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of Christ; but anon Arianism arose, then Popery mounted up, then the beast :' the Church is put into a wilderness condition; the witnesses prophesy in sackcloth 1260 years ; which are not yet expired, for they have not yet lain dead in the grave three days and a half.
vo. 18—21. Once more this is not accomplished, “That all idols are abolished ; that God hath so shaken the earth, that he hath made the inhabitants thereof to cast away all their . idols, and to hide themselves for fear.” The territories of the Papacy are full of idols ; as well as heathen countries.
Nor can it be rationally imagined, that these things shall not be done till the ultimate day of the general judgement; for then there is no time to “establish the mountain of the Lord's house upon the top of the mountains, nor for the word to proceed out of Zion, nor for men to run and hide from the presence of the
Lord;" for the sea and grave, &c. shall give up their dead, and all good shall be turned into an eternity of absolute glory.*
Chapter ix, 6, 7.
“ For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace. Of the increase of his govern'ment and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of
David and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it ' with judgement and with justice from henceforth even for
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” This text is very comprehensive, apparently grasping within its arms a large tract of time, from Christ's incarnation throughout all the process of his government until the end of the ultimate judgement; as the words "from henceforth and for ever” do express.
It is not worth while to contend with the later Jewish Rabbins who say,
that this text is meant of Hezekiah: the more ancient Rabbins and Talmud, and their Targum, are contrary to that, interpreting this text of the MESSIAH.
* The Reader may for more on this head consult Mr Mede's Diatribæ pars 4, which has come out since I penned this.
Leaving therefore all improbable conceits of men, let us inquire concerning the excellent state that shall be set up under the government of the Messiah, before the ultimate judgement.
Our recent Annotationists make for me a fair preface, meetly conducing to the true sense of the words : “That the deliverances (say they) of God's people, and the pulling down of such mighty potentates, whether secular or spiritual, may not seem * impossible and incredible, the Prophet now proceedeth tó declare who it is, and what manner of person, by whom all that hath been said shall be effected; even the Messias, the eternal Son of God, whom God shall raise up to be the king and governor of his Church.” But we have a more sure word to confirm this interpretation in Luke i, 31–33. “ And the
angel said unto Mary, &c. thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the • Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father DAVID, ' and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
Now lay this of Isaiah and Luke together, and then note their meaning. First, they speak not of spirituals only, but also of temporals. The word 'for,' in the beginning, demonstrates an assurance of the deliverance of Israel, as set forth in verses 4 and 5 ; viz.“ Thou hast broken the yoke of his burthen, • and the staff of his shoulder, and the rod of his oppressor, as
in the day of Midian,* &c. and it shall be, as with battle and · blood, so with burning and fuel of fire." For these words cannot without violence be wrested to signify only spiritual deliverances, as our Annotationists also affirm with us. Having * declared (say they) the greatness of their joy, he proceeds to
shew the ground of it, their deliverance and freedom from the straits and thraldom of their enemies, as well corporal as • spiritual.” Secondly, these words shew that Christ was invested with these attributes and omnipotential properties on purpose to multiply his princedom,” and “for peace without end." (See the Hebrew.t) Moreover the words princedom,
* The reference to Gideon's victories shews again that spiritual deliverance alone is not intended.
+ The Jews observe that the close shut o mem, in the middle of a word, as
government, and for peace, spoken in a way of prophecy of what should be added to the Church above that they enjoyed already, cannot but signify more than spirituals. Thirdly, this is yet more apparent by what follows both here, and in Luke i, 32, of the “Messiah's sitting upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it with justice and judgement.” For it needs not that Christ should sit on David's throne and kingdom in order to spiritually govern, and keep in peace his universal Church ; nor is there need to assert the perpetuity of Christ's spiritual kingdom, that it should be for ever. Further, the great engagement at the close, “the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this,” must of necessity signify something more, than the ordinary thing of Christ's having a spiritual kingdom on earth; for what need of such a solemn protest, to signify the performance of that which had been long since done. Fourthly, these two texts import, that after there should be an interruption of the sitting of David's race upon David's throne, it should sensibly appear that Christ should possess that throne. For the whole earth had long before been given up to the rule of Christ, to be governed by his invisible providence ;s and in all ages Christ hath continually poured down his judgements upon the wicked, as Peter proves in his second Epistle, chap. ii. And the Church was also given to him from the beginning, t which he hath ever preserved on earth in all ages since by his spiritual power and grace. But the line of David's race hath been broken off from his throne ; nor hath Christ been upon
it at all, in
visible manifestation : therefore this last must be a great part of the meaning of Isaiah and Saint Luke ;* and that to be performed for ever, that is, so as no visible power must reign after him. Fifthly, Isaiah prophesies in the time of the division of the kingdom of the Jews into Judah and Israel ; u and yet Saint Luke tells us, that this must be fulfilled by Christ's reigning over the whole house of Jacob, which contains all the twelve tribes, made up of Israel and Judah ; even as the throne of David also was over both Judah and Israel. Finally, all these must be so fulfilled, that Christ must appear to be ' wonderful and mighty ;' and to increase in his government,' according to Isaiah—to be 'great according to St. Luke.
here in 3405 (which properly is a final letter) signifies the stability of the thing spoken of; as open o mem (which properly is a middle letter) in the end of a word signifies brokenness,-as Do in Nehemiah ii, 13 means the brokenness of the walls there spoken of : which observation I mention not as a foundation strong enough for me to build upon, but merely to declare the opinion of the ancient Jewish Rabbins concerning the stability of the Messiah's kingdom.
* As Piscator expresses it, “ In solio Davidis tanquam hæres regni, et filius Davidis sedebit Christus. confer. 2 Sam. vii, 12, &c. s Compare Gen. i, 26, &c. Psalm viii, and Heb. ii, 7, 8. t Compare Gen. iii,
15, and Rom. xvi, 20. u Is. i, 1.
Now surely this text was not fulfilled in the return of the Jews from Babylon ; since the ten tribes did not then return, to make up the house of Jacob, or the kingdom of David : and besides, of that prosperity there was soon an end. Nor has Christ ever yet sat upon the throne of David; nor has the visible government been upon his shoulders ; but rather on the shoulders of the Roman Emperor, or the Pope, or the Turk. Nor has it been fulfilled in Christ's spiritual government: for this spiritual government, (if we may so call Christ's giving ordinances and grace,) extending itself to Gentiles equally, if not more, than to Jews, what pre-eminence is thereby given to Jacob's house, or David's throne, more than to the houses or thrones of Constantine, or Queen Elizabeth, or any other christian monarch?
Chapters x, xi, xii.
Chap. x. In this chapter the Lord threatens Judah, that, for their hypocrisy in religion, and their unrighteousness in their dealings, he will send against them the Assyrian. But it is also threatened, that because the Assyrian would afflict the Jews without consideration of God's hand in it, and manage the rod with insolent cruelty, God will bring destruction upon the Assyrian for deliverance of the Jews. The confirmation of this deliverance (as is the manner of God in the prophets) hath its foundation laid in the sending of Christ, chap. xi, 1–5. So that although in Hezekiah's time, wherein Isaiah prophesied, the host of the Assyrians were destroyed to the number of 185,000 by the angel of the Lord ;w and again, in the time of Judah's captivity in Babylon, they were overthrown with a mighty destruction by the Medes and Persians ; yet this is not the whole of the threat against Assyria : for it is carried on still in Zach. i, 15, to the end of the chapter, though at that time Judah was returned. And according to the length of the foundation of this same prophecy of Isaiah, must the superstructure be extended; viz. to the coming of Christ; which coming, not being restrictively determined to his first coming at his incarnation, must be left at large to reach to his second coming at the great restoration ;* which also his judging and smiting the earth seem to require. The context saith, (Isaiah x, 24, &c.) “ Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, O my “people, that dwellest in Zion. Be not afraid of the Assyrian :
v Luke i, 33.
w 2 Kings xix, 35.
he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee after the manner of Egypt. For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their de'struction, &c. And in that day his burden shall be taken away “from thy shoulder, &c.” Now in Hezekiah's time the Assyrian did not smite the inhabitants of Zion, but were themselves smitten by the angel of the Lord, as before mentioned. Nor was the burden of the Assyrian taken away from off the shoulder of the dwellers at Zion at their return from Babylon, by a destruction on those under whom they were then in captivity; for the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus their king voluntarily to let them return.y
Chap. xi. And further, the apostles bring down many passages of Isaiah xi to the transactions of their own times and downwards, applying them to the coming of Christ, -yea to His coming, even after his ascension.
See for example Acts xiii, 22–42, which takes in the first And again, Rom. xv,
* Mr. Mede's notion is, that the old prophets for the most part spake of the coming of Christ indefinitely, without that distinction of first and second coming, which we have more clearly learned in the Gospel. For this reason, those prophets (except Daniel who distinguishes those comings) speak of the things which should be at the coming of Christ indefinitely and altogether; which we, who are now more fully informed by the revelation of his Gospel, must severally apply, each of them to its proper time. Which notion of Mr. Mede is the more to be ackn dged, in that it may appear by many instances from the creation hitherto, that the grand promises of great deliverances have their successive and gradual fulfilling, from their first promulgation unto the end of this world, of which daily experience produces fresh testimonies.