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    April 7, 1887

    “When Does the Millennium Begin?” The Signs of the Times 13, 14, pp. 215, 216.

    HAVING conclusively shown what the millennium is not—that it is not a time in which the world will be converted—we now propose to show by the Scriptures what it is. The word millennium means a thousand years. Properly speaking, any period of a thousand years is a millennium, it matters not where, nor in what connection, the period may occur. But as there is in the Bible a period of a thousand years definitely measured off, which by perversion has been made to promise great things to the earth, to this period has been appropriated exclusively the phrase, the millennium; so that when this expression is used with no qualification, it is always understood to mean the thousand years referred to in the twentieth chapter of Revelation, during which Satan is deprived of power to deceive the nations.SITI April 7, 1887, page 215.1

    When, then, does the millennium begin? At the resurrection of the righteous dead. The Scriptures is perfectly plain on this subject; and the only question that can be, is, What saith the Scripture? Revelation 20:4-6: “And 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 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 the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that 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.”SITI April 7, 1887, page 215.2

    Here it is said that certain ones lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years; that they are the blessed and holy; that on them the second death hath no power; that this is the first resurrection; and that the rest of the dead lived not again till the thousand years were finished. It is certain therefore that the resurrection of the righteous and the resurrection of the wicked are a thousand years apart. It is certain that the resurrection of those upon whom the second death hath no power, is a thousand years before the resurrection of those upon whom the second death hath power. As this is definitely named the first resurrection; and as the rest of the dead—those who have no part in the first resurrection—live not till the thousand years are finished, it assuredly follows that the second resurrection is a thousand years after the first. And as only the righteous—the blessed and holy—have part in the first resurrection; and as those who live not again till the thousand years are finished are consumed in the lake of fire, there can be no shadow of doubt that there are to be two resurrections—the resurrection of the righteous only, and of the wicked only—and that the two resurrections are a thousand years apart.SITI April 7, 1887, page 215.3

    The Saviour said: “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.” John 5:28, 29. Here is shown “the resurrection of life,” and “the resurrection of damnation;” clearly two resurrections, though this text does not of itself show how far apart they are. The text in Revelation tells that they are a thousand years apart. True, this is the only text that does tell it, but that makes nothing against the truth of it. What the Lord says once is just as true as though it were said fifty times. We know that the common idea of the resurrection of the dead is that when the end of the world comes, all the dead will be called up together, both righteous and wicked, and then judgment passed upon each case; but these texts, and many others that might be given, show that such a view is a mistaken one. The truth is that the righteous are raised first, and they are made immortal “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump;” and before they are raised to immortality, they are “accounted worthy” of such a resurrection. Luke 20:35, 36.SITI April 7, 1887, page 215.4

    The evidence of the Scripture is positive therefore that the millennium begins at the time of the resurrection of the righteous dead. Now when is it that this resurrection takes place? At the last trump. For, “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.” 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52. But when is it that this trumpet sounds, that awakes the righteous dead? At the coming of the Lord in his glory. “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.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17. Thus the millennium begins at the resurrection of the righteous dead, and the resurrection of the righteous dead is at the coming of the Lord. Therefore the millennium begins at the coming of the Lord Jesus in his glory.SITI April 7, 1887, page 215.5

    This is confirmed by Revelation 20:4, which we notice again: “I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.” What is the antecedent of the pronouns “they” and “them” in this sentence? The antecedent is not in the twentieth chapter, for the first three verses refer to the binding of Satan. From verse eleven to the end of the nineteenth chapter, the coming of the Lord and the destruction of the nations are described, so we are compelled to go yet further back. We read the first verse of the nineteenth chapter, and there we find it: “And after these things [after the judgment of great Babylon] I heard a great voice of much people in Heaven, saying, Alleluia; salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God.” Now we may read on, chap. 20:4: “And 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 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 the first resurrection.”SITI April 7, 1887, page 215.6

    Now when is it that judgment is given to these? At the coming of the Lord. For, says the Scripture, “Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come.” 1 Corinthians 4:5. And in Daniel 7:21, 22, of the Papacy it is said: “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” This shows that judgment is given to the saints of God, at the coming of the Lord in his glorious kingdom; and we have found that this is at, and by, their resurrection from the dead. Again says the Saviour, “Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:14. “And, behold, I come quickly; and may reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12. Therefore, as judgment is given to the saints at their resurrection, and that at the coming of the Lord; and as their resurrection is the first resurrection, and that is the beginning of the millennium, it is proven as plainly as anything can be proven that the millennium begins at the second coming of the Lord Jesus.SITI April 7, 1887, page 215.7

    Then where do the righteous spend the millennium? Let us follow them from their resurrection, and see where they go. First we have read in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17, that when the Lord comes and the trump of God is sounded, the dead in Christ arise, and then those who are alive are caught up together with him to meet the Lord in the air. Here at the first step we find them taken away from the earth, and caught up to the Lord Jesus “in the air.” Secondly, we have read in Revelation 19:1 of a great voice of much people in Heaven, saying, “Alleluia; salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God.” Thirdly, we read in Revelation 7:9, 10, “I be- held, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” And this throne was set in Heaven. Revelation 4:2. Therefore it is certain that the multitude of the righteous, who are raised in the first resurrection of the millennium, who are caught up to meet him in the air, to whom judgment is given, and who reign with Christ a thousand years,—it is certain that these are taken to Heaven, to the presence of the throne of God, and that there they worship him and the Lamb; it is certain that they spend the millennium in Heaven, and that there is where they are priests of God and of Christ, and where they reign with Christ the thousand years.SITI April 7, 1887, page 215.8

    This is confirmed by another view. In Revelation 20:4 it is said that in this great company there are those who had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark in their foreheads, nor in their hands, and that they with the others reigned with Christ a thousand years. Now in Revelation 15:2 we read of these same ones, thus: “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire; and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.” And this sea of glass is before the throne of God in Heaven, for says the Scripture, “I was in the Spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in Heaven, and one sat on the throne.” “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal.” Revelation 4:2, 6. Again, these are said to have “the harps of God,” as they stand on that crystal sea. And in Revelation 14:1, 2 we read of the same company: “I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder; and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps.” This shows that those who did not worship the beast, nor his image, nor receive his mark, but got a victory over all, were taken to Heaven; and these were only a part of that “much people” whose voices were heard there, to whom judgment was given, who were raised at the beginning of the millennium, and who reigned with Christ during the millennium—the thousand years.SITI April 7, 1887, page 216.1

    From all these texts, the conclusion is clear and positive that all the righteous people from this world are taken to Heaven by the Lord Jesus, at the beginning of the millennium, and that they spend the millennium in Heaven itself in the presence of God and the Lamb. Therefore any preaching that promises a millennium before the coming of Christ in his glory, is contrary to Scripture. And any preaching that promises a millennium of peace and joy on this earth, even after the coming of Christ, is also contrary to the Scripture. This last statement we shall make plain next week by showing what the millennium will be on the earth.SITI April 7, 1887, page 216.2

    J.

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