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epoch of the literal day of universal judgment. But, if it cannot be the literal resurrection at the literal day of universal judgment: it must be a figurative resurrection before the literal day of universal judgment. Otherwise, what is a palpable contradiction, we shall make Two general and literal resurrections: the one general resurrection, at the end of the thousand years; the other general resurrection, at some undefined epoch subsequent to the destruction of Gog and Magog.
The resurrection, then, of the rest of the dead, at the end of the thousand years, has been shewn, by the very necessity of its collocation, to be figurative. But homogeneity requires, that the two resurrections, the one at the end and the other at the beginning of the thousand years, should be similarly understood and interpreted. Therefore, the resurrection of the martyrs, at the beginning of the thousand years, must be a purely figurative resurrection also.
2. This precise argument from homogeneity is employed by Mr. Mede to bring out the directly opposite result of the literal resurrection of the martyrs at the beginning of the thousand years: and, doubtless, if his premises had been well founded, his conclusion would have been invincible. But he unfortunately identifies, what St. John keeps perfectly distinct, the second resurrection of the rest of the dead at the end of the thousand years, and the third or literal resurrection of all the dead both small and great long subsequent to
the end of the thousand years and at the final day of literal universal judgment. In other words, not observing that the Apostle mentions THREE several successive resurrections, respectively. divided from each other by periods of very considerable length; he identifies the two last: and thus, erroneously making the second resurrection, at the end of the thousand years, the literal universal resurrection; he thence, from false premises, argues, no doubt very logically, backward, that the resurrection of the martyrs, at the commencement of the thousand years, must be a literal resurrection also. The fault lies, not in the conclusion, but in the premises. As I have already stated, had his premises been secure, his conclusion would have been invincible '.
3. The two resurrections, at the beginning and at the end of the thousand years, being thus homo-> geneously demonstrated to be alike figurative; the next point to be considered is the sense, in which they ought equally and similarly to be understood and interpreted.
(1.) As the very construction of the prophecy itself will conduct us to the sense in which the second resurrection ought to be understood, we will begin
'See Med. de Resur. prim. Oper. lib. iii. p. 572, 573. lib. iv. epist. 20. p. 770, 771. Bishop Newton has closely followed Mr. Mede, in arguing, from the very same false premises, for a literal resurrection of the martyrs at the commencement of the Millennium. See Dissert. on the Proph. diss. xxv. vol. iii. p. 316, 317.
our inquiry with that second resurrection: for, when its import shall have been ascertained; we shall then, on the principle of homogeneity, have no difficulty in ascertaining likewise the import of the first resurrection.
At the close of the thousand years, the rest of the dead, or those dead who are contradistinguished from the faithful martyrs of Christ, rise again : and, at the self-same epoch, Satan is loosed, and goes out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth. The result of his machinations is the formation of an antichristian confederacy, which may well be deemed the revival or the reappearance of the antichristian.confederacy previously destroyed at the close of the latter 1260 years. This revival or figurative resurrection of the old antichristian confederacy, occurring as it does synchronically with the resurrection of the rest of the dead who are contradistinguished from the faithful martyrs of Christ, must, I think, be no other than that identical resurrection. The rest of the dead, or those men of antichristian principles who hated and persecuted the faithful and who are therefore contradistinguished from them, are figuratively restored to life in the persons of those, who are deceived by Satan at the close of the thousand years, who embrace anew the principles of Antichristianism, and who at length are moulded into a second great confederacy against the remnant of the sincere Church of God.
Such is the interpretation, which both chronology
and circumstantiality require us to give of the resurrection of those other dead persons who are contradistinguished from the martyrs of Christ. As a collective or corporate body, they were slain in the fight of Armageddon at the close of the latter 1260 years, when the antichristian confederacy of the Roman King was destroyed: as a collective or corporate body, they rise again from the dead at the close of the thousand years, when the antichristian confederacy of the Roman King is figuratively revived in the antichristian confederacy of Gog and Magog.
(2.) From the now ascertained sense of the second resurrection, we shall have no difficulty in ascertaining also the sense of the first resurrection.
Homogeneity, as we have already seen, demands, that the resurrection of the martyrs at the commencement of the thousand years should be interpreted analogically to the resurrection of their ene mies at the end of the thousand years. But the resurrection of their enemies denotes the reappearance of men influenced by the same antichristian spirit as that which characterised their enemies. Therefore the resurrection of the martyrs will homogeneously denote the reappearance of men animated by the temper and principles of the martyrs.
III. The millennian reign of Christ and his saints upon earth, a matter in which Daniel and St. John perfectly agree, has produced no less speculation than the predicted resurrection of the martyrs.
1. As there is no scriptural warrant for the
opinion, that Christ will literally come at the commencement of the Millennium, and that his martyred saints will literally rise from the dead to reign with him personally upon earth: so I perceive nothing in the state of terrestrial blessedness announced by the prophets, which requires any such literal advent, either to introduce it, or when introduced to perpetuate it through its own allotted and well defined period.
2. The utmost, I think, that can be supposed, consistently with the general tenor of prophecy respecting Christ's second advent, is, that, during the millennian period, there may possibly shine forth, as of old, the glory of the Shechinah in the temple of the restored and converted Jews at Jerusalem.
To this supposition, as a conjecture, I am not disinclined: though its truth, I apprehend, is incapable of antecedent demonstration. We can only say, that, as various prophecies may seem to intimate some such matter: so it would, in itself, be perfectly agreeable to the analogy of the two former Dispensations. Patriarchism and Judaism, each during its earlier period, had the permanent glory of the Shechinah'. Whence we might infer, that Christianity, during its best and most triumphant period, would not want the same perpetual and sensible attestation of the divine presence 9.
'See my Hor. Mosaic. book ii. sect. 1. chap. 1. § VII. 1. (7.) vol. ii. p. 33-38.
* See Isaiah lx. 1—5, 11, 14, 19. Ixvi. 15-20. Zechar. ii.