« 이전계속 »
the False Prophet-cast in before him--are already " suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
And now, with regard to the First Resurrection.
It is most true, as our Author beautifully impresses upon his flock, that the Christian is even now raised with his Saviour, and made to " sit with Him in Heavenly Places.” It is most true that he has already undergone a real and most blessed Resurrection.
But the question is, Is this the particular Resurrection referred to in the chapter now under consideration, under the title of “the First Resurrection ?” We cannot believe it.
Professor Stewart, in reference to this portion of Scripture, remarks: “ The exigencies of the passage absolutely demand the sense of a bodily Resurrection. Indeed if this be not a position in the interpretation of Scripture which is fully made out by philology, I should be at a loss to designate one which is, from among the many difficult passages of the Sacred Volume."
It is objected, that the Seer only beholds “ the souls of them that were beheaded,” living, reigning, enthroned, judging. Therefore the whole vision refers exclusively to a spiritual Resurrection.
But does not S. Peter, when referring to the analogous case (plainly typical of the present) of those who were saved of old, from the watery deluge, describe them as “ few, that is eight souls 2" Why then should not those who are preserved to inherit domination over the renovated earth after the fiery deluge, be similarly designated as “souls 2" In fact, the use of this word tells neither for por against either theory of interpretation ?1 The word is merely indicative of personality; and seems to be here employed mainly for the purpose of expressing the absolute personal identity of those who are now seen reigning with CHRIST, with those who have heretofore suffered with Him-notwithstanding any outward change, transfiguration, glorification, that may have passed over them.
That the regenerate sons of God are not only risen with CHRIST, but do now and ever reign with Him, is a most sacred truth. But tbis vision refers us to the “manifestation of the sons of God" it reveals to us that glorious time when the Kingdom, originating from within, and in the realm of spirit, shall have unfolded and developed itself outwardly; when Christ and His Saints shall be visibly exalted, “ heirs of the world," rulers of the earth. And Holy Scripture uniformly teaches, that this exaltation and manifestation shall take place as soon as, and not until, Christ Himself appears a second time, for the destruction of His enemies and the salvation of His people.
As this is a point of considerable importance to the right un
1 Cf. Acts i. 4. “ The same day there were added to them three thousand souls :" ib. vii. 14, “ Joseph called his father Jacob to him and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls :" xxvii. 37, “And we were in all, in the ship, two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.”
as He over as, thereton Throne, w'victor
derstanding of the chapter before us, we will mention one or two out of the numerous passages where the particular time of the settingup of the Kingdom is referred to—with a view to corroborate our position that it is posterior to, and consequent upon, the destruction of Antichrist at our LORD's Second Advent.
And first—as we have seen-S. John categorically affirms, that the enthroned victors are they who“ have gotten the victory over the Beast and his Image.” Therefore their reign must succeed the overthrow of the Beast"whom the LORD shall consume with the Spirit of His Mouth, and destroy with the Brightness of His Coming."
Again. Christ has not yet assumed His own Throne. He is still seated on His Father's Throne; and we pray, “ Thy Kingdom come.” He has promised, moreover, that He will grant to him that overcometh to sit with Himself on His own Throne, even as He overcame, and is seated with His Father on the Father's Throne. As, therefore, it is unquestionably an exaltation with their LORD to His own Throne, which the Apostle sees here granted to Christ's fellow-sufferers and victors, ("they lived, and reigned with CHRIST,”) and as this exaltation and reward are not to be realised till the LORD again appears, we see additional reason for removing the period and sphere of the vision, from the First Advent (as maintained by our Author,) to the Second Advent.
Isaiah, as we have already seen, fixes the period of the inauguration of the Kingdom at the same critical juncture; not at the First Advent, but at the Second. It is “ when the extortioner is at an end,” and “ the spoiler ceaseth, and the oppressors are consumed out of the land,” (i.e. when Antichrist and his hosts are destroyed,) that “in mercy shall the Throne be established, and He shall sit upon it."
In another place the Prophet specifies the time when the earthly glories of the Kingdom shall be revealed. It is when the earth is « clean dissolved" and "removed,” when the “ City of Confusion is broken down,” when the LORD of Hosts has 6 punished the host of the high ones” and “the kings of the earth :" then it shall be, that the “moon shall be confounded and the sun ashamed when the LORD of Hosts shall reign in Mount Sion, and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients gloriously.” (Isa. xxiv.)
Just as in chap. lix., we read of the Enemy coming in like a flood, and the Spirit of the LORD withstanding him. Immediately after which we are told that “the Redeemer shall come to Zion," (a yet unfulfilled Prophecy, as S. Paul assures us, Rom. xi. 26,) and shall establish that Kingdom of Peace and Righteousness, the earthly and Israelitish glories of which the succeeding chapter (Isa. Ix.) depicts in such bright and glowing colours.
i Although this passage refers primarily to the reign of Hezekiah, yet its ulterior reference to a greater King is obvious. In the Douay Version it is thus rendered : “ The dust is at an end ; the Wretch is consumed. He hath failed that trod the earth under foot. And a Throne shall be prepared in Mercy, and One shall sit upon it in Truth in the Tabernacle of David, judging."
And Daniel's testimony is precisely to the same effect; who clearly reveals that it is only after the destruction of Antichrist and his host, that the “Dominion and glory and kingdom ” are given to the “Son of Man, Who comes in the clouds of Heaven to take possession of them” (Dan. vii. 13, 14). And who shall share the kingdom with Him? The Prophet proceeds to add, that at the same period—the time of the end, when the judgment shall sit (“ I saw Thrones, and they sat upon them,”) and Antichrist's dominion is taken away—“ the kingdom, and dominion, and greatness of the kingdom under the whole Heaven, shall be given to the people of the Saints of the Most High.”
But the whole of Old Testament Prophecy attests this : that the Kingdom, which S. John refers to in the 20th chapter of the Revelation, has not yet come; and that the present Dispensation is but a short prelude and preparation for it. The Kingdom belongs to Christ and His Saints; but the Saints are not yet gathered in ; the number of the Elect is not yet made up; the sacred Company in Paradise are waiting for their “ perfection," which cannot be theirs until the full complement of their brethren, still in the flesh, or yet unborn, is added to them : meanwhile the Kingdom is deferred. The coming Royalty belongs jointly to the Bridegroom and the Bride. But the loving Bridegroom assumes not His Throne, till His “ Bride hath made herself ready," and till she is fully prepared to share the Dominion with Him. As the Prophet Zachariah declares, “ The LORD my God shall come, and all the Saints with Thee ;” and then, he adds, “The LORD shall be King over all the earth.”
And do not our LORD's own words agree precisely with this order of events? He promises to His Apostles, and to those which have “ followed Him," that they shall “sit on Thrones, judging," (cf. Rev. xx. 4; “I saw Thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.”) But when is this judicial enthronization to take place ? During the present Dis. pensation? In Heaven, before our LORD's Second Coming ? No: but hereafter. “In the Regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the Throne of His Glory, ye also shall sit on Thrones.” (S. Matt. xix. 28.)
The “Son of Man," we repeat, is not yet seated “on the Throne of His Glory." He is still “seated with the FATHER ON His Throne.” The Saints, therefore, cannot yet have taken their Thrones, or received their Dominion. For this they are still in arxious expectation. “Do ye not know that the Saints shall judge the world ?” “Do ye not know that we shall judge An. gels ?” “They shall be Kings and Priests, and shall reign on the earth.” “For unto the Angels He hath not put in subjection
with shall comhall be Korps Oures to
perdicial eac judgmen: *2.4
pensation ? In ization to take unto them.”) abid they sat upor
the world to come.” He hath put “all things under the feet” of “ man and the Son of Man :" although (as the Apostle adds,) this universal subjection to CHRIST and His Saints, is not yet actually realised, “We see not yet all things put under Him.”
The blessed ones seen by S. John in the vision before us, are plainly those “faithful and wise servants," elsewhere spoken of by the Evangelist,“ whom their Lord when He cometh shall make rulers over all that He hath.” .
The whole Church, struggling, and at rest, is earnestly looking for the coming back of the Nobleman, who hath “ gone into a far country to receive for Himself a kingdom, and to return” in order to enter upon His Royalty. He will shortly reappear to take His Throne: and then, and not till then, will He make the faithful ones who have been true to Him during His absence, partakers of His Dominion; giving one, authority over five cities; another, authority over ten cities : according to their several capacities, and degrees of fidelity. “This parable,” says S. Luke, “He spake, because they thought that the Kingdom of God should immediately appear.”
We think, then, that the above passages are amply sufficient to show that the sequence of events as given by S. John in the 20th chapter, is simply in strict and accurate accordance with the relative positions of those same events as predicted in other portions of God's Word.
The Seer represents the time elapsing between our LORD's First and Second Advents as a short, uncertain, broken period—a half week—three years and a half (a number of mystic significance)-a period which shall doubtless terminate in a brief critical season of, literally, three years and a half, wherein the whole mystery of iniquity and of godlessness which has secretly characterised the era, shall come out into a shortlived but intense manifestation, and all the hidden processes of good and evil now silently working and counterworking shall be openly revealed. And what shall succeed this troublous three years and a half, this broken time of suffering and agitation and unrest ? . It shall give place, says the Apostle, to a thousand years of rest and peace and joy and triumph. Now, explain this we cannot ; believe it we must. And we are persuaded that any attempt to dislocate the consecutive portions of the Revelation, either by making the three years and a half coincident and conterminous with the thousand years, or by placing the thousand years before the three and a half, will only be found to introduce confusion and uncertainty, and needless difficulty into the interpretation of the Prophetic Records.
But is this period of manifested triumph—this thousand years of peace and rest—the consummation of all things? Does it coincide with the eternal state of the Blessed ? By no means. We must not, as so many do, confound the Seventh Day-the Day of
fills up the be great forow the Albo debes the pocalyps Church, sy which slother respes of the
Rest—with the Everlasting Octave. This confusion is most fatal to the right interpretation of Scripture Prophecy.
If—as is so constantly maintained—the Eternal State-the endless Bliss of Heaven, succeeds immediately upon our Lord's Second Appearing, and the destruction of Antichrist; then, where and when will all the glorious predictions respecting the future dignity, universality, dominion of God's Church on earth receive their accomplishment ? When shall the glad promises made to “Israel after the flesh " be realized ? Plainly never. By some indefinite and unsatisfactory spiritualizing process, they are evacuated of all distinct meaning, and one after another explained away.
We must remember that, to the Old Testament seers, the present Gentile Dispensation, between the fall and restoration of Israel while the "complement of the nations ” is being gathered in-appears a mere parenthesis. The course of Prophecy is, as it were, arrested till God's ancient people again comes upon the stage. The Apocalypse fills up the biatus ; tells us of the fortunes of the Holy Catholic Church, of the great Gentile ingathering, and the coming Gentile Apostasy which shall throw the Apostasy of ancient Israel into the shade. In many other respects also does the Revelation of S. John supplement the disclosures of the Old Testament Prophets. The latter tell us of the coming terrestrial glories of Restored Israel, the former of the unutterable exaltation of the “Bride the Lamb’s Wife:" the one speak of the renewed earth, the other of the New Heavens: the one of earthly Jerusalem, the other of the Mystic City which “ descendeth from God out of Heaven, having the glory of God."
S. John's Revelation, moreover, proceeds a whole stage further than the revelations of the Old Testament. Nothing appears to us more plain than that the “ New Heavens and new earth” described by Isaiah and S. John are not identical. Old Testament Prophecy extends but to the Seventh Day, and reveals to us the earthly glories of Israel during that Seventh Day. The Apocalypse of the New Testament carries us on through that period, to the Universal Restitution and Transfiguration : “ There shall be no more curse."
The Millennial state of which the ancient Prophets speak, is evidently not one of perfection. The curse is not entirely removed, or sin done, for ever, away. It is a state of things compatible with the mysterious announcement made by S. John, that ere its close, and prior to the universal judgment of Márta tá čovn, Satan shall be loosed for a little season from his prison, in order to seal his everlasting doom, and to manifest to the whole spiritual universe the tremendous justice of the sentence about to be irreversibly pronounced upon bim; in order to show moreover the weakness of untransfigured human nature even in its best state, and to offer to the hitherto untempted denizens of the renovated earth a shortlived but awful crisis of probation.