Page images
PDF
EPUB

Revelation iii, 21.

“ To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne ; even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

What can we make of this text, unless we understand the saints that persevere to the end reigning with Christ on earth ? As it is afterwards expressed by them; “ Thou hast made us unto our God, kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.On which our new Annotations confess; that this may signify

the prosperous times of the Church under christian kings and emperors, Dan. vii, 27, and Ps. xxxvii, 11- For the meek

shall inherit the earth;' and Matt. v,5. Blessed are the meek, for

they shall inherit the earth.'” This must signify a state to come; for not only is the expression in the future tense, but experience shows us, that in past times the meek have not inherited the earth, but have been sorely disturbed and distressed in it.

Further, it is granted here by Christ himself, (which is deeply to be considered,) that, as the God-Man, he hath not hitherto sat upon his own throne, but upon his Father's throne. The highest heaven of glory is apparently the Father's throne, as it is often expressed in the Old Testament ;P and there Christ is now:9 but the time is to come when Christ must have a throne of his own, on which, together with him, those that overcome shall sit.

Revelation, Chapters xviii, xix.

Note first Chapter xviii, 2—“Babylon is fallen, is fallen:" for whether we understand new Babylon, figuratively so called, viz. Rome; or old Babylon, properly so named; neither of them have so fallen, as is described in the following verses of this chapter. Nor are verses 4 and 6 yet fulfilled, wherein the people of God are commanded, saying, Reward her, even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double ; according to her works, and the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double ;" for the people of God have not yet rewarded either old or new Babylon at all, but "she glorifies herself, and lives deliciously;" (v. 7) yea, and oppresseth the people of God. Nor is verse 8 yet fulfilled ; that her plagues have come in one day, viz. “death, and mourning, and famine, and utter burning.” Nor verse 9, " that the kings of the earth, that have committed

• Rev, v. 10.

p Ps. xi. 4 ; Isa. Ixvi. 1, &c.

9 Col. iii. 1.

(spiritual) fornication, and lived deliciously with her, shall " bewail her, and lament for her, seeing the smoke of her “ burning;" for generally they rejoice with her, and for the glory which she has at this day. Nor verses 11–19, viz.

the mourning of the merchants over her destruction;" neither verse 20, the rejoicing of the holy apostles and prophets over it, mentioned again also in the first seven verses of the nineteenth chapter. In which last passage, the coupling with the judgement on the great Whore the declaration, that "the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready," clearly relates to the first resurrection, wherein all the saints, rise ; so that the ruin of Babylon, and the raising of the saints, immediately concur with the sorrow of the one, and the triumph of the other. Once more, from the eighth verse of the nineteenth chapter to the end of the chapter is not fulfilled; viz. of the glory of the Church, of the glorious appearance of Christ, and of the corporal destruction of all whatsoever that take part against him and his Church.

But these things, as sure as Christ is “the Truth” and the “ Faithful Witness," must be fulfilled, and before the ultimate general judgement ; for after that Christ lays down “all rule, and all authority and power," &c. as so often has been observed.

CHAPTER IV.

THE PERSONAL APPEARING OF CHRIST TO HIS

CHURCH AT HER RESTAURATION ON EARTH.

It appears to be of so much importance to shew, that the Lord Christ will personally appear, at least in the clouds, at the time of the Restauration of his Church and at the beginning of the Millennium, that though it has been plainly expressed in some places already handled, and may be gathered from most of them, it will be useful to treat of this point in a distinct chapter.

Our position therefore will contain these two particulars : I. That Christ shall then at least appear visibly in person, more or less. II. That the saints under him shall sensibly, and properly, reign over the whole earth. In order to establish these we shall bring forward a few different passages of Scripture ; not in the order in which they occur, but so placed, as that they may best throw light on one another.

Zechariah xii, 10.

And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon “ the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplica“tion, and they shall look on him whom they have pierced ; and

they shall mourn for him (or concerning him) as one mourneth for his only son ; and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born."

It is evident from John xix, 37, (where this place is quoted,) as also from Acts ii, that there was a handful of first-fruits (so called Rom. xi, 16,) that truly then mourned for him whom they had pierced.

Acts ii. likewise shews, that there was also some effusion of the Spirit ; but that again (according to Romans viii, 23) was plainly but a first-fruits. For as the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning Christ and his kingdom are exceeding comprehensive and extensive ; so (as Calvin observes,) the fulfilling of them is progressive and successive in all ages to the last end of all. This small number of mourners cannot, in my apprehension, complete and make up an answerable fulfilling of that which was promised to the inhabitants of Jerusalem in general, and their several families of " David, Nathan, Levi, Shimei," and "all the families that remain," as they are expressly named in verses 12–14 of this chapter.

Those that would avoid the force of this text for the point of Christ's personal appearing at the great future restauration, must of necessity make it relate, either to the time of Christ's passion, or to the time of the last judgement; but to neither of them will it fully answer.

It will not fully suit the time of Christ's passion for these reasons : First, this looking on Christ, “whom they pierced,” is to be at “THAT DAY,"—that notable day, when (saith the Lord) “I will make the governor of Judah like a hearth of “ fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf, and " they shall devour all the people round about, &c. and Jeru

salem shall be inhabited again, in her own place, &c. The “ Lord also shall save the tents of Judah, &c.”

DAY shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem ; and he that is feeble among them at THAT DAY shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as ELOHIM (potentates) and as the ANGEL of God.” “ And it shall come to

pass

at THAT DAY, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come

against Jerusalem.” Now surely nothing of all this took place at the time of Christ's passion! The Romans then possessed Jerusalem in subjection, and shortly after it was destroyed, and has been trampled under foot by the Gentiles ever since. Secondly, we read not that then they had any such public and solemn humiliation, of “ families mourning apart, or jointly, as they did at Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon, for good king Josiah's death ;” and those are the platforms of their mourning, according to verses 11–14.

Next, this circumstance will not suit the ultimate general judge

In THAT

ment, for these reasons; First, that would be a late and unlikely time of repentance, and of pouring out the Spirit of grace and supplication. Secondly, that is no time of mourning, but of joy to the saints. Thirdly, the mourning of the wicked (and they will indeed generally mourn at that time) will not be a mourning out of love to Christ, (as "one mourning for his only son," or for his “ first-born,") but a graceless wailing and despairing

The likeliest time therefore to make out the true and full meaning of this text is, the period of the general call and conversion of the Jews yet to come ;

as will more plainly appear from the next section, which is another quotation of this same place.

Revelation i, 7.

“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, " and they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the “ earth shall wail because of him. Even so, amen.”

The context evinces, that this is spoken of Christ, and as adorned with such titles and exploits as are most congruous to our position; being him who is "the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth ;-him that

loved us, &c. and hath made us kings and priests unto God, ' and his Father;-to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen. Behold HE COMETH with clouds, &c."-So that he must yet come, to make good all these things to the saints, and to manifest yet more his own glory and dominion. What can be plainer than that this verse 7 is a quotation of Zech. xii, 10, nearly in the same main phrase and words, only with more of explanation and illustration ?

It is still more evident, that the coming here named cannot be meant of Christ's first coming in the flesh, because it is prophesied so many years after his ascension: it must relate to that coming, spoken of Acts i, 11,—" This same Jesus, which is taken

up
from
you

into heaven, shall so come, in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven ;"-spoken when the

cloud received him.” His disciples had just asked of him

whether at that time he would restore the kingdom to Israel ;” and he left his angels to give them this answer.

« PreviousContinue »