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that might be offered, must satisfy all reasonable persons that the prophecy used for the text, did not have its fulfilment at Christ's first coming. We must then look for another coming as the period of its fulfilment. ,
And the next point of inquiry relates to the character of that coming. Was a spiritual or personal coming intended? And it seems that little need be said on this point, after what has been advanced. The arguments just offered to prove the coming intended, must also prove that the coming would be personal. If there were two classes of prophecies relating to Messiah's coming, in different characters, for different purposes, and under different circumstances, as has been shown, and the first class of which were fulfilled by his personal advent; how can it be rational to maintain that the other class will have a fulfilment by any other than a personal coming? The events of the latter class can no more be accomplished without a personal manifestation, than those of the former. And to aver that the latter do not refer to a personal appearing, is to aver that the former do not. The prophecy teaches as plainly, and more frequently, that Christ is to come in majesty, to reign, as that he should come in the form of a servant, to suffer and die. And if a personal coming be not meant in the one case, it cannot, for the same reason, be so meant in the other. We must, to be consistent, deny that a coming in person was intended in both, or in neither, of the cases. Which, as lovers of the Bible, should we do? · And the considerations, that the power of Israel is yet broken and scattered that the promise that he should come in like manner as he went to heaven, was made, by the angels, in connection with an inquiry respecting the time of the restoration of the kingdom to Israel--that Christ is to come to set up his kingdom at the conclusion of the reign of the Roman monarchy, which still continues—and that the New Testament representation is, that he is waiting for, and not reigning in, his kingdom—must go very far towards proving that the prophecy pointed to a personal coming.
Further, the idea of a spiritual coming of Christ, when an absolute coming is intended, has no foundation. A spiritual coming evidently supposes a spiritual absence, which is contrary to fact. Spiritually, the Lord Jesus has been with his saints from the beginning. He promised to be with his ministers to the end of the world. See Matt. xxviii. 20. In a similar manner is he with all his saints. John xiv. And since, in this sense, he is and has been with his people, and since in the prophecy an absolute coming to take the kingdom, is predicted, it is in the highest degree absurd to talk of a spiritual coming. This all must see and admit.
Another consideration will place this matter
in a still stronger light. The part of the prophecy that has received its fulfilment, has had an exact literal fulfilment. The crown was literally taken away, the kingdom literally overturned and subverted, and literally, for ages, it has not been. Why, then, let me inquire, should we expect the other part—by far the more important and interesting part—to have any other than a literal fulfilment? How, in reason, can we look for any other than a literal coming, for a literal personal reign? Can we believe that prophecy has such a mixed and confused character as this? Such a thought does violence to that portion of the Bible, violence to reason, and is fraught with scepticism.
Again—A passage in Peter's address, given in the temple, soon after Pentecost, must be deemed sufficient to settle this question. After turning their attention to the fearful nature of their guilt, he thus exhorts the Jews: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." To encourage them, and to correct their ideas of the order of events, he iminediately adds: "And he shall send Jesus Christ, who before was preached unto you; whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." Acts. iii. 19—21. Three things, in the light of this pas
sage, must be plain. 1. That if all things, spoken by God through the prophets, are to be restored, the kingdom of Israel is one of them. 2. That the restoration of this and the other things, is to be effected by sending Jesus Christ. 3. That, until the time of this restoration, the heaven is to receive him. If this language does not prove, beyond all dispute, a personal coming, for the restoration of the kingdom of Israel, it is Hot in the power of language to do it. And if it does not, with equal conclusiveness, prove that he did not come at the destruction of Jerusalem, or at any other period since, we should despair of seeing anything proved by the most direct testimony. The heaven was to receive him until the times of restitution, and no longer. Has he ceased to be a resident of heaven? There can be but one answer. And what has been restored of the "all things" spoken by the mouth of the prophets ? Nothing. All is yet waste, and desolate, and in the hands of enemies. Christ, then, has not been sent; the heaven yet is his residence. But that same heaven that now entertains him, and is filled with his glory, is to yield him up, no more to receive him. For his tabernacle shall be with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and he shall be with them and be their God and King.
We are, then, to expect that he will come personally, according to the import of the
prophecy, to take the kingdom of Israel, for so long a period broken and prostrate, and reign as a literal king. If he is to come personally, as has been fully demonstrated, all will allow that he is to have a personal reign.
But one other thought, contained in the text, will strengthen the argument. It is the literal kingdom that he is to receive, that is his by right, and which is to be no more until he comes. This being so, it would be the height of unreasonableness to suppose, that there would be any other than a literal and personal reign.
But there are additional proofs of the personal reign of Christ on earth.
2. The concurrent testimony of Scripture is abundant and explicit, touching this point. Only a few of the more direct and decisive passages can be cited in this discourse.
There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy. him that remaineth of the city." Numb. xxiv. 17, 19. - The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them; the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his King, and exalt the horn of his Anointed." 1 Sam. ii. 10. Though the heathen and the other wicked,