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(11.) 6 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and he that sat on him was called faithful and true, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written that no man knew but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; and his name is called the Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen white and clean.” (Rev. xix. 11–14.)
Unless we set aside our rule of interpreting literally all the words of inspiration, which, when so interpreted, speak of spiritual, infinite, and everlasting realities, this whole passage, together with its following connection, foretells and describes the Lord's second coming, with the armies of heaven," all in battle array, “to judge and make war" with his enemies, when, with “the sword of his mouth," he will smite them in an instant, with a slaughter in which not one of their whole army, composing the anti-christian “beast," “ free and bond, small and great,"'* will escape; while, on the side of the Lord, not one of them will be either slain or wounded. And unless we do proceed on this principle of interpreting the prophecies of Christ's second advent, or if we rather interpret such mighty realities of the Spirit as mere figures of carnal trifles in the comparison, we naturally convert the solemn truth of this otherwise clear and powerful instruction, into spiritual “lasciviousness” and nonsensical jargon, which strengthens "the hands of the wicked," and makes " the heart of the righteous sad.”'t Since there is no passage of holy writ, which, on the present followed principle of interpretation, describes the oft-foretold return of the Lord to be anything less than his own personal coming to judgment, while, on this principle, every prophet, from Moses to Revelation, is most naturally understood, even by a child, as foretelling none other than a personal coming, this part of the subject is now submitted, to give place, as proposed, to another.
II. The events coming to pass with Christ's second advent are next to be noticed.
From what has been already presented, of the manner of the advent, much is naturally understood of the events to accompany it; so that, from this circumstance and want of limits, this part of the subject must be less full than the preceding.
1. A GENERAL RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.
At the approaching second advent of Christ, there will be a resurrection of the dead. It will not be my object here to prove that there will be a resurrection of all that sleep in the dust of the earth.” This doctrine is already sufficiently established by the holy writers, and the followers of Christ of course believe it, or they are still but Sadducees, or unbelievers in disguise. Neither shall I attempt to answer the queries of vain curiosity, in being wise above what is revealed on the subject of the resurrection. But as Christ's second coming has, in this age of darkness and declension in Israel, been by so many very widely separated from the resurrection of the dead, a few passages may be given, which connect these two great events together.
" Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that sleep in dust. --- And the earth shall cast out the dead. --- For behold, the Lord cometh out of his place, to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth also shall disclose her blood and no more cover her slain.” (Isa. xxvi. 19-21.)
In this passage the prophet clearly and repeatedly connects the resurrection of the dead with the Lord's coming again, his coming to judgment, or coming out of his place, to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.”
* And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people --- and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Dan. xii. 1, 2.)
Understanding this “ Michael, the great Prince,” to be the mighty “ Archangel," or Christ, who alone will be Captain of the heavenly hosts at the final deliverance of all the saints, and who alone has power of his own sufficient to conquer for them, this passage foretells the second or final coming of Christ, and connects it with the resurrection of the dead of both classes, saints and sinners. Then, as the Scriptures foretell but one coming of the Lord, after the first, and no resurrection of the dead except at his yet future coming, we seem authorized, by the instruction of this passage, to conclude that all the promises of Christ's coming again are to be fulfilled only at the resurrection of the dead, though in many places his coming is given without the express mention of the resurrection in its connection.
Christ also virtually connects the resurrection with his " coming in the clouds of heaven,'' by saying that "his elect” shall then be gathered " from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other,"* since such a gathering cannot then take place, without the necessary resurrection of the dead.
Paul also thus represents it, by speaking of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.”'t “And them also which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him.” “ For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven --- and the dead in Christ shall rise.”I From these and other passages on Christ's coming again, or the resurrection, it will appear, on fairly examining them, that, in all cases, they harmonize among themselves, if considered as coming to pass together or at the same time; but will never literally make sense, by supposing them to come the one long before the other.
Although various prophecies have impressed me with the belief that there will be but one period for the resurrection both “of the just and of the unjust," and that to be at the sudden moment of the Lord's coming, I have no controversy on the point with those who place what is called the “ first resurrection” even “a thousand years” before the resurrection of the wicked; while they agree with me, that, at Christ's coming, the saints, soul and body, will all receive their everlasting, great reward, and the souls of the wicked will at the same time be "cast into the (eternal] lake of
As to what bodies the saints will possess, on being raised, it must satisfy us, at present, to know that Christ has said, that " in the resurrection they shall be as the angels of God in heaven ;''and that an inspired apostle has said, that their bodies, on being raised, will be “spiritual,” incorruptible, and glorious. And with regard to the resurrection bodies of the wicked, we have no particular description of them in the Bible, and doubtless so, because its revelation would not have been profitable instruction for saints or sinners.
2. The Final CONFLAGRATION.
At the second advent will be the great conflagration, or burning up of the earth, with all the enemies of God. The following are among the most conspicuous passages which speak of this conflagration.
" Behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yca, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble ; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave thein neither root nor branch.” (Mal. iv. 1.)
+ 1 Thess. iii. 13.
* Matt. xxiv. 30, 31. Ø Matt. xxii. 30.
11 Thess. iv. 14, 16. 1 1 Cor. x.v. 42–44.
“ But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the clements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up.” (2 Peter iii. 10.)
Though I have no confidence in the scientific theory now somewhat popular, that this conflagration is to be by the literal fire, which is now burning in the bowels of the earth, finally to burst out and burn up the earth and the sea, we may all rest assured, that the dissolution of all carnal things, and the utter destruction of the enemies of God, on that occasion, will be inconceivably greater and more terri. ble than we can now possibly imagine from this terrible figurative representation of the event. The fire which is to devour the wicked, we are informed, is unquenchable and "everlasting ;* but that which is in the earth is but a part of the earth itself, which must then pass away, flee away,t or be utterly consumed, as variously described in Scripture, all representing the same thing.
3. THE New HEAVENS AND New EARTH.
A "new heaven” or “heavens, and a new earth,” are to be created for the saints' eternal abode, at the second coming of Christ. The passages which show it, are as follows:
“ Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth ; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But, be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create.” (Isa. Ixv. 17, 18.) “Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2 Pet. iii. 13.) “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea.”' (Rev. xxi. 1.)
The connection of these several prophecies of the “new earth” and “new heavens,” shows them all as the prophecy of one event, and that event to take place at the coming of the Lord, at the creation of "all things new,''I when all the saints, soul and body, shall enter and dwell with their glorious Redeemer, and all the holy angels, in this " nero earth,” being then the kingdom of heaven, " forever” and ever.S The location of this glorious and everlasting kinga dom and abode of all the saints, (after the resurrection, and corning into it of Christ and all his glorious kingdom now above,) is to be and remain precisely where this earth now stands, as all the prophecies on the subject leave us to understand. Its excellency, beauty, and glory are abun
* Mark ix. 43, 44. Matt. xxv. 41. | Rev. xxi. 5.
+ Rev. xx. 11, & xxi. 1.
Isa. Ixv. 17, 18.
dantly described in the twenty-first chapter of Revelation and in its parallel passages; and with regard to the unrevealed supposed nice particulars concerning it, we shall doubtless be wisest to content ourselves with allowing such " secret things to belong unto the Lord our God."*
4. THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.
At the coming of Christ again, will come also the great day of judgment, and end of the world. Then the universe of beings mentioned in the Bible, of all angels and devils, saints and sinners, from first to last, will, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,”'t be summoned and assembled together before Christ, the Alrnighty Judge, then on the
great white throne" 6 of his glory,''I when, as sudden “as the lightning,''S the testimony will be exhibited and fully known to all; when, also, the sentence will be pronounced and executed in regard to each individual; the saints then having their “exceeding great” reward with Christ in glory, and the enemies of God their portion in the lake of fire," which " is the second death.”|| Then, of course, there will be no further change, physical or moral, of the bodies or souls of rational beings, or of the state and condition of heaven, earth, or hell, so far as the Bible reveals. There will then be no more repentance nor calling to repentance; no more preaching of the gospel to sinners; no more striving of God's Spirit with them; no more prayers for them; no further pity, love, nor mercy of the Lord towards them; nor any remains of hope with them that their condition will: ever be any better; when “ he that is filthy” will “ be filthy still,”'I and all they who then shall weep, and wail, and howl, and gnash their teeth in miserable despair, having slighted and refused the offers of mercy during their life long, will never cease that inconceivably wretched employment, or state of wo." Therefore, also, now, thus saith the Lord, turn ye even unto me, with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.” (Joel ii. 12, 13.)
5. THE MILLENNIUM EVERLASTING.
At the now anticipated special soon coming of the Lord to judgment, with his “everlasting kingdom," the glorious, long-foretold "reign" of saints with Christ " on earth," on
* Deut. xxix. 29.
f 1 Cor. xv. 51, 52. #Matt. xxv. 31, 32. Rev. xx. 11, 12.
. Matt. xxiv. 27. || Matt. xxv. 34, 41, 46. Rev. xx. 4-6, 13-15. | Rev. xxii. 11. Matt. xxiv. 51. Jas. v. 1. Rev. i. 7.