RELATION OF THE RISEN SAINTS TO
A question enters, here, of great importance. Among all
interpreters, ‑ save the spiritualizers who have an easy way of solving
every problem, ‑ the Relation of the Risen Glorified Church, to
Israel, converted and restored, yet still in the flesh, presents matter
for careful study and consideration. The
struggle to the light is full of interest. This problem troubled the great Bengel. Rejecting the definite article the" in Rev.
20:4, before the words thousand years, ‑
and upon what seemed to him sufficient critical grounds, Bengel developed a curious Dischiliasm, or doctrine of two
successive Millennia. Because, on
critical grounds, the definite article was excluded from verse 4, the 1000 years in verses 4‑6 appeared to be distinct from the 1000 years in
verses 1‑3. According to this view the
Millennium reached from the
Epiphany of Christ, the Destruction of Antichrist, and Binding of Satan, to
Gog's destruction and the First Resurrection, Gog being put at the end of the
first 1000 years. During this first
millennium the Nations, no longer deceived by Satan, and taught by divine
judgments, attain to the knowledge and worship of the true God. The first 1000 years are the period of Satans
Captivity. The Second Millennium reaches from Gogs destruction and the
First Resurrection to the Parousia and Judgment of the Great White Throne, and
is the period of the Reign of the Risen Martyrs; not,
however, on earth, but over the earth, with Christ in
heaven; ‑ the period of Israels blessedness in their own land. In short, from the Epiphany to
the Parousia are 2000 years, bisected by the First Resurrection. Though militant, even to the Last Judgment,
still the Church enjoys a glorious Flowering Time
(Flor der Kirche) under the outpoured
Spirit, not indeed before the Resurrection of the Martyrs and
DISCHILIASM REFUTED. ‑ HABITAT OF THE RISEN SAINTS.
Deeper study, however, has produced more light. No one, now, adopts Dischillasm, and the large
preponderance of the best judgment among specialists in eschatology is adverse
to the retirement of the Risen Saints into heaven, from there to rule over the world. Hofmann
resists the conception and proves the inadmissibility of rendering the
preposition on by over.
A comparison of Rev. 5: 10 and 20: 4 forbids it. The opinion rests, moreover, upon the assumption that the
[*NOTE. The Greek word with the Genitive never means over, but on upon Rev. 5: 10]
There is no exegetical ground, therefore, whatever, for
the doctrine of two millennia, and it
is plain that the doctrine that the Risen Saints are retired into heaven to rule, from
there "over" the world, and the
Church below, is critically unjustified.
Such a view rests entirely on dogmatic grounds, arbitrary pre-suppositions, apart
from exegesis, and alleged inconceivability
and incongruity of the opposite view, and is
therefore worthless. The assumption,
moreover, that there is no transfiguration of the
[* The church here is the church of the firstborn, and therefore must include the dead of all previous ages whom the Lord will account worthy to rule with Him in His Millennial Kingdom. God having provided some better thing concerning us - [i.e., saints living in N. T. times] - that apart from us they - [i.e., O. T. saints] - should not be made perfect, (Heb. 11: 40): only saints resurrected AT THIS TIME wil reign with Christ in His Millennial Kingdom. Ed.]
And thus the Bride above and the Bride below, the Risen
Glorified Saints, and Israel in the flesh, redeemed, restored and holy, shall
be One Bride, One Glorious Church in the Millennial Age, and share a Mutual
Jubilee and Holy Sabbath. And what Luthardt has said concerning
So Hofmann: Precisely that People whom the Tyrant, already pictured,
would have destroyed, shall be delivered out of the unheard of Tribulation
coming on the world in the last time, and shall enjoy the changeless and
imperishable salvation. The two propositions,
Thy people shall be delivered, and many from among thy
people shall awake out from among
the sleepers in the dust, are contemporaneous
events. The Angels purpose was not to
teach the universality of the resurrection, but to add to the limited number
of those who, in the flesh, survive to see the Outcome of things, the many from
the dead who, also, should none the less have part therein. And Baur
to the same effect. In the
If more were needed to confirm the view that the Risen Saints are not retired into heaven to rule the Church below, and the world, from there, the Scriptures will supply it. In Isa. 26: 19, the dead are not awaked to be retired to heaven, but to rejoice on earth, and sing as they wake, and swell the jubilee. In Dan. 12: 1-3, they rise to "stand" with Daniel in their lot," verse 13, and take the kingdom, here, 7::27. And yet, they shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars forever. They possess a true, real, yet spiritual body, not like that of Lazarus after his resurrection, but like that of the Lord Himself, who tarried therewith 40 days on the earth; a glorious body even then, pervaded by the Spirit, and free from all earthly limitations incident to His state of humiliation. So, in the parable, when the Son of Man has come with all His holy angels, and Wheat and Chaff are parted, the righteous shall shine in the kingdom of their Father. Matt. 13:43, - the kingdom to come where God's will is done on earth." Nor does Paul contradict this when speaking of the glory of the heavenly lights, he adds, So also is the resurrection. 1Cor.15:42. The manifestation of the sons of God is due to the manifestation, or Apocalypse, of the Son of God, and is glorious as was the transfiguration on the Mount. Matt. 17:1-4. To be raised and changed, and so to be caught up and so to be with the Lord forever, as risen and changed, does not require a remaining forever in the air, nor a disappearing, backward, forever in the Heavens. That is not the language of Paul. 1 Thess. 4: 16.
Even the Jewish teachers who saw in that far-reaching chapter, ‑ the 40th of Isaiah, ‑ the Rapture of the Saints in connection with the revelation of the Glory of the Lord which all flesh shall see together," never dreamed of a detention in the air of the risen ones, or of those changed and who are described as The ones expecting Jehovah. Isaiah 20: 31, was to the pious in Israel, what 1 Thess. 4: 16 is to us, but nowhere in all their literature, biblical or post-biblical, do we find either the view of aerial detention, or retirement to heaven, but always and everywhere, that of an open, free intercourse among all, in the land of the living, where the righteous no more are entombed, nor die any more. The Gemara Sanhedrin preserves the tradition of the house of Elias, saying, The righteous, whom God will raise up in the first resurrection, shall not return to the dust again, but in them, - during the 1000 years in which He restores the world, - the Blessed One will fulfil that word in Isaiah 40: 31. They shall renew their strength; they shall mount up as with wings of eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. The song of the 4 living creatures, and of the 24 Elders, is that the Kingdom of the Lion of Judahs tribe, when He comes to reign, is on the earth, not over it. Rev. 5: 10. It is in This Mountain (even the literal Mount Zion where He reigns gloriously before His ancients, (Isa. 24: 23) that the Lord of Hosts will make unto all peoples a feast of fat things, and here destroy the face of the covering cast over all peoples, and the veil that is spread over all nations, and swallow up death in victory. Isa. 25: 6, 7. As Orelli beautifully says, He will bring to the nations a true and divine surprise, when He takes away the covering that long enough has veiled their eyes. They shall behold Him, then, as the Dispenser of all Life and Grace, and taste how good He is to those who bow before His majesty. By a second marvel, He will show His omnipotent Love, abolishing Death with the Woe that has wrung from man uncounted tears, and extinguish the curse which, from the very beginning, has blasted the whole human race! Such will be the character of the Millennial Age, unchanged, till in mystery again its light shall fade a moment, only to reappear in brighter glory and shine eternally with the full splendor of an undimmed and unsetting sun.
EXTENT OF THE TRANSFORMATION.
To what extent the Glorification of our planet shall go, at the Second Coming of the Son of Man, is a point left undetermined in the Scriptures. How far, outside the boundaries of the holy land the glorifying energy of the Spirit will pass when once the resurrection has come, what other cosmic convulsions and re-formations, besides those foretold, will occur, it is impossible to decide. Here, as in other respects, we see through a glass darkly. If, with Lange, Christlieb, Van Oosterzee, and others, we regard the, "Palingennesia" or Anakainosis, as a mighty Cosmical Proccss begun by catastrophe and convulsions in heaven and earth, at the Apearing of Christ, and completed at the close of the 1000 years, by similar changes, while yet the evolution continues between, according to the law of geologic ages, then of this much we are certain, that Palestine is not the limit of the transformation. Scientific reasons come in here to confirm this conclusion. Geology itself teaches us that our Planet was once a vast mass of water, to the eye, that, only after some time, the dry land appeared, that what, is now land, was once submerged, and what is now sea was once land, and that all the mountains and valleys, and rivers and plains, are not of the same age. And Scripture teaches the same lesson. The earth and the world are expressly said to have been "formed, and the mountains to have been brought forth," and the seas to have been gathered. Scripture, in advance of Geology, foretold these phenonictia before Science explained them, and the experience of the past should advise us what to expect in the future. God's word will prove true, and that in the most literal manner, precisely where reason is blind, and a spiritualizing interpretation seeks to bridge over what men choose to call a difficulty. We know, from Paul, that, at the redemption of the body, the creature itself also, shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. ROM. 8:21. It, too, shall share in the power of the resurrection. We may not attempt to be wise above what is written. This much, however, is sure to faith, that He who establishes His Kingdom of glory on earth, and rewards the righteous with rule over the cities and nations of men, will find a fit place of abode for His saints who, like Him, are conquerors over the grave. Holding this, we are, at the same time, also permitted to hold that the power of locomotion given to a spiritual body i.e., a body under the perfect dominion of the Spirit, a body with motion equal to the angels, and such as our Saviour had at His ascension and wore during 40 days, appearing and vanishing by turns, will enable the raised from the dead, to transcend the limits of earth, mount up toward heaven as on eagle's wings, run without sense of fatigue, walk, and not faint. Even now, clogged and infirm as we are, the power of our will lifts us at once from our seats and bears us with ease along our way. How much more obedient to the volition of the saint will his resurrection vesture be! As there is nothing to compel us to restrain the visible, glorious personal Presence of Christ, to an uninterrupted stay upon earth during the 1000 years, so there is nothing to forbid the motion of His risen saints. A free and open intercourse between heaven and earth is as believable a view - an appearing and disappearing, like that of the Saviour and like that of the bodies of many saints who arose and went into the Holy City, and there vanished away ‑ as is the scene of the Transfiguration, or the story of the post-resurrection life of Christ on the earth. Angelic ministry, moreover, waits on both Him and the Saints, and it may be that, in the Millennial Age, that word of Israel's King to Nathaniel will come to its full realization: Hereafter ye shall see Heaven Open, and the Angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man! John 1: 52.