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Jesus answered and said unto them, "Elias truly shall first come and restore all things."-John the Baptist had already come, and they had done unto him what they listed; that is, they had taken his life, and though he had come" in the power and spirit of Elias," yet here is an express declaration, that truly Elias should yet first come and restore all things.This is a peculiar description of the Elias referred to, not applicable to John; and there appears to be the same reason, that Christ should have an harbinger, or fore-runner to his second, as well as to his first coming.
It is evident that John did not by his coming, restore all things, but after John's death and burial, Christ says, truly Elias shall first come and restore all things. This agrees with the prophetic declaration of Malachi, concerning the coming of Elias before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, as has been before observed.
Mr Mede observes upon this passage-" the meaning is this, that this Elias should bring the refractory and unbelieving posterity of the Jewish nation to have the same heart and mind their holy fathers and progenitors had, who feared God and believed his promises, that so their fathers might as it were rejoice in them and own them for their children: that is he should convert them to the faith of that Christ, whom their fathers hoped in and looked for; lest, continuing obstinate in their unbelief till the great day of Christ's second coming, they might perish among the rest of the enemies of his kingdom"-vide Ecclesiastes, xlviii. 10. Luke, i. 17.
The disciples still having an immediate temporal kingdom in view, and not having any idea of the spiritual nature of the kingdom of the Messiah at his first appearance in the world, was anxious to know what reward they should have in his kingdom, for their leaving all and following him-" And Jesus said unto them, ye who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, shall also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."*-Here then is a throne of glory which Christ was to possess, which, as the Messiah, he had not at this time; and when he did possess it, he was also to have power to give thrones, or judicial power to his apostles over the tribes of Israel, and of course they must be in being, in the body, to execute that office of judge and ruler. -Now Christ in his divine nature is, and always was sitting on the throne of his glory in Heaven; but the throne of the Messiah here referred to, is a future object, and can be no other, but that which he is to enjoy in this world, at his second coming in glory.
Again, Christ describing this great event says, "For as the lightening cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the son of man be.-Immediately after the tribu
* This means, when his kingdom shall come, after the first resurrection, (the previous time or his first coming in the flesh, being here called the regeneration) then the disciples are to judge their fellow-men.
lation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven; and the powers of heaven shall be shaken, and then shall appear the sign of the son of man in heaven,"-that is, after the tribulation caused by the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish nation throughout the world, by which they should suffer exceedingly, then shall the kings and governors of nations be put down and destroyed, -the great men and nobles, and other distinctions of rank and dignity should fall from their political standing their titles and orders be abolished, and all the powers and authorities of their political heaven, or civil and religious hierarchies be shaken, so as to remove every opposition and obstruction to the improvement of the people in religious knowledge, by which a way should be prepared for the approach of the prince of peace, or the sign of the son of man in heaven; that is, his visibly coming in power and authority over the nations of the earth.-This shall bring about the other part of this prophetic denunciation, "that all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, when they shall see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory, and he shall send his angels (or messengers) with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect, from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." Add to this magnificent description, the parable of the ten virgins, and his declaration to the Jewish Sanhedrim, when he was arraigned before them, "hereafter ye shall see the
Son of man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven"-and in consequence of this great event, he warns his church, to "watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come-therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour, as ye think not, the son of man cometh-blessed is that man, whom his Lord, when he cometh shall find so doing; but, and if the evil servant shall say in his heart, my Lord delayeth his coming"-(Have not many who call themselves christians, as well as unbelievers, great reason to class themselves with objectors, and to fear the awful consequences)" the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of."
Our Lord also in the last distressing moments of his life, when taking leave of his beloved family, after having established the ordinance of his supper, assured them that he would not drink thenceforth of that fruit of the vine, until that day when he should drink it new with them, in his Father's kingdom."
THE Evangelist Mark, not only confirms the predictions of our Lord and Saviour as above recited, but adds to and enforces them, when he records the assertion of his master," whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the son of man be ashamed when he cometh in the glory of his father, with his holy angels""And he warns his disciples and followers, "that when they shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, they should not be troubled, for or because such things must needs be, but the end shall not be yet; for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and famines and troubles-and there shall be fearful sights and great signs from Heaven, and Jerusalem shall be trodden down, of the gentiles, until the times af the gentiles be fulfilled.
These are but the beginning of sorrows, for the gospel must first be published among all nations— but in those days, that after tribulation, the sun* shall
*This cannot mean a literal darkening of the sun, or the falling of the stars from Heaven-for whither should they fall ? Most of them are many times larger than this earth and could not fall on it.