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moon shall not give her light; and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds, with great power and glory” We have the same in Luke xxi. : “ Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity ; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud, with power and great glory."
I know it has been said, that Christ, in this discourse of what should come to pass before his second coming, does give a hint of the millennium, saying, the gospel shall first “ be preached in all the world for a witness.” But, if the millennium be here intimated, the intimation is very obscure : besides, this preaching is “for a witness unto all nations," or“ for a testimony against them,” which appears too much to savor of death for the millennium. Also, this preaching the gospel in all the world is placed, in the discourse, before the apostasy, as the nature of the case requires; and whilst this is connected with the destruction of Jerusalem, it is the great apostasy following that is immediately connected with the coming of Christ.* And, examining farther,
* Both Mark and Luke describe the mode of this publishing of the gospel; that it shall come to all people, not in the welcome, easy, peaceable, and popular manner
we find the fullest proof that this publishing of the gospel was an event to be accomplished, not in the millennium, but before it commenced : for the apostle Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, a little before the destruction of Jerusalem, speaking of the preached gospel, said, “ Have they not heard ? Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” And a few years after, in the epistle to the Colossians, speaking of the state and progress of the gospel, used words the same as these of Christ, “it is in all the world;" and, as though designed to prevent all dispute about this matter, he declared, in the same chapter, that the gospel had progressed, if possible, beyond the prophecy of Christ, and was preached to every creature which is under heaven."* Some, how
that some talk of its being preached in the millennium; but uninvited, by the means of its witnesses being persecuted, and « delivered up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers.”-Mark xiii. 9-11; Luke xxi. 12-15.
* If the gospel has not yet been preached in all the world, it is certain from the Scriptures that it will be before the last fall of Antichrist; for John (Rev. xiv. 6 -8,) “saw an angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel io preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying, Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen." Therefore, as the gospel will be preached to every nation, and kindred, and iongue, and people that dwell on the earth, before the destruction of Antichrist; Christ may come at that time, before the millennium, and his word be fulfilled. And it is observable, that the time of the fall of Babylon is called here, “the hour of his judgment."
ever, can make the plain assertions of Scripture to the contrary of none effect, and think to answer all our arguments, by saying, the millennium must take place before the coming of Christ, because he said, “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world,” or, “must first be published among all nations.
To proceed; the apostle Paul, in immediately connecting the destruction of Antichrist and the coming of Christ, is not chargeable with an omission, or with impropriety of language; but herein carefully followed the instruction of his Lord and Savior.
And the same line of doctrine is observed by the apostle Peter, who also expressly took up the subject of Christ's coming, and the delay of it, 2 Peter, 3d chapter; where he reminded his brethren of the great apostasy, so much spoken of “by the holy prophets,” and by them who had been with the Lord Jesus: “that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming ?” With whom, he intimated, God would bear long, and make the most astonishing display of his “ long suffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance ;" which day of divine patience and long suffering towards his enemies, by Peter, in the same manner as by Paul and the Evangelists, is closed by the coming of Christ and the conflagration of the world.
After a description of which, he added, “ Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness;" in which he doubtless includes
the promise of the future glorious kingdom of Christ and his saints, which we call the millennium.
For the promised new heavens and new earth must be the same with the restoration of all things, which this apostle, Peter, said, Acts iii. 21, "God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” But to verify this assertion, that all the prophets spake of the restitution, we must suppose, that, where they speak of the restoration and future glory of Judal and Jerusalem of the happy days—the peace, plenty, and prosperity of the people Israel, they speak of the restitution of all things--of the new heavens and new earth; for all the prophets in this manner, and the most of them in no other, have spoken of the times of restitution : but in foretelling the restoration of Jerusalem and Zion -the peace and prosperity, happiness and glory of Israel, all the prophets (and the most of them in no other way) have prophesied of the millennium; which shows, ihat the millennium is included in the times of restitution, or, heavens and new earth.
If all the prophets have spoken of a restitution of all things, it must be in those very prophecies, or promises, according to which we look for a millennium. * As, therefore, we look for “the times of restitution of all things”—the new
* Moses, Deut. xxx. 4, 5, and xxxii. 43. David, Ps. ii., viii., xxi., xxiv., xxxvii., xlv., xlvi., xcvi., xcvii., xcviii. Isaiah xi., xxxiii., XXXV., lx., Ixv., lxvi. Jeremiah xxiv. 5, 6; xxxii. 41; xxxiii., 26. Ezekiel xxviii. 25, and chap. xxxvi. Daniel xii. 1, 3, 12, 13. Hosea iii., xiv. Joel iii. 18. Amos ix. Obadiah, vs. 17, 21. Micah iv., v.
heavens and new earth; and for the times we call the millennium, according to the same promises; they are doubtless the same blessed "times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.”
These prophecies, being all promises of the same thing, they are summed up by Peter, and called “his promise,” according to which, believers look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
And as the restitution spoken of by all the prophets will not be till the coming of Christ, Acts iii. 21, nor the new heavens and earth till the great conflagration, 2 Peter, iii. 12, 13, so neither will the millennium; it being' every where included in the promises of those very things.
The events, therefore, to be expected at the destruction of Antichrist, to which hour everything appears so rapidly hastening, are no less than the coming of Christ, the conflagration of the world, the restitution of all things, and that kingdom of glory which "shall fill the earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”
Again; the coming of Christ is connected with a day of tribulation, such as never was before it, and never will be after it.
The Lord said, Matt. xxiv.--" Immediately after the tribulation of those days, shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her
Nahum i. 15. Habakkuk ii. 14. Zephaniah iii. 14, &c. Haggai ü. Zechariah ii. 10, &c., chap. ix. 10, &c., and chap. xiv. Malachi iii., iv.