« הקודםהמשך »
found among our great, learned, and teachers of divine
discern the signs of the times?" And happy would it have been for us who live in this day of gospel light, when the gospel shines with greater effuigence than at any other period of time since the world began, if hypocrisy had died with the Pharisees and Saducees, but it was not so. Any man of common capacity of mind, who can divest himself of prejudice, or who will try to see the character of man as developed at the present day in matters of faith, will discover the same unbelief, the same disregard, the same taunting, tempting spirit concerning the second coming of the Messiah, as the Pharisees and Saducees manifested in their conduct and conversation with 'our blessed Redeemer. And the question may with equal propriety, and I fear with tenfold force, be put to us at this day, if Christ was here, as then. And I have much reason to fear that many may be things, who would receive from our divine Master the same reproof, were he as then a teacher among us.
Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” I shall then, in treating on this subject, use my text as a reproof to us.
1. Ishall show a number of signs which the Jews had in that day, as evidences of Jesus being the true Messiahı.
II. Show the signs that Jesus Christ, the Prophets and Apostles have given us of his second coming, now fulfilling in this day in which we live.
Under my first head, the signs of Jesus being the true Messiah, were
1. The universal peace at his birth of this Isaiah ii. 3, 4, had prophecied 160 years before, " And many people shall go and say, come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob: and he will teach us of his ways and we will walk in his paths: For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people, and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning-hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” This
prophecy was accomplished at his birth. For the temple of Janus was shut the very year our Saviour was born, which denoted universal peace, and this must have been known to the Jewish rulers. Also the life and doctrines of Jesus Christ was that they should forgire and pray for their ene
mies, and learn war no more. “Peace on earth and good will to men” was sung by the heavenly band when they announced the birth of the Saviour in the city of David,
2. The star that appeared and guided the wise men to the place of his nativity, prophecied of by Balaam, Num. xxiv. 17. 6. There shall come a star out of Jacob,” &c.
3. A root out of Jesse, Isa. xi. 10. “In that day there shall be a root out of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people ; to it shall the Gentiles seek,” &c. That he was a descendant of David was well known to the Jews, for they were very scrupulous in their genealogies and from the fact he was born in the city of David when his parents went up to be taxed where their names were enrolled.
4. Born of a virgin, Isa. vii. 14, “ Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign : Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” This was evidently fulfilled.
5. At Bethlehem, Micah, v. 2, “ But thou, Bethlehem, Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old from everlasting.” This was fulfilled, according to their own showing, to the wise men from the east.
6. Herod slaying all the children in Bethlehem from two years old and under, prophecied of by Jeremiah xxxi. 15, “ A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children,” &c. This must have been known in all Judea.
7. Land forsaken of both of her kings. Isa, vii. 16," For before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings:
Herod and his successor both died before Jesus was of the common age to refuse the evil and choose the good!
8. Called out of Egypt. Hosea xi. 1, “And called my son out of Egypt.”
9. His forerunner John. Isa. xl. 3, " The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” All Judea and Jerusalem went into the wilderness to John and of course must have seen this sign.
10. Coming suddenly to his temple. Mal. iii. 1. “ And the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple.'
For the fulfilment of this prophecy read John vii. 11-14. “ Then the Jews' sought him at the feast and said, where is he? Now about the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and taught."
11. The gospel preached. Isa. Ixi. 1, “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek: he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”
12. The covenant confirmed one week or seven years. Daniel ix. 27, " And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.” John preached three years and a half and Christ three and a half. 13. The blind see. Isa. xlii. 7, “ To open
the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”
14. The lame walk. Isaiah xxxv. 6, “Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing." 15. The deaf hear. Isaiah xxxv. 5,
66 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.”
16. The dead are raised. Isaiah xxvi. 19, “ And the earth shall cast out the dead."
17. His humility when on trial. Isaiah liji. 7, “He was oppressed and he was afflicted; yet he opened not his mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opereth not his mouth."
18. The manner and circumstances of his death. Psalm xxii. 13-18, “ They gaped upon me with their mouths as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out as water and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws, and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet, I may tell all my bones; they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them and cast lots upon
This Psalm was indited more than 1000 years before Christ's crucifixion, and yet every word had
an exact and literal accomplishment in that transaction, and the Jews saw it.
19. His resurrection, Psalm xvi. 10, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."
20. The pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the day of pentecost. Joel il. 28, “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy; your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions." The apostle told them that this scripture was fulfilled at the day of pentetost, and this transaction was well known to the Jews.
21. The fulfilment of the seventy weeks spoken of by Daniel ix. 24–27, which I have shown in a former lecture was accomplished to a day.
a day. And the Jews well un derstood it, for Caiaphas being high priest that year, said to the Jews “ Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake be not of himself, but being high priest that year he prophecied (or taught the prophecy in Daniel) that Jesus should die for that nation, and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” John xi. 49-52.
This evidence was well understood among the rulers of the Jews: yet notwithstanding all this scripture was fulfilled before their faces, and all these signs were actually accomplished in the short space of thirty-five years, and a cloud of witnesses testifying to all these facts, and they themselves had to consent that notable miracles had been done, they believed not. Well may you say, dear hearer, that they deserved wrath, and God was just in destroying their nation and place. But how is it with us? Do we believe in that word which we blame them for rejecting? Are we clear of the sin of unbelief? The Jews were looking for a temporal king and kingdom. And are not we looking for a temporal millenium ; one in which the christians will have the rule of the world ? Let us see to it that we do not stumble at the same stumbling stone, possibly we may have carnal notions as well as they. Therefore, let us inquire
II. What signs are now fulfiling which are given us by Christ, the Prophets or Apostles, of his second coming and glorious reign? And
1. Christ tells us, Matt. xxiv. 14, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world as a witness, and then shall the end come.” Is not this sign already accomplished ? Bible translated into more than 200 different languages; missionaries sent among all the nations known to us on the globe, and reformation succeeding reformation in every town, nook or corner in this land. The gospel has now spread over the four quarters of the globe. It began in Asia. In the apostle's days that quarter was full of light. From thence it went into Africa, and for a number of centuries, Africa stretched out her hands unto God. Europe, too, has had a long visitation of gospel blessings, and now America, the last quarter of the globe, is reaping a harvest of souls for the last day. The gospel, like the sun, arose in the east, and will set in the west. 22. The pouring out of the Holy Spirit and last reign of grace. Daniel tells us after Bonaparte should come to his end, and none should help him, xii. 1, " And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people. This I have shown in a former lecture is the same angel that stood upon the waters of the river, clothed in linen. Daniel xii. 6. Also the same angel that John saw, Rev. x. 1-6, standing his right foot upon the sea and his left upon the earth, and in his hand a little book open. This angel told John that he must“ prophecy again before many people, and nations, and tongues, and kings,” meaning that the gospel must again be published, as it had been in the apostolic days. And then would this angel lift his hand to heaven and swear by him that liveth for ever and ever, that time should be no longer. Again, James says v. 7, 8, “Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.' Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." And now, can any man who has any knowledge of the present times, deny that God has poured out bis spirit in a remarkable manner for twenty years past. Has not the gospel been spread in as rapid and extensive a manner as in the apostolic day? Has not opposition and persecution of the kings of the earth, of the woman that sitteth on many waters, the sea, been in a great measure kept in check and powerless, by some invisible power, some mighty arm, until the servants of God