« AnteriorContinuar »
Nazareth, and he is still alive. He is the literal, lineal descendant of David; and the angel who announced his birth, informed his mother that the Lord God would give unto him the throne of his father David.* Luke i. 32. The people
* It is written of Coniali or Jechonias, the last king of the house of David before the captivity, "Thus saith the Lord, write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days; for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah." (Jer. xxii. 30.) If the word childless, in this passage, be taken literally as an English reader would understand it, it will involve a direct contradiction to Matt i. 12—Jechonias begat Salathiel. I think it has been satisfactorily argued, that the original word, the root of which is simply nudus, may, without any violence, be understood in a general sense, as destitute or deprived. It is translated in the Septuagint by exicripvKTov. This view would limit the meaning of the word to royal progeny; and indeed the text itself seems to warrant, nay, to require such a limitaton, the second clause being an explanation of the first. Write this man childless, &c.—Why? Because no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, &c. It is not said he shall have no seed, but that no man of his seed shall reign. If this exposition be just, it implies that he would have posterity, while it asserts that none of them would inherit the kingdom of their father. This has been strictly fulfilled. He had two sons, Asser and Salathiel. (1 Chron. iii. 17.) But his successor in the kingdom was his uncle Maj,taniah, whose name the king of Babylon changed to Zedekiah. (2 Kings xxiv. 17; Jer. xxxvii. 1.) The last king of Judah, therefore, before the captivity, was of the seed of David, though not of the seed of Coniah. The sons of Zedekiah, however, were slain by the Chaldees, as we read 2 Kings xxv. 7. The genealogy, therefore, was continued in the seed of Coniah. Jechoniah begat Salathiel, and Salathiel have been preserved upon the earth generation after generation. The King has been preserved in heaven, where he sitteth on the right hand of God. We are plainly informed that he shall come again from heaven in like manner as he went up into heaven. (Acts i. 11.) Thus King and people shall meet, and the literal, lineal descendants of David's subjects, shall be governed by the literal, lineal descendant of king David himself, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
In pursuance of my plan, as announced at the commencement of this discourse, I have refrained
begat Zerobabel, &c. But no man of his seed prospered, sitting on the throne of David. The Lord Jesus is of the seed of Coniah as truly as he is of the seed of David or Abraham; but he did not prosper on the throne. (See page 150.) The clause now before us of the prophecy of Jeremiah, has been in continuous fulfilment since the days of Coniah even unto our own days; but this clause is not the whole prophecy; and that a limit to the period of the application of this clause was pre-determined, is manifest from the subsequent clause, which says, Behold the days come, saith the Lord that I will raise unto David a righteous branch, And A King Shall Reign And Prosper,3' &c. Thus, in the history of the Jewish nation, Jer. xxii. 30. has found a literal fulfilment for many centuries, while, in the preserved genealogy from Coniah to the Virgin Mary, and since then, in the person of Christ himself, provision has been kept up for the literal fulfilment of Jer. xxiii. 5. in his time.
from that species of corroboration which might so largely be given to this view of the subject, by the quotation of parallel passages, satisfied that a fair investigation into the true meaning of this one prophecy, if consistently followed throughout, must shut up every candid inquirer to the conclusion I have here drawn. That the subject is capable of reiterated corroboration from similar language used in other places, all will readily allow who are acquainted with the prophetic writings. It is, in fact, the leading theme with the Jewish prophets. The original grant to Father Abraham is never lost sight of. It is the climax of every song of triumph, the keynote in reference to which every strain is set, and without which there is no harmony in the whole. Is the Lord, the. Son of David, the King of the Jews, to return ?—It is to the Mount of Olives, in the land of Judah. Is he to reign over his people? —It is in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem. Are the nations of the earth to be blessed ?—It is in coming to the light which shall have arisen upon Jerusalem. [Zech. xiv. 4; Isa. xxiv. 23, and lx. throughout.] Yea, many hymns of praise are written in anticipation of this great accomplishment of Israel's blessedness, and left ready to be sung by the re-assembled tribes in the land of Judah* See Isa, xxvi. and Jer. xxxiii. 10, 11.
Jer. xxiii. 5, 6. "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely, and this is his name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our Righteousness."
Has it been proved, or has it not, that the Jews shall be restored ?—that the outcasts of Israel, and the dispersed of Judah, shall be re-united into one kingdom, and thus the whole twelve tribes of the sons of Jacob be put in permanent possession of the land of their forefathers? Is this the meaning, or is it not, of the two sticks in the hand of the Prophet Ezekiel, which God caused to become one, and then expounded in the remarkable language which we have lately considered?
My Brethren, I must be permitted to say, that the proof advanced, brief and general as it has been, requires something more than a mere denial to set it aside, and that no candid student of Holy Scripture can fairly resist it, unless he can take the 36th and 37th chapters of Ezekiel, and, adhering consistently to the whole context, shew us a more excellent way of interpretation. This I say, because the custom of flippant criticism is to triumph in the exposure of what it thinks an error, without any attempt to elucidate the difficulty, or point out the truth. And not only so, but it too frequently misleads its unwary readers into a rejection of what it superciliously condemns, while it provides no substitute for their instruction, but leaves them as empty and vapid as itself.
Our attention is next invited to some of those further particulars, which are revealed concerning the restored nation—and, first, to their King, who shall reign over them with power and great glory in that day.
We have already spoken of the king of the house and lineage of David; but the subject demands a more detailed examination. I shall, however, refrain from some of the topics usually urged in connexion with the coming of this great King, because I am desirous to keep prominent that part of the subject which especially relates to the Jewish nation, and to avoid elevating a collateral (however important) into a main topic of discussion. For this cause, I have hitherto refrained from speaking largely of the great Gentile monarchies, which occupying, for certain predicted times, the most conspicuous stations in