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and the promises made to him in connexion therewith were of a two-fold nature—the one set of promises having reference to his literal seed, and the other, to his spiritual seed. Hence, when “ Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness," he was at that time uncircumcised; "that he might be the father," or, federal head, "of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed to them also." Hence it is expressly stated that "they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the Gentiles be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” For “ Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us : " that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit ”—which is a Hebraism, for “the promised Spirit”—“through faith.” “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." ' And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise,” i.e., the promise made to Abraham himself before referred to.?
Moreover, we saw in our review of God's dealings with Israel, that He always has had, and always will have, “a remnant" out of them, “ according to the election of grace.” And this same Apostle, who is supposed to set forth this doctrine, expressly assures us, that “some” only of “the branches ” of the Jewish "olive tree” of privilege have been “broken off”; and that the Gentiles, being but “a wild olive tree," have been “grafted in among them, and with them partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree; and that so far from bearing the root, the root bears them ! 3 To assert, therefore, in the face of such Scriptures as the foregoing, that the Old Testament saints form no part of the Church of Christ; and that Christians after Pentecost will necessarily, as such, have a higher position in the glory than they; especially after our Lord has solemnly told us, “ that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of the heavens ;” while many high professors shall be cast out : for “behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last”?_is to say the least of it in the highest degree unscriptural and presumptuous.
1 Rom. iv. 3, 10, 11.
? Gal. iii. 7-9, 13, 14, 26, 29.
3 Rom. xi. 17, 18. 2 Luke xiii. 30.
The calling out of the Jewish branch of the Church at Pentecost.
St. Paul, in proposing the question “What advantage” “the Jew" had over the Gentile, “or, what profit” was there of “circumcision”? replies, “Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.”3 And again, he says, unto the “Israelites ” “ pertained the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, Who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.'
Amen."4 Or, in other words, in accordance with our Lord's own declaration, to them pertained the exclusive privileges of “the Kingdom of God.” For although the right to rule in the earth had been taken away from them, as we have seen, in consequence of their abuse of it; and conferred upon certain favoured Gentile nations : yet they still continued in the possession of the privileges of the Kingdom of God, until they forfeited these also by their rejection of the Christ of God Himself. For when “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not;" and these “builders rejected ” “ the stone,” which was to “become the head of
3 Rom. iii. 1, 2.
4 Rom. ix. 4, 5.
1 Matt. viii. 11.
” He solemnly assured them, that "the Kingdom of God should be taken from” “them," in consequence, “and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof”— not of course to any other earthly nation, but to that“ chosen generation,” that "royal priesthood," that “holy nation,” that “peculiar people," " which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy the then future“ Church ” of the living God, to whom this Kingdom was to be committed.
And so, “when Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi,” and “ asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?” and received from them the reply, “Some say that Thou art John the Baptist : some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets -not even one of them acknowledging Him as the Christ of God and when He further asked them, “But whom say ye that I am ? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God;" “ Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter," Tétpos, a stone, “and upon this rock," Trétpa, i.e., Myself, through the cement of a living Divinelywrought faith in Me,4 “ will I build My Church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the Keys of the Kingdom of heaven,' &c. We have here then Christ's first revelation to His disciples of His Divine purpose to take the Kingdom of God from the Jewish nation, as such, and to confer it upon a visible body of believers holding the same faith in Him as the Son of God, as Peter did; and that Peter himself should, in consequence of this his noble confession of Christ, be the one to whom the keys of the door, or entrance into this Kingdom, should be committed; in order that he might be the
1 John i. 11 ; Matt. xxi. 42. a Matt. xxi. 42, 43. * Compare Eph. ii. 8-10, 19.22; 1 Peter ii. 4-8.
31 Peter ii. 9, 10. 5 Matt. xvi, 13-19.
favoured one to open it in the first instance “to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile."1
The meaning, then, of this promise to Peter is this. In Isaiah xxii. 20-22, we find a promise made to “Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah :"-"And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder : so he shall open, and none shall shut ; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” Now the meaning of “Eliakim ” is, “whom God set up,” i.e., establishes; and he therefore here shadows forth Him of Whom it is written, “Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up," or anointed, i.e., as the Christ, for the office of Mediator, “from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.”2 And so Jesus Himself tells us, in allusion to these Scriptures, in Rev. iii. 7, “ These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the Key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.” Hence Jesus Himself, as the “one Mediator between God and man,” had committed to Him, and now possesses, the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, as He instructs us in John vi. 37-40, and other places.
These keys, then, were two at least, and our Lord gave both of them, for a short time, to Peter, for the express purpose only of opening the door, in the first instance into the Kingdom : and, as a matter of fact, he did open it to both Jew and Gentile, as we shall see. Christ tells us that He Himself is the door; “Verily, verily, I say unto you I am the door of the sheep.” “I am the door ; by Me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.” “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me." This door indeed, is one ; but like the door of the temple mentioned in Ezekiel, it had “two leaves; "s with a separate key likewise to each fold; and when Christ was rejected by the Jewish nation, as such, this door was then closed both upon Jew, as well as upon Gentile. Thus our Lord, in addressing the Pharisees and Lawyers, who had rejected Him, says, “ Woe unto you, lawyers ! for ye have taken away the Key of knowledge : ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered."'i “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye shut up the Kingdom of heaven against men : for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer them that are entering to go in.” And the Apostle Paul, when addressing a Gentile Church, and referring to this period, likewise said of them, “Wherefore remember
3 Jobn x. 7-9.
i Rom. i. 16.
? Prov. viii. 22, 23.
that at that time," i.e., before the door had been opened unto you Gentiles, “ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world."3
It was to Peter alone then, to whom Jesus, just for a moment, as it were, gave these keys, that he might be the privileged instrument in His hands, of opening the door into the kingdom: and as a matter of fact (as I have said), he did open it “ to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.” To the Jew he opened it on the day of Pentecost, by “the key of knowledge” of a crucified Redeemer: when the Jewish branch of the Christian Church was first formed; and separated, as such, into a distinct body, from the nation at large. For we read, that, “when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Then "Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judæa, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken unto my words: for "" this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come
I Luke xi. 52.
2 Matt. xxiii, 13.
3 Eph. ii. 11, 12