[Table of Contents]
|Benjamin Lyon Smith
The Millennial Harbinger Abridged (1902)
THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
The second coming of Christ and the Millennium fill large space in the Harbingers. The teachings of Wm. Miller, fixing the date of His coming in August, 1843, attracted great attention. It is given very full treatment in the Harbingers. We give the following, as indicating the line of treatment:
Mr. Campbell says, Millennial Harbinger, 1832, page 438:
The following twelve reasons why the prophecies relating to the second coming of Christ should be literally interpreted are worthy of candid consideration. They are published by Mr. Nesbit, London, 1831:
All the promises do travail and are burthened with a glorious day of grace. The nations of this world are all to become the kingdoms of our King--they are all to submit to his government, and to feel the benign and blissful influences of his sceptre. This is the expectation of almost all the saints now living, as it was the expectation and the prayer of all those who have fallen asleep. The present essay proposes not to enter closely nor minutely into the development of the promises nor the prophecies relating to what is usually called "the Millennium." This we propose to do with great deliberation and with much detail. But we must approach it cautiously and gradually. We wish to discriminate and to draw the line accurately between what is certain and what is conjectural upon this subject.
I. Every part of the Jewish Tabernacle was typical of things to be established in and for the church in this earth. Its sacrifices were types of Christ's perfect sacrifice its priesthood a shadow of his priestly office; the tabernacle itself a complex volume of  hieroglyphics: the Holy of Holies a type of heaven itself. Now as every other part of the tabernacle was typical of what was to be accomplished in this earth, it is to be inferred that the Spirit of God, in directing the erection of a typical heaven upon earth in the midst of the camp of Israel, in which the glory of the Lord was visibly present, did thereby clearly signify to the church that there is a period in the dispensation of the fullness of times, when heaven itself, or the glorious manifestation of Jehovah, shall come down to this earth by the personal presence in it of the Lord Messiah. Were this not to be accomplished, then the highest and noblest part of the sacred structure of this tabernacle shall be without an antitype on this earth, or without anything correlative to its deep spiritual signification. Nay, were this not to be accomplished, the church in the Levitical dispensation, which had the visible presence of the Lord in the pillar of the cloud by day, and of fire by night, has a higher glory than the church in the dispensation of Messiah; for as this church was not properly constituted till the day of Pentecost, when the Apostles were endued with power from on high, and as before that day the Bridegroom had been taken from his infant church, it follows, from the views of those who advocate a spiritual advent, that there is no period when the church upon earth is to have his presence, and therefore the Levitical church in the wilderness had a higher glory than the church of Messiah is to have, according to this hypothesis, even in the Millennium. But this is utterly incredible, and expressly contradicted, both by the deep signification of the Holy of Holies, or typical heaven reared up in the camp of Israel, and by many plain prophetic annunciations. (Num. xxii. 21, 22; Zech. if. 10, 12; Ezek. xliii. 7; Isa. xxiv. 23; Zeph. iii. 15, 17.)
II. Jesus is entered into heaven in the character of our High Priest. All the morning of the great day of atonement, the Jewish High Priest was employed in offering sacrifices, first for himself, and then for the people. He then entered into the Holy of Holies with the blood of the victims, having first taken a censer of coals from the brazen altar, and strewed incense on it, that he might go within the vail amidst the cloud of smoke which this sweet perfume emitted. During the time of his disappearance, the people mourned, and were humbled on account of their sins. But as soon as he had sprinkled the blood, and offered the incense, he put on his gorgeous robes, and coming forth to bless the people, turned their sorrow into joy. In all this he typified the true High Priest, who is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, and that with his own blood, and the incense of his own intercession, there to appear in the presence of God for us. During personal absence, his church on earth is in a depressed and  suffering condition. It is a time of humiliation and conflict, warfare and reproach, under which they are upheld, and comforted, by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. But as the great High Priest of his church, the Saviour has another office to perform, which is, to come forth and bless them, to complete their redemption in body as well as in soul, and to bring their days of mourning to an end; this he will do, when in the true gorgeous robes of his priesthood he shall appear in his glory. "For as he was once offered to bear the sins of many, so to them that look for him, he will appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
III. In typical illustration it is an invariable rule that the type is always inferior in worth, and in the scale of creation, to the antitype. Thus Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, etc., show how the less is always the type of the greater. Even the sun, moon, and stars are inferior in the scale of creation to the sovereignties which they represent. Now it is strongly insisted on by those who are opposed to a literal interpretation, that the decisive passage (Dan. vii. 13, 14) is simply a figure, denoting the conversion of the world by the spread of the Gospel. "I saw in the night visions, (says Daniel,) and behold one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." It is clear that there can be no dispute concerning the time of his Advent, as to whether or no it precedes the Millennium. The only question is, whether it be a spiritual or a personal coming? Now throughout the Scriptures, Christ is the great antitype; yet if this be not taken in its plain literal sense, Christ would appear merely as a type of the progress of his own Gospel in the heart of man, and therefore a type signifying something infinitely inferior in dignity to that which was pointed out by the morning and evening lamb of the daily sacrifice.
IV. In the Scriptures the reigning of the saints with Christ, is not referred to merely as a state of future prosperity which the church in the latter days was to expect, but as the comfort and encouragement of the people of Christ in every age; as something in which they were personally interested, and as intimately connected with the;' resurrection from the dead. The truth is, this is the glory to which the suffering church (a character which exclusively belongs to it under the dispensation previous to the Millennium) is elected, being predestinated not only to be partakers of Christ's mercies, but to be partakers of the throne of his glory. The converted nation of the Jews, and the remaining inhabitants of the world, will enjoy a state  of eminent blessedness; but it will fall far short of that glorious height of dignity to which the once suffering church will be elevated. As kings and priests, it is implied that there are others over whom they are to reign, and for whom they are to interpose.
V. All the prophecies which relate to the sufferings and humiliation of the Saviour, were fulfilled literally. Why, then, should not those prophecies which relate to his exaltation and reign upon earth, be in like manner literally accomplished? If we are at liberty to spiritualize all those prophetic declarations which foretell Christ's reign in glory, how can we blame the Jews for adopting a similar mode of interpreting other predictions not more clear and less numerous? The very fact of such prophecies, as, A virgin shall bring forth a son, etc., being ever fulfilled, renders their accomplishment a more glorious display of that divine tribute, which Jehovah claims as peculiarly his own, and in pros, of which he even appeals to prophecy. The legitimate conclusion from the literal fulfillment of prophecy in times past surely is, that predictions concerning the future will have a similar accomplishment. That as in Calvary Christ really made his soul an offering for sin, so will he really reign in Mount Zion and before his ancients gloriously. (Isa. liii. 10; xxiv. 23.)
VI. To those who oppose the literal interpretation of the passages in Scripture which refer to the approaching Advent of our Lord, it must appear singular, that there is not in the Gospels or Epistles the slightest reference to such a period of peace and purity, as the Old Testament prophecies everywhere represent, as still to be enjoyed on earth. Yet in the New Testament, so interwoven are the intimations of the coming of our Lord, and resurrection of the saints, with all reference to the Millennium, that if these events are placed after that happy time, then undeniably there is not the most distant allusion to it. If Paul refers to the Millennium when the sons of Abraham shall be grafted into their own olive tree, it is, when the Deliverer shall come out of Zion. (Rom. xi. 26.) If Peter alludes to it, as the times of restitution, it is, when the Lord shall send Jesus Christ. (Acts iii. 20.) If the same Apostle refers to the Millennium, when the promise of God, uttered by the prophet Isaiah, should be fulfilled, of new heavens and a new earth, when Jerusalem shall be created a joy, and her people a rejoicing, (Isa. lxv. 17, 18,) still with these new heavens and new earth our views are again directed to the coming of the day of God, which day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. (II. Pet. iii. 8-13.)
VII. On the supposition that Christ was not to return till after the Millennium, it would appear surprising that he should not have included that long term of holiness and happiness among the signs which shall precede his coming. (Matt. xxiv.) After the world has  for thousands of years been torn by dissension, and been the scene of every wickedness, such a lengthened period of universal purity and peace must have proved a very notable sign. But the words "immediately after the tribulation of those days," (Matt. xxiv. 29, 30,) prove that the coming of the Saviour shall precede the commencement of the Millennium, and therefore its existence could not have been given as a sign of his approach.
VIII. When the disciples asked, (Acts. i. 6,) "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (and this question was put after their understandings had been opened, that they might understand the Scriptures, Luke xxiv. 45) our Saviour did not reprove them for cherishing expectations inconsistent with his design, as he did on occasions when this was really the case; but on the contrary gave them every reason to believe that their hopes were well founded. This also proves that at the period of his ascension, the Apostles did expect that he should personally restore the kingdom to Israel.
IX. The Jewish church, overlooking the series of predictions which related to Christ's humiliation, and fixing their attention only on those which foretold his exaltation, expected with perfect unanimity from Dan. vii. 14, and other prophetic passages, that the Messiah would come as a glorious king to reign in the midst of them; ignorant that he must first suffer many things. The ancient Christian church did in like manner understand the passages of the Old Testament, now adduced by those who advocate a literal translation, as signifying the real, personal, and glorious advent of the Messiah. This strong fact is proved by the writings of St. Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Irenæus, Cyril of Jerusalem, Tertullian, etc.
It has been justly remarked by an anonymous writer on another subject, that "those who lived nearest to the Apostles, must have best known the minds of the Apostles. If then a Romanist and Protestant differ as to the meaning of a text which is the basis of any particular doctrine, let the point in dispute, whenever it is practicable, be referred to the decision of the primitive church."
X. In the New Testament there are three noun substantives used to signify the advent. Apokalupsis, revelation; Epiphaneia, appearance; Parousia, coming, or presence. The first occurs I. Cor. i. 7; 11. Thess. i. 7; I. Pet. i. 7. The second occurs II. Tim. i. 10, in relation to our Lord's first coming in the flesh, and in relation to his second coming in the following texts: I Tim. iv. 14; II. Tim. iv. 1-8; Tit. ii. 13. The third, Parousia, occurs four times in Matt. xxiv.; I. Cor. xv. 23; I. Thess. ii. 19; iii. 13; iv. 15; v. 23. It is used for the coming or presence of St. Paul with the churches, II Cor. x. 10, Phil. i. 26. ii. 2. For the coming of Antichrist, II. Thess. ii. 9; the coming of Stephanus, I. Cor. xvi. 17; the coming of Titus, II Cor. Vii. 7. A  review of these passages will satisfactorily prove that these words are used to signify the second personal coming of our Lord; nor does it appear that any of these words is ever used to denote the spiritual or figurative appearance of any person. It is remarkable, too, that the word Epiphaneia was particularly employed by the Greeks to denote the appearance of their gods with circumstances of outward splendor. Now the coming of our Lord to destroy the man of sin previous to the Millennium, in II. Thess. ii. 8, is expressed by the union of two of the above nouns, te epiphaneia tes parousias autou, by the bright shining of his coming: and if neither of these nouns can singly denote a spiritual advent, much less can they when conjoined; and if each of them, when employed separately means a personal manifestation and presence, much more must they when united. Since, therefore, the glorious coming of Christ takes place at the destruction of Antichrist, and since his destruction occurs by the unanimous consent of the church of God in all ages before the Millennium, it follows that Christ comes in glory to judge the world before that period.
XI. When the Lord and his Apostles would inculcate the necessity of watchfulness upon those who profess to acknowledge him as their Master, the language is remarkable. They do not address them in such words as these, "Watch, for death is hastening;" "Be ready, for shortly you must leave this earth"--but thus do they warn them: "Watch, therefore, for ye know not the hour your Lord doth come.' "Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh." In fact, death is a subject to which the Lord and his Apostles but seldom refer, and which they do not bring forward as an incentive to watchfulness and preparation. The coming of the Lord, the second and glorious appearing of the divine Saviour, this it is which they urge upon us, and by the consideration of which, to connection with the events which are then to take place, they endeavor to overcome the inherent slothfulness of our nature, and stir us up to activity in the work of God, and to watchfulness over our hearts and spirits. For thus doth the Lord himself caution us: "Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares; for as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke xxi. 35-37).
XII. The first event which distinguishes the advent of our Lord (Matt. xxv. 31), is, that he shall then sit on the throne of his glory. If it is not till the advent that he shall thus sit on the throne of his  glory, it necessarily follows, that he is not now sitting on that throne. Accordingly, he himself assures us (Rev. iii. 21), that the throne where he now sits, is that of his Father (in heaven); and his words necessarily imply, that his session on his own throne is yet a future event. If we further inquire what is the identical throne on which Messiah, the Son of Man, shall sit? we find an answer in the well-known prophecy of Isa., ix. 7: "He shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and establish it." Confirmatory of which, are also the words of Gabriel to his virgin mother (Luke 32): "The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever." Unless, then, we identify the throne of David with that of the Eternal Father, which would be blasphemy, we must acknowledge that the session of Messiah on his own throne, is a distinct event, and belonging to another period.
The judgment in Matt. xxv. 31, commences, therefore, when the Son of Man sits upon the throne of his father David. Now, is any light thrown upon the chronology of this stupendous event by other passages of Scripture? In Matt. xix. 28, will be found the following remarkable words, spoken by our Lord to his Apostles: "Verily, I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." In the parallel text of Luke xxii. 28, 30, there is to be found the additional circumstance that it is in the kingdom of our Lord that this promise is to be fulfilled: "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." Now, the precise time when this kingdom of the Son of Man shall be established, is manifest from Dan. vii. 13, 14. wherein the prophet sees the Messiah brought near to the Ancient of Days, and there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him. And that this event coincides with the beginning of the Millennium is generally acknowledged as a main and leading principle of prophetic chronology, even by the opponents of literal interpretation. We read of no other kingdom given to the Son of Man than the one mentioned in this passage of Daniel, and the corresponding texts of the Apocalypse; and at the close of the dispensation of the kingdom, we learn that he delivers it up to the Father, that God may be all in all. (1 Cor. xv. 24. )
The following is condensed from twenty-seven essays under the above title, published in 1841 to 1843, during the excitement produced by Wm. Miller preaching that Christ would come in August, 1843: 
Of all future events, that of the coming of the Lord in power and glory, is the most soul-subduing, enrapturing, and transcendant. In one sentence, it is "the blessed hope." The church has been praying for it, and the whole creation groaning and travailing in pain for it for almost two thousand years. "Behold, he cometh in the clouds of and every eye shall see him. They also that pierced him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him." Then will "heaven's eternal arches ring" with shoutings of glory, and 'honor, and blessing, and praise, while his enemies will be confounded with terror and clothed with shame.
But when shall this most joyful hope be consummated in vision! When shall the Lord come! Whether shall it be before the triumphs of Christianity over Paganism, Mahometanism, Papalism, and Atheism, usually called the Millennium, or after this moral victory? This is the great question now in debate. My method of deciding it embraces in its philosophy as a primary evidence the events that are clearly and incontrovertibly declared to be concomitant with, or attendant upon his coming. These decided, and the question is, in my opinion, settled on the clearest and safest foundation. To discover and substantiate these, is the burthen of the present essay. Of necessity, therefore, this essay must consist mainly of testimony from which we may argue again. The points to which I solicit attention are four:--
1st. The probability of the personal return of the Lord to this earth.
2d. The certainty of it.
3d. The manner of it.
4th. The events then to be expected.
The probability of his return is argued from two facts:--1st. It is the place of his nativity. "And thou Bethlehem of Judah art not the least of the cantons of Israel; for out of thee shall he come--or in thee shall he be born, who shall become Governor of my people Israel." "The Word that was in the beginning with God, that was God," "by whom all things were made," became human flesh in the city of David, and was born of a daughter of Eve, in Asia, 1,836 years ago. It is human to love the place of one's nativity. And especially is it pleasant for one who has been raised to great honor and authority, and who has been long unknown to the place where he first saw the light of heaven, to revisit the scenes of his childhood, and re-survey the humble horizon which once bounded his views of the universe, and in which he first learned to know himself. No wonder, then, should our Lord delight to stand at "the latter day upon this earth," not far from the Mount of Olives, whence to heaven his earthly friends and relatives saw him triumphantly ascend. 
But there is a second fact that adds much to the probability of his return: He has much property in this earth. All things in it, on it, and connected with it, are his. "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof"--"All things were made by him and for him, and he is before all things;" and by him all things are preserved, for he upholds all things by his all-powerful word. "The Lord has created all things for himself"--"For thy pleasure they are and were created." Where the treasure is the heart is. Where one has much property he has much thought and much attachment. Our Lord has much property here. The earth, the sea, the air--the kingdoms, animal, vegetable, mineral, are his. The Devil will not for ever usurp the territory of Christ's present kingdom; nor retain the field, the theatre of war, on which he and our Messiah in single combat fought the first battle, when first Satan felt the sharp two-edged sword that proceeded out of his mouth. He will take the field and drive the usurper down to eternal ruin. The earth is, moreover, dear to the Lord; because the ashes of all his saints, a few only excepted, are in it. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, etc. have their sepulchres with us to this day. From such considerations and facts we infer the probability of his return. But to the second point, the certainty of his return:--
1st. The types under the law indicate his return. The Jewish High Priest entered the most holy place once a year. He presented his sacrifice there before Him that dwells between the cherubim. Meantime, the people anxiously expected his return after he had for them made an offering and prepared a place. He ultimately returned to the door of the tabernacle and blessed them that looked for his return. So says Paul; Christ was once offered to bear the sin of many, and to them that look for him (as the Jews looked for the return of the High Priest) shall he appear the second time, without a sin-offering, to salvation, having made his offering within the vail.
2d. He promised to return. Matt. xvi. 27, "The Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he shall reward every man according to his works." So also speaks the parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matt. xxv. 31); so also the parable of the Nobleman going into a far country to receive a kingdom and return (Luke xix. 11-23). And, without a figure, in his valedictory he says, "I go to prepare a place for you, and will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am there you may be also" (John xiv. 3). This is excelled only by Acts i. 11, "Men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up to heaven? This same Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven." The certainty of his return being now as definite and plain as our language can make it, we shall now hear something of 
3d. The manner of his returning. In one word, we are informed, (Luke ix. 26,) that he will come in his own glory, his Father's glory, and in that of the holy angels. Well did Paul say, "Looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ." In awful majesty God as lawgiver descended on Mount Sinai. (Ex. xix.) "On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of a trumpet exceeding loud, so that all the people that was in the camp trembled." "And all the people saw the thunders and lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, and the fire blazing up into the midst of heaven; and they removed and stood afar off." Such was the glory of the Lawgiver. But when he appears as a Judge, "a fiery stream issues and goes before him, thousand thousands of angels minister to him, ten thousand times ten thousand stand before him, and the books are opened. Earth and heaven shall flee away, and there is found no place for them. Our God shall come, and shall no more be silent, but speak out. A fire shall go before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall summon earth and heaven. The Lord shall descend with a shout, the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God. His voice shall be heard by every ear, dead and alive, in the whole universe--all that are in their graves shall hear it and come forth." But we hasten to the four great events attendant on his coming:--
1. He will raise all the saints.
Some Millenarians say only some of the saints, and quote Daniel and John in proof of it. Daniel, alluding, as they think, to the second or premillennial coming of the Lord, says, "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake--some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting shame and contempt." And John says, "I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and who 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. The rest of the dead lived not again till the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection." From these two Prophets some infer that there will be only a portion of the saints, as described by John, who shall share in the first resurrection, and that the remainder will sleep a thousand years to the second resurrection. In opposition to this view we assert that all the saints will be raised whenever the Lord appears in person. Some of our proof will be found in the following Scriptures: I. Thess. iv. 16, "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall  rise first"--not a part of the dead, but the dead in Christ, shall rise first. We are here definitely assured that when the Lord himself (or in person) descends, the dead in Christ shall rise. The import of the term first, in its proper place, shall appear. A second proof we have from the same source. I. Cor. xv. 23, "All shall be made alive--they that are Christ's, at his coming." Not some of them, but "they that are Christ's," shall be made alive--not before nor after, but at his coming. This does not look like a part, a thousand years before another part. A third proof we have in the 52d verse of the same chapter: "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump the dead [saints] shall be raised incorruptible." If these, which are but a sample, will not demonstrate that all the saints shall be raised not before, nor after, but at the coming of the Lord, a thousand repetitions of them in various forms would not. But in the second place,
The living saints shall be changed immediately upon the raising of the dead saints.
Our proofs are found in the passages already quoted: I. Thess. iv. 15, "We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not anticipate them that are asleep. The dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." From this statement we learn that the dead in Christ shall rise at the sound of the trumpet; and while it yet sounds, the living saints shall be changed in a twinkling, and shall with them ascend to meet the Lord.
From the 15th of Corinthians we learn this mystery: "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment--the dead shall be raised, and the living shall be changed." Again, to the Philippians he says, "Our citizenship is in heaven, whence also we look for the Saviour the Lord Jesus, who shall change our humble body into a form like to his own glorious body, according to the working by which he is able to subdue all things to himself." The transformation of the living saints is, then, as evident and certain as the resurrection of the dead, at the coming of the Lord.
A third event that shall accompany the coming of the Lord, will be, the judgment and final separation of the righteous and the wicked.
Hitherto we have spoken only of the resurrection and transformation of the saints at the coming of the Lord. But we might have also connected with these two grand events the resurrection of all the wicked. Our Lord himself is first witness here. He says (John, v. 39), "Marvel not at this--for the hour cometh in the which all "that are in their graves shall come forth: they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation," Then cometh the general judgment; for this is  connected with the second coming (Matt. xvi. 27), "For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his holy angels, and then he shall reward every man according to his actions." The rewarding of all mankind is here connected with the coming of the Lord in glory. Again (Matt. xxv. 31), "When the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with all his holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them as a shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats," etc. Rev. xxi. 12, "Behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me, to give to every man as his works shall be." Indeed, the general and final judgment of the human race is almost universally spoken of in conjunction with the coming of the Lord in person. There yet remains a fourth grand event:--
The structure of the material universe shall be changed, and new heavens and a new earth created.
In the 102d Psalm we have this promise, "The heavens shall perish--they all shall wax old as doth a garment, and as a vesture thou shalt change them." Therefore, according to the promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth: for, says Peter, quoting from an old Prophet, "The heavens and the earth that are now are reserved unto Fire, against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." In the day of the Lord "the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up." But He that sits upon the throne says, "Behold I create all things new" (Rev. xxi. 5); and accordingly John saw new heavens and a new earth. And from that point in the heavens where the saints of the Lord assembled around their Master during the general conflagration, John saw the New Jerusalem, the holy city coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride for her husband, to locate in the new earth, the everlasting home of man; for the tabernacle of God is to be there forever.
On this point I do not now amplify. My object is simply to produce Scriptural evidence that when the Lord appears a second time these four events will certainly follow in quick succession:--1st. All the dead saints shall be raised. 2d. All the living saints shall be changed. 3d. All nations shall be judged and a final separation between the good and the bad shall take place. 4th. New heavens and a new earth shall be created, and the earth shall then be the dwelling place of Jehovah, the centre of the universe, the throne of the Eternal, and all things shall be subdued to him. These points being established, not by reason or argument, but by clear and unequivocal testimony, we shall in the sequel argue from them as  established points. Meanwhile, we offer the following question to the consideration of our brethren:--If our Lord personally appear before the Millennium, what will the Millennium be, and where shall it be found? And if, according to Mr. Miller and some others, more imaginative than learned in prophecy, this event shall be within a few years; how shall all the promises and prophecies concerning Jew and Gentile be fulfilled? Do they all simply mean the resurrection and the glorification of the saints at the coming of the Lord! ! A hint is enough at present. We have many such to offer in their proper season.
If the coming of the Lord be soon--within the present century, for example--then there will be no Millennium or triumph of Christianity over its various rivals now in the field. They will rather have triumphed over it. However much real Christians desire the return of their Master, there are few of them, I think, who would not desire his gospel to have a freer circulation and a more triumphant career in the world than it has ever yet had, before the last act of the drama of human existence on this present earth is finished. In this case, too, "the kingdom, and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven," has not been given according to promise, to the people of the Most High, and very many such promises have failed. This we can not yet believe. There are some, indeed, who look for the almost immediate return of the Messiah, and yet calculate on the conversion of the Jews and of many Gentile nations: but they will have them converted by sight rather than by faith, and upon that principle all the world will be converted to the belief that Jesus is the Christ when they see him coming from heaven in power and great glory. But such a conversion will not be to salvation, but to condemnation. They shall see him, and wail at his coming.
But still the question returns, Will the Lord come before or after the Millennium? It is decided that if he come so soon as 1843, 1847, or 1866, there can be no thousand years' triumph of Christianity, because the events that are to follow in instant succession upon his coming preclude the possibility of any further conflict between truth and error; nay, preclude the increase of the human family, and forever separate the righteous and the wicked. The structure of the earth is changed--new heavens and earth occupy its place--and instead of being with the Lord a thousand years on this earth, his people will be with him in a new earth to all eternity! This, then, is a summary way of settling the whole controversy about the literal or figurative return of the Lord before the Millennium.
We shall then proceed to the consideration of the second point, viz.--What are the events which are to precede the coming of the Lord? 
In general terms we answer, The fulfilment of all his promises concerning the destinies of his friends and enemies on this earth; or, to speak our views in the words of an Apostle, "Him the heavens shall retain until the times of the accomplishment of all the things which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy Prophets from the beginning of time."
Of these the following are chief specifications:--
1. The downfall of Judaism.
2. The downfall of Papalism.
3. The downfall of Mahometanism.
4. The downfall of Paganism.
5. The triumph of Christianity.
But before we speak particularly of these, we are, from the force of circumstances, constrained to examine a very notable passage in the Apocalypse, which will be urged by some against our views already expressed on the resurrection which is to accompany the appearance of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. (Rev. xx. 1-10.) This is the Millennium--the mysterious and wonderful passage on which there have been written a thousand volumes printed, and ten thousand sermons delivered. In ten verses we have one thousand years six times mentioned under some new circumstance:--
1st. Satan is bound for a thousand years.
2d. He deceives not the nations for a thousand years.
3d. The martyrs and confessors live and reign with Christ a thousand years.
4th. The rest of the dead revived not for a thousand years.
5th. They shall be priests of God and Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
6th. At the end of a thousand years Satan shall be loosed, and the work of deception shall again commence.
Although we have this Millennium, or one thousand years, six times named in four periods, we have it only in three distinct connections: 1st. The destruction of Satanic influence for a thousand years. 2d. The living and reigning with Christ on this earth of certain saints, confessors, and martyrs, for one thousand years. 3d. The permission of Satan to revisit the earth after the thousand years are accomplished.
This Millennium, it is worthy of remark, is to be preceded and succeeded by a resurrection. The first resurrection precedes and they second resurrection succeeds it. It is, then, an interval of a thousand years between two resurrections. Now that the resurrection before, and the resurrection after, this thousand years, are both figurative resurrections, and in various points to be contrasted with the literal  and true resurrection, is a proposition which we think can be fully sustained. This we undertake, however, at this time because of a somewhat popular misapplication of the whole passage in its principal bearings upon that resurrection, true and proper, which is to follow upon the second coming of our Lord. But we shall make the contrast of the premillennial resurrection with the resurrection, accompanying the second advent, the subject of a special essay.
That we may be understood in this antithesis, or contrast between the literal, and the figurative resurrection, we shall call the former the resurrection of the body, and the latter the premillennial resurrection.
1st. Before we advance into this subject, while in the portico we shall define a literal and a figurative resurrection. We have the literal and the figurative in things natural, moral, and religious. There are two births, circumcisions, baptisms, marriages, deaths, burials; and why should there not be two resurrections?
Nicodemus was a great literalist when he asked, How can a grown man be born again? As great literalists, perhaps, may they be found who take "the first resurrection" mentioned in the 20th of the apocalyptic, visions, to be a literal one. But it is yet too soon to decide. We first examiner then decide.
We have a minute account of a figurative resurrection of the house of Israel by the Prophet Ezekiel. The Lord "opened the graves" and raised from the valley of "dry bones" a living and puissant army. That was a figurative resurrection. In baptism we are both buried and raised with Christ--planted in the similitude of his death, to be raised in the similitude of his resurrection.
The restoration of Israel in Rom. xi. Is by Paul called "life from the dead." "Since you have been raised with Christ, ascend in your affections," is a part of the beautiful imagery of Paul to the Colossians. If there were two. Elijahs, one literal and one figurative, we need not wonder that there should be two resurrections--a figurative and a literal one. Now in the book of types and symbols the presumption is in favor of a metaphorical resurrection, unless something be connected with it that precludes the possibility or probability of such an appropriation.
When any cause is almost or altogether dead, whether it be good or bad, should it suddenly and unexpectedly revive, we would with Paul think of "life from the dead," or with John call it a resurrection. Nay, it may yet appear that John has a first and a second figurative resurrection--one before and one after his thousand years; for if after a long prostrate, dispirited, and ineffectual profession of the faith, a great and unprecedented revival should take place, and a  Prophet should call it a resurrection, might he not, at the end of that great revival or resurrection of the good spirits of the olden time, when an opposite class began to rise into power, think of another resurrection, which in contrast he would naturally call a second resurrection? This John virtually does by calling one of them a first resurrection; and by afterwards speaking of the "REST OF THE DEAD" living again. Whether I have got the true secret of interpreting the 20th of the Apocalypse, the following antithesis may in part demonstrate. We shall only add that while a literal resurrection has respect to the body dead and buried, a figurative resurrection in the Christian religion will indicate not bodies, but souls quickened, animated, and elevated by the Spirit of God. And that as in the same treatise John speaks of the death, and of "the spirit of life" reanimating and elevating to heaven the two witnesses, the presumption is that he is as figurative in the 20th as he was in the 14th chapter of his scenetic and symbolic representations.
1st. The resurrection of the body is only a resurrection of the body; whereas the premillennial resurrection is a resurrection of souls, and not of bodies. "I saw the souls of the beheaded," says John, "and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. This is the first resurrection." Now of the body Paul says, "It is sown a natural body and raised a spiritual body--it is sown a corruptible body and, raised an incorruptible." The premillennial resurrection is a raising of souls, while the resurrection which immediately follows the appearance of the Lord, is a raising of bodies.
2d. The resurrection of the body is general--the premillennial is special.
"All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth." "There shall be a resurrection of the just and the unjust." These, with other passages of the same significance, apply to the resurrection of the dead, as all admit. But in the account of the premillennial resurrection only some will participate in it: for, says John, "I saw the souls of them beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and whosoever had not worshipped the beast nor his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
3d. The resurrection of the body will be accompanied with the transformation of all the living saints--the premillennial will not.
No one pretends that all the living saints will be changed when the first resurrection (as it is called) transpires; and no one can deny that Paul says both the living saints shall be changed and the dead raised, and both ascend together to meet the Lord in the air. 
4th. The participants of the resurrection of the saints will live and reign forever; while the participants of the premillennial resurrection are only to live and reign one thousand years.
I need not prove that the phrase, "we shall be ever with the Lord," applies to the subjects of the "resurrection of the just," nor need I prove that the limitation of the life and triumphs of the saints to one thousand years, precludes the idea of its being an eternal life and endless reign. If I promise a person a lease of an estate for ten or twenty years, it is by common consent understood that those years expired, his lease and occupancy terminated with that period. Now as it is said they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years, it must be understood that that being transpired, the life and reign with Christ are necessarily completed.
5th. The resurrection of the body, its transformation and that of the earth, are almost coincident events; while the premillennial resurrection is neither accompanied nor succeeded with any such transformations; nay, it is to be succeeded by another resurrection of the souls of the wicked, called "the rest of the dead."
"The rest of the dead lived not again till the thousand years were expired." Now as the phrase, "they lived a thousand years," intimates that in that sense and state they lived no more than a thousand years; so the phrase, "the rest of the dead lived not again till the thousand years were expired," intimates that as soon as the thousand years were expired they lived again. And, no doubt, this their life, was like that of their predecessors--their spirits lived after the thousand years, as the spirits of the just lived during the thousand years. It was a resurrection of wicked souls, as the first resurrection was of souls beheaded for Jesus.
The loosing of Satan and this resurrection are contemporaneous events--as the binding of Satan and the first resurrection of the souls of the witnesses, are contemporaneous events. And the peculiarity of this second figurative resurrection is, that it is not at the ultimate and final close of time, but at the end of the thousand years. The spirits that disturbed the just before the first resurrection now appear in the field again, and encamp against the saints. And this, too, before the final consummation. For after this second spiritual resurrection the souls under Satan, "who live and reign with him," go out to deceive the nations--to gather Gog and Magog to battle against the saints--a host as numerous as the sand of the sea.
6th. The resurrection of the dead immediately precedes the destruction of the last enemy; but the premillennial resurrection leaves not only Satan, but death in the field, to gain new triumphs, more than one thousand years after its consummation. 
So far from Death, the last enemy, being destroyed before the Millennium--so far from Satan being forever crushed by the first resurrection, it is intimated that he will be loosed, and that he will deceive the nations and raise a war against the saints even after the thousand years shall have been fulfilled. Can any one reconcile this with Paul's affirmation while expatiating on the resurrection of the dead? "Death, the last enemy, shall be destroyed." "Death is swallowed up for ever." "Grave, where now thy victory!"
7th. It was before shown that the final conflagration and the new creation of a heaven and an earth more congenial with the new bodies of the saints, will immediately accompany the resurrection of the body; while the premillennial resurrection indicates a residence on the present earth for a thousand years after it is burned up!
These seven specifications of antitheses between the literal and figurative resurrections may suffice for the present. There are other points that have occurred to us besides these; but these, we presume incontrovertibly show that the Lord can not possibly come in person before the Millennium; and that with me, at present, is all that I wish to establish. The events that do accompany, and those that must, according to the very plainest oracles, precede his personal return, are such as forbid any one well read, or profoundly attentive to the subject, to believe or teach the personal coming of the Lord, or a literal resurrection of any portion of the saints, before the Millennium.
This subject is daily assuming more interest. That the coming of the Lord is near, comparatively very near, is now a popular doctrine. Protestants are generally, if not universally, in expectation of it. Hence "the many running to and fro;" the spirit of inquiry now kindling into a fervor, and the thousand heralds of the anticipation at home and abroad, calling upon the people to prepare for the sublime scene. All concur, whatever their theory of his coming, in the opinion that it is to be an awfully grand and glorious event. To Christ's party, a day of gladness--a joyful and triumphant time; to the opposing party, a day of terror and alarm--a day of darkness, an era of vengeance and destruction.
We are glad to see that our brethren are becoming less imaginative and more rational on the subject.
There is still, however, among some of us too much emphasis placed on the importance of the restoration of the unconverted Jews to their own land. Some seem to regard a restoration of Israel according to the flesh, to the land of Judea, not merely as a consummation most devoutly to be wished, but as the consummation of the predictions of the Prophets. It becomes us not to question, at this time,  the return of the Jews to Palestine. Such an event is, to a certain extent, probable. But were it to take place tomorrow, it would not fulfill the prophecies of the restoration of Israel.
The 11th to the Romans opens brighter scenes to our vision. A thorough conversion and restoration of Israel to the rank of being once more the people of God in common with the Gentiles--a restoration of them to "their own olive tree," to a covenant relation to God, in virtue of the Messiah's triumph, is the burthen of the prophecy.
That the return of Israel to Canaan is not a matter in which the Christian Church is much interested, and more than the Jews themselves, we infer from the following consideration and facts:
1. The return or restoration of Israel to Canaan, is neither promised nor intimated in any form in the whole New Testament.
2. Unless their ancient temple and religion should be restored, and the ancient wall of partition between the Jews and the Gentiles were to be rebuilt, we can discover no great blessing that it could be to the present Jews to take possession of the desolations of many generations, the ruined and dilapidated cities, and the poor impoverished valleys and rocky eminences of Judea.
3. Again, if returned to their own land in the style of some of the interpreters, they must have a government and national privileges of their own--a new monarchy or theocracy, or the Lord Messiah in person. David was to be their king politically, when a restored people. Are we Gentiles prepared for this? Have we not proved already that he will never revisit the earth till the last day of all time! And were he to come in person as the son of David to reign in Jerusalem over the Jews, would we think the Gentiles were at all blessed by such an event? Would we then be "all one in Christ Jesus," as Paul has taught us?
4. But, in the fourth place, we are taught to expect their conversion to the Lord to occur rather in their dispersion, than when seated in their own land; for it is through the mercy of the Gentiles that they are hereafter to obtain mercy; for, says Paul in this chapter, "as you in time past have not believed, yet now have obtained mercy through their unbelief, even so have these also now not obtained mercy, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy." Does not this indicate that the Jews are to be converted through the interposition of the Gentiles? Again, says Paul, "I would not have you" ignorant of this mystery, that blindness in part has happened to Israel till the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved;" for "out of Zion shall come the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob."
This fully intimates their conversion. It is still more clear in the original than in the common version. 
This is again farther intimated in another promise still more plain, because spoken in the New Testament. Jesus says by Luke, "The Jews shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Were this the city merely, and not the people, that are trodden down, it would be difficult to reconcile it with the facts of history ancient and modern. But that the people, the commonwealth of Israel, has been so trodden down, all the world knows and attests. But the close of this period shall come: for blindness in part has happened to Israel (only) until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; and then "all Israel shall be saved."
Mr. Ward and his brethren regard the Millennium of the Apocalypse as a comet in the prophetic heavens. His words are--
2. THE MILLENNIUM OF THE APOCALYPSE. (A Comet.)
This is revealed in Rev. xx., and from the first notice of it by Justin Martyr, has been a stumbling-block to the curious, a sort of absurd quantity to the prophetic mathematicians; an enigma of mystery, glorious, like Melchisedec among kings, and divine like Elijah among prophets; but abstruse as the lineage of that king, and unapproachable as the chariot of fire which carried that prophet into heaven. I have no solution of it quite satisfactory to my own mind, but I have learned to regard it as a comet in the heavenly system, forming and performing a true and important part in the economy of revelation; comet-like, of an orbit so eccentric, and a revolution so diverse among the great doctrines of the heavenly kingdom that no man has yet been able to measure its pathway, to determine its specific gravity, or to calculate its period: and seen in one view, its train on a time sweeps with terrific grandeur over a quarter of the skies, filling all hearts with dismay and alarm, and seen at another time, it dashes in among the moons of a planet, as if it would brush them all away, but absolutely passes off, and leaves them unharmed, unmoved, unshaken, itself pursuing its inscrutable way among the starry host of heaven, without any deviation or perceptible change.
Before Justin Martyr we have Barnabas, Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, and Hermas, whose writings record their hope of the coming and kingdom of Christ, as preached in the Evangelists; and I submit to every devout mind, how little we ought to be affected by any new view of divine truth, which first appears in the church after the middle of the second century; it seems to be safer to expound the Millennium by the kingdom of heaven, as the apostles and primitive Christians did, than to open a new doctrine out of Rev. xx., which some in the third and fourth centuries attempted to do.
This "comet Millennium," so little understood, it will be noted, is the only Millennium of which the whole Bible speaks. This is the Millennium discarded, as I conceive, by this new school, to find room for an "eternal" Millennium. 
The difficulty seems to be not about a personal glorious return of the Lord--not about the creation of a new earth and heaven; but whether we shall have a verification of the 20th of the Apocalypse in this world at all, or whether it be a prophecy including an eternal rest. Either myself or the Millenarians seem essentially to have mistaken the subject of the Millennium. Is not the Millennium one distinct promise? Is it not a new testament--an apocalyptic intimation? We have but one Millennium in the Divine Volume, and is not that but once spoken of by inspiration? We have no "comet" Millennium, solar, lunar, or sidereal. We have but one Millennium--one thousand years literal or figurative, which is to be temporal, and not eternal.
The hope of all true Christians is the glorious appearance of the great God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ. The whole church, anticipating his coming, not for a sin-offering, but for the redemption of his people, exclaim with one voice, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!" "We believe that when he shall appear we also shall appear with him in glory--we shall be like him--we shall see him as he is."
Every century since he left the earth has expected him. The many allusions to this most glorious of all events found in the apostolic; writings, have kept this hope alive in every age; and from the figurative and literal descriptions of it in time, place, and circumstance, many misapprehensions and mistakes have been diffused through society, occasionally, to the mortification of the more enlightened of the community of the faith, and sometimes to the general discredit of the profession.
There is still a prevailing idea that the inculcation and persuasion of his immediate return would greatly tend to the conversion of sinners and to the sanctification of the faithful. To me, I confess, there has never appeared much reason for this conclusion, nor much in the history of humanity to warrant such an expectation. All admit that the ultimate coming of the Lord in any given time can not be made more certain than the death of any individual in a given time; nay, that no reasonings on prophecy can make it so certain to any man at the age of thirty that the Lord will appear in person within forty years, as that he will go to the Lord in that period of time. In one word, my death is always much more probable in any fixed period than that the Lord will come during my life. Now whether I go to the Lord or the Lord comes to me within forty-three or forty-seven, is certainly equal, so far as my personal salvation is concerned; and the former event being more probable or certain than the latter, will, of course, be a better argument in favor of personal holiness or Christian perfection, than any motives which could be deduced from the second advent. 
I confess, then, that I have never felt the force of reason in any argument drawn from the second advent as near at hand, come from what source it might. Indeed I am much more certain that our individual death is sometimes called the coming of the Lord, than I am of the truth or reasonableness of any of the Millenarian theories now being preached all over the land. I hear them all with candor, as I have impartially submitted them to my readers. Still my candor must not be construed into acquiescence with any of them.
"My Lord delays his coming," says an unfaithful servant in a parable, and straightway assaults his fellows for the promotion of his own interest or honor. This text and parable are now held out in terrorem over the heads of those who dissent from the propagators of some of those now current theories of the immediate return. They write and talk as though that text was written for the special benefit of the year 1842--as though it had no practical utility in the age when it was first promulged. It is regarded as a sign of an unfaithful servant should anyone just now say that the Messiah in his second advent need not be expected for some years.
True, indeed, there are some advantages to be derived from the settlement of the question concerning the Messiah's return--advantages to all parties--to the Millenarians and to the Millennists. Were we assured, or were it more probable than the contrary opinion, that he would return immediately, we should neither build, nor plant, nor make any provisions beyond the time anticipated. We would do as Noah did when warned of God of things not seen as yet. If we would not build an ark, we would lay aside all business and every pursuit prospective of a time beyond the period of the contemplated return. If we would not, Thessalonian like, forbear working altogether, we would extend our efforts only commensurate with the supposed interval. On the other hand, should we conclude that generations are yet to intervene, and nations yet enveloped in the gloom of Paganism to be converted to Christ, before he appear to raise the dead and wind up the drama of human doings on the old theatre, we should institute an inquiry into the ways and means by which to extend Truth's dominions and the Gospel's conquests over its innumerable rivals in the human heart. The practical tendencies of the true systems of prophetic interpretation are as dissimilar as the views of the respective parties now in the field. On this account, then, we suppose it important, if practicable, to come to some certainty as to the time when the pulse of Nature will make a full and perfect pause, obedient to the sovereign mandate of her Almighty Lord.
But there is another practical aspect which this subject bears to the work of conversion worthy of a remark or two. I never thought that the certainty of death, or the uncertainty of life, ranked either in the  first or in the second class of arguments and motives inductive to repentance or conversion. My chief argument in evidence is, that our Lord and his Apostles did not give it prominence in their public addresses. It rarely occurs in the Gospels, and still more rarely in the Acts of the Apostles. It is of more use to Christians than to sinners, and is therefore found most frequently in the Epistles.
Penitence superinduced by affliction, and repentance originating on a death-bed, have long since been of doubtful reputation. The goodness of God is the specific argument that leads to true repentance. Panic fears and impulses are not the eloquence of Christ's gospel. The terrors of the Lord are no doubt a necessary portion of the arguments that complete Heaven's grand appeal to the whole nature of man. Of all the arguments addressed to the fears and hopes of man, none is so soul-subduing and transforming as those deduced from his philanthropy as displayed in the gift of his dearly beloved and only begotten Son. This is the Alpha and the Omega of the eloquence of Prophets and Apostles.
I should fear that converts made to Christ from the preaching of his immediate return, in case of a disappointment would generally relapse again. They would rest more on probabilities and peradventures than on the sure word of divine testimony. If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither would they be persuaded though one rose from the dead. Noah preached without salutary effect the immediate coming of the Lord for one century, and yet made not one true convert. How many may have been variously convicted, alarmed, and half persuaded, we are not told. One thing is certain: none were found worthy of a passage in the Ark from the Old World to the New. I much doubt, then, the expediency of making use of any theory, interpretation, or calculation, the burthen of a discourse on the gospel as an incentive to acquiescence with the overtures of divine mercy. We gain nothing from the Millenarians in persuading men to obey the gospel. On the contrary, it appears we have more to fear than to hope from any effort to induce men to come to the Lord, deduced from prophetic calculations. The gospel is the same document of divine wisdom and power now that it was when Christ had just left the earth, and it will have no fresh power from the apprehension of his immediate return.
The practical importance of the doctrine of the immediate return is much greater in another direction than in those attitudes in which it is so warmly represented. It affects more the action of the Christian world in reference to the Pagan, than it does the Christian community at home with a reference to itself. True, indeed, that portion of the civilized Pagan world found in Christian lands is as much within the circumference of its influence as that which lies wholly beyond its  precincts. But so far as it affects our action at home or abroad in the great work of evangelizing--so far as it affects our prospective endeavors in laying a foundation for future usefulness in any scheme of benevolence reaching into the future, so far the discussion is not without important bearings on the whole subject of Christian energies.
The coming of the Lord is not the hope of Christians; but it is a hope so intimately connected with the hope of eternal life at his appearing and his kingdom, that the Apostle exhorts to a looking for "that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ," as one of the best means of holding fast our begun confidence unshaken to the end. They always kept it before the minds of the brotherhood as near at hand. It is in truth very near to us all; so near that no interval of time will be perceived by those who have gone out of time from the moment of their departure from earth. No suns rise or set to the dead in Christ. There is no distance nor time beyond our planet to human spirits severed from their mortal tenements.
The premises on which Mr. Miller mainly rests his confident assertions concerning the events of 1843, are his interpretations of Daniel's 2,300 days and his Bible chronology; at least so it appears to me. With him this is the year of the world 5999, and consequently 1843 of the Christian era is the 6,000th year since the creation. Between him, then, and the chronology of Bede, Usher, Newton, and all the Protestant world, there is a discrepancy of one hundred and fifty-seven years! These years he makes up in part by conjecture, and in part by an induction of Old Testament events and dates, squaring them off to the answer in his prophetic arithmetic to the question, When comes the Lord? whose answer with him is, In 1843. To his Bible chronology I have several objections mostly comprehended under two heads. He makes the lives of more than sixty persons in succession to have been just so many years, neither a day more nor a day less. In all this there may be half as many years of error as there are persons that lived. That sixty or seventy fathers and sons should have lived exactly so many years, neither a day less nor more, no man of reflection can believe; and yet this hypothesis is essential to the coming of the Lord in 1843, so far as the alleged age of the world is concerned.
In the second place, his Bible chronology is not the only Bible chronology, because there is a Samaritan, a Greek, and a Hebrew chronology, especially of the two latter, that differ from themselves as they do from one another.
|The world is now according to the Samaritan,||6542 years old.|
|according to the Greek,||7714|
|according to our common Hebrew,||5857|
|and according to a mixed Hebrew and Pagan,||5843 |
The result of my examination of the chronology of the world is the full and fixed conviction that it is lost forever, unless revealed from heaven. But when I say lost, I do not mean to say that it is lost by thousands or by many hundreds of years. The chasm chiefly, indeed, lies beyond the period of prophecy, before the flood, and before the birth of Abraham. By the Hebrew text those epocha are quite ascertainable, but I do not think that we have full and satisfactory evidence that the Hebrew is always right when it differs from the Greek from Adam to Moses. Since the days of Moses, and especially since the Jewish Prophets, the errors, if any, can not be very material. Still even here there are difficulties that will forever restrain a man possessing a well balanced and well informed mind, from ever presuming to fix the era of Christ's coming from anything found in the Old or New Testament. The precise and the true age of the world is certainly lost. Still so much difficulty concerning short periods of the prophetic intervals remains, that no person, not enthusiastically confident, will speak with assurance.
On Mr. Miller's date of the commencement of the 2,300 days I must offer a remark or two. Although so early as my debate with infidel Owen, I inclined to the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus as the date of the 2,300 days, and have not yet seen valid reason to repudiate it, still it is but probable evidence, and probable evidence not of the superlative degree. That the 2,300 days denote so many years, and that the sanctuary, (Jewish or Christian, not the earth,) was to be cleansed at the expiration of those days, or was then to begin to be cleansed, is full as far as I then found myself authorized to go. But the greatest difficulty lies in the demonstration that the 2,300 days are to be counted from the year before Christ 457, or from the seventh year of Artaxerxes. Mr. Miller's confidence in this point does more to discredit his judgment in other matters than any other frailty in his whole performance, so far as I now remember. This is, however, the vital point, as concerns the events of 1843.
We shall, then, for a moment, look into the dates of Daniel's visions:--
His first vision, chap. vi., we are told occurred in the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, before Christ 555. His second, vision took place in the third year of the same prince, before Christ 553. This last vision was to be for 2,300 days, but no date is here fixed from which to calculate it. Fifteen years after this time, in the first year of Darius the Mede, Daniel had other explanations, if not a new vision, specially concerning the work and times of the Messiah. Mr. Miller says it is a part of the former vision explained, and not a new one: and on the clear demonstration of that rests his hypothesis. The demonstration given by him amounts, so far as I can see, to a clause  found in verse 23d of the ninth chapter, touching an event then occurring and fifteen years distant from the vision touching the 2,300 days.
Mr. Miller says the word "vision" here alludes to that related in the eighth chapter, occurring fifteen years before; while some affirm that it relates to the views given immediately after concerning the events of the "seventy weeks," which are dated from the aforesaid decree. The demonstration, if such it may be called, is wholly inconclusive.
To say no more at present on this theory, I must repudiate it as wholly imaginative, if for no other reasons, for these four:
1. His chronology of the age of the world, on which he relies with so much confidence, I have shown to be palpably erroneous and false.
2. His dating of the 2,300 days, the sub-basis of his whole speculation, from the seventh of Artaxerxes, is without any sufficient authority; and especially his manner of identifying the vision in the third of Belshazzar, with the interpretations in the first year of Darius, we have shown to be palpably erroneous and deceptious.
3. His making the last thousand years of the world a mere day of judgment, is alike destructive of the meaning of the last day and of a thousand years, reigning of the saints, and of his own theory of the age of the world, as being of seven thousand literal years' duration.
4. And last, though not least, his radical misconception of the import of the word sanctuary, and especially of the phrase "the cleansing of the sanctuary," forbids any confidence in his biblical and philological attainments as a mere commentator, much less an interpreter of prophecy. In no respect is Mr. Miller elevated above his Baptist brethren in talent or erudition, except it be that he has studied the prophecies more than the most of them, and speaks with a dogmatical assurance greater than any of them. For my part, I do not think that any man who substitutes mourning benches and anxious seats for the Lord's ordinances, and calls for sinners to come up to him as a mediator to be prayed for, instead of beseeching them to be reconciled to God, and to come to God's ordinances for comfort and deliverance, can possibly speak by any inspiration of the Spirit, or be a chosen vessel to Harbinger the day of the Lord.
When men of ardent feelings and large ideality seize an idea of this magnitude--or, rather, when it seizes them--they seldom or ever any longer with patience endure any vigorous opposition, or calmly weigh the force of opposing evidence. It becomes with them the present truth and the all-absorbing, as well as the standing topic of public teaching and of private conversation. In a little time their souls become so inflamed with the splendors of their own imaginations, that, to them, it appears as though the whole universe of truth never  had any other meaning or design than to prove that the world will come to an end in a given year, and that from its ashes will arise a new and better planet, the residence of eternal youth and unfading beauty.
In their case, however, there is this favorable circumstance:--High excitement soon finds its own quietus in that consequent collapse of feeling and fitfulness which nature has kindly interposed as a sort of safety valve to the social system. I remember well the answer: which Elias Smith, of New England fame, gave to me in Boston in 1836, when interrogated on his present views of the personal reign of the Messiah in Jerusalem, with all his saints, as promulged in a volume issued by him in 1808; and I remember also the impression made upon my mind touching a peculiar class of minds with which I have been frequently in converse, while the old gentleman with the greatest candor said, "Sir, I was so greatly charmed and delighted with the idea, that I preached it incessantly for eighteen months all over the country before I recovered from the pleasing imagination. But, sir," continued he, "it then expired within me."
There are two sources of argument on which these friends more emphatically rely than upon any other. The one is the 2,300 days of Daniel--the other, the present age of the world, or the new chronology of Mr. Miller. Of the last of these I have spoken with some freedom and suggested certain difficulties fatal to the whole theory of the new chronology; to which no one, so far as I have seen, has yet attempted to respond. I shall at present raise one objection to the main corner stone of the whole theory, to which I very respectfully and earnestly invite some attention, in the way of exposition and removal, from some of those who have more leisure; and perhaps more taste than I for such investigations.
I believe it will be conceded on the part of all the candid advocates of 1843, as the year of the return, that this hope mainly rests upon the answer to a certain question propounded by one saint to another, (Dan. viii. 14.) The one saint asked, "How long the vision concerning the daily sacrifice and the transgression of desolation to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?" "And he said unto me, 'UNTO TWO THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED DAYS, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.'" It is now assumed that these 2,300 days cover the whole interim between the date of the vision, and the literal return of the Lord to cleanse the sanctuary. Of course the accuracy of the interpretation essentially depends upon the accuracy of fixing the date of the commencement of those prophetic days. So all the Miller school seem to think and argue. The certainty of the year of termination must always depend upon the certainty of the year of commencement. The former can never be more evident than the latter. The certainty  of the ending in 1843 can not be greater than the certainty of the beginning in 457 before Christ; for these two sums only complete the period assigned to the continuance of this desolating abomination.
By what logic, then, it must be asked, do they date the commencement of these 2,300 days, in the year before Christ 457?
They assume, first, that the prophecy found in the ninth chapter of Daniel concerning the seventy weeks, is only a development of a certain period of the 2,300 days.
They assume, second, that those "seventy weeks" are to be taken or cut off the first part of the 2,300 days; and consequently that the date of the commencement of the "seventy weeks," and of the commencement of the 2,300 days, is one and the same.
In the third place, they assume that the days are each symbolic of a year; and that, therefore, the whole 2,300 days are equal to 2,300 years.
Other assumptions besides these, and almost of equal importance, are essential to the completion of the new theory; but at present we can not attend to them. To some one more profoundly read in the mysteries of this imposing theory, we desire to submit the following difficulties by way of objections, and will be thankful to any one who can give us a satisfactory solution of them:
1st. The vision in which the 2,300 days are found as the terminus ad quem, or the boundary to which it extends, occurred in the year before Christ 553, as all admit; whereas the prophecy of the "seventy weeks" occurred 538 years before Christ--that is, fifteen years later than the former.
2d. There is not one intimation in the prophecy concerning the "seventy weeks" made by Gabriel to Daniel, that these "seventy weeks" had any reference to any portion of the vision which he had enjoyed in Persia fifteen years before. And as Daniel was in the previous prayer asking no light upon the subject of that vision, nor at all alluding to it, it would seem a very unwarrantable assumption that the prophecy of the "seventy weeks" was given with a special reference to a vision then fifteen years old, and that merely because the word "vision" is found twice in the eighth chapter, without any allusion to any vision--whether to that of the first year, or to that of the third year of Belshazzar--the former seventeen, the latter fifteen years old.
The assumption that the vision of the third of Belshazzar, fifteen years anterior to the prophecy of the "seventy weeks," is now being explained by Gabriel, is the more difficult of admission, inasmuch as Gabriel was commanded then and there to make Daniel understand the vision; which he did to such a degree as to cause Daniel to take his bed for some time in utter astonishment and grief, because of the calamities coming upon his people. 
Again, if it had been the intention of the Spirit to have made Daniel and his people understand the times involved in the 2,300 days, would it not have been more apposite and edifying to have kept to the figure of days, and instead of a prophecy concerning "seventy weeks," ought it not to have been in keeping with the types of the vision, to have said 490 days are marked for thy people?
Again, if 490 days were marked off for Daniel's people, for whom were the remainder, 1,810 days, determined! ? There is, then, no account taken, nor interpretation given, of 1,810 days on the hypothesis that Gabriel is now explaining the times to Daniel or giving the full answer to the question, "How long?" This would be an omission unprecedented in any system of interpretation human or divine, claiming the respect of the intelligent and virtuous.
But I must proceed to the one and only objection that I intend to raise in the present essay against the speculations of my contemporaries, in reference to which I only allude to these minor difficulties. Now that I may do this with all clearness and despatch, I must request the reader to consider attentively the two prophecies between which that of the fortunes of the sanctuary stands. For--
Whether in the form of visions or of verbal representations, to us there are three distinct prophecies found in the seventh, eighth and ninth chapters of Daniel; each of which has its own peculiar actors, events, and dates. Each prophecy has also its own specific design, and makes all its representations with a supreme reference to that design.
Now the period of 2,300 days belongs to the second vision and prophecy, and neither to the first nor to the third. And here arises the all-important question, From what event or incident shall it be computed? We must either find in it some person or thing of prominence, or we must arbitrarily select some extrinsic fact or circumstance without it, from which to fix its commencement. We shall therefore first read it: "Then I lifted up mine eyes and saw, and behold, there stood before the river a ram, which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will and became great. And as I was considering, behold, an he-goat came from the west, on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns; and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast  him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he-goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken and for it came up four notable ones, toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spoke, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed."
Evident it is, that in the scenes just read, there is one supreme, while all the others are subordinate. And who can doubt that the LITTLE HORN and his achievements must engross the attention of the Prophet and of the interpreting angel, as well as occupy the largest space in the whole group? Neither does the "ram" with his two horns, nor the "he-goat" with his one horn, so much arrest the Prophet's eye as the presumptuous deeds and heaven-daring impiety of the "little horn." We must, therefore, in all reason, contemplate him as the hero of this drama. He was the person who was to desecrate the sanctuary and to tread down the host for 2,300 days.
When, then, did he appear? But first comes the question, Who is he? We have to choose amongst but three candidates--Antiochus Epiphanes, Mahomet, and the Pope. But none of these can by any means subserve the views of the Millerites, or any of those who are predicting or anticipating the end of the world this year. If Antiochus Epiphanes, the "days" must be literal days; and, indeed, no individual ever did more completely fill up a prophetic description for the time designated, than did that fierce enemy of the Jewish people, their temple, and worship.
Make the days prophetic we must, if we elect the Pope or Mahomet to this dishonorable conspicuity. Then each day will stand for a year. But if so, then the Pope and Mahomet, the two great Antichrists--one of the Eastern, the other of the Western defection, must yet reign some thousand years and more, supposing them to have commenced their career early in the seventh century. 
Some there are who would date the vision from the moment it occurred, as they would date a book from the year in which it was printed rather than from any character or narrative found in its pages. These, therefore, seize the date as its head, viz.: the third of Belteshazzar; and that being the year before Christ 553, the vision closed, and the sanctuary was cleansed in 1747, almost a hundred years ago. Others again take the scenes communicated in the vision, and begin with the Medo-Persian "ram," commencing with the 1st of Darius or the Fall of Babylon. But that helps not the chronology: for them the catastrophe is over and the sanctuary was cleansed in the year o our Lord 1762, some eighty years ago.
Again, in the preceding vision, chapter vii., and in the succeeding prophecy, chapter ix., the dates assigned are inseparately connected with the chief person or main subject of the scene--the LITTLE HORN of the seventh and the MESSIAH of the ninth. I ask then, in the name of all consistency, by what oracle of reason, by what canon of interpretation, can any one presume to depart from these precedents, and borrow the interpretation of the 2,300 days, the date of the intermediate prophecy, from the date of the third, rather than from that of the first; or from that of the first, rather than from that of the third?--!
From this difficulty I see no escape except in a new assumption, viz.: that the question propounded by the one saint in the intermediate vision has respect rather to the continuance of the whole vision, than to the days of the little horn, its main subject.
But then we must take the date of the vision, not from the year in which Daniel was favored with it, as before shown, (for then it is accomplished long since,) nor from the scenes of the Medo-Persian "ram; for in that case, too, the time is also expired, and the prophecy fulfilled, but from the vision of the "he-goat," and his empire alone, for that is the special vision of the eighth Daniel. Then the only question is, What is the date of the vision of the "he-goat" out of a fraction of whose empire the kingdom of the "little horn" arose. This question decided, and our objection is insuperable.
Now this question is of peculiarly easy solution; for no event in history is more notorious than the battle at the river Granicus, in which Alexander the Great, the first king of the Grecian Empire, triumphed over Darius and, broke to pieces the Medo-Persian dynasty. Now we can not date the Grecian Empire under the symbol of the "goat," (which, by the way, was the ensign armorial of the Macedonian people,) more correctly than from the invasion of Asia by Alexander and his all-conquering army, in the year before Christ 334. Here, then, we are compelled, by the force of historic facts, to date the vision under consideration. From this date we compute the 2,300 days. And  what is the result? The time of the end will be in the year of our Lord 1966--one hundred and twenty-three years yet distant.
If, then, the Millerites, and all who agree with them in their times and seasons, seek to rid themselves of all the previous difficulties by taking the date of the vision proper, to which the 2,300 days belong; if they prefer this horn of the dilemma, is it not as evident as demonstration that they have wholly mistaken the dates, (to say nothing more,) and that which they are now expecting in 1843, can not occur till 1966! Having now directed my investigations to the cornerstone of the Miller hypothesis, the very basis of all their assurance and strong assertions, and shown it to be, as I humbly conceive, a palpable mistake, I regard it as a work of supererogation to expose the other errors of the system, until at least some of them, or of our brethren who endorse for them in the main, shall have satisfactorily expounded and removed the difficulty and main objection, offered in these remarks to their speculations on the subject.
I presume no man of sense among them will deny that their very confident predictions of all the exciting events of the present year, rest exclusively upon the date of the commencement of the 2,300 days of Daniel's second vision. While I regret to see the vile abuse of an ignorant and unbelieving multitude of priests and people, heaped upon our amiable enthusiast and pious expectant of the world's end in 1843, I have no sympathy for a theory, which, in my humble opinion, makes of non-effect much of the oracular predictions of God's Spirit; and which, in the manner of the operations of its author and his warm adherents, is calculated to do an infinite mischief, if it be possible for the most extravagant fictions and enthusiastic scenes, transacted in modern times, to do an incalculable mischief to the cause of a suffering and degraded Christianity.
If the Lord will come next year, or "immediately," how can such Scriptures as these be verified?--
1. "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks." This indicates that after wars shall have ceased and the peace of Messiah's reign shall have become universal, swords and spears shall be fabricated no more; and that the demand for ploughs and pruning-hooks will survive the demand for the implements of war. Now if the world ends next year, or immediately, then we shall no more need ploughshares and pruning-hooks than swords and spears. Nor will it help the matter to view the last thousand years as one day of judgment, and thus make the Millennium and the day of judgment identical: for in the day of judgment they will no more need ploughs and pruning-hooks than swords and lances.
2. "Babylon the Great is fallen!" say the weeping merchants while they survey her smoking ruins. They lament that the market for  their wares has ceased forever. But if the world terminate immediately, Babylon never falls, unless Babylon means the whole world. Jerusalem and Babylon, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the lofty towers, the great globe itself shall dissolve into ruin at the same moment. Babylon, then, never falls if the world ends next year.
3. Again, Satan is never "bound for a thousand years" if the world end next year. There will be no nations to deceive; and, indeed, there will be no utility in binding him a captive when nations are no more.
4. Can any one believe that the following predictions have yet been accomplished?--
Isa. lix. 16-21; lx., lxi., lxii., and lxiii.; lxv. 17-25, and lxvi. 10-24. Also Jer. xxx. 1-3, 17-24; xxxi. and xxxii. 36-42, and xxxiii. 1-26; Ezek. xxxvi. and xxxvii.; also chapters xxxviii. and xxxix., concerning Gog and Magog. Can any one say that these prophecies are now fulfilled? and, if not, can any one show how they are to be fulfilled after the end of the world?
Dan. ii. 40-44; vii. 7-14, 23-27. Compare these with John's Apocalypse, chapter xvi. 12-21, with chapters xvii., xviii., xix., and especially chapter xx. 1-10. Surely no one will affirm that all these things have yet come to pass.
The following assumptions, while essential to this theory, are, nevertheless, fatal to the views of prophecy which they seem to entertain:--
1st. The day of the Lord's coming is the end of all time.
2d. It is also the end of the present heavens, earth, and sea.
3d. It is, moreover, the end of all the nations of the earth.
Now, all this is only equivalent to affirming that, when the Lord comes, the material heavens, earth, sea, time, and nations, shall be no more. It is, therefore, incumbent on them to show that all the prophecies that respect these heavens, earth, sea, time, and nations, have been fulfilled. Indeed, this is their strong and oft-repeated assertion.
Will anyone skilled in that theory, please reconcile it and John's intimations in the following particulars?
1. John gave a thousand years' respite from Satan's influence. (Rev. xx. 1.) And how shall we count a thousand years after time is no more? 2. John speaks of nations existing after the thousand yearn are past. Are we to expect new nations to be created after the present nations are destroyed? He also speaks of the earth, in its common acceptation, as existing after the thousand years are ended. His words are--"And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up upon the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints," etc. Now, all this is positively said to occur after the  Millennium--that is, after time, earth, sea, and nations shall have been destroyed, there shall be a thousand years--the present earth, and sea, and nations, numerous and puissant. Are these prophecies fulfilled?
Pleasing and delightful, however, though the vision be, I regret that I can find no real foundation on which to build a hope that the opinion has any evidence from the "sure word of prophecy." Nay, the manner in which it seems to propagate itself is so destitute of rational arguments, or well defined Scriptural premises, that I can not acquiesce in the conclusions so strongly affirmed by some whom I greatly esteem and love.
When the excitement of the present year shall have passed away, it will be more profitable to analyze the whole premises from which we anticipate great changes in the world: for I am one of those that look for a thorough cleansing of the sanctuary as an event not only most devoutly to be wished, but most certainly soon to be commenced in a way which perchance but few of us either expect or are at all prepared for.
Alexander Campbell. Extracts from Introductory Note to "Twelve
Short and General Reasons."
|2. ----------. Extract from "The Millennium.--No. I." The Millennial Harbinger 1 (February 1830): 53.|
James Nisbet. "Twelve Short and General Reasons."
The Millennial Harbinger 3 (September 1832): |
Alexander Campbell. "The Coming of the Lord.--No. II."
The Millennial Harbinger 12 (February 1841): |
----------. Extracts from "The Coming of the Lord.--No. III."
The Millennial Harbinger 12 (March 1841): |
----------. Extract from "The Coming of the Lord.--No. IV."
The Millennial Harbinger 12 (March 1841): |
----------. Extracts from "The Coming of the Lord.--No. IX."
The Millennial Harbinger 12 (September |
----------. Extracts from "The Coming of the Lord.--No. XII."
The Millennial Harbinger 13 (February |
----------. Extracts from "The Coming of the Lord.--No. XVI."
The Millennial Harbinger 13 (June 1842): |
----------. Extracts from "The Coming of the Lord.--No. XVII."
The Millennial Harbinger 13 (July 1842): |
----------. Extract from "The Coming of the Lord.--No. XVIII."
The Millennial Harbinger 13 (August |
----------. Extract from "The Coming of the Lord.--No. XX."
The Millennial Harbinger 14 (February |
----------. Extracts from "Millennium: The Coming of the Lord.--No. XIX."
The Millennial Harbinger 13 |
----------. Extract from "The Coming of the Lord.--No. XXI."
The Millennial Harbinger 14 (February |
----------. Extracts from "The Coming of the Lord.--No. XXIII."
The Millennial Harbinger 14 (May 1843): |
----------. Extract from "The Coming of the Lord.--No. XXV."
The Millennial Harbinger 14 (July 1843): |
----------. Extract from "The Coming of the Lord.--No. XXVI."
The Millennial Harbinger 14 (October |
[Table of Contents]
|Benjamin Lyon Smith
The Millennial Harbinger Abridged (1902)