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the first resurrection. They not only “ lived," and were “ blessed and holy," but he also informs us " they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." By enquiring, then, to whom these privileges are assigned in other parts of the Di. vine Word, we shall derive farther confirmation of the views now maintained. Here it is proper to remem. ber, that, although the affairs of this
world are represented (Heb. i. 14) as being put by God under the min. istration of angels, yet "unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak." * Heb. ii. 5. To his apostles the Saviour said, “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations, and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Luke xxii. 28–30. When will this gracious reward be received if not during the Millennium? Or will the distinction of the tribes of Israel be maintained in the future state? This promise of royal authority, thus made by the Saviour to His apostles, is extended by them to other saints as their future reward; “I endure all things for the elect's sake,” says Paul, “ that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying, For if we be dead with Him we shall also live with Him. If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him."
* The Examinator in the Instructor (p. 528) quotes Paul's statement (Heb. vi. 5,) of the condition of those who should fall away after having "tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,” in order to show that the apostle “speaks of that age to come as already commenced, and as already come.” But if at that time it had already come, how could the apostle speak of it as still future, as being still “ the world to come ?" There is an obvious distinction between the age itself and the “powers" which shall be enjoyed by those who are “accounted worthy" to obtain it. And, while the age itself was yet distant, “Spiritual gifts” were extensively enjoyed, which may perhaps be regarded as a foretaste of the superi. or “powers” to be still more generally enjoyed in “the world to come.” The apostle in the passage, quoted above, expressly tells us that the world to come is not put in subjection to the angels, but this cannot apply to the present age: “ Are they not all ministering spi. rits,” he asks in the same epistle, “sent forth to minister for them, who shall be heirs of salvation ?" Heb. i. 14.
2 Tim. ii. 10–12. And again, anticipating the glorious privilege for himself and all believers, he exclaims, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the Righteous Judge shall give me at THAT DAY,* and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Tim. iv. 8.
The same apostle, in reproving the church at Corinth for going to law before the unjust, and not deciding their own matters, asks, “ Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world ?"-to judge being used in the 'sense of governing. He adds, “Know ye not that we shall judge angels ? 1 Cor. vi. 2, 3. The apostle John, contemplating the honour reserved for believers, ascribes glory - unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father.” Rev.i. 5,6. And it was the song of the heavenly choristers who bow before the Lamb, on His opening the sealed book of Prophecy, “ Thou art worthy to take the book and to open
* Here the apostle, as if to mark that this crown is to be received at“ the times of the Restitution of all things,” adopts the very form of expression so often used by the prophets in reference to that period" at that day,” when no particular day has been mentioned. In a preceding chapter also he uses the same expression as applied to the period of Christ's return: “For I know,” says he, “ whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to kep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2 Tim. i. 12. In that chapter too he prays for Onesiphorus, whose bounty he had experienced, and whose countenance he had received, while in bonds for the name of Jesus—In the spirit of love end of gratitude, tee apostle prays, “the Lord grant unto him, that he mny find mercy of the Lord in that day.” 2 Tim. 1. 18. To the same period the apostle Peter refers, and probably more particularly to the First Resurrection, when he says, " we have also a more sure word of Prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heeil, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until THE DAY dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts. 2 Pet. i. 19. This can be no allusion to the period of iheir conversion, as the epistle is only addressed to those who had already “obtained like precions faith” with him. But it is worthy of remark, how judiciously and appropriately these allusions to “ihat days are made. Al. though, when understood, they have a pleasing effect; to many, such allusions would have been incomprehenshle. But this, Paul must have known, could not be the case with him who “ from a child had known the holy scriptures" of the Old Testament; (2 Tim. iii. 15,) and Peter addressed those who gave heed to that “ sure word of Proa phecy,” from which his allusion was derived.
the seals thereof, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, and hast made us unto our God kiNGS AND PRIESTs, and we shall reign ON THE Earth.” Rev. v. 9, 10. This high privilege is bestowed upon all who maintain their allegiance and fidelity : “To him that overcometh," says our blessed Lord, “ will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also over came, and am set down with my Father, in His throne. Rev. iii. 21. That this honour is conferred upon them to be really exercised, is evident: “ And he that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to pieces; even as I received of my Father.” Rev. ï. 26, 27. This serves to illustrate the character of the armies of heaven who follow the Saviour when He comes for the destruction of the Antichristian na. tions. They are said (Rev. xix. 14,) to be “ clothed in fine linen, clean and white;" and this (in verse 8) is said to be “the righteousness of saints.” And again, speak. ing of those kings who fight against the Lamb, it is stated, “these shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Rev. xvii. 14, To him that overcometh, “ will I give power over the nations and he shall rule them with a rod of iron.' This is assigned by the Psalmist as matter of especial praise to God: " Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud upon their beds; let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a sharp twoedged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishment upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written; honour is to all His saints. Praise ye the Lord.” Ps. clix. 5-9.
We cannot, in this state, form any adequate conception of the honour reserved for those 6 who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that age and the resurrec
tion from amongst the dead," as "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God liath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Cor. ï. 9. “It doth not yet appear
what we shall be, but we know that when He shull appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." 1 John, iii. 2. But as the honour of being kings and priests, in whatever it may consist, is the privilege of the redeemed, when we find these applied by the apostle John to those who live and reign with Christ we are surely entitled to believe, in accordance with the other Scriptures, that he refers to the literal resurrection of the just at the coming of the Lord.
PERIOD OF THE ERECTION OF CHRIST'S GLORIOUS
The Scriptural nature of the doctrine of Christ's personal reign on earth will be still more clearly seen on examination of what is farther revealed concerning the time at which His Kingdom shall be established. The angelic messenger sent to announce to the blessed Virgin the conception of Jesus, declared, in unequivocal language, the erection of His Kingdom, and his posession of the throne of David: - And the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his Kingdom there shall be no end." Lukei. 31–33. Christ has not yet taken possession of the throne of his Father David, but as certainly as the predictions which announced his descent from him have been literally fulfilled, so surely may we rely on the fulfilment in due time of this and the numerous other prophecies of the future possession of his kingdom. The truth and necessity of the resurrection of Christ, the apostle Peter strongly argued from the promises of God to give unto Him the throne of Israel." He distinctly affirms, in language:
the meaning of which it would be absurd to attempt to pervert, that king David, “ Being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to SIT ON HIS THRONE ; he seeing this before, SPAKE OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST.” Acts ii. 30. 31. In the day of his humiliation, Jesus avouched his title to allegiance, although he came not then to obtain the crown. The throne of his father David yet remains unoccupied, and the house of Jacob still refuse him fealty. As King, however, he rode into Jerusalem, amid the hosannahs of his poorest subjects, although he then refused the exercise of regal power. He laid claim to the throne, but he entered nut into immediate possession. Thus in Pilate's hall of judgment, while he avowed himself King, (John xviii. 39,) he de clared that His Kingdom “is not of this world”—that it is not “now" from hence,- nyn, " at the present time” it is not leaving no room for doubt that at a future period it would be so. The time for establishing His visible kingdom had not yet arrived. "The times of the Gentiles” must first be fulfilled, during which His kingdom was to be only spiritual. But when their period of probation shall terminate, then shall He Return "in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,” for the establishment of that kingdom of glory which shall be both external and spiritual, and of which all the prophets have witnessed. Thus it is that the Saviour sometimes speaks of a kingdom already existing, and at other times of one yet to come.
It may be observed, that in one instance, no sooner had the Sa. viour directed the attention of the unbelieving Pharisees to the spi. ritual kingdom, than he turns to the disciples and addresses them on His coming in glory : “ And when he was demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them, and said, The kingdoni of God cometh not with observation; neither shall they say, Lo here! or Lo there! for behold the kingdom of God is within you, ['among you,'--marg:] And he said unto the disciples, The days will come when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here! or see there! go not after them nor follow them; for as the lightening that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven, so shåll also the Son of Man be in his