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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 forever.” But even when forever is here applied to him, we doubt if this expresses the endless duration of his reign, but simply expresses that it shall never give place to any other in this world. One or two of our reasons for thinking so we shall only here state.
1st. If " forever” and “no end” in this passage means endless duration, it must be allowed that this world must also continue to endless duration. Is it asked how I make this appear? I answer, that it is plainly said, that of the increase of his government there shall be no end. But how is this to take place if this world is to end? The increase of his government takes place in this world, nor does any one refer its increase to a period after it ends. Either then this world has no end, but shall continue to afford an increase of subjects to Messiah's kingdom, or forever, and no end, here does not mean endless duration. We never heard of any increase of subjects to Christ's kingdom but while this world continued.
20. Christ's kingdom or his reign, is represented like the duration of the sun or the host of heaven. Psalm 72. is allowed to refer to him. In verse 19. it is said, “and blessed be his glorious name." And in verse 17. we find it said, “his name shall endure forever.” If we ask, how long a time this forever is, we find it answered thus, 6 his name shall be continued as long as the sun.” Again, it is said, Psalm lxxxix. 29. his seed also will I make to endure forever." But it is added, " And his throne as the days of heaven.” And in verses 36, 37. we find it said, "his seed shall endure forever," but it is again subjoined by way of explanation,—“And his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established forever as the moon."
We think these texts limit the meaning of forever to the duration of the sun and moon, and the Messiah's reign also to this period. This seems to be in agreement with what is said 1 Cor. xv. 24–29. that when Christ hath subdued all things, he shall deliver up the kingdom to God the father, that he may be all in all. This period is called the end and succeeds the resurrection of the dead.
I am aware that it may be objected,—“ if forever is thus limited to the end of this world, will it not follow that Christ's seed must end, for they are said to endure forever, which according to this view is only as long as the sun and moon endureth.” 1 answer, ihat this does not follow, for Christ at this period is to deliver up the kingdom to God the father and surely this kingdom includes the subjects or Christ's seed. If delivered up to God, no one thinks that this is for the purpose of being annihilated or to suffer endless punishment.
But further, David prays, that his house might continue blessed before God - forever." 2 Sam. vii. 29. 1 Chron. xvii. 27. God promised to establish the throne of Solomon forever, i Ks. ix. 5. David declares himself guiltless before the Lord forever from the blood of Abner, 2 Sam. iii. 28. Comp. 1 Kings ii. 23. His kindness was not to be cut off from the house of Jonathan forever, 1 Sam. xx. 15. Comp. verse 42. But could any thing more be meant by forever, than so long as his house existed ? Israel was to be unto God a people forever, 2 Sam. vii. 24. See also 1 Chron. xvii. 22. Things revealed, belonged to them and their children forever, Deut. xxix. 29. And if they obeyed God, it should go well with them and their children forever, Deut. xii. 28. and by so doing, they would leave the land unto their children for an inheritance forever, Ezra ix. 12. And if they did not obey the Lord, the curses in the law should be
upon them for a sign and for a wonder forever, Deut. xxviii. 46.
Again ; an Ammonite or Moabite was not to enter into the congregation of the Lord forever; and this is explained to be, to the tenth generation, Deut. xxiii. 3. Neh. xiii. 1. The stones set up at Jordan, were to be a memorial unto the children of Israel forever, Josh. iv. 7. But did any man ever think that these stones were to stand there to the endless
of eternity ? If we understand forever to mean, as often explained, from generation to generation, or throughout the generations of Israel, no difficulty is perceived ; but to understand it of endless duration, is absurd.
Again; the Lord had said that the house of Eli should walk before him forever, 1 Sam. ii. 20. But his conduct and that of his sons was such, that God says, 1 Sam. iii. 13, 14. “ I will judge this house forever.” And that “ the iniquity of his house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor burnt offerings forever.” Some may
think that their sins were unpardonable. No; what seems simply meant, is, that no sacrifice or burnt offering could avail, so as to preserve the priesthood in Eli's family.
Again; Israel is commanded to hope in the Lord forever, Psalm cxxxi. 3. And in cxxv. 2. the Lord is said to be round about them “ forever." and xxviii. 9. David prays that God would lift up his people “ forever." And in 1 Chron. xxix. 18. that he would keep what is right in their hearts “forever.” And Psalm sii. 7. that he would preserve them from this generation “forever.” And xxxvii. 18. says, that the inheritance of the righteous shall be “forever.” And verse 28. that they are preserved “forever." And xli. 12. that God set him before his face forever.' And lxxiii. 26. that God was his portion “forever." And it is said, Isai. xxxii. 17. that the effect of rightcousness was to be a quietness and assurance forev
er.” “In Psalm xXx. 12. David says, “I will give thanks unto thee forever.” And in xliv. 8 ihat he would praise God's name forever." See also lii. 9. and in lxxix. 13. he says, “we will give thee thanks forever," but adds, as an explanation,"we will show forth thy praise to all generations.” And lxxv. 9. he says, “I will declare forever,” and explains himself thus—“I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.” But further, in Psalm cxii. 6. David says, a good man “shall not be moved forever.” In cxix. 111. that he had taken God's testimonies " as an heritage forever.” And verse 152. 6 that God had founded them forever.” In Psalm v. 11. he
says, them that put their trust in the Lord ever shout for joy.” Psalm lxi. 4. David says, “ I will abide in thy tabernacle forever.” And God says, Hosea ii. 9. " I will betrothe thee unto me forever.” Psalm xlv. 2. and probably speaking of the Messiah, it is said, “God hath blessed thee forever.” And in Isai. lix. 21. it is declared, that God's word was not to depart from him nor his seed “ forever.” And lxi. 7. that he shall abide before God “ forever.” But comparing verse 6. forever is explained thus thou wilt prolong the king's life; and bis years as many generations. In the margin it is “as generation and generation.” comp. Psalm 89: 36, 37. and i Chron. 17: 14. In 1 Kings 10: 9. it is said, God “loved Israel forever.” And in Deut. 5: 29. that by obeying him it would be well with them and their children forever.” But again, speaking of God's temporal judgments, it is said, Joel 2: 2. to be a day “there hath not been ever the like.” And of the dead it is said, Eccles. 9 : 6. that they have no more a portion “forever” in any thing done under the sun.' Speaking of the descendants of Esau, it is said, Obad. 10. that they shall be cut off forever. Jonah says, 2: 6. that the bars of the earth were about him forever. In Zach.
1:5. the question is asked concerning the prophets, Do they live forever? If forever is asserted to mean endless duration, it is here strongly implied that the prophets do not live forever. But the question here simply means, do the prophets live to all generations. It is said of some, Psalm 81:15. that their time should have endured forever.' And Solomon, Eccles. 2: 16. says—. There is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool forever.' And David says Psal. 49: 8.'the redemption of the soul, or the natural life from death, it ceaseth forever.' And in Prov. 27: 24, it is said of riches—they are not forever;' but the common explanation is added, And doth the crown endure to every generation.'
But I find olim, rendered forever, applied to God in a variety of ways. These texts demand the closest attention, for it is in consequence of this, that it is considered as expressing endless duration. Can it mean any thing less than this, say some, seeing it is applied to him who had no beginning and who shall have no end? This may be true, but it ought not to be admitted without sufficient evidence, seeing this same word is applied to so many things which all al. low are not of endless duration. We shall therefore give this part of the subject all the care and attention we can command. Olim, then, is rendered forever and applied
To the existence of God. Thus in Deut. 32: 40. God says, I live forever.' And in Psalm 9: 7. "The Lord shall endure forever.' And 102: 12. thou, o Lord, shalt endure forever,' but observe, it is added by way of explanation, and thy remembrance unto all generations.' In Lam. v. 19. it is said, thou, O Lord, remainest forever ;' but the common explanation is again given, for it is added, and thy throne from generation to generation. And it is said, Eccles. 3: 14. That whatsoever God doeth it shall be