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12n. « The new heavens and new earth” (ovx8usvn) which God promised to create, Isa. Ixv. 17. lxvi. 22. which refers to per Triun, the days of the Messiah.' The later Jews sometimes call it, tiny the future world, though usually by that expression they intend the world of future bliss. But the world here intended is no other but the promised state of the church under the gospel. This, with the worship of God therein, with especial relation to the Messiah, the Author and Mediator of it, administering its heavenly things before the throne of grace, thereby rendering it spiritual and heavenly, and diverse from the state of the worship of the Old Testament which was worldly and carnal, was " the world to come," that the Jews looked for, and which in this place is intended by the apostle. This we must farther confirm, as the foundation of the ensuing exposition. That this then is the intendment of the apostle, appeareth,
First, From the limitation annexed, asga és dangusv, « concerning which we treat." This is the world whereof he treats with the Hebrews in this epistle, namely, the gospel-state of the church, the worship whereof he had in the words immedi. ately foregoing pressed them to the observance of. And not only so, but described it also, by that state wherein the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost were given and enjoyed. And the mention of them, in the words directly preceding, is that dea scription of the world to come, which the apostle in these words refers to, « concerning which we speak.” . And the tradition of this new world, or the restoration of all things under the Messiah, was one of the principal reports of truth received among the Jews with which the apostle presseth them.
Some suppose that nanopein,' we speak,' is put for sannoauty, 6 we have spoken,' and would have it refer to chap. i. 6. But what the apostle there intendeth by the ' world,' we have sufficiently evinced and declared.. The world' there, by an usual synecdoche is put for the habitable earth, tuidice, which the Son of God made and came to, John i, 11. Here a certain state and condition of things in the world, about which he treated with the Hebrews, is intended.
Besides, they who would thus change the word, (Grotius, Crel. lius, Schlictingius) by the « world," chap. i. 6. understand heaven itself, the state of glory, which is not here insisted on by the apostle. For,
Secondly, He treats of that which was already done in the " crowning of Jesus with glory and honour,'' as the words following do manifest. This crowning of him, was upon his ascension, as we have before proved at large. Then was not the state of glory made subject to him, because it was not then, nor is yet in VOL. III.
being. And therefore they who turn 'we speak,' into 'we have before spoken,' are forced also to pervert the following words, and to interpret, “ he hath made all things subject unto lim,” he hath purposed or decreed so to do; both without cause or reason. The world whereof the apostle treats was immediately made subject to Jesus ; that is, the church of the New Testament, when God anointed him “ King upon his holy hill of Sion;" and therefore in the Psalm is there mention made of those other parts of the creation to be joined in this subjection, that have no relation unto heaven.
Thirdly, The apostle doth not treat directly any where in this Epistle concerning heaven, or the world of the blessed to come; he frequently indeed mentions heaven, not absolutely, but as it belongs to the gospel world, as being the place of the constant residence of the High Priest of the church, and wherein also the worship of it is through faith celebrated.
Fourthly, The apostle in these words insists on the antithesis which he pursueth in his whole discourse between the Judaical and Evangelical church-state; for whatever power angels might have in and over things formerly, this world to come, saith he, is not " made subject unto them.” Now it is not heaven and glory that he opposeth to the Judaical church-state and worship, but that of the gospel, as we shall find in the progress of the Epistle, which is therefore necessarily here intended.
Fifthly, If by the world to come, the eternal blessed state of glory be designed, to begin at or after the general judgment, then here is a promise, that that blessed estate shall de noro be put in subjection to Jesus Christ as Mediator; but this is directly contrary unto what is elsewhere revealed by the same apostle, concerning the transactions between the Father and the Son as Mediator at that day, 1 Cor. xv. 28. “And when all shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him who put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” Which words, if they do not absolutely assert the ceasing of the kingdom of the Mediator, but only the order of all things unto eternity in their subjection unto God by Christ, yet they are plainly exclusive of the grant of a new power or authority unto him, or of a new making subject of all Things unto him. Add unto all this, that the apostle proves the subjection of this world unto the Lord Christ, and not unto angels, by a testimony expressing directly the present things of this world, antecedent unto the day of judgment. From what hath been discoursed we conclude, that the world to come here expressed, is the state and worship of the church under the Messiah, called so by the apostle according to the usual appellation which then it had obtained among the Jews, and allowed by him until the Mosaic church-state was utterly removed. And he afterwards declares how this comprised heaven itself al. so, because of the residence of our high priest in the holiest not made with hands, and the continual admission of the worshippers unto the throne of grace. This is the subject of the apostle's proposition, that concerning which he treats.
Concerning this world the apostle first declares negatively, that it is not made subject unto angels. The subjecting of this world to come unto any, is such a disposal of it, as that he or they unto whom it is put in subjection, should, as the lord of it, erect, institute or set it up, rule and dispose of it, when erected, and judge or reward it in the end of its course and time. This is denied concerning angels, and the denial proved tacitly, because no such thing is testified in the Scripture. And herein the apostle either preventeth an objection that might arise from the power of the angels in and over the church of old, as some think, or rather proceeds in his design of exalting the Lord Jesus above them, and thereby prefers the worship of the gospel before that prescribed by the law of Moses. For he seems to grant that the old church and worship were in a sort made subject unto angels, this of the world to come being solely and inimediately in his power, who in all things was to have the pre-eminence. And this will farther appear, if we consider the instances before mentioned, wherein the subjection of this world to come unto any doth consist.
First, It was not put in subjection unto angels in its erection 'or institution. That work was not committed unto them, as the apostle declares in the entrance of this Epistle. They did not reveal the will of God concerning it, nor were intrusted with authority to erect it. Some of them indeed were employed in messages about its preparatory work, but they were not employed either to reveal the mysteries of it wlierewith they were unacquainted, nor authoritatively in the name of God to erect it. For the wisdom of God, in the nature and mystery of this work they knew not, but by the effects in the work itself, Eph. iii. 9, 10. which they looked and inquired into, to learn and admire, 1 Pet. i. 12. and therefore could not be intrusted with authority for its revelation, and the building of the church thereon. But things were otherwise of old. The law, which was the foundation of the Judaical church-state, was given by the “ disposition of angels,” Acts vii. 53. Gal. iii. 19. And our apostle here calls it the word spoken by angels. They were therefore intrusted by God to give the law and the ordi. nances of it unto the people in his name and authority, which being the foundation of the Mosaic church-state, it was so far pui in subjection unto them.
Secondly, Being erected, it is not put into subjection unto ann gels, as to the rule and disposal of it. Their office in this world,
is a ministry, chap. i. 14. not a rule or dominion. Rule in or over the church they have none, but are brought into a co-ordination of service with them that have the testimony of Jesus, Rev. xix. 10. xxii. 9. being equally with us subjected unto him, in whom they and we are “ gathered into one head," Eph. i. 10. And froin their ministerial presence in the congregations of believers, doth our apostle press women unto modesty and sobriety in iheir habit and deportment, 1 Cor. xi. 10. And the church of old had an apprehension of this truth, of the presence of an angel or angels in their assemblies, but so as to preside in them. Hence is that caution relating to the worship of God, Eccles. v. 5, 6. “ Better is it that thou shouldst not vow, than thou shouldst vow and not pay; suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin, neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error; why should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands." By vowing and not paying, a man brought upon his flesh, that is, himself and his posterity, a guilt not to be taken away with excuses of haste or precipitation, made unto the angel presiding in their worship, to take an account of its due performance. It is true, the absolute sovereign power over the church of old, was in the Son of God alone; but an especial immediate power over it was committed unto angels. And hence was the name of Dobx, God, • Judge, mighty One,' communicated unto them, namely from their authority over the church, that name expressing the au thority of God, when unto him ascribed. And because of this, their acting in the name, and representing the authority of God, the saints of old had an apprehension, that upon their seeing of an angel they should die, from that saying of God, that 6c none should see his face and live," Exod. xxxii. 20. So Manoah expressly, Judg. xii. 22. He knew that it was an angel which appeared unto him, and yet says to his wife, “ We shall surely die, because we have seen Dux, “ an angel," vested with the authority of God. And hence it is not unlikely, but that there might be a respect or worship due unto the angels under the Old Testament, which themselves declare not to be meet for them under the New, Rev. xix. 10. not that they are degraded from any excellency or privilege which before they enjoyed, but that the worshippers under the New Testament, through their relation unto Christ, and the exaltation of their nature in his person, are delivered from that under-age estate, wherein they differed not from servants, Gal. iv. 1. and are advanced into an equality of liberty with the angels themselves, Heb. xii. 24, 25. Eph. i. 10. iii. 14, 15. ; as amongst men there may be a respect due from an inferior to a superior, which may cease when he is advanced into the same condition with the other, though the superior be not at all abased. And to this day the Jews contend, that angels are to be adored with some kind of adoration, though they expressly deny that they are to be invocated or prayed unto. Furthermore, about their power and authority in the disposal of the outward concerns of the church of old, much more might be declared from the via sions of Zechariah and Daniel, with their works in the two great typical deliverances of it from Egypt and Babylon. But we must not here insist on particulars.
Thirdly, As to the power of judging and rewarding at the last day, it is openly manifest, that God hath not put this world to come in subjection unto angels, but unto Jesus alone.
This then is the main proposition that the apostle proceeds on in his present argument. The most glorious effect of the wisdom, power and grace of God, and that wherein all our spi. ritual concerns here are inwrapped, consists in that blessed church-state, with the eternal consequences of it, which having been promised from the foundation of the world, was now to be erected in the days of the Messiah. That you mav, saith he, no more cleave to your old institutions, because given out unto you by angels, nor hearken after such works of wonder and terror as attended their disposition of the law in the wil. derness, consider that this world, so long expected and desired, this blessed estate, is not on any account made subject unto angels, or committed unto their disposal; the honour thereof being entirely reserved for another.
Having thus fixed the true and proper sense of this verse, we may stop here a little to consult the observations that it offers for our own instruction. Many things in particular might be hence educed, but I shall insist on one oply, which is comprehensive of the design of the apostle, and it is, that
This is the great privilege of the church of the gospel, that, in the things of the worship of God, it is made subject unto, and immediately depends upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and not to any others, angels or men.
That this is the privilege thereof, and that it is a great and blessed privilege, will both appear in our consideration of what it is, and wherein it doth consist. And among many other things, these ensuing are contained therein. 1. That the Lord Christ is our Head. So it was promised of old, that their “ king should pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them,” Mic. ii. 13. He shall be their King, Head and Ruler. God hath now gathered all things, all the things of his church, into a head in Christ, Eph. i. 10. Thev were all scattered and disordered by sin, but are now all collected again and brought into order under one hearl. Him hath he given to 6 be head over all things unto the church,” ver. 22. The whole sovereignty over all the whole creation that is committed