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“ should deceive the nations no more till the " thousand years fhould be fulfilled ;” verfe 4th, * that the saints should live and reign with Christ " a thousand years ; verse 5th, "that the reft of " the dead lived not again until the thousand “ years were finished;" verfe 6th, “that those who “ have part in the first resurrection shall reign with “ Chrift a thousand years;" and verse 7th, “ that “ when the thousand years are expired Satan ** Thall be loofed out of his prison.
As the prophecy exprefly limits the conti'nuance of the millenium to a thousand years, the only ground of doubt, and the only question which hath arifen or can arise on this part of the subject is, whether these thousand years are to be understood literally for a thousand civil years, or for a thousand prophetic years, which would make 360,000 civil years ? From the idiom of symbolical language it is quite clear, that a thousand years in this paffage fignify a thousand civil years. A year is not used as a symbol or character in the fym. bolical language. If it is ever used at all, it is in a way similar to a metaphor in alphabetical language.--The reason of this is interwoven with the very construction of the symbolical language. In it the lefser is always the symbol for the larger of any thing of the same or of a similar kind, because, when the symbols were originally painted or engraven, if they had been large they would
have taken up too much room on the tables on which they were drawn. Hence, from the analogy of the written language, the leffer was used in the spoken language to fignify the greater. Thus, a day, which is the complete revolution of the earth round its own axis, is the symbol for a year, which is the complete revolution of the earth round the ecliptic. The lesser revolution is the fymbol for the greater revolution of the same kind. But, in that very early age of society in which the symbolical language was formed, the state of aftronomical knowledge did not lead men to perceive any greater revolutions of the earth by which time is measured ; and for which a year, as the leffer revolution, might have been the proper symbolical character. Accordingly, in fact the word which expresses the civil year, (éon), which is the word in the whole of this passage, does not appear to be used as a symbol by any of the prophets, either in the Old or New Testament. If they predicted a very long period of time for which a year might be a more convenient symbol than a day, they always take another word than a year to signify 360 prophetic days, or as many civil years. Thus Daniel, vii. 25. uses "a 6 time and times and the dividing of time," and John, Revel. xii. 14. “ a time and times and half “ a time.” The only apparent exception from this fact that I have ever found in prophetic
writings, writings, is ch. ix. 15. of this book. “And the four “ angels were loosed, which were prepared for an “ hour and a day, and a month and a year, for to “ lay the third part of men.” But this exception is only apparent, for the word in the original which is translated year in this passage is very different from the one translated year in chap. xx. In chap. ix. it is én AUTOM, which properly signifies a revolution, that which returns again into itself, and ought to have been translated a revolution in that place. But, in all the fix verses in chap. XX. where the word years occurs, it is étn in the original, which is the proper word for years in the Greek language..
It seems also to be agreeable to the idiom of the symbolical or prophetic language, that when : ever the same period of time is repeated in the same continued narration, a different symbol, but which fignifies the fame length of time, is used at each repetition : for this good reason, that by comparing one of them with another, and finding their exact agreement in sense, though different in sound, we may learn with certainty the period of time which they fignify. Thus, chap. xi. 2, 3. i 42 months and 1260 days are used to signify the fame period of time, even 1243 civil years, as was formerly shewn, and, in chap. xii. 6, 14, 1269 days, and a time and times and half a time, are used to signify the same period of time. But in
literal or common language the very reverse is the case: in order to prevent ambiguity, whenever the same period of time is repeated in a continued narrative, the same terms are used to express it at each repetition. It is not expressed in days in one part of the narrative, in weeks, months, or years in other parts of it. But, in chap. xx. though the period of the millennium is fix times repeated in verses 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, it is always expressed without variation by “a thousand years.” For these two reasons, together with another which cannot be stated with propriety and force until it hath been first produced in proof of the time of the commencement of the millennium, I am as fully convinced as language can make me, that the continuance of the millennium shall be for one thousand civil yeaas.
But, let it be observed that the church of Christ shall not be oppressed nor overcome by her enemies when those thousand years shall expire. She ahall continue triumphant to the end of the world; and for ever in a future state. For, in ch. xxii. 5. which respects the millennium state,as shall be shewn in its place, it is said, “the servants of God shall “ reign for ever and ever.” But, by the millennium is meant, that for these thousand years no attempt whatever shall be made to disturb the peace and interrupt the prosperity of the church of Christ and of the world, that there shall be no
persecutions nor wars on the whole earth : but, at the end of these thousand years, certain persons stiled Gog and Magog, instigated by the Devil, shall attack the church of Christ, and by bloody wars shall disturb the peace of the whole world for a Mort tinae ; but, that they shall be disappointed in their wicked attempts, and totally deflroyed. And, that by their deftruction the church of Christ and the world shall be left in a state of complete and final triumph and peace. These particulars will be illustrated in the commentary on verses 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th.
It now only remains, that I should shew at what time the millennium shall begin. That it shall begin with the year of Christ 2000, will I hope Clearly appear to every candid and intelligent reader, from the following evidence. From chap. xix. 11. to chap. XX. 4. there is a close and continued narrative of the last and bloody wars in which the enemies of Christ's church shall be overthrown, and at the termination of which the triumphant state of his church shall commence. In that narrative, chap. xix. 12. Christ is reprefented with inany crowns on his head ; chap. xix. 19, 20. the kings of the earth, the beast, and the false prophet are represented as killed ; chap. xx. I, 2. Satan, the third class of Christ's enemies, is represented as chained in hell for a thousand years; chap. xix. 14. the armies in heaven, or