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tioned in the prophetic and other books of scripture. I might refer you, in this book, to the resurrection of the witnesses who prophesied “ a thousand two hundred and three-score days;"*-I might point you to Ezekiel's vision of the dry bones; -I might tell you what will be the effect of Israel's future conversion upon the Gentile Church ; —and I might venture to remind you of the numerous instances in which believers are said, even while in this world, to be “ raised up together, and to be made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."$
The true meaning then of this part of our text is, that in the day of millennial blessedness, the earth shall be peopled with a race of men who shall inherit the noble and devoted spirit of the martyrs, who shall acknowledge no authority in the Church but that of Christ, who shall shake off for ever all secular interference with the interests of his spiritual kingdom, who shall emulate and display the virtues which have adorned the witnesses for God's truth which have lived in the most favoured periods of time, and who shall perpetuate, through the revolution of a thousand years, the memory and the principles of men " of whom the world was not worthy."
“ But the rest of the dead," we are told, “ lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” We can only ascertain to whom this part of the vision refers by appealing to the context. By consulting the 21st verse of the preceding chapter, we shall find that a remnant, the same word here rendered, “ rest,” are said to have been “ slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse.” Immediately after this signal visitation of judgment on Christ's enemies, the scene of millennial triumph is introduced; the martyrs, who were “ slain for the testimony of Jesus Christ,” live anew in the zeal, and ardour, and devotion of those who people the earth in that happy era; “but the rest of the dead,”—the cruel, persecuting, bloodthirsty enemies of Christ, whom he slew by that sword which proceedeth out of his mouth, “ shall not live again during the thousand years ;"—there shall be no men possessing their unhappy spirit in the whole period of the Church's prosperity; their names and their vices shall alike perish, or be remembered only as a loud warning to guard others from treading in their footsteps, lest they share in their punishment.
* Rev. xi. 3-12. | Rom. xi. 15.
† Ezek. xxxvii. 1-14. § Eph. ii. 6.
“ This," adds the Apostle, “ is the first resurrection.” When the faithful shall universally prevail, and when the ungodly shall cease from the earth, the event to the Church shall be “ as life from the dead ;” in its effects upon the destinies of the human race, it shall be as a kind of first resurrection ; nothing after it so grand and magnificent shall take place, till the trump of doom shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and come forth to the resurrection of life eternal.
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power ; but they shall be priests of God, and
of Christ, and shall · reign with him a thousand years." This is but the apocalyptic method of expressing the universal prevalence of true religion during the Millennium, and the very exalted character of that piety which shall then obtain. In that age few shall taste of the second death; the great mass shall be priests of our God, and of his Christ; while purity and happiness shall be the characteristics of an age in which the saints shall reign with Christ for a thousand years.
In contemplating such an era, the ardent desire of the heart is, that it might be for ever. It is necessary, however, that even the millennial church should be reminded that earth is not heaven. We are therefore informed that after the thousand years Satan shall again be loosed from his restraint, and shall go forth to deceive certain tribes of mankind, known by the name of Gog and Magog, descendants probably of Japheth, *
* "The nations,” observes Dr. Johnson, in his very valuable Commentary on the Book of Revelations, Vol. II. p. 343, “the nations who shall be deceived by the Devil, to attack the Church of Christ, and to rekindle the flame of war on earth after it had been extinguished for a thousand years, are called Gog and Magog. But what nations are we to understand by the names of Gog and Magog? The whole thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of Ezekiel contain at great length this prophecy concerning Gog and Magog. From them we may learn with a high degree of probability what nations these are. The passage is too long to be inserted here. The reader is therefore desired, before he shall proceed further than this part, to read with attention chapters xxxvi. xxxvii. xxxviii. and xxxix. of Ezekiel.
“ From these chapters it is evident that the wars which shall be raised against the Church of Christ by Gog and Magog, shall be at a great distance from the time of Ezekiel, and in the period of the Gospel Dispensation. In chap. xxxviii. 8, they shall be after many days, and in the latter years. This last expression is one of those
who during the Millennium may have lived in some remote regions of the earth, ignorant,
which the Old Testament prophets always used to signify the time of the Gospel Dispensation. It is also evident that they shall be after the millennium state, since that state is predicted in chapters xxxvi. and xxxvii. and Gog and Magog are represented in chapters xxxvii. and xxxix. as attacking the Church of God after it had been brought to the millennium state; and therefore, that in point of time they coincide with the prophecy concerning Gog and Magog in this place.
“In chap. xxxviii. 2. Gog and Magog are thus described :-Son of Man, set thy face against Gog, and the land of Magog, the chief prince of Mesech and Tubal, and prophesy against him.' After the deluge, the whole world was peopled by the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The isles of the Gentiles were peopled by the descendants of Japheth. Magog was the second, Tubal the fifth, Mesech the sixth son of Japheth; and Togarmah was his grandson by Gomer, his eldest son. The tenth chapter of Genesis contains a very particular account of the peopling of the earth at the time of the building of the Tower of Babel; but it is only the first five verses of that chapter which relate to the subject now under our view. “Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth; and unto them were sons born after the flood. The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Teras. And the sons of Gomer, Askenah, and Riphath, and Togarmah. And the sons of Javan, Elishah, and Tarshish, Hittim, and Dodanim. By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.' Ezekiel prophesied about fourteen hundred years after the dispersion of the descendants of Japheth to the isles of the Gentiles, at the building of Babel; and John wrote this book about six hundred and seventy years after the time of Ezekiel ; therefore neither of them could mean Magog, Tubal, or Meshech personally, who were all dead long before they prophesied; but by Magog, Tubal, and Meshech, they both meant the descendants of these sons of Japheth. It is very common in the scriptures of the Old Testament, and it seems to be the idiom of the symbolical language, to call a nation, even to the latest generations, by the name of their founder. Thus, for instance, the nation of the Jews are frequently called Israel, after the name of Israel, which was given to Jacob, the Father of their tribes; and the Edomites are called Edom, after the name which was given to Esau, their founder. Gog and Magog, therefore, as explained by Ezekiel, signify the descendants of perhaps, of the knowledge, purity, and bliss of all its other inhabitants, but innocent and peaceful comparatively, because Satan had no power to tempt them “ to make war upon the saints of the Most High.” No sooner, however, is the great deceiver permitted to quit his dreary and dark abode, than he fans in their bosoms the old spirit of persecution, makes a last effort upon the camp of the saints, musters all his forces to battle ; but in the very moment of onset receives a signal defeat, and is thenceforward, with all his legions, consigned to the misery and ignominy of everlasting burnings.
As to that period which shall intervene between the Millennium and the judgment-day, we know but little, and therefore ought to speak of it with becoming caution. It is marked by no distinct epochs, it has no dates by which we may determine the precise period of its duration; we
Japheth: but not all his descendants ; only the nations who sprung from Magog, his second ; Tubal, his fifth ; Mesech, his sixth son, and Togarmah, his grandson by his eldest son Gomer. What particular nations there shall be at the end of the year of Christ 3000, is not fully agreed by learned men, who have turned their attention to this subject. But the best founded opinion is, that the Scythians are descended from Magog. It is also said that the Mogul Tartars, a people of the Scythian race, are still called Magog by the Arabian writers, who, beyond the writers of every other country, have preserved ancient names and customs. That they shall be a northern nation Ezekiel plainly declares in chap. xxxviii. 15, “And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou and many people with thee.'
“ This he predicts of Gog in the latter days, verses 14, 15, 16. Hence, it is highly probable that Gog and Magog signify the Mogul Tartars, and certain that they signify those nations, be who they will, who shall in fact be the lineal descendants of Magog, Tubal, Mesech, and Togarmah at the end of the Millennium."