« AnteriorContinua »
fix on the throne of his kingdom, is called the Son of Man, from his appearance in human nature.— And we find that our Lord, on opening his commission, assumed the title of the Son of Man, and began his ministry, as John the Baptist had already done, by saying that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. The angel Gabriel proclaimed his advent in these words: He shall be great, and the Lord shall give him the throne of his Father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end. And he is elsewhere said to wear upon his vesture, and upon his thigh, this name written, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
The greatest kings of the Jewish nation, particularly David and Solomon, were types of our Lord, and many things are primarily applied to them, which have their complete and final accomplishment in him alone.
His kingly office is celebrated in the second, seventy-second, and hundred and tenth Psalms.I have set my King, says Jehovah, upon my holy hill of Zion. Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. In his days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace, so long as the moon endureth. All kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him. His name shall continue for ever; his name shall endure as long as the sun; and men shall be blessed in him, and all nations shall call him blessed. The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until
I make thine enemies thy footstool. It is to our Redeemer that Zechariah alludes, when he says, Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold thy King cometh unto thee. He is just, and having salvation.
The immediate design of erecting this kingdom upon earth is the salvation of believers, of the guilty race of men. All parts of the universe are concerned in this glorious design. The angels of heaven rejoice in it, and are ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation. The powers of darkness unite their force to disappoint the hopes of the heirs of this kingdom, but in vain; the King of Zion has bound them in chains of darkness, and will turn their malicious designs to their greater condemnation.
All men do not indeed submit to the laws of this government, but all are nevertheless the lawful subjects of it. Multitudes have rebelled against the King of Zion; kings and nations have combined, and set themselves against the Lord's anointed, and they have sometimes imagined his government was entirely overturned. In the persecution under Diocletian, that emperor had a medal struck, with this inscription, "The Christian name demolished, and the worship of the Gods restored." But in vain do the heathen rage, and the people imagine so impossible a thing, as to frustrate the designs of that arm, which is full of` power. Jesus reigns in the midst of his enemies, overrules and controls them at his pleasure, and disposes of all the revolutions that happen in the
world, the rise and fall of kingdoms and states, so as to be subservient to the great designs of his mediatorial government.
But the Redeemer has also many voluntary subjects. He sends the rod of his strength out of Zion, and makes them willing and obedient in the day of his power. He conquers the enmity of the heart, bends the unwilling and unpliant mind, and makes it to stoop and yield to his obedience, from the powerful constraint of love. Jesus governs his subjects by the external laws of his word, and the internal influences of his Spirit. He protects and defends them by his providence, and will certainly deliver them from the power of their enemies, crown them with glory, and set them upon resplendent thrones in the highest heavens.
The right of Jesus to his mediatorial kingdom is founded upon promise, conquest, and purchase, even the price of his own precious blood; and we have the most undoubted assurances, in his word, which cannot fail, that he will one day take to himself his great power, and reign in a more illustrious and extensive manner than he has yet done, when all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.
The fulness of the Gentiles will yet come; the ancient people of God will yet be brought in. How near or how remote this desirable period may be, none can determine. Many events are falling out in our day that indicate its approach. The man of sin, who has long exalted himself against God, is tottering, and ready to fall; and every one knows
that the fall of Antichrist is the prelude to this wished for era. The nations are moved and shaken. The scheme of providence hastens to its accomplishment, and we may live and die in the firm belief, that posterity shall see the fulfilment of all that the Spirit of God has spoken, by the mouth of his holy prophets. This should support our minds in the most gloomy and distressful period of the church.
IV. The next thing asserted of the Redeemer is, HIS NAME SHALL BE CALLED WONDERFUL. His name being called so, according to the idiom of the Hebrew, does not so much imply that this should be his usual name, as that it should be his real character.
And the Redeemer is indeed Wonderful,
1. In the constitution of his person, as Immanuel, God in our nature, When contemplating this wondrous mystery of grace, the apostle exclaims, Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.Through the thin vail of his flesh appeared the Lord of hosts, the King of glory. We saw his majesty, says a disciple, who was a witness of his transfiguration on the mount, when the indwelling God darted through the robe of his humanity such rays of glory, as language cannot paint, but of which the splendour of the natural sun, in all his meridian strength, may help us to form some faint
idea. His face did shine as the sun, says the evangelist, and his raiment was white as the light. Though Jesus appeared in the fashion of a man, yet he is indeed the Lord of glory; the heavens his throne, the earth his footstool, the light his garments, the clouds his chariot, the thunder his voice, his strength omnipotence, his glory infinite, his retinue the host of heaven,
2. The preparations for his birth, and the manner and circumstances of it, were also Wonderful. As the design of our Saviour's appearance was great, so the preparations for it were solemn and magnificent. The predictions of the prophets in different ages, from Moses to Malachi, were so many preparations for this great event; the worship and sacrifices under the law were typical of it; the various revolutions in the heathen world were also subservient to it, and adjusted the earth to the state and form which were fittest for that purpose. The different parts of the Roman empire enjoyed a degree of peace and quiet, unknown to former ages, that men, no longer stunned with the noise and clamour of war, might listen to the calm and still voice of the gospel. That this was brought about by the directing hand of the Governor of the universe, is evident, from the predictions of the ancient prophets, and particularly of Daniel, who marked the precise time when Messiah should appear in human form, and be cut off, as a sacrifice for the sins of men. The rise and fall of the successive empires of Persia, of Macedon, and of Rome, are represented by this prophet in the most