« PreviousContinue »
the Gentiles 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 sin.”
The Apostle would not have the Roman, or any other Gentile, christian ignorant, that blindness is happened to the Jews but in part, and for a time; lest they should be wise in their own conceits; that is, applaud themselves, and despise the poor Jews for their blindness touching the Messiah ; as most do, most sinfully, to this day.
The Mystery is, that after the time that this partial blindness is over, which is to period when the fulness of the Gentiles shall be converted and brought in, all Israel shall be saved ; according as it is written, Isaiah lix, 20; which place we have before opened. In this opinion Dr. Alsted and Dr. Prideaux concur with me. I have to observe further, that the salvation of which the Apostle speaks must be of “ All Israel ;” viz. of the ten tribes as well as of the two; and it must be of the generality of all twelve that shall be surviving at the time of fulfilling this prophecy. The salvation of a few hundreds of Israel, or of the all of Judah, will not adequately answer to the comprehensive phrase of the text. But neither of these hath been yet fulfilled, as our eyes are witnesses.
2. This salvation of the all of Israel must be, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall be brought in. But we see not yet the manner or the means in any forwardness ;—the Gospel is not yet promulgated to many and mighty kingdoms of the Gentiles, as in the east and west Indies, or under the Turk, Persian, and Tartar; much less hath the matter, the coming in of the fulness of the Gentiles, been fulfilled : on the contrary, Antichrist, both eastern and western is yet standing, and standing in the way stiffly to oppose the salvation of the fulness of Jews and Gentiles; he being upheld by the kings, and potentates, and powers of the earth, who hereafter shall hate and ruin him.r
3. The FULNESS of the Gentiles, and the ALL of Israel, must meet in effectual conversion, and centre into a blessed union with the universal visible Church. For this text, “That there shall come out of Zion a deliverer, &c.” must be fulfilled accord
r Rev. xvii. 16.
ing to God's ancient covenant. Now we have abundantly heard the prophets made very plain to us, touching the Deliverer, and the future integration and incorporation of Jews and Gentiles into one visible Church ; and touching the covenant of God with the patriarchs respecting the matter, manner, and measure of their deliverance; and therefore neither is this fulfilled to this present day.
1 Corinthians xv, 22–28.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order ; Christ the first fruits, “afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh “the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, “ even the Father ; when he shall have put down all rule, and all "authority and power. For he must reign till he hath put all "enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed " is death : for he hath put all things under his feet. But when " he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that He is “excepted which did put all things under him. And when all
things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also him"self be subject unto Him that put all things under him, that “ God
be all in all." I have so largely commented on these words, for explication of the cx.th Psalm, that I have no need to enlarge now: I only note, that the last clauses must be warily understood with this distinction; viz. that the destruction of death, as an enemy to the saints and to Christ's visible kingdom on earth, is the beginning and restoration to Christ's and the saints' reigning in that kingdom. For that kingdom, and the thousand years of glory, begin with the resurrection of the deceased saints.s But the putting an end to death, in the raising of the wicked for the ultimate general judgement, that it may no longer be an enemy to God's ultimate design of punishing the said wicked in body and soul, is indeed the end, or period, of Christ's reigning.t
Secondly, Paul's words clearly prove, that the reign of Christ, as man, doth neither begin before his second coming, nor extend itself beyond the last resurrection; and therefore cannot, without a palpable contradiction, be taken for the time when he shall give up his kingdom to his Father ; or for the time that now is; betwixt which and his kingdom our Saviour hath put an irreconcileable distinction, calling this, not the time of a kingdom, but " a time of temptation.” And if Christ shall reign till then, and then give up his kingdom to his father, the saints, who are found alive at his coming, shall be excluded from his kingdom ; but if his reign begins not till his second coming, then the quick and dead shall both reign together.
s Rev. xi, 11, 12, &c. and Rev. xx, 4, 5.
t Rev. xx, 12.
The words—" After they that are Christ's,”-intimate some distance of time between the resurrection of them in Christ, and other men; or else it had been easy for the Apostle to have said, they that are dead, or they that are in the grave. And if there shall be a precedency of time, then no doubt it shall be such a precedency, as may bring some advantage and honor to the saints; and therefore not of a few hours, or days, but of a more notable continuance of many years.
Finally I observe, that the Apostle in this text hints to us three physical resurrections. First, the resurrection of Christ, which the Apostle saith is past, (v. 20,) and calls it (vv. 20, 23) the first-fruits of the saints' resurrection, which is the second intimated. Then, thirdly, we have the resurrection of the wicked also, called the end, (v. 24,) which also follows the second at a distance (elta) as the gleaning does the harvest. This succession is that which the Apostle calls (v. 23) order,” each to rise in his own order. And it is a very distinct order for as there have been now above 1600 years since Christ's resurrection, and yet the saints are not risen; so it will be a thousand years between the resurrection of the saints and the wicked, as St. John asserts, Rev. xx. And as, at the resurrection of the saints, death, as to them, shall be destroyed; so at the resurrection of the wicked, life to them shall be destroyed ; their living being worse than death; and therefore called "the second death,” which shall have no power over the saints,
2 Corinthians iii, 15—18.
But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the “ Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is " that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is “ liberty. But (or truly) we all with open face beholding, as “ in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same " image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
In this text three things are evidently asserted concerning the Jews.
I. What their present spiritual condition was in Paul's time; viz. that even to that day, when Moses was read, the vail was upon their heart.” In verse 13 the Apostle had said, “ Moses did put a vail over his face, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished;" according to Exod. xxxiii, 32, &c. So that hereby are signified two vails, the one typifying the other ; the former upon the thing beheld, the latter upon the beholders. Thus the Jews could not through Moses, representing the ministration of the levitical law, look unto Christ, representing the ministration of the Gospel : for (saith the Apostle,) first, there was a vail of material types, (viz. of blood, sacrificing, washing, &c.) covering and concealing the shining (that is the spiritual meaning and Gospel glory) of Moses' law: and secondly, there was the carnal vail upon the hearts of the Jews; so that their apprehension was terminated at that which was only sensible, not reaching to that which was spiritual. Thus Rom. ix, 31, 32, and xi, 25, assert, that the Jews “ attained not unto righteousness, because they sought it not by faith, (viz. not in Christ, the sense and sum of the levitical law,) but as it were by the works of the law;" for by resting on the exterior and mere actings of levitical ceremonies, they turned them, in their true intent and eyangelical meaning) into works of the law. So if a man rest upon the opus operatum—the labor, and mere deed done of the evangelical duty of prayer, praise, &c; he makes those duties legal.
II. Secondly, we have what their future spiritual condition shall be at the time of their call; viz. that when their heart is turned to the Lord, (i.e. converted,) the vail shall be taken away;" to wit, both vails. First, the vail of Jewish worship, as it was taken away de jure, when the vail was rent at Christ's Passion ; and de facto, as to the sacrificial part, at the destruction of the temple by the Roman Titus ; so also it shall be taken away, as to the Jews esteem, in the whole Mosaical liturgy thereof. Secondly, the vail of sense over their hearts shall be taken away ; so that by the divine illumination of the Spirit they shall look beyond mere sense and carnal reason unto the spiritual meaning of the law; viz. unto the Gospel and Christ Jesus, who is the Spirit thereof; which is plainly expressed in the following words,
now the Lord is that Spirit.” For the word Lord in the New Testament oft signifies Christ ; and Spirit often signifies spirituality, and the spiritual sense and way of the Gospel, and the communication of the efficacy of the Spirit ; of which many instances might be given. It is added, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty :” that is, when the Lord is spiritually in the heart, the Jews shall neither rely upon the letter, character, or outward acts of Judaical services, to which sense and carnal reason held them in a kind of bondage. The law indeed, whilst in force, obliged them to an actual performance of all the material levitical services ; but even then, it was their carnality, which held their apprehensions within those stinted bounds, that they could not look further. But where the Spirit of the Lord is in the heart by grace, there is a liberty of apprehension to look to the spirituality of all worship ; and a liberty of action, to act more with the inward graces, than with the labors of the body; and a liberty of confidence, to rely upon the object, (viz. Christ held forth in the Gospel,) and not on the outward form of worship.
III. Next we have what their estate both corporal and spiritual shall be when the vail is taken away ;--viz. when “WE ALL
(both Jews and Gentiles) with open face, beholding as in a " glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, " from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” The verse is not to begin with but,' as in antithesis to that before ; but with and, as in addition or further degree of attainment. So the Greek ñuels de well bears, and so the sense requires : for there was never yet an “all” of Jews so beholding, and so transformed ; nor were the converted Gentiles yet so glorified with that divine metamorphosis. The Jews must not be ex. cluded, because the Apostle, himself a Jew, speaks in the first person plural-we: and the converted Gentiles must not be