« PreviousContinue »
words preceding, which say that this Son of David should be born of a virgin; but take them to be merely a figurative manner of describing the remarkable character for purity of him who is the subject of the prophecy.' 'But why,' continued the Jew, 'do you refuse to believe literally verses 32 and 33, while you believe implicitly the far more incredible statement of verse 31?' 'I believe it,' replied the clergyman, 'because it is a fact,' 'Ah!' exclaimed the Jew, with an inexpressible air of scorn and triumph, 'You believe Scripture because it is a fact; I believe it because it is the Word of God.'"
And now, dear reader, was not the argument of the Jew candid and forcible? There are symbols, figures or tropes, metaphors, etc., used in Scripture and there are, also, allegories.
But, unless they are so stated in the text, or plainly indicated in the context, we should hold only to the literal sense.
The words of Christ in1 John 7:38 we are told in the very next verse were spoken "of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive."
The allegory in Gal. 4.-24-31,2 in no possible manner detracts from the literal sense of Scripture, but on the contrary it confirms it. We know that both Hagar and Sarah had a literal physical existence. Mt. Sinai and Jerusalem are literal.
We have a literal Christ, the mediator of the new covenant.3 And so we believe that the "Jerusalem which is
(1) John 7:38. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
(2) Gal. 4:24. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gender
eth to bondage, which is Agar.
25. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
26. But Jerusalem which is above is' free, which is the mother of us all.
(3) Heb. 12:24. And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
above," of which Sarah is typical—"the heavenly Jerusalem,"* "the new Jerusalem which cometh down out of heaven from God,"s is also literal, tangible and real. How then, are we authorized, from such examples as these (which are most prominent among those cited by Post-millennialists as authority for "spiritualizing"), to do away with the literal sense of Luke 1:32-33, or of the multitude of passages which predict the restoration of Israel, the coming of Christ, or which describe His glorious Kingdom? There can be no warrant for it. It subverts the authority and power of the Word of God, and Post-millennialists, by so doing, open wide the door for skeptics and latitudinarians of all descriptions. There are a portion of the Israelites in the present day who style themselves "reformed" or '' liberal.'' They likewise spiritualize the Old Testament prophecies and have therefore ceased to look for any literal Messiah. One of them not long since said to the writer "the nineteenth century is the Messiah," and this absurd doctrine is now quite generally preached in their principal congregations. That even Jews should thus join with Gentiles in "spiritualizing" Scripture, is a marvelous sign of the times in which we live. ["When the Son of Man cometh shall He find (the) faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8.] Why! the same process of spiritualizing away the literal sense of these plain texts of Scripture will sap the foundation of every Christian doctrine and leave us to drift into absolute infidelity, or the vagaries of Swedenborgianism.
What is the purpose of language, if not to convey definite ideas? Surely the Holy Spirit could have chosen words
(4) Heb. 12:22. But ye are come unto mount Slon, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
(5) Rev. 3:12. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God:
and I will write upon Mm my new name.
Rev. 21:2. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
10. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.
to convey His thoughts correctly. Indeed it is all summed up in the inquiry of a little child, "If Jesus didn't mean what He said, why didn't He say what He meant?" But we believe that He did mean what He said, and that His words will "not pass away." Mat. 24:35.
He said that He came "not to destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfill," and "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Mat. 5:17-18.
Prophecies Literally Fulfilled at the First Coming.
If He came and literally fulfilled the prophecies of a suffering Messiah, Psa. 22, Isa. 53, etc., will He not as surely come and likewise fulfill the prophecies of a glorified Messiah reigning in victory and majesty? Psa. 2; 72; Dan. 7: 13-14, Isa. 9; 11; 60, etc. Think of the many prophecies descriptive of a suffering Messiah, which we have seen literally fulfilled, and upon which we rest, as such strong evidence for the truth and inspiration of the Word, to wit:
Isa. 7:14—Born of a virgin.
Mic. 5:2—At Bethlehem.
Jer. 31:15—Slaughter of the children.
Hos. 11:1—Called out of Egpyt.
Isa. 11:2—Anointed with the Spirit.
Zech. 9 :9—Entry into Jerusalem.
Psa. 41:9; 55: 12-14—Betrayed by a friend.
Zech. 13:7—Disciples forsake Him.
Isa. 50:6—Spit on and scourged.
Ex. 12:46; Psa. 34:20—Not a bone broken.
Psa. 69:21—Gall and vinegar.
Psa. 22—Hands and feet pierced.
—Garments parted—lots cast.
Isa. 53—Poverty, suffering, patience, and death. And many other passages.
All these were literally fulfilled when Christ came. Do not, then, reject the literal fulfillment of those numerous prophecies which describe His future coming, and His glorious reign upon the earth. Namely: —
Prophecies to be Literally Fulfilled at the Second
That He shall come Himself,— IThes. 4:16.
That He shall shout,— IThes. 4:16.
That the dead will hear His voice,— John 5:28.
That the raised and changed believers will be caught
up to meet Him in the air,— 1 Thes. 4:17.
That He will receive them unto Himself,— John 14:3. That He will minister unto His watching servants,—
That He will come to the earth again,— Acts 1:11.
To the same Mount Olivet from which He ascended,— Zech. 14:4. In flaming fire,— 2 Thes. 1:8. In the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,— Mat. 24:30; 1 Pet. 1:7; 4:13. And stand upon the earth,— Job 19 :25. That His saints (the Church) shall come with Him,—
Deut. 33:2; 1 Thes. 3:13; Jude 14. That every eye shall see Him,— Rev. 1:7.
That He shall destroy Antichrist,— 2 Thes. 2:8.
That He shall sit in His throne,—Mat. 25:31; Rev. 5:13. That all nations will be gathered before Him, and
He will judge them,— Mat. 25:32.
That He shall have the throne of David,—
Isa. 9:6-7; Lu. 1:32; Ezek. 21:25-27. That it will be upon the earth,— Jer. 23:5-6.
That He shall have a kingdom,— Dan. 7:13-14.
And rule over it with His saints,—
Dan. 7:18-22-27; Rev. 5:10. That all kings and nations shall serve Him,—
Psa. 72:11; Isa. 49:6-7; Rev. 15:4. That the kingdoms of this world shall become His
kingdom,— Zech. 9 :10; Rev. 11:15.
That the people shall gather unto Him,— Gen. 49 :10. That every knee shall bow to Him,— Isa. 45:23.
That they shall come and worship the King,—
Zech. 14:16; Psa. 86S. That He shall build up Zion,— Psa. 102:16. That His throne shall be in Jerusalem,—
Jer. 3:17; Isa. 33:20-21. That the Apostles shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel,—
Mat. 19:28; La. 22:28-30. That He shall rule all nations,— Psa. 2:8-9; Rev. 2:27. That He shall rule with judgment and justice,— Isa. 9:7. That the Temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt
(Ezek. chapters 40-48), and the glory of the
That the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,— Isa. 40:5.
And many more we might mention.
Surely, there is no symbolism in these plain prophecies, which gives us any authority to "spiritualize" them. Rather let us expect that He will as literally fulfill these as He did the others at His first coming.