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Home arrow Griffin's History arrow Questions and Answers-Part 10
Questions and Answers-Part 10 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sylvester Hassell   

 

The Millennium

Q. Is the present time the millennium (or thousand years) of Christ's greatest spiritual reign on the unrenewed earth? (Rev. 20:1-6).
A. Certainly not, for the Devil still deceives the whole world, and is inciting the nations to wage the most colossal and awful war ever known in history (Rev. 12:9; 13:14; compared with Rev. 20:3); the present time is the Devil's bi-millennium, or the two thousand years of his reign on earth, by the sufferance of God, since the birth of Christ.

Q. Who are "the all-men-everywhere" whom Paul says in his discourse at Athens "God commands to repent?" (Acts 17:30).
A. The whole world of human beings, the whole human race, whom Paul says, in the next verse, God will judge by Jesus Christ. God is the same since the fall of man that He was before, and His holy law, which requires all His intelligent creatures to love and worship Him exclusively and supremely, is the standard of all creature obedience, and cannot change, even if man, by his own will and sin, has rendered himself unable to obey that law. If a man owes another a thousand dollars, and is not able to pay him a cent, he owes him just the same. Ability is not the limit of obligation. If it were, no human being would be under any obligation to God; for no human being in the present state can spiritually and perfectly fulfill any commandment of God. All men should be told, as Christ told His hearers, that "unless they repent they will perish." (Luke 13:3-5).

Q. What is meant by Christ's reign with His people on earth a thousand years? (Rev. 20:1-10).
A. That in the future (for Satan still woefully deceives the nations) Satan will be bound and prevented, for a thousand years from deceiving the nations, and during that period Christ will reign on earth with the resurrected martyrs and the godly, either in person or by a greater outpouring of His Spirit than ever before, and, as foretold in the closing chapters of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Micah, and Zachariah, righteousness, and peace, and prosperity, and happiness will abound, and then, at the end of the thousand years, Satan will be loosed again, and deceive the nations once more, and lead the wicked against the righteous, and he will be overthrown by Divine vengeance, and cast, with the leading persecutors and deceivers into the lake of fire and brimstone, and be tormented forever. After this will follow the general resurrection and judgment, and the everlasting misery of hell for the wicked, and the everlasting happiness of heaven for the righteous (Rev. 20:11-15; 21; 22; Matt. 25:31-46; II Thess. 1:3-10; II Pet. 3:3-14).

Q. Will this material world be burned up?
A. The Scriptures plainly say so, although the scoffing unbelievers of the last days deny it (II Pet. 3:3-12; Psa. 102:26; Matt. 24:35; Mark 13:31; Heb. 1:11). But burning is not annihilation; and the literal heaven and earth will be changed and pass away, and there will appear a new heaven and earth wherein righteousness will dwell. (Psa. 102:26; II Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1). S. H.

Q. Will the anti-Christian world powers and false church powers mentioned in Rev., 13th and 17th chapters, persecute the true church before or after the thousand years foretold in Rev. 20?
A. Both before (Rev. 19:11-21) and after (Rev. 20:7-10).

Q. Will there be any of the non-elect left living upon this earth after Christ comes?
A. Certainly (Luke 18:8; Rev. 19:11-21; 20:7-10).

Q. When Christ comes will He reign here upon this earth (made new) with His elect - church, bride, or will He and the church dwell above the earth, and He and they reign over those upon the earth?
A. Rev. 20:6 does not say; but, if Rev. 5:10 refers to the same fact, epi with the genitive generally means on or upon, and is so rendered in both the King James and the Revised Version.

Q. What are your views of the Parables of the Ten Virgins and of the Talents, in Matt. 25?
A. That the five wise virgins, who had oil in their vessels with their lamps, and who were ready when the bridegroom came, and were received by him to the marriage; and the five talent and two talent servants, who used their talents in the service of their Lord, and were welcomed by Him, as good and faithful servants, into His joy, were like the sheep in the latter part of this same chapter, who had humbly and lovingly ministered to the King in ministering to His suffering people, and who will be at last received, as the blessed of His Father, into the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. And that the five foolish virgins, who had no oil in their vessels with their lamps, and who were not ready when the bridegroom came, and were shut out by him from the marriage; and the one talent servant, who had hard thoughts of his Lord, and who did not use his talent in His service, and who was cast by Him as a wicked, slothful, and unprofitable servant, into outer darkness where there were weeping and gnashing of teeth, were like the goats, in the latter part of this same chapter, who had proudly and unlovingly not ministered to the King in not ministering to His suffering people, and who will at last be consigned by him, as cursed ones, into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.

Q. Who are the five wise and the five foolish virgins mentioned in Christ's Parable, in Matt. 25:1-13?
A. During the last half century some have supposed that by the five foolish virgins are meant disobedient Christians, who are shut out of the felt joys of God's salvation: but the old interpretation, and that which I and the great majority of Primitive Baptists accept, is that these five foolish virgins represent only nominal Christians, who have no oil of divine grace in their lamp of profession, whom Christ did not know as His, and who will be shut out and left out of the marriage supper of the Lamb. We know from Christ's language in His parable of the wheat and the tares (Matt. 13:24-43, especially the 24th and 41st and 42nd verses), that by the expression "Kingdom of Heaven," He meant, in His parables, the visible or nominal church, including both the elect and the nonelect, believers and unbelievers; and we know, from His language in Matt. 9:13; 25:26, 27; Mark 2:17; and Luke 5:35, that He calls or addresses men according to their profession, and thus judges them out of their own mouths.

Q. Is public prayer contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures, or to the practice of the Baptists?
A. The temple was called God's house of prayer; three times every day there were stated times of sacrifice and prayer in the temple, at the third, sixth, and ninth hours (that is at 9 a.m., 12 m., and 3 p.m.); many of the Psalms, which were recited in the temple, were public prayers; at the dedication of the temple Solomon made a long public prayer. Christ obeyed the ceremonial, as well as the moral laws of the Old Testament; and He taught His disciples to pray not only in private, but in public, saying, "Our Father, who art in heaven," etc. His prayer in John 17 was made with His disciples; and the Baptists have always believed in and practiced public, as well as private prayer. Even the Quakers sometimes use public prayer in their meetings.

Q. What is the explanation of the figure: "Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together" (Matt. 24:28)?
A. That upon the dead and unbearably corrupt person or church or nation, the swift and irresistible and destructive judgments of God will descend. The eagle is farsighted and rapacious and powerful and eats living or dead animals; and the primary meaning of Christ in the above saying is that the Roman armies, whose standards were silver or golden eagles, would soon irresistibly destroy the truth-hating, mercy-spurning, prophet-killing, Christ-murdering, unspeakably corrupt Jerusalem (Matt. 23:34-38).

Q. What was "the tree of life" mentioned in Gen. 2:9; 3:22,24; Rev. 2:7; and 22:2?
A. The garden of Eden (or delights) referred to in Gen. 2 and 3 was a natural and earthly garden or park or paradise, in which all natural, earthly good things were provided by the Creator for Adam and Eve while they remained in a state of innocence. I think that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life were natural trees, and that God ordained that the eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree should give them a natural, experimental knowledge of the difference between moral good and moral evil, and should justly subject them to the penalty of natural and eternal death, and that He ordained that the eating of the fruit of the tree of life should perpetually preserve their natural lives; but, after they disobeyed Him by eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, He pronounced the curse of hard labor and suffering and death upon them, and drove them out of the garden, and placed at the east of it cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life, lest man should eat of its fruit and live an everlasting natural life, which was contrary to the purpose and decree of God. But the tree of life in the garden of Eden was a type or figure of the true tree of life, which is Christ, in the spiritual, heavenly, and eternal paradise of God, mentioned in Rev. 2:7 and 22:2, and alluded to by Ezekiel (47:1-12) as the unfading, fruitful, nourishing, healing trees on either side of the river of deep, life-giving waters issuing eastward from under the threshold of the house of God. Christ is "in the midst of the paradise of God" (Rev. 2:7) ; He is the centre and substance of that paradise; and He is on either side of the river of God's love (Ezek. 47:7,12; Rev. 22:2), as expressed in the everlasting covenant of the past eternity and in the everlasting blessedness of all the people of God in the future eternity, the Source and Support of their life, and the Preserver of their spiritual health. His leaves or words, applied by His Spirit, will sustain their graces, and His fruit or works of love will edify and support them forever. He is All and in all to them.

Q. In I Sam. 17:40, what may be represented by the staff, and the five smooth stones, and the brook, and the shepherd's bag, and the sling, mentioned in connection with David's killing Goliath?
A. I am far from believing, with Emanuel Swedenborg, that every word and every syllable of the Scriptures has not only a literal, but also a spiritual meaning; and, if it has, I do not believe that any human being has ever discovered it; and there is no end to the guesses that may be made as to such meaning. But where no such meaning is affirmed or intended, words meaning literal or natural things, may possibly be illustrations of spiritual things. In I Sam. 17:40, the staff may be an illustration of the support of God; the five smooth stones may represent the truth, the righteousness, the peace, the faith, and the salvation of God; the brook, the Spirit of God, out of which the five stones came; the shepherd's bag, the Word of God, which contains, in description, the five stones used by the soldier of Christ; and the sling, the power of God; and the true soldier always prays and watches. One stone, the truth, from the brook, the Spirit of God, applied by the sling, the power of God, prostrates the giant of error. See "the whole armor of God" described by the Apostle Paul in Eph. 6:13-18. Great Goliath depending on himself, is slain; but little David, trusting in God, conquers his enemy.

Q. In Solomon's Song, 6:8,9, it is said - "There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number; my dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother; she is the choice one of her that bore her; the daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her;" what is the meaning?
A. By "my dove, my undefiled," no doubt the Church of Christ is meant; and by the "threescore queens," Solomon may mean the wealthy so-called State Churches; and by the "fourscore concubines," the less wealthy but more numerous denominations not endowed by the State; some of the leading members of all these orders, while they hate the true church, yet acknowledge her virtues. The "virgins," or daughters" here spoken of, whom man cannot number, have spiritual life, or a hope in Christ, and they see and extol the Church, but have not yet united with her.

Q. What do you think is "the book of life" (Philip 4:3)?
A. It is also called "the Lamb's book of life" (Rev. 21:27); "the book of" God's fatherly "remembrance" of those "who feared the Lord," and thought upon His name. and spoke often one to another, the children of God, the righteous who serve Him, who shall be His in the day when He makes up His jewels (Mal. 3:16-18); the book of "the living in Jerusalem" (Isa. 4:3), "the house of Israel" (Ezek. 13:9), "the church of the first-born who are written in heaven" (Luke 10: 20; Rev. 12:23) ; "the book of life, in which the names were written from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 17:8). The ancient kings kept registers, records, annals, or chronicles, as memorials of the important events of their reign; and "the book of life," in the Scriptures, is figurative language, representing God's certain and eternal remembrance, love, care, and salvation of all His covenant people - His unforgetting register of all His elect, to whom He graciously gives His Son and Spirit and eternal life.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 October 2006 )
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