by: William Symington
That Christ, besides the dominion which belongs to him originally and essentially as God, is invested with a delegated and official dominion as Mediator, is capable of being established by a variety of cogent proof. The necessity of such dominion to the work of salvation, established in the preceding chapter, itself constitutes an argument of some weight on this point. But other evidence is at hand.
1. Long before his advent in the flesh, there were prefigurations of this feature of the Savior's character. Whether all the kings of Israel and Judah are to be regarded as express types of Messiah the Prince or not, it cannot be questioned that some are to be looked upon in this light. This was certainly the case with Melchizedek. That he was a type of Christ is affirmed: "Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek " (Ps. 110:4; Heb. 5:10). The points of accordance are manifold and striking. The very name signifies "king of righteousness," and points directly to him who, righteous in himself, wrought out for his people a justifying righteousness, works a sanctifying righteousness within them by his Spirit, and sways them with a scepter of righteousness. His designation, "king of Salem," that is, "king of peace," fitly enough points out one who, whether as regards the disposition for which he was distinguished, the blessing he died to procure, or the effects of his administration, is well entitled to be called "the Prince of peace." What he did, in bringing forth bread and wine to Abraham and his army returning from the slaughter of the kings, is no unapt emblem of the spiritual nourishment and refreshment which the Messiah affords to his soldiers engaged in warfare with the enemies of their salvation. But the point which, most of all, marks him out as typical of our mediatorial king, is his combining in his own person the regal and sacerdotal offices. Besides being "king of Salem," he was "priest of the Most High God" (Heb. 7:2). He was a royal priest—a sacerdotal king—and thus an eminent type of him who, exerting his power on the footing of his purchase, sits "a priest upon his throne."
Moses resembled Christ, not only in the facts of his personal history and in his official acts as a mediator in general or prophet in particular, but as "king in Jeshurun" (Deut. 33:5). Jeshurun signifies upright, and refers to the people of Israel who were required, and understood to possess this character. The Jewish legislator thus typified Him who, being "king in Zion," rules among the upright in heart, and governs them with integrity and truth. And as Moses, in the capacity in question, gave his people laws, so Jesus has given his laws, not indeed of carnal ordinances, but of steadfast faith and inward spiritual obedience.
David, too, to say nothing of the import of his name as the beloved, of his personal qualifications, and of his sufferings, cannot fail to strike every one at all acquainted with his history as a remarkable type of Christ—in the auspicious commencement of his power by the signal overthrow of the vaunting champion of the Philistines; in his valor in war, and his wisdom and humanity in peace; in the principles and character of his administration, in which he led his people according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands; and in the covenant of royalty made with him and his seed for ever. So close is the resemblance, that the Messiah himself is more than once spoken of by the prophets under the very name of David (Jer. 30:9; Ezek. 34:23-24; Hos. 3:5).
But by none was the mediatorial dominion more strongly prefigured than by Solomon. In the wisdom of his administration, in the extent of his territory, in the wealth of his subjects, and in the peacefulness of his reign, he was a remarkable type of the Messiah; so much so, that in that mystic epithalamium in which the Savior's excellency and love are so fully set forth, this is the very name by which he is designated: "Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold King Solomon, with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart" (Song of Sol. 3:11).
2. Prophecy, as well as type, bore testimony to this view of the Savior's character. The very first prediction is conceived in terms which allude to the ancient way in which victorious kings expressed their conquest, namely, by placing their feet on the necks of their foes (Gen. 3:15). When the dying patriarch foretold that the "scepter should not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come" (Gen. 49:10), his language clearly enough imports that on him of whom he spake should devolve, at his coming, that judicial and legislative authority which had been previously exercised by others. Balaam prophesied: "There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a SCEPTER [the emblem of regal power] shall rise out of Israel" (Num. 24:17). David said: "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion"—a prediction which is expressly applied in the New Testament to Christ (Ps. 2:6; Acts 4:25-26).
The forty-fifth Psalm undoubtedly refers to the Messiah. The circumstances which it details were not verified in the history of Solomon's reign, besides being, many of them at least, inconsistent with the tenor of his private life, and at variance with the fortunes of his family. The titles by which the person spoken of is saluted, the multitudinous character of his progeny, and the perpetuity of his kingdom, all show that a greater than Solomon is here. Now, in this Psalm, the regal character is sustained throughout: "I speak of the things which I have made touching the king. Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most Mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; the scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter" (Ps. 45:1, 3, 6). But time would fail to enumerate particularly all the prophecies bearing on this point, and we must content ourselves by only referring to some others (Ps. 72; 89:1924; 110:1-3; Isa. 9:6-7; 11:1; Jer. 23:5-6; Ezek. 37:24; Zech. 9:9; etc.).
3. Many of the titles which are applied to Christ in the Scriptures bear on this subject. He is designated LORD: "God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36); LEADER and COMMANDER: "Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a Leader and Commander to the people" (Isa. 55:4); JUDGE: "The Lord is our Judge" (Isa. 33:22); RULER: "Thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to be Ruler in Israel" (Mic. 5:2).
4. The Savior laid claim himself to this character. The passage in which this is related deserves particular attention. "Then Pilate entered into the judgment-hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, THOU SAYEST THATI AM A KING. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth" (John 18:33,37). It had been generally rumored that Jesus was king of the Jews. The jealousy of the Roman government was excited. Pilate feels himself bound, from his office, to call him to account on this point. Jesus, while he explains the sense in which his regal character was to be understood, does not deny the fact. On the contrary, he explicitly avows it. No sinister motive could induce him to decline acknowledging it. Nor does he content himself with a mere simple avowal; but he speaks of it as closely connected with the great purpose of his appearance in our world.
5. We find that others recognize the validity of his claim. It is acknowledged by intelligent and moral beings of every class and rank. At the head of these, stands God the Father himself: "Thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head" (Ps. 21:3); "God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth" (Phil. 2:9-10).
Next come angels, tuning their harps of gold to the praises of Zion's King: "And behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb," said the angel to Mary, "and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him THE THRONE of his father David: and he shall REIGN over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his KINGDOM there shall be no end" (Luke 1:31-33). "And I heard the voice of many angels," says John, "round about the throne, saying, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive POWER, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing" (Rev. 5:11-12).
Then follow the saints, with notes less high, perhaps, but not less distinct or sincere. "The star-led wizards" inquire for "the heaven-born child," in these words, "Where is he that is born KING of the Jews?" while, as an act of lowly homage, they unfold their ordoriferous treasures and lay them at his feet (Matt 2:2). Nathaniel witnessed this good confession: "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the KING of Israel" (John 1:49). And the Apostle of the Gentiles, as he exhibits Jesus Christ "for a pattern to them who should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting" exclaims, "Now unto the KING eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory forever and ever, amen" (1 Tim. 1:17).
His enemies are reluctantly compelled to bring up the rear of witnesses to his royal claims. The Jewish multitude rent the air with their shouts as he entered into Jerusalem, crying, "Hosanna, blessed is the KING of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord" (John 12:13). The Roman soldiers unwittingly bore their part as they "bowed the knee before him and mocked him, saying, Hail, KING of the Jews!" (Matt. 27:29). And Pontius Pilate must needs cause to be put on his cross, written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin, the unalterable title, "JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS"—a title which was read, we may conclude, with profit by many of the multitude, and which was, perhaps, the principal means of conveying to the malefactor that knowledge of the Savior's character which led to his conversion (John 19:19).
6. In harmony with all this evidence, is the circumstance that royal appendages are described as belonging to him. We say nothing here of his kingdom, as this will fall to be spoken of afterwards. He wears royal titles. As expressive of his being the inherent source, the meritorious author, and liberal bestower and supporter of spiritual and eternal being, he is called the "PRINCE OF LIFE" (Acts 3:15); to denote his dominion and authority, he is spoken of as "KING OF THE SAINTS" (Rev. 15:3); and, as indicative of his absolute and universal supremacy, he is represented as having on his vesture and on his thigh the splendid inscription, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (Rev. 17:14; 19:16).
He occupies a throne—the seat of royalty—from which the king dispenses his laws, and on which he receives the homage of his subjects: "Thy THRONE O God, is for ever and ever" (Ps. 45:56); "To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me on my THRONE" (Rev. 3:1-2).
His head is adorned with a crown of purest radiance, surpassing in worth and beauty the most costly diadem ever worn by an earthly monarch, composed of the richest material: and studded with the brightest gems‑its substance being true honor, and its jewels immortal souls. "Thou settest a CROWN of purest gold on his head" (Ps. 21:3). "Thou hast CROWNED him with glory and honour" (Ps. 8:5). "Upon himself shall his CROWN flourish" (Ps. 132:18). "They shall be mine in that day when I make up my JEWELS" (Mal. 3:16).
He wields a scepter, the rod of office, the symbol of regal authority, and the instrument by which the monarch at once gathers and governs his people, and smites and subdues his enemies. "The SCEPTER of thy kingdom is a right SCEPTER" (Ps. 45:6). "The Lord shall send the ROD of thy strength out of Zion" (Ps. 110:2). "Thou shalt break them with a ROD of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel" (Ps. 2:9).
Laws are essential to dominion; it cannot exist long without them; and there can be no administration where they are entirely wanting. The Messiah is not without these; the Scriptures are the law of the Lord—a code at once righteous, suitable, extensive, and efficacious: "The law is holy, and the commandment holy, just, and good" (Rom. 7:12); "being not without law to God, but under law to Christ" (1 Cor. 9:21).
Numerous and glorious are his attendants. At the giving of the law they are thus described: "The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them: he shined forth from Mount Paran, and he came with TEN THOUSAND OF SAINTS" (Deut. 33:2). At his advent: "Suddenly there was with the angels a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:13, 14). During his life: "ANGELS came and ministered unto him" (Matt. 4:11). At his ascension: "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even THOUSANDS OF ANGELS: the Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the holy place. Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive" (Ps. 68:17-18). And, at his second coming, when the judgment shall be set and the books opened: "THOUSANDS, THOUSANDS shall minister unto him, and TEN THOUSAND TIMES TEN THOUSAND stand before him" (Dan. 7:10). "Behold the Lord cometh with TEN THOUSAND OF HIS SAINTS" (Jude 14).
Then, he has his servants and ambassadors. Of the elements, it is said: "He maketh his MINISTERS a flaming fire" (Ps. 104:4). Of the angelic tribes: "Are they not all MINISTERING SPIRITS sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb. 1:14). Of the ministers of religion: "Now, then, we are AMBASSADORS for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled unto God" (2 Cor. 5:20). "Let a man so account of us as of the MINISTERS of CHRIST" (1 Cor. 4:1).
How shall we describe his revenues‑the honor, and glory, and worship, and respect, and esteem, and constant obedience, which he exacts as tribute from all the subjects of his dominion? "He is thy Lord, and worship thou him" (Ps. 45:11). "Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him all the earth" (Ps. 96:8-9). And all the royal prerogatives of apprehending and liberating, of condemning and acquitting, of life and death, of pardon and execution, belong to him without reserve: "I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand" (Deut. 32:39).
Such, if we may so speak, are the insignia of the Mediator, insignia of transcendent value and matchless splendor. No titles like his titles; no throne of such peerless majesty; no crown of such overpowering radiance; no scepter of such resistless might; no laws so equitable or beneficent; no retinue so large or so illustrious; no ministers so dignified; no revenues so rich; no prerogatives so absolute, as his! "Who in the heaven can be compared to the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto him?"
Of the reality of Christ's mediatorial dominion there can thus be no doubt. Great must be the guilt of those who deny it. To do so is to nullify types; to contradict prophecy; to blot out the Savior's titles; to give the faithful and true Witness himself the lie; to convert his regalia into empty baubles; and to reduce his prerogatives to mere mockery and show. While we profess to recognize and acknowledge the Prince of life, let us not, by reducing our acknowledgment to an empty form, be guilty of re‑acting the impious mockery of those who, in derision of his claims, placed on his head a crown of thorns, put on him a purple robe, and as they shouted, "Hail, King!" smote him with their hands. Rather, let us place on his head the crown of our salvation, submit cheerfully to be governed by his laws, and look forward to being honored to sit with him on his throne of glory in the heavens.
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