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REMARKS ON ISAIAH 32:1.

“Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.” Isa.32:1.

That the King of whom this prediction was written is the King of saints, whom God has set upon his holy hill of Zion, who bears the titles; King of Glory, King of Righteousness, and King Eternal, Immortal and Invisible, the only wise God our Savior, there can be no reasonable doubt; and that his imperial title which is written upon his vesture and his thigh is expressive of his supreme power and dominion over all beings and all events and all worlds. In his coronation he is set over all the works of God, having all power in heaven and in earth given into his hands, so that “in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.” While in his supreme Godhead, abstractly considered, his power and glory is underived and eternal, so that it can neither be increased nor diminished, it is said of him, in his Mediatorial Sonship, that “the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” Isa. 9:6,7. While as the God of providence his empire extends throughout all space, as the King of saints his kingdom is not of this world. It is a spiritual kingdom, composed of spiritual subjects, and ruled by laws peculiarly adapted for the government of his chosen generation, royal priesthood and holy nation. It is unquestionably of him as the King of saints this prophecy is uttered, as anticipating that kingdom and government which the God of heaven should set up in the time of the kings of which Daniel prophesied. Whole volumes would not suffice to record all the glory of his kingdom, or to tell of the excellency of his power, we shall only attempt in this article to speak of a few things in regard to the reign of this most glorious King, and his subjects and laws.

First, “He shall reign.” To be called a king, and yet have no absolute reigning power, would be but an empty title. Or to occupy a throne by the suffrage only of his subjects, would not justify the emphatic declaration of our text, “Behold a king shall reign.” These words imply an absolute power, imperial authority and unrestricted dominion of all the subjects of the kingdom over which such a king shall sway his sceptre.

To reign signifies that all his subjects are governed by him. That his will is their law, and that he has the power to command and secure strict and implicit obedience to his laws, and to punish and chastise every transgression and disobedience of his subjects. Reigning as an absolute monarch, he is the sole legislator in his kingdom; no law has any force or validity within his dominion that he has not himself made and given. All, and whatsoever he has not commanded, is positively forbidden to his subjects. Not even his holy apostles were permitted to amend, restrict, or expand his laws or his dominion. While they as enthroned princes were empowered and qualified to “rule in judgment,” they were not allowed to either add to or diminish from his laws. Fearful judgments are written against such as shall presume to add to the words of the book of this prophecy, or to take anything therefrom. “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.” “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isa. 8:16 & 20.

The peculiar structure of his kingdom forbids that it shall be governed by any other than the King of saints; for all the vitality and spirituality of the entire kingdom is of him. No man can see it until born of his Spirit, nor can its laws, ordinances or provisions be known until they are revealed by his Spirit. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit, for they are only spiritually discerned. God has revealed them to us by his Spirit. As his laws are purely spiritual, they cannot be like the old covenant requisitions, written on tables of stone, nor understood by carnal men, as were the laws of a carnal commandment, but by the power of an endless life. They are written in the hearts and printed in the minds of his heaven born subjects. It is called the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, and it makes those in whom it is written free from the law of sin and death. The laws of this kingdom have no application to the ungodly of mankind. The carnal or fleshly mind is enmity against God, it is not subject to this law, neither indeed can be. Carnal men cannot obey the precepts which Christ has enjoined on the subjects of his kingdom, therefore if they should do the very things which he has commanded his disciples to do, it would not be obedience, for who hath required such works at their hands? Only they that love Jesus are the subjects of his laws. He has said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” “For love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, for God is love.” They who are not born of God do not love, and therefore the laws given to those who do love him and are born of him, do not apply to such as are still under the law of sin and death. They that love him are commanded to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow him. And he says, “Then are ye my disciples indeed, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” He commands all who love him to be baptized; but he does not command them who hate, or who do not love him, to be baptized; it would not therefore be obedience for the latter class to be baptized. For who hath required it of them? He has commanded them who love him to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and he has said to all such, “Seek, and ye shall find; ask, and it shall be given unto you; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” But none of these laws are given to those who do not love him, or who are not born of God. How can they seek for the kingdom who cannot see it? And none can see it except they be born again. And if they are born again they will love God, love Jesus, and love to obey him, because his law is in their hearts, and he makes them a willing people in the day of his power. For it is God that worketh in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure. So that in all his commands and their obedience, Jesus our King reigns. And he reigns in righteousness, for “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” Psa. 19:7-9. There can be nothing wrong in his government, nothing in it therefore can admit of improvement, or amendment. Down to the latest generation, the laws, ordinances, doctrine and institutions will remain precisely as they were first issued by our King. For those who are born of his Spirit, and therefore love him, to transgress the law of his kingdom, or fail to obey his precepts, will not change the purity or perfection of his laws, but it will surely subject the disobedient child to chastisement. They who know his will and do it not shall be beaten with many stripes; for they shall surely find that “the way of the transgressor is hard.”

The righteous reign of a king or potentate consists not only in the perfection of his laws, and power to enforce them, but also in his legitimate right to reign, and his wisdom and ability to secure the safety, peace, happiness and well being of all his subjects.

Earthly monarchs have sometimes usurped the power which they hold, and come to their thrones through the blood of thousands whom they have slain in depriving someone more worthy than themselves of their crown. But although the subjects of our Redeemer’s kingdom were aliens and foreigners, and under the righteous dominion of the law, the Captain of their salvation rendered due obedience to the law for them, and redeemed them from under the law, and himself became the end of the law for righteousness to every one of them. He honored the law and paid every jot and tittle of its demands, and by laying down his own life; which, he through the eternal Spirit offered, he obtained eternal redemption for them. In his death he canceled all legal demands that stood against them, and in his resurrection from the dead brought their immortality to light, and so identified with himself in his resurrection from the dead, that they are made partakers of his resurrection life, so that they are no more under the law, but under grace; and by the law of the spirit of life in himself he has made them free from the law of sin and death. He arises with them from under the law, and ascends to his Father, and to their Father, to his God, and to their God, and receives the kingdom to which he was appointed. God has raised him from the dead and exalted him in his Mediatorial glory, far above all principalities and powers, and above every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and has given him to be the head over all things to his church, which is his body, and the fullness of him that filleth all in all. Therefore, to the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; and the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness; therefore God, even thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. God himself has set his King upon his holy hill of Zion, and every saint is taught to say, “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.” And in their loudest anthems and most exalted devotion sing the new and everlasting song, which none but the redeemed can sing, saying, “Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” His power to defend his subjects has been tested. He comes from Edom with dyed garments, speaking in righteousness, traveling in the greatness of his strength, mighty to save. And he is able to save unto the uttermost them that come unto God by him, seeing that he ever lives to make intercession for them. Safe in him, and their life is hid with Christ in God, so that the eternal God is their refuge, and underneath them are his everlasting arms. He rideth upon the heavens in their help, and in his excellency on the sky.

The provision for their constant supply are ample, the inexhaustible fullness of grace and truth, wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption, with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, is amply supplied. His name to all his saints is a strong tower into which the righteous run and are safe.

Now seated on his Mediatorial throne in Zion, having all power in heaven and in earth, and all the wisdom of eternal Deity, he reigns in righteousness. No defection can be found in his administration of the government. He doeth all things well, and all his subjects delight to speak of the glory of his kingdom and to talk of his power; for in his presence is fullness of joy, and at his right hand are pleasures forevermore,

“All hail the power of Jesus’ name,
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown him Lord of all.”

“And princes shall rule in judgment.” Although all the redeemed people of our God are made kings and priests unto him, and shall reign with their exalted Savior, there is a sense in which the apostles of the Lamb are to be regarded as princes peculiarly qualified to rule.

Princes, in earthly governments are those who belong to royal families, and especially such as are invested with princely authority, and are to be respected as legitimate representatives of the government which they administer. In the kingdom of our Redeemer the apostles are, in the regeneration of the church of God, seated on twelve thrones, and endued with power from above to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. We have shown in our former article that our Lord Jesus Christ, as the “Blessed and only Potentate,” occupies the only throne of absolute sovereign power. He is Head over all things to his church, and sole legislator for his kingdom. No other prince or power has any right to alter, abridge, amend, annul, or add to the laws and institutions which he has enacted and enjoined. His will is the supreme law, and whatsoever he has not commanded is positively forbidden; so that to do religiously what he has not commanded, is as reprehensible as to leave undone what he has commanded. The twelve thrones therefore on which the twelve apostles preside, are not thrones of legislation, but they are thrones of judgment. Yet the seats of the apostles are called thrones, because they are places of power, and essential to the organic establishment of the kingdom; and when and wherever this King reigns in righteousness, then and there these princes rule in judgment. These thrones, or places of power, can never be vacated, nor occupied by any but the chosen and ordained apostles; they have no successors. “And Jesus said unto them, {the apostles} Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me.” Not as it is sometimes heedlessly read, Ye which have followed me in the regeneration; for the regeneration of which he spake had not yet transpired; for it was the regeneration of the church from a legal to a gospel state. This was not at the time these words were spoken accomplished, for the law held dominion over the head and body of the church, until every jot and tittle of its requirements were fulfilled; but when the Savior arose from the dead, together with his dead body the church arose to a new relationship, and became dead to the law, by the body of Christ, that she should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead. Rom. 7:4. “Ye which have followed me.” Observe the comma after the word me. These disciples had followed him in his temptations, and they were asking him what they should have in his prospective kingdom, and in reply to the inquiry of Peter, he said, “In the regeneration, {What regeneration?} when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory.” This was at that time prospective; for it behooved him first to suffer and rise from the dead, and then to enter into his glory; and for this joy which was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Matt. 19:28. Now having endured the cross, and arisen from the dead, and set down at the right hand of the throne of God, which is the throne of his glory, with all power in heaven and earth in his hands, he bade them tarry at Jerusalem until they should be endued with power from above. And when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they received that power from above; and they hold it yet; then the gospel kingdom was fully organized, and from that time the Lord has added to the church such as shall be saved. The Holy Ghost came upon them like a mighty rushing wind from heaven. “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1-4. Now the redeemed, regenerated church is fully organized, Christ her King has ascended his throne of glory, to reign in righteousness, and his princes are duly inaugurated and seated on thrones of judgment. The spirit of infallible inspiration, as the keys of the kingdom of heaven, is given to them; their judgment in all things pertaining to the kingdom is final, and from it there is no appeal; whatsoever they bind on earth is bound in heaven, and whatsoever they loose on earth is loosed in heaven; for all their decisions being immediately by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, are invariably according to the spirit of the laws of Christ, and are the will of God.

The King shall reign, but the princes or apostles shall rule in judgment. The difference between a reigning king, and a ruling judge, or magistrate, is that the former makes the laws, and the latter rules according to the laws of the king. The apostles never attempted to add to, or diminish from the laws of Christ; as their commission was only to teach baptized believers to observe all things whatsoever Christ the King had commanded them. No more, no less; and that there should be no failure through their infirmities, they are baptized with the Holy Ghost, and have the promise that he shall bring all things to their remembrance whatsoever Christ had commanded them.

Whenever then we find a gospel church, we find a company of baptized believers, steadfastly continuing in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship. And whenever Christ is recognized as the King in supreme authority, the apostles are also recognized as princes on thrones of judgment. True the apostles are not here with us in their fleshly bodies, neither is the King present with us in the flesh; for the kingdom is a spiritual kingdom, wherein we know no man after the flesh. But Christ is no less with his church, than if he were here in a body of flesh; neither are his apostles absent from the church because they are seen no more by mortal eyes. As rulers in judgment they are still with us, and their thrones of judgment can no more be vacated, or occupied by others, than can the throne of Christ.

The subjects of Christ’s kingdom still need the judgments, decisions, interpretations and administrations of the inspired apostles. As rulers they have expounded to us, and do still expound to us the laws of Christ, and just as they expound and enjoin them, we must and do accept and abide by them, or we are not disciples of Christ. Jesus said to them, “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” Matt. 10:40.

As subjects of the kingdom of Christ, we have not to consult the opinions of men, nor to inquire what have been the decisions of ecclesiastical councils, nor what has been the practice of the professed church in ages past, but in every particular point of doctrine or practice, of faith or order, on which we need instruction, we are to consult the decisions of the apostles which they have left on record. Whatsoever they have not bound, they have loosed; that is, we are charged not to be entangled with any yoke of bondage, or any religious rule or law which they have not taught us to observe. If in anything we need special instruction, we shall find the twelve judges upon their thrones, and always ready to be consulted, and always ready to decide for us on every obligation required of us.

Middletown, N.Y.
November 15, 1870.
Elder Gilbert Beebe