The following is taken from a
"Lectures on the Prophecies"
The grand and concluding Scene of divine Revelation
the End of the Mediatorial Kingdom
GOD ALL IN ALL
I Cor. xv. 24-28
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted who did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
I am now come in the course of these Lectures to the grand closing scene: our Saviour's resignation of the kingdom delegated to Him by the Father after he shall have accomplished all the glorious designs for which it was committed into his faithful hands.
This is a very deep, important and interesting subject, and I feel myself incapable of doing justice to it, but as the Lord has helped me hitherto, even beyond my expectation, I trust he will not forsake me at the close. The grandeur of the subject is such as inspires my soul with a reverential awe that language would fail to describe. And having employed considerable time and attention in the contemplation thereof, I feel its consequence and weight in a manner that I cannot express. But having the unerring word of God for my directory here, as I have had all along, I shall venture to tread this devious path, and endeavor to paint as well as I am able, the glorious scene with which the book of divine Revelation closes; when the blessed and glorious Redeemer, having subdued all things to himself, shall resign the kingdom to the Father, that God may be all in all.
This is the only passage of Scripture that contains any intimation of Christ's delivering up the kingdom to the Father, but as it was written by divine inspiration, this grand event and closing scene is by no means to be disputed, or explained away.
In discoursing upon this glorious subject, I shall follow the order of the words, and make such remarks as may resent themselves to my mind as I pass along.
Then cometh the end, &c. These words teach us the important truth that the Mediatorial dispensation will as certainly come to a period or close, as any other dispensation ever did; though it is by no means of so short a duration as many take it to be. Some make it to end at the second coming of Christ; and others immediately after the general Judgement: but I have in the course of these lectures given my thoughts so fully upon these opinions and the reasons why I cannot concur with them, is that I trust I have no need to repeat them in this place. We may here once more observe, that the word rendered everlasting, does not signify endless, even when applied to the kingdom of Christ; (as it frequently is in the scriptures) since here it is positively asserted, that there shall be an end to the glorious kingdom of the son of God, so often called an everlasting kingdom in our translation: but which I humbly apprehend, might better be called a kingdom of ages.
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
He shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; but not until he hath put down all rule and authority, and all power. For the kingdom was given to him for this very purpose, and this he will certainly accomplish, to the praise and glory of his name. His engagements he must fulfil, according to the nature and tenor of the counsel of peace, which was between the Father and his well beloved Son; for (as the prophet says) "The counsel of peace shall be between them both." Zec. vi. 13. And according to the inspired language of Isaiah, there seems to have been the nature of a covenant between the Father and the Son, which appears in his being given for a covenant to the people, Chap. xliii. 6. xlix. 8, and the words in Chap. liii. 10, 11, are fairly capable of being rendered in such a manner as to make a mutual agreement evident. If he shall make his soul a sin offering, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied," &c.
And the words of Christ himself in St. John, vi. 37, 40, seem very plainly to imply that he came down from heaven upon an errand of great importance, and which he had engaged to execute, nor can he leave any part of his work unfinished.
God the Father having given him all things without exception, according to those texts more than once already quoted in this work (St. John, iii. 35. xiii. 3. xvii. 2, compared with St. Matthew xi. 27, and St. Luke x. 22) expects that the Son of his love will put a final and total end to all rebellion, and bring all the rightful subjects of the Almighty Sovereign back again to their allegiance. And Jesus evidently considers himself under obligations to perform this great work before he delivers up the kingdom to the Father. And I cannot but think that he is fully qualified for the performance of all that he hath engaged to do, and that he will certainly accomplish it.
For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
It is of absolute necessity that his reign shall endure until there is no more opposition, no more rebellion, or disobedience, to be found in the wide creation. "Jehovah said unto my Adonai, or Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Psal. cx. 1. This the modern Jews apply to David, but it is certain that it our Saviour's time they understood it to relate to Christ, or the Messiah, the Son of David, although they were puzzled at our Lord's question, and were not able to resolve him how the Messiah could be born the son, and Lord of David at the same time. See St. Matt. XLII. 42, 43, 44, 45. St. Mark, xii. 35, 36, 37. St. Luke, xx. 41, 42, 43, 44.
And St. Peter applies those words of David directly to Jesus, saying, "For David is not ascended into the heavens; but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Acts, ii. 34, 35, 36.
When our blessed Saviour was exalted at the Father's right hand according to the Scriptures, then this promise began to be fulfilled. He was then set "Far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this world (or age) but also in that which is to some." And the Father "put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church." Ephes. i. 21, 22. Our Lord "is gone to heaven, and is on the right hand of God, angels and authorities, and powers being made subject unto him." 1 Peter, iii. 22.
Thus all things were put under him in the divine purpose, without exception, but all things are not yet put under him in the sense of these words in 1 Cor. xv. 25, because it is said that he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet: which plainly shews that it is not yet the case. And the words of the apostle in this epistle to the Hebrews, Heb. ii 8, express the same idea, "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him; but now we see not yet all things put under him." -- Here it is evident, that in the purpose of God all things are put under Christ, and subjected to him in so universal a manner, as there is not the least exception; yet it is equally evident that all things are not yet actually put under him: the divine counsels, respecting this important matter, are not fulfilled before the eyes of creatures: but they must be. All the enemies of our Lord must come to be subject to him in a sense far different from what ever hath yet taken place; and Christ must reign until this grand purpose shall be fully accomplished. God says, "I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow and every tongue shall swear." Isai. xlv. 23. And the apostle St. Paul, after speaking of our dear Saviour's amazing humiliation even to the death of the cross, says, "Wherefore God also, hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Phil. ii. 9, 10, 11. When this comes to be actually fulfilled, then it may be truly said, that all our Lord's enemies are in the strictest sense put under his feet, but not before; and this is spoken of by the Apostle as something future, and far remote.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death; or more properly, Death, the last enemy shall be destroyed.
There are some who would wish to confine this destruction to the death of the body, or that which is called the natural death; but to me it appears, that every thing that bears the name of death in the sacred Scriptures, must be included, and is really intended here. Death and misery of every kind shall be abolished, done away, swallowed up in victory, &c. and nothing but life and happiness shall remain. I cannot help considering this as the genuine sense and meaning of the following glorious promises. He will swallow up death in victory: and Adonai Jehovah will wipe away tears from off all faces." &c. Isaiah, xxv. 8.
I will ransom them (even such who perish in their iniquity and sin, as is evident from the context) from the power of the grave: (or hell) I will redeem them from death: O death I will be thy plagues: 0 grave (or hell) I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes." Hosea, xiii. 14.
"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." Rev. xxi. 4.
Then shall the song of triumph be sung, "Death is swallowed up in victory!" And the great and mighty challenge shall be proclaimed through all the empire of Jehovah, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave (or hell) where is thy victory?" 1 Cor. xv. 54, 55. But surely while sin, which is the sting of death, is found in existence, and while pain, sorrow, crying, &c. continue in the universe, it can hardly be said, that death is swallowed up in victory; and while the second death lasts, which is certainly the most terrible kind of death, how can it be said, O death where is thy sting? and, O grave (or hell) where is thy victory? But to me, scarce any thing appears more plain, than the certain annihilation or total destruction of all that ever bore the name of death. Then it may be truly said, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so hath grace reigned through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. v. 20, 20.
But prior to the total destruction of death, all other enemies, that is, all rebellious creatures, shall be humbled, and shall willingly submit to Jesus, and be his enemies no longer: for certainly at the time when the last enemy shall be destroyed, no enemies can remain in the universe.
For he hath put all things under his feet: but when he saith, All things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted who did put all things under him.
This reasoning of the apostle seems almost self evident: for nothing can be more manifest, than that he (the eternal Father) who put all things under Christ the Son, is himself excepted. Even as Pharaoh said to Joseph, when he made him governor or ruler over all the land of Egypt.
Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art. Thou shalt be over my house, and according to thy word shall all my people be ruled; only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck, and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had: and they cried before him, Bow the knee; and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt." Gen. xli. 39-44.
The whole of this transaction was a wonderful type, and a most beautiful illustration of the subject now upon.
Pharaoh set up Joseph over the land of Egypt because there was none so discreet and wise as he was, that understood the matter so well, was so competent to every part of the business, and that would be so faithful and diligent in the discharge of the same. -- Pharaoh in choosing Joseph, and placing him over all the land, shewed his own wisdom and discernment to be great. Even so the wisdom and goodness of God shone conspicuously in placing his dear Son in so glorious and important a situation. For where is there one in heaven or earth worthy to be named in comparison with Jesus? so prudent, so wise, so faithful, so just, so competent to every part of his work? The Father that therefore entrusted him with all the concerns of the wide extended universe, as Pharaoh did Joseph with the land of Egypt, and all things therein.
Pharaoh gave Joseph full power, and unlimited and absolute authority over all his people, but excepted himself, in the same manner as the Apostle declares the Father to be excepted. It it manifest that he is excepted who did put all things under him.
But this exception being expressly made (though it was evidently implied in the nature of the thing) plainly shews that none else can possibly be excepted, whether things in heaven, things on earth, or things under the earth. Christ is truly and really over all, (the Father only excepted) God blessed forever. Rom. ix. 5.
All are put under him in the most absolute and universal manner, and all are commanded to bow the knee to him, as the Egyptians were commanded to bow the knee before Joseph. To Jesus Christ the Saviour, every knee shall surely bow, and every tongue shall certainly confess him Lord.
"When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread; and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph, what he saith to you do." Gen. xli. 55. So the Father, having given all things into the hands of Christ, and committed all authority and judgement to him, directeth all mankind to look to him for salvation; his language is, "Go to Jesus; whatsoever he saith to you do it. Believe on Jesus, see that ye refuse not him that speaketh; if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." God requires all men to hearken to Jesus, and to do his will without murmuring or disputing, upon pain of his severe displeasure. The Son of God is appointed to be the universal Lord and ruler over all, and all shall submit to him at last.
Joseph had the absolute disposal of all the Egyptians and all their affairs, both by the appointment of Pharaoh, and also by their own consent, as appears by the story at large; so the blessed Jesus has absolute authority over all rational creatures, but the Father's appointment and good pleasure, and shall finally have dominion over all by their voluntary submission and free consent. So that the administration of Joseph over the land of Egypt, was one of the most lively pictures of the universal government, authority and dominion of Christ that can be found, and applies beautifully in almost every instance.
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
The time, the glorious time will come when all things shall be willingly subject to the Son of God, and shall submit to his control: as has been, I think, plainly proved in the foregoing course of Lectures. When this event takes place, and there is not an enemy remaining in all the universe, then shall the Son of God deliver up the kingdom to the Father, in the most grand, glorious, and honorable manner, and be himself also subject to him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
Some are apt to say, that if Christ should resign the kingdom to the Father, and become subject to him that put all things under him, that his character would be thereby lowered and brought down. But I must declare that I think quite the reverse: even that his character will be exalted in the highest and most glorious manner. For let me ask any one, when did Joseph appear to most advantage? whether when he had the government of Egypt committed to his hands, and went forth invested with absolute authority over the whole land? or when after sustaining that high office for twice seven years, and doing all things well, to the full content of both the king and the people, he came loaded with honor and glory, and resigned the government of Egypt again to Pharaoh, who had given it to him?
When he went forth he was glorious, but when he had finished his work how much more glorious and honorable did he appear? -- or to mention a recent instance, fresh in the memory of man, when did General Washington appear most grand and exalted? when the command of the American army was given to him by the free choice of the people? or when after eight years enduring the fatigues of war, and taking part with his soldiers in all their dangers and sufferings, and beholding his labors and designs crowned with success he came amidst the acclamations of the people, and resigned his great and weighty commission to that august body from whom he received it? Was he less loved, honored and esteemed by all the people when he laid down than when he received the important trust? Nay, was he not much more so? how much superior did he appear in that awful day than he had ever done before in any period of his life! But what are either of these instances, though grand and glorious in themselves, compared with the astonishing event and overpowering subject, on which I am treating? Is it possible for imagination itself, in its utmost stretch, on its most lefty and towering wing, to conceive the glory and majesty of that great day, far remote, and distant from human view, and only known to JEHOVAH, when Christ the Son of God, having subdued, humbled, gathered together in one, or reheaded, reconciled and restored all things; and having completely finished the great work that he undertook, shall approach the sacred throne of the Father, attended by the countless millions of his redeemed and reconciled creatures, and resigning the kingdom into his hands who gave him power over all things, shall assume with awful dignity a new character, which is expressed by the Apostle, by being also himself subject to him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all?
I have ventured far already, but cannot feel myself willing to quit the subject, without once more endeavoring to represent its beauties in the form of a speech, which I trust will not be altogether unworthy of the Son of God to utter in the presence of his Father, and all the heavenly hosts, on that resplendent day.
Speech of the King of kings and Lord of lords, upon his resigning his Imperial Dignity to God the Father, having forever put down all rule, and authority, and power.
"My Father and my God, behold me, and the numerous children which thou hast given me, as the reward of my labor, and the fruit of my pain. I have at length subdued all my enemies, and brought them freely and heartily to submit to my sceptre. Long and severe was the struggle, and many that loved me doubted whether I should ever so far prevail as to bring my greatest enemies to be my friends; but I have succeeded according to thy will, and thy glorious purposes. Thou didst create all to glorify thy name, to enjoy thy love, and to be happy in beholding the light of thy countenance, and when some of thy creatures fell from their first estate, thou didst appoint me to reclaim and restore them.
"Father, the long expected time is at last arrived, when thy Son having accomplished thy designs, approaches thy throne to resign his kingdom to thee. Thou didst give him power over all, and he hath given eternal life to all which thou gavest him. All that thou, O Father, gavest me, have at length willingly returned unto me, and behold I present them before before thee this day, reconciled to thee, to me, and to each other. See, my Father, and behold throughout this mighty throng, there is not one knee but what bows in the most cordial manner, not a tongue but is ready to shout thy praise, nor an heart that doth not overflow with love to thee. All are thy willing and obedient subjects, reclaimed from all their evil ways, and forever confirmed in the purest habits of goodness. Look, my Father, through the wide extended universe, for thou beholdest all thy works in every situation with the utmost ease, see, there is not one rebellious creature to be found! Where sin once reigned and abounded, grace now reigns and abounds much more. All confusion and disorder now destroyed, the whole creation exhibits one great scene of peace, harmony, and divine order. All creatures are now wholly delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. All things in the universe are gathered together in one, are reconciled to thy government, and conformed to thine image and shall never more go astray. Sin, sorrow, crying, pain, and death shall never more be known in thy extensive empire. Thou shalt be all, and in all. Thy subjects no longer need a Mediator, they are all righteous and holy, and capable of beholding thy face with joy. I have seen the travail of my soul, and am forever satisfied. Thou hast fulfilled all thy promises to me in the completest manner, I have also performed my words to all my people, whom I have redeemed to thee, and from this day resign them to thee. Now they are all one, as thou Father and I are one; one spirit rules in them all, they have all the same designs, even to glorify thy name, and promote the happiness,of each other.
"Thou art now ALL IN ALL, and let all thy works praise thee.
"Thy glory shall endure for ever, thou shalt rejoice in all thy works. This is the scene which completes that joy which was set before me, for which I endured the cross, despising the shame.
"To this bright and glorious day I directed my view; I beheld all things put under me, I saw, beyond the darkness and obscurity of sin, pain, and death, the glorious day of light arise on all thy creatures.
"It is come, it is come, this is the day I looked for. The night is forever past, and eternal day is risen upon all creation, to set no more. Shout, O Heavens, it is done, it is done. Let all creatures adore thee, for this is the display of thy glorious, wise and gracious designs.
"Thou didst entrust me with the execution of thy wonderous plan, and this I have completed. Henceforth I resign the kingdom to thee; be thou thyself the Lord over all.
"In my whole process I have always been an example to all my flock, of which I am still, and shall remain, the Shepherd and head, I will therefore shew an example to all thy creatures that shall never be forgotten, which shall forever confirm thy authority over them; behold, I lay my sceptre and my crown at thy feet, and profess before all the hosts of heaven, and the numerous armies that acknowledge my sway, that great and mighty as I am, I am subject unto thee. I bow myself before thine awful throne, I submit to thee as all thy creatures have voluntarily submitted to me. Behold me as the head of all principality and power, and with me behold all thy creatures submit and bow to thy sovereign sway."
Here the scene of divine revelation closes, GOD IS ALL IN ALL. I can go no further. The astonishing subject drinks up all my spirits! I am lost and swallowed up in the vast unbounded ocean of love!
O let my soul absorbed be,
While God doth me surround!
As a small drop in the vast sea
Is lost and can't be found!
"Alleluia, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth;"
and he shall reign forever and ever, Amen.