Treatises on second coming

Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003).

O1 JONES, Thomas. Traethodau ar ail-ddyfodiad Crist, yr adgyfo­diad, ar mil blynyddau. (Treatises on the second coming of Christ, the resurrection, and the thousand years.) Llanelli: Published and for sale by Thomas Jones. J. Davis, Printer, Merthyr, 1853.

12 pp. 17.5 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 72.

This pamphlet appears to have been published at the request of Thomas Jones, probably a faithful member of the Church who lived in Llanelli.

The first of the three segments of Treatises on the second coming of Christ bears the same title as the pamphlet itself and had originally appeared in the September 1831 Star of Gomer (pp. 265–68), a Baptist periodical. The author, who identifies himself only as “C,” is writing to “Mr. Gomer,” presumably the editor, in order to correct some erroneous ideas that he had heard from Welsh ministers concerning the Second Coming, the Resurrection, and the Millennium.

The next segment, entitled “The resurrection, the thousand years, etc.,” is a continuation of the first. It appeared in the November 1831 Star of Gomer (pp. 296–98). Although the author’s ideas are in harmony with Mormon doctrine, it is unlikely that he had ever heard of the Church, considering the 1831 date of publication. Because the Baptists were among the most vociferous opponents of the Latter-day Saints in Wales, it would appear that this pamphlet was published to show the lack of unanimity in the Baptist ranks.

The third and final segment of Treatises on the second coming of Christ is entitled “The opinion of the Rev. D. Peters, Carmarthen, about the ‘Fall of Babylon’” and is taken from a sermon Peters had delivered at Bwlchnewydd (a town near Carmarthen) on 25 August 1809. His conclusion, after a series of calculations based on the prophecies of the Old Testament prophet Daniel, was that Christians could expect the fall of Catholicism within seventy-five years.

TREATISES

ON THE

SECOND COMING OF CHRIST, THE RESURRECTION, AND THE MILLENNIUM.

Read, and ponder.”

LLANELLI:

PUBLISHED AND FOR SALE BY THOMAS JONES,

1853.

Treatises.
The Second Coming of Christ, the Resurrection, and the Millennium.

[From the “Star of Gomer” for September, 1831.]

Mr. Gomer,—It seems to me that the greater part of our Welsh com­patriots are ignorant that lately there has arisen in this kingdom, an earnest desire to search the prophetic scriptures, together with religious beliefs that have derived from such a search, the like of which has not been seen so widespread in any country since the time of the primitive Christians. The most prominent of these beliefs I shall endeavor to set before you, since I myself am convinced of their truth, and wish for my compatriots to have the privilege of considering them for themselves. It is true that some beliefs are mingled with these, and are adopted by others, who have searched further into the matter than I myself;—I shall take notice of those also, but I have come to an understanding of them on my own.

I sincerely believe that a great mistake has rooted itself among the Christians, in the latter ages, with respect to the Resurrection, and the Day of Judgment. The general opinion with respect to these highly important circumstances is, that the just and the unjust will resurrect at the same time, that is at the second coming of Christ; that judgment day will continue during a natural day, that is twenty-four hours; that, after this, the earth will be burned with fire, and the end of all visible things will take place. Now, my purpose is to show that there are great mis­takes in this manner of thinking about the judgment day, and that there is no authority whatsoever in the scriptures for its adoption; for I have no doubt but what the teaching of the scriptures is, that the Lord Jesus Christ will come the second time in glory, to establish his kingdom on this earth; and that he will reign in justice, personally, for a thousand years; that at his coming the just, and they alone, will resurrect, and that the living believers will be changed, and that they will live and reign with Christ on the earth for a thousand years; that the unjust will not resurrect at the same time as the just, but they will rise at the end of the thousand years. Lastly, that the thousand years are the period that is called Judgment Day. But I shall present a few of my reasons for these beliefs.

The time will come, in which there will be a complete victory of the Gospel, when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” [1] (Isa. xi, 9); when “the stone that was cut out of the mountain without hands, shall become a great mountain, and fill the whole earth; and the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed” (Dan. ii, 35, 44); when “the times of refresh­ing shall come from the presence of the Lord; namely the times of res­titution of all things” (Acts iii, 19); when “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ” (Rev. xi, 15).

But at the second coming of our Lord, the world will not be in this blessed condition, rather it will be just the opposite; it will be as it was in the days of Noah.—Matt. xxiv, 37. “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth”? (Luke xviii, 8.)

There will be no time, before the coming of Christ, in which Christ’s reign of justice can take place; for “the tares must grow together with the wheat (that is, the children of evil and the children of the kingdom) until the harvest; and the harvest is the end of the world,” Matt. xiii, 30, 39.

Also, the reign in justice must be established by the personal coming of Christ, for “the Lord shall consume the wicked with the brightness of his coming.”—2 Thes. ii, 8. “And the times of restitution of all things shall come, when Jesus Christ shall be sent, whom the heaven must receive until then.”—Acts iii, 20, 21.

At the second coming of Christ, there will be the resurrection of the just,—”And they will reign with Christ a thousand years. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection.”—Rev. xx, 4, 5, 6.

There will also be transformation of the believers who are alive, for “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout and the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”—1 Thes. iv, 16, 17.

But the unrighteous will not arise, until the end of this blessed time; for “the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.”—Rev. xx, 5.

If there is but one resurrection for the just and the unjust, at the same time, why does St. Paul put forth such an earnest request to have part in it, when he says,—”If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”—Phil. iii, 11.

He does not mean the spiritual resurrection from sin to righteousness, because he had been assured that he had experienced that already; nor was it the general resurrection, as the doctrine was interpreted by many, that he mentions, for he knew that all must be resurrected, and stand before the court of Christ, and he could not be kept from the resurrec­tion in one way or another; rather without doubt, he has reference to the first resurrection, that is the resurrection of the just at the appearance of Christ, to reign with him on the earth.—”If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”

If the day of judgment, and the reign on the earth in justice, are to continue for only twenty-four hours, how will it be possible to fulfill, in that space, all the promises of glory and joy, which are revealed in the books of the Prophets and the Psalms? Rather, it is obvious that the word “day” is used frequently in the scriptures to signify a period of time;—the day of tribulation in the wilderness continued for forty years; and, according to the language that is used by man, the day of grace has continued for well over 1800 years.

Perhaps some of my readers are thinking, What have we to do with these deep things? I answer, no doctrine of the scriptures is to be set aside, as if of no value; especially such a doctrine as the one about the resurrection, and the second coming of Christ. It is a remarkable thing that so little attention is given to a doctrine that appears so frequently in the Bible, namely the doctrine of the Resurrection. I am bold in assert­ing that it is not possible for anyone to understand the scriptures, with­out accepting this doctrine. It is spread throughout all the scriptures. In the prayer our Lord taught us, the following plea is contained:—”Thy kingdom come; thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” The final plea has not yet been fulfilled, in any sense; and yet, certainly every plea according to the will of God will be fulfilled;—and no doubt the time will come, when the will of God will be done on the earth, with­out any mixture of sin. Again, he says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”—Matt. v, 5. Now, it is obvious that this promise has not ever been fulfilled; for it is not the meek who are inheriting the earth, rather the oppressors and the conquerors, and the bloody and the worldly; and if this earth is burned, and completely destroyed, at the coming of Christ, how shall they receive the fulfillment? But it is obvious that during the thousand years is when they shall receive the fulfillment; when the face of this earth will be renewed, together with its inhabitants, and there will no longer be transgression on it.

There is no doubt that privileges and blessings will go together with the true understanding of the word of God; I am certain that some of the Christians will be deprived of much of the spiritual comfort, because of their ignorance of the doctrine of the resurrection, and the personal reign of our Lord on the earth. It appears that the whole opposition to the Jews’ error is the heresy in these days. The Jews saw so much indicated in their prophets about the personal coming of the Messiah to reign on the earth, in his glory, that they failed to perceive the declara­tion of his humility. Men of the latter ages, then, look at his first com­ing, only, and fail to grasp his glorious coming. The Jews were judged not for believing that he would come in his glory; but for rejecting him in his humility. It is clear that they understand correctly some of their prophecies about his reign, and that they understand them to this day in their true meaning; let us, therefore, take warning from their error, and receive the word without prejudice.

But, further than this, if the men I referred to are correct in their opin­ion with respect to their explanation of the prophets, and signs of the present times, it is reason for such great importance to consider these things, and to search the scriptures for ourselves; for the aforemen­tioned men say that their opinion and their unflinching determination is that the second coming of Christ is near, yea, very near,—even at the door; and indeed, I know not how to refute them. Nearly eighteen hundred years of this dispensation have gone by;—not a small period compared to any previous dispensation. According to the opinion of the majority of commentators, the numbers 1260 have been fulfilled. There is not one sign whatever now that cannot be indicated and fulfilled in a short period of time; and we know that that day will come as a thief in the night. We have heard of wars and tumults, and have seen kingdom rise against kingdom; and when have the hearts of men been seen beat­ing as they are in this day, waiting for the things that are to come on the earth? Sickness is spreading in some places,—namely the cholera morbus; and it is said that earthquakes accompany the appearance of that frightful disease. If it spreads further in the world, and lays waste Europe, who can close his eyes to the signs of the times? But some say, “The Gospel must be spread across the earth, before the second coming of Christ.”—That is what I myself have said several times; but I know now that this interpretation is wrong, and there is not the least authority for such a belief in the scriptures; for our Lord, with respect to it, says nothing more than such words as these:—”And the gospel must first be published among all nations.”—Mark xiii, 10. He did not say it would be accepted by them; rather it would be preached only as a testimony. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”—Matt. xxiv, 14. Thus, the world will not be evangelized by preaching the gospel, or by Missionary Societies; rather it shall be renewed by the personal coming of the Lord. The purpose of these instruments is to testify, to complete the number of the elect, and to hasten the kingdom. Some think the world will be revived by the skill of geniuses, by intelligence, or by the march of intellect; but this is a much more destructive error than is the other; for, despite anything that has been revealed so far about the march of intellect, it is rarely seen working in the fear of God, or seek­ing the guidance of the Holy Spirit in its entrance;—more frequently it is seen nurturing pride, worldliness, and conceit. And I think there are several things together with the happenings of the present days, which, though they appear virtuous from without, lead in their consequences to unbelief. Several of the present commentators believe they can perceive, in the revolutionary spirit that is now spreading throughout the world, the rising of the last beast, that is the chief of unbelief. The source of the present turmoil is the kingdom of France; and we know that France is in a frightful state of unbelief; and who looks for some­thing clean from something unclean? No doubt there is need for such a revival in France; but it is also obvious, that the work was not taken in hand in the fear of God. The commentators I have mentioned, believe unanimously, that soon after the holding of the remembrance of the Revolution in Paris, on the 27th, the 28th, and the 29th of this month, there will some circumstances take place in the world, the like of which has not been seen for a long time; and a year will not pass, after that time, until such a manifestation of the arm of the Lord will be seen, that will cause amazement to the inhabitants of the earth. I cannot presume to give my opinion on these things; but we wish to pay every respect to the observations of godly and learned men, who give their whole time to reading the Word of God; and it would be good if we could all follow their counsel to be watchful.

I am yours, C——.

The Resurrection, the Thousand Years, &c.

[From the “Star of Gomer” for October, 1831.]

Mr. Gomer,—You were so kind as to indicate your willingness to give acceptance to my writings on this topic, and I hereby take you at your promise, without losing any time.

It seems to me, as it does to many others, that, within recent times, irresponsible heresy, together with no small indolence and negligence, have sprung up among Christians in general, and especially among the Ministers of the Gospel, with respect to the doctrine of the “resurrec­tion.” This doctrine runs through the entire scriptures, in a very special way; but mention of it in sermons nowadays is infrequent. The Apostle Paul placed so much importance on it in his sermons, that his Greek listeners thought that he was setting it forth as some new god, (or rather goddess, e anasasis,)—”And some said, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrec­tion” (Acts xvii, 18). It appears that he also, more than once, had gone into adversity and danger in order to preach this doctrine. “Of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question” (Acts xxiii, 6). But, now let us consider the greatest number of sermons these days. We can listen to scores of them, without once hearing any mention of the resur­rection. It is true that the preachers of this age mention more frequently the happiness of the soul; but very infrequently do they mention the coming happiness of the body. It is true that they preach the Lord Jesus as one who brings salvation to the soul; but who has ever heard them, one time, exhorting their listeners to be “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body?” (Rom. viii, 23.) And in this matter, a huge difference is perceived between the present mode of preaching, and the one used by the Apostles.

In the 15th chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul spends over 40 verses to prove, and to reason about, this doctrine; and when we consider how frequently and with what importance this truth is debated in all the scriptures, we can do nothing less than wonder at the con­sideration; and the question that arises in our thoughts, is, What is the purpose of all this? If the soul can be happy in heaven, or in any other place, after being separated from the body, what need is there for it to be joined with the body again? Why is the spiritual soul reunited with the body, that which had been so tiresome and burdensome to it in its original condition, in their earlier coexistence? But in this we see part of the great “mystery of godliness. God was manifest in the flesh,” 1 Tim. iii, 16. It is Christ who is the Savior of the body as well as of the soul; and no matter how vile the body may be, in its current natural state, yet, in the resurrection it will be renewed, and it will be made like unto his glorified body, “according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phil. iii, 21). Despite how vile the human body is, like soil and dust, yet, by its being taken up to Christ, by faith, it will be united with Godhood, and man will be made higher than the angels. “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? Sit on my right hand. Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Heb. i, 5, &c.)? As we examine these things, we begin to understand somewhat of the reason that our Lord and his Apostles placed so much importance on the resurrection; because they place great importance on this effect:—”And I will raise him up at the last day,” says our Lord, in his conversation with the Jews, John chap. vi,—and a similar phrase is repeated four times; and unless this truth is made a leading tenet in the preaching of the Gospel, a part of no small importance of the Gospel itself will be hidden from view.

But with respect to the resurrection, there are other things together with it, which must be revealed also in the full preaching of the truth, namely the Kingdom and its glory; and no doubt that is the millennial kingdom on this earth, after its renewal; the one that is taught to us to pray about in the words, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The one that is promised to us by the prophet,—”Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness” (Isa. xxxii, 1), in which the resurrected saints will reign with him for a thousand years, (Rev. xx, 4), in which the blessing will be fulfilled, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. v, 5).

But for this resurrection to bless, it will be declared as the first res­urrection; for “The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” And it is worthy of notice, that the resurrection is put aside, in several places of the scriptures, (and as some claim, every­where, where it is used in this sense,) not as “the resurrection of the dead,” but “the resurrection from the dead;” that is, the resurrection of a part, of those chosen ones from among the dead; as a taking up of some, and a leaving of the others. In Greek, one of the phrases is anasasis ton necron, and the other, the anasasis en ton necron. It is also claimed that this principle of discourse is followed so completely by the writers of the New Testament, that when the syllable en is not seen before necron, it is placed before the word anasasis in its form ez, as in Phil. iii, 11,—E i pos catanteso ei; ten ezanasasis ton necron; the meaning of this, as is claimed, is “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection from the dead;” that is the first resurrection; that of the just, and only they. As for myself, although I am not bound to prove the truthfulness of the assertions of the universality of the difference between the two expres­sions, yet I cannot close my eyes to its generality. We do not wish to weigh the doctrine of the first resurrection as compared to the above phrases; but I think that it constitutes an affirmative witness of that doctrine; and that is what I say, because I myself once doubted its cor­rectness, and tried to refute it. But although I do not pretend to say that it is proved, I am of the opinion that it would be very difficult to show the refutation; but let him who can, open his Greek Testament, and let him judge for himself. And as the enormous mistakes and heresy among the preachers of the present age with respect to the resurrection, and the kingdom of Christ, are seen, thus, consequently, there is a measure of disregard with respect to Death, the Grave, and the Condition of Death; and since we wish for this part of my writing to be so obvious that no one can go past it without noticing, I shall begin it in the following way, with the words:—

DEATH, THE GRAVE, AND THE CONDITION OF DEATH.

If we examine carefully the custom of the greatest part of men nowadays, as well as the Ministers and others, when they wish to give comfort to others, or to themselves, in sickness, affliction, or any kind of adversity, they direct the mind to the deliverance of death, and the rest of the grave; and they counsel many concerning the happy state of death and the hope Christians have in the release from the weaknesses of the body. But in this custom, I think, although they do not go in error from their path, yet they do not walk but half the way on their journey; for from the beginning death was a curse; and although our Lord Jesus conquered death, yet the full effects of that victory are not felt by the faithful, until the resurrection of the body; and although the Apostles, occasionally, mention the rest of the grave, and the joy of being with Christ, yet their most common custom was to set before their listeners the hope of the resurrection, and the second coming of Christ. Only occasionally, I say, did they refer to death as an occasion of hope; but in various places they encourage men by hope of the resurrection, the second coming of Christ, and their reign together with him. Let us take the following scriptures, and several like them, as examples:—”Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord” (James v, 7); “Be ye also patient; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (James v, 8); “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God,” &c., (2 Peter iii, 12); “When he shall appear, we may have confidence” (1 John ii, 28); “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him” (2 Thes. ii, 1). In this there is hope, that is our gathering together unto Christ at his second coming. This was the purpose and the objective of the Apostles, when they declared the sufferings of Christ, that is the establishment of the kingdom, and the glory following. This was their purpose as they preached repentance, faith, and holiness, that is preparing to inherit the Kingdom. They did not preach death as an object of hope, or the grave as eternal rest. In short, they did not mention much about them, rather they looked far beyond them; and their success was proportionate to the correctness of their doctrine; and I think, that if the Ministers of the Gospel generally, were to be more careful to declare the purposes of God, according to his commandment, and as they preach justice by the suffering of the cross, to add to that the hope of eternal life, in the second coming, and in a word, to preach the Kingdom, without keeping from sight one of the related truths, they would see effects proportion­ate to their endeavors; for the Lord Jesus promised to come a second time in glory, in the flesh. “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts i, 11). For this coming he commands us to wait, for we know not the day nor the hour when it will occur. Eighteen hundred years have gone by since the first coming. The signs of the times show that this dispensation is drawing near to an end; and it will end in wrath, vengeance, and judgments.

C.

The Opinion of the Rev. D. Peters, Carmarthen, About the “Fall of Babylon,”

From the sermon “The Day is Dawning,” which was delivered in Bwlchnewydd, on the 25th of August, 1809.

It is obvious that Daniel and John, in the scriptures given by them, have reference to the continuation of Papism, (Dan. xii, and Rev. xii,) and that they are of the same mind about the continuation of the Papist darkness. For forty-two months and a time, and times, and half a time are the same amount. Each of them is three-and-a-half years. Now, inas­much as one prophetic year contains 360 days, and each day stands for a year; it is obvious that a time, and times, and half a time, or three-and-a-half prophetic years; or forty-two prophetic months, are 1260 common years. This is the time that Papism will continue from the time the saints of the Almighty were put in its hand, or under its government. Thus we see obviously from the prophecy of Daniel, and the revelation of John, that Papism will continue for 1260 years, from the time the saints of the Almighty were put in its hand. And if we can determine which year the saints of the Almighty were put in the hand, or under the authority of the Pope, it will be easy to say when Papism will end. There are various opinions from the learned concerning this matter. But it appears obvi­ous to me from the account we have about Papism, although they were very abundant and strong in the fifth and sixth century of the Christian era, that the saints of the Almighty were not put in the hand of the Pope, until the emperor Phocas in the year 606 of the Christian era made the Pope Boniface a general bishop, and the highest head of the church. This is the most likely time that he received authority over the saints of the Almighty. And if this is the year the saints of the Almighty were put in the hand of the beast, it is obvious that Papism will end in the year 1866 of the Christian era. Within 75 years, Christians, the complete end of the Papist darkness can be expected.

Note
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[1] To avoid length, not every phrase in the original wording will be given;—turn to the various places according to the references.