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Christ’s Second Coming: Will It be Premillennial?

Database

Christ’s Second Coming: Will It be Premillennial?

James Dodson

BY THE

REV. DAVID BROWN, D.D.,

ST JAMES’ FREE CHURCH, GLASGOW


“Qua propter, qui dicit Dominum citius esse venturum optabilius loquitur, sed periculosius fallitur. Utinam ergo sit verum; quia erit molestum si non verum. Qui autem dicit Dominum tardius esse venturum, et tamen credit, sperat, amat ejus adventum, profecto de tarditate ejus etiamsi fallitur, feliciter fallitur. Habebit enim majorem patientiam, si hoc ita erit; majorem lætitiam si non erit. Ac per hoc, ab eis qui diligunt manifestationem Domini ille auditur suavius, isti creditur tutius.”—AUGUSTIN, Epist. cxcix.


FOURTH EDITION

EDINBURGH:

JOHNSTONE & HUNTER 104 HIGH STREET

LONDON: GROOMBRIDGE & SONS

M.DCCC.LVI.


PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION


IN this edition the text, without undergoing any important change, has been, it is hoped, considerably improved throughout. The additions—chiefly in the notes, but partly also in the text—which the replies to the second edition have rendered necessary, are more than counterbalanced, in point of extent, by the retrenchments which it has been found practicable to make; so that the bulk of the work is rather diminished than increased.

The courtesy and candour with which Mr Elliott has adverted to my arguments, in the fourth edition of his “Horæ Apocalypticæ,” I have endeavoured to reciprocate. My only regret is, that he has not seen it consistent with his plan to do more than touch, in the most cursory manner, upon some points which seem to me to be the hinges of this whole controversy. This, however, cannot be said of Mr Wood’s recent work, “The Last Things,” in which the whole contents, not only of the second edition of my book, but of the first too—which contained a large quantity of matter not in the second—are subjected to a minute and laborious examination. To the arguments of this work I have endeavoured to do all justice, passing by only such as seemed to call for no special notice, or to be sufficiently answered by the simple repetition of the statements which called them forth.*

In conclusion, I would here devoutly acknowledge the blessing vouchsafed to this book, in the establishment of so many minds unsettled on the subject of which it treats. The way in which the New York reprint of it has been received, encourages the hope that on that side of the Atlantic, as on this, scriptural views of the prospects of the Church may continue to prevail. May the Lord keep the eye of the Church—amid all the indications, whether of a dark, of a bright, or of a mingled Future, which the events of our time may be thought to present—upon “that Day” when He shall be “revealed from heaven in flaming fire,” to the terror of his enemies, and the joy of his waiting people. If this be our habitual attitude, it will matter comparatively little “whether He shall come in the second watch,” as one class think, “or come in the third or fourth watch,” as others think; for in either case, when He cometh we shall open to him immediately.

GLASGOW, November 1852.


PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION


I HAVE to apologise for the great length of time during which this volume has been allowed to go out of print, owing to other engagements and frequent interruptions.

In this edition the changes are chiefly in the notes. The reader will find in the foot-notes frequent references to Mr Birks’ “Outlines of Unfulfilled Prophecy” (1854), commencing at p. 80. I hope I have overlooked nothing of any consequence in that acute and excellent author’s treatise, though it was impossible to take up his arguments at length in the text without re-writing some portions of the work altogether, and certainly not with advantage. This remark is still more applicable to “Plain Papers on Prophetic and other Subjects” (1854), to which I have made but an occasional reference. The school of prophetic interpretation to which its gentle and respected anonymous author belongs, is one whose principles would require separate investigation. I have had occasion to touch upon them more than once in the course of this volume, but could not do more than indicate my views of such a mode of interpretation. I have made some use, both in the text and in the notes, of Mr Molyneux’s two volumes, entitled, “Israel’s Future” (fourth thousand, 1853), and “The World to Come” (1853). The extreme opinions of this advocate of premillennialism throw an instructive light on that mode of Old Testament interpretation which seems to make it the key to the New Testament. The revision of this edition was too far advanced ere Mr Waldegrave issued his Bampton Lecture (1855), for me to make any use of it, which I greatly regret. Differing from him as I do in his view of the events symbolised by the millennial resurrection, I could still have wished to give some passages of his work in full, as they put certain points in the argument very happily, and some of its criticisms on Mr Birks’ work, in particular, are, in my judgment, conclusive and forcible. The work displays a thorough knowledge of the subject and its literature, and breathes a fine evangelical tone throughout.

Since the revision of pp. 185–187 was completed, I have received the following criticism from a clerical brother of another denomination, which I have his permission to insert here, along with his name. It is on the question, whether the expression ἐκ νεκρῶν, when used of the Resurrection, necessarily means a resurrection “from amongst dead persons,” and implies, that after one class is raised another class remain dead behind them. The accuracy of the criticism must, I think, be admitted, as well as the ingenuity of the reference:—

“The main question is, Does ἐκ τῶν νεκ. or ἐκ νεκρῶν, necessarily mean ‘from among dead persons’? Is it true, is stated by Mr Wood, that it cannot mean ‘the state of the dead’? The following passage, I imagine, settles the point conclusively: Heb. 11:19, Λογισάμενος, ὅτι καὶ ἐκ νεκρῶν ἐγείρειν δυνατὸς ὁ Θεός ὅθεν, ‘out of the dead whence,’ &c. Here it is undoubtedly the dead state, for to that only can ὅθεν, ‘whence,’ be applied.

“Ἐκ νεκρῶν being thus in one case, ‘dead state,’ wherever else it is employed we must employ it in the same meaning, or show a reason why it must have a different meaning. Now, I am not aware of any passage in which the phrase occurs in reference to Christ or John the Baptist,—where any argument or peculiarity of thought depends on its being rendered ‘from among dead persons,’ rather than from the dead state; and in most cases, if not in all, the prominent idea is that they were dead but are now alive.

“It follows that the two or three passages in which ἐκ occurs in connection with a future resurrection cannot be depended on, philologically, in support of the theory of two resurrections, seeing that, even when it is applied to a resurrection in which we know as a fact that others remained unraised, there is no proof that it was used to indicate that fact.

“JAMES INGLIS.

“JOHNSTONE, 4th October 1855.”


I cannot but here advert to the removal, since the last edition of this volume was issued, of that Christian nobleman, the Duke of Manchester, from this scene of darkness. May those who still sojourn in it remember that here “we know in part.” So forcibly do I feel this, that though, when revising the text a good while ago, I thought it my duty to let one or two notes remain, which I should most gladly have expunged had the criticism to which they refer been withdrawn (e.g., p. 47), I think it probable, that had the sheets not been printed off, I should now have withdrawn them notwithstanding, in order that, if we cannot quite see “eye to eye,” we may do our best to feel heart to heart, as brethren in the common hope of the Lord’s appearing.

GLASGOW, May 1856.


CONTENTS



INTRODUCTION

Opening Remarks

Premillennial Theory stated

Diversities not taken into account

Prejudices in favour of the Premillennial Advent

Prejudices against it

Irrelevant Matter

CHAPTER I

CHRIST’S SECOND APPEARING THE CHURCH’S BLESSED HOPE

Scriptural Proofs of this

Not his Coming to Individuals at Death

CHAPTER II

THE HOPE OF THE ADVENT IN RELATION TO THE QUESTION OF TIME

Objection: Looking for Christ’s Coming is impossible, on supposition of any certain intervening Period of a Thousand Years

Plausibility of this Objection, and necessity of examining it

Preliminary Explanations: No importance is attached, in this argument, to the precise period of a thousand years; and there is every reason to believe that the commencement and the close of the Latter Day will be shrouded in such obscurity as to leave the same uncertainty overhanging this as all the great periods of the Divine Economy

The Objection tested by Facts—ROLLOCK—RUTHERFORD

ROBERT WODROW

Bearing of these Facts

The Objection founded on a narrow induction of Scripture Passages, and opposed to the spirit of a large and important class of Divine Testimonies

Examples of Passages announcing the work to be done, and the extensive changes to come over the face of the Church and of Society, between the two advents, all implying length of time

Christ’s Commission to his Disciples

Parables of the Tares and Wheat, the Net, the Mustard Seed, the Leaven

Transfer of Kingdom of God from Jews to Gentiles

Degeneracy to characterise the Maturer Periods of the Church, or Christianised society

Christ in Heaven till Restitution of all Things

Parables which intimate that He will be away a long time—that He will tarry

That He will wear out the patience of all but “God’s Elect,” and try even them to the uttermost

The Thessalonian Excitement on the subject of Christ’s Coming

How treated by the Apostle

Import of the Apostolic Warning

Distinction between Events and Periods unavailing

Early Chiliasts—Lactantius

Excitement in regard to Christ’s Coming—its Evils

Difference between Feverish Expectation and the Patience of Hope

CHAPTER III

THE CHURCH, OR MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST, COMPLETE AT HIS COMING

The three preceding Chapters preliminary to the proper question of this volume, namely, Whether the Second Advent will be Premillennial, or will introduce a Kingdom of Men in the Flesh ruled over by Christ and glorified Saints for a thousand years? 52

The Scripture Evidence against this Theory to be arranged under a series of Propositions, 52

PROPOSITION FIRST: THE CHURCH WILL BE ABSOLUTELY COMPLETE AT CHRIST’S COMING

Scripture Proof of this, 53

The Opposite View destitute of support, 58

What do the Premillennialists say to this? It divides them into two classes: 63

First Class—admit that the Church is complete when Christ comes. Examples—HOMES,

BURNET

PERRY

BURCHELL, 68

Remarks on this Class, 70

Second Class, embracing nearly all modern Premillennialists—deny that the Church is complete when Christ comes. Remarks on this Class,

Their inconsistency, 72

Summary, 78

Supplementary Remarks—In reply to Mr Bickersteth, the Duke of Manchester, and Mr A. Bonar,

CHAPTER IV

ALL THE MEANS OF GRACE, AND AGENCIES OF SALVATION, TERMINATE AT THE SECOND ADVENT

PROPOSITION SECOND: CHRIST’S SECOND COMING WILL EXHAUST THE OBJECT OF THE SCRIPTURES

Object of the Scriptures as regards Saints, 96

Object of the Scriptures as regards Sinners, 98

Objection answered, 99

PROPOSITION THIRD: THE SEALING ORDINANCES WILL DISAPPEAR AT CHRIST’S SECOND COMING

BAPTISM

THE LORD’S SUPPER

The foregoing Conclusions admitted by Mr Brooks, 104

By Mr Bickersteth, 106

By Dr M‘Neile, 107

Summary, 108

CHAPTER V

THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED

PROPOSITION FOURTH: THE INTERCESSION OF CHRIST, AND THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT, FOR SAVING PURPOSES, WILL CEASE AT THE SECOND ADVENT

Christ’s INTERCESSION, 110

WORK OF THE SPIRIT, 114

Both terminate at Second Advent, 115

Extracts from Premillennialists in confirmation of this, 116

Summary, 117

CHAPTER VI

THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST—ALREADY IN BEING—ITS MILLENNIAL ESSENTIALLY THE SAME WITH ITS PRESENT CHARACTER

Premillennial Theory of Christ’s Kingdom, 119

PROPOSITION FIFTH: CHRIST’S PROPER KINGDOM IS ALREADY IN BEING; COMMENCING FORMALLY ON HIS ASCENSION TO THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, AND CONTINUING UNCHANGED, BOTH IN CHARACTER AND FORM, TILL THE FINAL JUDGMENT

Explanations, 124

Apostolic Views of Christ’s Kingdom

Same Ground taken by Premillennialists and Unbelieving Jews, 127

Lord and Christ, 129

Throne of David, 130

The Priest upon his Throne, 132

The Lamb in the Midst of the Throne, 133

The Key, and Throne, and House of David, 133

The Prince of Life, 136

The Times of Restitution, 137

The Disciples’ View of the Second Psalm, 140

The Prince and Saviour, 141

Apostolic Commentaries on the Hundred and Tenth Psalm, 142

The Kingdom to be delivered up—What it is, 144

The Last Enemy destroyed, 147

Delivering up of the Kingdom—What it is, 149

Delivering up of the Kingdom—What it is not, 151

CHAPTER VII

THE ENTIRE CHURCH “MADE ALIVE”—EITHER BY RESURRECTION OR TRANSFORMATION—AT CHRIST’S COMING

Alleged everlasting continuance of the Fleshly State, 156

Mr Bickersteth, 156

Mr Birks, 158

Mr Brock—Mr Lord, 159

Remarks on this view, 160

PROPOSITION SIXTH: WHEN CHRIST COMES, THE WHOLE CHURCH OF GOD WILL BE MADE ALIVE AT ONCE—THE DEAD BY RESURRECTION, AND THE LIVING, IMMEDIATELY THEREAFTER, BY TRANSFORMATION; THEIR “MORTALITY BEING SWALLOWED UP OF LIFE,”

Proof of this, 164

Objection, 167

Reply, 167

Supplementary Remarks—in reply to Dr H. Bonar,

CHAPTER VIII

RESURRECTION OF ALL THE WICKED AT THE COMING OF CHRIST

PROPOSITION SEVENTH: ALL THE WICKED WILL RISE FROM THE DEAD, OR BE “MADE ALIVE,” AT THE COMING OF CHRIST

A prior Resurrection of the Righteous—but one direct passage alleged for it, 178

Presumptive Arguments in favour of it examined, 179

Resurrection of Believers peculiar to themselves, 180

Dutch Remonstrants, 181

Attaining to the Resurrection from the Dead, 182

Resurrection of, and from, the Dead, 185

Righteous and Wicked “awake” together, 187

The Sleepers in the Dust awaking, some to Life, and some to Contempt, 188

All in the Graves come forth together, 189

The view which Premillennialists take of this not tenable, 190

The Righteous, while the Tares are burning, shine forth as the sun in their Father’s Kingdom, 194

The Great White Throne, 194

The Book of Life—Mr Dallas, 195

Mr Lord—Mr Birks, 196

Mr Hill, 197

The Dead, small and great, 198

The “other Book,” 201

Summary, 203

CHAPTER IX

SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED: THE MILLENNIAL RESURRECTION—LITERAL OR FIGURATIVE?

Presumptions against the Literal Sense

Untenable Arguments for the Figurative Sense, 215

Nine Internal Evidences that the Millennial Resurrection is not Literal but Figurative:—

First Argument

Second Argument

Third Argument

Fourth Argument

Fifth Argument

Sixth Argument

Seventh Argument

Eighth Argument

Ninth Argument

Summary, 241

CHAPTER X

JUDGMENT OF RIGHTEOUS AND WICKED TOGETHER—AT CHRIST’S COMING

Premillennialists spread the Judgment over the whole Thousand Years, 243

Mr Brooks’ View, and Remarks on it, 244

Messrs Elliott, Bonars, and Wood, 246

Olshausen and Mr Dallas, 249

Mede, Bickersteth, Birks, 250

Remarks on this last View, 251

PROPOSITION EIGHTH: THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED WILL BE JUDGED TOGETHER, AND BOTH AT THE COMING OF CHRIST

Scriptural Proof of this, 254

Summary, 269

CHAPTER XI

THE CONFLAGRATION, AND THE NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH, AT THE COMING OF CHRIST

Final Conflagration as described in Scripture, 273

Mr Burgh’s, Mr Tyso’s, and Mr Ogilvy’s View of it, 275

Mr Elliott’s and Mr A. Bonar’s View of it, 277

Universality of it, 279

All-involving, all-reducing, 282

New Heavens and New Earth—Peopled by whom? 285

No Sinners in the New Heavens and New Earth, 286

PROPOSITION NINTH: AT CHRIST’S SECOND APPEARING “THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH THAT ARE NOW,” BEING DISSOLVED BY FIRE, SHALL GIVE PLACE TO “NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH, WHEREIN DWELLETH RIGHTEOUSNESS” WITHOUT ANY MIXTURE OF SIN—GOOD UNALLOYED BY THE LEAST EVIL

Summary of whole preceding Argument, 289


PART II

THE MILLENNIUM


CHAPTER I

THE MILLENNIUM—HOW BROUGHT ABOUT

Dr M‘Neile, 293

Mr Brooks, 294

Mr Tyso, Mr Ogilvy—Remarks on their Views, 295

Messrs Bonar, 296

Their Views tried by the Redeemer’s Words, 297

All Nations brought in before Christ comes, 298

Dr H. Bonar and Dr Bogue, 299

Missionary Effort paralysed, 299

Judgments—Effusion of the Spirit, 301

Christ’s Personal Appearing—Miracles, 302

Church’s present Resources all-sufficient, 303

CHAPTER II

NATURE OF THE MILLENNIUM—NOT A STATE OF UNMIXED RIGHTEOUSNESS

A Millennium without Sin pictured by Premillennialists, 305

But not Believed in, 308

Tares in the Field during the Millennium, 310

Not gathered out till end of Millennium, 311

Parables illustrating Christ’s Kingdom, 312

Why the Millennium is not in them, 313

Millennium belongs to the mixed state of the Church, 313

CHAPTER III

NATURE OF THE MILLENNIUM—JUST THE FULL DEVELOPMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF GRACE IN ITS EARTHLY STATE

Nebuchadnezzar’s Vision

Mede on this Vision, 316

The Stone becoming a Mountain, 317

Same View given in our Lord’s Parables regarding the Kingdom, 318

The Kingdom wins the victory, 319

The Victory—its Nature, 320

Daniel’s Vision, 321

The two Visions compared, 323

Judgment of Antichrist—What, 325

Wherein different from Last Judgment, 326

Universal Dominion given to Christ, 328

Kingdom given to the Saints, 330

Substance of the Visions, 331

Destruction of Antichrist gradual, 332

The Warfare not Carnal, 333

The Victory—slow but sure, 334

The eventual Triumph, 336

Note—in reply to Dr H. Bonar, 337

CHAPTER IV

NO MILLENNIAL REVIVAL OF JEWISH PECULIARITIES

Jewish Literalism—its Christian Advocates, 338

Mr Fry, 339

Mr Freemantle, 340

Mr Brock, 341

Mr Pym—Remarks, 342

Literalism at a stand, 343

Handle given to the Jew, 344

Literalism self-contradictory, 345

Literalism contradicts the New Testament, 347

Jewish Peculiarities for ever gone, 348

Jewish Ceremonies still expected, 349

Increase Mather on the Ceremonies, 349

Ezekiel’s Temple, 351

The Beggarly Elements, 352

Antiquated Shadows, 353

Admirable views of the Duke of Manchester, 353

Summary, 357

CHAPTER V

NO MILLENNIAL MIXTURE OF FAITH AND SIGHT

This as set forth by Mr Brooks, 359

Mr Elliott, Mr Lord, Mr Birks, 360

Dr M‘Neile, Mr Maitland, Mr Wood, 361

Faith and Sight—Grace and Glory—thus coincident, 362

Incongruity of this, as expressed by Perry, 363

Dr H. Bonar—The Pavilion-Cloud, 364

Either way—whether Christ visible or invisible to mortal men—alike objectionable, 365

CHAPTER VI

WAY OF SALVATION NO LESS NARROW DURING THE MILLENNIUM THAN NOW

Dr M‘Neile, 366

Mr Maitland, Mr Wood, Mr Brooks, 367

Remarks on their Views—Millennial Rest, 368

Strait Gate—Narrow Way, 369

Millennial Warfare—Lust of Flesh and Eye, and Pride of Life, will need resistance then even as now, 371

Summary, 373

CHAPTER VII

MILLENNIAL BINDING OF SATAN—WHAT IT IS NOT, AND WHAT IT IS

He that committeth Sin is of the Devil, 375

Satan stripped of the power of Death over, and bruised under, none but Believers, 376

Bearing of these Truths, 377

Binding of Satan—What it is, 378

Apocalyptic Language illustrative of this—“Satan’s Seat” or “Throne,” 379

Satan “cast out—His place not found”—Fall of Paganism denoted, 379

This Victory—How obtained, 381

Symbolic Language of the Apocalypse, 383

Satan’s Defeat in Antichrist’s Destruction, 384

Meaning is, No party for Satan during the Millennium, 385

How effected, 386

Supplementary Remarks—in reply to Dr H. Bonar, Mr Wood, &c.

1. Extent of Satanic Restraint—Durham, 387

Vitringa, 388

Hengstenberg, 389

2. How Satan will be Restrained, 390

Apocalyptic Phraseology on this point, 391

Human Instrumentality, 392

This View sustained by Christ himself, 393

Confirmatory Extracts—Andreas, Paræus, Marckius, 394

Edwards, Faber, 395

Yet not urged confidently, 396

CHAPTER VIII

LEADING FEATURES OF LATTER DAY—ITS CLOSE, AND THE “LITTLE SEASON” TO SUCCEED IT, UP TO THE LORD’S PERSONAL APPEARING

In what sense the latter day is to be viewed as in the Prophecies, 397

Leading Features of the Latter Day: 398

Universal Diffusion of Revealed Truth, 398

Universal Reception of true Religion, and unlimited subjection to the Sceptre of Christ, 399

Universal Peace, 401

Much spiritual Power and Glory, 403

Inbringing of all Israel, 406

Ascendency of Truth and Righteousness in human affairs, 409

Great Temporal Prosperity, 411

Setting of the Millennium Sun—The Decline gradual, 413

Satan at length let Loose, 415

The “Little Season,” 416

Nature and Extent of the “Deception,” 417

The Assault—its Object, 418

Vastness and Confidence of the Enemy, 419

The Last Crisis, 420

Christ at length comes to Judgment, 421


PART III


OBJECTIONS

Objection First

Second

Third

Fourth

Fifth

Sixth

Seventh

Other Objections—General Reply, 452

Principle of these Objections—Exaggerated Views of Difference between the Present and the Millennial Era, 453

Grand Distinctions held forth in New Testament—NATURE and GRACE—GRACE and GLORY; and corresponding to these, the FIRST and SECOND Comings of THE CHURCH’S LORD, 453

Why the Millennium is in the Apocalypse only, 453

Uncertainty of Commencement and Close of Latter Day [also of “Little Season” to follow it], and, consequently, of the Period of Christ’s Coming, 453

The “Soons” and “Quicklies” of Scripture, 454

CONCLUSION