- Scripture only supports a coming of Christ at the final day of judgement. This is confirmed in the Apostles’ Creed, “From hense he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.”
- Scripture confirms that Christ shall remain seated upon His throne until the day of judgement.
- The godly and the ungodly shall arise and be judged at the same time.
- Christ’s kingdom (upon earth) is spiritual not carnal (earthly).
- Until the final day, the Church will be a mixture of wheat and tares.
- The duration of the millennial period cannot be precisely 1,000 years, for then men would know the precise date of the final day of judgement (which was hidden even to Christ in His human nature).
- If martyrs were to participate in the millennial period, this would be no true reward (compared to the heavenly state they are already in).
- The actual restoration of the Jewish kingdom would erroneously dig up the Old Testament types that were meant to point to Christ.
- Antichrist will not fall before the millennium, as indicated in Scripture.
The Original and progress of Chiliasm [a.k.a. classical premillennialism]AMONG all the sparkles of new light wherewith our brethren do entertain their own and the people’s fancy, there is none more pleasant than that of the thousand years; a conceit of the most Ancient and gross heretic Cerinthus, a little purged by Papias, and by him transmitted to some of the Greek and Latin fathers, but quickly declared, both by the Greek and Latin Church to be a great error, if not an heresy. Since the days of Augustine unto our time, it went under no other notion, and was embraced by no Christian we hear of, until some of the Anabaptists did draw it out of its grave: for a long time after its resurrection, it was by all Protestants contemned [regarded with contempt]; only Alstedius, after his long abode in Transylvania, began in his last times to fall into liking with some parts thereof, pretending some passages of Piscator for his encouragement. Alstedius’ heterodox writings were not long abroad when Mr. Meade at Cambridge was gained to follow him: yet both these divines were far from dreaming of any personal reign of Christ upon earth: only Mr. Archer, and his colleague, T.G. at Arnheim, were bold to set up the whole fabric of Chiliasm [premillennialism], which Mr. Burrows in his London lectures upon Hosea presses as a necessary and most comfortable ground of Christian religion, to be infused into the hearts of all children by the care of every parent at the catechising of their family. A summary of Chiliast theology Our brethren’s mind in this point, as I conceive, they have printed; is this:
- That in the year 1650, or at furthest, 1695, Christ in his human nature and present glory is to come from heaven unto Jerusalem where he was crucified; at that time the heaven and earth, and all the works therein, are to be burnt and purged by that fire of conflagration, mentioned by Peter, 2 Epistle, Chapter 3. At the same time, all the martyrs, and many of the saints, both of the Old and New Testament, are to rise in their bodies.
- The Jews from all the places where they are now scattered shall return to Canaan and build Jerusalem. In that city Christ is to reign for a full thousand years. From thence He is to go out in person to subdue with great bloodshed by his own hand all the disobedient Nations.
- When all are conquered, except some few lurking in corners, then the Church of Jews and Gentiles shall live without any disturbance from any enemy, either without or within.
- All Christians shall then live without sin, without the Word and Sacraments or any Ordinance. They shall pass these thousand years in great worldly delights, begetting many children, eating and drinking and enjoying all the lawful pleasures which all the creatures then redeemed from their ancient slavery can afford.
- In this Earthly happiness, the Church shall continue till the end of the thousand years, when the relics of the Turkish and Heathenish Nations shall besiege the new Jerusalem, and Christ, with fire from heaven, shall destroy them.
- Afterwards there shall follow the second resurrection of all the dead, good and bad, for the last judgment.
Reasons Why a Premillennial Eschatology is Unscriptural
1. Christ from his ascension to the last judgment shall abide in heavenHe that remains in the heaven unto the last Judgment comes not down to the earth a thousand years before the last Judgment. Rather, Christ remains in heaven unto the last Judgment. The major [proposition] is unquestionable; the minor [proposition] is proved from the article of our [Apostles’] Creed: From hence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead, importing that Christ from the time of his ascension doth abide in the heaven at the right hand of the Father, and cometh not down from that place to the earth till he descend in the last day to judge the quick and the dead. I know they are not moved with the authority of any human Creed, yet they would do well to speak out their mind of this Article, as they do of some others. Surely to say that Christ shall come from heaven in his human nature, to abide a thousand years on the earth, and then to return again to the heaven, that he may descend the third time from the heaven in the last day to judge the quick and the dead, is so evident a perverting of that article that Mr. Mead their great doctor and leader, to eschew it, falls into a very strange and singular conceit, wherein I doubt whether any of the Independents will be pleased to follow him. With all other Orthodox divines he makes but two comings of Christ from the heaven to the earth: the first at the Incarnation and the second at the day of Judgment. But this day of judgment he extends to around thousand years, and this day to him is the only time of the 1000 year reign. We need not refute this fancy; for the best arguments which are brought for it are some testimonies from the Talmudick Rabbins, and these, as I conceive, understood against [opposed] the true sense of the Authors. The stream of Scripture and reason run more against this conceit than any other part of Chiliasm, as most of the Chiliasts themselves will confess. However, what I brought from the Apostolic Creed of Christ his abode in the heaven till the last day, I prove it from Scripture: Acts 3:21. [put cursor over verse to read this and all further Scriptural references.] This place proves clearly the abode of Christ’s body in heaven till the time of the restitution of all things. So much our brethren grant, but they deny our assumption that the time of the restitution of all things is the last day; this therefore we prove not by the Testimony of all the reformed, who unanimously bring this place as a main ground against the Papists and Lutherans in the questions of Transubstantiation and Ubiquity, but by three reasons from the text itself.
- First, that time here is understood when all things that are spoken of by the prophets, are performed. But all things spoken of by all the prophets are not performed till the last day. Master Burrows alleges that all the prophets are frequent and large upon the reign of the 1000 years, but rare and sparing upon the doctrine of the last judgment and life eternal, might well have been spared for the one half of it, and left to the Socino-Remonstrants. But suppose it were all true; yet if any of the prophets have spoken anything at all of the last judgment, as the apostle Jude puts it out of question even of Enoch, it is clear that the time of the performing of all things, which any of the prophets have spoken, cannot possibly exist before the last Judgment, as we may see: Rom 8:21, compared with Rom 8:18,23, where the restitution of the creatures to their desired liberty comes not before the redemption of our bodies and the glory [that is] to be revealed upon the whole Church at the last day.
- Secondly, the time here spoken of is when the Jews to whom Peter did speak, were to be refreshed, by the Lord’s presence. But this shall not be before the general resurrection; for the Chiliasts maintain that all the Jews shall not rise, neither that any of them to whom the apostle did then speak, shall be partakers of the first resurrection, unless some of them who were martyrs; for the honour and glory of this first resurrection, the most of them make it so rare and singular a privilege, that Daniel himself does not obtain it but by a special promise.
- Thirdly, the time when God doth solemnly before men and angels declare the absolution and blotting out of the sins of all his people is not before the last day. But this is the time whereof the apostle Peter speaks in the present place, as appears by the 19th verse: That your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
2. Christ shall sit at the right hand of God until the day of judgmentWe take our second argument from Christ’s sitting at the right hand of God. This error, how innocent so-ever it seems to some, perverts the true sense of sundry articles of our Creed, and forces its followers to coin new and false senses to a great many Scriptures whereupon these articles were built. This was the reason why neither Piscator nor Alstedius nor Mead, when they laid too fast hold upon some of the branches of Chiliasm, yet the bulk and root of that tree including Christ’s coming down to the earth in his human nature a thousand years before the last day, they durst never touch: but our brethren have more venturous spirits! They see much further than their masters; they scruple nothing to make all these things popular and catechetic doctrine. They reason from this that Christ sits at the right hand of God until the last day. Ergo, he comes not to reign on earth a thousand years before the last day. The consequence is built upon this proposition: Christ’s sitting at the right hand of the Father is not in earth but in heaven, which many Scriptures prove: Eph 1:20, Heb 1:3, Heb 8:1. The antecedent I prove thus: He sits at the right hand of God until all his enemies be made his footstool. So speaks the Psalmist, Psa 110:1. But all his enemies are not made his footstool until the last day: for until then, Satan, Sin, Death, and all wicked men are not fully destroyed.
3. At the last day, the godly and ungodly shall all rise togetherOur third argument we take from the resurrection of the dead. All the godly at Christ’s coming from heaven do rise immediately to a heavenly glory. Ergo, none of them do arise to a temporal glory of a thousand years upon earth. The antecedent is noted in Heb 9:28. Christ hath but two times of coming to the earth, the first in weakness to die upon the Cross; the second time in glory to give eternal salvation without distinction to all believers who look for his coming. Also, 1 Thess 4:14. The ground of comfort which the apostle propounds to the Thessalonians for all their dead, as well martyrs as others, was their resurrection not before the Lord’s coming with the voice of the archangel, but at that time when all the dead in Christ without exception do arise, and none of them abide on the earth, but all are caught up in the air to meet the Lord, and all remain with him eternally thereafter without any separation. See also 1 Cor 15:22. The Apostle here speaks of the resurrection of all, and particularly of the martyrs such as with the apostle died daily and every hour were in jeopardy and fought with beasts, although he professes to distinguish the diversity of order that might be in this great work of the resurrection. Yet he affirms that those who are Christ’s do not arise until his coming; and his coming he makes not to be until the last day when Christ renders up his Kingdom, having destroyed all His enemies, especially death, and fully perfected the work of his mediation. This resurrection is after the sound of the last trumpet, when all the godly rise, and are changed, and put on incorruption and immortality, when death is swallowed up into victory, and the godly inherit the Kingdom of God. These things are done at the last day, not a thousand years before it, as in John 6, Christ avows thrice, in the end, verses 39,40,44, I will raise him up at the last day. At that time the judgment is universal, both of the godly and wicked; and the execution of both their sentences is immediately by the present glorification of the one and the destruction of the other as we have it, Matt 25:31.
4. Christ’s Kingdom is spiritual and not earthlyFourthly, we reason from the nature of Christ’s Kingdom. The conceit of the thousand years makes Christ’s Kingdom to be earthly, and most observable for all worldly glory; but the Scripture makes it to be spiritual without all worldly pomp; neither doth the Word of God make the kingdom of the Mediator of two kinds, and of a different nature, but one, uniform from the beginning to the end, Luke 1:32, 1 Cor 15:25. Here there is but one Kingdom, and one way of ruling, a Kingdom merely spiritual, and no-wise worldly, Luke 17:20, John 18:36, Rom14:17, Eph 1:20. The [premill.] millenaries make His kingdom to appear in armies and battles, in feasts and pleasures, in worldly pomp and power, and will not have His kingdom to stand in any spiritual power. [They believe that], since His ascension, He has executed on principalities and powers, yet shall [spiritually] perform upon the souls of men [only] until these thousand years of worldly power and earthly glory visible to the eyes of men shall begin.
5. The nature of the ChurchWe take our fifth argument from the nature of the Church. Scripture makes the Church of God, so long as it is upon the earth, to be a mixed multitude, of elect and reprobate, good and bad, a company of people under the cross and subject to various temptations, a company that hath need of the Word and sacraments, of prayer and ordinances, that hath Christ a High Priest within the veil of heaven interceding for them. But the doctrine in hand changes the nature of the Church, and makes it for a thousand years together to consist only of good and gracious persons, without all trouble, without all ordinances, without any need of Christ’s intercession.
- The Church at all times on earth is mixed of good and evil
Scripture makes the Church always to be a mixed company, Matt 13:40, 49, Matt 24:11, Luke 18:8. These places declare the mixture of the wicked with the godly in the Church to the world’s end, and most about the end.
- and is subject to crosses,
As for crosses, see Psa 34:20, Matt 5:4, Acts 14:23, Rom 8:17, 2 Tim 3:12, & Heb 12:6. Many such places show the condition of the Church in this life, that she is ever subject to tribulation.
- having need of ordinances,
Ordinances must continue to the last day, Eph 4:11. For the continuance of the sacraments, see 1 Cor 11.26.
- because of her sinful infirmities.
The godly, while they live on earth, remain sinners, and therefore they always have need of Christ’s intercession in heaven with the Father, 1 John 1.8, 1 John 2:1, & Heb 9:24.Thus the Scripture describes the condition of the Church on earth, but the [false] doctrine in hand alters much the nature of it for a great part of its time here. For of the 2650 years which they give to the Church from the coming of Christ to the last judgment, they make her to consist for a whole thousand years only of godly persons, without the mixture of any one wicked, and all the millions who are born in the Church in that large time being free from their birth to their death of all crosses, of all sorrows, of all temptations, and as it seems of all sin also. But that is [properly] the time of the restitution of all things when old things are past and all things become new. They make them to have need neither of Word nor sacraments, or any church ordinance, neither of Christ’s intercession in the heavens with the Father, for they have Him among them in the earth, and they are freed from all sin, and all misery.
6. The secrecy of the time of Christ’s comingScripture makes the time of Christ’s second coming to be secret and hid, not only to men, but to the very angels, and to Christ himself as He is man, Mark 13:32. But this [premill.] doctrine makes that day open [plain], and tells the time of it punctually; for they make the thousand years to begin with the year 1650, or else 1695, and the day of judgment to be at the end of the thousand years [thereafter]. Therefore, if their count do hold, every child in the Church might tell us that Christ will come to Judgment in the beginning of the 2651st year, or at farthest in the beginning of the 2696th year.
7. The heavenly and eternal reward of the martyrsThe reward of the martyrs is eternal life in the heavens, promised to them at Christ’s coming to judge the just and the unjust. Ergo: It is not temporal in an earthly kingdom of a thousand years. The antecedent is proved from Matt 5:10, 2 Tim 4:6. The reward that Paul expects after his martyrdom is the crown which Christ at the last day gives to all that wait for his coming, at that time when he takes vengeance on the wicked, as we have it, 2 Thess 1:6-10. [This is] where the rest and retribution of the martyrs, of Paul himself and those who at that time were troubled for the Gospel, is said to be at Christ’s coming, to take vengeance in flaming fire on all the wicked, and to be glorified in all the saints, and admired in all them that believe. [All this] without doubt is not before the last Judgment. If it were otherwise, the martyrs would be at a loss. Instead of a reward, a punishment should be put upon them. Their condition would be made worse than that of the common saints, who during the time of the thousand years remain in the heavens among the angels, beholding and enjoying the Trinity, while the souls of the martyrs are brought down to the earth, and return to a body – not like to the glorious body of Christ, nor unto these incorruptible, immortal, Spiritual bodies, which yet are promised to the least of the faithful at their resurrection, 1 Cor 15 – but unto such a body that eats, drinks, sleeps, fights, delights in fleshly pleasures, and converses with beasts and earthly creatures. In such a “paradise” the Turkish Alcoran and the Jewish Talmud speak much, but to a godly soul [this] is very tasteless. And to a soul that has been in heaven, or to one that enjoys the presence of Christ, [it] is exceeding burdensome and bitter.
8. The restoration of an earthly Jerusalem would bring back the abolished figures of the Law.The opinion of the [pre-] Millenaries supposes the restoration of Jerusalem and of the Jewish Kingdom after their destruction by the Romans. But scripture denies this, Ezek 16:53-55. The Jews are never to be restored to their ancient outward estate, much less to a greater and more glorious kingdom. Jerusalem [in Ezek 16] was to be rebuilt, and the spiritual glory of the second temple was to be greater than the first. And at the end of this same chapter, the restitution of the Jews after the Babylonish captivity, by the virtue of the new covenant, is promised. But the outward estate of that people was never to be restored to its ancient lustre more than Samaria, or Sodom, as Amos speaks of Samaria, Amos 5:2. And Isaiah [said] of Jerusalem [that] the transgression thereof shall be heavy, and it shall fall and not rise again, [even] according to the prophesy of Jacob, Gen 49:10, importing [signifying] that the tribe of Judah should ever have some outward visible rule till the coming of Christ in the flesh, but thereafter the scepter and power of the Church should be only spiritual in the hand of Shiloh the Messias. The messiah was the substance and the body of all these types. The restoration of Jerusalem and the erecting of a new monarchy in Judah, for the Jews, would bring back the old vanished shadows contrary to the doctrine and nature of the Gospel.
9. Antichrist is not abolished till the day of Judgement.One other reason. The Millenaries lay it for a ground that Antichrist shall be destroyed and fully abolished before their thousand years begin. But Scripture makes Antichrist to continue to the day of Judgment, 2 Thess 2:8. The brightness of Christ’s coming is not before the last day, as before is proved. See also Rev 19:20. Compare it with Rev 19:7. Antichrist is cast alive into the lake at the marriage of the lamb; no living men are cast into hell before the last day; and Christ’s marriage with his Church is not solemnized with a part of the elect, but with the whole body at the general resurrection.
A refutation of the Premillennial arguments (using their proof texts)
Revelation 20:4To support a few opposite to what we have noted above, the premillennialists bring diverse Scriptures; above all, Rev 20:4-6. From this they infer Christ’s personal reign upon the earth for a thousand years; also the resurrection of the martyrs, and of some others a thousand years before the general resurrection. Divers such conclusions they draw from this place. We Answer:
- The resurrection here is mentioned only occasionally. Also, this place, as the most of this book [Revelation], is mystical and allegorical. Besides, it is without all controversy [that] the words cited are among the most obscure and difficult places of the whole Scripture. Most of the places alleged in the former arguments did speak of the resurrection purposely and at large, and also in proper [literal] terms, without any types or figures, and were all clear without obscurity. It is not reasonable to bring an argument from one place where a point is handled only by the way [incidentally] and that in mystical and exceeding obscure terms, [over] against a multitude of places wherein the matter is handled of purpose largely and clearly.
- They who from this place reason against the [traditional, postmil view], differ all of them among themselves in sundry material conclusions. The Chiliasts … every one of them have their proper conceits wherein they differ from the rest, as will be found by any who compare their writings.
- In all this chapter there is not one syllable to prove Christ’s being upon the earth, but that one word [in reference to] the saints reigning with Christ. Suppose the text had expressed that they, who did reign with Christ, had been upon earth themselves. This would not prove that Christ (because they are said to reign with him) was upon earth with them; for [consider] Rom 8:17. There is here in one verse three parallel phrases with that in hand: Heirs with Christ, Suffering with Christ, Glorified with Christ; and a fourth, Eph 1:3. Will it hence follow that Christ’s human nature was then upon earth with them who suffered with him, were heirs with him, were blessed in him in heavenly places with all spiritual graces, and were to be glorified with him? If none of these four phrases imply a personal presence of Christ upon earth with men, much less will the place controverted do it; for they speak expressly of men living upon the earth, but it speaks as expressly of the souls of men that were in heaven; the same that are mentioned, Rev 6:9. This place then is so far from proving Christ’s personal presence upon earth, that it [in fact] imports [suggests] the contrary, both because they that are said to reign with him were not upon the earth, but under the altar in heaven; and also because in verse 11, Christ’s throne, whereupon he judges the quick and the dead, is mentioned after the reign of these thousand years.
Now we have proved from many Scriptures that Christ remains in the heavens [sitting upon his heavenly throne] till he come down in the last day to sit upon that throne [of judgement].
- We deny that there is anything in this place which imports [suggests] a bodily resurrection. They can produce no scripture where the first resurrection is ever applied to the body; there are sundry [several] places to prove a spiritual resurrection of the soul, from the “death and grave” of sin, errors and corruptions, before the last resurrection of the body: Col 2:12, Col 3:1. But a first resurrection of the body no scripture intimates; for so there should be not only a first and second, but a third resurrection, as they tell us of a first, second, and third coming of Christ to the earth. Further, the resurrection here spoken of is attributed to the souls of them that were beheaded; these are not capable of a bodily resurrection, in propriety of speech. If to these souls, men at their own pleasure without any warrant from scripture, will ascribe a body, they fall into a great inconvenience [difficulty]: for [by] their love of this imagined first resurrection of the body, they overthrow both the heaven and the hell which [they] hitherto have believed, and make no scruple to create a new heaven and a new hell of their own invention, to the dangerous scandal of all Christians.
- that no soul at all went ever to that which we call heaven;
- that the soul of Christ at his death, and of the good thief, went only to an “elementary paradise”, a place below the moon, in the region of the air, or at [the] highest, in the element of fire;
- that Enoch and Elias are gone no higher [than this “elementary paradise”); and
- that no soul of any of the saints goes to the third heavens where Christ is, until the last day.
As for hell, he tells us that all Christians but [except] his followers have been in error about it. He teaches that the hell whither the wicked now goes is not that fire prepared for the devil and his angels, whither at the last Judgment they shall be sent, but only a place of prison in the low region of the air, or in some part of the sea, where the souls of the wicked are kept until the day of judgment. But at the day of judgment, he tells us of a second hell, very large, and far higher than the present heaven of the saints, the whole body of the four elements, all the heavens of the planets and fixed stars, and whatever else is below the third heavens the habitation of God. He turns it [i.e., the second hell] all into the first chaos, and makes all that confused body without any distinction, to be hell. In all this, the man is so confident, as if there were nothing in these strange novelties [are] to be called in question.
- We deny that in this place [verse] there is one syllable for any earthly kingdom. “They all reign with Christ; therefore, they shall reign with him upon earth.” This is an addition to the text. For, suppose the words did import [indicate] a reigning upon earth, yet this would not infer an earthly reign, for the kingdom of Christ is spiritual, like his priesthood, and these two are here conjoined, in verse 6: They shall be Priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him. Christians on earth are priests, but not to offer bodily sacrifice; and while they are upon earth they are kings, but not to rule men’s outward estates. For if [that is] so, then there should be all these thousand years many more kings than subjects. Master Archer tells us confidently without any scruple, that not the martyrs alone, and some few privileged saints, as his colleague T.G. would have it, but that all the godly without any exception shall rise and be kings to rule and judge the saints, who shall be born in the thousand years. Suppose it should be no disparagement for all these who then shall be born, to be excluded, while they live from all places of authority and power: yet would it not be some piece of disorder to have more kings to command than subjects to obey, for I suppose that the godly of all bygone ages arising together will be many more than the saints in any one age of these thousand years.
- We deny that a thousand years, in any propriety of speech, can be applied to Christ’s personal reign; for if we speak of his reign either in his nature or Person, it is eternal, and not to be measured by any years or time; and if we speak of his regal office as Mediator, it must be much longer than a thousand years; for although we should cut off from his monarchy all the years that are past since his birth to this day (which were much against the current of scripture, since all this while he hath been sitting upon the throne of his father David, and ruling his church as King and Monarch thereof). Yet it were uncomely to confine the time of his reign to come to a thousand years. This were [would be] too small an endurance for his monarchy. Many human principalities, sundry states and empires which have been and this day are in the world, might contend for a longer continuance. For this cause it seems to be that Master Archer, the most resolute Doctor in this question that I have met with, makes the thousand years we debate of to be only the evening of Christ’s personal reign; but to the morning thereof wherein at leisure all the processes of the last judgment are gone through, he ascribes a great many more years, readily another thousand. (And why not two or three or more thousands?) It is good to be wise to sobriety, [but an] arrogant curiosity and presumptuous wantonness of wit is detestable, though in the best men.
- The place [verse] makes Satan to be bound up only from seducing the nations, that he should not be able [powerful] as he was before the coming of Christ, to mislead the nations of the whole world to idolatry, a free door then being opened to the Gospel in every nation for their conversion to the truth. But our new doctors extend the place much further: They will have Satan bound up for a 1000 years, not only from seducing nations to idolatry, but from tempting any person to any sin. This is contrary to the scriptures which make every saint in all ages to fight not only with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers, making Satan always to go about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. And so boldly that in the very presence of Christ, Satan doth seek to winnow the best of his disciples: yea, the place [verse, Rev. 20:4] in hand gives to Satan in the very time of the thousand years so great power upon multitudes of men who never were sanctified, but ever his vassals, led by him at his will, that he makes them compass the holy city, and the camp of the saints to fight against God, until fire from heaven did [shall] destroy them.
Daniel 12Mr. Burrows [a Chiliast], in his treatise upon Hosea 1, builds much upon Daniel 12, as if it did prove the resurrection of some of the godly to an earthly glory a thousand years before the last judgment. He borrows from the glimpse four arguments, word by word. (There is a fifth also in the glimpse, which the most of that party do much insist upon.) The first is taken from the second verse of that 12th chapter [Dan 12:2]. At the last judgment say they, all shall rise. Yet, in that place, many do rise, [but] not all. The 2nd Verse
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.We prove that the prophet speaks here of the last resurrection, by two grounds which our brethren will not deny:
- The resurrection unto life eternal is only at the last day, but the resurrection whereof Daniel speaks is expressly to life eternal - not that prior resurrection which our brethren aim at (i.e., a temporal kingdom of a thousand years).
- The resurrection of the wicked to eternal shame is only at the last day. But according to our brethren’s doctrine, the wicked have no part of the first resurrection and rise not till the thousand years be ended. Now, the resurrection whereof Daniel speaks in verse 2 is expressly of the wicked to shame and death, as well as of the godly to life and glory. As for their argument from the word “Many”, it proves not that all did not rise, but only that these that did rise, were many and a great multitude. Thus Deodate translates the words well according to the sense of the original: The multitude of these that sleep in the dust.
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.They reason from the third verse that in the last resurrection, the bodies of all the saints shall shine as the sun. However, in the resurrection whereof the prophet speaks, no body shines as the sun, but some as the stars, [and] others as the firmament. We respond that [the] preceding verse evinces [indicates] unanswerably. The prophet here is speaking of the last resurrection to life everlasting. As for their argument, it does not follow that they who here are said to have so much glory may not elsewhere be said to have more, for that which the prophet here intends to express is not the absolute but the comparative glory of the saints. However the least disciple should shine as the sun, yet if you compare his glory with the greater light of another, you may express the glory of both in the similitude of lightsome bodies less glorious than the sun. [And] if so, these bodies differ one from another in degrees of glory. For all that the prophet here aims at is only this difference of glory. Christ in the Gospel makes all the saints to shine as the sun, yet the apostle, 1 Cor 15:45, distinguishing the different degrees of glory that is among the saints, scruples not to express the glory of the most of them in the similitude of bodies less glorious than the sun. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, another of the stars, for one star differs from another star in glory; so also is the resurrection from the dead. Further, will our brethren affirm that the bodies of the saints on earth during the time of those thousand years shall be so far changed as to shine like the stars, and yet to eat, drink, and sleep? So much glory can hardly stand with so much baseness. The 4th Verse
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.They reason from the fourth verse that the last resurrection is no mystery nor any secret to be sealed up to the end of the vision. We Answer:
- According to Mr. Burrows’ express profession in the same place, the argument may be inverted, for he makes the first resurrection to the thousand years of glory a doctrine very well known and much insisted upon by all the prophets before Christ; but the general resurrection and life everlasting he makes to be a hid and secret doctrine which the prophets in the Old Testament do scarcely touch.
- Life eternal and death eternal, heaven and hell, are to this day very great mysteries to most of the world; scriptures concerning these [events] are hid and closed above any other.
- The words speak not only of the resurrection, but of the whole preceding prophecy, especially of the people’s deliverance by Michael the Prince from the oppression of Antiochus, which was not much to be understood till it came to pass.
But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.They reason from the last verse [that] life eternal is common to all the saints, and no singular privilege of Daniel’s. We Answer:
- Archer [a pre-mill], who is deepest learned in these mysteries, affirms that all the godly as well as Daniel had their part in the first resurrection. And indeed, if once you begin to distinguish, it will be hard to find satisfactory grounds to give this glory to Daniel and to [yet] deny it to David, to Moses, to Abraham and many others.
- We may well say that life, eternal albeit common to all the saints, is yet so divine, so rare and singular a mercy to every one that gets it, that it may be propounded to Daniel and every saint as a sovereign comfort against the bitterness of all their troubles.
- The place, according to the best interpreters, speaks nothing at all of any resurrection, only [that] it imports a promise to Daniel to live in peace all his days, notwithstanding all the troubles of the Church which he saw in these visions (as Diodate Translates it), yet so far as concerned himself, he should go on to his end, and rest, stand, or continue in his present honours and prosperous condition to his death, and [to the end of] his days.
And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.From these two verses, they conclude peremptorily the beginning of these thousand years to be in the year 1650 (or at furthest 1695 for they make the 1290 years to be so many years, and the 1335 days to be 45 years more). This they make to begin in the reign of Julian the Apostate who, after Constantine’s death, did re-establish paganism in the [Roman] empire, and encouraged the Jews to build the temple of Jerusalem, till God hindered them by an earthquake which did cast up the foundation-stones of the old temple. Beginning their account at this time, the end of their first number falls on the year 1650, and of the second on the year 1695. This is Archer’s calculation, which T.G. and others follow precisely. We Answer: We marvel at the rashness of men, who by the example of many before them, will not learn greater wisdom. If they must determine peremptorily of times and seasons, that they do not extend their period beyond their own days, that they be not, as some before them, laughed at before their own eyes, when they have lived to set the vanity of their too confident predictions. However, in this calculation, there seems nothing to be sound, neither the beginning, nor the middle, nor the latter end. If the thousand years begin in the 1650 year, if Christ [were] then come in person to the earth, what will keep him from perfecting his Kingdom to the 1695 year thereafter? Will he spend whole 45 years in war against the nations before they be subdued to his scepter? Secondly, what warrant have they to begin their account with the empire of Julian? Did he set up any abomination at all in the Church of God? He opened again in the territories of his empire the pagan temples, which by Constantine had been closed. By counsel and example he allured men to idolatry. Yet, he troubled not any Christians in the liberty of their profession; he did not set up idolatry in any Christian congregation; and the Lord did quickly kill him and so prevented his intended persecution of Christians. But even if it could be verified of him (that he set up the abomination of desolation in the temple), yet how did he make the daily sacrifice to cease? He was so far from [doing] this, that to the uttermost of his power, he laboured to set up again the daily sacrifice which [for] some hundred years [had] ceased. Scripture speaks only of two times wherein the solemn sacrifice was made to cease and the abomination of desolation was set up. First, by Antiochus Epiphanes, and then by Titus Vespasian. But of Julian his making the sacrifice to cease, Scripture speaks nothing. That story of the earthquake, whereupon Mr. Archer builds, albeit reported by some of the ancients, seems to be a great fable. Certainly, the application of it to Christ’s prophesy of the Gospel, [that] a stone shall not be left upon a stone (as if this had not been fulfilled till that earthquake had cast up all the foundation-stones of the ancient temple), is very temerarious [reckless]. As the beginning and end of their calculation is groundless, so also the midst and the whole body of it is frivolous. What necessity is there to expound days by years especially in that place where years are divided into days? In the very preceding words, verse 7, the days here mentioned are expressed by a time, times, and a half a time. Can they shew in any place of Scripture that ever a day is put for a year, where years and days are conjoined, and a few years are extended in the enumeration of all the days that are in these years? [See Numbers 14:34.] The words of the prophet Daniel are clear, if they be taken as they lie. But if they be strained to a mystical sense, they become inexplicable. The Lord is comforting the Prophet and the whole Church by the short endurance of the desolations which Antiochus was to bring upon them, for from the time of his scattering of the Jews, and discharging of the solemn sacrifice unto the breaking of the yoke of his tyranny, it should be but three years and a half with a few more days. Yea, unto that happy time when the plague of God should fall on his person, it should be but 45 days more. The History of Josephus and the Maccabees makes the event accord [agree] with this prediction. Why then should we strain the text any further to a new sense which neither agrees with the event nor with the words?
When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.Another place alleged by Mr. Burrows, is Psalm 102.16, as if this did import [suggest] both the building again of Sion and also Christ’s glorious appearance upon the earth. We Answer: This place speaks of no such things. The ordinary exposition of late and old interpreters agrees so well with the contexture of the whole Psalm, that to drive it farther were needless. The place speaks of the Babylonish captivity, and of the earnest desire of the godly at that time to have Jerusalem and Sion [Zion] (then in the dust) restored again. This desire of the saints is granted, and a promise is made to them that Sion should be again built, and that the Lord by this act of mercy should get great glory. But for any third building of Sion after the days of the Messias, or for any personal reign of Christ upon earth, no syllable [clarity] in this place doth appear.
Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?His next place is Romans 11.12. We Answer: There is nothing here for the point in hand. We grant willingly that the nation of the Jews shall be converted to the faith of Christ, and that the fullness of the Gentiles is to come in with them to the Christian Church. [We also grant that] the quickening of the dead and rotten member [i.e., the Jewish nation] shall be a matter of exceeding joy to the whole Church. But that the converted Jews shall return to Canaan to build Jerusalem, and that Christ shall come from the heaven to reign among them for a thousand years, there is no such thing intimated in the scriptures in hand.
And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.Master Burrow’s fifth place [for his erroneous thesis], is here. We Answer: These words are to be understood of Christ’s coming to the last judgment, and not of His coming to any temporal kingdom on earth, [as] we did before prove.
2 Peter 3:10, 13
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up… Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.His sixth place, is 2 Pet. 3.10,13. We Answer:
- First it should be remembered that our brethren do add, among many other things, that before their golden [millennial] age, the earth and all things therein must be destroyed. [They also have said] that the earth wherein they are to [hope to] reign, [will have] beasts, fowls, fishes, trees, and all other creatures they are to make use of in their thousand years, [that will be] newly created, [with] all the old creatures in their whole kinds being burnt to ashes and destroyed.
- This place is miserably misinterpreted [by our opponents]. All that the Apostle is saying is in answer to the scoffers’ cavil in verse 4, requiring in [like] scorn the performance of the promise of Christ’s coming -- not unto this thousand years reign -- but unto the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men, as the apostle speaks expressly in verse 7. Now, all the Chiliasts confess that this judgment and perdition is not till after the thousand years. [But this would infer that] the burning cannot precede but must follow them.
- The time whereof the apostles speak is called the day of the Lord, the usual description of Christ’s coming to judgment (also the day that comes on the world as a thief in the night, which phrase oftentimes in scripture is attributed unto Christ’s coming unto judgment). But [this] is not true of his coming to the Millenary reign: for the calculation of that time is [claimed to be] so well known, that it is preached and printed to be at such a year, if not such a month or day. Also, this dissolving of the heavens and elements with fire is a concomitant [association] of Christ coming to the last judgment, as is expressly intimated, 2 Thess 1:8-9.
- As for the words whereupon alone they ground their argument, the new earth wherein dwells righteousness, [we say these words do not relate to] after the last Judgment, with no righteous man then dwelling upon the earth. If they had looked upon the original [Greek], they would have seen the weakness of their collection [verse selection]; for the words run thus: “We, in whom righteousness dwells, look for new heavens and a new earth. The habitation of righteousness refers neither to the heavens nor to the earth, but to the godly and righteous persons who wait for the performance of the promise of new heavens and a new earth, as our late annotations do observe. And though you would read them according to our English translation, yet that inhabitation needs not refer to the earth, but to the heavens only, as Junius well observes. For it is not in qua terra, but in quibus cœlis, and our brethren, if they believe Mr. Archer, must refer the pronoun not to both substantives, but only to the one, for he teaches that during the thousand years, no righteous soul inhabits the heaven, and thereafter no righteous soul inhabits either the earth or the heavens wherein now the souls of the godly are, all these [heavens] being turned into hell [for] the habitation of unrighteous men and devils.
Isaiah 65:17 & 21
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.We Answer:
- Master Burrows refers this place to the former passage of Peter. If therefore Peter’s new heavens and new earth must be understood of the life to come, [then] Isaiah’s new heavens and new earth must be understood of the same.
- It is very new and harsh divinity to say that, after the heavens have passed away with a noise, and the earth with all the works thereof are burnt up, men shall plant vineyards and build houses upon the new earth. Therefore, Master Burrows, notwithstanding his argument and reference of Isaiah to Peter, seems in that same place to retract and acknowledge that the new heavens and the new earth must be expounded by a metaphor, and imports [indicates] no more than the doing of so glorious things by God for the Church, in the latter days, as shall manifest His glorious and creating power, as if he did make new heavens and a new earth. This is far from the burning of the heavens and earth that now are. It is no more than what the apostle Peter brings from the prophet Joel in Acts 2:19, which Peter makes to be performed upon the day of the Pentecost. It is [likewise] no more than that of Haggai 2:6, which the apostle, in Heb 12:26-27, makes to be performed at the first coming of Christ.
- That the matter of Isa 65:16 is to be referred to Christ’s first coming, and the apostles’ first preaching unto the Gentiles, is clear by comparing the first verse of this chapter (Isa 65:1), with Rom 10:20.
- To expound the prophets in this fashion, would cause the Jews to stumble and give them too great an excuse for their long[held] misbelief, and [would provide] too pregnant arguments to [encourage them in the] delay their of faith while [until] the Messias come to perform these promises upon earth -- until their Jerusalem was built again; until they [be] put in possession of the holy land, to build their houses and plant their vineyards therein; until they saw themselves put in possession of their present carnal & legal hopes. Yea, T.G. [in] his literal exposition of this and the like places goes beyond the greatest of the Jewish apprehensions. For that any of the Talmudists do dream that at the coming of the Messias, the Lion shall eat straw, that the Leopard and the Lamb, the serpent and the sucking child shall be brought to such a sympathy of natures, as not to have the least disposition to do harm the one to the other; that the life of men shall be so much at that time prolonged, as one of an hundred years must be taken but for an infant, and a child; that the most fabulous of the Rabbins have gone thus far in a literal belief, I do not know.
Hebrews 2:5, 8
For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. … Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.His eighth place, is [noted above], whence he infers that Christ in the world to come is to reign and to have all things put under his feet, which is not now performed, the apostle saying expressly that now all things are not put under him; neither, he says, is this true in the life to come; for then the Kingdom of Christ is rendered up to the Father. We Answer: The world to come is not that imaginary world of the 1000 years, whereof the Scripture speaks nothing, but the days of the gospel of which the apostle is there speaking, and showing that the gospel was administered not by angels as the Law had been upon Mount Sinai, but by the Son of God himself. This new world under the gospel differed more from the old world under the Law than the earth in the days of Noah and the patriarchs after the flood, [and even] from the earth in the days of Noah before the flood. This new world of the gospel began with Christ’s first coming in the flesh; it was demonstrated in his resurrection, when all power in heaven and earth was given to him, Matt 28:18; when all the angels of God did worship him, Heb 1:6; when he was set far above all principalities and powers, Eph 1:21. The accomplishment of this world is not till the last day, when death, hell, and Satan, which are not yet made Christ’s footstool, shall fully be conquered. These things cannot be verified of the thousand years. For according to Mr. Burrow’s grounds, before they begin, many things are annihilated and so not made subject; the heavens and elements are melted with fervent heat; the earth and the works thereof are burnt up with fire; also, during these thousand years, Christ’s chief enemies are not fully subdued; death still hath dominion over men; and the devil is only bound, but yet alive, and not cast into the lake.
And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.[From this passage], he infers a state of the Church in the last days so glorious, that all things by-past shall be forgot; that Judah and Israel shall return from their captivity to Jerusalem; that all Nations shall join with them; that they shall not more walk after their old sins; and that Jerusalem, which before times was at best but the footstool of God, shall then become a throne of glory. We Answer:
- There is no word here of Christ’s [person] aboding upon earth for a thousand years.
- The old things that are to be forgotten are expressed to be the ceremonies of the Law, and not ordinances of the gospel. The prophet names the ark and the temple which, by Christ’s first coming, were removed.
- The walking of Judah and Israel together, and the nations joining with them, imports no more but the calling of Jews and Gentiles by the gospel to the Christian Church, the heavenly Jerusalem, the same which the prophet Isaiah has in Isa 2:5. These Last days were the days of the apostles, when they from Sion and Jerusalem did blow the trumpet of the gospel to all the nations. These were the times whereof Jeremy in Jer 3:15 speaks. The pastors there promised were Christ and his Apostles. Better pastors than these God never sent, neither ever shall send to his Church.
- Walking after God’s own heart does not import [indicate] a freedom from all sin, but only a state of grace, wherein according to the new covenant, God gives his people a new heart, and writes his laws upon the same.
- The greatest weight of the [erroneous] argument is laid [upon which] seems to be a very groundless conceit -- that Jerusalem, when it is a throne of glory, must be the old Jerusalem built again, as if Jerusalem under the Law, and Jerusalem in the days of the Gospel (the Church in the New Testament, the mother of us all) were but the footstool of God. This is a doctrine expressly against Scripture, for in divers places, Jerusalem, Sion, and the ark, even in the Old Testament, are called not only the footstool, but the throne of God, Jer 14:21, Jer 17:12. The Lord did as it were sit upon the mercy seat as upon a chair of state, under the canopy of the wings of the cherubim within the sanctuary, the chamber of his most majestic presence. Jerusalem, under the New Testament, is called not only the throne of God, but his footstool, Isaiah 40.14. This [is the] place our brethren expound of the sanctuary during the time of the thousand years. However, it is clear it must be expounded of the Church in the same times whereof Jeremiah speaks in his third Chapter whence the argument in hand is brought.
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.[From this passage] is inferred an everlasting kingdom of Christ, and a joy of Jerusalem unchangeable to any sorrow. We Answer: Christ’s everlasting kingdom is merely spiritual and heavenly. [This is] that dominion which the Father gave to the Son at his incarnation, Luke 1:32-33. This kingdom, for the matter of it, is truly everlasting, being the glory which Christ and his saints enjoy for ever in the heavens, albeit for the manner of the administration thereof it be rendered up by the Son to the Father, when the work of mediation is perfected and all enemies are fully destroyed. To deny the beginning of Christ’s kingdom over his Church until the thousand years is many ways absurd. And, because of the eternal endurance of his dominion and glory in the heavens, to make the Church on earth in which he reigns to be void of all tribulation, of all changes, and to have a perpetual day without any darkness, is contrary to the Scriptures alleged in the former arguments.
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.[In this passage, and in] Ezek 21:28, they infer that, in the beginning of the thousand years, Christ with his own hands shall kill so many of the wicked that his garments shall be dipped in blood, and not one of them left to trouble the Church. We Answer: It is a very strange conception to make the Lord Jesus imbrue his holy hands in the blood of so many men. That these battles are not fought with the hands of Christ, in a literal way, will appear by a parallel place, Isa 63:1. Unto Christ here are ascribed garments dipped in blood, because of the slaughter of the Edomites (a little after the Babylonish captivity), at which time Christ had neither a body nor a garment in propriety of speech. As these battles were fought by Christ, not in his own person nor upon the earth, so neither these battles of the Revelation which so much the less can be literally expounded, as in Rev 19:14-15, the instrument whereby Christ is said to fight these battles is not any sword in his hand, but [by] the two-edged sword of his mouth. And the soldiers who he leads out to these battles are not armed with sword and spear, but ride upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. As for that of Ezekiel, if you consult either with the original, or the best interpreters, it must be expounded first and principally, if not solely, of the town of Sidon, which the Lord was to destroy, that it might no more be a thorn in the side of Israel. From this, to infer the purging of the Christian Church of all other enemies in this life, and that by killing of them all as cursed Canaanites, is a dangerous conclusion, far from the justice and innocence of Christians in all bygone times, the belief whereof would quickly renew unto us the horrible tragedies of the Anabaptists.
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.He cites [not only the above passage but also Rev 22:1-3. We Answer: The divines who apply these two chapters to the condition of the Church upon earth after the calling of the Jews take the most of [such] passages in a figurative and allegorical sense. To expound them literally and properly, of any Church on earth, the text will not permit. Shall ever the Church on earth be so free of sorrow and death as not to sorrow for sin, or to have none of its members mortal? Shall they so immediately see the face of God, as the use of temples, tabernacles, or any ordinance, shall be needless? Shall ever man upon earth be without the sun and the moon? These things are true in a proper sense only of the saints in heaven. What is here alleged to the contrary (that the Kings of the earth bring not their riches and honours to the heavens), we say it is but a part of the allegory to express under that similitude the glory and wealth of the life to come, as in the same place the Spirit of God expresses the happiness of heaven by the metaphors of gold and precious stones, of rivers and fountains, and of trees and fruits. To expound all these in a literal sense of any Church either in earth or heaven is incommodious [uncomfortable]; yet our brethren would put upon us [yet] more fancies than any of them yet have spoke of.
In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.In the last place, they cite [the above passage], and for the honour of the saints that in the thousand years they shall be taken into private familiarity by princes and great men, [they look to] Rev 11:12. We Answer: The gifts meant by Zachary are such as are poured upon all the saints of the New Testament with the spirit of grace and supplication, which makes the least of the kingdom of heaven to be like unto David, to Elijah, and [even] greater than John the Baptist, as Christ speaks. But what [of] imaginary glory of their “Chiliastick” kingdom? The honour they speak of cannot be fetched out of that eleventh of the Revelation, for who but themselves will expound heaven in that place (of the thrones of kings, of the privy chambers of princes and great men)? The calling up of the two witnesses to heaven, by none else but them, will be taken for the saints’ familiarity with great statesmen. And according to their own tenets, in the Chiliastick kingdom there are no such degrees of honour as in this world. For there Christ in his own person is king, and all the saints shine like the firmament, and the glory of these saints is greatest whose grace is most eminent. Familiarity with princes and worldly statesmen is then for no purpose. Besides, the ascension of the two witnesses to the heavens is before the fall of the tenth part of Rome, and so [must be] before the thousand years begin.
ConclusionThere be yet some more places cited by Master Burrows and others, but these which we have answered are the principal. And if they be cleared, there is no difficulty in the rest. Besides Scriptures, Master Burrows takes from the glimpse of T.G. sundry testimonies of antiquity, all which T.G. borrows from Alstedius. To this I answer that no Protestants build their faith upon human testimonies, and, no men in the world make so small account of antiquity as our brethren [i.e., the Independents]. It is marvelous if in earnest they should encourage themselves in their doctrine by such testimonies of the fathers, as by the Catholic consent of all posterior antiquity and the unanimous profession both of Protestants and Papists this day, are censured of error. [He] who pleases to know the mind of antiquity in this subject, let him consult especially with Augustine, de civitate dei [City of God], Book 20, almost through the whole, and the Commentaries of Vives and Cequens thereupon. If human authorities, either ancient or modern, could give our brethren any satisfaction in this question, it were easy to present them with great store thereof [to refute their premillennial doctrine].
(Thus far had I proceeded when by my superiors I was called away from these studies to another employment, so what I intended to have spoken to of the Anabaptists, the Antinomians, the Erastians, and especially to the remainder of the Popish and Prelatical malignants, I must remit it to another season.)