Who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God…
Various constructions have been put on these words in order to set aside so clear an assertion of the Godhead of Jesus; but most of the highest authorities agree in regarding the present construction as most true to the original: and, if so, a more full and unmistakable declaration of Christ's Divinity it is almost impossible to conceive. Were it our intention to argue the point of our Redeemer's Godhead, we would look upon the question —
1. In the light of general history, and develop three facts.
(1) That the system of Jesus has become one of the most mighty powers in the human world, and is evidently tending to universal dominion. The Anglo-Saxon race is, in its literature, laws, customs, institutions and spirit, mightily influenced by it, and that race is rapidly advancing to the throne of the world.
(2) That there was a period in the history of the world when this mighty creed had no existence. When Homer sang, and Socrates reasoned; when Alexander fought his campaigns, and Demosthenes hurled his fulminations over Greece, Christianity was not.
(3) There was everything in the external history of the Founder of Christianity, as well as in the spiritual purity of its doctrines and precepts, to have led one antecedently to suppose that it would never make any way in the world. Christ was born of a despised people; lived in the most obscure part of their country; and came of humble parents; and so thoroughly did His doctrines clash with the feelings, and prejudices, and habits of the people, that the proclamation of them ended in His being executed as a malefactor. These facts show that the power which Christianity has gained in the world is a phenomenon which cannot be explained on the hypothesis of His being nothing more than a mere man; and that gives a strong presumption in favour of His Divinity.
2. In the light of Divine revelation, we would also state three facts. .
(1) That whoever created the universe is our God, by whatever name you call the great originating agent. We cannot form an idea of a higher being than a Creator.
(2) That the Bible unquestionably refers the work of creation to Christ (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16).
(3) As a necessary conclusion, that unless the Bible is false, Christ is God. But our object is to offer a few remarks concerning Christ's Divine supremacy, which is —
I. CO-EXTENSIVE WITH THE UNIVERSE. "Over all." How much is included in this "all!" The visible and invisible, the proximate and remote, the minute and vast, the material and the spiritual. The subjects of His dominion may be divided into four classes. Those which He governs —
1. Without a will; all inanimate matter and vegetable life. Plants germinate, grow, and die; oceans ebb and flow; stars and systems revolve by His will entirely. They have no will.
2. With their will. All irrational existences have volition. By this they move. They cannot move contrary to their instinct. Whether they roam in the forest, wing the air, or sport in mighty oceans, they move with their will, and He controls them thus.
3. By their will. Holy intelligences He governs thus. He gives them laws, and supplies them with motive, and leaves them free. They move by their will, yet He governs them.
4. Against their will. These are wicked men and devils. He makes their "wrath to praise Him." He is "over all" these.
II. EXERCISED WITH PERFECT HAPPINESS. "Blessed for ever. He is the blessed and only Potentate." Christ is happy on the throne. If so, we infer —
1. That He can have no doubt of His capacity to meet every conceivable emergency. The sovereign who doubts his power can never be happy. How many monarchs, like Herod, are miserable from fear? "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." Christ has "all power." He is not afraid of insurrections or rebellions.
2. That He can have no misgivings as to the rectitude of His position. The monarch who has got power by fraud or violence, by treading on the rights of others if he has conscience, can never be happy on his throne. But Christ has a consciousness that He has a right to the power He wields. His subjects are His creatures, His property, etc.
3. That He must be ever under the sway of benevolent affections. Envy, anger, revenge, ambition, are all the fruits of selfishness, and are elements of misery; and they cannot co-exist with benevolence.
4. That happiness is the law of the universe. He that is happy ever seeks to make others so. Misery is an accident; happiness is a necessity; for Christ's being is a necessity. Misery had a beginning; happiness is eternal. Misery is local; happiness is universal. The misery of the universe, as compared with the happiness, is only as one blighted leaf in an immeasurable forest.
III. HEARTILY ACQUIESCED IN BY THE GOOD. "Amen"; i.e., So be it — I would have it so.
1. Conscience says amen to Christ's supremacy.
2. Gratitude. What has He done for us! Recount His victories — His mercies.
3. Hope. What higher security can we have, either for the future well-being of our race or selves than this?
(D. Thomas, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;