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CHAPTER II.-The purposes of the mediatorial dominion.

Database

CHAPTER II.-The purposes of the mediatorial dominion.

James Dodson

These are,

1. The salvation of the elect.—The chief end of the Saviour’s mission to this province of Jehovah’s empire, is to display the riches of God’s grace in redeeming from sin and misery, a chosen number of fallen mankind: "It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." 1 Tim. 1:15. He came "to give his life a ransom for many," Matt. 20:28. For the accomplishment of this main design of his mission, in a manner consistent with the honour of the Godhead and the glory due to the Redeemer himself, he has been invested by the Father with a moral right of dominion, not only over the elect as redeemed sinners, but likewise over all other creatures. "Thou hast given Him power over all flesh; that he should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given him," John 17:2. "Him hath God exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins," Acts 5:31. God "gave him to be the head over all things to the church," Eph. 1:22.

The elect must be delivered from the guilt of sin. This Christ does by dying in their room. They need to be freed from the power, and brought out of the kingdom of Satan; the law and the image of God must be reinscribed upon their hearts; they must be prepared for glory. This Christ does as King in Zion. Through the instrumentality of ordinances, rendered effectual by the Holy Spirit sent for this purpose by the Father and the Son, sinners are converted and sanctified, and thus his "kingdom which is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost,"[1] is set up in the hearts of his people. As King of nations, the Messiah has the right to enter the kingdoms of the world and rescue his redeemed. In the same character, he protects them from the wrath of enemies, restrains the devil, provides them with temporal support, directs and overrules the movements of the great community of nations, in their commercial, social and political interests, so as to promote the spread of his Gospel, and give strength, and establishment, and honour to his body the church. This is well and beautifully expressed by a late writer; "For the accomplishment of this glorious display—for gathering in the hosts of God’s people over all the world, you see nations rise and fall; continents and islands discovered and peopled and Christianized; peace and war; agriculture and commerce; literature and science; arts and manufactures; the entire frame of human society, and all its complicated machinery running their perpetual round. All—all these are to terminate, they are all to work in the hand of God our Redeemer, to the one grand and glorious end—the display of divine mercy, to the admiration of the intelligent universe."[2]

2. The bringing back of mankind to a state of allegiance in all things, to God.—In man’s primeval state of holiness, before sin had marred his relations to his Maker, every part of his constitution, physical and moral, moved according to the will of the Creator. "God made man upright."[3] As a man, as a husband, as the lord of this lower world, in all relations, social, domestic, and civil, Adam acknowledged and obeyed the law of his Sovereign. Had the first man retained his integrity, his posterity would have rendered obedience in all their relations to God Almighty. But sin entered, and broke up the happy state of amity subsisting between man and his God. "They are all gone aside," "Like sheep—we have turned each one to his own way."[4] Christ came to heal entirely the breach. He is "our peace."[5] He makes atonement, and thus reconciles to us, him whom our sins have dishonoured. Through the saving influences of his spirit he accomplishes a work in the hearts of his people, by which the whole original law of their constitution is re-written upon them. Thus, they are brought back, even in this life, to a state of entire, although not perfect, conformity to God’s law. In other words, they are restored to somewhat of their original condition of entire subordination to the divine will.

That this is to be effected by the Messiah, and that it is one of the purposes of his exaltation to accomplish it upon the largest scale is very dearly revealed. He was sent into the world, "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," Eph. 1:10, and we pray, "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven."[6] There is an allusion in these passages to the complete, and perfect submission of the holy angels, to the will of Jehovah, and an intimation that to a similar, if not to so perfect a state of obedience, this world will be ultimately brought. We are assured that Satan will be dispossessed of that power over this world, which he usurped when man fell, and which he has since been permitted, for wise purposes, to exercise. His kingdom will be destroyed, and he will be shut up in hell.[7] The great, immoral empires, symbolized by the four beasts of Daniel’s vision,[8] are to be destroyed. That is, there will come a time when civil governments of an immoral character, shall cease to exercise tyranny over the nations. Their downfall will be succeeded by the setting of kingdoms established upon holy principles, and administered by godly men, The kingdom of Christ, in other words, will then be fully established.[9]

The period to which this prophecy refers, occupies a large space in the prophetic Scriptures. It is described in very glowing terms. During that period, the truth of God will be diffused very extensively. "The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea," Is. 11:9. The Redeemer "shall come down like rain upon the mown grass; as showers that water the earth." The effects of these influences will be that "the mountains shall bring forth peace to the people, and the little hills by righteousness," Ps. 72:3,6,7. That is, the higher and the inferior powers shall all move and act in subordination to Christ’s authority, and under the influence of his spirit. Every divine institution will be set up, and administered agreeably to the gracious ordination of the Almighty. Parents, masters, and civil rulers, being "taught of God," will use their power and influence for the promotion of God’s glory, and the best interests of their inferiors. "The kingdoms of this world," will then have "become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ,"[10] Rev. 11:15.

To bring about this blessed change, Jesus Christ has been invested with dominion. Having made reconciliation for iniquity, by his death, he has been exalted to the highest place of power. All institutions have been put under him, that by his truth and spirit, by his grace and providence, he may remove every corruption; enlightening what is dark, and subduing all that is perverse and rebellious. He is now engaged in this glorious work. He has pledged himself to accomplish it. The energies of the Godhead are his. None can resist his power. He will take to him his great power and reign. Even so Lord Jesus, come quickly.[11]

3. The destruction of systems, hostile to the divine glory and the great ends of the Redeemer’s mission, and to execute deserved punishment upon all his incorrigible enemies.—There is an intimate and necessary connexion between the salvation of the elect, and the bringing back of the world to its allegiance to God; and the ruin of all opposing systems and of all who obstinately adhere to them. That truth may spread and triumph, error must be abolished; that God may be purely worshipped, all superstition and will-worship must be rooted out; that the church of God may be put in possession of her promised peace, prosperity, and honour, every open enemy to her interests must be removed; that the kingdoms of the world may be brought to conform in the constitution and administration of their governments, to God’s law, all civil arrangements contrary to the divine will, or opposed to the claims of the Messiah, must be subverted or reformed; that Jesus may reign, the devil must be dethroned and his kingdom cast down. For, be it remembered, the Saviour comes to a world already alienated, "without God and without Christ:"[12] to a world which has taken for its "god" and "prince,"[13] the great adversary of Jehovah. To him the kingdoms of the world have yielded themselves as subjects. He is "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience," Eph. 2:2. He has not only succeeded in subjugating individuals, but also nations. "The dragon" has given to the civil powers of the anti-Christian system, their "throne and seat, and great authority."[14]

Hence, the necessity for the work of destruction. It must go hand in hand with the work of building up. Hence, also, one great branch of Christ’s kingly office, is to subdue all opposition to his people and law: well stated by the Westminster Assembly, as "the restraining and overcoming all their (his people’s) enemies—and also in taking vengeance on the rest who know not God, and obey not the gospel."[15] The Scriptures abound with proof that this is, indeed, a part of the work of the Messiah. He "was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil," 1 John 3:8. It was the Lord Jesus Christ that "looked unto the host of Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, and took off their chariot wheels—and brought again the waters of the sea upon them."[16] Daniel saw "till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame;"[17] that is, till the vengeance of God was poured out upon the anti-Christian system, by the Lord Jesus Christ: for it was by him whom Daniel saw in the same vision, as "one like unto the Son of man coming to the Ancient of days, and receiving dominion." When the sixth seal was opened, "the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"[18] This was the great day of the wrath of Jesus Christ to the pagan Roman Empire.

John saw the Lamb engaged in war, Rev. 17:14. His enemies were Satan and the corrupt, tyrannical, impious and immoral powers, political and ecclesiastical, of the anti-Christian system. The Lamb overcame them. "The beast was taken. And with him the false prophet—these both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."[19] Other prophets and apostles call upon us to contemplate Jesus Christ as he comes to inflict vengeance. David says, Ps. 110:5, "The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath." And Paul, 1 Cor. 15:25, "He must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet:" not only, nor chiefly, those whom he wins by grace to his sceptre, but those who shall be destroyed by his power; for he immediately adds, "the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."

The Messiah has ample qualifications and prerogatives for the accomplishment of this purpose of his exaltation. He is the mighty God; he is holy and just. He is omniscient; "His eyes are as a flame of fire." He has the whole kingdom of providence put under him. He can, and does employ, its abundant resources in carrying on the work of destruction, while, at the same time, he so directs the artillery of truth, through the instrumentality of gospel ordinances, as that it works effectually to the same end. "The little stone cut of the mountains without hands, smote the image, and itself became a great mountain, filling the whole earth."[20]

Nor does the Lord Jesus Christ appear less worthy of our admiration and love when engaged in executing this part of his royal functions. Are holiness and justice bright jewels in the diadem of Jehovah, as absolute and sovereign Lord of his creatures; they shine not less brightly in that crown which rests upon the brow of Jesus the Mediator. He is in this, as in every other part of the Mediatory character, "the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express image of his person," Heb. 1:3. Should our love to him be less, because he appears not only with offers of mercy in all its plenitude, but also clad in the habiliments of a righteous king, and invested with all the glory of the law, as well as of the grace of God? He destroys none but incorrigible enemies. These, whether men or nations, refusing to "Kiss the Son," have reason to dread his wrath, and in the day of his wrath, "who can stand?" while "blessed are all they that put their trust in him."[21]

The purposes for which Jesus Christ has been invested with authority, embrace a complete—a perfect scheme of divine government, adapted to that state in which the world now is; namely, under a dispensation of mercy. Jesus is a complete Saviour. He redeems, he effectually calls, he sanctifies, he glorifies his people: he is going on to subjugate the world to the law and sceptre of God Almighty. He vindicates the honour of Jehovah, and his own claims, upon all who resist his authority, harm his people, or attempt to hinder the progress of his kingdom. Such a Mediator has claims upon men and nations. His claims upon nations in their national capacity will now occupy our attention.

[go to CHAPTER 3.]


Footnotes:


[1] Rom. 14:17. 

[2] Junkin on Justification, p. 69. 

[3] Ecc. 7:29. 

[4] Ps. 14:3, Isa. 51:6. 

[5] Eph. 2:14. 

[6] Matt. 6:10. 

[7] Rev. 20:1-3. 

[8] Dan 7. 

[9] Dan. 7:27. 

[10] The language of Scripture respecting the millennial period, is to be understood as descriptive of a state, not of absolute purity, but of an entire subordination of society to the will of God, revealed in the Bible, attended with a very remarkable degree of holiness. There will be sin in the world, but no open, or organized opposition to Christ. 

[11] The view of the kingdom of Christ presented in the above remarks, is altogether irreconcilable with an error respecting his reign, which has been lately revived and is now exciting some attention; namely, that it is the setting up of a mere temporal kingdom. The kingdom of Christ is spiritual—it is divine. It is designed to bring the world to know, acknowledge and obey God. It is not a temporal kingdom: it is in the heart. Not confined to the inner man indeed, (for it brings the whole man in all his actions into conformity to God,) but beginning there. Christ reigns by his Spirit.

[12] Eph. 2:12. 

[13] 2 Cor. 4:4. John 14:30. 

[14] Rev. 13:2. 

[15] Large Cat. Quest. 45. 

[16] Ex. 14:24. 

[17] Dan. 7:11. 

[18] Rev. 6:12-17. 

[19] Rev. 19:20. 

[20] Dan. 2:35. 

[21] Ps. 2:12.