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suitably termed παλιγγενεσια. The return of the Israelites to their own land, after the Babylonish captivity, is so named by Josephus, the Jewish historian. What was said on verse 23. holds equally in regard to the promise we have here. The principal completion will be at the general resurrection, when there will be, in the most important sense, a renovation, or regeneration of heaven and earth, when all things shall become new; yet, in a subordinate sense, it may be said to have been accomplished when God came to visit, in judgment, that guilty land; when the old dispensation was utterly abolished, and succeeded by the Christian dispensation, into which the Gentiles, from every quarter, as well as Jews, were called and admitted.” See also Whitby's note on Matth. 19: 27, 28. to the same effect.
It is obvious from these statements, that the passage has no reference to a future state of existence, but to the establishment of Jesus in the throne of his kingdom, when the Old Testament was utterly abolished, and from which period he has been judging the world in righteousness, and the people with his truth. He, as king, reigns in righteousness, and the apostles with him decree justice, and shall continue to do so until the period called the end, 1 Cor. 15: 24–28. when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God the father. Can the statements of these writers be proved false? And, the apostles and others are not to enjoy eternal life until the day of judgment, if this be the time Christ refers to by sitting on the throne of his glory.
Is it objected—“ Were not the disciples in the king. dom of Christ, and enjoying eternal life in the sense you have explained it, at the time our Lord spoke ?” Yes, but it was not until the Son of man came at the end of the Jewish age, that his kingdom came with power. See Luke 21: 31-34. Mark 8: 38. and 9:1.
At this time it was profitable for his disciples to enter into life with the loss of all things dear to them, rather than
into Gehenna or hell, or to suffer all the niseries which came on the Jewish nation. See Mark 9 : 43–50. and the Inquiry into the words Sheol, Hades, &c.
4th. This view of eternal life, enjoyed in the world to come, is confirmed from the following context. Our Lord having said, "and shall inherit everlasting life,” immediately adds, “but many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” Here the chapter ends, but it is evident, the Saviour, in the beginning of the next chapter, goes on to illustrate his meaning by the parable commonly called the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. Well, let us ask the question, many that are first shall be last and the last shall be first, about what? The answer from the context evidently is, about inheriting everlasting life, or entering into the kingdom of God. Accordingly, our Lord says, “ For the kingdom of heaven, (or inheriting everlasting life in it) is like unto a man who is an householder, who went out very early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard.” This parable is interpreted by Macknight and others, of the calling of the Jews and Gentiles; for the Gentiles, who were the last in having the kingdom of God preached to them, were the first to enter into the kingdom of God, or enjoy eternal life in this kingdom; and the Jews, to whom it was first preached, shall be last in entering into the enjoyment of the same blessings. This must be understood of both Jews and Gentiles, generally, as a people.
5th. The view given of eternal life, will be confirmed, by attending to the general usage of the phrase in the New Testament. This must be done in a very brief way, for the texts are numerous where it occurs. The reader may consult the texts for himself; we
shall give all the places where it is found, and shall propose some questions from them for his consideration. I find, then, zoe rendered life, and used to express what we call natural life, 1 Cor. 3 : 22. James 4:14. Acts 8:33. Rom. 10: 38. John 12: 25. Acts 17: 25. 1 John 5:16. Luke 1: 75. Philip. 1 : 20. Acts 2: 28. 1 Tim. 4: 8. 1 Cor. 15:19. Rom. 7:10. Heb. 7: 3. Acts 7:19. Luke 17: 33. Luke 16 : 25. Rev. 11:11. It is also used to express the happiness, or the good a man enjoys in this life, Luke 12: 15. 1 Peter 3: 10. Luke 16: 25. 2 Peter 1: 3.
But I find zoe, life, used to designate that moral or spiritual life, enjoyed by believers in Jesus. Before believing, they are spoken of as alienated from the life of God, Eph. 4:18. In believing, they pass from death to life, 1 John 3: 14, 15. They have repentance unto life granted to them, Acts 11:18.; and obtain justification of life, Rom. 5:18. By the power of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, they are made free from the power of sin and death, Rom. 8:2. Their spirits or minds are alive because of righteousness, Rom. 8:10. and enjoy life and peace, verse 6. They have the light of life, John 8: 12. walk in the newness of life, Rom. 6: 4. and hold forth the word of life, Philip. 2:16. The meat Christ gave
them endured to eternal life, John 6: 27. and the water, a well springing up to everlasting life, John 4:14. They are exhorted to lay hold on eternal life, 1 Tim. 6:12, 19. and search for glory, honor, immortality, eternal life, Rom. 2: 7. And by sowing to the spirit reaped life everlasting, Gal. 6:8. They are exhorted to look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life, Jude 21. Have their fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life, Rom. 6: 22. The life of Jesus was made manifest in them, 2 Cor. 4:10-12. They were heirs of the grace
of life, 1 Peter 3: 7. Were saved by Christ's life, Rom.
5: 10. and are said to reign in life, Rom. 5:17. The names of such persons are said to be in the book of life, Philip. 4: 3. Rev.3: 5.'13: 8. 17: 8. 20: 12, 15. 21: 27. and 22: 19, They drink of the water of life, John 4: 14. Rev. 21 : 6. and 22: 1, 17. And by overcoming they were to eat of the tree of life, Rev. 2: 7. 22: 2, 14. and obtain a crown of life, James 1:12. Rev. 2: 10. And mortality is at last to be swallowed up of life, 2 Cor. 5: 4. The gate which led to this life was strait and the way narrow, Matth. 7: 14. Several persons asked our Lord what they should do to obtain or inherit eternal life, Matth. 19:16. Mark 10:17. Luke 10: 25. and 18: 18. And it is evident from the context of all these passages, that to have eternal life, to enter into this life, and to enter into the kingdom of God, all referred to the same thing. See also Matth. 18:8, 9, and 19: 17, 29. Mark 9: 43, 45.
It appears, that man never would have known any other life, except natural life, but for the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Christ hath brought life and immortality to light, 1 Tim. 1:10. With a view to this, God promised eternal life, 1 John 2: 25. It was promised before the Jewish age began, Tit. 1: 2. This promise of life was in or by Christ Jesus, 1 Tim. 1: 1. This promise laid a foundation for the hope of it, Tit 1: 2. and 3: 7. The father gave the son to have life in himself, John 5:26. Hence
Hence it is said, in him was life, John 1: 4. And he was made after the power of an endless life, Heb. 7:16. Accordingly he is called the life, 1 John 1: 2. John 14:6. the resurrection and the life, John 11: 25. the eternal life, 1 John 5 : 20. and the eternal life who was with the father and manifested to us, 1 John 1: 2. He is also termed the prince of life, Acts 3: 15. and the bread of life, John 6:35, 48, 51, 53. The grace of God reigns through righteousness anto eternal life
by Jesus Christ, Rom. 5:21. and eternal life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ, Rom. 6:23. This eternal life is in or by God's son, 1 John 5:11. He gives eternal life, John 10: 28. and gives it to as many as the father hath given him, John 17:2. This eternal life is expressly said to consist in knowing God and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, John 17: 3. Hence the words of Christ were spirit and life, John 6: 63. He had the words of eternal life, verse 68. God's commandment was life everlasting, John 12: 50. Comp. 1 John 1:1. As eternal life consists in the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, so persons are said to enjoy it by believing, John 3: 15, 16. 1 Tim. 1:16. They had it upon their believing, and it abode in them by continuing to believe, John 3:36. 5: 24. 6:40, 47, 53, 54. and 20: 31. 1 John 5: 12, 13. The Jews thought that in their Scriptures they had eternal life, yet would not come to Christ, or believe on him, that they might have it, John 5: 39, 40. On the contrary, they judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life by rejecting the gospel, Acts 13: 46. Accordingly, the apostles turned to the Gentiles, and as many of them as were ordained or disposed for eternal life, believed, verse 48. The Jews had all the words of this life preached unto them, Acts 5 : 20. The apostles in preaching were to some a savour of life unto life, and to others of death unto death, 2 Cor. 2:16. In reaping the gospel harvest among the Jews, they gathered fruit unto life eternal, John 4:36. And whosoever lost his life for Christ's sake kept it unto life eternal, John 12: 25. for at the end of the age those who endured to the end were saved. Those who believed not went away into everlasting punishment and the righteous into life eternal, Matth. 25: 46. Comp. John 5: 29. And the receiving of the Jews again shall be as life from the dead, Rom. 11:15.