Academical Exercises – By Morgan Edwards

Section 3

V11. Preclusive to the millennium, and preparatory for it, are the following events.

1.The present usurpers of the country given to Abraham and his seed will be dispossessed, viz.

The Turkish or Ottoman Empire will be demolished; for otherwise the right owners cannot posses their inheritance. The said demolition’ of the Turk (or beast that started out of the earth) is exhibited at the opening of the first seal, when .a horseman with his bow issues forth conquering an to conquer, (Rev. vi. 2): his exploits are specified at the sounding of the first trumpet (ch. Viii.7), and at the pouring of the first vial (ch. XVi, 2). The fifteenth chapter of Esdras is a prophecy of these events wherein Asia is particularly. Mentioned, (ver. 46.)

2. The twelve tribes (is observed before) will return to their ancient inheritance, else how can the twelve apostles be their judges? Men have thought that the ten tribes are lost, viz. have dwindled away, so as to cease to be a people, like many other nations; but Christ faith that the Jewish nation shall not pass away till he come in his glory. (Matt. xiv. 34.) The other two tribes are in being yet, and are seen in most parts of the world a distinct people. But all Israel must be saved, according to Paul (Rum. i, 25. 26); therefore the ten tribes are in-being, and a distinct people: a prophet + of their own faith “that, after Shalmaneser

*The present. Situation of the Turrkish empire comrades attention from all that look for the coming of the Lord Jesus to reign upon earth: the combination of the copiers of Russia an, the emperor of Germany, and their success the last year (1787) against that empire are the ressen: should they prevail, the Jews (like the crusades) will repair from all quarters towards the holy land.

+ It may be observed, that the books of Esdras were, by the primitive Christians (for near four hundred years) esteemed Canonical, as appeared by three catalogues yet extant: among some western Christians they are yet so esteemed; but granting they are not canonical, yet Esdras’ s account of the ten tribes is more credible than any other profane history; because he must be better acquainted with the fact he relates.

The abomination intentioned by Daniel is supposed to be that which Antiochus Epiphanes set up in the temple; but that was before Christ time many hundred years; the Romans set up no abomination in the temple; for it was destroyed before they could gain possession of it; therefore Christ refers to a thing that is yet to come; and to a temple that is not yet extant.

Shalmaneser had led them captive, they assembled together, crossed the Euphrates, and marched in a body for a year and a half till they came to a country where no man dwelt.” The name of that far country is Arsareth. (2 Efd. xxi.). This account is the more credible, because they are expressly said to cross the Euphrates. In they’ re way back to their own country. (Rev. xvi.12). But the western Jews will return before them, ” Jerusalem shall be inhabited again, and the Lord will save the tents of Judah first. (Zech. Xii. 6. 7.) And when they are returned they will all coalefee into one body, as before the division in Rehoboam’ s time, and no longer be styled the Kingdome of Israel and the kingdom of Judah, but be one, and their name one this is particularly described by Ezekiel, (ch. Xxxvii), and is full to our purpose, because the prediction was not fulfilled at the return of the Jews from the Babylonith captivity. (John iv. 9). In this united capacity they will rebuild Jerusalem in its place, and the temple in its place on mount Zion; for in this temple will antichrist sit as god, and be the abomination * mentioned by Daniel, and referred to by Christ

As a prelude to his coming to reign; and an alarm to the Jews to flee for their lives Mat. xxiv. 15 35)- Into the same temple will Christ come after the destruction o Antichrist, and there fix his, residence (Zech. xiv. 4, 5.) Ezekiel is more particular in his forty third and forty fourth chapters. The same Ezekiel describes this temple in the eight last chapters of his prophecy: it is vain to say ” that he ” means the. Temple begun by Zerubbabel and finished by Herod.” Let anyone read the description of this ‘temple in Josephus, and compare it with Ezekiel’ s temple, and he will soon see that they are not the same, and that the latter has never yet had an existence.

3. Another event prior to the millennium will be the appearing of, the two Witnesses mentioned in Rev. xi. And Zech. iv. One of which will be Elias: this I gather from Malachi, (IV,) and from Matthew, Elias truly shall come; and restore all things” (ch. ‘xvii. Ii): this, indeed, is applied to John the Baptist in the next verse, but it is in a way of accommodation of prophecy, and not of accomplishment; for John was come and gone too) at the time that Christ faith in future, Elias SHALL come: besides; John was a fetter forth of new things rather than. A restorer of the old, which is the description of Elias: add to all, that John had denied that he was the Elias whom Malachi spake of, and. the Jews enquired after, John

(John i. 21), and Christ does not contradict him. The other witness I take to be the apostle John. My reasons for it follow: of this apostle, Jesus faith, “if. I will that he tarry till I come what is that to thee?” (John xxi. 22); now Christ did not use lightness in any of his intimations, which would have been the case it he did not mean that John should not die for so the disciples understood the matter (ver. 23): in another place he faith, ” There be some standing here which shall not taste of death till the son of man come in his kingdom” (Mat. xvi. 28); that “. Coming of his in the ” glory of his father, and with his angels (ver. 27) is yet a thing future; and therefore there be some alive now that were alive then, and will be alive till Christ make his appearance in the air to raise the dead and change the living. But plainer than all is what the angel told John in the isle of Patmos, ” Thou must prophesy again before many ” people, and nations, and tongue, and kings, (Rev. 11.): this he never did; and therefore has it to do in a future day. Add to all, That the accounts we have of John’ s death are so very fabulous, that nothing sure can be inferred from them than; that the people of Ephesus knew not what became of the old man: the truth is, he (like Elias) was caught up to paradise, which is in the third heaven, (2 Cor. Xii. 2. 4.) and was, in all likelihood, that angel that was seen ” flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people on the earth (Rev xiv. 6). Where these two witnesses will prophesy or preach is not hard to guess: Elias, no doubt

Will minister to the Jews to take the veil off of their eyes when they read Moses; and to restore his ceremony to its primitive exactness both as to sentiments and practice (wherein the Jews were very corrupt, and had been corrupt long before their dispersion) and so prepare thein for the reception of their long expected Messiah, that they may know him when
•The composer of the above paragraph was aware how. Subject to objections is his. Representing Elias as the restorer of the Mosaic ceremony, viz. That it would-be restoring types and’ shadow, which had vanished at the coming or the substance. The same objection hath been made against the return of The Jew to their own country; the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple &c: but the proofs of these last events among prophets and apostles are too plain: to be controverter: the description of Ezekiel’s temple alone authorizes the supposition. But there is. A wide difference between,” restoring types and shadows emblems of good things to come; and, restoring types as emblems of good things past: in this last sense Paul used circumcision, vows, purification, &c. (Acts xvi.3. ch, xxi. 24.): in the same sense, a great number of priest that believed, and other Jews, used temple worship many years after (Acts xxi.20); in this sense the apostles, and all Christians ministers since, make use of Moses’ s types and shadows to preach up the Messiah that is already come in the same sense will the priests (under the instruction of Elias) preach over their circumcision, sacrifices, divers washings, sprinklings, $c. I do not wonder therefore that Luther was so positive, that the temple service would have continued to this day, had the Jews understood matters before their dispersion, as they will after their restoration; or as the apostles and succeeding Christians did, and do understand them (Com. On Gal. Ch. Iii). Anyhow Elias must fulfill the prophecy, viz. be the restorer of all things in the Law of Moses.

He appears in the air and my shout, ” Blessed is he that commeth in the name of the Lord” (Mar xviii.39). The other witness, viz. John, will preach to the Gentiles; for people, nations, tongues, and kings are applicable to none but them. When these witnesses will appear is hard to say; for though their time of prophesying is sackcloth is 1260 days or three years and a half (allowing thirty days to a month) yet they may preach out of sackcloth long before; for the 1260 days reset only to the time that the holy city and the outer court of the temple shall be trodded under foot of the Gentiles (or Antichrist and his army) viz. 42 months, which make exactly 1260 days, allowing 20 to a month (Rev. xi. 2): but the ministry of the witnesses requires many more years to perform than the time of their wearing sackcloth; and there are no more than about 204 years between now and their death: I should therefore expect that their appearance is not far off. I have hinted before that the two witnesses and Antichrist will be in Jerusalem during the said 42 months: they in the temple defending it: and Antichrist and his army in the town besieging the temple: and he will prevail not with standing the dreadful powers the witnesses are armed with (Rev. xi.5), and will bring them out into the street of Jerusalem, and there slay them (Rev. xi. 7,8.): I say, into the street of Jerusalem: for the street of the city where our Lord was crucified can be no other; it is spiritually Sodom and Egypt, but literally the city where our Lord was crucified, and where the temple was which John measured (rev. 4.)

The struggling of Antichrist towards the mastery of the world, and his assumption of Godhead will also precede the millennium. Who this Antichrist will be is hard to say. I take him for the last of them, who have plagued the world under the names of Popes; for Antichrist is to be destroyed at Christ’ s coming to reign (2 Thess. Ii.8.); and pope will last till then; and therefore more cruel than ever it began to strive for mastery in Paul’ s time, but was checked by the then Roman empire (2 Thessii8): when that empire fell it prevailed exceedingly, till checked again by the reformation in Germany, and the starting up of the protestant states: it has begun to prevail over these (for tho’ the power of the pope is lessening, his votaries multiply), and will prevail till checked anew by the two witnesses mentioned in the book of Revelation: when he has slain them, the pope will spring up to godhead, ” exalting himself above, and apposite all gods, showing himself in the temple of God. (At Jerusalem) to be the god and Lord of all the earth (Zech. Iv 14. Rev. xi 4. Then, and not till then will that wicked one be revealed who has hitherto assumed no higher title than the vicar general of Christ on earth; but then off goes the mask. He will hold his godhead for 2300 days according to Daniel (ch. Viii. 14); but according to John only for 42 months; viz. 1260

Days, allowing 30 to a month; the difference between these two numbers is 1040 days: and these are the days which the lord hath shortened for the sake of the elect nation of the Jews, Left they should all be destroyed. (Matt. Xxiv. 22); so that the last and most dreadful persecution will continue but three years and fix months, instead of six years two months and twenty days. Blessed therefore (faith Daniel) is he that cometh to the end of the 1260 * days; for then Christ will begin to reign, and Daniel will stand in his lot his own country (ch xxi. 12,13), and Antichrist be no more.

5. Another event previous to the Millennium will be the appearing of the son of man in the clouds, coming to raise the dead saints and change the living, and to catch them up to himself, and then withdrawing with them, and observed before, This event will come to pass when Antichrist be arrived at Jerusalem in his conquest of the world; and about three years and a half before his killing the witnesses, and assumption of godhead. The signs of Christ’s appearing in the clouds, will be extraordinary ” wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and famines,” &c. (Matth. Xxiv. 6, -8.) I say extraordinary; for otherwise they would be no signs at all: because such things had been before, and have been since the wars,

*The number referred to in Daniel (ch.x ii. 12) contains 75 days more than his number in ver. 7; the reason is, the last begins at the time of the visions; the other at sealing the book that contained the visions, which made a difference of 75 days. This being granted, the two numbers agree with that of St. John, as they surely must; because both the writers speak of the same event.

It should seem, will be those of Antichrist; that is, of the kingdoms that aid and appose him: the famines and plagues will be those inflicted by the two witnesses: the earthquakes will be those which will cause the earth to rock to and fro, so as to make the stars appear to fall, as they do at sea when the ship heels; for in no other sense can real stars fall to the earth. The signs of his coming, in the heavens, will be the trump of God, vapor and smoke, which will darken the sun and moon, and make them look like blood (as they often do in very hazy weather. And also cause those meteors called falling stars. (Acts ii. 19. Matth. Xxiv.) The effect will be ” the terror and wailing of all the kindred of the earth, their hiding in caves and dens, bidding the rocks and mountains to cover them,” &c. (Matt. Xxiv. Rev. xi. ) But the fright will soon be over with wicked men, as with the wicked if Israelites when the terrors of Sinai ceased. And therefore, wonder working spirits of devils will take occasion to counterfeit the preceding wonders in heaven and earth, (as the Egyptian magicians did those of Moses) causing” fire to come down from heaven, & c (Rev. xiii. 13. chap.xvi.13.): by which means he will not only take the attention of the people from the foresaid miracles of Christ, but arrogate them to himself, as reasons why he should be entitled to godhead. And that godhead he will now assume, after killing the two witnesses, and gaining the temple behold, them, ” the man of sin fitting in the temple of God, showing that he himself is God. (2

Thess. Ii. 4.) Now the great persecution of the Jews will begin; who (though bad men) cannot submit to him as God; and such a persecution as would extirpate the whole race had not God cut off 1040 days of antichrist’ s reign, as was before observed. Such of the Gentiles, as had so much sense as to refuse him in the character of a god, would have shared the same fate, had they not hid themselves in wilds and deserts of his reign as god (Rev. xii. 14.). Nevertheless, it appears that many of the nominal Christians, and Jews outwardly, will apostatize to him, and become his idolaters (Matt. Xxiv. 10. Dan. Xi.35.)

6. Another event previous to the Millennium will be, the destroying of that Antichrist or false god. And this will come to pass about a month before said millennium: I say about a month before; for there is another number in Daniel which supposes as much, ” From the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination which maketh desolation is felt up is 1260 days.” (Chap. Xii. 11.): but he will maintain his godhead only for time, times, and half a time (chap. Xii. 7.); that is, for a year, two yours and half a year or 1260 days, as observed before: the difference between these numbers is 30 days, or one month: time little enough to demolish his god ship, bury his army and cleanse the temple, &c. The manner of his destruction is thus described by Daniel, (chap. Vii. 25) ” He shall be broken without ” hand:” and well did he foresee; ” for he will be consumed with the spirit of Christ’ s mouth, and not with hands (2 Thess. Ii. *.).

7.Another event prior to the Millennium is the binding of Satan and shutting him up in the abyss for a thousand years (Rev. xx. 1, 2, 3.). An event this long foreseen and dreaded by the devils (Matth viii. 29.). Poor work do the Antimillenarians or spiritualizing Millenarians (who are much the same) make of this matter: They say that the devil was bound when Chris came in the flesh; because (surfeit) oracles were silenced, and possessions checked: but if the Devil has not been loose these thousand years past, and for seven hundred and forty – two years besides, he never was loose in his life. It is not long ago since I heard a grave divine maintaining, ” that Satan was bound when the Hebrew boy was born, according to prophecy of the Sibyls: and yet before he finished his sermon he cautioned his flock against the temptations of the devil: some happened the laugh at the inconsistency; and his reverence broke the thread of his discourse to admonish them. But is it fair to tickle one first and then breaking one’ s head for laughing? Is it not more like truth to say, that the devil has been loose, is loose, and will be loose, till the Millennium begins?” However, the wicked during that millennium cannot say, as they do now, the devil tempted us.

8.The last event, and the event that will usher in the millennium, will be, the coming of Christ from paradise to earth, with all the saints he had taken up thither (about three years and a half before to justify, against the accuser of the brethren; and to fettler their future business and rewards, ” the time is come that ” thou should give rewards to thy servant the