« PreviousContinue »
The consummation of the glory and triumph of the church, in this world, is usually denominated the Millenium. And, that there will be, in the last age, or period of the world, a very happy and glorious state of the church of Christ, in which all nations, if not all individuals, shall savingly know the Lord; is evident from many plain scripture prophecies. That the duration of this happy period shall be a thousand years, commencing with the fall of antichrist, is evident from the noted revelation made to the Apostle John, in these words : 6 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand; and he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled. And after that, he must be loosed a little season. This is the conclusion of a series of prophecy, which reaches down to the end of the world ; and from this we learn, that the last thousand years is to be a period of uninterrupted peace and prosperity: when " there shall be nothing to hurt or harm in all God's holy mountain :" and when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord." 66 All shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest.” At the close of this happy period, satan will be loosed, and mankind will apostatize. Christ will then be revealed, in flaming fire to destroy all his enemies, to raise the dead, burn the world, and commence the final judgment. These astonishing and glorious scenes will characterize the concluding age of this fallen world.
To illustrate distinctly, the doctrine of the Millenium, it is proposed, in the first place, to prove from the proph ecies, the previous restoration of all the tribes of Israel,
to the land of Canaan ; and their conversion to the chris. tian faith. That the Israelites will be restored to their own land, the land that was given to Abraham and his seed forever; and that, before or after, or in the time of their restoration, they will be converted to the christian faith, is very evident from the prophecies, and is generally conceded, by those who embrace, in a literal sense, the doctrine of the Millenium. Some are of the opinion, however, that all the prophecies of their restoration from their dispersion among the nations, mean nothing more than their conversion to Christ, in common with the rest of the nations. And, that the distinction between the seed of Abraham and the gentile nations will be finally abolished. And, that, as far as the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and others, are to be understood in a literal sense, they have long been accomplished, in the restoration of the Jews from their captivity at Babylon.
But we are to consider, that these prophecies, in general, and many of them, in particular, speak of events to be accomplished in the last days. Isaiah and Micah utter, in the same terms, the prophecy of the Millenium, as an event of the last days. And it shall come to pass, in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it: And many nations shall come and say: "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob: and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths : for the law shall
forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” By the last days, in this and other prophecies, is evidently meant, a period after the coming of Christ; and long after the restoration of the Jews, from their captivity at Babylon. But no restoration of the Jews, since their awful dispersion, in the days of the Apostles, bas yet taken place. "We observe further,
The prophecies speak as clearly and distinctly of the restoration of all the other tribes of Israel, as of the tribe of Judah. But, in the restoration from Babylon, only the tribes denominated Jews, were restored. The ten
uibes, denominated Ephraim, have never yet experienced any restoration, nor any tokens of divine favor.
We may now attend to some of the many prophecies directly in proof, that all the tribes of Israel will be restored to their own land, the land of promise, and will be converted to the christian faith. In the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, is a notable prophecy of these glorious events. Speaking of the gospel period, be says, “ In that day, there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensiyn of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass, in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time, to recover the remnant of his people which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the Islands of the sea." That is, from all nations, whither they are driven. 66 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel; and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. The envy also of Ephraim shall depart; and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off. Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people which shall be left from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day when he came up out of the land of Egypt." From this prophecy, it is perfectly clear, that there is to be a second restoration of all the tribes of Israel, under the names of Ephraim and Judah, to repossess, in love and harmony, the whole extent of the land of Canaan. Accordingly, we find in Jeremiah thirty-third, an assurance of the faithfulness of God, never to abolish his covenant with any branch of the house of Israel. 66 The word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah saying; considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, the two families [Judah and Ephraim] which the Lord hath chosen, he hath even cast them off. Thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them. Thus saith the Lord, if my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and
earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abrahain, Isaac and Jacob. For I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them. The prophecy of the restoration of Israel and Judah, by the prophet Ezekiel, is still more explicit and illustrious. A summary view of the thirty-seventh chap . ter will afford ample proof of the restoration of all tlie tribes of Israel, and their re-union, as in former ages, or as in the days of David and Solomon. In this noted chapter, under the similitude of a valley full of dry bones, is represented the present lost and seemingly hopeless state of the dispersed Israelites. By the resurrection of these bones, which were very dry, is strikingly represented their revival and restoration from captivity, by the power and mercy of God.
In the next place, the union and harmony of all the tribes, are clearly represented by the union of two sticks in the hand of the prophet. On one stick was written the name of Judah, and the house of Israel, his
companionis; and on the other was written the name of Ephraim, and the house of Israel, his companions. The two sticks were then joined together in the hand of the prophet: And the whole parable is then applied in the following words: 5 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will take the children of Israel froin among the heathen, whither they be gone, and I will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the moun. tains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all
. And they thall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.”. These are events which are not yet accomplished ; and which cannot be accomplished, without a general restora. tion of all the tribes of Israel to the land of Canaan, and a cordial union of the whole, under the spiritual government of Jesus Christ, who is the Prince of Peace.
So plain and illustrious are these prophecies, that ang further recital may be deemed needless. A few words may be added, however, from the eleventh of Romans;
to shew the remarkable coincidence of the Old and New Testament prophecies. “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part, is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved ; as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and he shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Marvellous as the conversion and restoration of all Israel may appear, yet, as much as we depend on any part of sacred prophecy, we may depend on this ; for none is more clear and explicit. And it is an animating and glorious prediction! Especially when it is considered, that the restoration of the tribes of Israel shall be as life from the dead to the gentile nations. It shall open the eyes of a drowsy and slumbering world ; and put to silence the cavils of unbelievers and heretics. How ardently should we long and pray for the speedy restoration of Israel, and its blessed effects on the world !
We observe further, that the restoration of Israel is abundantly evident from the ancient promises of God, and from the covenant which he made with the Patriarchs. The land of Canaan, which God promised to the Patriarchs, was a type of heaven; and the possession of that land was to be an everlasting possession.
The meaning of which is, that it should be durable as the world. And although, from time to time, their posterity were expelled from the land of promise, for their idolatries, and carried into long captivities; yet, in all cases, they had the promises of restoration. Nor did one of the promises fail. God's loving kindness was never taken from them, nor did his faithfulness ever fail. We may therefore be confident, that, however great and dreadful their present dispersions are, for their rejection and murder of their Lord and Saviour; yet they are still 6 beloved for their father's sakes." Though, for the present, they are broken off from the good olive tree; yet God is able, and he will graff
' them in again; even into their own olive tree.