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Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 2-Chapter 7-Adoption

September 25, 2015 Leave a comment

CHAPTER 7-ADOPTION

There are no superfluous words in the Word of God. Every Bible term has its own distinct meaning and must not be confounded with any other term. The words regeneration, justification, and adoption, while closely related, express distinct ideas and aspects of salvation.

There are only five uses of the word adoption in the New Testament. The term is used only by Paul in Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians. In these five references there appears to be three different applications of the term. In #Ro 9:4 the application is to Israel as a nation. In this case adoption did not mean salvation, for in the context Paul prays for the salvation of Israel. The nation had been adopted, but most of the individuals within the nation had neither been regenerated nor justified. By adoption Israel had been separated from other nations and brought into the peculiar relation to God as a son. “And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn” (#Ex 4:22). “Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead” (#De 14:1); “Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?” (#De 32:6); “They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn” (#Jer 31:9); “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt” (#Ho 11:1).

There were elect individuals within the elect nation. When Elijah made intercession against Israel, complaining that he was left alone and in danger, God corrected him, saying, “I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal” (#Ro 11:4). And Paul adds, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (#Ro 11:5).

In “That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed” (#Ro 9:8) Paul says that the children of the flesh are not the children of God, by which he means, that one is not a child of God because of his fleshly descent from Abraham. #Mt 8:12 says that “the children of the kingdom shall be cast into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” #Mt 21:43 tells us that “the kingdom of God shall be taken from you (Nation Israel) and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” This nation is identified in #1Pe 2:9 as a holy nation, which means that it is a spiritual nation in distinction from the fleshly descendants of Abraham.

In #Ro 8:23 “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” the word adoption is used with reference to the body and is called the redemption of the body. The body as such is not yet adopted. When the body of the believer is redeemed or adopted the people of God will then be publicly manifested as sons of God: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God” (#Ro 8:19).

In the other three references the application seems to be to the believer as such without any distinction between soul and body. They refer to the adoption of persons. In “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (#Eph 1:5), we are told that we were predestinated unto the adoption of sons, which means that adoption was according to God’s eternal purpose of love. In eternity past God determined to adopt us as sons. Adoption rests upon redemption, that is, upon blood atonement. In #Ro 8:15 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” , we find that the believer is given the Spirit of adoption by which he instinctively cries, “Abba, Father.” The apostle uses the double form for Father: “Abba,” his mother-tongue, and Pater (Greek), the tongue of the learned. “Abba” is used to denote the filial spirit of the adopted son. In using this word, Paul alludes to a law among the Jews which forbad a servant to call the head of the house, Abba, which meant father.

The custom of adoption prevailed among the Romans, Greeks, and other ancient people, but not among the Jews. There are three cases of adoption mentioned in the Old Testament: of Moses: “And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water” (#Ex 2:10); Genubath “And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh’s household among the sons of Pharaoh” (#1Ki 11:20); and Esther “And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter…Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her” (#Es 2:7,15), but they all occurred outside of Palestine-in Egypt and Persia, where the practice of adoption prevailed. And in the New Testament the idea occurs only in the epistles of Paul to churches beyond the border of Palestine. As a Roman citizen, and a man of travel, the apostle would be familiar with the customs of the Romans and others. And so he borrows the idea and applies it to the act of God and Christian experience.

Adoption may be defined as that aspect of salvation in which God, by a legal process, makes one His son who by nature is not His son. Adoption, in itself, is nothing more than the legal act of a court, but when God adopts a son He gives to that son a subjective experience, a filial spirit, the feeling of a child-the feeling which cries Father. Here is where adoption and the new birth come together. The new birth expresses the origin and quality of spiritual life, while adoption expresses a legal relation between the believer and God. We shall consider adoption in its relation to the doctrines of justification, regeneration, and resurrection. These are separate and distinct blessings possessed by all who have believed to the saving of the soul. May we consider:

JUSTIFICATION AND ADOPTION

Both terms are forensic or judicial. They are court terms. Justification expresses the legal act by which the guilt of sin is removed, and the believer is reckoned righteous before God. Adoption expresses the legal act by which one outside the family of God is brought into the family as a son. Adoption expresses a relationship not even implied in justification. When a court justifies a person, that person does not by that act become a son of the judge. Another process of law is necessary if he is to become a son of the judge. To make the accused his son, the judge would have to do more than merely acquit him and set him free. Justification frees from condemnation; adoption makes one a son in the eyes of the law. Justification is the act of a merciful judge setting the prisoner free; adoption is the act of a generous father, taking a son to his bosom and endowing him with liberty, and a heritage. Let us next consider:

REGENERATION AND ADOPTION

Both regeneration and adoption express relationship, but they are not identical. Regeneration is the biological term and involves a change of nature; adoption is a legal term and denotes a change of position. Regeneration speaks of relationship by birth; adoption speaks of relationship by law. Regeneration confers the nature of sons; adoption confers the name of sons. Regeneration gives a meetness for the inheritance; adoption gives a title to the inheritance. The believer is in the family of God by a twofold process: birth and adoption. In regeneration the Holy Spirit made us alive; as the Spirit of adoption, the Holy Spirit enables us to pray and to cry, Abba, Father. In regeneration the Holy Spirit makes us a child of God; as the Spirit of adoption, He gives us the cry of a child, which is the evidence of life. All real prayer, acceptable worship, and godly living is in the energy of the Holy Spirit; the flesh profiteth nothing. And now let us think of:

RESURRECTION AND ADOPTION

The body is redeemed in the resurrection, but resurrection and adoption are not the same. Adoption, when applied to the body, involves a resurrection, but a certain kind of resurrection; the resurrection of the redeemed body. Resurrection simply expresses the thought that the body will be raised from the dead, while adoption speaks of the nature of the resurrected body. It will be a redeemed or glorified body—-a body fashioned like unto the glorious body of Christ. The body of the lost will be raised: “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (#Ac 24:15), but it will not be adopted—-it will not be a glorified body.

In civil adoption, the adopting party usually has regard for actual or supposed qualities in the child which appear good or agreeable; Scriptural and spiritual adoption into the family of God is wholly of grace through the merits of Christ. In civil adoption, the adopting father imparts his goods and gives his name to the adopted child, but he cannot impart to it his own nature. In spiritual adoption, God makes those whom He adopts not only partakers of His name and blessings; He also imparts to them His nature, changing them into His own blessed likeness in Christ, to Whose image they are ultimately conformed.

Among the Romans there was a twofold adoption, one private, the other a public affair. The adopting party would make the child his own by due process of law, but in a private way, then later it would be made public. Believers are the adopted sons of God now, but it will not be publicly manifested until the Lord comes for them and they are manifested in glory.

Since this article has not attained the usual length, we shall go on to make some general remarks. The doctrines we are now publishing will appear to the secularist as impractical in view of the present distress throughout the world, when men’s hearts are failing them for fear of the things coming on the earth. We may be reminded of the deterioration in human relations, involving both nations and individuals. We are being told that the human race is about to destroy itself in nuclear warfare, and that such doctrines as we are publishing have no practical value in preventing the threatened holocaust. To such reminders and objections, it is sufficient to reply, that our articles are dealing with the individual’s relation to God, and involves his eternal welfare. This present order of things, however bad, will ultimately come to an end, and the eternal order will be fixed for all men, either in terrible torment or in ineffable glory and happiness.

The individuals relation to God is of paramount importance, for the reason that the violated law of God is the only source of real and eternal danger. Salvation is deliverance from sin, and sin is unspeakably dangerous because it is against God. To be rightly related to God through Christ means everlasting life. To be delivered from the curse of the law of God means eternal safety. To be a child of God is to be an heir of God, and to have the promise of a home in the Father’s house of many mansions. Physical death is to be the lot of all while the Lord is away. Human weapons of destruction are limited to the killing of the body, while God, the Judge of all the earth, is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.

To have right relations with God is to be rightly related to everybody and to everything. To be rightly related to God puts everything else in its proper perspective. To be right with God guarantees glory in the end. None can really hurt whom God blesses.

“Come, Thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.

“Here I’ll raise my Ebenezer,
Hither by Thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

“Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

“Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, Oh, take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.”

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 2

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The Wednesday Word: What If? Pt 2

1 Corinthians 15:12-21

Last time we asked the question, “What if Christ had not risen from the dead.” We discovered that, if Christ were not raised, preaching would be pointless, faith would be useless, the disciples were liars, and we cannot rely on the New Testament.

We also began to consider that if Christ were not raised, we are yet in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17). We are not forgiven. We stated that God, in His holiness, cannot sweep sin under the carpet. He must punish sin! He must punish either the sinner or the sinner’s substitute.

However, if Christ is yet in the grave, this means that the Father did not accept the sacrifice of Calvary. And that means we are yet in our sins! If Christ were not raised from the dead, then the blood saved no one. If Jesus is still in the grave, we have no forgiveness.

But Christ was raised from the dead. The sacrifice of Calvary was accepted. If there had been anything lacking in Christ’s life or death, the Father would have left Him in the grave. In other words, the Resurrection is the Father’s “Amen” to the doing and dying of Christ!

But, what if Christ remained in the grave? According to our passage, it’s serious trouble for believers. If Christ is not risen then those who have fallen asleep (died) in Christ have perished (1 Corinthians 15:18). They are gone, it’s over. Finito!

Furthermore, if Christ is still in the grave, Christianity is a cruel hoax. We have built our hope on the fact that we serve a living, risen Saviour who is coming back for us … but, He’s not coming back for anyone if He’s still in the grave. Those who have died as Christians have perished. We have nothing to look forward to. All we can see is the slow approach of the spindly, icy fingers of death as they prepare to claim us. If Christ is not risen, we are without hope!

But now is Christ risen. He’s off the cross, He’s out of the grave and He’s alive forevermore. That’s worth a strong Hallelujah!

Our God came here in Christ, tackled the strong and steely bars of death and won the victory over it. But, if Christ is not risen from the dead, the future is fearful. We are in misery! What is your future? Where are you headed?

Albert Einstein was a very famous scientist. However, brilliant as he was, the poor man suffered terribly from absent- mindedness. One day as he sat on the train, the conductor approached asking for tickets. Einstein searched in all his pockets without any success. He just couldn’t find his ticket. The kindly conductor said; “It’s all right Professor, I know you well enough to know that you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it!”

As the conductor turned and walked away, he looked back and saw the good Professor down on his hands and knees searching under the seat. Once more he said; “It’s all right, Professor, I trust you. I know you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.” Einstein looked up at the man and said, “I know you know I bought a ticket, but I need to find it because I need to know where I’m going.”

All of us need to know where we are going! We need the assurance that Christ has risen from the grave. We need the confidence that He has conquered death on our behalf.

Do you have that assurance and confidence?

Someone said it like this; “If Jesus stayed in the grave, then nothing really matters. But if Jesus rose from the grave then nothing else matters.”

He is alive. Death is dead. Christ has conquered!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: What If? Pt 1

My Aunt Eileen died just a few days ago. She was my Father’s younger sister and she will be greatly missed by friends and family.

Death is a sorrowful time for those left behind. However, in spite of the sorrow, for the believer, death and the grave have lost their sting and victory. This is because of the certainty of the Resurrection.

What if, however, Jesus has not risen from the grave?

I’ve recently read some Christian writers who explain that, even if they discovered Jesus did not rise from the dead, they would continue to follow Him. After all, they reason, as they look around at the field of religious Gurus from human history, Jesus is by far the superior one.

Personally, I think that kind of thinking is daft! Indeed, in 1 Corinthians 15:12-21, Paul lets us know just how silly this mentality is. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul gives us several awful things that would be true if Christ had not risen from the grave.

The first of these is that, if Christ is not risen, preaching would be an exercise in futility (verse 14). I know there are some who would readily endorse that sentiment at the best of times. However, notwithstanding their views on preaching, if there is no Resurrection, the minister is wasting his time being in the pulpit. If Christ is still in the grave there is no good news. No Gospel. The preacher is just a wind-bag!

Also, according to verse 14, if there is no resurrection, our faith is vain. At the end of the day, why would we put faith in a dead Messiah? Faith, as you remember, is only as good as its object. Faith itself saves no one. It is Jesus who saves and a dead Jesus is useless in this matter of salvation. The ghastly truth is that, if Jesus is still in the grave, He can bring no one to heaven. A dead man can do nothing for us!

Now here’s another thing. If Jesus has not risen from the grave, then the disciples were awful liars (v15-16). These men went everywhere telling people they had seen the risen Christ. They had touched and handled Him, they claimed (1John 1:1). But, if Christ was not raised from the dead then they were perjurers. Remember this, if Christ was not risen from the dead, the apostles weren’t just mistaken, they were malicious. They were part of a gargantuan conspiracy to deceive mankind!

So then, were the Apostles liars? If they were, why did they lie? ‘Oh’ says someone, ‘just like any of these modern preachers, they lied for gain.’ But what gain did they have? It certainly was not financial. And, furthermore, consider how they died. They all (except for John) died as martyrs. They were tortured and brutally executed. There’s no worldly gain in that.

By the way, liars and martyrs are not cut from the same cloth. Only deranged lunatics would embrace martyrdom to further a deliberate lie.

But, if Christ is still in the grave, then indeed, the Apostles were liars, hypocrites and deceivers. That would follow then that we cannot read the New Testament since it was written by these same frauds. If Christ is not risen, we, therefore, have no New Testament!

But it gets worse than that; if Christ is yet in the grave, then we have no hope of forgiveness (verse 17). God cannot overlook sin, He must punish it! God is Holy and His holiness demands the death of the sinner. Either our sin has been punished on Christ at the cross or we will be punished for it in Hell. But, if Christ has not been raised from the grave it means that the Father has not accepted the sacrifice of Calvary. That means we are lost. It matters not how sincere and earnest we are. We are yet in our sins. We will perish!

But, here’s the good news. Christ was delivered for our offenses and raised again for (because of) our Justification (Romans 4:25). He is alive. His blood has secured us, His sacrifice has been accepted and He is alive forevermore.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

To be Continued…….

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Every Blessing is in Christ!

March 25, 2015 2 comments

Every so often I come across excellent illustrations of certain aspects of gospel truth. The following is one of them. Some years ago, an extremely wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. Their collection was legendary. When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. Tragically, he was mortally wounded in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there came a knock on the door. A young man stood there with a large package in his hands.. He said, ‘Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.’ The young man held out this package. ‘I know this isn’t much. I’m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.’

The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture.. ‘Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift.’

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected. The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.

On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. ‘We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?’ There was silence.. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, ‘We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.’

But the auctioneer persisted. ‘Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?’ Another voice angrily called out, ‘We didn’t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh’s, the Rembrandts and the Picassos Get on with the real bids!’ But still the auctioneer continued. ‘The son! The son! Who’ll take the son?’ Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the long-time gardener of the man and his son. ‘I’ll give you $10 for the painting…’ Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. ‘We have $10, who will bid $20?’ ‘Give it to him for $10. Let’s see the masters.’ The crowd was becoming angry. They didn’t want the picture of the son. They wanted the most worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. ‘Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!’ A man sitting on the second row shouted, ‘Now let’s get on with the collection!’

The auctioneer laid down his gavel. ‘I’m sorry, the auction is over.’ ‘What about the paintings?’ ‘I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The person who took the son gets everything!’ This is exactly what has happened to the believer. We are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 makes this explicit. It says that if we get the son we get everything. Here’s what the verse says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

When we receive the son we get everything and best of all, we don’t even have to pay $10. All is given freely, graciously and abundantly.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word-Who is this Man Jesus?

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In the upcoming issues of the Wednesday Word, we will try to answer a profound question; “Who is this man Jesus?” In Matthew 16:13-16, our Lord asked His disciples; “Who do men say that I the Son of Man am?” They replied, “Some say that you are John the Baptist and some say that you are Elijah and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Christ said to them; “But who say ye that I the Son of Man am?” Peter answered and said; “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

So then, who is this man Jesus?

He was born in poverty, in a cave converted as a stable, to an un-wed Jewish teenager. He was then placed in a feeding trough for cattle. There was no room for Him anywhere else.

Who is this man Jesus?

As an infant, he was made a refugee as His parents fled for safety to Egypt. This was necessary to avoid the murderous sword of Herod, which was aimed at the heart of the young child.

Who is this man Jesus?

He was raised in an obscure, unassuming village called Nazareth. His foster father was a carpenter with neither riches nor influence. Being from a poor family, Jesus, himself, was deprived of the privilege of formal training and education at the feet of the sagacious and learned Rabbis of His day.

It has been observed by others that Jesus never travelled above 90 miles from His home. He, at no time, owned a piece of ground or a piece of property. His only possession was the robe on His back.

Who is this man Jesus?

He never held a public office. No one ever voted for him.

Who is this man Jesus?

As He travelled throughout Israel preaching, He was accompanied by, “A band of unschooled ruffians and a few old fishermen.” As far as we can tell, His friends were all poor, anonymous types.

Who is this man Jesus?

Although he went about ‘doing good,’ He was indicted for violating the Law of Moses. Furthermore, because He claimed equality with God, He was accused of blasphemy. False witnesses rose up against Him. Paid liars attacked Him with their tongues. He was then, illegally, sentenced to death and executed.

Who is this man Jesus?

Of His inner circle of friends, one of them sold Him out for a pitifully small amount of money. Another one denied Him three times. Nearly all of them forsook Him and fled.

Meanwhile, Jesus suffered and died in torturous pain, encompassed by a sense of forsakenness. He was then taken down from the cross and buried in a borrowed tomb.

Who is this man Jesus?

Some have remarked that this man, Jesus of Nazareth, never wrote a book, yet more books have been written about Him and His work than about any other person. Although He sang songs, He never composed one yet He has been the theme of more songs than anyone else in history. He never founded an institute of higher learning, yet a staggering number of colleges and universities have been dedicated to the advance of His cause.

Who is this man Jesus?

In the wilderness, Satan could not seduce Him. As a child, the wisdom of the Jerusalem Rabbis could not answer Him. During His ministry, lawyers and scribes could not entangle Him in their wicked webs of sophistry. The leaders of the nation hated Him. Pilate could find no fault in Him.

Who is this man Jesus?

At the cross, He dealt death a death blow. In His burial, the grave could not contain Him.

Who is this man Jesus?

Even those who don’t follow Him admit that His life on this earth was above reproach. His teachings were of not only of the purest quality but also breath-taking. However, since the time He walked on this earth, controversy has continued to rage around Him.

Who is this man Jesus?

We have merely asked the question and scratched the surface of this excellent theme. Next time, God willing, we will explore more about this magnificent subject.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles

www.milesmckee.com 

Please help me spread the word about my books http://milesmckee.com/books.html 

Please also feel free to forward, post and blog etc. the Wednesday Word (without changing the content of the actual message)

Chapter 40-Christ’s Second Coming, and Resurrection

October 1, 2014 1 comment

Christ’s Second Coming, and Resurrection

THE incarnation of the Son of God is not his last manifestation in the flesh to men on earth. The Scriptures speak of another appearing, in connection with which is taught the resurrection of the dead, and the final judgement. Each of these subjects demands special discussion. In some works on theology, the doctrine of the Resurrection is first treated because of its intimate connection with death and immortality; and because it terminates the intermediate state. But, inasmuch as the coming of Christ will precede the resurrection of the dead, it seems best that it be first considered.

I. THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.

1. The fact is distinctly revealed.

Whatever doubts any may have about the passages sometimes quoted as teaching it in the Old Testament, there can be none that it is clearly made known in the New.

(1) It was taught by our Lord. Matt. 16:28; 24:36-40; 26:64; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27.

(2) It is the teaching of the Apostles and other inspired writers. 1 Cor. 1:7; 15:23; 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:1, 8; Heb. 9:28; James 5:7, 8; 2 Pet. 3:4; 1 John 2:28.

2. The manner of it is distinctly set forth.

(1) It will be a personal appearance. It is not questioned that Christ may be said to come in other ways than personally. The hour of death is admitted to be the way in which he comes at present to his saints, at what is to them the end of time. But the Scriptures teach such an especial personal final coming as can only be fulfilled in the bodily appearance of Christ to men. Mark 8:38; Acts 1:11; Heb. 9:26-28; 1 Thess. 4:16.

(2) His coming will be “apart from sin, to them that wait for him, unto salvation,” as contrasted with that time in which “he hath been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself,” and was “offered to bear the sins of many.” Heb. 9:26-28.

(3) It will be an appearance with power and glory; “for the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God,” (1 Thess. 4:16); “in the glory of his Father,” (Matt. 16:27); and “in his glory, and all the angels with him,” (Matt. 25:31); fulfilling to believers their expectation of “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Tit. 2:13.

(4) It will be instantaneous and unexpected. It is indeed to be preceded by signs both spiritual and physical. But, as with those in the days of Noah and Lot, few will recognize these signs. Matt. 24:37-39; Luke 17:28. Even to these the coming will be instantaneous; as a flash of lightning, Matt. 24:27; as a thief in the night, 1 Thess. 5:2; Rev. 16:15.

3. The time of Christ’s coming. This is represented as peculiarly unknown. Christ declared that even the Son knew not when it would be. It is hidden from all men. Matt. 24:36; Mark 13:32. Our Lord rebuked the disciples, just before his ascension, for questioning him again upon this subject. Acts 1:7. The apostle Paul indeed wrote to the Philippians, “The Lord is at hand,” (Phil. 4:5), and Jesus Christ announced, “The time is at hand,” (Rev. 1:3), and to the church at Philadelphia sent the message: “I come quickly,” Rev. 3:11. This is again repeated unto his servants in Rev. 22:7, 12, 20. But that these expressions, if they refer, as they apparently do, to his second coming, were not intended to teach what man would call an early coming, is evident from the fact that this second coming has been delayed over eighteen hundred years. The apostle Peter gave those in his day who were troubled about this delay the true solution, writing them: “But forget not this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Pet. 3:8.

4. The aspects in which he will come.

(1) Christ always spake of his coming as that of the Son of Man. By this he himself taught the same truth with which afterward the angel at the ascension reassured the disciples who stood “gazing up into heaven,” namely, that he that shall come then shall be the “same Jesus” which was taken up. It will then be in human form that he will appear, and with the same sympathizing human as well as divine love towards his own which he so wonderfully displayed while on earth.

(2) But the apostle Peter, at Pentecost, said, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Acts 2:36. Hence the apostles, almost exclusively, speak of Christ as Lord in connection with his second coming. This was their common name for Christ, and thus they recognized the glorious reward bestowed upon him for the salvation wrought for them, and the “all power” given unto him in heaven and earth.

(3) It is as Judge of the whole earth that he shall appear, both as Son of Man and as Lord; thus giving confidence to those who know him and have believed in him, and striking with terror those who have rejected his love.

(4) He also comes as King to take final possession of his kingdom, to share its blessings and glory with all his willing subjects, and to inflict punishment upon all who have refused to have him reign over them.

5. The signal events which that coming will introduce.

These are the resurrection of the bodies of the dead, and the change of those of the saints who are still alive; the judgement of all men; and the bestowment, according to the highest equity, of his due reward or punishment upon every one of mankind.

 

II. THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY.

The first in point of time of the events which accompany the second coming is the resurrection of the bodies of the dead.

1. This fact is the teaching both of the Old and the New Testaments.

It is admitted that some places in which resurrection is mentioned may speak only of a reappearance upon the stage of being of those who have died, and do not necessarily assert the final resurrection of the body. Thus our Lord’s reply to the Saduccees, Luke 20:37, only involves the idea of continued life. So also his language in Luke 14:14; John 6:39; and that to Martha, and her reply, John 11:23, 24.

It may also be acknowledged that, sometimes, the life and death, in connection with which resurrection is taught, is only spiritual, and that of the soul only. This seems to be the case in John 5:24-26, although the resurrection of the body is not unnaturally spoken of in the verses immediately succeeding.

There are also places in which the resurrection of the body is spoken of, but not the general, or final resurrection. These may be quoted only as showing that such a resurrection is not impossible. Thus, the writer to the Hebrews refers to the faith of Abraham in the power of God “to raise” Isaac “up even from the dead.” Heb. 11:19. We are also told that, after the death of Christ, “the tombs were opened; many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep were raised; and coming forth out of the tombs after his resurrection they entered into the holy city and appeared unto many.” Matt. 27:52, 53. The resurrection of Christ himself is taught to be a fulfillment of prophecy, Acts 2:24-31; 13:34-37, and a proof, not only of the possibility of a resurrection from the dead, 1 Cor. 15:12-18, but even an assurance, and earnest of the resurrection of the bodies of his people. 1 Cor. 15:20-23, 35-45, 48-54.

But there are enough passages, of no doubtful import, both in the Old and New Testaments, which establish a general resurrection of the bodies of all men, as Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:2-13; Hos. 13:14; and John 5:28, 29; Rom. 8:11-22, 23; 1 Cor. 15:20-23, 42-45, 48-54; Phil. 3:21; 1 Thess. 4:13-17. the last two passages refer, indeed, to the change in the body only; the last one also to the change in those who shall not die, but remain at the coming of Christ; their appositeness is readily recognized.

2. The resurrection will not be confined to the righteous only; but will include the wicked also.

The New Testament treats sometimes exclusively of the resurrection of the righteous. This is not unnatural; for all hope connected with it is confined to them. So blessed is that hope, that it was fit that it should be frequently held out for their encouragement and comfort. Especially the connection between their resurrection and that of Christ, as the first fruits of them that sleep, tended to lead them into the joys produced by the consciousness of union with him, and their triumph with, and through him. This was not to be confined to their spiritual resurrection with him in newness of spiritual life; and this fact needed to be enforced, lest that of the body should be forgotten in their experience of that of the soul. The objections to it also arose in connection with Christian hope. It is not strange that some should have denied it, even among the people of God, as the Apostle wrote to the Corinthians was true of some of them. 1 Cor. 15:12. The doctrine was too wonderful to believe. Perhaps they had specific objections to it in that day, as there have been in other ages of Christianity, even down to our own times. We are not to be surprised, that others also should have declared that it was passed already, and should have thus overthrown the faith of some. 2 Tim. 2:18. It became necessary, therefore, that it should be especially emphasized to the Christian believers of that day. With the single exception of “those that remain,” who were to be “changed,” it is expressly announced as the joyful destiny of all believers. Thus, Paul wrote to the Corinthians that “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Cor. 15:22. That this assertion related only to believers is evident, not only from the natural construction of the original Greek, but from the fact that his language is limited in the context to them “that are Christ’s at his coming.” 1 Cor. 15:23. In like manner, also, comforting the Thessalonians as to the Christian dead, he assigns as a reason why they should “sorrow not, even as the rest which have no hope,” (1 Thess. 4:13), that “if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him;” asserting the change in those that shall remain on earth, and stating that “the dead in Christ shall rise first.” 1 Thess. 4:14-18.

But, that this teaching about the righteous, was not intended to exclude the resurrection of the wicked, is plain enough from other places. Thus, our Lord said “all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done ill, unto the resurrection of judgement.” John 5:28, 29. What is also especially significant, in view of his teachings exclusively elsewhere as to the resurrection of the just, is that Paul, in his address before Felix, confessed that he had “hope toward God, . . . that there shall be a resurrection both of the just and the unjust.” Acts 24:15. In the vision of John of the day of judgement he saw that “the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them, . . . and if any one was not found written in the book of life, he cast them into the lake of fire.” Rev. 20:13-15. These passages show distinctly a resurrection of the wicked also from the grave, and, therefore, a resurrection of their bodies.

3. The nature of the resurrection body.

We are told nothing as to the nature of the resurrection bodies of the wicked. But enough is said as to those of the saints to show that their change will be most blessed.

The all embracing fact is distinctly declared that they shall be like unto that of their Lord. If we knew the precise nature of his body we should know the nature of those of all his saints. But it is enough to know that he will “fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of his glory.” Phil. 3:21. We are taught many things, however, about the resurrection body; the chief source of information being the fifteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians, where Paul states,

(a.) That it will be incorruptible,

(b.) That it will be immortal,

(c.) That it will be a glorified body,

(d.) That it will be raised in power,

(e.) That it will be identical with the present body. That which is raised is the “it” which is sown. It is “this corruptible” that “puts on incorruption,” this “mortal” that “puts on immortality.”

(f.) Yet is the identity one which exists not without a great change, v. 51.

(g.) Yet with no greater change than occurred in the body of Christ. It is his image which is to be borne instead of that of Adam, v. 49.

(h.) When Paul asserts that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” v. 50, he means only to deny that a corrupt and mortal body can thus inherit, and not to assert that such inheritance is not true of a glorified body of material substance, from which all corruption and mortal elements have been removed.

(i.) We consequently see what he means by the spiritual body in vv. 44-46, where he contrasts it with the “natural,” and declares the resurrection body to be “spiritual.” It is not spiritual in the sense that it is not material; for it is composed of matter. But, it is spiritual, as being fitted for the spiritual life hereafter, as it had previously been natural, as fitted for the animal life of this world. This is the pneumatic body as opposed to the physical. As the first body had been suited to the present life, and could not be used in the life to come without change; so the resurrection body is suited to the life to come, and not to the present stage of being. Hence it is that the change, with or without death, does not take place until the time of reunion in which the pneumatic life is to begin.

4. There shall be a general resurrection of the bodies of the righteous, and of the wicked at the coming of Christ to judgement.

(1.) The rewards of the righteous are especially associated with Christ’s coming in the great day. Matt. 16:27; Luke 12:37; 1 Cor. 1:7, 8; 1 Thess. 3:13; 2 Thess. 1:7, 10; 1 Pet. 5:4; 1 John 2:28; 4:17.

(2.) The suffering and punishment of the wicked are also intimately connected with the day of Christ’s coming to judgement. John 12:48; 2 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:7.

(3.) There are passages also in which both the reward of the righteous, and the punishment of the wicked are set forth unitedly in connection with the second coming of Christ. Matt. 16:24-27; 24:36-51; Mark 13:24-27; Rom. 2:1-16; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Pet. 2:9; 2 Pet. 3:7-9.

(4.) The righteous and the wicked are judged together. Ecc. 3:17; Dan. 12:2; Matt. 16:27; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:1-16; 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 9:27.

(5.) The resurrection of the dead occurs at the same time with the judgement. Dan. 12:2; Rev. 20:12, 13.

(6.) The resurrection and the change that occurs in it are also associated with the coming of Christ. 1 Cor. 15:52; Phil. 3:21; 1 Thess. 4:16.

(7.) The judgement and the coming of Christ, take place in immediate conjunction. Matt 16:27; 25:31-46; 2 Pet. 3:7-10.

(8.) The resurrection of both just, and unjust, shall occur at the same time. Dan. 12:2; John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15.

(9.) The unrighteous are kept unto the day of judgement. 2 Pet. 2:9.

(10.) At the time of Christ’s coming, the world is to be destroyed, and the promise fulfilled of “new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Pet. 3:8-13. But, that day is also the day of “judgement and destruction of ungodly men;” for which “the heavens that now are and the earth by the same word have been stored up for fire,” v.7.

These statements show that the general teaching of the Word of God is that the Lord will come; that at his coming there shall be a general resurrection of the just and unjust, who shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body. Not only is it not taught that there are two resurrections of the body, the one of the righteous at the second coming of the Lord, and the other of the wicked at the general judgement after an interval of one thousand years; but the judgement and the coming of the Lord are recognized as contemporaneous. The day of both events is called by various names, some of which are repeated more than once: as “the day,” (1 Cor. 3:13); “that day,” (Matt 7:22); “the day of judgement,” (2 Pet. 2:9); “the day of God,” (2 Pet. 3:12); “the day of the Lord,” (1 Thess. 5:2); “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Cor. 1:8); “the day of Jesus Christ,” (Phil. 1:6); “the day of Christ,” (Phil. 2:16); “the day of the Lord Jesus,” (1 Cor. 5:5); “the last day,” (John 6:39); “the great day,” (Jude 6); “the great day of their wrath,” (Rev. 6:17); “the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God,” (Rom. 2:5); “that great and notable day of the Lord,” (Acts 2:20); “the day when God shall judge the secrets of men . . . by Jesus Christ,” (Rom 2:16); “the day that the Son of Man is revealed,” (Luke 17:30); “the coming of our Lord Jesus,” (1 Thess. 3:13); “the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Tim. 6:14); “the revelation of Jesus Christ,” (1 Pet. 1:13); the “appearing of glory of our Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,” (Tit. 2:13), etc.

There is, however, one passage of Scripture which some claim teaches one resurrection of the bodies of the just, and another of those of the unjust; and places them at a wide interval apart, with numerous intervening parts. Those who maintain this view hold that the thousand years of the Millenium succeed the second coming of Christ, and the resurrection of the righteous. This passage constitutes the twentieth chapter of the book of Revelation. It is the record of that vision, in which John saw the angel bind Satan, in the bottomless pit, for a thousand years; during which the souls of the saints lived, and reigned with Christ. “This,” says John, “is the first resurrection.” v.5. On those having part in it, “the second death hath no power.” v.6. When the thousand years have expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and go out to deceive the nations. When the number of the forces which he gathers, which are like the sands of the sea, surround the camp of the saints, these forces will be devoured by fire from Heaven, and the devil cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. Then appears the great white throne, and the judgement of the dead, both small and great, and the judgement of the dead out of the books. And then death and Hades are cast into the lake of fire. “This,” says John, “is the second death.” v. 14.

It is readily admitted as to this passage that whatever is truly taught in it must be accepted as the word of God. But,

(1.) We must be careful how we receive any interpretation which does not accord with the rest of Scripture. Before doing so, we should examine thoroughly both the interpretation we wish to accept, and the views attained from other parts of the Word of God. We know that Scripture cannot contradict itself, when rightly interpreted. All its parts must, therefore, be carefully compared to see in what interpretation they agree.

(2.) If, after the best efforts to harmonize this with the other portions of God’s Word, it should seem to be irreconcilable with them, the apparent interpretation of this passage should yield to that of others; Not so much because it is one only, as compared with a great number; but because it is found in a book of highly figurative prophecy, in which the literal interpretation is not so justly to be pressed, as in others, which are not of this character, and in which the literal meaning is more apt to be the mind of the Spirit.

(3.) The language of this passage, however, is, at least, in some respects, opposed to the idea of two resurrections of the body; the first, that of the saints to reign with Christ for a thousand years, and the second, that of the wicked to judgement.

(a.) Because those who are represented as belonging to the first resurrection, are not spoken of as clothed in resurrection bodies; but, on the contrary, John declares simply that he saw “the souls of them that had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, etc.” v. 4.

(b.) It is not only not said that those who partake of the first resurrection are not among the dead, who are subsequently delivered up by death and Hades to be judged, v. 13, but it is implied that they are among these by the universal terms used when John says that he “saw the dead, the great and small, stand before God,” v. 12. But, if this be true, then there must be either two resurrections of the bodies of the saints, or one of the resurrections at least cannot be of the body.

(c.) Especially is it not taught that the resurrection to judgement is confined to the wicked, nor that the first resurrection is of the bodies of all the saints; because along with the books “which were opened,” “another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works,” v.12; “and if any was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire,” v.15. This language implies that, among those then raised and judged, there were some whose names were written in the book of life. Consequently, reference must here be made to the general resurrection and judgement, taught elsewhere as contemporaneous, and the first resurrection cannot be that of the body; or only some of the saints partake of the first resurrection; or there must be two resurrections of the bodies of the saints. The first of these is the only interpretation that accords with what is elsewhere taught.

(4.) The interpretation of this passage which makes it harmonious with all other Scripture is,

(a.) That the resurrection is a spiritual resurrection of the soul from the death of sin, of which Scriptures elsewhere speak so plainly as being a passage from death unto life. See John 5:24-26; Rom. 6:2-7; Eph. 2:1, 5; 5:14; Phil. 3:10, 11; Col. 2:12, 13; 1 John 3:14; 5:11, 12.

(b.) That the second death, which has no power over those which have part in the first resurrection, constitutes the punishment of those condemned at the judgement day, which consists in their being cast, both body and soul, into a lake of fire.

(c.) The thousand years of the binding of Satan is a period of time, of unknown, perhaps of indefinite length, possibly from the time of Christ’s conquest of Satan, in his death, resurrection, and ascension, or possibly from some other period, even perhaps of a later epoch in the history of Christianity, during which Satan is restrained from the exercise of the power he might otherwise put forth against man; the thousand years terminating at some time prior to the day of Christ’s second coming; at which time Satan shall be loosed to consummate his evil deeds by such assaults upon the saints as shall bring down the final vengeance of God at the appearing of Christ in glory.

(d.) The judgement and the resurrection, in Rev. 20:12, 13, are general, and are those of the last day which immediately follow the coming of Christ.

 

Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D. D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887

Chapter 27-The Offices of Christ

The Offices of Christ

 

THREE offices are ascribed by the Scriptures to Christ–those of prophet, priest and king.

I. CHRIST AS PROPHET.

This word is to be taken in its wider sense of inspired teacher.

It is frequently confined, in common language, to one who foretells future events. But it literally means one who speaks for his God, and denotes a divine teacher merely. Thus Moses is spoken of as a prophet, and Christ was foretold as a prophet who should he like unto Moses.

It is in connection with this that the term Logos, or Word, applied to Christ in the 1st chapter of John is appropriate.

With the office of teacher, Christ united, as was common with the prophets, the prediction of future events and the working of miracles. But the office of teacher was his special work as prophet.

This work is discharged in the following ways:

1. In the personal revelations which he made, before the days of his incarnation, to our first parents, to the patriarchs and to others of their day, to Moses and the people of God in the wilderness, and to various others, as Manoah, the children in the furnace, etc. These were made in appearances of human form, in the burning bush, in the pillar of cloud and fire, in the Shechinah, etc., etc.

2. In the inspired revelations which he made through holy men of old, who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. The Old Testament Scriptures are composed of a portion of these.

3. While on earth in his incarnation.

(1) Personally as, (a) he set forth by his own acts the divine attributes, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, eternity of existence, etc., and (b) as he exhibited God’s love for man, his hatred of sin, and his love of holiness and righteousness in the work of man’s salvation.

(2) By his instructions, as he taught (a) in words to his disciples and others what he exhibited in his person as to the matters above stated, and (b) the truths relative to the kingdom he was to establish, its nature, its subjects, the relations they should bear to each other, to him and the Father, and their future destiny and glory as well as the condition and fate of those who should reject him.

4. By the instructions he gave through his apostles and other inspired men after his ascension.

5. By the revelation of himself in the lives and character of his true disciples in all ages.

6. By the instructions given through his preached word in all ages.

7. By the revelations of glory he shall make to the church of first-born ones in the world to come.

8. By the revelation which through these, he shall make of the glory of God to the universe of created intelligences.

 

II. CHRIST AS PRIEST.

The office of “Priest” is one of divine appointment. That of Christ corresponds to that of the High Priest under the Mosaic economy, and is foreshadowed by it. The Epistle to the Hebrews sets this forth very plainly and explicitly. The priesthood of Christ, however, varies from that of the High Priest in several particulars. Christ’s priesthood is perpetual, is in one person, without predecessor or successor, making one offering, once for all; an offering actually not symbolically effective, deriving value not from appointment alone, but from its nature also. In this case, also, the victim is the same person as the High Priest. Consequently Christ’s office as priest is to be contemplated in the twofold aspect of priest and victim.

1. As Priest, he offers up the sacrifice, laying it upon the altar of oblation, and through it appeasing the wrath of God, making reconciliation between God and man, and securing, in its proper presentation, the removal of guilt and punishment from man.

As Priest he also intercedes with God for pardon or justification or other blessings for all for whom he died, in all the respects in which his death is available for each.

The first of these priestly offices was discharged upon earth, the second is discharging in heaven. It does not cease with his life on earth, but he is represented as continuing as an ever-living High Priest to make intercession for us, Heb. 7:23-25; sitting down at the right hand of’ God, Acts 2:33-36; Heb. 8:1; 9:12-21. (See the law as to the Jewish High Priest entering in once every year in Heb. 9:27; also in the law laid down in Ex. 30:10; Lev. 16:2, 11, 12, 15, 34; see also Heb. 7:27; 10:10. 1 Pet. 3:18, confines it to their sufferings and does not include the offering.) It is not for the purpose of offering the sacrifice that he is there, Heb. 9:24, 25; but to make intercession for those for whom the sacrifice has already been offered, Heb. 10:11, 12, 14-18. These passages show it was such an offering as actually sanctified (v. 10), and purified (v. 14) them that are sanctified.

While we are not to suppose that he is engaged in actual spoken prayer before God, we are also not to understand by this a mere influence of his sacrifice continued without further activity on his part, but some real activity corresponding fully to the essence of prayer and petition, to which is due all the blessings to which his people attain.

This intercession is made for his people, Luke 22:32, John 14:16; 17:9, 15, 20, 24; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 4:14-16. The passages in Isaiah 53:12 and Luke 23:34 have been adduced as indicating intercession which avails in some respect for all men. But such benefits are not the result of intercessory prayer, nor of Christ’s atoning work conferring general benefits; but they come from the necessary co-existence of the persons thus benefited with those to whom the resulting benefits of the atoning work belong.

2. Christ as the victim.

(1) His qualifications.

(a) His sinlessness; for this position he needed to be pure, holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and one in whom there was no sin. He must be a spotless Lamb.

(b) His humanity; that he might be of common nature with those for whom he died, and that he might be capable of suffering, and of such suffering as man may endure.

(c) His divinity; that his successful Prosecution of the work might be assured, and that his offering might have merit sufficient to ransom those for whom he died.

(d) His federal relation; that he might he a proper substitute for sinners, not any securing righteousness by obedience, but bearing and removing their guilt by making satisfaction for it.

(2) The offering. Thus qualified he was offered up as a victim; his body to the suffering which culminated in his death on the cross, and his soul to the anguish due to the realized presence of imputed sin, to the wrath endured from God, and to the separation from God’s favor while bearing that wrath.

 

III. CHRIST AS KING.

Christ announced to his disciples just before his ascension, “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.” Math 28:18. Peter at Pentecost declared, “that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified;” Acts 2:36.

Constant references had been previously made to his kingdom. It was not simply spoken of as the kingdom of God, and kingdom of heaven, but as closely connected with Christ. Luke 22:29, 30; 23:42; John 18:37.

1. Christ as the God-man is Mediatorial king.

As Son of God he had the right of rule over the universe. Of this he emptied himself and became man, that he might become Mediator and do the work of salvation. Having become man he died on the cross. On this account he has been exalted, so “that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, * * * and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God, the Father.” Phil. 2:6-11. Compare Acts 2:22-36, especially verse 36. “God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.” Also 1 Cor. 15:24-26.

2. Christ reigns over his spiritual kingdom, securing the final result of the establishment of that kingdom in the persons of all his people when he shall “present the church to himself, a glorious church.” Eph. 5:27.

3. He reigns over his visible churches on earth through the laws he has given, through the Spirit by which he dwells in them, and by his providences, overruling, controlling, and accomplishing all his purposes.

4. The rules over this world as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, causing all things to work together for his ends.

5. He rules over the universe. His sway is not limited to earth.

6. His Mediatorial reign is not confined to human subjects, but extends also to angelic. The angels of heaven are his attendants and his messengers.

7. He even rules over Satan and his evil angels. Their exercise of power for evil is permitted only for a time. Even during that time it is controlled by Christ; so that it is limited by his will, and is, therefore, truly subjected to him.

 

Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D. D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887