It is not our object in this little volume to review the hundreds of opposing theories of a future literal kingdom and reign of righteousness upon the earth; for as one writer states it, no two Millennial teachers "fix it up the same way." Suffice it to say that during the last few years thousands upon thousands of volumes have been printed and circulated over the world, teaching the people to hope for a better age yet future, when Christ will establish his kingdom, and offer superior means of grace to mankind. Thousands are today adhering to such teaching, and are thus being deceived with a vain hope. Our love for the many precious souls thus deceived, and for the many more who may come under the influence of such nefarious doctrines, prompts us to lift up our voice like a trumpet and pen the following lines in the name of Jesus. No matter how fascinating a thing is, how beautiful and pleasing to the taste, there can be no real benefit derived from holding the same if it only be a creation of fancy, or the result of wrong interpretation of scripture; nor is God in any way glorified in us holding an erroneous hope. Scattered throughout the book will be found a few choice selections from the pens of some of our beloved brethren whom we esteem very highly "for their works' sake." We pray that this little volume may be blessed of God in turning many minds from vain speculation to Jesus Christ the crucified son of God,, who "NOW commandeth all men everywhere to repent."
H. M. Riggle, 1899
In the present dispensation we are the subjects of TIME. With gigantic footsteps he bears us to our future. There is no escape from his course. Few are the human hearts so hardened but at some time or other they are melted into pity; but were the whole universe in tears over the rapid sweep of Time, his silent course would not be stayed, nor his iron heart be moved. On, still on, he presses; but not forever. The period comes on apace when his own death knell shall ring. Swallowed up in eternity his iron heart shall yet be melted to pity; yea, shall feel the sting of death. "And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth forever and ever, . . . that there should be time no longer."?Rev. 10:5, 6. The iron barriers of the tombs which he has built shall be broken asunder, and the numberless dead shall gather the scattered fragments to build an eternal sepulcher to him who has laid so many in their last repose, but who shall then be wrapped in the unending sleep of eternity.
The uniform voice of the Bible is that the current dispensation is the last age of time. All through the Old Testament the present age is prophesied of as the "last days" (Gen. 49:1, 8-10; Mic. 4:1, 2; Isa. 2:1-3), the "latter days" (Num. 24 :14-19, Jer. 23 :19, 20, Jer. 30 :24; Deut. 4:29-34; Dan. 2:28), the "time of the end" (Dan. 12), etc. What can these expressions mean, if not that the prophets understood the present dispensation to be the last? In Jer. 23 we have a clear prediction of Christ's first advent, the establishing of his kingdom, and his great salvation work in this age. Verses 5, 6. Also of the great apostasy and reign of false prophets during the Christian era. Verses 9-18. In verses 19 and 20 we have a description of the present holiness reformation when God is pouring out the awful judgments of his truth upon all false religion. The prophet further says that all these things would be considered by the people of God in "latter days."?Ver. 20. This last expression is rendered as follows in the Septuagint Version: "At the end of the days they shall understand it." That is, during the time these predictions would be fulfilled God's people would understand. But mark the fact that all this was to be in the "end of days." This gospel age is frequently in the scriptures called a day. The prophets speaking of things that would transpire in this age, said, "It shall come to pass in that day." Paul applies the term "day" to this age in Rom. 13:12 and 2 Cor. 6:2. If, therefore, Jeremiah was inspired of God, we are now living in the "end of the days"?the last day of time.
The beloved apostle John knew this. He says "Little children, it is the last time.... We know that it [the present age] is the last time."?1 John 2:18. Jude teIls us that the great multitude of mockers and scoffers who have opposed Christianity during this gospel age were to come "in the last time."?Jude 16-19. Peter plainly states that Jesus was manifested in "these last times for you." ?1 Peter 1:20. "Last of the times"?is the direct from the Greek. Paul says that God hath "in these last days spoken unto us by his Son."?Heb. 1:1, 2. Again, in Eph. 1:10 Paul denominates the present age "the dispensation of the fullness of times." In 1 Cor. 10:11 we read that the lusting after evil things, idolatries, murmurings, etc. of the children of Israel "are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." "Are written for our learning, who live in the end of the ages."? Conybeare and Howson. In Heb. 9:26 it is clearly stated that Jesus appeared "in the end of the world to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." "At the full end of the ages."?Young. "Completion of the ages."?Emphatic Diaglott. Again says Peter, "The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."? 1 Peter 4:7. Jesus taught that when this gospel of the kingdom shall have been preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, "then shall the end come."?Matt. 24:14. Paul, speaking of the resurrection of the dead "at Christ's coming," says, "Then cometh the end."?1 Cor. 15 :20-24. "Cometh" is not in the text. "Then the end" is the correct rendering. When the seventh trumpet (elsewhere called the "trump of God," "last trumpet," etc., which shall call forth the dead.?1 Cor. 15:51, 52; 1 Thess. 4:16.) shall sound, then there shall be "time no longer."?Rev. 10 :4-7.
How solemn these declarations! God has meted out this planet's end. One long age has followed another until we "now" have entered the "last days" of this world's career. Just a small step before us is the "end of all things;" namely, the end of time, the end of probation, the end of the world, the end of the redemption reign of Christ. If God's word be true, we are living in the "full end of the ages," in "the last time." This age will end with the coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the general judgment; at which time the righteous will be rewarded and the wicked punished. This being true, it follows conclusively that the gospel of Christ in this age offers the last hope of mercy to Adam's fallen race. In Isa. 49:8 we read of an "acceptable time," a special "day of salvation," the most propitious age of God's grace to mankind. Paul, after quoting this text, clearly applies it, saying, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."?2 Cor. 6:1, 2. Hear this, ye who now presume upon God's mercy, with the vain hope of being saved in an age to come. Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation. "Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts."?Heb. 3:7, 8; Heb. 4:7. "Seek the Lord while he may be found."?Isa. 55:6. Through Christ's death on the cross a present, perfect salvation was purchased for the whole world. He 'tasted death for every man." He was "raised again for our justification."?Rom. 4:25. After his ascension he sent the Holy Spirit to convict men of sin, to quicken them to life, and to sanctify; and thus execute the perfect salvation he had purchased upon the cross. He commissioned perpetual ministry to publish the gospel to "every creature," in all nations to the end of the world: and the gospel is the "power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" it. The invitations of the gospel are to all the ends of the earth" to come "without money and without rice." "Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely." The promises are: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."?Heb. 7:25. "From all your filthiness, and from all Your idols, will I cleanse you."?Ezek. 36 :25. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus."?Heb. 10:19. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."?1 Thess. 5:23, 24. "Now the God of peace, . . . through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect."?Heb. 13:20, 21. "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."?2 Cor. 9:8. "My grace is sufficient for thee." "Now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."?Rom. 6:22. "The Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil." ?2 Thess. 3:3. "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."?Jude 24, 25.
In the name of Jesus we ask: What more could God do in a future age for the salvation of the world, than he has done, and now promises to do for all who will meet the conditions of his word? How can men expect to escape the wrath of God, who presume upon such mercies, and reject such offers? Yea, "how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?"?Heb. 2:3. Answer: "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."?1 Thess. 5 :2, 3. "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." ?2 Thess. 1:7-9. "If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"?1 Pet. 4:18. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned."?Matt. 16:16. God now commandeth "all men everywhere to repent."? Acts 17:30. And "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."?Luke 13:1-5. But why multiply texts of scripture? Such are the solemn warnings of the gospel to men who would dare to neglect the salvation of their souls. "Now," today, "today" is held out by the divine hand of love and mercy the only hope of this lost world, the last offer of salvation.
No opportunity of salvation will ever be offered to Adam's race beyond the present gospel of Christ. Salvation can only be obtained this side the coming of the Lord. The door of the kingdom is now open. All may enter. Hear it, poor, Christless sinner. God says to you, "Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it."?Rev. 3:8. Christ now reigns upon a mediatorial throne: but the instant he leaves that throne, the world will be without an advocate, without a Savior, or further opportunity of salvation. "When once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he. shall answer and say unto you, I know ye not whence ye are . . . Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you thrust out."?Luke 13 :25-28.
The Nature Of God's Kingdom
The notion that the Messiah would establish a literal kingdom upon the earth originated with the Jews. Many of them placed literal interpretations upon those prophecies which relate to the coming of Christ, and as a result they expected him to establish a temporal throne, subdue the nations, and restore again the kingdom of Israel. This gross error led them to reject Christ, oppose his spiritual kingdom, and consent unto his death. Because he did not meet their expectations, he became a stumbling-block to them. At one time they tried to "take him by force, and make him a king," but he departed from them. John 6:15. He said, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures." "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight."?John 18:36.
Jesus acknowledged himself a King, and said, "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world"?namely, his mission was to set up a kingdom, and reign as a king; but this kingdom was "not of this world;" i. e., not temporal or literal. Through all his teaching he endeavored to show the people that his mission was to establish the kingdom of heaven in the hearts of men, and there reign?the "King of peace." "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation [outward show?margin] neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, Lo, there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."?Luke 17:20, 21. This is positive and clear, and should stop the mouth of every latter-day advocate of a literal reign upon earth yet future.
The Pharisees believed that Messiah would establish a temporal kingdom, set up his throne at Jerusalem, etc. (Many modern Pharisees are looking for the same thing today.) So as Christ claimed to be the true Messiah, they naturally asked him when the kingdom of God should come. How clear his answer?"The kingdom of God cometh not with observation." This would not be true were it literal; for such would come with observation. The fact that it cometh not with observation or outward show positively proves it to be a spiritual kingdom?Christ ruling and reigning in the hearts of his people. Yes, dear reader, "it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom;" even the "kingdom of heaven," a kingdom greater than Alexander or Napoleon ever swayed scepter over. And 811 this you will find in the full salvation of Jesus Christ. 'If any man serve me," saith the Lord, "him will my Father honor."
Possessing the kingdom, and enjoying this glorious reign is not located in some future age; but John writing to the seven churches in Asia, in the first century of Christian grace, declared that Jesus Christ, who is the faithful Witness, "the Prince of the kings of the earth," him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, also "hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father."?Rev. 1:5, 6. John testifies that he was "in the kingdom, and patience of Jesus Christ."?Ver. 9. At the very opening of the plan of redemption the blood washed celebrated the praises of God with a "new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou west slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth." ?Rev. 5:9, 10. "And they reign on the earth."?Rotheram's Translation. Peter also denominates God's church in this dispensation "a royal priesthood ;" that is, a priesthood of kings. Paul declares that they which receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, "reign in life by one Jesus Christ."?Rom. 5:17. Hallelujah!
All who live in sin are slaves to their own lusts, and are not able to govern themselves: but salvation makes us "kings" in rule over our own selves; over our passions, appetites, and desires. He that ruleth his spirit is greater than he that taketh a city. Prov. 16:32. Salvation places us in kingly triumph over all the elements of this world; over sin, fashions, and popular sentiments. "Whatsoever born of God overcometh the world" (1 John 5:4); and hath the victory over the beast (Rev. 15:2); and Satan himself,, who claims to be the ruler of the earth. "Behold, give unto you power . . . over all the power of the enemy."?Luke 10:19. You see, dear reader, that the truly saved now possess that for which blind formalists are looking in the future. "Now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness."?Rom. 6:22. A master of the situation of life, with a peace that nothing disturbs?this is now realized in the kingdom of God. Well hath the poet said:
"One we hail as King immortal,
He did earth and hell subdue;
And bequeathing us his glory,
We are kings anointed too.
"Shall we then by sin be humbled?
Must we yield to any foe?
No, by heaven's gift we're reigning
Over all this world below.
"Oh, what grace and high promotion,
That in Jesus I should be
Raised from sin to royal honor,
Even reigning, Lord, with thee!
"All this life is blissful sunshine,
Earth is subject at our feet;
Heaven pours its richest blessings
Round our throne of love complete.
"I am reigning, sweetly reigning,
Far above this world of strife;
In my blessed loving Savior,
I am reigning in this life."
But let us hear the Savior's answer to those Pharisees further. "Neither shall they say, Lo here! [in Utah, as the Mormons believe] or, Lo, there! [in Jerusalem, as the Pharisees believed, and modern Millennium teachers advocate] for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" "Being questioned by the Pharisees when the reign of God should commence, he answered, The reign of God is not ushered in with parade; . . . . for, behold, the reign of God is within you."?Campbell's and Young's Translation. This is too clear to need comment. Let God be true though every man a liar.
Some latter-day teachers try to evade the truth contained in this text, by affirming that Jesus did not mean what he said; for in the language of the text he would imply that the kingdom of God was in those wicked Pharisees. Such reasoning we maintain is not sound. By using the words "within you" Jesus did not mean to teach that the kingdom was in those wicked Pharisees, but simply wished to convey the truth to them that his kingdom, throne, and reign were not temporal, but spiritual in the hearts of his people. Wilson, who translated the Emphatic Diaglott, was a Second Adventists, and believed in a future literal kingdom. He renders it "among you." But nothing specially is gained in this; for it would prove that instead of its establishment in a future age, it was then present among the people. But we believe "within you" to be the correct rendering, and the truth Jesus wished to convey. Besides the standard, it is rendered "within you" by the following translations: Revised, Bible Union, Young, Sawyer, Campbell. Paul makes a clear ringing statement on this point in Rom. 14:17?"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost." By being born "of water and of the Spirit" we "enter into the kingdom of God."?John 3 :5. The same is taught in Matt. 18:1-6; namely, that through conversion we enter the kingdom are delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son.?Col 1:13.
Men are commanded to "seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness." When this is done, and every Bible condition fully met, through the work of conversion?the new birth?the soul enters through Christ the door into the church or kingdom of God. Yet there remains in the heart a sinful nature?"the carnal mind." This causes an inward warfare between the flesh and spirit. Before Christ reigns supreme this inward foe must be destroyed. The thrones of iniquity must be obliterated. This is accomplished in the glorious work of sanctification. So the fullness of God in the baptism of the Holy Ghost, or the complete establishing of his throne of fire (Dan. 7:9, 10), which is holiness (Ps. 47:8) in our hearts, is some. thing for which the believer must seek. In this sense he prays, "Thy kingdom come."?Matt. 6:10. The promise is: "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." "This is the will of God, even your sanctification." "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly." When the believer presents himself "a living sacrifice" upon Christ the altar, when the last condition is fully met in a complete death to sin and self, then the Holy Ghost with the blood of Christ destroys the body of sin, and moves in us in all his fullness, as a personal abiding Comforter, to abide with us forever? Christ fully enthroned within. "God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness."?Ps. 47:8. "The reign of God is within you." This is the sense in which the saints of the Most High "take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever" (Dan. 7 :18), which is "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." It will be well also to observe that the kingdom of God is represented in scripture as one of constant conquests and victories.
History Of The Millenium
The Millennium doctrine started in an ungodly heretic by the name of Cerinthus, who lived in the first century. It is true that the Jews generally believed that the Messiah would establish a literal or earthly kingdom. And even some of them believed that Messiah's reign would last a thousand years. We here give an extract from Neander's History of Christian Dogmas, Vol. 1, Page 248.
"The idea of a Millennial reign proceeded from Judaism; for among the Jews the representation was current that the Messiah would reign a thousand years upon earth. . . . Such products of Jewish imagination passed over into Christianity."
As before stated, Cerinthus was the first to attempt to introduce this doctrine under Christianity. Let history speak. In Eusebiusճ Ecclesiastical History, Book III, Chapter 28, is preserved a fragment from the writings of Caius, who lived about the close of the second century, which gives us the following account of Cerinthus's heresy: "But Cerinthus, too, through revelations written, as he would have us believe, by a great apostle, brings before us marvelous things, which he pretends were shown him by angels; alleging that after the resurrection the kingdom of Christ is to be on earth, and that the flesh dwelling in Jerusalem is again to be subject to desires and pleasures. And being an enemy to the scriptures of God, wishing to deceive men, he says that there is to be space of a thousand years for marriage festivities." "One of the doctrines he taught was, that Christ would have an earthly kingdom." This is the true origin of the Millennium theory. The reader will observe how lightly our author speaks of Cerinthus's idea of the kingdom of Christ being set up on earth after the resurrection. He says this doctrine was "something which he [Cerinthus] pretends was shown to him by angels." Caius must therefore have believed the orthodox teachings of the scriptures, that Christ's kingdom was set up at his first coming. Observe also that Caius calls Cerinthus "an enemy to the scriptures of God," and one who was "wishing to deceive men." This language he uses with special reference to the one thousand years Cerinthus claimed would be spent in sensuality. Notice also that Cerinthus believed in an earthly kingdom.
Cerinthus lived in the days of the apostle John. We will now call your attention to the attitude of the beloved apostle toward this Millennial teacher. Irenaeus, who was born about 120 A. D. and was acquainted with Polycarp, the disciple of John, [Eusebius's Eccl. Hist., V. 24], states that while John was at Ephesus, he entered a bath to wash and found that Cerinthus was within, and refused to bathe in the same bath house, but left the building, and exhorted those with him to do the same, saying, "Let us flee, lest the bath fall in, as long as Cerinthus, that enemy of the truth, is within."?Eusebius's Eccl. Hist., III. 28. Let this be a rebuke to modern Millennial advocates. They claim their doctrine is well founded in the Apocalypse of John. But John called the founder of their theory "that enemy of the truth."
"Cerinthus required his followers to worship the supreme God.... He promised them a resurrection of their bodies, which would be succeeded by exquisite delights in the Millenary reign of Christ.... For Cerinthus supposed that Christ would hereafter return . . . and would reign with his followers a thousand years in Palestine."?."? Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., Page 50.
"Cerinthus required his followers to retain part of the Mosaical law, but to regulate their lives by the example of Christ: and taught that after the resurrection Christ would reign upon earth, with his faithful disciples, a thousand years, which would be spent in the highest sensual indulgences. This mixture of Judaism and Oriental philosophy was calculated to make many converts, and this sect soon became very numerous. They admitted a part of St. Matthew's Gospel but rejected the rest, and held the epistles of St. Paul in great abhorrence."?Gregory and Ruter's Church History., Page 30.
"Even though the floods of the nations and the vain superstitions of heretics should revolt against their true faith, they are overcome, and shall be dissolved as the foam, because Christ is the rock by which, and on which, the church is founded. And thus it is overcome by no traces of maddened men. Therefore they are not to be heard who assure themselves that there is to be an earthly reign of a thousand years; who think, that is to say, with the heretic Cerinthus. For the kingdom of Christ is now eternal in his saints."?From a commentary on the Apocalypse, by Victorinus, Ante-Nicene Fathers.
Thank God for the united testimony of history. Observe, dear reader, how closely the modern Millennium teachers cling to the doctrines of their founder. Cerinthus taught that "Christ will have an earthly kingdom." "After the resurrection the kingdom of Christ is to be on earth." "The resurrection would be followed by exquisite delights in the Millenary reign of Christ." " That Christ would hereafter return, and would reign with his followers a thousand years in Palestine." The only difference is that his modern followers have dropped the idea of sensuality. But how did the early church regard the doctrine of Cerinthus ? They declare that he was "an enemy to the scriptures of God, wishing to deceive men." They called him a "heretic." They termed his doctrines the "vain superstitions of heretics," and called all who believed and advocated the same "maddened men." The apostle John called Cerinthus "that enemy of the truth." They taught that "they are not to be heard who assure themselves that there is to be an earthly reign of a thousand years."
What was the doctrine of the early church according to history? "Christ is the rock on which, and by which the church is founded." "The kingdom of Christ is now eternal in his saints." "It was the universal feeling among primitive Christians that they were living in the last period of the world's history."?Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. VIII.. Page 534. The reason they believed this was because the New Testament was their faith, and this is the doctrine of the New Testament throughout. No wonder Cerinthus and his followers "rejected part of St. Matthew's Gospel, and held the epistles of Paul in great abhorrence." Just so do modern Millennium teachers dwell very little in the plain Gospels and , ;Epistles to prove their doctrines, but speculate in prophecy and revelation.
Having seen that Cerinthus and his false doctrine were rejected by God's church we will now come to its next chief advocate, Papias, who lived in the first half of the second century. Eusebius, under the heading "The Writings of Papias," says of him: "The same historian also gives other accounts, which he says he adds as received by him from unwritten tradition, likewise some strange parables of our Lord, and of his doctrine, and some other matters rather too fabulous. In these he says there would be a certain Millennium after the resurrection, and that there would be a corporeal reign of Christ on this very earth; which things he appears to have imagined, as if they were authorized by the apostolic narrations, not understanding correctly those matters which they propounded mystically in their representations. For he was very limited in his comprehension, as is evident from his discourses."? Eusebius's Eccl. Hist., Book m, Chap. 39, Page 115. Historians generally tell us that Papias was a very zealous advocate of this imaginary reign of Christ on earth. "The first distinguished opponent of this doctrine was Origen, who attacked it with great earnestness and ingenuity, and seems, in spite of some opposition to have thrown it into general discredit."?Wadington's History, Page 56. "This obscure doctrine was probably known to but very few except the Fathers of the church, and is very sparingly mentioned by them during the first two centuries; and there is reason to believe that it scarcely attained much notoriety even among the learned Christians, until it was made a matter of controversy by Origen, and then rejected by the great majority. In fact we find Origen himself asserting that it was confined to those of the simpler sort."?Wadington's History, Page 56.
Next among the advocates of this doctrine was Nepos, a bishop in Egypt. He advocated the doctrine about A. D. 255. We here insert the following from Eusebius's History, Book VII, Chapter 23, under the heading "Nepos, and His Schism." "He taught that the promises given to holy men in the scriptures should be understood more as the Jews understood them, and supposed that there would be a certain Millennium of sensual luxury on this earth: thinking, therefore, that he could establish his own opinion by the Revelation of John . . . He (Nepos) asserts that there will be an earthly reign of Christ." "Though Millennialism had been suppressed by the early church, it was nevertheless from time to time revived by heretical sects."?Dr. Schaff's Hlstory, Page 299. "Nowhere in the discourses of Jesus is there a hint of a limited duration of the Messianic kingdom. The apostolic epistles are equally free from any trace of Chiliasm."?Encyclopedia Brittanica?Articles on Millennium.
To sum up the uniform voice of history, the theory of a literal kingdom and reign on the earth was gathered from Jewish fabulous "apocalypse," "unwritten tradition," "carnal misapprehensions," "pretended visions," "suppositions," and "superstitious imaginations." Its advocates were said to be "very limited in their understanding," and "of the simple sort." Millennialism had the worst heretic in the first century for its founder, and its chief advocates thereafter were rejected by the early church. From time to time it was revived by "heretical sects." The vain worldly expectation that the Messiah would establish a literal kingdom caused the Jews to reject him, and his spiritual kingdom. They only wanted an earthly kingdom; hence rejected and crucified the Son of God. As soon as the church began to apostatize, and lost the glory of his spiritual kingdom, vain ambitions awakened the old Jewish desire for a literal kingdom. And so it has come to pass that we have at this time of dead formality a multitude of men teaching the same abominable lie and false hope which crucified Christ nearly nineteen hundred years ago; namely, a literal kingdom of Christ.
The Time Of Establishment of Christ's Kingdom
The prophets with one accord pointed to the first ad vent of Christ, as the time when the kingdom of God would be established. All the prophecies which related to its establishment reached their fulfillment at that time. We will begin with Daniel's prophecy. In the second chapter we read that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, dreamed a dream. This dream was afterwards made known to him by Daniel the prophet. In the dream he saw a great image. "This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. "Verses 31-33. He also saw a stone cut out without hands, which smote this image upon his feet, and broke them to pieces, and the stone became a great mountain which filled the whole earth. Verses 34, 35.
This great image represented four great universal monarchies that reigned one after another in ancient times In Daniel's interpretation of the dream, he told King Nebuchadnezzar, "Thou art this head of gold."?Verses 37, 38 By this we are to understand that the Babylonian empire is what the head of gold represented. Gold being the most precious metal of the four, proves that the Babylonian empire was the richest and greatest of earthly kingdoms History proves this to be true. This kingdom arose 2300 years before Christ. In the time of Nebuchadnezzar it was in the height of its power and glory. But Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar: "After thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee."?Ver. 39. This second kingdom was the Medo-Persian, which during the reign of Belshazzar took the Babylonian kingdom. This occurred 538 B. C This kingdom was what the "breast and arms of silver" represented. The "belly and thighs of brass" was interpreted by Daniel to be a "third kingdom.... which shall bear rule over all the earth."?Ver. 39. This was the Grecian empire, which conquered the Medes and Persians 286 B. C., and fell 146 B. C. The "legs of iron," and "feet part of iron, and part of clay," Daniel interprets to be the "fourth kingdom," in its strong and divided condition. This was the Roman empire, which fell A. D. 476.
Here then we have four universal kingdoms?Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman. (Verses 37-43.) "And in the days of these kings [kingdoms] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever."?Ver. 44. This is clear. Daniel said that some time during the reign of these four kings, or kingdoms, the God of heaven would set up his kingdom. When Rome, the fourth of these kingdoms, had reached the summit of its glory and power; when its domain was so large that it was denominated "all the world," (Luke 2:1); and Augustus Caesar was an absolute sovereign ruling over | three hundred millions of people, Jesus Christ appeared , here among men and established the kingdom of God. Little did the Roman emperor think as he sat proudly on his throne, that a little babe, Iying in a manger in the town of Bethlehem of Judea, would establish a kingdom, before which the powers of the Caesars would dwindle into insignificance. But it was so. "Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand."?Mark 1:14, 15.
Dear reader, if you will accept the testimony of divine truth, you must admit that Daniel locates the establishing of God's kingdom during the reign of those four universal kingdoms; and that it had its fulfillment in the coming of Christ, during the reign of Rome. When Jesus came the time was "fulfilled," the kingdom of God was "at hand." "Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet.... Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; . . . and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth."?Dan. 2 :34, 35. This stone is the kingdom of God. It never came with human hands. It is a divine institution; was established by Christ himself. Matt. 16:18. It began with the preaching of John the Baptist (Matt. 3:2; Luke 16:16), and was fully set up on the day of Pentecost. Mark 9:1; Acts 2:1-4 Rom. 14:17. The heathen kingdoms of' darkness were ' broken to pieces" and "consumed" before its march. Earthly kingdoms have arisen and fallen, but this one stands unshaken upon the rock of eternal truth. It has come down through martyrdom, waded through blood, and has stood the storms of ages. When time will have run its course; when all earthly kingdoms will have crumbled into dust; when the earth will be wrapped in a mighty sheet of flame; yea, when the sun and moon will no longer shine, this kingdom will continue to shine in the glory of the Father. Although it has been largely hid away under the human rubbish of men for centuries past, it is I again mounting up, and shining forth in power and unity. I Yea, that stone has become a "great mountain," which today is filling the whole earth. Glory to God! Jesus Christ is "Prince of the kings of the earth." In the kingdoms of the earth today, kings and rulers bow before him and give him homage.
In Dan. 7:2-7 we read that Daniel saw in a night vision four great beasts. The first was like a lion; the second like a bear; the third like a leopard; and the fourth was dreadful and terrible, diverse from all the rest, having great iron teeth. Verses 2-7. This vision troubled Daniel; so he asked an angel its meaning. The answer was: "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings [kingdoms], which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever."?Verses 17, 18. Here are the same four universal kingdoms that are brought to view in the second chapter; namely, Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman. Now mark you; immediately after speaking of these four kingdoms, he says, "But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom." By this we are to understand that some time during the reign of these four kingdoms, the kingdom would be given to the saints of the Most High. As we before observed, this was fulfilled during the reign of Rome, by the coming of Christ, and the establishing of his kingdom in the hearts of men.
We will now turn to the prophet Micah. In Micah 4:1-7 we read: "But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 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 off; | and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their I spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.... For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever. In that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; . . . and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even forever." Here is another clear prophecy of the establishment of God's kingdom, and one often referred to by the Millennium- advocates. Reader, observe that all contained in this prophecy was to come to pass "in the last days." Ver. 1. Now if we can locate the last days, then we will have the exact time of its fulfillment. Turn to Heb. 1:1, 2?"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son." "These" then are the days of the fulfillments of that prophecy. Here, again, the word of truth cuts off the Millennial theory.
We will now briefly review the prophecy, and prove its fulfillment in this gospel age. The "mountain of the Lord" clearly applies to Mount Zion. See Ver. 7. The Hebrew brethren had "come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" (Heb. 12:22, 23), which Paul denominates "the general assembly, and church of the first-born." Jesus called his church in this dispensation "a city that is set on a hill."?Matt. 5 :14. The "house of the God of Jacob" is "the church of the living God. the pillar and ground of the truth."?1 Tim. 3:15. The flowing of many nations into it has been fulfilled from the day of Pentecost on. Under the law the true God was known only to Israel. The Jews were his chosen people, But now salvation is for "all people." Luke 2:8-10. The gospel privileges are extended to "every creature" among "all nations" in "all the world." Matt. 28 :19, 20; Mark 16:15, 16. And "in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people" they are now "called the children of the living God."?Rom. 9 :24-26. People out of all nations of the earth are today saved in the family or kingdom of God. The "law" that is to govern in these last days is not that which came forth from Sinai, but that which came "out of Zion," "The word of the Lord from Jerusalem." This is a clear prophecy of the fact that "repent-ance and remission of sins should be preached in his name | among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."?Luke 24:47. This began on the day of Pentecost. It is further stated that "he shall judge among many people." "Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world."?John 9 :39. "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God."?1 Peter 4:17. The beating of "swords into plowshares," and "spears into pruning-hooks," a time when they should "learn war no more," is a clear prophecy of the glorious unity, peace, and love which exist in God's church. The angel announced to the shepherds in the plain that a Savior was born into the world, who would bring "peace on earth and good will toward man." Through the sanctifying grace of God and obedience to the truth, the saved of all nations are brought into "one fold" (John 10:16); belong to but "one" organized "body," or church, the "church of God" (Rom. 12:4, 5; Eph. 4:4; Col. 1:24; Acts 20:28); are all "of one heart and of one soul" (Acts 4:31-33); "one mind" (2 Cor. 13:11); "all speak the same thing" (1 Cor. 1:10); all have "one faith" (Eph: 4:5); "one spirit" (1 Cor. 6:17); all strive together (Phil. 1:27); rejoice together (1 Cor. 12:26); "assemble together" (Heb. 10:25); and "see eye to eye" (Isa. 52:8). God over all, in all, and through them all knits their hearts together in love. Eph. 4:6; Col. 2:2. Surely the prophet did not overdraw his picture of this. And the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth, even forever and ever.
Dear reader, this is a present truth, and one that it Is your privilege to enjoy. "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel." "And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth."?Micah 5:2, 4. Here, the birth of Christ, and the glory of his kingdom is foretold. Surely none but such as are blinded by the "god of this world" can fail to see that this prophecy has had its fulfillment in this gospel age. Please turn and read Matt. 2:4-6 and John 7:42.
A sublime description of the peaceful kingdom of Christ is found in the eleventh chapter of Isaiah. "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and 8 branch shall grow out of his roots."?Ver. 1. This clearly refers to the first advent of Christ. "And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord." "With righteousness shall he judge the poor."?Verses 2-4. Was this not true in the personal ministry of Christ? Did not the people say, "Never man spake like this man"??John 7:46. "In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."?Col. 2:3. "And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins."? Ver. 5. Now, continuing the same description of Christ's peaceful kingdom, the prophet says: "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them." "The sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den."?Verses 6, 8. Here, the Millennial teacher thinks he has a strong point in his favor. He says: "When Christ comes in his second advent, this earth will be burned over and purified. Then Christ will set up his throne in Jerusalem, and reign a thousand years, etc., during which time all the wild animals will be tame. Also, this fire that shall sweep over the earth will burn up the wicked, root and branch, and the righteous will tramp on their ashes," etc. Oh, what blindness! How Satan has perverted the minds of men!
Mark you, dear reader, nothing is said in the eleventh chapter of Isaiah about Christ's second coming. Each time personal mention is made of Christ, clear reference is made to his first advent. See verses 1 and 10. If you are a believer in that theory, let me ask you a question. While the fire is sweeping over the earth, purifying the same, burning up the wicked (as you say), what will become of the animals? Will they be translated and held in mid heaven until the fires have swept over the earth, and then let down again? or will they be consumed in the fire, and afterward resurrected? Such doctrines are too ridiculous to receive attention. Yet some men are so thoughtless as to believe in them. Here is the secret.
"The natural man understandeth not the things of the Spirit." The redeemed understand these things. The various animals are used in the word of God to show different characters of men. For example?Jesus said to his disciples, "Be ye harmless as doves ;" and to Peter he said, "Feed my lambs." Concerning Herod he said, "Go ye, and tell that fox."?Luke 13:22. False teachers are compared to "ravenous wolves," "grievous wolves."?Matt. 7 :15; Acts 20:29. Paul said, "Beware of dogs."?Phil. 3:2. Speaking of the characters of the damned, it is said, "With out are dogs," etc.?Rev. 22:15. Hypocritical professors are called "serpents," and "generation of vipers." In Matt. 25 God's people are called "sheep," and the unsaved, "goats." So in Ezek. 34 God's people are compared to "sheep," "fat cattle," etc. This is the sense in which we are to understand Isa. 11:6-8. It teaches how the grace of God in this glorious dispensation would destroy the serpent like, devouring, natures of men, and make the most lion-hearted sinners, the most ferocious characters, docile and harmless, even so meek that a "little child" can teach and "lead them." Hallelujah! It also teaches the glorious love and unity which exists among the redeemed in God's kingdom. No wrangling, backbiting, deceit, or devouring one another: but peace which nothing offends; "helpers of each other's joy;" "workers together." And the prophet adds: "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain"?church of God. Ver. 9. All in this fold are "harmless as doves." In the thirty fifth chapter of Isaiah, the prophet speaking of the "highway of holiness" upon which the "redeemed" in this gospel dispensation were to walk, says, "No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there."? Verses 8 9. You see that domestic animals were used to represent the beastly natures of men, which are destroyed in holiness; and also, that no ferocious character is on the way to heaven. The devil himself would be ashamed to affirm that literal wild animals could walk on a spiritual way, the road to heaven, which is the highway of holiness
But we are not yet through with the eleventh chapter of Isaiah. "And in that day [the age when all this would be fulfilled] there shall be a root of Jesse [Christ], which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious."?Ver. 10. This is so plain that it needs no comment. It clearly applies to the coming of Christ and the present blessings of his kingdom. In full salvation we experience a more glorious reign of peace and blessedness in this life, than all the vain dreams of Millennial glory. The prophet continues: "For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."?Ver. 9. This began with the gospel dispensation. It was fulfilled in the general diffusion of light and truth among all nations in the apostolic days, and still more fully in this glorious evening time. Daniel speaks of it thus: "Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."?Dan. 12:4. These texts do not teach, as many suppose, that there will be a time when all the world will be righteous, but the "knowledge of God shall be increased," until the earth shall be full of it. By the aid of modern inventions, such as the power of steam, the printing press, etc., thousands upon thousands of tons of pure gospel literature are being sent to all nations of the earth; while a holy ministry is "running to and fro," "having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." Thus the earth is rapidly being filled with the knowledge of God. The result was foretold in Dan. 12:10?"Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand." "Many must be tested, and thoroughly whitened, and tried with fire, and sanctified."?Septuagint. Let the reader observe that at the very time the knowledge of God was to fill the earth, and many be thoroughly whitened, and sanctified, as a result of the same, the wicked were to "do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall under. stand." The same is taught in Habakkuk 2:12-15, 18-20. This fact is utterly fatal to the Millennial theory.
The following text is often quoted by Millennium teachers: "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. In his days Judah shall be saved."?Jer. 23 :5, 6. Nothing is here said about Christ's second advent. Clear reference is made to the birth of Christ, who was "the root and offspring of David ;" also, to his present reign in this dispensation of grace, and the execution of his righteous judgments against the works of darkness. "In his days Judah shall be saved." And, "Behold, now is the day of salvation." Isaiah clearly locates the establishing of the kingdom at Christ's first advent, in chapter 9, verses 6, 7?"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever."
We will now take up some of the principal texts used by those who believe in a future kingdom where superior means of grace will be offered to mankind, and prove their fulfillment in this gospel age. Thus, one by one, the props of the Millennial heresy fall, under the hammer of eternal truth.
"The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it, Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne."?Ps. 132:11.
"Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; . . . This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, . . . he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear."?Acts 2 :29-33.
"Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures, concerning his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness."?Rom. 1:2-4.
The angel said unto Mary, "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."?Luke 1:31-33.
"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor."?Heb. 2 :9.
"Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom."?Heb. 1:8. Read also 2 Tim. 2:8 and Acts 13:22, 23.
"The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make shine enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of shine enemies. Thy people shall be willing In the day of thy power."?Ps. 110:1-3.
"Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. . . . Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for shine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." ?Ps. 2 :6-9.
"In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth."Ps. 72:7, 8.
"All the ends of the world shall remember, and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord's; and he is governor among the nations.... All they that go down to the dust shall bow before him.... A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born."?Ps. 22:27-31.
' The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."?Acts 2 :34-36.
"Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God: angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him."?1 Peter 3:22.
"God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee."?Acts 13:33.
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? . . .When he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he said, And let all the angels of God worship him.... Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom." ?Heb. 1:1-8.
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