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The preceding references shew that the renewing of the heavens and the earth, is spoken of continually in those parts of the Sacred Volume which treat of their destruction in the latter day. This renewing is the restitution of all things, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, which Peter in Acts ii. declares shall take place at the second coming of Jesus Christ. The Lord saith of it in Isaiah lxvi. 22. "The new heavens and the new earth which I will make, shall remain before me;" and these are the peaceable habitations, the sure dwellings, and the quiet resting places, which are promised to the Lord's people. The faculties of man are wholly unequal to comprehend the blessings and the glories of that rest; for "Since the beginning of the world, (saith the prophet) men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he (Messiah) hath prepared for him that waiteth for him."
One great change, ordained to take place in the long wished for season of refreshing, is the entire removal of the curse. In order that this object may be effected, it seems necessary that the enemy who beguiled the woman, and thus brought in the curse, should be bound, lest the Church of Christ should again be afflicted through his machinations. The twentieth
chapter of Revelations represents this binding of the evil one, who is cast into the bottomless pit, and the Lord's seal is set upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the Millennial dispensation is ended, after which he must be loosed a little season. The angel who inflicts the sentence, is the same who saith of himself in Rev. i. 18. "I am he that liveth, and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen, and have the keys of death and hell."
If it shall indeed be found, that the Lord Jesus cometh with power and great glory, at the close of the 1290 years, whenever that period may be, it may be collected from the twelfth chapter of Daniel, as already remarked, that the 45 years will be occupied in fulfilling the several events which have been treated of, and which, according to Scripture, must take place before the Church sits down finally in her rest: viz. the resurrection of the departed saints, the gathering of the Lord's remnant in the flesh from out of the tents of the ungodly, the judgment of the wicked by Messiah, the binding of Satan, the removal of the curse, and the changing of the present heavens and earth, so that they may again be such as they were when it was said of them, that God saw that they were good. Between the law and the gospel, there was a sort of intermediate dispensation, during which
the one passed away, and merged into the other. This era commenced with the ministry of John the Baptist in the wilderness, and continued until the Lord's resurrection. The period of 45 years will probably be found in like manner something intermediate between the gospel and Millennium, extending from the first manifestation of the Son of Man, or of his forerunner, the latter-day Elijah, until the complete establishment of the Millennial Church. All this remains to be developed, but it seems clearly intimated in the type of David and Solomon remaining upon the throne together for some time, after Solomon was anointed king in Gihon, that some new dispensation of a mixed kind will take place in the first instance, and that the one will sink into the other.
The Lord's risen saints live and reign with him a thousand years, even for the hidden ages; and the revelation which is given concerning the nature and circumstances of those times must form the subject of another chapter. But it is revealed to us that the rest of the dead, who have not their part in the first resurrection, shall not live again till the thousand years are finished. When that era is expired, whatever may prove to be the duration of it, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and he shall go out to deceive the nations, which are in the four quarters of
the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle. These nations, like their type, the Gog and Magog of Ezekiel, shall "go up upon the breadth of the earth, and compass the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city," and then fire coming down from God out of heaven shall devour them. And the devil that deceived them shall be cast into the lake of fire. And when this is accomplished, the second resurrection and judgment will take place.
First and Second Resurrection.
An accurate understanding of what the Scriptures reveal of the first and second resurrection, is very necessary for assisting the inquiry into the things of the second advent. Each resurrection is attended with a judgment of the ungodly. But the loose way in which the judgment of the wicked is spoken of by many writers, has induced a general persuasion, amongst those who follow the opinions of men, that there is only one resurrection and judgment. When the Lord Jesus cometh in the clouds of heaven, the dead will be raised, and judgment will be passed upon them, as every one seems to acknowledge. But it is clear that all the dead will not then be raised, for some shall not live again till after the end of the Millennial dispensation-" until the thousand years are finished." If, therefore, the Lord indeed cometh at the commencement of the Millennium, as before contended for, it follows that there must be two judgments, for He himself executes judgment at His coming, and there is to be another resurrection, and another judgment after the end of the thousand years.