Page images
PDF
EPUB

previously converted; and Christ will be revealed, not to turn them to the faith, but to execute judgment upon his enemies. “I incline to think,” says he, “that they shall be called by vision and voice from heaven, as St. Paul was; and that that place of Zechariah They shall see him whom they have pierced, and that of Matthew Ye shall

said) continued till the Ancient of days came, and Judgment was given to the saints of the most High, i. e. potestas judicandi ipsis facta ; and the third time in the angel's interpretation (Ver. 26.). But the Judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion to consume and destroy it to the end. Where, observe also, that cases of dominion, of blasphemy, and apostacy, and the like, belonged to the jurisdiction of the great Sanhedrim.

“ From this description it came, that the Jews gave it the name of the day of judgment and the day of the great judgment ; whence, in the epistle of St. Jude (Ver. 6.), it is called the judgment of the great day.

“ From the same description they'learned, that the destruction then to be should be by fire, because it is said (Ver. 9.) His throne was a fiery flame, and his wheels burning fire ; and (Ver. 11.) The beast was slain, and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame.

“From the same fountain are derived those expressions in the Gospel, where this day is intimated or described ; The Son of man shall come in the clouds of heaven; The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his holy angels: forasmuch as it said here, Thousand thousands ministered unto him; and that Daniel saw One like the Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven, and he came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near him.

“ Hence St. Paul learned, that the saints should judge the world, because it is said that many thrones were set, and (Ver. 22.) by way of exposition, that judgment was given to the saints of the Most High.

6 Hence the same apostle learned to confute the false fear of the Thessalonians, that the day of Christ's second coming was then at hand : because that day could not be till the inan of sin were first come, and should have reigned his time appointed : forasmuch as Daniel had foretold it should be so, and that his destruction should be at the Son of man's appearing in the clouds ; whose appearing therefore was not to be till then. This is exAvec Tong Tagsrias auld in St. Paul : whom the Lord (saith he) shall destroy at the ETIDAUGU of his coming. Daniel's wicked horn is St. Paul's man of sin, as the Church from her infancy interpreted it.

“But to go on : while this judgment sits, and when it had destroyed the fourth beast, the Son of man which comes in the clouds receives dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve and obey him (Ver. 14.); which kingdom is thrice explained afterwards to be the kingdom of the saints of the Most High, Ver. 18, 22, 27.

“These grounds being laid, I argue as followeth :

“The kingdom of the Son of man and of the saints of the Most High in Daniel begins when the great judgment sits.

“ The kingdom in the Apocalypse, wherein the saints reign with Christ a thousand years, is the same with the kingdom of the Son of man and saints of the Most High in Daniel. ." Ergo, It also begins at the great judgment.

“ That the kingdom in Daniel and that of a thousand years in the Apocalypse are one and the same kingdom, appears thus :

« First, because they begin ab eodem terinino, namely, at the destruction of the fourth beast : that in Daniel, when the beast (then ruling in the wicked horn was slain, and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame (Dan. vii. 11, 22, 27.): that in the Apocalypse, when the beast and the false

not see me henceforth till you say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord *, seems to imply some such matter. They will never believe that Christ reigns at the right hand of God, until they see him. It must be an invincible evidence which must convert them, after so many hundred years settled obstinacy. But this I speak of the body of the nation; there may be some Preludia of some particulars converted upon other motives, as a forerunner of the great and main conversion t." To this opinion of Mr. Mede it was objected by Dr. Twisse, how such a vision could be manifested to the Jews dispersed in several parts of the world. The answer was, that a vision or apparition in heaven may be seen by the greatest part of the world at the same time, as stars

prophet (the wicked horn in Daniel) were taken, and both cast alive into a lake burning with brimstone. Rev. xix. 20, 21.

“ Secondly, Because St. John begins the regnum of a thousand years from the same session of judgment described in Daniel ; as appears by his parallel expression borrowed from thence. “ Daniel says, Chap. vii.

1 St. John says, Chap. xx. “9. I beheld till the thrones werell 4. I saw thrones, and they sat upon pitched down--and the judgment (i. e. || them. judges) sat..

"22. And judgment was given to the And judgment was given unto them. saints of the Most High.

ir And the saints possessed the king-|| And the saints lived and reigned with dom ; viz. with the Son of man who|| Christ a thousand years. came in the clouds.

« Now, if this be sufficiently proved, that the thousand years begin with the day of judgment, it will appear further out of the Apocalypse, that the judgment is not consummate till they be ended; for Gog and Magog's des. truction and the universal resurrection is not till then : therefore the whole thousand years is included in the day of judgment.

« Hence it will follow, that, whatsoever Scripture speaks of a kingdom of Christ to be at his second appearing or at the destruction of Antichrist, it must needs be the same which Daniel saw should be at that time, and so consequently be the kingdom of a thousand years which the Apocalypse includes between the beginning and consummation of the great judgment.Mede's Works, B. iv. Epist. 15. p. 762, 763.

In short, the whole matter may be briefly stated as follows. The day of Christ's second advent or the great day of judgment commences at the close of the 1260 years, when the vengeance of God begins to go forth against the Antichristian faction ; extends through the period of the Millennium ; and terminates with the final destination of all mankind either to everlasting happi. ness or everlasting misery. Hence this day of the second advent comprehends two manifestations of the Messiah ; the one previous to the Millennium for the destruction of Antichrist, the other subsequent to the Millennium for the universal judgment both of quick and dead. The first of these manifestations is predicted in Dan. vii. 9, 10, 11, 18, 22, 26, 27. and Rev. xix. 11-21. the second is predicted in Rev. xx 11-15.

* Zechar. xii. 10. Matt. xxiii. 39.
† Mede's Works, B. iv. Epist. xiv. P. 761.

and comets are : how else shall the appearing of our Saviour in the clouds of heaven, at his coming to judgment, be seen at once by so many nations of the world? Mr. Mede adds, “Howsoever it be, I suppose it is no sin to conceive magnificence and agenov7ws of so great a work of God towards a people for whom he hath formerly shewn so many wonders ; especially this being to be the greatest work of mercy and wonder that ever he did for them, far beyond the bringing them forth of Egypt, and leading them in the wilderness*.” And, in another part of his works, he draws a comparison between St. Paul's conversion and the calling of the Jews, supposing the one to be a kind of type of the othert.

My objection to Mr. Mede's opinion, in the manner in which he has stated it, is neither its improbability nor its impossibility abstractedly considered ; but simply that it cannot be made to harmonize with the general tenor of the prophecies which treat of the restoration and conversion of the Jews. It is expressly declared by Zechariah, that the glory of the Lord shall be manifested in the midst of Jerusalem ; and that, after such manifestation, Jehovah sent by Jehovah shall go forth and execute judgment upon his enemies. All the other prophets agree in attesting the same ; that, whenever the Word of God is revealed, it shall be to pour destruction upon the rebel army of Antichrist. This glory will most probably be the same as the Shechinah that attended the children of Israel out of Egypt: a vast pillar of light, shooting up to an immense height in the air 'so as to be visible at a very great distance, and surmounted by a cloud ; thus causing Jerusalem to appear, as if encompassed and covered with fire. Now, if such a tremendous vision as this continued to hover over Jerusalem (for that is the place assigned by the prophet for its appearance); and if the end of its . manifestation were to attract the attention of the scattered

Jews, and to effect their conversion, as Mr. Mede supposes : it is incredible, that Antichrist would ever dare to undertake such an expedition, as it is foretold that he shall undertake. Or, granting the utmost that can be

, * Mede's Works, B. iv. Epist. xvii, P. 767.
+ Mede's Works, B. v. C. 2. P. 891.

granted to daring impiety; granting that Antichrist might harden his heart to attempt the conquest of Palestine, as Pharaoh did to seek the destruction of Israel at the Red sea, notwithstanding the fiery portent, increasing in apparent magnitude as he approached towards it, glared full before his eyes : yet we can scarcely believe, that he would be able to effect the conquest of all Palestine, to bestow Jerusalem upon a band of unconverted Jews, to subdue Egypt, to return from thence in his fury, and to sack Jerusalem ; if the glory of the Lord were all this time in the midst of the city. Yet such must necessari. ly be our conclusion, if we adopt unreservedly Mr. Mede's opinion : for we are expressly told, that a part of the Jews shall be converted in Jerusalem, and that Jerusalem shall be sacked while in their possession. Of the two texts, which he cites from Zechariah and St. Matthew, the one seems to me by no means to prove his point, and the other to prove the direct contrary. I cannot think, that we have any warrant to suppose that the Jews, restored by Antichrist, will at the time of their converșion look upon him whom they have pierced any otherwise than spiritually, because their conversion precedes the sacking of Jerusalem ; whereas the manifestation of the Lord succeeds it, and immediately precedes the destruction of Antichrist. Then indeed they will literally look upon him whom they have pierced, but not till then. And this opinion is decidedly confirmed by the other text, which proves the very reverse of what Mr. Mede intended that it should prove. Our Lord assures the Jews, that they shall not see him, until they say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Whence it is manifest, that they must first say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; and afterwards behold him, whom they have so long rejected. This is precisely what I have supposed that they will do : whereas Mr. Mede exactly inverts the particulars of the text; and argues, that the Jews will first see the Messiah, and after. wards acknowledge him*.

* Mr. Lowth supposes, like Mr. Mede, that the Jews will be converted in consequence of a supernatural manifestation of Christ. See his Comment. ont Zech. xii. 10.

God's grand resto the sacki

troudshed us ar

On the whole I think it clear, that the revelation of God's glory over Jerusalem, will at once succeed the conversion and restoration of Judah, the whole expedition of Antichrist, and the sacking of the city ; that it will suddenly take place, when the confederacy has reached the valley of Megiddo, and is on the point of overwhelming the troops of the maritime nation and the converted Jews under its protection ; and that, immediately after it has taken place, the Word of God, issuing from the brightness of the Shechinah with all the armies of heaven, will descend with irresistible violence on his irreclaimable enemies, and thus stupendously conclude the great apostatical drama of 1260 years.

Since the Jews are to be restored in the midst of war and bloodshed, or, as Daniel expresses it, during a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, we may reasonably suppose that great numbers of them will perish. Accordingly we find, that their return from the countries of their dispersion is expressly compared by Ezekiel to their ancient exodus from Egypt.' As God pleaded with their fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt ; so will he likewise plead with them, causing them to pass under the rod, and purging out from among them the rebels. It is probable indeed, that only a small part of the first generation of those that are restored will quietly sit down under their own vines and under their own fig-trees. One whole generation of the Israelites, that were brought out of Egypt, perished in the course of forty years in the wilderness : and there is reason to think, as we shall presently see, that the conversion and restoration of Judah, and the expedition and destruction of Antichrist, will occupy a period of not less than 30 years. The swift messengers of the great maritime power will begin the work of converting the Jews, that is to say such Jews as are scattered through the countries subject to their influence : Antichrist meanwhile will collect the unconverted Jews from those parts of the isles of the Gentiles, or the regions of Europe*, which are under his immedi

* By the isles of the Gentiles the Jews understood all those countries which they could not reach from Palestine except by sea. Hence the name was given to Europe in contradistinction to Asia, which to them was strictly continental. See Mede's Works, P. 272. and Mr. Lowth's Comment, on Isaiah xi. 11.

« PreviousContinue »