preach/'*—Now, does your Correspondent mean to say, that there have been no heathen in the world since the Apostles' days; or that the heathen were not meant to be converted; or that the heathen now are quite different beings to the heathen then? In this sentence he writes useless on our gigantic Missionary and Bible Societies: and here perhaps we might not very widely differ; since I believe them to have been permitted to show the creature what he could, or rather could not do, with men and money and books; and to convince him by evidence (since the word of God would not convince) that it is not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord that the nations shall be converted unto Him.
May the Lord restore unto his Church the joy of his salvation, and uphold her with his free Spirit, that she may teach trangressors his way and sinners may be converted unto him. Amen.
b Ephes. i, 13,14. c Eplies. iv, 7—16. * See the paper of Eig Tojv adeXQuv,
Investigator, p. 243.
ON THE ADVENT AND KINGDOM OF CHRIST,
The Resurrection State.
In my last Essay I adverted to the circumstance, that some Christians discourage inquiry concerning the glorified condition of the saints, as if nothing were specifically revealed concerning it: and I may add, that there are two passages of Scripture frequently brought forward, as proof that we cannot arrive at any satisfactory knowledge on these points. These passages I shall first notice.
The one is 1 Cor. ii, 9—" Eye 'hath not seen, nor ear heard,
* neither have entered into the heart 'of man, the things which God
* hath prepared for them that love 'him." This text is quoted by the Apostle from Isaiah lxiv, 4, to shew how it had come to pass, that the wise and mighty of this world had crucified the Lord of glory, because they did not understand the mysteries of redemption. I need not stay to inquire, whether the things, here said to have been withheld from the perception of man, were the gracious truths and mysteries connected with the present state of salvation, or if they related only to a glorified condition in heaven or on earth: it is sufficient to observe, that the next verse clearly proves these things, whatsoever they may be, To Be ReVealed under the Gospel to the spiritual man, and only veiled from the eye and the ear and the heart of the natural man.—"But God
* Hath revealed them unto us by his 'Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all 'things, yea, the deep things of 'God." (v. 10.)
The other place is 1 John iii, 2— "It doth not yet appear what we shall be." There is in the context of this passage sufficient to lead one to the conclusion, that we do not apprehend it rightly, if we would so interpret it as to say, we know nothing about our future state. For is it not declared, that we are " sons of God"—and that we shall be like Christ at his appearing? A careful consideration of the Greek text will I think satisfy the Reader, that the Apostle means not to say, that it has never been decla?*ed what we shall be; seeing that he himself also does declare it in this very place: but that what we shall be hath not yet appeared; (that is, the glorified God-man, our great exemplar;) but that when He shall appear we shall be like him :* just as in Col. iii, 4—"When Christ 'who is our life shall appear, then 'shall ye also appear with him in 1 glory." Whatsoever therefore is declared of the glorified manhood of the Lord Jesus at the time of his appearing, of that we may conclude the saints will be partakers; and thus this text, instead of being opposed to the inquiry, would really form an ample foundation on which to raise it. I proceed now to the
* Ovttio 8(pavsp(x)9i] TLeao/xs^a' otoafuv 8s on sav (pavepojQy bjxoioi avr<<) scrofieOa. There is an evident connexion and identity here between that which is the nominative to £<pav8pu)9r] (whatever it maybe) and the nominative to (pavepioOyand the antecedent of avrqj.