WE are requested by friends in Kentucky to give our views of Psalm cii. 18, Isa. lxv. 17, to the end of the chapter, and Psalm cxxxix. 15 and 16.
The first passage in the order presented is Psalm cii. 18: "This shall be written for the generation to come; and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord." The other passages appear also to refer to the same subject, and shall be noticed briefly in their order. To us it is evident that the Psalms were prophetic as well as devotional, and hence our Lord included them with the law and the prophets when he said, "All that is written in the law, and in the Psalms, concerning me, must be fulfilled - "and many portions of the Psalms have been expounded to us in the New Testament as having a prophetic allusion to the coming of Christ, his sufferings and death, and also of the glory that should follow. In this Psalm we trace, not only the individual experience of the children of God, the trials and straits they are sometimes called to bear, but also the state of God's people, first, unto the legal dispensation withering like the grass, and declining like the shadow. The law under which Israel existed stopped every mouth, and presented every man guilty before God. But the royal prophet and sweet singer is indulged with a prophetic view of the declining shadows of the former heavens, and the expiration of the legal covenant is its own limitation, when the Shiloh should come, and the sceptre depart from Judah, and the lawgiver from between his feet; when the enduring kingdom of Christ should be revealed at the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. "Thou shalt arise." His body could not be left in the grave, nor his soul under the vengeance of the law. He must arise from the dead, and be exalted a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance to Israel and the remission of sins, "and have mercy upon Zion." The law could show no mercy; mercy was unknown to the law; its rigid demands were, "The soul that sinneth it shall die," and the people of God could not be delivered from its condemnation independently of Christ's resurrection for their justification. The salvation of Abel and all the Old Testament saints was as firmly predicated upon the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, as is that of the saints of the present dispensation. Hence the mercy looked for by the Psalmist was connected with the rising of our Lord, and that at the time, yea, the set time to favor Zion. The time was never found in a legal covenant, but in him who is, and was, and is to be the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Connected with the resurrection and exaltation of Christ, and the establishment of his kingdom, the Gentiles were to participate in the joys of his salvation. "So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory." But when? At the set time to favor Zion: on the third day from his crucifixion, "When the Lord shall build up Zion, and appear in his glory." Then the medium of intercourse with heaven, of communion with God should be developed, and God would "Regard the prayer of the destitute," which was what the law could not do; the prayer of the destitute could receive no commiseration or regard by the law; if we come to the law we must bring an offering, but the poor, destitute, perishing and despairing soul finds mercy and grace in the gospel.
"This shall be written for the generation to come," viz: the things embraced in the foregoing verses concerning the declining shadows and receding elements of the old dispensation, the resurrection of Christ from the dead, the deliverance of Zion from bondage, the medium of access to the throne of mercy, the extension of the gospel to the Gentiles, the building up of the church and everlasting kingdom of Christ, &c. This is what should be, and what was written by an order from the God of Jacob, by the spirit of inspiration, and written too for the generation to come; the generation of which ancient Israel was a type. "A seed shall serve him, an d it shall be counted to the Lord for a generation." "A chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people," &c. A generation of sons; born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. For them the records of the Old Testament were kept, and the things that were written aforetime were written for their instruction and consolation. "And the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord."
It is quite probable that the difficulty with our inquiring friends is in relation to the new creation. It is certain from the positive testimony of the scriptures, that the natural creation was complete when God ceased from all the works thereof; and rested on the seventh day. We cannot therefore consistently think the expression in this text can allude to any new creation in a natural sense; but rather to the spiritual creation, which in distinction from the natural and the typical creation, or origination of them is called new. The gospel tent is in the New Testament particularly designated as a new order. First, It is not of this world; therefore it is not a part of the natural creation, or creation of nature; Even the flesh and blood of the saints do not inherit the kingdom of God: "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Whatever we may anticipate in the glorious resurrection of the bodies of the saints, when their mortals shall put on immortality, certainly that will be no new or natural creation; but it will be what it is called, a resurrection. Neither could the bringing into visible existence the gospel church be embraced in the creation, or origination of the typical heavens and earth; for the gospel church is as distinct from the typical as Christ is distinct from Aaron.
The development of this new creation presented what John saw, (Rev. xxi. 1-5:) "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more." This new heaven and earth was no new revision of the old, for the old had passed away. The law and the prophets were until John: at that time he came unto whom the gathering of the people should be, and whose substance was not hidden from God, and the members of whose mystical body were all written in God's book, and in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there were none of them developed to us. Out of the old receding heavens, the Jewish nation, John saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride for her husband. The church had her origin in God: "Both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren." Again, Jesus said, "I go to my Father and to your Father; to my God and to your God" and also that he proceeded forth and came out from God. Certainly the setting up of the head from everlasting, embraced the spiritual life of the whole body which that head represented, with all its members. The church, in her vital union with Christ, who in regard to his Sonship and Headship descended from God out of the eternal heaven, and whose body descended from God out of the typical heaven, (for it is evident that the Lord sprang out of Judah) must also have proceeded from God out of heaven in both these respects; as having her origin in Christ as the beginning of the creation of God, and the First Born of every creature. "Prepared as a bride for her husband." When the friend of the bridegroom standing without rejoiced because of the bridegroom's voice, he was acting by divine authority in making ready a people prepared of the Lord; and these were the lost sheep of the house of Israel. These came to John's baptism from Judea, Jerusalem and the regions round about Jordan; consequently they came also out of the typical heaven which was then dissolving. At the development of this New Jerusalem, "A great voice out of heaven" proclaimed, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shell be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God. The tabernacle in the wilderness was evidently a figure of the gospel church, its formation strictly according to the pattern showed Moses in the mount; its use, its furniture, the ark, the mercy seat, the fruitful rod, the golden pot, the manna, the tables of the law, the cherubim of glory, the candlesticks, the shew bread, and all in any wise pertaining to that building was emblematic of the church which God ordained to develop as the anti-type of the tabernacle. "But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands; that is to say, not of this building' Not of the typical tabernacle which was made with hands, but the real substance which the type referred to, and which was made without hands. Here the church of Christ is evidently brought to view as the tabernacle which God had pitched and not man, and emphatically called The Tabernacle of God. This church brought to view among the Gentiles was attended with the announcement that the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, &c.
And he that set upon the throne. Christ, who now sits upon his holy hill Zion. That king from whose presence the old heavens and earth fled away, said, "Behold I make all things new." The absolute production of anything by the immediate power and wisdom of God, without the 'least aid from men or angels, is properly a creation; and hence this divine development is called by the Psalmist a creation, and those to be developed as a people that should be created, whose spiritual creation was not in Adam, but in the Lord from heaven: for they are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath fore-ordained that they shall walk in them. Henceforth, therefore, "If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, and all things are become new."
It is not left with this new creation to say whether they will or will not praise the Lord, but it is positively decreed they shall praise the Lord. Hence all the provisions of grace are made by Jehovah, that they shall be to the praise of the glory of God.
New Vernon, N. Y.,
December 1, 1843.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 359 - 364