Page images

monial law, as signified, I conceive, in ver. 4. So, again, ver. 13 appears to me evidently to foretell the same remnant according to the election of grace among the Jews, which is described in Rom. xi. 5—, as receiving the Gospel of Christ at its first preaching, when the nation of the Jews, as such, rejected it.

Again, in Isai. xi. 9, it is foretold the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. The question here also is, whether this is to be understood in its full literal sense, as foretelling that every human being will know the Lord; or as implying both a fuller degree of the knowledge of the Lord, and also its extension to the various nations of the earth, instead of its being confined, as hitherto, to one nation, the Jews. The reader will observe, that these are distinct interpretations. The first takes the passage in reference to individuals ; the second in reference to nations. When I consider the context, I find the first nine verses connected together by the conjunction and, &c. in such a way as leads me to conclude that the time signified in each is one and the same, namely, that to which the first verse refers, the time when Christ was manifest in the flesh, as descended from the house and lineage of Jesse, the father of David (Acts xiii. 23). Hence I conceive that vers. 6–9 must all refer to the consequences which followed the first coming of Christ, namely, to the calling in of the Gentiles; to the removal of the enmity between Jew and Gentile, by the doing away the ceremonial law (Eph.ii. 14–16); and to the union of his people both among Jews and Gentiles, and their coming together to his holy mountain, even to Mount Sion, as set forth in Heb. xii. 22. And I feel confirmed in this from observing, ver, 10, “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious” (Isai. xi. 10). This is expressly quoted in Rom. xv. 12 in reference to the calling in of the Gentiles, as noticed in ver. 9, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. [Note DD.]

[DD.1 Those persons who interpret Rev. xx. 4, 5 in a material sense, as referring to the resurrection of the bodies of the saints, interpret Isai. xi. 6-8 also in a material sense, as signifying that the nature of all savage animals will be changed after the second I shall only refer to one passage more, Isai. xl. 5, The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. That this does not foretell every human being brought to believe in Christ at some period yet future, but the calling in of the Gentiles at the first

coming of Christ; and that the animals here described will actually dwell together upon the new earth. I cannot, however, conceive this to be the true interpretation of the passage, for the following reasons :- First, the rod, stem, branch, root in ver. 1, do not foretell that a material rod, and a material branch, would grow out of a material stem and roots, but are used in a figurative sense. Hence, as this is the introductory verse of the prophecy, the analogy of interpretar tion would lead me to conclude, that the expressions, also, in vers.6-8 do not foretell any thing respecting these materiał animals, but are used in a figurative sense. Nor can I conceive what interpretation can be given of Isai. xxxv.9, if we understand these expressions in a material sense in Isai. xi. 6-8. Second, As the first coming of Christ is expressly foretold in ver. I, if vers. 6–8 had been intended to foretell events which were to take place after his second coming, I feel convinced that there would have been some express prediction of that second coming, as there had been of the first. Instead, how• ever, of this, on the one hand there is not the least intimation of any other coming than his first, as described in ver. I ; and, on the other hand, the connective particle, and, running through every one of the verses (but, ver.4, in the original is and), shews that all these verses are connected with ver. I ; and that all the events described in them are to be the consequences of the coming described in ver. 1; that is, of his first coming. Third, As the earth will be burned up at the second coming of Christ, these animals cannot live through this, but must be destroyed with the earth (see note V, page 59). These considerations convince me, that the description in vers. 6–8 are not to be interpreted in a material, but in a figurative sense.

I would, therefore, request the reader to observe, that much the same distinction of animals is exhibited in Acts 3. 12 ás in Isai. xi. 6-8. The class of four-footed beasts in the former, will include the lamb, kid, calf, fatling, cow, ox of the latter; the class of the wild beasts in the former, will include the wolf, leopard, lion, bear of the latter; and the creeping things of the former, will include the asp and cockatrice of the latter. When, therefore, (1) I consider this resemblance, and that Acts x. 12 specially related to the calling in of the Gentiles at the first coming of Christ; and (2) when I observe how evidently the preceding verses, 1-5, in Isai. xi., relate also to the first coming of Christ, I cannot but conceive that vers. 6–8 are to be understood in a figurative sense, similar to Acts x. 12; and that they foretell the calling in, at the first coming of Christ, of the Gentiles, described under the figure of the wolf, leopard, &c. and their union with the elect remnant of the Jews, described as the lamb, kid, &c. in one church, after the ceremonial law, which was the enmity and middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile, was abolished, and peace was thus made between them. In confirmation of this, I would call the reader's special attention to Eph. ii. 14–16.

coming of him who is the brightness of his Father's glory (Heb. i. 3), appears to me evident from the reference which the Holy Ghost makes to this passage in Luke iii. 4–6. Hence I collect, that the coming of Christ, of which John was the immediate forerunner, was the time when the glory of the Lord was to be revealed, and all flesh was to see it together ; and consequently all flesh must, I conceive, be understood, not, in reference to individuals, of every human being, but, in reference to nations, of the Gentiles as contrasted with the one nation, the Jews. This also appears to me to be the signification of the same term, all flesh, in the prophecy of Joel ii. 28 : “ And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon

all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy : your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions." For the outpouring of the Spirit, which took place after the first coming of Christ, is expressly declared to be the fulfilment of this prophecy : This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel (Acts ii. 16). Consequently, the outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh must have taken place at this period. But, on the one hand, the Spirit was not poured out upon every individual of the human species, and therefore the term, all flesh, cannot, I conceive, be used in reference to individuals, to signify every human being; and, on the other hand, the Spirit was at this period (though not at that precise time) poured out upon the Gentiles ; so that I conceive all flesh is used here in reference to nations, to signify the calling in of the Gentiles*. And this appears to me to be greatly confirmed, by my finding the concluding verse of this same prophecy (ver. 32), the time of which is evidently the same as that of the rest of the prophecy, quoted in Rom. x. 13 for the express purpose of proving that the Gentiles were to be called in and admitted into the same way of salvation by grace with the Jews, as noticed in verses 11, 12.

* I conceive that it is also intimated in this prophecy, that the first preachers of the Gospel would be among the Jews; and that upon them would be poured out the gifts of the Spirit in a peculiar manner, from the expressions in ver. 28, YOUR sons and your daughters shall prophesy, &c.; and this appears to have been actually the case at the first preaching of the Gospel.

The observations which I have made upon these pasa sages, in order to shew my reasons for conceiving that they do not refer to individuals, as including every individual of the human species, but to nations, as including the Gentiles as well as the Jews, will, I think, be still further confirmed if we refer to some of the passages

in the New Testament, in which such terms as the following, the world, all the world or the whole world, all men, every creature, occur.-(1) The world. Thus in Rom. iv. 13 : For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” It is evi. dent, from vers. 12 and 16, that this refers to the Gentiles being justified by faith as the children of Abraham, and that the word world is used for this purpose. So Rom. xi. 12: “ Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?" Here also the world is evidently the same as the Gentiles ; as it must, I think, be also in 1 Tim. iii. 16: God was mani. fest in the flesh......preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world.-(2) The whole world, or all the world. The first commission of Christ to his Apostles, given before his death, contained a charge not to go to the Gentiles, Matt. x. 5, 6 : These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” His second commission to them, given after his death, we have in Mark xvi. 15 : “ And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." When I contrast the second commission with the first; and bear in mind that the first was given before and the second after the ceremonial law was abolished, and the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile was broken down by the death of Christ (Eph. ii. 15, 16); I feel convinced that one object of the second was to remove the restriction from going to the Gentiles, which Jesus had laid upon the Apostles in the first. Hence I conclude, that the terms, whole world, or all the world, and every creature, are used, not in reference to individuals, as implying that they were to preach to every individual of the human race; but with reference to na tions, in order to include the Gentiles, or all nations, instead of only one nation, the Jews. And this is confirmed by the account given of the fulfilment of the second commission in ver. 20: And they went forth and preached every

where :

: so that every where, in ver. 20, and all the world, in ver. 15, are evidently the same ; and both signify, not every human being, nor every individual part of the earth (for the Apostles did not preuch every where in this sense), but the different nations and parts of the earth, by way of contrast to the one nation and the one land of the Jews. So Paul declares that the Gospel was come in ail the world (or, the whole world); and that it was preached to every creature under heaven (Col. i. 6, 23). These expressions must be understood in reference, not to individuals (for the Gospel had not been preached to every human being), but to the various nations of the world, as contradistinguished from the one nation of the Jews.—(3) All men. Thus Jesus says, John xii. 32, And I, if í be lifted up, will draw all men unto me. From this I collect, that all men were to be drawn to him at the period when he was lifted up. This was not, however, fulfilled in reference to individuals ; for

every individual of the human race was not drawn to him then, or at any period since, Hence I am led to conceive that this expression, all men, is not to be interpreted with reference to individuals. On the other hand, I know that all men, ference to nations, were drawn to him ; both as the Gospel was to be preached among all nations (Luke xxiv. 47), Gentiles as well as Jews, and as Gentile sinners were drawn to look to him. Hence, therefore, I conclude, that the word, all men, is used with reference to the calling in and salvation of the Gentiles, in agreement with Isai. xlv. 22, and xlix. 6 as compared with Acts i. 8, and xiii. 46, 47. And this is confirmed from observing the occasion on which the words (John xii. 32) were spoken; which was, some Greeks coming to seek Jesus (vers. 20~22);

in reference to which Jesus says, Now is the judgment of this world : now shall the prince of this world be cast out (ver, 31). This also convinces me that Jesus used these expressions in reference to the calling in of the Gentile world. So the term, all men

in re

« PreviousContinue »