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2. The Scriptures declare, in the plainest language, and in the most unequivocal terms, that the Lord Jesus Christ, who now appears in the presence of God for us, shall descend from heaven and reign on this redeemed earth as King. In proceeding to lay before you, my readers, some of the passages of Scripture bearing on this point, let me entreat of you to lay aside for a moment all pre-conceived opinions, and to hear what the Lord saith: and settle it first in your hearts, that all that the Lord hath spoken shall be accomplished; not one word shall fail thereof. Without this, the Bible is an empty book. Take away the letter of the Bible-in other words, say that
every sentence shall not receive a literal and exact fulfilment-and you divest it at once of its spirit, its power, and its life; you destroy the hopes of the Christian, and become the abettors of infidelity! Oh, let us contend for it, and let bind it to our hearts
a most precious truth never to be forgotten, that the whole Bible shall be most literally and substantially fulfilled, and that not one jot or tittle of it shall fail.
The first passage to which we shall direct our attention is contained in the ix th chapter of Isaiah : “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his Name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father (or the Father of the everlasting age), The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of bis government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it and establish it from henceforth, even for ever. Now this is a most comprehensive prophecy: it begins at the birth of our Lord, and carries us ou to the period of his second advent. We know how literally the first part of this prophecy has been fulfilled, for it is an historical fact that the Virgin Mary did conceive and bear a Son: and all that we now contend for is, that the remaining part of this prophecy shall be fulfilled in the same way as the former; that Jesus shall be manifested as the Father of the everlasting age, the Prince of peace; and that he shall sit upon the throne of his father David-of David after the flesh. Some say that they believe the former because it is accomplished: we believe the latter because it is promised. This is faith, the other is not faith. Some say, that Christ now sits upon the throne of David : but “heaven is my throne,” saith the Lord, and how then was David's throne in heaven? Others suppose that the indwelling of the Holy Ghost is meant by these expressions : but when, I would ask again, was David's throne erected in the believer's heart? Oh! we do not so interpret other passages of Scripture. Nor does the Holy Spirit so interpret this. God, speaking by the Prophet Amos, says, “ In that
day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof: and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.” See also Micah iv. 6—13, Luke i. 33, and the other parallel passages.-If we turn to the xxist of Ezekiel, we shall find that the different changes in the governments of the world are but as so many preparatory steps which ultimately lead to the reign of the Just One: “And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come when iniquity shall have an end, thus saith the Lord God, Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same : exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it : and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is, and I will give it him.” Although, therefore, the Son of David has not yet taken possession of the land, according to the everlasting covenant made with the seed of Abraham (Gen. xv. 18, with Gal. ii. 16), the promise of the Almighty Father still standeth good. Accordingly, in the Apocalypse (which is a shewing forth of the coming of the Just One), when the period of his manifestation is arrived, "great voices are heard in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.”—If we turn to the Prophet Daniel, we shall find it declared that the fourth monarchy, which is the Roman, and which we now behold in its last and degenerate state, shall be succeeded only by the reign of Christ. In the iid chap. 44th ver. it is thus written: “ And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed : and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” The same truths are repeated in the viith chap. vers. 13, 14: “ I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days; and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him : his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. It is worthy of observation, that in all these passages the Redeemer's reign is spoken of as commencing with the destruction of the Roman empire. In the 21st verse it is said, “ The same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given unto the saints of the Most High ; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” This deserves particular attention. And I would remark here, that both in the Old and New Testament the reign of our Lord is ever spoken of as subsequent to
the destruction of Antichrist, and not prior to that period. Thus, in the xxxist of Isaiah, where the destruction of the Assyrian is spoken of, it immediately follows, “ Behold, a King shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.” In the xxivth it is declared, that“ in the day that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth that are on the earth," that “ then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and before his ancients gloriously.” And in the following chapter the prophet speaks of the resurrection of the dead, and the advent of our Lord, as a consequence of the destruction of Moab, and makes it the precursor of millennial blessedness; and then follows the song of praise which “shall be sung in that day in the land of Judah” (xxv. 1–7).
There are many other passages of Scripture which speak to the same effect, but I shall refer at present but to one more as illustrative of this great truth. In the xix th of Revel. we have a most sublime description of the coming of the Just One: the battle of Armageddon ensues; the beast and the false prophet are taken ; the infidel party, who are gathered together to make war with the Lamb, die, not the common death of all men, but they go down alive into hell, like the company of Dathan and Abiram; and the remnant are slain with the sword of Him who sitteth on the horse, and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. On this, Satan is cast out; and then follows the millennial reign : “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them : and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thou
This is the commencement of the Redeemer's reign,“ whose kingdom shall have no end." Then shall it be said, in the language of the xlvii th Psalm, “ The Lord Most High is terrible ; he is a great King over all the earth : sing ye praises with understanding. God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth on the throne of his holiness.” Most manifest it is, from these passages alone, that he that shall rule over men is the Just One; and that when he has completed his mediatorial office, and not before, he shall come forth from the most holy place, and pass from the priestly into the kingly office. He, having received the kingdom (as we are taught in the parable of the nobleman who went into a far country), shall return to set it up. (Dan. vii. 9, 10, 13, 14). Then he shall be King, yea, King of kings and Lord of lords. Then shall be understood the nature of that testimony which he bore before
Pontius Pilate, when he said, “ Art thou a king then?” and Jesus replied, "Thou sayest that I am a King To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” This is the truth unto which Jesus bore testimony; and it is remarkable, that for this testimony he was put to death : for such was his accusation affixed to his cross, written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin; “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” What marvel, then, if those who now stand up for the truth should in like manner suffer persecution ? The wonder would be if it were not so, for
the disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord.” But it is a consoling thought, that every one that is of the truth will attend to this (John xix. 37). And what if it be now especially brought forward, in these days of religious profession, as a test of discipleship? True it is that every sincere disciple of Jesus will “ love his appearing” (2 Tim. iv. 8); will watch for his coming (Luke xii. 37; 1 Thess. i. 10); and will
for it (Rev. xxii. 20). He will long to see the King in his beauty, to see him sit upon the throne of his glory, when this devilpossessed world shall be rescued from the enemy, and Christ shall bruise him under his feet; and therefore he prays God to quicken his coming: "That it may please thee of thy gracious goodness shortly to accomplish the number of thine elect, and to hasten thy kingdom ; that we, with all those that are departed in the true faith of thy holy name, may have our perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and soul, in thy eternal and everlasting glory : through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Let us notice, in the second place, the blessedness of Christ's reign on earth. This is declared in 2 Sam. xxiii. 4, to which we have already referred : “ And as the light of morning, a morning unclouded, shining with splendour, with showers like grass from the earth.” The language here employed to convey an idea of the blessedness of that day is very striking and beautiful. It is not sufficient to liken it to the “ morning,” nor unto “a morning without clouds,” but to a morning “ shining with splendour.” The presence of the Redeemer will disperse every thing which opposeth the happiness, peace, and joy of his people. The clouds of ignorance, of sin, and sorrow, which now hang over them, will
, flee away, and their present trials shall be turned into the fulness of eternal and ineffable joy.
The language here used to illustrate the blessedness of the Redeemer's kingdom will apply to the judgment he will execute at his coming. He will then discern between the righteous and the wicked; will separate the chaff from the wheat, the goats from the sheep. Now they are mixed together; and much uneasiness and many a cloudy day arise to the church on account
of it: but then these clouds will have passed away; the wicked will be driven from the presence of the Lamb with an everlasting destruction; and the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
The figures employed in the passage under consideration will serve to illustrate the happiness and eralted felicity of the righteous on that day. The servants of the Redeemer are now often under a cloud: they are tried in various ways-by the loss of friends, by the hard speeches and persecutions of the ungodly, But then they shall no longer be oppressed or afflicted : it will be an unclouded day to them, a day shining with splendour. They will then “receive their adoption, even the redemption of their body," which shall be "made like unto Christ's glorious body ;” and “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." The whole company of heaven shall now meet around the throne of God and the Lamb.“ They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, or any heat : for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Yes, the morning of the Redeemer's advent will be unto them "a morning without clouds,” a morning "shining with brightness.” The dew of that morning will be “as grass upon the earth,” even “as the dew of herbs; and the earth shall cast out her dead.” The Prophet Isaiah, foreseeing this, says (xxv. 7,8),“ And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall.be taken away from off all the earth: for the Lord bath spoken it.”
The day of the Lord's coming will be also “a morning shining with splendour" in regard to “ Israel after the flesh : ” for at the second coming of the Lord "he will set his hand a second time to recover the remnant of his people which shall be left," &c. (Isai. xi. 11-16). The same thing is declared by the Prophet Jeremiah, xxiii. 5–8: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch; and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely,” &c.
The advent of our Lord will be “ a morning shining with splendour,” in respect to Jerusalem at that time. Now she is " become a proverb, and a by-word among all nations ;” but then she shall be called “ Beautiful for situation : the joy of
VOL. II.-NO. III.