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that he had done twice before, for real and mate. rial heavens and earth? There is no mark set of a new signification, nor why we should alter the sense of the words. That he used them always before for material heavens and earth, I think none will question; and therefore we are bound by this second rule also to understand them in a literal sense.
Lastly, the very form of the words, and the manner of their dependence upon the context, lead us to a literal sense, and to material heavens and earth. Nevertheless, says the apostle, we expect new heavens, &c. Why nevertheless? that is, notwithstanding the dissolution of the present heavens and earth. The apostle foresaw what he had said might raise a doubt in their minds whether all things would not be at an end; nothing more of heavens and earth, or of any habitable world, after the conflagration; and to obviate this, he tells them, notwithstanding that wonderful desolation that I have described, we do, according to God's promises, expect new heavens and a new earth, to be a habitation for the righteous.
"You see then the new heavens and new earth, which the apostle speaks of, are substituted in the place of those that were destroyed at the conflagration; and would you substitute allegorical heavens and earth in the place of material? What an equivocation would it be in the apostle, when the doubt was about the material heavens and earth, to make an answer about allegorical. "Lastly, the timing of the thing determines the sense. When shall this new world appear? After the conflagration, the apostle says. Therefore it
cannot be understood of any moral renovation, to be made in the times of the gospel, as these allegorists pretend. We must, therefore, upon all accounts, conclude that the apostle intended a literal sense; real and material heavens, to succeed these after the conflagration; and I know not what bars the Spirit of God can set to keep us within the compass of a literal sense, if these be not sufficient."
"The apostle in this discourse does formally distinguish three worlds, (for it is well known that the Hebrews have no word to signify the natural world, but use that periphrasis, the heavens and the earth,) and upon each of them engraves a name and title that bears a note of distinction in it. He calls them the old heavens and earth, the present heavens and earth, and the new heavens and earth. 'Tis true these three are one, as to matter and substance; but they differ as to form and properties." BURNET.
NOTE BY THE EDITORS,
ON THE TWO THEORIES NOW ADVOCATED BY THE
It is well known to the students of prophecy that there are now two prominent theories advocated by the believers in the pre-millennial advent. The first teaches that the consummation will not take place till the close of the millennium. The second teaches that the consummation will take place at the commencement of the millennium.
There is considerable difference between these theories; both agree, however, in the personal reign and speedy coming of the Bridegroom. We think it important to the future mutual co-operation of the friends of the advent nigh, that they should have a perfect understanding of the leading traits of both theories. We here give them.
I. The theory teaching that the consummation will not take place till the close of the millennium.
This is given in the works of James A. Begg, of Glasgow, Scotland; and may be stated in substance as follows: "The Jews shall return to their own land, and Jerusalem shall be rebuilt. The Lord will descend from heaven and dwell in Jerusalem. " Then the moon shall be confounded and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.' He will continue his personal presence on earth certainly 1000, and probably 365,000 years. The nations will go to see him, and to worship in Jerusalem, and keep the annual feasts. The man of sin shall be destroyed by the Lord in person or by the brightness of his coming, and the race of evildoers shall generally be cut off. A resurrection of the saints and martyred witnesses of Christ precedes the millennial reign. This is the first resurrection, and shall
precede the second from 1000 to 365,000 years. The earth and the atmosphere will be changed. A more genial climate and a more fruitful soil will reward the labors of the husbandmen. Still the earth's identity and its present localities shall continue; and although it will be a period of unprecedented holiness and happiness, neither sin nor death will be wholly excluded.' 'The child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed.' And, therefore, during the millennial dispensation, this world will be the abode of men in the flesh, who will have intercourse with the immortal men who are reigning with Christ. But of the nature of the employment of the reigning saints, and of their intercourse with mortal men, he has no knowledge.
"A short apostasy will succeed the millennium. Satar will be set free from his captivity, but will ultimately be destroyed. Then comes the general resurrection of all that died during the millennium, and those who were not raised at its commencement, which will be followed with the general judgment and eternal rewards and punishments."
II. The theory teaching that the consummation takes place at the appearing of Christ, in the beginning of the millennium. It is stated by Mr. Miller as follows: "I believe that the Scriptures do reveal unto us, in plain language, that Jesus Christ will appear again on this earth; that he will come in the glory of God, in the clouds of heaven, with all his saints and angels; that he will raise the dead bodies of all his saints who have slept, change the bodies of all that are alive on the earth that are his, and both these living and raised saints will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. There the saints will be judged and presented to the Father, without spot or wrinkle. Then the gospel kingdom will be given up to God the Father. Then will the Father give the bride to the Son Jesus Christ; and when the marriage takes place, the church will become the 'New Jerusalem,' the beloved city.' And while this is being done in the air, the earth will be cleansed by fire, the elements will melt with fervent heat, the works of men will be destroyed, the bodies of the wicked will be burned to ashes, the devil and all evil spirits, with the souls and spirits
of those who have rejected the gospel, will be banished from the earth, shut up in the pit or place prepared for the devil and his angles, and will not be permitted to visit the earth again until 1000 years. This is the first resurrection, and first judgment. Then Christ and his people will come down from the heavens, or middle air, and live with his saints on the new earth, in a new heaven, or dispensation, forever, even forever and ever. This will be the restitution of the right owners to the earth.
"Then will the promise of God to his Son be accomplished: 'I will give him the heathen for his inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for his pos session.' Then the whole earth shall be full of his glory.' And then will the holy people take possession of their joint heirship with Christ, and his promise be verified, the meek shall inherit the earth,' and the kingdom of God will have come, and his will be done in earth as in heaven.' After 1000 years shall have passed away, the saints will all be gathered and encamped in the beloved city. The sea, death and hell will give up their dead, which will rise up on the breadth of the earth, out of the city, a great company, like the sand of the sea-shore. The devil will be let loose, to go out and deceive this wicked host. He will tell them of a battle against the saints, the beloved city; he will gather them to the battle around the camp of the saints. But there is no battle; the devil has deceived them. The saints will judge them; the justice of God will drive them from the earth into the lake of fire and brimstone, where they will be tormented day and night, forever and ever "This is the second death.' After the second resurrection, second judgment, the righteous will then possess the earth forever." See "Miller's Views," pp. 33, 34. It will be seen by the foregoing lectures that Mr. Spalding sustains this latter theory.