« AnteriorContinuar »
first Epistle to the Corinthians forbids me to say more. Behold (saith the Apostle) I shew you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead "shall be raised incorruptible, and we (i. e. the saints who shall be "then living,) shall be changed. "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must "put on immortality. SO WHEN "this corruptible shall have put on
incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality, then-THEN "shall be brought to pass the saying "that is written, Death is swal"lowed up in victory. In this very mountain therefore, if Christ rose, the saints shall be manifested in immortal and incorruptible bodies —as it is written; The redeemed of the Lord shall return and come "with singing unto Zion; and
everlasting joy shall be upon their "head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning "shall flee away :"-just as before written, "He shall wipe away tears from off all faces."
from God out of heaven. And there is a connection in these types which is worthy of notice; for first we have the ultimate glorious event of
As the historical part of this subject shews, that this place has been designed and pointed out to the church at various periods as a place of manifestation ; so the prophetical passages just quoted prove, that all these different circumstances were but as the earnest of a future more glorious manifestation and possession of it by Christ and his saints, who are the real house of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and who shall come down
a priest upon a throne," (as foretold by Zechariah vi, 13,) exhibited by his eminent type, Melchizedec, to whom the church in Abraham did obeisance. For it is the frequent method of Scripture to glance in the outset at the main scope of prophecy, and to fill up intermediate events afterwards. The promise made to the church in Eve does this; for it sets forth the two grand events of prophecy,—the bruising of Messiah's heel at the offering of the atonement, and his ultimately bruising Satan under him. And thus Melchizedec's priesthood glances first at the atonement, in which our Lord in an especial manner became a priest; whilst Melchizedec's sovereignty sets forth the ultimate glory to accrue to Christ. Next we have the atonement and resurrection especially set forth in the offering of Isaac on Mount Moriah; b then the trampling down of Jerusalem by the gentile Jebusites; its recovery_by the type of Messiah militant in David; and his final peaceful reign in Solomon.
There are many other circumstances, which evince a peculiar appropriation of this place to the Lord Jesus. As he, by anticipation, was said to have been slain before the foundation of the world; c so, by a similar anticipation, he is said to have rejoiced in this earth (okovμevn) before it was made.* It is called, by the same anticipation, the holy land, d the Lord's land, e and Immanuel's land. f Zion is declared
b Heb. xi, 19.
c Rev. xiii. 8.
* A comparison of Proverbs viii, 23 & 31 in the Septuagint version will shew, that it is ἡ οικεμενη γη here spoken of-the habitable land or earth; οικεμένη being also the word, which, in Hebrews ii, 5, is translated "world" to come.
d Zech. ii, 12. e Hosea ix, 3. f Isaiah ix, 8.
also to be the city of God,' g 'God's hill,' h the place of the soles of his feet,' i 'the mount which he loveth,'j 'his rest for ever, where he will dwell, because he hath desired it.'k Here indeed he is said to have dwelt already, before he became flesh, 1 giving to his people in the cloud the symbol of his presence-the very symbol also of his return. m Here we know, likewise, he did sojourn, when in the flesh, loving more especially to retire to that part of it called the mount of olives,'-where was the garden,' from whence also he took his departure on a cloud, and whither he will come again, on his return; as it is written, "His feet
shall stand in that day upon the "mount of olives, which is before "Jerusalem on the east, and the "mount of olives shall cleave in the "midst thereof towards the east and “ towards the west; and half of the "mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the "south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach “unto Azal, yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled before the earthquake, in the days of Uzziah king of Ju"dah: and the LORD MY GOD shall come, and ALL THE SAINTS WITH THEE. n What can be more explicit than this prophecy? Mr. Faber, who does not concur with me in the view of the personal reign, admits, nevertheless, of this prophecy, that it must be literal, and designed, by its circumstantial clearness, to cut off the possibility "of figurative interpretation."o And immediately after this prophecy it is added-" And the Lord shall be king over all the earth" P-proving most decidedly, when the kingdom
g Ps. lxxxvii, 3.
1 Ps. lxxiv, 2, 3.
P Zech. xiv, 9. i, 32.
y Acts ii, 30, 34, &c.
will be manifest; (viz. at his coming with the saints, before named;) and where, viz. on earth.
Many other Script ures prove that the Lord's kingdom is to be manifested on earth; such as that in Jeremiah," a king shall reign and
prosper, and shall execute judgement and justice in the earth." a That again in Ezekiel, when, granting to him a vision of Jerusalem, the Lord says, Son of man, the ' place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet;"r wherefore our Lord forbids his disciples to swear by Jerusalem, because it is the city of THE GREAT KING. S Nor must I omit to notice when speaking of the throne, that Isaiah says: “Of “the increase of his government
there shall be no end, upon the "throne of DAVID, and upon his kingdom." t Thus the angel Gabriel announces to Mary;
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." u And where was the throne of David? surely not in heaven; for St. Peter tells us plainly, that David is not as"cended into the heavens;" but that, being a prophet, he knew that God "had sworn with an oath to him, "that of the fruit of his loins, ac
h Ps. lxviii, 15. i Ezek. xliii, 7. j Ps. lxxviii, 68. m Acts i, 10, 11; Rev. i' 16. n Zech. xiv, 4, 5.
¶ Jer.xxiii, 5. r Ezek. xliii, 7.
s Matt. v, 35.
cording to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne." v The Lord, however, certainly did not sit on David's throne at his first coming; for Herod was then in it: and this promise therefore remains to be fulfilled at his second coming.
2. It is now time that I should notice an objection, which it will be useful to consider, not merely in reference to this particular argument, but likewise as affecting in some
k Ps. cxxxii, 14.
o Vol. vii, p. 267.
Is. ix, 7. u Luke
measure general principles of interpretation.
There are passages of Scripture, relating to this matter, which are undoubtedly to be understood only in a spiritual sense, and must be so interpreted. Such, for example, as when St. Paul says of gentile believers, That they are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, and are built upon the foundation of the Apos"tles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner "" stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth un"to a holy temple in the Lord; in "whom ye also are builded together
for a habitation of God through the "Spirit." w And St. Peter also, speaking of Christ as of a living stone,' adds, Ye also are built up a spiritual house."
Now persons who do not consider, that such a spiritual view is reconcileable with other texts, which texts must, for reasons equally manifest, be literal; at once conclude, that every reference to the house, or city, or mount of God must be figurative: just as some others, collecting a few passages, the nature of which is unquestionably literal, thence conclude that none are figurative.
caused many among the Corinthians to err, supposing the spiritual resurrection to be the first resurrection promised, and therefore that it had taken place: which opinion is apparently the very one St. Paul denies and combats, in the fifteenth chapter of his first Epistle to them; wherein he insists, that their faith was vain, were this the case.
Prophetic Scripture, and all Scripture, must be judged of by its context and general scope, For example, when it speaks of a man, we understand a being who possesses a spiritual soul, dwelling in a mortal body. The chief commands and promises of Scripture are addressed to his spiritual part; but that does not prove, that the soul will not hereafter be manifested in a body, any more than it proves, that it is not now in the body. When therefore we use the word soul for man, we include his body as a matter of course. For who would suppose, because it is written, that Abram took Sarai and Lot his brother's son, and all "their substance that they had gathered, and the SOULS that they "had gotten in Haran, and they "went forth to go into the land of
There are passages, which speak of a spiritual resurrection, relating to the raising of the soul from the death of sin, unto the life of righteousness; whence believers are said to be already risen with Christ: x but we must not thence conclude that there is not a bodily resurrection revealed also. The spiritual resurrection is the pledge and earnest of the bodily one, rendering it more sure; just as things which are first literally fulfilled, are pledges of the like spiritual things. It was the exclusive consideration of such Scriptures, that
Canaan ;"y-who, I say, would conclude, that they took only the spirits of these persons, and left their bodies behind? And who again, because St. Paul exhorts the brethren to present their bodies a living sacrifice unto God, z would suppose that he does not include the soul; without which they would be a dead and not a living sacrifice?
Now apply this principle to the house of God, which we have seen is the city, the New Jerusalem, the holy mountain. A city is, strictly speaking, a number of persons dwelling together under certain laws and immunities. Whether they dwell in
w Ephes. ii, 19—22. x Rom. vi, 45; Col. iii, 1. y Gen. xii, 5. z Rom. xii, 1.
tents, in ceiled houses, or have the sky only as their canopy is indifferent houses come to be called the city, only because they are the place of abode of the citizens; just as we call a pile of stones a church, because the real Church of God are presumed to assemble in it. The houses are no more a city when without inhabitants, than a body is a man when the spirit is fled: both are their ruins only. When therefore a city is said to be preparing in heaven, the saints must be intended, who are destined to form it, and are now called "Jerusalem which is above;" and which is the same Jerusalem which it is said shall come down—FROM God -out of heaven." a But because they are the real city-the lively stones, it does not follow therefore that they are to have no place of manifestation: on the contrary there must be some place of visible dwelling if they come in the body, whatever the nature of that place may be. Those who can see nothing but figure in Scripture are compelled to explain, that the great city, the holy Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven, signifies the ascent of the saints into heaven. But this is not only a perversion of language, but a perversion of figure itself. The scripture figures are remarkable for their appropriate significancy; whereas in this case they would be remarkable, as meaning the very reverse of what they seem to describe.
It may clear this point to observe further, that there are texts which beyond question refer to a material city, so far as literal language can express it; and yet they primarily aim at the persons who compose such cisuch cities, without which they would have no meaning. For instance, "Then
began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented "not. Woe unto thee Chorazin," &c, b "And when he was come near he beheld the city and wept over it saying, if thou hadst known," &c. c It is here evident, that it was the material city-the pile of stones with its towers and domes, which first caught the eye of Jesus, and he appears only to address this mass of materials. But any man of understanding must be aware, that it was the inhabitants of Chorazin, &c. against whom he pronounced the woe; and the inhabitants of Jerusalem over whom he wept. It was her children whom he would have gathered: but the one part is included in the other. The prophecy of Isaiah cited by our Lord, when he cast out the money changers from the temple may be referred to as another instance. d "Is it not
written, My house shall be called "of all nations the house of prayer." This is spoken immediately of the literal temple; but that temple never was and now never can be called of all nations the house of prayer: and therefore it was a type of some other more glorious place of manifestation, whither the tribes of the earth should go up to supplicate the Lord.
Thus am I led to conclude, when Daniel couples together the following phrases-" thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain ;" Jerusalem, even thy people ;" thy city, even thy people are called by THY "NAME" "presenting my suppli
cation for the holy mountain of my God;" e--that these terms are in the first place explanatory of each other; and, secondly, that there is a reference in them both to the
a Rev. xxi, 2. b Matt. xi, 20-24. c Luke xix, 41. d Isaiah lvi, 7; Mark xi, 17. e Dan. ix, 16—20.
* In both these instance, I take the vau of the Hebrew, and the ra of the Septuagint necessarily to mean even, (as they often do,) not and.
household of God, and to the place of their congregating and future manifestation. So in the following passage, "Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; "this mount Zion, wherein thou
hast dwelt;" f mount Zion and the congregation are made as one by implication, and yet the context shews that Zion literally, as well as the congregation, are both distinctly referred to.
I will conclude with the words of an eminent writer, who, though entertaining views very opposite to mine, has unwittingly, whilst writing on another subject, spoken very appropriately to this point. Quoting Heb. xi 16, ("God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath "prepared for them a city;") he adds," God would have been been "ashamed to have been called their God, had he not provided for them a permanent city: he would have "been ashamed to have been repre"sented in so endearing a relation, had he prepared for them anything that had so far fallen short "of their hopes." g
I add here some texts, shewing the practical use, which the Apostles made of the doctrine of the Kingdom and Inheritance to be mani
fested on the earth. I could greatly
add to the list were I to turn to the Old Testament; particularly in reference to the land, the promise of which, in one Psalm only, h is practically applied six different times: but, for obvious reasons, I prefer keeping at present to the New Testament. Grounded then on these truths are
Know ye not that the un
righteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Cor. vi, 9, 10. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, sedition, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Gal. v, 19-21.
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." Ephes. v, 5.
"And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matt. iii, 1.
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John iii, 3, 5.
f Ps. lxxiv, 2. g Wardlaw on Baptism, p. 25. h Ps. xxxvii.
“Wherefore we, receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve