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by Dr. John Thomas
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".
But he was born, and has departed, and is hid in the shadow of the Lord's hand; and has neither received David's throne, nor does he reign over Israel, who, though yet to be ruled by him, "curse their king and their God, and look upwards".
We shall see how this is.
In the oracle quoted, the Lord Jesus, who makes proclamation to the isles of the Gentiles, announces himself as the Servant of Jehovah in whom He will be glorified.
Now a servant implies work to be performed for, and in behalf of, another.
What work, or service, then, has the Lord Jesus to execute for the Father?
"Behold, the Lord will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold his reward is with him, his work before him".
We want to know what this work is.
Hear then what the word saith.
"The Lord formed me from the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob again to him".
But is the restoration of the tribes of Israel all he will have to do?
We shall find not; for Jehovah says to him, "It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the desolation of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation to the ends of the earth".
The Lord Jesus, the servant of Jehovah, then, is in reserve at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, for the purpose of a future manifestation, not to destroy the earth, and to burn up the wicked, but to fulfil the covenants of promise; in putting an end to the desolation of Canaan, restoring the tribes to their native land, re-establishing the commonwealth of Israel, enlightening the nations, regenerating society, filling the earth with the glory of the Lord, establishing his sovereignty in the world, and in rewarding the saints.
All this is to be accomplished when the Lord comes.
The God of the fathers will then remember the covenants which He began to fulfil when He called Israel out of Egypt under Moses; and when He called Jesus out of Egypt in the days of Archelaus.
These were but earnests of the good things to come, in the manifestation of which the promises will be perfected in every jot and tittle of the word.
This is the sense in which James understood the testimony of God.
"Simeon" said he, "hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name".
Then, in quoting the words of Amos, he continues, "After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: that the residue of men (Edom) might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord".
This was adduced as a quietus upon the Judaizers to prove the acceptance by the Lord of Gentiles as well as of Jews, and upon the same terms.
But I have introduced it here to show the arrangement of things in relation to the work to be performed.
We see that there is a certain labour to be finished -- to wit, the taking out a people from among the nations for the Lord's name.
By the time this is accomplished, the Lord will return.