The works of the pious and profoundly-learned Joseph Mede, B.D., sometime fellow of Christ's Colledge in Cambridge
Mede, Joseph, 1586-1638., Worthington, John, 1618-1671.

EPISTLE XXII.

Mr. Mede's Answer to the Tenth Quaere, about the 1000 years Regnum Sanctorum.

SIR,

BY reason of this late indisposition I was not fit for any matter of study till yester∣day: howsoever, I considered than Dr. T. his Answers to the Objections, and applaud them, finding through them all a right and dexterous apprehension of the thing questioned, which many are very uncapable to conceive. But because he leaves the last unanswered, I suppose it was tacitely reserved to me for Tithe, himself having answered Nine. I will therefore, as well as I can, propound what I had before con∣ceived might be answered to such an Objection; wherein you shall also perceive in part wherein I differ from the Lutheran.

  • 1. Therefore, It is not needful that the Resurrection of those which slept in Christ, and the Rapture of those which shall be left alive together with them into the Aire, should be at one and the same time: For the words*〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, first and then or afterwards, may admit a great distance of time, as 1 Cor. 15. 23. Every one (or, all mankind) shall rise in their order, Christ the first-fruits (that is, first,) 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉after∣wards they that are Christ's, at his coming. Here 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, afterwards, notes a distance of time of above a thousand and a half of years, as we find by experience. Suppose therefore this Rapture of the Saints into the Aire be to translate them to Heaven; yet it might be construed thus, The dead in Christ (that is, for Christ, namely, the Mar∣tyrs) shall rise first; afterwards,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, (viz. a thousand years after) we which are alive and remain shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, and meet the Lord in the Aire, and so (from thenceforth) we shall ever be with the Lord. Thus Tertullian seems to understand it, who interprets 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or as it is in ver. 14. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, of Martyrs; namely, such as die propter Christum, for Christ, by means of Christ, through Christ, for Christ's sake; taking 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 as noting the cause or means of their death. So Piscator expounds the like speech, Apoc. 14. 13. Blessed are the dead which die 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 id est, propter Dominum, for the Lord; Beza, qui Domini causâ moriuntur, which die for the Lord's sake.
  • 2. If thus to restrain 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 seem not so fully to answer the Apostle's scope and intention, which seems to be a general consolation to all that die in the faith, a fruition of Christ: then may we give it the largest sense, and yet say, That it is not needful that the Resurrection of those which died in Christ should be all at once or altogether; but the Martyrs first, in the First resurrection; then (after an appointed time) the rest of the dead in the Last resurrection; afterward, when the Resurrection shall be thus compleat, those which remain alive at Christ's coming shall together with those which are risen be caught up into the clouds, to meet the Lord in the Aire, and from thenceforth be eternally with him. And so the reason why those which Christ found alive at his coming were not instantly translated should be in part, that they might not prevent the dead, but be consummate with them.
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    3. Both these Interpretations suppose the Rapture of the Saints into the Clouds to be for their present translation into Heaven. But suppose that be not the meaning of it; for the words, if we weigh them well, seem to imply it to be for another end, name∣ly, To do honour unto their Lord and King at his return, and to attend upon him when he comes to judge the World: Those (saith the Text) which sleep in Iesus, will God bring with him; he saith not, carry away with him. Again, They and those which are alive shall be caught up together in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the Aire; to meet the Lord's coming hither to Iudgment; not to follow him returning hence, the Iudg∣ment being finished. Besides, it is to be noted, that although in the Hebrew notion the Aire be comprehended under the name of Heaven, yet would not the Apostle here use the word Heaven, but the word [Aire,] as it were to avoid the ambiguity, lest we might interpret it of our translation into Heaven.

    If this be the meaning, then are those words [We shall ever be with the Lord] thus to be interpreted; After this our gathering together unto Christ at his coming, (so the Apostle calls this Rapture, 2 Thess. 2. 1.) we shall from henceforth never lose his pre∣sence, but always enjoy it, partly on earth, during his reign of a 1000 years, and partly in Heaven, when we shall be translated thither. For it cannot be concluded, because the Text saith, the Saints after their rapture on high should thenceforth be ever with the Lord; Ergò, they shall from thenceforth be in Heaven; for no Heaven is here mentioned. If they must needs be with Christ there where they are to meet him, it would rather follow, they should be ever with him in the Aire, than in Heaven; which I suppose none will admit. And otherwise the Text will afford no more for Heaven than it will for Earth; nay, the words [he shall bring them with him] make most for the latter.

  • 4. I will add this more, namely, what may be conceived to be the cause of this Rapture of the Saints on high to meet the Lord in the Clouds, rather than to wait his coming to the Earth. What if it be, that they may be preserved during the Confla∣gration of the earth and the works thereof, 2 Pet. 3. 10. that as Noah and his family were preserved from the Deluge by being lift up above the waters in the Ark; so should the Saints at the Conflagration be lift up in the Clouds unto their Ark, Christ, to be preserved there from the deluge of fire, wherein the wicked shall be consumed? There is a Tradition of the Iews founding this way, which they ascribe unto one Elias a Iew∣ish Doctor, whose is that* Tradition of the duration of the World, and well known among Divines, Duo millia Inane, duo millia Lex, duo millia dies Messiae; viz. Sex mille annos duraturus est Mundus. He lived under the second Temple about the first times of the Greek Monarchy; so that it is no device of any latter Rabbies, but a Tra∣dition anciently received amongst them whilst they were yet the Church of God. I will transcribe it, because it hath something remarkable concerning the 1000 years: It sounds thus.

Traditio domûs Eliae. Iusti quos resuscitabit Deus non redigentur iterum in pulverem. (He means of the First and Particular Resurrection before the General, which the Iews acknowledge and talk much of. See Wisdom, chap. 3. ab initio ad finem v. 8.) Si quaeras autem, Mille annis istis quibus Deus Sanctus Benedictus renovaturus est mundum suum (de quibus dicitur, Et exaltabitur Dominus solus in die illo, Es. 2. 11.) quid justis futurum sit; sciendum, quòd Deus Sanctus Benedictus dabit illis alas quasi aquilarum, ut volent super facie aquarum: unde dicitur (Psal. 46. 3.) Propterea non timebimus cùm * mutabitur terra. At fortè (inquies) erit ipsis dolori seu afflictioni. Sed occurrit illud (Esa. 40. 31.) Exspectantibus Dominum innovabuntur vires, efferentur alâ instar aquilarum. The Hebrew words are in Gemara Sanhedrin, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 The Tradition of the house of Elias. The just whom God shall raise up (viz. in the First Resurrection) shall not be turned again to dust. Now if you ask, How it shall be with the just in those Thousand years wherein the Holy Blessed God shall renew his world, whereof it is said (Esa. 2. 11.) And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day; you must know, that the Holy Blessed God will give them the wings as it were of Eagles, to fly upon the face of the waters: whence it is said (Psal. 46. 3.) Therefore shall we not fear, when the Earth shall be changed. But perhaps you will say, it shall be a pain and affliction to them. Not at all, for it is said (Esa. 40. 31.) They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as Eagles.

Page  777 I have no more left. Mr. Doctor may adde this to my Placita Iudaeorum. Thus with my best respects to your self and him, I rest,

Yours, &c. I. M.

Post-script.

Adde unto this that of our Saviour, Where the body is, there shall the Eagles be ga∣thered together.