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Christ had come in the flesh; and that after the general judgement Christ, as Christ, shall lay down all his dominion over angels and men : for this 'shall’ must therefore relate to some middle time between.
Psalm xxii, 27, 29.
This Psalm is concerning the whole of Christ's passion : as is plain,—First, by the title, “A Psalm concerning Aijeleth Shahar," that is, the hind of the morning; for Christ having been shut in the grave, rose and escaped away in the morning: and secondly, by the application of several passages by the Evangelist. But though in the first scene it sets forth Christ's humiliation ; yet in the second, (beginning v. 22, " I will declare thy name unto my brethren,") it sets forth his exaltation. This the Apostle applies to Christ's manifestation in the sameness of nature with the sons of men, that in that nature he might taste death for every man, and at last declare that salvation to all the world. s And next we have the effect of his declaring God's name to the world ; viz. effectual, general conversion : “ All the ends of the “ world shall remember, and turn unto the Lord, and all the
kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee: for the king“ dom is the Lord's, and he is the governor among the nations. “ All they that be fat upon the earth shall eat and worship ; all " they that go down to the dust shall bow before him.” We have the same general conversion and worship declared in Psalm lxxxvi, 9. “ ALL NATIONS whom thou hast made, shall come and worship before thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name." And also in that shortest, but largely comprehensive Psalm, cxvii ; “O praise the Lord all ye nations; praise him all ye people;" which Paul evidently extends to the coming in of the fulness of Jews and Gentiles, rejoicing together as one Church.t Therefore, according to Paul, David had a most comprehensive view when he spake these things; and therefore it must be fulfilled, according to its true latitude and elevation, without the mincing distinctions of men. For a seal of assurance whereof the close of this 117th Psalm hath three weighty clauses : first, that the merciful kindness of Jehovah to the sons of men is great; secondly,
r Matt. xxvii, 37,
s Heb. ii, 9-16.
t Rom. xi, 10. 11.
that the truth of the same Jehovah is for ever ; thirdly, that by faith and hope in that mercy and truth, we should praise Jehovah with Hallelujah.
Psalm xcvii, 7.
Worship him all ye gods.” The importance of this place arises from the quotation of it by the Apostle in Heb. i, 6: “ But when he bringeth again the first begotten into the world he saith also, Let all the angels of God worship him.” This translation we have defended at page 61.
Now whether we read it gods with the Hebrew, or angels with the Greek, both terms equally include all kings, potentates, judges, or magistrates on earth, together with the principalities and powers in heavenly places. That the word “angels' includes human principalities, is evident from the use of it in Malachi iv, 1, and in Revelation ii, 1 ; &c. Besides which the saints who shall hereafter judge the world, will be made (loayye ol) “equal to the angels." That the word 'gods' has the same meaning is also evident from our Lord's application of Psalm lxxxii, 6 : “ Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
If he called them gods to whom the word of the Lord came;" &c. w
Granting then, that the Apostle's design in using this passage (“Worship him all ye gods,") might be limited to the proof, that Christ is above the angels; yet the connexion he gives it with his second coming into the world shews us, how we are to interpret the first verse of this Psalm : "The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice ; let the multitude of isles be glad :" or, as it may be strictly rendered—“ The Lord reigning the earth shall rejoice, and the many isles shall be glad.” That “the Lord' here means Christ, is clear from the very next quotation applied to him in Heb. i, 8, 9. “To the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever,” &c. And Christ had reigned, in his ordinary providence and power, from the creation to the Psalmist's time; as appeared in his preserving his people in the flood, in the fire on Sodom, &c. ; in his miracles in Egypt, the wilderness, and the Red Sea; and in his victories over the several
u 1 Cor. vi, 2.
v Luke xx, 36.
w John x, 34,
nations in Canaan, &c. But Christ has never yet so reigned as is described in this Psalm ; viz. That all the earth and the multitude of isles* shall rejoice and be glad thereof. All the world of Jews and Gentiles must rejoice at the manifestation of his kingdom; as it follows in the sixth verse : ". The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory:" but all people’ never yet saw his righteousness and glory. 'All the gods' never yet worshiped him as Christ; but, on the contrary, have generally despised, if not opposed Christ. And it will be too late and an unseasonable time for them to do it at the ultimate judgement, when no adoration or worship is then received from Christ's enemies ; but sentence is given by him against them. The time therefore when this shall be fulfilled is, according to the Apostle, “When God shall bring his first-begotten Son again into the inhabited world.” When he brought him into the world the first time by incarnation, all the potentates and angels of men, the Scribes and Pharisees, Herod and Pontius Pilate, the Roman emperors and Senate of Rome, did not worship but refused him; they persecuted him and his members most bloodily for near three hundred years; after which the Arians, and next to them the Papacy, took their turns to maintain that stream of blood running down to our times. But when he shall bring his first-begotten Son again into the world in his visible royal exaltation, then they all shall worship him, excepting those that are ruined for their refractoriness. They shall then worship him as the angels of heaven do; and the angels themselves shall then more eminently worship him, since they shall be more apparently his ministers and servants to dispense his mercy and justice in that great work, the setting up New Jerusalem, and the great restitution of all things.
This Psalm is so eminent, that it is quoted no less than seven times in the New Testament; and is expounded of Christ's Session at the right hand of God till all the world be made subject to him. *
* By Isles, according to a frequent Hebraism, is meant all the nations of the Gentiles ; as in Is. xli, 15. The reason of the phrase is, that the Jews, dwelling in the continent of Asia, counted all the world islanders that were divided from them by the Mediterranean Sea : whence also that phrase, ‘Isles of the sea,' Esther x,l; Is. xxiv, 15; and Ezek. xxvi, 18. Yea, to make all yet plainer it is twice said, "The isles of Chittim ;' by which is often understood the whole Roman monarchy; as in Dan. xi, 30 : and see also Jer. ii, 20 ; and Ezek. xxvii, 6.
Verse 1. "JEHOVAH* said to my Lord, sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool,” &c. By
my Lord,' (27N) is mcant Christ, who according to his humanity is David's Son, but according to his deity is David's Lord; even as Christ himself expounds it :y and accordingly the Chaldee has it, “The Lord said to his Word;" agreeably with Johni, 1. And because Christ is David's Lord, therefore the Psalmist himself infers, that he must rule over David's posterity; though now, with many others, they be enemies. For how can we say converts are 'enemies ?' or if by conversion they are become his friends, how can it be said they are his ‘footstool ?' They are then one with Christ, which is incompatible with their being his footstool. Therefore the plain meaning is, that Christ must so rule over all, that his very enemies must corporeally and visibly be subject unto his power : all which, observe, is made future even after his ascension, and his first sitting at the right hand of God. This is confirmed by Hebrews ii, 8: “Thou hast put all things under his feet; but now we see not yet all things put under him:” which words immediately follow the declaration, that Christ is ascended, being crowned with glory and honor. This text (“Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool ;') is indeed exactly parallel with that in Acts iii, 21 : “ Whom the heavens must receive until the times of the restitution (not de-stitution of all things."
The apostle Peter gives us further light in his quotation of this Psalm, in Acts ii, 32–36. “This Jesus hath God raised “up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore, being by the
right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which
ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the "heavens; but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit
thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool : " therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God “ hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified both Lord
* The Syriac calls it : “ A Psalm concerning Christ and his victory over
' and Christ;" (Kuplóv kal Xplotov avtov.) For from hence we boldly conclude the sense of the Apostle to be, that by Christ's ascension not only the Spirit was to be poured out, but the house of Israel must know assuredly that he was there initiated, installed, and entitled to be Lord and Christ; which the house of Israel assuredly do not know even to this time.
The apostle Paul carries on this point yet further, in 1 Cor. xv, 24–29. • 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 also shall the Son him“self be subject unto him that put all things under him.” The words, “ He hath put all things under his feet,” are in the past time, in reference to the dominion given to his type, Adam ; but afterward the future (" when all things shall be subdued”) refers to Christ himself. And what is the purport of the Apostle's comment here? Why First, He lays it down for a sure position, that the end of all is not till Christ hath delivered up the kingdom to God the Father. Secondly, He gives us a sign when he will so give up the kingdom ; viz. when he hath put down all authority, rule, and power. Thirdly, He proves this from Psalm cx; for, saith he, “ He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet :” which is all one with making his enemies his footstool. Fourthly, he intimates, that all things were not subdued unto Christ; for when he wrote he spoke of them as of things to come, viz.-"When all things shall be subdued unto him:" whereas, if they had come to pass, then also would THE END be come. And before that be done, death must be destroyed, which is one of the enemies to be put under Christ's feet: which destruction is not merely moral or spiritual, but physical ; so that there shall be no more death to the godly.a Fifthly, he says, That death is the last enemy that shall
2 John vii, 39.
a Rev. xxi, 4.