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THE INHERITANCE AND EMPLOYMENT OF THE
RIGHTEOUS AFTER DEPARTING THIS LIFE
Insomuch as we shall have to treat particularly of this matter in what we have to say in interpreting the remainder of the Book of Revelation from the fourth chapter to the end, we will first call attention to the erroneous views which are entertained and taught by the great mass of religious teachers throughout the world, who live and die under the face of the covering cast over all people and the veil that is spread over all nations.
It is, and has been, a great puzzle and a great subject of wonder and speculation among the religious teachers of the various sects and denominations, Protestants and Catholic, as well as among other religious teachers in other societies and peoples throughout the earth, as to what the righteous would be employed in after death, in the other world, because from their standpoint, the Scriptures appear to them to be silent upon that important subject; and therefore to them and all who believe with them this great question is open to all kinds of speculation and supposition, from the crude dreams of the untutored Indian of the American wilderness, to the more subtle and bewitching theories of the popes, bishops, and priests of the Catholic church, and the bishops, doctors of divinity, and ministers of the sects and denominations of the Protestant churches.
But if their blind eyes could be opened, if they could be turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, then they would be able to see distinctly that the Scriptures are perfectly clear upon the condition of the dead, and declare in unmistakable terms what both the righteous and the wicked are employed at between death and the resurrection and also what the work of the righteous will be after they are raised in glory. This work may be stated in few words as follows.
First, between death and the resurrection, they will sleep and do nothing else; and the place where they sleep and the bed in which they sleep, is the dust of the earth. They sleep mentally and physically, and so perfect and unconscious is their sleep that they know nothing of what transpires in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, because the Scriptures speak expressly and in no uncertain terms on that subject, saying, “ In death there is no remembrance"; and again, “ The dead know not any thing”; and again, “ His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them." Again, Daniel says, “Many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” And Paul says, “I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep." Yet the ignorance that prevails in the earth in these days on the state of the dead, has, we may say, no bottom. Again Paul says, “ Them which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him,"that is when God comes to judge the world.
Who is there that is not both blind and dumb, that could fail to see and understand that such Scriptures as these with which the word of God abound are both pointed and decisive on this subject?
Second, the Scriptures also speak expressly concerning the work that the righteous will be sent to perform after they are raised in glory, for Paul, speaking to the saints and appealing to the knowledge that they then had on this doctrine, says to them, “ Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?” And David says of the resurrected saints, “Let a two-edged sword be in their hands, to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people (of Israel) to bind their (Israel's) kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute upon them the judgments written; this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord.”
Third, the work that the saints will be employed at for a thousand years, after they shall have been engaged for a period of ten years, more or less, in executing the judgments written upon Jew and Gentile, will be to reign with Christ as kings and priests upon the earth, and over the nations of the earth, the nation and kingdom of Israel being the chief and first-born among the nations (Exod. 4:22) over whom the saints will reign. The twelve apostles of Christ are promised the thrones of the house of David (Ps. 122: 5), for when Peter said to Jesus, “Behold we have forsaken all and followed thee, what shall we have therefore?” Jesus said to them, “Verily I say unto you, that ye that have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit upon the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
THE EMPLOYMENT OF THE RIGHTEOUS AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN RAISED
FROM THE DEAD The work of the righteous after they have been raised from the dead in glory in executing the judgment written, we will now proceed to show as it is taught by symbols and similitudes in the Book of the Revelation, beginning with chapter four. This chapter commences with a vision of John in which a door is opened in heaven, and the first voice which he heard, he says, “ was as it were a trumpet talking with me, which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter."
When Daniel was called in to interpret Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the great image whose brightness was excellent, and the form thereof terrible, Daniel said to the king, “ There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets and maketh known to the King Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days," and again he adds, "what shall come to pass hereafter.” Even so what John was called up in vision to see was what must be hereafter, that is, what must be in the latter days and be manifested among the people of Israel and the nations subsequent to the resurrection of the body of Christ from the dead.
JOHN'S VISION OF THINGS IN HEAVEN
The Father — Occasion of his coming — Symbolic description - Rainbow – What it symbolizes — Four and twenty elders — Seven lamps of
fire — Zechariah's vision of four chariots — Sea of glass — The hundred forty
and four thousand — The four beasts — Book sealed with seven seals Opened by Christ.
When a door was opened to John in heaven, and he was commanded to come up hither that he might be shown what should be hereafter, he adds, "And immediately I was in the spirit, and behold a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne, and he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone, and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald, and round about the throne were four and twenty seats, and upon the seats were four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment, and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings, and voices, and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.
“And before the throne there was a sea of glass, like unto crystal. And in the midst of the throne and round about the throne were four beasts, full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him, and they were full of eyes within, and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty, which was, and is, and is to come; and when those beasts give glory and honour, and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth forever and ever, the four and twenty elders fell down before him that sat on the throne and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power, for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
This wonderful spectacle which John beheld in heaven, when a door was opened to him, that he might see a picture of the things that shall exist in the heavens above the earth in the latter days, at the time of judgment, and in the place of judgment at Jerusalem and in the border of Israel, where the Lord said that he would come to judge his people,- these things we will now speak of as John saw them, in order as follows: first, the Father himself sitting upon the throne of judgment; second, the rainbow that was round about the throne in sight like unto an emerald; third, the four and twenty elders sitting on seats round about the throne; fourth, seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God; fifth, a sea of glass before the throne like unto crystal ; sixth, four beasts round about the throne full of eyes before and behind; seventh, a Lamb standing in the midst of the throne, and in the midst of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
FIRST. THE FATHER (REV. 4:2-3)
OCCASION OF HIS COMING The chief object which John saw in heaven and described, was the Father himself sitting upon the throne of judgment, as it will be when he comes to judge the world by that Man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. But the Father himself will be there to direct the work of judgment by the hand of Jesus Christ his Son, to whom he has given authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man, and by the hand of his brethren the saints, and the holy angels.
The Father came down in his own individual person upon Mount Sinai to give his holy and righteous law to his own people, the house of Israel, by the disposition of angels. And one of the positive proofs that he was there in person is the fact that Moses was permitted to see his back parts through the crevice of the rock in which the Father placed him, while he passed by and proclaimed to him the name of the Lord. Again, he uttered the ten commandments in the hearing of all Israel, who stood at the foot of the mount that burned with fire. Out of this great fire he spake the ten commandments with a loud voice to his people, and he added no more. And inasmuch as his own voice had never been heard by mortal man before since he created man upon the earth, Moses said to the children of Israel, “ Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire as thou hast heard, and live?” People had often heard the voice of angels, who are called gods, before, but the voice of the Father had never been heard by mortal man until he spake to Moses and to his own people Israel out of Mount Sinai.
The law that God gave to Israel by the hand of Moses contemplates and appoints a judgment to sit at the end of the world that then was founded and established at Mount Sinai, which world consisted of the nation and house of Israel. This is clearly seen by what the Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai after the children of Israel had corrupted themselves and made a calf to worship, after the manner of Egypt, and changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass. And when the Lord would destroy them for this wickedness, Moses interceded for them, saying, “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin, and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” And the Lord said unto Moses, “Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book . . nevertheless in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”
There is a day, therefore, when all the righteous judgments of that law are to be visited upon the transgressors that are, and have been, and will be under that law, and their manifold transgressions and their mighty sins are all sealed up among God's treasures, and these seals will be opened by the Lamb of God, and executed by the Lion of the tribe of Judah in the time of judgment, under the supervision of the Father himself, who comes the second time for that purpose when all things, as Luke says, that are written must be fulfilled. For the Lord also says to Israel by the hand of the prophet Hosea (7:12), “I will chastise them as their congregation hath heard.” The law was required to be read in their congregations, when they heard the righteous judgments that were to be inflicted upon all who violated the statutes and judgments contained therein. Therefore the judgment day is called the day of visitation, as the Lord spake by the hand of the prophet Hosea, referring to the end of the world when it comes, saying (9:7), “ The days of visitation are come, the days of recompense are come"; again (verse 9), saying, “They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah; therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.”
Again, contemplating that day as it will be when it comes, the Lord says by the hand of Ezekiel (7:3-4), “Now is the end come upon thee, and I will spend mine anger upon thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense upon thee all thine abominations, and mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense thy ways upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee, and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” And in verse 15 the Lord speaks of the three principal elements of destruction that he will employ against them, saying, “The sword is without, and the pestilence and the famine within; he that is in the field shall die with the sword, and he that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him."
These are the tangible and material judgments that will be visited upon the unbelieving Jew first, and afterward upon the Gentile in the day of judgment. When Israel sinned and David was moved to number the people for a cause against them, the Lord gave David a choice of three things,three months to flee before the sword of his enemies, or seven years of famine in his land, or three days' pestilence. David chose the pestilence, saying, “Let us now fall into the hand of God, and not into the hand of man.” Seven thousand died by this scourge from Dan to Beer-sheba, and when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, “ It is enough, stay now thine hand.”
Now carefully note here the three chief elements of punishment that God employs in his wrath upon the wicked. The Lord submitted these to David, and he chose the pestilence, and the Lord sent his angel to walk to and fro throughout the land of Israel, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, to cut down seventy thousand people in three days by the burning pestilence, a disease which devours in this fearful manner, as it is said by the prophet Zechariah (14:12) concerning those that came against Jerusalem in that day, “And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem " (that is, after they shall have performed their