The Kingdom was not established during the ministry of Christ.
PROPOSITION 56. The Kingdom was not established during the ministry of Christ.
This necessarily follows from the preceding; for no such a covenanted Kingdom as promised, no such a restored Davidic throne and Kingdom as predicted appeared. He (Luke 19:11–27) had to leave before he would receive (Prop. 83) the Kingdom.
Obs. 1. The men who were the preachers of this very Kingdom, and who, above all others (especially modern theologians), ought to have known whether it was instituted or not, had no knowledge whatever of its being thus erected. These persons, preachers, and singled out to be witnesses to the truth, are more reliable, vastly more, in their belief and testimony, than theologians with their spiritualistic and philosophical conceits concerning the Kingdom and its “husk” envelope. Is it conceivable, can it be credited, that such special chosen ones, upon whose testimony the faith of others was to be founded, should, after their own preaching, after all their private and public instruction for several years, and after the particular “forty days” (Acts 1:3), “speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God,” be ignorant of the fact (if it be as alleged) that a promised Kingdom was (as eminent theologians now gravely inform us) actually in existence? No! such a supposition is damaging, fatally so, to preachers and Teacher, and cannot possibly be entertained.[*]
Note. Theologians, to carry out their Church-Kingdom theory, assert that Jesus established the Kingdom during His life. Thus e.g. Ebrard (Gosp. His., p. 135) says: “Jesus manifests Himself in Galilee as Rabbi, announces that the Kingdom of God has come, and seeks to make men disciples, or members of that Kingdom.” The formal organization of the same he places in the selection of the twelve, the very persons (see next Obs.) who knew positively nothing of Ebrard’s Kingdom. Jesus nowhere declared “that the Kingdom of God has come”—this is added to the record to sustain a preconceived notion. The utter inconsistency of Ebrard will appear more distinctively if we quote him (p. 243) respecting the use of the Parables: “He (Jesus) explained to them (the twelve) that the whole nation was not yet in a condition to understand the doctrine of the Kingdom of God, and that He selected the form of parables, that His preaching might be unintelligible to those who were not yet mature, and so act as a stimulus and provocative to future inquiry; while to the disciples, to whom he explained the parables, it was a revelation of saving truth.” See next Obs. and continued argument; we may well ask, How, then, if thus explained, could they misapprehend the Kingdom, especially when formally established, as he says, by their call?
Obs. 2. The apostles, the best judges in the matter, knew nothing about a Kingdom set up; and therefore, consistently with covenant and prophecy, with former preaching and instruction, with desire and hope ask, Acts 1:6, “Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel?” The reply of Jesus confirms their view of existing facts; for instead of telling them that they were mistaken in their idea of the Kingdom, that the Kingdom already existed, etc. (according to the Alexandrian formulas), the answer, referring to the “times and seasons,” implies on its very face that they did not misapprehend the nature of the Kingdom (comp. Prop. 43). They, like Joseph of Arimathea (Mark 15:43), “also waited for the Kingdom of God.”[*]
Note. Commentators frankly admit the views of the apostles. Thus e.g. Bloomfield loci says that the word rendered “restore” “signifies properly to restore anything, which has suffered change, to its former state; and it is not unfrequently used (as here and in Matt. 17:11 and Mark 9:12) of restoring a ruined kingdom or government to its ancient form, and there is usually implied some improvement upon that.” He admits that the apostles “thought that Christ would then restore the Kingdom of Judea to its former consequence,” etc. Thus Barnes loci, Olshausen, and other commentators. To make this, as Lightfoot (so Barnes, but footnote to Olshausen, p. 176, A. E.), a question asked in indignation against the Jews, as if it meant “Wilt Thou confer dominion on a nation which has just put Thee to death?” is so far-fetched and unworthy of serious consideration that our opponents—even Barnes, who quotes him—reject it, saying: “The answer of the Saviour shows that this was not the design of the question.” Dr. Increase Mather (The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation, p. 130) gives the general Millenarian interpretation: “Christ did not say to them that there should never be any such restoration of the Kingdom to Israel as their thoughts were running upon; only He telleth them that the times and seasons were not for them to know; thereby acknowledging that such a Kingdom should indeed be, as they did from the holy prophets expect. Herein was their error, not in expecting a glorious appearing of the Kingdom of God, but in that they made account that this would be immediately.” So Lechler, Lange’s Com. Acts, loci, remarks: “The Kingdom, which is the object of their hope, is a Kingdom of Israel, a theocratic Kingdom, deriving its existence and reality from the Messiah, and intended to give liberty, greatness, and dominion to the people of Israel, who were at the time oppressed by a heavy yoke. The apostles believe that they are almost authorized by the words now pronounced by the Lord, to hope for an early restoration of this Kingdom.” After rejecting Lightfoot’s interpretation as not needing a “special refution,” and stating that the answer of Jesus, so “frequently” and even “grossly misinterpreted,” refers to the time, he adds: “As to the fact itself, the coming of the Kingdom, and as to Israel’s privilege with respect to the latter, they entertained no doubt; and the Lord was so far from disapproving of such an expectation that He rather confirmed it by declaring that the Father had fixed the times. Now we know that neither a period nor an epoch can be affirmed concerning an event which is only imaginary. Those interpreters have altogether mistaken the sense, who maintain that Jesus here entirely rejects the conceptions entertained by His apostles respecting the Messianic Kingdom, for this is by no means the case. He did not deny that either their expectation of the appearance on earth of His glorious Kingdom in its reality, or their hope of the glorious future which that Kingdom opened to the people of Israel, was well founded; He simply subdued their eager curiosity respecting the time, and directed their attention to the practical duties which they were to perform at the present period. Numerous testimonies of a similar nature could be given. Comp. e.g. Judge Jones’s Notes, Alford’s Com., Bengel’s Gnomon of N. Test., Olshausen Com. etc.
Obs. 3. Jesus, before His death, declared the Kingdom to be still future (comp. Props. 58, 66, 67, 68, 70, 71, 73, 74, etc.). Take e.g. one of His last utterances (Matt. 26:64) to Caiaphas, the High Priest: “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven.” This was taken from the prediction of Daniel, applied to Himself to occur “hereafter,” and was well understood by all Jews to refer to the Messiah and the Kingdom of the Messiah. The charge of blasphemy corroborates this view. This is so clear that even Renan (Life of Jesus, p. 331) says: “The high priest adjured him to say whether He was the Messiah. Jesus confessed it, and proclaimed before the assembly the speedy coming of His heavenly Kingdom.” So also a little later before Pilate, He reiterates this direct reference to His Kingdom as future, when He says (John 18:36): “But now” (i.e. at present, during this order of things) “my Kingdom is not from hence” (comp. Jones’s admirable Notes on this verse, and see Prop. 109).
Obs. 4. The significant fact that our opponents cannot tell when this promised Kingdom was set up, although professing that it was established, is corroborative evidence in our favor. They cannot agree in the time, giving various periods (Prop. 3), although it is a Kingdom that prophets describe as so manifest, when re-established, that men shall see and rejoice in it. This Proposition is the more necessary, in order that these conflicting opinions may be presented to the reader—opinions, too, that never would have been entertained if the grammatical sense had not been yielded under the pressure of a spiritualistic Church-Kingdom theory. Some tell us that the Kingdom already appeared under John the Baptist, but this is disproven in Prop. 41, etc. Others locate the beginning of the Kingdom at the birth of Jesus; some place it at the commencement of His ministry; others, when He commissioned His disciples; some, at the confession of Peter; others, at His death; some, at His resurrection and ascension; others, at the day of Pentecost; and still others, at the destruction of Jerusalem. Here certainly is diversity, and this alone should, to a reflecting mind, suggest something radically wrong in a theory which is utterly unable, with any degree of unity, to show when so important a thing as a Kingdom is founded. Alas! how blind is man, when wilfully blind, or when allowing the blind to lead him.
Obs. 5. That no Kingdom, as covenanted, was set up, is corroborated by the entire tenor of the Gospels and Epistles, and forbids, if sheer inference is laid aside, the notion to be entertained. As evidence that those opinions have no weight, we point to the twofold work of Christ. The first work was to offer this Kingdom, on the condition of repentance, to the nation. This He faithfully performed, and in the act, at least, eliminated the elect, chosen ones from the mass. But as the result of this part of the mission was foreknown, there was, in consequence, connected with it (as a sequence) His second work to accomplish the Redemption (by the shedding of His blood), even of those who had been previously chosen, and of those who would be among the elect in the future, and this was performed through the sacrifice of Himself, thus making provision for the fulfilment of the covenants in “the age to come.” This mission positively forbids the idea of the establishment of the Kingdom.[*]
Note. Provision was to be made in vindication of the majesty of moral law, by which not only sins could be remitted, but that those who obeyed the truth could be ultimately delivered from all the effects of the curse and become co-heirs with Jesus in the restoration of the forfeited dominion of Adam. This provision was accomplished by the life and death of Jesus, confirmed by His resurrection, established by His ascension and exaltation, thus sealing and making sure the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants, through the fulfilment of which such a dominion shall be exercised. During this period of His mission, having those definite objects in view, intending the performance of a great and precious preparatory work, designing to make us inheritors with Himself of a coming Kingdom through the efficacy and resultant power of His sacrifice—during such a period there is no room for the Kingdom. No! instead of a Kingdom His work required humiliation, suffering, and death; instead of exaltation to power and Kingship, it was a veiling of power and kingly authority, an emptying of Himself, of honor and glory in our behalf. The two states are in antagonism and cannot coexist in the First Advent of the blessed Redeemer. This Lord and Son of David came to “suffer many things” instead of reigning; “it behoved Christ to suffer,” so that the Father, instead of giving Him the Kingdom predicted by Daniel, described by the prophets and covenanted in the sure mercies of David, gave Him the exceedingly bitter, sorrowful “cup” to drink for us. Instead of a Kingdom, He “was despised and rejected of men;” “He came to His own and His own received Him not,” for “they all forsook Him and fled.” Instead of reigning, He was betrayed, reproached, spit on, crowned with thorns, mocked as King, and crucified. Tell us not that David’s Son reigned, as covenanted, during such trials. Any effort to unite the two is a violation of what the prophets have written and the Gospels have recorded, and opposed to express passages which teach us, among other reasons, why Christ endured all this, Phil. 2:6–11; Heb. 12:2; Rom. 14:9, etc.
And (which is a remarkable and decided proof that Scripture embraces a Divine, not human, Plan) that this humiliation, suffering, etc., of David’s Son is, according to David’s own predictions concerning his Heir, a necessary prelude to reigning as an immortal Son of Man on David’s throne, and a requisite preparation to qualify Him preeminently for the lofty position of a universal Theocratic King. We are, therefore, abundantly sustained in our position by converging evidence taken from different points, while a mass of confirmatory proof remains still to be presented as we advance in the argument.
Obs. 6. This nighness of the Kingdom to the nation was evidenced not merely by the offer of the Kingdom, but by the tender of it in the person of Jesus Christ. He was the predicted King, the Son of David who should reign, and in virtue of this the Kingdom, in a manner, has come nigh in His Person, He being a representative of the Kingdom, or, rather, in Him it is lodged as in Divine royal right. So that, as the King of Babylon is called the Kingdom in Dan. 2:38, 39, so also the Kingdom was vested in Christ, but with this material difference (which many overlook), that whilst in Him as of divine and legal right it was not then manifested, the right, for certain reasons and purposes, was not then entertained and pressed to an actual realization. The kingship was held in abeyance because of the foreseen result.[*]
Note. The Kingdom thus connected with the person of Jesus may serve to illustrate and explain some peculiar phraseology, such as is contained in the Kingdom coming nigh, upon, or among them. But as these passages will deserve a separate notice, we pass them for the present with the simple caution, that such language must not be pressed (as many do) beyond its legitimate meaning and application. While it is true that Jesus never denied, even in the face of death, His royalty, His Kingship, His divine and legal right to reign as covenanted, yet it is likewise true, that, foreseeing His rejection by the nation, and appreciating the work before Him to be performed, instead of urging His claim He veiled it, giving us only an occasional glimpse of it, and that when solicited by some (not the representative men of the nation), He refused to be made King.
Obs. 7. The reader will observe that there is not a single declaration of Christ’s which asserts that the Kingdom was then in actual existence. It is simply inferred by others against covenant promise and prediction. One of the strongest passages from which such an inference is drawn is that of Matt. 12:28, “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom is come unto you.” Leaving a full answer to follow in succeeding Propositions, we now only remark that in the establishment of this Kingdom (as predicted) the miraculous and supernatural (Props. 6 and 7) is required, and the miracles of Christ are a foreshadowing and evidence of the future fulfilment of the promises. To this evidence Jesus simply appeals, as confirmatory of the tender of the Kingdom made to them, of its sincerity and surety; for His miraculous power exerted, evinced that the Kingdom was nigh unto them, both in the person of the King, although in humiliation, and in His possessing the adequate power to re-establish it, if they made the necessary choice.[*]
Note. Observe, also, that this language was addressed to unbelievers, to captions persons who rejected Jesus. Hence, the Kingdom is come unto or upon you, certainly does not allude in their case to an actual possession, but merely to its being offered to them. Again, as critics have often noticed, the phrase “is come” is frequently used to denote a drawing nigh, a divine purpose not then actually accomplished, etc., as e.g. Gen. 6:13; Isa. 60:1; Heb. 12:22, etc.
Obs. 8. Renan (Life of Jesus, p. 249), after telling us that Christ had an “apocalyptic theory” of the Kingdom (which, in another place, he defines to be a literal fulfilment of Daniel), adopts very much the prevailing view of the Messianic Kingdom by saying: “He often declared that the Kingdom of God has already commenced (?), that every man carries it in himself (?), and may, if he be worthy of it, enjoy it; that each creates this Kingdom (?) quietly by the true conversion of the heart,” and then interprets the Kingdom to mean “the good,” “the reign of justice,” or, “the liberty of the soul.” He gives as proof, Matt. 6:10, 33; Mark 12:34; Luke 11:2; 12:31; 17:20, 21. Such a total misapprehension of the Kingdom (which ignores express covenant and prediction) is fortified by the usage of eminent theologians. For the present, we only reiterate our conviction, that the disciples on the ground were far better able to judge concerning the Kingdom and what Christ declared respecting it, than Renan is prepared to do at this late day.
Obs. 9. Olshausen, Neander, Lange, and many others are compelled, in order to preserve consistency in their theory of a spiritual Kingdom, to make this Kingdom commence somehow with the First Advent. Now, while it is true that the Kingdom in a certain sense (Obs. 6) was in Christ, and brought nigh by Him to the nation, yet it is wrong and misleading to infer from this that it was established. The contrary, as held by the early Church, is the truth. It is in view of this unwarranted inference that such writers take the great and unauthorized liberty of changing the phrase “nigh at hand” into “now established,” “now founded,” “now already present,” etc. Overlooking the Kingdom that is covenanted even under oath, and spiritualizing the promises, it is an easy matter to draw from Christ’s language erroneous inferences. Forsaking the expressly covenanted Kingdom for something else, introduces widely antagonistic contrasts. The most divergent theories are a natural result. Some of these have already been mentioned; others are presented in the following note.
Note 1. We will allow some to speak for themselves, leaving the reader to ponder a certain undecisive tone. Storr (Diss. On the Kingdom) says, respecting this nearness, that the Kingdom was present and actually realized, because “Jesus being born (Matt 3:2), the Kingdom in a certain sense (Luke 11:20, and 17:21; Matt. 12:28) was come,” being promised to “the offspring of David;” and it could not commence until He was born, and then “the Kingdom had so far come that the King by whom it was to be administered was certainly present.” From this he takes it for granted that it was thus “administered,” never attempting to prove the main fact, never considering that the presence of one entitled to reign and the reign itself are not necessarily cojoined, and never noticing that a part of the covenant promise (i.e. the descent) he takes literally and the rest (i.e. pertaining to the Kingdom) he discards. Is it possible to base so important a matter as the founding of a Messianic Kingdom, upon so slight and inferential a foundation?
Schmid (Bib. Theol., p. 244) remarks: “He describes the Kingdom of God as already begun at the then present time (Matt. 12:28; Luke 11:20, 21). The starting point of this Kingdom is the appearance of John the Baptist (Matt. 11:12; Luke 16:16); up to this time the Old Test. dispensation lasted. By Jesus in Matt. 11:11, contrasting the Baptist with the members of the Kingdom of God, it may be perceived that the real commencement of this Kingdom is connected with His person.” This needs no comment, its points having already been anticipated (as to the Baptist, see Props. 38–41); but may we not ask, Why this shifting of commencement from John to Christ, and then, as Lange (Com.) does, from the birth to the baptism, and from the baptism to the confession of Peter, or to the death, or to the resurrection of Jesus, or to the day of Pentecost, etc.? Is this not a sign of weakness? Von Gerlach (Lange’s Com. Matt., p. 309) begins it at the baptism of Jesus: “At His baptism Jesus had, as the Son of Man, entered that new Kingdom of God upon earth which He Himself had founded.” Strange procedure: the Son of Man founds a Kingdom and then afterward enters into it Himself! This theory is only a following of Augustine, who (City of God, B. 17, S. 8) speaking of His “dominion from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth,” remarks: “He took the beginning of His reigning from the river where John baptized,” etc. The absurdity is so apparent that it needs no reply.
Van Oosterzee (Theol. N. Test., p. 70), so also Thompson (The Theol. of Christ), tells us that the Kingdom is “something essentially present. When He comes, it appears with Him; it is already in the midst of those who are asking when it shall appear, Luke 17:20, 21.” From this it is inferred, without noticing that if his argument is correct it will also hold true that when He leaves the Kingdom leaves with Him. A full reply to this favorite passage for inferential proof, taken from Luke, will appear under Prop. 110. It is only by confounding (Props. 79 and 80) the Divine Sovereignty with the specially covenanted Theocratic-Davidic Kingdom that such inferences are unjustly made. So Reuss (His. Ch. Theol., p. 154) argues: “The Kingdom of God, which Jesus desired to make a reality, commences with his personal appearance on the theatre of the world. His Advent and the setting up of the Kingdom are one and the same thing, because He is the Head and the cause of the Kingdom, and the cause cannot exist without its effect.” Then (p. 157) he asserts that for “a precise date for the commencement of the Kingdom,” “that date is no other than the moment in which John the Baptist, the last and the greatest of the prophets, opened its doors, so to speak, by proclaiming to the world Him who was to realize its most cherished hopes,” and appeals as confirmatory to Luke 16:16 and Matt. 11:11–14. Thus, when men forsake the covenants and the predictions which determine the nature of the Kingdom intended, do they blunder and pervert the simple truth—men, too, who are able instructors in many other things. Alasí it demands just such men to cause the church itself to drift into its predicted course of unbelief (Prop. 177); weak men, or persons of no ability and power, could not exert such an influence.
Note 2. Thus e.g. Storr (Diss. on the Kingdom), not satisfied with his own declarations (Obs. 9, note 1), adds: “After the death of Jesus, from the period of His resurrection and ascension into heaven, that heavenly Kingdom which the ancient prophets had predicted was entered upon by the offspring of David.” “It follows, then, that the commencement of the Messiah’s Kingdom, although in a certain sense it may be traced from His birth, yet properly is to be reckoned from His ascension into heaven. Which proves that a far different appearance was then given to the Kingdom of David, which Jesus possessed after His death and return to a new life; and that the throne of David became a far more exalted seat of majesty, from the time that it was occupied by Jesus.” Here is simply one asssumption built upon another, and the leading one is that in some sense Jesus really was on David’s throne. (Comp. Props. 52 and 122.) Now if the Davidic throne (taking their own theory) is the Father’s throne in the third heaven, how could the Son of man, during His natural life and previous to His exaltation, reign in the promised Kingdom? Does that exaltation in the third heaven meet the conditions of a Theocratic Kingdom covenanted to be here on the earth, or the predictions of the prophets in describing the restoration of an overthrown Theocratic Kingdom in the land of Palestine?
Dr. Bascom (Sermons, series 1, ser. 4), brings us to a climax. He informs us that the Kingdom (as delineated in the 110 Ps., called “the Creed of David”) here described was witnessed in the covenant of redemption in Paradise, is from eternity and extends to eternity, and hence is not, as some assume, “a mere parenthesis in the Divine administration.” This sadly mixes the Divine Sovereignty with the Kingdom specially covenanted to David’s Son; it utterly ignores the Humanity of Jesus, the Theocratic-Davidic ordering, and what is promised to the Son of Man. But instead of answering Bascom, we leave one of his own class of interpreters—but far more able—reply. Van Oosterzee (Theol. N. Test., p. 69) observes: “The Kingdom is something new. Since it drew near only in the fulness of time, it was not before found on earth. It is consequently not merely the continuation of the former thread, but the commencement of an order of things not before seen, Luke 10:23, 24, comp. Matt. 26:28.” Leaving others to reconcile, if they can, such opposite statements, it may be said that Oosterzee is right in saying that it is new,” i.e. something to come, not existing just previously to the advent (Props. 37 and 38), but is certainly wrong in the assertion that it was “not before found on earth,” as shown by Props. 25, 29, 31, etc. For it is to be restored; it is the restored Theocratic Kingdom; and it is “new,” i.e. renewed (for the word “new” is often used, Prop. 50, in the sense of renewal), having also many “new” features added (as e.g. the rule of a God- man, of glorified and immortal rulers) that the Davidic Kingdom never possessed. But we will not anticpiate coming Propositions.
Obs. 10. Here, at this preaching of the Kingdom as nigh at hand, so many stumble and fall into serious error (comp. Props. 38, 42, 55). Let us take Reuss (His. Ch. Theol.), illustrative of a large class, which rightly affirms that the idea of the Kingdom is fundamental, and then gives as a special means for comprehending the nature of the Kingdom the epitomized formulas, “the time is fulfilled; the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye and believe the Gospel.” Thus far correct; but instead of looking at these formulas from the covenanted standpoint and from the Primitive view, he regards them entirely from a modern position. More than this: he overlooks the fact that the Jewish nation to whom this was preached refused to repent; the conditions then being altered and the preaching of Jesus also (which he never notices) being changed, he proceeds on the assumption of repentance and the immediate setting up of the Kingdom; and then to find this Kingdom nothing offered itself but the Church, or believers, as the Divine Sovereignty, which, of course, under such an illegitimate process of reasoning (leaving out the conditions, whether actually complied with, upon which the Kingdom was tendered) are elevated to the dignity of a Kingdom.
Obs. 11. The climax of unbelief in this direction is reached by Deprez (John, or the Apoc. of the New Test.), a professed believer. Admitting that the Kingdom was believed and preached as covenanted; confessing that it was not set up, as thus received, during the First Advent and since; informing us that the apostles and Primitive Church universally looked for the coming of this Kingdom, locating it at the Sec. Advent of Jesus, he then proceeds, in the coolest possible manner, to suggest that all such references to the Kingdom and Advent connected with it are to be rejected as spurious, as additions given under a gross misapprehension of the truth. This interpretation and remedy (indorsed by eminent men) is simply a total perversion of covenant and Scripture, a fatal blow at the integrity and authority of the Word itself. It follows, as a natural result, from three things, all of which are taken for granted: (1) that the Kingdom now exists, in a form so widely different from the expectations of the early Church and the descriptions of the Word, that it is impossible to reconcile them; (2) that the most solemnly given Scripture, viz.: the covenant (given under oath and the basis of the Kingdom), is to be also ignored as incapable of fulfilment; (3) and that Holy Writ, descriptive of the postponement of this Kingdom to the Sec. Advent, is not to have any weight in the consideration of this subject. In other words, Deprez. whether intentional or not, sets himself up as the judge of Scripture (what to receive and what to reject), without allowing Scripture to testify in its own behalf. If no such Kingdom exists now, certainly it is no more than simple justice demands to permit Scripture to assign its reasons for the same (comp. Props. 57–68).
Obs. 12. In the light of Scripture there is no excuse for the prevailing interpretations respecting the Kingdom, for, over against the meanings engrafted by man, there is an abundance to satisfy the reverent student that they are utterly untenable. Without attempting to forestall the proof that the following Propositions contain, it may be well to say that numerous passages directly affirm, or imply, our position. Take e.g. Matt. 26:29, Mark 14:25, and Jesus in the expressions “until that day” locates the Kingdom in the future, which is made more emphatic by Luke (22:18) saying: “Until the Kingdom of God shall come.” If the Kingdom already existed, such phraseology would be entirely out of place, but with our view it is consistent and significant. The general tenor of the Word indicates the same feature. Thus e.g. when Jesus speaks of entering into the Kingdom of heaven (Matt. 7:21, 22), its futurity is expressed by the phrase “in that day,” i.e., it is something not present to be realized at once. So also in the prayer “thy Kingdom come,” the futurity of which was believed in by the disciples, and which excited the petition (for the prayer was given in accordance with the well-known views of the disciples) just before the ascension, Acts 1:6. Thus in Matt. 19:28, Luke 22:29, by adopting the Jewish phraseology linked with the Messianic Kingdom, Jesus conclusively teaches that the Kingdom is future and not present.
Obs. 13. The distinctive preaching of Jesus, based as it is on the covenants, throws light on the vexed question pertaining to the relation that He sustained to the law. He observed the law Himself and enjoined it upon others, and yet intimated, in the destruction of the temple, etc., the abrogation of the Mosiac law. But we must carefully distinguish when the latter was done, viz. after the representative men of the nation had conspired against Him, and after He had revealed His rejection by the nation. We hear much about Jesus being no Jew in spirit, etc. Even believers largely indorse the language of Renan (Life of Jesus, p. 207), “Jesus, in other words, is no longer a Jew.” “He proclaims the rights of man, not the rights of the Jew; the religion of man, not the religion of the Jew; the deliverance of man, and not the deliverance of the Jew” (comp. Prop. 69). Against all such inferential, cosmopolitan reasoning, we need only place one passage (Rom. 15:8) out of many: “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the Fathers.” Hence His restricted mission, Prop. 54.[*]
Note. This deserves more attention. The preaching of Jesus indicates that He was a Jewish preacher to Jews. The covenants, the promises, the predictions all demand this, and hence His exclusive mission to the Jews. The cosmopolitan results are invariably linked with, first, a fall of the Jewish nation, and, secondly, with a recovery of the same nation. The Gentiles are reached and blessed through the Jews, for it is ever true that “Salvation is of the Jews.” Paul affirms, what simple consistency requires, that Jesus exercised His office of Messiah with special reference to the covenanted people, the Jews. He could not, with covenanted truth before Him, occupy any other position. Besides this, as the law was obligatory upon the Jewish nation, and had formed part of the Davidic institution or Theocratic rule, it was essential that the Heir, the promised Son of David, should, as Son of Man, render obedience to that law (until set aside) thus vindicating His fitness, sinlessness, reverence for God’s appointments, and worthiness to be the Ruler on David’s throne (comp. Props. 83, 84, etc). What changes would have resulted had the Jews received Him, we cannot tell, seeing that God’s Plan was determined in view of this foreseen rejection. The grace and mercy extended to Gentiles, as will be more clearly stated hereafter, through the unbelief of the Jews, does not alter Christ’s Jewish attitude or lessen His being “a minister of the circumcision.” When the nation fell and the times of the Gentiles continued on, the Mosaic ritual was abrogated by the very force of circumstances. And it is a curious and striking exhibition of Christ’s delicate feeling toward His own specific mission to the Jewish people, that, what Paul afterward so boldly proclaimed as no longer binding, Jesus only intimated in an indirect manner. He respected and honored His mission.