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Prophetic Expositions, vol. 1

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    XIV. THE FIRST RESURRECTION

    The only passage in the Bible which speaks directly of the thousand years, is in Revelation 20, where it is said, “I saw thrones, and they 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 worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark in 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 the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he which hath part in the first resurrection: 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.”PREX1 45.2

    This is the true millennium, and the only one found in the word of God.PREX1 45.3

    From this we learn that the “blessed and holy” will be raised a thousand years before the rest of the dead.PREX1 45.4

    No doctrine is more distinctly taught in the Bible than that of two distinct resurrections of the dead. Some of the numerous passages where it is either directly or indirectly taught, will be noticed.PREX1 46.1

    1. The conditional promises of Christ, John sixth chapter, of “raising up at the last day” those who comply with those conditions; clearly implying, that if they did not do so, he would not then raise them.PREX1 46.2

    2. The promise of the Saviour to those who should, in making a feast, call in the poor, who could not recompense them, that they should be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:13, 14. If there is to be but one resurrection, why name the resurrection of the just? Why not say, as is generally said at this day, “At the resurrection?”PREX1 46.3

    3. Jesus Christ has said, (John 5:28, 29,) “The hour is coming when 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.” There are in this text, two distinct resurrections recognized: “of life;” “of damnation.” They that have done good will enjoy the former; they that have done evil, endure the latter. It is objected, the whole is said to take place in the same literal “hour.” “The hour cometh.” To this, it is replied, that the term “hour” merely signifies, the time will come when all will hear his voice, and live or come forth from the grave; but each in his own time. The word is manifestly used thus, in John 5:25. where it is said “The hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.”PREX1 46.4

    Even while Christ was on earth, the time was coming, yea, had come, that the dead, Lazarus, the widow’s son, etc., should, and did hear his voice, and those that heard, lived. Were all these instances in one literal hour, or at one time? Clearly not. But, says the objector, it does not mean the dead in a literal but spiritual sense. Very well, we will look at its meaning then. The hour is coming and now is when the dead in trespasses and sins shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. Was this true, I ask, only that very hour in which he spoke; or is it true of all subsequent time to the end of the world? The latter is true, most clearly. Then the hour signifies, in verse twenty-five, the whole gospel dispensation; why, then, may it not, by the same rule, signify, in the twenty-eighth verse, a thousand years? It must be understood, in the twenty-fifth verse, in some other than its literal acceptation; then why not in the twenty-eighth verse? It is not necessary to go beyond the fifth chapter of John to settle the controversy, on the import of the term hour, as used in reference to the time of the resurrection.PREX1 47.1

    The true millennium of Revelation, twentieth chapter, is not until the first resurrection, or the resurrection of the just. Revelation 20:4-6. The classes enumerated in this text who live and reign a thousand years before the rest of the dead live again, include the “blessed and holy.”PREX1 47.2

    There is no such thing as a conversion of the world taught in the twentieth of Revelation, but only the thousand years between the two resurrections. The term resurrection is never used in the Bible in any other than its proper sense of bringing to life the bodies of the dead. I would dwell longer on this point, but so much has been said upon it that the fable of the spiritual reign is well nigh dissipated from the mind of the great mass of the church. The clergy and theological professors, it is true, still hold on upon it. But it will not go; the people are opening their eyes to look for themselves.PREX1 47.3

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