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An Address to the Public, and Especially the Clergy

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    THE KINGDOM OF GOD TO BE EVERLASTING

    If there were no other difficulty in the way of establishing the doctrine of a temporal millennium, it would be fatal to it, that wherever the kingdom of God is spoken of by the prophets, it is introduced as an everlasting kingdom.APEC 27.1

    Daniel 2:44. “The God of heaven shall set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall stand forever,” etc.APEC 27.2

    Again, Daniel 7:27. “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.”APEC 27.3

    Once more; Revelation 2:15. “And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”APEC 27.4

    It is acknowledged, even by the advocates of the “temporal millennium,” that the prophecies with which the above texts stand connected, must have their fulfilment before the millennium; and, also, it is contended that these very texts predict the millennium itself. But yet language cannot express the eternity of the kingdom more strongly than it is taught above.APEC 27.5

    But it is said the terms, everlasting, forever and ever, etc., are used in an accommodated sense in the above texts. But where is the evidence of the fact? There is none; the texts neither require nor admit of an accommodated sense of the terms. The plain, literal, grammatical meaning is the only one which is required. Dr. A. Clarke, in his notes on Genesis 21:33, says, “Olam,” the Hebrew, and “aion,” the Greek word, rendered “everlasting,” “literally signify eternal, or duration without end.”APEC 27.6

    He further says, “the first and best writers, in both Hebrew and Greek, use the terms to express eternal, in the proper sense of that word; and that this is their proper meaning, in both the Old and New Testaments, when applied to God, his attributes, his operations, etc.”APEC 28.1

    But the terms in the above passages are applied to God and his operations; and must, therefore, signify, not 1000 years, nor 360,000 years, but unending duration.APEC 28.2

    The kingdom of God on earth is not, then, the church, either in its whole duration under its present constitution, nor yet the church during the last thousand years of time; but the redeemed from all nations, inheriting the kingdom prepared for and given to man (who was created in the image of God,) from the foundation of the world. That dominion was lost by transgression; but Jesus Christ, by the price of his own blood, has regained it, as the everlasting kingdom and dwelling-place of his saints. These shall go into life eternal. He is now the nobleman (see Luke 19:11, 27,) who has gone “into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.” But that return is not until the day of judgment, when his servants will be called to an account, and receive their reward, and his enemies be destroyed.APEC 28.3

    Indeed, it is difficult to conceive how the idea has so generally obtained, that the kingdom of God on earth is the Christian church under the gospel dispensation; and that this kingdom is to become universal by the conversion of the world of mankind to Christ. It is asserted, without fear of successful contradiction, that there is not a single text in the Bible which authorizes us to look for such an event; but there are a multitude of texts which declare the contrary.APEC 28.4

    I can but regard the doctrine of a temporal millennium as a dangerous error, and as such I feel myself solemnly bound to use my faithful endeavors to drive it away. It is dangerous, not in itself, but in its influence; man may, or may not, believe it, and yet his salvation net be necessarily affected by his opinion. But the direct tendency of the doctrine is, to lull a sinful world to sleep, while they are looking for the universal conversion of the world and the thousand years of the spiritual reign of Christ. And thus the day of the Lord may come on them as a thief. While they are crying “peace and safety;” “the coming of the Lord is far distant;” “the world is yet to be converted, and I shall of course be brought in,” etc., sudden destruction may come on them.APEC 29.1

    I admit, if such a doctrine is taught in the Bible, we are bound to believe it, and also to teach it; and are not responsible for the consequences. But wo to that man who dares to teach it, and thus lull a perishing world to sleep, if that book does not sanction it! But where, I ask, is such a doctrine found in all the word of God? Shall I be told, in the twentieth chapter of Revelation? It is not found there. The doctrine of the resurrection is not more clearly taught in all the Bible, than in that chapter; and any argument which would prove that a mystical resurrection, instead of a literal one, is there taught, would prove the same fact respecting every other text in the Bible which relates to the resurrection of the dead. But that portion of the word of God shall now be investigated.APEC 29.2

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