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The force of this reasoning is obvious. It was known to all Paul's readers that Jesus Christ of whom he spoke as the great sacrifice of the new economy, had been slain at Jerusalem. This argument shows that that event was a thing which precisely fell in with an established rule by which the validity of all God's covenants were attested. And the death of Christ having been the death of a being so obviously and so far superior to the animals which were sacrificed for the ratification of the first covenant, it was just as was to be expected, the heavenly things themselves were ratified with a superior sacrifice. “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” And hence the conclusion that he was the Messiah, and was to be embraced as such by all.
But observe in the fourth place, that the christian offering, unlike the Jewish, is made but once. The Jewish “high priest entered into the holy place every year with the blood of others. There was under the old dispensation a continual repetition of the offering. But not so in the new economy. Our high priest has not passed into the heavens “ that he might frequently make an offering of himself; for otherwise he must needs have often suffered since the foundation of the world; but now, at the close of the (ancient) dispensation, he hath once for all made his appearance, in order that he might remove the punishment due to sin by the sacrifice of himself.”—(Stuart's trans.) The Jewish sacrifices were yearly repeated because they had no efficacy to cleanse. Their typical design rendered it necessary that they should be frequently made. But the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is so infinitely meritorious, that it is sufficient to exhaust the entire volume of penalties which the law threatened upon all earth's sinful generations. And being itself the end and object of all types, when it was made the thing was finished—the work was done there was no repetition necessary. The sinner might now through the efficacy of that sacrifice come to God with boldness-come himself as a priest and partake of all those rich provisions which Christ's atoning blood has purchased.
Jesus has put away sin by the sacrifice of himself! This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation. This is one of the
most glorious truths in the book of God—the dearest to the soul that salutes the ear of man. “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear."
Observe finally, that under the new dispensation as under the old, our high priest, after he has finished the atoning services in the most holy place whither he is now entered, will return clad in his magnificent robes to bless those who are waiting for him. “ And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this (cometh) the judgment; so Christ having once for all made an offering of himself to bear the sins of many, will appear without a sin-offering, at his second (coming,) for the salvation of those who wait for him."
The high priest who officiated in the tabernacle after making atonement for the people in the most holy place, which he did in his ordinary plain dress, came out arrayed in his magnificent robes to bless the people who awaited his return in the court. (Lev. xvi. 23, 24. Numb. vi. 23—26.) So when Christ shall have finished the atoning services which he is now attending to in heaven, he will array himself in his judicial majesty to wind up the great drama of this world's history. The Scriptures are full of allusions to that great event—an event which is to consummate all other events of time. It is called “ a day”—a “great day”_ a “fearful day”—a “ day of wrath”—“ the last day”——the “ day of redemption"_" the day of God.” Everything said of it presents it as an object of stupendous interest.
It is presented in the Scriptures as a day of universal interest among men. It is declared that “
shall see him.” All who are in their graves shall be reanimated, and shall see him. All who now live in the world in all its extent shall see him. And all who live hereafter of our children to the latest generations of our race shall see him. There is not one who is not interested in that great event. It is the wonderful event which fixes--eternally fixes the destinies of men.
It is also represented as a day which is to come upon us suddenly and unexpectedly—" as a thief in the night"_" when men think not.”
" At midnight (when mankind is wrapt in peace,
Our God in grandeur, and our world on fire !!! It is further represented as a day of terrible dismay for the guilty. When Christ comes the second time, he is to come as the avenger of his elect. John in one of his visions of that event, says, “ And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond-man, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the roeks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wiath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath has come; and who shall be able to stand ?” The tribulation of those times is represented as such as has not been since the world began, and such as never again shall be. The wine-press of Divine wrath shall then be trod until the blood of Jehovah's enemies flows in depth to the horses bridles for the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs." Wo, to the fierceness of sevenfold thunders, shall then be poured upon the guilty. It will not then be “the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.' But he will have come to dye his garments in the blood of his foes, and to triumph in the greatness of his strength. “He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.”
And connected with the woes which he will then inflict upon the wicked, is the glory which shall be manifested in himself. As the high priest appeared to the people arrayed in his magnificent robes after the services of the most holy place, so shall Christ come clothed in all the pomp and grandeur of his unveiled Divinity. It is called a “glorious appearing”—a coming in “the glory of his
Father, and of his holy angels.” At his first coming, he came as a servant, but then he shall come as the King of kings and Lord of lords.” At the first he appeared in a stable, at the second he will appear from the highest heavens. Not then shall Caiaphas chargé him with blasphemy-Pilate bind and scourge him-Herod mock him as a fool Judas betray him with a kiss-Jewish rabble insist on his crucifixion--nor Roman soldiery nail him to the
But with a dazzling crown upon his head—a mighty sceptre in his hand—legions of heavenly authorities for his attendants—and thunders and lightnings and trumpet sounds going before him, he shall come to execute judgment upon all, and break the wicked in pieces as with a rod of iron. Upon a great white throne he shall sit in his majesty, and from the glory of his countenance the heavens and the earth shall flee away, and there shall be found no more place for them !
And intimately connected with the glory of Christ on that great occasion, is the blessedness of that event to the righteous and such as wait for his coming. He is then to come for their salvation. It is styled a “day of redemption.” It is everywhere presented as a thing of delightful prospect for the church. Paul says in one place, “ Our conversation is in heaven, whence also we look for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” &c. Again, « The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, &c. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” Again, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.”
There are various circumstances connected with the Savior's second coming, which, with all the stupendous and terrible signs which are to accompany that event, render it a subject of desire and rejoicing. 1st. The bodies of the saints shall then be renovated-purified—and prepared for their heavenly state. Hence it is said “ We look for the coming of the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, and fashion them like unto his glorious body.” The pains, impurities, and gross encum
brances of our flesh shall then be dropped. “This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality." In place of material we shall then have spiritual bodies-bodies which shall never weary nor decay, but flourish in the glory of immortal youth.
2nd. It is desirable, because we shall then see our Savior as he is. This is one of those glorious beatitudes which Christ when on earth promised to the righteous. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” What other sight can be so desirable? How joyful for us through the dark glass which now obscures our vision to catch a slight conception of his glory and loveliness. How we long for those hallowed seasons when we feel him near. But then our wishes and longings shall be realized. We shall then see “ the King in his beauty.” Ah what a meeting will that be, when the redeemed shall meet their Redeemer? What joy to be greeted with his smiles, and be welcomed to his bosom with his own blessed words !
3d. It is desirable, because then also we shall be perfected in the image of Christ. Beloved, now are we the sons of God; but it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” It seems to be the will of God that saints should be transformed and exalted to a moral image of himself. They are “predestined to be transformed into the image of his Son.” The time when this is to be accomplished is the coming of Christ. In this life we are like him in some respects, but when he shall appear we shall both bodily and morally be like him.
4th. It is desirable, because then we shall enter upon the enjoyment of our everlasting inheritance in glory. “Then shall he say to those on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the joy prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Men are doubtless happy immediately after death, but not supremely happy-not so happy as they will be after Christ's coming. Paul said there was “a crown of righteousness” laid up for him, but added that God the righteous Judge should give it to him only " at that day.” It is then, and not till “then the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”