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In Eden dwelt bliss; but sin came, and bliss fled: bliss cannot abide with sin, no, not in Eden. Man felt this; all nature felt: but the blessed God, by whose righteous law they were made subject to vanity and death, mercifully subjected them “in hope.” 1.HDM 3.1
This “hope” was begotten by the first promise: “Thy seed shall bruise his head.” 2. . Adam and Noah died in the faith, and left this hope to be cherished by their posterity; and their race have, in one form or another, ever cherished this hope, and will cherish it, until the time comes for it to be fulfilled. But the race is ever prone to anticipate the time, as Eve did when she named her first-born Cain, I have gotten the man from the Lord. 2. So James and John, when they sought the first seats in the kingdom; and all the apostles, when they inquired, “Wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 3. And every age from that day to this has furnished memorable examples of anticipating the time.HDM 3.2
The first promise was of a future triumph over the serpent, recovering what he took away:-innocence, Eden, and immortality. The “hope” it inspires belongs to this world; and so, likewise, the triumph of faith: but the triumph in fact belongs to the resurrection of the dead and the world to come, when the second Adam swallows up death in victory, and makes restitution of all things.HDM 3.3
Possibly the old world were looking for this promise to be fulfilled in the blood, when the sons of God took wives of the daughters of men; 4. but the flood came, and swept them all away: certainly they were not looking for the flood. So shall the coming of the Son of man be; expected, but wholly of an unexpected character.HDM 3.4
The second promise, of the recovery of the holy land, was made and confirmed by a covenant oath 5. to Abraham and his seed, which the apostle tells us is Christ, 6. “to give thee this land to inherit it;” 8. and “that he should be the heir of the world.” It is plain Abraham did not own, or inherit, in the days of his flesh, save only the burial-place in Macphelah before Mamre, which he bought of the sons of Heth. Otherwise, he with his posterity was a stranger and pilgrim in the land of promise, having no inheritance in it, looking for a better country, even an heavenly, and a city which hath foundations. But the oath and promise of God cannot fail: Abraham, together with the heirs of the same promises, died in the faith and hope of receiving them in the resurrection of the dead; for this the apostle assures us was “the hope of the promise made of God unto the fathers,” 1. and fulfilled unto us their children, “in that he hath raised up Jesus again.” 2. And this promise is “sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham. 3.HDM 3.5
It is important to mark the firmness with which the natural seed have ever clung to this promise, as if this world were to be conferred on them for a carnal possession forever! But Abraham understood that the promise had respect to the heavenly country in Paradise regained, with immortality in the resurrection. His seed should follow in his steps. The meek have also the promise with Abraham, that they shall inherit the earth: 4. but it is not Judea, says Jerome, “not this world, not the earth under a curse, producing thorns and briers, which rather the bloodiest warriors possess; but it is the earth which the Psalmist describes: I hope to see the Lord's goodness in the land of eternal life.” For this world is a land whose cities have not foundations, and whose inhabitants have no inheritance in it, but that of Abraham in the cave of the field of Macphelah. 5I confirm this view of the promise made unto the fathers, by reciting from Mr. Mede, Dr. Gill, and others, certain opinions of learned Rabbis, going to show that they also received the promise in the sense it is expounded here. The promise is of the inheritance of the land forever. Rabbi Eleazar, who lived just after the second temple was built, writes thus: “As I live, saith the Lord, I will awake you hereafter in the resurrection of the dead, and will gather you with all Israel into the land of Israel.”
Jonathan the Paraphrast, who lived before the Christian era, says on , “They shall be gathered from their captivity; they shall live under the shadow of Messiah; the dead shall rise, and good shall increase in the earth,” etc.
“Where does the (Mosaic) law teach the resurrection of the dead? Truly, where it says, . ‘And I have also established my covenant with them, that I will give to them the land of Canaan:’ for it is said not to you but to them. Again, the Sadducees asked Rabbi Gamaliel, (Paul’s teacher,) whence he could prove that God would raise the dead. Nor would they rest, until he had brought them this verse. , ‘Which land the Lord smart to your fathers that he would give THEM.’” God covenanted with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give them the land in which they were strangers, for an inheritance; and not having received the inheritance, they must needs live again, or in respect to them the promise has failed, which is impossible.
The above are found in Mede, with the following also: “Rabbi Kimchi, on Obadiah, says, When Rome shall be laid waste, there shall be redemption for Israel.—And on , The holy blessed God will raise the dead at the time of deliverance.—And on . In that he saith ye shall consider it, and not they shall consider it, he intimateth the resurrection.”
Dr. Gill furnishes the following, : “When the King Messiah comes, the holy blessed God will raise up those that sleep, as it is written, He shall swallow up death in victory.”HDM 4.1
The third and last promise which I notice, is that made with an oath to David, “That of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ, to sit on his throne.” 1. . All believers of this promise have regarded Christ’s kingdom as the era of human bliss; but few, however, regard it as belonging solely to the resurrection of the dead. The natural Israel have always expected it to be a temporal kingdom, of which they are to be royal princes. The very apostles apprehended it so, while the Lord tarried on the earth; and the populace would have crowned Jesus, while they hailed him, Blessed be the King! But when he refused their kingdom, they refused him. Bent on having the millennium in this world, they rejected Jesus, as a deceiver, who would seem to be the Messiah, and yet rejected the crown!-He triumphed, he arose from the dead, and brought to light the immortality which Adam lost, and the eternal life in the Paradise of God, from which Adam fell, and also the everlasting kingdom promised to David for his Son, to whom belong salvation, dominion, and glory, in the restitution of all things, after this world has gone, with that before the flood, to final destruction in the resurrection of the dead.HDM 5.1
In the same spirit the ingrafted Israel, also, look on the gospel dispensation, which is committed to the Gentile church, as Messiah’s kingdom, 2Villipand, a Jesuit of the year 1600, expressly says, “The church militant, which is called the kingdom of heaven, and is descended from heaven,” etc. Vol. i. 217. E. i.
On , “The holy blessed God promised to our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that he would give them the land of Israel. We learn from hence that they shall be raised, and that God will hereafter give them the land of Israel.”
It will greatly increase our interest in the prophets, if we observe, from Moses to Malachi, that the promises and threatenings are directly to you and to us, who read and hear, and not to them who may come after us. In all the glorious prophecies of Israel’s restoration, scattered up and down the sacred page, the word is to you, and is not to them; the word is spoken to you in the second, and not to them in the third person: and in order to be fulfilled to the persons to whom it has in past ages been spoken, they must revive, and come out of the grave, and live again; which assuredly they will at the coming and kingdom of Christ in the resurrection of the dead. and they are expecting to see its victorious banner waving over all nations in the close-coming millennium: they are expecting this gospel dispensation to subdue, and convert, and overturn all opposition, and to govern the whole world; precisely as the natural Israel expected of the Mosaic dispensation. But the Mosaic dispensation was not Messiah’s kingdom; it was only a faint shadow of it: neither is the gospel dispensation Messiah’s kingdom; it is only the good news of it: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and is yet to come.HDM 5.2