The First Report of the General Conference of Christians Expecting the Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ


2 Chronicles 6:16-18

Now, therefore, O Lord God of Israel, keep with thy servant David, my father, that which thou hast promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in my law, as thou hast walked before me. FRGC 26.3

Now then, O Lord God of Israel, let thy word be verified, which thou hast spoken unto thy servant David. FRGC 26.4

But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built! FRGC 26.5

A very cursory examination of this text, will show that Solomon, in this clause of his dedicatory prayer, refers directly to the promise of God to David, of an everlasting successor to his throne. That both David and Solomon understood more to be implied in that promise than merely a regular succession of temporal kings, is also very evident, from the manner in which both speak, whenever they touch the theme; and, also, from the writings of other inspired penmen. What they did understand and teach on this subject, it will be the object of this discourse to show. In doing this I shall show- FRGC 26.6

I. That God did promise to David an everlasting successor upon his throne. FRGC 26.7

II. That this promised successor was Christ. FRGC 26.8

III. The character of Christ, the heir and successor of David. FRGC 26.9

IV. This being, according to God’s promise, will in very deed dwell with men on the earth. FRGC 26.10

V. The manner and objects of his advent and abode among men on the earth. FRGC 26.11

I. God did promise to David an EVERLASTING SUCCESSOR upon his throne. FRGC 26.12

It will not be necessary on the present occasion to multiply texts in support of the propositions laid down, although appropriate ones might be found to any reasonable number; but as the truth of a proposition does not depend on the number, but on the explicitness of the texts produced, I shall confine myself to a few of the most clear and striking under each head. Those who may wish to pursue the subject farther, can do so at their leisure. FRGC 26.13

1. The first text I shall present in support of this proposition, is 2 Samuel 7:12-16: “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. FRGC 27.1

“He shall build a house for my name; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. FRGC 27.2

“I will be his father and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the stripes of the children of men: FRGC 27.3

“But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. FRGC 27.4

“And thy house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever.” FRGC 27.5

That David understood this covenant to extend to an everlasting state, appears evident from his reply, verse 19: “Thou has spoken also of thy servant’s house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord God?” As much as to say, all human and temporal thrones will have an end; but this is to endure forever: it is not to fail or end; hence, it is superhuman, and in an everlasting state. Again, the continued succession through time was conditional, but the everlasting succession was sure, and in no wise depended on the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of David’s children. FRGC 27.6

2. Another text of the same import must suffice on this point. Psalm 89:20: “I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him.” Verses 27-37: “Also I will make him my first-born, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him forevermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with a rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless, my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that has gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure FOREVER, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established forever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.” FRGC 27.7

If the above promises are to be confined to a temporal state, they have utterly failed: for hundreds of years have passed by since David has had a son on his throne in Israel. Nor can any temporal revival of the house of Israel answer to the promise, however long it may continue; for no temporal period can endure forever. But the promise is yet sure: For— FRGC 28.1

II. This promised successor is Jesus Christ. FRGC 28.2

Matthew 1:1, affords ample testimony as to the heirship of Jesus Christ to David: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This text settles the first question, whether Christ is truly the seed of David. But is he also the seed who is everlastingly to sit upon David’s throne? FRGC 28.3

Luke 1:32, 33: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” The question is here settled, that Christ is the promised son and successor of David, and is everlastingly to inherit his throne. There is to be no end to the duration of his kingdom. If an end can be found, where there is no end, then it may be proved that the reign of Christ on David’s throne will terminate; and not before. But is Christ the very seed which God sware to David should sit on his throne forever? “Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne.” 15 The way is now open to notice- FRGC 28.4

III. The character of Christ, the heir and successor of David. FRGC 28.5

1. He is a man, possessed of a soul and body. Of the truth of this proposition, I presume, no farther evidence will be demanded than has already been given. For if he is the son of David, “according to the flesh,” then is he a man, and possessed of all the attributes of man. But he is not only “David’s son, the son of man,” but he is also- FRGC 28.6

2. The Son of God. I do not now speak, however, of his divine nature, but of his human. Nor am I about to enter into a long and labored argument on this point; but with one single quotation from the word of God, and an appended remark, I will leave it. “The angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” 16 FRGC 28.7

No other inference can be drawn from this text than that Jesus is the Son of God, after the flesh, through the power of the Holy Ghost, in as true and as literal a sense as he is the son of David. Of those who contend for the doctrine of the Divine, Eternal Sonship of Jesus Christ, I would inquire, if they believe the divinity of Jesus Christ to be a thing? a created object? But yet it is “that Holy Thing,” which is called the Son of God. FRGC 29.1

3. He is the Mighty God. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.” 17 FRGC 29.2

But you do not suppose that David and Solomon understood the character of Christ in the same light as set forth in the above text? Indeed I do. That David did, there is full evidence; and that Solomon imbibed the same idea, is clear from our text. FRGC 29.3

Take, for instance, the text quoted by the Savior to confound his enemies: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand until I make thy foes thy footstool.” 18 “If David then called him Lord, how is he then his son?” This they could not explain. Nor can it be satisfactorily explained on any other hypothesis than that here laid down. Take another example from Psalm 45, 6th verse, where David speaks of the things he had made touching the king; and which Paul applies to Christ: “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness and hatest iniquity; therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” 19 Let us now turn to our text. Solomon had just completed the first house dedicated to the worship of Almighty God. This house had been devised by David, but built by Solomon. But no sooner had David devised the plan of building a house for God, than the regal character of Jesus Christ, as the son and successor of David, was for the first time announced to man. The seed of David was announced as the builder, proprietor, and everlasting possessor of the house and throne. Accordingly, when the house was completed, the king assembled the house of Israel, to dedicate the temple to the Great Proprietor. He begins by calling to mind and rehearsing the covenant of God with David, of an everlasting successor. Evidently he did not consider himself the one. After contemplating the greatness of the promise, as if lost in wonder, he exclaims, “But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!” FRGC 29.4

What else can we infer from the manner in which the wise man introduced the exclamation, than that he believed God had promised to David, his father, a successor, to inherit that house, as well as to sit on his throne, who should possess the nature and perfections of Deity? It must mean that, if it means anything, or if there is any connection between the verses of our text, or indeed between any of the different parts of Solomon’s prayer. The truth seems to be this: Jesus Christ in his humanity is both the Son of God and the son of David. In this person, as Paul expresses it, “God was manifest in the flesh.” 20 Or yet again: “For in him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” 21 “I Jesus have sent mine angel,” etc. “I am the root and the offspring of David.” 22 Such is our Savior. Such the being who “died for us;” who “tasted death for every man;” who “is the propitiation for our sins,” “and also for the sins of the whole world.” Death was the penalty of the Divine law. That penalty Jesus Christ has suffered instead of the sinner. God can now be just and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. FRGC 30.1

Christ is now “the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.” That church, redeemed from among all nations, by his blood, is now Abraham’s seed; the house of Jacob; and the house of David. “For if ye are Christ’s, then are ye Abram’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Christ is the head, the church the body of that head! There is a mysterious union between Christ and his people: “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all one.” But in what sense are Christ and his people one? Paul answers, “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” “But I can never believe such a mystery!” “How can this be?” It is no more mystery to you, my hearer, than to Paul, when he wrote it; for he added, “this is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Every true Christian, then, is a member of Christ’s body, flesh, and bones. And if thus, how holy ought he to be! FRGC 30.2

O, what a glory gathers around the theme of redemption by Jesus Christ! Shout, then, ye saints of the Most High! Shout unto God with the voice of triumph! Unto him who hath loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, unto him be glory, in the church, by Christ Jesus, forever! O! FRGC 31.1

“Angel, assist our mighty joys,
Strike all your harps of gold;
But when you raise your highest notes,
His love can ne’er be told!”
FRGC 31.2

Christ is the believer’s life. “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” “And when he who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Well might the apostle call it “that great love wherewith he loved us!” And can we wonder that the poet also should sing, or can we forbear to sing with him,- FRGC 31.3

“O love, the bottomless abyss,
My sins are swallowed up in thee;
Covered is my unrighteousness,
No spot of guilt remains on me,
While Jesus’ blood, through earth and skies,
Mercy, free, boundless mercy cries.”
FRGC 31.4

He is the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.” And as many as receive him, to them he gives power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Come, then, perishing sinner, to this Savior. FRGC 31.5

But I am wandering. I only designed to show the relation existing between Christ and the church as a reason why he will not live in glory and leave her behind; but that he will come again and receive her to himself: For— FRGC 31.6

IV. This glorious being, according to God’s promise, will in very deed dwell with men on the earth. FRGC 31.7

We have so long been accustomed to contemplate the kingdom of Jesus Christ as a spiritual dominion; and the throne of David on which he reigns as being either in heaven, or in the human heart, that it is with extreme difficulty we can bring ourselves to look at this subject in the plain, simple and scriptural light in which alone we ought to view it. The reason of this seems to be this: in looking at the Divine and glorious character of Christ, we lose sight of his humanity. We forget that he is the son of David, an earthly monarch. But such he in reality is: no less so now than when he was on earth. If he has now gone into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God, that is not to be his eternal abode. He is there, now; with, and by, his own blood, as our advocate with the Father; and there he will sit, until his foes become his footstool. He is there in the holy of holies, as our great High Priest, in his own proper person, body, soul and Divinity, thenceforth expecting until his foes become his footstool. FRGC 31.8

1. Jesus Christ is to dwell on the earth; because the Lord God has given to him by promise the throne of his father David. 23 That throne was an earthly one, or on the earth, and not in heaven. Hence, if Christ sits forever on David’s throne, he must dwell on earth, and at Jerusalem. FRGC 32.1

2. He will dwell on earth, because the inheritance of the uttermost parts of the earth is to be his. “Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree; thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. And thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potters vessel.” 24 The holy hill of Zion which God has chosen, there to dwell forever, as his desired rest, is on earth, and not in heaven. FRGC 32.2

“The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it: Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne. If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne forevermore. For the Lord hath chosen Zion: he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest forever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” Again, “There will I make the horn of David to bud.” 25 FRGC 32.3

3. Daniel saw in vision, after the destruction of the emblematical beasts, the representatives of earthly governments, “One like the Son of man, coming in the clouds of heaven; and he came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him: and there was given him a kingdom and dominion, that all kingdoms, nations and tongues should serve him.” Again, “The kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.” 26 If the kingdoms represented by the beasts were on earth, so also will be that of the Son of man: for it is to be reared upon the ruins of the other kingdoms. FRGC 32.4

4. The Church, the saints of God, are Christ’s body. The head and body must be united in one and dwell together. But “the meek shall inherit the earth.” “Such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth.” “The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell therein forever.” 27 If these promises are true, and the people of Christ are to be where he is, he must reign and dwell with them on earth Thus shall “the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”‡28 FRGC 33.1

And then it shall be said, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men; and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away. And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” They are what they purport, and not mystical. The great problem will then be solved. Yes, God, even that God whom heaven, even the heaven of heavens, cannot contain, “will in very deed dwell with men on the earth.” Yes- FRGC 33.2

“From the third heaven, where God resides,
That holy, happy place,
The New Jerusalem comes down,
Adorned with shining grace.
FRGC 33.3

Attending angels shout for joy,
And the bright armies sing,
Mortals, behold the sacred seat
Of your descending King.
FRGC 33.4

The God of Glory down to men
Removes his blest abode,
Men, the dear objects of his love,
And he their smiling God.”
FRGC 33.5

The way being thus prepared, we are to inquire- FRGC 33.6

V. Into the manner and objects of his advent and abode on earth among men. FRGC 33.7

1. “The manner.” That Jesus Christ, the promised seed of David, has come in the flesh, that he was “born of a virgin,” “in Bethlehem,” etc., are facts so clearly attested, that an argument to prove them to any who believe and read the Bible, would be entirely needless. But all the above named facts were once matters of prophecy, and have been so fulfilled. And yet the prophecies which foretold them were no more clear, than that that same being who has gone into heaven and set down on the right hand of the throne of God, shall come again in a manner altogether unlike his first advent. If the one has been accomplished, so will the other be in due time. FRGC 33.8

Let us then hear the testimony of God on this point: “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many: and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” 29 But how shall he come the second time? “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath-day’s journey.” 30 FRGC 34.1

In this text the prophecy is explained and illustrated by the statement of a matter of fact. If, therefore, Jesus Christ went to heaven in his own proper person, in a cloud, we must look for him in the same person and the same manner. This text might suffice on this point; but I will give one more: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” 31 This certainly is coming “to them that look for him without sin (or a sin-offering) unto salvation.” If so, it is his second coming. FRGC 34.2

Again: All the tribes of the earth shall see him and mourn. Hence, his appearance must be visible to all the world. But such an appearing has never yet taken place. And among all who have endeavored to refer it to the destruction of Jerusalem or to other circumstances, none have ever had the fortune to find one single witness to testify he saw such a scene as the coming of the Son of man on that occasion. Indeed, if there is any meaning in language, if we may ever depend upon the testimony of the Bible, we must look for a yet future and literal coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven. FRGC 34.3

Once more: I wish to inquire, by what authority are the wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, false prophets and false-christs of the chapter construed as being literal, and then so immediately, in the same connection, without any intimation of a change from a literal to a figurative meaning, the appearing of the real Christ is called a spiritual or figurative appearing. I protest against such violence to plain, scripture. FRGC 35.1

2. The objects of his advent and abode among men. FRGC 35.2

(1.) To destroy the wicked of the earth. “And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day.” 32 Here is a testimony that the wicked, all who do not obey the gospel, will be destroyed from the presence of the Lord when he comes. This earth is to be his abode, and the wicked must be banished from it. FRGC 35.3

Again: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. And thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” 33 According to this text, when the Son of God comes to take possession of his inheritance, he will break and dash in pieces his enemies. FRGC 35.4

Once more: “The good seed are the children of the kingdom; the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” 34 All this is to take place at the end of the aion, age, or time. The wicked are all to be gathered out of Christ’s kingdom which he has purchased. FRGC 35.5

Take one text more: “For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” 35 This is to take place at the time when the dead live. FRGC 36.1

(2.) The second object is, to raise from the dead, and glorify the righteous. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” 36 FRGC 36.2

“Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” 37 The object of the resurrection of the righteous is, that they may live forever. FRGC 36.3

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” 38 But how shall they who are Christ’s at his coming rise? The apostle answers, verses 42, 43, 44, 52, 53: “It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” “The dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” Yes, the children of God know that when he shall appear, they shall be like him, for they shall see him as he is. FRGC 36.4

“O what a blessed hope is ours.
While here on earth we stay!”
FRGC 36.5

Christ is the believer’s life. “And when he who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory,” It was this blessed hope which cheered the patriarchs, comforted the prophets, supported the apostles, and bore up the martyrs amid the flames. They looked for and “desired a better resurrection.” FRGC 36.6

(3.) The third object of his advent is, to change to immortality the living saints; and to receive to himself forever, both the dead and living in him. FRGC 36.7

“Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 39 FRGC 36.8

Again: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we be ever with the Lord.” 40 FRGC 37.1

An idea has been entertained that when the seventh or last trump shall sound, and the mystery of God be finished, a state of unparalleled anarchy will ensue, during which Christians will be the objects of the hatred and persecution of the wicked; and a time of martyrdom ensue. But if we may believe the apostle, instead of meeting persecution at the last trump, the Christian will be glorified in the twinkling of an eye; and be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and be forever with him. FRGC 37.2

Thus also the Savior: “And they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he shall send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” 41 FRGC 37.3

(4.) The fourth object is, to burn and renew the heavens and the earth, and fit it up as the abode of the saints. FRGC 37.4

“Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word, are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 42His promise.” Where has God promised this?” For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many.” “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. 43 This is God’s promise, and this God will perform when the comes in glory. FRGC 37.5

“And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets, since the world began.” 44 Here we are told that God has promised a restitution of all things, by the mouth of all his holy prophets, since the world began. Also, that the heavens must receive Jesus Christ until that time. “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool,” 45 “And ye shall tread down the wicked: for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet.” 46 They shall be Christ’s footstool. The earth is to be restored to its paradisical state, and under Jesus Christ, the second Adam, all things are to the subdued. There shall then be no more curse: neither sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more death. FRGC 38.1

“O glorious hour, O blest abode!
I shall be near and like my God.
And sin and death no more control
The sacred pleasures of the soul.”
FRGC 38.2

(5.) The fifth object of his advent and abode among men is, to reign upon the throne of David over the house of Jacob forever and ever. FRGC 38.3

He is Abraham’s promised seed, to whom the promise of the land of Canaan was made for an everlasting possession. But who are the house of Jacob, over whom he is to reign? Not all the literal descendants of Jacob; for “they are not all Israel who are of Israel;” and while they shall come from the four winds, and sit down with Abraham. Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God, the Jews, as such, shall be cast out; and only those who are Christ’s, and Abraham’s seed, will find admission. “Henceforth,” says the apostle, “know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, [as a Jew] yet now henceforth know we him so no more.” As a Jew, then, Christ himself will no more be known: but as the head of the whole church, both Jew and Gentile. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ he is a new creature,” (not a Jew or Gentile;) “old things are done away, and, behold, all things have become new.” The Jewish economy, and distinctions originating in it, are done away, and the subjects of David’s throne are new creatures, members of Christ’s “body, of his flesh and his bones.” “We are the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” From these, and a multitude of other texts of the same import, it is very evident that the subjects of David’s throne and kingdom, in its everlasting dynasty, are not the Jewish nation as such, but Christ’s redeemed people from among all nations. For in him “shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” FRGC 38.4

When, therefore, the Son of David sits on the throne of his glory, and says to those on his right hand, Come, ye blessed, and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, he will say it not to the Jews, but to all who have ministered to him in the person of his disciples. FRGC 39.1

I am aware of the difficulty of conceiving of the glorious and personal reign of Christ on earth, as a man among men. And I think, also, that I can perceive the causes of that difficulty. FRGC 39.2

1. The first cause is the fact, that for ages Christ has almost universally been contemplated by the church in the character of some mysterious, glorious, and spiritual person age, seated on his Father’s throne, where he shall forever sit. It is true, we have been taught that he will come again to judge the world in the last day: but yet, such has been the manner in which even that truth has been taught, it has appeared more like a dream than a reality. In short, the whole subject of a future state of being has seemed to be wrapped up in mystery; and our teachers and keepers have all but forbidden us to inquire or examine anything in reference to it. The clearest definition I can form of the almost universal feeling and belief on the subject of a future heaven, is, that when we die, we shall go up to heaven, and there our happy spirits shall wear a dazzling crown of glory, have a golden harp, golden harp, and sing praise to God and the Lamp forever and ever. I have found it one of the most difficult points of doctrine I have ever undertaken to impress on my hearers, to make them understand and feel, that Jesus Christ is a real man, and not a pure spirit, and that at the resurrection the souls and bodies of his saints will be reunited, and, as real men, restored to God’s perfect image, that they will really reign in glory with Christ. The church, it is to be feared, do not to this day understand and feel the fact of the real, personal, human as well as glorious character of Christ. It is hard to eradicate old, long-cherished, and favorite views. FRGC 39.3

2. We have so long been accustomed to look at Christ almost exclusively in his Divine character, that, like the man, we are filled with wonder and doubt at the very mention of the idea of his dwelling on earth and among men. Yet such is the glorious mystery, which was hid from ages and generations, but is now made manifest to his saints: “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him.” FRGC 39.4

When, then, the earthly image 47 is reduced to chaff, and the wind carries it away, the stone which smites it shall become a mountain and fill the whole earth. When the four beasts are given to the burning flame, the Son of man shall have given him an everlasting kingdom. The kingdom and dominion under the whole heaven shall be given to the saints. At the end of the world, (age,) when the wicked are cast into a furnace of fire, then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. And when the seventh trumpet sounds, the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever. FRGC 40.1