Christ’s Qualifications for The Kingly Office
- Personal dignity forms a primary and conspicuous feature in the regal qualifications of the Messiah. This, if not always deemed essential in a king, is generally regarded as fit and proper. This general sense of its propriety may be inferred from the ease with which men in every age have gone into the principle of hereditary government. A degree of personal dignity or natural majesty, either real or adventitious, seems essential to qualify for rule. That the reins of government should be placed in the hands of one entirely destitute of everything of this nature, is repugnant to all our feelings of propriety. On this principle proceeded the answer to the question put by Gideon to Zebah and Zalmunna: “What manner of men were they whom ye slew at Tabor? As thou art, so were they; each one resembled the children of a king” (Judg. 8:18). To the same purpose is the reflection of the wise man: “Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning. Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles!” (Eccl. 10: 16‑17).
Now, great is the personal dignity of our mediatorial King. He is the SON OF GOD—a title by which he is designated times without number in the Scriptures. Into the question whether his sonship be personal or official, we cannot be expected fully to enter here. The remark we have made, however, proceeds on the supposition that it is personal; for if he were the Son of God only in an official or figurative sense, sonship could never be adduced as qualifying for the very office from which it derived its own existence. Sonship cannot both be derived from, and qualify for, office at the same time. But that the title in question may safely be viewed as denoting personal dignity, as involving something supernatural or divine, as implying a constructive assumption of such dignity as belongs only to God, is borne out by the circumstance, that his assuming this title was considered by the highest legal and ecclesiastical authorities of the Jews as sufficient to expose him to the charge of blasphemy, because by doing so he thus made himself equal with God; an inference which he never once attempted to deny, while he vindicated himself from the imputation which it was falsely understood to involve. “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18). The sonship and office of Christ are, also, frequently spoken of as different; they are often set in opposition to one another, and even introduced as distinct parts of the same simple propositions; as, for example, when it is said: “He preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20); “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37). Besides, official sonship is a common thing, but that of Christ is spoken of as peculiar and exclusive; whence he is called God’s “own Son” (Rom. 8:32), and his “only begotten Son” (John 1:14)‑language expressive of a relation supreme in dignity, unique in nature, without a parallel, absolutely his own.
That he is qualified for mediatorial dominion by his personal dignity as the Son of God is very impressively set before us in the words of the angel to Mary: “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” (Luke 1:32). If the land may be pronounced blessed whose king is “the son of nobles,” how greatly blessed must that kingdom be whose ruler is “the Son God”!
- The personal dignity, however, is not, in this case, such as to prevent anear relationshipto the subjects of his spiritual kingdom. “Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, who is not thy brother” (Deut. 17:15). Such was the law respecting the appointment of the supreme ruler among the Jews. It was founded in reason and in accurate views of human nature, as only one who is related by natural ties can enter fully into the feelings of the people, participate in all their troubles, and sympathize with them in all their joys and sorrows. Reason revolts at the idea of a man ruling over angels, or of an angel ruling over men; and it is the same general principle which dictates the impolicy and impropriety of appointing a foreigner to the supreme government of a nation.
To qualify him for ruling over man, it would thus appear to be necessary that Christ should possess human nature. The height of his personal dignity as the Son of God seems to preclude the possibility of natural relationship to his subjects. By the mystery of the incarnation, however, this difficulty is overcome. A human nature miraculously provided by the power of the Holy Ghost, was, by a voluntary act of assumption on the part of the Son of God, taken into close and indissoluble union with his person: the Son of God became also the Son of man. The Word was made flesh. He who, as God, was removed far above everything human, as man became qualified for exercising all the sympathies of humanity; and, touched with the feeling of our infirmities, was thus fitted for ruling in the hearts of his people with all the sensibilities of a brother.
When his incarnation was announced by the angel, he was spoken of in his regal character. “Thou shalt bring forth a son, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever” (Luke 1:31). His personal dignity is not in this way lessened; the luster of his divine majesty is not diminished: but there is something superadded which gives us greater boldness in approaching him. When we come to our King with perfect freedom, pressing our suit with eagerness and expressing our confidence that the petition we present shall be granted, were we questioned as to what it is that gives us all this ease, we might reply in the words of the men of Judah to the men of Israel of old‑Because the king is near of kin to us (2 Sam. 19:42).
- Jesus is further qualified for mediatorial dominion by hisknowledgeand wisdom. These are indispensable regal qualifications. That authority of any kind, particularly supreme authority, should be held by one who is ignorant or foolish, shocks all our sentiments of propriety. “Be wise, O ye kings” (Ps. 2:10). The kings of Israel were required to read in the book of the law; and Solomon, the most distinguished king of antiquity, and one of the most remarkable types of Christ in his regal office, was wiser than all the men of his day. We speak now, not so much of knowledge in general, as of that which qualifies for rule‑knowledge of the principles of government; of the laws of the kingdom; of the character, state, and necessities of the subjects; and of the nature and bearing of foreign relations. Such knowledge is essential to the useful exercise of power.
The knowledge of Christ, in all these respects, is extensive and perfect. He knows well the principles of the government which he is delegated to administer; for they are founded on the nature of God and man, and on the relation subsisting between them; and with these, being Immanuel, God with us, he cannot but be most thoroughly acquainted. He knows well the laws of his kingdom, being himself the lawgiver by whom they were all framed and promulgated, and having himself yielded perfect obedience to them all. He knows all his subjects in the minute variety of their circumstances, characters, necessities, and desires; “he needs not that any should testify of man, for he knows what is in man, and he searcheth the reins and hearts” (John 21:17; 2:25; Rev. 2:23). He is thoroughly acquainted with the rival kingdom of this world, from which he has to reclaim his subjects, and against whose assaults he must defend them; with the kingdom of darkness, from which he has to save them; and with the kingdom of light, with which he has to induce them to form, not a partial or temporary confederacy merely, but a final and permanent alliance.
Nor is wisdom less important than knowledge. Wisdom to foresee, judgment to contrive, prudence to execute, are essential to a ruler. Jesus, “the king eternal,” is at the same time “the only wise God” (1 Tim. 1:17). His understanding is infinite. He can lay down the best plans and devise the best measures for promoting at once the enlargement, the usefulness, and the happiness of his kingdom.
In short, nothing can fail either from ignorance or from indiscretion. There is no lack of information or of prudence. No event can occur unforeseen by him. He is prepared for every occurrence. Nay, such is his wisdom, that what his enemies design for injury, he, by skillful management, can cause to operate powerfully for good.
- But all these qualities will be of no avail withoutpower.
Dignity to adorn, relationship to sympathize, and wisdom to project, can be of no use unless there be also energy to execute. Force of mind, energy of character, and powerful resources are requisite in a king. Besides skill to plan for the good of his subjects, he must have ministers, finances, armies, to enable him to realize his schemes. Uncontrollable power is one of the regal qualifications of Christ. “Wisdom and might are his” (Dan. 2:20). He possesses all the resources of omnipotence. He is “the Mighty God,” “the Lord which is, and which was, and which is to come‑the Almighty.” Creation, providence, regeneration, and resurrection, proclaim the extent of physical and moral energy that he has at his command in order to conduct the administration of his mediatorial kingdom. His ministers are qualified, by their numbers and endowments, to execute his sovereign pleasure. He can call to his aid all the perfections of Godhead, and all the fullness of the new covenant. The elements of heaven, apostate spirits, and angels of light, are under his control, advancing his cause and opposing his enemies. At his command, the stars in their courses fought against Sisera; a messenger of Satan was sent to buffet an apostle, in fulfillment of his gracious designs; and it was no empty boast that he could have commanded more than twelve legions of angels. With such vast might, with such immense resources, no purpose can fail from inability to carry it into execution. His people shall be willing in the day of his power. He is mighty to save. Where the word of this King is, there is power.
- Highmoral excellenceis another indispensable qualification. Without this, dignity serves only as a passport to iniquity; relationship and knowledge confer only greater capacity of mischief; wisdom degenerates into low cunning; and power becomes mere physical force, more to be dreaded than the hurricane or the lightning. Rectitude of intention, justice of administration, and exemplary conduct, are the constituents of that moral excellence which Scripture, reason, and common sense concur in demanding as necessary to qualify for conducting a proper and effective government. These elements of moral worth meet, in the highest degree and in perfect combination, in the character of Prince Messiah. “The scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter” (Ps. 45:6); “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Rev. 15:3).
Rectitude of intention characterizes all his plans. Everything is designed for the good of his people and the glory of the Godhead. Other kings may have sinister ends to serve: even when doing what is right in itself, they may have an ultimate respect to their own personal aggrandizement, or to the advancement of some favorite courtier; or, supposing them moved solely by a regard to the good of their subjects, they may be seeking this at the expense of some neighboring state. No defect of this nature can ever attach to him of whom we are speaking. He can have no intentions but what are benevolent and righteous; nor can he, even for the fulfillment of these, ever overlook what is due to the honor and glory of God.
His administration, too, is perfectly equitable. When the intentions of men are the best that can be supposed, the administration is not always such; while, in other cases, both the intention and the administration are the reverse of just. The rights, and liberties, and property of the subjects, are too often sacrificed by unprincipled rulers to schemes of lawless ambition or iniquitous favoritism. The administration of Christ, on the contrary, is impartial, righteous, infallible; no one is wronged that another may be benefited; and every act is such as entitles it to meet with ready and implicit submission.
Exemplary behavior is necessary to give due moral effect to official administration. Laws however wise, acts however equitable, intentions however pure, cannot have the same influence on others when they proceed from persons who are themselves destitute of moral character. No government, however good in itself, can be expected to be successful, which is administered by a known profligate. It is wisely required that he that ruleth over men must be “just, ruling in the fear of the Lord” (2 Sam. 23:3). It were unreasonable to expect principles to be acted upon, and laws to be obeyed, which are inculcated by persons who are themselves violating them every day. He is likely to be most useful who can appeal, as Samuel did of old, to his people: “I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day. Behold here I am; witness against me before the Lord and before his anointed, whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes herewith?” (1 Sam. 12:2-3). Jesus set his subjects an example of perfect holiness. His conduct was unimpeachable; his behavior was unaffected with the slightest moral obliquity. All the laws of his kingdom, whether personal, relative, or religious, were recommended by his example, as well as enforced by his sovereign authority. Perfect moral excellence adorns his character. He is not only the righteous Lord who loveth righteousness, but he practiced it so fully and so constantly, as to entitle him in presence of his most inveterate enemies to put forth the challenge: “Which of you convinceth me of sin?”
- Nor is Jesus deficient in the more gentle qualities ofmeek compassion, tender mercy, and munificent bounty.Great wisdom and stern integrity may be combined with a harsh, repulsive, and unfeeling disposition, but such a combination can be regarded only in the light of a defect. “Mercy and truth preserve the king, and his throne is upholden by mercy” (Prov. 20:28). In the qualifications of Zion’s King, the combination in question is complete. In him, justice and compassion honorably harmonize. “Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Ps. 85:10). While “he loves righteousness and hates wickedness,” all “his garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia” (Ps. 45:7, 8). To the daughter of Zion, her King is announced at once as “just and having salvation, lowly and riding upon an ass, upon a colt the foal of an ass” (Zech. 9:9). He can have compassion upon the ignorant and them that are out of the way.
Although having all the resources of destruction at his command, he bears patiently with the disobedience and rebellious insults of his subjects. He waits to be gracious. To the most worthless criminal he extends the golden scepter of his love. His munificence is exhaustless; his bestowments most bountiful and liberal. Plenty, liberty, honor, are dispensed with open hand. What shall be done to the man whom this King delights to honor cannot be told or conceived. “He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass; as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the soul of the needy” (Ps. 72:4, 6‑7, 12‑13).
- Authority is necessary to the valid exercise of power. Other qualifications cannot confer this; nor can the abundance in which they may be enjoyed make up for the want of it. There are two ways in which legitimate authority may be conveyed‑divine appointment and popular choice. The latter, however just and proper among men, cannot obtain here; as it is one of the peculiarities of the case before us, that the king chooses the people, and not the people the king. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” Divine appointment, therefore, is here the only proper source of authority.
Not that his right to rule is not confirmed by purchase and by conquest; but these are not in themselves sufficient; in their very nature they presuppose an authority founded on the appointment of God. This, then, is the origin of that authority by which the Messiah is qualified for the exercise of mediatorial dominion. It is a matter of such importance, and admits of such amplitude of proof and illustration, that we shall devote a section to it by itself. “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand” (John 3:35).
Such is the beauty of Christ’s regal qualifications. Here, dignity and condescension, grace and majesty, are admirably blended. There is nothing redundant, nothing defective. There is nothing present that can be wanted, nothing wanting that is required, and every part is in due proportion and delightful harmony.
Appointment of Christ to Mediatorial Dominion
This is a topic of great importance, and deserving of being fully investigated and distinctly understood.
- Christ wasformallyappointed to the kingly office by his Father from all eternity in the covenant of grace. “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion” (Ps. 2:6); “I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my FATHER HATH APPOINTED UNTO ME” (Luke 22:29); “As the Father hath life in himself, so hath HE GIVEN to the Son to have life in himself; and hath GIVEN HIM AUTHORITY to execute judgment also because he is the Son of man” (John 5:26-27). It belonged to the Father to do this formally, as the representative of Deity in the economy of redemption. Absolutely speaking, Christ’s appointment proceeded from the sovereign act of the divine will essentially considered. The designation of all the divine persons to their respective economical characters and offices, can only be referred to such an act. To conceive it as proceeding from the Father necessarily or originally, is at variance with the perfect equality subsisting among the divine persons themselves. It must, therefore, be viewed as flowing absolutely from God essentially considered in the first instance; and, then, that of the Son and the Holy Spirit as proceeding formally from the Father, in whom all power and authority have been economically vested for this end. To him, therefore, the formal appointment of the Mediator to government or rule must be ascribed.
This formal appointment took place in the covenant of grace. “I have made a COVENANT with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy THRONE to all generations” (Ps. 89:3-4). It took place from eternity—in anticipation of the fall and consequent helplessness and danger of man. Hence, after the announcement, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion,” it is added, “I will declare the DECREE: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Ps. 2:6, 7). To the same purpose is the declaration: “I was set U FROM EVERLASTING, from the beginning, or ever the earth was” (Prov. 8:23): while he who was to be “Ruler in Israel” was spoken of by Micah as having his “goings forth from of old, from everlasting” (Mic. 5:2). How solemn and indubitable this act of formal appointment!
- Christ’s appointment from eternity to the kingly office, wassignificantly intimated, in the fullness of time, by the unction of his human nature.In order to our feeling an interest in, and becoming acquainted with, what took place in the everlasting covenant, it required to be made known. This was effected by his being solemnly anointed. To anoint, was the ancient way of denoting regal designation: “The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them. The bramble said unto the trees, If in truth you anoint me king over you” (Judg. 9:8, 15); “Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel” (1 Sam. 15:1); “Thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee” (1 Sam. 16:3); “The house of Judah have anointed me king over them” (2 Sam. 2:7); “Anoint Hazael to be king over Syria” (1 Kings 19:15). Similar language is used respecting Christ: “Yet have I set [Heb. anointed] my king upon my holy hill of Zion” (Ps. 2:6); “God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Ps. 45:7); “I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him” (Ps. 89:20); “I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed” (Ps. 132:17); “Of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together” (Acts 4:27); “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power” (Acts 10:38).
What idea was intended to be conveyed by this phraseology, the passages formerly quoted enable us to determine. There cannot be a doubt, that regal appointment is designed by the unction which Jesus is said to have received; an unction which consisted not, as in the case of kings among men, of literal oil and aromatic perfumes applied to the body by the hand of a prophet, but of the Spirit of grace poured out upon him in rich abundance by the Father. This was the “holy oil, the oil of gladness,” with which he was anointed “above his fellows.” These expressions may refer, in part, to his blessed qualifications; but they must be viewed principally as denoting his authoritative appointment, in respect of which, all his garments may be said to “smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces.”
- Christ’s appointment was still farther intimated by hisactual investiture with regal power at and after his resurrection.This might be called the inauguration solemnity of the mediatorial King. What took place in the counsels of eternity was made known in the fullness of time; but it was still more largely and clearly exhibited when the Son of God rose from the dead. The kingly office of Christ being essential to the mediatorial character must, of course, have existed from eternity, and must also have been exercised from the beginning of time; yet the Scriptures speak of it as conferred in reward of his obedience unto death: “Being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Therefore 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. 2:8-10). Its having been conferred at his resurrection may seem inconsistent with having existed from the beginning. They are, however, both true. The Holy Spirit always existed in the church, and yet was not given until Christ was glorified. After Christ was glorified there was a more copious manifestation, a more full dispensation of the Spirit. In like manner, at his resurrection, there was a more ample display, a more extensive exercise of Christ’s regal power.
His power was, from the first, exercised on the footing of his meritorious death. But when the death had really occurred, it was fitting that there should be a display of the power which resulted from it, and which had all along a regard to it. In short, the exercise of the kingly office before and after Christ’s resurrection, bear much the same relation to one another, as the exercise of the same office before and after the coronation of an earthly king. The ceremony of coronation makes a public, solemn, august display of the sovereign’s investiture with regal power; but the power itself existed before; in an hereditary government, from the moment of the demise of his predecessor; in an elective government, from the time of his being chosen by the people. After the resurrection of our Redeemer from the grave, there was a more full, explicit, and expressive recognition than before of his appointment to mediatorial rule. Then did it appear that all power was given unto him in heaven and in earth. “His being by the right hand of God exalted,” was the means of “letting all the house of Israel know assuredly that God had made that same Jesus whom men had crucified both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:33, 36). “When he raised him from the dead, he set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but in that which is to come” (Eph. 1:21-22). “When he had by himself purged our sins, he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3). He was King from eternity; from the entrance of sin into our world he exercised the regal functions; in the lowest depths of his humiliation, occasional signs of dignity and power appeared. But not until his resurrection from the dead and ascension to the throne of the Father, was his investiture with this power publicly and formally recognized. Then, however, did his regal splendor come out from the cloud of obscurity in which it had been formerly wrapped; his diadem shone forth with transcendent luster; his scepter, the weight of which had before been comparatively unfelt, began now to be wielded with new power; angels sang his coronation anthem:
“Ye gates, lift up your heads on high;
Ye doors that last for aye,
Be lifted up that so the king
of glory enter may.”
And, amid the loud acclaim of these celestial attendants, he ascended his throne, and entered on the formal administration of his kingdom.
- This appointment isattested by many distinct and indubitable witnesses.The Father gives formal proof of the fact when he says, “Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion” (Ps. 2:6). The Savior himself bears this testimony, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). The spirit of Old Testament prophecy declared, “I beheld in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him, and 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, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:13-14). Apostles, under the New Testament, concur in the evidence they furnish: “God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” (Phil. 2: 9). And every creature in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, are heard saying, “Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever” (Rev. 5:13). Such united, harmonious, unequivocal testimonies, leave us no room to doubt the interesting fact, and render inexcusable every feeling of skepticism on the subject.
Yet, this matter is not without its difficulties.
The appointment of Christ to the kingly office has been represented as inconsistent with his divinity. It is supposed to imply inferiority. But the economical character of the Son removes the difficulty at once. It is not as God absolutely considered, that it takes place; but as Mediator. In this capacity it is easy to suppose him invested with authority; and, considering the deep humiliation to which he voluntarily submitted in this character, there can be no difficulty whatever in understanding either the fact or the nature of his exaltation.
Nor did he, in assuming the mediatorial kingdom, divest himself of anything belonging to him as God. This it were impiety to suppose. Deity is unchangeable. His being, perfections, character, and government, as God, remained the same as they ever were. They might be obscured in appearance, but they were the same in reality. His moral authority over all creatures could never be laid aside. It is essential to his very being and character. The mode of its exercise only was changed: it was now administered in an economical instead of an absolute character for the good and salvation of his church.
Neither does the appointment of Christ to the regal office suppose that God is deprived of that necessary and essential dominion which belongs to him. If it does not take from Christ his own essential power as God, it cannot be understood as taking it from God absolutely considered. That springs naturally from the inseparable relation subsisting between God and his creatures. The delegation of power does not suppose the surrender of it, on the part of him from whom the delegation proceeds. When a king appoints a plenipotentiary to act for him, he does not divest himself of the inherent right to reign. And if this is the case where the person appointing and the persons appointed are essentially different, why should we find any difficulty in a case where they are “the same in substance, and equal in power and glory?” Nay, so far from God’s essential dominion being subverted by the mediatorial appointment, it might easily be shown to be confirmed and established by it in a variety of particulars.
If the view given, in this chapter, of the appointment of Christ to mediatorial power be correct, there can be no difficulty in understanding how his regal acts were possessed of validity in the earliest ages of the church. This appointment had, as we have seen, a special respect to his death; it was conferred as the reward of his sufferings; and, hence, he was not fully inaugurated till after his resurrection. Still, the administration of mediatonal rule existed from the time of the entrance of sin into our world. The Son of God then entered on the administration of all his mediatorial functions; on this, as well as others. The voice of the Lord God, walking in the garden in the cool of the day, announced him as a prophet: the institution of sacrifices, which there is reason to think was coeval with the fall of man, exhibited him as a priest: and the warfare between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, which then commenced, unfolded his regal character.
In this latter capacity, he never ceased afterwards to act. The formation of the church in Eden; the translation of Abel’s righteous soul to glory; the reorganization of the church with Noah; the covenant made with Abraham, and renewed with Isaac and Jacob; the establishment of the Jewish economy under Moses; the many interpositions made on behalf of the armies of Israel by which they were rendered victorious over their enemies; the appointment of judges; and the raising up of kings in the line of David to dispense the benefits of civil government to God’s ancient people‑are all so many regal acts of Prince Messiah.
Accordingly, when he came in the flesh he was recognized, not as entering upon, but as in the full possession of, royal prerogatives: “Where is he that is BORN KING of the Jews?” (Matt. 2:2). And, even during the period of his humiliation, as has been before remarked, he claimed and received royal honors as well as performed regal acts. Now, what we have said regarding his appointment, shows the validity of all these acts from the beginning. His appointment took place in the eternal counsels. It was, therefore, not only what he did after his resurrection, but all the acts which preceded it, that were possessed of valid authority. His sovereignty must never be doubted. Whether he erects or destroys, plants or plucks up, kills or makes alive, implicit submission is due to his righteous scepter; we must acknowledge his title to do according to his will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and, instead of seeking to impede the regular flow of his administration, it becomes us to shout from the heart, “O King, live for ever.”
Christ’s appointment gives him a rightful claim to the implicit and conscientious obedience of every moral creature. “Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the truth of God perfected” (1 John 2:3-5). It is as mediatorial King that all his commands are given, and in this capacity is it that he is to be obeyed. Let men be convinced of this. He is no usurper. Great must be the guilt of refusing him submission; it is to resist lawful authority, to reject the appointment of God.
This appointment affords ample security for the overthrow of all Christ’s enemies, and the ultimate establishment of his kingdom in the world. Has God appointed him to rule, and shall any one be able to hinder his success? No; we have, in this, sufficient security that no opposition shall ever be able to prevent the progress of his reign. The counsel of the Lord, it shall stand. The heathen may rage, and the people imagine a vain thing; the kings of the earth may set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder and cast their cords from us. But, having respect to the decree by which he has been set King on the holy hill of Zion, he that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision; he shall break them with a rod of iron, he shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel; and the heathen shall be given to him for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession (Ps. 2:1-9). Much reason, then, have the people of God to rejoice in the appointment of Christ to mediatorial dominion. Let them make themselves intelligently acquainted with the evidence by which it is supported, and exult in the stability of the foundation on which it rests—a foundation which no force of earth or hell can ever overthrow. “The Lord said unto my Lord… Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies; thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power” (Ps. 110:1-3).