MESSIAH'S REIGN ON THE EARTH
(The Morning Watch; or Quarterly Journal on Prophesy and Theological Review, Vol. II, 1830, England)
THE strange notions which men in general entertain respecting the kingdom of the Messiah must be traced to a neglect of the sacred Scriptures; for I do not find in them one passage to support the common opinion of the spiritual reign, but every where do I find the future manifestation of Christ as King declared in language which none can gainsay or resist, without doing the most awful violence to the sacred text.
In treating on the kingdom of our Lord, I shall begin with that memorable declaration of David which he uttered at the close of his eventful reign. The passage to which I refer is contained in 2 Sam. 23: 3, 4: " He that ruleth over men must be just" or, as some read the Hebrew, ' He that ruleth in manhood is the Just One, ruling in the fear of God; and as the light of morning shall rise the sun, a morning unclouded, shining with splendour, with showers like grass from the earth.' Such ill the character of Him whom David by the Spirit declared should hereafter sit upon his throne; and such the description of his reign. The peace and glory of David's reign were frequently interrupted by internal commotions. and by family afflictions; but he here speaks of a reign which should be unclouded without any thing; ever to interrupt its peace and joy: a glorious reign, ,shining with, splendour. Solomon's reign answered in some measure to this, and as a type it served to shew forth the power and glory and unchangeableness of that kingdom which the Son of David will ere long establish on the redeemed earth.
Let us, then, inquire, First, of whom David here speaks;
" He that ruleth over men is the Just One."
This expression can leave no doubt upon our minds that the Person here referred to is the Lord Jesus Christ; for he is the only person in the Scriptures that bears this title; and there is no one besides him, either in heaven or in earth, to whom it can possible apply. St. Peter in the 3rd of the Acts applies it to Christ: speaking of the crucifixion of the Son of God, he says, "but ye denied the Ho1y One and the Just:" In like manner does Stephen speak in the 7th chapter: " Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One, of whom ye have been now the betrayers and the murderers." St. Paul also, in the 23rd chapter, speaking of his conversion, says, that whilst he was in Damascus, Ananias came to him, and. said, "The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth." Here, as in the foregoing passages, the emphatic expression, that Just One, is proved to be none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, whom Paul beheld with his eyes and heard speak on his way to Damascus. We could adduce many other passages in proof of this, and shew in a variety of ways that none but Jesus is entitled to the appellation of the Just One. But, taking this for granted on all hands, we shall proceed to describe his kingly office, and to shew from the holy Scriptures that this same Jesus shall yet sit upon the throne of his father David, and reign in Mount Zion, and before his ancients gloriously.
1. The Lord Jesus Christ was anointed unto the threefold office of Prophet, Priest, and King. Into the two first he has entered fully, but unto the last be has not yet attained. It would be most absurd to deny that he shall appear, and be manifested as King, as truly and as literally as he fulfilled his prophetic and priestly offices. As Prophet, he appeared on the earth and taught the people, and their hearts rejoiced at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth: as the great High Priest of our profession, he literally offered up a spotless sacrifice unto God, well-pleasing and acceptable in his sight; and finally. in the character of Priest he passed into the heavens, even into the most holy place, where he ever liveth to make intercession for us: and when he has fulfilled his mediatorial work he shall as truly assume his kingly character, and take unto himself his great power and reign. Although he is anointed to his kingly office, he has not yet entered upon it; nor will he, till the death of him of whom Saul was the type, even Antichrist, the man of sin, who shall fall in the battle of Armageddon. If Jesus was fully entered on his kingly office he would be seated on his throne: but as yet he has none: as it is written in the 110th Psalm, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool." Now, Jesus sits upon the throne of his Father, but hereafter he shell sit upon his own throne. Our Lord himself fixes the time of his accession to the throne of his kingdom to his second coming: "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all his holy angels with him, THEN shall he sit upon the throne of his glory." And that our Lord is not now seated on this throne is most evident from another passage, which reads thus: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne; eyen as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father on his throne." It is most evident, then, that Christ at present acts the part of a Mediator; that he is now interceding for us, as the High Priest of our profession; and that he is not yet entered on his kingly office, nor seated on his throne.
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