« AnteriorContinuar »
or their resurrection would not have been a satisfactory evidence. The same power, together with an opposite and restrictive influence, appears to have been exercised on the two disciples traveling to Emmaus after our Lord's resurrection: for though Jesus was personally known to them, yet were their eyes holden, in the first instance, "that they should not know him ;" and afterwards their eyes were opened and they knew him." We have various instances of these opposite influences being exercised on different parties at the same time. For instance, the ass of Balaam saw the angel of the Lord, for some time before the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam.”m Elisha appears as if he himself had a perception of the angelic host, when he prayed the Lord to open the eyes of his servant, that he might see them." The glorious personage who appeared to Daniel by the river Hiddekel was seen by him only ; for the men that were 'with him saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide them'selves."o In these and similar instances, which might be adduced, it is plain that the individuals supernaturally wrought upon did previously exercise the ordinary use of their eyes, without any sensible diminution of the powers of vision; and therefore, when it is said that their eyes were opened, it refers to an enlarged faculty or capacity of perception granted to them. It is to the point to notice also, that the devils discerned Jesus, notwithstanding the veil of the flesh, and were repeatedly forbidden to say that they knew him.P This I
1 Luke xxiv, 15 & 31. g Dan. x, 4—7. q 1 Cor. vi, 3.
apprehend is, because these fallen spirits do still retain the superior faculties of angels; and be it remembered, that the resurrection saints shall be as the angels in regard to their nature and mode of subsistence: only, as before stated, superior in rank; for "know ye not (saith the Apostle) that we shall judge angels ?"a
These things are enough, I trust, to assure us, that we shall recognise those dear friends who have fallen asleep in Jesus; and that we shall enjoy a conscious communion and fellowship, and be of one mind and spirit, with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Jonathan, Daniel, Peter, Paul, John, and the general assembly of the saints, who will compass each other about with songs of deliverance.
V. There remains one point for consideration, comprehending many particulars; viz. the nature of the intercourse between the resurrection Church and those men in the flesh, who will dwell under the new dispensation. But though there are numerous scattered rays of light on this part of the subject, which if gathered into a focus would doubtless form a bright mass of evidence yet I must confess that my eyes are not yet opened to discern this matter with clearness, and I conceive it unjustifiable to advance mere guesses and speculations. Some things, relative to those in the flesh, are so obvious that we cannot well mistake. For example, there is abundant testimony that Israel after the flesh will be pre-eminent among the nations; and if the evidence on this head be not brought forward by some other Correspondent, I hope to avail myself of some
m Numb. xxii, 23, 25, 27, 31. n 2 Kings vi, 16, 17. Mark i, 24, 25; (see margin;) iii, 12; Luke iv, 41.
opportunity to exhibit it. It is plain also, that the earth will be renewed, and give forth its increase, during the period in question : so that the wilderness shall become as Eden and the garden of the Lord. Righteousness will also then prevail among the nations, just as iniquity abounds now: for Satan will no longer go forth to deceive the nations, but will be restrained ;s and there will be an admirable administration of godly of godly justice and government ;t the consequence of which will be universal peace," and a prevalence of true religion and worship. And whatever And whatever may be the result to men in the flesh at the termination of the Millennium, we are quite sure that the resurrection Church will not be affected again by any pricking briar or thorn, in the way of sin, temptation, or trial. They have put on incorruption ;w-they are delivered -they are delivered into the glorious liberty of the sons of God ;—nothing shall enter into the holy city (whatever there may be without) which defileth, or which loveth or maketh a lie.y
I have mentioned the latter circumstance, because there certainly will be a great apostacy after the Millennium, when Satan is again loosed for a little while; and it would appear that even during the Millennium, there will be a coercive power exercised over the nations.
z Matt. xiii, 41.
d Mic. iv, 3; Isa. ii, 4.
That it will commence in this way is evident from its being written, that the Lord “ will send forth his angels
and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend and 'do iniquity ;"z that the sinners shall be consumed out of Zion;a that the saints shall tread down the wicked, who shall be as ashes under their feet;b and that the world shall be so brought in subjection under Israel, that the nation and kingdom that will not serve them shall perish. But it would seem also, that during the whole period of the judgement, the Lord will rebuke strong nations afar off;d that he will rule in the midst of his enemies ;e and specially it is promised to him that overcometh, that he shall have power over the nations, and rule them with a rod of iron ;f-the rod of iron being, as I apprehend, always emblematic of coercive authority.*
r Ps. lxvii, 6; civ, 30; Isa. xxxv, 1; Ezek. xxxiv, 24-27; Joel iii, 18; Amos ix, 13. s Rev. xx, 3, t Isa. xxv, 27; lx, 17, 18. u Ps. xlvi, 9; Isa. ii, 4; Mic. iv, 4. v Ps. xxii, 27; Isa. xi, 9; Hab. ii, 14; Mal. i, 11; Zech. xiv, 20, 21. w1 Cor. xv, 50-52. x Rom. viii, 21. y Rev. xxi, 1, 2, 27; Ezek. xliv, 9.
Ps. civ, 35.
e Ps. cx, 2.
Having greatly encroached in this Essay on the pages of the Investigator, I will only beg in conclusion to offer a remark or two on the amazing apathy, not to say opposition, manifested by some professors of religion in regard to the resurrection state, because the theatre in which the glory of Christ will be more immediately exhibited, is to be this globe, in its renewed state; and because there may still be men in
Mal. iv, 3. c Ps. xlvii, 3; Isa. lx, 12. f Rev. ii, 27.
* There are one or two eminent types of the same thing. For example, the Lord Jesus cleansing the temple with a scourge, shows how it shall be when he comes to set up universal worship, and make the house of God really "the house of prayer for all nations." And the reign of Solomon, which is generally considered a type of Christ and the Church triumphant, evinces the same thing of the millennial rule itself. For of the prosperous and glorious rule of Solomon it was nevertheless complained, that his yoke was heavy which he put upon the nation: (1 Kings xii, 9 :) and possibly that generation, which shall immediately succeed the Millennium, may make the same complaint of the rule of Christ and the saints.
the flesh on the earth. I pray God they may none of them come under the rebuke of those, of whom it is written," Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not His word; but murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord."g But I would also affectionately, yet solemnly, admonish such, that if the things I have written are supported by God's word, their minds are not in unison with the mind of the Spirit. Angels desired to look into the proceedings of Christ, when he came to suffer upon earth shall we not desire to behold him and be with him, when he reigns on earth? Many prophets and righteous men have desired to see the days of the gospel dispensation h :h and shall we have no longing for that most glorious of all periods on earth? Shall the whole creation groan for it?-shall the earnest expectation of the creature wait for it?-shall the Spirit and the bride say Come? and shall there nevertheless be Christians in whom there is no earnest expectation, no groan or emotion of desire ?-Ah! it must be because their expectation is not the expectation of the creature ; neither does their hope accord with that of the Spirit and the bride.
But some will still object, that they cannot reconcile their minds to the notion of being on earth again; and of being placed within the possibility of again beholding sin, and probably of witnessing the last apostacy. Dear brethren, suffer the word of exhortation. Our happiness must always be proportioned to our conformity to the will of God. It is the want of subjection and conformity in our minds to his revealed will, that prevents any from finding pleasure from those scripture testi
5 cvi, 24, 25. h Matt. xiii, 17.
monies I have adduced. Only consider what has already happened. When Jesus rose from the dead and sojourned on earth during forty days, occasionally communing with his disciples; did this take from his happiness? was it a second cup of suffering? or did it render his mind carnal? Or those saints, who came out of their graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city were they rendered miserable, by being thus brought again upon earth, and among men, who, to say the least, were still imperfect-still in sinful flesh-still liable to sin? The Church has ever thought it an eminent distinction and honor conferred upon those saints: just as the Scripture declares him blessed and holy," who hath part in the first resurrection. But if their blessedness in Paradise was interrupted by this resurrection, instead of an eminent honor, it was an additional curse. We may just as well argue, that it shall be a misery to be again in the body, (considering that our temptation has been in the flesh,) as to suppose it a woe to be brought again on earth, because it has been the scene of iniquity. And if any should reply, “But our body will be changed;"-I answer, So likewise the earth will be renewed.
i Heb. i, 14.
Once more, let me ask, are those angels who attend the steps of God's children whilst warring in the flesh;-of whom it is written, that "they are all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation ;”i—are these, I ask, rendered less happy owing to the office assigned them? Alas! they must witness much that is perverse and sinful in their charge; and often, when they go into the presence of our heavenly Father,j must have a sorry account to render.
j Matt. xviii, 10.
In a former Number I ventured to maintain, that the peaceful and happy region where the souls of the faithful, after they are delivered from the burthen of the flesh, are in joy and felicity, and which is sometimes called Paradise, is identical with the "third heaven;" and that St. Paul speaks of one and the same event when he declares, 1st. that he was caught into the third heaven; and 2dly. that he was caught into Paradise ; the second affirmation being exegetical of the first, and the nature of the place, namely, that of separate spirits, being indicated by the doubt whether he was himself in or out of the body. Your able and learned Correspondent Abdiel objects, that the Apostle cannot be understood to describe one and the same vision, because he says, “ I will come to visions and revelations," in the plural. But surely we cannot infer that he spoke of different raptures (which was my expression) because he speaks of visions and revelations in the plural. One rapture might
THE THIRD HEAVEN & PARADISE.
2 CORINTHIANS XII, 1-7.
admit of many visions. Nebuchad"I saw a dream which
made me afraid, and the thoughts
upon my bed and the visions of my
head troubled me."-Here he speaks of visions in the plural yet there was but one dream. In like manner St. Paul may have had many visions in one rapture. Moreover his subsequent language is subversive of the mode of argument adopted by Abdiel in this instance; for while your correspondent lays such stress upon visions and revelations being in the plural, it is only for the purpose of proving that there were two-one in the third heaven, and one in paradise; but the Apostle says, lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, &c." an expression which implies many more than two. This, I think, indicates something unsound in the criticism; and perhaps, on reconsideration, Abdiel will perceive, that the fallacy lies in confounding the rapture with the visions and revelations of which it was the occasion.
ESSAYS ON PROPHECY, BY BIBLICUS."
STRICTURES ON THE REVIEW AT PAGE 303.
To the Editor of the Investigator. Sir,
On reading your Review of the interpretation of Biblicus, the following thoughts occurred, of which I request your insertion. May the Reader, with the Writer, always lift up his heart for the teaching of the Holy Spirit in all things connected with the word of his inspiration, remembering that Jesus Christ is worthy that the prayer should be answered.
Surely the word Apocalypse signifies revelation generally, in respect to things invisible or future, and especially such as are spiritual. Allow me to refer your readers to my remarks (page 263, on v. 7, and page 269-271 of No. VIII) on the chief subject of the Apocalypse, as affording a clue to the interpretation of its parts. When John was commanded, “ Write the things thou hast seen," are they not the particulars of his just previous vision of Christ as the royal Priest, or the priestly King, on his return to assert his own supremacy, as the Prophet, Priest and King of his people, in contradiction to both apostates, who arrogate to themselves his rights?— Next, by Jesus' own division of the subject into three parts, as precisely marked as in any passage of Scripture, John was to write the things which then existed in the churches under his own jurisdiction; thirdly, the things which must be hereafter, and which form the principal portion of the revelation; but not to the exclusion of what is requisite for
their elucidation.-Of course this text and others may be explained differently by taking some Greek word in its other sense; but why translate the first ra differently και from the second? Is it not done in this case rather arbitrarily, to suit a different view of the subject ?* The word things occurs three times ; "the things seen, and the things 'which are, and the things which shall be." Chap. iv, 1. "I will show thee things which must be after these things." (Literally.)
The vision of the pre-millennial advent of the Christ of God for glorification in the scene of his humiliation, was, properly speaking, a revelation or discovering to John "when he was in the Spirit,” of what he could not otherwise have discerned. The spiritual state of his seven churches, (Christ's own view of it and of individuals, and of the event in each case,—temporally in regard to the literal churches, spiritually in regard to individuals,) was also a discovery" of what the Apostle could not otherwise have known. Can " the things which thou hast seen" be fairly extended "to the whole series of visions and symbols," as page 303 asserts? Is it supposed the prophets saw all the visions which they record before they recorded them? Is it not more natural to suppose that each was written whilst the representation was filling their mind, (sometimes even to fainting under their spiritual apprehension of it,)—before the next scene was presented to their view?
* We presume our Correspondent to be aware, that the first ka is frequently thus rendered in our English translations: Luke xxii, 33; John ix, 37; Acts xxvi, 29; Rom. xi, 33 are instances; to which many others might be added. ED.