Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

a

but that they form a blessed preparative, for the Millennial glory, we cannot doubt. That this world will during that dispensation still be the abode of men in the flesh is expressly foretold. And although it will be a period of unprecedented holiness, and happiness, neither sin nor death will be wholly excluded : “the child shall die an hundred years old, and the sinner being an hundred years shall be accursed."

SECTION XXIII.

THE NEW JERUSALEM.

Of the employments of the redeemed while reigning with Christ on earth, and of the nature of their intercourse with mortal men, the Scriptures afford us little information. Repeated allusions are, however, made to the place of their residence. Of this the apostle John was specially favoured with a glorious vision, the account of which is recorded Rev. xxi. xxii. As the New Jerusalem is to be on the new earth, and under the new heavens, that part of the vision which relates to it is introduced to the apostle by a view of them: “And I saw,” says he, (Rev. xxi. 1.) “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away: and there was no more (symbolical] sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God OUT OF heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." This celestial city is designed as the residence of Christ and the redeemed, and comes down out of heaven, where it is previously “prepared” for this purpose.

66 And I heard,” continues the apostle," a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold the Tabernacle of God is WITH MEN, and He will DWELL WITH THEM, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” ver. 3. This, we apprehend, is that second city seen in vision by Ezekiel in the Holy Oblation offered to the Lord in the new division of the Holy Land. He calls it “the most holy place," and

. more frequently “ THE CIty." There are many coincidences in the account given of it by John with that given by Ezekiel. Of the names of its gates the prophet says, “and

the gates of THE CITY shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel," and he particularizes the respective situations of the different gates by name. (Ezek. xlviii. 31–34.) The New Jerusalem as seen by the apostle has also twelve gates, “ and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.” (Rev. xxi. 12.) The arrangement of these gates is also precisely the same with that given by Ezekiel : " on the east, 3 gates; on the north, 3 gates; on the south, 3 gates; and on the west, 3 gates." ver. 13. This City has an attendance enjoyed by no other; for “ they that serve the City shall serve it out of all the tribes of Israel;” and a portion of the Holy Oblation is allotted for their maintenance. Ezek. xlviii. 18, 19. Of the new river, to which we formerly referred, (p. 94,) Ezekiel says, "upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed; it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued from the Sanctuary; And the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.Ezek. xlvii. 12. So John also narrates of the New Jerusalem, that “in the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river was there the tree of life (not one tree, merely, since it grew on either side of the river,' but trees of one species) which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were

or the healing of the nations.” Rev. xxii. 2. How striking is the coincidence! That the apostle might have a full view of the glorious City, there came unto him an angel who carried him away " in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed” him “ that great city the holy Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God; and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; and had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates,” ver. 10-12. A similar coincidence exists in their different accounts of the measurements of the City they severally describe. In all the works we have seen which treat op this point a great discrepancy is indeed supposed to exist between the statement of the prophet and that of the apostle. But this mistake has arisen from an oversight of the fact, bat while the one states the circumference, the other informs

[ocr errors]

a

Ezekiel says,

66 It was,

us of the square measurement. round about, eighteenthousand measures” of the angel's reed, which was six great cubits” long, of 22 inches each. Being a square, each “s

side" was

“ four thousand and five hundred measures” of the reed. Ezek. xlviii. 32. But John does not specify its length or breadth, but having mentioned that it is square, he gives the measurement accordingly : “ And the City lyeth four-square, and the length is as large as the breadth. And he (the angel) measured the City with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length, and the breadth, and the height of it are equal." Rev. xxi. 16, 17. It was not the length, or breadth, or height which the angel measured. These he declares to be “equal,” but the “twelve thousand furlongs" is not the dimensions of each or any of its sides, as is commonly supposed, but of “the City'__"four square.” Considering this, therefore, as neither the length nor the breadth, but as the measurement of the area of the City, and reckoning by the Jewish furlong of 266, cubits, as stated by Maimonides, on extracting the square of the measurement of the circumference of the City given by Ezekiel, we obtain a view by which the statements of the prophet and apostle are found to correspond very nearly, -and which would probably correspond exactly if Maimonides' standard were perfectly accurate, thus confirming the view of their identity. This glorious City shall be inhabited by the saints of God. “ He that overcometh shall inherit these things, [marg.) and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. ver. 7; and all are excluded whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life. To this Tabernacle, as distinct from the Sanctuary, Ezekiel appears to refer in a preceding chapter : “My servant The BELOVED shall be their prince for ever. Moreover, I will make a covenant of

with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and will place them and multiply them, and will set my Sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My Tabernacle ALSO shall be with them; yea I will be their God and they shall be my people.” Ezek. xxxvii. 25—27. To this City the apostle Peter appears to refer as the “inheritance" of the saints “reserved in heaven” till the period when it shall be revealed : 6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which, according to his abundant

peace

[ocr errors]

mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that 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.1 Pet. i. 4. And it is the promise of the Saviour to him that overcometh,

I will write upon

him the name of

my God, and the name of the City of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God.” Rev. iii. 12. Of this city, it is said, “and the nations of them that are saved [from the destruction which shall overtake the ungodly at the coming of the Lord] shall walk in the light of it; and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it....and they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.” Rex, xxi. 24-26.

66 Behold the measure of the promise fill'd;

See Salem built, the labour of a God!
Bright as a sun the sacred city shines;
All kingdoms and all princes of the earth
Flock to that light; the glory of all lands
Flows into her ; unbounded is her joy,
And endless her increase."

Cowper's Task, Much confusion has resulted from applying to the inhabitants of the new earth the character of the citizens of the New Jerusalem which descends out of heaven unto it. The distinction is obvious. While, in the new earth, Isaiah predicts there shall be both sin and death, the apostle John declares the exclusion of both from the holy city. From the account of the descent of the New Jerusalem being placed in John's vision after that of the final resurrection and general judgment, it has been supposed by some to be the place of blessedness after the Millennium. But the order of insertion is of itself no criterion of the order of time. When the apostle has carried forward his narrative of one class of events he returns to take up another, or to explain particular parts which would have occupied too much space in the narrative itself. The whole book is constructed on this principle; and thus, long after the announcement of the kingdoms of this world having become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, we have again brought before

us the existence and success of Antichrist. But, in all such cases, a key is given for the elucidation of the prophecy, and for determining the relative periods of the several parts. In the case before us, the New Jerusalem descends to the new earth, and this is connected with the Millennium by the prediction of the prophet Isaiah. Its relation to time and the things of time is farther evident from the fact, that “the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it;" it must therefore have a reference to this world, while the relation subsists between kings and their subjects.*

SECTION XXIV.

FUTURE APOSTASY, GENERAL RESURRECTION, AND

FINAL JUDGMENT.

GLORIOUS and holy as the Millennial age will be, it is to be succeeded by a short space during which Satan being loosed from his confinement, he shall again seduce men from the allegiance they owe to their Divine King: “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle; the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth and compassed the camp of the saints about and the beloved city," (the New Jerusalem, we presume.) Rev. xx. 7-9. We have already shown, that, during

* Mr. Mason, in his volume on the Gentiles' Fulness, &c. (p. 169 and 188,) applies this vision to “ the blessedness of the righteous" after the general resurrection, “the heavenly glory and blessedness of the saints.” But we observe with pleasure, that, since the publication of that work, he has obtained more correct views on this subject. In a more recent publication, (Sermon on the Seventh Vial, on the words, “It is done,” Rev. xxi. 6,) he says,

66 standing as they do in connexion with God's work of making all things new, [they] must relate to the blessed alterations which He will establish on the earth, after the judgments predicted in the vials are finished.p. 4.

Dr. Wardlaw also quotes the 3d verse as applicable to Millennial times, and gives it as one of the passages of which the application is hardly questioned." p. 478,

66

« AnteriorContinuar »