« PreviousContinue »
"If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
John 14:2-3. He gave us this promise as our hope and comfort while He is away.
He said: “In the world ye shall have tribulation" (John 16:33), "ye shall weep and lament, and... be sorrowful....but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice." Verses 20, 22.
Nothing can be more comforting to the Church, the bride of Christ," then this precious promise which our absent Lord has left us, that He will come and receive us unto Himself, and that we shall be with Him, to behold His glory. He has given us
The Lord's Supper, that we should take the bread and the cup in remembrance of Him, and to show His death, till He come. We have this simple and loving memorial for a continual sign of this promise during all the earthly pilgrimage of the
(5) Eph. 5:25. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29. For no man ever yet hated his
own fesh; but nourisheth and cheriseth it, even as the Lord the courch:
30. For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32. This is a great mystery ; but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
(6) John 17:24. Father, I wiil that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
(7) Luke 22:19. And he took bread, and
gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, sayingThis is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
(8) 1 Cor. 11:26. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
Church,' and through it we look forward from the cross to His coming, when He will drink it anew with us, in His Father's kingdom,10 at the marriage feast of the Lamb. 11
It is a constant reminder of His promise, pointing our eye of faith to His coming again. "He is faithful that promised”12 and we are exhorted to have confidence and patience, that we may "receive the promise," "for yet a little while, and He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry.” Heb. 10:35-37. One has truly said that the coming of Christ is
The Very Pole Star of the Church,* and the apostle Paul calls it "That blessed hope.":13
Jesus and the apostles and the prophets have given great prominence in the Scriptures to this inspiring theme. THE EARLY FATHERS and the Christian Church, for the first two centuries of our era, found in it
*Rev. David Brown, D. D.
(9) Heb. 11:13. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
1 Pet. 2:11. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which
war against the soul. (10) Mat. 26:29.
But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you
in my Father's kingdom.
(11) Mat. 22:2. The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son.
Rev. 19:9. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed
are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And
he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
Also Luke 14:16-24.
(12) Heb. 10:22. Let us draw near with a true heart in ful. ness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience: and having our body washed with pure water,
23. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not; for he is faithful that promised :
24. And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works ;
25. Not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day draw. ing nigh.
(13) Tit. 2:13. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
their chief source of hope and comfort. The belief that Jesus was coming in glory to reign with His saints on the earth, during the Millennium, was almost universal with them.
But in the third century there arose a school of interpreters, headed by Origen, who so “spiritualized” the Scriptures that they ceased to believe in any literal Millennium whatsoever. Their system of interpretation has been severely condemned by Martin Luther, Dr. Adam Clarke and other commentators.
When Constantine was converted and the Roman empire became, nominally, Christian, it appeared to many that the Millennium had come, and that they had the kingdom on earth. The Church, hand in hand with the world, plunged into the dark ages, until awakened by the great reformers of the sixteenth century, who again began to proclaim the comforting hope and blessed promise of the coming of Christ; and since that time the subject so long neglected has been studied and preached with increasing interest. Indeed, in the last two centuries, it seems to have risen (with the doctrine of salvation by simple faith in a crucified Saviour) into somewhat the same prominence which it occupied in the early church. God be praised for it.
Millennium (Latin) is the same as Chiliad (Greek), and both mean a thousand years. Both terms stand for the doctrine of a future era of righteous government upon the earth, to last a thousand years.
Jewish writers throughout the Talmud hold that this Millennium will be chiefly characterized by the deliverance of the Jews from all their enemies, recovery of Palestine and the literal reign of their Messiah in unequaled splendor therein.
Pre-millennial Christians hold much in common with the Jews, but also that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Messiah; that He is to return to the earth and overthrow Satan, all ungodly government and lawlessness, and establish a kingdom of righteousness, having the Church, with Himself as sovereign, Jerusalem as the capital, regathered and converted Israel as the center, and all nations included in a universal, world-wide kingdom of pure and blessed government.
Post-millennialists, for the most part, hold that the present preaching of the gospel will result in the conversion of the world and usher in a golden era of righteousness and a government of justice and peace to last a thousand years, after which the Lord will return for a "general judgment" and introduction of an eternal state. It is well to have these distinctive views of the Millennium clearly in mind.
Contrary to the post-millennial view, the literal reign of Christ, with His saints, for a thousand years is plainly stated in the twentieth chapter of Revelation. Six times
(1) Rev. 20:1. And I saw an 2. And he laid hold on the angel come down from heaven, dragon, that old serpent, which having the key of the bottom is the Devil, and Satan, and less pit and a great chain in his bound him a thousand years, band.
3. And cast him into the bot
is the expression "A thousand years," repeated. Verses 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. The teaching is so plain that "wayfaring men shall not err therein." Isa. 35:8.
But those who oppose this "blessed hope," of the premillennial coming of our Lord usually begin their arguments by the assertion that the doctrine of the Millennium is nowhere taught in Scripture except in this 20th chapter of Revelation, and that the symbolical character of this book forbids our founding any doctrine upon it. The superficial character of such a statement is glaringly apparent from the fact that the Jews had fully developed the doctrine of the Millennium as the teaching of the Old Testament scriptures long before the Book of Revelation or any portion of the New Testament was written.
It was the view most frequently expressed in the Talmud that “the Messianic kingdom would last
thousand years," and this was commonly believed among the Jews. It is easy to discern upon what they founded the doctrine. It is the Sabbath of God's weeks.
The division of time into sevens, or weeks, permeates the Scriptures. A fundamental enactment of the Mosaic
tomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled : and after that he must be loosed a little season.
4. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection : on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
7. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8. 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 or whom is as the sand of the sea.
9. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.