« PreviousContinue »
ACCORDING TO MATTHEW.
IN the course of Christ's ministry on earth, Matthew records several strong expressions of our Lord, predictive of this blessed event; he very early introduces our Lord, teaching his disciples to pray, saying, our Father who art in the Heavens, &c. Here we are taught the essential parts of prayer, in the manner in which we should address the throne of Omnipotence. After acknowledging, in deep humiliation, the Being, who emphatically is in the heavens--the relative connection we bear to His glorious majesty, our Creator and our God; and his actual existence and presence in the mansions on high, which He calls the Heavens in the plural number, our Lord having told us that in his Father's house, or in the whole space of existence, there were many mansions; I say after this introduction, the next petition in order and importance is, “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is done in Heaven.” By this we are expressly taught, that the kingdom of God or the Father that was to come, was the kingdom of Christ, that he was to set up on earth, for it was that kingdom, which was to cause the will of God to be done on Earth, even as it is done in Heaven," or that mansion of glory where God, in a very special
manner, manifested his presence. The kingdom cele dos God the Father had come among the seraphim alx"Isme cherubim of glory and all the bappy spirits de the Heavens from the beginning; this therefore couveden not be the subject of the petition ; but it is clear shewn to be the promised kingdom of Christ on the earth, at his second coming in glory, which is ti great object of all the divine scriptures from Genes to the Revelation.
re The subsequent petitions all relate to our state and par. I this earth, till we come to the last petition, in whics tudie we pray to be delivered from the power of the Ev. kingdan One, viz. the Prince of the Power of the air, white mes worketh in the children of disobedience; and they reason assigned is; for thine, (that is God the Father," is the just and lawful power and government of the kingdom that Christ was to establish on earth at histo! second coming in his own glory and the glory of the father, together with power and glory forever and ever be" or throughout all the ages yet to come.
dom When most men read of heaven, they are too apt to consider it as some state immediately above our heads, as a state wherein all sensible and visible objects are done away,--as a place of which no conception can be had.--A very sensible writer, paraphrases the iii. 3. Matth. “ Repent ye, for the kingdom of the Heavens is at hand,” in this manner, repent ye, or attain to new sentiments and dispositions of mind, for the kingdom of the Heavens approacheth, or is at band, that is a kingdom of righteousness,
ul and happiness, such as takes place and is es. ablished in the Heavens." It is a little extraordinary that oue translators should in so many instances have trazilated the Greek word ouranion, in the singular szaber
, though it is so plainly plural, without assuing any reason for it. ---It is therefore clear, as the 3 quoted author observes, 6 that the kingdom of Heavens
, which is elsewhere called the kingdom 4 God, meaus simply and plainly, a kingdom (on earth
) of such order, and rule, and regulation, and Biss
, and glory, as is established and prevails in the Heaves.- No such kingdom has yet appeared on earth, and therefore we must still look and long after and earnestly and habitually pray for it, with earnest. ness and great desire."
Our Lord again refers to this kingdom in those words addressed to the unbelieving Pharisees; “ and I say unto you that many shall come from the east and from the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven.” Again more expressly ; « for the son of man shall come in the glory of his father, with his angels, and then he shall re.
every man according to his works.” When the disciples had been on the mount of transfiguration, and returning from thence, finding that Elias, who bad appeared to them on the mount, did not accom. pany them down, naturally asked, why the scribes said that Elias must first come ? Christ took this opportanity, in answering their question, to discover to them the double meaning of the prophecy”-and
Jesus answered and said unto them, “ Elias truly shall first come and restore all things." --John the Baptist had already come, and they had done unto him what they listed; that is, they had taken his life, and though he had come“ in the power and spirit of Elias,” yet here is an express declaration, that truly Elias should yet first come and restore all things.This is a peculiar description of the Elias referred to, not applicable to John; and there appears to be the same reason, that Christ should have an harbinger, or fore-runner to his second, as well as to his first coming
It is evident that John did not by his coming, restore all things, but after John's death and burial, Christ says, truly Elias shall first come and restore all things.* This agrees with the prophetic declaration of Malachi, concerning the coming of Elias before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, as has been before observed.
* Mr Mede observes upon this passagem the meaning is this, that this Elias should bring the refractory and unbelieving posterity of the Jewish nation to have the same heart and mind their holy fathers and progenitors had, who feared God and believed his promises, that so their fathers might as it were rejoice in them and own them for their children: that is he should convert them to the faith of that Christ, whom their fathers hoped in and looked for; lest, continuing obstinate in their nabelief till the great day of Christ's second coming, they might perish among the rest of the enemies of his kingdom"-ride Ecclesiastes, xlviii. 10. Luke, i. 17.
The disciples still having an immediate temporal kingdom in view, and not having any idea of the spiritual nature of the kingdom of the Messiah at his first appearance in the world, was anxious to know what reward they should have in his kingdom, for their leaving all and following him—" And Jesus said unto them, ye who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, shall also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."*_Here then is a throne of glory which Christ was to possess, which, as the Messiah, he had not at this time, and when he did possess it, he was also to have power to give thrones, or judicial power to his apostles over the tribes of Israel, and of course they must be in being, in the body, to execute that office of judge and ruler. -Now Christ in his divine nature is, and always was sitting on the throne of his glory in Heaven; but the throne of the Messiah here referred to, is a future object, and can be no other, but that which he is to enjoy in this world, at his second coming in glory.
Again, Christ describing this great event says, “ For as the lightening cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the son of man be. Immediately after the tribu
* This means, when his kingdom shall come, after the first resurrection, (the previous time or his first coming in the flesh, being here called the regeneration) then the disciples are to judge their fellow-men.