Зображення сторінки

propriety be constructed upon its language, the objector might find this parable bearing forcibly against his own opinion ; and this it really and most unquestionably does when viewed as having been delivered in illustration of Christ's plain declaration of his coming, described in the preceding chapter. Nor is the formality of judgment, here represented, inconsistent with the view thus given, when compared with other Scriptures. Thus, for example, we have in Dan. vii. 9, 10, (a passage perfectly parallel,) the destruction of Antichrist before the Millennium, part of which has been already executed, set forth under the representation of a judgment—the thrones being placed, the books opened, &c. “I beheld," says the prophet, “ till the thrones were cast down, (set or placed,] and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool ; his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him ; thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him ; The judgment was set and the books were opened.Living, as we now are, in the scene referred to, without witnessing the solemnities here described, the language of the prophecy may serve to illustrate that of the parable. *

Shortly after the ascension of Christ, the apostle Peter held out to the Jewish nation the assurance of His return at the period of their conversion. Addressing them in Solomon's porch, after the miraculous cure of the


An objection is sometimes founded on another declaration of our Lord, “Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here who shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.” Matt. xvi. 28. This is often applied to the destruction of Jerusalem, and it is thence inferred, that he will not come in any other manner, till the consummation of all things. Although Christ had here referred to that event, this could no more have been in opposition to the evidence of his personal return at the commencement of the Millennium, than it would have subverted the theory of his coming at any subsequent period. But not only is the assumption of His coming at the destruction of Jerusalem altogether gratuitous, and opposed as we shall soon see to Peter's assurance, almost so soon as Christ had left the earth, that the heavens must receive him till the Restitution of all things, but such an application of the passage before us is also at variance with another reference to it by the same apostle,

lame man, he declared that they had killed the Prince of Life, and exhorted them to repentance : “ Repent, ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the Times of Refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and He suaLL SEND JESUS Christ which before was preached unto you ; whom the heavens must receive until the times of Restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets, since the world began." Acts iïi. 19% 21. Here, then, we may observe, is a complete confutation of the idea of Christ's return at the destruction of Jerusalem. He had left the earth very shortly before the apostle thus declared that the heavens must receive him until the times of Restitution. We are assured, however, that when these times of Refreshing shall come to Israel, He shall again be sent unto them, the heavens receiving him only until the times of Restitution of all things predicted by the prophets. This is the only instance in the New Testament in which the noun here translated “ Restitution” occurs, but the verb from which it is derived is used frequently, and always in the sense of restoration; as when Jesus said unto the man with the withered hand, - Stretch forth thine hand, And he stretched it forth ; and it was restored whole like as the other.” Matt. xii. 13. And when the apostles “were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel ?" Acts i. 6. And that these “ times” are no other than those of the Millennium is farther obvious from the fact, that there are no other Times of Restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began," than those exhibited in the preceding passages, of the times now called the Millennium. Christ, in his divine nature, is everywhere present, and therefore as really here now as he will be then; but in his human nature he left the earth in presence of his disciples, being taken ир

which proves that it was to an event of a very different character the Saviour alluded. In the preceding verse he had spoken of his return “in the glory of his Fatiier with the holy angels.” This glory his disciples had expected he would then assume, and for the confirmation of their faith that at his return he would appear very differently from what he had done in his humility, he condescended to

appear to three of them as he will be seen by all at his future coming, in glorified humanity, attended by two of his saints, as recorded in the succeeding context: “ And after six days, Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain, apart, and was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And behold there appeared unto him Moses and Elias talking with Him.” Matt. xvii. 1-3. So, it may be remarked, all the three evangelists who record the Saviour's promise, follow it immediately with the account of the transfiguration, without interposing the notice of any other circumstance between their record of the promise and the statement of that celestial appearance, which seemingly they regard as its early fulfilment. (Matt. xvi. 28. xvii. 1. Mark ix. 1, 2. Luke ix. 27, 28.) And the apostle Peter, one of the honoured three who witnessed this transfiguration, elsewhere alluding to this appearance in celestial glory, expressly calls it “the power and coming' of Christ : "For we have not,” says he, “ 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, honour 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.” 2 Pet. i. 16—18,

in a cloud, and shall return“ in like manner," as announced by the angel. He has sate down on His Father's throne, and shall continue to sit at his right hand “ until His enemies be made his footstool." But when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, and the times of Refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, He shall send unto his ancient people--not the Spirit, who is already with us, and who has been to the Church the Comforter in His absence, but the Redeemer, “Jesus Christ.” That the “times of Refreshing,” anticipated by the holy apostle, are not merely times of consolation enjoyed by individuals in a state of grace, but of their national conversion, is manifest. He expressly declares, that, when these times of Refreshing have come, the Lord will then send Jesus Christ unto them, while yet he affirms that the heavens must receive Him till the times of Restitution of all things; the times of refreshing referred to, must therefore be the Millennium, as well as those of restitution. As a nation, the Jews consummated their wickedness by the crucifixion of the Lord of glory. With this enormity the apostle charged them, not as individuals, but as a people, saying, "Ye

denied the Holy One and the Just,” and “killed the Prince of Life." For this dreadful wickedness, national punishment has been awfully inflicted, and is still in store. But they are not altogether cast off. When they shall see their iniquity in all its extent, and mourn in bitterness on account of it; when, in the language of the apostle, their sins shall be “blotted out,"—when the blood of Jesus they wantonly shed, and the curse of which with awful infatuation they invoked upon themselves and their children, shall be upon them in a blessed sense, and the times of Refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord,” He will then send unto them that Jesus whom they formerly despised, and refused to acknowledge as the Anointed One.*

The Lord seems to allude to his rejection by backsliding Israel, his return to heaven for a time, and his coming again at the period of their conversion, when

By connecting them with the period when “all nations shall serve and obey" the Lord, Dr. Hamilton seems to admit (p. 136,) that “ the times of Refreshing” are those of the Millennium, but afterwards introduces (p. 161,) a long quotation from Mr. Faber, in which, by an elaborate but unavailing criticism on the word “ Restitution," he endeavours to evade the force of the passage. If Mr. Faber had attended to the fact, that“ when the times of Refreshing shall come,” Jesus is to be sent, it might have prevented his embarking in the hopeless enterprize of explaining away the meaning of the Greek word translated Restitution, the derivation of which secures its signification. If he admits—which it is scarcely possible he should deny—that “the times of Refreshing” refer to the future restoration of Israel to the favour of God at the Millennium, there is no escaping from the conclusion that then is the time of Christ's return. Even if his trivial objection to Mede's construction were just, which is not Admitted, it may at once be obviated by substituting the word “announced” for “ spoken,” which the original fully admits. See Parkhurst.

The rendering of this passage, in the authorized version, is most ably vindicated in Mr. Cunninghame's “Critical Examination of some of Mr. Faber's Fundamental Principles of Prophetic Interpretation," and in Mr. Drummond's Letter to Dr. Hamilton. Mr. Mason does justice to our translation, and says, (Gentiles' Fulness, p. 201.) “the word in the Greek is literally and most properly rendered” Restitution. But, in quoting the passage, he stops short at the “ restitution of all things," and applies this to the time of the last judgment" and “the end of all things." But the mere quotation of the remainder of the sentence is sufficient to exclule this idea, and to prove that the apostle referred to the Millennium--that being the only “Restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began."

he says by the mouth of the prophet Hosea, "They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God, for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the Lord ; and the pride of Israel doth testify to his face; therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity ; Judah also shall fall with them. They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them....I will go and RETURN to my place till they acknowledge their offence and seek my face.” Hos. v. 4, 5, 6, 15. “Repent ye therefore and be converted,” says the apostle, “that your sins may be blotted out when the times of Refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you."

The apostle Paul writing to the saints in Rome, and treating expressly of the conversion of Israel, says, " I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, (lest ye should be wise in your own conceits,) that blindness, in part, is happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” Rom. xi. 25—27. As, in the gospel by Luke, our Lord in predicting his return, declared that Jerusalem should first be “trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled,so the apostle here intimates that the blindness of Israel will continue till “ the fulness of the Gentiles be come in,"--when “ the Deliverer shall come out of Zion.” He quotes from the prophecy of Isaiah," And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.” Is. lix. 20. Here the promise is, that He will come to Zion, and unto them that do turn from transgression ; but Paul, quoting from the Greek Translation of the Old Testament, (then in common use,) has made an accommodation of the passage. Both the prophet and the apostle, however, explicitly announce the coming of the Redeemer at the period of Israel's conversion; and while the one

« НазадПродовжити »