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Where, now, is the harshness, where the enthusiasm, where the inconclusiveness of this line of argument? Where, also, I would ask, is there any other interpretation which deals so fairly with the language of the Prophet, not evading or explaining away a single word, but taking all as it stands; hailing the application of as much of it to Jesus of Nazareth, as the New Testament history literally warrants, and expecting the similarly literal application of the remainder, and the manifested fulfilment of it all, just as the Prophet has spoken.
The conclusion, then, which I draw from all this is, that Jesus Christ is the king spoken of in this place by Jeremiah; that at his first coming he laid hold of a part of this prophecy; and that at his second coming he will lay hold of the remaining parts of it; that is, he will reign prosperously on the earth, he will execute judgment and justice in the earth, he will restore Judah and Israel to peace and safety in their own land, and he will be acknowledged and proclaimed by them, with joy and gladness, Jehovah their Righteousness. Permit me here to suggest to any intelligent man who hears me, and does not agree with me, that it will be more suited to the importance and difficulty of the subject, and more becoming his professed zeal for the truth, to construct a grave and deliberate answer to the reasons which I have advanced, than briefly or dogmatically to deny the conclusion which I have drawn.
Making this conclusion the basis of a fresh argument, I proeeed to say, that as the Lord Jesus, at his second coming, will reign prosperously on the earth, and execute judgment and justice in the earth, it follows that the earth cannot be destroyed immediately on his second coming. Changed it may be, in whole or in part. This, together with the nature of the change, is another question; but finally destroyed it cannot be. And further, as the Lord Jesus Christ, at his second coming, will restore the Jews to their own land, it follows, that whatever change may have taken place on the earth, the geographical distinctions of countries will remain discernible, so far, at least, as will be necessary to distinguish Palestine from all the other countries of the earth; and national distinctions will remain discernible, so far, at least, as will be necessary to distinguish the Jewish nation from all the other nations of the earth. Here, again, I suggest to the intelligent objector the propriety of gravely refuting the premises, rather than rashly denying the conclusion.
We may now advance to make some further inquiries concerning this great King in his kingdom, and this must be done with all practicable brevity.
First, then, let us inquire concerning the reality and identity
of the King's person in that day. Here I begin to address a different class of persons: I mean those who have agreed with me in all I have hitherto advanced, but who, on the subject of the King's person, do not agree one with another. This point has been strenuously debated, and some of you, my brethren, well know that the hinge of the controversy among ourselves turns upon this pivot. Now I do not dogmatize to any of my brethren; I examine carefully; I declare my mind freely and boldly; but I neither set up my opinion as a standard, nor do I think or feel less kindly towards any of my fellow-students in the word of God, because they form and maintain opinions different from mine. "I speak as to wise men, judge ye what I say."
On the subject of the King's person, then, in the great day of triumph, I refer to the first prophecy addressed to the devil in the garden of Eden, Gen. iii. 15: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." I refer to the prophecy reiterated to the Patriarch, Gen. xxii. 17: "That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice." I refer to the prophecy addressed by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, Luke i. 31, 32: "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt 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."
From these passages we learn, that he who is to bruise the serpent's head is the seed of the woman-that he who is to possess the gate of his enemies, is the seed of Abraham-that he who is to sit on the thone of his father David, is that man child conceived in the womb of the Virgin, and called Jesus. What is this seed, this holy thing, but the human nature of our Lord? And how shall the prophecy be fulfilled, if the human nature of Jesus be not the conqueror and the king? If the victory be gained, and the kingdom established and administered by the out-pouring of the Holy Ghost, in the absence of the human nature of Jesus, then it is not the seed of the woman who does these things, for Jehovah the Holy Ghost was never incarnate. The prophecy says distinctly, that the seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham, the child Jesus, shall do these things; and the conclusion which I draw from this is, that our
Lord Christ, in his human nature, returning to this earth in like manner as he quitted it from Mount Olivet, will confound his adversaries, perfect his elect, restore his dispersed nation, still beloved for the fathers' sake, and establish his kingdom in righteousness.
To others this will appear an unwarrantable conclusion, and they will consider the prophecies referred to satisfactorily fulfilled, if the great consummation be brought about after a spiritual manner, seeing that the seed of the woman, by his obedience unto death, hath procured and sent the Holy Ghost to this work, and that, consequently, all that is done directly by the Spirit, may be said to be done by the Saviour in his human nature.
But according to this view, a most unwarrantable liberty is taken with our text. It makes the first clause of this passage to be literally fulfilled; the king to be literally of the stock of David (for the literal incarnation is not denied), and it makes the fourth and fifth clauses of the same passage to be spiritually fulfilled; the king not literally executing judgment and justice in the earth, after a visible manner, so as to overwhelm gainsayers, and vindicate his friends in the eyes of the world, but spiritually establishing righteousness in the hearts of his people. Is this distinction authorized or warranted by the prophecy itself? or is it introduced in order to accommodate the prophecy to the supposed interpretation? We reject it, and maintain consistently, that the reign of the seed of David will be as literal as his incarnation. The angel Gabriel said to the Virgin Mary, 1. thou shalt bring forth a son; 2. the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. Here were two prophecies. Had Mary applied to the former the canon of interpretation now commonly applied to the latter, she could not have believed that she was literally to bear a son. If we would apply to the latter the canon of interpretation which history has shewn to belong to the former, we could not deny the personal, literal reign of Jesus Christ over the twelve tribes of Israel in Jerusalem. The only objection which can be urged against this is unbelief. Thus saith the Lord God concerning Mary, "Blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord."
2. Let us inquire concerning the appearance of the king's person in that day. On this point it seems to me, that the history of the transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor, was intended to instruct us; that transfiguration being, as I think, a specimen and earnest of the glorious appearance of our Lord the King in his kingdom. It was a prophecy by a fact. God
reveals his purposes in two ways: there are prophecies in words, and prophecies by facts. When God said, by his servant Daniel, "Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself;" there was a prophecy in words, of the vicarious death of the Lord Jesus. When the Jewish people "took every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house . . a lamb without blemish . . . . and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel killed it in the evening, and they took of the blood, and struck it on the two side-posts, and on the upper door-post of the houses," there was a prophecy by a fact, of the same vicarious death. Compare Exod. xii. 1-14, with 1 Cor. v. 7.
When David said, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption;" there was a prophecy in words, of the resurrection of Jesus Christ: (Acts ii. 24-30:) when Jonah was enclosed in the whale, and the third day vomited forth again on the dry land, there was a prophecy by a fact, of the same resurrection. Matt. xii. 39, 40.
When the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of Jeremiah, said, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers But this shall be the covenant . . I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts," &c.-there was a prophecy in words, of the new covenant. When Sarah, the free woman, bare a son to Abraham, against the course of nature, according to the promise, and by the sovereign power of God, there was a prophecy by a fact, of the same new covenant. Gal. iv. 22-31.
So also, when Jesus said, "The Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels," he prophecied, in words, of his second advent in glory. And when he was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, on Mount Tabor, there was a prophecy by a fact, of the same glorious advent.
It was by a consideration of that glory, that Jesus had been impressing upon his disciples the importance of following him fully, and cheerfully suffering for his sake: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." In order to give this exhorta
tion full force upon them, he promises to some of them a specimen of this influential glory: "Verily, I say unto you, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." Accordingly, six days after, he was transfigured in the presence of three of them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. Thus they were supplied with some distinct idea of what the glory was to be, to the end that they might teach others, when the proper time should come for making it known. They were not to make it known until after his resurrection. Jesus charged them, saying, "Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of Man be risen again from the dead. This restriction was necessary: had his glory been proclaimed, it would have frustrated his gracious purpose of suffering: for had the rulers known him, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. It was necessary, however, that the earnest of his glorious appearance should be given previous to his resurrection; because the object of his appearing subsequent to his resurrection, being that he might be identified, and the literal resurrection of his flesh established beyond a doubt, it was of course necessary that his body should then appear, not in a glory to which they were strangers, but as it had done in ordinary before his death. At the time appointed, his disciples declared the glorious vision; and the language of St. Peter, in so doing, fully justifies the exposition of the event here given. See 2 Pet. i. 16, 17, 18; and compare Matt. xvi. 24-28, and xvii. 1—10.
The appearance of the Lord Jesus, therefore, the King of the Jews, when he shall return to this earth, and execute justice and judgment in the earth, will not be any mysterious shechinah, or inexplicable cherubim, as in typical days of old, but plainly a man, with risen flesh and bones, in figure as a man, and beaming in the glory of God.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know, that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. The King of the restored Jews shall be also the King of the risen saints in that day; for they that are Christ's, shall rise at his coming, and he shall change the bodies of our humiliation, that they may be fashioned like unto the body of his glory.
Such, brethren, is the transporting prospect set before us; and the beloved disciple says, every man that hath THIS HOPE in him, purifieth himself, even as Jesus is