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away; and as it was predicted of the fourth or Roman empire, that "the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise," so was it divided into ten kingdoms, forming the present European dynasties, in which state it has continued many centuries. The rise of Antichrist was predicted, as a little horn growing up among these horns or kingdoms; on account of whose blasphemies, thrones of judgment for his destruction are represented as being at length set by the Ancient of Days. At this time, the prophet says, "I saw, in the night visions, and behold one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and A KINGDOM, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His Kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." Dan. vii. 7-14. This Kingdom, then, is to be received only at the destruction of Antichrist and the other horns or kingdoms which arose out of the Roman empire. It is not merely the extension, at that time, of the spiritual kingdom at present in existence. But when the Son of Man shall come in the clouds of heaven, the kingdom spoken of is only then to be "GIVEN to Him." It is then "the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever." ver. 18. And as the four preceding monarchies have had their dominion upon the earth, so it is added, in the 27th verse, "And the kingdom, and 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." Can there be a doubt that this coming with the clouds of heaven, so magnificently described, is the same with that predicted by our Lord Himself, Luke xxi. 17, when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled? As if indeed to enable us to identify the Saviour's allusion to this prediction, the promise of His return is recorded in language strikingly similar. And as the prophet saw Him receive "dominion, and glory, and a Kingdom;" so the Saviour, directing our attention to the signs of His coming, says, "when ye see these things come to pass, Know ye that THE KINGDOM OF GOD is nigh at hand.”
Luke xxi. 31. The time, also, at which the Saviour is seen, in the vision of the prophet, coming to receive His Kingdom, being just at the destruction of Antichrist, corresponds with the prediction of Paul, that this power is to be destroyed by the brightness, or glorious appearance, of Christ's coming. In the above passage from Luke, our Lord Himself connects, farther, the establishment of His kingdom with His return, and Paul also in one of his epistles does the same: Urging upon Timothy the duty of preaching the word, the apostle charges him "before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His APPEARING and His KINGDOM," (2 Tim. iv. 1,)—thus making the establishment of His kingdom coincident with His appearing.
The establishment of the Kingdom is again predicted by Daniel, (ii. 31-43,) in his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. The same four monarchies are represented as the various parts of one great image, the Roman empire forming the legs and feet, and its subdivision into the present European kingdoms being here witnessed in the ten toes. The character of this kingdom in its divided state is noticed : "And as the toes of the feet were part of iron and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken; and whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men, [by royal intermarriages,] but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mingled with clay." The erection of the Kingdom of Christ is then foretold: "And, in the days of these kings, shall the God of heaven SET UP a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed, and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." Dan. ii. 42, 44. Here, again, it is to be observed, that the prediction is not of the enlargement of a kingdom already established, but the erection, or setting up, of one not before in existence. In the days of these kings it shall be "set up" by the God of heaven. As in the vision of the four beasts, the prophet saw one like the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, so here he says, "Thou sawest, till that a stone was cut out without hands, [a Scriptural expression for what is supernatural or divine, Col. ii. 11,] which smote the image upon
his feet, that were of iron, and clay, and brake them to pieces; then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors, and the wind carried them away that no place was found for them, and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." ver. 34, 35. The power has now descended through all the parts of the image to the ten toes, in which divided state the Roman empire still continues to exist. But the whole shall be broken to pieces when Christ shall come in the clouds of heaven for the establishment of that Kingdom which "shall not be left to other people."
When the seventh apocalyptic angel sounded, "There were," says the apostle, "great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever." Rev. xi. 15. The redeemed anticipate with delight the approach of this glorious era, and the downfal of Babylon is announced by the heavenly shout of triumph: "And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia! the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." Rev. xix. 6.
In a passage already cited, the Saviour not only promised His apostles a kingdom, but that they should also eat and drink at His table: "I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table, in my Kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Luke xxii. 29, 30. It does not, however, comport with the ideas generally entertained of heaven, that sensible enjoyments should be there received. This promise of the Saviour given to the disciples at the institution of the sacrament of the Supper, is farther confirmed and illustrated when He says, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine UNTIL the kingdom of God shall come." Luke xxii. 18. It is still more fully expressed by another evangelist: "Verily, I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God." Mark xiv. 25. That it was really the fruit of the vine of
which the Saviour spoke is evident. He had just given unto the disciples the cup containing wine, desiring them to drink of it: "But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." Mat. xxvi. 29. That he referred to the Millennial kingdom appears still more obvious when we consider, that, although our Lord went to heaven long before any of His apostles, yet he assured them that He should not drink of this fruit of the vine," until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." And why should it be thought incredible that Christ will eat and drink in His millennial kingdom? After his resurrection, He condescended to eat both fish and honey-comb to convince His disciples that His presence was corporeal. Luke xxiv. 21-23. Having caused several of his disciples miraculously to obtain a draught of fishes, He invited them to dine, and partook of their bread and fish. John xxi. 11-14. It was in the breaking of bread He was made known to the disciples who journeyed to Emmaus. Luke xxiv. 13-35. And Peter mentioned to Cornelius and his company, the fact that He did eat and drink with his disciples, as evidence of the reality of His resurrection. Acts x. 41. What reason is there then to doubt the truth or the meaning of His promise to the disciples, that they shall sit on thrones judging the tribes of Israel, and that they shall eat and drink with Him in the kingdom of God?
NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH.
To prepare for that wonderful display of love when God shall condescend to dwell with men, the material world is destined to undergo a purification, which shall be effected when His enemies are destroyed at his coming. When, during that happy time, men shall yield cordial submission to their Saviour and sovereign Lord, the curse of barrenness, pronounced at first upon the earth for their disobedience, will be removed; and, as predicted by all
the prophets, the greatest fertility will be enjoyed in its renovated state. Then, also, the atmospheric heavens, the present region of clouds and storms, will be destroyed, and new heavens, more genial, will supply their place. "The prince of the power of the air" will then be dislodged, and bound in the bottomless pit, and universal happiness be diffused over the face of the globe-a happiness attendant on holiness, when "the Lord shall wipe away tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of his people shall He take away from off all the earth." Is. xxv. 8. In the same psalm, which predicts that "when the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in his glory," praise is ascribed to God on account of this change of the heavens and the earth: "Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure; yea all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed, but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee." Ps. cii. 25-28. The change of the heavens is again predicted by the prophet Isaiah at the period when "the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies" before the Millennium: "And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll; and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf faileth from off the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig-tree." Is. xxxiv. 2, 4. Referring to the same period, the prophet Jeremiah says, “I beheld the earth, and lo! it was without form and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and lo! they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and lo! there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and lo! the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, by His fierce anger." Jer. iv. 23-26. The change of the heavens is again predicted by Isaiah as to take place at the restoration of Israel: "For the Lord shall comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places, and He will make her wilderness like Eden; and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanks