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in the blessing of Joseph he says, “The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors, unto the utmost bound, of the everlasting hills.” By which, I suppose, the hills of the land of Canaan were meant.
God saith to Moses, Exod. xl. 15. “And thou shalt annoint them (Aaron's sons) as thou didst annoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office; for their annointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood, throughout their generations." Lev. xvi, 31. “And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins, once a year; and he did as JeHOVAH commanded Moses."
The apostle declares, that these ererlasting ordinances were only till the time of Reforination, Heb. ix. 10. and this everlasting priesthood of Aaron's son, had ceased long ago: "For the priesthood being changed (by Christ) there is, of necessity a change also of the law: for he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of whom no man gave attendance at the altar : for it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident, for that, after the similitude of Melchisedek, there ariseth another priest, who is made not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life: for he testifieth that, thou art a priest forever, after the order of Melchisedek: for there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness
thereof.” Heb. vii. 12, 18. The whole sum of the apostle's argument, in this epistle, tends to prove that the everlasting ordinance is now no more; and the everlasting priesthood of Aaron and his sons is now abolished.
Another passage where the word everlasting is evidently used in a limited sense, is Numb. Xxv. 11, 12, 13, where we read thus: “Phinehas, the son of Eleazer, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel while he was zealous for
ту them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy. Wherefore say, behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace: and he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood: because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel."
If the word everlasting intends endless duration, how shall we be able to reconcile this promise with the total cessation of the Levitical Priesthood? As for the family of Phinehas, with whom this covenant of an everlasting priesthood was made, it was entirely deprived of the benefit of the same, within the space of four hundred years: for when the sons of Eli transgressed the covenant, by profaning it, God sent him word, that as they had broken it on their parts, it was entirely, and to all intents and purposes, dissolved. Read 1. Sam. ii. from the beginning of the 12th verse to the end of the 17th, and from the 27th to the end of the chapter: and also, chap. iii. 11,12, 13, 14.
I will transcribe verse 30, of the second chapter in proof of my point. “Wherefore JEHOVAH, God of Israel, saith, I said indeed, that thy
house, and the house of thy father should walk before me for ever: but now JEHOVAH saith, be it far from me, for them that honor me, I will honor; and they that despise me, shall be lightly esteemed.” Hophini, and Phinehas, were soon after slain in one day; and Saul the King of Israel, sent Doag the Edomite, who fell upon the priests and slew fourscore and five
who wore a linen ephod, in one day. “And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword; both men, and women, and children, and suclings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with, the edge of the sword.” 1 Sam. xxii. 19. The whole house of Phinehas seems to have been des stroyed at this time except Abiather; and when Solomon came to the throne he thrust him out from being priest," that he might fulfil the word of Jehovah, which he spake concerning the house of Eli, in Shiloh," 1 Kings, ii. 27. From this time the house of Ithamar had the priesthood.
It is so evident that the word which is translated everlasting, cannot in the nature of things, absolutely signify, without end, that I should not think it worth while to quote any more passages in proof of its intending age or ages, only, were it not constantly used as a great objection against the universal Restoration ; I shall, therefore, instance two or three more in particular, in this place, and refer to a great nur of others, of the same kind ; all tending to prove the same thing. Hab. iii. 6, “The everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow.” The gospel is called “The everlasting gospel,” Rev. xiv. 6, yet it must cease to be preached,
when it shall be needed no longer. Jonah saith, “ The earth with her bars was about me forever; yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption; O Jehovah, my God.” Jonah ii. 6. But it would be the highest absurdity upon the supposition that the word Legnolam, here rendered forever, properly signifies without end, for him to say, that his life was brought up from corruption; and, therefore, we know that he could not use it in that sense, because, on the third day, he was delivered from his dreadful prison. There is no doubt but the time that he was there, seemed an age, and, while he was thus shut up, there was no intermission to the darkness, and distress that overwhelmed him ; and, therefore he might say, with propriety, that earth, with her bars was about him, forever (i. e. perpetually wilhout cessation during the period he remained in the fish's belly ; which appeared to him, as a long age indeed. But, as it would be a work of much time and labor to mention all the passages where the word translated forever, evidently intends only an age, or period, I shall just direct you to the following ; which you may look over at your leisure.
Gen. xiii. 15. xliii. 9. xliv. 32.--Exod. xii. 14, 17, 24. xxi. 6. xxvii. 21. xxviii. 43. xxix. 9, 28. Xxx. 21. xxxi. 16, 17. xxxii. 13.—Lev. iii. 17. vi. 13, 18, 20, 22. vii. 34, 36. x. 9, 15. xvi. 29, 31. xxiii. 14, 21, 31, 41. xxiv. 3. xxv. 30, 46.Numb. x. 8. xv. 15. xviii. 8, 19. xix. 10. Deut. iv. 40. xv. 17. xviii. 5, 28, 46.—Josh. iv. 7. xiv. 9.-1 Sam. ii. 30. iii. 13. xxvii. 12. xxviii. 2.-1 Kings, xii. 7.—2 Kings, v. 27.--2 Chronicles, x. 7.
Here are more than fifty passages, where the word rendered for ever intends only age, or ages; to which many more might be added.
Now the rule for understanding words is this: --What must be the meaning of the word, in many places, and what may be the meaning in all ; is the true sense of the same.
Friend. Although the single word forever, in these passages, seems evidently to intend certain unknown limited periods ; yet what can you do with those texts that say, the misery of the wicked shall endure for ever and ever.
Minister. Indeed they are terrible threatnings; and no doubt will be fully executed.
Friend. But, do you imagine that such passages as the following can intend less than endless misery ? Rev. xiv. 11. « And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up, for ever and ever ; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Rev. xix. 3. “ And here smoke rose up for ever and ever.” Rev. xx. 10. “And the devil, that deceiveth them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night, for ever and ever."
Minister. I confess you have proposed a difficulty that I should judge to be unanswerable, were it not for the following considerations :
1st. If forever and ever is a longer time than forever, which must be granted, then is there some proportion between them : thus, if forever intends an age, period, or sometimes ages ; forever and ever, may