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THE NATURE OF THE
SHOWN THE APOSTLES.
The Lord Jesus Christ, in one of his dis. courses with his disciples, gave them the promise, that there were some of them standing with him, that should not taste of death will they saw the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. Matt. xvi. 28. :. The kingdom of which he spake was evidently the one he is to establish when he comes to re. ward every man according to his work. Did the Savior ever fulfil this promise ? I am aware it is sometimes said he did, on the day of Pentecost. But I deny it, and ask for the evidence.
No writer, either sacred or profane, has ever testified that Jesus Christ was seen on that occasion. But the text explicitly declares, “they shall see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” But the day of Pentecost was, emphatically the dispensation of the Holy Ghost. · Again. If the Pentecost was the fulfilment of the promise, then all who heard him, with the exception of Judas, saw it; for it was a private conversation with the disciples. So that not some, but all, except Judas, saw it. But the promise was literally and truly fulfilled about six or eight days after those sayings, when“Jesus took with him Peter, James and John, and went up into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them; and his face shone like the sun, and his raiment was white as the light." In what greater glory can the “Son of Man" ever appear than that in which he did appear on that occasion ? But Moses, that faithful servant of
God, who died and was buried by God's own hand, was there, in his glorified body, assumed for the occasion; for he appeared in the form of a man, as well as Elias, who never tasted death. These both were there; the former, the representative of those who shall be dead and raised when Christ appears in glory; the latter, the representative of those who shall be alive, and be changed from mortality to immortality, at the appearing of the Savior. And while this company of glorified beings communed together, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and a voice out of the cloud said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. · But that the transfiguration was an exhibition of the kingdom of Christ, we have yet farther evidence. 1 Peter v. 1. Peter calls himself
an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker (or companion) of the glory which shall be revealed.” But he was never (a companion or) a partaker of that glory except at the transfiguration. There he was a partaker or partner of it. Again, 2 Peter, 1st chapter, he dwells largely upon the theme. He first exhorts his brethren to a faithful performance of Christian duties, and assures them that by doing thus an entrance should be ministered to them abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To the end they might keep the kingdom of God in view as the prize for which they run, he tells them he would not be negligent to put them in mind of these things; not because they were at that time either ignorant or unsettled on the subject, but because he was shortly to put off his tabernacle, as Christ had showed him, and wish. ed they might be able, after his decease, to have these things always in remembrance. “For we have not,” he says, “ followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the powER and coming of our LORD Jesus Christ; but were EYE-WITNESSES OF HIS MAJESTY. For he received from God the Father, honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him FROM THE EXCELLENT GLORY, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard when we were with him in the holy mount."
But, notwithstanding Peter was an eye and ear witness of the kingdom and glory of Christ, he assures us we have also a more sure word of prophecy than even his testimony, viz., the testi. mony of the holy prophets, who wrote of old as moved by the Holy Ghost.
From the foregoing exhibition and testimony, we learn that the kingdom of Christ is to be in a state of glory and immortality; for when the kingdom of God was exhibited to the apostles, they saw as its subjects,
1. Jesus Christ, in a glorified body, his countenance shining like the sun, and his garments as white as the light.
2. Moses, who had passed the gate of death, but, on that occasion, clothed in a glorious body, was there, as an exhibition of what the saints will be at the resurrection.
3. Elias was there; an example of those who will be alive when the Savior appears, and be caught up to meet him in the air, to be forever with him. Such, then, will be the society of the kingdom of heaven.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD TO BE EVERLASTING.
If there were no other difficulty in the way of establishing the doctrine of a temporal millennium, it would be fatal to it, that wherever the kingdom of God is spoken of by the prophets, it is introduced as AN EVERLASTING KINGDOM.
Dan. ii. 44. “The God of heaven shall set up a kingdom, which shall NEVER be destroyed ; and the kingdom SHALL NOT BE LEFT to other people, but it shall stand FOREVER," &c.
Again, Dan. vii. 27. “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is AN EVERLASTING KINGDOM."
Once more ; Rev. ii. 15. “ And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ, and he shall reign FOREVER AND EVER.”
It is acknowledged, even by the advocates of the “ temporal millennium,” that the prophecies with which the above texts stand connected, must have their fulfilment before the millennium ; and, also, it is contended that these very texts predict the millennium itself. But yet language cannot express the eternity of the kingdom more strongly than it is taught above.
But it is said the terms, everlasting, forever and ever, &c., are used in an accommodated sense in the above texts. But where is the evidence of the fact? There is none; the texts neither require nor admit of an accommodated sense of the terms. The plain, literal, grammat
ical meaning is the only one which is required. Dr. A. Clarke, in his notes on Gen. xxi. 33, says, “ Olam," the Hebrew, and “aion," the Greek word, rendered “everlasting," " literally signify eternal, or duration without end."
He further says, “the first and best writers, in both Hebrew and Greek, use the terms to express eternal, in the proper sense of that word ; and that this is their proper meaning, in both the Old and New Testaments, when applied to God, his attributes, his operations, &c."
But the terms in the above passages are applied to God and his operations; and must, therefore, signify, not 1000 years, nor 360,000 years, but unending duration.
The kingdom of God on earth is not, then, the church, either in its whole duration under its present constitution, nor yet the church during the last thousand years of time; but the redeemed from all nations, inheriting the kingdom prepared for and given to MAN (who was created in the image of God,) from the foundation of the world. That dominion was lost by transgression ; but Jesus Christ, by the price of his own blood, has regained it, as the everlasting kingdom and dwelling-place of his saints. These shall go into LIFE ETERNAL. He is now the nobleman (see Luke xix. 11, 27,) who has gone “into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom and to return." . But that return is not until the day of judgment, when his servants will be called to an account, and receive their reward, and his enemies be destroyed.
Indeed, it is difficult to conceive how the idea has so generally obtained, that the kingdom of