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it in the Millennium. For first, this spiritual power has been exerted in the hearts of his people from their first acquaintance with him by the Spirit: whereas the kingdom whereof I inquire did not commence, as we have seen, either at the birth or ascension of Christ, but is still future. And, secondly, the rule of Christ is to end; whereas this ruling by the Spirit in his people is never to end. It will be “He in them and they in Him” throughout eternity.
3. And if any would nevertheless insist, that the kingdom is no more than a great revival of religion in the generation which shall live at the Millennium; I would again point to those Scriptures which shew, that the kingdom is introduced by the personal advent of the Lord Jesus, and entreat of them either to prove, that these several passages do not relate to the personal coming of Christ, or to endeavour to reconcile with them their notions of the Millennium.
I shall now notice two or three places of Scripture, which may be objected to this view of the kingdom.
1. The kingdom of heaven is sometimes spoken of as being "at hand”—“nigh”—“even at the doors;" &c. from which some infer, that it must have existed either in our Saviour's time, or soon after. But this is no more than is stated of other events, which we nevertheless believe are even yet to come. For example: "The LORD is at hand”_"the coming of the Lord draweth near”—“the end of all things is at hand."i The former places concerning the kingdom, may indeed have some reference to the work of preparation—the introduction of the gospel kingdom; but they may also be explained in that way, in which we are compelled to explain the latter, viz. by concluding that the Holy Ghost would have us speak of these events in such manner, as that we may stand prepared for them and waiting their approach; and not, because we may presume, or even be assured, that the end is not by and by, to divert men's attention from it, by telling them that their only concern is with death.
2. Another objection is grounded upon that Scripture,“There be some standing here who shall not taste of death, until they see the kingdom of God come with power;"); from whence it is concluded that the kingdom must have been set up, and even manifested, before all the persons died, who were then standing in the presence of Jesus. I doubt not but the passage has a direct reference to the glorious manifestation of the kingdom; because St. Matthew calls it seeing the Son of Man coming in his kingdom”—another proof that the advent
h Matt. iii. 2; iv. 17; x. 7; Mark i. 15, &c. i Phil. iv. 5; Jas, v. 8; Pet. iv. 7. į Mark ix. 1.
and kingdom take place together. But attention to the context, and a comparison with it of another Scripture, will shew, that it is not the commencement of the period of glorious manifestation that is meant; but a visible earnest and specimen of it. This saying, in all the three Gospels where it occurs, is immediately followed by the relation, that Jesus, about eight days after (that is, eight days after this saying, -as if to mark its connection with the event narrated,) took Peter, James and John up into a mountain apart, and appeared unto them in glory, together with Moses and Elijah. And this very transaction, St. Peter, who was one of the three, calls the POWER and COMING of our Lord Jesus Christ; the majesty of which (he says) he was an eye witness of, when he was with him in the holy mount.
3. The next objection is grounded on the words of Jesus to Pilate,—"My kingdom is not of this world.”
copy here the opinion of Koppe. He says-"In fine, John xviii. 36, I cannot see to signify any thing but this, (which we learn from the whole tenor of the life and doctrines of Jesus,) that the kingdom of Christ would not be like the kingdom of "men: that is, especially, it would not be established by human power, nor by the might of human armies. This was the only thing that was required to be stated to the Roman Procurator to deliver him from the fear that Jesus might in any degree assail the authority of the Roman empire. From this place at least no proof can be deduced on either side to determine the nature of that kingdom whose king Jesus acknowledged himself to be; and whether Jesus meant and wished to be understood by the formula 'my kingdom,' only a new religion delivered to men, or a kingdom hereafter to be set up in the new heavens and earth, after the face of the whole earth shall have been entirely changed. And certainly interpreters have no reason to appeal to the words v. 37, 'For this cause was I born, that I might bear witness to the truth,' as a vindication of kingdom of God,' signifying the true religion; for the whole of that verse contains just this assertion; that he spoke the truth, in declaring himself a king. “My character and my whole office is to be true in all that I speak; wherefore, thou mayest rely upon it, I am
4. The last Scripture, which I shall now notice as an objection, is the answer given by our Lord, when demanded of the Pharisees, When the kingdom of God should come. “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation; neither shall they say, lo here! or, lo there! for behold the kingdom of God is within you."
Chap. xvi. 28. 12 Pet. 16–18. m Luke xvii. 20. 21.
There is an acknowledged difficulty with this passage, whatever interpretation may be given to it: and did it seem to speak more clearly for the other side of the question than it does, yet, considering the mass of testimony brought forward in support of the view I have taken, sound principles of exposition require of us, that we should seek a meaning in this text reconcileable with, and not destructive of, the numerous places I have adduced. The ordinary explanation given by commentators is, that the kingdom of God within them, must signify the dominion of grace in the heart; against which interpretation the following exceptions may be taken. First it would imply, that Joseph of Arimathea, who was still waiting for the kingdom," was without this inward grace, whilst the Pharisees possessed it. Therefore some would interpret it, the kingdom of God is among you: but it does not appear that the word rendered within is ever used by the Greek writers of the Old or New Testaments in the sense contended for; and it is extremely doubtful if profane writers so use it.* Certainly Joseph could not have been waiting for the kingdom in that spirit of faith, which the mention of him seems to imply, unless the kingdom of God had been also within him in a spiritual sense: nor could he with propriety have been said to be waiting for it, had it been among them. And this plainly indicates, that the promises concerning the kingdom are not to be limited to the means of grace, or to the work of grace, though they may include it; but that they have a reference to its glorious manifestation and prevalence. In the spiritual sense, the kingdom cometh not with observation; for the Spirit is like the wind: "we cannot see from whence it cometh nor whither it goeth.” But in regard to the manifestation of the kingdom, our Lord has described the signs, by which we may observe its approach, and know that the kingdom of God draweth nigh. And he clearly shows that it was not manifested in his days, since he spake a parable for the express purpose of correcting the notions of those who thought "that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.” (Luke xix.) Let the reader examine himself, whether he have this spiritual “earnest of the inheritance;" —whether it may be said of him, “that the kingdom of God is not in word only but in power;”—and “that God hath thus translated him into the kingdom of his dear Son.".
n Mark xv. 43. o1 Cor. iv. 20; Col. i. 13. * See Parkhurst on the word ertos; and see likewise this objection ably treated in the Investigator, Vol. I. p. 99.
The Place of Manifestation.
Having proved, as I trust, in my last essay, that the manifestation of the kingdom of God is yet future, I proceed now to inquire into the place or scene of that manifestation. This, I do not hesitate to say, will be on earth; and that Palestine, or the Holy Land, (particularly the region of Mount Zion,) will be the spot where Christ and his risen saints will more especially be revealed.
1. In regard to the Land in general, let us consider the terms of the covenant made with Abraham and the patriarchs -that very covenant of
under which the christian church is now walking. God repeatedly promised to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, personally and respectively, as also to their seed, that he would give them the land in which they were strangers. It is to the repetition of these promises and their amplification St. Paul seems to refer, when he speaks of the covenants of promise in the plural:b and certainly he refers to these in the Epistle to the Galatians, when he insists that the promise to Abraham and his seed continues in full force under the Gospel; not allowing that the covenant afterwards made with Moses had any power to do away or alter these.
The question then arises,—Has this promise been fulfilled to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob? Some will reply, “Yes; their posterity possessed it, and thus the patriarchs themselves may be said to have enjoyed the land:" but this reply will neither suit the terms of the covenant, nor the faithfulness of God, who declares, that not one jot or tittle shall fail of all that he hath spoken. I must repeat and beg particular attention to the circumstance, that the promise to each of the three patriarchs is—"to THEE will I give it AND to thy SEED;" which, if words can plainly express a thing, does clearly imply, that there must be a special fulfilment of the promise to them, as well as to their posterity. They all indeed dwelt in the land, but not as proprietors; for, excepting a burial place, they had no possession of it at all, “but confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims." This very fact St. Paul instances in order to prove, that they sought a country, yet died without receiving the promises. And St. Stephen notices also, “that though God promised to give the land to Abraham for a possession, and to his seed after him, yet, that he gave
him none Genesis xiii. 15; xvii. 8; xxvi. 3; xxviii. 13; Exod. vi. 3, 4. b Ephes. ii. 12. «Gal. iii. 16-19. a Heb. xi. 13—16, 39.
inheritance in it-no not so much as to set his foot on."
It is unwarrantable therefore to say of them, that the promise was fulfilled; when these two places of Scripture so clearly contend that it was not.
2. Secondly, in regard to the seed; though I grant that Abraham's posterity was led up into the land, and possessed it; yet I contend, that even these never held it according to the full terms of the promise, and that their possession of it was but the type and pledge, which the Lord usually grants, when the great promise is deferred to a distant period. Thus the Apostle, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, argues,--that if the rest in the land, into which they were led under Joshua, were the real rest covenanted, then would not God afterwards have spoken of a fulure rest, as he does in David. And in the Epistle to the Ephesians he reminds children of the promise attached to the fifth commandment; (viz. that their days may be long in the land;) which would be unmeaning, as regards gentile children, were it applicable only to the Jews; and the more so, as the Jews themselves were then just about to be again rejected from the land. As to that interpretation which refers iť to the comparative longevity in those times of obedient children, it is contradicted by the fact, that persecutions shortened the lives of christians below the ordinary term, instead of their “iving long upon the earth.”
In regard to the terms of the grant also—the land was given to Abraham from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates:8 but his seed did not possess it to this extent, unless it were for a short period during the reign of Solomon. And if we understand that grant to Abraham as St. Paul explains it-viz. "that he should be heir of the world”h—it has plainly never been fulfilled. It was likewise given to them for an everlasting possession; and Amos therefore speaks of a time when Israel “shall no more be pulled up out of their land;'i which of necessity points to some future occupation, since they have possessed it only to be twice 'pulled up,' and now for nearly two thousand years peeled and scattered among the nations.
The early christian Fathers fully concur in this view. Treating of the blessing pronounced by Isaac on Jacob,—“God give thee of the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth, &c. Let people serve thee and nations bow down to thee, &c.”—Irenæus says, “that it was not made good to him in this life, and therefore without doubt those words had a further aim and prospect on the times of the kingdom, when the just rising from the dead shall reign, and when nature renewed and set at liberty
e Acts vii. 4,5. f Heb. iv, 7-9. & Gen. xv. 18-21. h Rom. iv. 13. i Amos ix. 15.