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shall no more be pulled out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord.”
Again Isaiah testifies saying, "Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; where shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby; for the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us ” (Isa. 33: 20-22).
These are a few of the glorious things that are spoken of Zion and Jerusalem and the holy land and her people in the day that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the heirs of promise come into possession of their inheritance; and of the people in the flesh who till the land, plant vineyards, et cetera, it is written, " Thy people shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.” And it is because the people who inherit the land in that day and are no more to be pulled up out of their land are all righteous, that Peter says, “We according to his promise look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness,' a new heaven and a new earth under the new covenant among mortal men; and the Prophet Isaiah, from whom he quotes, says, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." And now to prove that the prophet is here referring to what will obtain among men in the flesh, hear what he says, “ But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy; and I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner, being an hundred years old, shall be accursed” (65: 17-20).
This proves beyond all controversy that the new heavens and the new earth are a system of things that will exist among mortal men, for again it is further testified, “And they shall build houses and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat; for as the days of a tree, are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.” This will be the peaceful, the delightful condition of things among mortal men of the house of Israel, who will inhabit the Holy Land, but it must be distinctly understood that while all this transpires under the supervision of Christ and his brethren who are made perfect like himself, they are in nowise themselves engaged in tilling the land and building houses with their own hands, but are an angelic, and an invisible body of people, who do their work unseen, whose persons are not visible, and whose footsteps are not known to men in the flesh.
“The city which hath foundations," which Abraham and his joint heirs looked for, and which God hath prepared for them, is what in the Revelations is called the New Jerusalem, the Bride, the Lamb's wife, which John saw in vision descending out of heaven from God,- that is, it is Christ and his brethren made perfect, who inherit all things, who dwell with men unseen, and rule over all the nations of the earth, and are made (invisible) princes in all the earth, who are " the eyes of the Lord which run throughout all the earth beholding the evil and the good," and who will cause God's will to be done in the earth as it is done in heaven.
THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST AS
PREACHED BY HIS APOSTLES
Gospel preached to Jews on day of Pentecost by Peter - The "Gates of Hell”—Gospel preached to Gentiles — Paul's Gospel - In what the mystery of the Gospel consists — Obedience of faith, baptism — Mode of baptism — Things concerning the kingdom of God – Things concerning the name of Jesus Christ -- Fellowship of the mystery.
After Jesus had been offered as a sacrifice for sins and had so accomplished the great work of human redemption, he spake to his apostles whom he had chosen, after he had arisen from the dead and before he ascended on high, saying, “ Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things, and behold I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as Bethany, and he lifted up his hands and blessed them, and it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy."
When the apostles were thus instructed of the Lord Jesus, they tarried in Jerusalem, and ten days after his ascension, the gifts of the Spirit were sent down upon them as he had promised. This fully qualified them for the great work which was before them, to preach the gospel to every nation, beginning at Jerusalem. But after his resurrection and before his ascension, when the disciples were come together, they asked of him saying, “Lord wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power, but ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses of me, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in all Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."
Thus Jesus instructed his apostles that they were to direct their attention chiefly to the work that was then before them, and in which they had been instructed from the days of John the Baptist until Jesus was taken up; and Jesus informed them that they should receive power after the Holy Spirit came upon them and should be witnesses unto him, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
But what was to be the burden of their story? and what was the chief thing of which they were to bear witness? That appears clearly when Peter stood up among the disciples (who numbered about a hundred and twenty) while they waited in Jerusalem for the promise of the Spirit, and said, “Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spake by the mouth of David before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus, for he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.” And then after recounting what befell Judas, he said, "It is written in the book of the Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate and let no man dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Barsabas. . . and Matthias, and they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whither of these two thou hast chosen. ... And they gave forth their lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” This filled up the number of twelve witnesses of Christ's resurrection; and it may be well here to state, that there is no great event in human history recorded in the annals of the past that is as well authenticated as the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL BY PETER When Jesus in the days of his ministry said to his apostles, "Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?” And after they stated the discordant and erroneous views that were abroad in the community, he brought the matter closer home to themselves, and said, “ But whom say ye that I am?” Then Simon Peter answered boldly, “ Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said, unto him, “ Blessed art thou, Simon BarJona, for fresh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, and I give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.” This pointed out Peter as the one who should be employed in opening the door of salvation, first to the Jew, and afterwards to the Gentile.
THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO JEWS
Accordingly, we read that when the day of Pentecost had come, the Holy Spirit descended from heaven and sat visibly upon the disciples, in the form of cloven tongues of fire, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance, in the ears of devout men who were assembled there at this great feast, from every nation under heaven. When this was noised abroad, and the multitude came together, they were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language, and “they were all amazed and marvelled, saying, one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak, Galileans? and how hear we every one in his own tongue wherein we were born? ... And they were all amazed and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others, mocking, said, These men are full of new wine.
"Then Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, Be it known unto you, and hearken unto my words, for these men are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons, and your daughters, shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; and on my servants, and on my handmaidens, I will pour out in these days of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy; and I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath, blood and fire, and vapor of smoke: the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved.
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face; for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath unto him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 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. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
These memorable words spoken by Peter on that notable day do not by any means constitute all that was then said, for Luke, who recorded these things, says that when the multitudes from among all nations and the people of Israel saw and heard these things they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?” This shows that these things were discussed not only by Peter, but by all the other apostles who aided in the work; and Luke further testifies saying, “And with many other words did he testify and exhort saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation."