Obrazy na stronie

shall yield plenty and abundance of all things, being blessed with the dew of heaven and great fertility of the earth." Likewise in his fifth book against heresies, he takes Ezekiel xxxvii. 11-14, to signify a literal resurrection. The descendants of Abraham are described in this place as captive at Babylon; and the promise to them appears so hopeless, that they cry, "Our hope is lost, we are cut off for our parts.' "Then the answer of God comes to them, "Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land; then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken and performed,

saith the Lord."

The words of St. Paul (Acts xxvi. 6-8) plainly evince, that the expectation of the Apostle in regard to the promised land was, that it should be fulfilled to the patriarchs by a resurrection. "And now (he says) I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers; unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?" Here the promise to the Fathers is coupled with the resurrection of the dead, which are both evidently in the mind of the Apostle. But what was the promise to the Fathers? There is no express mention to them of a resurrection; and though several things are included in the promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, yet there is not one of them which requires a resurrection to fulfil it, except the promise of the land. It was this which must have led Paul to couple the promise of the Fathers with the resurrection from the dead. Agreeably with which expectation Daniel, when favoured with divers revelations concerning Christ's kingdom and the reign of the saints, is assured, that his intermediate decease shall not prevent him from participating; but that many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, and that he shall rest, yet stand in his lot at the end of those days, which were then specially numbered to him.i

3. In regard to the seed it must further be observed, that, in the interpretation of the promises given in Genesis, St. Paul insists, that they specially refer to Christ.-"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

j Dan. xii. 2 and 13.

is CHRIST." Therefore the remaining posterity are only the seed, inasmuch as they are in Christ, being of the faith of Abraham: they are members of Christ's body and blessed in him. Indeed I may say, that Abraham himself, to whom the promise is addressed, is only partaker of it in Christ; who, as he is the root as well as the branch of David, was before Abraham. To Christ the world especially belongs, being created "by him and FOR him:"m that is to say, when it shall be redeemed from the curse and renovated; "for it is the world to come whereof we speak."

4. Before I pass on to the next head I must notice an objection, which may still operate on the minds of some readers; viz. that the New Testament Scriptures declare of the kingdom that it is to be in heaven, whilst the exposition I have given makes it to be on earth. In reply, there is no such phrase in Scripture as "kingdom in heaven:" it is always "kingdom of heaven;" which I have shown in my last Essay to be peculiar to St. Matthew's Gospel.* And I would here further observe, in regard to those instances which I have admitted may refer to the Gospel dispensation, that this very circumstance disproves the necessity of interpreting the phrase "kingdom of heaven" as of a kingdom in heaven: for if these refer to the Gospel dispensation, they clearly speak of transactions which are to take place on earth.

The kingdom, however, which is assigned in Daniel to the Son of man and to the saints, is "the kingdom, dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom, UNDER the whole heaven." St. Paul speaks of the Lord's heavenly kingdom," and of a heavenly country, i. e. the heavenly Jerusalem; which leads us to the proper meaning of the phrase kingdom of heaven; viz. that it is a kingdom of a heavenly nature. It is heavenly because it is "set up by the God of heaven;"-it is heavenly because the God-man from heaven will rule in it; it is heavenly because all things, both in heaven and earth, will be at his command, being put under him;¶—and, finally, it is heavenly because its principles, its laws, its spirit is heavenly, being "the will of God done on earth as it is in heaven."

It is declared that the saints in that kingdom shall have heavenly bodies: a heavenly body however does not necessarily signify a body in heaven, but a body of a heavenly nature. 2 Corinthians v. 1, 2, will further prove this, and make evi

k Rom. iv. 11-18. 1 Rev. xxii. 16; John viii. 58. m Compare Rom. xi. 36; Col. i. 16; Heb. ii. 5-10. o 2 Tim. iv. 18. P Heb. xi. 16; xii. 22. a Heb. ii. 8;

n Dan. vii. 27. Phil. ii. 9, 10.

*Nearly thirty times repeated, and always in the plural,- BZ TWV spavar, "the kingdom of the heavens."

dent likewise, that the glorious body of believers (though now, as it were, reserved in heaven) is first to be enjoyed on earth. Speaking of the present body, which the Apostle calls "our earthly house of tabernacle," (vv. 6, 8,) he says; that if it were dissolved, "we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens:" and then immediately adds, that in this tabernacle we groan, "earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is FROM heaven." This shews, that the very house prepared in heaven, is ultimately to be revealed from heaven. Not that I suppose, there are as many bodies prepared in heaven, as there are saints who have existed and who shall be born on earth; but that in heaven is the great exemplar of them all-the Lord Jesus. For thus also in I Cor. xv. the Apostle tells us, "The first man (by which, from the context, he means our first body, made in the likeness of the first Adam) is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord FROM heaven; and as we have borne the image of the earthy [man], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly [man]." And this will be effected by his descending from heaven, and changing our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself." Phil. iii. 20, 21.

There are many other things which are said to be 'prepared,' 'laid up,' and 'reserved in heaven;' which are nevertheless to be enjoyed on earth, and which will be made manifest in the day when the Lord shall appear. Thus St. Paul, speaking of temporal goods, says of the saints, "that they joyfully suffered the loss of them, knowing that they had in heaven a better and an enduring substance." And this Peter explains to be “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."'s

I have necessarily anticipated in these remarks some things, which belong more immediately to the doctrine of the Resurrection; but I trust the reader will perceive, that what is proved in regard to the heavenly body or house of the believer, is equally applicable to the heavenly kingdom.

II. I proceed now to the second point; viz. that Zion is to be a special place of manifestation.

Every reader of the Scriptures must be familiar with the numerous promises and glorious things spoken of Mount Zion and Jerusalem; but owing to the unhappy mode of spiritualizing (or, rather, of explaining away) these passages, their force and significance are lost. But I must first, in order to prevent

r Heb. x. 34. s 1 Peter i. 4, 5.

confusion from the use of different terms, shew that Zion, Jerusalem, the Mount of God, and House of the Lord, all mean one and the same thing;—that is to say, they all refer to the region of Mount Zion, or to some particular place within that region. This I shall prove by three different texts.

The first is in Isaiah ii. 1, 2, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."

In Micah, iv. 1, 2, there is a similar passage; "the mountain ▸ of the Lord" and "the house of the God of Jacob" being made the same; and Zion and Jerusalem also the same.

The third place is Isaiah xxvii. 13, where, speaking of the return of Israel, it is said: "They shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem."


Now the first mention which we have of this place is in Genesis, in the account of Abraham returning from the overthrow of the kings. It is here called Salem, (which signifies peace, i. e. the place of peace,) and Melchizedec was king of it. This Melchizedec is held up as an eminent type of Christ on various accounts; but among the reasons is, that he was a priest and king, and specially as being king of Salem:" for "in Salem also is [Messiah's] tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion." The next mention which we have of this region is also in Genesis, when the Lord commands Abraham, who had seen the type of Christ reigning at Salem, to take his son Isaac, another type of Christ, and offer him up for a burnt-offering on a mount, which he should point out in the land of Moriah:w for Abraham must also be instructed, that the Son of Man must suffer. And this land or region of Moriah is no other than Sion and Jerusalem; for in 2 Chron. iii. 1, we are told, that Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, in Mount Moriah; where the Lord appeared unto David his father.* And Abraham after this transaction on Mount Moriah calls the name of the place Jehovah-Jireh; which is thus explained in our translation, "In the Mount of the Lord it shall be


+ Gen. xiv..

u Heb. viii. 1—3.

▾ Psalm lxxvi. 2.

w Gen. xxii.

*The floor of Araunah, or Ornan, the Jebusite was the spot; and the appearance of the angel to David when the pestilence was stayed, and his being openly answered on this spot by fire from heaven, are, I presume, the circumstances intended. 1 Chron. xxi. 18-28.

Of the circumstances which caused this region to fall into the hands of the Jebusites we are not informed; only it appears to have been possessed sometimes by the Israelites, sometimes by the Jebusites, or by both together, until David besieged and took it and made it the royal city.* He now gave, or restored to it, the name of Jerusalem; which Cruden says is made up of the two former names Jireh-Salem, the first of which may refer to the two appearances, (the one to Abraham, the other to David,) both pledges of future manifestation. The Jebusites called it Jebus, which signifies "despised or trodden under foot;" which it now is again, and will remain so, till the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled; and then "the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again." (Zech. ii. 17.)

Observe now a remarkable prophecy concerning this mountain in Isaiah.-"In this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail 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 he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day,Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him; we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. For in this mountain shall the hand of the Lord rest." (xxv. 6-10.) Passing by the ordinary explanation of the feast of fat things, I shall notice only the usual interpretation of death being swallowed up in victory in this mount; viz. that it was fulfilled by the resurrection of Jesus. And, inasmuch as he was the first fruits of the victory, I agree, that his resurrection was an earnest of a more complete fulfilment of the promise. But 1 Cor. xv. 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 then be 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 swallowed up in victory."" In this very

* Compare Joshua x. 1, 42; xv. 63; Judges i. 23; 2 Sam. v. 6—9; 1 Chron. xi.

« PoprzedniaDalej »