My opening remarks may seem peculiar to all. An elderly gentleman was boarding with a widow lady. One morning he drank nine cups of coffee and passed his cup for the tenth. The lady said, "Mr. you drink an awful lot of coffee." "Oh, no, I don't drink much coffee; I have to drink so much water to get a little coffee." I have a great deal of water here, and it will be necessary for you to drink all of it in order to get enough coffee to keep you awake until I am through.
Young Brother King this morning demonstrated to us what a good preacher can do with a little text, "Consider the Ant." I'll show you tonight what a little preacher cannot do with a BIG text.
After hearing my subject announced no one will be surprised when I say it places me under a considerable degree of embarrassment to appear before this audience to offer some feeble remarks upon this momentous subject. My subject is in the form of a question, "DO THE SCRIPTURES TEACH?" etc. Only recently I was casually turning through LOOK MAGAZINE.
I was not especially interested in anything at all. My eyes fell upon a brief article under the heading "BAPTIST." Of course that attracted my attention. The writer stated that no one Baptist can speak for another Baptist, much less for all Baptists. There was a time when that could not be said. It probably can be truthfully said now, and especially is that true in the consideration of my subject. So far as I know, our Baptists have driven no stakes, nor have they stretched any cords relative to this question. A man can be a good valuable American citizen and be a Democrat; a man can be just as good a citizen and be a Republican. A man can be a sound grace Baptist and believe that there will be a resurrection of the righteous one thousand years before the resurrection of the wicked, and that Christ will reign on earth a thousand years with the righteous before the resurrection of the wicked, or he can be just as good a Baptist and believe that the two classes will be resurrected simultaneously. We may differ in our opinion as to the time of the resurrection of the dead, but we must not differ as to the extent of it. It must be general regardless of the time it takes place. In essentials there MUST be unity, in non-essentials there should be charity. I would not have anyone think that I am so presumptuous as to believe that I can offer anything on this subject which I consider impregnable, nor would I challenge anyone to take issue with what I say; all that I can hope to say will be but feeble remarks upon a great subject, and I humbly solicit your indulgence.
This question is not to be considered from the standpoint of what great men have taught, but what the Scriptures teach will be the deciding factor. For me to say in the outset that there will or will not be a period of one thousand years between the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked, commonly called the Millennium, would be equal to a jury finding a man under a severe charge guilty or innocent, and then proceed with the investigation. I will not state unreservedly in the beginning that there will or will not be such a period of time, but I shall proceed with the investigation. One important thing we must not forget, and that is that the Scriptures must harmonize. We are not to read the Scriptures in such a confused manner as the little poem I am going to read was written in:
It was midnight on the ocean,
Not a streetcar was in sight,
The sun was shining brightly,
It rained all day that night.
One part of this poem refutes another portion of it. We must not read the Scriptures so as to make them conflict; if we do we will be found in mid-ocean at midnight and not a streetcar to take us any place. If we can find one text that teaches beyond the peradventure of doubt that the righteous and the wicked will be raised simultaneously, then we may search till patience be well tried and we will never find a text that teaches that there will be a thousand years between the two events. On the other hand, if we find one text that teaches conclusively that there will be a thousand years between the resurrection of the two classes, then we will never find a text that teaches that both classes will be resurrected at the same time. I am very certain that everyone will agree that the premises I have laid down are safe and sound.
Every doctrine, whether true or false, has its consequences, and no man should openly avow a certain doctrine and at the same time deny the consequence of that doctrine. For instance, we believe that Christ died and atoned for the elect only. The consequence of that theory is that Christ did NOT atone for all Adam's race, but we are not required to dwell upon the consequences, but upon the principle of doctrine itself, regardless of the consequences.
So far as I know, no one has ever been commanded to preach a negative, but in order to preach the Gospel, the truth, we must be on the affirmative side. If the Scriptures teach that all the dead will be resurrected at the same time, then that is what we should preach, and if that is true, it is not necessary to spend our time denying that there will be a thousand years between the resurrection of the two classes. On the other hand, if the Scriptures teach that there shall be two resurrections, one a thousand years before the other, then that is what we should preach, and spend no time denying that all will be resurrected together. When this service was arranged, all that was necessary in order for the public to know who would speak, was for the committee to give the name of the speaker, and not all the names of those who would not be the speaker. The Scriptures teach that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, and in confirmation of that fact I call attention to the apostle's statement in the 24th chapter and 15th verse of the Acts of the Apostles: "And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust."
The Apostle does not say in this connection that all the dead will be raised at the same time, neither does he say that there will be a thousand years between the resurrection of the two classes. Now I will read from Matthew, 22nd chapter and from verse 24 to verse 30: "Saying, Master, Moses said, if a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her? Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven."
The lesson taught and the idea conveyed in the foregoing texts do not seem to favor the idea of a 1,000 years reign on earth with Christ and His people after the resurrection of the righteous. If that conclusion can be drawn from the lesson, it must be admitted that the resurrected body will be dwelling on EARTH as the angels of God in HEAVEN. And if they are as the angels of God in Heaven in the resurrection, and dwell as such on earth a thousand years, I cannot picture them in any better state than that after they actually enter Heaven itself. I cannot hope to be anything better in Heaven than an angel of God in Heaven. And if the saints of God can dwell for a thousand years on earth in such a state as described in the foregoing, they would be reluctant to leave the earth and go to Heaven.
The resurrection as he lived with her on earth; I informed him that if he did he would be living in adultery, because in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in Heaven. Brigham Young, who left 27 widows and a whole battalion of children, would find it inconvenient to provide a living for such an army on earth.
A very important factor in the consideration of this question is the NATURE of the resurrection, not the extent of it, but the very NATURE of it. If Christ reigns on earth a thousand years with His saints before the wicked are raised, then naturally we would wonder if the resurrected body of the saint will be a physical body with flesh and bones, or will it a spiritual body, an immortal body, a glorified body? If it is a natural body in the resurrection, then no change was made in the body in the resurrection, and the Scriptures teach that it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body, and to picture a spiritual, immortal body, a glorified body living on earth tilling the ground and planting vineyards, is a stretch of the imagination.
I will call attention to St. John 5: 28-29: "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."
We often say that the word ALL has a limited meaning and does not always include the entire race of mankind; but even though it be given a restricted meaning in the text referred to, and does not mean ALL the dead, the fact remains that it does include both classes of the dead, both the righteous and the wicked, because both classes are mentioned in the text, and makes it very clear that both classes will hear His voice at the same time, and shall come forth at the same time, and if that is true, then the idea of one thousand years between the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked appears unreasonable. I will call attention to Matthew 25: 31-34:
"WHEN the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, THEN shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. THEN shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." From this account it would appear that the separation will take place WHEN the Son of man shall come in His glory; and it does not appear that He shall separate them as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats, if the goats are left in the grave for a thousand years.
Now I will read verse 41 of this same chapter: "THEN shall he say also unto them on the left hand, DEPART FROM ME, YE CURSED, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." We are not merely to suppose that he shall say to them on His left hand, DEPART, and leave them cold, dormant and lifeless in the grave, but before He shall say DEPART into everlasting fire, He is going to raise them from the dead. The word THEN is used in connection with His sitting upon the throne of His glory, and when was it that He should sit upon the throne of His glory? IT WAS WHEN THE SON OF MAN SHALL COME IN HIS GLORY. THEN, THEN, THEN, at the very same time shall He say to them on His left hand DEPART, etc. The word then means a certain time, means at a given time, and also means at THAT time; so at the very time He shall say to them on His right hand, COME, He shall say to them on His left hand DEPART.
I will quote from I. Thessalonians 4: 16-17: "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." I don't think the apostle meant to convey the idea that the righteous dead will be resurrected before the wicked dead, but the dead in Christ shall be resurrected before the living saints who are alive at that time shall be changed, then we shall we ever be with the Lord. I would not say that I know what is meant by being caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, so shall we ever be with the Lord, but it is doubtful that such a statement can be harmonized with the theory of a thousand years reign on earth. The word EVER means, AT ANY TIME, AT ALL TIMES, and I believe that wherever the saints are gathered together, that that will be where they shall forever remain. A thousand years is a long time, still it does not mean always.
If the saints who are alive when the Lord comes are caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, I think it is safe to say that regardless of where that is, it is ABOVE the earth, and if it is ABOVE the earth, I doubt its being on the earth.
Now I will quote I. Corinthians, 15th chapter and verses 51-52: "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMP: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." Some might take it for granted that since these texts teach that the dead shall be raised incorruptible that only the righteous dead are considered in the texts, but it is to be remembered that all this is to take place at the last TRUMP, and if the wicked dead are not raised at the LAST TRUMP, well might we ask when will they be raised? We can not allow that another trump shall sound to awake the wicked after the sounding of the LAST TRUMPET, and if the wicked are not raised when the last trumpet sounds, what assurance have we that they will ever be raised? If the righteous are raised when the last trumpet shall sound, and the wicked are not raised at the same time, then it would appear that the wicked will be raised without the sounding of a trumpet, or else there will be another trumpet to raise the wicked after the sounding of the LAST TRUMPET.
I will call attention to II. Thessalonians 1: 7-10: "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when (WHEN) the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When (WHEN) he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe . . ." To me this teaches that God will pronounce judgment or take vengeance on the wicked at the very time He comes to be glorified in His saints, and if this be true, it can not be true that the wicked dead shall remain in the grave a thousand years after the resurrection of the righteous, nor can it be true that the wicked or those who know not God who are living at the time, can escape the vengeance of God, because both events are to take place at the same time, WHEN HE COMES TO BE GLORIFIED IN HIS SAINTS. It is not for me to say that God will not be glorified in His saints when He is revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire. Nor is it for me to say that He will not take vengeance on the wicked and pronounce judgment upon them at the same time. Because He is to take vengeance on them who know not God at the same time He is to be admired in all them that believe; this can not be true, if God is admired in all them that believe when He comes, and yet does not take vengeance on the wicked for 1,000 years.
I will read from Acts, 3rd chapter, verses 20-21: "And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things." Restitution means the act of restoring to the original owner, making good a loss. According to this text, how long will Jesus Christ remain in Heaven? I would say until the time is ripe for the Kingdom to be delivered back to the Father, the original owner.
Now I will read I. Corinthians, chapter 15, verses 24-25: "Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all RULE and all AUTHORITY and POWER. For he must reign, [not on earth but in Heaven] till he hath put all enemies under his feet." Heaven is to receive. I think that means retain Him until He hath put all enemies under His feet. I believe that before Jesus dismounts the Mercy Seat, that all His enemies will have been made His footstool, that He will make good for all their shortcomings and present them faultless before His Father's throne. Now, allow me to repeat just a little. Then cometh the end WHEN He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father. When He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power, for He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet. Now, when is this to take place? I think it will be at the very time when God sends Jesus Christ, because Heaven was to receive Him until the times of the restitution of all things, and that time will be when He restores the Kingdom to the Father. Then Christ shall put down all RULE and all AUTHORITY and all POWER.
Will Christ RULE and reign on earth a thousand years after He has put down ALL RULE, all AUTHORITY and all POWER and the RIGHT to rule? It was not the Devil's power and authority and right to rule that Christ put down, because the Devil never had such authority. Christ will put down His own rule and authority and deliver the kingdom back to the Father whose right it is to rule, and God will be all in all. God's people are heirs of God and joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scriptures do not teach that God's people are heirs WITH God, but heirs OF God. Neither do the Scriptures teach that anyone is an heir OF Jesus Christ, BUT HEIRS OF GOD AND JOINT HEIRS WITH CHRIST. A joint heir is an equal heir, and I doubt that one joint heir will exercise dominion over another joint heir in the resurrection. Jesus Christ has the right to rule and reign over His joint heirs NOW, because they have not come into the full possession of the inheritance, but when they are resurrected from the grave they shall be like Him, and that will be the redemption of the purchased possession.
What are the Lord's people heirs to? Not heirs to a dwelling place on EARTH for a thousand years, but heirs to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in HEAVEN (not on earth) for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time. See I. Peter 1: 4-5.
I think the Gospel dispensation is the last dispensation; hence, God hath in these last days spoken to us by His Son. Hebrews 1: 2. Jesus was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. I. Peter 1: 20. I doubt that e last DAYS and the last TIMES mentioned here refer specifically to the very last days or the setting of the last sun, but as this is the LAST dispensation, the LAST age, these terms apply to any time during this dispensation; but if another dispensation is to follow this one on earth, these would not be the last days, nor would it be the last dispensation.
So far as I know, the word Millennium is not a Bible term, while it is true, all lexicographers give its meaning, A THOUSAND YEARS. But if it means a thousand years, what right have we to say that it applies to any particular thousand years any more than any other thousand years? 365 days constitute a year, but what right have we to say that 365 days constitute some special year and will not apply equally to any other year in history?
Now, I will not seek to keep back, or conceal anything that might seem to support the theory of a thousand years reign on earth with Christ and His people BEFORE the resurrection of the wicked, and if there is any ground for that theory, it will be found in the book of Revelation, and especially the 20th chapter, but allow me to say that there are many things in this book hard to be understood, so far as I am concerned. I will read from Revelation, 20th chapter, and from verse one to verse seven: "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. And I saw thrones, and they that sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: 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 worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had they received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."
Before commenting upon what I have read, I would call attention to the fact that HEAVEN is God's throne, and the EARTH is His footstool, and it appears unlikely that God will ever establish THRONES upon His footstool.
Now, let us examine what I have read from a literal standpoint, and if this is to be taken in that light, then the angel came down from Heaven with a LITERAL KEY in His hand, and also a great chain in His hand. And if the key was literal, the chain was literal, and the pit was literal. We are on safe ground to say the thousand years was literal, BUT if the key, the chain, the pit and everything else in connection with this matter was used in a figurative sense, which we must admit, then we can well afford to say that the thousand years was not a literal thousand years. The fact is not to be overlooked that John saw the souls of them that were beheaded, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years, but John did not say that this thousand year reign was on earth, and since it was the souls of them that were beheaded who reigned with Christ a thousand years, it is doubtful that it refers to a reign on earth after the resurrection of the body, because John did not see the body. It is also worthy of note that no one was mentioned among those who reigned with Christ except the souls of them who were beheaded. The average saint who sleeps in the grave was not BEHEADED. To be beheaded means to amputate the head from the body or have it done. Hundreds and thousands of the saints were put to death in every conceivable manner during the dark ages of Papal rule, but I have never seen an account of the number that were actually beheaded. Perhaps Fox's book of martyrdom or Cox's exposition of Revelation would give it. It is true that all the apostles except John died a martyr's death, but only John the Baptist is said to have been beheaded in the prison and his head was brought to the damsel in a charger. It is not unreasonable to suppose that hundreds and thousands of the saints were beheaded, but what I'm trying to get at is this: if those who reigned with Christ a thousand years were ONLY those who were beheaded, it would not include all the elect, dead or alive, and we are without authority to say that anyone reigned with Christ a thousand years except those who were beheaded.
The souls of our departed loved ones who have fallen asleep in Jesus are living and reigning with God now, but that can not be said of the body; therefore, it is doubtful if the thousand years reign was subsequent to the resurrection of the body. I will read from Revelation 1: 7: "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." I cannot understand how every eye shall see Him when He comes with clouds, if millions of the race are left in the grave a thousand years. Even them that PIERCED Him shall see Him when He comes with clouds. I do not think that the word "clouds" in this text necessarily means a mass of visible vapor in the air, but it probably has reference to the holy angels that shall accompany Him. A great cloud of witnesses, or it probably refers to a cloudy and dark day when the great mass of mankind will be further from the truth than ever before. Sectarian clouds of confusion.
I agreed in the beginning that I would not consider this question from the standpoint of what great men have said, and I'm not, but since it is claimed that a day in prophecy means a year in history, some great men have thought that rule should be applied to the thousand years and literally that would extend the period to 360,000 years. One day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day, and with all these rules applied it would be hard to tell when the thousand years would end, even though that period begins at the resurrection of the righteous.
It is to be observed that John in writing the book of Revelation was instructed to write the things which he had seen (PAST TENSE) and the things which are (PRESENT TENSE), and the things which shall be hereafter (FUTURE TENSE).
I am not saying that the thousand years were past when John wrote; I am not saying that the thousand years were then present, but it would seem that if the thousand years were in the future when John wrote, that it was in the near future because he was to write reign on earth, and that was shortly to come to pass, what are we to think of the longperiod of two thousand years that have passed and yet it has not come to pass? What did John mean by saying MUST SHORTLY COME TO PASS? I have no doubt that the Jews will return to Palestine before the coming of Christ, but I think it will be those who are living on earth and not those who are in their graves that will rebuild the land. Canaan was given to the Jews as a nation and not as individuals, thus it will be the Jews as a nation who shall rebuild the country and not the same individuals that formerly inhabited that land.
God give Canaan to the Jews for an everlasting possession, and any nation or combination of nations that interferes with their return to Palestine (when the time is ripe) will find themselves arrayed in battle against the Divine providence of God.
"And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God." Amos 9: 14-15.
I would not say that the return of the Jews to Palestine is in any wise connected with the thousand years reign, but this is to take place before the resurrection. So far as I know there is nothing to indicate how long this reign of the Jews will be, and the fact that it did not occur SHORTLY after the book of Revelation was written makes it appear doubtful that there is any connection, but let us add this period, be it long or brief, to the two thousand years that have already passed since the book of Revelation was written. Then I call attention to Revelation 1: 1: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass." Now I will read verse three of this same chapter: "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." I will repeat John, "And I saw thrones and they that sat upon them and judgment was given unto them." I think here is where one important thing is overlooked. It was not those who were beheaded that John saw on the thrones. It was not the beheaded class that judgment was given unto. After John testified to the fact that judgment was given to them who occupied the thrones, then he goes on to say, after completing that sentence and coming to a complete stop, "AND I SAW THE SOULS OF THEM THAT WERE BEHEADED, AND THEY LIVED AND REIGNED WITH CHRIST A THOUSAND YEARS," But we put more into the text than we can get out of it when we say that those who reigned with Christ a thousand years were seated with him on the thrones, and reigned with Him on earth.
Triumphant grace and man's free will
Shall not divide the throne,
For man's a fallen sinner still
And God shall reign alone.
God has not turned, nor will He turn the affairs of this world over to wicked men and devils; neither will He submit His throne or turn the government of Heaven over to angels. In reading the parable of the ten virgins, it will be observed that when the bridegroom came at midnight that all the ten virgins were sleeping, and the bridegroom appeared to all at the same time. If this means that the five foolish virgins were lost and the five wise were saved, then it follows that the lost went to their doom (whatever that was) at the same time the wise were received into the Kingdom, but to me, it appears doubtful that God would compare His Kingdom to any group of persons if half of them were lost. When the flood came upon the earth, the wicked were destroyed at the same time that Noah and his generation were preserved in the Ark.
I will call attention to Hebrews 11: 5: "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." Enoch was one of the Old Testament saints, one of the RIGHTEOUS, and was translated soul, body and spirit. WHERE earth to HEAVEN. Now if there is a 1,000 years reign of the righteous on earth, and Enoch, being one of the righteous, will he be brought back from Heaven to reign on earth 1,000 years? I will read II. Kings 2: 11: "And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, (that was Elijah and Elisha) that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into HEAVEN." It seems to me that here we have two of the righteous who will NOT reign a thousand years on earth; and I believe I can point to another class (not by name) who will not reign on earth 1,000 years. I will read Matthew 27: 51-53: "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." It will be observed that those who came out of their graves did not come forth at the same time that Christ arose, but AFTER His resurrection, and went into the holy city and appeared unto many. My opinion is that the holy city is Heaven itself.
Again I ask the question, will those who have already gone to Heaven be brought back FROM Heaven to reign on earth 1,000 years?
When Israel crossed the Red Sea, Pharaoh's army drowned at the same time. The same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from Heaven and destroyed the city. The rich man received his punishment at the same time Lazarus was carried by angels to Abraham's bosom. God placed a curse upon Cain at the same time He conferred a blessing upon Abel. They shall come from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south, and shall set down in the Kingdom with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the children of the Kingdom shall be cast out. When the Kingdom was taken from the Jews and given to the Gentiles there was no intermediate period. The Jews were cut off at the same time the Gentiles were grafted in.
"These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal" (Matt. 25: 46). I think both events will take place at the same time, but according to this one text (alone) if there should be a period of time between, it would appear that the wicked will be dealt with first.
I know of no two events of importance, opposite in nature, that did not occur at the same time.
I recently read a lengthy article written in defense of the 1,000 years reign in which the writer made the following statement: "Christ is to make one more advent into this world just before the Millennium to destroy His enemies (still living on earth) and the world by fire, and to make Himself a new Garden of Eden, wherein shall dwell His bride a LITERAL thousand years." Now, I will read another statement from this article before making any comment on the first: "Please note that Satan is not bound, or to be bound, to prevent his deceiving the ELECT, but that he should deceive the NATIONS no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled."
Now let us notice, according to this view, the living wicked are to be destroyed even before the Millennium begins, and the wicked dead, according to this reasoning, are not resurrected until the thousand years are finished, then no one is living on earth except the righteous during the thousand years. Then who is it that make up the nations that Satan can not deceive during the thousand years? If the Devil can not deceive the elect, and there are none of the non-elect on earth, then I can not understand why Satan should be bound with a chain and spend a thousand years in the pit. There wouldn't be much use for the farmer to set a trap to catch the fox, to keep the fox from catching his chickens if he didn't have any chickens, nor would it be necessary to keep the Devil in solitary confinement, even bound with a chain to keep him from deceiving the nations and not one inhabitant of the nations living. If all the wicked who are living when Christ comes are destroyed, and those wicked ones who are already dead will not be raised for a thousand years, then the Devil might as well be loosed from his grave clothes and let go.
Let us keep in mind that the things which were in the future at the time John wrote were to come to pass SHORTLY, and the word shortly means SOON, AFTER A LITTLE WHILE, LITTLE WHILE? Does that seem like a brief period? Does it look like coming to pass SHORTLY?
Two young men (Mormon elders) were traveling through the country. They stopped at a farm home and told the man of the house they were looking for Jesus Christ. The old gentleman said, "Why, boys, Jesus Christ passed here two thousand years ago."
For many years the Jews have been returning to Palestine as fast as conditions will allow, but the Jews were not beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God. The Jews have, until this day, denied that Jesus Christ was ever born in the world, but the fact remains that their being restored to Palestine does in some way mean a RESURRECTION from the DEAD; else the apostle's statement in Romans 11: 15 is meaningless, which I shall read: "For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?" It was through the fall of the Jews that the Gentiles were grafted in, but the Jews shall be grafted in again. The Jews are dead now, not physically, but to the privileges of the Kingdom, and their being grafted in again will be equal to a RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD. I call attention to Colossians 3: 1-4: "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are ABOVE, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things ABOVE, not on things on the EARTH. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."
In reading the book of Revelation it is to be observed that John did not write the first three verses of the first chapter. I'm going to quote these verses: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and SIGNIFIED it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand."
Then John begins with the fourth verse, "John to the seven churches," etc. In some Bibles, not in all of them, these three verses are called "INTRODUCTION." Of course, that is the work of the publishers and not the translators. Still it is something not found in any other book. Now, let's take these three verses into consideration. He SIGNIFIED it by His angel unto His servant John. The word signification means by means of signs or symbols. The word SIGNIFY means to indicate, as a meaning, to betoken, as this signifies war, declare, denote, imply, etc. The word symbol means an emblem or sign, as the dove is a symbol of peace. Figures are symbols of numbers, anything that represents something else and so forth. The paper money we carry is only a token or symbol of the genuine. Now, according to the first three verses of the book of Revelation, it is a book of symbols, written in language or terms that indicate or signify something else. The bread and wine we use in communion are not the genuine body and blood of Christ, but they are tokens of His body and blood. The book should be read with these introductory verses in mind and understood, and when that is done we will get the idea that what was in the future when John wrote was to come to pass shortly, and the time was already at hand. It is claimed by some that at the coming of Christ all the wicked dead will be destroyed and that Christ will turn this earth into a new Garden of Eden in which His bride shall dwell a thousand years, during which time Satan shall be bound lest he deceive the nations. It is the contention that he will not be bound to prevent his deceiving the elect, but the nations of earth. It is also claimed that the wicked dead shall remain in the grave until the thousand years is fulfilled. Now, let's see what we have. All the wicked who are living when Christ comes are to be destroyed, and all the wicked dead are to remain in the grave until the end of the thousand years. And Satan is not bound to protect the righteous, but the wicked. Yet all the living wicked were destroyed when Christ came, and the wicked dead shall remain dead until the thousand years are ended. Now, why bind Satan and cast him into the pit to keep him from deceiving the nations and not one inhabitant of the nations living?
Why would a farmer set a trap to catch the fox to keep the fox from catching chickens none of the non-elect on earth during the thousand years then Satan might as well be loosed from his grave clothes and let go.
If there is to be a thousand years reign between the resurrection and Heaven, and when Christ appears the saints shall also appear with Him in glory, then the saints enter into glory during the millennium, and if all this is to be on earth and the Lord's people are forbidden to set their affections on things on the earth, then the Lord's people are
forbidden to set their affections on ANYTHING that might be during the millennium.
I will read from St. Luke, chapter 24 and verse 26: "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" Now, where is Christ? At the right hand of God in HEAVEN. Christ is not dwelling on earth in His glory now, and when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. And if Christ is not dwelling on earth in His glory now, neither will we be when we appear with HIM IN GLORY. If we live with Christ in glory and that during the thousand years, then when we are translated at the end of the thousand years, what are we going to translate to? It can not be to GLORY, because we have been living with Him in glory for a thousand years.
I will read from II. Corinthians 5: 1-2: "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, ETERNAL IN THE HEAVENS. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from HEAVEN." When the earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved we will not be looking for a temporary abode, or a place to live a thousand years. But for a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal and in the heavens. David said, "As for me I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness." I think David was looking forward to the resurrection of his body, and if David awakes with the likeness of Christ, and lives on earth 1,000 years in his likeness and in a state of perfect satisfaction and as an angel of God in HEAVEN, what can he hope to enjoy in Heaven itself that he has not been enjoying for 1,000 years? Here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come. That which we seek, is a continuing city.
Those who are fortunate enough to obtain that world and the resurrection from the dead will not be worried with the thought that the Devil will ever be permitted to molest them again. There the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.
I would not have anyone believe that what I'm going to introduce in conclusion will prove or disprove anything, but I have never read a dying testimony of anyone who was blessed to see and describe anything that would apply to a reign on earth of a thousand years, but in every instance they were permitted to see such visions as we can only hope to see in the immortal world. I have never seen a sacred hymn that had for its background
anything that would seem to indicate that the writer was referring to anything in the great beyond except Heaven. I remember a song I heard in my youth: Lord, I want to join the angels' beautiful home." That song perhaps is obsolete, but that is still the desire of our hearts.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine,
But God who called me here below
Will be forever mine.
When we've been there TEN THOUSAND YEARS,
Bright shining as the sun!
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we first begun.