The Kingdom could not therefore have been set up at that time, viz.: at the First Advent.
PROPOSITION 67. The Kingdom could not therefore have been set up at that time, viz.: at the First Advent.
This is apparently from Propositions 56, 57, 58, 59, etc. The Kingdom being one with the Davidic throne and kingdom, it was impossible because of the rejection and punishment of the nation for a certain time, to establish it. “The tabernacle of David” remains fallen down; the nation, invited nationally, refused the invitation because of the imposed condition of repentance, and now other “guests” must be furnished before “the feast” is enjoyed. The “nation” is not yet gathered; one by one the elect are received and adopted, but the time of manifestation has not yet arrived; the “nation” as a nation is not yet exhibited in its nationalized form.
Obs. 1. In Matt. 12:28 (Luke 11:20), when the Jews had taken counsel to kill Jesus, He cast out a devil and was accused by the Jews of performing miracles through the power of Satan. In self-defence, showing that this very power was necessary to Him who would establish the Kingdom, He says: “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God” (Luke: “the finger of God”), “then the Kingdom of God is come unto you” (Luke “upon you,”) i.e. it was tendered to them on condition of repentance and Christ’s miraculous power evinced the ability to verify the offer of it. Then the Jews sought a sign; Jesus in reply severely rebukes them, and condemns that existing generation, declaring that their last state is worse than the first, i.e. instead of repenting in their already fallen condition and rendering themselves worthy of the Kingdom they became worse until the judgments of God (comp. Barnes loci) were fearfully poured out upon them. How dreadfully was this verified. This indicates that, in the condition of the nation as it then existed and increased in wickedness, it was impossible for the Kingdom to be set up as covenanted. The nation is not morally prepared for the blessed Theocratic ordering. The Kingdom is offered to them in virtue of their election; it has come “unto or upon them” both in the tender and in the manifested power and person of the Messiah; it pertains to them because of their covenanted relationship; it is conditioned only by a repentance of the nation, and this being rejected by the representative, ruling men of the nation, Jesus censures them and predicts their continued and increasing fall; hence, as the Kingdom was to be taken from them (i.e. the offer of its establishment at that time was withdrawn, and the pre-eminent position assigned to the elect in that Kingdom was to be given to others), and as it was to be given to others who were not yet gathered, it follows that our Proposition is correct.
Obs. 2. But this taking away of the Kingdom from the nation (then unworthy), and the giving of it to others (in a special sense, i.e. as inheritors as will appear in the course of our argument), must not be pressed, as the reader has already been warned, to the extent that the Kingdom will never again be established with this Jewish nation restored to God’s favor. For this would nullify God’s covenants and oath, and vitiate Christ’s inheritance. This is directly predicted: (1) The continued Jewish tribulation owing to sinfulness, and (2) the final restoration of the nation, after the period of trial, to national greatness. Leaving the proof for another Proposition, we, in this connection, direct attention to Ezek. ch. 16, which describes the first, intermediate, and final position of this elect nation. Here we have (1) the great goodness of God toward Jerusalem; (2) her monstrous sinfulness even exceeding Sodom’s; (3) her grievous punishment; (4) yet it is added: “nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.” Thus, in virtue of God’s covenant with that nation, we are cautioned not to draw the erroneous conclusion that the exceeding and unparalleled wickedness of killing even the Heir, will forever withdraw God’s covenanted blessings from the nation.[*]
Note. Multitudes, however, contend that God does not remember His covenant; theologians, unmindful of the express covenant relationship of this people, write—under the influence of the Church-Kingdom theory—as if the covenants were of such a nature that they could be annulled, modified, or altered. Illustrative of this election, remaining perpetual notwithstanding sinfulness and subsequent punishment, we have a striking declaration in 1 Kings 11:39. When the Kingdom of Israel was rent from the house of David, God emphatically says: “And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not forever.” For sinfulness ten tribes (with consequent evils) are taken away, but it will not be forever; the twelve tribes will again as the seed of Abraham be reunited. Jarchi, on this verse, says: “when the Messiah comes, the Kingdom shall be restored to the house of David.” The reader can readily recall prophecies which predict this very removal of a former separation and an abiding union. To the student the writer only suggests, that those ten tribes can be restored by God either literally or if necessary by a process of engrafting somewhat similar to what is witnessed in the present elect ones. It is foolishness to limit the power of God, for either the nucleus of those ten tribes is somewhere preserved, or else such a nucleus can be formed through the exertion of the Divine pleasure. It is yet premature in our argument to meet the objections of Second Adventists (in periodicals and books), and others (as Williamson, see Lord’s Journal for Oct. 1853, First Art.), who contend that the Jews are not in any sense “the lawful heirs of the Abrahamic covenant” and will never again be restored to their former Theocratic position.
Obs. 3. The Kingdom could not be set up, because it required (according to the Theocratic ordering and the Davidic covenant accepting and incorporating it) a nation, and that one the Jewish nation (to whom alone it is covenanted), before it could be re-established in a most glorious form under the Messiah. Nationally rejected for a time—yet to continue the seed of Abraham recourse is had to adopting individuals out of all nations—until the repeal of this rejection and of the punishment pertaining to it, it is simply impossible to fulfil the covenant promises as written. To spiritualize those covenants as some do—to make them conditional as others do—to ignore them as many do, is to make the most sacred of all the Divine Record unreliable, and the oath of God, as well as the faith of believing Jews, of little value. If the covenants teach any truth clearly, it is this: that the Jewish nation and the Kingdom are inseparably connected;—that the one cannot possibly exist without the other. It follows, therefore, that during the period of national rejection and punishment (i.e. during “the times of the Gentiles,” and “the treading down of Jerusalem”), imposed on account of sinfulness, the Kingdom cannot be in existence.
Obs. 4. The Kingdom being thus postponed, no Theocracy was established. Men, indeed, claim this for the church, but this is a grave mistake and misleading. Let the reader refer to our Propositions on the Theocracy and he will see that the leading essential element, that which constituted a Theocracy, was the fact that God condescended to act as an earthly Ruler. Now it is self-evident that no such distinctive feature was inaugurated at the First Advent. It is true, as Lange (Com. Heb. 1:5–14, Doct. 8) says, that “the Christocracy is the fully unfolded, world-embracing form of the Theocracy” but only at His Sec. Advent when He is manifested as the Theocratic-Davidic King. The Theocratic-monarchy in its covenanted form—not spiritualized but real as predicted—must be exhibited before the Kingdom can be manifested.