Moses Lard, as Randall noted in a comment on my previous post, was a premillennialist. So, when did he think the earth would be renewed? Further, would the renewed earth be the eternal home of the saints or only one for 1000 years (as many contemporary premillennialists think)?
Here is Lard’s answer. This is take from the closing paragraphs of his “A Theory of the Millennium,” Lard’s Quarterly 2 (October 1864), 21. After quoting Revelation 21:1-5 where the New Jerusalem descends from heaven to the new earth, he writes:
It appears, then, that no charge will take place in the earth at the commencement of the millennium; nor any at its end, until that last great battle is fought, and the judgment ended, and the wicked cast away. Then no one will be left sleeping in teh earth, nor the dust of any lying on it. Every grave will be empty. This, therefore, seems a fitting time to renew both earth and heaven. Where the saints shall be during this event we can not say. Caught up, it may be, to meet the Lord in the air, as he now descends from the throne of judgment, to dwell with his people forever. Be this, however, as it may, they are safe; and the moment has come when the old earth, like the old body, must be changed, andthe last stain of sin be blotted out forever.
In an instant, then, as we conceive, consuming no more space thant it takes to produce the spiritual body–in an instant, we say, like the explosion of a vast magazine, will the earth be wrapped in a sheet of flame; and in an instant more, all will pass away. The new earth now lies beneath the smiles of God, decked in light and loveliness such as the unfallen only know. Over it hangs the bright, glorious, outspeading heavns resplendent as the throne of the Eternal. And now to this earth, thus refitted up, the saints return to dwell forever and forever. This is to be their eternal home, their everlasting habitation. Then will be realized the truth of the Saviour’s beatitude: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” This will be a promise till that moment, then a sublime fact in the fruition of God’s children. The saints have never owned the earth, and never will, till then.
The notion, so very prevalent, that the Christian’s future home lies away in some immeasurably distant region, is only a vulgar error. No foundation whatever exists for it. God built this earth for man, and he does not intend to be defeated inhis purpose. Nothing can be weaker than to suppose that the Saviour will rebuild, out of the old material, a new earth, and then leave it to float in space without an occupant. Such will not be the case. The earth in its renewed form will be man’s everlasting dwelling-place. On it will stand the New Jerusalem, the true city of the Great King, and the home of God’s ransomed children. Here amid the splendors of that grand fane shall they spend the cycles of eternity.