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SECOND ADVENT, &c.
PART THE FIRST.
The Prophecies concerning the Second Advent, in the earlier
CHAPTER THE FIRST.
THE PROPHECIES DELIVERED IN THE PATRIARCHAL AGE.
The Prediction recorded of the Woman's Seed,
"He shall bruise thy head,"
THE first promise of mercy to fallen man, in the third chapter of Genesis, must be considered as containing an intimation of the second advent; of the second advent, as now appears, because the events of the first did not fulfil all the prediction.
The history of the incarnation has taught us who is the woman's seed; the death and passion of our afflicted Lord has fully explained the prophecy of "the bruising of his heel;" but that part which relates to the bruising of the serpent's head, has not yet been accomplished.
For whatever victories have been obtained over the adversary,—and they are certainly great and many,—the fatal blow aimed at his head cannot, as yet, be said to have been inflicted. In this world, at least, the power of Satan is confessedly great. Accordingly St. Paul, after the era of the first advent, repeats the promise," The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."*
So speaketh that eternal Spirit, with whom " a thousand years are as one day, and one day as a thousand years:" for still, to this present hour, the church suffers "from the crafts and assaults of the devil," and can alone look for final deliverance to the day of Christ's second coming. This will illustrate a principle of interpretation to which we must frequently have recourse. Some prophecies there are which speak of the advent of the Deliverer generally, and do not distinguish that, with respect to his waiting people upon earth, his advent would be twofold. They contain not the express intimation that he would come; and, after a short residence on earth, would depart into the unseen world, with a promise of returning again. Those prophecies assign not distinctly to their respective eras the events of the first and of the second advent; but speak of them promiscuously, dwelling sometimes on what belongs to the one period, and sometimes on what belongs to the other, as though they were parts of one and the same great deliverance; as, in fact, they are. But it will be our business to distinguish between these two eras; and to select, for our more immediate consideration, as our subject requires, the events belonging to the latter. Here our task will be easy; as far, at least, as we can clearly
* Rom. xvi. 20.
understand the meaning of the sacred writers; for we shall have only to consider, in each prophecy, what has not been fully accomplished by the events and consequences of the first advent. This, of course, we must note as belonging to the second. For, being fully persuaded that the Scripture cannot be broken, but that "every jot and every tittle" of God's revealed word will be fulfilled, we shall not seek to explain away as figures of rhetoric, or as beautiful fictions of Eastern poetry, what appears too great in the prediction to apply to the event that has been considered as its fulfilment; but shall assuredly gather, that the prediction properly belongs to something greater to come: and where the type, if such it be, has fallen short in judgment or in the gift of grace, that this defect the antitype will, to the full amount, supply.
The Prophecy of Enoch.
RESTORED to its chronological order, the prophecy of Enoch, the seventh from Adam, as preserved in the epistle of St. Jude, comes next to be considered:
"Behold, the Lord cometh, with ten thousand of his saints," or" with his holy myriads, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all that are ungodly among men, of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed; and all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
This unquestionably has no relation to the first advent. That was an errand of mercy, and not of judgment. The preserver of the prophecy is our expounder, that the
particular objects of this judgment are "the mockers in the last time." The reader is requested carefully to bear in mind the contents and circumstances of this very ancient prophecy, since we shall often have occasion, as we proceed, to refer to it. It clearly ascertains that, in the most ancient times, the church possessed a prediction that the Lord would come with his holy ones, to execute judgment upon an apostate race of men that should be on the earth in the last days. It is certain, from the same exposition, that the sending of the flood upon the world of the ungodly, in the days of Noah, fulfilled not this prediction. Taught by this, we should be very careful, in our consideration of subsequent Scriptures, how we apply to any remarkable visitation of Providence the awful and tremendous prognostication, "The Lord cometh." Not the destruction of a world, with whatever agencies of angelic powers effected, had fulfilled Enoch's prediction of the Lord's coming, with his holy myriads, to execute judgment !
Job's Faith in the Redeemer.
CONSIDERING the high antiquity of the book of Job as established beyond all exception,* it is from the testimony of this patriarch we next gather the expectations of the first fathers of mankind respecting the coming of their future Redeemer; and that coming, it will appear,
* See Mr. Good and Dr. Magee. The date of Job's trial, according to Dr. Hales, is 2337 before Christ, and 184 before Abraham.
from the consequences anticipated, must refer to the
The passage to which I allude is Job, xix. 23, &c. Some of my readers will not be aware of the difficulty in the translation of this passage; but by those who are apprized of this circumstance, I shall be excused in the following attempt. The afflicted sufferer, driven almost to despair by the cruel insinuations and calumnies of his friends, as if elevating on a sudden his hopes, the hopes evidently of a dying man, exclaims :
O! that my words were now written down!
With a pen
of iron on lead!
Were carved on a rock for ever!'
That I know my Redeemer liveth:2
That hereafter he shall stand upon the earth:
ay is put for "the earth," on which the Redeemer stands up, or over which he will appear: or whether, taking in its more usual sense, "dust," we should consider it a parallel term to bw, denoting the state of the dead: the former in reference to the dissolved body, the latter in reference to the departed spirit. Compare Isa. xxvi, 19. Dan. xii. 2. Job, vii. 21. and also Hosea, xiii. 14. and Rev. xx. 14. In this case we should render, "He shall arise against death."
Schultens translates, meam carnem inde vindicaturus, carcere mortis spoliato."