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is 'heard any more at all in her.'”* This signifies the seat of the mystic Babylon.
“ Some there are, then, who shall be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.' Luke xxi. 36. Those who suffer not that day to come upon them unawares, through surfeiting and cares of this life, but are watchful and pray always; (ver. 34–36;) those who sigh and cry for all the abominations that are done in the midst of their church and nation;' (Ezek. ix. 4;) those who fear the Lord, and speak often one to another;' (Mal. 11. 16,)-on these the Lord will set a mark, and they need not fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of their heels compasseth them about; (Psalm xlix. 5;) for they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.'”+
“We know that the Scriptures make three heavens. 1. The air, or sublunary heaven. 2. The ethereal, or starry heaven. 3. The heaven of glory, or empyreal heaven. Each of these heavens have their host, or army. The host of the heaven of glory, or the third heaven, are the angels and blessed spirits; the host of the ethereal heaven, are the stars and planets; the host of the aerial, or sublunary heaven, are either. visible, as the clouds of heaven, and other meteors, as also the rest of the creatures mansioning therein, as the fowls of heaven, or invisible, namely, the wicked spirits and devils, whose prince, Satan, is called the prince of the power of the air, (Eph. II. 2,) and his host, rulers of the world, that is of the sublunary world, and, wicked spirits in heavenly places, namely, in the lowest or sublunary heavens, (Eph. vi. 12.)
“ The words of Peter evidently import, that some of these heavens, or all of them, shall suffer a conflagration at the day of Christ. Not all of them; for who ever put the empyreal heaven in that reckoning? And for the ethereal heaven, he that considereth both the supereminent nature and, immensity thereof, and of those innumerable bodies therein, in regard to which the whole sublunary world is but a point or centre, and that it can in no way be proved, that ever those bodies received a curse for man's sin, or contagion, by the world's deluge, or that any enemies of God dwell in them to pollute them; he that considereth this, will not easily be induced to believe that the fire of the day of judgment should burn them. It remaineth, therefore, that the sublunary heavens only, with their hosts, are to be the subject of this conflagration.”
With respect to the saints caught up to meet the Lord in the air, the same author observes : “ The words, if we weigh them well, seem to imply,” not, according to “theo usual interpretations, their present translation into heaven, but to be for another end, namely, to do honour unto their Lord and King, at his return, and to attend upon him when he comes to judge the world. “Those,' saith the apostle, 1 Thess. iv. 14–18, which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him,'—he saith not, Carry away with him. ... It is to be noted, that although in the Hebrew notion, the air be comprehended under the same heaven, yet would not the apostle here use the word heaven, but the word air, as it were to avoid the ambiguity, lest we might interpret it, of our translation into heaven. ... It cannot be concluded that because the text saith, The saints . . . should thence
forth be ever with the Lord,' ergo, they should from thenceforth be in heaven; for no heaven is here mentioned. If they must needs be with Christ, there where they are to meet him, it would rather follow, they should be ever with him in the air, than in heaven ; which, I suppose, none will admit. And, otherwise, the text will afford no more for heaven, than it will for earth ; nay, the words, 'He shall bring them with him,' make most for the latter.... What if it be, that they may be preserved during the conflagration of the earth, and the works thereof, that as Noah and his family were preserved from the deluge, by being lift up above the waters in the ark, so should the saints, at the conflagration, be lift up in the clouds, unto their ark, Christ, to be preserved there from the deluge of fire, wherein the wicked shall be consumed !"*
We subjoin an extract from Abdiel's Essays: “ The word used in the original is atarinois,--not the verb, but a noun; and literally is 'caught up into the air to the meeting of the Lord.' The word atayinois occurs in three other places in the New Testament, and invariably signifies a meeting for the purpose of receiving and welcoming the individual, and to escort him back. Thus it is in Matt. XXV., where the ten virgins are first said to go forth and meet the bridegroom, (ver. 1,) and then are surprised in their slumber by the cry: 'Go ye out to meet him,' (ver. 6.) It occurs the third time in Acts xxvii. 15: · And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us (ELS απαντεσιν ημιν) as far as Appii Forum and the three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God and took courage. And when we came to Rome,' &c. It is evident
* Dr. Joseph Mede.
here, that they met Paul, not to stay with him at the three taverns, but to continue with him by going back with him. And the whole context in Thessalonians seems to require, that we explain it of the saints going out to welcome the Lord in the air: not to continue in the air with him ; but to accompany him on his visit here, and therefore to return with him. For unless the saints return with Christ, the wicked must also be caught up for that judgment, which the anti-Millennarians always suppose happens at the same time with this event. I may add here, in defence of this view of anavanais, that on referring to Schleusner, I find he interprets it; 'Cum quis alteri obviam procedit (vel, rapitur) ad eum excipiendum.'”
How calculated to fill our souls with joy, that our Lord and his apostles should have so clearly revealed the sudden transition of his children from frail mortality to immortal life! The apostle Peter describes their entrance into the “ glorious presence” of their Lord as accompanied “ with exceeding joy." This prospect is farther enlivened by a conviction that the period is near when it will be realized by all who love him, and wait his coming ?"
THE NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH.
Matt. xxiv. 35. Heaven and earth shall pass away. 1 Corinthians vii. 31. The fashion of this world passeth away.*
Rev. xxi. 5. “ Behold I create all things new.” This was the express declaration of Him that sat upon the throne: and no just reason can be advanced for supposing that it does not embrace the inanimate as well as animate creation.
The souls of the righteous, as we have seen, are translated to paradise at death,—to a new and disembodied, but therefore, as yet, imperfect state. At the first resurrection a total renovation of created existence, material and spiritual, consisting of the world and its inhabitants, would appear to be that which is signified by “ new heavens and a new earth,” or, “the restitution of all things,” not only to their primeval state, but probably to one of a much superior condition. It may be imagined by some that a new earth signifies simply a new and improved condition of the inhabitants of earth, and new heavens the glorified saints ; but after a diligent and extensive comparison of various passages of Scripture we find it much more accordant with
* “ To oxqua, the form, or appearance. Grotius remarks that the apostle's expression is borrowed from the theatre where to rxnua ins okning mapayat means that the scene changes, and presents an appearance entirely new."