The Testimony Of The Prophets

36. All the holy prophets have spoken of the restitution of all things. "And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you, whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets, since the world began." (Acts 3:20,21) This is an important passage of Scripture. "And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you, (but who hath been crucified, and hath ascended unto heaven, and ) whom the heaven must receive (or contain) until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." This "restitution of all things" is to take place, when Jesus comes down from the heavens, in the sense in which he had ascended into heaven. He had ascended into the heaven bodily; the heavens would contain Him until the times of the restitution; and then He would bodily visit the earth again. Now when shall he visit the earth again bodily? Answer, at the resurrection of the dead. (See Acts 1:10,11, and 1 Thess. 4:16) We conclude from this, that the restitution of all things is to take place at the resurrection of the dead. The learned Parkhurst gives this view of the subject, and quotes Stockius at large as agreeing with him. We do not understand, that the restitution shall not begin until the time, but that it shall then be completed, and filled up, so that it may be said, all things are restored. This is begun in part in this life; but it will be completed and finished at the resurrection. What is this restitution? It is the putting of things back into their original condition. See A. Clarke, on the passage. Man was originally created in God's image; but the divine image has been obscured by sin; and men now bear the image of the earthly. But at the resurrection, when Christ shall appear, the restitution of all things shall take place, and then mankind will be restored to the image of God again; for St. Paul says, that at the resurrection mankind shall be changed from the earthly to the heavenly image. (1 Cor. 15:49) This heavenly image which we have lost, we obtain back again at the resurrection of the dead; and to this the Saviour's language agrees, for He saith, that in the resurrection men shall be as the angels of God in heaven; i.e. they shall bear the heavenly image; (Matt. 22:30) that they can die no more, and "shall be the children of God, being the children of the resurrection." (Luke 22:36) This God hath spoken by all his holy prophets since the world began; not fully and clearly as He hath revealed it in the gospel; but He hath spoken by the prophets of the recovery of all things from the dominion of sin, and their reconciliation to God, and the gaining again of the heavenly image. The reader is referred to a long and excellent passage in A. Clark's Com. on Acts 3:21, which he closes by saying, "as therefore, the subject here referred to is that, of which all the prophets from the beginning have spoken, (and the grand subject of all their declarations was Christ and His words among men,) therefore the words are to be applied to this, and no other meaning. Jesus Christ comes to raise up man from a state of ruin, and restore to him the image of God, as he possessed it at the beginning."

37. Moses, one of the earliest prophets, foretold the destruction of all evil, when he represented sin under the figure of a serpent, whose head the seed of the woman was to bruise. "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Gen. 3:15)

38. David also said, "all the ends of the world shall remember, and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him." (Psalms 22:27) This agrees precisely with the promise of God to Abraham, that all the nations, families, and kindreds of the earth shall be blessed in Christ Jesus.

39. David also said, :all kings shall fall down before Him (Christ), all nations shall serve Him,—men shall be blessed in Him, all nations shall call Him blessed." (Psalms 72:11,17) This is of the same import with section 38.

40. David also said, "All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord, and shall glorify thy name." (Psalms 86:9) This must certainly include all the nations of the earth; God made them all, from Adam to the latest born.

41. David also said, not less than twenty-six times, in that part of his meditations embraced in the 136th Psalm, "his mercy endureth forever." What kind of a mercy is the mercy of God, which is to endure forever: it is a universal mercy. See the next section.

42. He also declared, that that mercy which is to endure forever, is over all the works of God. "The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all his works." (Psalms 145:9) God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

43. He also said, "all thy works shall praise thee, O Lord, and thy saints shall bless thee." (Psalms 145:10) Can all God's works praise Him, if a part are consigned to eternal fire?

44. He also said, "the Lord is gracious, and full of compassion, slow to anger, and of great mercy." (Psalms 145:8) Can endless misery be ordained by such a god as this?

45. He also said; "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide; neither will He keep His anger forever." (Psalms 103:8,9) This could not possibly be true, if God purposed to make any of His creatures forever miserable. If we allow that torment shall be endless, can we say, that "God will not always chide," nor "keep His anger forever?"

46. Isaiah represented, that there was no sin which might not be pardoned. "Though you sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isa. 1:18) The evident intent of this language is, that there was no sin so deep-dyed in the soul, that it could not be washed away. That is here said of Israel, is true of every individual.

47. It is said, that "all nations shall flow into the mountain of the Lord's house,"—a figurative representation of the covenant of the Gospel. (Isa. 2:2)

48. In this mountain, the Lord of Hosts hath made for all people a feast of fat things. "And in this mountain, shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees; of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well-refined." (Isa. 25:6) By "mountain," here, is meant the covenant of the Gospel; the place of the establishment of the ark is made a metaphor, to signify the Gospel. Adam Clarke says, this feast is "salvation by Jesus Christ." Com. On the place. This salvation is prepared for all people; it is sufficient to supply the wants of all.

49. "God will destroy, in this mountain, the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil, that is spread over all nations." (Isa. 25:7) This salvation is not uselessly prepared. Unbelief shall be done away. The darkness of the nations shall be removed. The covering cast over all nations shall be destroyed; they will then all see the truth.

50. "God will swallow up death in victory. " (Isa. 25:8) This is to take place at the resurrection of the dead, for Paul quotes these words, and applies them to the resurrection of the dead, in 1 Cor. 15:54.

51. "The Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces: (Isa. 25:8) The work of the Gospel will not be fully done, until tears shall be wiped away from all faces. Sorrow shall cease. Paul applies the subject to the resurrection of the dead.

52. Isaiah said, "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." (Isa. 40:5) This is the declaration of Yahweh, for the prophet adds, "the mouth of the lord hath spoken it." If the Lord hath declared, that all flesh shall see his glory together, surely it must be done.

53. Isaiah represents the Gospel as being completely successful in accomplishing the purpose for which it was sent into the world"—that, as the rain and snow come down from heaven, and return not thither, but water the earth, and cause it to bring forth and bud, so shall the word of God be; it shall not return void, but it shall accomplish the divine pleasure, and prosper in the thing for which God sent it. (Isa. 45:10,11) Thus all who allow that God sent the Gospel to benefit all mankind, must here see, that that beneficent object will surely be accomplished. If any reject the Gospel, and are lost forever, can it be said in truth, that God's word does not return unto Him void?

54. Isaiah, speaking in the name of Yahweh, said, of Christ, "I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth." (Isa.49:6) In this verse, the prophet affirms, that the blessings of the Gospel should not be confined to the Jews. "I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles;" for what purpose? Answer; "that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth." This expression is intended to signify the greatest possible extension of the blessings of the Gospel. Is this consistent with the supposed fact, that countless millions of the human race shall never hear of the blessings of the Gospel?

55. Isaiah represented Yahweh as saying, "I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth; for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made." (Isa 57:16) Is this declaration consistent with the doctrine of endless misery? According to that doctrine, will not God contend forever? Will He not be always wroth?

56. Yahweh saith, by Jeremiah, concerning the covenant He made with the house of Israel, " I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their heats; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his Neighbor, and every man his brother, saying , know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jer. 31:33,34) The spirit of the passage is universal grace. What God here saith He will do for the Jews, He will also do for the Gentiles. The former is a pledge of the latter. (See, for additional argument on this subject, section 88)

57. Jeremiah bore testimony against the supposition, that God would inflict any punishment on His creatures which is not for their good. "THE LORD WILL NOT CAST OFF FOREVER. But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies, for He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." (Lamen. 3:31-33) O, what a precious declaration is this! Though God cause grief, yet He will have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies, for He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. This is the principle of the divine government. God does not afflict for the purpose of afflicting, but for the good of the sufferer. How, then, can endless torment be inflicted?

58. Daniel said, of the reign of Christ, "there was given Him dominion, and glory and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom, that which shall not be destroyed." (Dan. 7:14) If all people, nations, and languages serve the Savior, will they be endlessly miserable? Will they not be endlessly happy? This passage should be applied, undoubtedly, to all for whom the Savior died. Jesus seems to have referred to the declaration of the prophets, in what He said after His resurrection. (Matt. 28:18)

59. Hosea said, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave (or Hell, Sheol), I will be thy destruction." (Hosea 13:14) Let the light of inspiration guide us. St. Paul applies these words to the resurrection of the dead, at the last day. (1 Cor. 15:54,55) At the resurrection of the dead, then, God will destroy Sheol, HELL. He does not raise His creatures from the dead in order to punish them forever in sheol,(Hell) for sheol (Hell) shall then be destroyed.

60. Micah said, of Yahweh, " He retaineth not His anger forever, because He delighteth in mercy." (Micah 7:18) A most precious assurance! Altogether at variance with the doctrine of endless misery.

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