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a day of rest, does afford an argument that the moral world, or the church and kingdom of Christ, of which the natural world is a designed type in many respects, will be six thousand years in forming, in order to be brought to such a state as in the best manner to enjoy a thousand years of rest, peace, and prosperity; a day in the natural world, in this instance, representing a thousand years in the moral world, and that time being thus divided into sevens, to have a perpetual rotation to the end of it, denotes that the world is to stand but seven thousand years, as “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day," and that this has been handed down as the opinion of many ancients, both Jews and Christians. It is acknowledged that this argument
* is not sufficient to establish this point, considered by itself alone; but it is thought to have some weight when joined with other arguments from Scripture which coincide with this and serve to strengthen it.
It is observable that the number seven is the most noted number mentioned in Scripture in many respects, and is a sacred number above all others. And in the Mosaic ritual, which contained many typical institutions, the Israelites were commanded not only to observe every seventh day as a day of rest, but every seventh year as a Sabbath and
year and the seventh month in every year was a festival and sacred month above all other months of the year. In this month was the feast of tabernacles, which was to be observed seven days with great joy. On the first day of this month was the feast of trumpets, when the trumpets were to be blown through all the land, which was a type of the extraordinary preaching of the gospel which will introduce the millennium. And on the tenth day was their annual and most solemn fast, on which they were to confess their sins and afflict their souls, and atonement was made for them, which was a figure of the repentance and extraordinary humiliation to which the inhabitants of the world will be brought by the preaching of the gospel, attended with the dispensations of divine Providence suited to promote this, previous to their being raised up to the prosperity and joy of that day. And then the joyful feast of ingathering, in the end of the year, came on, on the fifteenth day of the same month. This was a type of the happy, joyful millennium, in the seventh and last thousand years of the world, in which vast multitudes, even most of the redeemed, will be gathered into the church and kingdom of Christ, in comparison with whom all who
See p. 254, and note.
shall have been saved before this time are but the first fruits of the purchase of Christ.
It is evident that this feast of tabernacles in the seventh month was a designed type of the millennium, from what has been now observed, and what has been said, on the three most remarkable feasts appointed in the law of Moses, in the preceding section; but this evidence is strengthened, and made certain, by what is said by the prophet Zechariah. When he is speaking of the millennium, and predicting that happy day, he says,
6 And it shall come to pass that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” (Zech. xiv. 16.) By the feast of tabernacles are meant the enjoyments and blessings of the millennium, of which all nations shall then partake, and which were typified by that feast.
All these things seem to point out the seventh thousand years of the world to be the time of the millennium. But there is yet greater evidence of this, which will serve to strengthen what has been observed, and show that it is not inere conjecture.
The prophecies in the Book of Daniel, of the rise and continuance of the little horn, and of the time in which the church shall be in a state of affliction, and those in the Revelation, of the continuance of the beast, who is the same with the horn, and of the duration of the afflicted state of the church during that time, when examined and compared, will lead to fix on the seventh thousand years of the world to be the time of the millennium.
In the Revelation, the time of the continuance of the beast, after his deadly wound was healed, is said to be forty and two months. (Rev. xiii. 5.) And the time in which the church should be trodden down, afflicted, and oppressed, is said to be forty and two months, a thousand two hundred and sixty days, and a time and times and half a time. (Rev. xi. 2,3; xii: 6,14.) The same term of time is denoted by each of these expressions. A year was then reckoned to contain three hundred and sixty days, and a month consisted of thirty days. In forty and two months were a thousand two hundred and sixty days; and a time and times and half a time are three years and a half, which contain forty and two months, and a thousand two hundred and sixty days. So long the beast — the idolatrous persecuting power exercised by the bishop of Rome, the pope — is to continue; during which time the church of Christ is to be oppressed, afflicted, and opposed represented by the holy city being trodden under foot by the
Gentiles, the two witnesses prophesying in sackcloth, and a woman persecuted and flying into the wilderness to hide herself from her enemies, where she is fed and protected during the reign of the beast, which is to continue a thousand two hundred and sixty years, a prophetical day being a year. At the end of those years the pope, and the church of Rome of which he is the head, will be destroyed; and according to the representation in the Revelation, the kingdom of the devil in the world will fall at the same time, and the kingdom of Christ be set up on the ruins of it, and the millennium will take place.
If it were known when the bishop of Rome first became what is designed to be denoted by the beast, - the time of his fall, and of the end of the church of Rome and of Satan's kingdom in the world, - when the millennium will commence could be ascertained to a year. But as this beast rose gradu. ally, from step to step, till he became a beast in the highest and most proper sense, this involves the subject in some degree of uncertainty, and renders it more difficult to determine at which considerable increase and advance of the bishop of Rome in power and influence the thousand two hundred and sixty years began. He had great influence not only in the church in the ecclesiastical matters, but in the temporal affairs of the Roman empire, and of the kingdoms which were erected in it by the invasion of the northern nations — before he was publicly acknowledged and declared to be universal bishop, which was done in the year of Christ 606. This greatly increased his influence and power in the Christian world, and the church was now become exceed. ing corrupt. If the one thousand two hundred and sixty prophetic years be reckoned from this time, they will end in the year 1866 — seventy-four years from this time, viz., 1792. But the pope did not become a temporal prince, and publicly assume civil jurisdiction, till the year 756, when Pepin, the king of France, then the most powerful prince in Christendom, made him prince over a large dominion, and he assumed civil authority, and upon this he subdued three kings or kingdoms, and they fell before him, according to the prediction of him in the prophecy of Daniel. (Dan. vii. 8, 20, 24.) And be soon had such power over the nations as to set up an emperor in Germany to be his tool, by whom to raise himself to universal empire, reserving to himself and claiming power over the emperor, and over all kings in the Christian world, to set them up and crown them, or depose them when he pleased.
This is the most remarkable epoch, when the pope became a beast in the most proper sense, from whence his reign is to
be dated. Twelve hundred and sixty years from this date, 756, will end near the beginning of the seventh thousand years of the world. But as he rose to this height gradually, and was a beast in a lower sense long before this, it is reasonable to suppose that he will fall by degrees, until his usurped power is wholly taken from him, and the false church of Rome, the great whore, utterly destroyed; and that he has been falling many years, and that as the time of his reign draws nearer to a close, inore remarkable events, by which he and that church will come to total ruin, will take place in a more rapid succession. But this will be more particularly considered in the next section.
Therefore, these prophecies of the rise and fall of antichrist, or the beast, and the time of his reign, and of the afflicted state of the church of Christ, fix the end of these and of the reign of Satan in the world of mankind, near the beginning of the seventh thousand years of the world, when the millennium will be introduced, though many things will take place before that time, by which the pope and his interest will gradually decline and sink, and in favor of the church and kingdom of Christ, to prepare the way for the introduction of the millennium.
In the Book of Daniel, the same idolatrous, persecuting power, and the time of the continuance of it, and of the oppressed state of the church, are predicted; and the time is fixed and expressed by a time and times and a half, or the dividing of time, (Dan. vii. 25; xii. 7,) which is the same mentioned by St. John in the Revelation, and is one thousand two hundred and sixty prophetic days; that is, so many years, as has been observed above. There it is said by him who interpreted to Daniel the vision of the four beasts, "the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and tread it down and break it in pieces.” This is the Roman empire. " And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise. And another shall arise after them, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” (Dan. vii. 23–25.) This last horn, king, or ruling power, is evidently the same with the little horn mentioned in the eighth chapter, and is the same with the beast when he was recovered to life, after he had been wounded unto death, which St. John saw; that is, the pope of Rome, ir whom the power and idolatry of this empire is revived and
continued. The character given of each is the same in substance, and the time of their continuance is the same, which must end, according to every probable calculation, at or about the end of the sixth thousand years of the world, or about two thousand years after the incarnation of Christ.* And at the end of this time, this power and kingdom is to be destroyed, and a total end put to the Roman empire, represented by the beast; and the kingdom of Christ, in its fulness and glory, shall then take place, in the universal prevalence and reign of his church and people, which is expressed in the following words: “ But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it to the end; and the kingdom and the 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, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” (Dan. vii. 26, 27.)
In the eighth chapter of Daniel we have a different representation of this same kingdom, power, or empire, by a little horn which came forth out of one of the four horns, into which the Grecian empire, founded by Alexander the Great, was divided some time after his death. This is the Roman, or fourth and last empire, upon the destruction of which the kingdom of Christ is to prevail and fill the world. Daniel describes this little horn as it appeared to him in the vision, in the following words: “ And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great towards the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land; and it waxed great even to the host of heaven, and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And a host was given him against the daily sacrifice, by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground, and it practised and prospered.” (Dan. viii. 9–12.) And this vision is explained by the angel interpreter in the following part of the chapter. (Verses 23–25.) What is said of this horn respects the Roman kingdom and empire, from the beginning and end of it, the ruin of which shall open the way for the kingdom of Christ to flourish in the world and the reign of the saints on the earth. And what is said of this power or kingdom here respects the idolatry that should be supported and practised by it, and the opposition it should make to God and his people, in which it
See Bishop Newton's Dissertation on the Prophecies.