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apostles understood nothing else, than the glorious kingdom of the Messiah, to be erected upon earth, as others have also remarked before use
But it is also elsewhere entitled in the scriptures, "the kingdom of God," concerning which, all the prophets have predicted, and concerning the estab. lishment of which, his disciples asked their master after he was risen from the dead, whether he would at that time restore again the kingdom to Israel.By the end of the world, (or age) the disciples did not understand the dissolution of the heavens and the earth, but the destruction of the monarchies of the world, which had been first exhibited in a dream to Nebuchadnezzar and afterwards to Daniel-For likewise in Isaiah, lxv. 17, and lxvi. 22, God is introduced speaking thus, of the same periods or times, "behold I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind."-But the apostles expected this revolution in the monarchies of the world, according to Daniel's prophecy, ii. 7, would happen at the same time with, (or just before) the second coming of the Messiah, upon whose entrance into his kingdom, he would restore the dominion to Israel.
In these acts of the apostles we are told, that at the ascension of our Lord and Saviour, the highly favor ed witnesses of the astonishing fact, were staring in amazement and wonder after their ascending Lord, "and looking stedfastly towards heaven, when two men (in appearance) stood by them in white apparel,
and said, ye men of Gallilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven-this same Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
The Apostles afterwards frequently exhorted their bearers in such language as this, "repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, who before was preached unto you; whom the heavens must receive, until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken (or foretold) by the mouths of all his holy prophets since the world began." And we find St. Stephen, when speaking of the land of Canaan as promised to Abraham, saying, "and he gave Abraham none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on; yet he did promise that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when yet he had no child."-Yet in the very next verse he acknowledges that God, at the same time informed Abraham, that his seed should sojourn in a strange land, and that they should bring them into bondage, and intreat them evil four hundred years.”—And then he gave them the rite of circumcision, as a seal of this covenant on the part of God, as a confirmation of the solemn promise made to him, and as an encouragement and support to his faith in so distant and future fulfilment. So that Abraham seems to have understood that the fulfilment of the promise was to take place on the resur
rection of the body after death, as he could not have expected to have lived 400 years, from this time, in the then state of the world.
THE great apostle Paul when instructing the Corinthians, charged them, " that they should come behind in no (spiritual) gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ," who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ-and in speaking of his being judged by men, he warns them, "therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart; and then shall every man have praise of God." And when he gives them particular directions for partaking of the Lord's supper, he tells them that " as often as they did eat that bread and drink that cup, they did show forth the Lord's death, till he should come.”— And in his lecture on the resurrection of the body, he says, "but every man in his own order, Christ the first fruits, afterwards they who are Christ's, at his coming-Then cometh the end, or the next great period or era."-The apostle then proceeds to a more explicit account of the process in that day“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 trumpet; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible; and we shall be changed."
THE subject of this epistle did not lead the apostle immediately to speak of this great event, yet he incidentally mentions it, (as he constantly does on every proper occasion,( in the following verse"God hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus."
SO again here," that I may know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death, if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." This must mean the first resurrection, over the subjects of which the second death will have no power, for all good and bad will at last be raised to the final judgment.