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xlii. 14. That as the humble Shiloh truly came ere the sceptre had departed from Judah, so will the Lord when he builds up Zion appear in his glory. Gen. xlix. 10. Ps. cx. 16. That as, when formerly he appeared in our world, the Jewish nation“ saw in him no form nor comeliness," so will he be “the Desire of all nations" when he comes again. Is. liii. 2. Hag. ii. 7. That as, at his first coming, he was truly “ a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," he will, at his return, “ rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in his people.” Is. liii. 3. Ixv. 19. That as the children of Israel have really remained "many days without a king and without a prince," so they will, in the same sense, have this reproach removed, when, in the latter days, they “shall return and seek the Lord their God and The Beloved, their King.” Hos. iii. 4, 5. That as he who " is to be Ruler in Israel” was really born in Bethlehem, so, when he has a returned unto Zion, he will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.” Micah v. 2. Zech. viii. 3. That as “the city and the Sanctuary” were really destroyed by " the people of the prince” who came to execute the vengeance of God, so will the House of the Lord of hosts “ be built" again when he is " returned to Jerusalem with mercies,” Dan. ix. 26. Zech. i. 16. That as really as his disciples "hid their faces from him” in the hour of his distress, shall
many people and strong nations come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.” Is. liii. 2. Zech. viii. 22. That as on Calvary, he really “made his soul an offering for sin," so will he
you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven.” Such reasoning proceeds on a very imperfect view of the Savior's character. The Examinator does not, however, always adhere to this partial delineation. He repeatedly asserts that Christ came again at the destruction of Jerusalem. This, while it sets at nought his idea of peacefulness as the only ingredient in the character of Christ, appears the more surprising as it is an assertion which the Scriptures do not warrant. Not that this act of his justice was inconsistent with his character of mercy-which would not have been sullied in the least although he had chosen to come personally for the infliction of his vengeance on the guilty city-but the Scriptures do not authorize the Examinator to make such an assertion, and it is in itself subversive of the objection adduced.
reign“ in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.” Is. liii. 10. xxiv. 23.
Whatfvalid reason can be offered for putting a spiritual interpretation on the one class of predictions, in the above series, which was not extended to the other? Notwithstanding of the unbelief of the Jews, those con. cerning his sufferings and death were fulfilled to the very letter; and what is there in the language of the other which should induce us to adopt a system of interpretation so opposite in its nature? This mode of spiritualizing certain prophecies appears the more exceptionable when we perceive, that while one clause of a sentence is allowed to have a literal signification, another is understood spiritually, although there be nothing observable which can direct to such a change—the system being still farther encumbered by the difficulty of managing certain portions which will in no way bend to such accommodation as it requires. Have we then no reason to fear that in thus introducing an unauthorized system of prophetic interpretation, we may be “teaching for doctrines, the commandments of men ?" Instead, therefore, of unreasonably persisting in adherence to such opinions, and putting upon Prophecy a meaning it cannot bear, let us inquire whether the more natural and the more obvious sense be not that which the Spirit of God designed. The answer to this inquiry may perhaps be read in the fact, that Prophecy has hitherto been fulfilled in its proper sense ; while the consequences of abandoning this mode of interpretation by the Jews, form a beacon which ought ever to be kept in view. By overlooking the plain declarations of his sufferings and death, they would not receive the despised Nazarene as their anointed Lord. Let us not, in defiance of their punishment, reject the more numerous declarations of his coming and kingdom in glory. Let Christians attend to the lofty descriptions of the holy prophets—let them weigh their united evidence-let them examine the multitude of these predictions, and the sublimity which pervades them-let them consider the harmony with which they all bear testimony to His Coming and abiding with his people and let them then
reflect whether it is probable that all these promises, clear as they seem, and literally as prophecy has hitherto been fulfilled, do not in reality imply, and afford evidence of the truth of Christ's personal reign on earth during the Millennium.
VIEWS OF BELIEVERS IN THE APOSTOLIC AGE CON.
CERNING THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM.
To those who oppose the above views of the Messiah's reign, it ought certainly to appear a singular omission that there should not be found in all the Epistles of the inspired apostles, nor in the writings of the Evangelists, the slightest reference to a period of such unparalelled purity and peace as the Old Testament Prophecies every where represent as still to be enjoyed upon the ear:h. Yet, in the New Testament, so interwoven are the intimations of the Coming of the Lord and the Resurrection of the saints with all reference to the Millennium, that if these events are placed after that happy time, then undeniably it contains not the most distant al. lusion to it. If Paul refers to the Millennium as the period when the sons of Abraham shall be again graffed into their own olive, “and so all Israel shall be saved," it is when “The Deliverer shall come out of Zion.” Rom. xi. 26. If Peter alludes to the Millennium as “the Times of Refreshing from the presence of the Lord,” ard "the L'imes of the Restitution of all things,” he asserts that then the Lord - shall send Jesus Christ." Acts iii. 17, 20. If the same apostle refers to the Millennium when the
promise” of God uttered by Isaiah should be fulfilled, of “new heavens and a new earth,” when Jerusalem shall be created a joy, and her people a rejoicing; still with these new heavens, and this new earth “ wherein dwelleth righteousness." our views are again directed to " the coming of the day of God," which “day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.” 2 Pet. iii. 10–13.
If our Lord himself points to the restoration of Israel at the Millennium when he calls upon the Jews then to "look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption
, draweth nigh," it is when the signs preceding His
Coming in a cloud,” begin to come to pass. Luke xxi. 27, 28. Or if he alludes to the Millennial "Kingdom" which the God of heaven shall set up at the destruction of Antichrist, when “the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heaven, shall be given to the saints of the Most High ;" still this * kingdom of God is nigh at hand," only when the indications of His Return are observable. Dan. vii. 27. Luke xxi. 27–31. Or if Paul speaks of the destruction of the Man of sin, which shall immediately precede the Millennium, he asserts that him shall the Lord “destroy with the brightness of His coming." 2 Thess. ii. 8. Does the same apostle again allude to the change upon the Inferior creation at the Millennial period, as the removal of a burden they have been made to endure ?—still “ the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.... waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body."*
If such predictions really contain allusions to the Millennium, so also are they intimately connected with the Saviour's Return, and resurrection of His saints. But if these do not contain allusions to the Millennium, then are there no references to it in either the Gospels or Epistles. And can it be believed that these should be wholly destitute of a glory which all the older prophets have announced, and of which prophetic Bards have sung in strains of highest rapture—the contemplation of which sustained them while pourtraying the dismal scenes which had to intervene-to picture forth which, images the most splendid have been employed—whose distant prospect cheered the heart of many an aged pilgrim, and its certain bequest to a much-loved offspring soothed his dying hour? It is altogether incredible,
* These passages are here brought together merely for the purpose of showing their connections. All of them will afterwards be more particularly examined, and their evidence be more fully elicited, when Individually made the subject of future consideration.
that themes which wakened every holy harp, and prospects which were held out to the faith of believers from earliest time, as the consolation of a suffering church, should have been either unprized or unnecessary at a period so much nearer its commencement. There is no room to question, no reason to doubt, that they both saw and rejoiced in the coming glory. With the Return of that Master for whom they took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, and in testimony to whose Messiahship they cheerfully laid down their lives, they beheld the realization of the Church's hopes, and the establishment of the predicted“ kingdom.” They knew that the heavens had received their Lord only “ until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began;" for unto them was 6 made known the mystery of God's will according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself, that in the dispensation of the fulness of the times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth.” Acts iii. 21. Eph. i. 9, 10. To his Return, then, was their faith continually directed, and for this they vehemently longed. The bright visions of futurity had neither been withdrawn, nor had they lost their interest, but were all to be realized in the glorious day of their returning Lord.
This view may be shown to be in perfect accordance with the declarations of the Saviour and his apostles. It has been already seen that the prophets hold out the prospect of One who shall redeem Israel from all the evils to which they have been exposed—from bondage as well as from sin. They expatiate with delight, and in the loftiest language, on the dignity of his person, the power he shall possess, the homage he shall receive, and the extent and happiness of his kingdom. And whatever interpretation we may choose to put upon such predictions, it is known to all, that at the period of our Lord's incarnation, the Jews were in expectation of a glorious Deliverer, who should then restore them to independence, and reign over them in Zion. With the great majority, this mistake had a twofold origin.