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and appeared unto many.” The gifts spoken of in this oracle are the gifts
" of the Holy Spirit which he sent down on the day of Pentecost and afterwards, even as Jesus said to his disciples before his decease (John 16: 7), “ It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you: but if I depart, I will send him unto you." Referring to these things Paul says (Eph. 4:7-11), “Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." "Now," says Paul in explanation, " that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth ? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens that he might fill (fulfill) all things."
Another Scripture which necessitates the ascension of Christ into heaven after his resurrection, before he comes to reign, is found in the hundred and tenth Psalm, when David says, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Christ, in obedience to this command, led his disciples as far as Bethany, and lifted up his hands and blessed them, and in the act of blessing them he ascended visibly into heaven. Luke says further in his second treatise to Theophilus, “While they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly into heaven as he went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Mark also adds, So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.”
The position that Christ occupies since his ascension into heaven, is stated by Peter in answer to the chief priests and council, “We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye
'slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so also is the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey him " (Acts 5: 29-33). The time that Christ is to remain away is stated in the Scripture already quoted from the hundred and tenth Psalm, which says, “Sit thou at my right hand until I make thy foes thy footstool.” This position Christ has already occupied for eighteen centuries, and he will continue to remain there until the time arrives when God his Father will make his foes his footstool. This period is also spoken of by Peter as follows, “He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you, whom the heaven must receive til the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began ” (Acts 3: 17-21).
RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS The times of restitution signifies that period of time when things which have fallen into decay and been broken down are to be built up and replaced as they were before, and the things which are to be restored are restricted to those things which God has spoken of by the mouth of all his holy prophets
from Moses down. And it is by the prophets only that we are enabled to enumerate the things that are to be restored, some of which may be stated in brief as follows: the twelve tribes of Israel, the waste cities of Israel and Judah, the temple and Levitical priesthood, and the service of the sanctuary; the sacrifices and offerings, as testified of fully in the last part of Ezekiel's remarkable prophecies, for Ezekiel was preeminently a latter day prophet. He spake not of the sufferings of Christ, but he dwelt largely upon the wonders of the latter days, and the glories of the reign of Christ in that age. Neither Christ therefore nor his apostles quoted from his writings, seeing they do not refer to the scenes of Christ's first coming, but in the book of the Revelation, called the Prophecy of Christ, which also speaks chiefly of the events of the latter days, in this book some of the remarkable prophecies of Ezekiel are quoted and applied to the events that are to transpire in the last days. The sacrifices that were offered before Christ came to offer himself as the one great and efficacious sacrifice had a prospective bearing, but the sacrifices that were offered since the offering of Christ, and that are yet to be offered in more than their ancient glory, have a retrospective bearing. The one points forward to his sufferings that were to take place, the other points back to his sufferings as a historical fact.
But Ezekiel is not the only prophet that speaks of the restoration of the temple and temple service in all its splendor before the eyes of all nations. The other prophets likewise have testified of these things. Malachi (3:3-4) says that when Christ the Lord shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver is purged, then shall they offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. “Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years." Again the Lord says by the hand of this prophet, speaking to Israel in the day that the righteous shall tread down the wicked as ashes under the soles of their feet, “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments (4:4).
But let those who have a false view of the purposes of God, and who may therefore stumble at these things, hearken to the words of the Lord by the prophet Zechariah (14: 20-21). After speaking of the punishment that is to be visited upon all nations that come not up yearly to keep the feast of tabernacles, he says, “In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses koliness unto the Lord; and the pots in the Lord's house (the temple) shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem, and in Judah, shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts; and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein."
Again, the word of the Lord by Jeremiah is specific and unmistakable on this matter of the restoration of the priesthood and the sacrifices and offerings of Israel, and David's throne and kingdom in the latter days, saying, “For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually. And the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of
the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;
Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers ” (33: 17-21). Now let those who doubt or deny these things make the attempt to break God's covenant of the day and night, and see if they can prevent the sun from rising and going down, and so derange the occurrence of day and night; and if they cannot do so, then let them acknowledge that those things are so.
Again the Lord says, " As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me" (verse 22). Again, as there were skeptical people in olden time as well as there are in these days, therefore the Lord said again to Jeremiah, “Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the Lord hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them. Thus saith the Lord; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy upon them (verses 24-26).
ISRAEL UNDER CHRIST'S REIGN
The position that Mount Zion and Jerusalem will sustain and occupy among the nations, after they will have been subjugated by desolating judgments and brought into a state of dependency and obedience, is spoken of by Jeremiah as follows, “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem ; neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance to your fathers ” (Jer. 3:17-18).
It is written of Zion in the eighty-seventh Psalm, “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God, Selah.” If men but knew and appreciated the grandeur and glory of Mount Zion in the ages to come, her exalted position among the nations of the earth, that this is to be the seat of power before which all nations will bow, they would be astonished and amazed at the ignorance of Jew and Gentile alike in these times, since so much is testified of these things in the Holy Scriptures; and as it is at Mount Zion where the veil is to be lifted from off all nations, we will call attention to some of the glorious things that are spoken of the mountain of the Lord.
It is said in the hundred and thirty-second Psalm, “ The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David, he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne”; (verses 13 and 14), “For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it."
Now the mighty God of Jacob can do as he pleases, and as there is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord, and as he has been
pleased to select this particular place on the earth which the children of men inhabit as the place of his throne and seat of his power, who is there that can demur at it, but should rather rejoice greatly that he whose name is Emmanuel, which signifies “God with us,” will indeed come and dwell with men, when the desire of all nations shall come and lift the veil and do for the nations what they never could do for themselves. But when are these glorious things to be inaugurated? The hundred and second Psalm informs us as follows, “Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon Zion, for the time to favor her, yea the set time is come, for thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof. So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory "; and it is further said, “When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.” Again he says, “He looked down from the height of his sanctuary, from heaven did the Lord behold the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to loose those that are appointed to death, to declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; when the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord." The inauguration of these great and wonderful things, therefore, will be at the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, when he shall take to himself his great power and reign. Again, when things are fully inaugurated in the earth, it will then be truly said, as it is written in the forty-eighth Psalm, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge. For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together. They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away. Fear took hold of them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.”
Mount Zion will be beautifully situated in that day, for it is said by Zechariah (14:4-5) that when Christ comes, “ His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountain shall reach unto Azal; yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah; and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.” (Verses 10-11) “All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses; And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.” When these important physical changes shall be wrought by the power of God at Jerusalem, when all the land shall be turned as a plain and elevated, and the Mount of Olives before Jerusalem on the east removed, Jerusalem will then indeed be a city set upon an hill which cannot be hid.
Isaiah also says, “The Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night” (Isa. 4: 5). This will be a reproduction of what was seen in Israel's journeyings in the wilderness. This cloud of glory by day and night will be seen by all the nations of the earth that will come to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts. Well and truly may it be then said, “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great king."
Again, more of the glorious things that are spoken of Mount Zion, the city of God, are brought to view in the fourth of Micah, and second of Isaiah, which is as follows in Isaiah. “It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
CHRIST'S REIGN OVER THE NATIONS The rebuke that shall be administered to many people referred to above is of a very practical and efficacious nature, and is referred to in the seventysixth Psalm in the following words," In Judah is God known; his name is great in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion. There brake he the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle. Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey. The stout-hearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men have found their hands. At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and horse are cast into a deep sleep.” (Verse 9) “When God arose to judgment." (Verse 12) “He shall cut off the spirit of princes, he is terrible to the kings of the earth.” This form of rebuke is the only kind that will secure respect and attention and obedience from the proud and rebellious nations of the earth.
Again in the hundred and tenth Psalm David says of Christ the Lord, “The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies ” (verse 5). “The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries."
Another and very important testimony for Zion and her king is found in the second Psalm. This Psalm commences by referring to a conspiracy between Jew and Gentile against the Lord and against his anointed, which is Christ. This view is confirmed by the application which was made of this Scripture as follows. After Peter and John had been released from the power of the chief priests and elders, who straitly threatened them, and commanded them to speak no more in the name of Jesus, it is said (Acts 4: 23-28), “Being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they (the