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may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”. By these passages I show you that all the children of God are included in this blessing, and not the martyrs only, as some will have it. The next thing which will claim our attention will be to explain the resurrection spoken of in our text, called the first resurrection. The word resurrection signifies to revive, or resuscitate, or bring to life again, one now dead, who was once alive. It nowhere in the word of God conveys an idea of a new creation, and the word is nowhere used in the Bible expressing any thing less or more than a union of soul and body, and deliverance from natural death. The word resurrection is nowhere used in a figurative sense; it in all places has its own simple meaning, unless our text is an exception. And without the objector can show some rule of interpretation by which we shall be warranted to understand the word in a different sense, we must beg leave to attach to it the simple meaning, coming to life from the grave. I know some have supposed that regeneration is resurrection; but I cannot believe this unless they show some rule. I know some pretend to show us, in John v. 25, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live, as a rule; but in order to make this a rule, they must prove that Christ meant regeneration; until this is shown, we cannot admit it as any proof.
We shall, therefore, consider the word resurrection as coming up out of the grave, and pass to the word first. “The first resurrection.” The resurrection of the saints is first as it respects order and time. Wherever the word resurrection is used in connection with life or damnation, the one unto life always comes first; as in Daniel xii
. 2, “Some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt;" John v. 29, “ They that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” Here are two samples as it respects order. One or two as it respects time: 1 Cor. xv. 23, “ Christ the first fruits, then afterward they that are Christ's at
And again, 1 Thess. iv. 16, “ For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” And then our context and text shows that the blessed and holy are raised a thousand years before the rest of the dead. If we are correct, then, Christ will come before the millennium instead of afterwards, as some believe; and the millennium is a state of personal, and glorious, and immortal reign on the new earth, or this earth cleansed by fire, as it was once by water; and it will be a new dispensation, new heavens, and new earth. This will be our next proposition to prove. And, first, we will examine the 20th chapter of Revelation, lst verse: “And I saw an angel come down from heaven ; - this angel I consider no less a being than the Lord Jesus Christ; for it only can be said of him; having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.” See Rev. i. 18: * I am he that liveth and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, amen, and have the keys of hell and of death." And Christ only has power to bind Satan. “ That he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil,” Heb. ii. 14. 2d verse : “ And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years." I suppose this verse needs no explanation. It can only be understood in a literal sense, for it explains itself in the figures used; as dragon and serpent, often used as figures, are explained to mean the devil and Satan. If the thousand years had been used, in this chapter, or any where else in the word of God, in a mystical or figurative sense, it would have been somewhere explained; but, as it is not, I consider we are to place upon it the most simple construction, and I shall therefore understand it literally. 3d verse: " And cast him into the bottomless pit;" — by bottomless pit, I have shown, by the proof on our first verse, that it is hell; see Rev. i. 18; — " 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 passage must be understood in its simple, plain meaning; no mystery in this. 4th verse: “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given unto them;" — here we have a prophecy of the fulfilment of a promise that Christ made to his disciples, in Matt. xix. 28: “ And Jesus said unto them, Verily, I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel ;” "and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which 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.". In this description we have the whole family of the redeemed; for all that had not worshipped the beast or his image, or received a mark, and, in one word, all that were not the servants of Satan or sin, lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5th verse :
“ But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection." The rest of the dead means the wicked dead, who do not have part in the first resurrection; lived not again, showing conclusively that it is a natural life and death spoken of. The first resurrection is the resurrection of the saints at his coming. Then comes in our text, which has and will be explained in the lecture. 7th verse : “ And when the thousund years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison.". We may reasonably expect that, when Satan is let loose, all the damned spirits are let loose with him; and it has been strongly implied they were to live again in the body, at the end of the thousand years. 8th verse: " And shall
out" that is, Satan- “to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth”. " ashes under the feet of the saints," as Malachi tells us: “ And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts" Gog and Magog " -- the armies of the wicked that were
slain at the commencing of the thousand years, or coming of Christ, at the supper of the great God, and battle of Armageddon; see Ezekiel xxxviii., xxxix. sto gather them together to battle ;”. - this is their design, but there is no battle, for God himself is with his people to defend them; and he destroys the wicked host, “ the number of whom is as the sand of the sea ; evidently including the whole number of the wicked ; for the figure, sand of the sea, is never used, only to express the whole class of the people named; as, the children of Israel, the whole host of Jacob. 9th verse:
And they went up on the breadth of the earth;" — that is, this army of Gog and Magog were raised up out of the surface of the earth, that only being the breadth of a globular body; " and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city ;' - plainly showing that the New Jerusalem, the beloved city, is on the earth during the thousand years, or how could this wicked host encompass it about? they have not climbed the celestial walls of heaven - no; for it says, “and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them." This is the second death, represented under the figure of fire coming down from God out of heaven; not the conflagration of the world, — for that was in the commencing of the thousand years, when Christ came and cleansed the world from all the wicked, and the works of wicked men, - but the justice of God, under the figure of fire ; " for our God is a consuming fire.” Heb. xii. 29. 10th verse : “ And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
In this verse, the final condemnation of the wicked, soul and body, is given; and the last that God has seen fit to reveal concerning them to us is, that they are cast into everlasting torment. In the next verse, John has another vision of the same things which he had before told us, only in a different point of view, or some circumstance not before clearly described. And I saw always implies a new view, or another vision. 11th verse: “ Ana I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on its from
whose face the heavens and earth fled away; and there was no place found for them.” This is the same throne that Daniel saw, vii. 9–14: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool : his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.” 12th verse: “ Ana I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; ana the books were opened ; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." This is the same as Daniel saw, vii. 10: “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him ; thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The judgment was set, and the books were opened.” It is very evident that this is the beginning of the judgment, when Christ comes in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory, to raise and judge his saints, and to reward every man as his work shall be. 1st, because it is when the judgment first sets; 2d, because the book of life is there, and open; and, 3d, because it was at the time or before antichrist was destroyed; and no one can believe that the antichristian beast can be on the earth during or in the millennium.
13th verse: “ And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them.” I conclude the apostle, after he had seen the righteous dead raised, small and great, and stand before God, and saw the book of life open to justify them, and saw them judged and rewarded, he then glides down to the end of the thousand years, and beheld the wicked dead given up by those elements and places wherein they had been confined during the millennial period, to be judged in the flesh, every man according to his works.
This only can reconcile some of those conflicting passages (or seemingly so to us) concerning the resurrection; and I cannot see any impropriety in thus understanding these prophecies; for it is the common manner of the prophets, a little here and a little there. In all the descriptions of the resurrection of the righteous