To him to whom all the prophets bear witness this prophet, here in the close, bears his testimony, and speaks of that day, those days that shall come, in which God will do great things for his church, by the setting up of the kingdom of the Messiah, for the rejecting of which the rejection of the Jews was foretold in the Amos 9:1-10. The promise here is said to agree to the planting of the Christian church, and in that to be fulfilled, Acts 15:15-17. It is promised,
I. That in the Messiah the kingdom of David shall be restored (Amos 9:11); the tabernacle of David it is called, that is, his house and family, which, though great and fixed, yet, in comparison with the kingdom of heaven, was mean and movable as a tabernacle. The church militant, in its present state, dwelling as in shepherds’ tents to feed, as in soldiers’ tents to fight, is the tabernacle of David. God’s tabernacle is called the tabernacle of David because David desired and chose to dwell in God’s tabernacle for ever, Ps. 61:4. Now, 1. These tabernacles had fallen an gone to decay, the royal family was so impoverished, its power abridged, its honour stained, and laid in the dust; for many of that race degenerated, and in the captivity it lost the imperial dignity. Sore breaches were made upon it, and at length it was laid in ruins. So it was with the church of the Jews; in the latter days of it its glory departed; it was like a tabernacle broken down and brought to ruin, in respect both of purity and of prosperity. 2. By Jesus Christ these tabernacles were raised and rebuilt. In him God’s covenant with David had its accomplishment; and the glory of that house, which was not only sullied, but quite sunk, revived again; the breaches of it were closed and its ruins raised up, as in the days of old; nay, the spiritual glory of the family of Christ far exceeded the temporal glory of the family of David when it was at its height. In him also God’s covenant with Israel had its accomplishment, and in the gospel-church the tabernacle of God was set up among men again, and raised up out of the ruins of the Jewish state. This is quoted in the first council at Jerusalem as referring to the calling in of the Gentiles and God’s taking out of them a people for his name. Note, While the world stands God will have a church in it, and, if it be fallen down in one place and among one people, it shall be raised up elsewhere.
II. That that kingdom shall be enlarged, and the territories of it shall extend far, by the accession of many countries to it (Amos 9:12), that the house of David may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, that is, that Christ may have them given him for his inheritance, even the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession, Ps. 2:8. Those that had been strangers and enemies shall become willing faithful subjects to the Son of David, shall be added to the church, or those of them that are called by my name, saith the Lord, that is, that belong to the election of grace and are ordained to eternal life (Acts 13:48), for it is true of the Gentiles as well as of the Jews that the election hath obtained and the rest were blinded, Rom. 11:7. Christ died to gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad, here said to be those that were called by his name. The promise is to all that are afar off, even as many of them as the Lord our God shall call, Acts 2:39. St. James expounds this as a promise that the residue of men should seek after the Lord, even all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called. But may the promise be depended upon? Yes, the Lord says this, who does this, who can do it, who has determined to do it, the power of whose grace is engaged for the doing of it, and with whom saying and doing are not two things, as they are with us.
III. That in the kingdom of the Messiah there shall be great plenty, an abundance of all good things that the country produces (Amos 9:13): The ploughman shall overtake the reaper, that is, there shall be such a plentiful harvest every year, and so much corn to be gathered in, that it shall last all summer, even till autumn, when it is time to begin to plough again; and in like manner the vintage shall continue till seed-time, and there shall be such abundance of grapes that even the mountains shall drop new wine into the vessels of the grape-gatherers, and the hills that were dry and barren shall be moistened and shall melt with the fatness or mellowness (as we call it) of the soil. Compare this with Joel 2:24; 3:18. This must certainly be understood of the abundance of spiritual blessings in heavenly things, which all those are, and shall be, blessed with, who are in sincerity added to Christ and his church; they shall be abundantly replenished with the goodness of God’s house, with the graces and comforts of his Spirit; they shall have bread, the bread of life, to strengthen their hearts, and the wine of divine consolations to make them glad-meat indeed and drink indeed—all the benefit that comes to the souls of men from the word and Spirit of God. These had been long confined to the vineyard of the Jewish church; divine revelation, and the power that attended it, were to be found only within that enclosure; but in gospel-times the mountains and hills of the Gentile world shall be enriched with these privileges by the gos 11e5 pel of Christ preached, and professed, and received in the power of it. When great multitudes were converted to the faith of Christ, and nations were born at once, when the preachers of the gospel were always caused to triumph in the success of their preaching, then the ploughman overtook the reaper; and when, the Gentile churches were enriched in all utterance, and in all knowledge, and all manner of spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 1:5), then the mountains dropped sweet wine.
IV. That the kingdom of the Messiah shall be well peopled; as the country shall be replenished, so shall the cities be; there shall be mouths for this meat, Amos 9:14. Those that were carried captives shall be brought back out of their captivity; their enemies shall not be able to detain them in the land of their captivity, nor shall they themselves incline to settle in it, but the remnant shall return, and shall build the waste cities and inhabit them, shall form themselves into Christian churches and set up pure doctrine, worship, and discipline among them, according to the gospel charter, by which Christ’s cities are incorporated; and they shall enjoy the benefit and comfort thereof; they shall plant vineyards, and make gardens. Though the mountains and hills drop wine, and the privileges of the gospel-church are laid in common, yet they shall enclose for themselves, not to monopolize these privileges, to the exclusion of others, but to appropriate and improve these privileges, in communion with others, and they shall drink the wine, and eat the fruit, of their own vineyards and gardens; for those that take pains in religion, as men must do about their vineyards and gardens, shall have both the pleasure and profit of it. The bringing again of the captivity of God’s Israel, which is here promised, may refer to the cancelling of the ceremonial law, which had been long to God’s Israel as a yoke of bondage, and the investing of them in the liberty wherewith Christ came to make his church free, Gal. 5:1.
V. That the kingdom of the Messiah shall take such deep rooting in the world as never to be rooted out of it (Amos 9:15): I will plant them upon their land. God’s spiritual Israel shall be planted by the right hand of God himself upon the land assigned them, and they shall no more be pulled up out of it, as the old Jewish church was. God will preserve them from throwing themselves out of it by a total apostasy, and will preserve them from being thrown out of it by malice of their enemies; the church may be corrupted, but shall not quite forsake God, may be persecuted, but shall not quite be forsaken of God, so that the gates of hell, neither with their temptations nor with their terrors, shall prevail against it. Two things secure the perpetuity of the church:—1. God’s grants to it: It is the land which I have given them; and God will confirm and maintain his own grants. The part he has given to his people is that good part which shall never be taken from them; he will not revoke his grant, and all the powers of earth and hell shall not invalidate it. 2. Its interest in him: He is the Lord thy God, who has said it, and will make it good, thine, O Israel! who shall reign for ever as thine unto all generations. And because he lives the church shall live also.