« PreviousContinue »
the Lord will make princes in all the earth. The reign of Christ and his saints in the earth will be an angelic and invisible reign, all of which we will show in its proper place when we come to treat of the important question of Christ Jesus as Lord.
CHRIST'S INHERITANCE AS SON AND HEIR OF ABRAHAM
Christ as the seed of the woman is first referred to in Eden, in the sentence pronounced upon the serpent, where it is said (Gen. 3: 15), “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed, and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Now the serpent is here employed to represent the principle of sin in the children of men, and those who walk after the flesh, who are sinners, or the seed of the serpent, called also the children of wickedness. The seed of the woman is Christ and his brethren, who are the children of God. Between these two classes God has placed enmity, so that they are contrary the one to the other, and the contention between them is deadly, and will never cease till one or the other is exterminated. The seed of the serpent in the struggle has frequently triumphed, but it is truly said in the Book of Job "Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon the earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment? Though his excellency mount up to the heavens and his head reach unto the clouds, yet he shall perish forever like his own dung" (Job 20:4-7). The seed of the woman, Christ, as the head and representative of his brethren was bruised in the heel by the serpent seed when he was put to death, but it was only a bruise in the heel, because he did not see corruption and was raised again from the dead on the third day; so that it was only a bruise in the heel, which was healed by resurrection, and so the struggle did not end when Christ died by the hand of the wicked, for he was raised in power, and in the fullness of the times will take hold of the ends of the earth, and shake the wicked out of it, and so destroy them.
CHRIST TO POSSESS THE GATE OF HIS ENEMIES
When the covenant was confirmed of God in Christ by the oath of God, then the Angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time and said, "By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying, I will multiply thy seed as the stars. of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore" (Gen. 22: 16-17). This numerous seed spoken of above refers first to his natural seed, according to the flesh; and secondly, to his spiritual seed composed alike of Jews and Gentiles, who are of the same precious faith with himself, and who can all claim the solemn pledge of this oath, as a personal guarantee to themselves. But there is a particular person referred to in this oath where it is said, "And thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." This Paul points out as follows, in his letter to the Galatians, saying, "Now to Abraham and his seed, were the promises made, He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy
seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant that was confirmed before of God, in Christ (as recorded in the twenty-second chapter of Genesis), the law which was four hundred and thirty years after (the last act of confirmation as recorded, Gen. 46: 2-4), cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect" (Gal. 3:16-17). These precious promises it was not God's purpose in any wise to make void by the law, and these two oracles in God's oath, which says, first, " And thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies"; and second, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed," refer to Christ, even as Paul's application of this Scripture shows. "Thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies"; but who are his enemies? First, his own nation, for it is said, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him and the world knew him not. He came unto his own (nation) and his own received him not" (John 1:10). And many of the parables which Jesus spake, applied to his own people, for the scribes and Pharisees perceived that he spake of them, as it is said (Matt. 21:33-46), "And when the chief priests, and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them, but when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet." And in these parables Jesus pointed out how the husbandmen had sent his servants at different times to get the fruits of his vineyard, but they took his servants and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. At last he sent his own Son, saying, They will reverence my Son. But when they saw him they said, "This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance." But what says the sequel? "He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto others, which shall render him the fruits in their season."
The Psalmist says, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power (110:3). They were not willing in the day of his humiliation and weakness, but when he comes again in the latter days, he will come in power, and in great glory, and he will first purge out the rebels, and those who trespass against him, as it is testified in the fourth chapter of Isaiah saying, "And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem; when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning" (Isa. 4:3-4). But the enemies of Christ were not, and are not confined to the rebellious house of Israel, for it is written in the second Psalm, "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” This Scripture found its first fulfillment in the conspiracy of Herod, Pontius Pilate, and the rulers of Israel (Acts 4:25-28), "For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together. For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." This Scripture and its interpretation prove that Christ's enemies include the nation of Israel, for if the Lord's own nation
turned against him, how much more the nations that never knew the Lord; for it is written, "He showeth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and judgments unto Israel, he hath not dealt so with any other nation, and as for his judgments, they have not known them" (Ps. 147: 19-20). When Christ. had finished the work of human redemption and was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father, to fulfill the Scripture contained in the one hundred and tenth Psalm, where his Father said to him, "Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool," to fulfill this Scripture, forty days after his resurrection from the dead he ascended into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God, as a mediator and high priest, to grant repentance and remission of sins unto men.
This oracle says he is to sit there until the time arrives for his foes to be made his footstool; and speaking of the time when he will come again to restore again the kingdom to Israel, he said to his own apostles, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has reserved in his own power" (Acts 1:7). And the great feature of his second coming few seem to realize; namely, that his Father comes with him, to make his foes his footstool; for says Daniel, “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days (the Father himself) did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of whose head like the pure wool; his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him, thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him, the judgment was set, and the books were opened" (Dan. 7:9-10). Now this august person was not Christ, but the Father himself, who comes in the latter days to make his son's foes his footstool, and Christ is introduced upon the scene of action in the judgment, as follows (verse 13), "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, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."
This is the time and this is the manner in which Christ's foes will be made his footstool; for those nations brought to view in this vision comprise the great and powerful nations of the world in that day, and also the nation of Israel, which is brought to view here under the symbol of the little horn, who makes war for a period of three years and a half upon the saints, supported by the strength and power of the fourth beast, with whom he is in alliance, and to whom he stands related as one of his horns, with which he thrusts at Israel, which we will speak of when we come to consider the visions of Daniel and John. The time when the Father gives to his Son such power and excellent majesty is referred to in the second Psalm, for after it is there said, "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee," which Paul interprets to prove his resurrection from the dead, when he says he was declared to be the Son of God with power; - after that, therefore, the Father says to him, "Ask of me and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." And
what Christ will do with these nations we have already shown in the forepart of this treatise.
Christ's inheritance, therefore, comprehends all nations and inhabitants of the earth; he is the heir of the world and all that it contains, the living and the dead are his, life and death are his, things present and things to come; for it is written in the eighth Psalm, "Thou hast put all things under his feet." Commenting on this Scripture, Paul says in his letter to the Hebrews (2:8-9), "For in that he put all things in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him." "But," adds the Apostle, we see not yet all things put under him." We might therefore inquire, How far then, has this oracle been carried out? He continues, "but we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."
Christ thus far has worked the work of God and finally laid down his life and shed his blood to wash away the sins of the heirs of promise. When he had finished the work of redemption, he entered upon his glory, or as Paul said, 'was crowned with glory and honor" when he ascended into heaven, and was granted a seat at his Father's right hand, and in his Father's throne, an honor which was not accorded to the angels, for says Paul, “To which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool." This honor was reserved for the Lord Jesus Christ, and of his exalted position and the glory thereof it is written in the sixteenth Psalm, "Thou wilt me show the path of life, in thy prsence is fullness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
This Scripture contained in the eighth Psalm, which says of Christ, "Thou hast put all things under his feet," Paul comments upon in two other places in his weighty and powerful letters: first, to the Ephesians he speaks of the mighty power which God "wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this world, but also in that which is to come"; and quoting from the eighth Psalm, as above, he says, " And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:19-23). These gracious words concerning our Lord Jesus Christ show how greatly God has honored him who humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, one of the most humiliating and painful deaths that a man could die, and that by the hand of his enemies.
Again Paul unfolds the hidden meaning contained in this oracle, where he treats of death and the resurrection of the dead in his first letter to the Corinthians (15:22-28), and says, "For as in Adam all died, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." Now all men by nature are in Adam, but no man by nature is in Christ, and here is where the Universalist loses himself: there is no one in Christ but those who have believed the truth as it is in him, and therefore rendered the obedience of faith by being baptized into him for the remission of sins, and that he may thereby have inheritance among them that are sanctified by the faith that is in him, and all persons who have
not done this thing are not in Christ, but are out of Christ, and are in the flesh. But he continues, "Every man in his own order. Christ the first fruits, afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when he shall have put down all rule and all authority, and power, for (it is said in the eighth Psalm) He must reign till he hath put all things under his feet; the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."
Now there are three particular points here noted: first, the resurrection of Christ as the first-fruits; second, the harvest of which he was the first-fruits, which consists of his brethren and associate heirs who rise from the dead immortal at his second coming, to reign with him on the earth over the nations for a thousand years; third, then cometh the end of the reign of Christ and his brethren at the end of that period, when the last enemy, death, is destroyed, which will be accomplished by the resurrection of those who have lived and died during the thousand years' reign of Christ and his brethren, and the translation of the righteous who are alive at the end of that period. This will complete the work of Christ when he shall have subdued the mighty. nations of the earth, even as it is said of him in the seventy-second Psalm, "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him." All diseases and infirmities, whether mental or physical, will be subject to him, as was already manifested in the days of his flesh, and finally, the last enemy, which is death, will be destroyed by emptying the graves and delivering the captives. that had been confined there, when the righteous will enter into life eternal, and the wicked will forever disappear in the earth from whence they were originally taken. When all these mighty works are accomplished which the Apostle informs us that the Father gave to Christ his Son to do, all things will be returned back again to the Father from whence they were derived, that God may be all in all.
JESUS BOTH LORD AND CHRIST
"Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." A man may say that he believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet when questioned, be found to know very little, or nothing concerning the doctrine of Jesus as Lord. The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus with these puzzles and questions, and after he had answered them to their own confusion, he asked the Pharisees saying, "What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?" This was to them a very simple question, and they answered at once, "The son of David." But the next question was not so simple or easy to explain, for he said unto them, "How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand until I make thy foes thy footstool. If David then call him Lord, how is he then his son? And no man was able to answer him a word" (Matt. 22: 42-46).
When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples on the day of