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and as the voice of many thunderings, saying, Alleluia ! the Lord God Omnipotent reignelh.” Rev. xix. 6.
In a passage already cited, the Saviour not only promised His apostles a kingdom, but that they should also eat and drink at His table : “I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Luke xxii. 29, 30. It does not, however, comport with the ideas generally entertained of heaven, that sensible enjoyments should be there received. This
promise of the Saviour given to the disciples at the instilution of the sacrament of the Supper, is farther confirmed and illustrated when He says, “I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God shall come.” Luke xxii. 18. It is still more fully expressed by another evangelist : “ Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. Mark xiv. 25. That it was really the fruit of the vine of which the Saviour spoke is evident. He had just given unto the disciples the cup containing wine, desiring them to drink of it, adding; " But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.” Matt. xxvi. 29. That he referred to the Millennial kingdom appears still more obvious when we consider, that, although our Lord went to heaven long before any of His apostles, yet he assured them that He should not drink of this fruit of the vine,“ until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. And why should it be thought incredible that Christ will eat and drink in His Millennial kingdom? Afler his resurrection, He condescended to eat both fish and honey-comb to convince his disciples that His presence was corporeal. Luke xxiv. 21–23. Again, having caused several of his disciples miraculously to obtain a draught of fishes, He invited them to dine, and partook of their bread and fish. John xxi. 11-14. Farther, it was in the breaking of bread He was made known to
the disciples who journeyed to Emmaus, Luke xxiv. 13, 35. And Peter mentioned to Cornelius and his company, the fact that He did eat and drink with his disciples, as evidence of the reality of His resurrection. Acts x. 41. What reason is there then to doubt the truth or the meaning of His promise to the disciples, that they shall sit on thrones judging the tribes of Israel, and that they shall eat and drink with Him in the kingdom of God?
NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH.
To prepare for that wonderful display of love when God shall condescend to dwell with men, the material world is destined to undergo a purification, which shall be effected when His enemies are destroyed at his coming. When, during that happy time, men shall yield cordial submission to their Saviour and sovereign Lord, the curse of barrenness, pronounced at first upon the earth for their disobedience will be removed ; and as predicted by all the prophets, the greatest fertility will be enjoyed in its renovated state. The atmospheric heavens, the present region of clouds and storms, will then also be destroyed, and new heavens, more genial
, will supply their place. The prince of ,
“ the power of the air" will then be dislodged and bound in the bottomless pit, and universal happiness be diffused over the face of the globe-a happiness attendant on holiness, when the Lord shall wipe away tears from all off faces, and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from offall the earth.” Is. xxv. 8. In the same psalm, which predicts that " when the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in his glory," praise is ascribed to God on account of this change of the heave ens and the earth: • Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure;
yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be change ed, but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.” Ps. cii. 25, 28. This change of the heavens is again predicted by the prophet Isaiah, as at the period when the indig. nation of the Lord is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies,” before the Millennium : “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall he rolled together as a scroll; and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth from off the vine, and as a fallen fig from the fig tree.” Is. xxxiv. 2, 4. Referring to the same period, the prophet Jeremiah says, “I beheld the earth, and lo! it was without form and void ; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and lo! they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and lo! there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and lo! the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, by His fierce anger." Jer. iv. 23–26. The change of the heavens is again predicted by Isaiah as to take place at the restoration of Israel: "For the Lord shall comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places, and He will make her wilderness like Eden; and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody....Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall va. nish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like inanner ; salvation shall be for ever, and
my righteousness shall not be abolished.” Is. ii. 3—6. God's protection to Israel at this appalling time seems promised in the sixteenth verse :
" And I have put my words in thy mouth, and have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people."
But great and important as these changes will be, the
identity of the earth will remain the same, and its localities be still distinguishable. Jerusalem, it is repeatedly promised, shall occupy her former site, being builded“ upon her own heap," and in the following prediction of new heavens and a new earth, Israel is call. ed to rejoice in that city during the Millennium: “ Behold I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered nor brought into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create ; for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy, and I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people ; and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying." Is. Ixv. 17–19. To these Isaiah again refers in the conclusion of his prophecy in connexion with the restoration and honour of Israel: “And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the Lord. For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain.” : To this great change the apostle Peter directs the attention of Christians in his second general epistle. He stirs up the pure minds of believers, that they should be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets" and apostles, and warns them of a heresy which should arise: “Knowing this first,” says he, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming ? for since the fa. thers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water, and in the water, whereby the world that then was being overflowed with water perished. But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment* and perdition of ungodly men.” 2 Pet. iii. 3
* In a former page, (184,) we have shown, that “ day” is, in Scripture, often applied to an indefinite period of time, and that it is thus used to designate the Millennial age. It may be proper also to no
-8. As at the flood, the heavens and the earth are said to have perished, so are they destined to undergo another change, not by water but by fire, at the coming of the Lord. However scoffers may delude them. selves with respect to the Saviour's Return, and although they may perceive no symptoms of its near approach, yet as surely as the threatenings upon the antediluvian world were executed in their destruction, as certainly will an ungodly and unbelieving world be overtaken by the storm of divine indignation, “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
tice, that “judgment” and “ to judge" are not confined to the award of happiness or misery, but are frequently used in the sense of govern. ment and to govern during that dispensation. “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” Jer. xxiii. 5. “ And many nations shall come and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the House of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in his paths; for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar oft; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning. hooks.” Micah iv. 2, 3. “And He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears; but with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth.” Is. xi. 3, 4. " Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness . . and my people shall dwell in a peaceable habi. tation.” Is. xxxii. 16-18. is Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, 0 my nation; for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.” Is. li. 4. So also when the Psalmist celebrates the “ marvellous things” to be performed by the Lord when “He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel," he calls on all the earth to “ be joyful together before the Lord; for He cometh to judge the earth.” P3. xcviii. 1-9. This “ judgment” or government is also given to the saints during the Millennium, which may therefore with perfect propriety be called “the day of judgment :"
“ And I saw thrones," says the apostle John," and they sat upon them, and judg. ment was given unto them.” Rev. xx. 4. In this sense it is used in Scripture, when we are informed of those who judged Israel.” And when that people demanded a king, their request was, “ Make us a King to judge us." 1 Sam. viii. 4. In all of these instances it is obvious that the word judgment is used in the sense of rule or govern. ment. Peter's use of the expression, “ day of judgment," may therefore be regarded as another instance of allusion to the Millennial Day.