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coming will personally reign upon earth, together with His saints, for a thousand years. 1
First of all is blessed Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis and disciple of St. John. Eusebius and St. Jerome say, that he expressly taught that after the first resurrection Christ will reign with His saints upon earth for a thousand years. This holy man, in the preface to his work called "Explanation of the Discourses of the Lord," distinctly declares that in his writings he does not follow the various opinions of men, but the authority of the apostles: "I considered," says he, "what Andrew and what Peter would have said; what Philip and Thomas, what James and John, what Matthew, or any other of the disciples of the Lord would have said; what also Aristion and John the elder, disciples of the Lord, have said. For books do not avail me so much as the verbal teaching of their authors."
1 The Church, in her office for Advent, represents to us Christ at His second coming as a mighty King, who will rule over all the nations and tribes of the earth. She says:-Rex noster adveniet Christus, quem Joannes prædicavit agnum esse venturum. Super ipsum continebunt Reges os suum, ipsum gentes deprecabuntur. (Fer. iv. infra hebdom. i. Respons. i.) And again :-Ecce apparebit Dominus super nubem candidam et cum eo sauctorum millia, et habebit in vestimento et in femore ejus scriptum Rex Regum et Dominus Dominantium. Apparebit in finem, et non mentietur; si moram fecerit, expecta eum, quia veniens veniet. (Domin. 3, Noct. i. Respons. i.) And again:Ecce veniet Dominus, Princeps Regum terræ: beati qui parati sunt occurrere illi. (Fer. ii. infra hebd. 3, Ant. i. ad laud.) Ecce veniet Dominus, ut sedeat cum principibus, et solium gloriæ teneat. (Antiph. 4, ad laudes.)
2 Papias Joannis auditor, Hierapolitanus in Asia Episcopus, quinque tantum scripsit volumina, quæ prænotavit: Explanatio Sermonum Domini. In quibus, cum se in præfatione asserat non varias opiniones sequi, sed Apostolos habere auctores ait: Considerabam quid Andreas, quid Petrus dixissent, quid Philippus, quid Thomas, quid Jacobus, quid Joannes, quid Matthæus, vel alius quilibet discipulorum Domini: quid etiam Aristion et senior
This circumstance gives certainly an additional weight to his doctrine. St. Irenæus, disciple of blessed Papias, supports the same opinion in four different chapters of his work against heresies. In the thirty-second chapter of the fifth book, he expressly says that the saints shall rise at the second coming of Christ, and reign upon earth together with Him. "The just," says he, "must rise first at the coming of Christ, in their present condition, but quite renewed, and to receive the inheritance which God has promised to the fathers, and to reign therein; afterwards shall follow the judgment." In the next chapter the holy martyr treats at full length of the same matter, and grounds his assertion on the authority of blessed Papias and of the elders. In the thirty-fourth chapter he confirms the same opinion respecting the kingdom of Christ and of his saints upon earth, with various passages from Isaias, Jeremias, Ezechiel, and Daniel, and with the parable of the watchful servants, to whom the Lord Jesus promises, in the Gospel, that "He will gird Himself, and make them sit down to meat, and passing will minister unto them." Lastly, in the thirty-fifth chapter, he undertakes to show that the passages from Holy Scripture, alleged by him in support of his opinion, do not bear a mere allegorical and mystical sense, but mean a real resurrection of the
Joannes, discipuli Domini, loquebantur. Non enim tantùm mihi libri ad legendum prosunt, quantùm viva vox usque hodie in suis auctoribus personans. Hic dicitur mille annorum Judaicam edidisse devrέpwov, quam secuti sunt Irenæus et Apollinarius, et ceteri qui post resurrectionem aiunt in carne cum sanctis Dominum regnaturum. (St. Hieronym. de Viris Illust. cap. xviii.)
1 Luke xii. 37.
just after the final overthrow of the Antichrist, and a real kingdom of Christ and of His saints in a terrestrial Jerusalem.
St. Justin Martyr, in the second century, firmly maintains the same opinion, and declares it to be maintained by many others. In his second dialogue with Tryphon, the latter proposes this question to the saint. "Tell me the truth, dost thou hold that Jerusalem will be newly restored, and that the Jewish people will again assemble together, and that they will be filled with joy, together with Christ and the patriarchs, the prophets, and those who shall join us from the nations?" St. Justin answers : "I am not so wretched, Tryphon, as to speak otherwise than I feel. I have already told thee, that I, with many others, are of opinion that things shall so happen. If thou shouldst meet with men who not only do not admit these things, but who also blaspheme against the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, and who say that there is no resurrection of the dead, but that souls are admitted into heaven immediately after death, without their ever leaving it to come to reassume their bodies, do not take them for Christians, any more than thou wouldst take the Sadducees or other like sectarians for Jews. As regards myself, and all those who think and feel rightly, and are Christians altogether, we believe the resurrection of the body (besides the things which we said of the God of Abraham). And the prophets Ezechiel, Isaias, and others acknowledge that we shall pass a thousand years in Jerusalem, rebuilt, and adorned, and enlarged." Afterwards he subjoins: "A certain
1 St. Just. Dialog. cum Tryphone, pars 2.
amongst us, whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ, in a revelation made to him, did prophesy that the faithful believers in Christ should live a thousand years in Jerusalem, and after this a general resurrection and the judgment should take place."
Tertullian, at the beginning of the third century, professeth his belief in the first resurrection, and in the kingdom promised to the saints upon. earth for a thousand years, of their living in the new Jerusalem, and therein enjoying all spiritual delights, and of the general judgment after the thousand years. This was fully explained by him, as several historians remark, in his books of Paradise and of the Hope of the Faithful, which unfortunately have been lost. And in the fourth book against Marcion, chapter xxiv., he says that "there is a kingdom promised to us upon earth.... after the resurrection of the just for a thousand years in Jerusalem, the city made by God. . . . . Into this city the saints, after the resurrection, will be admitted, and will there be filled with the abundance of spiritual delights, in compensation for those things which they shall have despised or renounced during their mortal life. For it is just and worthy of God that His servants should also rejoice there, where they have been afflicted for His sake."1 Lactantius, in the seventh book of his work on Divine Institutions, chapter xxiv.,
1 Confitemur in terra regnum nobis repromissum; sed ante cœlum, sed alio statu, utpote post resurrectionem in mille annos in civitate divini operis Jerusalem. . . . . Hanc dicimus excipiendis resurrectione sanctis, et refovendis omnium bonorum, utique spiritualium copia, in compensationem eorum quæ in sæculo despeximus, a Deo prospectam. Siquidem justum est et Deo dignum illuc quoque exultare faniulos ejus, ubi et afflicti sunt in nomine ejus.
thus speaks: "The Son of the Most High God shall come, that He may judge the living and the dead. After he shall have destroyed wickedness, and raised to life the holy men who have existed from the beginning, He will remain for a thousand years amongst men, whom He will rule with a most just government. Then the dead who shall rise to life will preside as judges over the living. The nations will not be utterly destroyed, but some will be left as a victory to the Lord and as a triumph to the saints. At the same time the prince of devils, who is the plotter of all evils, will be bound with chains; and will be kept tied down for a thousand years, during which justice shall reign in the world." 1 And in the twentieth chapter, after declaring that at the end of the thousand years the devil, being loosed again from his prison, will seduce the nations, exciting them to war against the Holy City; that the vengeance of God falling upon them will destroy them all; and that after this the general resurrection and the universal judgment will follow, together with the eternal glory of all the elect and the everlasting punishment of all the wicked, he thus continues: "This is the doctrine of the holy prophets, which we Christians follow. This is our wisdom, which those who worship idols or support vain philosophy deride as foolishness
1 Veniet summi et maximi Dei Filius, ut vivos ac mortuos judicet. Ille cum deleverit injustitiam ac justos qui a principio fuerint ad vitam restauraverit, mille annos inter homines versabitur, eosque justissimo imperio reget. Tunc . . . qui ab inferis suscitabuntur, ii præerunt viventibus velut judices. Gentes vero non extinguentur omnino; sed quædam relinquentur in victoriam, ut triumphentur a justis. Sub idem tempus etiam princeps dæmoniorum, qui est machinator omnium malorum, catenis vincietur; et erit in custodia mille annis cœlestis imperii, quo justitia in orbe regnabit.