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SECOND ADVENT OF MESSIAH.
In replying to the queries of D. D. in your Number for July, it will become necessary to embrace a wide field of Scriptural research.
I feel no hesitation in acknowledging that wherever a future advent or presence, Tagsuoia, Parousia, of our Lord is foretold in Scripture, we who believe in his personal advent and reign, do understand one and the same advent to be uniformly intended; and that we ground this conclusion upon the careful comparison of Scripture with Scripture, according to the rule so clearly established and illustrated by Bishop Horsley, in his sermons upon the words of Peter, “No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation."*
Before entering into the consideration of the Scriptural evidence in support of the above conclusion, I shall place before the reader the following luminous passage from the works of Joseph Mede, wherein he lays down the great leading principle which is to conduct us through all our inquiries into the chronology of prophecy-wishing it to be clearly understood, at the same time, that I do not bring forward this passage as the foundation of my reasoning, but simply as illustrative of its principles. “For the true account of Times in Scripture, we must have recourse to that SACRED KALENDAR and GREAT ALMANACK OF PROPHECY, the four kingdoms of Daniel, which are a prophetical chronology of times measured by the succession of four principal kingdoms, from the beginning of the captivity of Israel, until the mystery of God should be finished. A course of time during which the church and nation of the Jews, together with those, whom, by reason of their unbelief in Christ, God should surrogate in their rooms, was to remain under the bondage of the Gentiles and oppression of Gentilism; but these kingdoms once finished, all the kingdoms
* 2 Pet. i. 20, 21.
of this world should become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ-and to this Great Kalendar of Times, together with that other but lesser Kalendar of Seventy weeks (Dan. ix.), all mention of times in Scripture seems to have reference.”*
The first text in the chronological prophecies wherein we find the second advent clearly predicted, is Dan. vii. 13, 14. After beholding in the preceding context, the judgment executed by the Ancient of Days on the body of the fourth Beast, or the Roman empire in its last state, the prophet adds, “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.'
If it be asked, to what period in the general chronology of prophecy this vision belongs, the answer must be, that it clearly and indisputably is to be referred to that season, when the seventh Apocalyptic trumpet having sounded, great voices are heard in heaven, that “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.”+ In other words, the advent of Messiah described by Daniel, takes place at the destruction of the fourth, or Roman monarchy, and immediately before the Millennium. And that this is the case, is now so universally admitted by the interpreters of prophecy, that to enter upon the proof of it were altogether superfluous. Let the reader who is uninformed on the general subject, only consider with care and attention the parallel passages of Dan. ii. 34, 35, 44, 45, and Dan. vii. 9-14, 18, 22, 26, 27, and then compare both with Rev. xi. 15, xix. and xx., and he cannot for a moment remain in doubt that they all refer to the same period and the same events.
Passing on now to the New Testament, we find our attention arrested by a remarkable annunciation in St. Paul's prophecy of the MAN OF Sin, in 2 Thess. ii. 3—12, which exactly fixes the chronology of our Lord's advent, and pins it down to the time of the destruction of that power. Having in the context given a lively description of the MAN OF SIN, the Apostle, in ver. 8, adds these emphatic words, “whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, και καταργησει τη επιφανεια της Tagovores autou, and shall destroy (abolish) with the brightness of his coming.?
." Believing with the whole of the Protestant Churches, that this Man of Sin is an ecclesiastical tyranny
* Mede's Apostasy of the Latter Times, Chap. xii. + Rev. xi. 15.
which was to arise in the professing Church of Christ, within the limits of the Western empire, we discern in the prophetic description an exact delineation of the POPE OF Rome, and we thus are led to identify St. Paul's MAN OF Sin with Daniel's LITTLE HORN of the Fourth Beast. Now since it is undeniable, and has been acknowledged by the Church of God in all ages, that the Man of Sin is to be destroyed before the Millennium, we are necessarily obliged to conclude that the brightness of our Lord's coming, whereby St. Paul announces that its destruction is to be effected, does also precede the Millennium; and, therefore, that it is the self-same coming of the Lord with the clouds of heaven, predicted by Daniel in his seventh chapter, at the same prophetic season, viz: that of the destruction of the fourth beast with his lawless horn. This advent must also be identified with that announced in Rev. xix. 11–21, whereby the Beast and False Prophet, i.e. the powers, secular and spiritual, of the Roman empire are finally destroyed—which events are immediately succeeded by the period of the Millennial blessedness.
The coming of the Lord with the clouds of heaven, announced in Matth. xxiv. 30, Mark xiii. 26, and Luke xxi. 27, is also proved to be the same advent as that predicted in the former passages, from its being connected in time by the Evangelist Luke with the fulfilment of the times of the Gentiles, and the re-establishment of the Jewish nation;* which events are, by the concurring voice of the best interpreters of prophecy, placed synchronically with the end of the Roman monarchy, and the commencement of the Millennium.t Thus Mede, the father of prophetic interpretation, reasoned, “When,” says he, “St. Luke's times of the Gentiles are finished, then shall be signs in the sun and moon: the Son of man comes also in the clouds of heaven, (ver. 27) the redemption of Israel (ver. 28) and the kingdom of God (ver. 31) is at hand." Works, Book iv. Epistle viii.
In Rev. xiv. 14, one like the Son of Man is seen sitting upon a white cloud. Upon similar grounds we identify this appear
* See Luke xxi. 24.
+ Let no one suppose that these synchronisms, in which the interpreters of prophecy are agreed, are founded on arbitrary or fanciful principles. The one I have now mentioned may thus be proved. The Armageddon of St. John, Rev. xvi. 16, is evidently the same with the Jehoshaphat of_Joel iii. 2, 12. Now in St. John's war of Armageddon, the Beast and False Prophet, or the powers secular and spiritual of the Roman empire, are to be destroyed, Rev. xix. 19, 20, and in Joel's war of Jehoshaphat, Judah and Jerusalem are to be restored, Joel iii. 1, 2, therefore, the restoration of Judah and the destruction of Rome are synchronical. This accordingly has been the tradition of the Jewish Church from the earliest ages, as might easily be proved, were there room for it, from the Jewish writings.
ance with the advent already so often mentioned: because it corresponds in time with the harvest or gathering of the elect,* and with the vintage or treading of the wine-press of wrath: which scene of vengeance is in Rev. xix. 15, placed at the advent of our Lord, before the Millennium, as it is in Is. lxiii. 1-9, and Joel iii. 1, 2, 13, 14, connected in time with the national redemption of Israel, which also takes place before the Millennium.
Once more, when on referring to the Greek versions of the Old Testament on Zech. xii. 10–12, I find in the Septuagint (according to the reading of Justin Martyr and Ignatius) and in the versions of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, that the words “And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son," —"and the land shall mourn, every family apart,” have in the Greek so close a resemblance to the forms of expression used by the Apostle in Rev. i. 7, “and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him, and all the tribes of the earth shall wail because of him,"t that it is impossible for me not to conclude, that the Holy Spirit, in guiding his servants in these places to use such identity of phraseology, intended to point
* Compare Rev. xiv. 15, 16, with Matth. xiii. 30, and xxiv. 31.
+ The Greek words in Zechariah are as follows, Και επιβγεψονται τρος με εις έν εξεκέντησαν, και κοψονται επι αυτον &c. και κοψεται η γη κατα φυλας φυλας. The words of the Greek in Rev. 1. 7, are Και οψεται αυτον πας οφθαλμος, και οιτανες αυτον εξεκοντησαν και κοψονται επ' αυτον πασαι αι φυλαι της γης. All the English editions of the Seventy being from the Vatican, for oν εξεκέντησαν read ανθ' ών καταρχησαντο, which, as Horne justly observes, is unintelligible. “But Ignatius, Justin Martyr, and the Pachomian MS. read ¢€¢x¢7 THTAV.” See Ewing's Lexicon on the word KarogX8944:46. This remark of 'Mr. Ewing I have verified, so far as respects Justin Martyr, who, in his first Apology, and in his Dialogue with Trypho, has the reading as OV EE EXEY THTAV. I learn from the notes of my own copy of the Seventy (Frankfort, 1597) that Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion have the same words; but I have not been able to consult their versions.
Should it be asked why I refer to the Greek rather than the English copies, to establish the identity of Zech. xii. 10–12, and Rev. i. 7, my answer is, that I was long wedded, by early prejudices, to the common opinion about our Lord's advent, and that it was by a very slow and cautious process of investigation, carried on through a series of years, that I was at length enabled to discern the truth. Now in our English version the parallelism of the above two passages is scarcely perceptible. Our translators, by adopting the expression all the families of the land, in Zechariah, wbile in Rev. i. 7, it is all the tribes of the earth, have given to them features of dissimilarity which bave no existence in the Greek versions. An English reader may at once understand this by substituting the words all the tribes of the earth, in Zechariah, for the former expression. Now I argue that the Holy Spirit, in directing John to adopt the very language of the Seventy, has identified the two passages. I recollect well the deep and lively impression of surprise made on my mind, on first referring to these texts in the Greek Scriptures, and discovering their identity. It formed a new and powerful link in the chain of evidence whereby I was, hy slow steps, feeling my way to the true doctrine of the Scriptures concerning the advent, and in these explanations the reader will discern the rea. son of my referring to the Greek rather than the English Scriptures.
out to us, that one and the same event is predicted in both. But the prophecy of Zechariah, whereof the above words form a part, evidently relates to the restoration and conversion of the Jews, which confessedly take place before the Millennium: and thus we are led to the conclusion that our Lord's advent with the clouds in Rev. i. 7, also precedes the Millennium, and is to be identified with the advent in Dan. vii. 13.
To the whole of the foregoing passages may be added the words of our Lord in Matth. xxvi. 64, and Mark xiv. 62, "Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven.” There are, it is true, no chronological marks in these texts, to show the precise period to which they refer? yet as the advent of Christ is described in language so nearly similar to that of the prophet Daniel, I may well adopt the words of Mede, to signify my unalterable conviction that our Lord, in using the expressions recorded in the Gospels, intended to direct the attention of the Jewish rulers to the prophecy of Daniel. "I shall never believe,” says Mede, “but that all those places of the Son of Man's coming and appearing in the clouds of heaven mentioned in the Gospels and the Apocalypse i. 7, are the same with the coming of the Son of Man in the clouds, prophesied by Daniel at the extinction of the fourth Beast (chap. vii.), and that the Holy Ghost in the New Testament hath reference thither both for words and meaning.”—Works, Book iv. Epistle x.
Having thus reviewed the principal passages of prophecy, wherein our Lord's advent is described either chronologically or circumstantially, it remains that I should examine whether the advent spoken of in all the foregoing passages, which has been shown to be one and the same, be, as is the current doctrine of the Protestant churches of the present day, a figurative, spiritual, and symbolical advent, or the real, personal, and glorious coming of our Lord to judge the quick and the dead,
In the New Testament there are three nouns substantive used to signify the advent. The first is Aucklaufas, Apokalypsis, revelation, the second Eripaux, Epiphaneia, appearance, and the third, Ilzgcuçse, Parousia, coming or presence.
The first of these words, Amortautes, occurs in the following passages; 1 Cor. i. 7, “Waiting for the REVELAtion of Jesus Christ:" 2 Thes. i. 7, “At the REVELATION of Jesus Christ with his mighty angels:” i Pet. i. 7, “Might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the REVELATION of Jesus Christ:" ver. 13, “Hope for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the REVELATION of Jesus Christ."
The second, Etioxy02, occurs in 2 Tim. i. 10, in reference to