« PreviousContinue »
what this ultimate coming of Elijah means, a future day must explain.
Thus we conclude our review of the prophecies of the Old Testament respecting the coming of Christ — especially respecting his glorious appearing in the last days.
We cannot but reflect how much remains to be fulfilled; nor can we be altogether surprised, that the Jews of the first advent,--and even the chosen disciples of our Lord, until they were spiritually taught to know the necessity of the CROSS OF CHRIST,- should have felt prejudice and disappointment, when they compared the life and achievements, and the death of Jesus of Nazareth, with the glorious themes of the ancient prophets respecting Messiah's victorious career and everlasting reign. But they were blessed who were not offended in him - whose “ hearts were directed,” by divine influence,“ into the love of God,” and what the apostle to the Gentiles still calls --- after the first advent, observe--" the patient waiting for Jesus Christ.”
SECOND ADVENT, &c.
PART THE THIRD.
Prophecies relating to the Second Advent, in the New
In seeking for intimations of the second advent, and its attendant events, in the New Testament, I shall pursue the same method which we have followed in reviewing the Old, observing generally the chronological order of the passages to be adduced. With these views, Dr. Macknight's Harmony of the Four Gospels will be a convenient guide through this portion of the New Testament. I shall accordingly, for the most part, adopt his order.
THE GOSPELS AND THE ACTS.
The Annunciation of the Virgin Mary.
INTIMATIONS of a second advent are found in the New
“ Thou shalt” “ bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end."*
The subsequent history of our Lord, in the days of his flesh, forbids us to apply this prophecy to that era. The Son of David, at that time, found no throne; the scene of his exaltation was the shameful cross; he wore no crown, but the crown of thorns; the reedy sceptre, forced into his hands, mocked, in his dying hours, the pretensions of his Majesty! So neither can that part of the prophecy before us, which speaks of the “ throne of David,” of “
reigning over the house of Jacob,” be applied to the exaltation of the blessed Jesus at his resurrection. He was then, indeed, “ declared to be the Son of God in power;" but to “ sit down at the right
• Luke, i. 31, &c.
hand of the Majesty on high, from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool,” was not, in any sense, to gain possession of “ the throne of his father David.” Nor can the reins of the providential government, which are committed to the risen Saviour, and which he retains in his own hands, be considered as reigning over the house of Jacob,--as it is written, “from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.” His spiritual reign in the hearts of the Israel of God might, indeed, be considered as no unmeet antitype of this reigning over the house of Jacob; yet this government the Redeemer does not now personally exercise — not here on earth at least--but, as it is represented in Scripture, in his absence has committed his flock to the personal care and management of the Holy Ghost The COMFORTER. We have learned, however, from the prophecies of the Old Testament, that “ the tabernacle of David, which is thrown down,” is again to be “ erected,” and that after “ the children of Israel shall have abode many days without a king,” they shall, “ in the latter days, return and seek unto Jehovah their God and David their king;" and that He that now sitteth at the right hand of God, shall come again into this lower world, and shall reign in Jerusalem, and from Zion, his first dominion, shall govern the nations
By every rule of interpretation, therefore, the prophecy we are considering must be referred to that season; and we shall have abundant opportunity to remark on several passages which are to come before us, that a real and personal reigning of their Messiah over Israel, as the Head of the nations of the world, was what the Jews of our Lord's days - including his own disciples — were fully expecting in view of his appearing.
Such was evidently the kingdom which they were waiting to see manifested, who believed the report when the Baptist, and the early messengers of Jesus, proclaimed " the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” From the Old Testament prophecies, they could hardly have expected any other in its full development. Only this they had overlooked, that, according to the same Scriptures, the foundations of this glorious kingdom must be laid in the sufferings, in the death, and in the spiritual victories of the Lord Messiah. This oversight he severely blames, on a subsequent occasion, in his own disciples,—“O fools, and slow of heart, to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and [then] to enter into his glory ?”
Thus the ancient father, Irenæus, represents the spiritual Christian as about to judge the Jews : *" in that they are willingly ignorant that all the prophets have announced two advents of Christ;'-one, in which he should be made subject to stripes, and be taught to bear infirmity, should sit on the foal of an ass, should be the stone rejected by the builders, and should be led as a lamb to the slaughter; and when, by the extending of his hands, dissolving Amalek, gathering the dispersed children from the ends of the earth into the fold of the Father, remembering also his dead that had before fallen asleep, and descending unto them, he should deliver them and save us ;
second, in which he will come in the clouds, bringing that “ day which shall burn as an oven,” “ smiting the earth with the word of his mouth, and with the Spirit of his lips slaying the wicked,” &c. &c.+
* In reference to 1 Cor. ii. 15.