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to the commencement of this illustrious era, but as dis. closing also the probable origin of the prevailing Mil. lennarian hypothesis. It is founded upon a Jewish tradition, according to which the six days employed in the creation of the world were each of them typical of a thousand years, and the rest of the seventh a prefiguration of the great sabbatical Millennary of the world. Daubuz, by far the ablest of all commentators on the visions of John, thus speaks of the origin of the Apocalyptic Millennium :-“ It may be observed, that as the Jewish church had no absolute rest or sabbatism as the Millennium is, so the Holy Ghost could not derive the symbol from that economy, but was as it were obliged to draw it from an higher fountain, or original of ideal types and events. But, however, even this original idea was known to the Jews. They had a tradition of it, and the notion was current even before St. John wrote. He has not then treated of the Millennium as a new thing, but has described it in some measure by the old notions with improvements : and besides that, showed us how it is accomplished by Christ, by giving us a full account of the antecedents and consequents. Now that tradition was grounded upon the al. legorical exposition of the creation of the world in six days, and the rest of God in the seventh ; and that a thousand years are with God as one day. Whence it is argued, that as God created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh, so he will redeem mankind and work out their redemption in six thousand years, and procure his and their sabbatism in the seventh thousand : this rest being to be proportionable to the dura. tion of the work. By consequence, that term of one thousand years is to be taken in a literal sense, and must consist just of a thousand years in the common acceptation of the word ; and needs no further evolution, as some of late have pretended, because it is fixed by that traditional allegory. Now that the Jews had it must be plain from this, that we find it in St. Barnabas, who wrote before St. John many years. And indeed we give very good reasons in our Commentary to think that the notion is as old as the Deluge, because we find it pretty plainly to be also the tradition of the Chaldean Magi, and perhaps too of the Egyptians.”—Daubuz, Perpet. Comment. on the Rev. p. 64. 1720.
Before proceeding to adduce evidence of the existence of this tradition among the Jews, the reader will permit us to introduce another citation showing still more distinctly the use which is made by Christian writers of the above-mentioned allegory.
“ Through the whole Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament, there is a striking typical representation of some great and important Sabbath, as a great septenary that has not yet taken place, and which evidently appears to be the Millennarian septenary, as the great Sabbath of the whole earth. Thus, Gen. 2. 3. . God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.' Ex. 20. 8–11. The appointment of the seventh day as the weekly sabbath was renewed in a most solemn manner. Levit. 25. 1-7. Every seventh year was appointed a sabbatical year; and Levit. 25. 8, 9. the commencement of the year of jubilee, which was every fiftieth
year, was to be fixed by the running of a septenary of sabbatical years ; · And thou shalt number seven sab, baths of years unto thee, seven years, and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. The number seven, because used in Scripture to complete all the sacred divisions of time, was regarded by the Jews as the symbol of perfection, and is used in this sense in Scripture.--Is it ever to be supposed that all these events, which are interwoven with the Mosaic dispensation, which was symbolical or typical itself, and which are introduced into the New Testament, and abound so much in this book of Revelation, have no antitype to correspond to them, no great sabbatical septenary to which they all point, and in which they shall all be accomplished ? Is it not highly probable that they are all typical of the seventh millennary of the earth, which is the great Sabbath ?”—Johnston on the Rev. vol. ii. p. 320.
As our object in the present chapter is to trace the Millennarian theory, as held in modern times, to its primitive source, and thence, travelling downwards, to detail the consecutive history of opinion upon the subject even to the days in which we live, we shall begin with the allegation of testimonies to the fact of the existence among the Jews of the tradition above mentioned ; after which we shall endeavour to show that this tradition was adopted by the early Christians, and that upon it all the modern notions of the Millennium have been grafted. ." It is certain that the Jews interpreted days as signifying millenniums, and reckoned millenniums by days.
thus thes the sixth comes
Thus they say; • In the time to come, which is in the last days-on the sixth day, which is the sixth millennium, when the Messiah comes,- for the day of the holy blessed God is a thousand years.' Again, . The sixth degree is called the sixth day; the day of the holy blessed God is a thousand years.' So they call the Sabbath or seventh day the seventh millennium, and interpret “ the song for the Sabbath-day,” Ps. 92. a title for the seventh millennium, for one day of the blessed God is a thousand years.' To which agrees the tradition of Elias, which runs thus : • 'Tis the tradition of the house of Elias that the world shall be (endure) six thousand years, two thousand void (of the law); two thousand years the law; and two thousand years the days of the Messiah ;' for they suppose that the six days of creation were expressive of the six thousand years which the world will stand, and that the seventh day prefigures the last millennium, in which will be the day of judgment and the world to come ; . for the six days, say they, is a sign or intimation of these things : on the sixth day man was created, and on the seventh the work was finished ; so the kings of the nations of the world (continue) five millenniums, answering to the five days in which were created the fowls, and the creeping things of the water, and other things ; and the enjoyment of their kingdom is a little in the sixth, answerable to the creation of the beasts and living creatures created at this time in the beginning of it; and the kingdom of the house of David is in the sixth millennium, answerable to the creation of man, who knew his Creator and ruled over them all ; and in the end of that millennium will be the day of judgment, answerable to man, who was judged in the end ; and the seventh is the Sabbath, and it is the beginning of the world to come.”-Gill on 2 Pet. 3. 8.
“ This solemnity (the year of release) as some conjecture was a shadow of that everlasting Sabbath expected in the heavens. And this is supposed to be the foundation of the opinion of a learned Rabbi, who asserts that the world should continue for six thousand years; but the seventh thousand should be the great sabbatical year: the six thousand answering to the six working days of the week, and the seventh to the Sabbath. His words are, Six thousand years the world shall be, and again it shall be destroyed; two thousand shall be void, two thousand under the law, and two thousand under the Messiah. The substance of this opinion is certainly to be rejected as too curious; yet since it was delivered by a Jew, it may serve to prove against them that the Messiah is already come, and that the law of Moses ceased at his coming.”—Lewis's Heb. Antiq. vol. ii. p. 611.
“ As for the general reason on which the law con. cerning the sabbatical year was grounded, it was no doubt partly political and civil, to prevent the land from being worn out by continual tilling ; partly religious, to afford the poor and labouring people more leisure one year in seven to attend to devotional exercises ; and partly mystical, typifying that spiritual rest which Christ will give to all who come unto him. Some, both Jews and Christians, make the sabbatical year to be typical of the Millennium. For as the law consecrates the